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Here's a great opportunity, and even greater value, to experience a small ship 'expedition' from Holland and Scotland, up through the Shetland and Orkey Islands, over to the Faroes, then around Iceland.

 
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Poseidon Arctic Expedition May 2015

Enjoy a four-country lovely cruise in a boutique expedition-style cruise-ship, up to the Arctic Circle and around Iceland 

Sea Spirit

Originally the luxury boutique cruise liner Renaissance V, the all-suite ship Sea Spirit will take you on a voyage of exploration to places you're unlikely to otherwise ever access.

We'll visit the Faroe Islands, the northern expanses of Iceland, plus some of Scotland and a bit of Europe too.


Enjoy a two week luxury cruise on a lovely small cruise ship in an area that beautifully matches scenic splendor, birds, whales, and other animals in their natural habitats, and unobtrusive small settlements that seem little changed from 100 years and more ago.

Your cruise goes through four different countries, and includes activities every day at no extra charge, as well as, of course, great food, some interesting lectures and fun entertainment, and all the fellowship that can be found on a Travel Insider tour.

Best of all, we've negotiated one heck of a deal for you to enjoy all this.  So please do come join some of your fellow Travel Insiders on this adventure expedition cruise next May. 

Mykines HolmurCruise Dates (2015)

Start Date and Options

The cruise officially starts in the port of Ijmuiden (right next to Amsterdam) on Wednesday May 20, 2015.

You have two other joining options.  If you're short on time, then you can join the cruise two days later in Edinburgh, on Friday May 22.

Alternatively, if you'd like something a bit different, you are invited to participate in the ship's acceptance festivities in Hamburg on Sunday May 17.

As a special arrangement with Poseidon, you could join the ship on May 17 or 18 in Hamburg, or in Ijmuiden on May 19 (as well as the official embarkation date of May 20 in Ijmuiden or May 22 in Edinburgh), and there would be no extra charge for the extra time and travel you enjoy on the ship.

(Note - pictured above is Mykines Holmur in the Faroe Islands, we visit on day 7.)

 You can of course do anything else before joining the cruise that you wish, and we're here to help you with ideas and suggestions, any which way you'd like.

Note that we generally recommend you arrive in your embarkation port the previous day, giving you a 'just in case' time buffer, so you don't have to worry about any delayed or missed flights.

AkureyriEnd Date and Options

Our cruise ends in Reykjavik on the morning of Tuesday 2 June.

We recommend you stay at least one night in Reykjavik.  We are including a free Reykjavik city tour on Tuesday, and you are welcome to enjoy this with us or not, depending on your schedule.

(Note - Akureyri, the 'capital of North Iceland', which we visit on day 10, is pictured here.)

The big option at the end of the cruise is of course our Scotland's Islands and Highlands tour.  This is available either as the entire tour, or as a shorter five or eight day option.

PuffinsThis starts on Sat/Sun/Mon 6/7/8 June (depending on if you do either or both the two nights of pre-tour options) and continues on to Thursday 18 June (or longer if you do the post-tour options too).

The five day option ends in Oban on 12 June, the eight day option ends in Fort William on 15 June.  In both cases, there are regular and lovely half day (3 - 4 hour) trains from Oban or Fort William back to Glasgow that you could enjoy at the end of your shortened tour.

The five day option is $1195 per person (share twin) and the eight day option is $1895.

If you choose to do both the Polar Adventure Cruise and the entire Scotland's Islands and Highlands Tour, you get another $250 discount for the combo package deal.

(Note - pictured left are some puffins such as we hope to see at Lundaland in the Faroes.)

We can help you 'fill in' the time between the end of the cruise on Tuesday 2nd and the start of the tour on Saturday 6th (we suggest two nights in Reykjavik, then on Thursday, flying to Glasgow and enjoying two nights in Glasgow).

Otherwise, you are of course free to do anything else you'd like, anywhere else you'd like, as it best suits you.

Vatnajokull Ice CapCruise Inclusions

The good news is that your cruise price includes port fees and there are no other nasty 'fine print' extra fees to be added to the sum you pay.

