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Epic 80°N: Exploring Greenland, Baffin, and Ellesmere

Arctic Cruise

Summary : Canada’s Ellesmere Island stretches farther north than any other land in the world, save for Greenland—explore both on this epic Arctic expedition. This is a region of ancient ice, where tidewater glaciers of exceptional beauty dominate the landscape. Few humans have ever been here. It is home to hunting polar bears, muskox, and extremely rare wildlife, including narwhal. Rely on your expedition team’s experience in Baffin Island and Lancaster Sound at the entrance to the Northwest Passage to ensure peak exploration and wildlife encounters; and then strike as far north at the ice allows, tracing the rarely visited coast of northwest Greenland and Ellesmere Islands into parts largely unknown, where the only assurance is great wonder, beauty, and genuine exploration. The High Arctic in its full glory is a lifetime experience.

Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins


Bar tab onboard ship and crew tips now included. Subject to change.

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Day 1
U.S. / Keflavík, Iceland

Depart U.S. for an overnight flight to Keflavík.

Day 2
Keflavík / Reykjavík

Transfer from Keflavík to Reykjavík, located just south of the Arctic Circle. Check in to your hotel. Take a guided overview of the old town, including Hallgrímskirkja Cathedral. Or choose to explore the Blue Lagoon and soak in the geothermal waters.

Day 3
Reykjavík / Kangerlussuaq, Greenland / Embark

Fly by chartered aircraft to Greenland. Embark your ship at the head of Kangerlussuaq Fjord, a picturesque waterway that stretches 100 miles.

Day 4
Greenland’s West Coast & Sisimuit

Dozens of deep fjords carve into Greenland’s west coast, many with glaciers fed by the ice cap that covers 80% of the country. In the morning, trace this ragged coastline, and search for humpback and minke whales. Later, at Sisimiut, a former whaling port, visit the museum and wander amid a jumble of wooden 18th-century buildings.

Day 5 – 11
Canadian High Arctic

Begin your exploration of the Canadian High Arctic with a visit to the small Inuit community of Pond Inlet, Nunavut. Explore some of the beautiful bays and inlets along Baffin Island's northern coast and Lancaster Sound. Search for ringed seals, arctic foxes, and polar bears, as well as beluga whales. Perhaps even see the elusive narwhal, known for the long, spiraling tooth that projects up to ten feet. Possible stops to explore Beechey Island and the remains of the Franklin expedition’s winter quarters and Lancaster Sound for polar bears on ice. At the entrance to the Northwest Passage, encounter Devon Island. Walk with the ship's archaeologist to learn about the Thule people that once inhabited this region and were the ancestors of all modern Inuit. At Dundas Harbor, hike the tundra and search for wildlife, perhaps including musk oxen.

Day 12 – 13
Ellesmere Island

Heading ever northward, make your way up the beautiful and remote east coast of Ellesmere Island, where the Explorer first ventured a few seasons ago. Cruise along scenic Smith Bay (a.k.a. Skog Inlet) bordered by a steep wall of mountains, with a glacial ice tongue which pours down the mountains on either side. Be up on the bridge and search for a patch of "polar bear ice," the mixture of first-year and multi-year sea ice that is the preferred habitat of the ice bears. Use binoculars to seek out any small ivory-colored dot on an otherwise white ice surface. Once spotted, the ship approaches ever so slowly, and respectfully of the bear. At the end of the bay go ashore to hike or kayak in picturesque surroundings. Ice is always present here.

This flexible itinerary has stops that may include Skraeling Island (“Skraeling” is the word that the Norse settlers of Greenland used for the Inuit.), where Norse artifacts were found in an Inuit house, or you might go for a Zodiac cruise in Makinson Inlet, where tidewater glaciers tumble down to the sea.

Day 14 – 15
Farther North

On these two days, explore to 80ºN and hopefully beyond, if the ice allows. Take full advantage of your “human resources”—your experienced captain, expedition leader and naturalists—as well as technological resources. Chart where the ice is impenetrable and where there are leads guiding you to exciting discoveries.

Day 16 – 19
Exploring Northwest Greenland

The remote and rarely explored coast of Northwest Greenland is your next destination—going places the Explorer has never been. The area north of Qaanaaq has the most interesting exploration history of Greenland, with many expeditions based here; timbers from Hall’s ship, the Polaris, may still exist on the beaches. Cape York is also historically significant with a monument to Admiral Peary. Visit the small community of Etah, the north-most habitation in West Greenland, where you can interact and learn about the people of the Far North.

The ship will be in true expedition mode every turn of the way. The former Prime Minister of Greenland, Kuupik Kleist, says this region is one of the most beautiful and unexplored parts of all of Greenland: glaciers, fjords, inlets and islands. Wildlife galore, unlike parts of the south where it is more actively hunted. In addition, Dr. Henning Thing, one of the more experienced scientists working in Greenland, provided your team with some very specific places to explore that sound wonderful. You will definitely be exploring new frontiers.

Day 20

Today you are back in familiar waters, stopping at Uummannaq, where a collection of mummies dating to 1475 was discovered in 1972 and featured on the cover of National Geographic magazine’s February 1985 issue.

Day 21
Disko Bay & Ilulissat

Sail into Disko Bay and set out to explore a tongue of the Greenland ice cap. Take an extraordinary cruise among towering icebergs of the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Ilulissat Icefjord. Visit the town of Ilulissat and walk to the archaeological site in the Sermermiut Valley.

Day 22
Greenland’s West Coast

Your final day aboard will be spent in the beautifully scenic fjords north of Sondre Stromfjord. Take a Zodiac cruise, kayak, or hike across the tundra. Your undersea specialist may launch the ROV to see the marine life inhabiting the fjord floor.

Day 23
Kangerlussuaq / Disembark / Reykjavík, Iceland

After lunch, disembark in Kangerlussuaq. Fly by private charter to Reykjavík, where you'll check into your hotel.

Day 24
Reykjavík / Keflavík / U.S.

Your grand adventure takes you to Iceland’s lively capital city, Reykjavík. Have a guided tour of Reykjanes Peninsula, followed by lunch. Transfer to Keflavík for your flight home. Or you may wish to extend your stay in Iceland for further adventures.


This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Travel Insurance:
ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.

Lindblad-National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor:
On all departures, a certified photo instructor will be at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. Take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.

Optional Post-Trip Extension:
Iceland's Wonders: Explore the geological wonders in the heart of the Icelandic wilderness: towering glaciers and gushing hot springs, boiling mud pools, lava fields and thundering waterfalls. From $3,570 per person. (3 Days)

Reykjavik’s Golden Circle & Blue Lagoon: Extend your stay in Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital. Enjoy the surreal Blue Lagoon, and have a guided in-depth experience along the famed Golden Circle. From $1,120 per person (1 Day)

Accommodations aboard ship or in hotels per itinerary or similar; meals aboard ship; most alcoholic beverages onboard ship; shore excursions and sightseeing as per itinerary; use of kayaks; crew gratuities; taxes and service charges; and services of your expedition staff. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Airfare; roundtrip charter flights; extensions; passport and visa/immigration fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as email, laundry, etc.; fuel surcharge may apply.

Photo Credit: © Ralph Lee Hopkins (Ice Arch, Polar Bear and Cubs, Seal, Hikers, Whale); © Stewart Cohen (Walrus); © Michael S. Nolan (House); Sven-Olof Lindblad (Zodiac)

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