Sail beneath the midnight sun, over seas steeped in Norse mythology, and along the route of the boldest Vikings who ventured west. Meet the welcoming islanders who call the scenic Faroes home—Danes by nationality and Vikings by blood. See the graves of their Viking ancestors and explore their tiny towns of turf-roofed homes. On Scotland’s outlying isles you’ll discover a 5,000-year-old village and see the mysterious standing stones of the Ring of Brodgar.
And in the west, on a near circumnavigation of Iceland, see this geologically roiling land just as the Vikings must have, from thundering waterfalls and boiling springs, to islands so young the earth still steams.
Explore archeological & wild sites in the Shetlands
Sail past the raucous bird cliffs of Noss to see murres and kittiwakes. See charismatic—and photogenic—Shetland ponies, and walk through the 4,000-year-old Jarlshof archaeological site with a historian. Weather permitting, we’ll Zodiac ashore to climb into an Iron Age broch (fortified stone tower) on Mousa Island.
Experience the charming Faroe Islands
Visit the tiny capitol of Tórshavn where wooden boats bob in the harbor and modern day Vikings enjoy the long days of summer. Explore a 12th-century church, stroll historic settlements, see Viking graves, and villages with turf-roofed homes.
An in-depth Iceland exploration
Complete a near-full circumnavigation of Iceland, from an iceberg-strewn lagoon to an Arctic Circle island, soaring cliffs populated with razorbills, a working eiderdown farm on an isolated peninsula, dynamic, volcanic islands and, finally, cosmopolitan Reykjavík.
Travel in excellent company
Explore under the sure guidance of an expedition leader, an assistant expedition leader, eight veteran naturalists, a National Geographic photographer, plus a National Geographic certified photo instructor, a Global Perspectives guest speaker, an undersea specialist, a wellness specialist and a video chronicler. Their knowledge and passion for the fascinating Arctic region is the key to your extraordinary experience.
Optional flight to Bergen (additional cost)
Embark the National Geographic Orion. (L,D)
Have a relaxing morning at sea. Hear talks from our staff, browse in the Library, head to the Wellness Deck for a sauna and massage or wake up with a cappuccino in the Chart Room. This afternoon the Stone Age sites of Orkney await us. See the standing stones at the Ring of Brodgar and the excavated stone-slab village of Skara Brae—5,000 years old! Next, step into the world of the Vikings at the red sandstone cathedral of St. Magnus, built by the Vikings in 1137. (B,L,D)
This morning our ship glides past the towering bird cliffs of Noss for views of murres and kittiwakes. We pause to photograph Shetland ponies on our way to the Jarlshof archaeological site—with the ruins of 4,000 years of settlement. Weather permitting, at nearby Mousa Island, see a fine example of an Iron Age broch (fortified stone tower). (B,L,D)
Today we arrive in the easternmost of the Faroe Islands. Though citizens of Denmark, the rugged Faroese are proud of their Viking ancestry, reflected in their ancient language and love of the sea. Our intrepid ship navigates between the towering coasts of Streymoy and Vágar to Vestmanna. Explore northern Streymoy, with its historic settlements and Viking graves. (B,L,D)
Our ship ties up alongside the tiny capital of Tórshavn. Beautiful wooden boats bob at anchor in the harbor, their curling stems and sterns proudly proclaiming their Viking ancestry. We explore the town, mingling with the modern-day Vikings. Visit the surprising natural history museum, 12th-century
St. Olav’s Church and the Kirkjubøur archaeological site, a medieval farming and religious center. (B,L,D)
Zodiacs take us ashore to tranquil Mykines, known for its overwhelming number of puffins. Take a walk to the nesting grounds, where thousands of puffins take off, land and sit in their burrows—seemingly waiting for us to take their photos. Continue to the tiny lighthouse, tethered down with steel cords, an indicator of winter storms. Then stroll through the tiny village with its turf-roofed houses and turf-roofed church. (B,L,D)
Today we arrive in Iceland and see firsthand how the country got its chilly name. From Djúpivogur, explore the vast Vatnajökull icecap, third largest in the world. For a closer look at the ice, we take a boat ride through Jökulsárlón, a lagoon strewn with large, sculpted icebergs. (B,L,D)
Today we have a relaxing day at sea to browse the library, hit the gym or the bridge, and to hear presentations preparing us for exciting days ahead. We sail northward to the land of the midnight sun, taking Zodiacs ashore to the tiny island of Grimsey, which lies exactly on the Arctic Circle. Here we celebrate being officially in the Arctic, in the company of nesting arctic terns and puffins. (B,L,D)
Watch for whales on our approach to Húsavík, famous for its whale museum. Drive to striking Mývatn, the most geologically active area in Iceland. This is world-class field geology! See the bizarre mud pools at Hverarönd—so hot they actually bubble. Continue through the Krafla geothermal area to the explosion crater at Viti. Meet the ship in Akureyri, ending with an unforgettable sight: Goðafoss, the waterfall of the gods. (B,L,D)
Located in the Western Fjords, Ísafjördur is surrounded by water on three sides and is a great place for hiking. We visit a working eiderdown farm, where the farmer shows us how the feathers are collected from the incredible numbers of nesting eider ducks here and gives us insight into life on this isolated peninsula. (B,L,D)
National Geographic Orion sails past the immense Látrabjarg cliffs, the westernmost point of Iceland and home to a huge population of razorbills. The cliffs are an area famous for egg collecting; the men were tied to ropes and lowered like spiders down onto the ledges. Continue to Flatey Island, a trading post for many centuries, for walks around the charming hamlet that grew here, and take a Zodiac cruise along the coast. (B,L,D)
The Westman Islands were formed by undersea volcanoes between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago and are among the youngest of the world’s archipelagos. In 1963, the world witnessed on film the birth of its newest island, Surtsey—a newly designated UNESCO World Heritage Site—which we see as we cruise past the coast. In 1973, Heimaey was threatened by lava flows that nearly closed off its harbor. We visit the crater, where the earth is still hot, and have amazing views of areas that had been engulfed by lava. (B,L,D)
Today we complete a near circumnavigation of Iceland, disembarking in Reykjavík, the world’s northernmost capital. Join a guided overview of the old town and visit the famous Blue Lagoon thermal baths, prior to our flight home. Whether you choose to enjoy the surreal bath and spa facilities or just stroll around the fascinating environs, the Blue Lagoon is unforgettable! (B,L)
All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.
