From Pole to Pole on an epic expedition of discovery
You’ll begin your 93-day expedition cruise in Reykjavik, Iceland, and sail across the Denmark Strait to Greenland, before crossing through the fabled Northwest Passage to the Canadian Arctic and Alaska. We’ll land at sites linked to early exploration history, visit Inuit communities and look out for Arctic wildlife, including seabirds, seals, whales and polar bears.
We’ll then turn south and cruise along the western seaboard of the United States. On landings and shore excursions, you’ll explore the national parks of the Pacific coast before taking in the warm seas and vibrant cultures of Mexico and Central America. In South America, you’ll visit ancient sites in Ecuador, Peru and Chile before witnessing the ethereal splendour of the Chilean fjords and Patagonia. Ending your expedition in style, you’ll spend four days amidst the pristine otherworldly beauty of Antarctica before returning to Ushuaia in Argentina.
Culture, nature, and learning
On this grand expedition cruise, you’ll experience the fantastic diversity of cultures and ecology of the Americas and Antarctica. Your hand-picked onboard Expedition Team will guide and inspire you throughout, ensuring your cruise will be an adventure to remember forever.
• Join us on a grand expedition cruise from the Arctic to Antarctica as we set out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience between the polar regions.
• Your basecamp at sea will be the comfortable and stylish MS Fridtjof Nansen, our state-of-the-art hybrid powered expedition ship.
Your adventure starts in Reykjavik, the northernmost capital in the world. Reykjavik is simultaneously traditional and cosmopolitan. This small city is the perfect size for a walking tour, packed full of art, culture and history.
Take a stroll along Laugavegur, the main shopping street, with its boutiques and outdoor shops. You might like to pick up some Icelandic knitwear, famous for its quality, style, and warmth. You can also head towards the architecturally striking Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral. Art lovers can visit the Reykjavik Art Museum, National Gallery and the many smaller galleries and museums dotting the city.
Stopping off at the National Museum, the Saga Museum and the Maritime Museum is sure to fill you in about Iceland’s history. And bring your swimsuit if you fancy a dip in one of the city’s 18 swimming pools, many with saunas and hot tubs.
The list of possibilities doesn’t end there. From Reykjavik, whose name actually means ‘Smoky Bay’ due to the rising steam from the surrounding geothermal features, you’ll be just hours away from geysers, glaciers, hot springs and waterfalls.
At Reykjavik harbour, MS Fritdjof Nansen awaits you. After you collect your complimentary expedition jacket and check-in, you’ll have time to settle in your cabin. There’s a mandatory safety drill just before departure after which you can walk around to explore the ship.
The welcome dinner in the evening ends with a toast by the Captain. You’ll then meet the Expedition Team and key members of the crew who’ll take you through an important health and safety briefing.
Arriving a few days earlier will allow you to explore this beautiful country in more depth. Why not book a two- or four-day Pre-Programme with us to Iceland’s famous Golden Circle? Highlights such as visiting Gullfoss waterfall and Thingvellir National Park, taking a dip in Iceland´s oldest swimming pool as well as hiking in unique, beautiful surroundings await you!
Ease into your adventure as you spend time at sea on your way towards Greenland and the Northwest Passage. The Denmark Strait is actually the site of the world’s largest waterfall... underwater! The mixture of warm and cold currents, plus strong winds means that the waters are sometimes a bit choppy.
Aboard the ship, you’ll have time to relax, get to know your fellow travellers, and check out the facilities. In the Science Center, the Expedition Team will begin a lecture programme on the wildlife and ecosystems of the Arctic, preparing you for the adventure ahead.
They’ll also talk you through important guidelines from AECO, the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators. You'll learn how we can protect wildlife habitats, keep a safe distance from animals, and visit Arctic communities in a dignified and respectful way.
Prince Christian Sound - Exploration
Get ready to witness some of the most stunning views on the planet in the Prince Christian Sound region. You’ll marvel at the maze of geological patterns in the rock faces and the bright white of the numerous glaciers. These slow-moving masses of ice grind their way from the enormous Greenlandic Ice Sheet and flow straight into the sound, calving white-blue icebergs of all sizes, shades, and shapes.
The sound isn’t always accessible, but when it is, you may be lucky enough to spot ringed seals and bearded seals on the ice and Glaucous Gulls and Black Guillemots nesting in the cliffs. Minke and humpback whales may make an appearance too, although they tend not to swim into the narrow stretches of the sound, preferring the wider sections at the entrance.
