Day 1 Arrive Reykjavik
Having made your way to Reykjavik, you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to our group hotel. Upon arrival, you will be provided with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags for your luggage. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number.
Enjoy free time, and in the evening, dine at your leisure (dinner not included).
Accommodation: Fosshotel Reykjavik (or similar)
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.
Check out and enjoy a classic tour of Reykjavik on a panoramic tour to experience the city’s unique architecture and culture before transferring to the pier for embarkation.
After boarding, there’s time to settle into your cabin before our important safety briefings.
This evening, meet your expedition team and crew at the Captain’s Welcome Dinner.
Days 3-5 Westfjords, Iceland
Over the next three days, we explore the Westfjords region featuring outstanding landscapes with jaw-dropping views of dramatic fjords carved by ancient glaciers, sheer table mountains that plunge into the sea and pristine North Atlantic vegetation.
In genuine expeditionary style, we keep our itinerary flexible to allow for spontaneity. There are countless fjords to explore in the region. Your experienced expedition team will determine the day-by-day itinerary based on the unpredictable weather conditions of the region.
Hornstrandir peninsula is located here and is one of Iceland’s remotest and most pristine regions filled with many deep and dramatic fjords, towering bird cliffs, stunning natural beauty and opportunities for wildlife encounters. Enjoy the bountiful silence and magnificent landscapes as we sail past this stunning region seen by the few adventurers that make their way here.
At Patreksfjordur, a shore excursion by coach takes us to Latrabjarg cliffs. As Europe’s largest bird cliff, Latrabjarg is home to millions of seabirds, such as puffin, razorbill, fulmar and guillemot. Enjoy the impressive variety of natural wonders and unspoiled nature. Latrabjarg also happens to be the westernmost point in Europe, east coast of the North American continent on the other side of the Atlantic.
We might visit places such as Isafjordur and Djupavik, where kayakers can paddle in the peaceful waters surrounded by towering mountains while others can enjoy walks and hikes of varying levels of difficulty, soaking in the stunning surrounds including impressive waterfalls and deep fjords. You might sample some local delicacies or perhaps visit an abandoned herring museum converted into an exhibition and gallery space.
Day 6 At Sea
We sail across the Denmark Strait to Jan Mayen Island accompanied by sea birds while keeping a close watch for whales. Enjoy informative and entertaining lectures and presentation from our team of experts, get to know your fellow expeditioners, stay active at the gym or treat yourself to a massage in the wellness centre.
Day 7 Jan Mayen
The approach to Jan Mayen is spectacular. The huge 2,277-metre (7,470 foot) Beerenberg volcano is the northernmost active volcano in the world, and it last erupted 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 favourable, 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 weather station Olonkinbyen, situated on the eastern side of the island. We hope to land on front of the Norwegian station at Olonkinbyen, stop to visit the weather station before embarking on a three-hour hike (weather permitting) to the other side of the Island where our vessel will be waiting for us in Kvalrossbukta, and our trusty Zodiacs will transport us back to the ship.
Days 8-9 At Sea
The sea around Jan Mayen offers excellent whale-watching opportunities (bottlenose, fin, and perhaps bowhead whales in the pack ice). Sail towards Svalbard, searching for the ice edge as we continue north, retracing the route of Dutch explorer Willem Barents who discovered Spitsbergen and the Barents Sea, named after him. It is breeding season for the harp seals, and we hope to see them breeding on sea ice. As we approach Svalbard, our focus will be on spotting polar bears hunting on the pack ice.
Days 10-12 Svalbard Archipelago
Svalbard offers Arctic wilderness at its best. The members of our experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to tailor our day-to-day itinerary, choosing the best options, based on the prevailing weather, sea-ice conditions and the possibility of encounters with wildlife.
Phenomenal fjords, magnificent mountains ranges, and a polar desert rich in fossils, set the stage for heroic tales of early exploration. See walrus hauled-out on sea ice or on beaches. On land, we stretch our legs on walks across tundra carpeted in brightly coloured wildflowers. We visit towering cliffs noisy with nesting guillemots, and scree slopes that hold Svalbard’s largest little auk colonies. Most memorable will be encounters with the majestic polar bear on pack ice. Your expedition team is just as keen as you are to find them – they will be on constant watch to spot these inspiring creatures.
If you have chosen an optional activity such as kayaking, you will have an opportunity to enjoy that activity when conditions allow. For those who are enthusiastic to participate in a polar plunge, as soon as conditions are suitable, you will hear the announcement to prepare for an exhilarating dip – a memory you will savour for years to come.
Day 13 Disembarkation
During the early morning we sail into Longyearbyen. Farewell your expedition team, before further enjoying explorations of fascinating Longyearbyen to learn the town’s history, its geology, flora, fauna and the modern community that call the place home. Visit Svalbard Museum and Galleri Svalbard, Office of the Governor, Svalbard Church, Nybyen (new town), some of the town’s mines including Santa Claus Mine, and make a quick photo stop at the famous beware of polar bear street sign. Afterwards, transfer to the airport to continue your journey.
Note: At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing Longyearbyen prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.
Introducing our new ship, the Sylvia Earle
A floating ambassador for the planet
On our new purpose-built ship, the Sylvia Earle, connect with like-minded travellers in a meaningful way on perspective-altering voyages to some of the most remote, unique and spectacular places on the planet.
The Sylvia Earle is a floating ambassador for the conservation of the planet. Paying tribute to Dr. Sylvia Earle and six pioneering conservationists with public decks honouring their contributions and shining a light on their important conservation causes.
Certified 100% Climate Neutral, with a fully equipped Citizen Science Centre, expert lectures and participative Citizen science programs, to enrich your knowledge and connection to the places we travel to.
The Sylvia Earle is a comfortable base camp for adventure. With a maximum of 132 expeditioners, our aim is to get you off ship experiencing the natural environment as much as possible and our smaller groups also mean we can tread lightly, making a positive impact to the environment.
Each of the vessel’s public decks bear the names of six pioneering female conservationists – Dr. Carden Wallace AM, Joanna Ruxton, Sharon Kwok, Bernadette Demientieff, Dr. Asha de Vos and Hanli Prinsloo – along with a deck dedicated to Dr. Earle herself. The scientists are inspiring leaders in their fields, and as part of the deck theming, will educate our expeditioners on the impressive and important conservation work they continue to do. Find out more about these talented women in conservation.