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Crossing the Arctic Circle

PRICES
from $16,876/pp

DEPARTS
Tuesday 16 May 2023

BOOK BY
Friday 30 November 2022

ADVENTURE OPTIONS

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1300 363 302

Set sail for the Arctic Circle aboard luxury expedition vessel the Greg Mortimer and be joined by none other than Greg Mortimer OAM himself.

This special voyage departs from Aberdeen, Scotland on Tuesday 16 May 2023!

Prices for this 15 day/14 night voyage start from $16,876 per person twin share*. Book by 30 November 2022 and save 20%!

This exciting expedition combines three extraordinary landscapes to create an unforgettable journey. Learn about Scottish heritage and explore ancient Stone Age villages and Iron Age forts on the Orkney and Shetland Islands. Next, discover Norway’s sensational coastline, home to Viking history, fjords and fishing villages as well as the famous Lofoten Islands. Lastly cross the Arctic Circle and unearth the wonders of Svalbard, where towering cliffs and pristine glaciers create a mesmerising landscape where the kings of the Arctic roam – the Polar Bear. 

This is state-of-the-art vessel is the best way to explore the arctic in comfort and style – don’t miss out on this unique opportunity!


**Valid for select departure only when booked by Wednesday 30 November 2022. Prices advertised based on entry level twin share suites (inclusive of savings).
Strictly subject to availability. Single travellers on request. Conditions apply.

Orkney & Shetland Islands

The Orkney archipelago consists of some 70 windswept islands that are home to a rich tapestry of archaeology, history and wildlife. Discover 5,000-year-old World Heritage Neolithic sites, past relics from wandering Vikings and reminders of World War II occupation. Dramatic sea cliffs teem with seabirds, and clifftop paths and bleak moors beckon keen hikers.

Britain’s most northerly islands lie almost 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of the Scottish mainland. The Shetland’s consist of roughly 100 islands that experience almost 24 hours of daylight in summer. Here you will find beautiful nature reserves and age-old archaeological sites, or brochs – fortified Iron Age towers.

Shetland Islands

Norwegian Coast

Cruise through the intricate maze of seldom-visited inlets and outer islands along Norway’s coast. The cod-fishing island of Sør Gjæslingan is known for its delightful wooden houses. 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. You will also pass through 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.

Svalbard

Svalbard is a breath-taking high-arctic archipelago, full of dramatic scenery, from massive coastal cliffs and deep fjords to open tundra landscape. Explore Spitsbergen’s most southerly point, South Cape or Sørkapp, and navigate the deeply gouged fjords of impressive Hornsund. 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. Svalbard is home to magnificent vistas, steep bird cliffs and lush vegetation, and the archipelago is home to arctic fox and reindeer as well as birdlife including little auks, guillemots, northern fulmar and pink-footed geese that breed here.

Walrus in Svalbard, Arctic Aurora

Crossing the Arctic Circle

Itinerary

15 days/14 nights ex Aberdeen, Scotland
16 May 2023


Day 1

Aberdeen

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).

Day 2

Embarkation

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

Days 3/4

Orkney Islands

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

Day 5

Shetland Islands

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

Day 6

At sea

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

Days 7-10

Norwegian Coast

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

Days 11-14

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

Day 15

Disembark Longyearbyen

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.

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Your Vessels

Built in 2019, the Greg Mortimer was purpose-built to explore some of the most remote places on earth. It was also the first passenger vessel to use the highly regarded Ulstein X-BOW® design, that streamlines the vessel, so it cuts through swells, making the ship more comfortable and efficient when in the open ocean.

The vessel also boasts large observation decks and beautiful communal areas, including a state-of-the-art lecture theatre, dining room, bars and lounges. There is also a superb library onboard, filled with wildlife guidebooks, board games and a host of other books. Guests can also make the most of the spa, sauna and gym whilst there are two outdoor Jacuzzis on the top deck. The Greg Mortimer accommodates guests in 76 luxurious cabins that all have views of the ocean.

The vessel carries 15 zodiacs that are accessible via four sea-level launching platforms. There is also an activities platform at the rear of the ship, that is used for launching additional activities such as kayaking and diving. For unobstructed views, there are several hydraulic viewing platforms that fold out of the vessel for sightseeing.

The Greg Mortimer’s sister ship, the Sylvia Earle is almost identical in its design and amenities.

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