Ivittuut - Greenland
Do you like to visit ghost towns? Ivittuut is precisely that – a mining outpost of long-forgotten spectres, some old and some even older. Once a busy cryolite mining station, the only inhabitants you might see in Ivittuut nowadays are wandering muskoxen grazing the overgrown grass around the abandoned buildings.
Ivittuut is believed to have been the last Viking settlement in Greenland but was also the first to be abandoned. The town also played an important role during WWII due to its deposits of rare cryolite used in the construction of aircraft.
Wander around these eerie yet photogenic ruins today and you’ll see decaying structures and scattered, rusting machinery, with the abandoned buildings and lonely cemetery contrasting starkly with the surrounding natural beauty.
Nuuk - Greenland
Nuuk is located at the mouth of a system of spectacular fjords and mountains. Founded in 1728, it’s Greenland’s oldest settlement. Although the nation’s capital is classed as a city, fewer than 17,000 people call it home.
Today Nuuk is a place where old and new traditions meet, from the picturesque old buildings dotting the edge of the fjord, to the ultra-modern architecture of the Greenlandic Parliament and the wave-shaped Katuaq Cultural Centre inspired by the Northern Lights. Discover the fascinating culture here, or marvel at the coastal scenery on a hike through Paradise Valley.
After Nuuk, we’ll set sail across the Davis Strait towards Canada and the fabled Northwest Passage.
It’s now time for us to attempt to make a complete transit of the Northwest Passage. The earliest attempts to navigate this seaway go as far back as 1497. James Cook attempted it in 1776 and many are familiar with the ill-fated Franklin expedition of 1845. The first to conquer the Northwest Passage by ship was Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen on an expedition that lasted from 1903 to 1906.
Now, aboard our state-of-the-art expedition ship MS Fridtjof Nansen, you’ll enter the Northwest Passage on your own adventure, aiming to sail through to Alaska.
During your journey, we’ll land at sites that are linked to early exploration history, visit Inuit communities, and hope to spot Arctic wildlife such as polar bears, whales, seals, and a range of seabirds.
There will also be opportunities for small boat cruising between ice floes, and in true expedition style we’ll go ashore and experience this pristine wilderness up close and personal.
The ship’s Captain and Expedition Leader will continuously assess the current weather and sea conditions, adapt activities accordingly, and adjust the itinerary to where the sea ice allows us to go. Like all good explorers, we respect and work with nature, not against it.
Here are some of the places in the region that we hope to explore together during landings and short walks, if wind, waves, and sea ice allow:
Called 'Mittimatalik' in Inuktitut, it means ‘the place where the landing place is’. This is a traditional Inuit community on Baffin Island, boasting views of Eclipse Sound and the mountains of Bylot Island. It is also known as a great place to see narwhal - the unicorn of the sea.
Welcome to the largest uninhabited island on Earth. The only signs of human life are found at the long-abandoned settlement of Dundas Harbour along with several archaeological sites from the Thule period.
This is the final resting place for three members of the lost Franklin expedition which sailed into the Northwest Passage in 1845 but never returned. It is customary for explorers in the region to stop and pay their respects at the graves, as Roald Amundsen did in 1903.
An abandoned Hudson’s Bay Trading post located at the southern end of Somerset Island. The storehouse here is still used as a shelter by occasional travellers, with bunk beds and shelves of canned goods.
Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen wintered at this hamlet in 1903 on the expedition the ‘haven’ is named after. During his time here, he learnt crucial survival skills from the local Nesilik Inuit. This knowledge would later give him the upper hand in his famous race to the South Pole in 1911. There is an informative walking tour, Heritage Centre, and Hamlet Centre dedicated to the history and culture of the area.
Located on Victoria Island, this is the largest stop for vessels traversing the Northwest Passage. It is also called ‘Iqaluktuuttiaq', or ‘A Good Fishing Place’ due to the Ekalluk River which attracts Arctic char, muskoxen, and caribou.
Many in the 500-strong community are involved in the local artists' co-op, producing prints, tapestries, and other crafts. This is also the location of the world's northernmost golf course which plays host to a tournament each summer.
We continue into the Amundsen Gulf, where we hope to observe the remarkable and colourful Smoking Hills - an amazing sight, with smoke billowing from the cliffs on the east coast of Cape Bathurst. Lignite – a combination of eroded shale and pyrite – spontaneously ignites when exposed to air, creating this photogenic phenomenon.
