STYLE: Expedition Cruise
Trip Code: ACAENLE
DIFFICULTY RATING: 2 (light adventure)
Start: Kirkenes, Norway
Finish: Bergen, Norway
SHIP: Greg Mortimer
This incredible adventure is designed for travellers seeking the famous Northern Lights. Shorter days in the high latitudes means darkening evening skies, so on this voyage we stay close to the coastlines of the Arctic Circle, skirting around the Norwegian and Greenland seas, and exploring remote islands and villages of the region. As night falls, we look skywards hoping to catch the magic of the northern lights as their vibrant colours dance across the sky.
Scientifically known as the aurora borealis, this spectacular natural phenomenon offers a surreal light display as vibrant hues of blue, green, pink and violet appear in the night sky. On this 22 day cruise, you’ll explore the Arctic highlights of Norway, Jan Mayen, Greenland, and Iceland with plenty of time to look for the lights. However, during the days you’ll also enjoy spectacular Arctic experiences like the famous Lofoten Islands, take in thrilling zodiac rides throughout the Norwegian coastline, and discover the Icelandic Westfjords region, known for its huge fjords and the soaring Dynjandi waterfall.
Save up to 10% departures in 2023 - valid for new bookings until 31 Mar 23. Discount is valid only on selected cabin categories on selected departures.
*Not combinable with any other promotion. Offers apply to new bookings only. Cabins are subject to availability and currency fluctuations. Further conditions apply, please contact us for more information.
Having made your way to Kirkenes, you will be met by a representative and transferred to our group hotel. Upon arrival, kindly remind hotel check-in staff to provide you with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags for your luggage. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number.
This evening, enjoy a light refreshment as you meet your fellow expeditioners at a Welcome Reception and Pre-Embarkation Briefing. Afterwards, dine at your leisure (dinner not included).
This morning, please ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to the port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Please keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day.
After a leisurely breakfast, check-out of your room before commencing an excursion of Kirkenes and surrounds. Transfer to the pier for embarkation in the late afternoon, when you will have time to settle into your cabin before attending our mandatory safety briefings, and enjoy the thrill of departure as we ‘throw the lines’ and set sail.
This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners, friendly expedition team and crew at the Captain’s Welcome Dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure.
Over the next few days we explore parts of Norway’s remarkable 1,000-kilometre (600-mile) coastline. Starting in North Cape, in the very north of the country, we make our way south, stopping in the Lofoten Islands and visiting mesmerising Mount Torghatten, famous for the hole through its centre.
The spectacular northern lights is a natural phenomenon that is most commonly seen in the sky above the Arctic Circle, between late autumn and early spring. As we are near North Cape in northern Norway, keep a close watch in hope of witnessing this dazzling spectacle in the night sky. The North Cape is located at a latitude of 71° 10´ 21 and is Europe’s northernmost point. Here we enjoy a short walk, visit the North Cape Hall and perhaps sample some local treats.
Enjoy a Zodiac cruise through spectacular Trollfjord, a gorge flanked by steep mountains and so narrow that it can only be accessed by small ships. In the Lofoten Islands, voted by National Geographic as one the of the most beautiful destinations in the world, we stroll through picturesque villages dotted with red and white fishers’ huts, surrounded by soaring granite peaks. Visit the Lofoten Seafood Center and learn about the impressive cod fisheries and perhaps sample some local seafood.
Crossing south of the Arctic Circle, we visit the Vega archipelago, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014. Vega Island is fantastic for birdwatching and here eider ducks are the main attraction, where they are raised for their down, which at one point accounted for one third of the islanders’ income. The islanders still make houses for the birds to nest in and in return, the ducks provide valuable down when they and their chicks leave the nests to continue their lives at sea. The archipelago reflects a traditional way of life that has not changed for more than 1,500 years. On nearby Torget Island, we plan to land and hike to Torghatten, a fascinating rock formation with an equally interesting legend describing the hole in the mountain as having been created by a troll’s arrow.
Enjoy the crossing to Jan Mayen, accompanied by seabirds as we search for whales. Enjoy informative talks from our team of experts, get to know your fellow expeditioners, stay active in the gym or treat yourself to a massage in the wellness centre. Remember to look to the skies at night and hope for sightings of the northern lights.
The approach to Jan Mayen is spectacular. The huge Beerenberg volcano is the world’s northernmost active volcano, last erupting in 1985. The northern part of the island is a great place to look for whales and dolphins, and contains impressive glaciers, some of which reach the sea. If the weather is friendly, we will try to land at Kvalrossbukta, a relatively sheltered bay on the island’s west coast. This is one of the landings used to supply the Norwegian weather station at Olonkinbyen, a settlement situated on the eastern side of the island. We hope to land in front of the station at Olonkinbyen, so as to visit before embarking on a three-hour hike (weather permitting) back across the island to where the ship will be waiting for us in Kvalrossbukta, and our trusty Zodiacs will transport us back to the ship.
