polartours header c
Ortelius

Spitsbergen - Greenland - Aurora Borealis, Including Long Hikes

A classic three island voyage on board the Ortelius

Length

14 Days

Ship category

Classic

Ship type

Small Ship

Capacity

108 Passengers

Spitsbergen - Greenland - Aurora Borealis

3 Reviews

Trip highlights

Enjoy long hikes through raw wilderness

Search for polar bears and ringed seals

Witness the Northern Lights

Enjoy iconic Arctic wildlife

The Polartours experience

Zodiac-cruise along vast glacial fronts

Free photo workshop

Your booking contributes to our Conservation Project

Learn from Polar experts

Join us for an unforgettable Spitsbergen and Northeast Greenland cruise, where breathtaking scenery and thrilling adventures await. Sail through icy fjords and towering glaciers, encountering seals, seabirds, whales, and polar bears. Enjoy long hikes across rugged landscapes and evenings under the mesmerizing Northern Lights. This expedition promises a unique blend of natural beauty and thrilling exploration. Don't miss the chance to experience the magic of the Arctic!

Long hikes are for groups of 24 passengers maximum, accompanied by two armed expedition staff and a Zodiac that will sail ahead to watch for polar bears along the shoreline. Passengers who join this activity should have the willingness and ability to walk at least 15 km (9 miles) in semi-rough terrain that includes shorelines, tundra, low hills, and river crossings. Walks will take around six hours from start to finish, rest times included. We will walk at a modest pace and not cross any alpine terrain. Passengers who do not take part in long walks will have a landing in the morning at the start point of the walk, then sail to the end point of the walk for their second landing in the afternoon.

Your ship: Ortelius

Ortelius deck plan

Ortelius has a fascinating history of polar exploration. Originally launched as the “Marina Tsvetaeva” in 1989, she served as a special purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science. Later re-flagged and renamed, *Ortelius” is now classed by Lloyd’s Register in London and flies the Dutch flag.

Ortelius is first and foremost a true Antarctic exploration vessel. She has the highest Ice-Class specification (UL1, equivalent to 1A) and is certified to navigate through solid annual sea ice as well as loose multi-year pack ice. In this ship, you can discover the true Antarctic, reaching plac … Read more about Ortelius

Cabins

Twin Window Cabin

Type:

Twins

Max. occupancy:

2

More about this cabin

Quadruple Porthole Cabin

Type:

Quadrupel

Max. occupancy:

4

More about this cabin

Twin Deluxe Cabin

Type:

Twins

Max. occupancy:

2

More about this cabin

Triple Porthole Cabin

Type:

Triple

Max. occupancy:

3

More about this cabin

Superior Cabin

Type:

Matrimonial

Max. occupancy:

2

More about this cabin

Twin Porthole Cabin

Type:

Twins

Max. occupancy:

2

More about this cabin

Map

Itinerary

Keep in mind this is an expedition cruise, so your itinerary will depend greatly on the weather, amount of ice and wildlife breeding behavior.

photo workshop

0 Days

Photography Workshop

Please note that depending on the ship, length of your cruise, and the itinerary, this price may vary. Inquire with your Polar Specialist. All "Basecamp" itineraries include this activity at no additional cost. Most expedition voyages offer an incredible opportunity for all photographers and videographers of any skill level. An expert photographer is onboard to provide unique lectures and presentations as well as useful tips and tricks to help you improve your skills behind the lens and to help you to capture your experience like a true pro. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced photographer, you’ll be in the company of some of the world’s best. You’ll have the opportunity to learn or hone your craft with presentations and informal coaching both onboard or during landings and excursions.

Price on request

Ortelius Antarctic Header
Svalbard
Pyramiden

Arrival at Longyearbyen

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.

Svalbard
Before and After Svalbard
Northern Spitsbergen

Raudfjorden

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.

Greenland
Albatros Expedition Disko Bay
Albatros Expedition through north atlantic

Rodefjord and Rode island

Nordvestfjord

Vestfjord

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.

