Arctic & Iceland Cruise - Silver Endeavour
Venture out on a luxury ship offering accommodations in suites with seating areas in all categories. Relais & Chateaux fine dining and a highly-credentialed expedition staff complete the adventure.
The Arctic: Drink It in
The Arctic has long held travelers spellbound, and this 14-day voyage to Svalbard is no exception. Venture as far north as you have ever dared to go, sailing past sculpted islands, archipelagos and mountains. Travel into very remote and isolated areas where seabirds and marine life far outnumber the local population. Cruise along the North Cape to Tromsø, enjoying the fabled white nights as you go.
Travel Curator’s Insights:
- • If you like comfort and fine dining along with your Arctic adventure, this all-suite expedition ship is for you.
• Highly credentialed experts offer presentations, join you on shore, and even join you for dinner on this spacious and comfortable ship.
• This operator has fantastic, high-level guides and expedition staff however, they don't overload you with information on these trips.
No Solo Supplement on Select Departures!
From $15,950 per person
Policies and protocols provided before you book.
June 3-17, 2023
June 17-July 1, 2023
Ask us for later dates.
June, 2023, 2024
Hover here for specific dates
Trip Sustainability Awards
Fantastic advances in minimizing carbon footprints at locations.
On the East African Energy Renewal Board
Runs local educational facilities for children.
Day 1: Reykjavik
The capital of Iceland’s land of ice, fire and natural wonder, Reykjavik is a city like no other - blossoming among some of the world’s most vibrant and violent scenery. Home to two-thirds of Iceland’s population, Reykjavik is the island’s only real city, and a welcoming and walkable place - full of bicycles gliding along boulevards or battling the wind when it rears up. Fresh licks of paint brighten the streets, and an artistic and creative atmosphere embraces studios and galleries - as well as the kitchens where an exciting culinary scene is burgeoning.
Plot your adventures in the city's hip bars and cozy cafes or waste no time in venturing out to Iceland’s outdoor adventures. Reykjavik’s buildings stand together in a low huddle - below the whip of winter’s winds - but the magnificent Hallgrímskirkja church is a solid exception, with its bell tower rising resolutely over the city. Iceland’s largest church's design echoes the lava flows that have shaped this remote land and boasts a clean and elegant interior. The Harpa Concert Hall’s sheer glass facade helps it to assimilate into the landscape, mirroring back the city and harbor. Its LED lights shimmer in honor of Iceland’s greatest illuminated performance – the northern lights. Walk in the crusts between continents, feel the spray from bursts of geysers and witness the enduring power of Iceland’s massive waterfalls. Whether you want to sizzle away in the earth-heated geothermal pools, or hike to your heart’s content, you can do it all from Reykjavik - the colorful capital of this astonishing outdoor country.
Day 2: Stykkishólmur & Flatey Island
Stykkishólmur, located in western Iceland at the northern end of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, is the commerce center for the area. Its natural harbor allowed this town to become an important trading center early in Iceland’s history. The first trading post was established in the 1550s, and still today fishing is the major industry. The town center boasts beautiful and well-preserved old houses from earlier times. Stykkisholmur is very environmentally conscious – it was the first community in Europe to get the EarthCheck environmental certification, was the first municipality in Iceland to start fully sorting its waste and was the first town in Iceland to receive the prestigious Blue flag eco-label for its harbor. It has also been a European Destination of Excellence (EDEN), since 2011.
Flatey is the ‘flat island’ just as the name sounds. These days Flatey is mainly seasonally populated with many brightly painted, wooden summer cottages to be found here. Like many other small islands around Iceland though, Flatey was once a hub for fishing and trade. This particular island prospered so much that it was the center of commercial and cultural life in the 19th century for this part of Iceland. Thanks to the surroundiung nutrient-rich waters 35 species of birds have been counted on Flatey ranging from Eider Ducks and Atlantic Puffins, to Arctic Terns, Red-necked Phalaropes, Ringed Plover and Snow Buntings.
