Itinerary

Itinerary

Venture to the wonders of the north on an epic expedition aboard the National Geographic Explorer that combines the polar bears of Svalbard, the geological phenomena of Iceland, and the ice-hewn coasts of Greenland. Kayak among incandescent icebergs, visit some of the most remote settlements on Earth, and watch for polar bears, walruses, and whales on a quest to discover the Arctic’s grand wilderness.

This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.

 

Days 1-2: U.S./Oslo, Norway

Fly overnight to Oslo and check in to our hotel. Explore this charming city upon arrival. Stroll amid the famed Vigeland sculptures—hundreds of life-size human figures set in parkland. Then visit the Fram Museum, dedicated to the wooden ship sailed by Norwegian polar explorers Nansen and Amundsen.

Meals Included:Day 2 (Breakfast, Dinner)
Accommodations:Clarion Hotel-The HUB (2019)
Day 3: Oslo/Longyearbyen

Catch a charter flight to Longyearbyen, the largest settlement in Svalbard, and embark the National Geographic Explorer.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 4-16: Exploring Svalbard, Greenland, and Iceland

Situated far above the Arctic Circle, Svalbard is an archipelago of deep fjords, snowcapped mountains, and massive ice sheets—and it’s one of the best places to see polar bears in their natural environment. During our time here, we'll venture to the feet of vast tidewater glaciers, kayak among sparkling icebergs, hike across the tundra, and explore spectacular fjords that split the coastline.

We then turn west toward the Greenland Sea. In keeping with the nature of a true Arctic expedition, our itinerary here is defined by the water. Using the latest satellite imagery—and our extensive experience exploring the region—we’ll chart where the ice is impenetrable and choose our route accordingly. Our strengthened hull and forward-searching sonar, as well as agile Zodiacs and kayaks, allow us to make forays amid the ice to search for wildlife.

Be on deck as our captain navigates among icebergs that drift from calving glaciers along Greenland’s eastern shore. If the ice yields, we’ll maneuver into the Scoresbysund fjord to visit a remote settlement as it awakens from winter’s icy grip. If the ice does not relent, we’ll continue south, exploring the edges of the ice, or set a course to Iceland to continue our explorations. Our voyage ends on Iceland’s west coast, where we’ll visit the picturesque town of Ísafjördur, spot razorbills on the immense Látrabjarg cliffs, and visit the former trading post of Flatey Island.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Day 17: Reykjavík, Iceland/U.S.

In Reykjavík, take a guided tour of the old town and soak in the famous Blue Lagoon before catching your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch

Optional Extensions

Optional Extensions

  • Norwegian Fjords Extension
    5 days from $4,590
  • Glacier Heli-hiking Extension
    2 days from $7,990
  • Iceland's Natural Wonders Extension
    4 days from $4,910
Norwegian Fjords Extension

Pre-Voyage

Before embarking on your expedition cruise, spend seven days venturing deep into Norway’s western fjordlands. Travel by train between snow-dusted peaks, and explore the majestic landscapes of the Sognefjorden—the longest and deepest fjord in Norway—on foot and by ship. Kayak the clear waters of the Sørfjorden, and hike past verdant mountainside orchards around Ullensvang. Marvel at the intricate architecture of wooden stave churches in medieval mountain towns, and enjoy the daily rhythms of life in farming villages up and down the fjords.

Days 1-2: U.S./Bergen, Norway

Depart on an overnight flight to Bergen, the gateway to the fjords. This picturesque coastal city was once a hub for the powerful Hanseatic League, which ruled northern Europe’s commercial activity from the 13th to the 15th centuries. Check in to our centrally-located hotel and enjoy a dinner of local cuisine.

Meals Included:Day 2 (Dinner)
Accommodations:Hotel Norge by Scandic or similar
Day 3: Bergen

Explore Bergen’s historic city center, from its colorful old wharf to the Hanseatic Museum, which details the history of German merchants in the region. Step inside St. Mary’s Church and the reconstructed Fantoft Stave Church. This intricate wooden church was originally built in 1150 on the edge of an inland fjord, but was moved to Bergen in the 19th century. Later, discover the home of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, and then ride the famed funicular to a peak providing panoramic views of the city and the bay.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations:Hotel Norge by Scandic or similar
Day 4: Flåm Railway/Sognefjorden/Ullensvang

Today’s adventure will take us through Norway’s spectacular fjordlands by train and ferry. Begin the day with a drive to Voss, known as the adventure capital of Norway. From here, catch a train to Myrdal for a journey amid towering green mountains. Then board the famed Flåm Railway and ascend some 2,900 feet in less than an hour, traveling through breathtaking valleys and along stunning fjords to reach the charming village of Flåm. After lunch, set sail from Gudvangen for a voyage through the Nærøyfjorden, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, and two other arms of the famed Sognefjorden. Glide past the base of majestic peaks rising over 5,000 feet into the clouds, and spot the white streaks of waterfalls cascading down wooded mountainsides. Return to Gudvangen and drive to Bruraviga, enjoying superb views of Stalheim Canyon and Nærøydal Valley. Later, travel by ferry to Brimnes, then transfer to Ullensvang. Upon arrival, check in to our historic hotel situated on the stunning Sørfjorden, an arm of the Hardangerfjorden—the second longest fjord in the country.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Hotel Ullensvang
Day 5: Ullensvang

Enjoy a day to savor the beauty of our idyllic surroundings, choosing from a variety of activities. Explore the clear waters and green shores of the Sørfjorden by kayak or canoe. Hike past lush cherry and apple orchards lining the edge of the fjord, or relax on the waterfront where composer Edvard Grieg spent his summers. Or choose to visit Ullensvang Church and the Hardanger Folk Museum to learn about the history of this captivating region.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Hotel Ullensvang
Day 6: Ullensvang/Oslo

Today, discover an array of wild and spectacular landscapes as we journey east to Oslo. Marvel at the delicate streams of Tvindefossen waterfall and the reflection of forested hills in the mirror-like surface of Oppheim Lake. Stop to view the dramatic Vøringsfossen waterfall as it plummets deep into Måbødalen valley. In the village of Ål, visit the Torpo Stave Church, constructed around 1192 and bearing the runic inscription of its builder. After lunch in the historic town of Gol, continue to Oslo and enjoy a free afternoon to explore Norway’s capital.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations:Hotel Bristol or similar
Day 7: Oslo

After breakfast, set out on your own to discover Oslo’s diverse cultural offerings, from the famed Vigeland Park sculpture garden to the stunning waterfront Opera House. In the afternoon, meet fellow travelers for a guided city tour before embarking on your expedition cruise.

Meals Included:Breakfast