Summary : The first destination is the west coast of Greenland which will welcome you with its majestic icebergs, colorful villages encircled by mountains and its basalt formations. This is the ideal opportunity for meeting the local people and learn about Greenland Inuit culture. Further north, Baffin Bay will reveal its remote villages of peat houses where the last bear hunters and narwhal fishers live in the middle of the Arctic tundra according to their ancestral traditions. You will also see the remains of ancient Inuit civilizations and discover Savissivik, the largest “iceberg graveyard” in Greenland. During the last days of your cruise, L'Austral will sail along the eastern coast of Baffin Island, in the Nunavut, Canada. With its immense cliffs, bird colonies and fjords, this destination will definitely delight you.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Board your included flight in Paris taking you to Kangerlussuaq where the ship awaits your arrival. Embark your vessel for introductions to your crew and fellow travelers. Settle in to life on board as your cruise begins.
During your cruise, discover Sisimiut, founded in 1756 and the second largest town in Greenland. This small town is typical of Greenland, boasting bewitching panoramas: here and there, colorful stilt houses dot the undulating landscape, and the small fishing port stands as the gateway to an icy realm. As for the town center, it is home to a number of historic buildings, a small church and a museum which retraces the history of the Inuit people, as well as many craft shops. When your ship drops anchor here, you will set out to meet the locals in a typically arctic atmosphere.
To the east of Baffin Bay, discover Disko Bay, scattered with countless icebergs produced by the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From your ship, admire the majestic ballet of these ice giants as they slowly drift across the dark waters. This site is a natural marvel of Greenland, and is also renowned as an observation point for the region’s many humpback whales. The encounters with wild fauna and stunning landscapes in the heart of this spectacular and fragile nature will be pure moments of wonder for you.
"The most beautiful place in the Arctic" is how Paul-Émile Victor described Greenland, a land of great icebergs and of towering ice formations calved by the giant glaciers of the polar ice cap. The Eqi Glacier is one of the region’s most impressive sights. Here, the silence is broken only by the roaring and cracking of the ice. It is impossible to know if one is shivering from cold or from the sheer thrill of being here... Imagine the vast outline of a glacier, its translucent crystals glowing with an ice-blue fire in the sunlight. Paul-Émile Victor’s shelter cannot be overlooked; it was from here that the French Polar Expeditions’ anthropological and geographic explorations set off in the 1950s.
In the curve of Uummannaq Bay, opposite a narrow passage between two islands, you will discover the moonscape of the small desert island of Akulleq. The ochre yellow and orange of this mineral site look ablaze under the sunshine of the polar summer. From the island’s summit you will be able to contemplate a panoramic view of the bay’s magical landscape and its huge icebergs with surprising shapes.
During your cruise along the Greenland coast, we invite you to discover the Karrat Fjord. Located in the north of the famous Uummannaq Bay, it stretches out towards the ice sheet. As you sail in this exceptional setting, take the time to admire the beautiful icebergs that surround you, as well as the sheer cliffs that tower along the fjord.
Well beyond the Arctic Circle, in the majestic landscapes of Greenland’s Northwest, you will find the village of Kullorsuaq, the last bastion of Greenland’s traditional hunters. Here is where you will find Greenland’s true character… Vast mineral expanses, sumptuous mountains, impressive glaciers and, above all, the local population which still lives off fishing and seal or bear hunting. Hospitality and respect for nature are essential elements in the daily lives of these men, who live an austere life. When we drop anchor in this remote part of the world, set off to discover these friendly people who are also talented craftsmen, deftly sewing the furs and skins of marine mammals. This will be a unique and authentic experience.
Some places in this world are so magical that their beauty cannot be described in words… Savissivik, a small Inuit village with less than a hundred inhabitants, is one such place. Rightly considered to be the biggest iceberg graveyard in Greenland, it is a stunning sight to behold. During your Zodiac® outing, you will sail between these icy giants. Once on land, you can hike to a viewpoint from which to enjoy breathtaking views over these icebergs, which come in an incredibly diverse range of shapes and colors. Photographers will love it. Savissivik Bay attracts many bears and is also known for having been the home of one of the world’s biggest meteorites, but the latter has now been moved to a museum in New York.
On Baffin Island, located in northern Canada at the mouth of the famous Northwest Passage, there is a small Inuit settlement at the very bounds of infinity. To get there, cross the Arctic Circle, the imaginary line that separates man from lands of mystery and wonder. It’s not so much the way of life that sets Pond Inlet’s inhabitants apart, so much as the setting. Snow-capped mountains, fjords and glaciers combine in a dazzling natural environment that fills space and expands time. Some discoveries change you forever: this is one of them.
The east coast of Baffin Island is a real lacework of fjords. Among them, in the north, is the spectacular Icy Arm fjord. As you sail these parts, you’ll be dazzled by the immense cliffs that are sometimes over 1,000 meters high. This is a paradise for base jumping (parachute jumping from the top of the cliffs). During your stop here, you will have the opportunity to hike at the feet of these mountains and within the glacial valleys. Keep your eyes open when you get back on your boat: you’ll probably get the chance to observe marine mammals, such as whales, orcas and even narwhals.
Welcome to the kingdom of the cetaceans! Here, those who love the giants of the Arctic won’t know where to look. Isabella Bay is in fact part of the Ninginganiq National Wildlife Area, one of the finest places to observe bowhead whales. From your ship, watch the sumptuous ballet performed by these impressive mammals. With undersea faults over 300 meters deep, Isabella Bay, located on the north-east coast of Baffin Island, attracts cetaceans which come here to feed. In addition to the bowhead whales, the uncontested stars of these parts, the Ninginganiq Wildlife Area is also home to ringed seals, narwhals, polar bears, king eiders, little auks and northern fulmars.
All around you is a raw landscape of spectacular beauty. Nothing seems to want to disturb the silence. You are in the Sam Ford Fjord, on the east coast of Baffin Island. Located only a few kilometers away from the Inuit community of Clyde River, this fjord has the kind of world’s end appearance that only the Arctic lands can offer. From your ship, allow yourself to be dazzled by the series of vertiginous cliffs plunging into the waters of the fjord. These impressively high walls of rock, known worldwide to climbing enthusiasts, are reflected in the waters of the fjord, as though to completely shift perspectives and blur the lines between land and 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 center. 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 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.
Your ship glides slowly along the water towards the west coast of Greenland, to enter Evighedsfjorden, just a few kilometres south of Kangerlussuaq. Evighedsfjorden means “the fjord of Eternity”, and for good reason: just when you think you’ve reached the end of this stretch of sea measuring over 100 kilometers in length, it seems to go on forever, as though to bring even more pleasure to those sailing in it. The spectacular scenery ranges from glaciers to tundra with an abundant flora, and jagged cliffs where numerous bird species have taken up residence. Take the time to observe the white-tailed eagles and the colonies of seagulls and black-legged kittiwakes flying overhead in the area.
Disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for your flight to Paris.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions - and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Bilingual Departures: All departures are French/English.
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Round-trip flight Paris/Kangerlussuaq in economy class; transfers between Kangerlussuaq airport and ship; shipboard accommodations; parka to keep (adult sizes only); boots on loan (adults sizes only); Wi-Fi onboard ship; all meals onboard ship; 24-hour room service onboard ship; most beverages onboard ship; gratuities onboard ship. Butler service is included for guests staying in Deck 6 Suites. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare other than listed as included; any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones included; visa and passport fees; travel insurance; personal expenses such as onboard medical consultations and drug prescriptions, spa, laundry and hair salon; premium alcohol; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos ©: Nathalie Michel, Ponant, Servane Roy-Berton