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Colorful homes in Greenland

When the Vikings Discovered America 2020

Example 14 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Atlantic
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Join a spectacular expedition cruise from Iceland to Greenland, following the ancient Norse route of explorer Leif Eriksson. Set sail from Reykjavik, Iceland and follow the path of vikings along the southern coast of Greenland. Visit the farm of Eric the Red and the church in Bratthalið before venturing further toward Newfoundland until reaching L’Anse aux Meadows on Newfoundland. This is Vinland, as the Norse Sagas so dramatically described. As Ocean Atlantic continued onward to St. John's and St. Pierre, watch for pods of whales . Finally, disembark in Nova Scotia, and explore this Canadian island and province to conclude your travels. 

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Reykjavík, Iceland | Embark
Days 2-3 : At Sea
Day 4 : Prince Christian Sound
Day 5 : South Greenland | Hvalsey Church | Qaqortoq
Day 6 : South Greenland | Erik the Red’s Brattahlíð
Days 7-8 : At Sea
Day 9 : St. Anthony | L'Anse aux Meadows
Days 10-11 : St. John's
Day 12 : Saint Pierre and Miquelon
Day 13 : Nova Scotia | Louisbourg
Day 14 : Halifax | Disembark

Highlights

  • Witness the awe-inspiring flukes of humpback whales as they breach the sea
  • Look out for enormous glaciers, pointed mountain peaks and rich bird cliffs
  • Walk through the Qassiarsuk where Erik the Red built his farm, Brattahlíð
  • Visit The Citadel, a National Historic Site in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Ship

Ocean Atlantic

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Colorful homes in Greenland Whale Watching off the coast of Reykjavik in Iceland One of Greenland's many glaciers Viking settlement, Anse-aux-Meadows Street view of old town Reykjavik Halifax, Canada Aerial View of Halifax Skyline Exploring Greenland

Day 1 Reykjavík, Iceland | Embark

In the afternoon, board the Ocean Atlantic in Reykjavík and set the course westbound for Greenland.

Day 2-3 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
The lecturers onboard make inspiring and enriching presentations about both Iceland and Greenland’s past history and about nature, wildlife and climatology.

Day 4 Prince Christian Sound

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Kap Farvel, or Cape Farewell, is renowned not only as Greenland's southernmost point but also for its infamous, although mostly seasonal, gale-force winds.

The Captain will opt for a far more comfortable and more spectacular route, cruising via the inside passage through the Prince Christian Sound, a 60 km long waterway, from the Atlantic in the east to the Davis Strait and the fjord-lands of South West Greenland.

Day 5 South Greenland | Hvalsey Church | Qaqortoq

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As a small sheltered enclave, South Greenland's blue fjords and green mountains are enclosed by the ubiquitous ice cap. Wherever you look, the chalk-white glare is felt from the ice, which rises up to two thousand meters to the north and east. South Greenland has it all: Icebergs, high mountains reflecting in deep blue fjords, and Greenlandic culture with beautiful towns, settlements and colorful wooden houses adhering to the hillsides. And then the 1000-year-old Norse history, created by Erik the Red's visions of a new found country with a beautiful name.

A wedding in Hvalsey Church in AD 1408 marks the last historic documentation from the Norse settlement in Greenland. The wedding guests stayed two years before returning to Iceland, and nothing was ever heard again from their relatives back in Greenland. In their heyday, the area housed several thousand of Christian souls from Cape Farewell to Nuuk, 600 km further north. The reason for their downfall is probably a significant climate deterioration that made hunting and farming difficult.
Qaqortoq / Julianehåb, the “capital” of South Greenland, is like a model of a Greenlandic town: The colorful houses embrace the busy harbor and creep up the mountainsides. In the center of the town are old colonial houses, solidly built in stone and timber. And between the old houses is the only fountain in Greenland, erected back in 1928 - a little pride of Qaqortoq.

Day 6 South Greenland | Erik the Red’s Brattahlíð

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During the early hours, Ocean Atlantic has sailed far into South Greenland through Erik Fjord.

