coastal landscape on from the highlands to the high arctic cruise
two puffins on the from the highlands to the high arctic cruise
telephone booth beside stone house on from the highlands to the high arctic cruie
union jack flag flying over castle in scottish highlands
passengers at bow of ship approaching float ice in arctic
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Polar Regions Arctic Cruise

From the Highlands to the High Arctic

The From the Highlands to the High Arctic voyage is an epic adventure from Edinburgh, Scotland, through the Shetland and Faroe Islands and Jan Mayen, and along Spitsbergen’s south western coast. Cross the Arctic Circle on this 12-day expedition with 24-hour daylight.

Explore the Orkney Islands’ capital, Kirkwall, where an historic cathedral, palaces and Viking heritage await. Birdwatchers will delight at the birder’s paradise of Fair Isle, whose over 345 bird species comprise the mose recorded in all of Britain. Snap photos of rolling green hills beside brilliant blue water at the Faroe Islands, described by National Geographic Traveler as “authentic, unspoiled and likely to remain so”. Marvel at the northernmost subaerial active volcano on the planet—the Beerenberg on Jan Mayen Island. Experts and guest lecturers provide insight and context along the journey.

Complete the expedition by spending four days exploring Spitsbergen—one of the best places in the world to observe polar bears hunting in their preferred habitat, the pack ice. Enjoy a flexible itinerary based around sea and ice conditions that explores the spectacular fjords and coasts in the southwestern part of Svalbard. Polar bears, walruses, endangered bowhead whales and other Arctic wildlife can be spotted anywhere, anytime in and around this High Arctic archipelago. The captain and crew are determined to exploit every opportunity for wildlife viewing in this unique polar ecosystem.

Sailing aboard the 114-guest Sea Spirit is like floating aboard a fine hotel that is highly maneuverable and capable of navigating narrow bays and icy channels. Add the luxury of incredible amenities, a generous crew, expert leaders and onboard photography lessons and this From the Highlands to the High Arctic voyage is complete. AdventureSmith Explorations’ award-winning crew has personal experience sailing in the Arctic and can recommend the best itineraries to suit your travel interests and timeline.

Read on for details about this trip, or view all of AdventureSmith’s Arctic cruises.



Itinerary

From the Highlands to the High Arctic Itinerary

This unique 12-day Scotland, Faroe Islands and Svalbard cruise begins in Edinburgh, Scotland and ends in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen for an epic Arctic expedition.

From the Highlands to the High Arctic route map from Scotland to Spitsbergen.
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Day 1
Embark Leith (Edinburgh), Scotland

Welcome to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland and starting point of the expedition. The famous Castle rising above the city shows off Edinburgh’s rich history. While the Town area boasts medieval architecture, the New Town accommodates newer 18th century buildings. Each corner of Edinburgh’s old streets opens beautiful unexpected vistas of green hills or a blue flash of distant sea.

In the afternoon, take an included transfer to the expedition ship M/V Sea Spirit where you are welcomed aboard. Explore the ship and get comfortable in this home-away-from-home for the extraordinary adventure to come.

Accommodations

Sea Spirit

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
Kirkwall & Orkney Islands

Kirkwall is a small, quiet town, with a gentle pace of life. The town is the capital of the remote and amazing Orkney archipelago. Kirkwall is first mentioned in Orkneyinga saga in 1046. Such a long history has left a rich heritage that will be explored today. The most famous are the sandstone St Magnus Cathedral—considered the finest medieval building in the north of Scotland—the Bishop’s Palace and the Earl’s Palace.

Enjoy an included tour of the ancient treasures of Orkney with St Magnus Cathedral. Depart Kirkwall and head into the west of Mainland, Orkney’s largest island. This tour passes through the gentle rolling landscape of Orkney and into the Neolithic Heartland of Orkney; an area designated as a World Heritage Site due to its wealth of pre-historic archaeology. Passing the Standing Stones of Stenness, stop at the Ring of Brodgar; a huge ceremonial circle of stones dating back almost 5000 years. Continue on to the 5000-year-old village of Skara Brae,
beautifully interpreted in the visitor center. See the remarkable dwellings revealed from beneath the sand dunes by storms only 150 years ago.

