Across the Arctic Circle

Across the Arctic Circle information and booking

  • Duration
    14 days
  • Group size
  • Difficulty
    Discovery & Cruising
Check prices & availability

Schedule Details

  • 14 day voyage
  • 13 nights on board Polar Pioneer
Equipment Required
Specialist gear required include walking boots and day pack (a comprehensive gear list is provided in the pre-departure information provided on booking).


  • Skara Brae, a 5000 year old Neolithic village
  • Possible Polar Bear & Beluga Whale sightings
  • World Heritage Site with the world's largest colony of Guillemots
  • Majestic beauty of Spitsbergen

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

The remote Scottish Isles are a treasure trove of archaeological wonders. We cruise to the Orkney Islands where we have the opportunity to visit Skara Brae, a 5000 year old Neolithic village and see an amazing sea stack known as the Old Man of Hoy. If conditions permit we will land on Hirta in remote St Kilda, a World Heritage Site with the world's largest colony of Guillemots. Closer to Norway than to Scotland, the Shetland archipelago offers a gamut of relics from the Viking occupation including Mousa, home to the world's best preserved broch. Continuing on we explore the spectacular Norwegian coastline, an intricate maze of rarely visited inlets and outer islands before crossing the Arctic Circle and sailing to the Lofoten Islands. Our final days are spent discovering the majestic beauty of Spitsbergen, where we hope to see Polar Bear or catch glimpses of the elusive Beluga Whale.

What's included

  • 13 breakfasts, 12 lunches and 13 dinners
  • Specialist expedition staff
  • Comfortable cabin accommodation on cruise
  • All activities while on cruise including zodiac excursions, lectures, videos, slide and film shows and guide services
  • Use of all ship facilities and public areas
  • Medical services (there is a resident medical officer and infirmary on board)
  • Port taxes, port charges, entry and landing fees
  • Complimentary polar expedition jacket
  • Keepsake photo book (one per booking) created from photography taken during your voyage


Day 1 Embark Aberdeen, West Scotland
We board Polar Pioneer around mid-afternoon in Aberdeen, after settling in we will set sail in for the Orkney Islands.
Day 2 to 3 Orkney Islands
Among Orkney’s archipelago of 70 windswept islands, lying 6 miles north of the Scottish mainland, a rich tapestry of archaeology, history and wildlife awaits. We follow the passage of time – from 5000 year old World Heritage neolithic sites. Imposing sea cliffs teem with seabirds and cliff top paths and bleak moors beckon the keen hikers among us, while our kayakers use paddle-power to explore sections of Orkney’s fascinating coastline.
Day 4 Shetland Islands
Britain’s most northerly islands lie almost 100 miles north of the Scottish mainland, at a similar latitude to the southern tip of Greenland, or Bergen in Norway. They are abound with nature reserves and archaeological sites, and offer a taste of traditional island life. We plan to visit some of Shetland's best-preserved archaeological sites, brochs - fortified Iron Age towers.
Day 5 At Sea
As we sail towards the Norwegian coastline, our historian and naturalists will delight us with their informative talks.
Day 6 to 9 Norwegian Coastline
Our aim is to spend the three days exploring the superb Norwegian coastline, cruising the intricate maze of seldom-visited inlets and outer islands. Delight as we hunt for fabled trolls, as we pass by Torgatten, meaning mountain with a hole, said to be caused by a troll arrow. Crossing the Arctic Circle, we make our way to the Lofoten Island’s, meaning puma’s foot, this is a land scoured by ice and legend, the towering crags with their sharp edges, standing in silent protection of the villages below. As we travel north, the days are longer and we search for sperm whales, orcas, minke whales, pilot whales and dolphins in the ocean trenches off Andenes.
Day 10 to 13 Spitsbergen
We approach Spitsbergen at its most southerly point, South Cape or Sørkapp and explore the coastline. Enormous peaks and deeply gouged fjords make our visit to Hornsund a powerful experience. As the southern most fjord in Svalbard, we will be on keen lookout for polar bears, cruise in Zodiacs, along glacial fronts that are home to bearded and ring seal, kittiwakes and guillemots. Here we continue our exploration into human history dating back 400 years in Svalbard, encompassing trapping and hunting, whaling and mining. Dramatic folds characterise the geological landscape of Bellsund and here we will enjoy magnificent vistas and steep bird cliffs creating lush vegetation; an open invitation to Arctic fox and polar bears. Little auks, guillemots, northern fulmar and pink footed geese all make this their breeding home. Reindeer graze the slopes peacefully and with two branches of the fjord, there are numerous places to explore.
Day 14 Longyearbyen, Svalbard
On arrival Longyearbyen, we will disembark and bid farewell friends and crew.