Greenland
Albatros Expedition Disko Bay
Albatros Expedition through north atlantic

As you approach Greenland, you may sail through the sea ice into Foster Bay and land at Myggebugten. Beyond the old hunters’ hut (where Norwegian trappers hunted for polar bear and Arctic fox in the first half of the 20th century), there is a sprawling tundra populated by musk oxen, with geese floating the small lakes. From here you sail through Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord, surrounded by towering mountains and bright interior icebergs. An alternate route is Sofia Sound, a narrower waterway.

Greenland
Albatros Expedition Disko Bay
Albatros Expedition through north atlantic

Blomsterbukta

Ittoqqortoormiit

Milneland

Føhnfjord

In the coming days, a host of choices are available to the expedition, and depending on ice and weather conditions, the east coast of Greenland is ours to explore. The experienced Expedition Team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to tailor the itinerary on a day-to-day basis. This allows the expedition to make best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions and encounters with wildlife. The expedition generally attempts up to two landings or Zodiac excursions per day, including cruising along spectacular ice cliffs, following whales feeding near the surface.

You arrive at Teufelschloss (Devil’s Castle), a mountain with layered geology. On the other side of the fjord is Blomsterbugt and the intended landing site. In the afternoon you head into Antarctic Sound, where you find the islands of Ruth, Maria, and Ella. Maria is the most likely spot for a landing.

Greenland
Albatros Expedition Disko Bay
Albatros Expedition through north atlantic

Blomsterbukta

Ittoqqortoormiit

Milneland

Føhnfjord

In the morning you enter Segelsällskapets Fjord, with the streaked slopes of the Berzelius Mountains bordering the north side. You land on the south shore, where ancient sedimentary formations lie right at your feet. A hike takes you near a small lake with good chances to see musk oxen, Arctic hares, and ptarmigans. In the afternoon the ship ventures into Alpefjord, aptly named for the spire-like peaks that thrust up around it. You may then embark on a Zodiac cruise around Gully Glacier, which once blocked access to the interior of these waters. Continuing deep into the fjord, you experience a definitive Greenland adventure.

Greenland
Albatros Expedition Disko Bay
Albatros Expedition through north atlantic

Blomsterbukta

Ittoqqortoormiit

Milneland

Føhnfjord

The first half of the day you spend in Antarctic Havn, an extensive valley where you can spot groups of musk oxen. At this time of year, the sparse vegetation is dressed in the fiery colors of autumn.

The tundra landscape is home to musk oxen, arctic hare and reindeer. Throughout the area there are ancient Thule archaeological sites, historical trappers’ huts, and the cabins of present-day Inuit hunters. A highlight is a visit to the Inuit village of Ittoqqortoormiit, the most isolated and northernmost permanent settlement in the region, with approximately 450 inhabitants. The community has an excellent museum, gift shop, an abundance of Greenlandic sled dogs and provides the opportunity to meet the friendly locals.

Greenland
Albatros Expedition Disko Bay
Albatros Expedition through north atlantic

Blomsterbukta

Ittoqqortoormiit

Milneland

Føhnfjord

Today you reach Scoresbysund, sailing along the glaciated 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.

In the afternoon, we plan to sail by the east coast of Milne Land among a multitude of giant icebergs. If we can also land at Charcot Havn, we will make a walk to the Charcot Glacier. We will then continue by Bjørneør and sail into Øfjord, where we might also make a landing.

Ittoqqortoormiit (Greenland)
Greenland
Nordvestfjord. East Greenland

Blomsterbukta

Ittoqqortoormiit

Milneland

Føhnfjord

The goal is a Zodiac cruise near Sorte Ø, surrounded by icebergs. Their austere blue-white contrasts sharply with the sediment slopes nearby. The afternoon plan is to sail through the northern parts of Røde Fjord and into Harefjord, with the chance to see musk oxen and warm autumnal foliage.

Greenland
Greenland and Baffin Bay
Greenland

Blomsterbukta

Ittoqqortoormiit

Milneland

Føhnfjord

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.

Today’s long walk goes from Sydkap to Nordøstbugt (12 km, 7.5 miles to the northeast), where the river coming from Holger Danskes Briller flows into the sea. We plan to walk south along the shore to Satakajik, seeing whale vertebrae and the remains of Thule summer houses. Passengers who opt out of the long walking group will join us at this location for their second excursion of the day.

