The remote island of Jan Mayen and the wild coast of Spitsbergen are High Arctic destinations accessible only by ship.
This unique voyage departs from Reykjavík, Iceland and finishes in Longyearbyen, an Arctic settlement on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. First we explore the scenic Vestfirðir (Westfjords) of Iceland and call at the historic port of Ísafjörður. We then cross the Arctic Circle on our way to the rarely visited island of Jan Mayen.
After stopping at Jan Mayen we continue to Spitsbergen in the renowned High Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. We explore the fjords on the west side of the island in search of polar bears and other iconic wildlife. We complete the Arctic experience by enjoying stunning scenery and visiting places rich with polar history.
• Deep fjords, cascading waterfalls, and rugged mountains make the Westfjords one of Iceland’s most scenic regions. The windswept peninsula’s long coastline hosts many millions of nesting seabirds, including razorbills and puffins. The surrounding seas are home to a variety of whale species. In one particularly pretty fjord, the historic fishing port of Ísafjörður embodies Iceland’s unique blend of rich cultural heritage and contemporary charm. The town’s longstanding historical significance is reflected in its large collection of old timber-frame houses and various museums.
• There are few places more removed from the tourist track than Jan Mayen. Accessible only by boat, the island’s designation as a nature sanctuary protects its pristine Arctic ecosystem, including important breeding sites for hundreds of thousands of seabirds. The landscape is dominated by the heavily glaciated Beerenberg, an impressive stratovolcano considered to be the northernmost active volcano on the earth’s surface. The island is uninhabited except for personnel who work at the Norwegian weather station, which we hope to visit. We also hope to explore more of the island on foot to discover remnants of the island’s whaling history.
• The fjords and islands on the west and north coasts of Spitsbergen offer dramatic scenery and some of the High Arctic’s best wildlife viewing opportunities. This remote wilderness is home to impressive colonies of nesting seabirds, a variety of seal and whale species, and a high concentration of polar bears stalking the ice. In this varied landscape of mountains, tidewater glaciers, and flowering tundra we also find sites significant in the history of early polar pioneers. We may also visit Ny Ålesund, a research settlement complete with museum, post office, and gift shop. There may even be a chance to swim in the Arctic Ocean.
Welcome to Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland and starting point of our expedition. After arriving via scheduled commercial flight service, you are free to explore this fascinating city. Reykjavík is home to a wealth of cultural institutions including museums, galleries, and the Hallgrímskirkja church. Leisure possibilities inside the city include parks, gardens, and thermal baths. You can also take advantage of Reykjavík’s wide range of shopping possibilities, excellent dining options, and famous nightlife. Your hotel for the night has been arranged by us and is included in the price of the voyage.
In the afternoon, we welcome you aboard the luxury expedition ship M/V Sea Spirit. Explore the ship and get comfortable in your home away from home for the extraordinary adventure to come. Savor the anticipation of your Arctic dreams coming true as we slip our moorings and sail out of the harbor.
Our expedition day in the Westfjords area reveals the rare beauty of the part of Iceland where mass tourism disappears – only about 10% of Iceland's visitors ever see the region. Taking advantage of every weather favorable condition, we choose the best places to discover breathtaking coastal fjords, jagged bird cliffs, and tiny fishing villages embracing traditional ways of life.
The tiny island of Grimsey lies exactly on the Arctic Circle. Grimsey is remarkable for majestic basalt rocks and bird colonies where one can see the Atlantic puffins, known also as the "clowns of the sea".
Jan Mayen hosts the landscapes of breathtaking beauty and northernmost subaerial active volcano on the planet – the Beerenberg. The island is wild and uninhabited not including members of Norwegian weather station. The signboard at the entrance door says (translated from the Norwegian): “Theory is when you understand everything but nothing works. Practice is when everything works but nobody understands why. On this station, we combine theory and practice in a way that nothing works and nobody understands why”. Northern fulmars, Kittiwakes, and Brünich’s guillemots breeding on steep cliffs and slopes represent the birdlife of Jan Mayen.
The lectures of our invited speakers prepare us for meeting with the unique Arctic wildlife and awesome landscapes of Spitsbergen.
This is a real expedition in a true High Arctic wilderness. As such, our route and exploration opportunities here are heavily dependent on the weather and sea ice conditions we encounter. Our experienced captain and expedition leader decide the itinerary and continually adjust plans as conditions and opportunities warrant. You can be sure that the best possible advantage will be taken of the circumstances presented to us by Nature in this wild and remote corner of the Arctic.
Polar bears and other quintessential Arctic wildlife can be spotted anytime, anywhere in and around Svalbard. We exploit every opportunity to experience excellent wildlife viewing, to discover incredible scenery, and to walk in the footsteps of the historic polar expeditions that came before us.
