Line of Arctic Circle travelers walk over tundra looking down on large glacier with tall snow-capped mountains beyond.
Zodiac boat with Arctic Circle travelers cruises through calm water on a sunny day with snowcapped mountains in the distance.
6 pillars of the Ring of Brodgar on the Orkney Islands are seen by a path through grass with the ocean and land behind them.
Lone polar bear stands atop multicolored scree field at dusk with yellow, orange & purple sunset behind, seen in the Arctic.
Tandem kayakers near Arctic Circle paddle yellow boat beside glacier ice in glassy turquoise water on a sunny day in Svalbard.
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Polar Regions Arctic Cruise

Across the Arctic Circle

Combine three unique worlds on one unforgettable journey over 15 days aboard a small expedition ship. Visit picturesque villages and castles that were once strongholds of Scottish clans and encounter Neolithic sites dating back more than 5,000 years. From Stone Age villages to Iron Age forts, the Orkney and Shetland Islands reveal a proud Scottish heritage.

Vikings, fjords and fishing folk feature along the sublime Norwegian coastline, which includes a visit to the famous Lofoten Islands. Then cross the Arctic Circle to Svalbard, discovering a landscape of towering cliffs alive with breeding birds, and a frozen wonderland of gleaming glaciers and where the mighty polar bear reigns supreme.

Enjoy a flexible itinerary, which allows the 132-guest Greg Mortimer to follow the best weather and wildlife-spotting opportunities. Explore tundra, historic camps and villages, pack ice and breathtakingly beautiful Norwegian fjords. The option to add on scuba diving, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and snorkeling, as well begin in Scotland, are particularly unique for expeditions in this region.

Read on for details about this Svalbard route aboard Greg Mortimer or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Svalbard cruises and widespread Arctic cruisesArctic trips and small ship cruises in Northern Europe.


Across the Arctic Circle Itinerary

Sail from Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom, to Longyearbyen, Norway, to combine three unique worlds on one unforgettable journey. Visit the Orkney and Shetland Islands as well as the Norwegian coastline and its famous Lofoten Islands, before crossing the Arctic Circle to Svalbard.

An illustrated map showing the path of the Across the Arctic Circle cruise from Aberdeen, Scotland to Longyearbyen.
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Day 1
Arrive Aberdeen, United Kingdom

Having made your way to Aberdeen, you will be met by a ship representative and transferred to the group hotel. Upon arrival at the included hotel, please visit the hospitality desk to collect your luggage cabin tags and to speak with the ground operations team, who may have information to share about pre-embarkation or where to dine, withdraw cash or purchase last-minute items from a local pharmacy or supermarket. The remainder of your time is at leisure. All meals today are at your own expense.


Sandman Signature Hotel (or similar)



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Day 2
Embark Aberdeen

This morning, ensure any cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags and take it down to hotel reception. Luggage will be collected from the hotel and transferred directly to port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of embarkation. Keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day.

Enjoy a sightseeing city tour of Aberdeen before transferring to the pier for embarkation in the late afternoon. Settle into your cabin before attending important safety briefings and enjoy the thrill of departure as the crew “throws the lines” and sets sail. This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners and the friendly Expedition Team and crew at the Captain’s Welcome Dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure.


Greg Mortimer


breakfast, dinner

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Days 3 - 4
Orkney Islands

Among Orkney’s archipelago of 70 windswept islands, six miles north of the Scottish mainland, a rich tapestry of archaeology, history and wildlife awaits. Follow the passage of time… from 5,000-year-old World Heritage Neolithic sites, past relics from wandering Vikings and reminders of World War II occupation, to present-day crofting communities. Imposing sea cliffs teem with seabirds, and clifftop paths and bleak moors beckon keen hikers. Those opting for the kayak program will use paddle-power to explore sections of Orkney’s fascinating coastline.

Midway between Orkney and Shetland is Fair Isle, home to quaint croft houses and famous for its knitwear and historical shipwrecks. The 70 or so islanders mostly live in traditional crofts on the more fertile low-lying southern part of the island.

