Spitsbergen - Northeast Greenland - Aurora Borealis Cruise

Priced from $5,950   Days: 14

Our 13 night Northeast Greenland cruises explore the coastline of the largest island in the world.  It is an indescribably spectacular place, with its numerous fjords, high mountains, and massive glaciers that calve huge icebergs. This Greenland cruises takes place in September when the pack ice is broken up and the land is most likely to be accessible for shore excursions.  We visit the most isolated, sparsely populated and scenically superb parts of the island.  This time of year is excellent for Aurora Borealis viewing as well. 

Greenland stretches from 60º to 83º north latitude. Kap Farvel, its southern tip, is located at almost the same latitude as the Shetland Islands in Scotland. The extreme north of Greenland is the northernmost point of land on our planet. Greenland is dominated by the second largest ice-sheet in the world; more than 80% of its surface area is covered by ice reaching a thickness of over 10,000 feet in the interior. Although huge in size, fewer than 60,000 people live there, most of them the indigenous Inuit.

For travelers interested in native Arctic culture, icebergs, northern lights, and wildlife, a Greenland cruise is an excellent choice.  For a shorter Greenland cruise, we recommend our 7 night Scoresby Sund and Aurora Borealis cruise.


  • Itinerary
  • Date & Rates
  • Vessel
  • Map

Spitsbergen - Northest Greenland - Aurora Borealis

Sample itinerary: dependent on ice and weather conditions 

Day 1: Arrive in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen by mid day in time to explore, the former mining village, the Parrish Church and Polar Museum.  In the early evening, the ship will sail out of Isfjorden.

Day 2: As we sail into Raudfjord, on the north coast of West Spitsbergen, there are beautiful fjords, spectacular glaciers with seabird colonies, ringed and bearded seals, and rich vegetation. There are good chances to spot polar bears near Hamilton Glacier. From there we continue to Moffen Island where walrus haul out.

Day 3 & 4: At sea, on our way to Greenland, we watch for whales and migrating seabirds. As we get closer to Greenland, the sea ice appears. In the evening watch for Aurora Borealis.

Day 5:  As we approach Greenland, making our first landing at Myggebugten. There is an old hunter's hut that in the first half of last century Norwegian trappers hunted the area for polar bears and Arctic fox.  Beyond the shack, there is an area that can be populated by musk ox and the small lakes are home to geese and other water fowl. We sail on through Kaiser Franz Joseph Fjord, a magnificent fjord with towering mountains on both sides, its inner reaches are choked with huge icebergs. 

Day 6: We will land at Blomster Bugt to view the beautiful geological formations. In the afternoon, we sail along Teufelschloss and Ella Ø and may land to enjoy this beautiful area in the early evening light.

Day 7: In the morning we enter Segelsällskapets Fjord with the beautiful Berzelius Mountains on the north side. We will land on the south side of the fjord in an astounding place where the ancient sedimentary geology is literally at your feet. A hike will take us near a small lake with good chances to see Muskoxen, Arctic hare, and Ptarmigan. In the afternoon the ship will venture into Alpe Fjord, which is as spectacular as the name implies. We may embark on a long Zodiac cruise around the Gully Glacier which once blocked the access to the interior of the fjord and venture deep inside to the very end. Adventure at its finest!

Day 8: We will spend the morning in Antarcticahavn, a wide and extensive valley where we may see more musk ox.  The tundra is generally in peak fall color at this time of year making the landscape even more stunning.

Day 9: Reaching the Scoresby Sund in the morning, we will sail along the ragged, glaciated Volquart Boons.  If weather permits, we will take a zodiac cruise along the glacier front of this coastal area with our first landing near Maane Glacier.  Later in the day, we plan to land on Danmark,Ø where the remains of an Inuit settlement are located. The settlement was abandoned around 200 years ago. The sites are excellently preserved. The old grave sites can still be seen. In the evening, we continue our sailing through the beautiful fjords to the west, choked with ice-bergs.

Day 10: Today we will go ashore at Cape Hofmann Halvø. This is a good area for spotting rock ptarmigans, and great northern divers at sea. The landscape is particularly beautiful, especially during autumn when the dwarf willow, dwarf birch, Arctic blueberry and crowberry are in full fall color. The berries are tasty too!  In the evening, we sail through the fjord towards Scoresby Land, enjoying the contrast between the warm autumn colors of the tundra against the huge dark mountains, and the cold blue of the icebergs.

Day 11: Near northwest fjord in Scoresby Land, we encounter huge icebergs, some over 100m high and more than a kilometer in length. Most of the bergs are grounded as the fjord is only about 400m deep here. We plan to land at Gurreholm on Jameson Land. The landscape here is gently rolling.

Day 12: After sailing all night, (watch for Aurora Borealis) we land at Illoqqortoormiut, the biggest settlement in the Scoresby Sund with about 500 inhabitants living the way they have for hundreds of years.  You can buy stamps for  postcards, or just wander around to see the sledge dogs and the drying skins of seal. After dinner we will sail south passing the amazing landscape of the Blosseville Coast.

Day 13: We will spend the day at sea watching for whales and migrating seabirds.  In the night, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) may be seen in full splendor in the wide open skies away from city lights.

Day 14: We disembark in the morning, in Akureyri and are taken by a 6 hour chartered bus ride through North Iceland to our individual hotels in Reykjavik. Hotels need to be booked on your own or you can depart in the evening depending on your flight departure times.

