2 Arctic travelers in yellow jackets stand near a beige Svalbard reindeer on golden tundra during the Arctic Saga cruise.
Aerial view of cliffs leading into the sea with one forming an arch & green grass above, seen on an Arctic Saga cruise.
Woman in yellow parka walks a quiet dirt road lined by a stone wall with green fields surrounding on an Arctic Saga cruise.
Arctic puffin bird with black & white feathers & orange beak swims on an Arctic Saga: Spitsbergen, Faroes & Jan Mayen cruise.
Woman in yellow parka stands on deck of ship looking through binoculars on an Arctic Saga: Spitsbergen, Faroes & Jan Mayen cruise.
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Polar Regions Arctic Cruise

Arctic Saga: Exploring Spitsbergen via the Faroes & Jan Mayen

Ideal for first-time Arctic travelers, this expedition cruise allows you to venture to some of the most remote islands on Earth, observe fascinating history and culture, and experience the dreamlike wonder of the midnight sun. Sailing across the North Atlantic, you will be immersed in the Arctic’s rugged beauty, highlighted by visits to the awe-inspiring and unspoiled destinations of Fair Isle, the Faroe Islands, Jan Mayen and Spitsbergen.

Prepare to be amazed by an environment different from anything you’ve ever witnessed, featuring immense fjords, towering glaciers, soaring sea stacks and coastal cliffs teeming with seabirds by the thousands. Observe reindeer, seals and whales in their natural habitat. Guided by a knowledgeable and passionate team, go where few others have gone and return forever changed by the rich history, distinct culture and unforgettable backdrop of the Arctic.

Sail an extensive route from Aberdeen, Scotland, north above the Arctic Circle to Svalbard, aboard the 199-guest Ultramarine, a stable ship ready for open sea.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Arctic cruisesSvalbard CruisesArctic land trips and small ship cruises in Northern Europe.


Arctic Saga: Exploring Spitsbergen via the Faroes & Jan Mayen Itinerary

The Arctic Saga cruise operates northbound from Aberdeen, Scotland, to Longyearbyen, Svalbard, ending with a charter flight to Helsinki, Finland.

Route map of The Arctic Saga cruise, operating northbound from Aberdeen, Scotland, to Longyearbyen, Svalbard, ending with a charter flight to Helsinki, Finland.
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Day 1
Arrive Aberdeen, Scotland

Arrive any time on Day 1 and make your way to the included hotel. The gateway for your Arctic adventure, the Scottish city of Aberdeen has many monikers, but its most famous is Granite City, as it was once the granite capital of the world. Wandering the streets, you’ll soon see why, as the Victorian buildings sparkle in the sun. A bustling cultural hub, Aberdeen also offers a range of museums, galleries, theaters, shops, cafés and restaurants to explore.


Hotel TBA



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Day 2
Embark Aberdeen

Today enjoy some free time before being transferred to the port to board the ship. As you set sail this afternoon, you’ll want to be out on deck, camera in hand—the area’s coastal waters offer excellent possibilities for spotting bottlenose and white-beaked dolphins, harbor porpoises and minke whales.




breakfast, embarkation snacks, dinner

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Day 3
Exploring Fair Isle

The U.K.’s most remote inhabited island, the extraordinary Fair Isle is located halfway between the Shetland and Orkney Islands. Boasting a rugged beauty, Fair Isle’s landscape is diverse, with fields and moors dominated by seaside cliffs and an astounding number of sea stacks, natural arches and caves. Despite its small size, the island offers activities for history, nature and photography buffs alike. Visit the museum to immerse yourself in local artifacts, photos, knitwear and other historic memorabilia. Don’t forget to snap a shot of the circa 1935 classic red phone booth by the post office!

In terms of wildlife, orcas are native to the waters around Fair Isle, and they sometimes come close in pursuit of seals. But the island is best known for its coastal cliffs teeming with seabirds in spring and summer. The star attraction is the Atlantic puffin, a clown-like bird that burrows in nests in the grassy flat tops of the island’s cliffs. Photographers will surely want to capture pictures of their bemused expressions, and Fair Isle’s easily accessible grassy banks make it one of the best places in the Shetlands (if not the entire Scottish Isles!) to observe these colorful creatures. Northern fulmars, kittiwakes, storm petrels, razorbills and guillemots may be spotted soaring over the open waters. Visitors to this community of crofters, artisans and artists may be able to pick up a traditional Fair Isle sweater to keep warm during the rest of your Arctic voyage.




breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 4 - 5
Exploring The Faroe Islands

Known for its beautiful, unspoiled landscape, with verdant pastures giving way to rugged, steep cliffs, the Faroe Islands have a storied past, though the details of the archipelago’s early history remain mysterious. The first settlers may have been seventh-century Irish monks seeking solitude on these islands far removed from any continent. Their isolation ended in 800 AD, with the arrival of Norse farmers, and Norwegian colonization continued throughout the Viking Age. Today, many of the inhabitants of the Faroe Islands, now a self-governing country within the Kingdom of Denmark, are descendants of Norwegian Vikings, and speak Faroese, a descendant language of Old Norse.

