Set off on a 14-day PONANT expedition cruise that will take you from marvellous Scottish shores to the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. Aboard L’Austral, you will discover the preserved landscapes of Northern Europe and the boundaries of Norway and its island, which is among the world’s northernmost.
Departing from Glasgow, Scotland's warm cultural capital with a rich artistic and architectural heritage, you will set sail for the Hebrides archipelago. You will call on Iona, the cradle of Christianity and home to an impressive abbey, and you will also discover Portree on the Isle of Skye, known for its rich Gaelic culture, its famous bridge, and its stunning scenery.
L’Austral will then sail towards the Shetland archipelago and the island of Mousa, which is home to Scotland’s best preserved Broch - constructed in around 100 BC, this tower-shaped fortification served to defend against invaders. Then, you will head for the Isle of Noss, a real natural sanctuary for the colonies of seabirds that live on its gigantic cliffs.
Further north, you will marvel at the mysterious charm of the Lofoten archipelago. These islands have landscapes of surreal beauty alternating between sea, spectacular fjords, mountain slopes, fine sand beaches and huts on stilts.
Your Arctic adventure begins with your stopover in Tromso. You will also sail by Bear Island, halfway between the North Cape of Norway and the South Cape of Spitsbergen. You will see many sea birds, such as guillemots or Atlantic puffins, which have found refuge in the vast cliffs of the south of the island.
Even further north, you will reach Spitsbergen, the main island of the Svalbard archipelago. In the land at the end of the world, millennial glaciers, steely mountains and spectacular fjords form the backdrop for whales, arctic foxes, walruses and also the kings of their realm, polar bears.
Your cruise will end in Longyearbyen.
We are privileged guests in these extreme lands where we are at the mercy of weather and ice conditions. The itinerary, landings on certain sites and the observation of certain wildlife cannot be guaranteed. They vary from day to day, making each PONANT cruise a unique experience. The Captain and the Expedition Leader will make every effort to ensure that your experience is as rich as possible, while complying with the safety rules and instructions imposed by the AECO.
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*Price is per person, based on double occupancy, based on availability, and subject to change at any time. The category of stateroom to which this price applies may no longer be available.
For your serenity, PONANT selects a flight and organises the transfer between the port and the airport. This package is included in your cruise fare.
Disembarkation Day - Longyearbyen/Paris
Meet and greet at the port by our local English-speaking representative.
Transfer to the airport in time for check-in of flight Longyearbyen/Paris selected by PONANT.
Flight Longyearbyen/Paris selected by PONANT.
Approximate flight duration: 4 h 30.
We highly recommend you stay one night in Paris after this flight.
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Important trip details
Passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the completion of your trip. Passport must contain at least two completely clear, blank, unused visa pages for each visa required, not including any amendment pages. Visa pages with stains or ink from other pages in the passport are not usable. Guests who deviate from the scheduled embarkation or disembarkation port should research the foreign entry requirements for the port country. Due to government regulations, regrettably, Ponant will have to deny boarding to any guest who fails to obtain the appropriate travel documentation for this trip.
The information below is current but subject to change at any time without advance notice from government authorities. Please consult your respective government agencies for visa and health information.
Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard PONANT ships, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.
The evolving COVID-19 health formalities are available in real time by clicking here.
Given the particularly changing international sanitary context, this itinerary as well as the land programmes and shore excursions may have to evolve according to port authorisations and governmental regulations in force at the time of your trip.
Therefore, for even greater peace of mind, we strongly recommend that you book your land programmes and flights before and after your cruise with PONANT.
Health formalities related to COVID-19 will be confirmed to you before your departure.
In this exceptional context, your safety remains our first priority. The effectiveness of our procedures, our cutting-edge medical equipment and the smaller scale of our ships means we can offer maximum safety so that you can relax and enjoy your cruise. The revised passenger circuit and our enhanced hygiene measures can be found on this page: https://en.ponant.com/sail-with-confidence.
Expedition programmes include activities such as Zodiac® outings and landings (sometimes with "wet landing"), moderate walks to more active hikes, all accompanied by your expedition team of naturalist guides.
