Arctic Ocean Expedition, Aberdeen – Fair Isle – Jan Mayen – Ice edge – Spitsbergen – Birding

Sailing between our home port of Vlissingen and our most cherished Arctic archipelago, Svalbard, this expedition adventure visits the Scottish port of Aberdeen, the islands of Fair Isle and Jan Mayen, and the amazing Spitsbergen ice edge, giving you the chance to search for whales, and other animals of the land, sea, and air.

Trip Itinerary


We will have at least one dedicated expedition guide in our team who will share their expert knowledge about bird species and who will be available to help you identify, photograph on deck and learn more about the birds that we see. In addition to outdoor sessions, our guide will focus on species and related information on the birds of the Arctic in re-caps and lectures onboard.


In this engaging audio workshop, we will provide you the theoretical background of various acoustic tools that we will help you use to locate and interpret the songs of whales and seals. This fun and informative workshop covers both the theory and practice of analyzing marine mammal sounds, requiring you to bring no additional equipment.

Day 1

You board the vessel at midday in Vlissingen, headed north. Far north.

Day 2

Crossing the North Sea and sailing by Doggersbank, we hope to be lucky enough to spot such species as white-beaked dolphins, harbour porpoises, minke whales, and orcas.

Day 3

Passengers who boarded in Vlissingen will be offered an excursion by bus to Fowlsheugh, a seabird cliff south of Aberdeen. Over 100,000 pairs of seabird of different species can be seen here. Alternatively, you can join an excursion to the Ythan Estuary, where the beaches are teeming with harbor seals, grey seals, and birds that keep to the shorelines. Both outings are included in the price of booking.

Day 4

We plan to stay the day on Fair Isle, an island in the Shetlands whose seventy-odd inhabitants are known for their beautiful knitwear. This is a fantastic location with accessible seabird breeding grounds, and you may even spot grey seals.

Day 5 – 6

You sail north to the Norwegian island of Jan Mayen, 300 nautical miles northeast of Iceland. Your two days at sea do not pass idly, however. Keep a close lookout for any spouts of water from the surrounding seas, heralding the arrival of a minke, fin, orca, or blue whale.

Day 7

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 8 – 10

Basking in the midnight sun, you sail north along the edge of the sea ice in search of bowhead whales, harp seals, polar bears, and a variety of seabirds. You then change direction after about 79° north, cutting west 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 11

Forlandsundet, between the main island of Spitsbergen and the narrow Prins Karls Forland, is a place of great beauty and fascinating wildlife. Walruses sometimes haul out here.  Alternatively, you might sail into St. Johns Fjord or head 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.

Day 12

Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Longyearbyen, the administrative center of Spitsbergen, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies. But if you’re still craving additional chances to spot the Arctic’s most iconic apex predator, stay on board for our seven-night north Spitsbergen voyage, “in search of polar bears & pack ice.”

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. 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 $3,000 NA Jun 3rd, 2023 Jun 14th, 2023
m/v Hondius Triple Porthole $3,600 NA Jun 3rd, 2023 Jun 14th, 2023
m/v Hondius Twin Porthole $4,200 NA Jun 3rd, 2023 Jun 14th, 2023
m/v Hondius Twin Window $4,500 NA Jun 3rd, 2023 Jun 14th, 2023
m/v Hondius Twin Deluxe $4,800 NA Jun 3rd, 2023 Jun 14th, 2023
m/v Hondius Superior $5,400 NA Jun 3rd, 2023 Jun 14th, 2023
m/v Hondius Junior Suite $5,750 NA Jun 3rd, 2023 Jun 14th, 2023
m/v Hondius Grand Suite with private balcony $6,600 NA Jun 3rd, 2023 Jun 14th, 2023

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