Take two days to explore this seldom-visited archipelago made up of 18 rugged islands located about halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The mighty North Atlantic is omnipresent wherever you go with no place on the Faroe Islands farther than 3 miles (5 km) from its shores. The sea has always dominated life on the Faroes— throughout history as much as today: rich fisheries, magnificent ocean views and thriving sea bird colonies make up this rare Nordic jewel—often referred to as Europe’s best kept secret.

Spend a day exploring the outer islands of the archipelago, separated by narrow sounds and fjords, and delight in their surreal landscapes, dramatic cliffs and rock formations. See green valleys engulfed by steep mountains, protecting picturesque villages with colorful turf-topped homes.

The second day in the Faroes will be dedicated to the capital city of Tórshavn, where the Vikings established their government in 825 AD. One of the world’s smallest capitals, the picturesque Tórshavn has a relaxed vibe and a number of historical and cultural sites. Meander the maze of narrow laneways of the Old Town, admiring the quaint wooden houses with traditional sod roofs and white paned windows. For more action, hike to historic Kirkjubøur to unlock some of the country’s best medieval history plus enjoy sweeping views over the southern islands of Koltur, Hestur & Sandur. Or perhaps wander the charming harbor, filled with cafés, pubs and old warehouses, and simply gaze out at the sea while sipping a latte.




breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 6 - 7
At Sea

Say goodbye to the Faroes as you cruise toward the world’s most northerly volcanic island, Jan Mayen. There are several activities to keep you engaged while at sea. Learn to identify seabirds gliding alongside your ship, attend dynamic presentations by the expedition team, relax in the polar library or simply spend some time on deck, admiring the ocean views. With binoculars and camera at the ready, keep your eyes peeled for the blow of a humpback, blue or fin whale. Encounters with minke whales or orcas are also possible, since their curiosity can bring them near the ship. With luck, you may even see harp seals.




breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 8 - 9
Exploring Jan Mayen

North of the Arctic Circle, about 280 miles (450 km) east of Greenland and 340 miles (550 km) north of Iceland, the mysterious Jan Mayen rises from the depths of the North Atlantic Ocean. Often shrouded in thick fog, the small mountainous island was declared a nature reserve in 2010 and is rarely visited, save for the 18 rotating personnel of the Norwegian military and Norwegian Meteorological Institute, who are the only year-long inhabitants (with some additional personnel during the summer).

Landing here will be dictated by the weather and sea. If conditions allow, as the ship approaches, keep watch on deck as the spoon-shaped island’s highest summit emerges. At 7,470 feet (2,277 meters) high, the breathtaking Beerenberg volcano features a symmetrical cone shape and impressive glaciers that spill into the sea. During the summer months, the island’s lower landscape is covered with grass, moss and a smattering of hardy flowers that add a burst of color to the otherwise barren black lava terrain.

Hope to visit Olonkinbyen and the surrounding area. Named after Russian-Norwegian polar explorer Gennady Olonkin, it’s the island’s only settlement and the location of the meteorological station, where you may have the chance to learn about polar research while seeing how weather is monitored at the top of the world. Another option might be the black sand beach at Kvalrossbukta, where the remnants of a 17th-century Dutch whaling station and a large northern fulmar colony can be found. In 1632, two Basque ships landed at the small bay and plundered the station. A Dutch party was sent here the following year to protect the land stations during winter, but all seven men perished from scurvy. Whaling in the area came to an end about 20 years later.

If conditions permit, view the volcano and the stratified cliffs of the spectacular north coast while Zodiac cruising around the island, searching for wildlife. Designated an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for the large numbers of breeding seabirds, Jan Mayen supports colonies of northern fulmars, little auks, glaucous gulls, kittiwakes, and black and Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres). And with luck, you might see “sea parrots,” the Atlantic puffin again. The waters here are rich feeding grounds for marine life, so keep a lookout for minke, fin, blue or humpback whales.




breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 10
At Sea

As you sail farther north, spend some time with your shipmates in the lounge, swapping stories and photos, or take the opportunity to learn about the regions travelled with the experienced and knowledgeable expedition team.




breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 11 - 13
Exploring Spitsbergen, Svalbard

Rugged, wild and situated entirely within the Arctic Circle, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago is unforgettable. From immense glaciers to lush tundra to polar deserts, the landscape here is as varied as the wildlife.

While exploring the fjords of the southwestern corner of this magical island, it won’t take long for you to see firsthand why Spitsbergen is the “wildlife capital of the Arctic.” Hope to visit Hornsund and Bellsund fjords, and Hornbreen Glacier. The possible landing sites at Hornsund, the island’s most southerly fjord, have rich histories. You may visit Isbjornhamna, a bay at the entrance of the fjord, where colonies of delightful little auks may exist. You may also spot Svalbard reindeer and hike to a viewpoint for views of calving glaciers.

