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Northern Lights in Greenland

Into the Northwest Passage

Example 14 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Albatros
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Begin your journey in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. Cruise to the Inuit land of Nunavut on Baffin Island to visit several small settlements and learn about everyday life for the people who have called this harsh region home for generations. As the ship continues toward the entrance to the Northwest Passage, keep on the lookout for polar bears, narwhal and the numerous bowhead whales feeding off Baffin Island's coast. Next return to Greenland, visiting Qaanaaq, the northernmost town in Greenland. Navigate further down the west coast to Upernavik, Uummannaq and Ilulissat before returning to Kangerlussuaq. This expedition voyage encompasses the wide range of the highlights of the Arctic region, from the stunning scenery to uniquely adapted wildlife to distinctive cultures.
First views of Baffin IslandRugged mountains of GreenlandColorful homes in GreenlandHouses of GreenlandOne of Greenland's many glaciersNorthern Lights in Greenland
Highlights
  • Photograph birds and wildlife in their stunning natural habitat
  • Marvel at Ilulissat Icefjord, where most north Atlantic icebergs originate
  • Travel to Greenland, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories in one sailing
  • Learn about Inuit communities, culture, and worldview first hand
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Kangerlussuaq | Embark

Board a chartered flight in Reykjavik bound for Kangerlussuaq in Greenland. Upon arrival to Kangerlussuaq (Søndre Strømfjord), transfer to the small port located west of the airport, where your ship will be anchored. After the mandatory safety drill, enjoy a dinner as Ocean Atlantic ‘sets sail’ through the 160-kilometer Kangerlussuaq fjord.

Day 2: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enjoy a day at sea while the ship is heads across Davis Strait to Baffin Island in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. During the crossing, there are good opportunities to relax in the ship's library, participate in the series of lectures held by Albatros Expeditions’ lecturers, and look for seabirds and whales on the course to the southwest.
Onboard lecturers will make inspiring and enriching presentations about John Davis, Canada's and Greenland’s past history, and the unique polar wildlife, nature and climatology. 

The west coast of Greenland is favored by mild waters of the Gulf Stream, whereas the Baffin Island current along Baffin Island's shores is cold. The officers on the bridge will keep an eye out for icebergs flowing down "Iceberg Alley" from the big glaciers in Greenland and Arctic Canada. 

Day 3: Qikiqtarjuaq, Baffin Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Overnight the ship has approached Cape Dyer, where the United States established one of their many DEW (Distant Early Warning) stations that surround the Arctic continental American. Cape Dyer itself is a towering edge towards the Davis Strait of about 800-meter elevation. The cliff and the station could very well be your first view of Arctic Canada (if you’re awake!)

Like its Greenlandic named counterpart Qeqertarsuaq, Qikiqtarjuaq means “the big island.” The town, with around 600 inhabitants, lies on an island outside of Baffin’s east coast. The area is known for many whales, and the Bowhead whale (also known as the Greenland right whale or Arctic whale) which is only found in polar waters, is often observed in congregations here.

Day 4: Isabella Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Follow the Baffin Island east coast further north to Isabella Bay, which is designated a Bowhead whale sanctuary. If you haven’t had any sightings yet, the chances are very good with hundreds of whales feeding here each summer. The Ninginganiq marine habitat around Isabella Bay is a protected National Wildlife Area. The Inuktitut word "Ninginganiq" translates roughly into "the place where fog sits," so keep a watchful eye for the excitingly abundant fauna through the weather.
 

Day 5: Sam Ford Fjord

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The sheer magnitude of vertical rocks on each side of the Sam Ford Fjord make it worth a side step. For many rock climbers, these steep granite walls are pilgrimage objects. For those less inclined to scaling cliffs in cold climates, the natural beauty of the fjord and the dark waters that are home to narwhals and seals provide plenty of attraction. The isolated fjord was created by glaciers and some of the cliffs rise to 1500 meters above sea level. In this amazing wilderness area, you are also likely to spot many migratory birds.

Day 6: Pond Inlet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Pond Inlet, which in the local Inuit language is named Mittimatalik, is a town of 1600 inhabitants, most of whom are Inuit. Take a stroll through the town and notice the building styles and culture, and compare these to what you see later in Greenland. 

The polar Arctic climate allows for only short summers. Still, visitors come here to experience the spectacular views of mountains, glaciers and icebergs floating along.

After the visit, head back to the ship for lunch and head north through the Eclipse Sound dividing Baffin Island and Bylot Island. 

Day 7: Lancaster Sound

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today cruise further north into the gateway to the Northwest Passage, Lancaster Sound. Depending on the ice situation and the weather, the ship will make its way into the entrance of the passage. The idea of a short cut through the North West to the Pacific Ocean was alive for hundreds of years before it was finally deemed too difficult for regular commercial use. A few icebreaking tanker ships from Canada's northern oil fields are the only commercial ships navigating the route. 

