Northwest Passage: Iceland & Greenland Cruise

Following in the footsteps of dauntless explorers who came before, accompanied by a veteran expedition team, and captained by Ice Master Leif Skog, National Geographic Explorer will — for the first time ever — set an east-west course through the Northwest Passage. A navigational highlight will be seeing the captain and his officers use the ‘mud maps’ made by Lars-Eric’s team, as they navigate the James Ross Strait, and re-confirm the soundings they took in 1984. Don't miss this inaugural voyage tracing the legendary Northwest Passage on this epic Arctic cruise.

Day 1

    Reykjavik, Iceland / Embark

    Arrive in Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital, which lies only a fraction below the Arctic Circle and receives just four hours of sunlight in winter and 22 in summer. Have a guided overview of the Old Town, including Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral with its 210-foot tower, and shed some light on Nordic culture at the National Museum, with its Viking treasures and artifacts. Embark National Geographic Explorer.

    Day 2

      Explore the West Coast of Iceland

      National Geographic Explorer navigates Iceland’s wild western frontier, sailing past the immense Latrabjarg cliffs, the westernmost point of Iceland and home to a huge population of razorbills. The cliffs are an area once famous for egg collecting; the men were tied to ropes and lowered like spiders down onto the ledges. Continue to Flatey Island, a trading post for many centuries, for walks around the charming little hamlet that grew here.

      Day 3

        Crossing the Denmark Strait

        Follow the wake of Eric the Red and Brendan the Navigator as you cross to Greenland. Watch for blue whales.

        Day 4

          Prins Christian Sund & Nanortalik, Greenland

          Prins Christian Sund is a major fjord on the southern coast of Greenland. Surrounded by mountain pinnacles and glaciers, the decks are perfect for viewing this landscape. Anchor off Nanortalik, Greenland’s most southerly town. Go ashore to the picturesque little town by the water’s edge.

          Day 5

            Qaqortoq

            Inhabited since Norse times, the Scandinavian influence is still apparent in the colorful wooden buildings and town museum, displaying Greenlandic kayaks, hunting equipment, art and crafts.

            Day 6

              Ivittuut

              Tiny Ivittuut stands at the site of the original Norse Middle Settlement, which included about 20 Viking farms. An abandoned mining town, Ivittuut is the only town in Greenland to have a road leading to another town. The Ivittuut mining operations were a major factor in the American occupation of Greenland during World War II. The name means ‘grassy place’ in Greenlandic, and you’ll have some lovely views and hope to spot herds of muskoxen.

              Day 7

                Nuuk

                Nuuk is the world’s smallest capital city with 15,000 inhabitants. Visit the National Museum with its famous 15th-century Qilakitsoq mummies, found near Uummannaq, and the subject of a National Geographic cover story.

                Days 8-9

                  Greenlands West Coast & Sisimiut

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

                  Day 10

                    Disko Bay & Ilulissat

                    Sail into Disko Bay and set out to explore the Ilulissat Glacier, a tongue of the Greenland ice cap and a UNESCO site. Take an extraordinary cruise among towering icebergs. Explore the historic Inuit fishing village of Sermermiut, and view the Ilulissat Icefjord and its immense, calving glacier.

                    Day 11

                      Uummannaq

                      In 1972, Uummannaq was the site of Greenland’s most remarkable archaeological find when an astounding collection of preserved mummies dating back to 1475 was discovered among the remains of an old Inuit settlement. The mummies were featured on the cover of the February 1985 issue of National Geographic magazine.

                      Day 12

                        Baffin Bay

                        Head up to the Bridge to keep watch for marine life.

                        Days 13-22

                          Exploring the Northwest Passage

                          Your ultimate ice ship, National Geographic Explorer, navigates through the quintessential Northwest Passage—following nature’s path, dependent on ice and weather conditions. Explore the ice-choked channels and glacier-carved islands that stretch for hundreds of miles—a stunning display of raw geology. Take your cues from nature: following wildlife, stopping for hikes on the tundra, and dropping anchor in a beautiful fjord or an iceberg-strewn bay to kayak or explore by Zodiac. You may encounter ringed seals, arctic foxes, musk oxen, walruses and polar bears, as well as beluga and bowhead whales, and perhaps even the rare narwhal. Learn about the Inuit peoples who have hunted and fished here for thousands of years. And you’ll hear heroic stories of the early explorers: Roald Amundsen, John Ross, William Edward Parry, and James Clark Ross among others.

                          Day 23

                            Kugluktuk / Disembark / Edmonton

                            After breakfast, disembark in Kugluktuk and fly to Edmonton where you will overnight at an included hotel.

                            Day 24

                              Edmonton / Return Home

                              This morning after breakfast transfer to the airport for your independent flights home.
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                              Places
                              Arctic, North America, Europe, Iceland, Canada, Beechey Island, Uummannaq, Ilulissat, Devon Island, Nuuk, Kugluktuk, Edmonton, Reykjavik, Disko Bay, Nanortalik, Qaqortoq, Sisimiut, Ivittuut, Flatey Island, Baffin Bay
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                              Fare Includes:
                              All accommodations aboard ships or in hotels per itinerary or similar, all meals and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship, meals on land as indicated, air transportation where indicated as included, shore excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees, special access permits, transfers to and from group flights, use of snorkeling equipment and wet suits, use of kayaks (where available), gratuities (except to ship’s crew), taxes and service charges, services of a ship physician on most voyages, and services of your expedition staff.

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