Arctic Complete – Svalbard, Greenland & Iceland
- 25 Days
- Oslo, Norway - Reykjavik, Iceland
- Voyage code:
- Greg Mortimer
- SOLD OUT
See 'Cabins & Prices' tab for discounted rates
Embark on a voyage to Svalbard, scanning for whales, the majestic polar bear and enigmatic walrus on pack ice. East Greenland dazzles with its iridescent icebergs and deep exploration in Scoresbysund – the world’s largest fjord system. Witness spectacularly colourful patterns in the sandstone rocks, visit remarkable Palaeolithic sites and have the chance to encounter musk oxen and arctic hare.
- Sail past Spitsbergen’s narrow sheltered waterways and fjords
- Venture close to 80° north looking for polar bears on the pack ice
- Listen to the orchestra of Greenland’s famous ice singing as it pops, hisses, cracks and calves
- Delight in a variety of diverse terrain: ice caps, polar desert, alpine ranges, and hike through colourful tundra
In true expedition style we encourage exploration and adventure, offering flexibility in challenging environments in a way that puts you among the action to see and do as much as possible. This itinerary is only a guide and subject to change due to ice and weather conditions.
Day 1 Oslo
Upon check-in at Radisson Blu Oslo Airport hotel, reception staff will provide you with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags. Please fill out the luggage tags clearly, showing your name and cabin number to allow us to deliver your luggage to your cabin ahead. At our voyage briefing, enjoy a welcome drink and meet fellow expeditioners, before spending the night in preparation for your flight to Longyearbyen.
Note: Flights between Oslo and Longyearbyen are not included. Please contact Aurora Expeditions or your travel agent if you would like assistance in booking these flights.
Accommodation: Radisson Blu Hotel Oslo Airport
Day 2 Fly to Longyearbyen for embarkation
Fly to Longyearbyen (flight ticket not included in voyage fare), and upon arrival, you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions to commence a tour of Longyearbyen. On the drive to Camp Barentz located in Advent Valley, your guide will give you an introduction to Longyearbyen’s fascinating history. At Camp Barentz enjoy a presentation in the large ‘lavvo’ - a traditional building common in northern Norway. You will also have the opportunity to meet the friendly huskies and perhaps pick up some souvenirs. A visit to the Svalbard museum is included back in town before embarking the vessel in the late afternoon.
You’ll have time to settle into your cabin prior to the compulsory briefings. Your voyage commences, cruising out of the beautiful Isfjorden, escorted by gliding fulmars and perhaps the occasional puffin. Find a spot in one of the observation areas watching seabirds, including graceful ivory gulls, kittiwakes and guillemots. They rise and fall skilfully, using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.
NOTE: Sometimes our ship is unable to dock in Longyearbyen port due to space and capacity. In these instances, we reach the ship by Zodiac. Please ensure that you keep your wet-weather gear in your hand luggage to use in the Zodiacs if the situation arises. Please ensure your cabin luggage tag is completed clearly showing your cabin number and name. Our crew will deliver your luggage directly to your cabin.
Days 3-11 Svalbard Archipelago
Svalbard offers Arctic wilderness at its best. Our experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design our day-to-day itinerary, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, sea-ice conditions, and wildlife encounters.
Phenomenal fjords, magnificent mountains ranges and a polar desert rich in fossils set the stage for heroic tales of early exploration. See walrus hauled-out on sea ice or on beaches. On land, stretch our legs on walks across tundra coming out in brightly-coloured wildflowers. We visit towering cliffs noisy with nesting guillemots and puffins, and scree slopes that hold Svalbard’s largest little auk colonies. Most memorable are encounters with the majestic polar bear on pack ice. Your expedition team is just as keen as you to find them— they will be on constant watch to spot these inspiring creatures.
If you have chosen an optional activity such as kayaking, you’ll have the option to enjoy the activity when conditions allow. For those who are enthusiastic to participate in a polar plunge, as soon as conditions are suitable, you’ll hear the announcement to prepare for an exhilarating plunge, a memory you’ll savour for years to come.
Day 12 Longyearbyen
During the early morning we sail into Longyearbyen. This voyage is a combination of Svalbard Odyssey (SVAL57G) and Jewels of the Arctic (GRN39G), and on this turnaround day in Longyearbyen, you have the choice of two activities: Dog Sledding or Fossil Hunting. After lunch, enjoy free time before re-joining the vessel to continue your adventures.
