New Expedition Cruise from Poseidon Crosses Arctic Circle, 3 Seas, 3 Countries
A new expedition cruise program departs Edinburgh next spring on a 12-day exploration into the frozen north. From the Highlands to the High Arctic, June 3-14, 2019, passes over the Arctic Circle while crossing three seas and exploring islands representing three countries.
This cruise and the one that immediately precedes it (British Isles: Legendary History & Wild Nature May 22-June 3, 2019) represents a regional first for Poseidon Expeditions, the go-to company for Arctic and Antarctic cruises. Poseidon Expeditions’ focus is on the geography, flora and fauna inhabiting the ocean landscapes through which they pass.
Islands that have been inhabited for thousands of years offer opportunities for passengers to muse about life in Neolithic and Viking days.
If booked by Nov. 1, 2018, guests receive Early Bird discounts of up to 15 percent. A per person double, suite accommodation rate, with discount, is from $5,396; a per person triple rate, with discount, is $4,136. Guests travel on the recently refurbished 114-passenger Sea Spirit.
The route of this cruise crosses three seas: The North Sea off of Scotland’s northern coast; the Norwegian Sea just north of the Orkney, Shetland and Faroe Islands (all stops on the itinerary) and the Greenland Sea approaching Spitzbergen, the largest and only populated island in the Svalbard Archipelago. Passengers will also explore the flags of three countries: Scotland, Denmark and Norway.
Stops on the Scottish soil of the Orkney and Shetland islands and on the Danish Faroe Islands were key to the Vikings’ logistics as they foraged south to mainland Britain in search of treasures and tillable lands. Farther north, intrepid Norwegians planted flags on Jan Mayen and Spitzbergen.
An award-winning photographer, Rick Sammon, and his wife, Susan, will be on board to host photo workshops and provide tips and advice on how to make the most of the photographic opportunities on this cruise. Rick has been named a Canon Explorer of Light. He is also a Westcott Top Pro Elite for skills in portraiture and lighting. Squarespace recently named him one of the world’s best photographers.
With the exception of two days at sea, land excursions will engage guests as follows:
● On the Orkney Archipelago they visit the Vikings’ St. Magnus Cathedral, considered the finest medieval building in the north of Scotland; and they wonder at Ring of Brodgar, a huge ceremonial circle of stones, and a Neolithic village, Skara Brae, both circa 5,000 years ago.
● On Fair Isle in the Shetlands, they find a birders paradise with 345 species recorded here, including northern fulmars, kittiwakes, northern gannets, puffins, and great and arctic skuas.
● In a visit to Torshavn, capital of the Faroes, they tour Kirkjubøur, in the Middle Ages the ecclesiastical center of the Faroes. On one ancient stone foundation stands a log dwelling occupied by the same Faroese family for 17 generations. The official and native language, Faroese, has Germanic roots with a grammar similar to Icelandic and Old Norse.
● Jan Mayen hosts landscapes of breathtaking beauty, including steep cliffs favored by bird populations, and the Beerenberg, the northernmost subaerial active volcano on the planet.
● The Svalbard Archipelago represents the quintessential frozen world of glaciers, reindeer and polar bear. Deep fjords and narrow channels are flanked by jagged snowy mountain peaks. Immense tidewater glaciers calve icebergs into turquoise waters. 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. The area of exploration contains 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. Guests disembark in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Norwegian territory of Svalbard.
Sea Spirit guests enjoy the freshness of a brand-new $1 million refurbishment of all 55 guest suites (square footages up to 463) and public areas. There are two multi-purpose lounges for educational programming and entertainment, a restaurant that can accommodate all passengers in one seating, a well-stocked library, and ample outdoor deck space to enjoy the polar landscapes and wildlife.
Activities directed by a team of experienced polar guides and educators include Zodiac excursions, hiking and optional kayaking, along with informative presentations aboard. The ship’s expedition staff-to-passenger ratio of 1:9 is one of the best in the business.