After smoking hills, reflect on your incredible journey through the Northwest Passage, while scanning for bowhead whales and grey whales as we pass into the Chukchi Sea and the waters surrounding Northern Alaska. We’ll pass through the Bering Strait, with the USA to the east, and Russia to the West as we make our way towards Nome.
Situated on the Seward Peninsula, Nome’s name went down in Alaska history the day the ‘Three Lucky Swedes’ discovered gold in Anvil Creek in 1898. Prospectors soon flocked from the Yukon and from San Francisco in steamers. Even the famous sheriff Wyatt Earp followed the call of gold and opened a saloon here. You can see evidence of the Gold Rush era everywhere, including abandoned dredges, turn-of-the-century steam engines, and old railroad tracks. Cries of ‘Gold! Gold!’ can still be heard today by those foraging on the banks of the Snake River and elsewhere in the area.
Keep an eye on the waters here for humpback whales. As the ship sails through the Bering Strait, look to the skies to spot a range of sea birds. This is also the International Date Line, so you’ll have ‘tomorrow’ on your left and ‘today’ to the right.
St Matthew Island
St. Matthew Island lies halfway across the Bering Sea, between Russia and the USA. Coming ashore on its black sand beaches, we’ll be the only humans on the isle.
Separated from the nearest village by more than 200 miles, this is probably the single most isolated place in Alaska. And that’s saying something given how sparsely populated the state is to begin with.
The windswept island of St. Paul is the largest of the Pribilof Islands. The only inhabitants huddle in the village of St. Paul with a population of 480 residents. Close to 90% are indigenous Aleuts, representing the largest Aleut community in the USA.
As part of the strong Aleut heritage here, there are historical sites that showcase the remains of barabaras, traditional semi-subterranean Aleut houses made from soil. The unique design allowed for the abode to be less exposed to the strong winds of the Bering Sea and for the ground to act as natural insulation to keep in the heat.
The small town of Dutch Harbor is one of the most important fishing ports in America. Steeped in history, the port is home to the Museum of the Aleutians, the Aleutian World War II National Historic Area as well as the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, which dates back to 1896. Approximately 600 Bald Eagles ,along with some 40-50 million seabirds such as Puffins, Cormorants, and Kittiwakes inhabit the region around Dutch Harbor.
Unga Village is a picturesque, abandoned town on the southern end of uninhabited Unga Island in the remote Aleutian Islands. Settled by Aleuts in 1833, subsistence fishing proved insufficient to support the community, which had all but moved by 1969. Today, a collection of wooden buildings is all that remains, surrounded by a carpet of pink lousewort and fireweed flowers.
The small village of Chignik is a prime example of a typical Alaskan fishing settlement. Red salmon fishing has been the core of the community’s economy for over a century. Stop in for a look at the fish factory and meet the welcoming locals, or explore the salmon streams in the scenic surroundings. Around 20 waterfowl species inhabit the area, so see if you can see them, and be sure to look up to the skies to spot Bald Eagles.
Katmai National Park
Witness a park four million acres in size, with over a dozen active volcanos, and the location of the dramatic Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. In 1912, this was the site of one of the most devastating volcanic eruptions ever recorded in modern times.
We’ll spend the day cruising and looking for bears from deck or from our small expedition boats at one of three possible sites in the park, each of which are known for their communities of brown bears. In fact, Katmai National Park is synonymous with excellent bear watching, and has a population of protected grizzlies numbering more than 2,000.
The bustling fishing port of Kodiak sits on the eastern shore of Kodiak Island. The surrounding spruce forest and grassland here have inspired the nickname ‘Emerald Isle’. At 3,670 square miles and over 100 miles in length, this is the largest island in Alaska, and the second largest in the U.S. after Hawaii.
The best-known park here is the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, covering two-thirds of the island. There’s a range of habitats here, from mountains to meadows, which are home to the island’s most famous residents, some 3,500 Kodiak brown bears.
The three prominent glaciers of Guyot, Yahtse, and Tyndall feed vast chunks of floating ice into the waters of the bay. Our aim will be to visit the 34-mile-long and 8-mile-wide Guyot Glacier, although this depends on local weather conditions.
You’ll hopefully be able to go ashore as near to the glacier as is safe or explore the waters in a kayak as part of an optional excursion. As ever, we’ll be on the lookout for all the awesome wildlife that abounds in the Gulf of Alaska, including humpback whales, orcas, Stellar sea lions, sea otters, harbour seals and more.
