Summary : Unforgettable experiences await you in Greenland! Cruise alongside glacial landscapes, scout for whales and the ever-present Northern Fulmar seabird, and view a multitude of fascinating settlements. This is just a small taste of all you can expect on this top-notch expedition cruise. Navigating along Greenland’s old intercoastal routes, indulge in the multitude of beautiful natural wonders, including “Iceberg Capital of the World”, Ilulissat, and the nearby UNESCO-protected Icefjord. Pay a visit to the small town of Qeqertarsuaq on mountainous Disko Island where you can experience the “Kaffemik” tradition in the community house, and cruise close to the calving glacier of Eqip Sermia. You will even make a call to the Polar Circle settlement of Itilleq. While overnighting in Iceland, you will have an opportunity to experience the island nation’s unique nature, as well as centuries-old history and culture in the capital Reykjavik.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins
$2,800 to $6,150
Board your included flight in Keflavik to fly to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland where you will board the ship. Enjoy dinner as Ocean Atlantic sets sail through scenic Kangerlussuaq Fjord.
After breakfast, arrive to the colorful town of Sisimiut, where you will get an idea of what modern Greenland looks like. With 5,400 inhabitants, it is considered Greenland’s second ‘city’. People have lived around Sisimiut on and off since 2,500 BC.
Your city tour highlights include the historic colonial quarter, as well as the museum and the beautiful church. Additionally, pay a visit to the busy city center for a glimpse of what daily life is like in 21st century Greenland. In the afternoon, your voyage will continue northward.
As evening falls, pass the Sisimiut Isortuat Fjord, the Nordre Strømfjord settlements of Attu and Ikerasaarsuk, and the small town of Kangaatsiaq. During the course of the bright night, pass Aasiaat and proceed into the southern waters of Disko Bay. Next, the ship’s heading will be set for Disko Island, known for its distinctive 3,280 feet layered crags.
At this point, you will be north of the Arctic Circle! Here, the nights are bright and early risers can enjoy the sight of the icebergs on Disko Bay as they squeeze out of the Ilulissat Icefjord and enter into the ocean waters.
During your visit in Qeqertarsuaq, wander through town, paying a visit to the characteristic octagonal church, nicknamed “God’s Inkpot”, as well as to a local community center that will be hosting a traditional Greenlandic “kaffemik”, which can be best described as a friendly gathering with coffee, cake and traditional dances and music.
Greenlandic music is inspired and influenced by music from other cultures, like the Danish and Inuit cultures, and more specifically, Dutch and Scottish polka, American country and rock ‘n’ roll and even Hawaiian music, which inspired the so-called Vaigat-musicians in Greenland in the 1950s and 60s.
As the day draws to a close, Ocean Atlantic will set a north-easterly course bound for a magnificent natural highlight – the enormous Eqip Sermia Glacier.
Situated approximately 50 nautical miles north of Ilulissat, the Eqip Sermia Glacier is renowned for its jaw-dropping beauty. Legendary arctic explorers selected this location as a base for their studies. One such explorer, the acclaimed Swiss glaciologist, Alfred de Quervain, used the location as a base for his expeditions onto Greenland’s inland ice sheet over a century ago.
The ship will sail as close as possible to the ice’s edge, but at a safe distance to view the magnificent calving from the glacier.
Ilulissat is possibly the most well located town in Greenland. The name simply means ‘icebergs’ in Greenlandic and the town’s nickname is rightly ‘The Iceberg Capital of the World’.
The icebergs come from the Icefjord, which is located a half hour’s hike south of Ilulissat. These impressive frozen structures are born some 43.5 miles deeper into the fjord by the enormous Sermeq Kujalleq glacier. This 6 mile-wide glacier is the most productive glacier outside of Antarctica. Whereas most glaciers only calve at a rate of approximately a meter a day, the Ilulissat glacier calves at a rate of 82 feet per day. The icebergs produced by the glacier represent more than 10% of all icebergs in Greenland, corresponding to 22 million tons of ice per day!
These facts, together with the fjord’s extreme beauty, have secured the Icefjord a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
On this day, you will also have the opportunity to join an optional boat trip to the Icefjord (additional fee). The journey takes about two and a half hours in total, and presents an opportunity to gain a closer look at the amazing ice-sculpted scenery. The trip is definitely something out of the ordinary and a great natural experience that you will remember for years to come!
