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Exploring Greenland

In the Wake of Eric the Red

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Atlantic
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Join an expedition cruise from Kangerlussuaq to Reykjavík, which follows the same maritime course set by Norse settlers over a thousand years ago. Board the Ocean Atlantic and Cross the Danmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland, visiting the Inuit settlements of Tasiilaq and Kulusuk. Further south, pass from East Greenland to West Greenland through the dramatic Prince Christians Sound. In Disko Bay, experience local folk dancing in Qeqertarsuaq and sail to the renowned Eqi Glacier. At the Sermermiut Plain, take a chance to admire the World Heritage Site of the Ilulissat Icefjord and the dazzling icebergs. Finally, enter the long fjord of Kangerlussuaq, where you can search for a glimpse of the muskoxen and reindeers roaming the tundra along the Greenland Icecap. 

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Kangerlussuaq, Greenland | Embark
Day 2 : Sisimiut
Day 3 : Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland
Day 4 : Ilulissat, Greenland
Day 5 : At Sea
Day 6 : Nuuk, Greenland
Day 7 : Ivittuut, Greenland | Arsuk Fjord
Day 8 : Qassiarsuk
Day 9 : Prince Christian Sound
Day 10 : Skjoldungen Island
Day 11 : At Sea
Day 12 : Reykjavík, Iceland | Disembark

Highlights

  • Sail through Greenland's spectacular Prince Christian Sound
  • Explore the Ilulissat Icefjord and Kujataa farming communities
  • Wander the streets of Nuuk, Greenland’s dynamic capital
  • Explore Qeqertarsuaq, the only town on the volcanic island of Disko

Ship

Ocean Atlantic

Places Visited

  • Arctic
  • Europe
  • Greenland
  • Iceland
  • Disko Bay
  • Disko Island
  • Ilulissat
  • Ivittuut
  • Kangerlussuaq
  • Nuuk
  • Prince Christian Sound
  • Qassiarsuk
  • Qeqertarsuaq
  • Reykjavik
  • Sisimiut
  • Skjoldungen

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Exploring Greenland Exploring Greenland One of Greenland's many glaciers Polar bear in the Arctic Whale sighting in Polar waters! View of a glacier in Greenland Midnight sun light, Ilulissat Sun shining on the ice

Day 1 Kangerlussuaq, Greenland | Embark

During the night, the ship passes through the 160-kilometer/100 mile Kangerlussuaq Fjord. After breakfast aboard the ship, to bid farewell to the ship's staff and the Zodiac boats shuttle to shore.

In Kangerlussuaq, an optional excursion offers tours to the beautiful Reindeer Glacier. The duration of the excursion is about four hours.

Please note the excursion is not included in the general tour price. Refer to a Trip Planner for more details. This excursion is not recommended for people who suffer from bad necks or backs, as the gravel road to the ice sheet is occasionally bumpy and uneven.

 

Day 2 Sisimiut

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Experience Greenlands Second-largest city at the foot of Nasaasaao Mountain 

Day 3 Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Under Disko Island’s 1000-meter-high mountains, enter the protected natural harbor that has the Danish name Godhavn or "Good Harbor" and in Greenlandic Qeqertarsuaq which means "The Big Island."

Godhavn was until 1950 the most important town north of Nuuk, solely because of the large number of whales caught and landed here. This gave the town great wealth. Now it is on the way to oblivion with declining job opportunities and connections to the mainland.

The local community center hosts a traditional Greenlandic “kaffemik”, best described as a friendly gathering with coffee, cake, and traditional dances and music.
Musicians from Greenland originally played on a drum (qilaat) made from an oval wooden frame covered with the bladder of a polar bear. Unlike other drums, the qilaat would be played by hitting the frame with a stick, and not the skin itself. This modest instrument was used for a variety of purposes, including entertainment, exorcism, and witchcraft.

During the afternoon the ship heads east towards the giant glacier Eqip Sermia in the north-easterly corner of Disko Bay. This glacier is one of the most impressive in Greenland. Here you can experience a glacier calve up close. Experience the great crevasses, deep blue glacial streams, a landscape so unique and stunning that words are simply not sufficient. An outstanding opportunity to see, hear and smell this mighty ice world. In the evening, prepare for departure.

Day 4 Ilulissat, Greenland

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

The icebergs come from the Icefjord, which is located a half hour’s hike south of Ilulissat. These impressive frozen structures are born some 70km deeper into the fjord by the enormous Sermeq Kujalleq glacier. This 10km-wide glacier is the most productive glacier outside of Antarctica. Whereas most glaciers only calve at a rate of approximately a meter a day, the Ilulissat glacier calves at a rate of 25 meters per day. The icebergs produced by the glacier represent more than 10% of all icebergs in Greenland, corresponding to 20 million tons!

These facts, together with the fjord’s extreme beauty, 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 vibrant, welcoming and lively, with a wide range of cultural attractions, according to Greenlandic standards. 

On this day, you may also have the opportunity to join a boat trip to the Icefjord. The journey takes about two and a half hours in total and presents an opportunity to gain a closer look at the amazing ice-sculpted scenery. The trip is definitely something out of the ordinary and a great natural experience that you can remember for years to come - but be sure to remember warm clothes!

If a hike or a trip by boat does not present enough excitement, there is also an opportunity to arrange a helicopter ride over the Icefjord.

**Please note the boat and helicopter excursions to the Icefjord are optional outings and therefore not included in the general tour price. Furthermore, the helicopter excursion must be booked in advance. Ask a Trip Planner for more details.