Situated on Baranof Island on the outer coast of the Inside Passage, Sitka can only be reached by sea or by air. Tongass National Forest surrounds the town – the largest temperate rainforest in the world, and a local highlight is the 107-acre Sitka National Historic Park. With a history of settlement dating back over 10,000 years, Sitka is a place where ancient culture can still be felt. Tlingit traditions remain strong, existing side by side with Russian and American influences.
You’ll really feel like you’re stepping back in time at Wrangell, one of Alaska’s oldest and most historic island towns. Surrounded by the beautiful scenery at the mouth of Stikine River and beneath Mount Dewey, you’ll get back to nature on one of the local trails that takes you to the edge of the rainforest.
Misty Fjords National Monument is nothing short of spectacular. Part of the two million acres of Tongass National Forest, this is a pristine coastal wilderness of evergreen trees, deep fjords and majestic snow-capped peaks.
Sailing South, we make our way towards the narrow channels of Canada’s Inside Passage. Navigating through the thousands of islands of the Pacific Northwest, we’ll make our way to the city of Vancouver, where the next part of your journey will begin.
Set amidst beautiful mountain scenery and the waters of English Bay, Vancouver is both a bustling seaport and a cosmopolitan city.
Its various neighbourhoods buzz with world-class restaurants. Chinatown and Punjabi Market have arguably some of the best Asian food in North America while Commercial Drive is the home of Little Italy.
Don’t miss Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood. Gastown’s Victorian buildings house some of the hottest restaurants and its 547 ft high Vancouver Lookout also offers a perfect panorama over the city.
You can take in the neon lights and nightlife along the Granville Street strip or just go and chill on one of the beaches in West End. The latter is also the gateway to explore the wide-open spaces and towering red cedars of Stanley Park.
Scenic Cruising in the San Juan Islands
Today, we’ll cruise around the ecological haven of the San Juan Islands. These rugged islands form an archipelago between the US state of Washington and Canada’s Vancouver Island, and they’re a world class destination for spotting marine wildlife. What could be better than sitting on deck and gazing at these pine covered islands with a backdrop of mountain peaks in the distance?
Olympic National Park
We anchor up today at the small seaport of Port Angeles for a day of mountain exploration. We’ll explore the sub-alpine region of Olympic National Park and take you to the mountainous area of Hurricane Ridge. From here, you’ll have the option to go on a guided hike through the park where you’ll discover its rich and varied flora and fauna.
There will be plenty of bird watching opportunities along the way, and you may even come across Roosevelt elk, which are indigenous to the area, as are black bears.
Redwood National Park
Today we’ll anchor at Eureka and go on an included excursion to the incredible Redwood National Park, an International Biosphere Reserve. With some of the old-growth giant redwoods over 330 ft tall, you’ll see why the world’s tallest trees are often called ‘nature’s skyscrapers’. Certain trees here are over 1,500 years old, living testaments to the success of a well-supported conservation project that saved these ancient giants from the lumberjack’s saw.
Situated between the fertile vineyards of the Santa Ynez mountains and the pristine Pacific coast beaches, Santa Barbara is all about old style Spanish charm in a Golden State setting. For over a decade, the city housed the world’s largest movie studio of silent film, until the business grew too big and they took it all to Hollywood.
The Santa Barbara Mission church is a great place from which to start exploring. You can admire the beautiful Spanish-era buildings, browse the shops along terracotta-tiled State Street and wander around the alluring Mission Rose Garden.
At Stearns Wharf, California’s oldest pier, take in views of the Pacific and grab some homemade ice cream. If you’ve time, chill out in one of the many excellent restaurants and bars. This could be combined with a spot of wine tasting from a local vineyard – after all, the city is famed for its wines.
On our way to or from Santa Barbara, don’t miss the opportunity to look out for whales from deck when we sail through the surrounding Channel Islands.
Welcome to ‘America’s Finest City’ and California’s ‘Beach City’! With its heady mix of diverse urban sophistication, laidback surfer vibe, and year-round sunshine, San Diego has it all.
You can spend your day enjoying some fun in the sun and water sports at one of the many beaches. Or you can take a trolley car tour and explore Downtown, from the historic Gaslamp Quarter to the waterfront of San Diego Bay.
We wave goodbye to the US as we sail south along the Baja California coast to Cabo San Lucas.
