Sailing from Reykjavik, via Greenland, to Canada’s remote east coast, this small-ship expedition cruise brings you among icebergs, volcanoes and twisting fjords to showcase a unique natural and human history. The Inuits, Vikings and European settlers have all left their mark, something brought to life in a full spread of included excursions, ranging from hikes and locally guided walks to kayaking and Zodiac launches. Then, back on board your flawlessly modern ship, you’ll be treated to a curated lecture series and indulgent, full-board dining with beers and wines with dinner . And, after spotting the Northern Lights, polar bears and whales, why not relax with a spa treatment. It’s all bookended by included flights and stays in Reykjavik and St. John’s – two cities with a shared love of fine food and colourful heritage.
Day 1: 23 September 2020: UK/Reykjavik, Iceland
On arrival in Reykjavik, you’ll make your way to your central hotel. With a first day at leisure, you’ll have some time to explore the Icelandic capital at your pace, contrasting its rich heritage with its cutting-edge design scene. Think chic design studios rubbing shoulders with colourfully historic houses. Don’t also miss out on the superb collection of museums; there’s everything from Viking longhouses to maritime exhibitions. Cap it all off with Reykjavik’s restaurant highlights, invariably focused on fresh, locally sourced produce.
Stay: Reykjavik hotel
Day 2: Golden Circle tour
You’ll begin your series of included excursions today, driving out of Reykjavik to Thingvellir National Park – your first stop on the Golden Circle route. Here, you’ll be treated to both natural splendour and unique history, with the ruins of a thousand-year-old, world-first parliament found among its great rift valley. Then, following a stop at one of Iceland’s most impressive waterfalls, Gullfoss, it’s time to board the Greg Mortimer. You’ll quickly settle into your sleek, generously sized cabin – of which 80% feature balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s then time for the first of your full-board dining experiences. Each dinner, you can expect indulgent, multi-course menus, washed down with complimentary house wine, beers and soft drinks.
Day 3: The Westman Islands
Your first ports of call are the Westman Islands where you’ll have a choice of excursions, as always entirely complimentary. Perhaps enjoy a guided hike out to the burnished red of the Edfell Volcano or, alternatively, take in the main island’s sights by road. After a tour of its pretty town, you’ll head out to the Herjólfsdalur Valley to take in the Viking house ruins and the Helgafell and Idfell volcanoes. End with a visit to Eldheimar Museum’s exhibitions on the volcanic eruption that created Surtsey Island – a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Days 4-5: At sea
With two days at sea, you’ll have plenty of time to acquaint yourself with the ship’s superb facilities. Prime among them is the lecture theatre, where you’ll be treated to expert presentations on everything from volcanology and geothermal activity to glaciers and Greenland’s giant ice shelf. Then, finish your studies with the library’s reference books and maps, or head to the Wellness Centre to make use of the gym equipment, sauna or spa, complete with range of treatments. In between it all, there’s plenty of time to meet friends new and old alike, not least while enjoying the fantastic, full-board dining.
Day 6: Prince Christian Sound, Greenland
You’ll make your introductions to Greenland with Prince Christian Sound – the famous channel that links the Labrador Sea with the Irminger Sea. It’s a scenic sail along its 100km length, watched over by giant, two-kilometre-high mountains. Many of their deep-blue glaciers fall right into the sound, resulting in icebergs and sailable widths of just 500m. You’ll get a closer look at Kangersuneq Qinngorleq Fjord, where – weather permitting – you’ll head out in kayaks and Zodiacs to its monumental glacier. At the channel’s southern point, you’ll then sail past Appilatoq – a photographer’s dream of sharp mountain peaks and tiny settlements.
Day 7: Tasermiut, Klostertal & Nanortalik
Tasermiut is often lauded as Greenland’s most beautiful fjord, famous for its majestic mountains and lush valleys. And, docking at Klostertal – a pretty village surrounded by impossibly green fields – you’ll have the chance to hike into the valley or kayak out on the waters. You’ll then sail on to Nanortalik. This is a region rugged with deep fjords and mountainside cliffs, which preside over small woodlands and grasslands. And, it’s not just the scenery that greets you, with the local community opening up their town for you to explore. Highlights include its Lutheran church – a beautiful wooden structure built in 1916 – and a museum exhibit on historic kayaks and the oldest cargo boat ever discovered.
Day 8: Narsarsuaq & Uunartoq
Tiny Narsarsuaq offers the chance to explore on foot, taking in the likes of Norse ruins, Inuit graves and historic farm houses. Your next pause is Uunartoq, a tiny fjord island home to the only hot springs in Iceland that are warm enough to bathe in. What’s more, there’s a thousand-year-old belief in their remedial qualities, perhaps because of their beautiful position in the middle of a grassy field. Lastly, there’s the chance to explore 500 years of differing building styles and communal graves found in the area.
Day 9: Hvalsey & Qaqortoq
Today’s first stop, Hvalsey, is Greenland’s best-preserved Norse ruin. It’s a 14th-century church and collection of accompanying farm buildings, thought to be built by Scots-Norse stonemasons due to its similarity to examples in Norway and Orkney. You’ll then continue on to Qaqortoq, arriving at what is the capital of South Greenland by Zodiac. Once on land, there are plenty of cultural activities to keep you busy, including kayak performances, tasting sessions of local delicacies and guided walks led by the town’s students. The “Man and Stone” project is a special highlight, aimed to transform Qaqortoq into a...
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