During the day, cruise along the eastern coast of Devon, which is the largest uninhabited island in the world. Continue north toward Ellesmere Island, which is the third largest island in Arctic Canada. All migrations of the Inuit to Greenland have crossed over Ellesmere Island and Smith Sound. The course will break east and set straight for Greenland’s western coast.

Smith Sound and its northern continuation, the Kennedy Channel, have strong currents, acting as an outlet for polar pack ice and icebergs from the Arctic Ocean. The bridge officers will of course keep a vigilant watch as the ship approaches Greenland.

Day 8: Qaanaaq

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Spend a day visiting Qaanaaq, the northernmost town in Greenland and one of the more isolated communities in the world. Until modern times, yearlong sea ice and plenty of calving glaciers into the bay isolated North Greenland, and it was only through the adventurous dogsledding expeditions and tireless work of Knud Rasmussen and his friends at the beginning of the 20th century that the Thule Inuit came into contact with the Greenlanders further south. The language of the Northern Inuit is still distinctive from the rest of Greenland.

Day 9: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After leaving Qaanaaq in the evening, pass the American Thule Base as well as Meteor Island and settlement of Savissivik during the night. 

Day 10: Upernavik

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Upernavik territory covers an area nearly the size of Great Britain. The town itself and the ten smaller settlements in the area are inhabited by about 3000 people, mostly Inuit hunters. Upernavik is home to the world’s northernmost open-air museum with well-preserved buildings from the colonial period. Today, Upernavik is a mix between the hunter culture of old and the new wave, with dog sleighs being used alongside modern snowmobiles: even this far north, modernity is catching up.

The city itself was founded as a Danish colonial station, but the surrounding areas and small villages history go back more than 4500 years, when groups of hunters and gatherers travelled along the coasts of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland.

Anchor and make a landing to visit the little city and the museum.

Leaving Upernavik behind, pass Svartenhuk's darkly colored hills and keep a lookout for the whales these waters are famous for.

Day 11: Uummannaq

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
When you wake up this morning, you will find yourself almost 600km north of the Arctic Circle, and in one of Greenland’s most beautiful and sunny regions. The ship has reached Uummannaq, situated on a small island. Uummannaq means "place where the heart is," and the impressive 1,175m heart-shaped mountain that gave the town its name dominates the view. Explore the city before heading back to the ship for lunch.

Day 12: Ilulissat | Disko bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Ilulissat is one of the most scenic towns in Greenland. The name simply means "icebergs" in Greenlandic, and the town’s nickname is - quite rightly - "the Iceberg Capital of the World."

Just south of town, Ilulissat Icefjord expels gigantic icebergs into the cold waters of Disko Bay. These impressive frozen structures are born some 30km deeper into the fjord by the enormous Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier. This 10km wide glacier is the most productive outside of Antarctica. Whereas most glaciers only calve at a rate of approximately a meter (3.2 ft) per day, the Ilulissat glacier moves forward at a rate of 25 meters per day, producing more than 10% of all icebergs in Greenland. This, along with the fjord’s unforgettable scenery, have secured the Icefjord a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

During the more than 250 years that have passed since the establishment of Ilulissat, the town has steadily flourished. Today, Ilulissat is Greenland’s third largest town, with more than 4,500 inhabitants. The town is welcoming and lively with a wide range of cultural attractions, according to Greenlandic standards. The legendary Arctic explorer, Knud Rasmussen was born in Ilulissat.

During the visit you will have the opportunity to join a boat trip to the Ice fjord (optional excursion). The journey takes about two and a half hours in total, a great opportunity to take a closer look at the amazing ice-sculpted scenery. If a hike or a trip by boat does not present enough excitement, there is also an opportunity to arrange a flight excursion in fixed-wing aircraft over the Ice fjord (optional excursion).

*Please note the boat and flight excursions to the Ice fjord are not included in the general tour price. Contact a Trip Planner for more details.*

In the evening, cruise southward, leaving lovely Disko Bay behind.

Day 13: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Spend today at sea getting glimpses of sea birds migrating south.  

Onboard lecturers will make inspiring and enriching presentations about Greenland’s history, nature, wildlife and climatology.  This evening, enjoy the captain’s farewell drink and a slideshow with all the memories and highlights from the voyage made by the onboard Photographer. 

Day 14: Kangerlussuaq | Disembark

During the night, the ship will have completed passage through the 160-kilometer (100 mile) Kangerlussuaq Fjord. After breakfast aboard the ship, bid farewell to the ship's staff and take a Zodiac shuttle to shore.

Your arctic adventure and time in Greenland concludes as you board the chartered flight from Kangerlussuaq to Reykjavik.

