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14 days - Sail from Svalbard to Iceland, exploring the North Eastern Greenland.
50 Degrees North offers unique, small-group expedition voyages to the Arctic that allow you to enjoy the natural wildlife and scenery of some of the world's most spectacular and pristine shorelines.
This trip brings together an amazing combination of experiences - Svalbard, Greenland and then Iceland. Experience the wonder of an untouched wilderness with heaps of opportunities to see wildlife and nature. Lots of zodiac excursions to the shore and plenty of icebergs to watch as you sail. The expedition passes through areas that are home to seals, seabirds, whales, and polar bears, topped off with nighttime viewing of the Northern Lights.
- Day 1
- Arrive into Longyearbyen
- Day 2
- Head to Raudfjord to search for Polar Bears
- Days 3 - 4
- At sea, heading to Greenland
- Day 5
- Travel into Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord
- Day 6
- Land at Blomster Bugt to find Arctic Hares
- Day 7
- Muskoxen, Arctic hare, and Ptarmigan
- Day 8
- Explore Antarcticahavn
- Day 9
- Reach Scoresby Sund
- Day 10
- Go ashore at Cape Hofmann Halvø
- Day 11
- Huge Icebergs in the "Iceberg Cemetery'
- Day 12
- Visit Illoqqortoormiut
- Day 13
- Head to Iceland looking for the Northern Lights
- Day 14
- Arrive Akureyri, head to Reykjavik
- Start Place
- Longyearbyen, Svalbard
- End Place
- Reykjavik, Iceland
- Destinations Visited
- 14 Days
- Group Size
M/v Plancius was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy, and sailed for the Navy until 2004. She was completely rebuilt as a passenger vessel in 2009. M/v Plancius accommodates 114 passengers in 53 passenger cabins with private toilet and shower.
All cabins offer comfortable lower berths (except for the 4 quadruple cabins). The vessel has a restaurant/lecture room, a spacious observation lounge (with bar), large open deck space (with full walk-around possibilities), and is equipped with 10 zodiacs for off ship and shore excursions. M/v Plancius was built for ice conditions, and has a strengthened bow and stern.
- Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary.
- All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
- All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
- Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
- AECO fees and governmental taxes.
- Comprehensive pre-departure material.
Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights; pre- and post land arrangements; transfers to / from the vessel outside Spitsbergen; passport and visa expenses; Government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).
Please note that the 2019 - 2020 voyages do not include transfer and baggage handling between ship in Akureyri and Hotel Reykjavik Centrum, Adalstraeti 16 by coach (6 hours). You may wish to stay longer in Iceland - starting a tour from Akureyri, which is close to Myvatn hot springs region. Approx. €70 p.p. one way, €140 p.p. return
Day 1 - Arrive into Longyearbyen
Arrive in Longyearbyen, on Spitsbergen, the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago of which West Spitsbergen is the largest island. Before embarking there is an opportunity to visit this former mining village. The Parish Church and the Polar Museum are well worth visiting. In the early evening the ship will sail out of Isfjorden.
Day 2 - Head to Raudfjord to search for Polar Bears
We sail into Raudfjord on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, a beautiful fjord with spectacular glaciers. It is home to Ringed and Bearded Seals, seabird colonies and a surprisingly rich vegetation. We have good chances to see Polar Bears, for instance near Hamilton Glacier, or more to the head of the fjord. From there we continue to Moffen Island on which Walruses haul out.
Days 3 - 4 - At sea, heading to Greenland
At sea, on our way to Greenland, we may see the edge of the East Greenland sea-ice. We keep watch for whales, and also for migrating seabirds.
On the recent North Atlantic Odyssey passengers on s/v Plancius counted 80 – 100 Bowhead Whales ( Greenland Whales) Balaena mysticetus on at the edge of the sea ice between Northeast Greenland and Spitsbergen.
Find of the century
The sighting of 80+ different Bowhead Whales is the highest number ever recorded on one day in the Atlantic Arctic since the 17th Century. According to the IUCN Red List, where the Bowhead Whale in this area is listed as critically endangered, the previous record was a sighting of 66 whales in 1983.