Erik the Red came with his men and his wife Tjodhilde in 982, and it was here in what is now Qassiarsuk he built his farm Brattahlíð, “The steep grass slopes”.
Make a landing with the Zodiacs and start a walk through the village. Qassiarsuk and much of South Greenland practice farming and animal householding at the margin of what is possible. Large stables are built for the sheep during the hard winters, and you can see small cultivated fields growing potatoes and turnips. In the northern end of the village are the partially excavated ruins of stable buildings and residential areas, as well as the reconstructed church and farmhouse of Erik, Tjodhilde and their son, Leif the Lucky.

After a visit back in history, the ship steam back out of the fjord towards the open sea.

Day 7-8 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Enjoy a few days at sea, where the ship is heading for a more southerly course towards Vinland than the one used by Leif Eriksson. During the crossing, there are good opportunities to relax in the ship's library, participate in the series of lectures held by expedition leaders, or look for seabirds and whales on a course to the southwest.

The west coast of Greenland is favored by mild waters of the Gulf Stream, whereas a cold sea current runs south along Baffin Island and Labrador's shores. The officers on the bridge keeps an eye out for the icebergs, flowing down "Iceberg Alley" from the big glaciers in Greenland and Arctic Canada all the way south to Newfoundland.

Day 9 St. Anthony | L'Anse aux Meadows

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The ship reaches the Strait of Belle Isle between Labrador and the northernmost point of Newfoundland. It was here that Erik the Red's son, Leif Eriksson, arrived around the year 1000 after sailing down "Helluland" (Baffin Island) and "Markland" (Labrador), before reaching an area with lush meadows and trout-rich rivers, which he called Vinland. Here he wintered before he sailed back to Greenland. He was followed by his brothers Thorvald and Thorfinn, who brought women and livestock, and who stayed in the area for a number of years, possibly to explore the coast down to St. Lawrence Bay and Nova Scotia.

Vinland is marked on a map from the Middle Ages, and numerous researchers have sought the archaeological evidence of the settlement. It became the tenacious Norwegian archaeologist Helge Ingestad and his wife, Anne Stine Ingestad, who in 1962 found the final proof of Leif the Lucky’s discovery of America. A number of houses and finds of hearth sites, spinners and more has made L’Anse aux Meadows one of the most important archaeological sites in the world.

As Ocean Atlantic cannot anchor near L’Anse aux Meadows, sail some miles south to the small town of St. Anthony. Drive by bus the approximate 40 km north to L’Anse aux Meadows, where you may see reconstructions of Viking houses in the style of those built on Erik the Red's residence at Qassiarsuk in South Greenland.

You may return to the ship and continue the journey down the east coast of Newfoundland.

Day 10-11 St. John's

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
In the evening, the ship approaches and docks in St. John's, North America's easternmost point. For centuries, the strategically good location attracted adventurers, traders, pirates and, not least, seafarers, who created the foundation for the city's prosperity. In 1497, Italian seafarers and explorers Giovanni Caboto (also known as John Cabot) came and proclaimed the enclave to the first permanent settlement in North America. Overnight, the ships stay at the quay and you can spend the next day in town.

St. John's oozes charm. In addition to the long, picturesque history, the city offers unique architecture and cultural and nature experiences. In the narrow streets of the town center, there are a wealth of museums, galleries, historic buildings, parks, restaurants, pubs, and cozy shops. St. John’s downtown is one of the oldest trading places in North America. One of the city's main sights is Signal Hill with beautiful views of the old historic harbor town. Already in 1704, flags were hoisted on Signal Hill when ships approached - be it kind or hostile. And for centuries, the vantage point was a sore point in military disputes.

Another attraction in St. John's is Cape Spear. In Newfoundland folklore, Cape Spear is also called "the western world of the far east", and right here you are at North America's farthest point. In addition to a stunning landscape, Newfoundland's oldest lighthouse is also located here.