Enjoy stories from the guide today en route back to Kirkwall. Once back in the island capital, take a tour of St Magnus Cathedral, built by the Vikings during their 500-year reign over the islands.

Accommodations

Sea Spirit

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Fair Isle & Shetland Islands

Fair Isle is a real paradise for birdwatchers. Numerous birds inhabit the lush grasslands and spectacular cliffs. Over 345 species have been recorded here—more than anywhere else in Britain. During the walk across the island, hope to see northern fulmars, kittiwakes, northern gannets, puffins, and great and arctic skuas.

Accommodations

Sea Spirit

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Torshavn & Faroe Islands, Denmark

National Geographic Traveler had designated Faroe Islands as “authentic, unspoiled and likely to remain so”. It seems that the Nature spares no colors in “painting” the islands. Deep-green hills, bright blue sea, colorful houses and boats, and orangered puffins’ beaks make the scenery unforgettable. We stop at the capital of the Faroes—Torshavn.

Enjoy an included tour of Kirkjubøur. During the Middle Ages, Kirkjubøur was the ecclesiastical and cultural center of the Faroes. Here was the Bishop’s residence until the Reformation, when the Faroese diocese was abolished. The imposing ruin of Saint Magnus Cathedral still dominates the site. Construction of the Cathedral is thought to have begun in the late-thirteenth century, as the style of the building is from the best period of Gothic architecture, common to West Norwegian church building of that time. Tradition has it that it was never finished; yet recent research has revealed that it was probably roofed at one time.

The Roykstovan, standing on the wide, stone foundation of a portion of the Bishop’s palace, has been the home of the farmers in Kirkjubøur for centuries and occupied by the same Faroese family for 17 generations. Covered with a traditional turf roof, it is a large building made of logs, which are said to have come drifting all the way from Norway some 700 years ago. The farmhouse interior reflects the lifestyle of a large Faroese farm. On our way to and from Kirkjubøur, we have a magnificent view to the west of the islands of Koltur, Hestur, Sandoy, and Vágar.

Accommodations

Sea Spirit

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
At Sea

Presentations and workshops by the expert staff, as well as a range of onboard recreation facilities, ensure that this day at sea is not idly spent. Seabird viewing and whale sightings can be enjoyed from panoramic open decks as well as exterior stateroom windows and balconies.

Accommodations

Sea Spirit

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
Jan Mayen, Norway

Jan Mayen hosts the landscapes of breathtaking beauty and northernmost subaerial active volcano on the planet—the Beerenberg. The island is wild and uninhabited aside from members of the Norwegian weather station. The signboard at the entrance door says (translated from the Norwegian): “Theory is when you understand everything but nothing works. Practice is when everything works but nobody understands why. On this station, we combine theory and practice in a way that nothing works and nobody understands why”. Northern fulmars, kittiwakes, and Brünich’s guillemots breeding on steep cliffs and slopes represent the birdlife of Jan Mayen.

Accommodations

Sea Spirit

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
At Sea

The lectures of invited speakers prepare you for meeting with the unique Arctic wildlife and awesome landscapes of Spitsbergen.

Accommodations

Sea Spirit

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 8 - 11
Exploring Spitsbergen

This is a real expedition in a true high Arctic wilderness. As such, the route and exploration opportunities here are heavily dependent on the weather and sea ice conditions encountered. The experienced captain and expedition leader decide the itinerary and continually adjust plans as conditions and opportunities warrant; be assured that the best possible advantage will be taken. Polar bears and other quintessential Arctic wildlife can be spotted anytime, anywhere in and around Svalbard.

The ship’s crew will take every opportunity for you to experience excellent wildlife viewing, discover incredible scenery and to walk in the footsteps of the historic polar expeditions that came before. Anticipate exploring the spectacular fjords, coasts and islands in the northwestern part of Svalbard. This area contains the archipelago’s most impressive scenery and some of the Arctic’s best wildlife viewing opportunities. Deep fjords and narrow channels are flanked by jagged snowy mountain peaks. Immense tidewater glaciers calve icebergs into turquoise waters. On ice floes and on fast ice several species of seals watch vigilantly for polar bears. Fields of flowering tundra are home to grazing reindeer and playful Arctic fox. Bountiful inshore and offshore waters are home to walrus and a wide variety of whales. The whole area is alive with migratory birds, including numerous rare species, taking advantage of summer’s fecundity in 24-hour daylight.

