National Geographic Explorer: Svalbard, Iceland & Greenland’s East Coast
Duration: 16 days
See the majestic setting that the lordly polar bear freely roams as we explore the Arctic Svalbard archipelago of Norway, pulling the ship’s bow up to blue-veined glaciers, alighting on islands where caribou drift like smoke across the tundra. Go from the TV series depiction of Vikings to a real sense of their heroism. From Svalbard, we’ll follow in the wake of these, and other fearless explorers and colonists to discover the dramatic landscapes and rich traditions of Greenland and Iceland
See polar bears in their natural habitat, the sea ice, in the gorgeous, uninhabited wilds of Svalbard far from any human settlements — accompanied by expert spotters to increase your sightings
Follow in the wake of the 10th-century Viking explorers along the ice shelf
Discover the dramatic landscapes and rich traditions of Greenland; explore the seldom-seen east coast fjords & icebergs; spot white-tailed eagles, among the 60 species of birds that breed in Greenland
Actively explore Iceland’s Westfjord region; walk on lava fields and ice sheets, feel the spray of gushing hot springs and cascading waterfalls; cruise among magnificent icebergs.
Itinerary in Brief
Day 1: Oslo, Norway
Day 2: Oslo - Longyearbyen - Embark
Day 3-15: Exploring Svalbard, Greenland & Iceland
Day 16: Reykjavík - Disembark - Home
Fly to Oslo. On arrival, check into Oslo’s Thon Bristol Hotel (or similar) and explore this charming city. Stroll amid Oslo’s famed Vigeland sculptures—hundreds of life-size human figures set in parkland. Visit the Fram Museum, dedicated to the wooden ship sailed by Norwegian polar explorers Nansen and Amundsen. The evening is at leisure.
Depart Oslo on a charter flight, and enjoy breathtaking vistas en route to Longyearbyen. Embark National Geographic Explorer.
Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner.
Exploring Svalbard, Greenland & Iceland
Our day-by-day itinerary, in keeping with the nature of an expedition, will be a thoughtfully considered framework based on our long experience in this dynamic arctic region. We’ll take full advantage of our ‘human resources’—our experienced Captain, expedition leader and naturalists—as well as our technological resources. Armed with the latest satellite imagery, we’ll chart where the ice is impenetrable, and where there are leads guiding us to exciting discoveries. We have an ice-strengthened hull and forward-searching sonar, plus agile Zodiacs and kayaks, allowing us to make forays among the icebergs. The Undersea Specialist will deploy the ROV, bringing back imagery few, if any, have ever seen. And with unforgettable days in the ice and two photographers on board, you’ll have assistance to get your best photos ever.
We begin in Svalbard, Norway—a place of deep fjords, snowcapped mountains, and massive ice sheets. Nowhere can the polar bear be seen more reliably in its natural environment than here. Venture to the foot of vast tidewater glaciers, kayak among sparkling icebergs, hike the tundra, and explore fjords that split the coastline.
Svalbard’s wonders are a prelude to days ahead of discoveries on unknown shores, following the ice’s edge. Our quest is to discover the Arctic’s grand wilderness. Be on deck as our captain navigates between icebergs that drift from the calving glaciers. And if the ice yields, we’ll aim for Scoresbysund, on the east coast of Greenland, still awakening from winter’s long icy grip. If the ice is unrelenting, we’ll head to Iceland.
The finale of our journey is the west coast of Iceland: Isafjördur, a picture postcard of Icelandic life; the immense Látrabjarg cliffs, home to a huge population of razorbills; and Flatey Island, a former trading post.
Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner.
Reykjavík - Disembark - Home
Our grand adventure takes us to Iceland’s lively capital city, Reykjavík. Have a guided overview of the old town, and visit the famous Blue Lagoon thermal baths, prior to our flight home.
Breakfast - Lunch.
Departs - Selected dates (listed below)
Cabins feature one or two Portholes. Most cabins feature two lower single beds. Cabins 303-306 feature one queen-sized bed. All offer a writing desk, reading lamps, bathroom with a roomy glass-wall shower stall, and a TV showing the ship's position and programing.
Cabins feature two lower single beds (some can convert to a queen-sized bed), and one large window. They offer a writing desk, reading lamps, bathroom with a roomy glass-wall shower stall, and a TV showing the ship's position and programming.
Cabins feature two lower single beds (some can convert to a queen-sized bed), one large window, and two sitting chairs and a small table and ample storage. They have a writing desk, reading lamps, bathroom with a roomy glass-wall shower stall, and a TV showing the ship's position and programming.
