Reykjavik, IcelandEmbark the Silver Explorer and depart on your exciting 13-day expedition – “Expedition Greenland”. After settling into your suite and setting sail, meet the members of your Expedition Team in The Theater and attend the first of many memorable dinners in The Restaurant.
At Sea Crossing the Denmark StraitSpend the day crossing the Denmark Strait, which connects the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. Meet some of your fellow explorers, attend a Zodiac briefing, and become acquainted with the luxurious amenities found on board the Silver Explorer. Tonight, you are invited to attend a special Welcome Aboard cocktail party whereat the Captain will introduce his senior officers and various members of the crew.
Skoldungen FjordCruising along Greenland’s rugged eastern coast, the Silver Explorer explores the Skoldungen Fjord. Spend much of the day out on deck to take in the enchanting 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 you can easily see the retreating state of the Thyrms Glacier. Here have your first Zodiac cruise of the journey, allowing you to explore this picturesque setting from a unique, up-close perspective. On your return journey, exiting this U-shaped fjord, join your Expedition Team out on deck to marvel at the spectacular scenery.
Cruise & Explore Prince Christian Sound, GreenlandThe plan for today is to explore one of South Greenland’s most dramatic natural features: Prince Christian Sound. The water is placid and the crisp scent of ice fills the air. On either side, waterfalls stream down sharp, wrinkled mountainsides as your captain 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.
Nanortalik & Uunartoq Island, Greenland
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 Explorer will drop anchor at Uunartoq. Since the days of the Norse, the hot springs here have been renown for their healing effects. Take this opportunity to relax and unwind in steaming waters. Remember to pack swimwear!
This morning arrive at the picturesque harbour town of Qaqortoq (pronounced ka-kor-tok). The town’s name translates to ‘white place’, but today, instead of snow, admire the hillsides of colorful houses painted in bright primary shades. A local guide 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 Explorer 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. Together visit these historical ruins from the time of the Vikings.
Qassiarsuk & Ittileq, Greenland
Encircled by a wealth of Norse ruins, Qassiarsuk (or Brattahlid) is where you will begin your day. Qassiarsuk is the newer, Greenlandic name for this small village. Brattahlid is the older, Danish name. Here tour the foundation remains of the manor house of Erik the Red founded Greenland after being banished from Iceland and Norway for murder. Also visit the site of the first Christian church ever built in North America, 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.
Back aboard the Silver Explorer, enjoy lunch as the ship cruises to Ittileq. From your landing site, walk the 4 km / 2.5 mi to Igaliku where you will 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.
At SeaGather in The Theater to hear fascinating tales of adventure or to learn about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Your knowledgeable Lecture Staff members are experts in a variety of scientific fields and their informative topics will prepare you for the many adventures that lie ahead. Binoculars and camera in hand, head out on deck to watch for marine mammals and to identify the seabirds that will follow your passage.
Nuuk, GreenlandThis morning arrive in Greenland’s first town (1728) and current capital, Nuuk, which means “the heartland”. Your 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 have the fantastic opportunity to see the famous Qilakitsoq mummies.
Sisimiut, GreenlandLocated just north of the Arctic Circle, Sisimiut is the northernmost town in Greenland where the port remains free of ice in the winter. Yet it is also the southernmost town where there exists enough snow and ice to drive a dogsled in winter and spring. In Sisimiut, traveling by sledge has been the primary means of winter transportation for centuries. Today meet a sledge dog team and their owners, who will tell us all about sledding and how the Greenlandic sledge dog has been bred to be amongst the strongest working dogs in the world.
Ilulissat, GreenlandJust after sunrise, be out on deck to see the northern hemisphere’s most active glacier – Jakobshavn – often surrounded by icebergs in all shapes and sizes and in varying shades of white and turquoise. Known as the birthplace of icebergs, the Ilulissat Icefjord produces nearly 20 million tons of ice each day. The town of Ilulissat is known for its long periods of calm and settled weather, but the climate is a bit colder due to its proximity to the fjord. While here, have the opportunity to see a demonstration of ancient fishing methods and enjoy some locally caught and prepared fish. During your guided walking tour of Ilulissat, visit the local history museum. The afternoon tour continues via fishing boat, as your captain navigates amongst the many icebergs at the fjord’s entrance. Alternatively, guests have the option to purchase an exciting helicopter excursion to see the magnificent Jakobshavn Icefjord by air.
At SeaParticipate in discussions and onboard activities led by the Expedition Team, relax in one of the lounges with that book you’ve been meaning to read, and meet up with new friends for cocktails. On board Silver Explorer, a variety of diversions are available, including educational lectures, spa treatments, a workout in the Fitness Center, and, of course, exquisite dining experiences. Before turning in for the night, take a stroll on deck to take in the solitude of the vast sea and sky.
Kangerlussuaq, GreenlandAfter breakfast, disembark the Silver Explorer and transfer to the airport for your group charter flight to Copenhagen. (not included in cruise fare)