Across the Arctic Circle - Scotland, Norway & Spitsbergen 14 Days aboard Polar Pioneer
Follow in the paths of the Vikings as you journey from northeast Scotland to the land of the midnight sun. In the company of expert historians and naturalists, on this fantastic itinerary you will discover the Stone Age villages, Viking relics and prolific birdlife of the Orkney and Shetland Islands before following the migrating whales along Norway’s dramatic coastline, stopping at the picturesque fishing villages that dot the landscape along the way. After commemorating crossing the Arctic Circle and a stop off at Bear Island, your ship will sail towards the polar wonderland of Spitsbergen, the breeding ground of walruses, reindeers, various birds and polar bears. Enjoy exciting Zodiac cruises around South Spitsbergen National Park and marvel at the spectacular scenery, the beautiful tundra sparkling with wildflowers, and enjoy every moment in this land where the summer sun never sets.
Namibia Birding and Photography GuideAn accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country. Read more >
Wildlife Guide & PhotographerAndy is a 6th generation Falkland Islander, with a passion for wildlife, plants and photography. Raised in the Falkland Islands, Andy developed a close affinity with the Islands natural environment at a young age. School holidays where spent in the ‘camp’ or countryside with friends and family. For more than 10 years, Andy had the privilege of spending a time on Sea Lion Island, visiting his mother who managed one of the Islands premier tourist destinations. Read more >
Photographer and founder of the Travel Photographer Of The Year awardsA fascination with natural light and a passion with nature, landscape and travel underpin Chris Coe's photography. His images often have a striking simplicity and graphic quality. More recent work has introduced a subtlety with experimentation with both movement and light.Read more >
Falklands Expert & GuideBorn in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. Read more >
Special Guest LecturerExclusive to this voyage, Doug Allan, a multi award winning polar photographer and cameraman, will be your special guest lecturer. Doug has been on over 20 expeditions to Svalbard to film its wildlife, and knows the wonders of this area more than most. Read more >
Special Guest Photography GuideChris was 32 when he finally realised he really did want to be a photo-journalist and walked out on his career in IT sales to become a wildlife photographer Read more >
- Explore the Polar wonderland of Spitsbergen
- Sail around Norway's spectacular coastline with majestic fjords and soaring granite walls
- Discover Stone Age villages and Viking relics in the Orkney & Shetland Islands
- Search for Polar bears, reindeer and ringed seals in Spitsbergen
- Follow the humpback whales' migration to the Norwegian coast
- Spot puffins, guillemots, fulmars, eagles and a plethora of Arctic birdlife
- Celebrate as your ship crosses the Arctic Circle
- Kayaking option available
- Accommodation onboard Polar Pioneer with all meals, snacks, tea and coffee included
- Group transfer from ship to Longyearbyen airport
- Group sightseeing tour in Longyearbyen upon disembarkation (post-voyage)
- All shore excursions and Zodiac (inflatable boat) cruises
- Educational lectures and guiding services from an expert team
- Complimentary custom-designed polar expedition jacket
- Loan of gumboots during the voyage
- Daily cabin service
- Professionally-produced hard back voyage log
- Port taxes and charges & entry fees to historic landings sites
ITINERARY13 Nights 14 Days
- Day 1 | Aberdeen, Scotland
- Days 2 - 3 | Orkney Archipelago
- Day 4 | Shetland Isles
- Day 5 | At Sea
- Days 6 - 9 | Norway Coast
- Day 10 | Bear Island
- Days 11 - 13 | Spitsbergen
- Day 14 | Longyearbyen
Arrive independently to the port city of Aberdeen in northeast Scotland and make your way to the port to board the Polar Pioneer. Embarkation will begin mid-afternoon and you can take the time to settle into your new surroundings as the ship begins its sail northwards.
The beautiful Orkney’s archipelago is home to 70 windswept islands filled with historical sites, archaeological features and an abundance of birdlife. We will visit 5000-year-old, World Heritage-listed, Neolithic sites and discover Viking relics from long ago, sail along the islands in Zodiacs, and for the adventure-seekers there will be time to explore the coastlines on an optional kayaking excursion. Midway between The Orkneys and the The Shetlands we will stop at Fair Isle, where you can visit traditional crofts to admire the local knitwear and explore around the area to discover the nearby colonies of fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots, gannets, shags and puffins.
The Shetland’s are home to 100 islands, each peppered with nature reserves and archaeological sites. Warmed by Gulf Stream currents and near 24-hours’ daylight we will have plenty of time to discover some of the islands’ most enchanting features. During your time here you will see the complex Stone, Bronze and Iron Age settlement of Jarlshof, the world’s best preserved broch (fortified Iron Age tower) on Mousa, and remnants of Viking conquest along the coast.
As your ship sails towards Norway, keep an eye out on deck in search of sightings of migratory whales and seabirds. Your onboard team of experts will offer fascinating talks and lectures on everything from birdwatching to archaeology. Enjoy a moment to relax in your surroundings and look forward to more adventures ahead.
As we sail northwards up the maze-like coastline of Norway your ship will pass over the Arctic Circle and we will raise a toast in celebration of this memorable moment. As your ship weaves through the intricate channels we will visit places like Sør Gjaeslingan, once home to a busy cod-fishing fleet, and now one of Norway’s finest birdwatching areas. You can expect to see numerous kittiwakes, terns and skuas that migrate here each summer. As we share the water with orcas and the skies with puffins we will sail further north past Torghatten, a mountain with a distinctive hole through it, and learn the fable of lost love and a troll’s arrow that surrounds it. As we reach the Lofeten Islands, the majestic scenery will delight, from romantic beaches to narrow fjords hemmed by granite walls.