Day 3: Vigur Island & Bolungarvik
Vigur Island is the second largest island in the Isafjardardjup Fjord, measuring 2 kilometers in length by 400 meters in width. It is home to a single sheep farming family, which ferries the sheep in summer across to the mainland, so that the Eider Ducks nesting on the island will not be disturbed. One of the export articles from this small island was eider down and one can still see where the Eider Ducks nest and how the down is collected and cleaned.
The small settlement of a few houses is on the southern side, next to a small rocky beach, a concrete wall and floating pier. On approach grey seals can often be seen on the otherwise seaweed-covered boulders. Apart from the grey of the basalt and green of the grass, lichens add a splash of color. A path has been prepared and the grass cut, so that visitors can leisurely walk across the island to take in the beautiful scenery and to observe the large colony of Arctic Terns, Black Guillemots and Atlantic Puffins usually only seen during the summer months. A meticulously preserved historical landmark, a small windmill dating back to the 1840s was still in use in 1917 to grind wheat imported from Denmark. Viktoria House, one of the preserved wooden farm houses dating back to 1862, is used as a café where home-baked cakes and cookies are offered to guests. One of Europe’s smallest post offices can be found here, too.
Although the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is further north across the Isarfjardardjup, Bolungarvik is Westfjords’ and Iceland’s northernmost town. Despite its relative isolation, Bolungarvik has been settled for hundreds of years and is already mentioned in the settlement period of Iceland. Located next to rich fishing grounds and the cove of the same name, Bolungarvik has always been a place for fishermen and one of the town’s attractions is a replica of an old fishing station. Just to the northwest is Bolafjall Mountain which blocks off the wind and swell from the Atlantic Ocean. The view from the top (at 638 meters above sea level) not only covers Bolungarvik and the surrounding valleys and mountains, but several fjords and the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Although only 950 residents call Bolungarvik their home, this is the Westfjords’ second largest town. There even is a nine-hole golf course (par 71) with 18 sets of tees.
Day 4: Akureyi
Iceland’s Capital of the North is the gateway to a thrilling land of roaring waterfalls, soaring volcanoes and glorious wildlife. It may lie a mere 60 miles from the Arctic Circle, but Akureyi blossoms with a bright, cosmopolitan feel, and explodes into life during the summer months, when its outdoor cafes and open-air bathing spots fill up with visitors ready to immerse themselves in Iceland’s cinematic scenery. Feel the thundering impact of Iceland’s celebrated natural wonders shaking your bones at Godafoss Waterfalls, known as the ‘Waterfalls of the Gods’. Here, the Skjálfandafljót river unleashes a colossal torrent of water over charcoal-black rocks below. Or, find some peace at the Botanical Gardens, which opened in 1957 and offer space for contemplation - amid plants that bloom with unexpected vibrancy, even at this northerly latitude.
The Lutheran, Akureyrarkirkja Church rises like a grand church organ and is the town’s most striking landmark. The 112-step climb is worth the effort to see light flooding in through its narrow stain glass windows, spreading colourful patchworks across the interior. Magic and mythology are important elements of Icelandic folklore, and you’ll even bump into giant sculptures of grizzled, child-snatching trolls on the town’s high street. Or, meet more earthly - but no less magical - creatures in the waters around Akureyi, where immense blue whales cruise by and dolphins playfully leap.
• Akureyri Farmland
• Wonders of the North: Godafoss Falls and Lake Myvatn
• Whale Watching
• River Rafting in Skagafjörður
• Mountain Pass to Mountain Top, Rigorous Hike
• Kjarnaskogur Forest Walk
• Past and Present Walking Tour with the Botanic Garden
Day 5: Day at Sea
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Day 6: Jan Mayen Island
Humpback and minke whales cavort and feed in the waters around the impressive volcanic island of Jan Mayen with its towering ebony peaks and broad black lava beaches. The primordial landscape is dominated to the north by the 7,500 feet high (2,300 meters) Mt Beerenberg, an active volcano covered in glacial ice that last erupted in 1985. With permission from the Norwegian authorities, a landing is possible at this rarely visited outpost. Visitors may walk to the research and weather station, or beyond, for birds-eye views of the meteorological station and the long black sandy eastern shore of the island. Birds to be seen here may include Atlantic Puffins, Northern Fulmars, and Snow Buntings.