This was then estimated to be the majority of Bowhead Whales in the NE Greenland and Svalbard subpopulation. Up to 20 individuals have been sighted thereafter but with no evidence of calves.
A dedicated survey in the Fram Strait in the spring of 2006 resulted in only eight sightings of Bowhead whales. In 2008 another survey was made in the same area but also extending further south along the ice edge resulting in no sightings at all.
Troels Jacobsen (MSc, Marine Mammal Biologist Oceanwide Expeditions): “It is like witnessing the resurrection of a sub-population of Bowhead whales that was not thought to be counting more than tens of individuals. This opens intriguing possibilities for both science and Arctic cruises for the future”.
This sighting supports that the Bowhead Whale population in the Fram Strait is on the increase, which is in accordance with the increase of the populations in Disko Bay (West Greenland) in winter and in Franz Josef Land (Russian Atlantic Arctic), both areas also visited by the ships of Oceanwide Expeditions.
Day 5 - Travel into Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord
Approaching Greenland we will attempt to sail through the sea ice into Foster Bugt, making our first landing at Myggebugten. Beyond the old hunters' hut (in the first half of last century Norwegian trappers hunted here for Polar Bears and Arctic Foxes) there is an extensive tundra populated by Musk Oxen. The small lakes are home to geese.
We sail through Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord, a magnificent fjord with towering mountains on both sides, its inner reaches choked with huge icebergs. An alternative is Sofia Sund, which is much narrower, and where we can see Muskoxen from the ship.
Day 6 - Land at Blomster Bugt to find Arctic Hares
We will land at Blomster Bugt to view the beautiful geological formations. Arctic Hares are usually seen here, and there is a lake with Great Northern Divers and their young. In the afternoon we sail along Teufelschloss and Ella Ã˜ and may land at a beautiful spot in the early evening.
Day 7 - Muskoxen, Arctic hare, and Ptarmigan
In the morning we enter Segelsällskapets Fjord with the beautiful Berzelius Mountains on the north side. We will land on the south side of the fjord in an astounding place where the ancient sedimentary geology is literally at your feet. A hike will take us near a small lake with good chances to see Muskoxen, Arctic hare, and Ptarmigan. In the afternoon the ship will venture into Alpe Fjord, which is as spectacular as the name implies. We may embark on a long Zodiac cruise around the Gully Glacier which once blocked the access to the interior of the fjord and venture deep inside to the very end. Adventure at its finest!
Day 8 - Explore Antarcticahavn
The first half of the day we spend in Antarcticahavn, a wide and extensive valley where we also could see groups of Musk Oxen. At this time of year the autumnal colours of the sparse vegetation make the landscapes even more beautiful.
Day 9 - Reach Scoresby Sund
Today we reach the Scoresby Sund and sail in the morning along the ragged and glaciated Volquart Boons Kyst. Here we may organise a zodiac cruise along one of the glacier fronts of this coast, and have our first landing near for instance Måne Glacier.
Later we land on Danmark Ø where we find the remains of an Inuit settlement abandoned around 200 years ago. The circular ‘tent rings’ of stones indicate the summer houses, while the winter houses can be seen closer to a small cape. The sites are well preserved, allowing entrances and even bear-proof meat caches to be identified. There are also grave sites. In the evening we continue our sailing through the beautiful fjords to the west, choked with icebergs.
Day 10 - Go ashore at Cape Hofmann Halvø
We go ashore at Cape Hofmann Halvø, a reliable spot for viewing Musk Oxen. We may also spot Rock Ptarmigans, and Great Northern Divers at sea. The landscape here is particularly beautiful, especially during autumn when the Dwarf Willow and Dwarf Birch change colour. Arctic Blueberry and Crowberry add their own colourful touch - the berries are tasty too! In the evening we sail through the fjord towards Scoresby Land, enjoying the contrast between the warm autumnal colours of the vegetation on shore, backed by huge dark mountains, and the cold blue of the icebergs.