Our series of onboard lectures continue as sail towards the wild coast of East Greenland. You will learn about sea ice, glaciers, the unique geology found in East Greenland and daring tales of European exploration. We are also in the prime zone to view the northern lights, so glance up to the skies and you might just see more than shimmering stars.
In the coming days, a host of choices are available to us, and depending on ice and weather conditions, the east coast of Greenland is ours to explore. The members of our experienced Expedition Team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to tailor our voyage to suit the day-to-day conditions. This allows us to make best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions and any opportunities for wildlife encounters. We generally attempt up to two landings or Zodiac excursions per day, including cruising along spectacular ice cliffs, following whales feeding near the surface.
Be prepared to experience ice – and lots of it! East Greenland contains some of the Arctic’s most impressive scenery. Deep fjords and narrow channels, flanked by sharp ice-clad peaks soaring up to 2,000 metres (6,562 feet), and glaciers birthing gigantic icebergs that drift throughout the fjord system, combine to create breathtaking scenes.
The tundra landscape is home to musk oxen, arctic hares and reindeer. Throughout the area there are ancient Thule archaeological sites, historical trappers’ huts, and the cabins of present-day Inuit hunters. A highlight is a visit to the Inuit village of Ittoqqortoormiit, the most isolated and northernmost permanent settlement in the region, with approximately 450 inhabitants. The community has an excellent museum, gift shop, an abundance of Greenlandic sled dogs and provides the opportunity to meet the friendly locals.
Explore Scoresbysund, the world’s largest fjord system and a favourite hunting ground of the local Inuit. Massive glaciers flow into this fjord, the birthplace of hundreds of majestic Greenland icebergs. It is a spectacular place that simply needs to be seen to be believed. North of Scoresbysund lie Kong Oskar and Kaiser Franz Josef fjords, two of the most significant fjord systems in Greenland, each one encompassing several smaller fjords and sounds. Thanks to the fertile volcanic soil and the surrounding mountains offering protection from strong winds, the area is rich in wildlife. You may spot everything from musk oxen and arctic foxes to mountain hares, and even reindeer, near the fjord. Look skyward and you could catch a glimpse of birds, including the glaucous gull, black-legged kittiwake, northern fulmar, common raven and common eider.
We will attempt to enter Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord, a remote and rarely visited fjord system with countless opportunities for exploration, located within the Northeast Greenland National Park. Cruising through Kong Oskar Fjord, we marvel at the geological beauty of the mountains. We will then head south along the coast of Liverpool Land, with our passage dependent on ice conditions.
We stretch our legs on hikes across tundra in search of ancient graveyards and summer villages occupied 3,000 years ago by Inuit. We may see musk oxen, arctic hares and reindeer grazing. The maze of calm, interconnecting waterways in this area provides excellent opportunities for sea kayaking. We will see ring seals, perhaps catch a glimpse of the elusive narwhal, and maybe even a polar bear hunting on pack ice.
Crossing the Denmark Strait to Iceland, search for whale blows and photograph the many seabirds that trail our ship in the ever-present arctic winds. The dark night skies promise more opportunities to experience the northern lights.
Over the coming days, we explore the Westfjords region, which features outstanding landscapes with jaw-dropping views of dramatic fjords carved by ancient glaciers, sheer, table-top mountains that plunge into the sea, and pristine north Atlantic vegetation. The region features attractive towns such as as Isafjordur, the famous Dynjandi waterfall, and spectacular fjords that are ideal for kayaking, hiking and birdwatching.
In genuine expeditionary style, we keep our itinerary flexible to allow for spontaneity. We plan to visit Hornstrandir peninsula, one of Iceland’s remotest and most pristine regions, which is filled with deep and dramatic fjords, towering bird cliffs, stunning natural beauty and opportunities for wildlife encounters. Enjoy the bountiful silence and magnificent landscapes seen by the few adventurers that make their way here. In Húsavik, we hope to have magical encounters with the many whales that visit this part of Iceland, known as the country’s whale-watching capital.
Sea days are great for editing photos, catching up on stories with fellow expeditioners or enjoying the many facilities available to you on board.
In the middle of the north Atlantic and barely visible on most maps, are the Faroe Islands, an archipelago of 18 islands with a population of only 50,000 people. The Faroes were formed from layers of volcanic basalt and are tilted, with the eastern shores sloping into the sea and the western coasts soaring into spectacular cliffs. With their breathtaking beauty, steep mountains covered in soft green grass, deep fjords, long summer nights, unique culture, and a humble, friendly and welcoming people, the islands are the perfect destination for travellers wanting something dramatically different from the mainstream.
