23 Days Ultimate Arctic Discovery Voyage

All Arctic highlights combined in a unique voyage to the remotest places in North Spitsbergen, Northeast Greenland and Jan Mayen. This voyage is aiming at the Farthest North coordinate in pack ice North of Spitsbergen. 

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

You touch down in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Enjoy strolling around this former mining town, whose parish church and Svalbard Museum make for fascinating attractions. Though the countryside appears stark, more than a hundred species of plant have been recorded in it.

In the early evening the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage.

Day 2

Before we begin our crossing to Greenland, we sail into Krossfjorden in the main island of Spitsbergen, where you’ll pass through staggeringly scenic alpine mountaintops, active glaciers, still occupied seabird colonies and rich vegetation.

Day 3 – 4

You may eventually see the jagged edge of the east Greenland sea ice flashing into sight ahead, depending on the conditions. Keep watch for whales and migrating seabirds here.

Day 5

As you approach Greenland, you may sail through the sea ice into Foster Bay and land at Margrethedal, where at the east side of the river are remains of Thule culture from some centuries ago. The lower tundra areas near the shores are populated by musk oxen.

From here you sail through Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord, surrounded by towering mountains and bright interior icebergs.

Day 6

You pass Teufelschloss (Devil’s Castle), a mountain with layered geology. On the other side of the fjord is Blomsterbugt (Flower Bay) and the intended landing site. In the afternoon we continue through Antarctic Sound and make a landing on Marie Island.

Day 7

The first half of the day you spend in Blomsterdal (Flower Valley) near Antarctic Havn, a place where we often spot groups of musk oxen. Another possibility is Ørsted Dal, with landing at Cape Seaforth.

Day 8

Today you reach Scoresby Sund, sailing along the glaciated Volquart Boons Kyst. You may also enjoy a Zodiac cruise past one of the glacier fronts, along with a visit to the basalt columns and ice formations of Vikingebugt.

The afternoon goal is to visit Danmark Island, where you find the remains of an Inuit settlement abandoned around 200 years ago.

The circular stone tent rings indicate the summer houses, while the winter houses can be seen closer to a small cape. The sites are well preserved, with easy identifiable entrances, bear-proof meat caches, and grave sites. In the evening, you continue sailing the berg-crowded fjords to the west.

Day 9

The goal is a Zodiac cruise near Røde Ø, one of the world’s most cherished iceberg attractions: The austere blue-white of the icebergs sets sharp against the brooding red backdrop of the sediment slopes. The afternoon plan is to sail through the northern parts of Røde Fjord, with the chance to see musk oxen and warm late summer foliage.

Day 10

In the morning you encounter colossal icebergs, some over 100 meters (328 feet) high and more than a kilometer (.62 mile) long. Most of them are grounded, as the fjord is only about 400 meters deep (1,312 feet). You then land near Sydkap, with fine views of Hall Bredning and a good shot of seeing Arctic hares.

Day 11

We sail eastward in the cold East Greenland Current and later in the warm Gulfstream current with a multitude of sea life when we sail from one to the other. This sea day grants you the opportunity to spot whales and seabirds.

Day 12

Jan Mayen is a stark volcanic island crowned by the snow-capped summit of Mt. Beerenberg. From the slopes of this imposing 2,300-meter-high (7,545 feet) volcano, broken glaciers grasp out into the frigid sea.

With permission from the Norwegian authorities, you can now visit the weather station. You can also walk to the remains of a 17th- century Dutch whaling station amid the thick moss beds of this stark volcanic landscape.

Day 13 – 14

You sail northeast toward Spitsbergen in search of whales, seals, and a variety of seabirds, cutting east to the rocky edges of the continental shelf of west Spitsbergen. Here you have a good chance of seeing fin whales and – near the glacial mouths of the gaping Spitsbergen fjords – surfacing minke whales.

Day 15

Today you find yourself in Bellsund, one of the largest fjord systems in Svalbard. The ocean currents make this area slightly warmer than other areas in the archipelago, which shows in the relatively lush vegetation. Here there are excellent opportunities to enjoy both history and wildlife.

A possibility is Ahlstrandhalvøya, at the mouth of Van Keulenfjorden, where piles of beluga skeletons can be found. These remains of 19th-century whale slaughter are a haunting reminder of the consequences of rampant exploitation. Fortunately, belugas were not hunted into extinction, and you have a good chance of coming across a pod.

