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Zodiac cruising near a Greenlandic glacier

In the Wake of Eric the Red

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Albatros
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Embark on an 8-day expedition cruise from Reykjavík aboard the Ocean Albatros, retracing the maritime route of Norse settlers over a millennium ago. Your journey begins in East Greenland, exploring the rugged shores, Tunumiit culture in towns like Tasiilaq and Kuummiut, delving into modern history at Ikateq, and witnessing the icy grandeur of Sermilikfjord. You then navigate the serene Skjoldungen Fjord and Prins Kristiansund strait, reaching South Greenland's lush green landscapes. Explore ancient Norse sites like Brattahlíð and Qassiarsuk and experience Nuuk's unique blend of modernity and Greenlandic charm. Continuing along the coast, visit the culturally rich village of Kangaamiut and venture into the breathtaking Eternity Fjord. Join this immersive journey blending Nordic and Inuit cultures with the Arctic's natural wonders!
The shores of Prince Christian SoundThe old town of NuukHiking in Greenlandic wildernessTasiilaq, GreenlandA typically colorful Greenlandic townHallgrimskirkja Church in ReykjavikZodiac cruising near a Greenlandic glacier
Highlights
  • Explore the rock-like columns of Hallgrímskirkja Church in Reykjavík, a hip Scandinavian capital
  • Discover the fascinating history and culture of Tasiilaq, the largest settlement in East Greenland
  • Cruise through the spectacular Prins Christian Sund, one of the most breathtaking waterways on Earth
  • Marvel at the jaw-dropping beauty of Sermilik Fjord, filled with vast icebergs and glaciers
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: Reykjavík, Iceland | Embark

The rock-like columns of Hallgrímskirkja Church loom over Reykjavík, a hip Scandinavian capital that needs little introduction. Reykjavik is one of Scandinavia's most welcoming and exciting cities, with new Nordic cuisine, excellent shopping, fantastic excursions, and an easy, relaxed vibe. Reykjavík is the perfect place to start Arctic adventures in the North Atlantic's center! 

The purpose-built expedition vessel awaits in the city's bustling harbor, awaiting to welcome the guests. After the mandatory safety drill, enjoy dinner and a glass of champagne as you follow the thousand-year-old Norse sea route towards Greenland.

Day 2: Crossing the Denmark Strait

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As Norse explorers once did, they crossed the Denmark Strait from Iceland to Greenland. Days at sea are never dull—a variety of activities onboard for guests to enjoy to engage the mind, body, and soul. Join your knowledgeable Expedition Team lecturers in the Theatre to hear specially crafted lectures on local history, wildlife, geology, culture, and more, unwind with a massage in the Albatros Polar Spa, or watch the seabirds gliding along with the ship from the hot tubs, as your expedition vessel flies across the Denmark Strait.

Day 3: Tasiilaq

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Your first port of call in Greenland is Tasiilaq, the largest settlement in East Greenland. Unlike the west coast, which had uninterrupted contact with Europe since the 1700s, the coast of East Greenland remained more or less uncontacted until around 1894, when a Danish trading post was established at Tasiilaq. The vast distances involved in Arctic travel meant that the people of East Greenland (Tunumiit) were isolated from their cousins to the west. Therefore, East Greenland's language, traditions, and culture differ significantly from other parts of the country.

Ancient traditions are vital here. This region of Greenland was the home of the last Angakkuit (Shamans) of Greenland and is the home of the tupilak - a monster fashioned from animal (and sometimes human) body parts and animated by the power of an Angakkuq to wreak havoc on enemies. Creating such a monster was dangerous, as a more powerful magic user could turn it back to attack its creator. The first Europeans were curious about what these dark beasts looked like, and locals carved facsimiles in bone or horn, beginning one of Greenland's finest artistic traditions. The tupilaat made by artisans in Tasiilaq are considered among the best in the country. 

Tasiilaq sits in a perfect natural harbor on Ammassalik Island (meaning 'the Place of Many Capelin'). While superficially similar to towns on the West Coast, the landscape here is much more rugged, the people fewer, and the sled dogs much more numerous. Tasiilaq offers excellent exploration opportunities, with fantastic hiking routes like the Flower Valley accessible from town. For those wishing to delve into Tunumiit culture, visit the museum in the city's old church, hear the city's exquisite choir perform in the modern church, or watch a drum dancer in traditional East Greenlandic costume perform a millennia-old spiritual tradition. For those wishing to indulge in retail therapy, visit the Stunk Artist's Workshop, where skilled craftsmen create beautiful pieces from natural local materials. Otherwise, hike up the hill towards the hotel to enjoy some of the best views anywhere in the country.