Day 7: Day at Sea
Days 8, 9 & 10: Svalbard Northern Region
Svalbard’s northern region is less influenced by the Norwegian Current coming through the Greenland Sea than the southern region and shows more ice. The northern part of the island of Spitsbergen shows quite a number of impressive fjords, bays and glaciers. The Nordaust Svalbard Nature Reserve includes Spitsbergen’s east coast, the Hinlopen Strait, Nordaustlandet and some islands further east like Kvitoya and Storoya. Several walrus haul-outs, spectacular glaciers, bird cliffs and bird islands, as well as surprising flora in Arctic deserts and the possibility to see polar bears and to visit historically important sites make this an area prone for exploration. Ice conditions will dictate which sites can be seen.
Days 11 & 12: Svalbard Southern Region
Svalbard’s Southern Region and specifically Spitsbergen’s west coast is less ice-clogged than the rest of Svalbard due to the moderating influenced of the Gulf Stream. Several fjords cut into the western coast of Spitsbergen and have been used by trappers and hunters, as well as the different mining companies that tried to exploit the riches of the archipelago’s largest island of Spitsbergen. Remains of huts and mines, as well as active commercial and scientific settlements can be found and visited. Depending on the time of the season, glaciers can be visited on foot or by sea. Hornsund will reveal fascinating views of geological formations, craggy mountains, spectacular glaciers and a variety of seabirds and seals.
Day 13: Cruise & Explore Bear Island (Svalbard)
Bear Island is considered Svalbard’s southernmost island, roughly half way between Spitsbergen and Norway’s North Cape. Although the last polar bears were seen in 2004, the name goes back to Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz and his visit in 1596. The island has been used to hunt walrus, for whaling, and even coal mining has taken place. The strategic location on the border of the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea has led to a meteorological station being set up by Norway near Gravodden on Bear Island’s north coast. Some two thirds of the island is a relatively flat plain with shallow freshwater lakes and Ramsar Wetland, while the entire island and the surrounding waters are a Nature Reserve.
Bear Island has also been designated an Import Bird Area as it is a staging area for Pink-footed and Barnacle Geese and the steep cliffs south of Sørhamna are home to thousands of breeding seabirds. This is a specially protected area where Zodiacs are allowed to cruise along the cliffs around Kapp Kolthoff. In smaller amounts Atlantic Puffins, Northern Gannets, Glaucous Gulls and Great Skuas are found in between the large Black-legged Kittiwake, Little Auk, Common Guillemot and Brünnich’s Guillemot colonies. The constant battering of the sea has not only created impressive sea caves and tunnels, but unfortunately the Russian vessel Petrozavodsk shipwrecked near Revdalen at the base of the limestone cliffs and the waves are causing a continuous disintegration of the remains of the ship.
Day 14: Gjesværstappan Islands, Cruising Along North Cape & Skarsvag (Nordkapp)
Almost a hundred islands and rocks make up the Gjesvӕrstappan Nature Reserve, one of Europe’s largest and most accessible nesting areas for Atlantic seabirds. Less than 10 nautical miles from Nordkapp more than one million nesting birds have been counted on Storstappen, the largest of the islands, and the minor islands next to it. One of the most significant Atlantic Puffin colonies in North Norway is found in this nature reserve. Zodiacs are the best way to look for the Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, Black and Common Guillemots, Northern Gannets, White-tailed Eagles, and Arctic Skuas, Common Eider Ducks, Common Shags and Great Cormorants as well as various other species.