We anticipate exploring the spectacular fjords, coasts, and islands in the western part of Svalbard. This area contains the archipelago’s most impressive scenery and some of the Arctic’s best wildlife viewing opportunities. Deep fjords and narrow channels are flanked by jagged snowy mountain peaks. Immense tidewater glaciers calve icebergs into turquoise waters. Fields of flowering tundra are home to grazing reindeer and playful Arctic fox. Bountiful inshore and offshore waters are home to walrus and a wide variety of whales. The whole area is alive with migratory birds, including numerous rare species, taking advantage of summer’s fecundity in 24-hour daylight.
To complete the Arctic experience we also explore places rich with history. Our area of exploration contains the historical remnants of whaling camps, coal mining operations, trappers’ cabins, staging areas for historic attempts to discover the North Pole, and even an abandoned polar research station.
Human habitation in this area can be found only at Ny Ålesund, a former mining town that is now home to an international community of Arctic researchers. This is one of the world’s most northerly settlements, complete with museum, gift shop, and post office.
The days are filled with memorable excursions, sumptuous meals, presentations by our experts, and enough stunning scenery and wildlife to fill your camera and overwhelm your emotions.
After breakfast we say farewell in the town of Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Norwegian territory of Svalbard. We provide a transfer to the airport or to the town center if you wish to spend more time here. In this case, be sure to see the excellent Svalbard Museum and take advantage of quality shopping and dining opportunities in this fascinating Arctic settlement.
Itinerary, landings and all other activities during the cruise depend strongly on ice and weather conditions and are subject to the decisions of the Expedition Leader and the Captain of the vessel. Encounters with any mentioned wildlife cannot be guaranteed.
Averaging 21 square metres/226 square feet, these staterooms have two twins and a comfortable sofa bed. The twins also convert to a King, if desired. Located on Oceanus Deck, these suites have a picture window, two wardrobes and en suite facilities. Amenities include: in-room safe, refrigerator, satellite telephone access, TV/DVD, individual temperature control, and hair dryer.
Averaging 23 square metres/248 square feet, Main Deck cabins are equipped with either two twins or a King Size bed. They are located on the Main Deck with a minimum of two portholes for exterior views. Amenities include: en suite facilities, in-room safe, refrigerator, satellite telephone access, TV/DVD individual temperature control and hair dryer.
Averaging 21 square metres/226 square feet, these cabins are located on the Oceanus Deck. They feature a picture window, two wardrobes and a choice of either two twin beds or a King Size bed. Amenities include: en suite facilities, in-room safe, refrigerator, satellite telephone access, TV/DVD, individual temperature control and hair dryer.
Superior Suites are located on the Club Deck. Averaging 20 square metres/ 215 square feet, these cabins feature two twin beds or a King Size bed. The picture window overlooks an outside walkway on the Club Deck. Amenities include: en suite facilities, walk-in closet or wardrobe, in-room safe, refrigerator, satellite telephone access, TV/DVD, individual temperature control, hair dryer.
The Deluxe Suites with balconies are located on the Sports Deck. Averaging 24 square metres/ 258 square feet means plenty of room. Choose from either two twin beds or a King Size bed. A sliding glass door leads to a private balcony. These suites feature a walk-in closet or wardrobe. Amenities include en suite facilities, in-room safe, refrigerator, satellite telephone access, TV/DVD, individual temperature control, and a hair dryer.
The Premium Suites are located on the Sun Deck. Averaging a generous 30 square metres/ 323 square feet, with two twin beds or a King Size bed. Access the private balcony by a sliding glass door. Amenities include: en suite facilities, lounge area, in-room safe, refrigerator, satellite telephone access, TV/DVD, individual temperature control, and hair dryer.
Super-spacious (43 square metres/ 463 square feet) elegant suite on the Sun Deck. Designed for entertaining, the Owner's Suite has a separate living room with game and meeting area. A BOSE stereo system provides background music, or watch videos on the HD plasma TV. Sliding glass doors lead to a private deck. Refresh in the jetted bathtub in en suite facilities. Slumber in the King Size bed. A sofa bed can accommodate a third person.
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 90 metres
Passenger Capacity: 114
Built / refurbished: 1992 / 2016
Like some of the birds we see in the Arctic and Antarctica, our m/v Sea Spirit is migratory and follows the sun, northbound in the summer and southbound in the winter, always ready for spontaneous discoveries – a pod of whales, a family of polar bears or a glaciated mountain vista. She is highly maneuverable and capable of navigating the narrow fjords of East Greenland and entering the small bays of Spitsbergen.
Onboard, we create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for all our guests. They are united by one goal – to have a memorable wilderness experience and to become real polar adventurers. We believe that first-hand travel to such places makes one an ambassador for conservation, and helps strengthen our resolve to protect these natural environments for future generations.
Public areas include: Reception, Restaurant, Bar, Outdoor Bistro, Club Lounge, Library, Presentation Lounge, Infirmary, Gym, Bridge.
We have open Bridge policy. Talk to the Captain and officers. Watch landscapes from this special angle of view. Fix your location at a map of your expedition.