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Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive at Reykjavik Airport (REK) where you will be met by a representative and transferred to your hotel. This evening, enjoy a welcome drink and meet your fellow expeditioners at the pre-embarkation briefing. The rest of the evening is at your leisure.
Hotel in Reykjavik to be confirmed
This morning, your luggage will be collected from the hotel and transferred directly to the port and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Any valuables or personal items should be kept with you throughout the day. Enjoy some free time to explore Iceland's capital city of Reykjavik, before boarding the Greg Mortimer late afternoon. You will have time to settle into your cabin before the important safety briefings out on deck. We set sail in the early evening.
M/V Greg Mortimer
In the Denmark Strait, we sail towards Greenland. Keep a lookout for whale blows and the many seabirds that trail our ship in the ever present Arctic winds. Enjoy the time out on deck and soak up the fresh ocean air.
Enjoy informative and entertaining presentations from the Expedition crew and learn about the ice formations, seabirds and wildlife of this frozen wilderness.
As we approach East Greenland, we may encounter more pack ice, offering a chance to see seals and a variety of seabirds, including northern fulmar and migratory Brunnichs guillemots. This stretch of coastline is ripe for exploration, with its many secrets locked in place by drift ice for up to eight months of the year.
The strong icy currents have isolated East Greenland from the Polar Basin, attracting large numbers of fish, seals and whales. Climatic conditions and the concentration of ice in the vicinity, often create thick morning fog that vanishes with the onset of the midday sun. Our experts will inform and entertain us with fascinating discussions on plants, animals, ice, and early explorers like Nansen, Andree and Scoresby. The expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day-to-day. This allows them to make the best use of prevailing weather and ice conditions and maximise on wildlife opportunities.
Over the coming days, be prepared to experience ice, lots of it. East Greenland contains some of the Arctic's most impressive scenery. Deep fjords and narrow channels, flanked by sharp ice-clad peaks up to 2,000m. Glaciers create gigantic icebergs that drift through the fjord system creating breath-taking scenes and the landscape is filled with multi-coloured tundra, home to musk-oxen and Arctic hare.
We will explore Scoresbysund, the largest fjord system in the world - a spectacular place that needs to be seen to be believed. North of Scoresbysund are Kong Oscar and Kaizer fjords, two of the most significant fjord systems in all of Greenland. This area is rich in wildlife, owing to the fertile volacanic soil mountains that protect this area from strong winds.
We will attempt to enter the remote and rarely-visited Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord, offering countless opportunities for exploration within the Northeast Greenland National park. Cruising through Kong Oskar Fjord, we will marvel at the geological beauty of the mountains. We will then head south along the coast of Liverpool Land, with our passage dependent on ice conditions and then we aim to reach Scoresbysund, to explore the the World's largest fjord.
We plan to visit the remote Inuit community of Ittoqqortoormiit (Scoresby Town) and hike across the tundra in search of summer villages occupied 3,000 years ago by Eskimo. This area provides excellent opportunities for sea-kayaking in it's maze of calm, interconnecting waterways. You may spot Arctic hare, musk oxen and seal and if you are extremely lucky, polar bear or narwhal. Although due to the local hunting traditions, these two sightings are very rare.
Places that we may land along the East coast include Cape Humboldt - a stunning bay on Ymer Island, Seftrom Glacier, where you can enjoy Zodiac crusing and kayaking in this beautiful area and where colourful Arctic flora adorns the tundra ground. Sydkap offers good walking and delightful views across the sound and various fjords within this area such as Romer fjord, Hare Fjord and Nordvest, will offer you the opportuny to kayak or Zodiac cruise amongst glacial formations and icebergs, while taking in the airshow above as a variety of seabirds fly in the skies overhead.
Over the next two days at sea, enjoy informative and entertaining lectures from our expert expedition team including naturalists and historians, before reaching Svalbard's eastern coast.
As we cruise east across the Greenland Sea - the main outlet of the Arctic Ocean - we may encounter whales feeding in the productive waters of the north. Sightings of fin whales are common and blue whales have been seen in more recent years.