Situated at the very north tip of Norway and inside the Arctic Circle, there is something very special about being (almost) at the top of the world. Called the northernmost point of Europe, the North Cape (Nordkapp in Norwegian) lies about 1,306.3 mi from the North Pole, with no dry land between except for the Svalbald archipelago. Home to where the Atlantic and Arctic oceans meet, this is the true land of the midnight sun – constant spectacular scenic views and 24-hour sunlight lends itself to a sense of giddy informality aboard. Just imagine sipping a chilled glass of champagne at the very top of the world in full daylight at midnight – sensational. Be sure to be on the lookout for hundreds of thousands of puffins, gannets, cormorants, seals, dolphins and whales that make this stretch of chilly water their home. Not forgetting the colourful, compact fishing villages, so at odds with the otherwise this stark, barren landscape.
For those who like to travel far (very far) off the beaten track, then you have found your Nordic nirvana in Skarsvag. Large, sparsely populated (there are just 60 human year-round residents), and a joy to all those who revel in stark, unbridled beauty, Skarsvag also enjoys the auspicious title of being the world’s most northerly fishing village. But rolling hills, prolific birdlife and arctic fjords aside, Skarsvag is above all famous for its proximity to the North Cape. Found on the island of Magerøya, the most northernmost point of Europe above the arctic circle is a bucket list basic. Stand beneath the massive metal globe and gaze out onto the Barents Sea, where the only land between you and the North Pole is the Svalbard archipelago.
This is truly the land of the midnight sun – in fact, you are so far north that the sun doesn’t even dip beneath the horizon between May and mid-July. The island’s famous bird cliffs are quite spectacular, and home to thousands of puffins, gannets and cormorants. Those willing to hike to cape Knivskjellodden, the northernmost point on Magerøya, will be rewarded with stunning cliff face views of the North Cape Plateau. Before leaving, head into the impressive North Cape Hall for exhibitions on the North Cape’s history. Travellers have been visiting since 1664, when Italian priest Francesco Negri arrived, so there are some tales to tell! More intriguingly, a tunnel has been hewn into the rock, leading down to the cliff face, complete with a chapel.
Day 15: Tromsø
Feel your heart flutter, as you catch your first glimpse of that famous emerald haze dancing across the stars, during your visit to this wonderful Arctic gateway. Located in the far north of Norway, a visit to Tromsø beckons you to the extremes of this magical country, to explore a fairytale land of jagged mountains, glistening glaciers and husky-pulled sledges. Despite its remote location, you'll discover a perhaps surprisingly cosmopolitan city, with a healthy student population injecting plenty of energy. Sat 250 miles above the Arctic Circle - at 69° north - you can bathe in the midnight sun's glow during summer, before winter brings the thick blackness and starry skies of endless polar nights. The darkness doesn't stop the fun - with a polar night half-marathon taking place in January - but the return of the sun is always a reason for a celebration here.
To get the best view over the city, take the cable car to Storsteinen's amazing viewpoint. Magnificent views down over the city, fjord and Tromsø's arching bridge will unravel before you. Learn more about northerly traditions, polar expeditions and arctic hunting at the Polar Museum. The Science Centre, meanwhile, explains how humans have harnessed and survived these epic landscapes over the years, and explores Tromsø 's breathtaking natural spectacle - the northern lights. The city is famed for its extraordinary viewing opportunities, which are often said to be the best in the world. The Alpine Botanic Garden is the most northern such garden on the planet, showcasing some of Norway's hardiest plantlife, which survives and thrives at this nose-bleeding altitude.
Please Note: When travelling in remote regions tide, wind, ice and weather conditions determine the details of our itinerary. While we will do our best to maintain all suggested activities, some of these may be subject to change. Come with an open mind and a great sense of adventure, together we can turn any voyage into a wonderful Expedition.
I've sent many discerning travelers with this operator and have traveled with them myself. Everyone loves the over-the-top service, outstanding cuisine, and beautiful accommodations that come in tandem with exciting shore visits and seeing polar bears. It's the best of all possible worlds!
Joy Martinello, Founder
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