It even includes $100,000 of Medevac insurance (we recommend you get additional travel insurance as well, of course).

(Pictured here is the Vatnajokull Ice Cap, we offer an excursion to see it on day 8.)

Yes, all meals are included, as is almost all of the off-ship touring, too, with things to see and visit every day.  There are a mere five optional tours - (plus an Edinburgh city tour) - that are sold as extras, but you could enjoy a complete experience without buying any of these.

In other words, your cruise expedition is abundantly complete without being completely exhausting.

And, of course, everything is optional, so if you want to spend a lazy day luxuriating on the ship, you can always do so.  It is all up to you.

(Note - pictured here is St Magnus Cathedral, on Mainland in the Orkney Isles.)

You can see full details of the cruise on Poseidon's website (but please come back here to book the cruise at the exclusive Travel Insider special group rate).

Poseidon Arctic Adventure MapTour Itinerary

The cruise covers four different countries/territories, or - if you choose the Hamburg extension, five countries.

You get to visit places such as the Faroe Islands that you'd be unlikely to ever get to otherwise, and using small Zodiac boats we'll go ashore in places regular cruise ships and tenders could never visit.

A complete day by day itinerary is detailed on Poseidon's website.

Click the map for a larger map in a new window.

mv Sea SpiritAbout Your Ship - the Sea Spirit

The Sea Spirit was initially constructed in Italy, in 1991, as Renaissance V, one of a fleet of revolutionary new luxury all-suite small boutique cruise ships.

Unfortunately, Renaissance Cruises were not successful, but their ships have been eagerly taken by other cruise lines.

Sea Spirit was strengthened for cruising in icy waters in 2010, and is being bought by Poseidon early in 2015.  It will spend time being refurbished and refitted, and then will commence operations under the Poseidon flag with this inaugural cruise in May.

Classic Suite on Sea SpiritSea Spirit is 297' long, 50' wide, and cruises at 14 knots.  It has stabilizers to improve your onboard comfort in unsteady seas.

It takes up to only 114 passengers in 54 large suites, the smallest of which is still a roomy 215 sq ft (pictured, left, is a 250 sq ft Classic Suite).

This is an excellent size for a small ship - the crew quickly get to know us all by name, and for example will anticipate our preferences when we're ordering food and drinks.

We also have a chance to get to know our fellow passengers, quite unlike the impersonal anonymity on the mega-cruise lingers.

Sea Spirit loungeA huge staff of 94 almost outnumber us.  There are more than enough crew to take excellent care of us, and a small fleet of Zodiacs are used to transfer us ashore when we are going to places with no facilities for berthing ships.

English is the official language on the ship, although passengers are not exclusively English.

The ship has indoor and outdoor dining, a bar, lounge, library and lecture theatre.  Satellite phone and internet service is provided (at extra cost).

Dining is single seating and with no preassigned tables, so you're free to mix and mingle as you wish.  Smoking is restricted to one designated outdoor area only.

A Zodiac at Sea Spirit's sternCruise Fare Savings

Yes, The Travel Insider has done it again, bringing you a better price for this cruise than available from any other source!

We have ten special savings and features to offer you :

1.  Okay, this one is unsurprising.  Poseidon have extended the 'Early Booking Discount' on their published fares, reducing the starting price of $6790 down to a temporary low price of $5093 per person share twin.

But, wait, we're just starting the list....

2.  Now take a Further Discount Off All the Already Discounted Prices!

This extra discount ranges up to $948 per person (see the full pricing table below).

That's an exclusive Travel Insider-only deal - it will get close to paying for your airfare!

Edinburgh3.  A 'Better Use of Time' option.

Frankly, the first couple of days of the cruise are underwhelming - joining the ship in Ijmuiden (close to Amsterdam) and a day at sea crossing over to Edinburgh.

If you're short of time (especially if you'll be doing our Scotland tour too), why not join the ship in Edinburgh (pictured, left) on Friday 22 May.

