Enjoy an 18-day expedition cruise exploring both sides of the Arctic circle, two Arctic worlds combined on one cruise, as you discover Iceland and Spitsbergen. Marvel at incredible volcanic landscapes, waterfalls and glaciers, and visit the land where the polar bear is king. All whilst sailing on the formidable expedition vessel, HANSEATIC inspiration.
Set sail from Reykjavik to Longyearbyen with a team of knowledgeable guides ready to bring these fascinating polar landscapes to life.
Day 1: Reykjavik, Iceland
Day 2: Olafsvik, Iceland
Day 3: Heimaey/Westman Islands, Iceland
Days 4 - 6: East coast of Iceland
Days 7 - 9: Iceland's north coast
Days 10 & 11: At sea/ Passing Jan Mayen
Days 12 - 17: Spitsbergen
Day 18: Disembarkation in Longyearbyen
Your expedition cruise begins in Reykjavik, the small but charming capital of Iceland. Your ship, HANSEATIC inspiration departs at 7pm.
In Iceland, where impressive natural spectacles allow you to experience the wonder of creation, humans are just the supporting cast. This is strikingly underlined as soon as you reach Olafsvik. On an optional tour of the Snaefellsnes peninsula, uncover the secrets of the beautiful and dramatic landscape.
Your exciting circumnavigation begins with the Westman Islands. In 1973, the Eldfell volcano erupted on Heimaey, the largest island, covering it in lava streams. Take an optional scenic flight above volcanoes and waterfalls and see the black fields stretch out below you, combining with the icy blue and the white of the glaciers to form a sea of colour.
Marvel at Seydisfjordur, located at the end of a fjord surrounded by snow-capped peaks. The historic wooden buildings will provide great photo opportunities as you take a walk. The flourishing plant variety in the Vestdalur Valley* is an enchanting sight. Iceland’s magical side as the “island of mythical creatures and trolls” is revealed in Bakkagerdi. Legend has it that the queen of the elves reigns over Borgarfjordhur and the bird-inhabited cliffs where countless puffins learn to fly.
Husavik is the European capital of whale watching. Will you manage to spot humpback whales, porpoises and dolphins in the ice-blue bay? Heading ashore, the waterfalls of the north are a wonder to behold – for example Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall cascading around 45 m (148 ft). An optional hike in Asbyrgi Canyon will take you across the rocky horseshoe-shaped basin. While the myth says that an enormous horse made this impression on the earth, the canyon was probably hollowed out by icefalls.
Akureyri, a northern gem at the end of the 90 km (56 mi.) long Eyjafjordur, is home to the writer Jon Sveinsson and your gateway to majestic nature. An optional hike on Mount Sulur allows you to experience Iceland’s vastness and feeling of freedom with every step. Green meadows alternate with rocky terrain, filled with watercourses fed by the melting snow. At the peak, enjoy a legendary view of Iceland’s longest fjord. An optional flight over the volcanic landscape will reveal the staggering dimensions of Iceland’s largest lava field and the mighty Vatnajokull glacier. Or opt to be carried through this idyllic landscape on small island inhabitants known for their friendly character: riding Icelandic horses will introduce you to these lovely creatures and show you how comfortable they are to ride with their special tolt gait. Will the next day’s weather allow you to land on the small island of Hrisey? Once ashore, this dreamy piece of earth tells of life in the home of the rock ptarmigan. Your knowledge will keep pace with these new impressions as you gain fascinating insights into the Viking history, wildlife and geology of the volcanic island of Grimsey. The island lies right on the Arctic Circle. Passing it is a special moment for seafarers.
Passing the island of Jan Mayen, which is three-quarters glaciated, the HANSEATIC inspiration will head further north to your next spectacular destination. Enjoy the many amenities of your ship as you relax at sea.
Untouched wilderness and deep fjords: thrilling days lie ahead on the coast of Spitsbergen – home to whales, Arctic foxes, walruses and the king of the Arctic, the polar bear. Overwhelming wildlife encounters might also await you on the small island of Prins Karls Forland, where imposing walruses often gather in herds. The scenes at the Magdalenefjord leave no doubt that the nature of the far north will take your breath away. In good weather, the silhouette of the mountains around the Liefdefjord against a blue sky merges with its mirror image in the water to form a surreal still-life painting. Here, the Monacobreen provides a striking conclusion to your many expedition experiences on both sides of the Arctic Circle. The palpable effects of the Gulf Stream pave the way to the Raudfjord, the archipelago’s most northerly fjord. In certain lights, the mountains take on shades of reddish-brown. Amsterdamoya is home to historic man-made relics: the remains of 400-year-old ovens bear witness to the whalers who once cooked blubber here to make lamp oil. Ny-Alesund combines the pioneering spirit of the past and present – it was here, in 1926, that Roald Amundsen and Umberto Nobile set out for the North Pole in an airship. In Alkhornet, imposing limestone cliffs that form the breeding grounds for thousands of guillemots and other bird species await. With a little luck, you might see some Arctic foxes and polar bears, too. Your expedition may come to an end here, but these exceptional experiences will stay with you forever.
Today you will disembark your ship in the capital of Svalbard, Longyearbyen.
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