Discovering the Arctic on an expedition vessel is one of the world’s last great adventures. Board Seabourn's 14-day Arctic Discovery cruise in the land of fire and ice and explore regions in the northernmost part of the world, from Iceland to East Greenland, the rarely visited Jan Mayen island and Svalbard inside the Arctic Circle. By venturing to Greenland, you experience some of the most interesting indigenous cultures and ways of life in sparsely populated regions, as well as national parks, protected areas for wildlife - such as arctic hare and muskoxen - and the world’s largest fjord system. Our journey continues via Jan Mayen Island on to the northern archipelago of Svalbard where the midnight sun throws shadows on the icy landscape in our pursuit of polar bears, walrus, seals and whales, and millions of seabirds. Join us on our boutique expedition ship and make your arctic cruise an unforgettable trip of a lifetime.
In the centre of Iceland’s sprawling capital city, the modern organ-pipe-shaped Hallgrimskirkja church dominates the top of town. Cosy bars, cafes and shops line the surrounding streets heated by Iceland's geothermal waters. The regenerated harbour is home to a striking modern concert hall. Popular trips include to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa near the village of Grindavik, and the Golden Circle tour taking in Gullfoss Waterfall and the mighty Strokkur geyser in Thingvellir National Park.
Arrive today in the charming, tiny fishing harbour of Ísafjördur. The village’s touristic highlights include the Westfjord Heritage Museum and The Museum House (Old Hospital). Located at the heart of the Westfjords peninsula, it’s a great jumping-off point for exploration so journey by Zodiac to the island of Vigur – the pearl of the Western Fjords. The second-largest island in the fjord, measuring two kilometres by 400 metres, it’s a significant seabird colony, which is home to arctic terns, puffins, black guillemots and eider ducks. As one of only two inhabited islands in the fjord, Vigur is also the site of a single farm, which has been in the same family for generations. During your time on the island, you might see Iceland’s only windmill, the country’s smallest post office and oldest boat, which was built more than 200 years ago and in regular use until relatively recently.
You can spend your day at sea enjoying the many facilities available. Head to the sauna, get in a workout in the state-of-the-art gym or relax in the jacuzzi whilst taking in incredible views along the way. If you prefer to learn a little more about your surroundings, listen to an informative talk or have a chat with one of our knowledgeable on-board experts.
One of the most remote towns in the world, thick sea ice makes Ittoqqortoormiit inaccessible by ship for nine months of the year. Founded in 1925 by Danish explorer Ejnar Mikkelsen and a group of 80 or so Inuit, the town’s 450 present-day residents are largely self-sufficient. Hunting and fishing at sea are the only ways that this community can survive. Although a small number of residents now also work service industry. Ittoqqortoormiit is also the gateway to the Scoresbysund fjord system; the world’s largest fjord network with an area of just under 40,000 square kilometres.
Over the next few days, we’ll explore the vast Scorebysund fjord network. The imposing basalt mountains create a striking backdrop against the brilliant white ice floating in the mirror-like waters. The mountains offer protection from the Arctic winds, providing excellent shelter for an abundance of Greenland’s iconic wildlife. We’ll be hoping to spot muskoxen, Arctic foxes and mountain hares along the frozen shores. Birds also thrive in this delicate ecosystem. With the help of our expedition team, we’ll be looking out for little auks, Atlantic puffins, fulmars, snowy owls, the Greenlandic gyrfalcon and great black-backed gulls. Seals and whales are also common sightings in the fjord waters.
King Oscar Fjord forms the northern border of the Scoresby Sound. This seemingly endless maze of valleys eventually gives way to the open sea. The imposing mountains, deep waters and sparkling ice create the kind of dramatic and emotive landscape that photos just can’t emulate. This other-worldly place is beautiful and imposingly hostile all at once. Whilst cruising through King Oscar Fjord, we’ll observe the fascinating Berzelius Bjerg, a mountain with clear bands of coloured strata – formed millions of years ago when the mountains here were once part of the seabed.
The dramatic Kejser Franz Joseph Fjord winds its way 120 miles from the mouth in Foster Bay between Cape Mackenzie and Cape Franklin in the Northeast Greenland National Park. Cliffs and peaks provide a colourful red-hued background to our icy voyage: Attestupa, the world’s highest coastal cliff, and The Devil’s Castle, or Teufelsschloss, looms large over the fjord. At its head, Nordenskiold Glacier discharges into the head of the fjord, while nearby Petermann Peak at 2,943 m, Greenland’s tallest peak, is near here.
Sea days are rarely dull. Take the time to sit back and let the world go by. The ship’s observation decks provide stunning views of the passing ocean. A day at sea gives you the opportunity to mingle with other passengers and share your experiences of this incredible trip or head to our library which is stocked full of reference books. Get an expert’s view in one of our on-board lectures or perhaps perfect your photography skills with invaluable advice from our onboard professional photographers.
The snow-covered stratovolcano Beerenberg dominates the ice cap and glaciers at the northeast end of Jan Mayen Island. Halfway between Svalbard and Iceland, the only residents on this Norwegian island are members of the Norwegian Armed Forces or working at the meteorological station. During a nature walk to the station, and along the black sandy beach, you can see numerous plant species. Nesting northern fulmars, Brünnich’s and black guillemots and little auks make the island an important birding area.
Days at sea are the perfect chance to relax, unwind and do whatever takes your fancy. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, trying to spot a whale from the deck, reading a chapter or two, or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to the green days spent exploring on land.
Located deep inside the Arctic Circle, approaching the Svalbard archipelago feels a lot like sailing towards the edge of the world. Known as the kingdom of the polar bears, we’ll be hoping to spot some of its subjects as we explore some of the most varied polar landscapes in the Arctic. Down in our Zodiac boats, we’ll get close to the gargantuan glaciers, rapidly retreating from the oceans that they feed. In the north of the archipelago, past the magnificent fjords, the remaining sea ice offers the perfect hunting ground for polar bears. Closer to Longyearbyen, the landscape is punctuated with large areas devoid of snow and ice alongside vast tundra and exposed beaches. Alongside Svalbard’s 3,000 polar bears, this Arctic wildlife hotspot is also home to walrus, Svalbard reindeer, ringed seal, the arctic fox and many species of marine mammals and seabirds.
Longyearbyen is the world’s most northerly town and with it comes the world’s most northerly high street and pub. On Spitsbergen, Svalbard’s largest island, Longyearbyen is home to The North Pole Expeditions Museum which chronicles early efforts to reach the pole by air. The nearby Svalbard Global Seed Vault preserves duplicates of seeds held in gene banks worldwide. The surrounding Arctic waters are populated by whales including bowheads and narwhals, while walruses are regularly seen hauling.
24th June 2024 - 7th July 2024
28th July 2024 - 10th August 2024
When Do You Want To Go?
From your first booking with us, you’ll become a member of My Routes Rewards and begin collecting points for every holiday you book!
We'll compare a huge selection of expedition ships, cruises and operators to find your perfect cruise.
Our prices are amongst the best you'll find, plus look out for Polar Routes exclusive offers!
All our holidays are ATOL protected (11104), for your complete peace of mind.