Arctic Cruise: Day 1

The word Antarctica comes from the Greek language, antarktikos, which means “opposite to the Arctic”. In turn, Arctic comes from the Greek word arktikos, which means “of the bear”, in reference to the northern constellation called Osa Menor, in which is the Polar Star, which marks the North Pole. An Arctic Expedition was a bucket list dream come true! Sadly our rustic Photographic Expedition Ship was delayed on a final inspection at the last minute so we were forced to switch to a Luxury Cruise with Ponant, the only other vessel sailing in the same timeframe. 'The scenery in this part of the world is simply spectacular. Icebergs, sea ice and volcanic mountain landscapes extend as far as the eye can see. And amidst it all roams the polar bear, king of the Arctic, in complete peace and tranquillity. To take an Arctic cruise is to allow yourself to be transported to a world where man is simply a spectator and nature reigns supreme.'

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Svalbard

To the uninitiated, Svalbard may seem desolate and barren with large open landscapes, sparse vegetation and endless glaciers. But if you look beyond this first impression, you will discover an eldorado of nature-based experiences – all year round. The seasonal variations this far north are enormous – the long, dark winter season is replaced by bright spring months, which in turn are replaced by a surprisingly mild summer with sun 24/7.

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Fjords to Oslo

Longyearbyen is a small coal-mining town on Spitsbergen Island, in Norway's Svalbard archipelago. This Arctic town is known for its views of the Northern Lights and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault which is a secure backup facility for the world's crop diversity. Live bears can occasionally be seen in the area. The North Pole Expeditions Museum recounts early efforts to reach the pole by air. The scenery is spellbinding, and the islands offer you the chance to enjoy experiences that few other destinations can offer.

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Aurlandsfjord and Flam Railway

Aurlandsfjord is a fjord in Vestland county, Norway. The fjord flows through the municipalities of Aurland, Vik, and Lærdal. The 29-kilometre long fjord is a branch off of the main Sognefjorden, Norway's longest fjord. The Flåm Railway has been described as one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world and is one of the leading tourist attractions in Norway. The train runs from the end of Aurlandsfjord, a tributary of the Sognefjord, up to the high mountains at Myrdal station. The journey features the finest aspects of the stunning scenery of Western Norway. It offers an immediate return journey.

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