Day 1 — Leith Edinburgh), Scotland
Embark the Silver Cloud and depart on your exciting 12-day Silversea Expedition – “To the Land of the Midnight Sun”. After settling into your suite and attending a safety drill we will be setting sail. Meet the members of your Expedition Team in the Lecture Theatre and attend the first of many memorable dinners in one of the restaurants.
Day 2 — John O’Groats, Scotland
John O’Groats, often called “the end of the road”, is a fantastic, unspoilt location. The most northerly point in mainland Britain, the RSPB’s reserve of Dunnet Head has stunning sea cliffs, with some very diverse coastal heathland and grassland habitats. Special plants such as spring squill, thrift and roseroot thrive there.
The area around John O’Groats is recognised as one of the best places in the UK to see Atlantic Puffins during their breeding season. Other seabirds include guillemots, Northern Fulmars, oystercatchers, shags, Black-legged Kittiwakes and a variety of gulls. During our Zodiac cruises we will view the nesting seabirds in the inlets, ledges and on the stacks.
Grey and common seals, dolphins and orcas (killer whales) can also be seen along the Caithness coast.
Day 3 — Lerwick, Shetland, Scotland
Charming sandstone buildings line the waterfront of this historic seaport. Lerwick is the northernmost town in Scotland and the capital of Shetland.
Our morning excursion travels south, admiring the view of the magnificent Mousa Broch, the tallest and best preserved of all brochs in the world. You will continue down the west coast passing St Ninian’s Isle where the famous Pictish horde of silver dating from the 9th Century was found in 1958.
Continue south to visit the remarkable archaeological site of Jarlshof. The site was uncovered by a violent storm in the winter of 1896/7, revealing an extraordinary settlement site embracing at least 5,000 years of human history. The site contains a remarkable sequence of stone structures – late Neolithic houses, a Bronze-Age village, an Iron-Age broch and wheelhouses, several Norse longhouses, a medieval farmstead, and the 16th-century laird’s house. Visit the remains of these village settlements with your guide.
You will then depart for the RSPB Reserve at Sumburgh Head where you will see Shetland’s first lighthouse, built in 1821 by Robert Stevenson. The cliffs around Sumburgh Head are on the southernmost tip of Mainland Shetland and attract thousands of seabirds, including puffins, guillemots, shags and fulmars. Gannets are regularly seen off shore too. The seas here are home to various animals and you may be lucky enough to see harbour porpoises (neesicks), white-beaked dolphins and whales – killer, minke and even humpback whales are sometimes seen. Common seals often haul themselves out onto the rocks.
Day 4 — Geiranger, Norway
Of Norway’s many fjords, Geirangerfjord is doubtless the most beautiful. Impressive mountains, numerous waterfalls as well as farms clinging to the steep hillsides give the fjord its unique character. Our excursion takes us uphill past the wooden, octagonal Geiranger Church, through the wild Flydal valley where a scenic overview stop is made, and continues around hairpin bends to Lake Djupvatn, and the summit of Mount Dalsnibba (1,500 metres.) From here, there is an amazing panorama of mountains, waterfalls and lakes.
Alternatively (and weather permitting) the more energetic can spend a few hours kayaking the quiet and spectacular Geirangerfjord with two-person kayaks. Geirangerfjord is one of nature’s masterpieces and on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Its description as “the world’s most beautiful fjord” is no exaggeration and it is amidst this dramatic mountain setting that we can experience some spectacular sea kayaking. Our kayaks provide an amazing perspective from which to view the cascading waterfalls and steep mountain walls that rise as high as 1500m
Day 5 — Cruise the Norwegian Fjords, Norway
As we head north along Norway’s magnificent shore, Silver Cloud will cruise along mountainous islands, through steep-walled fjords and narrow channels. Be out on deck to discover these special places.
Our lecturers will present interesting talks and seminars, but you can also relax at the pool and let the impressive landscape go past while enjoying a drink.
Have lunch al fresco and sample some of the exquisite cuisine prepared by our team of international chefs.
Day 6 — Leknes, Norway
Although Leknes is a town on Vestvågøy in the Lofoten Islands, it is connected by bridges and tunnels to the mainland. Once we are ashore we will offer excursions for birders and those interested in the human history of the islands.
Various seabirds have found their home in Eggum, located on the western side of Vestvågøy Island. On our birding excursion we will see (if we are lucky) gannets, cormorants, Eider Ducks, shags, Great Skuas and Arctic Skuas, Black Guillemots, kittiwakes and Arctic Terns. En route, we pass the Borgpollen Bay where we may observe Black-throated Divers, Red-throated Divers, Tufted Ducks and scaups. Further on, during a stop by Lake Storied we have the possibility to see Black-tailed Godwits, Bluethroats, Slavonian Grebes and a variety of ducks. Alternatively, choose to visit the remarkably well-preserved Nusfjord Fishing Village. The building complex with the wharf and 52 structures — including 34 rorbu (fishermen dwellings) — dates mostly from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We will also visit the Lofotr Viking Museum. Discovered in the 1980s when a farmer was ploughing his land, excavations revealed the remains of the largest building ever (83 metres long) to be found from the Viking realm. We will tour the reconstructed long house and gain insight into the life of a Viking chieftain.