These cabins feature an oval window and two single beds, two beds that can be converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed (call for details). You'll find an armchair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall.
These roomy cabins feature an oval window and two single beds, two beds that can be converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed (call for details). You'll find an armchair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall.
Cat 3 Suite with Window #401-412, 414-419 These suites have a comfortable sofa in the sitting area with a large window and plenty of storage. They have a variety of bed configurations (call for details) plus a writing desk and chair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Modern bathrooms are generously sized with roomy glass-walled shower stall.
Cat 4 Deluxe suite with Window #511, 515 - These two suites feature separate sleeping and sitting areas, with a two-seater sofa that looks out a large rectangular window. Beds are configurable. You'll find storage, climate controls, reading lamps, a TV. Modern bathrooms are generously sized with roomy glass-walled shower stall.
These solo cabins feature a window or two portholes, a queen-size bed, writing desk and chair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV.
Bathrooms are also generously sized with a roomy glass-walled shower stall
Cat 5 Suite with Balcony #501, 503-506, 508 - These spacious suites feature open living areas and sliding glass doors that open to a private French balcony. Beds are configurable, and you'll find sitting chairs or a couch, a writing desk, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. The bathroom is spacious and has a glass-walled shower.
Cat 3S Suite with Window #512 - This solo suite features two beds and a large window, plus a bucket chair and small table, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. The bathroom is spacious and has a glass-walled shower.
Cat 6 Owner’s suite with Balcony #502, 507, 509*, 510 - These large, owner's suites feature a balcony (Cabin 509 does not have a balcony), a spacious bathroom with a large shower and separate soaking tub with a window, and a large separate living area with a couch and two bucket chairs, plus climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV.
National Geographic Orion
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 103 metres
Passenger Capacity: 102 (in 53 cabins)
Built: 2003 / Refurbished 2014
Engineered for maximum comfort and safety, Orion is equipped with the latest technology including large retractable stabilizers, sonar, radar, and an ice-strengthened hull. A shallow draft plus bow and stern thrusters provide the convenience of being able to maneuver close to shore. 14 Zodiacs ensure quick disembarkation and offer the ideal transport for up-close exploration.
National Geographic Orion meets strict specifications for environmental protection and the on board waste management systems meet the stringent Antarctic operational standards enabling us to travel to the most pristine environments. A host of advanced design features and technology ensures sustainable marine environmental practices.
National Geographic Orion accommodates 102 guests in 53 cabins, including several with balconies. She is spacious and modern, with a variety of public rooms that offer panoramic views of the passing landscape. Friendly and informal, Orion fosters a welcoming atmosphere where like-minded guests share in exceptional experiences and enrichment.
Her public rooms include a dramatic window-lined main lounge, as well as an observation lounge and library perched at the very top of the ship, with plentiful observation decks. The spacious lounge is the heart of our expedition community, and is suited for spirited cocktail hours, informative presentations and our nightly tradition of Recap. In addition, a dedicated theater provides a unique setting for specialist presentations or films and slideshows. Both the main dining room and outside buffet easily accommodate all guests at once for open seating dining. On selected nights, weather permitting, our dining room menu is also available on the outside deck.
While Orion interiors are elegant, life aboard is always casual, with no need for formal clothing. And you’ll find shipboard services like laundry, in-room cabled internet, and public-area wifi.
Free Bar Tab and Crew Tips Included aboard NG Orion and NG Explorer
Aboard National Geographic Orion & National Geographic Explorer.
Beginning in Apr. 2017, we will cover your bar tab and all tips for the crew on all National Geographic Explorer and
National Geographic Orion voyages. Promotion subject to availability, contact us for further details.