That will also save you another $1000 or more per person.  The net result is the lowest price per person, after our discounts, drops from $6790 to $3995, although we expect most people will choose cabin options at perhaps the $4545 or $4995 level.  Lovely enormous private balcony suites are now as little as $5895 (down from $9490).

4.  On the other hand, if you wish to do the full cruise, Poseidon would like to invite you to be their VIP guest at the ship's inaugural festivities in Hamburg earlier in the week.

Sea SpiritAfter this special celebration, sail on the ship down to Ijmuiden.  It is a fascinating cruise up the Elbe to the North Sea and then around the coast to Ijmuiden.

We'd have a free day in Ijmuiden (ie you'd probably choose to go the very short distance in to Amsterdam for the day) and then take the regular cruise onwards from there.

This means you can join the ship in Hamburg on either May 17 or 18, or in Ijmuiden on May 19 or May 20.

Best of all, as a Travel Insider VIP guest of the ship owners, there'd be no charge for these extra days of cruising and experience.

5.  A Space Available Suite Upgrade.

If there are available suites in the next category up from the category you book in, then close to departure I will get you confirmed into the upgraded suite at no extra cost.

This could save you as much as $600 or more, and might mean you get a private balcony suite for the cost of a regular suite.

6.  A Travel Insider Exclusive Cocktail Function

On one of the cruise days we'll have a private cocktail party, just for us Travel Insiders, on board the ship.

Drinks and nibbles are included, of course.

Reykjavik7.  A Free Tour of Reykjavik.

After disembarking (and assuming you're not making a tight flight connection), we'll be taken for an exclusive Travel Insider private tour of Reykjavik's highlights (pictured, left).

8.  Yet another discount - a Combo Tour/Cruise Discount!

If you wish to add the Scotland tour after your cruise, we'll reduce the combined tour price for both the cruise and tour by $250 per person.

New friends in the ship's restaurant9.  If you're Traveling Alone, you can either pay a single supplement or ask for a 'guaranteed share' rate that may or may not see you sharing a suite with a like-minded fellow traveler, but which has you avoiding the single supplement, whether you share or not.

That's a great way to beat the dreaded 'single supplement' and might see you making a wonderful new friend.

And, as you can see in this picture, you'll quickly be surrounded by new friends, whether sharing a suite or not.

10.  Take a Child or Grandchild With You.

Here's a thought.  Each couple can have a child 16 or younger (but recommended to be at least 12, children 8 - 11 can be considered on a case by case basis) travel in their cabin with them at no extra charge (sleeping on the sofabed).

See if you can sneak one out of school a little before year end and give them a trip where they'll learn and experience much more than they probably did the entire school year prior to mid May!

Per Person Cruise Rates and Savings

  Triple Main Deck Classic Superior Deluxe Premium Owner's
Brochure Price pp $6790 $7490 $8190 $8690 $9490 $10,190 $12,190
Early Booking $5093 $5992 $6552 $6952 $7592 $8152 $9143
Travel Insider special $4695 $5495 $5995 $6395 $6995 $7495 $8195
TI special from Edinburgh $3995 $4545 $4995 $5295 $5895 $6395 $7095
Cabin type Picture window
250 sq ft
Portholes
215 sq ft
Picture window
250 sq ft
Picture window
235 sq ft
Pvt balcony
277 sq ft
Pvt balcony
353 sq ft
Pvt balcony
437 sq ft
Deck Low Lowest Low Mid Upper Top Top

 

What about the Air Fare?

You will save money and gain flexible convenience if you arrange your own air travel.  These days airlines seldom give discounts to groups, and sometimes even charge more, while also adding extra restrictions to the tickets!

You can choose whichever carrier has the best fare and the best schedules for you, and you can also choose a carrier that you wish to earn miles with.  You can even cash in miles and fly on frequent flier awards.

We'll be pleased to answer any questions you might have about arranging your air transportation, of course.

Hamburg's Town Hall and SquareWhere Should I Fly To and From?

If you are joining the ship in Hamburg, then probably it is best to fly directly to Hamburg (pictured, left), although you could fly anywhere else in Germany or Europe and then complete the travel by train.

