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Greenland Odyssey

Greenland and Iceland - Example 17 Day Cruise aboard Sylvia Earle
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Explore Greenland, the largest island in the world, and marvel at its jagged peaks, glaciers, ancient rocks, and diverse wildlife. On this 10-day Greenland Odyssey Cruise from Reykjavik to Toronto aboard Sylvia Earle, hike through the arctic tundra, Zodiac-cruise along stunning sounds, and witness icebergs form and whales feeding. Sail through Prince Christian Sound and visit Hvalsey's Viking ruins. West Greenland, the country's most developed region, is home to Nuuk and the UNESCO-listed Ilulissat Icefjord.
Stunning landscapes in Prince Christian Sound
Highlights
  • Visit 55 million-year-old unique layered Skaergaard Intrusion at Kangerlussuaq Fjord
  • Sail through Prince Christian Sound surrounded by mountains and glaciers.
  • Take a Zodiac cruise to glacier fronts and look for diving whales.
  • Admire the stunning Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Visit National Museum in Nuuk to see 545-year-old Qilakitsoq mummy exhibit
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: Arrive in Reykjavik

Having made your way to Aberdeen, you will be transferred to your group hotel. Reykjavik, the capital and largest city of Iceland, is located on the coast. It boasts the National and Saga museums, showcasing Iceland's Viking history, and the iconic Hallgrimskirkja church and Perlan glass dome with views of the sea and hills. Don't miss the geothermal Blue Lagoon spa near Grindavik, a prime example of the island's volcanic activity.

The remainder of your time is at leisure. All meals today are at your own expense. 

Day 2: Embarkation Day

Today, you follow the path of one of Reykjavik’s most popular seismic attractions – the Golden Circle. Stops along your route include Thingvellir National Park, accredited as the site of Iceland’s first parliament. A shaky start to the new nation, it is also the point where Eurasia and North American tectonic plates meet as an open fissure. Your next stop is Gullfoss waterfall. This impressive water feature tumbles 34 meters into the Hvítá River, offering a popular photographic opportunity. Next, you explore the geothermal fields and geysers for which Iceland is famous. The variety of hot springs and bubbling pools are mesmerizing as the sheer capacity of water and steam erupting from the ground makes you ponder how much power is beneath your feet. Late afternoon, you return to Reykjavik to board Sylvia Earle.

After boarding, there’s time to settle into your cabin before your important safety briefings before you ‘throw the lines’ to begin your Greenland adventure. This evening, meet your expedition team and crew at the Captain’s Welcome Dinner. 

Day 3: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Crossing the Greenland Sea, you sail through the Polar Basin’s nutrient-rich waters, searching for encroaching pack ice, fin whales, and seabirds. Your team of experts entertains with informative talks about sea ice, glaciers, European arctic plants and animals, and epic tales of early explorers such as Nansen, Andreé, and Scoresby.  

Day 4: Kangertitivatsiaq Fjord

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Popular among skilled rock climbers, Kangertitivatsiaq Fjord is home to spectacular mountain peaks and essential big walls that attract daring climbers. The 26-kilometer fjord is filled with glaciers including the Glacier of France. It’s an ideal place for ship cruising, Zodiac excursions, and discovery hikes.

Day 5: Tasiilaq, Sermilik Fjord

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Overlooking King Oscar’s Harbour, Tasiilaq (formerly Ammassalik) is east Greenland’s largest town with a population of approximately 2,000 inhabitants. Here, green meadows contrast starkly with countless icebergs that often clog the waterways at nearby Sermilik Fjord, the largest in southeast Greenland, where you Zodiac-cruise and kayak to search for fin and humpback whales and photograph the spectacular scenery.  

Day 6: Skjoldungen Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Continue south along Greenland’s King Frederik VI Coast, always on the lookout for whales, especially the rare sperm whale that is occasionally seen here. Weaving through the narrow channels of Skjoldungen Fjord we land at the end of the fjord for a walk along a glacial river, across a tundra valley covered in northern willow and blooming pink wildflowers. Kayakers can paddle across the front of a tidewater glacier, and search for harp seals, ivory gulls, and whales. 

