Towards the high Arctic – from Iceland to Svalbard 2021


Next Departure
Jun. 12, 2021
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11 days
See the itinerary
, Kayaking, Lectures, Photography, Wildlife observations, Zodiac

This voyage is the perfect chance to experience the Arctic region in its early summer splendor. You can look forward to magnificent scenery on the northernmost islands of the planet

After embarking at Reykjavik onboard Albatros Expeditions’ vessel Ocean Atlantic, we begin our spectacular voyage towards the high Arctic as we depart from Iceland’s volcanic wonderland. Along our way we have planned landings at an incredible four Arctic islands: Iceland, Grimsey, Jan Mayen and Spitsbergen. Our first, days will take us by the ragged cliffs of the Icelandic western and northern coasts, including planned visits at the famed “Iceland in miniature”, Snaefellness and the little Vigur island in the middle of the large fjord,  Ísafjarðardjúp. From here we will make calls on the enigmatic island of Jan Mayen and the glaciated islands of Svalbard. This is early summer; the air is filled with migrating birds – and the sun never sets. When approaching Svalbard, we will scout for sea mammals and seal-hunting polar bears on the pack ice. The spring allows us to enjoy the immense beauty of Svalbard on this high Arctic adventure voyage among whales, walruses and millions of sea birds.


There are few wilder, more magnificent and untouched places than the Arctic Islands of the North Atlantic! And few ships better suited than Ocean Atlantic for such a voyage.

Day 1

Embark Ocean Atlantic in Reykjavík

Our journey begins in Iceland where MV Ocean Atlantic is moored in Reykjavik. Boarding is in the afternoon, where the cabins are designated. After the mandatory security review and drill, we set our course towards Icelands west coast.

Day 2

Iceland’s west coast with Snaefellness. Landing with Zodiac boats.

In the morning, we sail along the 100-kilometer long peninsula Snaefellsnes, which with its dramatic cliff coast, hardened lava floods, sandy beaches and volcanic peaks, is a picture of Iceland in mini-format.
We round the nest on the peninsula and can enjoy the view of the nearly 1,500-meter-high snow-covered volcano Snæfellsjökull, which was the center of Jules Vernes novel "The journey to the center of the earth". The volcano with the almost perfect cone shape and the surrounding area became in 2001 the Snæfellsjökull National Park.

We will make a landing at Snaefellsnes.

In the afternoon we will pass Iceland’s westernmost point and the huge bird cliffs of Latraberg.

Day 3

Northern Iceland's rugged coast with Vigur Island

In the morning, we sail into Isafjardardjúp, and take a walk on the island of Vigur at the mouth of Hestfjördur to enjoy the view of the steep mountains and see the terrific aerobatics of the Arctic Terns.

A local guide will take us on a walk around the island, and coffee and light refreshments will be served in the local café.

Around lunch, we leave Isafjardardjúp and sail towards the West Fjords, which always offer one unforgettable experience after another. We finish the day sailing along the coast of Hornstrandir, the northernmost part of the West Fjords. From here, there are only 300 kilometers to the eastern coast of Greenland. In 1975 the area was converted into nature reserves, and currently has some of the strictest rules to protect the peculiar and fragile nature. Along the coast, there are good opportunities to see whales and seals, and the mountainside is alive with the rich bird life. We continue as we pass Hornvik Bay, which is considered one of the most beautiful places in Iceland, where we can see two of the largest bird cliffs in Europe where millions of seabirds breed.

Day 4

The Arctic Circle at Grimsey

In the morning, we will have arrived at the island of Grimsey, which is located about 40 kilometers from the mainland and is the only part of Iceland, with an Arctic designation. The Polar circle crosses the island at 66 ° 33 'N, and gives the island one full day of 24-hour sunlight every year in June.