Day 7 — Tromsø, Norway
Because of many arctic expeditions having started in Tromsø the town is known as the “Gateway to the Arctic”. To see the different aspects of these expeditions and the town’s involvement in hunting, trapping, sealing, and whaling, visit the two museums dedicated to the Arctic: the Polar Museum and Polaria. You can also see the northernmost botanical garden with its surprising variety of plants growing this far north. Tromsø’s churches are quite interesting –the wooden Lutheran church in town or the “Ice Cathedral” on the mainland can easily be reached. A spectacular view of the town and the surrounding area can be had taking the cable car to the top of Storsteinen, 421 metres above sea level. You could also visit Norway’s northernmost brewery and taste its beer. There are many ways to keep you busy this morning.
During the afternoon Silver Cloud will head out to sea and our lecturers will take the opportunity to prepare you for our stay in Svalbard.
Day 8 — Bear Island (Bjørnøya), Norway
As we near the southern tip of this arctic island, now a nature reserve, we will see thousands of seabirds diving into and out of the island’s steep cliffs. With our Zodiacs and favourable weather conditions, we will explore the rugged coastline. Close to 9 kilometres of cliffs are home to some of the largest bird colonies of the Northern Hemisphere. Common Guillemots, Brünnich’s Guillemots, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Northern Fulmars, and Glaucous Gulls are all found along the cliff. Other species have been observed, including puffins and even gannets. Of the more than 120 species registered, slightly more than 30 actually breed on the island. The Expedition Team will provide insights into the environment, the terrain, and the wildlife that exist in these extreme conditions.
Leaving Bear Island head out on deck to watch for whales -white-beaked dolphins and minke whales are known to frequent the area.
Days 9–12 — Cruise & Explore Svalbard
We will travel along the same routes as famous polar explorers such as Andrée, Nordenskjöld, Amundsen and Nobile. We will visit walrus haul-outs, might see reindeer, and maybe even spot the Arctic fox or bearded seal. Northern Fulmars will be our constant companions. We might even encounter a few whales. Several species frequent the area, in particular Minke and beluga.
Our flexible itinerary allows us to take advantage of favourable ice and weather conditions. Whether cruising by Zodiac amongst ice floes and icebergs or heading ashore for a guided walk, our adventures will bring us up close to mystical settings. Each day our Expedition Leader and Captain will determine our best course depending on changing weather, ice conditions and the wildlife we encounter. Here are a few of the places we hope to visit:
-Hornsund – This is the southernmost fjord on the rugged west coast of Spitsbergen Island. Jagged mountain peaks tower above glacier-filled bays. Amidst floating icebergs, we will watch for bearded seals, the beluga whale and the king of the Arctic – the polar bear. Sightings are fairly common as the polar bear’s favourite food, the ringed seal, breeds in the fjord. The surrounding bird cliffs are home to thousands of pairs of nesting Little Auks. We may visit the remains of whaling stations and trappers’ huts.
-Fjortende Julibreen – The 14th of July Bay is located at the entrance of Krossfjorden. Here we will go ashore for a hike up to the 14th of July Glacier –conditions permitting, we will climb onto the glacier, or, alternatively walk to the Hanging Gardens, a beautiful plant oasis underneath a bird cliff.
-Ice Cruising – With the strengthened hull of the Silver Cloud, we have the perfect platform to search for walrus and polar bears as we devote at least one day to exploring the pack ice north of Spitsbergen. Conditions permitting, our Expedition Leader may choose to take us out in the Zodiacs for an even closer look.
-Liefdefjorden – At the entrance to Liefdefjorden are several small island groups. On the Andøyane (Duck Islands) we may encounter polar bears looking for bird’s eggs. With our Zodiacs we might circumnavigate several of the islands, always on the lookout for active birdlife –when Arctic Terns circle specific areas it usually is a sign for polar bear presence on the islands.
-Monacobreen – Cruising past majestic red Devonian sandstone mountains we will reach the end of Liefdefjorden for a Zodiac cruise along the front of two different glaciers: Monacobreen and Seligerbreen. Monacobreen has a 5 kilometre long front and is a good place to look for seals, Black-legged Kittiwakes and Ivory Gulls.
-Magdalenefjorden – Found on Spitsbergen’s northwest coast, Magdalenefjorden was already seen by Willem Barents in 1596. Walrus was hunted here in later days and a whaling station was set up. The remains of blubber ovens and a cemetery can still be seen. Silver Cloud will enter this scenic fjord in Northwest Spitsbergen National Park and we might land at Graveneset for a short walk.
Day 13 — Longyearbyen, Svalbard
After breakfast, disembark Silver Cloud.
Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather, wildlife activity and ice conditions.
Not sure what to wear while onboard? Visit our shop and gear up. We've got layers to keep you dry and warm, breezy wear to keep you covered and cool, and accessories to keep everything packed up and ready to go. So, no matter the weather, you'll be better prepared for your expedition.
Our Gear Shop has an expert outfitting staff and features all the essentials:
Make sure you get all your essentials today. We offer packages or individual items, for your convenience, and recommend you place orders at least 30 days before your embarkation date.