Ports of call, visited sites, outings and landings will depend on weather conditions, position of ice, winds and the state of the sea. These can force a change of plans at any time. The Captain and the Expedition Leader may at any time cancel or stop any activity, or even modify the itinerary. The final itinerary will be confirmed by the Captain, who will take into account the touristic quality of the sites and above all, the safety of the passengers. His decision will be based on advice from experts and authorities.
Travelling to polar/isolated regions is an exhilarating experience in remote areas: please remember that you are far from modern hospitals with full medical facilities, thus evacuation is extremely expensive. Without adequate medical coverage, all expenses will have to be immediately paid with your personal funds. We urge you to subscribe to full coverage insurance, choose your insurance company very carefully, be extremely vigilant and ensure your insurance is fully comprehensive, especially if you are insured by your credit card. PONANT offers an insurance contract with extensive guarantees, please contact us for more information.
Ideal clothes for life on board:
During the days spent on board, you are advised to wear comfortable clothes or casual outfits. The entire ship is air-conditioned, so a light sweater, a light jacket or a shawl may be necessary. When moving about in the public areas of the ship and the decks, light but comfortable shoes are recommended.
In the evening, you are advised to wear smart-casual attire, especially when dining in our restaurants where wearing shorts and tee-shirts is not allowed.
Depending on the itinerary and the program of your cruise, an Officer’s Evening with a white dress code may be organized. Therefore, we encourage you to bring a stylish white outfit for the occasion (otherwise black and white).
During the cruise, two gala evenings will be organised on board. Thus, we recommend that you bring one or two formal outfits.
A small shop is available on board offering a wide range of outfits, jewellery, leather goods and many accessories.
A laundry service (washing/ironing) is available on board, but unfortunately there are no dry cleaning services. For safety reasons, your cabin is not equipped with an iron.
INSULATED BASE LAYER:
WATERPROOF OUTER LAYER:
OUTFITS ON BOARD:
4 May 2023 Glasgow, Scotland
Embarkation 04/05/2023 from 16:00 to 17:00
Departure 04/05/2023 at 18:00
In the heart of the Clyde Valley, the bustling city of Glasgow contrasts starkly with the wild beauty of the surrounding countryside. Scotland's biggest city overflows with landmarks from its extensive artistic heritage and outstanding architectural tradition. The city's chequerboard layout makes walking through the major pedestrian thoroughfares easy: go with the flow and let the lively street atmosphere take you past the many Victorian monuments. Don't miss the collections on display in the numerous museums and art galleries. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is an outstanding example.
5 May 2023 Iona, Hebrides
Of all the islands in the Inner Hebrides, Iona is by far the most conducive to contemplation and meditation. And for good reason... it is here that St Columba landed from Ireland in 563 and undertook to establish Christianity in Scotland. Now an abbey, the islandﾒs true spiritual centre stands where the ancient monastery founded by the Irish missionary was built. Many kings of Scotland, including the legendary Macbeth, are buried in the nearby cemetery. In sunny weather, arriving on the Isle of Iona is a stunningly beautiful experience.
6 May 2023 Portree, Isle of Skye
Nestling in the crux of a gorgeous bay, Portree reflects the magnificence of the grandiose Isle of Skye as well as being its main town. Apart from the charm of its colourful houses, the town’s outstanding location on the banks of a loch makes it a very pleasant place to be. From its colourful harbour bustling with local craftsmen’s shops, you can take in a stunning view of the surrounding hills. Before trekking through the wilderness and drinking in the natural beauty of the Isle of Skye, check out some of the beautiful images in the Aros Centre.
7 May 2023 Mousa Broch, Shetland Islands
7 May 2023 Isle of Noss
8 May 2023 9 May 2023 At sea
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
10 May 2023 Reine, Lofoten
Way beyond the Arctic Circle, Lofoten Islands are truly considered to be in “another world”. A jewel of nature in its most pristine state, this archipelago with its jagged coastline offers you majestic settings of high alpine summits, sandy beaches, green prairies and fjords of a deep blue, where countless bird colonies make their nests. Whether you visit Å, or Nusjford, listed by UNESCO, enjoy authentic and memorable moments.