If you'd rather, there is also an opportunity here to arrange a helicopter ride over the Icefjord (additional fee).
Please note the boat and helicopter excursions to the Icefjord are optional outings and therefore not included in the general tour price. Furthermore, the helicopter excursion must be booked in advance.
In the morning, wake up to a picturesque sight — the settlement of Itilleq, which translates to ‘the hollow’ or ‘the flatlands’, quite an appropriate name for a settlement nestled at the foothills of mountains and glaciers in the distant backcountry to the east. The settlement’s slightly more than 100 residents live off hunting, trapping and fishing, most often in pursuit of arctic char, reindeer and musk oxen.
A stroll through the settlement offers insight into rural life in today’s Greenland, where modern conveniences and technological advancements, such as internet and smart phones have become commonplace, yet locals still place great value on important customs and preserving their traditions and Inuit heritage.
Before lunch, return to Ocean Atlantic and continue your journey toward the fjord of Kangerlussuaq, also known as Sondrestromfjord. Especially the first part of the fjord gives a great opportunity to enjoy an impressive passage with panoramic views of high mountains and deep valleys.
After breakfast, bid farewell to the ship's staff and the Zodiac boats will shuttle you to shore.
In Kangerlussuaq, there is an optional excursion to the beautiful Reindeer Glacier (additional fee). The duration of the excursion is about four hours. We do not recommend the excursion for people who suffer from bad necks or backs, as the gravel road to the ice sheet is occasionally bumpy and uneven.
Board your included flight back to Keflavik, Iceland.
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 is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase emergency evacuation/repatriation insurance; minimum $200,000. The medical insurance must be able to cover all existing health issues the passenger might have. It must also cover medical treatment and medical evacuation in any of the areas traveled. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for Antarctic trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Onboard Expedition Photographer:
Each voyage has a dedicated expedition photographer onboard to document the voyage and share their passion for photography through lectures and during landings and Zodiac cruises. Greenland is filled with mesmerizing landscapes, and the expedition photographer is available to help elevate your photographic capabilities to beautifully capture the magical moments of your voyage.
Exercise your body while engaging your mind and heart in an unforgettable outing, safely guided by kayak masters throughout the journey. The region, weather, sea and ice conditions will dictate when and where kayaking may be possible in order to ensure your safety and improve your experience. Kayaking is weather dependent.
Optional Boat Trip to Ilulissat Icefjord:
The journey takes about two and a half hours in total, and presents an opportunity to gain a closer look at the amazing ice-sculpted scenery. The trip is definitely something out of the ordinary and a great natural experience that you will remember for years to come- but be sure to remember warm clothes!
Optional Helicopter Flight over Ilulissat Icefjord:
Discover huge iceberg pushing towards the mouth of the Kangia Icefjord, and breaching their way into the Disko Bay. Get to see the very small settlement of Ilimanaq just south of the icefjord, and if you are lucky, you might get a glimpse of the many whales in the bay on your way back to Ilulissat. Fly in a Vulcanair Partenavia P68 airplanes. These airplanes are ideal for the purpose of sightseeing flights. Being high wing mounted with large windows at each seat, you have the perfect conditions for taking pictures and bringing your memories back home, as well as giving you a clear view of the landscape. The Partenavia, can carry up to 5 passengers plus the pilot. Duration: approx. 40 min.
Optional Reindeer Glacier Excursion in Kangerlussuaq:
Your journey to one of the area’s most remarkable glaciers requires transport via a tundra coach, a 4WD vehicle, which is designed to take on the rocky, changeable terrain and gravel roads. Along the way, keep your eyes open for the wildlife that resides in the area, namely reindeer and musk oxen, while you let your mind wander while listening to the history and stories of the area narrated by your guide.
Round-trip flight Keflavik/Kangerlussuaq; transfer between airport/ship; shipboard accommodations; parka to keep; digital photo journal of your trip; all meals onboard ship. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare other than mentioned as included; accommodations other than the ship; transfers not mentioned as included; passport and visa expenses; optional excursions; alcohol, soft drinks and other beverages besides coffee and tea; Wi-Fi; communication charges; all items of a personal nature; laundry; required travel insurance; gratuities; excess baggage charges; airport departure tax; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos © Albatros Expeditions