Greenland
Albatros Expedition Disko Bay
Albatros Expedition through north atlantic

Ittoqqortoormiit

Today you make a tundra landing on Liverpool Land, in Hurry Inlet. The afternoon stop is Ittoqqortoormiit, the largest settlement in Scoresbysund at about five hundred inhabitants. At the post office you can buy stamps for your postcards, or just stroll around to see the sled dogs and drying skins of seals and musk oxen. In the afternoon you sail south, passing the picturesque landscapes of the Blosseville Coast.

Oceanwide Wandering Albatross
turret point
Oceanwide

Crossing the Denmark Strait to Iceland, search for whale blows and photograph the many seabirds that trail our ship in the ever-present arctic winds – and at night, the magical northern lights.

Akureyri

Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Akureyri, where on request you can transfer (T) by chartered bus (a six-hour drive that you must book in advance) to the bus stop Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre at Austurbakki, Reykjavík, taking home memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

Dates & Prices

From

Until

Info

Availability

Price

29

Aug

2024

11

Sep

2024

Available

From

EUR 9,067

29

Aug

2024

11

Sep

2024

Available

From

EUR 9,067

17

Aug

2025

30

Aug

2025

Available

From

EUR 6,763

17

Aug

2025

30

Aug

2025

Available

From

EUR 6,763

Preferred date unavailable? Contact us

Info

Single Cabin Supplement

When booking online, you can choose the option to "Upgrade to single occupancy". This will guarantee you the whole cabin to yourself, for an additional fee. If you don't select this option, then another traveler of the same sex might be placed into the same cabin with you.

What's included

Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary

All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.

All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.

Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.

Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.

Transfers and baggage handling between the airport, hotels and ship only for those passengers on the group flights to Longyearbyen.

All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.

AECO fees and governmental taxes.

Comprehensive pre-departure material.

What's not included

Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights

Pre- and post- land arrangements.

Passport and visa expenses.

Government arrival and departure taxes.

Meals ashore.

Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended).

Excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.

Transfer supplement for bus shuttle between Akureyri (ship) and Radhus Reykjavikur / city hall in Vonarstraeti (6 hours).

The customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).

Reviews

Ian & Julie Grover

Ortelius Antarctic and Arctic Cruises

Classic

Despite not managing the full circumnavigation, we had a a wonderful and memorable trip. Great to see the Polar bears and Walrus, and all the wildlife and amazing scenery. Kayaking amongst the sea ice was amazing, and seeing the glacier calving incredible. We loved the ship and met some great people. The guides were all great too!! (Oceanwide Expeditions)

Henk Vogel

Ortelius Antarctic and Arctic Cruises

Classic

The trip with the Ortelius was planned almost one year ago and we have been looking forward to what we called the Expedition Polar Bear with high expectations. We is the male part of a family of three generations out of the “OPA” dynasty, two 13 year old boys, two 50 year old fathers and one 77 year young granddad called OPA. Each generation with his involvement and interest of the environmental changes at Svalbard. We all enjoyed each minute and each activity of the trip. We liked to sail in the zodiac, to hike on the tundra and to climbe the mountain, to swim between the seals and polar bears , we even liked the experience to cruise during foggy and stormy weather. The expedition was extremely well organized with a first class crew and equipment with much attention to safety. Especially the expedition leader, Ali with her staff, deserves a big compliment by creating a once-in-a-lifetime feeling and an atmosphere of adventure and companionship for all participants in the age from 13 till 77. The trip exceeded our already high expectations. (Copied from Oceanwide Expeditions)