In the evening, the ship cruises southward from “the Iceberg Capital”, leaving lovely Disko Bay in its wake.

Day 5 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The lecturers onboard make inspiring and enriching presentations about both Iceland’s and Greenland’s past history and about nature, wildlife, and climatology.

Day 6 Nuuk, Greenland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During the night, the ship cruised north to reach Nuuk in the morning. As you enter the Nuuk Fjord you have fair chances of encountering the area's seasonal visitors, humpback whales.

The world's smallest capital is considered by many in Greenland a mighty metropolis - a total of 17,000 people live here today, almost a third of the country’s population.

The area has been inhabited since 2200 BCE by pre-Inuit hunters. From the year 1000 to 1350 CE, the Icelandic Vikings and farmers settled in South Greenland and in the Nuuk Fjord, while at the same time Inuit hunters of the Thule culture moved south from North Greenland. The Nordic settlers disappeared around 1350 CE, but the Inuit stayed, being far better equipped to hunt and survive in the tough Arctic nature.

The modern history of Greenland began in 1721 when the Norse missionary Hans Egede founded a permanent colony and trading station near Nuuk. In fact, Egede’s main purpose to return to Greenland was to convert the Catholic northerners to Lutherans, but soon after his arrival he realized the Norse had disappeared, a mystery yet unresolved.

In 1979, the Landsting (Parliament) was established in Nuuk, and the town was finally recognized as the country's capital.

Late in the afternoon, leave the capital and continue the northbound journey.

Day 7 Ivittuut, Greenland | Arsuk Fjord

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
It is difficult to predict the exact route in South Greenland. Once the ship reaches South Greenland, the typically the first port of call can be expected to be the town of Qaqortoq. Later in the day, hope to reach Arsuk Fjord with the small settlement of the same name. But the important call here is the former cryolite mine at Ivituut, the only place in the world where this very special mineral was mined until depleted 30 years ago. Used in aluminum melting, the mineral became strategically important and forced the Americans to set up bases in South Greenland to protect the supply during WW 2.

Day 8 Qassiarsuk

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Discover Qassiarsuk, Eric the Rec Settlement

Day 9 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.

Deliberately opt for a far more comfortable but at the same time more spectacular route, cruising via the inside passage through the Prince Christian Sound. This 60 km long waterway runs from the Atlantic in the east to the settlement Aapilattoq in the heart of the fjord lands of South West Greenland. 

The sound has steep mountainsides, and many adventurous kayakers have had to turn around because of a very limited number of landing sites available. The old weather station of Prince Christian Sound, manned until a two years ago by sturdy meteorologists, is another classic point-of-interest along this itinerary.

Day 10 Skjoldungen Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The island of Skjoldungen is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful areas in East Greenland. Situated at 63° N, the island is surrounded by narrow, steep fjords and glaciers, and with plenty of the cool, crisp and clean air of the nearby ice sheet. Still, you can find and experience a lush landscape and a milder climate than most would expect. Acclaimed Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen came here in late summer 1888 in search of a suitable ascension point for the first inland ice crossing.

Skjoldungen is also the name of an abandoned settlement, located on the southwest side of the island. Up to 100 people lived here until 1965, and some houses remain. Continue the journey to Dronning Marie Dal in the area's northwestern corner to get a closer view of its interesting flora.

After Skjoldungen and Ilertakajik fjord, the Alpine peaks and mountainous landscape diminish and from here, you may find that over large stretches, the ice sheet reaches all the way to the shoreline, forming cohesive ice shelves, a type of icy landscape that some travelers who have been to Antarctica probably recognize.
Visit Bernstorff Icefjord, the most productive glacier on the southeast coast, but keep a good distance from big icebergs in these waters.

Day 11 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The lecturers onboard make inspiring and enriching presentations about both Iceland’s and Greenland’s past history and about nature, wildlife, and climatology.

Day 12 Reykjavík, Iceland | Disembark

Disembark after breakfast at Reykjavik, the colorful capital city of Iceland

Ocean Atlantic

Per person starting at
$4,000
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).
Category F
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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).
Category D
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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).
Category C
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Category C
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).
Category A
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Category A
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).
Premium Suite
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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
• 11-night cruise in a shared outside double suite with bathroom/toilet
• Flight Copenhagen - Kangerlussuaq
• English-speaking guides
• Church visit and ‘kaffemik’ in Qeqertarsuaq
• Town and settlement walks in Qeqertarsuaq, Ilulissat, Nuuk & Kuumiit.
• Museum visits in Qeqertarsuaq and Ilulissat, Nuuk
• Slow-crusing in Zodiacs 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
• Guiding and lectures by our experienced expedition leader and team
• Special photo workshop
• Welcome and farewell cocktails
• Digital visual journal link after a voyage, including voyage log, gallery, species list and more!

EXCLUSIONS
Price does not include:
• Travel Insurance
• Senior Travel Insurance
• Single cabin supplement and cabin upgrade
• Any meals and drinks on land
• Beverages in addition to coffee and tea around the clock as well as juices and the like included for breakfast
• Flightseeing with Airzafari in Ilulissat, day 4
• Sailing between icebergs in Ilulissat, day 4
• Other purchase excursions and extra events
• Ocean Atlantic crew allowance (approximately $ 13.50 per day per participant)
• Expenses for medicines and other personal necessities
• Everything not mentioned under "Price includes"
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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