Cruise ship in the Arctic Ocean north of Spitsbergen, Svalbard
Image: Ariadne Van Zandbergen

Polar exploration brand Aurora Expeditions has headlined the release of its 2017 European Arctic program with a brand new 24-day ‘Arctic Complete’ itinerary taking passengers from Norway to Iceland, including a visit to Greenland.

Beginning in Spitsbergen, Northern Norway, the voyage takes place onboard the company’s 54-passenger ice-strengthened vessel Polar Pioneer, offering wildlife viewing along with visits to abandoned native settlements during a circumnavigation of Svalbard, the largest island in the Norwegian archipelago. Crossing into Greenland, the sailing enters the Scoresby Sund fjord system before entering Iceland, where the voyage reaches its conclusion.

Daily shore excursions are maximised by near 24-hour daylight hours and include visits to a remote Inuit community, dog-sledding and opportunities to snap photos of walrus, seals, Arctic Fox, musk ox and polar bears.

View polar bears on Aurora Expeditions
Image: Al Bakker

Only a single departure of the 24-day voyage has been scheduled so far, leaving Spitsbergen on 26 July 2017 and arriving in Reykjavik on 18 August, where passengers have the chance to extend their holiday with a short stay in the Icelandic capital or embark on further touring. Cabins on the voyage are priced from $13,347 per person twin share.

The 2017 Aurora Expeditions season also features a range of shorter itineraries including three departures of the 11-day ‘Spitsbergen Odyssey’ and the 14-day ‘Across the Arctic Circle’ which also takes in part of the Scottish Isles before journeying into Norway. A number of earlybird savings of up to $2,000 per person are available for 2017 bookings received before 31 January 2016, with 11-day voyages starting from $6,380 per person.