To complete the Arctic experience, also explore places rich with history. The area of exploration contains the historical remnants of whaling camps, coal mining operations, trappers’ cabins, staging areas for historic attempts to discover the North Pole and even an abandoned polar research station. The days are filled with memorable excursions, sumptuous meals, presentations by experts, and enough stunning scenery and wildlife to fill your camera and overwhelm your emotions.

Accommodations

Sea Spirit

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 12
Disembark Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen

After breakfast, say farewell in the town of Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Norwegian territory of Svalbard. Take provided transfer to the airport, or to the town center to spend more time here. If staying in Longyearbyen, then be sure to see the excellent Svalbard Museum and take advantage of quality shopping and dining opportunities in this fascinating Arctic settlement.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Group transfer to the ship on day of embarkation; shipboard accommodation; all meals on board throughout the voyage; tea and coffee station 24 hours daily; all scheduled landings/excursions (subject to weather and ice conditions); leadership throughout the voyage by experienced expedition leader & expedition team; branded Poseidon Expeditions parka; rubber boots for shore landings for the time of the cruise; welcome and farewell cocktails; all port fees; group transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation; pre-departure materials; digital voyage log; WiFi on board (2021).

Exclusions

Airfare; visa and passport fees; luggage and trip cancellation insurance; soft drinks and alcoholic beverages other than those for special events and celebrations; personal expenses such as laundry and telecommunication charges; staff gratuities; Emergency Evacuation Insurance to a minimum benefit of $200,000 USD per person.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 20% of the total trip cost is required per person at the time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 121 days – $750 cancellation fee
120 to 91 days – 100% of deposit
90 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The From the Highlands to the High Arctic itinerary begins in Edinburgh, Scotland (EDI), and ends in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen (LYR). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Plan flights to arrive to Edinburgh in time for the 2:30-3:30pm group transfer to the ship (group transfer also available from the Waverley train station, same timeframe) on day 1 of the itinerary. The estimated disembarkation time is after breakfast, between 8:00am and 9:00am on day 12. Plan flights to depart Longyearbyen no earlier than 2:30am. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Various optional, included activities are available on your From the Highlands to the High Arctic cruise, including hiking, Zodiac cruising, lectures, workshops and an expert photography guide on board each voyage.

Room Configuration

Single travelers wishing to book a double-occupancy cabin may do so at 1.7x the per-person listed rate in Main Deck Suite, Classic Suite and Superior Suite; and 2x the per-person listed rate in Deluxe Suite, Premium Suite and Owner’s Suite, based upon availability. Cabin share is available only in the following Sea Spirit categories: Triple Classic, Main Deck Suite, Classic Suite and Superior Suite.

Families & Children

Children must be at least 12 years of age to participate in this trip; however, on a case-by-case basis, children ages 6-11 may be accepted with additional screening.

Travel Insurance

Emergency evacuation insurance is mandatory for this trip, with a minimum recommended coverage of $200,000 USD per person, but is not included in the cost of this trip. In addition to the emergency evacuation insurance, we highly recommend our travelers protect their investment with travel insurance that includes trip cancellation and other benefits. Our partners at Travelex offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 15 or 21 days of booking (depending on plan) for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice, weather conditions, wildlife encountered and the captain’s discretion. Flexibility is the key to the success of any Arctic expedition.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

See Deals section for details on flexible booking policies.

May 22 - Jun 02, 2021
Sea Spirit • 12 days
From $4895USD
Per Person
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Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
Sea Spirit

Sail aboard the luxurious all-suite Sea Spirit to experience the Arctic and Antarctica in grand style with all the amenities of a fine hotel. Carrying just 114 passengers, this outstanding vessel is the perfect home away from home.

Deals

Current Deals on This Trip

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Offer expires October 31st, 2020
Save 10-15% On 2021 From the Highlands to the High Arctic Expeditions

Book this 2021 Arctic cruise and save up to 15% in the special early-booking deal.

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Offer expires October 31st, 2020
Relaxed Reservations Policy for 2021 Arctic Expeditions

Book your 2021 Arctic expedition with confidence using these relaxed reservation policy details.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

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From the Highlands to the High Arctic

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