As we leave mainland Norway behind and head towards Spitsbergen through the Barents Sea we will pass the often fog-shrouded Bear Island. If time and weather permits we will make a landing here by Zodiac in search of sightings of the fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots and gulls that make this island their home.
In the afternoon/late evening of day 10 your ship will have arrived in the polar wonderland of Spitsbergen. Your time here will be spent exploring South Spitsbergen National Park, a sanctuary for barnacle geese and eider ducks, before entering the iceberg-laden waters of Hornsund. Surrounded by polar desert on a grand scale, we search for reindeer, ringed and bearded seals and the mighty polar bear. Learn of human history dating back 400 years and if we’re lucky, we’ll encounter the elusive beluga whale. Throughout your time here you can enjoy exciting Zodiac excursions and optional kayaking.
Your Arctic adventure ends in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of Svalbard. After disembarkation you can enjoy an included group sightseeing tour of this unique Arctic town. A transfer to the airport for homewards journeys is included, or should you wish to spend more time here there are many opportunities for excursions and adventures.
What Our Customers
Superlatives abound – a truly amazing experience...awesome. Thanks to all for making it such a memorable experience.
We have just returned from our Spitsbergen trip with Wildfoot and had to tell you what an amazing time we had! We saw 6 polar bears including a mother with 2 cubs as well as whales, walruses and lots of birds. The ship (Expedition) was really comfortable and the guides were so helpful and friendly. Thank you so much for making it all so easy.
I came to Wildfoot because a friend had booked with you when you were Antarctica Bound and they were right. Everything went perfectly, even when our flight was cancelled, you made sure we still made it to the ship with time to spare. L’Austral is a beautiful ship with first class service and food and the guides looked after us well. Very happy to recommend Wildfoot and L’Austral...
We had always wanted to see the Arctic and travelling all the way from Australia needed lots of information. After getting nowhere, we came across Wildfoot and found people who knew what they were talking about! Sara and John were so helpful and made the process easy, suggesting Iceland Greenland and Spitsbergen. This was perfect for us – amazing scenery and lots of wildlife, especially the polar bears in Spitsbergen. Thanks for everything. Ps, the ship was great too!
Just wanted to say thank you for suggesting a trip to Franz Josef Land as something different for the Arctic. We had a super trip and really enjoyed the Sea Spirit. Galapagos next!
Standing on the North Pole has been an ambition of mine since childhood and now I have done it! Thank you for making the process so easy - seeing polar bears and whales too was a real bonus.
The Sea Spirit expedition was excellent and the team organising it all were extremely good. 10 out of 10. Everything went very smoothly. The Iceland extension worked perfectly, all the organisation, connections etc. were excellent
The cruise was beyond my expectations. Got to see everything the captain wanted, even a polar bear mother with three cubs. Coal Miners Cabins were smashing. I did loads of birding and exploring over three days. All the people were great from the expedition leaders down to the passengers. So glad to have achieved my ambition of some 50 years standing and got amongst the ice of the Arctic, walked amongst it’s islands and witnessed the antics of its wonderful wildlife. What’s next??? I’ll need to speak with Sara again.
Thanks so much for enabling me to get to places I had always wanted to see from a very young age. “Ace” as my boys used to say!
Just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you very much for all your help in arranging our recent trip to Svalbard. Everything ran smoothly and the trip was a great success. Unfortunately I had to flew back a few days early and missed out on Isfjord Radio, which the rest of the team said was a brilliant place with amazing food, still the Basecamp Hotel and Nordenskiold Lodge were pretty amazing places, so I’m not complaining!
Writing back to tell you that the trip to the Arctic was all that it promised and more. It was a great wild-life sightseeing opportunity and the staff were really good.I had an excellent trip and have thousands of photos to go through.
I had an absolutely fabulous time won the Sergey Vavilov, it is an excellent ship. Sara was indeed right in her recommendation that they would be the most likely to push north into the ice to find the polar bears. We even circumnavigated Spitsbergen which was awesome and not o n the itinerary.It is such a wonderful way to take a trip when you are on your own – so if any of your potential single clients are unsure, definitely recommend it – I didn’t feel alone from the moment I stepped on board. I will be at the Birdfair next weekend and so will catch up with whoever is there – regarding this trip, and potentially my next!
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
We had a wonderful time, even though we didn't do all the places we were supposed to but we all felt were we went instead couldn't beaten. Saw animals I wanted to see. Bit worried what the food was like as some of the ships cooking leaves something to be desired, but food was very good. We thought all the guides were brilliant and informative, friendly and knowledgeable It was far better than we expected and even my husband thoroughly enjoyed it!
I wanted to let you know that I had a wonderful cruise in the Russian Far East. The landscape and destination were inspiring, we had some excellent wildlife sightings (sea otter, grey whale, Steller's sea eagle, snowy owl and Arctic fox were all firsts for me), and the Heritage team were superb. Rough seas forced a few changes to the itinerary but we also had some fabulous weather. All in all, a thrilling travel experience.Thanks once again for all your efforts
I thought you might like to know that this was an excellent holiday. Our guide, Brad, was absolutely wonderful, his enthusiasm and knowledge made the holiday even better. All in all the whole trip was excellent and we saw lots of bears, 24 on the first day. Fewer on the second and third days but still plenty, as well as arctic foxes,silver foxes and snowy owls. Even on the last day near the town we saw a bear on rocks by the beach.
What a great trip! Wildfoot built a great trip for us and every aspect was spot on. Our Iguazu guide was fun, interesting and helpful and all the transfers were timely and comfortable. The Antarctica Trip was superb - WIldfoot had given us the best advice and helped us choose the right ship and tour for what we wanted - A truly memorable Experience Thank You Wildfoot
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