Your Across the Arctic Circle Package

Across the Arctic Circle

Aurora Expeditions

 

  16 Nights

  Multi Region

  Aurora Expeditions

  PAAF1FB




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On this expedition, Aurora combines three unique worlds on one unforgettable journey. From Stone Age villages to Iron Age forts, the Orkney and Shetland Islands reveal a proud Scottish heritage, while Vikings, fjords and fishing folk feature along the sublime Norwegian coastline, which includes a visit to famous Lofoten Islands. Crossing the Arctic Circle to Svalbard, discover a landscape of towering cliffs alive with breeding birds; a frozen wonderland of gleaming glaciers and where the mighty polar bear reigns supreme. 


Join this special Founder's Voyage with Greg Mortimer as Expedition Leader!


Your Fly, Stay & Cruise Package Includes:

  • Economy class flight from Sydney to Aberdeen, return from Longyearbyen
  • Overnight stopovers in Oslo & Doha
  • 15 day Across the Arctic Circle expedition onboard Greg Mortimer, Aberdeen to Longyearbyen

Includes:

  • Transfer from airport to hotel on arrival (Day 1)
  • One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Aberdeen (Day 1)
  • Day tour to Balmoral Castle & Royal Deeside (Day 2), prior to embarkation
  • Tour of Longyearbyen & transfer to Longyearbyen airport (Day 15)
  • Onboard accommodation during voyage, including daily cabin service
  • All meals, snacks, tea & coffee during voyage
  • Beer, house wine & soft drinks with dinner
  • Captain’s Welcome & Farewell receptions including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer & wine, non-alcoholic beverages
  • All shore excursions & Zodiac cruises
  • Educational lectures & guiding services provided by Expedition Team
  • Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor & medical clinic (initial consultation)
  • One 3-in-1 waterproof, polar expedition jacket
  • Complimentary use of Muck Boots during the voyage
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Port surcharges, permits & landing fees
  • Gratuities for ship’s crew

Pricing is per person twin share and based on travel 16 May - 01 June 2023

Solo traveller pricing available, speak with your travel consultant 

Must book by 31 January 2023


Highlights:

  • Founder of Aurora Expeditions, Greg Mortimer will be joining the 2023 sailing of Across the Arctic Circle (SNS007G) as Expedition Leader.
  • Visit picturesque villages and castles that were once strongholds of Scottish clans
  • Encounter Neolithic sites dating back more than 5,000 years
  • Sail north across the imaginary line that defines the boundary of the Arctic Circle 
  • Experience some of the north’s most spectacular fjords and glaciers in Svalbard
  • Search for the mighty polar bear and encounter enormous walrus haulouts
  • Sail beneath towering cliffs alive with breeding birds

Itinerary:

Day 1 Aberdeen

Upon arrival at Aberdeen airport, you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to our group hotel.

Should you already be in Aberdeen, make your way to our pre-voyage hotel, Sandman Signature Aberdeen Hotel, St Andrew St, Aberdeen. Check-in is from 3:00pm. Today there’s free time to enjoy Aberdeen at your leisure (Dinner not included).

Please visit the Aurora Expeditions hospitality desk, located in the lobby. Our team will run through your embarkation day, answer any questions, and give advice on the local area. They will also provide you with cabin tags for your luggage. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number.

Accommodation: Sandman Signature Aberdeen Hotel (or similar)

Day 2 Royal Deeside tour, embark Aberdeen

After breakfast, check-out and bring your luggage to the foyer. Please place any items required today in your hand luggage as your main bag will be placed in the bays of the coach. We’re in for a right royal day out as we tour the scenic hinterland of Aberdeen, known as Royal Deeside. We leave the hustle and bustle of the city and enter this perfectly paddocked, stone-walled land which has attracted invaders, travellers, and of course royalty, for centuries. Our first stop, the Green Tourism Award accredited Royal Loch Nagar Distillery, sits at the foot of the Cairngorm mountains. Fed by the crystal-clear waters of the Scarnock Springs the distillery combines traditional pagoda kiln heads with sustainable techniques to create its popular whisky. We end our tour in true highland style – with a wee dram. 

Continuing our royal theme, we enter the grounds of Balmoral Castle; the Scottish holiday home of the royal family since its purchase for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852. Famous for its English country gardens, and sprawling lawns, the castle invites guests to enjoy its formal gardens which contain a range of Victorian glasshouses, a conservatory, a water garden, and kitchen gardens used by the royal chefs during the royal families’ annual summer stay. Guests also enjoy an exhibition located in the main ballroom, while an audio guide brings famous visitors, household characters and royal green thumbs to life. There’s time to indulge in some royal treats at the Balmoral coffee shop or restaurant (own expense) before our short drive to the Aberdeenshire village of Ballater. Flowing through it’s centre, the River Dee is famous for salmon fishing while it’s surrounding hills attract hikers. We’ll wander it’s quaint streets before our drive returns us to Aberdeen to board the Greg Mortimer in the late afternoon.

You’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important briefings. We will set sail for the Orkney Islands in the evening and meet your expedition team and crew at Captain’s Welcome Dinner.

Days 3-4 Orkney Islands

Among Orkney’s archipelago of 70 windswept islands, nine kilometres (six miles) north of the Scottish mainland, a rich tapestry of archaeology, history and wildlife awaits. We follow the passage of time – from 5,000-year-old World Heritage Neolithic sites, past relics from wandering Vikings and reminders of World War II occupation – to present-day crofting communities. Imposing sea cliffs teem with seabirds, and clifftop paths and bleak moors beckon the keen hikers among us, while our kayakers use paddle-power to explore sections of Orkney’s fascinating coastline.