Days 13-15 Svalbard
Continue exploring Svalbard’s wonders, searching for the majestic polar bear hunting on pack ice, sail along deep fjords past glacier fronts and spot seals and walrus on bergy bits, and cruise beneath towering cliffs crowded with raucous nesting seabirds.
Days 16-17 Greenland Sea
As we sail across the Greenland Sea – the main outlet of the Arctic Ocean – we may encounter whales feeding in the rich waters of the north. Sightings of fin whales are common and blue whales have been seen in more recent years. As we approach east Greenland we may encounter more pack ice, and perhaps see seals and a variety of seabirds including northern fulmar and Brunnich’s guillemot. This stretch of coast is ripe for exploration, with its many secrets locked in place by drift ice for up to eight months each 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 heroic tales of exploration.
Conditions permitting, there may be a chance for kayakers to launch their sea kayaks while others explore push through the sea ice in Zodiacs. If time and weather permits, we may even make our first landing on the Greenland coast.
Days 18-23 East Greenland
In the coming days, a host of choices are open to us, and depending on ice and weather conditions, the east coast of Greenland is ours to explore. Our experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design our voyage from day to day. This allows us to make best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions and encounters with wildlife. We generally attempt up to two landings or Zodiac excursions per day; cruising along spectacular ice cliffs, following whales feeding near the surface.
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 2,000 m / 6,562 ft high. Glaciers create gigantic icebergs that drift throughout the fjord system creating breath-taking scenes. The tundra landscape is home to musk oxen, Arctic hare and reindeer. Throughout the area are ancient Thule archaeological sites, historical trappers' huts, and modern Inuit hunters' cabins. A highlight is a visit to the Inuit village of Ittoqqortoormiit, the most isolated and northernmost permanent settlement in the region, with approximately 450 inhabitants. The community has an excellent museum, gift shop, an abundance of Greenlandic sled dogs, and the opportunity to the friendly locals.
Explore Scoresbysund, the world’s biggest fjord and a favourite hunting ground of the local Inuit. Massive glaciers dump into this fjord, the birthplace of hundreds of spectacular Greenland icebergs. It’s a spectacular place that simply needs to be seen to be believed. North of Scoresbysund are, Kong Oscar and Kaizer Franz Josef fjords, two of the most significant fjord systems in all of Greenland, each one encompassing several smaller fjords and sounds. Thanks to the fertile volcanic soil mountains that protects areas from the strong winds, the area is rich in wildlife. You may spot everything from muskox and arctic foxes to mountain hares and even reindeer near the fjord. Look skyward and you could catch a glimpse of birds including glaucous gull, black-legged kittiwake, northern fulmar, common raven and common eider.
We will attempt to enter Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord, a remote and rarely visited fjord system with 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.
We stretch our legs on hikes across tundra in search of ancient graveyards and summer villages occupied 3,000 years ago by Eskimos. We may see musk ox, Arctic hare and reindeers grazing. This area provides excellent opportunities for sea kayaking in its maze of calm, interconnecting waterways. We’ll see ring seals, perhaps catch a glimpse of elusive narwhal, and perhaps even polar bears.
Day 24 Denmark Strait
Crossing the Denmark Strait to Iceland, search for whale blows and photograph the many seabirds that trail our ship in the ever-present Arctic winds. Reflect on your recent adventures, perhaps share and exchange photos, and breathe in the fresh sea air.
Day 25 Disembark Reykjavik
During the early morning we arrive in Reykjavik. Farewell your expedition team and fellow expeditioners before transferring to downtown Reykjavik or to Keflavik airport to continue your onward journey.
At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.
Important note: In the spirit of expedition travel, we encourage exploration and adventure offering flexibility in challenging environments. This itinerary is only a guide and is subject to change due to weather, sea, pack-ice and other conditions beyond our control.
- One night’s hotel accommodation at Radisson Blu Oslo Airport hotel including breakfast
- Group arrival transfer from airport to the Greg Mortimer on day 2
- Group sightseeing tour of Longyearbyen on day 2 prior to embarkation
- Turnaround activity options in Longyearbyen on day 12
- Transfer from pier to downtown Reykjavik or Keflavik airport on day 25
- On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
- All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage
- Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
- Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages
- All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
- Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team
- Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consult)
- Complimentary 3-in-1 polar jacket
- Comprehensive pre-departure information
- Port surcharges, permits and landing fees
- Gratuities for ship crew
- International or domestic flights, unless specified. The flight from Oslo to Longyearbyen is not included in the voyage price
- Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
- Airport arrival or departure taxes
- Passport, visa, reciprocity fees and vaccination charges
- Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
- Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
- Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
- Optional activity surcharges
- All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, gratuities, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges
Lectures on wildlife, our environment, history and destinations
Whale and mammal spotting
One of the most exhilarating ways to experience Antarctica, the Arctic or any of our global voyages. The experience of …
One of the most exhilarating ways to experience Antarctica, the Arctic or any of our global voyages.
