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Island Holidays
Established 1987

North Atlantic Odyssey

Fair Isle, Jan Mayen and Spitsbergen (Svalbard)

Little Auks

30th Anniversary Special Offer – 15% off
Our partners, Oceanwide Expeditions, with whom we have been working almost since Island Holidays was set up have come up with a special offer to help us celebrate. AND if you would like to extend your holiday Oceanwide are offering a 5% discount on voyage OTL 03 (departs 29 May) which takes a week exploring the fascinating coast of North Spitsbergen.

As Oceanwide Expeditions' ships re-position from their Antarctic programme, there's the opportunity to sail from Scotland to the Arctic, calling in at various North Atlantic islands en route. The itineraries vary from year to year and ship to ship sometimes including St Kilda and sometimes Fair Isle as they head north to the dramatic island of Jan Mayen which is dominated by a 2,300 metre volcano. The final destination is the island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago. Here you can either stay on the ship for the next voyage to North Spitsbergen to look for Polar Bears or fly back to you country of origin.

During your voyage you will be entertained by the ship's knowledgeable expedition leaders whose subjects vary from wildife and environmental issues to the historical and cultural heritage of the places you visit. These talks not only enrich your experience but also entertain during the days at sea which can also be spent looking out for whales, dolphins and seabirds.

The delight of expedition cruising is that, using zodiacs (small rubber dinghies), it's possible to access remote corners of the equally remote areas you are visiting. The crew are skilled in landings and make the process very simple for passengers.

Route map

North Atlantic Odyssey route

Key facts

  • North Atlantic Odyssey: Whale Safari, Seabirds, Arctic Wildlife & Summer Solstice
  • Expedition cruise with specialist expedition leaders
  • Departure: 20 May 2018 (OTL02b)
  • Nights: 9
  • Cabin price from: £1,1775 £1,510* (quadruple shared porthole)
  • Deposit: 20%
  • Vessel: M/v Ortelius
  • Tour leader: Oceanwide Expeditions
  • Departs: Aberdeen
  • If you would prefer to join the ship in Holland prior to her arrival in Aberdeen, please contact us for prices.

    * All prices quoted are for cruise only and do not include flights or hotel accommodation (where required). We will arrange your flights and any accommodation but as fares and rates are subject to change prices are quoted on request. Please note that we may have to ask for instant payment for flights as soon as they are booked and this is in addition to your deposit which is 20% of the cabin cost.

    If 90 days prior to departure the Brent per barrel fuel prices exceeds a price of US dollar 120, Oceanwide Expeditions reserves the right to levy an additional fuel surcharge of US dollar 16 per person per night.
  • North Atlantic Odyssey 2018 itinerary & discount prices

The ship

M/v Ortelius was built in Gdynia, Poland in 1989, was originally named Marina Svetaeva, and served as a special purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science. 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. Read more about Ortelius

M/v Ortelius

Your itinerary

If you would prefer to join the ship in Holland prior to her arrival in Aberdeen, please contact us for prices.

Day 1
Our ship departs Aberdeen from Aberdeen in the afternoon. As we sail north, the Scottish waters offer excellent possibilities to spot Minke Whales, White-beaked Dolphins and Harbour Porpoises. Several other cetaceans, including Orcas (Killer Whales), are also native to these waters.

Day 2
At Fair Isle, in the Shetland Islands, we are welcomed by the 70 or so inhabitants (famed for their knitwear, examples of which we will see) to be followed by a walk to the bird observatory. Fair Isle is a haven for sea-birds, which are very accessible. We may also see Grey Seals.

Days 3 & 4
We sail north to the Norwegian island of Jan Mayen, situated 300 nautical miles north-east of Iceland. During our two days at sea there will be plenty of time to watch for the blow of a Minke, Fin or Blue Whale, which could herald a rewarding encounter with these gentle giants. Perhaps we might run into a pod of Orcas, who can often be quite curious about boats such as ours.

Day 5
Jan Mayen is a volcanic island of breath-taking beauty and mystique dominated by Mt Beerenberg. From the slopes of the 2300m volcano, impressive glaciers spill into the sea. Until recently, the island was off-limits as it is a military base, and was rarely visited by tourists, but with permission from the Norwegian authorities we hope to visit the weather station. We will also walk across the island to Kvalrossbukta to look at the remains of a 17th century Dutch whaling station and a substantial colony of Fulmar.

Days 6 – 8
In the midnight sun, we sail north along the edge of the sea-ice, looking out for Bowhead Whales, Harp Seals, Polar Bears and a variety of seabirds, until about 79 North, then we will sail west to the edges of the continental shelf off West Spitsbergen, where we have good chances to meet Finn Whales and near the mouths of the big Spitsbergen fjords, Minke Whales.

Day 9
We will look for Walrus at Poolepynten. In the evening we could land at Alkhornet another seabird colony, where at the slopes we can find reindeer and Arctic Fox.

Day 10
We disembark in Longyearbyen, the administrative centre of Spitsbergen, for flights south to Oslo and onward home. Alternatively, you can stay on board for the following 7-night Polar Bear Special voyage with a 5% discount on normal prices.

Disclaimer: This itinerary is dependent on sea and ice conditions. The final itinerary will be decided by the ship's captain and your Expedition Leader to maximize opportunities.