Our onboard lecture programme continues, offering up a wide range of interesting subjects for you to learn about. Hone your expedition photography skills out on deck as you scout for wildlife and seabirds. If the weather allows, you can join our yoga and meditation programme or relax in the Wellness Centre at your leisure.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Situated at the southern tip of Baja California where the Sea of Cortés meets the Pacific Ocean, Los Cabos peninsula is a mixture of desert and coastal landscapes. With its stunning beaches and azure waters, Cabo San Lucas has long been the resort of choice among Hollywood stars and wealthy holidaymakers. It has a reputation as a party town, where you can frolic in the sea all day and enjoy the lively bar scene.
Situated along Bahía de Banderas, Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico's premier coastal destinations. The town is vibrant and full of personality, while the beaches and marine life offer plenty of nature and watersport options. Downtown in El Malecón, the seafront boardwalk buzzes with activity. Stop to admire street performers as you peruse the many stands selling souvenirs and cold refreshments like jalisco tejuino - a regional drink made of fermented corn - and agua frescas.
Puerto Vallarta is a great place to pick up local Mexican handicrafts like colourful bags, silver jewellery, wooden toys and leather goods, but expect to enjoy a friendly haggle.
We spend the day in Huatulco, home to nine scenic bays, 36 pristine beaches, sheltered coves, and a range of eco-lodges and beach resorts.
The National Park covers three of the nine bays and several ecosystems including deciduous forest, mangroves, savanna, wetlands and coral reefs. The park is home to over 700 plant species, 130 mammals, 300 bird species, and more than 80 types of reptile and amphibians, making it a dream for nature lovers, birdwatchers and photographers alike.
We arrive at Puerto Chiapas in Mexico. This is the main port connected to the bustling commercial centre of Tapachula about 30 minutes’ drive inland. The fertile soil of the Soconusco province is famed for producing coffee, bananas, cacao and sugar cane.
Thanks to the region’s reputation for premium coffee and cocoa plantations, immigrant German, Chinese, and French workers flocked here and their influence is visible, especially in the city. Chinese cuisine has merged with regional Mayan, Mestizo, and Spanish cultures and you might find a few fusion dishes have made their way to Puerto Chiapas’ restaurants from Tapachula’s little Chinatown.
We dock at Acajutla, El Salvador’s main seaport to export coffee, sugar and balsam of Peru. Originally a Mayan village, there are hints of its history at ruins near the port. Aside from that, you can enjoy the comfortable atmosphere here, treasure hunting in the shops and strolling the dark sand beaches.
Harbour restaurants will be happy to serve you great seafood and introduce you to typical Salvadoran dishes. Order a pupusa, the national dish of El Salvador; it’s a corn tortilla filled with either cheese, pork or beans and topped with sour cabbage salad and tomato sauce. Don’t forget to try some of the local coffee too – the region is famous for it.
An hour’s shuttle bus ride from Puerto Corinto is the former capital of Nicaragua, León. With its large student population, León is a cosmopolitan and vibrant city and considered the intellectual and liberal centre of the country. Walk through the streets and immerse yourself in the animated chatter emanating from local coffee houses and bars.
San Juan del Sur
The southern Pacific beach town of San Juan del Sur is located on a pretty horseshoe bay with pleasing mountain views. This once-sleepy fishing village has grown in popularity as Nicaragua’s surfing destination hub. It’s known for its dark sand beaches, rolling green hills, colourful Victorian-era clapboard houses, fresh seafood restaurants, and laid-back surfer lifestyle.
Lie back and relax on the beach soaking up the sun and people watching. A short walk from the town will lead you to a spectacular 1,500-year-old petroglyph, with a carved depiction of a hunting scene on a large rock. Enjoy an hour-long hike up to Cristo de la Misericordia, a towering 82 ft tall statue of Jesus where you’ll be rewarded with picturesque views over the town and beach. Your included activity for this day is a bus tour of the city of Granada.
Arrive in Puntarenas, a city on a needle-like strip of land on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. City slickers from San José normally nip to Puntarenas for the day to get their fix of relaxed coastal life and fresh ocean air. While it’s still an active fishing port, Puntarenas mainly acts as a transit point for people on their way elsewhere in the region, such as the white-sand beaches of Nicoya Peninsula or the waterfall-rich Tortuga Island.
Quepos, Costa Rica
You’ll find that the town of Quepos and its surroundings are filled with plenty of things to see and do. The many boats in the pretty Marina Pez Vela cater for big game sport fishing that Quepos is synonymous with.