Cabins feature two lower single beds and at least one large window. Cabin 217, 226 & 228 feature one queen-size bed. All cabins feature climate controls, a TV showing the ship's position and programing. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall. The dining room is on this deck and accommodates all guests at once.
These cabins feature a balcony with sliding glass doors, feature one queen-sized bed, a writing desk and chairs, climate controls, a TV showing the ship's position and programing. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall. . (Cabin 221 has two lower single beds that can convert to an Olympic-sized queen.)
These spacious cabins have private balconies, two lower single beds that can be converted into a queen, a writing desk, chairs, and a TV. Bathrooms are generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall and twin sinks.
These large cabins with private balconies have either two lower single beds that can convert to an Olympic-sized queen. They have seating areas and can be converted to triples. Bathrooms are generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall and twin sinks.
These cabins feature one lower single bed and a large window or two portholes, a writing desk, reading lamp, bathroom with a roomy glass-wall shower stall, and a TV showing the ship's position and programming.
These cabins feature one lower single bed and a large window, a writing desk, reading lamp, bathroom with a roomy glass-walled shower stall, and a TV showing the ship's position and programming. The dining room and ship's bow are easily accessible.
Inaugurated in 2008, National Geographic Explorer is the world’s ultimate expedition ship. Originally built for service along Norway’s coast as part of the famed Hurtigruten, or Coastal Express, her excellent maneuverability and just-right size made her a natural choice for addition to our fleet. Drawing on our nearly 50 years of pioneering expedition history and expertise, we completely redesigned and rebuilt her. Explorer is uniquely equipped with an ice-strengthened hull and advanced navigation equipment for polar expeditions; a roster of tools for exploration; and a well-appointed interior with vast expanses of glass for an unprecedented connection to the regions we explore. She provides a peerless expedition experience.
All passenger ships plying polar waters are equipped with a GMDSS (Global Maritime & Distress Safety System) emergency communication system and a satellite weather forecasting system. However, more technology is available that can be harnessed for greater travel safety. Knowing that the ship you’re traveling on contains the latest technology further assures your peace of mind, as well as your safety. As the world’s ultimate expedition ship, National Geographic Explorer was purpose-built with technology specific to safe polar travel.
Forward scanning sonar
Explorer is one of the few passenger ships fitted with forward scanning sonar—allowing the captain to peer ahead for uncharted rocks or obstacles underwater. This allows the officers to safely navigate the ship in many of the more remote areas in which we travel, giving you the opportunity to call at new locations or areas hardly ever visited by other passenger ships.
Double weather forecasting
We subscribe to two independent weather forecasting companies and receive real time satellite images of weather and ice conditions. The Bon Voyage service provides predictions on wind, sea and swell, while our Wind Plot service uses a Gridded Binary forecasting system to accurately predict wind conditions every six hours at almost any location. Such detailed weather forecasting systems allow us to make better informed decisions—for safety and to drastically reduce cancelled landings due to poor weather.
Provides an adjustable, high-definition picture using data from the ship’s 3cm wavelength radar. By averaging the radar picture over a length of time, the ice radar processor filters out the scatter, resulting in a clearer image and reducing the likelihood of an unplanned ice encounter. Different sizes of ice and open leads are easily discerned in the radar, allowing the captain to better choose the safest routes through ice packs.
A xenon bulb ice light, mounted on the mast, shines forward and brightly reflects ice. This equipment is useful at night and in heavier seas, when waves may prevent the radar, or an unaided eye, from picking up hazardous ice.
The ship is also equipped with five portable Iridium satellite phones, relying on 66 near polar-orbiting satellites for continuous coverage, including emergency communication on lifeboats. In addition, two EPIRBs (Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacons) send out a coded distress signal giving position in the case of an incident; and two Search and Rescue Transponders are on board to aid in any search and recovery effort.
IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators) Emergency Response System
Developed by our VP of Marine Operations Leif Skog, Ice Master and captain of Explorer, it ensures that all IAATO ships in Antarctica keep in daily touch to form the initial response for any incident. Tested during a 2007 distressed vessel incident, it resulted in several ships, including National Geographic Endeavour, responding and arriving on the scene within a matter of hours.
Meals as specified
Short Excursions and activities throughout the voyage
Leadership by experienced expedition staff
Presentations by noted naturalists and other Experts
Zodiac Cruising and Transfers to and from the ship
Group Transfers and baggage handling as per itinerary