A 12-mile (20 km) long sound, Bellsund lured miners a century ago to its natural resources. Today, visitors come to Bourbonhamna and Calypsobyen to see historic mining and trapper sites and marvel at the magnificent vistas. It may also be possible to hike along the colorful tundra, dotted with flowers bursting for a taste of sunshine, and discover old whale bones.




breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 14
Disembark Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Fly to Helsinki, Finland & Depart

The time has come to say farewell to your newfound friends and the expedition team. After disembarking, spend the day exploring the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen before catching the charter flight to Helsinki.





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Inclusions, Terms & Notes


Mandatory Transfer Package (approximate package price for 2024 and 2025 is $695 and includes one night’s pre-expedition hotel night in Aberdeen, group transfer from Aberdeen hotel to ship on embarkation day, departure transfer in Longyearbyen on disembarkation day and charter flight from Longyearbyen to Helsinki on disembarkation day); shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping; all meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board; select beer and house wine during dinner; coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock; leadership throughout the voyage by experienced expedition leaders, including shore landings and other activities; all Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program; formal and informal presentations by the expedition team and special guests as scheduled; photographic journal documenting the expedition; a pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions; official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep; hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin; all miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program; all luggage handling aboard the ship; emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum benefit of US $500,000 per person.


International airfare; arrival and departure transfers, except where listed in the Mandatory Transfer Package; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above; meals ashore unless otherwise specified; baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance (strongly recommended), or insurance of any kind; excess baggage fees on international and domestic flights; mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, and any gear not mentioned; laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified; phone and internet charges; voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew; additional overnight accommodation; any adventure options or excursions.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 25% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 180 days – $1,250 fee
179 to 120 days – 100% of deposit
119 to 90 days – 50% of total trip cost
89 to 60 days – 75% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Arctic Saga voyage begins in Aberdeen, Scotland (ABZ) and ends in Helsinki, Finland (HEL). Plan flights to arrive to the Aberdeen airport at any time on Day 1 of the itinerary, and make your way to the included hotel. We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues.

On Day 14 of the itinerary, the ship is scheduled to arrive at the pier between 7:00am and 8:00am local time. Disembarkation follows breakfast, with a transfer downtown (prior to a later transfer to the airport), or to your independently arranged Longyearbyen hotel. Plan flights to depart Helsinki no earlier than three hours following arrival of your group charter flight from Longyearbyen on Day 14. Airport transfers in Aberdeen and Helsinki are not included and cannot be pre-arranged through the cruise operator. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

A group charter flight from Longyearbyen to Helsinki is required on this trip’s itinerary; see the Mandatory Transfer Package information listed above under Inclusions. The flight to Helsinki is expected to depart in the late afternoon on Day 14 of the itinerary. There is a strict luggage limit on the flight to Helsinki, which will be detailed in your final documents as flights are confirmed close to departure. There is no option to leave or pay for additional luggage. On Day 14 of the itinerary, the ship is scheduled to arrive at the pier between 7:00 and 8:00am local time, with an exploration of Longyearbyen before the charter flight to Helsinki.


Various optional activities may be available on your Arctic Saga cruise. Included are optional hiking, Zodiac cruising, daily presentations, photography guides and the polar plunge. There are no added-cost activities available on this cruise.

Room Configuration

Select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. Solo travelers willing to share can reserve a triple or twin-shared cabin, where you will be matched with a person of the same gender. If the other cabin berth goes unsold, you will be guaranteed the double rate. Single travelers wishing to book a double-occupancy cabin may do so at 1.7x (2x for Premium cabins) the per-person listed rate in select cabins based upon availability. Premium Cabins are as follows:
Ultramarine: Deluxe Balcony Suite, Terrace Suite, Penthouse Suite, Owner’s Suite & Ultra Suite

Families & Children

At date of embarkation, a minimum age restriction of 8 years and minimum height and weight requirements (weight of 64lbs or 29kg and 48 in. or 1.2 m. tall) must be met. Children under 16 years of age must be supervised by a parent/guardian at all times, and may not participate in adventure options.

Travel Insurance

Emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum benefit of up to $500,000 USD per paying traveler provides coverage between the first and last day of ship-based travel and is included in the cost of this trip. For ship- and land-based trips, additional days of travel pre- and post-expedition are not covered. Travelers are responsible for having adequate international medical coverage prior to embarkation, with a minimum benefit of $50,000 USD. In addition, we highly recommend our travelers also protect their investment with travel insurance that includes trip cancellation and other benefits. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice, weather conditions, wildlife encountered and the captain’s discretion. Flexibility is the key to the success of any Arctic expedition.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Rates are variable per remaining availability and are subject to change.

Apr 29 - May 12, 2025
Ultramarine • 14 days
From $8941USD
Per Person
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The new Ultramarine 199-passenger polar ship is purpose-built for safety and far-off exploration in Antarctica and the Arctic. Dual helicopter pads and an incredible 70-day cruising range allow access to the hardest-to-reach places.


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Arctic Saga: Exploring Spitsbergen via the Faroes & Jan Mayen

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