Over the next ten days, the Svalbard Archipelago is ours to explore. There are many exciting places we can choose to visit and the order in which we see these, will vary from trip-to-trip. Svalbard offers unpoiled, raw arctic wilderness at its best. With majestic mountains of jagged peaks, iridescent sea ice, countless glaciers and superb wildlife-viewing opportunities.
Along the northeast coast of Spitsbergen we enter a different world a polar desert. If ice conditions allow we will pass south through the narrow Hinlopen Strait. The Strait is flanked by creamy coloured slabs of rock that are rich in fossils, as we will discover for ourselves when we go ashore. We may visit Alkefjellet in the Strait, where a series of one-hundred metre high dolerite towers are home to nearly a million nesting Brunnich's guillemots, known as the penguins of the north, who occupy every available nook and cranny.
Elsewhere, we seek out eider ducks and geese and hope to spot Arctic fox and the beautiful ivory gulls. Polar bears are common in the Hinlopen area. Normally a few summer bears can be spotted on the islands or around the bird cliffs. In spring, Hinlopen Strait is full of life, when the seabirds return. There is lots of noise out in the sound, as the little auk, Brünnich's guillemot and northern fulmar all make their presence known. Most birds go to the western part of the Strait, from Lomfjorden and southwards. Alkefjellet to the south of Lomfjorden is the largest bird cliff in the area, with several hundred thousand black-legged kittiwakes and as many Brünnick's guillemots. There are also several colonies of northern fulmar in the area, and little auks nests scattered in and around the Strait.
In the far north at Nordvesthjornet and Raudfjorden, Willem Barentsz and his crew discovered new land on 17 June, 1596. They described the land as being 'rugged for the most part and steep, mostly mountains and jagged peaks, from which we gave it the name of Spitsbergen.' In the centuries that followed, the large number of bowhead whales found here attracted whalers from the Netherlands and various other countries, and the area became a place of high activity, both on the shore and in the surrounding sea. This is why Nordvesthjornet offers the largest concentration of cultural artefacts on Spitsbergen, all dating back to this first era of the exploitation of Svalbard's natural resources.
Located along the north coast, Woodfjorden, Liefdefjorden and Bockfjorden are rarely visited places.This is the land of contrasts. By the large, flat Reinsdyrflya there is a great fjord system that stretches towards several mountain ridges of varying shapes and ages, including alpine summits of very old granite, majestic red mountains of Devonian sandstone, cone-shaped remnants of three volcanoes and even hot springs. Large glacier fronts calve into the sea, while polar bears are busy hunting for ringed seals and sweeping the islets for birds' eggs. Walk on smooth raised beach terraces to a superb viewpoint, or hike in the mountains on the tundra where pretty brightly coloured wildflowers and lichen grow and where reindeer graze. We may visit trapper huts of yesteryear where Russian Pomors would hunt and survive the cold harsh winters, all while remaining alert for wandering polar bears and their cubs.
East of Spitsbergen are two large islands called Barentsoya and Edgeoya. The area has a rich wildlife, especially when it comes to polar bears, reindeer, walrus, seabirds and geese. In the west of Edgeoya, there are cultural remains from European whaling. Edgeoya and Tusenoyane were the main area for Russian overwintering hunting between 1700 and 1850. Traces of Norwegian overwintering, hunting, as well as newer scientific research, can also be found. The area has been a nature reserve since 1973. The beautiful fertile plains of Sundeneset and the area between Spitsbergen and the smaller islands of Barentsoya and Edgeoya, are a major polar bear migration route. The spongy ground is richly covered with bright green mosses, a variety of delicate and colourful flowers, particularly the yellow marsh (bog) saxifrage, various mushrooms, fungi, clear bubbling streams and small tarns. Tiny (micro) flowers such as Mouse Ears grow in Spitsbergen, creating faerie-like mossy rock gardens. We explore this beautiful terrain on foot, marvelling at the contrast between the colourful soft ground and the barren, rocky, terrain from further north.