Day 4: Ikateq | Kuummiut

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the morning, sail slightly eastwards towards Ikateq, a spectacular fjord with a fascinating history. During the darkest days of the Second World War, American forces established an airbase here (one of the network of air bases which includes Kangerlussuaq on the west coast) to serve as a stepping stone for aircraft transiting between Europe and North America. The rugged landscape of East Greenland meant the approach to the airport was hazardous, with frequent fog masking the treacherous mountains. Enormous resources were invested into Ikateq Airbase (Blue 2 East), with a 5,000ft runway, hangar, barracks, and port constructed. A fleet of military vehicles and thousands of barrels of fuel were also brought to this remote region. With Germany defeated, improvements to intercontinental aircraft, and increasing tensions with the Soviet Union, the United States Military abandoned the base in 1947, leaving almost everything behind.

The air base has been a contention between Nuuk, Copenhagen, and Washington for many years. Many in the Greenlandic government wanted the site cleaned up and the ruins removed, an expensive and logistically challenging task. Eventually, the Danish Government agreed to remove hazardous waste from the site (mainly decaying fuel drums), but leaving the rest of the equipment in place as an essential part of regional history. Over 75 years later, however, almost everything remains as it was on the day the Americans left. Ikateq is a unique place, a time warp to the Second World War: eerie, fascinating, and surrounded by staggering natural beauty.  

Spend the afternoon in the small village of Kuummiut, which sits in breathtaking surroundings in the calm reaches of Ammassalik Fjord. Kuummiut - meaning 'People who Live by the River' - is one of the area's largest and most prosperous villages. Sitting upon some of East Greenland's richest fishing grounds, Kuummiut holds the only fish factory in the region, and fishermen from miles around come through Ammassalik Fjord (which is wide enough to stay primarily ice-free year-round) to sell their catch here. 

Kuummiut is an ideal place to experience life in an East Greenlandic settlement. Where other towns have traffic, Kuummiut has the yowling of sled dogs and the sigh of the wind through the grass. No roads lead in or out of this isolated village, and the sea is the highway for local transport - although motorboats have replaced the skinboats that brought people to these shores long ago. It is a perfect place to sit, watch the icebergs pass, and perhaps see the whales, which often frolic in the calm waters offshore. 

From Kuummiut, continue to navigate through the labyrinth of fjords, heading towards Sermilik.

Day 5: Sermilik

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Separating Ammassalik Island from the Greenlandic mainland lies the vast Sermilik Fjord. Sermilik is a typically descriptive Greenlandic placename, roughly meaning 'the Glacial Fjord,' and it is no mystery why: this waterway is choked with vast icebergs and surely ranks among the most spectacular natural wonders of the region. The icebergs here mainly originate at the vast Helheim Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in this icy country. The Helheim and other glaciers that empty into the fjord pour directly off the Greenland Ice Sheet, the edges of which can be seen to the east, rising thousands of meters towards the frozen core of this vast island. 

The volume of ice will dictate your precise activities in Sermilikfjord. However, options include coming ashore to marvel at the area's spectacular scenery and untouched nature, exploring the water, and marveling at the natural ice sculptures on a Zodiac cruise through the icebergs. Whatever you do, prepare to be amazed by the jaw-dropping beauty of this otherwordly place.

Day 6: Skjoldungen

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  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today's adventure begins as you sail into magnificent Skjoldungen, a staggeringly beautiful fjord on the southeastern coast of Greenland. The fjord is named for Skjold, an ancient Danish King of legend, while the Greenlandic name, Saqqisikuik, references the area's sunny climate. Various archaeological finds on the island, which sits in the middle of the fjord, suggest nomadic Inuit groups visited and stayed in the area in years gone by; more recently, settlers were brought from Tasiilaq to settle the island in the 1930s but returned there thirty years later; some houses can still be seen on the southern side of the fjord. The Allies also operated A small weather station on the island during WWII. 

Today, uninhabited, Skjoldungen sits almost 300km from the nearest village, with Mother Nature as its only ruler. Vast saw-toothed mountains lined with opalescent glaciers line the deep, chilly waters of the fjord, which can freeze even in summer. At the head of the fjord lies the magnificent Thryms Glacier, a magnificent river of ice flowing down from the ice sheet. On the southern side of Thryms Glacier lies the sweeping U-shaped glacial valley of Dronning Maries Dal - a textbook example of a glacially-produced landscape. Join your expedition team for a walk on the flower-lined floor of this valley and marvel at the stunning scenery. Ensure you are also on the outer decks on your approach and departure from this magnificent fjord.

