An Arctic Cruise to the Top of the World

A crumbling glacier falls into the sea, creating a large wave

On Silversea’s 17-day Tromsø to Reykjavik cruise, you will experience some of the Arctic’s most enchanting and remote destinations, beginning with the surprisingly cosmopolitan city of Tromsø, the so-called Paris of the North. You’ll then head north into the Arctic, exploring Svalbard, a remote archipelago of islands that is home to only 3,000 residents in some of the world’s most northerly settlements. Here you’ll have opportunities to admire seals, sea birds, and the islands’ world-famous polar bears while navigating pristine fjords and climbing glaciers. Your cruise will then continue on to Iceland, with its famous geysers and a landscape said to be home to trolls and fairies. Even if we can’t guarantee sightings, it does look like a land from a fantasy.

With a departure in late July, you’ll also get to experience the Midnight Sun at its summertime peak. In the more northerly stops on this itinerary, the sun will never dip below the horizon during your expedition cruise. This is the perfect itinerary for the traveler who wants to follow in the paths of the world’s hardiest explorers while enjoying the comforts of Silversea’s 208-passenger Silver Cloud and the insights of 19 onboard naturalists, expedition leaders, and other experts.

A polar bear


Polar Bear Sightings

With a polar bear population of 2,600, the great white beasts almost equal the human population (3,000) of the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. Your ship will stop at several fjords where you can get a close look at these majestic icons of the Arctic.
Silversea Expeditions



Silversea’s small luxury ships are designed for those who want to appreciate every comfort while exploring the world’s most fascinating, and often most remote, places. Silversea voyages and cruise expeditions visit over 900 destinations on all seven continents, more than any other cruise line. You’ll be transported to the most distant corners of the planet while enjoying personalized service, the renowned excellence of the ships’ restaurants, and the convenience of an all-inclusive fare that includes almost all of your onboard expenses.
Water rushes in between two ice sheets in a river lined by snow-covered mountains

DAY 1Tromsø

You’ll begin your journey to the Arctic in Tromsø, on Norway’s northern coast. Tromsø surprised visitors in the 1800s who couldn’t believe how sophisticated and cultured the city was given its location on the northern frontier of the continent—hence its nickname, the Paris of the North. It looks the way a town in the Arctic should—with ice-capped mountain ridges and jagged architecture that is an echo of the peaks. The midnight sun shines from May 21 to July 21, and it is said that the northern lights decorate the night skies over Tromsø more than over any other city in Norway.
Two dinghys carry groups of people in red jackets under an arch over the water.

DAY 2Bear Island (Bjørnøya)

Your first stop as you begin to explore Svalbard is the archipelago’s southernmost island. Despite its name, Bear Island, there are no year-round bears that live here (polar bears occasionally venture here in the winter, when the pack ice has reached this far south). The island was also long famous for its walruses, but today it is rare to spot one. There are still seals here, but today the most famous residents of the nature reserve on Bear Island are birds.

As long as weather conditions are favorable, you’ll visit the seaside cliffs with their huge bird colonies. Among the 120 species that have been recorded on the island are Brünnich’s and common guillemots, black-legged kittiwakes, glaucous gulls and gannets. On a Zodiac excursion along the coast (weather conditions permitting), your expedition leaders will help you identify the birds you see and also provide an overview of the area’s environment, terrain, and other wildlife.
Two walruses are splashed by waves on the shore of an island.

DAYS 3 to 8Svalbard Archipelago

Over the next six days, you’ll explore the Svalbard archipelago. This is one of the northernmost inhabited areas in the world (around 3,000 people live here; two-thirds of them in the town of Longyearbyen), sitting halfway between the mainland of Norway and the North Pole. Historically the islands’ economy revolved around trapping and whaling. Today most of the archipelago is protected—as nature reserves, national parks, and bird sanctuaries—and sustainability is the new focus.

The stops described here are an example of ones you might call at. The captain of Silver Cloud and expedition leaders will adjust it according to weather conditions and to optimize opportunities for wildlife sightings.

Hornsund is the southernmost fjord on the rugged west coast of Spitsbergen Island, the largest in Svalbard and the only one that is inhabited. In the shadow of soaring jagged peaks, you’ll be able to spot little auks, beluga whales, bearded seals, and ringed seals. Since 1973, Magdalenefjorden has been part of the Northwest Spitsbergen National Park. Weather conditions permitting, you’ll be able to land at Gravneset to explore some of the park, including the ruins of a 17th-century British whaling station. On the northern coast of Spitsbergen, Liefdefjorden is one of the island’s most scenic fjords extending for almost 20 miles into the interior.

