Explore Iceland before crossing to the Orkney & Shetland Islands aboard M/S Sea Spirit
|23 Sept – 7 Oct, 2015||15 Days|
Ex: Akureyri – Iceland 23 September 2015
An expedition style voyage with numerous Zodiac rides and landings reveals nature and culture of Europe from a new perspective.
Get access to the “inners” of the planet exposed in Iceland. Discover an unearthly beauty of the local Western Fjords. Explore deserted villages, ancient culture and islanders’ lifestyle on the remote Shetland and Orkney Islands.
Akureyri, Iceland’s second largest city, is a starting point of our expedition (group transfer from Reykjavik to Akureyri is included). The city is located at the back of a magnificent fjord and often referred as “the Capital of North Iceland”.
If you come prior to the day of embarkation enjoy the architecture of beautiful period houses in the old town. Visit the northernmost botanical gardens.
Embark the Sea Spirit in the afternoon and keep an eye for our first whales (humpback and Minke whales are most common) as we sail out of the picturesque fjord.
Siglufjordur is a small town with less than 2000 inhabitants, once the undisputed herring fishing capital of the Atlantic. It sets against steep mountain slopes prone to dangerous avalanches that often block the road entering town during the long, dark Arctic winter. We are here to visit the award-winning maritime museum with its excellent displays, historic boats, and artifacts housed in refurbished warehouses. We are treated to a theatrical performance that recounts the colorful, and very profitable, history of herring fishing in the area. The black-headed gulls and Arctic terns also enjoy the demonstration, swarming and fighting over scraps of fish.
In the evening we use Zodiacs to land at the tiny island of Grimsey, which lies exactly on the Arctic Circle. Evening time is the best hours to visit this place: while many travellers come here in order to cross the invisible line into the Arctic Circle, the island is also famed as a place to observe the Midnight Sun. View majestic basalt rocks and bird colonies having chosen to nest along the jagged cliffs. Here we can observe the “clowns of the sea”, better known as the Atlantic Puffins.
The Ísafjörður fjord which we explore in the morning is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the country, mainly for its relief, forged by many very ancient basaltic flows. We visit a small town of Ísafjörður honored to be the capital of the Western fjords. The local old wooden houses bear witness to its past as a major fishing port. Get a glimpse of the traditional everyday life in Ísafjörður. Accompanied by a guide, we will walk around Ísafjörður to experience the town’s true spirit and meet the locals in their element.
The towering steep mountains of the Western Fjords provide a perfect shelter for the lively harbour which is the heart of the town. For centuries Ísafjörður has been the largest fishing town in the area and the centre for export and trade. Colourful houses decked with corrugated iron give the bustling centre a friendly and almost mythical aura. The main industry is fishing and the townsfolk rely heavily on that for their financial security. Through time Ísafjörður has also played a significant role in Iceland’s national history and is still one of the most vibrant cultural centres in the country.
Grundarfjördur is a typical Icelandic fishing village, framed by beautiful mountains. During guided tour around the settlement we observe how people live here face to face with nature. Later on we go for Zodiac cruising to discover a rich birdlife of the nearby Breiðafjörður islands. About 50 bird species breed here including common shag, glaucous gull, white-tailed eagle, common eider, black guillemot and grey phalarope. Our bird-watching tour may turn into whale-watching as well, for several cetacean species are common in the area including killer whales, Minke whales, common porpoises, and white-beaked dolphins.
Optional tour “Snæfellsjökull ice cap.” Those who prefer to explore the famous Snæfellsjökull ice cap have their journey through the several small fishing villages along the glacier. The Snæfellsjökull glacier had become popular thanks to the French writer Jules Verne and his novel “A journey to the Centre of the earth”: “Ah – what a journey – what a marvelous and extraordinary journey! Here we had entered the earth by one volcano, and we had come out by another. And this other was situated more than twelve hundred leagues from Sneffels, from that drear country of Iceland cast away on the confines of theearth… Wehad abandoned the region of eternal snows for that infinite verdure, and had left over our heads the gray fog of the icy regions to come back to the azure sky of Sicily!” Duration 4.5 hours.
Welcome to the capital of Iceland – city of Reykjavík. In spite of the fact that Iceland lies below the Arctic Circle Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital of a sovereign state. However it is not the only feature that makes this city special. Not far from Reykjavík one can find geysers and waterfalls, mountains and glaciers. During your independent exploration of the city you may also visit a vast selection of restaurants, museums and shops.
