Discover Greenland and Iceland 12 DaysAboard: Ocean Diamond
This fantastic voyage offers an exploration of Greenland, the world’s largest island, to discover its immense scenic and cultural diversity, before sailing across the Denmark Strait to enjoy the volcanic landscapes and mystical lands of Iceland. Sailing aboard the Ocean Diamond expedition vessel you can enjoy learning all about Greenland’s fascinating Viking history, visiting beautiful towns and villages such as Nuuk, Sisimiut and Uummannaq, as well as discovering the icescapes of the spectacular Ilulissat Icefjord and Disko Bay. On this special expedition there will be exciting Zodiac excursions and shore visits along with the chance to avail of numerous optional extra excursions at each port of call.
- Enjoy an insight into the volcanic landscapes and mystical lands of Iceland
- Discover the fascinating diversity of Greenland's spectacular southwest coast
- Breathtaking scenery and natural landscapes of glaciers, volcanoes, icefjords and fertile valleys
- Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ilulissat Icefjord
- Excellent birdlife and marine life viewing opportunities
- Learn all about Iceland and Greenland's culture, nature, people and history
- A wide array of extra shore excursions and activities available
- Full board accommodation onboard ship including all breakfasts, lunches and dinners, as well as coffee, tea and water
- All Zodiac excursions (weather dependent) with Icelandic/English speaking guide
- Presentation program delivered by a team of knowledgeable experts and guest speakers
- Onboard entertainment program
- Complimentary Windjacket
- Charter flight Keflavik to Kangerlussuaq with transfer in Kangerlussuaq
So much to experience
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Your Greenland and Iceland expedition cruise will begin in Kanglerlussuaq where after having arrived via charter flight from Reykjavik you will transfer to the port to begin your embarkation by Zodiac boat. Embarkation will begin in the early evening and after having familiarised yourself with your home for the next 11 nights we will leave the Kanglerlussuaq behind and begin our sail through the spectacular 120 mile long Kanglerlussuaq Fjord towards Sisimiut.
The first of our many adventures will bring us to Sisimiut, Greenland’s second largest town which is home to around 5,600 residents. Upon arrival here you can choose to explore at your own pace or join the included tour to the Sisimiut Museum, one of the best preserved museums in Greenland, to learn all about Greenlandic culture, Greenlandic trade and industry history. Your insightful and knowledgeable expedition team will also provide presentations and discussions to help you get a true understanding of Greenland and its people.
Alternatively, you can join one of the extra optional tours which are on offer including a panorama walking tour which will take you through the city whilst learning all about how this relatively modern settlement has firmly held on to some of its ancient traditions, not least its highly important fishing industry. You could also choose to join a guided scenic hike to learn all about the Greenlandic hunting culture, or attend a presentation on the famous Qiviut wool which comes from the wild musk oxen and enjoy a tasting of some local delicacies while you learn.
Ilulissat / Eqip Glacier
For many, today may be the highlight of the cruise as after a visit to the beautiful Eqip Glacier, we reach Ilulissat village in fabled Disko Bay. Ilulissat is located beside the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ilulissat Icefjord and a walk around this picturesque village will reward in exceptional photo opportunities.
There are numerous options here for optional extra excursions which will take you to the heart of the icefjord to discover the thunderous spectacle of icebergs breaking off from the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier, one of the most productive glaciers in the northern hemisphere, and plunging into the fjord. These options include a cruise around the plentiful icebergs of the ice fjord and an exhilarating flight over the fjord. You could also enjoy a hike to “Holms Bakke” which offers great views to the Jakobshavn Ice Fjord, as well as exploring the Inuit ruins at Sermermiut, or visit a local sledge dog premises to meet the beautiful huskies and hear traditional stories about how the Inuits use and have used the dogs for hunting and travelling. There are also guided city walks available. Please enquire for full details and prices.