Maurice O'Leary

Ortelius Antarctic and Arctic Cruises

Classic

Having previously travelled to the Antarctic Peninsula, my wife and I wanted to return to more distant parts of this gorgeous and fascinating place. The Ross Sea tour, with its abundance of natural wonders and great historical significance, had the ideal itinerary. I can say that all of our high expectations were met, and often even exceeded. With fortunate weather (especially some well-timed sea-ice breakups) and the diligent efforts of both ship and expedition crews, we had one rare and unforgettable experience after another: the rich wildlife of the Southern Ocean, the huts of the great explorers, a tour of McMurdo Station, and the otherworldly beauty of the continent, especially the shimmering blue of the ice. In our trip planning, we evaluated several tours, and the fact that the Ortelius had helicopters emerged as a compelling argument in its favor. This proved out, especially with a landing in the Taylor Dry Valley, an awe-inspiring experience that is otherwise almost impossible. We can't say enough about the crews. They were genuinely committed to providing the best experience. We immediately came look upon them as friends, colleagues, and mentors. (Copied from Oceanwide Expeditions)

FAQ

When it comes to traveling to Antarctica, one of the first questions that often arises is, "Can I fly to Antarctica?". The answer is: Yes, you can. Most trips start in Patagonia (Ushuaia and Punta Arenas) and cross the Drake Passage by ship, but there are also trips that use planes to cross that infamous sea passage. Here are the Pros and Cons for each method:

Flying to Antarctica:

  • Pros: Flying to Antarctica is the quickest way to reach the continent. It offers convenience and is often the choice for those with very limited time.

  • Cons: There are limited commercial flights to Antarctica, and these are primarily reserved for research and expedition purposes. Tourist accessibility is limited, and it can be costly. Also, as not many trips include flights, you'll be limiting your choice a lot if you decide to only look for such trips.

Crossing the Drake Passage by ship:

  • Pros: If you choose to cross the Drake Passage by ship, you embark on an incredible adventure. This journey is not just a means of transportation; it's an expedition in itself. The crossing takes 1.5 - 2 days, which are filled with scientific lectures that prepare you for the experience. You'll witness diverse wildlife, including penguins and whales, as your anticipation starts building up. To us, the crossing is a quintessential experience of a true Antarctic explorer.

  • Cons: Crossing the Drake Passage takes some time, and the seas can be rough. It's not the quickest way to reach the continent, and you need to allocate more time for your expedition.

In conclusion, when it comes to traveling to Antarctica, you have these two choices. Flying offers efficiency and direct access, perfect for specific purposes. Crossing the Drake Passage by ship provides an unmatched adventure and connection with Antarctica's unique environment. Consider what truly matters to you, and you'll find the Antarctic transportation choice that suits your goals and spirit of exploration.

All cruises in the polar regions operate to itineraries that are more-or-less fixed. We say "more or less", because wildlife (breeding, seasonality) and weather always play an important role in routing. Most cruises will offer a range of land-based and water-based activities that you will enjoy at various points in your cruise, including:

  • Land excursions (including hiking trails, visitor centers, time relaxing on beaches, observing animals, etc.)
  • Bird Watching
  • Snorkeling (from ship or beaches)
  • Dinghy rides
  • Kayaking
  • Diving (on ships with diving itineraries)
  • Naturalist presentations. These usually take place every evening - on board the bigger ships also with help of projectors, microscopes etc.

All boats carry English speaking, scientifically trained guides. They will lead you on your excursions, allowing you to learn as much as possible about the unique wildlife and habitats of the Polar Regions.

Choosing the right ship for a cruise to Antarctica or the Arctic seems difficult, but it doesn't have to be. Our fleet is over 30 vessels, we are sure that there is the perfect one for you. Please, follow these simple steps, and you will be able to find your ideal ship:

  • Determine your budget and desired level of comfort: Are you looking for luxury or more budget-friendly options? On our website you can set the price range.
  • Consider ship size: Large ships offer more amenities and facilities, but they can also feel crowded and impersonal. Smaller ships offer a more personal experience, but may not have as many amenities.
  • Look at the cabins: Although you probably won’t spend much time in your cabin, look at the photos and read the descriptions to make sure you're happy with the one you choose.
  • Consider the activities on board: Are you interested in kayaking, camping, diving or a photography workshop? Or maybe you want to take part in a Citizen Science Program? These activities can enhance your overall experience. See what our ships have to offer.
  • Read customer reviews: Learn about other travelers' experiences by reading reviews.
  • Ask your Polar Specialist: Feel free to contact your Polar Specialist. They are happy to share their knowledge and are always ready to help.