We hope to cruise along the west coast of Spitsbergen, visiting intriguing places like Magdalenefjorden, located inside the Northwest Spitsbergen National Park. According to historical sources, Magdalenefjorden was first used by the English in the early days of the whaling era. They erected a land station on the headland and named the area Trinity Harbour. The station was closed in 1623. The spectacular alpine scenery is lined with jagged mountain peaks, to which Spitsbergen (pointed mountains) owes its name. The topography of the area is mostly rocky, shorelines are covered with stones and walking here can be challenging. Vegetation in the area is limited to mosses and lichens which grow near to the bird colonies. Little auks breed here in large numbers in the scree slopes everywhere around Magdalenefjorden. Amazingly, reindeer occasionally roam around on mossy slopes and polar bears as well as walrus are regularly seen here.
The Svalbard Nature Reserve of Nordaust is the northernmost high-Arctic part of Svalbard. The fjords here are covered in ice, and drift ice floats around the islands for most of the year and glaciers cover large areas of the terrain. This is the kingdom of the polar bear and walrus. It has been protected as a nature reserve since 1973.
Nordaustlandet is the second largest island in Svalbard. The two large ice sheets of Austfonna and Vestfonna cover large areas of the island. The landscape is open and majestic with different types of landscapes, from the prominent fjords in the west and north to the massive glacier front facing east and south. From a distance, Nordaustlandet appears cold, unfriendly and unproductive. However, many places are unexpectedly lush, especially close to the bird cliffs. The vegetation on land and the production in the sea have together formed a foundation for the terrestrial and marine wildlife, creating hunting opportunities for people. There are fewer signs of human activity on Nordaustlandet than in the rest of Svalbard, although there are cultural remains from Russian and Norwegian overwintering trapping, from scientific research and expeditions and from World War II.
If you have chosen an optional activity such as kayaking, you will have the option to enjoy the activity whenever conditions allow.
We will aim to have two excursions a day, either exploring by Zodiac or out on land. While ashore, we will hike on lush tundra where brightly-coloured summer wildflowers grow, walking in the company of grazing reindeer. From our Zodiacs, we can observe the towering birdcliffs alive with nesting sea birds, including Svalbard's little auk colony. We will have the opportunity to photograph the stunning iceshapes and also the passing wildlife, as we cruise past seal, whale and walrus - hauled out on giant ice floes.
Without a doubt our goal is to encounter the majestic polar bear on the pack ice, from the safety of our ship. The expedition crew are as keen as you are to find them and are on constant watch to spot these dazzling creatures.
During the early morning we sail into Longyearbyen. Upon disembarkation you can enjoy a tour of the town, visiting the Svalbard Museum and Galleri Svalbard, Svalbard Church, Nybyen - or new town, a few of the coal mines situated here, before boarding your bus for your transfer to the airport.
Greenland has an Arctic climate with average temperatures in the North that do not exceed 10° C in the warmest summer months. In the southern part of the country and the innermost parts of the long fjords, the temperature can, however, rise to more than 20° C (68° F) in June, July and August.
UTC±00:00 to UTC-04:00
Church of Denmark
Greenlandic however, Danish and English are recognised languages.
Iceland has a cool and temperate climate and, despite its location just south of the Arctic Circle, its northerly latitude is counteracted by the warm waters of the North Atlantic Drift which encircles the island. Temperatures in winter can fluctuate between about 10°C and -10°C and precipitation in the form of rain, sleet or snow is to be expected at any time. Days will be short, with daylight often only guaranteed between about 11 am and 4 pm in December. The best time for seeing the Aurora Borealis is October to March. Summer is generally cool with average temperatures for June and July around 12 - 15 degree centigrade in Reykjavik, although is known to be warmer in other parts of the country. In June and July you can enjoy continuous daylight and see the Midnight Sun, whilst late spring and early autumn offer long twilights.
2 Pin Round
National Church of iceland
Whilst landings are included in the cost of your trip as per the outline itinerary, some departures aboard the MV Greg Mortimer have additional optional excursions which can be pre-booked with the ship operator directly. These will be charged at an additional fee, depending on the excursion and we recommend booking these in advance to ensure availability. Please speak to a member of our Polar team who will advise you on the booking process.
