From the wild shores of Northern Norway to the bird cliffs of Bear Island to Svalbard's fantastic Bell Sund fjord system, this wildlife-centered expedition gives you the best of both the lower and higher Arctic. You might encounter blue whales, harp seals, kittiwakes, and many more memorable residents of the far north as you explore some of Earth's most dramatically sculpted scenery.


Highlights


• Zodiac Cruising & Shore Program

• Shore-Based Walking

• Hornsund

• Ahlstrandhalvøya

• Bear Island

• Fin Whale

• Minke Whale

• Brünnich's Guillemot

We board the vessel at midday in the Dutch port town of Vlissingen, headed north. Far north.
Crossing the North Sea and sailing by Dogger Bank, we stand an excellent chance of spotting minke whales, white-beaked dolphins, and harbour porpoises. Several other cetaceans, including orcas (killer whales), might also be seen in these waters.
We continue north along the Norwegian coast, sometimes close to shore and sometimes more distant. During these days at sea, keep a close lookout for spouts of water that may announce the arrival of minke, fin, orca, or blue whales. Especially near the famous fishing grounds of Fröya and Sklinna Banken, we have a decent chance of spotting these species. As we progress farther into the northern latitudes, you will notice the daylight lasting longer and longer.
Passing the Arctic Circle and sailing by Skomvaer and Røst, we may see several species of large bird around the mountains of southern Lofoten. Meanwhile we’ll sail among a multitude of small islands in the Norwegian municipality of Bodø, the center of the Nordland province, not far from the famous strait of Saltstraumen. More passengers will join our voyage in Bodø.
Today we sail close to the islands of Andøya and Bleiksøya, where we can see a beautiful seabird colony before positioning our ship. We’ll stop at the head of a submarine canyon roughly 10 km (6.2 miles) west of the northern end of Andøya. In this active area, sperm whales are known to emerge from depths of up to 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) after half an hour underwater.
As we look for more whales and seabirds, we sail north into the Barents Sea. Here we get into the low Arctic waters, where the weather and sea can sometimes be rough. But the conditions will be worth it, as we should still be able to see many birds on their migration to the islands of Svalbard.
We arrive at the southeastern end of Bear Island, a great place for viewing large seabird colonies. The nearby nesting cliffs are part of an extensive nature reserve where large ships are not allowed to sail. But with our Zodiacs, we might be able to cruise near colonies made up chiefly of Brünnichs guillemots and kittiwakes. Afterward we’ll sail northeast into Sorhamna, where we can get even closer to the seabird cliffs. Just north of this, in Kvalrossbukta, we will see the remains of a whaling station from early in the previous century. We might also make a landing in a shallow valley and look for (at a safe distance) great skuas, large seabirds known to be fiercely territorial. As we continue north along the east side of Bear Island, we may encounter dazzling shoals of drift ice.
Today we sail along and through sea ice drifting with the east Spitsbergen current. Near Sørkapp we may sail into Storfjorden to the east of Spitsbergen, where we have a good chance of seeing harp seals from the White Sea molting and lounging on the sea ice. Bearded seal sightings are also possible here, and the ice edge is a good area to look for fin whales.
If the sea ice is favorable, we’ll start the day by cruising the side fjords of the Hornsund area, taking in all the towering peaks: Hornsundtind rises 1,431 meters (4,695 feet), and Bautaen is a perfect illustration of why early Dutch explorers named the island Spitsbergen, meaning “pointed mountains.” There are 14 sizable glaciers in this spot as well as opportunities for spotting seals, beluga whales, and polar bears.
Today we’ll continue to Bell Sund, one of the largest fjord systems in Svalbard. The ocean currents make this area slightly warmer than other areas in the archipelago, which leads to relatively lush vegetation. Here there are excellent opportunities to enjoy both history and wildlife. A possibility is Ahlstrandhalvøya, at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden, where piles of beluga skeletons can be found. These remains of 19th-century whale slaughter are a sad reminder of unrestrained exploitation. Fortunately, belugas were not hunted into extinction, and we have a good chance of coming across a pod. As an alternative, we might cruise the side fjords of Bellsund, exploring tundra where reindeer like to feed and rock slopes where little auks often nest.
Every adventure, no matter how great, must eventually come to an end. We disembark in Longyearbyen, taking home memories that will accompany us wherever the next journey lies. But if you’re still craving additional chances to spot polar bears, stay on board for our seven-night North Spitsbergen voyage, “in search of polar bears & pack ice.”
All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. Landings are subject to site availabilities, permissions, and environmental concerns per AECO regulations. Official sailing plans and landing slots are scheduled with AECO prior to the start of the season, but the expedition leader determines the final plan. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. The average cruising speed of our vessel is 10.5 knots.