The big attraction of Quepos though is its proximity to Manuel Antonio National Park. This is one of the most popular national parks in Costa Rica and ranks in the Forbes list of top 12 most beautiful national parks in the world.
The park boasts impressive views of mountains, mangroves, lagoons, beaches, and tropical forest. With 350 species of birds and 109 species of mammals, it’s often described as an ‘outdoor zoo’ by visitors. Following the breathtaking Perezoso trail, you can hope to spot scarlet macaws, toucans, hawks, four species of monkey, sloths, iguanas and armadillos.
Golfito, Costa Rica
The relaxed town of Golfito sits sheltered in the blissfully beautiful Golfito Bay, which in turn lies within the larger Golfo Dulce. You can enjoy the views from seaside marinas or better yet, take the scenic hiking trails that go up into the wildlife refuge on the hill and beyond to Piedras Blancas National Park.
As you explore the lush rainforest, you’ll come across pretty waterfalls and possibly spy toucans, macaws, the blue morpho butterfly, anteaters, sloths, mantled howler monkeys and more. The calm waters around the bay also make it ideal to tour the local mangroves and visit isolated beaches via kayak as part of an optional excursion.
MS Fridtjof Nansen will bring us across the Equator early in the morning, and you can join a traditional ceremony on board in which we seek King Neptune’s blessing.
Setting foot on South American soil, our first port of call is Montecristi, located five miles inland from the tuna-fishing port city of Manta. This town was established in the 16th century by Manteños – indigenous Ecuadoreans – seeking respite from the frequent pirate raids on the coast. Montecristi, is actually the birthplace of traditional Panama hats, despite the name.
Puerto Bolivar (Machala), Ecuador
Machala’s main claim to fame is Puerto Bolivar, an important port for the export of coffee, cocoa, shrimp and bananas, which the locals call oro verde – ‘green gold’ – due to so many of them growing in this region. The nearby Puyango Petrified Forest has one of the largest collections of fossilized trees in the world, thought to be about 100 million years old.
Buffeted by the Pacific’s wind and waves, Salaverry can be a tricky port to access. If we are able to land there, it’ll be a good starting point to explore Trujillo, Peru’s third-largest city, as well as the array of pre-Colombian archaeological sites scattered throughout the region.
Set on a strip of desert between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains is the Peruvian capital Lima. Served by the seaport of Callao, Lima is the largest city in the country and appears as a modern, sprawling metropolis where traditions and modernity swirl together to create a heady cocktail of culture and cuisine. In contrast to this modern metropolis, the fascinating and enigmatic adobe clay ruins of the Huaca Pucllana and Huaca Huallamarca ceremonial pyramids are all that remains of a long-lost ancient culture.
Nestled on a bay behind a peninsula, the humble and sleepy resort town of Paracas is surrounded by brown-coloured cliffs and lovely beaches. Opposite Paracas harbour is a mysterious local geoglyph carved into the landscape of a candelabra-like symbol, the origin and meaning of which remains a mystery. It could be related to the famous Nazca Lines which you can visit in the Pisco Valley a short drive away to the south as part of an optional excursion.
Unusual for a city by the sea, Arica is bathed in glorious sunshine almost every day of the year and residents proudly describe the place as being immersed in a never-ending spring. Check out the eye-popping San Marcos Cathedral, designed by Gustave Eiffel of Parisian tower fame, and inaugurated in 1876.
Welcome to a slice of paradise by the Pacific, complete with palm trees and beach promenades. Our main plan here is a visit to the nearby abandoned saltpetre mining town of Humberstone in the Atacama Desert, an UNESCO site, and a piece of history you can literally walk through.
La Serena, Chile
Set beside the ocean, La Serena is blessed with beautiful sandy beaches all along Avenida del Mar and beyond. You’ll find that Chile’s second-oldest city has a distinct neo-colonial look and feel to it. Modern buildings sit interspersed with classic architecture, such as the 30 or so carefully restored stone churches, some of which are around 350 years old.
Known as UNESCO's ‘Jewel of the Pacific’, this World Heritage listed city is a maze of monuments, churches, historical funicular cable cars, trendy neighbourhoods, cobblestone alleys, colourful houses, and charming plazas.
We have made it as far as Patagonia. In Castro, bring your camera to snap the brightly painted palafitos. These are the traditional wooden stilt houses lining the edge of the fjord at Gamboa Wharf. The nearby UNESCO-listed Church of San Francisco is a masterpiece of carpentry made entirely of wood in the neo-Gothic style.