A bird watcher’s paradise and boasting a major European bird observatory, Fair Isle lies on the intersection of major bird flight paths from Scandinavia, Iceland and Faroe. It attracts common species and also eastern rarities such as the lanceolated warbler. In summer, the cliffs teem with breeding fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots, gannets, shags and puffins. Fair Isle is an excellent place to view seabirds at close range – especially puffins. The island also has more than 250 species of flowering plants, including rare orchids, alpine and wetland species and common wildflowers. You will be welcomed by the hospitable villagers, and may take a hike or visit the museum.


Greg Mortimer


breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
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. Kept relatively warm by the Gulf Stream, Shetland’s 100 islands experience almost 24 hours of daylight in summer. They abound with nature reserves and archaeological sites, and offer a taste of traditional island life. Today’s plan is to visit some of Shetland’s best preserved and most complex archaeological sites, brochs – fortified Iron Age towers.


Greg Mortimer


breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
At Sea

Sail towards the Norwegian coastline today. The bridge or the outer decks offer an excellent and warm vantage point for birdwatching. The ship’s historian and naturalists will delight with their informative talks.


Greg Mortimer


breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 7 - 10
Norwegian Coast

Spend three days exploring the superb Norwegian coastline, cruising the intricate maze of seldom-visited inlets and outer islands. The cod-fishing island of Sør Gjæslingan welcomes you with its delightful wooden houses and cheerful inhabitants. Here, search for nesting kittiwakes and reclusive sea otters. Delight in the hunt for fabled trolls, passing through Torghatten – meaning ‘mountain with a hole’ – said to have been caused by a troll’s arrow.

Crossing the Arctic Circle, make your way to the stunning Lofoten – meaning puma’s foot – Islands. 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 the ship travels north, the days are noticeably longer and you’ll search for blue whales, humpbacks, orca, minke whales, pilot whales and dolphins in the deep, squid-rich ocean trenches off Andenes.


Greg Mortimer


breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 11 - 14
Bear Island & Svalbard

Approach Spitsbergen at its most southerly point, South Cape or Sørkapp, and explore the coastline, entering a different world – that of the polar desert. Enormous peaks and deeply gouged fjords make our visit to Hornsund a powerful experience. As Hornsund is the southernmost fjord in Svalbard, keep a lookout for polar bears, and Zodiac-cruise along glacial fronts that are home to bearded and ring seals, kittiwakes and guillemots. Here in Svalbard continue your exploration into human history dating back 400 years, encompassing trapping and hunting, whaling and mining. If the skies are clear you may catch a glimpse of the dramatic Hornsundtind, peaking at 4,695 feet.

Dramatic folds characterize the geological landscape of Bellsund and here enjoy magnificent vistas, steep bird cliffs and lush vegetation, always an open invitation to arctic fox and polar bears. Little auks, guillemots, northern fulmar and pink-footed geese make this their breeding home. Reindeer graze the slopes peacefully and as the fjord branches, there are numerous places to explore.

Polar bears pass through the area on their way to the west coast, and if you are lucky, you may encounter the elusive and alluring white beluga whale. 


Greg Mortimer


breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 15
Disembark Longyearbyen, Norway

During the early morning, cruise into the port of the remote village Longyearbyen, the “capital” of Spitsbergen. After bidding farewell to newfound friends, you’ll be transferred into town, where there is time to explore and shop before transferring to the airport in the afternoon.





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Inclusions, Terms & Notes


Arrival transfer from airport to hotel on Day 1; one night’s hotel accommodation in Aberdeen on Day 1 (including breakfast on Day 2); half-day city tour of Aberdeen, prior to embarkation on Day 2; group transfer from pier to airport or hotel in Longyearbyen on Day 15; onboard accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service; all meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage; beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner; Captain’s Welcome & Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, and non-alcoholic beverages; all shore excursions; educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team; complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consult); a 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket; complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage; comprehensive pre-departure information; port surcharges, permits and landing fees.


International or domestic flights, unless specified in the itinerary; transfers not mentioned in the itinerary; airport arrival or departure taxes; passport, visa and vaccination charges; travel insurance, emergency evacuation charges or personal insurance (required); hotels and meals not included in itinerary; optional excursions not included in the itinerary; optional activity surcharges; all items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, email or phone charges, gratuities of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a nonrefundable deposit of $2,500 is required per person at time of booking (additional nonrefundable $250 deposit is required for optional activities). The balance of the trip price is due 90 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:
91 days or more – 100% of deposit
90 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 Across the Arctic Circle Cruise begins in Aberdeen, United Kingdom (ABZ), and ends in Longyearbyen, Norway (LYR). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Plan flights to arrive to Aberdeen anytime on Day 1. An arrival transfer to the group hotel is included. Plan flights to depart Longyearbyen no earlier than 12:00pm noon on disembarkation day. A group transfer from the pier to the airport is included following disembarkation. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.


