Our expedition begins near Scotland's incomparable capital city. The royal capital of Scotland since the 11th century, Edinburgh, is home to an extraordinary range of architectural contrast. From dark, medieval 16th century block towers to classical Georgian and Victorian masterpieces. A World Heritage Site Edinburgh is home to over 16,000 buildings that are listed as being historically or architecturally important. We board the expedition ship this afternoon in the suburb Port of Leith, to embark on our voyage to the Arctic. The MS Expedition departs in the evening through a lock which takes us down to sea level.
There are few places in the world that offer as much as the Orkneys. Only six miles off the coast of Scotland the islands are famous for their abundant marine bird life and dramatic coastal scenery. Our excursions for today will focus not only on this but also on many of the mystical historical sites of the area. These excursions will include coach visits to the Ring of Brodgar, standing stones of Stennes and the 4500 year old village of Skara Brae. You will also see a famous Italian chapel and St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall.
We continue northwards to the remote Shetland Islands. The islands were under Norse rule until 1469, when they were given to Scotland as part of a Danish princesses dowry. The Shetlands are an engaging mix of Scotland and Scandinavia, with spectacular coastlines, varied and abundant bird life and a number of archaeological sites that date back thousands of years.
We cross the famous Northsea - Through one of the largest off shore oil fields in the world. Depending on time, we may stop in Olden for a short bus ride to the Birksdal area and a walk to a glacier. There is a trolly-like car available for people who are unable to walk the full distance.
Sail deep into one of Norway's most beautiful fjords, into the mainland. The fjord is one of Norway's most visited tourist sites and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Today you will sail towards Monks Island which is just off the shore of Trondheim. The Benedictine monks built a monastery in the 11th century. Today it is a recreational area. Later we visit Austratt, which has been a residence for many noblemen and noblewomen who played a significant role in Norway's developement.
The rugged coastline of central Norway features some of the world’s most beautiful nature. The mountain scenery and coastline offer breathtaking scenery and our Captain will negotiate with local Norwegian pilots to determine our best Zodiac shore landing options. Our goal is to visit Torghatten one of the most bizarre rock formations in Norway and a significant local landmark. We will also try to move towards the Treana archipelago that is comprised of over 1000 islands.
Svartisen has a beautiful walk to a glacier with the chance of an easy walk along a road. It also has a more demanding walk all the way around a lake below the glacier. Vikingen has the globe marking the Arctic Circle.
The Lofoten Archipelago is an enchanting area of picturesque villages by the sea backed with jagged peaks. Today we go ashore via coach on the island of Aa, where cod fishing is still a major part of the economy. In the evening be sure to be on deck as we cruise into one of the most famous fjords in Norway, the short yet dramatic Trollfjord, and search the cliffs for Norway's mythical beings: trolls.
Explore this northern haven and be sure to visit the Arctic Cathedral, whose unique architecture is evocative of snow and icebergs,its stained glass windows are among the largest in Europe. Tromsø, the capital of northern Norway, is known as the "Gateway to the Arctic" since so many Arctic expeditions originated from here. We will spend the whole day learning about the history of past expeditions and exploring Norway's largest northern city. We will enjoy a coach tour to some of the major sites including the Polar and Tromsø Museums and weather permitting enjoy a stunning view from a cable car. .
Sail past Bear Island, Explore mist-shrouded Bjørnøya—a birdwatcher's paradise featuring spectacular views, thousands of fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots and gulls.
Svalbard is an archipelago of deep fjords, high mountains and massive glaciers. Our focus during our time here is searching for walruses, seals, reindeer, arctic foxes and, of course, the polar bear. Our flexible itinerary and experience here allow us to take the best advantage of ice and weather conditions. Each season we attempt to discover new landing sites to explore to enhance your expedition experience. Shore walks and Zodiac adventures bring us up close to mystical landscapes, icebergs, and wildlife.
The highlight of Festningen (the fortress) is an impressive dike of rock that runs along the top of a small cliff where fossilized footprints of dinosaurs have been found. Alkhornet features a towering horn of rock which is the nesting site for thousands of Guillemots and Kittiwakes, while foxes and reindeer take advantage of the lush tundra vegetation below the cliffs .
Disembarkation on our final day is scheduled for 0800. Passenger are asked to schedule flights no earlier then 1000 that morning. On departure day, we will offer transfers to Longyearbyen Airport for all passengers with flights scheduled after disembarkation. You will be transferred to either the airport or the Radisson Blu Polar hotel, depending on the time of your flight. Those transferred to the hotel will have an opportunity to explore the town center on their own, and then be transferred to the airport later in the day as per flight schedules. Transfer times will be confirmed, and communicated onboard prior to departure. Luggage storage at the Raddison Blu Polar hotel will be available until time of departure