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Greenland Distance View

Adventure of the Vinland Sagas

Example 15 Day Cruise aboard MS Spitsbergen
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Although for a long time the Norse colonization of America was just a myth, in 1960 archaeological finds in North America confirmed that there was indeed some truth to the stories. This expedition is a journey in the wake of the Viking settlers who left to find a better land. Starting in Iceland, sail to the Norse heart of Greenland and continue to North America, following the route described in the Vinland Sagas. As you would expect, there is a lot of Viking history, but you can also get the chance to see places of astonishing natural beauty, participate in exciting excursions, and see the vast wilderness of the Arctic.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Reykjavik, Iceland | Embark
Day 2 : Snæfellsjökull National Park
Days 3-4 : At Sea
Days 5-6 : South Greenland
Day 7 : At Sea
Days 8-10 : 'Markland' | Labrador
Day 11 : At Sea
Day 12 : L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland
Days 13-14 : 'Vinland' | Newfoundland
Day 15 : St. Johns, Newfoundland | Disembark

Highlights

  • Visit the magnificent Snæfellsjökull Glacier in Iceland
  • Explore the reconstruction of Erik the Red’s longhouse
  • Discover Labrador and observe its astonishing landscapes and wildlife
  • See L’Anse aux Meadows, first evidence of Vikings settling in North America
  • Watch for amazing Arctic wildlife, including humpback whales

Ship

MS Spitsbergen

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Greenland Distance View Qassiuarsuk dwelling Iceland Reykjavik Hot Springs Qassiarsuk Greenland Greenland people

Day 1 Reykjavik, Iceland | Embark

The Vikings were the first people to permanently settle in Iceland. According to The Book of Settlements (Landnámabók), Ingólfur Arnarson settled here around 870 A.D. He named the place after the steam from the hot springs in the area: ‘Reykjavik’ (bay of smoke). Iceland’s modern capital is the starting point of this expedition.

Day 2 Snæfellsjökull National Park

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Snæfellsjökull National Park has many famous sites, and the magnificent Snæfellsjökull Glacier is just one of the highlights. Other attractions include basalt cliffs and the many fascinating lava formations. At Djúpalónssandur, you can test your ‘Viking strength’ on the four ‘lifting stones’: Amlóði (Useless), Hálfdrættingur (Weakling), Hálfsterkur (Half Strength), and Fullsterkur (Full Strength).

Day 3-4 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Rather than rowing a longship across the Denmark Strait to reach Greenland, sail in the modern and very comfortable MS Spitsbergen. Enjoy lectures designed to prepare you for your experience in Greenland.

Greenland’s southern shores contain some of the most culturally and scenically diverse regions on this giant island. Conditions permitting, sail through the narrow, 70-mile-long channel Prins Christian Sund, which crosses the southernmost point of Greenland, and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. If the channel is blocked with ice, sail around Nunap Isua (Cape Farewell).

Day 5-6 South Greenland

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Qassiarsuk is the site where Erik the Red built his Brattahlíð estate in 982 A.D. He had been banished from Iceland and escaped to the land he called Greenland. He chose to settle in Qassiarsuk, believing it to be the richest and best site on the island. Join the settlement walk to explore the reconstruction of Erik the Red’s longhouse and the church that Erik the Red named after his wife, Tjodhildur Church.

Igaliku is home to the well-known ruins of Garðar, once the religious heart of Norse Greenland. In Hvalsey, find some of the best-preserved ruins from the Norse period in the former town of Austurbygd. Erik the Red’s relatives established the farmstead in the late 10th century. In 1408, 500 years after the town was established, all the inhabitants suddenly left. Among the ruins, find the remains of the church where the last known Viking wedding took place.

Day 7 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As you cross the ocean again, you have plenty of time to imagine how it must have felt to cross an ocean more than 1,000 years ago. According to The Saga of the Greenlanders, Leif Erikson (son of Erik the Red) set out in the year 1002 or 1003 A.D. and the first land he found to the west was covered with flat rocks, so he called it 'Helluland', the land of flat stones, from the Old Norse 'hella'.

Day 8-10 'Markland' | Labrador

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
After Helluland, Leif Erikson arrived at a land that was flat and wooded with white-sand beaches, which he called 'Markland' (Forest Land). Today, this area is known as Labrador. Explore Labrador, making several explorer-style landings to discover more of the area’s astonishing nature and wildlife. Outdoor enthusiasts may enjoy hiking along the trails and the countless miles of wilderness to explore, and others may appreciate learning more about the history, cultures, and traditions of the area at the numerous historic sites you visit.

Day 11 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enjoy a day at sea. Listen to lectures on various topics, or spend some time on deck enjoying the wildlife you see on the journey.

Day 12 L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In L’Anse aux Meadows, see the first known evidence of the Vikings settling in North America. This is probably where Thorfinn Karlsefni and several others settled in 1010 A.D. In 1960, two Norwegian archaeologists started excavating in this area and discovered the fascinating remains of a Viking camp. In 1979, L’Anse aux Meadows became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the re-created camp, you can see original artifacts from this internationally renowned archaeological find.

Day 13-14 'Vinland' | Newfoundland

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
According to the sagas, the Viking settlement Hóp was considered to be the ‘land of grapes and wheat’. When Leif Erikson discovered it, he called the place 'Vinland' (Wineland). This is where the Norse settlers first encountered ‘Skrælings’, the indigenous people. They started trading with the Skrælings, but after a brutal attack, the frightened Norse abandoned this lush land to go back to the north.

With its tiny seaside communities, encompassing forests, freshwater fjords, bogs, barren lowlands, and striking cliffs and shorelines, this area is world-renowned for its complex geology. Even the wildlife is amazing, with some 10,000 humpback whales visiting the area every year.

Day 15 St. Johns, Newfoundland | Disembark

St. John’s is the oldest and easternmost city in North America. This is where your adventure ends. Explore this historic town, especially the Basilica of St. John with its striking twin clock towers and excellent shopping, before you fly home.

MS Spitsbergen

Per person starting at
$13,002
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N (Outside Cabin)
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O (Outside Cabin)
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P (Outside Cabin)
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U (Outside Cabin)
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QJ (Outside Cabin)
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Q (Mini Suite)
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MG (Grand Suite)
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MX (Owner's Suite)
Two rooms with a double bed, seating area, dining table, TV, mini bar, kettle, coffee/tea, stereo, shower, w/c, private balcony

Notes

Voyage price includes:
  • Voyage in cabin category of your choice on a full board basis (daily buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, and set or buffet dinner)
  • Wind-and water-resistant jacket
  • Landings and activities onboard and ashore
  • Professional English-speaking Expedition Team that gives lectures and accompanies landings and activities
  • Complimentary tea and coffee
Not included:
  • Flights from US
  • Travel Protection Plan
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional excursions and gratuities
Notes:
  • All planned landings are subject to weather conditions
  • All itineraries are subject to change

Included

  • 14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 14 Dinners
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Kassandra Miller
Kassandra M

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