Cruise Greenland's Disko Bay
From $TBA Per Person Double Occupancy
Cruise package, 8 days, 7 nights
Date: August 9, 14, 19, 24, 2020
Cruise alongside glacial landscapes, whales, the ever-present Northern fulmar sea bird and a multitude of otherwise inaccessible settlements. This is just a small taste of all that you can expect on a first-class expedition cruise the 4-star cruise ship, Ocean Diamond.
Navigating along Greenland’s old inter-coastal routes, indulge in the multitude of beautiful natural wonders, including “the icebergs capital” of Ilulissat and the nearby UNESCO-protected Isfjord, the beautiful basalt mountains of Disko Bay and the amazing island of Eqip Sermia in Disko Bay. Venture north of the polar circle to visit the village of Sarfannguit. Pre and post nights in Iceland are included in this cruise package.
Or, call us at 1 844 405 0219 to get started.
Dates: August 9, 14, 19, 24, 2020
Day 1, Arrive Iceland
Upon arrival to Iceland take the airport bus to downtown Reykjavik. Afternoon free to explore. Or, optional upgrade to visit the Blue Lagoon on your way into downtown. If interested- please inquire.
Accommodation in Reykjavik
Day 2, Iceland - Kangerlussuaq, Ship embarkation
Flybus transfer to the Keflavik airport airport for your flight to Kangerlussuaq, which is the base for the largest of Greenland's two international airports, and acts as a hub for onward travel to western and northern Greenland. Although the airport hums with civilian travel, it is a quiet town with only 512 permanent residents, most of whom are airport employees. There is also an excellent supermarket, a post office, and restaurant.
Upon arrival, you will be transported to the small port located to west of the airport, where our ship, Ocean Diamond, will be anchored and waiting. The Zodiacs will ferry you in small groups to the ship, anchored about one kilometer out into the fjord. Each of you will wear a lightweight life jacket and there will be assistance with boarding and disembarking the dinghy. Access to the ship is via a platform next to Magellan deck. Once on board, you will each be shown to a suite and the crew will review the safety procedures prior to dinner. Enjoy your first chef-prepared dinner at sea, Ocean Diamond will set sail, passing through the 160-kilometer fjord and cruise out into the ocean.
Accommodation On board Ocean Diamond (various cabin categories available, see below for pricing)
Day 3, Sisimiut
Early in the morning, arrive to Sisimiut. After breakfast, we will gain a better idea of what modern Greenland looks like.
Sisimiut is the most northerly place in Greenland that is accessible by ship during the winter because it is relatively free of sea ice. It is also the southernmost place where dog sledding is practiced and, with 5,400 inhabitants, is considered Greenland’s second ‘city’. People have lived around Sisimiut for about 4,500 years. In fact, Sisimiut was the first home of the Saqqaq, Dorset and Thule cultures after they migrated from present-day Canada. In order to survive this impressive journey and establish a new settlement, they lived on fish, birds and mammals such as whales, seals and reindeer.
In 1600, the first European whalers arrived in the Sisimiut region, but they maintained very little contact with the population. It was only after Norwegian missionary, Hans Egede, colonized Greenland in 1721 that regular contact developed between the Inuit and Europeans.
In 1756, a colony was established here by Count Johan Ludvig Holstein, who called it “Holsteinsborg”. The oldest part of Sisimiut’s historic quarter features town houses from this “Holsteinsborg era” and the oldest house in town dates back to 1756. One of the most culturally significant buildings is the Blue Church, which was built in 1775.
Nowadays, Sisimiut is an important place for education and industry, and local factories process the bulk of Royal Greenland's fishing. The fish processing plant is one of the largest of its kind in Greenland, and one of the world’s most modern.
Tour highlights include the historic colonial quarter, as well as the museum and the beautiful church. Additionally, we will pay a visit to the busy city center for a glimpse of daily life in 21st century Greenland. In the afternoon, our voyage will continue northward.
As evening falls, pass the Sisimiut Isortuat Fjord, the Nordre Stromfjord settlements of Attu and Ikerasaarsuk and the small town of Kangaatsiaq. During the course of the bright night, pass Aasiaat and proceed into the southern waters of Disko Bay. Next, the ship’s heading will be set for Disko Island, known for its distinctive 1,000-meter layered crags.
At this point, you are north of the Arctic Circle! Here, the nights are bright and early risers can enjoy the sight of the icebergs on Disko Bay as they squeeze out of the Ilulissat Ice Fjord and dance into the frigid ocean waters.
Accommodation On board Ocean Diamond
Day 4, Qeqertarsuaq & Disko Island
Your next sojourn lies on Disko Island, where Ocean Diamond will dock in a protected natural harbor, which is reassuringly named Godhavn (‘Good Harbor’) in Danish, while its Greenlandic name, Qeqertarsuaq, simply means ‘The Big Island’.
Although insulated from mainland Greenland by the shadow of Disko Island’s 1,000-meter tall mountains, Qeqertarsuaq maintains a long, rich history and once served as one of the country’s important economic center. From the 16th century, the community was relatively prosperous and was, in fact, considered the most important town north of Nuuk until the mid-1900s, due in part to the area’s sizeable whale population. As dominant industries evolve with the passing of time, so too has Qeqertarsuaq’s affluence of yesteryear.
