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Greenland – Disko Bay

Greeland cruise information

Summary : Traveling by sea is a magnificent way to experience Greenland. The places most worth seeing are situated along the dramatic coast line: small and colorful houses situated on the steep mountainside. Spot giant glaciers that produce enormous icebergs; scout for whales and seals. The people of Greenland live along the coast in small towns and settlements which are only accessible from the sea during summer. Their culture, architecture and living conditions are enriched and limited by the harsh nature of the Arctic. On your town visits, you will have opportunities to meet the hospitable Greenlanders and learn more about the Inuit culture.

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

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Itinerary
Day 1
Keflavik, Iceland / Kangerlussuaq, Greenland / Embark

Board your included flight in Keflavik to fly to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland where you will board the ship.

Day 2
Sisimiut

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.

Day 3
Qeqertarsuaq / Eqip Sermia Glacier

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 any magnificent calving from the glacier that may occur.

Day 4
Ilulissat

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 approx. 43.5 miles deeper into the fjord by the enormous Sermeq Kujalleq glacier. This approx. 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 approx. 82 feet per day. The icebergs produced by the glacier represent more than 10% of all icebergs in Greenland, corresponding to approx. 20 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.

Day 5
Sarfannguit

The settlement of Sarfannguit, which translates into ‘the place of the little stream” an appropriate name for a settlement nestled at the foothills of the mountains and glaciers in the distant backcountry. 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.

Although Sarfannguit is quite remote, it lies within a few hours from Sisimiut, the second-largest town in Greenland. The accessibility to such a large town provides an indispensable economic benefit to a small community like Sarfannguit.

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 their Inuit heritage.

Continue your journey toward the fjord of Kangerlussuaq, also known as Sondre Stromfjord. 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.

Day 6
Kangerlussuaq / Disembark / Keflavik, Iceland

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, and is not recommended 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.

Notes

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.

Optional Kayaking:
All guests interested in Kayaking need to participate in Kayaking information meetings and safety briefing on day one. After the briefing they need to be approved by the Kayak Master. If they are not approved by the Kayak Master they are not allowed to participate. All kayaks are double kayaks (no single), and there are 6 of them on board. 12 guests per outing. They try to get 2-3 kayaking outings on one Expedition (subject to weather conditions). Exercise your body while engaging your mind and heart in an unforgettable outing, safely guided by kayak masters throughout the journey. The Antarctic 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. NOTE: This excursion is approx. 4 hours and includes travel over bumpy and uneven roads; it is not recommended for those with bad backs and/or necks.

Included:
Round-trip flight Keflavik/Kangerlussuaq; transfer between airport/ship; gear on loan (boots); shipboard accommodations; digital photo journal of your trip; all meals onboard ship. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
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 such as spa and laundry; required travel insurance; gratuities (gratuities will be automatically added to your onboard account; gratuities are adjustable); excess baggage charges; airport departure tax; fuel surcharge may apply.

Photos © Albatros Expeditions

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