The experience of sea kayaking in the humbling wilderness of Antarctica or the Arctic is guaranteed to stir your soul. Paddle between brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes, skim past penguin rookeries or under soaring bird cliffs, or drift quietly as you watch wildlife unobtrusively, absorbing the majestic scenery.
Led by experienced guides, paddling in small groups allows us the opportunity to paddle between ice floes, brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes as well as allowing easy and intimate access to beautiful coastlines.
Rather than travelling large distances, our aim is to see as much as possible. We paddle anywhere between 5 to 15 kilometres (2 to 4 hours) per outing, sometimes taking a snack and a flask of hot chocolate to enjoy on our excursion.
Each small group of kayakers will have their own intimate exploration of the small hidden bays and coasts that may be inaccessible to the Zodiacs and will also make time for their own shore excursions and wildlife encounters.
When we visit the poles, the elements play an important role. It is important that you have an adventurous attitude and understand that our kayaking time will be affected by the weather that we experience.
Even if your experience is limited, we’d encourage you to call us to discuss your suitability. There is often ample time to gain the required experience before you depart.
Encounter sea-ice seals hauled out on ice floes, dodge rafts of porpoising penguins and perhaps be pleasantly startled by curious whales surfacing to get a closer look at you.
Experience the raw power of nature when you paddle in the open ocean below towering birdcliffs, among sea stacks and along shorelines where seabirds nest.
Paddle over colourful coral reefs, in sheltered bays, where you may encounter dolphins showing off acrobatic skills, or along spectacular coastal desert landscapes surrounded by sparkling seas and perhaps playful sea lions.
Our guides have years of kayaking experience in our destinations. The sea kayaking guide will lead the group on each excursion, explaining facts about the wildlife and other highlights we paddle across. Read about some of our guides below.
How to Book
Please return the relevant kayaking form at time of booking if you would like to include the optional sea kayaking activity for your expedition. Places are limited so we recommend reserving your place early.
In 1998, Aurora Expeditions offered the world-first commercial dive trip to Antarctica, and we’ve built on our polar experience ever …
In 1998, Aurora Expeditions offered the world-first commercial dive trip to Antarctica, and we’ve built on our polar experience ever since. In Antarctica and the Arctic, we bring you the exciting and unique chance to get a closer look at the amazing marine life of our polar regions.
With numerous diving opportunities on your expedition, no two days will be alike. A truly inspiring and unforgettable experience awaits.
Polar Scuba Diving
Antarctic and Arctic diving reveals a world of ice, where glaciers, gigantic icebergs and a unique blend of marine life greet us, making for a very special experience.
Temperate Scuba Diving
In a wetsuit or perhaps even a drysuit, you may explore remarkable kelp forests, swim among sonorous whales, uncover historic ship-wrecks and perhaps even swim between two continents!
Tropical Scuba Diving
Embark on a wreck dive, encounter majestic marine wildlife including dugong, sea turtles and whale shark, or marvel at spectacularly-shaped and brightly-coloured coral.
Our team of experienced dive guides have over 20 years’ diving experience and provide divers with detailed briefings and best practice procedures to ensure a safe diving experience. Your dive master will ensure Standard Safety Diving Practices are adhered to at all times.
How to Book
Please return the relevant scuba diving activity form at time of booking. If you have any queries regarding our scuba diving option, please contact our friendly Expeditions Experts or your preferred travel advisor for more information.
Witness wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth. Through crystal clear waters you’ll discover the amazing mobility and …
Witness wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth. Through crystal clear waters you’ll discover the amazing mobility and speed of penguins entering and exiting from the ice, marvel at beautiful sculpted icebergs below the water and witness marine life such as crustaceans, isopods, starfish and nudibranchs!
With a longstanding tradition of pushing the boundaries, Aurora Expeditions launched our Antarctic snorkelling adventures in 2014. In 2016, the activity has also been added to a range of our Arctic expeditions. This unique experience will allow passengers to see both destinations in a completely new dimension, witnessing wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth.
This latest innovative activity option is led by our expert polar diving guides, and utilises state of the art equipment including drysuits, gloves, hood, fins, mask, and snorkel. Passengers will be provided with all of the training and equipment they need to experience Antarctica from this truly unique angle.