Ship/Hotel

Ocean Albatros

Ocean Albatros BBQ Deck
Ocean Albatros Fitness
Ocean Albatros Pool Deck

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
Ocean Albatros Cat GOcean Albatros Cat G
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Category G
Single Stateroom (Porthole) - 14 m2 Standard single Stateroom onboard, located on deck 3. This is a conveniently located State Room close to the Mudroom which facilitates access to the Zodiacs during embarkation and disembarkation to begin your adventures.
Ocean Albatros Cat FOcean Albatros Cat F
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Category F
Triple Stateroom (Porthole) - 22 m2 There are four Triple Staterooms on board Ocean Albatros featuring portholes, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms. Triple staterooms are normally with twin beds however a double bed can be accommodated.
Ocean Albatros Cat EOcean Albatros Cat E
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Category E
French Balcony Stateroom - 14 m2 The French Balcony Suite is a standard Stateroom with a French balcony, a double bed, floor-to-ceiling windows and a bathroom. All French Balcony Suites are located on Deck 7.
Ocean Albatros Cat DOcean Albatros Cat D
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Category D
Albatros Stateroom (Porthole) - 13-22 m2 The standard Stateroom on Ocean Albatros is close to the Mudroom and has quick access to the Zodiac platforms for disembarkation during landings. This is very convenient if you have more limited mobility and would like a short distance to the Zodiacs. The State Rooms are perfect for those who wish a comfortable base during their stay onboard Ocean Albatros. The standard State Rooms all have a double bed or 2 single beds and a bathroom. The State Rooms are located on deck 3 and 4.
Ocean Albatros Cat COcean Albatros Cat B Balcony
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Category C
Balcony Stateroom - 18-22 m2 The most abundant type of Stateroom on Ocean Albatros located on decks 4 & 6. They have a balcony, a double bed or two single beds, a bathroom and a sofa that can be used as a bed for a child if traveling as a family. If you desire to book two staterooms with connecting doors, this is also a possibility within this category.
Ocean Albatros Cat COcean Albatros Cat C Balcony
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Category Csp
Superior Balcony Stateroom (48) app. 24 sqm, including Balcony.
Ocean Albatros Cat COcean Albatros Cat C Balcony
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Category Cxl
Grand Balcony Stateroom (4) app. 30 sqm, including Balcony.
Ocean Albatros Cat BOcean Albatros Cat B Balcony
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Category B
Balcony Suite approximately - 25-32 m2 Ocean Albatros has 6 Balcony Suites on board located on decks 4 & 6. The suites feature double or twin beds and a seating area, bathroom, and a large balcony. The balcony suites can host 2 people.
Ocean Albatros Cat AOcean Albatros Cat A Balcony
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Category A
Junior suite - 39 m2 The 4 junior suites aboard Ocean Albatros have a great view from their location high up on the ship on deck 7. The suites feature a double bed or twin beds, sofa bed, seating area, a spacious bathroom and a private balcony. The suite can accommodate up to 3 people.
Ocean Albatros Premium SuiteOcean Albatros Premium Suite
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Premium Suite (Freydis Suite)
Premium suite - 45 m2 – FS (Freydis Suite) The second largest of all the staterooms on board the Ocean Albatros is the Premium Suite. This 2-bedroom suite features a double bed (or twin beds), a sofa bed, table and chair, a balcony and a spacious bathroom. Located on deck.4. This category is available upon request. Please refer to Albatros Expeditions for price.
Ocean Albatros Family SuiteOcean Albatros Family Suite
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Family Suite (Brynhilde Suite)
Family suite - 52 m2 – BS (Brynhilde Suite) The largest of all the staterooms on board the Ocean Albatros is the Premium Suite. The Double-Bedroom, Family Suite is going to be located on Deck 7, featuring two interconnecting French Balcony Suites, accommodating up to 5 people on two double beds and a sofa bed. This category is available upon request. Please refer to Albatros Expeditions for price.

Notes

Kayaking activities available on both Arctic and Antarctic voyages. 
Although kayaking opportunities are possible in most locations during each excursion in the Antarctic region, weather, sea, and ice conditions will dictate the when and where to ensure your safety and improve your experience.
In order to sign up for this activity, you need to have previous kayaking experience and attend a mandatory safety briefing by the Kayak Master. The cost is $345/person per outing and it can only be booked onboard.

Possible shared staterooms for same-gender, single travelers: Category C (Balcony Stateroom) and Category F (Triple Porthole Stateroom)
Included
  • 13 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 13 Dinners
  • 13 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Welcome and Farewell Cocktails   
  • Digital visual journal link after voyage, including voyage log, gallery, species list and more.
  • English-speaking expedition team
  • Information briefings and lectures by expedition team
  • Parkas and Boots in assorted sizes, suitable for shore landings
  • Special photo workshop
  • Transfer to/from Kangerlussuaq Port 
  • Charter flight Reykjavik-Kangerlussuaq-Reykjavik
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Beverages (other than coffee and tea)
  • Anything not mentioned under 'inclusions'
  • Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals not on board the ship
  • Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 14 per person per day)
  • Emergency Evacuation insurance of at least $200,000 per passenger is required. Please bring a copy of your insurance onboard.
  • Kayaking - Offered on all ships and all trips if conditions allow. This can be booked onboard only.

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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