Midway between Orkney and Shetland is Fair Isle, home to quaint croft houses and famous for its knitwear and historical shipwrecks. The 70 or so islanders mostly live in traditional crofts on the more fertile low-lying southern part of the island.

A bird watcher’s paradise and boasting a major European bird observatory, Fair Isle lies on the intersection of major bird flight paths from Scandinavia, Iceland and Faroe. It attracts common species and also eastern rarities such as the lanceolated warbler. In summer, the cliffs teem with breeding fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots, gannets, shags and puffins. Fair Isle is an excellent place to view seabirds at close range – especially puffins. The island also has more than 250 species of flowering plants, including rare orchids, alpine and wetland species and common wildflowers. We will be welcomed by the hospitable villagers, and may take a hike or visit the museum.

Day 5 Shetland Islands

Britain’s most northerly islands lie almost 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of the Scottish mainland, at a similar latitude to the southern tip of Greenland, or Bergen in Norway. Kept relatively warm by the Gulf Stream, Shetland’s 100 islands experience almost 24 hours of daylight in summer. They abound with nature reserves and archaeological sites, and offer a taste of traditional island life. We plan to visit some of Shetland’s best preserved and most complex archaeological sites, brochs – fortified Iron Age towers.

Day 6 At sea

As we sail towards the Norwegian coastline, the bridge or the outer decks offer an excellent and warm vantage point for birdwatching. Our historian and naturalists will delight us with their informative talks.

Days 7-10 Norwegian Coast

We spend three days exploring the superb Norwegian coastline, cruising the intricate maze of seldom-visited inlets and outer islands. The cod-fishing island of Sør Gjæslingan welcomes us with its delightful wooden houses and cheerful inhabitants. Here, we search for nesting kittiwakes and reclusive sea otters. Delight in the hunt for fabled trolls, passing through Torghatten – meaning ‘mountain with a hole’ – said to have been caused by a troll’s arrow.

Crossing the Arctic Circle, we make our way to the stunning Lofoten – meaning puma’s foot – Islands. This is a land scoured by ice and legend, the towering crags with their sharp edges, standing in silent protection of the villages below.

As we travel north, the days are noticeably longer and we search for blue whales, humpbacks, orca, minke whales, pilot whales and dolphins in the deep, squid-rich ocean trenches off Andenes.

Days 11-14 Bear Island & Svalbard

We approach Spitsbergen at its most southerly point, South Cape or Sørkapp, and explore the coastline, entering a different world – that of the polar desert. Enormous peaks and deeply gouged fjords make our visit to Hornsund a powerful experience. As Hornsund is the southernmost fjord in Svalbard, we keep a lookout for polar bears, and Zodiac-cruise along glacial fronts that are home to bearded and ring seals, kittiwakes and guillemots. Here in Svalbard we continue our exploration into human history dating back 400 years, encompassing trapping and hunting, whaling and mining. If the skies are clear we may catch a glimpse of the dramatic Hornsundtind, peaking at 1,430 metres (4,695 feet).

Dramatic folds characterise the geological landscape of Bellsund and here we will enjoy magnificent vistas, steep bird cliffs and lush vegetation, always an open invitation to arctic fox and polar bears. Little auks, guillemots, northern fulmar and pink-footed geese make this their breeding home. Reindeer graze the slopes peacefully and as the fjord branches, there are numerous places to explore.

Polar bears pass through the area on their way to the west coast, and if we are lucky, we may encounter the elusive and alluring white beluga whale.

Day 15 Disembark Longyearbyen

During the early morning, we cruise into the port of the remote village, Longyearbyen, the ‘capital’ of Spitsbergen. After bidding farewell to newfound friends, we are transferred into town, where we enjoy a guided tour. Learn about the town’s history, its geology, flora, fauna and the modern community that call the place home. Visit Svalbard Museum and Galleri Svalbard, Office of the Governor, Svalbard Church, Nybyen (new town), some of the town’s mines including Santa Claus Mine, and make a quick photo stop at the famous beware of polar bear street sign. Late morning, transfer to the airport to continue your journey.

Note: We do not recommend booking flights departing prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation, as we may experience delays at the conclusion of the voyage.




* Conditions apply. Offer is limited, subject to availability and change without notice. Promotion is correct and valid at the time of publication. Booking and full supplier terms and conditions apply. Valid for new bookings only and not combinable with any other offer (unless stated).

Prices listed are per person in Australian/New Zealand Dollars, based on twin occupancy, including all discounts unless otherwise stated. The offer is subject to availability at time of booking and shown on the lowest oceanview category available at the time. Fares are capacity controlled and are subject to change at any time without notice. Prices/Offers are correct as at 17 January 2023 and can be withdrawn without notice. Cabin categories include prepaid government fees and port taxes unless otherwise stated.  Hotels may charge resort fees not included in this package, payable direct upon check in. Visas are not included. Payments made by credit card will incur a surcharge. Airfares are based on economy class flights from Sydney and subject to the carriers’ flight schedules and conditions. 

Offer is capacity controlled and may be modified, withdrawn or amended without prior notice. Not available in conjunction with any other offer. Prices quoted in AUD - AUD 2500pp deposit is due 7 days after confirmation. Full Payment due minimum 90 days out from departure date.