Quadruple Porthole

$3,000 USD pp
Quadruple Porthole
2 portholes 2 upper / lower berths Private shower & toilet Desk & chair Flatscreen TV Telephone & WiFi (supplemented) Hair dryer Ample storage space

Twin Porthole

$4,200 USD pp
Twin Porthole
2 portholes 2 lower berths Private shower & toilet Desk & chair Flatscreen TV Telephone & WiFi (supplemented) Hair dryer Ample storage space

Triple Porthole

$4,200 USD pp
Triple Porthole
2 portholes 1 upper / lower berth + 1 single lower berth Private shower & toilet Desk & chair Flatscreen TV Telephone & WiFi (supplemented) Hair dryer Ample storage space

Twin Window

$4,500 USD pp
Twin Window
2 windows 2 lower berths Private shower & toilet Desk & chair Flatscreen TV Telephone & WiFi (supplemented) Hair dryer Ample storage space

Twin Deluxe

$4,800 USD pp
Twin Deluxe
3 windows 2 lower berths Private shower & toilet Desk & chair Small sofa Refrigerator Coffee & tea maker Flatscreen TV Telephone & WiFi (supplemented) Hair dryer Ample storage space

Superior

$5,400 USD pp
Superior
2 windows (minimum) 1 double bed 1 single (sofa) bed Private shower & toilet Desk & chair Flatscreen TV Telephone & WiFi (supplemented) Refrigerator Coffee & tea maker Hair dryer Ample storage space

Ortelius

Vessel Type: Expediton

Length: 91m

Passenger Capacity: 108-123

Built / Refurbished : 1989 / 2015

The vessel has the highest ice-class notation (UL1, equivalent to 1A) and is therefor suitable to navigate in solid one-year sea ice as well as loose multi-year pack ice. Ortelius can accommodate up to 116-123 passengers (108 passengers as of season Arctic 2020) and has an abundance of open-deck spaces. It is manned by 22 highly experienced nautical crew members, 19 hotel staff, eight expedition specialists (one expedition leader, one assistant, and six lecturer-guides), and one doctor.

Though our voyages are primarily meant to offer our passengers an exploratory wildlife program with as much time ashore as possible, Ortelius offers all the comforts of a standard hotel ― along with a bar and lecture room. Flexibility assures maximum wildlife opportunities. As such, Ortelius carries 10 Zodiacs with 60hp Yamaha engines.

Cabin layout for Ortelius

Inclusions


• Voyage in selected accommodation category
• All meals while on board the ship
• Coffee and Tea while on board
• All shore excursions and landings by zodiac as per the itinerary
• Lectures held on board by Expedition Team and natuarlists
• Port Charges/Taxes
• Comprehensive Pre-departure materials

Exclusions


• International and domestic airfares whether commercial or charter
• Pre and Post-voyage accommodation
• Passport and visa costs if applicable
• Travel insurance including medical evacuation cover
• Beverages not listed in inclusions
• Any items of a personal nature including any medical costs incurred on board
• Meals when not on board the ship
• Gratuities (Recommended USD$15 per passenger per day)
Ortelius
Netherlands ExpeditionExpedition
12 Days from
$3,000 USD pp

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0800 945 3327

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1800 107 715

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