Back on board, enjoy the stunning surroundings with a drink in hand basking in the soft light of the setting sun.  

Day 7: Prince Christian Sound

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Prince Christian Sound connects the Labrador Sea with the Irminger Sea. Approximately 100 km / 60 mi long, and, in parts, as narrow as 500-m wide, the fjord is flanked by jagged mountain peaks, some reaching over 2,200 m (7,200 ft) high, with countless glaciers coming all the way down to the sea. You slow-cruise through the sound to enjoy the spectacular scenery. Icebergs sculpted into fantastic shapes often block the entrance to the sound, a great spectacle for photography. 

At Kangersuneq Qinngorleq located at the northern end of the fjord, a glacier front is ideal for exploration by Zodiac or kayak. in the southern section of the sound, you pass a small settlement named Appilatoq, which means red in Greenlandic, after the red mountains rising above the town. Appilatoq is well-known in Greenland for the jagged mountain peaks that surround it—a delight for photographers.

Day 8: Tasermiut Fjord | Klosterdal | Nanortalik

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The towering, jagged mountains that surround Tasermiut Fjord is why it’s often referred to as the ‘Patagonia of the north’. At Klosterdal (Monastery Valley), you are surrounded by three giant mountains - Napasorsuaq, Ketil, and Nalumasortoq. Here you can walk to a Norse ruin, hike along the valley, or explore the bay by kayak. 

Continue to Nanortalik, the southernmost town in Greenland, located on an island of the same name. Its name derives from the West Greenlandic word ‘Nanoq’ meaning ‘the place where bears pass through,’ describing the polar bears that were once seen floating past on sea ice. Deep fjords, woodlands and grasslands, and rugged mountainside cliffs, some over 1,000 m /3,280 ft, attract enthusiastic climbers from around the world. 

On arrival, you’ll receive a warm welcome from the local community who have opened up their town for you to explore. Nanortalik is a town that’s known for their love of singing and you’ll be treated to choir performance. 

Visit Nanortalik Church, a wooden, Danish Lutheran church built in 1916 and is currently the only church serving the Nanortalik congregation. The church is in the old colonial quarter of the town. Next to the church is a landmark boulder called the ‘Knud Rasmussen Stone,’ named after Greenland’s most famous citizen, Dr. Knud Rasmussen, an explorer, and ethnologist. 

Day 9: Hvalsey, Qaqortoq

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Hvalsey Church is the best-preserved Norse ruin in Greenland. ‘Hvalsey’ is old Norse for ‘Whale Island.’ Christianity arrived in Greenland around 1,000 AD and gradually churches began to be built. Late medieval documents indicate there were up to 14 parish churches in the Eastern Settlement. Hvalsey itself was built in the early 14th century, but it was not the first church built on this site.

After exploring Hvalsey ruins, continue to Qaqortoq, where Zodiacs shuttle you ashore. Qaqortoq is the capital of south Greenland. With a history dating back to 1775, the town offers various cultural activities and attractions including an outdoor art project called “Man and Stone,’ which features stone carvings scattered throughout the town created by local artists. Qaqortoq is Greenland’s southernmost town and is the administrative centre of the south Greenland. Built from yellow stone, and dating back to 1804, the building that now houses the Qaqortoq Museum originally belonged to the town’s blacksmith. Qaqortoq’s landmark building is the Church of Our Saviour. This large wooden Lutheran church, known as the ‘Red Church’, is in the historic part of town, near the harbour. 