The tiny hamlet of Puerto Eden sits on a bay and is part of a remote peninsula that juts out into a fjord in the province of Última Esperanza – meaning ‘Last Hope’. From here there’s access to the exceptional landscapes of Bernardo O'Higgins National Park – Chile’s largest protected area, comprising a stunning network of peaceful fjords and gorgeous forest-mantled mountains. There are no roads to, from or even within this isolated village, just boardwalks and footpaths that connect the homes of its less-than 200 inhabitants.
Take in the breathtaking views of the southern Andes as we arrive at Puerto Natales. The city is an entry point to Torres del Paine National Park, which attracts hikers and climbers from all over the world. Aside from a full-day optional excursion to the national park, you can also spend some time leisurely exploring Puerto Natales on foot. This sleepy city is a mix of Bohemian bars, shops selling outdoor gear, corrugated tin houses, and eateries serving up global cuisine.
We’ll cruise amongst the fabled fjords and multitude of islands found within Chile’s rugged Magallanes Province, where jagged mountains reach for the sky. Then we’ll pass through the western part of the Strait of Magellan, named after the famous 16th century Portuguese explorer who first traversed it. The scenery is so fantastic here you’ll feel an innate sense of wonder and peace!
Cape Horn & the Drake Passage
After looping round the glacier-carved Alberto de Agostini National Park, we enter the Beagle Channel. Take in the stunning landscapes as we pass between the national park and Isla Gordon, part of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago.
At the tip of South America lies legendary Cape Horn, a major milestone in the old clipper routes that connected Europe with the Far East and Oceania. This is where the open waters of the Atlantic and Pacific collide, creating powerful waves that are further strengthened by swirling westerly winds.
For yachters, rounding Cape Horn is a maritime feat akin to summiting Mount Everest. Given the notoriety of these turbulent waters, we can’t guarantee a landing, but if fortune favours us on the day with weather stable enough to set foot on the island, you’ll be among a select few people in the world able to boast about it. From Cape Horn, it’s a clear shot to Antarctica across the Drake Passage.
Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed by nature’s beauty? That might exactly be your feeling as we reach Antarctica. So amazed by the immense landscapes and its stark beauty, some have burst into tears of joy and sheer awe. To make the whole experience even greater, you’ll be here in the late spring period when many sculpted icebergs will be floating in the straits.
Wildlife will also be in a romantic mood as Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins engage in courtship and mating. These clumsy yet charming creatures will melt your heart as they waddle around flirting with their partners and building their nests. Up above, look for a variety of seabirds like gulls, terns and herons which could range across as many as 45 different species.
Over the course of the four days you’re here, you’ll join the Expedition Team on a range of landings and ice-cruises that will bring you to scenic locations and penguin colonies on and around the Antarctic Peninsula and surrounding islands. If conditions allow, you may also get a chance to go snowshoeing or kayaking as optional activities. You never know what penguin or seal might turn up in the water right next to you.
To engage even more with Antarctica’s unique environment, you can join in different Citizen Science projects such as photographing whales, seabirds and leopard seals; phytoplankton sampling; or cloud and sea ice observation.
Participating in these research projects not only helps scientists all over the world, you’ll also get an even better understanding of the fragile ecosystem of Antarctica. The onboard lectures will enhance your experience, and analysing samples taken during the day will let you see another kind of ‘wildlife’ at a cellular level.
After the magic of Antarctica, we have a two-day journey back across the Drake Passage to South America. It’s the perfect time to wind down and reflect on your experiences in the frozen continent. Pamper yourself in the Wellness Center with a soothing treatment and hang out in the Explorer Bar chatting about your shared memories from the trip.
And why not join the Expedition Team in the Science Center to take a look back at everything you’ve seen and learned along the way.
Once we arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina, it means your Pole-to-Pole journey has now come to an end. There’ll be a transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires. It’s up to you whether you fly home directly or spend a few extra days exploring the birthplace of the tango.
Before you disembark, it’ll be time for a bittersweet goodbye to the ship, the crew, your fellow guests, and the amazing Expedition Team. Each member of the team has worked very hard to make your adventure a joyful and unforgettable one.
We share an overall goal: to show that expedition cruises can and should be as sustainable as possible, and to inspire all of us to do more to protect and cherish the delicate balance of life on our planet. This is the appreciation we want you to take home with you and share with your friends and family. Here’s to seeing you on your next adventure!