Lying at the foot of a spectacular heart-shaped mountain, Uummannaq is considered one of the most beautiful towns in Greenland. Located on a small island about 300 miles (483 km) north of the Arctic Circle, this tiny, picturesque village is a delight to explore. As we make our way to shore by Zodiac, we can land to enjoy an included visit to the exceptionally interesting Uummannaq Museum. Here we can learn all about the extensive polar exploration in the region and see copies of the famous Qilaktisog mummies, which were discovered in this area in 1972. We can also enjoy a visit to the only stone church in Greenland which is situated next door to the museum.
Disko Bay / Qeqertarsuaq
Today we are anchored off the spectacular Disko Island and will board our Zodiacs to transfer to shore to visit the small settlement of Qeqertarsuaq. Surrounded by the Lyngmark Glacier which towers above the town, Qeqertarsuaq is the only settlement on the island and this stop is a great chance to learn about the whaling and fishing traditions that are still very much present here. Upon arrival you can enjoy an included visit to the famous Church of Qeqertarsuaq, a striking octagonal shaped building, where the local residents will present their national costumes and a choir will entertain us with beautiful hymns and Greenlandic choral singing.
A wide variety of optional extra excursions are available here including a cultural and historical guided walk through Qeqertasuaq’s most famous sites, an exceptionally scenic hike to Blaesedalen Valley (“Valley of the Winds”) to see a remarkable diversity of flora and fauna as well as impressive waterfalls, or an invitation to a Greenlandic Kaffemik, an old tradition where a family invites a large group of people into their home to celebrate a special occasion with folk dances, coffee and treats. This is a very special way to get a closer look at Greenlandic life, traditions and culture. For the ultimate Greenlandic adventure you could also choose to take a special helicopter and dog sledding excursion! Full details and prices for all tours are available on request.
Today brings us to the capital and largest city in Greenland, Nuuk, where a population of 16,000 people resides amongst a beautiful combination of Arctic traditions and European urbanity. As we make land you can choose to enjoy exploring around the city at your own leisure to take in the sights, sounds and unique architecture that makes Nuuk such a fascinating place to visit.
Alternatively there are a number of extra optional tours which can be booked in advance of your arrival. These include a Greenlandic beer tasting tour which invites you to try out three different kinds of microbrewery beers whilst learning all about the traditions and methods used in the brewing processes, a strenuous hike to the beautiful Lille Malene Mountain, a food tasting tour where you can sample a number of local delicacies and learn all about Greenlandic hunting and food traditions, or a special helicopter flight over the city.
Today we will enjoy an exciting day Zodiac cruising through the spectacular Ikka Fjord. As your experienced expedition crew join you aboard the Zodiacs you will discover all about the remarkable geological features here which create an underwater world like no other. Beneath the surface you will see a forest of remarkable mineral columns growing on the seabed. The columns formed over 10,000 years ago of the extremely rare mineral Ikait.
As our exploration of Greenland comes to an end we reach the town of Narsarsuaq and approach by Zodiac to land at Qassiarsuk. This small settlement was founded by the legendary Viking rebel and leader Erik the Red who named it “green land” thanks to the inviting fjords and fertile green valleys that surrounded it. Here you can choose to enjoy a walk around the area at your own pace or join an included visit to the Narsarsuaq Museum where you can find out more about the Norse settlers, and especially Erik the Red, and also learn of the history of the US army “Bluie-West One Base”.
Alternatively, you can join an optional Viking heritage guided walk to learn more about the lives of the early Norse settlers and visit the reconstructions of a Viking longhouse and a small turf church, take a boat trip through the icebergs in the Qoroq Ice Fjord, a hike across the stunning arctic landscapes to the remote community of Tasiusaq, kayaking excursions and helicopter tours. Please enquire for full details and prices of these optional extra tours.