Optional tour “The Golden Circle and city sightseeing.” This classic Reykjavík excursion encompasses the “Big Three”; Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir hot spring area and the national park Þingvellir. They are collectively known as the Golden Circle and provide a look at some of the scenic wonders which Iceland is justly renowned for.
We begin our day venturing into the beautiful Þingvellir national park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site only about 30 miles (48 km) from Reykjavík. Þingvellir ranks at the top of Iceland’s attractions. Our visit to this national park allows us to experience one of the most outstanding sceneries in the country. The area is surrounded by mountains and encompasses a vast lava plain of green moss and wild flowers. It is regarded by the Icelanders as a sacred place, for the world’s oldest legislative parliament to be founded here in 930. The Althing, first convened here. Of special note are the Law Speaker’s rock and the remains of the turf shelters. These shelters were once used as dwellings during the two-week assemblies of the Althing which were held in the height of summer every year.
Leaving Þingvellir our tour continues to the Gullfoss waterfall. The “Golden Waterfall” is the most famous of the country’s many waterfalls. The river Hvítá “The White river” drops 32 meters (96 feet) in two falls, creating an awesome spectacle.
During our next stop at the Geyser area, we will be able to see hissing springs and other geothermal phenomena. After lunch, we start the return journey to Reykjavík.
When we are back in the capital we will drive to the Pearl vantage point to enjoy views over Reykjavík. We will then drive through the old town of Reykjavík, past the old harbour and eventually reach your ship. Duration 8 hours.
Vestmannaeyjar archipelago consisting of 2 large and 13 small islands was formed by submarine volcanoes. The youngest of the group the Surtsey Island rose from the waves in 1963 and was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2008. This unique scientific status keeps the island away from touristic landings and visits.
We explore the largest island of the Vestmannaeyjar – Heimaey. With the name translated as “home island” the Heimaey is a home to eight million Atlantic puffins. The famous blood-red Eldfell volcano, which destroyed half of the town in 1973, is seen from any coastal point.
During our bus tour we visit the main attractions of the Island. We make our first stop at “Sprangan”, a cliff where young Islanders are taught the local sport of rope swinging. The tour continues along the western part of the Island, providing us with an opportunity to view the outer Islands. Our drive back takes us between two volcanoes, the 5000 year old “Helgafell” and the considerably younger Eldfell (or Mt. Fire). Our tour then continues over the new lava fields towards the shoreline where we can see remarks about the island growing by 2,2km2 during the eruption. From there we drive past a lovely wooden church. From there we will drive past a modern archaeology dig. The eruption in 1973 destroyed a large part of the town and though years have passed and the signs of that spectacular natural fury are somewhat fading memories still live.
We bid farewell to Iceland and head for the remote and tranquil Faroe Islands.
Vágar, together with Mykines, is geographically the westernmost part of the Faroe Islands. The island has a broad variety of possibilities to explore the nature and its beauty. The attractions on Vágar are perhaps the best in the Faroe Islands. The country’s two largest lakes – Sørvágsvatn and Fjallavatn – are to be found here.
Mykines is the mysterious “paradise of birds”. The foremost resident of Mykines in the summer is the puffin. This little creature is one of the main attractions for visitors. Its brightly coloured bill and its willingness to remain posed with fish in its beak, makes the puffin the ideal photo opportunity for any budding ornithologist.
Tórshavn is a city of colours with its colourful houses, colourful boats in the marina, and the deep-green commons and grazing plots. Stroll through the city, enjoy the changing light playfully reflecting in the sea and meet the locals.
The Faroese may seem reserved, but are open and friendly on approach. Enjoy the changing weather, where even the rain and the fog bring out another hue in the colours.
The harbour, the ocean, the hills and the sky add to the many colours and the very special light in the Faroe Islands. When the sun is out, the vibrant colours intensify the charm of the town.
Further north than the southern tip of Norway, but with a mild climate, North Ronaldsay is the furthest flung of the Orkney Isles. This small low lying island has been inhabited for centuries. This reflected by the high number of Neolithic sites on the island including stone burial cists, standing stones and the Broch of Burrian.
Today the island continues to be heavily farmed from old-style crofts and is famous for its iconic seaweed-eating sheep. North Ronaldsay supports an extremely rich and diverse population of wild flowers and mammals. The island is also a hotspot for rare birds that stop by in spring and autumn, while there are also many breeding species which spend the spring and summer here. Following in the footsteps of the famous Fair Isle, there is now a bird observatory here.