Over 100 inhabitants reside in the little rocky island, all living close to the harbor in the only city in the island. The fishing banks in the surrounding seas make the economy flourish, the port is expanded, and there is a small airport with daily flights to the mainland and the school for the children. The island has been inhabited right back from the settlement of Iceland and is mentioned in the sagas as an important land, rich in fish and birds.

The seabirds far exceed the number of inhabitants on Grímsey, and bird cries can be heard 24 hours a day over the bright Arctic summer. Up to 36 different species breed on the island and have their nests on the rocks. One of Iceland's largest tern colonies is here, and it is said that the runway must be cleared for terns before the aircraft can land.

We’ll make landing by Zodiacs during the morning to experience the local life and explore the island's bird life.

Day 5

Enjoy lectures onboard en route to Jan Mayen Island

During our voyage our lecturers onboard will make inspiring and enriching presentations about both Iceland’s history and about nature, wildlife and climatology.

Day 6

We make a shore landing by Zodiacs on Jan Mayen, at the foot of the 2200 meter Beerenberg volcano

Listen to a lecture from our experienced expedition staff, see a film about Arctic nature – or go out on deck to catch glimpses of migrating birds and hopefully some whales.


Approximately in the middle of the North Atlantic lies the enigmatic volcanic island of Jan Mayen. And if not exactly in the middle, at least it is located precisely on the Mid Atlantic Ridge, the reason for its volcanic existence. And enigmatic it is, not only because of its isolation but also due to the almost perpetual clouds and fog that hovers above it. Jan Mayen belongs to Norway, and the mountain Beerenberg is one of the higher of Norway’s 300 summits above 2,000 meters.


The island is inhabited by only 18 persons, running the meteorological station and the Norwegian Defense. We will try to go ashore at the narrowest part of the island, from either south or north, depending on the prevailing wind and surf. The volcanic origin is visible all over with cinder cones, lava flows and the Mount Fuji-like appearance of Beerenberg looming above. After a pleasant stroll on the narrow isthmus we board the Zodiacs and Ocean Atlantic to continue our voyage north.

Day 7

At the sea towards Svalbard looking for seabirds, dolphins and whales

Listen to a lecture from our experienced expedition staff, see a film about Arctic nature – or go out on deck to catch glimpses of migrating birds and hopefully some whales.

Day 8

Svalbard in sight. Evening call in beautiful Bellsund

We are getting closer towards the islands of Svalbard, and it should be possible to spot the largest island, Spitsbergen during the afternoon.

Our route for this day and next depends much on weather conditions. Not least the pack ice coming from Arctic Sea as well as from calving glaciers, and solid winter sea ice. Our vessel has an ice class of 1B and the Captain should be able to safely approach the edge of the ice to give us the opportunity to spot our first polar bear, hunting for seals.


The west coast enjoys the warmer water coming up through the Atlantic, so winter ice should now have melted. This allows us to enter the southern fjord of Bellsund on this first taste of Svalbard exploration.


Bellsund has some of the richest coal layers in Svalbard, and Svea Mine, far into the fjord, was formerly one of the biggest communities on the island. But prices went down, and the coal mine is currently being dismantled.


We will stay in the fjord entrance and make landings at the Vårsol Bay. The biggest attraction here is the little auk cliff. Tundra is richly fertilized by hundreds of thousands of little auks, which the Svalbard reindeer love to graze. We will go for a nice walk along the beach – and spot remains from early industrial eras.


During the night the ship will sail north along the coast of Spitsbergen.

Day 9

Ny Ålesund, Kongsfjorden and Blomstrandhalvøya

During the ‘night’ (what is night, when the sun never sets?), we have passed Prins Karls Forland and have arrived in the magnificent Kongsfjord. Our visit to Svalbard is in the early summer and this is both the challenge and gift of this special voyage. Winter ice will possibly block the inner waters of many fjords, but this will give us the best opportunities to observe the omnipresent – but still elusive – polar bear, hunting for seals in its prime habitat. At this time of the year, the migrating birds have just arrived. They are all eager to settle and feed to get the best start for the coming hectic summer months.