Day 11 - Huge Icebergs in the "Iceberg Cemetery'
In Northwest fjord in Scoresby Land in the morning, we encounter huge icebergs, some over 100m high and more than a kilometre in length. Most of the bergs are grounded as the fjord is only about 400m deep here. We land near Sydkap to view the remains of the Thule culture winter houses. As many as 20 people lived in these tiny houses, hunting Greenland Whales and using their vertebrae to build the houses. We may also land at Gurreholm on Jameson Land. The landscape here is gently undulating.
Day 12 - Visit Illoqqortoormiut
In the morning we land at Illoqqortoormiut, the biggest settlement in the Scoresby Sund with about 500 inhabitants. At the post office you can buy stamps for your postcards, or just wander around to see the sledge dogs and the drying skins of Seal, Musk Ox and Polar Bear. After dinner we will sail south passing the amazing landscape of the Blosseville Coast.
Day 13 - Head to Iceland looking for the Northern Lights
We will spend the whole day at sea and we will have splendid opportunities to see large whales and seabird migration and, in the night, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
Day 14 - Arrive Akureyri, head to Reykjavik
In the morning we arrive in Akureyri and transfer by chartered bus to Hotel Reykjavik Centrum, Adalstraeti 16 in Reykjavik (6 hours).
All prices listed are per person.
15 Sep 2019
15 Sep 2019
15 Sep 2019
15 Sep 2019
13 Sep 2020
31 Aug 2020
Many other Arctic ships do the Northeast Greenland voyages. Ask us for further details if these dates do not match your travel needs.
Upon request (some voyages may be excluded), children under 16 with parents may receive 40% discount in Superior, Triple (sharing with 2 parents / adults) and Quadruple Cabins (sharing with 3 parents / adults).
The probability of sailing into Scoresbysund is high (based on our experiences from 1993 – 2017), but there is still a chance (about 10%) that ice will obstruct passage into the fjord system. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. The onboard expedition leader determines the final itinerary. Average cruising speed for m/v Plancius is 10,5 knots.
This is an English and German speaking voyage.
Interactive Tour Map
Your Expedition Voyage to the Arctic
All promoted itineraries are for general guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions and ad hoc decisions by the Expedition Leader to take advantage of opportunities to see wildlife. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Landings are always subject to weather, local site availabilities and environmental regulations (AECO). Official sailing plans and landing slots will be scheduled with AECO prior to the start of the season. The final sailing plan will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. The implementation of the sailing plan is subject to the capability of the vessel and the discretion of the Master. Taking the high fuel prices into account, it is agreed that Oceanwide Expeditions has the right to reduce the speed of the engines (incl. sailing on one engine) wherever possible, unless this affects the character of the intended voyage substantially and jeopardizes the safety of the vessel, its crew, staff and passengers.
Rubber Boots and Expedition Jackets
Onboard Plancius all passengers are entitled to use a pair of sturdy rubber boots for free. Sizes need to be pre ordered 8 weeks prior to departure at the latest. A voucher will be sent with final travel documents approximately 4 weeks prior to departure. Laying claims on equipment items without pre-order and voucher cannot be accepted when boarding the vessel. Boots will need to be returned to the expedition team at the end of the voyage. Rubber boots are of high quality, which keep your feet dry, warm and comfortable for all landings. Expedition jackets can also be pre-ordered for a special price. Terms and conditions can be found on the pre order form.
Shore Excursions and Zodiac Cruising
Guided shore excursions, walks and wildlife spotting and zodiac cruises are included in the fare and will be offered to all passengers during the voyages. We put our emphasis on active wildlife and nature experience.
Basecamp Plancius - Our activity base
The ship becomes our base camp on selected dates. 'Base camp' is by definition a temporary storing and starting place, from which an activity starts, in this instance a 'coast to mountain' expedition. During designated 'Basecamp Plancius' voyages the ship will be taken to carefully chosen places in the Arctic . The vessel will stay for two or three days at specific locations to serve our active passengers as a comfortable hub to allow more time than usual for wide ranging activities: mountaineers and hikers to climb mountain ranges, campers to enjoy life at shore base camps, kayakers and zodiac passengers to explore near shores where the ship cannot go. Passengers who do not wish to become physically active will enjoy our zodiac excursions and follow the normal shore Program and land excursions (easy to moderate walks and hikes with focus on wildlife). We also offer photo workshops. All adventure activities are free of charge.