11 May 2023 Tromso
In the north of the Arctic circle you’ll discover Tromsø, a secluded town located in the county of Troms. Norwegians call it the “Paris of the north”. You’ll soon see why when you discover its extensive neoclassical architectural heritage. A stunning example is the Arctic cathedral, a major monument whose stylistic purity echoes the outline of the mountains surrounding the town.
12 May 2023 Sailing by Bjornoya (Bear Island)
Halfway between Norway and Spitsbergen, you will sail not far from the coastlines of Bjørnøya, the southernmost island of Svalbard. From your ship, observe this isolated piece of land discovered in 1596 by the Dutch navigator Willem Barents, then looking for the Northwest Passage. Following a tough fight between a polar bear and the members of the expedition, he dubbed the place Bear Island. Regularly covered by a thick layer of fog, Bjørnøya shelters a meteorological station built in 1923, which is still in operation. Declared a nature reserve in 2002, the island is above all home to an enormous colony of sea birds: skuas, guillemots, puffins, Tridactyl gulls, petrels, gulls and little auks all coexist here.
13 May 2023 Isbukta, Spitsbergen
Nestling on the south-east point of the island of Spitsbergen, this small bay shelters an immense glacier, the Vasil’evbreen, whose front is more than 20 kilometres long. This is an opportunity for an unforgettable Zodiac® outing. If the conditions allow it, you will be able to land directly at the foot of this majestic glacier, so as to discover the moraine and walk on the first section of the glacier. Depending on the ice conditions, you will also perhaps be lucky enough to approch Stellingfjellet, home to one of the largest guillemot colonies on the archipelago.
14 May 2023 Hornsund
Nestling between millennial glaciers and carved mountains, and considered to be “the crown of Arctic Norway”, Spitsbergen is a place that never sees the night. Your ship will take you closer to this fascinating archipelago and, more particularly, the Hornsund fjord. Considered to be Svalbard’s southernmost fjord, it is especially reputed to be its most stunning: at the end of its vast bay, 8 great glaciers slowly make their way down to the sea before giving way to the many icebergs elegantly drifting along its cold and mysterious waters.
15 May 2023 Bellsund, Spitsbergen
You will head to the Bellsund fjord to follow in the footsteps of the first explorers who came from the Norwegian coast, or those of the many fur traders seeking game and trophies. Boasting an astonishingly rich wildlife, the arms of the fjord separate to form two lush valleys. Give free rein to your imagination in the heart of this majestic natural environment where time seems to stand still.
16 May 2023 Isfjorden
The vast Isfjorden is one of the main fjords in Svalbard. These different branches reach the heart of the island of Spitsbergen. Located deep inside the Billejforden, the Nordenskiöld Glacier with its front of ice, nearly 5 km wide, is one of the most spectacular in the Svalbard Archipelago. You will perhaps have the opportunity to discover the ghost town of Pyramiden. Constructed at the foot of a mountain in the form of a pyramid, this former mining town, founded by Sweden at the beginning of the 20th century before being sold a few years later to the Soviet Union, and abandoned in 1998, has conserved all the buildings from its glory days, when it lived off coal mining.
17 May 2023 Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen
Arrival 17/05/2023 early morning
Disembarkation 17/05/2023 at 08:00
Longyearbyen is the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, located on Svalbard’s main island, and is the northernmost territorial capital on the planet. With winter temperatures dropping to below 40°C, the landscapes of this mining town are simply breathtaking. The glaciers, the mountains stretching as far as the eye can see and the untouched nature, make you feel like you’re in completely unexplored territory.
Realise your dream of adventure in the polar regions ! From your ship’s deck, aboard a Zodiac® inflatable or from land, discover the icy vastness and the fauna of Antarctica (humpback whales, seals, penguins and more) or the Arctic's fjords, glaciers and icebergs in shifting colours, not to mention the polar bears, the variety of wildlife and the special moments shared with the locals. Our team of naturalist guides share their knowledge with you during varied lectures about the fauna, the flora, the history of great explorations, geology and climatology. Thanks to its conscientiousness and to the responsible approach that is its hallmark, PONANT has been a leader and expert in cruises to these destinations for more than 20 years.