Date & Rates:

2017 Prices (US Dollars)




Cruise/Ship N/D Date









Aurora Borealis 



Aug. 29-

Sept. 11, 2017

$5,950  $7,690 $8,960 $9,750 $10,380 $12,290

Prices include:

  • Voyage aboard the Plancius
  • Port charges and miscelleneous service taxes
  • All meals including snacks, coffee, and tea
  • All shore excursions and activities by Zodiac
  • Lectures by naturalists and expedition staff
  • Use of rubber boots 

Not included:

  • Airfare to and from embarkation and disembarkation points. We are happy to help book hotels and air for you.
  • Gratuities
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Items of a personal nature, such as laundry services



B = Bilingual voyage: English/German/French. English as first language.

Single supplement: 1.7 times the shared rate in any cabin style. 

To confirm your space on these tours, please contact our office. 1.800.808.4492 or 575.524.0084

Deposit: 30% of trip cost can be paid by check or credit card. Balance is due by check.

Cancellation Policy
In the event you must cancel your reservation, refunds will be made according to the following schedule: Deposit is nonrefundable. 90 to 61 days prior to departure, 50% of total is nonrefundable; less than 60 days prior to departure, 100% nonrefundable.

Fuel surcharge: If world fuel prices reach or exceed US Dollar $120 per Barrel Brent 90 days prior to departure then the boat operator reserves the right to levy a fuel surcharge of $25 USD per night per passenger to be paid prior to travel.

Because many advance logistical arrangements have been made prior to the running of this trip, we must adhere to the above policy. In light of this, we strongly recommend trip cancellation insurance. A quote will be sent to you upon request, or you may purchase it on your own. Because of the remote location, emergency medical evacuation insurance is required. Please check your personal insurance coverage and make sure it is applicable in foreign countries. Emergency medical evacuation insurance is a component of the insurance program IWA offers.



The Plancius

Plancius in the ice

M/V Plancius started her life in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and was named “Hr. Ms. Tydeman”. In June 2004, the vessel was taken out of active service as a research vessel and was purchased for refitting as a polar expedition vessel in December 2006.

Rebuilt in 2009 as a 114-passenger vessel, it complies with the latest SOLAS-regulations (Safety Of Life At Sea), is classed by Lloyd’s Register in London and flies the Dutch flag. 

The Plancius is comfortable and attractively decorated, but is not a luxury vessel. Our voyages in the Arctic and Antarctic regions are and will still be primarily defined by a top-quality exploratory educational travel program, spending as much time ashore as possible.

M/v “Plancius” was named after the Dutch astronomer, cartographer, geologist and vicar Petrus Plancius (1552 – 1622). Plancius theorised the existence of an accessible northern passage to Asia and his theory encouraged several northern discovery voyages at the end of the 16th century. A Dutch expedition - under the command of Willem Barentsz - discovered Spitsbergen, but got stuck in the pack-ice of Novaya Semlya (now Russian territory). Those discoveries gave rise of the 17th century whaling industry in Spitsbergen.

M/V Plancius can accommodate 114 passengers in 53 passenger cabins with private toilet and shower in 5 quadruple porthole private cabins, 10 twin porthole private cabins, 26 twin cabins with windows, 2 deluxe cabins with 2 windows, all (ca. 15 square meters) and 10 superior cabins (ca. 21 square meters) with windows double beds and sofas. 

All cabins offer lower berths (either two single beds or one queen size bed excpet for the quads which have 2 bunk beds each. 

The vessel is manned by 30 international crew members (inc. 10 stewardesses/cabin cleaners), 6 hotel staff (4 chefs, 1 purser and 1 steward-barman), 6 expedition staff (1 expedition leader and 5 guides-lecturers) and 1 doctor.

Plancius Interior

Superior cabin Plancius230
Superior Cabin

Plancius twin private cabin
Twin Private Cabin

Quadruple cabin Plancius
Quadruple Cabin

Dining & Lecture Room



Plancius's Deck Plan



M/V Ortelius


The ice-strengthened vessel "Ortelius" is an excellent vessel for Polar expedition cruises in the Arctic

"Ortelius" was built in Gdynia, Poland in 1989, was named "Marina Svetaeva", and served as a special purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science. The vessel is re-flagged and renamed "Ortelius". As Plancius, Ortelius was a Dutch / Flemish cartographer. Abraham Ortelius (1527 – 1598) published the first modern world atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum or Theatre of the World in 1570. At that time, the atlas was the most expensive book ever printed.

The vessel has the highest ice-class notation (UL1 equivalent to 1A) and is therefore very suitable to navigate in solid one-year sea ice and loose multi-year pack ice. "Ortelius" is a great expedition vessel for 100 passengers with lots of open-deck spaces and a very large bridge which is accessible to the passengers. The vessel is manned by 34 highly experienced Russian nautical crew, 15 international catering staff, including stewardesses, 6 expedition staff (1 expedition leader and 5 guides/lecturers) and 1 doctor.

"Ortelius" offers a comfortable hotel standard, with two restaurants, a bar/lecture room and a sauna. Our voyages are primarily developed to offer our passengers a quality exploratory wildlife program, trying to spend as much time ashore as possible. As the number of passengers is limited to approximately 100 on the "Ortelius", flexibility assures maximum wildlife opportunities.

Length: 91.25 meters
Breadth: 17.61 meters
Draft: 5.8 meters
Ice class: UL1 (equivalent to 1A)
Displacement: 4575 tonnes
Engines: 6 ZL 40/48 SULZER
Speed: 12 knots (14.3 knots max)
Passengers: 100


OceanwideDeckplan Ortelius09-01-2012


greenland map


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