Discover a few of the gems of the Faroe Islands including Tórshavn, Kirkjubøur and Vestmanna. In Tórshavn, possibly the smallest capital in the world, wander the narrow streets of this windswept town, built on a hillside, with its colourful contemporary houses, and old, traditional red-painted timber dwellings with characteristic grass roofs, white-framed windows. You may see the oddest array of sheep lining the steep hillsides – black, brown and even piebald sheep! Perhaps catch a glimpse of Faroese ponies with their spectacular flaxen manes and coats, varying in colour from palomino to rich chestnut. The town’s history can be traced back to around 900 EC when the first Viking settlers arrived here by longboat from Norway.
One of the highlights in the Faroe Islands is Vestmanna sea cliffs. The majestic cliffs that rise hundreds of metres from the sea are alive with nesting seabirds and you may see kittiwakes and fulmars overhead, with razorbills and guillemots sitting on nests high above us, and puffins bobbing on the waves at sea.
As we sail towards Bergen, Norway’s second largest city, located in the southwest of the country, enjoy final presentations from our Expedition Team and celebrate a memorable journey at the Captain’s Farewell Dinner.
During the early morning, we cruise into Bergen and disembark at approximately 8.00 am. Farewell your Expedition Team and fellow passengers as you continue your onward journey. Transfer to Bergen airport or to your centrally located hotel.
NOTE: We do not recommend booking flights departing prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation, as we may experience delays at the conclusion of the voyage.
As we operate in remote and challenging environments, and in the spirit of expedition travel, we encourage you to be flexible and to adopt an adventurous attitude when joining our voyages. This itinerary is a guide only and is subject to change due to weather, sea state and other conditions beyond our control.
Built to world-class polar standards, the Greg Mortimer is a state of the art, custom-built expedition ship. Due to be launched in 2019, this modern, robust and powerful 104-metre ship is at the cutting edge of nautical technology. With its patented Norwegian-designed X-BOW, the Greg Mortimer is capable of negotiating the strongest winds and waves, and the most adverse weather conditions. Named after Aurora’s co-founder, the Greg Mortimer carries up to 120 passengers in a range of well-appointed suites and staterooms. All feature private bathrooms, with the majority of suites and staterooms having panoramic windows and private balconies. There are twin and double bed configurations available, ample storage, international power outlets and a daily cabin service. The ship itself features unique viewing platforms that fold out hydraulically to give unobstructed views. The ship carries 15 Zodiacs that are launched from specially designed launching platforms to ensure fast and easy boarding for shore landings and Zodiac cruises. Itineraries aboard the Greg Mortimer also offer a range of optional activities including kayaking, diving, climbing and ski touring, and the ship’s design includes a spacious prep and loading platform.
Built to world-class polar standards, the Greg Mortimer is a state of the art, custom-built expedition ship. Due to be launched in 2019, this modern, robust and powerful 104-metre ship is at the cutting edge of nautical technology. With its patented Norwegian-designed X-BOW, the Greg Mortimer is capable of negotiating the strongest winds and waves, and the most adverse weather conditions.
Named after Aurora’s co-founder, the Greg Mortimer carries up to 120 passengers in a range of well-appointed suites and staterooms. All feature private bathrooms, with the majority of suites and staterooms having panoramic windows and private balconies. There are twin and double bed configurations available, ample storage, international power outlets and a daily cabin service. The ship itself features unique viewing platforms that fold out hydraulically to give unobstructed views. The ship carries 15 Zodiacs that are launched from specially designed launching platforms to ensure fast and easy boarding for shore landings and Zodiac cruises. Itineraries aboard the Greg Mortimer also offer a range of optional activities including kayaking, diving, climbing and ski touring, and the ship’s design includes a spacious prep and loading platform.
Breadth: 18.4 metresMax
Speed: 15.5 Knots
Electricity: 220V, 50HZ AC Passenger
Capacity:160 (120 in polar regions)
View Ship Details
We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Luxurious properties with impeccable facilities and service.
Optional Activities vary for each itinerary. Limited spaces available. Contact your Destination Specialist for pricing & availability.
Experience the unforgettable thrill and serenity of kayaking in Antarctica as part of a small, expertly guided paddling group.Learn More
|Northern Lights Explorer | Greg Mortimer from USD 21,235|
|01 Sep 2023||22 Sep 2023||22|
Available upon request, contact us for more details.
Itinerary subject to change depending on weather and ice conditions.
Departure date, season and availability.