Having made your way to Aberdeen, you will be met by a representative and transferred to the Sandman Signature Hotel (or similar). On arrival, hotel check-in staff will provide you with cabin tags for your luggage. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number. This evening, enjoy a light refreshment as you meet your fellow travellers at a Welcome Reception and Pre-Embarkation Briefing. Afterwards, dine at your leisure (dinner not included).
This morning, your luggage will be collected from the hotel and transferred directly to the port for sanitisation, clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Please ensure that your luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Any valuables or personal items should be kept on you throughout the day.
This morning there will be a final mandatory pre-embarkation health screening and COVID (rapid antigen) testing, that will be completed before enjoying a city tour of Aberdeen followed by a transfer to the pier for embarkation in the late afternoon. Settle into your cabin before attending important safety briefings and enjoy the thrill of departure.
This evening, get to know your fellow voyagers and the friendly Expedition Team and crew at the Captain’s Welcome Dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure. B D
Just 9 kilometres (6 miles) north of the Scottish mainland, Orkney’s archipelago of 70 windswept islands is home to a rich tapestry of archaeology, history and wildlife.
Follow the passage of time – from 5,000-year-old World Heritage Neolithic sites, past relics from wandering Vikings and reminders of World War II occupation – to present-day crofting communities. Imposing sea cliffs teem with seabirds, and clifftop paths and bleak moors beckon keen hikers, while kayakers use paddle-power to explore sections of Orkney’s fascinating coastline.
Midway between Orkney and Shetland is Fair Isle, home to quaint croft houses and famous for its knitwear and historical shipwrecks. The 70 or so islanders mostly live in traditional crofts on the more fertile low-lying southern part of the island.
A bird watcher’s paradise and boasting a major European bird observatory, Fair Isle lies on the intersection of major bird flight paths from Scandinavia, Iceland and Faroe. It attracts common species and rarer species such as the lanceolated warbler. In summer, the cliffs teem with breeding fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots, gannets, shags and puffins. Fair Isle is an excellent place to view seabirds at close range – especially puffins. The island also has more than 250 species of flowering plants, including rare orchids, alpine and wetland species and common wildflowers. You will be welcomed by the hospitable villagers, and may take a hike or visit the museum. B L D
Britain’s most northerly islands lie almost 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of the Scottish mainland, at a similar latitude to the southern tip of Greenland, or Bergen in Norway. Kept relatively warm by the Gulf Stream, Shetland’s 100 islands experience almost 24 hours of daylight in summer. They abound with nature reserves and archaeological sites, and offer a taste of traditional island life. The plan is to visit some of Shetland’s best preserved and most complex archaeological sites, brochs – fortified Iron Age towers. B L D
As you sail towards the Norwegian coastline, the bridge or the outer decks offer an excellent and warm vantage point for birdwatching. The onboard historian and naturalists will delight you with their informative talks. B L D
Spend three days exploring the superb Norwegian coastline, cruising the intricate maze of seldom-visited inlets and outer islands. The cod-fishing island of Sør Gjæslingan welcomes you with its delightful wooden houses and cheerful inhabitants. Here, search for nesting kittiwakes and reclusive sea otters.Pass through Torghatten – meaning ‘mountain with a hole’ – said to have been caused by a troll’s arrow.
Crossing the Arctic Circle, the vessel makes its way to the stunning Lofoten – meaning puma’s foot – Islands. This is a land scoured by ice and legend, the towering crags with their sharp edges, standing in silent protection of the villages below.
Travelling north, the days are noticeably longer and we search for blue whales, humpbacks, orca, minke whales, pilot whales and dolphins in the deep, squid-rich ocean trenches off Andenes. B L D
Bear Island & Svalbard
Approach Spitsbergen at its most southerly point, South Cape or Sørkapp, and explore the coastline, entering a different world – that of the polar desert. Enormous peaks and deeply gouged fjords make your visit to Hornsund a powerful experience. As Hornsund is the southernmost fjord in Svalbard, keep a lookout for polar bears, and Zodiac-cruise along glacial fronts that are home to bearded and ring seals, kittiwakes and guillemots. Here in Svalbard, continue your exploration into human history dating back 400 years, encompassing trapping and hunting, whaling and mining. If the skies are clear you may catch a glimpse of the dramatic Hornsundtind, peaking at 1,430 metres (4,695 feet).
Dramatic folds characterise the geological landscape of Bellsund and here you will enjoy magnificent vistas, steep bird cliffs and lush vegetation, always an open invitation to arctic fox and polar bears. Little auks, guillemots, northern fulmar and pink-footed geese make this their breeding home. Reindeer graze the slopes peacefully and as the fjord branches, there are numerous places to explore. B L D
During the early morning, cruise into the port of the remote village, Longyearbyen, the ‘capital’ of Spitsbergen. After bidding farewell to newfound friends, you will be transferred into town, where there is time to explore and shop before transferring to the airport in the afternoon. B
Please note: At the conclusion of the voyage, it is not recommend booking flights departing prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.
Please note: This itinerary is only a guide and is subject to change due to weather, sea and other conditions beyond our control.