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The breathtaking scenery of Iceland

Circumnavigation of Iceland

2021 - Example 9 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Atlantic
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Join Ocean Atlantic on this 9-day Iceland Circumnavigation cruise, round-trip from Reykjavik. Experience Iceland in its high season, with short, bright nights, long late spring days, and vibrant, active wildlife, including whales and countless seabirds. Along the way, visit national parks and cozy small towns, stand on the Polar Circle, and learn about the distinctive Icelandic culture and legendary history. Discover the volcanoes and glaciers that have shaped the landscape of Iceland, the various ancient cultures whose customs have contributed to modern Iceland's distinction, and meet the people who call this island home. 

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Reykjavik | Embark
Day 2 : Westman Islands
Day 3 : Djúpivogur
Day 4 : Seydisfjordur
Day 5 : Arctic Circle at Grimsey Island
Day 6 : Akureyri
Day 7 : Westfjord | Vigur
Day 8 : Flatey Island | Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Day 9 : Reykjavik | Disembark

Highlights

  • Admire the striking landscape of the volcanic Westman islands
  • Get a close-up look at Vatnajökull glaciers
  • Cross the Arctic Circle at Grimsey Island
  • Marvel at the thundering Goðafoss waterfalls

Ship

Ocean Atlantic

Places Visited

  • Arctic
  • Europe
  • Iceland
  • Akureyri
  • Djupivogur
  • Flatey Island
  • Grimsey Island
  • Heimaey Island
  • Reykjavik
  • Seydisfjordur
  • Snæfellsnes Peninsula
  • Vigur Island
  • Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar)

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

The breathtaking scenery of Iceland Red house on a fjord in Iceland Sail past bird colonies on your Arctic cruise The night lights of Akureyri The amazing Godafoss Waterfall Explore volcanic Heimaey Island
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Day 1 Reykjavik | Embark

Board Ocean Atlantic in Reykjavik. Attend a mandatory safety drill, then enjoy a welcome dinner and drinks with the expedition team. 

Day 2 Westman Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Westman Islands were on the headlines of the world press in January 1973, when a volcano erupted on Heimaey island. All 5,000 inhabitants evacuated, but most have now returned, and today the population is about 4,000. The Westman Islands are only 14 kilometers off the southwest coast of Iceland and consist of 15 green small islands and about 30 moorings.

When you go sailing, you can see the islands' steep and grateful profiles in clear weather from a long distance. They are beautifully raised by the sea, and looking at them, one understands why an Icelandic poet would compare them with the sapphires in a silver ring. The birdlife on these edges is unique and includes, among other natural beauties, puffins and not least the "Queen of the Sea," the gannet.

Start the day by passing close to one of the world's newest islands, Surtsey. The island rose from the sea in 1963 and arrived in 2008 on UNESCO's list of world natural heritage sites. The island is closed to the public and only researchers are allowed.

In the morning head to Heimaey, the only inhabited island in the archipelago, where you can see the recently excavated houses from the 1973 eruption. 

After an exciting day in the Westman Islands, the captain will set the course to the southeastern corner of Iceland on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park.

Day 3 Djúpivogur

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During the night, sail along the southern coast of Iceland, dominated by Vatnajökull, Iceland's largest glacier. In the morning, make a call in the small, cozy port town of Djúpivogur.

Sheltered, but still very assessable from the ocean, the port is one of the oldest in Iceland, and the people from Djúpivogur take great pride in preserving some of the old houses. The town attracts creative folks and the art exhibitions are worth a visit, not least the permanent Eggin i Gleðivík, 34 oversized eggs carved out of granite. The Cultural Center is located in the beautiful red timber house, Langabúð, and opposite this on the other side of the small harbor is the old Hotel Framtid.

An optional excursion is available from Djúpivogur either by Super Jeeps, the work horse in modern Iceland or in a conventional coach. (Please note, optional excursions are not included in the price of the trip).

In the afternoon, re-embark Ocean Atlantic and continue north along the dramatic coastline of the east fjords. 

Day 4 Seydisfjordur

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the early morning the ship winds and twists through the long, calm 17 kilometers of deep fjord called Seydisfjordur. The morning port of call is the relatively small town with the same name as the fjord. With around 700 inhabitants that call themselves "one big family," visitors are in good hands today. Starting its life as a herring fishing community by Norwegians in 1870, the town grew and received its town charter by the end of the century. The deep harbor is still home to industry, fishing and a scheduled ferry to the Faroe Islands as well as Denmark.

Join an optional excursion to the nearby Skalanes area for a nice nature hiking experience. The excursion includes a bus ride to the nature reserve, a guided walk, and some light refreshments. The total duration of the excursion is around 3½ hours. (Please note, optional excursions are not included in the price of the trip).