During our visit, wander through town, paying a visit to the characteristic, octagonal church, nicknamed “God’s Inkpot”, as well as to a local community center that will be hosting a traditional Greenlandic “kaffemik”, which can be best described as a friendly gathering with coffee, cake and storytelling.
As the day draws to a close, Ocean Diamond will set a northeasterly course that is bound for a magnificent natural highlight – the enormous Eqip Sermia Glacier. Situated approximately 50 nautical miles north of Ilulissat, the Eqip Sermia Glacier is renowned and many visitors visit daily to behold her awesome beauty. Some legendary arctic explorers selected this location as a base for their studies. One such explorer, the acclaimed Swiss glaciologist, Alfred de Quervain, used the location as a base for his expeditions onto Greenland’s inland ice cap over a century ago.
Sail as close as possible to the ice’s edge – but at a safe distance to dodge the plunging blocks of ice and violent waves that result from the calving glacier.
Accommodation On board Ocean Diamond
Day 5, Illulissat, the capital of Icebergs
Ilulissat is possibly the most well placed town in Greenland. The name simply means ‘icebergs’ in Greenlandic and the town’s nickname is rightly ‘the iceberg capital’. In Disko Bay, which is located just off the coast of Ilulissat, gigantic icebergs linger in the freezing waters. These icebergs come from the Icefjord, which is located a half hour’s hike south of Ilulissat. These impressive frozen structures are first born some 70km deeper into the fjord by the enormous Sermeq Kujalleq glacier. This 10km-wide and 1,000m-thick glacier is the most productive glacier outside of Antarctica. Whereas most glaciers only calve at a rate of approximately a metre a day, the Ilulissat glacier calves at a rate of 25m per day. The icebergs produced by the glacier represent more than 10% of all icebergs in Greenland, corresponding to 20 million tons of ice per day! 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 with more than 4,500 inhabitants. The town is very vibrant, welcoming and lively with a wide range of cultural attractions, according to Greenlandic standards. The legendary polar explorer, Knud Rasmussen, and his good friend, Jørgen Brønlund, were both born in Ilulissat (Jørgen Brønlund became known as an eminent dog sled driver).
On this day, you will 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 will 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 not included in the general tour price. Furthermore, the helicopter excursion must be booked in advance. Refer to Price Information for more details.
In the evening, cruise southward from “the iceberg capital”, leaving lovely Disko Bay in our wake.
Accommodation On board Ocean Diamond
Day 6, At Sea
Our last day aboard the ship will be spent at sea, allowing us to admire the stunning views of Greenland’s western coast. Hopefully, on our way to the mouth of Sondre Stromfjord we will encounter majestic whales and other marine mammals.
Accommodation On board Ocean Diamond
Day 7, Kangerlussuaq - Reykjavik, Iceland
During the night, complete our passage through the 160-kilometer Kangerlussuaq Fjord. After breakfast aboard the ship, bid farewell to the ship's staff and the Zodiac boats will shuttle us to shore.
Depending on prevailing conditions, there may be an additional optional excursion onto the mighty Greenland Ice Sheet or 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. We do not recommend the excursion for people who suffer from bad necks or backs as the route to the ice cap is occasionally bumpy and uneven.
As your time in Greenland concludes, fly from Kangerlussuaq to Keflavik, Iceland. Independent transfer to your hotel near the airport.
Accommodation in Keflavik
Day 8, Depart Iceland
After breakfast and checkout, your adventure in the arctic will come to an end.
Need help with additional nights in Reykjavik or other places in Iceland, please inquire.
You Trip includes the following:
- Round trip airport bus Keflavik- downtown Reykjavik hotel day 1 and 2.
- English-speaking guides
- Flights Reykjavik – Kangerlussuaq round trip
- Local transport in Kangerlussuaq on day 2
- City tours in Sisimiut, Qeqertarsuaq,and Ilulissat
- Museum visits in Sisimiut, Qeqertarsuaq and Ilulissat
- Church visits in Qeqertarsuaq and Ilulissat
- 'Kaffemik' visit in Qeqertarsuaq
- Briefings and talks by tour leaders
- 5-day cruise in a shared outside double suite with bathroom/toilet
- Full board on the ship
- Coffee, tea and water on the ship
- Taxes and tariffs
- Hotel accommodation in Reykjavik, day 1
- Hotel accommodation in Keflavik, day 7
Additional items not included in pricing:
- Single room supplement and cabin upgrades
- Meals not on board ship
- Beverages other than coffee, tea and water
- Tips for ship crew (approx. 13.5 USD per day per participant)
- Personal expenses
- Independent transfer Reykjavik hotel to Reykjavik domestic airport
- Keflavik hotel to Keflavik airport
Single Supplement: ON REQUEST
This package is priced LAND ONLY. If you need assistance with booking your airfare from the US/Canada, let us know and we will be happy to help you.