At Sea - Prince Christian Sound
Weather dependent, we hope to spend today at sea sailing along the 70 mile (112 km) long Prince Christian Sound, a narrow, often ice-choked channel which connects the Labrador and Irminger Seas. This exciting portion of your cruise will offer a fitting farewell to the grandeur of Greenland’s spectacular coastline and you will get to witness up-close nature at its most powerful, as the massive inland ice cap pushes glaciers towards the sea. As you spend some time on deck your fully strengthened ship will come so close to huge floating icebergs that you will feel like you could almost reach out and touch them. Make sure to have your cameras ready for an exhilarating scenic experience.
At Sea - Denmark Strait
As we leave Greenland in our wake, today will be spent at sea sailing across the Denmark Strait towards the southwest coast of Iceland. As we follow the same maritime route used by Norse settlers more than 900 years ago, you can enjoy the fascinating presentation and lecture programme that will be provided by your experienced expedition team covering a wide range of topics. We recommend spending some time on deck or in the observation lounge as we sail, looking out for the seabirds that will be following the ship along with whales and dolphins in the waters below. Alternatively you can simply relax in the comfort of your cabin, enjoy a book in the well-stocked Polar library, indulge in a beauty treatment in the onboard Spa or chill out with a drink in the welcoming bar lounge.
Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands)
Today's adventures will allow you to sample some of Iceland’s hidden gems as we visit the Westman Islands, located off Iceland’s south coast. We will go ashore by Zodiac on Heimaey to spot some of the abundance of birds and whales that reside here in the archipelago’s only inhabited island. As we walk around the area we will discover how the Islands were formed around 10,000 years ago by submarine volcanic eruptions, and the half-buried houses which have remained from a 1973 eruption offer a stark reminder of the dramatic effects of the various catastrophes that have befallen Heimaey and its inhabitants throughout history. One of the most tragic of these was the pirate raid of July 1627, and an optional Trail of the Pirates hike will invite you to enjoy a 2 hour hike whilst learning about and visiting some of the main scenes of this terrible incident.
Other optional extra tours and excursions here include a guided coach tour which will take you through the “Pompeii of the North” and includes a visit to the Volcanic Museum Eldheimar. You could also take the chance to play a round of golf at the famous Vestmannaeyjar Islands golf course which is located beside the sea in a sunken volcanic crater. Please note: all extra optional tours and excursions throughout your voyage should be booked in advance and are not included in the cost of your package.
By early morning the Ocean Diamond will have completed its journey from Greenland to Iceland and we will have arrived back in Reykjavik. After breakfast we will disembark and bid a fond farewell to our crew and new-found friends. There are multiple options available for extending your stay in Reykjavik and we will be happy to share details of these with you. You could explore inland areas like the Golden Circle and its famous Gullfoss waterfall, take a helicopter tour of the silver circle, visit the famous Blue Lagoon and Geysir areas, or simply relax in the city and soak up the unique atmosphere and hospitality.
A view from Above
Ocean Diamond is a high quality expedition ship, designed more like a super-yacht. All cabins and suites have exterior views, flat-screen TVs, DVDs and private facilities. Amenities include a wellness, yoga and massage option, well-stocked library, photography programme, bar with optional beverage package, observation lounge, dining room, theatre-style auditorium and clinic. Options also include camping, kayaking, snowshoeing, skiing and mountaineering on many expeditions. Ocean Diamond also supports the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute and makes a contribution on behalf of all passengers.
Too much to choose from? This is where we come in
Take advantage of our vast experience, passion and expertise to help you hand craft the perfect Arctic adventure for you.
Mike lives and breathes adventure travel and has a wealth of experience in some of the most exciting and inspirational destinations in the world. His expertise and first-hand experience afford him the skills to help build holidays to remember.
Simon’s deep passion for and first-hand knowledge of a vast range of destinations all over the world gives him the ideal skills to help you create a truly unforgettable wildlife inspired adventure to the most exciting places on the planet.
Amy’s abiding love of adventure travel has taken her to some of the most incredible wildlife-rich places on Earth. Her vast experience and genuine desire to share her knowledge makes her an outstanding and invaluable person to help you organise your wildlife adventure trip.