Parkas A complimentary parka is provided for you on board the ship and is yours to keep after the voyage. It has a comfortable wind-resistant inner jacket, which is detachable from the waterproof outer shell, and is designed to be worn over your essential base layers. Gloves Keeping your hands warm and dry can be a challenge. Thin polypropylene gloves can be worn underneath warm outergloves. This allows you some protection from the cold when removing your gloves to operate your camera etc. We strongly recommend that you bring more than one pair of gloves, in case one gets wet (or lost). Hat/Cap Warm, woollen hat/cap to protect your ears, as well as a scarf, neck gaiter or other face protection, such as a balaclava. Trousers Water-resistant trousers of coated nylon or, even better, Gore-Tex® are essential for your comfort. They can be worn over your regular clothes to keep you warm and dry. We suggest that you purchase trousers a few sizes larger than you normally wear as you will be wearing them over other clothing. Gore-Tex® or similar fabrics are excellent for keeping out wind and water without trapping excess heat. Rain gear and Gore-Tex® products can be found in any outdoor sport clothing store. In addition to your waterproof trousers, warm ski pants are suggested if you have them. Warm trousers such as jeans, corduroys etc are also good. Socks Warm wool socks worn over a thin pair of silk, polypropylene socks should provide enough warmth and insulation for your feet. Bring several pairs of socks, since you will inevitably get your feet wet. Outer Clothing Woollen, knit or cotton sweaters/tops, polar fleece tops (medium weight), several cotton turtlenecks and T-shirts for layering on and off the ship. Underclothing Thermal underwear is highly recommended as it will keep you warm without adding bulk. Most polar travellers prefer a lightweight version.
Complimentary waterproof boots will be supplied on-board. However, if you have extra small or large feet, you are advised to bring your own. Also ensure you take good walking boots and trainers for relaxing.
One main piece of baggage and daypack. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage so don't overload yourself.
Sunglasses and sun cream Insect repellant Personal toiletries A refilllable water bottle Books/reading material Camera and memory cards Seasickness remedy
M/V Greg Mortimer, Zodiac
The MV Greg Mortimer is a 104-metre ship, purpose-built in 2019 for expedition travel. Capable of negotiating the strongest winds and waves, the vessel is being built to world-class polar standards and has been designed in close consultation with expedition specialists. The MV Greg Mortimer is limited to just 132 passengers and guests can enjoy some added comforts such as spacious stateroom cabins, a large mud room with easy boarding access and a hydraulic viewing platform, offering unobstructed views of the wildlife. Other features include a library, Wellness Centre with a gym, sauna and spa and a multimedia room for keen photographers wishing to edit their photos after a day of exploration. As a modern and custom-designed ship, this vessel is at the cutting edge of nautical technology and will ensure a comfortable and safe passage through polar waters.
The lead-in prices on our website are based on triple outward facing, Stateroom cabins. All staterooms have private bathrooms, ample storage, with twin beds. Many of the stateroom categories, have floor to ceiling windows that offer prime observation opportunities around the clock. Additionally, there are private balconies in most of the staterooms, allowing you to watch the world float past and take in the salty air of the open ocean. A full layout of the deck plan can be found under the Polar Ships section on our website. Your confirmed cabin type will appear on your Booking Confirmation, which will be sent on receipt of your deposit payment.
Meals are served in the large, spacious dining room with an open seating arrangement, perfect for swapping stories with your extended expedition family. A range of courses is offered at each meal time and you can enjoy a variety of house wines, beers and soft drinks which are included with your evening meal. Complimentary coffee, tea and snacks are available throughout the day and any additional drinks can be purchased at the fully-stocked bar.
Here are the average costs of drinks, in USD, on board - please bear in mind, they are subject to change: Bottle of wine - from $12 Bottle of beer - from $3 Spirits (gin, whisky, vodka, port, rum) - from $5 Cocktails - from $5.50 Soft drinks (fizzy, fruit juice and water) - from $2.50
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Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
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Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Norway: Entry visas NOT required by UK, AUS, NZ, USA, CAN Citizens. Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate. All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related issues with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
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You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory; tetanus recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.