Day 12 Saint Pierre and Miquelon

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Off the south coast of Newfoundland are the two small islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, which together form an autonomous French territorial area. Miquelon is the largest of the two islands but is almost uninhabited. The 6,000 inhabitants of the territory live on the small island of Saint Pierre, which is only 8 kilometers on the longest side. The inhabitants speak French, have French passports and use the euro - despite the fact that their closest French neighbors in Brest live 3,800 km away. However, the affiliation has been challenged in the past, and for centuries England and France have alternately thrown out each other and taken over the islands until they finally became French in 1816.

Sail into the port of Saint Pierre and walk around the streets of the small town.

Day 13 Nova Scotia | Louisbourg

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The ship is around 150 nautical miles before reaching Nova Scotia's coast. The island was originally populated by Mi'kmaq Indians before the British established a port in 1605. Later, in particular, Scots arrived - not least for the homely-looking coastlines along Cape Breton Island.

However, it is again the French commitment to the area that you should focus on during today's landing. Reach the beautiful natural harbor of the city of Louisbourg and visit the French fortress Fort Louisbourg on the opposite bank of the bay. Here, too, England and France were battled for power in eastern Canada, and the fort changed "hands" several times during the 18th century.

In 1920, the decayed remains of the French fort were preserved and in the following years rebuilt to its original form from the 1740s. The site is set as a Canadian National Park and is now a favorite destination. There are often historical plays, war scenes or just eighteenth-century events.

After the visit, continue sailing along the south coast, the least inhabited part of the island and reaches the final destination, Halifax.

Day 14 Halifax | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Ocean Atlantic docks in one of Canada's busiest ports, and after breakfast, say your goodbye to the crew.

Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia, one of Canada's maritime provinces. Founded in 1749 and all the way up to 1905, Halifax was one of the largest British naval bases outside England. To defend Halifax, British authorities built a number of fortifications in and around this strategically important port. Despite the fact that the citadel has never been attacked, the British army and the Canadian forces crewed the present citadel right up to 1906 and again during both world wars.

Halifax is one of Canada's most important immigration ports, and for more than 1.5 million immigrants, the city was their first impression before being spread across the vast country. The Titanic's shipwreck in 1912 is also an essential part of Halifax's history. Three ships from the city helped to save survivors from the disaster, and a large part of the victims are buried in the city's cemeteries.

Ocean Atlantic

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Category G
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Category G - Single
Size 9-10 m². Cabins feature a single bed, private bathroom, and a porthole. Located on Columbus Deck (Deck 4).
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Category F
Size 18-21 m². Large Inside Triple Cabin, featuring a double or two single beds, and a fold-out single bed, a relaxing sitting area, and a bathroom with a bathtub, and a porthole. Located on Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).
Category E
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Category E
Size 18-21 m². Large Inside Cabin, featuring a double or two single beds, a relaxing sitting area, and a bathroom with a bathtub. Located on Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).
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Category D
Size 11-12 m². Featuring two single beds, private bathroom, and a porthole. Located on the Columbus Deck (Deck 4).
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Size 12-13 m². This Standard Cabin has two single beds, private bathroom, and a window. Located on the Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).
Category B
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Category B
Size 20-23 m² Featuring a double bed or two single beds, a sofa bed that enables triple accommodation, a relaxing sitting area, private bathroom and windows. Partly obstructed view. Located on the Magellan and Hudson Deck (Deck 7 & 8).
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Size 19-24 m². Featuring a double bed or two single beds, a relaxing sitting area, a private bathroom, and windows. Located on the Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).
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Premium Suite
Size 35 m². These 2-room suites are designed with a large double bed or two twin beds, an elegant living room, a large private bathroom, and windows. Located on the Marco Polo Deck (Deck 5).

Notes

INCLUSIONS:

14-day cruise and accommodations
English-speaking expedition staff
Guided walks in Brattahlíð (Qassiarsuk)
Bus excursion from St. Anthony to L’Anse aux Meadows
Entrance Fort Louisbourg
Zodiacs cruises in fjords
Inspiring and enriching lectures onboard by qualified lecturers
Full board on the ship
Coffee, tea and afternoon snacks on the ship
Taxes, tariffs, and AECO fees

EXCLUSIONS:

Anything not listed under "Inclusions"
Flight to Reykjavík not included. 
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
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