If you are joining the ship in Ijmuiden, this is just a few miles to the west of Amsterdam, and that would be the most convenient city to fly into, although again, you could fly elsewhere and then take a train the rest of the way.

If you are joining the ship in Edinburgh, you can fly into Edinburgh, or into Glasgow, or any of Britain's other cities and then - yes, you guessed it - take a train to Edinburgh.  Icelandair offers flights to Glasgow, which is about an hour away from Edinburgh by train.

When you leave the cruise in Reykjavik, you might choose to fly from there to somewhere else, perhaps on Icelandair, or perhaps just fly home again (and also possibly on Icelandair).

Icelandair

Because the cruise ends in Reykjavik, Icelandair might be a good choice of airline.

They have flights from a number of North American cities (Anchorage, Boston, Denver, Edmonton, Halifax, Minneapolis, New York (JFK and EWR), Orlando, Portland, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington DC).

They fly through Reykjavik to Amsterdam and Hamburg, and to Glasgow, which is only about an hour by train from Edinburgh.

Icelandair usually has good value fares and allows you to check two bags with no fees.

Minke whaleJoining the Cruise

Joining the cruise is simple.  Fly to where you'll join the ship.

We always recommend you should fly into the port you will join the ship on a day beforehand - that way, you have a day 'up your sleeve' in case of any delayed or missed flights.

Such problems only rarely occur, but it is best to have some spare time in your schedule just in case such things arise for you.  It also means you're refreshed and ready to more fully start enjoying your cruise from the minute you walk on board.

(Pictured above - we go looking for Minke and other whales from our Zodiacs on day 13.)

RestaurantTravel Insurance

Poseidon generously provide $100,000 of Medevac insurance to us all.

However, we still recommend you should consider additional travel insurance as prudent protection, to cover you for other travel risks, and to provide cancellation cover too in case you might unexpectedly become unable to join the cruise.

Rather than attempt to sell you some policy ourselves that may or may not suit your needs, we recommend you go to this insurance shopping site, which offers comparisons between something like 100 different policies offered by 18 different insurers, giving you all the options you need.

For more information about travel insurance than you probably ever thought you'd want to know, please click the link to read our three part series on the subject.

Need More Information?

If you've a question or need more clarification, go ahead and ask.  Simply send us an email, or feel free to call us at (206)337-2317.

Request to Join the Cruise

Your Name as on your passport, Age & Citizenship

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Tour Terms and Conditions

Our standard terms and conditions apply to this tour.

In addition, please note these extra terms :

1.  In addition to our standard terms and conditions, please note the terms and conditions imposed by Poseidon Expeditions, which in many cases are more onerous than our own and in such cases take precedence.

2.  Both Poseidon and ourselves reserve the right to change pricing prior to final payment being received (primarily due to exchange rate changes or fuel cost increases).  In the event of any increase exceeding 5%, you may choose to cancel within 14 days of the notice of the price increase, with no cancellation penalty applying.

3.  A 20% (of the gross non-discounted rate) non-refundable deposit is required within seven days of confirming your reservation.  This can be by check or credit card.  The balance is due 90 days prior to sailing, and should be paid to us by check.

4.  Although a doctor is on the ship, the cruise travels to remote areas where sophisticated medical help is unavailable.   You should be in good health, and also should appreciate that the shore excursions often involve transfers in small zodiac style boats and may have some semi-strenuous walking required.  You are of course welcome to stay on the ship during these shore excursions, but Poseidon can not change the nature of its shore excursions if you are unable to participate in them.  A medical questionnaire will be provided for all passengers to complete.

5.  Poseidon provides all passengers with a complementary $100,000 emergency medevac cover, but it is strongly recommended you supplement this with additional travel insurance as appropriate.

6.  You should have a current passport that does not expire for at least six months after the end of the cruise.  US citizens do not need visas, other citizens should check the requirement for visas to visit the Netherlands, Britain, Denmark (for the Faroe Islands) and Iceland (and optionally Germany if attending the ship's acceptance ceremony). 

Originally published 26 Nov 2014, last update 24 May 2016

 
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