Day 5 Arctic Circle at Grimsey Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the morning, the ship will have arrived at the island of Grimsey, which is located about 40 kilometers from the mainland and is the only part of Iceland with an Arctic designation. The Polar circle crosses the island at 66 ° 33 'N, and gives the island one full day of 24-hour sunlight every year in June. Over 100 inhabitants reside on the little rocky island, all living close to the harbor in the only city in the island. The fishing banks in the surrounding seas make the economy flourish, the port is expanded, and there is a small airport with daily flights to the mainland and the school for the children. The island has been inhabited since the settlement of Iceland and is mentioned in the sagas as an important land, rich in fish and birds.

The seabirds far exceed the number of inhabitants on Grímsey, and bird cries can be heard 24 hours a day over the bright Arctic summer. Up to 36 different species breed on the island and have their nests on the rocks. One of Iceland's largest tern colonies is here, and it is said that the runway must be cleared for terns before the aircraft can land.

Make landing by Zodiacs during the morning to experience the local life and explore the island's bird life.

Day 6 Akureyri

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Continue the voyage a few miles further south to reach the beautiful city of Akureyri, where we disembark just after lunch. The climate of Akureyri is unique in these latitudes, with many more hours of sunshine and higher temperatures than the rest of Iceland.

Akureyri is a center of trade and culture and is Iceland's second largest city. With the emerging educational environment, the many cultural events and the big fishing industry, Akureyri grows steadily, with more Icelanders – and tourists – heading to the north coast's sunshine city. Just stroll around town and enjoy the lively atmosphere with cozy cafés and great restaurants, as well as lush gardens and the splendid view from the city church, Akureyrarkirkja.

Here you also have the opportunity to join seven-hour optional excursion to fabulous Goðafoss & Lake Mývatn.   
(The excursion is part of the excursion package and not included in the price of the trip).

Day 7 Westfjord | Vigur

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The west fjords offer one unforgettable experience after another. Begin the morning sailing along the coast of Hornstrandir, the northernmost part of the West Fjords. From here, there are only 300 kilometers to the eastern coast of Greenland. In 1975 the area was converted into nature reserves, and currently has some of the strictest rules to protect the peculiar and fragile nature. Along the coast, there are good opportunities to see whales and seals, and the mountainside is alive with the rich bird life. Continue into Hornvik Bay, which is considered one of the most beautiful places in Iceland, to see two of the largest bird cliffs in Europe where millions of seabirds breed.
In the afternoon, sail further into Isafjardardjúp, and take a walk on the island of Vigur at the mouth of Hestfjördur to enjoy the view of the steep mountains and see the terrific aerobatics of the Arctic Terns.

A local guide will take you on a walk around the island, and coffee and light refreshments will be served in the local café.
In the evening, leave Isafjardardjúp and sail towards the southern part of the West Fjords.

Day 8 Flatey Island | Snaefellsnes Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning, make a landing at Flatey Island, , the only island in Breidafjördur that is inhabited all year. This island has a rich part in the history of Iceland. In the 1100s an Augustine monastery was the primary occupant of the island; later, it became a focal point for trade with the northwestern part of Iceland when the Danish king appointed Flatey as an official trading station in 1777. Until the end of the last century, the population grew until the island's resources were nearly exhausted; today, only two inhabited farms are left. 

In the afternoon, sail along the 100-kilometer long Snaefellsnes peninsula, which with its dramatic cliff coast, hardened lava floods, sandy beaches and volcanic peaks, is a picture of Iceland in mini-format. Round the tip of the peninsula and enjoy the view of the nearly 1,500-meter-high snow-covered volcano Snæfellsjökull, which was the center of Jules Verne's novel "The Journey to the Center of the Earth." The volcano with the almost perfect cone shape and the surrounding area became in 2001 the Snæfellsjökull National Park. Make a landing here, then spend the afternoon passing Iceland’s westernmost point and the huge bird cliffs of Latraberg.

Day 9 Reykjavik | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Return to Reykjavik and disembark after breakfast.
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Ocean Atlantic

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Per person starting at
$3,290
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
  • 8-night cruise in a shared outside double cabin with private bathroom/toilet
  • English-speaking guides
  • Zodiac excursions and most tours on land
  • Near-port town walks with expedition team
  • Information briefings and lectures by expedition team
  • Full board on the ship
  • Free coffee, tea and afternoon snacks on the ship
  • Special photo workshop
  • Welcome and farewell cocktails   
  • Digital visual journal link after voyage, including voyage log, gallery, species list and more!
  • Taxes and tariffs

EXCLUSIONS
  • International flights to/from Reykjavik
  • Hotel accommodation in Reykjavik
  • Travel insurance
  • Cancellation insurance
  • Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Single room supplement
  • Meals not on board the ship
  • Beverages (other than coffee and tea)
  • Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 15 per person per day)
  • Personal expenses
  • Anything not mentioned under "inclusions" 
OPTIONAL EXCURSIONS
  • Day 3: Djupivogur - Superjeep or coach excursion to Vatnajökull Glaciers
  • Day 4: Seydisfjordur - Hiking in Skalanes Nature Reserve
  • Day 6: Bus excursion to Lake Mývatn and Godafoss
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
Jack Charney
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