Perhaps you’re not quite ready for your adventure to end just yet. Seeing as you’re in the area, why not add on a Post-Programme to see the magnificent Iguazú Falls on the Brazilian border. You’ll visit Iguazu´s cascades and viewpoints, seeing them from the Argentinian and Brazilian side. The trip includes a scenic train ride to the upper falls.
Itineraries are subject to change.
13 August, 2023 to 13 November, 2023
The Polar Outside cabins are primarily on the middle decks with windows, most are spacious, have flexible sleeping arrangements and TV for excellent and high standard accommodation. Can accommodate two to four passengers.
Arctic Superior class cabins are comfortable and roomy accommodation and most have balconies. Flexible sleeping arrangements, sofa beds, TV and other features make this one of our most popular categories. Our Arctic Superior concept includes a kettle, tea and coffee. Can accommodate two to four passengers.
These suites are large, well-appointed cabins with expansive windows and most have balconies. Some have a private outdoor hot tub. The suites feature flexible sleeping arrangements with comfortable sofas, sitting areas and TV. They can accomodate up to four people.
Expedition suites are exclusively in upper and mid-deck locations. Our Expedition Suite concept includes a bathrobe, espresso maker, and more. An exciting welcome gift awaits all suite guests in their cabin.
Vessel Type: Expedition
Length: 140 m
Passenger Capacity: 530
MS Fridtjof Nansen is the latest addition to Hurtigruten’s fleet of custom built ships – and the next generation expedition ship. She will explore some of the most spectacular corners of the globe. Featuring Hurtigruten's revolutionary battery hybrid powered propulsion system, MS Fridtjof Nansen will be a near identical twin to her sister ship MS Roald Amundsen. Combining state of the art technology and premium on board experience with Hurtigruten’s 125 years of experience and unparalleled destinations, the two Norwegian built ships introduces the next generation of adventure travel.
Cabins and public areas
The stunning scenery will be reflected in a rich and comfortable interior design. Scandinavian materials from nature, such as granite, oak, birch and wool will be used to create relaxed and stylish cabins and public areas. All cabins are outside, 50 % will have private balconies, aft suites will feature private outdoor hot tubs with spectacular views.
The core of the onboard experience is the Nansen Science Center, an edutainment venue to guests and crew meet to create a deeper understanding of the areas we explore. Nansen Science Center will also be the on board HQ for the Expedition Team.
MS Fridtjof Nansen's three restaurants will host a variety of dining options, with menus drawn from our rich Norwegian and Nordic tradition, as well as international cuisine and local inspiration. Whether enjoying your meal at Aune Main Dining, Fredheim – the informal international meeting place, or the specialty restaurant Lindstrøm, you will indulge in low key yet refined, modern Norwegian Nordic cooking – where our honest and delicious cuisine reflects our destinations.
After a day of exploring new destinations, guests can relax and rejuvenate in the elegant Explorer Lounge, a large gym and Wellness center, or enjoy the scenery and sunsets on the massive in- and outdoor Observation Decks with the aft infinity pool and hot tubs as one of the highlights.
Everything you need for an expedition cruise
Each expedition voyage is accompanied by a hand-picked team of specialists and modern-day explorers. Highly experienced, passionate and knowledgeable, the Expedition Team will be your guides and guardians on your voyage of exploration, instructing you on safety, sustainability and science. MS Fridtjof Nansen will feature a variety of custom built expedition equipment, including kayaks, a fleet of Blueye underwater drones and Expedition Boats for safe landings in remote areas.
In the footsteps of a great explorer
The newest addition to our fleet will honor the heritage of her namesake – the Norwegian explorer, scientist, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Fridtjof Nansen. Known for his innovations in Arctic expeditions, Nansen led the first crossing of Greenland on cross-country skis. He is perhaps most famous for his attempt to reach the geographical North Pole during the Fram Expedition (1893-1896). Interestingly, after Nansen's Fram expedition, the ship was passed on to another great explorer who secretly planned an expedition to the South Pole - Roald Amundsen.
• Voyage on board in selected cabin category
• All meals while on board
• On board lectures
• Transfer from the ship to Ushuaia airport after the expedition cruise
• Flight in economy class from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires
• International and domestic flights unless otherwise stated
• Passport and visa costs where applicable
• Travel insurance
• Transfers unless otherwise stated
• Optional Excursions
• Pre and Post voyage accommodation
• Beverages on board unless otherwise stated
• Meals while ashore