Day 7: Prins Christian Sund | Aappilattoq

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
South of Skjoldungen lies Kap Farvel, or Cape Farewell, renowned not only as Greenland's southernmost point but also for its infamously challenging weather, which commonly features large swells and gale-force winds.

With this in mind, you deliberately opt for a far more comfortable but also more spectacular route, cruising via the inside passage of Prins Christian Sund. Known in Greenlandic by its typically descriptive name of Ikerasassuaq ('the Big Strait'), this 60 km long waterway reaches from the entrance on the southeastern coast of Greenland to the small village of Aappilattoq, connecting the Labrador and Irminger Seas. 

Prins Christian Sund is one of the most spectacular waterways anywhere on Earth. Kept free of ice year-round by strong tidal currents, the strait is hemmed in on either side by mountains that rise straight out of the water, some reaching over 2,000m in height. Large glaciers flow from the ice sheet into the sea on the northern side of the strait, while sapphire blue mountain glaciers loom over the water from the southern side, and vast icebergs stud the glassy waters. 

In the afternoon, approach the small village of Aappilattoq, which sits hunkered beneath the towering mountains at the end of Prins Christians Sund. The town is a world away from busy Tasiilaq or even Kuummiut; life here moves slower, following the rhythms of the wind, waves, and tides. Aappilattoq (meaning 'Red' in Greenlandic, referring to the stark granite bluffs above) offers excellent hiking opportunities, and the local choir is renowned throughout Greenland.

Day 8: Itilleq | Qassiarsuk

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During the early morning, Ocean Albatros will sail through the majestic mountains of Tunulliarfik Fjord towards the small beach of Itilleq. The southern fjords of Greenland offer a very different environment to the chilly north and east of the country. Situated at roughly 60°N, this region is level with northern Scotland or southern Scandinavia, with a climate to match. Here, the weather is calm, stable, and humid, with much warmer summers and milder winters than the rest of the country. In place of rocky hillsides, the fjords here are lined with lush green meadows and dotted with small sheep-farming settlements, of which Qassiarsuk and Igaliku are perhaps the best known. 

Coming ashore in the morning at the sheltered bay of Itilleq, a farm trail beckons you to the village of Igaliku. During the morning, trek through the lush green hills to see the remains of the Norse Bishop's palace at Garðar - once a place of great power and influence in this remote corner of the Norse world. 

During the afternoon, reposition to the other side of the fjord to the sheep-farming village of Qassiarsuk. While the modern town was founded in 1924, the location has a fascinating and much longer history; it was here that legendary Norse explorer Eric the Red settled after being banished from Iceland. He named the land he discovered 'Greenland' to encourage other settlers to follow him - a marketing ploy that has stood for over a thousand years! 

Erik the Red settled in this green landscape and set up a small farmstead in typical Norse style, naming his new home 'Brattahlíð.' Erik kept fiercely to the Norse gods, but his wife Thjodhild was a Christian. Legend has it that she refused to join his bed until he built her a church, which he eventually did, constructing a tiny hut (Þjóðhildarkirkja) which was nevertheless the first church in the Americas (although he refused to have it within view of his house). 

The Norse settlers in Greenland stayed for almost 500 years but disappeared from all historical records in the early 1400s. Whether some plague or famine struck them or the deteriorating climate forced them to return to Scandinavia remains a topic of lively debate. Today, the outlines of buildings (including Erik's house, Thjodhild's church, and the Bishop's palace) and stunningly accurate reconstructions of Eric's farm, where modern Inuit farmers continue to raise sheep. A statue of Erik now overlooks the area, commemorating the first European to reach the Americas, whose son Leif would be the first European to reach Baffin Island and Newfoundland. Sites rich in fascinating history and culture, old and new, the settlements of Brattahlíð and Garðar are today part of the Kujataa UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 9: At Sea, en route to Nuuk

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  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
From South Greenland, follow the rugged coast of this vast island northwards. All settlements in Greenland (except for Kangerlussuaq) are situated directly on the ocean coast of the country, and the vast majority of residents (some 50,000 or so) live on the narrow strip of coast on the west of the country, facing the Davis Strait.

Ocean currents bring warm water from the Atlantic to the West Coast, enriching these wildlife-filled waters. During your day at sea, keep your eyes on the sea! Whales, seals, and many seabirds are common in these rich waters. 

