At 12 days in length, this voyage takes in the beauty of the frozen Arctic in Svalbard, before sailing south to explore the picturesque Norwegian coast. This cruise is aboard the Silver Cloud Expedition during its first year in the Arctic and will take place between the 24th June and the 6th July.
The journey begins in Longyearbyen, the main settlement on Svalbard where you will see the pretty painted houses in the town at the top of the world. The trip will begin with you meeting the expedition team. You will also attend a Zodiac briefing as well as an Arctic regulations refresher session that will outline the best practice and environmental policies that all guests must adhere to in this pristine, natural wilderness. You will also be taken on a tour of the ship and have a chance to familiarise yourself with the sophisticated and elegant Silver Cloud as well as meeting your like-minded travellers.
The itinerary in Svalbard is flexible and allows the Silver Cloud to take advantage of favourable weather and ice conditions in the Arctic. The activities available include Zodiac cruising among ice floes, guided walks along the shore. Each day the Captain and expedition leader will set out the plan letting guests get the most out of the voyage and maximising their chances of seeing the incredible wildlife of the Arctic, including Arctic foxes, bearded seals and Northern Fulmars.
There might even be the chance to encounter several species of whale including Minke and Beluga.
Bear Island is the southernmost island of the Svalbard archipelago. Its rocky cliffs are home to thousands of seabirds, watch as they soar from their perches into the icy waters below, grabbing what tasty morsel they can find.
If conditions allow, you will get into the Zodiacs and explore the rocky coastline.The vast colonies of seabirds on Bear Island include common guillemot, Brünnich's guillemot, little auk,black-legged kittiwake, northern fulmar and glaucous gull.
In the morning the Silver Cloud will sail through Andfjord en route to Norway's largest mainland island Hinnøya. In the afternoon the ship will call at Harstad. Norway's annual North Festival of Culture takes place and you will have a good chance of seeing and hearing the festivities.
The area surrounding Harstad is surrounded by mountains, fjords, islands and forests. Harstad has a reputation for being the gourmet city of the north, with a thriving gastronomic scene which will get your taste buds tingling. The city has a number of other unique and interesting sites including a waterpark located inside a mountain, the Trondenes Historical Centre and the world’s northernmost medieval stone church –as well as one of the Atlantic Wall guns set up during WWII.
The morning will be spent exploring the area around Tysfjord by land or by Zodiac. There may be the option to do a long hike to a giant waterfall. Others might take a gentler route to a beautiful cascade. The area was once used by Sami reindeer farmers of Norway and Sweden. This area marks Norway's narrowest extent. In the afternoon lecturers will give talks about Norway's natural history.
The arctic circle crosses through Nordfjord and Melfjord. The area is home to the scenic county of Nordland, which is home to countless fjords, each flanked by steep and imposing mountains. The Saltfjellet-Svaristen National Park is, named after Saltfjellet mountain range and Svaristen, one of the largest glaciers in mainland Norway. The Svartisen National Park extends to the bottom of Nordfjorden, a branch of the Melfjord, and contains many Saami cultural landmarks.
The Vega Archipelago is a UNESCO world heritage site, the islands' frugal culture and traditional industries have survived the passage of time. The locals have made their livelihoods by fishing and harvesting the down feathers of elder ducks. This simple and sustainable way of life has survived the last 1500 years. There are no year-round residents, but each summer residents return and continue their practice.
Local exhibitions outline the archipelago's UNESCO status and document the history of Lånan – the largest egg and eiderdown farm in Helgeland. Before returning to the ship we will visit the Coastal Museum which is home to an extensive motor collection before finally seeing the Vega Church in Gladstad, a wooden church dating back to 1864.
Sailing from the Storfjord into it's deeper branches the Sunnylvsfjord and finally the Geirangerfjord, whilst all of Norway's fjords are beautiful the Geiranger is perhaps it's best known and most beautiful it has stunning waterfalls among them the Seven Sisters, the Bridal Veil and the suitor. Above the Fjords are deserted farms that are being restored by local enthusiasts.
Your voyage ends in Kristiansund, where you will find a thriving community surrounded by the outstanding views and ecological purity of the Norwegian landscape, make sure to try some of the fresh seafood before you fly home.
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