Our first landing will be at Ny Ålesund. This settlement is in fact further north than Longyearbyen, making it THE northernmost town. But… is a group of scientific stations, a post office and a single shop open for a few hours a real town? You will have to judge for yourself. The setting is nice, the scientific projects are very interesting, and so is the town history. The Captain will try to get alongside, so we can enjoy an easy walk through the area.


Continuing our exploration of Kongsfjorden, Ocean Atlantic will anchor behind Blomstrand Peninsula. As we will immediately see, the name is a bit misleading. Blomstrand is now an island - the Blomstrand Glacier has receded, revealing a shallow water strait. We will cruise through this on our Zodiacs and make a landing on the island. 

Day 10

Prince Karls Forland with herds of walruses around Poolepynten and the Icefjord

During the night we have entered Forlandssundet, that separates Prince Karls Forland from Spitsbergen. Our destination is Poole-pynten (Poolepoint), a small headland named after the British whaler Jonas Poole. Today the area is inhabited by herds of walruses who can be seen (and smelled!) from a distance. The large mammals flaunt their tusks and whiskers, as well as their considerable bulk.

After the visit, we are southbound towards the entrance to the Icefjord.

On our way towards Longyearbyen as we cruise through the Icefjord, we hope to get our last glimpses of wildlife as well as the truly unique landscapes of Svalbard.

Day 11

Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen. Disembarkation

Early in the morning the ship has returned to Longyearbyen. After breakfast and farewell greetings to the expedition team and crew, disembarkation will take place.


Please note that all the outings and landings rely on weather, sea and ice conditions being favorable both for the ship to access the areas, as for the zodiacs and kayaks to maneuver under adequate conditions, ensuring the safety of all our passengers and staff.

For this reason, during moments of harsh weather and throughout the entire trip, Ocean Atlantic has excellent public areas, such as wellness/sauna, restaurant, bar and a library for our passengers to spend their spare time.  Our ship is staffed by experts in the field who will also share great lectures along the way, ranging from exploration history to biology, geology, ice and wildlife.


• Charter flight Longyearbyen-Oslo

• 11-day/10-night cruise with Ocean Atlantic in a shared outside/inside double stateroom with private bathroom/toilet in the category chosen

• English-speaking expedition team

Nature hikes and Zodiac cruises per itinerary

• Near-port town walks with the expedition team

• Information briefings and lectures by expedition team

• Full board on ship

• Free coffee, tea and afternoon snacks on the ship

• Welcome and farewell cocktails   

• Taxes, tariffs and AECO fees 

• Special photo workshop

• Welcome and farewell cocktails

• Digital visual journal link after voyage, including voyage log, gallery, species list and more!


  • Hotel accommodation in Longyearbyen.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Cancellation insurance.
  • Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Single room supplement.
  • Meals not on board the ship.
  • Beverages (other than coffee and tea).
  • Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 14 per person per day).
  • Personal expenses.
  • Anything not mentioned under 'Price includes'.

Adventure options


Glide through the waters and take in the royal grace of the icebergs, see the varied birds and seals, and maybe even the whales in their natural habitat under the supervision of experienced kayak guides, who will...


Our primary focus is knowledge, and we apply this to every aspect of a journey. From the staff that forms our expedition team, to the routes our ship follows, and of course, the program onboard.


We always have a dedicated expedition photographer onboard to document the voyage and share their passion for photography through lectures and during landings and zodiac cruises.

Wildlife Observations

One of the greatest pleasures of our expeditions, is being able to experience the Polar regions' wildlife from a safe distance, respectfully enjoying their beauty in their natural habitat.


Essential for expedition cruises, Zodiacs are robust boats that can go up on a beach, a rocky outcrop, a river bank or even an ice floe push through bergy bits of ice floating in the water. This is definitely one...

Departure dates

Jun. 12, 2021