Dec. 5, 2014 – Following the success of its first-ever ‘Arctic Explorer’ cruise for 2015 – which sold out within a week! – Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is again offering guests the chance to experience the awe-inspiring Arctic, one of the most hard-to-reach regions of the world, in Summer 2016. Black Watch’s 26-night W1610 ‘Arctic Explorer’ voyage, departing from Tilbury on 17th July 2016, will allow guests to cross the Arctic Circle, witness the majestic fjords of Norway, take in the peaks and pinnacles of Iceland and Greenland, and have a chance at spotting some of the world’s most elusive wildlife – maybe even a Polar Bear!
With three stops in Greenland, this Fred. Olsen Arctic adventure is a unique opportunity to see wonderful wildlife, explore little-known cultures and enjoy some of the best scenic cruising available anywhere! As no direct flights operate out of the UK to this far-flung destination, visiting on a cruise ship is one of the best ways to take it all in; and, because Black Watch is a smaller ship, she is able to take guests even closer to the heart of the destination.
This intrepid Arctic ‘sailing of a lifetime’ will call first at Kristiansund in Norway, which is said to be where the first Norwegians lived. From here, guests can take part is some sightseeing along the harbour front, on board the ‘Sundboat’ – a boat service that has operated since 1876, making it one of the oldest public transport services in existence.
Next, guests should seek out a great position out on deck ready for some fantastic scenic cruising. Passing Rørvik, Torghatten, Seven Sisters Mountain Range – where Black Watch will cross the Arctic Circle – and ‘The Black Glacier’, there will be ample opportunity to take some stunning photographs.
Black Watch then makes a stop at Tromsø – where guests can visit the oldest wooden house in Norway, built in 1789 – and the Arctic Cathedral, a modern church and one of its most famous landmarks.
The cruise then continues to Honningsvåg, the northernmost city in Norway, framed by rugged mountains and the icy Arctic Ocean.
Black Watch then cruises the scenic North Cape, weaving around ‘Bear Island’ and onto desolate and wild Longyearbyen, in Spitsbergen (Svalbard). The beauty of this town is its quiet and serene atmosphere, bypassed by civilisation and overwhelmed by ‘Mother Nature’ – guests are recommended to try the famous Husky dog-sledding, and experience the natural phenomenon of the ‘Midnight Sun’, where the sun is visible 24 hours a day during the Norwegian Summer Season.
Black Watch then cruises the magnificent Tempelfjorden, an inner branch of the Sassenfjorden, near Spitsbergen, and then it is onto Barentsberg, home to only 500 inhabitants, and the second largest town on Svalbard; cruising with Fred. Olsen is one of the few ways in which visitors can reach this remote European outpost.
A cruise around the impressive Jan Mayen Island is next; this volcanic outcrop sits in the Arctic Ocean, and has just one small settlement, called ‘Olonkinbyen’.
Next stop is Iceland’s Akureyri, where ‘culture vultures’ should visit the ‘Street of Arts’, before cruising through Drangaskörđ, Eyjafjörđur – Iceland’s longest fjord – as well as Hælavikurbjarg and Hornbjarg and Latrabjarg.
Next is Iceland’s breath-taking capital city, Reykjavik. Here, guests can bask in the ambience of the Blue Lagoon, the ultimate relaxation in one of the world’s best natural springs; feel the piercing chill of the Icelandic winds, combined with the steamy warmth of the lagoon’s waters. With a stopover in this thrilling capital, guests will have plenty of time to explore and sample the Thingvellir National Park and the Gullfoss and Seljalandfoss waterfalls.
Black Watch will then take a leisurely cruise though the Prins Christiansund channel, before setting sail for Greenland.
Black Watch will make her first port of call in Greenland at Qaqortoq, the most populous town in South Greenland. With a pleasant centre, a small square and Greenland’s oldest fountain, there is an array of strikingly beautiful colonial buildings, dating from the establishment of the town in 1775.
Next port of call is Narsarsuaq, nestled on the banks of the Tunulliarfik Fjord. The area became home to a United States Air Base in 1941, when it served as a ‘stepping stone’ to the battle grounds of Europe. Whilst fascinating relics still remain, this quaint settlement is now more commonly used as a station from which adventurers can explore the magical Qoroq Ice Fjord.
The landscape is unspoiled and picturesque in the last Greenland port, Nanortalik. Guests will be welcomed by an abundance of delicate purple and lilac flowers, creeping through the cracks in the mountains surface. There is much to explore here, from the thrill of kayaking, to fascinating museums, which feature exhibitions on the Inuit culture that superseded the Norsemen, who settled before them, around 1,000 years ago.
Black Watch then makes her final stop at Kirkwall, on the Orkney Islands in Scotland. Surrounded by windswept countryside, guests can take a tour to visit the 5,000-year-old Neolithic village of Skara Brae.
Prices for this amazing ‘Arctic Explorer’ cruise start from just £2,999 per person, based on two adults sharing a twin, ‘Inside’ cabin, and include accommodation, all meals and entertainment on board, and port dues.
Guests can also take advantage of Fred. Olsen’s great-value ‘All-Inclusive’ drinks package from just £10.00 per person per night, on selected beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks.
Fred. Olsen was delighted to be named one of the Top 3 UK cruise lines and awarded a prestigious ‘Recommended Provider’ accolade, in Which?’s first-ever dedicated cruise survey in 2014. Experts at influential consumer website Cruise Critic have also voted Fred. Olsen ‘Best Value for Money’ in its ‘Cruise Critic UK Editors’ Picks Awards 2014’,for the third consecutive year.
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