Birdwatching, walking, Zodiac cruising, photography tips, lectures, a polar plunge & all trips ashore are included in the rate. Various optional activities may be available, with per-person 2024 prices starting at: kayaking $900; and scuba diving $940. For the kayaking program, join 20 like-minded paddlers (in small groups of 10 per guide) to fully experience nature at its wildest. To participate in polar diving, you must be a trained, certified scuba diver with proof of certification beyond entry level, i.e. Advanced Diver certification or equivalent rating as well as experience in dry-suit diving at a minimum of 30 dives. Please contact AdventureSmith for details on which activities are available on your specific departure date and to reserve space with your booking.

Room Configuration

Single travelers wishing to book a double-occupancy cabin may do so at a 50% supplement of the per-person listed rate in select cabins upon availability. Solo travelers willing to share may be matched with a person of the same gender, and if the other cabin berth goes unsold, will only pay the standard double-occupancy rate. 

Families & Children

Kids 8 years and older are welcomed aboard all departure dates. Children between 8-17 years of age must pay the adult price of the expedition.

Travel Insurance

A medical form for all travelers, signed by their doctor, is required for every departure. Comprehensive travel insurance is mandatory for this trip, with a minimum required coverage of $250,000 USD per person, covering medical, accident and repatriation/emergency evacuation, as well as baggage loss and cancellation or curtailment of holiday. In addition, we highly recommend our travelers 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

Jun 06 - Jun 20, 2024
Greg Mortimer • 15 days
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From $14195USD
Per Person
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Learn All About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
Greg Mortimer

The Greg Mortimer is a new, icebreaker polar expedition ship. Carrying an average of 132 guests, this small ship features a unique bow designed for efficiency. It features active programming with adventure gear for backcountry skiing, polar diving, snowshoeing, climbing and kayaking.


Current Deals on This Trip

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Offer expires June 30th, 2024
Save Up to 20% + $1,500 Air Credit On Select 2024 Arctic Expeditions

Save up to 15% and receive $1,500 in air credit per person when you book your 2024 Arctic expedition cruise aboard the Greg Mortimer or Sylvia Earle.

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Offer expires June 30th, 2024
Save Up to 25% On 2025 Arctic & Northern Europe Expedition Cruises

Save up to 25% per person when you book your 2025 Arctic or Northern Europe expedition cruise aboard the Greg Mortimer or Sylvia Earle.

Expert Reviews

Reviews From Our Experts So You Know What To Expect

Todd Smith • January 19th, 2021
Expert Aboard: Sylvia Earle & Greg Mortimer Ship Review

Read a detailed ship review about the identical polar sister ships Greg Mortimer & Sylvia Earle and what they offer travelers. Our expert has been aboard and writes this from his firsthand experience.

Arielle Lightcap • January 7th, 2020
Expert Review: What to Expect on a Polar Bear Cruise

A travel expert lends her Arctic cruise insight on what you can expect aboard a small ship polar bear cruise in the Arctic Svalbard region.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

Extend Your Trip

Additional Travel Options Before or After Your Cruise

Book the 3-day Taste of Oslo extension tour with this cruise for a guided city tour, a boat ride across the Oslo Fjord to the Viking Ship Museum, and visits to the Fram Museum and the Vigeland Sculpture Park; 2 nights accommodation and included meals.

Or, enjoy one of the world’s most scenic rail journeys and then explore picturesque Bergen on the 6-day Norway in a Nutshell extension tour from Oslo to Bergen. This tour includes rail, bus and ferry passes; a full day sightseeing tour; 5 nights accommodation; and more.

Finally, consider the 7-day Scotland Self-Drive extension tour round-trip from Edinburgh. Explore at your own pace, with one day of guided hiking and another of guided biking, plus included entrance fees, meals and hotel stays. Inquire for further details to extend your trip.


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