Day 10: Paamiut

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located on a peninsula with an impressive view of the surrounding mountains, the small settlement of Paamiut has existed since the mid-17th century, and the name of the town means 'the people who live at the mouth' referring to the nearby fjord. The town is home to a beautiful and ornate wooden church, which is remarkable when Greenland completely lacks trees that can be used for construction. The local museum is worth a visit, and features exhibits of local handicrafts and photos from the whaling period. The town and surrounding area are best known for the resident population of white-tailed eagles, while minke, fin, humpback, and orca are common visitors to this stretch of coast. Arctic char is the most commonly caught fish in these waters and depending on the luck of the day’s catch by local fisherman, you may enjoy a meal of freshly caught Arctic char for the evening meal. 

Day 11: Nuuk

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, the world’s northernmost capital, lies at the mouth of its very own fjord system on the country’s mid-west coast. On a sightseeing tour Nuuk, you’ll see charming old buildings including Greenland’s colorfully painted houses and the award-winning City Hall. The small but fascinating National Museum features a unique ethnographical collection of artifacts of Inuit life, including the famous 545-year-old Qilakitsoq mummies, accidentally discovered by hikers in 1972. 

Day 12: Sisimiut

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Approximately 4,500 years ago, the Saqqaq culture arrived from Canada and settled in the area. They lived here for approximately 2,000 years but mysteriously disappeared. The Dorset culture arrived around 500 AD and remained until the 1200s until they were replaced by the Thule culture, and today, most of the population of Sisimiut are descendants of the Thule culture.

Located above the Arctic Circle, Sisimiut enjoys experiencing 24 hours of daylight during the summer months. As Greenland’s second largest town, Sisimiut is the only place in Greenland that has an open-air public swimming pool, and the town is famous for its old blue church featuring a whale jaw gate. The town’s small museum features interesting exhibits explaining local history and life in Greenland. 

The local kayak club is the oldest in Greenland and some of the members are among the best in Greenland. You will be treated to a show featuring traditional kayaks.

Day 13: Ilulissat

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Known as the ‘birthplace of icebergs’, this region boasts some of the most splendidly-shaped icebergs found anywhere on earth. Hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Icefjord and stand in awe of its immensity. Sermeq Kujalleq, also known as Jakobshavn Glacier, is the most productive glacier, not only in Greenland but in the Northern Hemisphere. It produces 20 million tonnes of ice each day, all floating into the Ilulissat Icefjord and Disko Bay. Conditions permitting, enjoy a Zodiac cruise at the mouth of the fjord and kayak through sea ice and icebergs. 
 

Day 14: Eqip Sermia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located 80 kilometres (49.7 miles) north of Ilulissat, Eqi Glacier is accessible only by sea, and is one of Greenland’s most active glaciers. Although smaller than Sermeq Kujalleq glacier in Ilulissat, Eqi Glacier is more accessible, and if sea-ice conditions permit, we’ll Zodiac cruise within safe distance of the glacier front where we see seals floating on bergy bits in front of the glacier while eagles can sometimes be seen soaring above. Several hikes are possible in the area, where you may encounter grouse, Arctic hare and small Arctic fox.

Day 15: Eternity Fjord

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Evighedsfjorden, or Eternity Fjord, is one of the more spectacular fjord complexes in west Greenland due to its forested landscape. Hike through a forested valley, witness hills become towering snow-capped mountains as countless glaciers pour down from sheer cliff walls. Occasionally, the thunderous sound of a calving glacier breaks the silence in a place where you are unlikely to see another soul.

Day 16: Disembark in Kangerlussuaq, Fly to Toronto

  • 1 Breakfast
Today you’ll feast on a taste of Greenland at the lakeside Roklubben restaurant where you enjoy a BBQ lunch, before joining your guided tour to Reindeer Glacier having disembarked for the final time at the township of Kangerlussuaq. Greenland's ‘ice sheet’ covers 80% of the surface of the country. Reindeer Glacier, which stands as a 60-meter-high ice wall in some places, offers visitors a clear contrast between land and ice. You travel on a tundra coach, looking for reindeer and musk oxen, while you enjoy some stories of the area from our local guide. Once at the glacier, you will walk parallel to its edge to discover its many moods and angles.