Passengers who take part will enjoy the opportunity to snorkel daily (weather dependent), taking delight in sheltered bays, off shore islands and secluded ship wrecks which make for spectacular wildlife viewing.
Through crystal clear waters, you’ll discover the amazing mobility and speed of penguins entering and exiting from the ice, marvel at beautiful sculpted icebergs below the water and witness marine life such as crustaceans, isopods, starfish and nudibranchs!
Discover a mysterious kelp forest where timid creatures seek refuge, encounter curious sea otters or if you’re very lucky, hold your breath in the presence of a majestic whale.
Snorkel among a kaleidoscope of coral reefs brimming with brightly-coloured tropical fish or perhaps swim with curious sea lions.
Our team of experienced guides have over 20 years’ experience and provide snorkellers with detailed briefings and best practice procedures to ensure a safe snorkelling experience.
Polar snorkelling requires at least 6 snorkellers for the activity to proceed. Please ask our team for numbers at time of booking.
How to Book
Please return the polar snorkelling activity form at the time of booking. Simply inform our Expedition Experts at time of booking that you would like to include the optional snorkelling activity to your expedition. Places are limited.
Explore the remote and rugged summits of East Greenland, scaling sheer granite cliffs and glacial remnants in pursuit of breathtaking views …
Rock Climbing in Greenland
Explore the remote and rugged summits of East Greenland, scaling sheer granite cliffs and glacial remnants in pursuit of breathtaking views of Scoresbysund’s ice-filled fjords.
Experienced climbers will relish the chance to explore up and along the rarely-scaled peaks that dominate the landscape. And when you reach the top? A view that few people on earth will ever lay eyes on!
This is a unique opportunity to add a thrilling climbing and mountaineering experience to your Greenland expedition – and one not to be missed! So strap on your climbing shoes, clip on your carabiners and join us for an incredible climbing adventure.
Our Arctic rock climbing program requires a reasonable level of climbing experience (at least Grade 10/Difficult/5.2) and a solid level of fitness. There will be long, exploratory day climbs and opportunities for technical pitches. Abseiling experience is also an advantage. While there are opportunities to develop skills during the expedition, this is not an instructional adventure and is therefore unsuitable for complete beginners. However you can expect to learn aspects of technical climbing along the way.
Please note: Your guide will assess your ability on the initial climb and if you have insufficient experience, they reserve the right to restrict your participation.
Rock climbing participants should be fit and well prepared for this activity. You should be able to walk or climb with a moderate pack of approximately 10kgs for up to 4-10 hours a day.
If you have any queries regarding your suitability please do not hesitate to contact us. One of our guides will be more than happy to talk through the experience required with you.
Rock Climbing Outings
Our rock climbing activity will take place in the beautiful and rugged Scoresbysund on Greenland’s East Coast. We’ll begin with some training excursions on granite cliffs before attempting at least two major ascents over a series of challenging and exhilarating days.
The average outing will last between 4-10 hours, and we aim to get out every day we are in Scoresbysund; weather and conditions permitting.
Your Guides & Group
Your expert guides have many years of experience climbing and leading groups in Greenland and around the world and all hold relevant mountain instruction and safety certificates. You will also be joined by an expert polar historian who will be available to help you interpret the landscapes and historical sites we may encounter along the way. Our climbing excursions will have a minimum of two guides with a 1:5 ratio. More difficult climbs may require lower ratios. Climbers must be at least 14 years old to participate.
Conditions in Greenland are typically calm and settled, with average temperatures around 10°C (50°F) and the eastern coast enjoying an average of 300 days of sunshine a year. However, as with anywhere, the weather is unpredictable and you should be prepared to dress for different conditions. We recommend wearing appropriate layers in breathable fabrics to prevent sweating and protect against wind chill.
- Boots – You will require good quality hiking boots to access the climbing areas. Leather or synthetic boots covering the ankle running shoes will not be adequate.
- Waterproof jacket and pants lightweight Gore-Tex or similar
- Thermal underwear
- Lightweight gloves thermal
- Peaked cap
- A silk or cotton neck gaiter or scarf
- Good quality sunscreen and lip balm
Travel insurance, including emergency evacuation, is mandatory on all Aurora Expeditions voyages and not included in the price of the activity. You will need to ensure that your insurance policy covers you for this activity and any related equipment. An additional policy or premium may be required to ensure you have adequate coverage. Please contact Aurora Expeditions if you need assistance with your insurance policy.
How to Book
If you would like to participate in our rock climbing activity, please return a completed activity form at the time of booking. Our guide will then review your form for suitability and experience before approving your place.
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