Encounter Shetland ponies roaming verdant landscapes. Go back in time at Skara Brae, a 5,000-year-old stone-slab village on Orkney and see the mysterious standing stones of the Ring of Brodgar. Walk with a historian through Jarlshof archaeological site, a complex of ancient settlements spanning 4,000 years of human history. Meet the welcoming islanders who call the scenic Faroes home. Observe incredible birdlife—massive puffin colonies in the Faroes and Grimsey, and on the Cliffs of Noss, thousands of murres and kittiwakes. Experience a near circumnavigation of the geologic wonders of Iceland.
• Discover Orkney Islands & Shetland Islands
• Explore Faroe Islands
• Enjoy Iceland & Norway
Bergen is one of the major cities of the powerful Hanseatic League. Hansa merchants operated in the historic Bryggens Wharf area, filled with wooden buildings from the Middle Ages. (Day 2: D)
Enjoy a morning at sea, then see the standing stones at the Ring of Brodgar and the stoneslab village of Skara Brae. Step into the world of the Vikings at the red sandstone cathedral of St. Magnus, built in 1137. (B,L,D)
Our ship glides past the towering bird cliffs of Noss for views of murres and kittiwakes. Visit the Jarlshof archaeological site and see the famous Shetland ponies. (B,L,D)
The rugged Faroese are proud of their Viking ancestry, reflected in their ancient language and love of the sea. In Tórshavn, wooden boats bob at anchor in the harbor and harken back to Viking times. Visit the natural history museumand the Kirkjubøur archaeological site, a medieval farming and religious center. (B,L,D)
Today we continue our explorations of the Faroe Islands by visiting northern Streymoy, with its historic settlements and Viking graves. (B,L,D)
Tranquil Mykines is known for its overwhelming number of puffins. Visit the nesting grounds, where thousands of birds take off and land. Continue to the tiny lighthouse, then stroll through the village of turf-roofed houses. (B,L,D)
Dock in Djúpivogur and drive down the coast to explore the vast Vatnajökull icecap. Get close views of the deep blue icebergs in Jökulsárlón ice lagoon. (B,L,D)
Enjoy a morning at sea as we sail northward to the land of the midnight sun, going ashore in the evening at the tiny island of Grimsey. Home to nesting sea birds, it lies exactly on the Arctic Circle. (B,L,D)
Drive to Lake Mývatn, the most geologically active area in Iceland. See the mud pools at Hverarond and the unforgettable sight of Goðafoss, the waterfall of the gods. Visit the explosion crater at Viti. Drive to Akureyri with its beautiful period houses, backed by snow-capped mountains. (B,L,D)
Located in the Westfjords, the tiny town of Ísafjördur is surrounded by water on three sides and is a great place to view the stunning fjord landscape and photograph tiny flowering plants. (B,L,D)
Cruise past the immense Látrabjarg cliffs, the westernmost point of Iceland and home to a huge population of razorbills. Continue to Flatey Island, a trading post for many centuries. Walk around the charming hamlet that grew here. (B,L,D)
The Westman Islands were formed by undersea volcanoes and are among the youngest of the world’s archipelagos. Surtsey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was created in 1963 and 10 years later, Heimaey was threatened by lava flows that nearly closed off its harbor. Visit the crater where the earth is still hot and see areas that were engulfed by lava. (B,L,D)
Today we disembark in Reykjavík with options to visit either the famous Blue Lagoon thermal baths or the hot springs, geothermal power plant and a horse farm, prior to our flight home. (B,L)
All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.
Main Deck with one or two Portholes #301-308
Main Deck with Window #317-320, 335-336
Main Deck with Window #313-316, 321-328, 337-340, 342, 344, 346, 348, 350 Triples: Main Deck with WIndow #341, 343
Upper and Veranda Decks with Window #103-104, 107-108, 201-202, 204-207, 210, 212, 217, 226, 228
Solo A Main Deck with Window #309-312, 329-334
Solo B Upper and Veranda Decks with Window #105-106, 203, 208
Upper Deck with Balcony #209, 211, 214, 216, 218, 220-222, 224
Veranda Deck–Suite #101-102; Upper Deck-Suite with Balcony #213 Triples: #101-102
Upper Deck–Suite with Balcony #215, 219, 230 All cabins are available as triples.
National Geographic Explorer
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 108 meters
Passenger Capacity: 148 (single & twin cabins)
Built / Refurbished: 1982 / 2008
National Geographic Explorer is a state-of-the-art expedition ship. It is a fully stabilized, ice-class vessel, enabling it to navigate polar passages while providing exceptional comfort. It carries kayaks and a fleet of Zodiac landing craft. An Undersea Specialist operates a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and sophisticated video equipment, extending access to the underwater world.
Public areas: Bistro Bar; Chart Room; Restaurant; Global Gallery; Library, Lounge with full service bar and state-of-the-art facilities for films, slideshows and presentations; Mud Room with lockers for expedition gear, and Observation Lounge. Our “Open Bridge” provides guests an opportunity to meet our Officers and Captain and learn about navigation.
Meals: Served in single seatings with unassigned tables for an informal atmosphere and easy mingling. Menu is international with local flair.
Cabins: All cabins face outside with windows or portholes, private facilities and climate controls.
Expedition Equipment: Zodiac landing craft, kayaks, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), hydrophone, SplashCam, underwater video camera, Crow’s Nest remote controlled camera, video microscope, snorkeling gear.
Special Features: A full-time doctor, Undersea Specialist, LEX Photo Specialist and Video Chronicler, Internet Cafe and laundry.
Wellness: The vessel is staffed by two Wellness Specialists and features a glass enclosed Fitness Center, outdoor stretching area, two LEXspa treatment rooms and Sauna.