Bilingual voyages (B)
English is the ship's language. Some German speaking expedition staff will be onboard for bilingual voyages (English & German). Welcome and safety briefings, announcements, daily briefings, and recaps will be provided in English and German. English and German lectures may vary in content. Simultaneous translations of lectures will not occur but a summary in the second language may be given at the end of a lecture. Guidance during activities ashore will depend on the group each passenger chooses according to their own physical ability. In the Arctic we aim to split into three groups: a hiking group on a strenuous walk, a medium-paced group with more time for photography etc., and a leisurely group. A German speaking staff member will not necessarily be available for each group. During Zodiac cruises, each boat's driver/guide will not necessarily be bilingual.
We offer an exciting 'open air' camping option, which gives an intensive experience of Arctic wilderness. Special gear and field equipment will be provided: tents, wind and waterproof bivouac bags (lightweight alternative to tent system). This shelter will protect you from the elements during the night in the open air of the Arctic. Mattresses and polar sleeping bags provide comfort during the night. The maximum number of participants for this camping option is 30 participants per night. Two expedition guides will conduct the activity ashore. Camping is always subject to weather, local site and environmental regulations. 1 night has to be booked prior to trip, any extra nights that can be arranged onboard, will be charged by the hotel manager. For prices please refer to our Dates & Rates and more details please refer to the activity manual.
Polar Diving (D)
Polar divers must be advanced and experienced in dry suit and cold water diving. We hope for 1-2 different dives per day parallel to all other activities. Diving depends on local ice and weather conditions. Dive masters and dive guides are responsible for safety during operation. Basic equipment is onboard (scuba tanks, compressors, weights and diving essentials. Divers bring their personal gear. For prices please refer to our Dates & Rates and more details please refer to the activity manual.
German Speaking (G)
Voyages marked with G are German speaking voyages
During hiking voyages we exceed our normal shore excursion walking Program. In general we plan to offer 3 possibilities to become active ashore. There will be easy, moderate and more demanding walks on offer in the vicinity of the landing sites. There are walks on offer which suit everyone's capability. In the Arctic we aim at two hikes per day, each 2 - 3 hours long during morning and / or afternoon landings. Also we offer several full day walks (5 - 7 hrs) with packed lunch. The final decision on those hiking options will be met by the Expedition Leader on the day of the excursion. We recommend bringing a proper pair of hiking boots and gaiters. Hiking is free of charge, more details can be found in the activity manual and the day by day Programs.
In general we plan to offer 4 kayak days at least. Basic kayak experience is required and physical fitness essential. Parallel to all other activities we are aiming at kayak excursions during morning and / or afternoon landings. The final decision on those excursions will be met by the Expedition Leader. Oceanwide will provide kayaks and neoprene wet suits. Kayakers will bring their personal gear. Kayaking is subject to weather and prevailing ice conditions. For prices please refer to our Dates & Rates and more details please refer to the activity manual.
Especially on early departures at the beginning of the season there are still snow covered hills and mountains further afield. On North Spitsbergen voyages we are aiming at offering hiking excursions with snowshoes, which are easy to use and which don't require any technical skills. With the use of snowshoes it is easy and safer to walk on snow surfaces. Snowshoes will be provided for everybody on board which fit all boot sizes and can be used in combination with Oceanwide rubber boots. Snowshoe hiking is free of charge, more details in the activity manual and day by day Programs.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all tours with 50 Degrees North. Please ensure that you have this organised as we will need to see proof of this upon issuing your tour documentation. Please contact us for a quote or visit http://www.suresave.net.au/
Fitness Requirement and Preparation - Small Ship Expeditions
Refer to our comprehensive Expedition Manual, which you will receive upon confirmation of your booking.