In the late afternoon, you return to Kangerlussuaq airport to board our charter flight to Canada to Toronto for an overnight stay at our airport hotel. 

Day 17: Depart Toronto

  • 1 Breakfast
After check-out, continue your onward journey.

Ship/Hotel

Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle
Sylvia Earle Observation Deck
Sylvia Earle Library

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Greg Mortimer-Aurora Stateroom Triple
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Aurora Stateroom Triple
22.67m2 (244ft2) - There are two Aurora Stateroom Triple cabins featuring portholes, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms.
Sylvia Earle Aurora Stateroom Superior
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Aurora Stateroom Superior
19.9m2 - 20.8m2(214.2ft2 - 223.9ft2) - Located on Deck 7, the Staterooms feature french balconies, floor to ceiling windows, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area. Perfect for polar adventurers who travel with plenty of gear.
Sylvia Earle Balcony Stateroom C
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Balcony Stateroom C
19.5m2 - 28.7m2 (209.9ft² - 308.9ft2) - 11 Balcony Stateroom C cabins - most economical, fitted with all the necessities and comfortable for up to 2 people. These cabins are scattered throughout Deck 6.
Sylvia Earle Balcony Stateroom B
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Balcony Stateroom B
19.5m2 - 28.7m2 (209.9ft² - 308.9ft2) - 17 Balcony Stateroom B Cabins - standard cabin, many fitted with interconnecting features making them great for families or groups. These cabins are located at the fore and aft of Deck 4 and 6.
Greg Mortimer
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Balcony Stateroom A
19.5m² - 28.7m² (209.9ft² - 308.9ft²)- 23 Balcony Stateroom A cabins - premium cabin, and the most abundant on board. These cabins are located in preferred positions on Deck 4 and 6 which provides easy access between Decks via the internal stairs or elevator.
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Balcony Stateroom Superior
29.2m2 - 35.2m2 (314.3ft2 - 378.9ft2) - Located on Deck 4 and 6, the Staterooms feature floor to ceiling windows, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area. Some of these rooms are equipped with wheelchair accessible bathrooms.
Sylvia Earle Junior Suite
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Junior Suite
Up to 41.6m2 (447.8ft2)- 4 Junior Suites take in some impressive scenery from their vantage points on Deck 7. When you aren't enjoying a landing, you can relax in the suites' separate lounge area, or just watch the world float by from the private balcony.
Greg Mortimer-Captain's Suite
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Captain’s Suite
43.8m2 (471.5 ft2) - Captain's Suite - the largest of all our rooms, will take you to the polar regions in ultimate style and comfort. Complete with large lounge area, balcony, walk-in wardrobe and en-suite, you'll need to get in early to secure this suite.
Included
  • 15 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 14 Dinners
  • 16 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Beer, House Wine, and Soft Drinks with Dinner 
  • Educational Lectures and Guiding Services from Expedition Team 
  • Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consult)
  • Port Surcharges, Permits, and Landing Fees
  • Captain's Welcome and Farewell drinks including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages.
  • A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
  • Complimentary use of Muck boots during the voyage
  • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
  • All airport transfers mentioned in the itinerary.
  • On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
  • One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Reykjavik on Day 1
  • Shared coach transfer from airport to hotel on Day 1
  • Full-day Golden Circle tour on Day 2
  • Charter flight: Kangerlussuaq-Toronto on Day 16
  • Sightseeing in Kangerlussuaq (time permitting) and transfer to the airport on Day 16
  • One night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Toronto on Day 16
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Passport and Applicable Visa Expenses
  • Airport Departure Tax - Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges
  • Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
  • Optional activity surcharges
  • Reciprocity and Vaccination Charges
  • Passengers traveling with Aurora Expeditions are required to be covered by a reputable travel insurance policy that includes baggage loss, cancellation & curtailment of the holiday, medical, accident, and repatriation/emergency evacuation coverage worth at least $250,000 USD.
  • Add-on activities should be reserved at the time of the booking.

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