Summary : Depart Iceland’s coastal capital and set sail on this Greenlandic adventure. Days at sea give plenty of time for identifying seabirds and whale-spotting, while Zodiac cruises allow you to experience the massive glaciers and ice floes first hand. Dramatic rugged landscapes are perfectly balanced with picturesque villages during your journey.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Embark the Silver Cloud and depart on your exciting Expedition – “In the Wake of Viking Longships”. After settling into your suite and attending a safety drill you will be setting sail. Meet the members of your Expedition Team in the Lecture Theatre and attend the first of many memorable dinners in one of the restaurants.
Spend the day crossing the Denmark Strait, which connects the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. Meet some of your fellow explorers, attend a Zodiac briefing and learn about the rules and regulations for going ashore in the Arctic. Above all relax and become acquainted with the luxurious amenities found on board the Silver Cloud. Tonight, attend a special Welcome Aboard cocktail party where the Captain will introduce his senior officers.
Cruising along Greenland’s rugged eastern coast, the Silver Cloud explores the Skoldungen Fjord. Spend much of the day out on deck to take in the scenery: towering mountains tipped with snow, ice-scraped valley sides and sculptured icebergs in shades of white and blue. Upon arriving at the top of the fjord see the retreating state of the Thrym Glacier and have your first Zodiac cruise of the journey, allowing to explore this picturesque setting from a unique, up-close perspective.
On your return journey, exiting this U-shaped fjord, join the Expedition Team out on deck to marvel at the spectacular scenery and to look for humpback whales and orcas, frequently seen at the entrance of the fjord.
The plan for today is to explore one of South Greenland’s most dramatic natural features: Prince Christian Sund. On either side of the Silver Cloud, waterfalls stream down sharp, wrinkled mountainsides as the ship navigates the fjord through a sea of icebergs that glitter in the sun. Born of compacted ancient snows that calve into the sound at the glacier’s edge, each iceberg is different from the next. Time and weather conditions permitting, plan to set out via the Zodiacs to explore even more.
In the afternoon, and shortly before leaving the sound, visit the small settlement of Aappilattoq. You can walk through the village and climb a nearby hill for excellent views of the sound and the mountains.
Nanortalik lies in a scenic area surrounded by steep mountainsides and is Greenland’s most southerly town. The town’s name means the “place of polar bears”, which refers to the polar bears that used to be seen floating offshore on summer’s ice floes. Nanortalik has an excellent open-air museum that gives a broad picture of the region from Inuit times to today. At the summer hunting camp, Inuit in traditional clothing will describe aspects of their ancestor’s customs and lifestyle including an impressive kayak demonstration. Time permitting enjoy the tradition of kaffe-mik (coffee and cake) and a folk dancing presentation at the Cultural Center.
In the afternoon, the Silver Cloud will drop anchor at Uunartoq. Since the days of the Norse, the hot springs here have been renowned for their healing effects. Take this opportunity to relax and unwind in steaming waters. It is quite an experience to be in the hot spring and see icebergs float by. Remember to pack swimwear! Condition permitting Zodiac cruise past some of the icebergs north of Uunartoq.
This morning arrive at the picturesque harbor town of Qaqortoq. The town’s name translates to ‘white place’, but today, instead of snow, admire the hillsides of colorful houses painted in bright primary shades. Local guides will take you to the charming town square, home to Greenland’s oldest fountain built in 1928. Surrounding it are two churches, one old and one new, an open-air fish and meat market, and the Qaqortoq Museum. This modest museum houses a superb collection of historical artifacts associated with Inuit hunting and fishing, a whaler’s gun and a collection of contemporary artwork.
In the afternoon the Silver Cloud anchors off Hvalsey. Once ashore, learn how Christianity spread its influence throughout Europe and eventually reached remote Greenland, where it established itself in the country in 1000 AD. Hvalsey Church was built in the 14th century and is the best preserved of the churches in Greenland from that period. Visit the church and other historical ruins from the time of the Vikings.
Encircled by a wealth of Norse ruins, begin your day in Qassiarsuk (or Brattahlid). Qassiarsuk is the newer, Greenlandic name for this small village. Brattahlid is the older, Norse name. Tour the foundation remains of the manor house of Erik the Red, who found Greenland after being banished from Iceland and Norway for murder. Visit the site of the first Christian church ever built in North America (physiographically speaking), see a recently unearthed Norse graveyard that contains remains of 144 Norse colonists, and have a chance to admire Hans Lynge’s remarkable bronze sculpture of Erik the Red.
Cruise to Ittileq. From the landing site, walk the 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) to Igaliku to meet up with the 30 inhabitants, who are very proud of their beautiful village. With local guides visit the ruins of Garðar, which was once the religious heart of 12th-century Norse Greenland.
Your Expedition Team members will present informative topics to prepare you for Nuuk, its museum and the special treasures it houses.
Binoculars and camera in hand, you can also head out on deck to watch and identify the seabirds that might follow your passage. Relax in the Spa or try the Gym for some exercises.
This morning arrive in Greenland’s first town (1728) and current capital, Nuuk, which means “the heartland”.
A leisurely walk through this picturesque harbor town allows you to take in Nuuk’s natural beauty, and also to see Inuit ruins, Hans Egede’s home, parliament, and the Church of our Saviour. At the Greenlandic National Museum enjoy the fantastic opportunity to see the famous Qilakitsoq mummies.
This afternoon your on-board Photographer/Videographer is going to show the Voyage-DVD, highlighting the many aspects of your voyage along Greenland’s East and West coast. Before turning in for the night, take a stroll on deck to take in the solitude of the vast sea and sky, hopefully glimpsing the Aurora Borealis.
After breakfast, disembark the Silver Cloud and transfer to the airport.
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.
Although travel insurance is not mandatory to participate in this voyage, ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage 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.
Photo Studio: Unique to Silver Cloud, the Photo Studio offers a vibrant, creatively inspiring space where you can not only master the art of digital photography with Masterclasses, but also offers an editing suite where you can print images using state-of-the-art equipment plus a dedicated photo manager.
Kayaking will be offered complimentary and will run on a first-come-first-serve sign up basis. Guests cannot pre book the kayak tours. It will be run by two professional kayak guides. Participation requires good physical condition and right of participation is reserved. The kayak guides will make the final determination if a guest is fit to participate. Kayaking will be weather dependent.
Ship accommodation; most onboard meals (La Dame Restaurant excluded); butler service; kayaking; most wines, champagnes and spirits on the ship; tea, coffee, hot chocolate, water and soda; parka; onboard gratuities (except spa); port charges and handling fees; Vista and Veranda Suites receive one hour of included Internet access per guest/per day; Medallion, Silver, Royal, Grand, and Owner’s Suites receive unlimited Internet access; Royal, Grand, and Owner’s Suites receive laundry service throughout the voyage as well as dinner for two in La Dame (one evening per voyage) and two hours of worldwide phone use from your suite, per voyage segment. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; meals on board at La Dame Restaurant unless mentioned above as included; some alcoholic premium beverages; travel insurance; government fees and taxes; visa and passport expenses; Internet use not mentioned as included; gifts and items of a personal nature such as laundry (unless mentioned as included) and spa options; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Creative Services at Silversea Cruises, © Daniela Plaza