Jewels of the Arctic

Small ship Expedition Cruise from Kirkenes
Nordenskiold Glacier, Spitsbergen © Michael Baynes

Discover the wonders of Svalbard's Northwest coast, Greenland's spectacular East coast and a touch of Iceland. Zodiac-cruise amongst gigantic icebergs, revel in gorgeous tundra walks, spot arctic foxes, musk ox, walrus and polar bear.


Day 1 Kirkenes Arrival / Embark the Greg Mortimer

Group transfer from Kirkenes (Norway) airport and a guided tour en route to the pier. The tour begins with a drive to the Russian border and the mining community at Bjørnevatn. At Mount Storfjellet, enjoy marvelous views of the area before a visit to the Borderland Museum. Board the Greg Mortimer late afternoon.

Days 2-3 At Sea

Over the next two days at sea, enjoy informative and entertaining lectures from our expert expedition team including naturalists and historians before reaching Svalbard’s southeast coast.

Day 4 Svalbard East Coast and Hinlopen Strait

Pass between Spitsbergen and the smaller islands of Barentsøya and Edgeøya, crossing a major polar bear migration route and the beautiful fertile plains of Sundeneset. Look for polar bears hunting on pack ice and we may explore this beautiful terrain on foot, marvelling at the contrast between the colourful soft ground and the barren, rocky terrain from further north. If conditions allow we will pass through the narrow Hinlopen Strait. The strait is flanked by creamy coloured slabs of rock that are rich in fossils. We may visit Alkefjellet in the Strait, where a series of dolerite towers are home to nearly a million nesting Brünnich’s guillemots – the penguins of the north. Elsewhere we seek out eider ducks and geese, and hope to spot walrus, Arctic fox and ivory gulls.

Days 5-6 Greenland Sea and Pack Ice

As we cruise west across the Greenland Sea – the main outlet of the Arctic Ocean – we may encounter whales feeding in the productive waters of the north. As we approach East Greenland we may encounter more pack ice. This stretch of coastline is ripe for exploration, with its many secrets locked in place by drift ice for up to eight months each year. The strong icy currents have isolated East Greenland from the Polar Basin, attracting large numbers of fish, seals and whales. Our experts will inform and entertain us with fascinating discussions on plants, animals, ice, and early explorers like Nansen, Andree and Scoresby. Conditions permitting, there may be a chance for kayakers to launch their sea kayaks and the rest of us to cruise in the sea ice with zodiacs. Perhaps if we have had a good crossing, we may even have the opportunity to make our first landing on the Greenland coast, weather permitting.

Days 7-13 East Greenland

In the coming days, a host of choices are open to us, and depending on ice and weather conditions, the east coast of Greenland is ours to explore. Our experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design our voyage from day to day. This allows us to make best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities. We will generally make up to two landings or Zodiac excursions per day; cruising along spectacular ice cliffs, following whales that are feeding near the surface. Explore Scoresbysund, the largest fjord system in the world – a spectacular place that simply needs to be seen to be believed. North of Scoresbysund are, Kong Oscar and Kaizer Franz Josef fjords, two of the most significant fjord systems in all of Greenland, each one encompassing several smaller fjords and sounds.  We will attempt to enter Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord, a remote and rarely visited fjord system with countless opportunities for exploration within the Northeast Greenland National Park. Cruising through Kong Oskar Fjord we will marvel at the geological beauty of the mountains. We will then head south along the coast of Liverpool Land, with our passage dependent on ice conditions. We aim to reach Scoresbysund, the world’s biggest fjord and a favourite hunting ground of the local Inuit. Massive glaciers dump into this fjord, the birthplace of the famous big Greenland icebergs.

Places we may land along the east coast include Cape Humboldt, Sefstrom Glacier, Ittoqqortoormiit, Sydkap, Rømer Fjord, Rode Ø, Hare Fjord, Nordvest Fjord, Eskimobugt, Skipperdalen.

Other possible landing points in the area include Rypefjord, Nordenskjöld Glacier & Blomsterbugten, Alpenfjorden, FjordFonfjord, Bjorn Oya, Milne Land, Hekla Havn, Denmark Island.

Day 14 Denmark Strait

Cross the Denmark Strait, watching Northern fulmars, orcas and dolphins, reflecting on the rich experiences and sharing final night celebrations on board. As we near Iceland, you will find we are returning to the rest of the world as we encounter fishing vessels working the coastal waters.

Day 15 Disembark the Greg Mortimer / Reykjavik Departure

During the morning we arrive into Reykjavik, Iceland. Farewell your expedition team and fellow expeditioners. Disembark and transfer to Keflavik airport. End of arrangements.

2021 departure: 07 August

2022 departure*: 19 July


*2022 departure: Day 1 Oslo; Day 2 flight Oslo - Longyearbyen (flight ticket not included)/embark; Days 3-15 of itinerary as per above.

Maximum number of passengers: 126

We do not recommend booking flights departing prior to 12.00pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.

In true expedition style we encourage exploration and adventure, offering flexibility in challenging environments in a way that puts you among the action to see and do as much as possible. This itinerary is only a guide and subject to change due to ice and weather conditions.

Expedition Highlights:
-Visit the world's largest National Park in north east Greenland, and the world's largest fjord system, Scoresbysund
-Cruise among the fantastic shapes and colours of Greenland's famous giant icebergs
-Visit Ittoqqortoomit, one of the world’s most remote settlements

Optional activities: The following activity packages are available on this expedition at an additional cost and may require previous experience. These must be pre-booked/pre-paid at time of booking.

Sea Kayaking in the far-flung corners of the world is an experience guaranteed to refresh your soul. Paddling in small groups, you'll glide between ice floes, brash ice and icebergs dotted with wildlife.

Rock Climbing in Greenland. Experienced climbers can explore the remote and rugged summits of East Greenland.

Photography FREE All of our expeditions and itineraries offer fantastic photography experiences. However, on selected expeditions, a photography expert will offer lectures and presentations.

About the vessel, Greg Mortimer
This 104m ship is purpose-built for expeditions to world-class polar standards and capable of negotiating strong winds/waves. Accommodating 100 landing passengers plus kayakers and divers (in the polar regions), with an average of 120 per voyage, the ship is not only bigger to contend with adverse weather conditions, but its added creature comforts make for a more enjoyable journey out on the open ocean.

Tour Overview

  • Summary

    Small ship Expedition Cruise from Kirkenes
  • Tour Category

    Cruises, Escorted
  • Duration

    15 days


    07 Aug 2021; 19 Jul 2022

Tour Prices

  • Prices vary according to your cabin choice

    INCLUDES: group transfer from Kirkenes airport to pier (Day 1); pre-voyage group sightseeing tour upon arrival (Day 1); group transfer to Keflavik airport (Day 15); on board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service; all meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage; beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner; all shore excursions and Zodiac cruises; educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team; access to onboard doctor and basic medical services; 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket; complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage; comprehensive pre-departure information; a printed photo book produced with photos from your voyage; Port surcharges, permits and landing fees.

    EXCLUDES: optional activities; private airport arrival transfer; Kirkenes Classic Break package pre-tour; Reykjavik Classic Break post tour. Also excludes anything else not shown as included in itinerary. Gratuities for crew will automatically be added to your on-board bill, please advise at the time of settlement if you would like this to be removed.

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