In addition: We work with responsible partners who provide a great experience for their passengers. All of our providers are committed to sustainability and to preserving the beauty of the polar regions. You don’t need to worry about the impact of your cruise, because we’ve already taken care of it.

We love to help people find their dream vacation to the Arctic and Antarctic. Whether you give us a call, contact us via email, or use our website inquiry form, one of our Polar travel experts will be more than happy to answer any questions, recommend ships and itineraries, and walk you through the whole process!

Step 1: Find your perfect trip. If you have already started looking for Polar Cruises, you will have quickly noticed that the sheer amount of options can be quite overwhelming. To help you navigate the countless departures and itineraries that our fleet offers, we have put together a great filter page for Antarctic and Arctic Expedition Cruises. Use this page to filter all trips by price, date, ship category, and even destinations you wish to visit. We update all dates, prices, and availabilities daily, and are proud to host what is doubtlessly the world's most complete collection of information.

Step 2: Found something you love? We'll hold your spaces, free of charge! If you find a cruise you like, you can either inquire directly with us or make an unbinding booking online. We will then reach out to the shipowners to put a hold on your spaces for a limited time, free of charge. Once we have confirmed your block with the ship, we will send you a written confirmation of your reservation and include full payment details in an invoice. Typically, we are able to hold unpaid reservations for up to 1 week*. This gives us time to clarify all your remaining questions, and also ensures that no other passengers can book your spaces, while we continue our conversation.

Step 3: Confirm your booking. In order to confirm your booking, we ask for a deposit payment. You can pay via bank transfer or credit card. Keep in mind, that we can only hold your spaces for a limited amount of time. If we don't receive your payment after this time, we can no longer guarantee that the places will be available or that the price won't increase. To prevent disappointment, we will automatically cancel your reservation if we don't receive your deposit by the due date stated on your booking reservation.

Step 4: Booking confirmation & Payment. As soon as we have received your deposit and a completed passenger information form, we will be pleased to send your booking confirmation and updated invoice, along with your trip itinerary, important information, and other great tips for your cruise.

Step 5: Final payment. In your initial invoice, we will define a final payment date by when you need to pay us the remaining amount of your trip. Once we have received your final payment we'll send you your cruise documents and voucher. As your trip approaches, we make sure to pass along all necessary information, so you feel super prepared and stress-free.

*For last-minute bookings, we might not be able to hold your spaces for so long. We will also require the full payment of your cruise upon booking.

An expedition cruise to Antarctica or the Arctic is a big deal! Most people plan for this type of trip at least 8 months in advance. This means the earlier you book, the better chance you'll have to reserve your prefered cabins. Early bird discounts are also popular and a great way to get 10-30% off your cruise.

Most expedition cruises offer optional activities like camping and kayaking, but the spaces are limited. A cruise with 120 passengers can have only 10-15 spaces for kayaking. These are reserved on a first come first served basis. The earlier you book, the higher your chance of grabbing a spot.

Even though last minute deals do occur, keep in mind that the airline prices will be much higher if you purchase them last minute. You may save a few hundred on your cruise, but you may end up paying the most for airfare.

If you are prone to motion sickness then here are a few hints to help you.

Firstly, book a cabin in the middle of the ship. The middle of the ship will move less, both in roll and in pitch. Secondly, chose a larger ship. Bigger vessels typically are more stable, and some of them are even equipped with "stabilizers", fins under water that remove the rolling in the swells. Thirdly, take medical advice on anti-seasickness medication. Some traditional remedies are said to be very effective, such as taking ginger or using commercially-available acupressure wristbands.

Watch this informative video about life onboard an expedition ship and seasickness from our expert guide and Polartours Brand Ambassador, Kevin.

Life Onboard & Seasickness
Spitsbergen - Greenland - Aurora Borealis

5.0

(3)

Classic

From

EUR 6,763



2024 Polartours, a Ventura TRAVEL GmbH brand

All rights reserved

Polar Specialist

Your contact

Bruna

Book a video consultation

15min face to face consultation

Polar Specialist