Alternatively, while cruising the side fjords of Bellsund, you can explore tundra where reindeer like to feed as well as rock slopes where little auks are breeding.

Day 16

We briefly return to Longyearbyen to allow new passengers to board the vessel around 16:00. Meanwhile, you can enjoy a self-guided walk around town, visiting the Svalbard Museum or any of the other local attractions. In the early evening, the ship sails out of Isfjorden, where you might spot the first minke whale of your voyage. In the early evening, the ship sails out of Isfjorden.

Day 17

Sailing to Raudfjorden, on the north coast of Spitsbergen, you take in an expansive fjord spilling with glaciers – and maybe even visited by ringed and bearded seals. The cliffs and shoreline of this fjord also support thriving seabird colonies, rich vegetation, and the possibility of polar bears.

In the evening you sail by the island of Moffen, where you can find a large herd of walruses.

Day 18

Depending on the weather, you could sail into Liefdefjorden and cruise within sight of the 5-kilometer-long (3.1 miles) face of the precipitous Monaco Glacier. The waters in front of this glacier are a favorite feeding spot for thousands of kittiwakes, and the base of the ice is a popular polar bear hunting ground.

If ice conditions prevent sailing here early in the season, an alternate route along the west coast of Spitsbergen can be implemented.

Day 19

You next sail through Beverleysundet, formerly navigated by the Swedish-Russian Arc-of-Meridian Expedition in 1898. From here you push east along Scoresby Island into Rijpfjord, where the German Wehrmacht operated the weather station Haudegen (now off-limits) until September 1945.

The aim in Zorgdragerfjord is to have one group walk the eastern shore while another walks the north side of Arkvatnet, through Havsuldalen to the entrance of Duvefjorden.

Day 20 – 21

Reaching Phippsøya, in the Seven Islands north of Nordaustlandet, you’re now at 80° north and just 870 km (540 miles) from the geographic North Pole. Polar bears and walruses inhabit this region.

In the afternoon you venture to your northernmost point, near the 82 parallel. While retracing your route west, keep watch for polar bears and elusive Greenland (bowhead) whales.

About 40 nautical miles west of Spitsbergen, you sail the edge of the continental shelf. Here fin whales forage during the summer in the upwelling zones (where cold, nutrient-rich water wells up from below the sea’s surface) that run along the Spitsbergen banks. At the mouth of Kongsfjorden, you have a good chance of sighting minke whales.

Day 22

Walruses sometimes haul out in Forlandsundet, your next stop – though this late in the season, they may have already departed. Alternately, you might sail into St. Johns Fjord or south to the mouth of Isfjorden, landing at Alkhornet. Seabirds nest on these cliffs, Arctic foxes search below for fallen eggs and chicks, and reindeer graze the sparse vegetation. You arrive in Longyearbyen later that night.

Day 23

Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Longyearbyen, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

Please Note...

All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. Landings are subject to site availabilities, permissions, and environmental concerns per AECO regulations. Official sailing plans and landing slots are scheduled with AECO prior to the start of the season, but the expedition leader determines the final plan. The probability of sailing into Scoresbysund is high (based on our experiences from 1993 – 2019), but there is still a chance (about 30%) that ice will obstruct passage into the fjord system. In that case we will resort to areas south of Scoresbysund (Blosseville Coast) and in Southeast Spitsbergen. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. The average cruising speed of our vessel is 10.5 knots.

Cabin Information

Ship name Cabin Name Price Sale Price Departs on Returns on
m/v Hondius Quadruple Porthole $8,440 $10,550 Aug 1st, 2022 Aug 23rd, 2022
m/v Hondius Triple Porthole $10,320 $12,900 Aug 1st, 2022 Aug 23rd, 2022
m/v Hondius Twin Porthole $11,280 $14,100 Aug 1st, 2022 Aug 23rd, 2022
m/v Hondius Twin Window $12,840 $16,050 Aug 1st, 2022 Aug 23rd, 2022
m/v Hondius Twin Deluxe $13,720 $17,150 Aug 1st, 2022 Aug 23rd, 2022
m/v Hondius Superior $15,440 $19,300 Aug 1st, 2022 Aug 23rd, 2022
m/v Hondius Junior Suite $16,520 $20,650 Aug 1st, 2022 Aug 23rd, 2022
m/v Hondius Grand Suite with private balcony $19,040 $23,800 Aug 1st, 2022 Aug 23rd, 2022

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