Wherever you call in the Svalbard Archipelago, you are guaranteed dramatic landscapes and opportunities to spot some of the many animals that inhabit the region.
A cruise ship sails by an isolated beach. A body of water in the foreground is dotted with chunks of ice

DAY 9Day at Sea

The next day gives you time to bask in life aboard Silver Cloud. You likely will want to take advantage of the lecture series covering the natural and human histories of the Arctic. The expedition team is comprised of experts from a variety of backgrounds and their entertaining presentations, rich with images and videos gathered over the length of their long careers, typically spark thoughtful discussions. There are also less cerebral activities to choose from: wine tastings, spa treatments, or borrowing a DVD from the library to watch in your suite.
People in red jackets huddle around on an isolated island

DAY 10Jan Mayen Island

Humpback and minke whales cavort and feed in the Arctic waters around the impressive volcanic island of Jan Mayen with its towering ebony peaks and broad black lava beaches. The primordial landscape is dominated to the north by the 7,500 feet high (2,300 meters) Mt. Beerenberg, an active volcano covered in glacial ice that last erupted in 1985. With permission from the Norwegian authorities, a landing is possible at this rarely visited outpost.
An eagle grabs a fish from the water

DAY 11Sail to Akureyri

Enjoy this day at sea as a perfect opportunity to relax, unwind, and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. Whether that is whale watching from the Observatory Lounge, writing home to your loved ones, or simply enjoying a good book, sea days are the perfect balance to others spent on shore exploring the Arctic.
Waterfalls pour into the ocean

DAY 12Akureyri

Akureyri, called the Capital of the North, is the second largest urban area in Iceland, and a lively one at that. Hemmed by the 37-mile-long Eyjafjörður, Akureyri is sheltered from the ocean winds and embraced by mountains on three sides. Late 19th-century wooden houses impart a sense of history, and the twin spires of a modern Lutheran church rising on a green hill near the waterfront, provide a focal point. To the south of Akureyri is the pyramid-shape rhyolite mountain Súlur. Beyond it is Kerling, the highest peak in Eyjafjörður District.
A titanic fjord cuts into the sky

DAY 13Cruise Along Hornbjarg Cliffs

Today you’ll travel along one of the most remote and dramatic stretches of the Iceland coast, the Hornbjarg Cliffs. Dropping abruptly to the sea from heights of over 1,500 feet, the cliffs are accessible only by ship or on foot. You’ll experience a silence that is hard to find, interrupted only by bird call. Some one million birds nest here in the summer, including populations of puffins, arctic terns, and black guillemots.
A duck chills in a small cluster of rocks. Small houses are seen in the background

DAY 14Vigur Island

Vigur Island is a little more than a mile in length and about 450 yards wide. This green oasis punctuates the waters of the Ísafjarðardjúp fjord east of the town of Isafjordur. The island is home to a single farming family and has some meticulously preserved historical landmarks including Iceland’s only windmill, built in 1840 and used until 1917 for grinding imported wheat from Denmark; and a 200-year-old rowing boat, which is still in use to ferry sheep to the mainland. Summer is the best time to see large numbers of a number of different bird species.
A waterfall rushes down into a river

DAY 15Dynjandi

Iceland is well-known for its spectacular waterfalls. The iconic Dynjandi waterfall, located in the Westfjords region, is regarded as one of Iceland’s most impressive and majestic waterfalls. At the top, the cascading water is roughly 100 feet wide and tumbles down about 330 feet into the fjord. Its name Dynjandi means, “the thundering one” and its vast size, enormous sound, and sheer force is overwhelming. It has also been nicknamed, ‘The Bridal Veil’ because of the way the water sprays and spreads over the rocks.
A road travels along the waterfront beneath seaside cliffs


DAY 16Latrabjarg

On Iceland’s north coast and close to the westernmost tip of the country are the impressive cliffs of Latrabjarg; Europe’s largest bird cliff. Millions of individual seabirds make their home along the promontory safe from the range of scavenging foxes on the steep ledges. Atlantic puffins, northern gannets, razorbills and guillemots have each selected their preferred areas in and above the cliff in which to roost and nest. The Latrabjarg cliffs reach heights of almost 1500 feet along a staggering nine-mile stretch of the coast.
The town of Reykjavik. Black spires protrude from some of the buildings


DAY 17Reykjavik

You’ll arrive this morning in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík, is home to half the island’s population. On a bay overlooked by proud Mt. Esja (pronounced eh-shyuh), with its ever-changing hues, Reykjavík presents a colorful sight, its concrete houses painted in light colors and topped by vibrant red, blue, and green roofs. In contrast to the almost treeless countryside, Reykjavík has many tall, native birches, rowans, and willows, as well as imported aspen, pines, and spruces. Reykjavík’s name comes from the Icelandic words for smoke, reykur, and bay, vík.

While you’ll disembark today, you may wish to extend your stay in Reykjavik to spend more time getting to know this charming city or venture into Iceland to explore its many geysers, waterfalls, and natural springs.
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