Orcas, Humpbacks & Northern Lights Sailing Voyages

Northwestern Norway, above the Arctic Circle, is incredibly beautiful, boasting isolated islands, steep rugged mountains and tucked away fishing villages, all waiting to be explored under sail. These unique sailing voyages go in search of pods of Orcas and Humpback Whales who we know, seasonally, congregate within the deep fjords to take advantage of the huge schools of herring, as they take shelter from rough ocean seas during the winter. Orcas and humpbacks can sometimes be observed cooperating with each other in rounding up the bountiful shoals, before mutually gorging on their catch.

Above the Arctic Circle, Winter days are short, but twilight and night time hours are not wasted. Far from the urban environment, there is little light pollution to disturb spectacular sunsets; and the long polar nights offer great opportunities for the dancing lights of the Aurora borealis above – Northern Lights witnessed amid spectacular surroundings from the deck of a traditional sailing ship.

These special voyages take place on two sailing ships: a cosy 20 passenger tall ship schooner originally built in 1910 or a 34 passenger three-masted ice-strengthened sailing schooner. Both ships offer ample deck space and carry Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs or Zodiacs), which enable quick landing on remote shorelines for hiking and snowshoe trekking.

Your voyage will begin in Tromsø, known affectionately as the Paris of the North - a charming small city with a long history of Polar exploration.


Sample Itinerary (7 Days)

These unique winter voyages sail in search of pods of Orcas and Humpback Whales; offer great chances to witness the Northern Lights in the remote northern fjords and beautiful mountain views from the deck of a traditional sailing ship.

Day 1: Embarkation in Tromsø

Please note that our polar itineraries are written to provide a flavour of each voyage. Sailing rather than motor-only will be undertaken where and when conditions allow. The actual route will be decided by the captain and expedition team in accordance with prevailing ice, weather and sea conditions and opportunities to see wildlife and wilderness scenery. We aim to provide the highest quality trips, providing you with the most rewarding experience possible and as a result, our itinerary may need to change at short notice.

You will embark in Tromsø Harbour this afternoon, ready to set sail later on this evening or early tomorrow morning.

Days 2 - 5: Exploring Northern Norway

Your experienced crew and guide will create a fitting schedule for the coming days, planning your route depening on the location of whales, wind and weather conditions. These are some of the possible destinations that you may visit:

Tromso Bridge
Leaving Tromsø’s harbor, you will sail beneath the impressive Tromsø Bridge, with the masts nearly touching it. The fjords you will navigate are renowned for their stunning beauty, adorned with snow-capped peaks and abundant wildlife. Outside of Tromsø, you may catch a glimpse of orcas or witness the majestic sea eagle soaring through the air. As Europe’s largest bird of prey, the sea eagle can boast a remarkable wingspan of up to 2.4 meters.

The waters surrounding Skjervøy harbor thriving populations of herring and plankton, making it possible to encounter humpback whales and orcas. If they are spotted, then your crew and guide will ensure that you observe them in a responsible manner from a safe distance, respecting their hunt for food. Weather permitting, your captain may even switch off the engine, allowing the ship to harmonise with nature, creating an opportunity to hear the enchanting calls of the whales. Throughout these days, your guide will provide enlightening lectures about the whales, their behavior, and the extraordinary underwater ecosystem.

Skjervøy is a fishing community, where the primary source of income stems from fishing and seafood production. In recent years, fish farming and aquaculture have gained prominence. The town holds historical significance as the first port of call for the expedition ship ‘Fram’ upon its return from Frdtjof Nansen’s North Pole expedition in 1896.

Stockfish & Snowshoeing

Hamnes, an ancient trading and fishing town from the 17th century, offers the possibility of mooring alongside authentic wooden warehouses. The town’s landscape is dominated by wooden racks along the coast, where cod is dried to produce stockfish. The combination of sun and wind eliminates moisture from the fish, ensuring its long-term preservation. The warehouses, adjacent to the ship’s mooring spot, serve as storage for the stockfish. A small shop nearby provides insight into the stockfish and the traditional drying and preservation methods. After sunset, if conditions allow you may embark on picturesque walks through the mountains or along the scenic coast. Snowshoes may be necessary to enhance traction on snowy and icy surfaces.

Aurora Borealis in Finnkroken

Weather permitting, you may sail towards the enchanting village of Finnkroken. Nestled amidst breathtaking nature, this quaint village offers serenity and a glimpse into life in the far North. The village’s remote location ensures minimal light pollution, allowing you the chance to witness the mesmerizing dance of the Northern Lights in the sky above from the ship’s deck in the evening.

Day 6: Return to Tromsø

You will spend today sailing back towards Tromsø, watching for whales as you travel.

Day 7: Disembark in Tromsø

This morning you will bid farewell to your ship and crew, heading either to the airport for your international flight home or perhaps spending a few extra days exploring the city.


Enquire / Book 29 Oct - 04 Nov 2024 - from € 1,730

Tromsø -  Tromsø (7 Days)
Three-masted sailing schooner: 32 passengers
All cabins en suite (twin)
Add Eur 200 pp for Deluxe Cabin with by side twin beds & larger cabin

Enquire / Book 26 Nov - 03 Dec 2024 - from € 1,830

Tromsø -  Tromsø (8 Days)
Three-masted sailing schooner: 32 passengers
All cabins en suite (twin)
Add Eur 200 pp for Deluxe Cabin with by side twin beds & larger cabin

Single supplement
A supplement can be avoided if you are willing to share with someone of the same gender. Single occupancy is from 1.7 times the per person sharing cabin price.

Our prices include
Voyage as indicated in draft itinerary.
All meals, snacks, coffee and tea.
All shore excursions and zodiac activities.
Programme of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
All miscellaneous services taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
Comprehensive pre-departure material.

Not included
Passports and visas.
Pre and post land arrangements.
Transfers to and from the vessel
Items of a personal nature (alcohol, laundry etc).
Cancellation and personal insurance.
Arrival and departure tax.
Meals ashore.

Flights: We can arrange flights or we are happy for you to do this yourself. Please contact us for advice.

Fuel surcharge:
A fuel surcharge may apply on certain departures should the price of Brent crude rise above US$120 barrel 90 days before the voyage.


  • Orcas gather off the coast of Northern Norway  to prey on Herring as they Shelter inshore over Winter
  • Northern Lights over Spectacular Coastal Scenery amongst the islands of Northwestern Norway
  • Orcas & Seabirds chasing Herring in northern Norway
  • Tranquil scene of the Aurora borealis (Northern Lights) in Arctic Norway
  • We sail amongst some beautiful coastal towns in Arctic Norway
  • Humpback Whale making a dive into Arctic Waters of Northern Norway
  • Where opportunities present, we step ashore an hike using Snowshoes
  • At anchor amongst islands beneath the Northern Lights
  • Humpback Whales Bubblenet Fishing in Norway
  • Ample deck space to enjoy an Arctic sunset in Norway
  • An Orca breaks the surface
  • Trekking on land to take stock of fabulous scenery beneath the Northern Lights
  • Remote fishing village amongst coastal mountains of Arctic Norway
  • Orcas aplenty, Winter feeding in Norway
View all
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