Venture, Svalbard - Beyond The North Cape & Greenland ex Tromso to Reykjavik

Arctic North Atlantic

Details

25 Night Cruise sailing from Tromso to Reykjavik aboard Seabourn Venture.

25 Night Cruise sailing from Tromso to Reykjavik aboard Seabourn Venture.

Seabourn's ultra-luxury purpose-built expedition ship Seabourn Venture, paying tribute to the remote destinations visited by the brand's highly successful expedition and Ventures by Seabourn excursion programs and the fascinating places yet to be explored in the future.

Highlights of this cruise:

Tromso, Norway
Tromsø is the largest city in northern Norway and the ninth most populous municipality in the country. It surprises visitors with its sophisticated art scene, its contrasting modern and historical architecture, international cuisine, multicultural events, and festivals throughout the year.

Situated 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Tromsø is within the land of the midnight sun during summer months and the elusive northern lights in winter. However, thanks to the warming effect of the Gulf Stream, the sea doesn’t freeze here in winter, and there is no permafrost in the vicinity. Tromsø is noticeably milder than other towns at the same latitudes in other parts of the world.

Tromsø is also ‘The City of Explorers’ and has seen a number of expeditions set off from its shores to the probe the polar realm. Both Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen frequently recruited men in the city. Nowadays home to the Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø continues a tradition of being one of the key centers in explorations of the Arctic.

Svalbard
The islands of Svalbard rise dramatically from the Arctic Ocean halfway between Norway’s North Cape and the North Pole. They give eloquent evidence of Nature’s slow but ceaseless industry, scored and corrugated by glaciers that still cover 60 percent of their mass. Stony, sentinel peaks soar above deeply carved fjords and sparkling bays. In summer, the sparse tundra vegetation erupts under the endless encouragement of the Midnight Sun. Migratory birds in their millions arrive from more southerly realms, to nest and breed and nurture their young on steep, striated cliffs, shingle beaches and tundra meadows. Elaborately-antlered reindeer graze the slopes. Arctic foxes and predatory gulls haunt the nursery edges, alert for opportunity. Seals and walruses haul out to join the breeding season, and patient polar bears patrol the rocky shorelines and floating ice, while whales roll and breach offshore, feeding on the sea’s summer abundance. Here and there, bleached testaments to past human endeavors endure: whalebones and weathered trypots from medieval whaling stations; the wind-sanded timbers of an expedition’s launching site; a hut where someone whiled away a long-ago, dark winter. Riding in Zodiacs and paddling kayaks, observing from the decks and trekking on the islands themselves, we will experience and explore this isolated, unspoiled and breathtakingly beautiful place, as it revels in the endless days of its short, exuberant summer.

Longyearbyen, Norway
Longyearbyen, the seat of the Governor of Svalbard, is located in a narrow valley along the shores of Adventfjorden a small tributary of Isfjord, the largest fjord system in Svalbard. It extends 100 kilometers (60 miles) into the island of Spitsbergen. Nine large tidewater glaciers, with a combined ice-front of 21 kilometers (13 miles), as well as dozens hanging glaciers drain into the fjord.

The town’s 2,100 inhabitants exist in one of the most northern settlements on Earth, making their living by a combination of coal mining, education and tourism. Because of the town’s extreme isolation, proximity to wildlife, and Svalbard’s pristine environment, unique laws exist that are found in few other places. All individuals venturing outside of town are required to carry a rifle for protection against polar bears, possessing a cat is illegal, no one is allowed to be buried here and how much alcohol can be purchased each month is restricted.

Longyearbyen was named after the American industrialist John Longyear whose Arctic Coal Company began mining here in 1906.

Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland
The small Greenlandic town of Ittoqqortoormiit sits at the entrance to Scoresby Sund, the longest fjord on Earth. Although founded in 1925, the original colonists to the area were Palaeo-Eskimo peoples 4,000 years ago.

Housing 500 people, Ittoqqortoormiit derives its name from Greenlandic meaning ‘Big-House Dwellers’. A walk through town, reveals a vibrant Greenlandic culture. Seal, muskox and even a polar bear skin can be seen drying on racks outside of private homes. Greenlandic sled dogs sit patiently on their leashes in front yards, awaiting winter, their wooden sledges propped against buildings. In the local food store seal and whale meat are among the regular traditional foodstuffs laid out beside common western items. Ittoqqortoormiit has a post office where you can purchase Greenlandic stamps and mail your postcards as well as a quaint church, its gabled interior painted in white and sky-blue. The entire community, in fact, is a picturesque kaleidoscope of color, each building painted in bright hues of red, blue, yellow and green.

Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavík, established by Viking settler Ingólfur Arnarson around 870 C.E, is the location of the first permanent settlement in Iceland. The census of 1703 recorded that Reykjavík had 69 residents and consisted of a farm and a church. The impressive statue of Leif Erikson, in the center of town, reminds all of Iceland’s Viking heritage. Its name translates to ‘smoky bay’, due to the geothermal nature of the surrounding area.

Today about 200.000 people live in the Icelandic capital, roughly 60 % of the country’s population. It has evolved into a sophisticated city. The northernmost national capital in the world is also one of the cleanest, greenest, and safest on Earth. Walking Reykjavik streets one will find rich culture, history, music, shopping and in the late hours vibrant night-life. Colorful rooftops and the elegant spire of Hallgrímskirkja Church dominate Reykjaviks’s skyline. Known for its arts, Reykjavik hosts a number of internationally recognized festivals, notably the Iceland Air music festival, Reykjavik Arts Festival and the Reykjavik International Film Festival.

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