Day 10: Nuuk

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A mixture of skyscrapers and traditional wooden houses, the quaint and the cosmopolitan, Nuuk is a city of contrasts. The vibrant, bustling capital of Greenland, Nuuk, feels much more significant than its 19,000 inhabitants and offers a wealth of experiences to visitors. The calm fjords around Nuuk have been inhabited by Paleo-Inuit cultures since at least 2200 BCE. Archaeological evidence indicates waves of migration through the area as ancient hunters followed migrating prey. Around the year 100CE, Norse colonists from Iceland established the Western Settlement in the green meadows of Nuuk Fjord; these settlers mysteriously disappeared several hundred years later, leaving the island to the Inuit, who were far better equipped to live in Greenland's harsh environment.

The next Scandinavian to visit was Hans Egede, the controversial Danish missionary who 'rediscovered' Greenland, founding Nuuk as Godthåb ("Good Hope") in 1728. Danish initiatives to modernize Greenland in the 1950s significantly impacted Nuuk. While they greatly improved the city's infrastructure, the many large apartment blocks attest to rapid (and sometimes haphazard) urbanization. In 1979, the Home Rule Act created the Greenlandic Parliament (Inatsisartut) and proclaimed Nuuk the capital. The city's population continues to increase, with new suburbs being constructed beneath Ukkusissat, the mountain that looms to the east of the town. 

Nuuk offers a considerable amount to the discerning visitor; more significant than any other city in Greenland, Nuuk has a bustling cosmopolitan vibe and hosts some of Greenland's best attractions. Swing by Kolonihavn district to visit the Greenlandic National Museum, a treasure trove of history stretching back to the first inhabitants of this icy island - including artifacts from the Paleo-Inuit and Norse periods, as well as the spellbinding Qilakistoq mummies. Explore Greenlandic culture at Katuaq, the city's cultural center, and an architectural marvel; shop for authentic Greenlandic artworks in many boutique shops, or relax at a hip curbside café with Greenlandic coffee and watch this vibrant city in action. Nuuk York (as proud locals call it) is unlike any other city in Greenland or the world.

Day 11: Kangaamiut | Evighedsfjorden

  • 1 Breakfast
On the last full day of your expedition, arrive at the small village of Kangaamiut, an incredibly picturesque settlement in Greenland's central Qeqqata region. Surrounded by cold, rich waters and a vast backcountry brimming with game, life in Kangaamiut moves slower, and locals still live a largely traditional lifestyle, surviving by hunting and fishing. Hike to the heliport atop the hill for stunning views over the town and the surrounding fjordlands, or meet the friendly local people during a display of traditional clothing, foods, and seal-flensing. The artists of Kangaamiut are well-known throughout Greenland, and some of the locals' most splendid work can be viewed in the town's small museum. 

In the afternoon, sail inland into Evighedsfjorden/Kangerlussuatsiaq, one of the many deep fjords carved between the steep mountains of this region. The Danish name 'Evighedsfjorden' means 'The Eternity Fjord,' referring to the vast size of the inlet. In contrast, the Greenlandic name 'Kangerlussuatsiaq' translates as 'The Rather Large Fjord' - something of an understatement! Evighedsfjorden stretches around 100km into the glacier-clad mountains, bisecting the giant ice cap that overlies much of the land between Nuuk and Sisimiut - Greenland's two largest cities. Aim to explore on a Zodiac cruise before the Evigheds Glacier, which flows into the fjord from the Maniitsoq Ice Cap above. Watch for calvings from the glacier and guillemots and kittiwakes on the nearby bird cliffs.

Day 12: Kangerlussuaq | Disembark

During the night, sail up the 160-kilometer/100-mile Kangerlussuaq Fjord. After breakfast aboard the ship, bid a fond farewell to the ship's crew, Expedition Team, and fellow travelers before shuttling ashore by Zodiac. Due to Kangerlussuaq's military history and present-day role as an essential air travel hub, the town remains relatively isolated from Greenland's rich cultural traditions compared to other regions. While you still find cultural experiences when visiting Kangerlussuaq, the most impressive attraction is the surrounding nature, which is just beckoning to be explored. The American military constructed the town in the 1950s, and this small airport town retained something of its Cold War atmosphere. Your Arctic adventure and time in Greenland concludes as you arrive at the sleek modern airport terminal - with memories to last a lifetime.

Ship/Hotel

Ocean Albatros

Ocean Albatros BBQ Deck
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Ocean Albatros Pool Deck

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Per person starting at
$9,945
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
  • 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
  • 10 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
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.

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