North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory was established in 1987 to study and record the migrant birds that pass through Orkney’s most northerly island each year.
At Fair Isle, in the Shetland, we are welcomed by the 70 or so inhabitants to be followed by a walk to the bird observatory. Fair Isle is a haven for sea-birds, which are very accessible. We view also Grey Seals. Fair Isle is Britain’s most remote inhabited island.
Kirkwall is the capital of the amazing Orkney archipelago, standing at the dividing point between East and West Mainland.
The town of Kirkwall was founded around 1035 by Earl Rognvald Brusason and quickly became the administrative centre of Orkney. Kirkwall’s best feature is perhaps its sandstone St Magnus Cathedral, widely considered the finest medieval building in the north of Scotland. The original town is one of the best preserved examples of an ancient Norse town.
Other sites of historical interest in the town include the Bishop’s Palace and Earl’s Palace. The more intriguing, the Earl’s Palace, was once known as the finest example of French Renaissance architecture in Scotland. One room features an interesting history of its builder, Earl Patrick Stewart, who was executed in Edinburgh for treason. He started construction in about 1600, but ran out of money and it was never completed. The Bishop’s Palace was built in the mid-12th century to provide comfortable lodgings for Bishop William the Old.
There’s a good view of the cathedral from the tower, and a plaque showing the different phases of the cathedral’s construction.
The famous Castle rising above the city gives immediate evidence of Edinburgh’s rich history. While the Town area boasts medieval architecture the New Town accommodates newer 18th century buildings. Explore the capital of Scotland independently. Walk along the old streets each corner of which opens beautiful unexpected vistas of green hills or a blue flash of distant sea. Enjoy visiting Royal Botanic gardens. Or appreciate the local shops and restaurants.
Optional tour “Panoramic Edinburgh and the Castle.” Your tour today begins with a panoramic tour of the city. See the Georgian architecture of the New Town, Princes Street and drive down parts of the famous medieval Royal Mile with the imposing Edinburgh Castle at one end and the 17th century Palace of Holyroodhouse at the other. The Palace was the home of Mary Queen of Scots from 1561 to 1568 and was occupied by Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745. The scene of many a great historical drama including notorious murders, and power-hungry personalities, the Palace is now the Queen’s official residence in Scotland. Drive up to one of the city’s high vantage points for some spectacular views over the city before visiting the castle.
A majestic landmark which dominates the capital city’s skyline just as it has dominated Scotland’s long and colourful history, Edinburgh Castle is the best known & most visited of Scotland’s historic buildings. Perched on an extinct volcano and offering stunning views, this instantly recognizable fortress is a powerful national symbol, and part of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site.
Once inside, you will have the opportunity to see the castle’s many different architectural styles, reflecting its importance throughout the history of Scotland, with the oldest section dating back to the 12th century. You will also have the opportunity to view the Crown Jewels of Scotland and the Stone of Destiny. Duration 4 hours.
We finish our journey in a small port city of Ijmuiden. We disembark the ship in the morning. Our group transfer brings you to the Amsterdam airport.
|23 Sept – 7 Oct, 2015||Ex: Akureyri||15 Days|
|Triple Clasic||Main Deck Suite||Classic Suite||Superior Suite||Deluxe Suite|
|Premium Suite||Owner’s Suite|
Children under 16 travelling with their parents as a third person in cabin Free of Charge.
10% OFF THE ABOVE RATES
What’s Not included
To initiate your reservation, please contact us as soon as possible to place an option on the voyage and cabin grade of your choice.
The Booking Form is to be signed, completed and returned to Adventure Associates along with your deposit. Reservations are established only when you receive written confirmation and acceptance of the deposit payment and Booking Form.
Sail aboard the luxurious Sea Spirit and you’ll experience the polar regions in grand style. Carrying a maximum of 120 passengers, this outstanding vessel, approved for polar waters, is equipped with rubber inflatable boats – called RIBs – for shore transfers and cruising, two lounges and a dining room, library/game room, gym and hot tub, satellite phone access in every cabin, email and internet.
You have a choice of one King Size bed or two twin beds, in the most spacious cabins in our fleet.
All have facilities en suite and exterior views. Deluxe cabins, suites and the Owner’s Suite have private balconies for viewing the extraordinary polar icescape.
|Propulsion:||Diesel – 4,720 horsepower|
|Voltage:||110V (North America Sockets)|