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Our journey begins in Reykjavik where we will overnight in a hotel - pack your bathing suit, so you can relax in a pool heated by geothermal activity near the hotel where you will spend the night.
After breakfast, you’ll board a charter flight to the northern Icelandic town of Akureyri, where your arctic adventure begins. As our ship sets sail, enjoy some time out on deck, taking in your new surroundings. Have your binoculars and camera ready—you may spot birdlife and whales at sea!
Sailing into the peaceful bay of Hornvík, you’ll reach the northernmost point of Iceland. This area is encircled by two of the largest bird cliffs in Europe. You can hike an old path, once used by fowlers, out to the majestic Hornbjarg cliffs, which are dominated by millions of seabirds, such as Brünnich’s guillemots, kittiwakes and puffins. Encounters with Arctic fox are common here.
While we cross the Denmark Strait, your Expedition Team will keep you informed and entertained with educational presentations about the wildlife, history and geography of Greenland, your next stop. Join expedition staff on deck and on the bridge as they look out for whales and seabirds, get to know your fellow guests or simply take in the natural beauty that surrounds you.
Now we sail south, dipping beneath the Arctic Circle. We’ll attempt our first Greenlandic shore landing, on the island of Ammassalik, one of the most isolated inhabited regions on Earth. This is an ideal area to explore by Zodiac, offering opportunities to take some stunning photographs. As you venture deep into the spectacular Sermilik Fjord, behold the breathtaking vistas of massive icebergs set against a backdrop of soaring snow-clad mountains.
Ships rarely venture into Lindenow Fjord, the least-occupied fjord in Greenland. With your Expedition Team in tow, you’ll cruise by Zodiac in an arm of the fjord, as our staff use their years of arctic experience to search for bearded seals lying on the pack ice. You may also spot waterfalls along the sheer rock face. Prins Christian Sund is made up of a spectacular series of massive tidewater glaciers. A mountainous region laced with fjords, it’s an attractive area to explore by Zodiac, if the ice allows us to navigate with ease. Rounding the southern edge of Greenland, we’ll land at Narsaq Kujalliq, also known as Narsarmijit. Founded by Herrnhut missionaries in 1824, it’s the country’s southernmost settlement, 31 miles (50 km) north of Cape Farewell. You’ll explore Herjolfsnes, the site of an excavated Norse farm, and also have the chance to hike in the area or soak in a natural hot spring while icebergs float by. Welcome to the land of hot springs! A common natural phenomenon in Greenland, heated springs have lured visitors for thousands of years. On the uninhabited island of Uunartoq, three springs form a small stone-dammed pool that’s warm enough to bathe in. Surrounded by soaring mountain peaks, you can relax in this outdoor spa and contemplate the surreal scenery around you as majestic icebergs drift by. In the fertile region of South Greenland, you’ll visit the well-preserved ruins of a Norse church in Hvalsey. Walk amongst the towering stone walls, and you’ll feel the presence of the settlers who used to gather here before the site was abandoned in the 15th century. The Nearby fells and fjord have not changed over the centuries.
As you sail toward Paamiut, you’ll be struck by the beauty of the surrounding dark blue mountains. Known for its mysterious fog and pleasing blend of old and new culture, the town has its own guardian: the white-tailed eagle. Inhabitants feel a strong connection with the king of the birds, and legend has it that good luck will come to those who spot it (easy to do, as they’re seen in large numbers here). Simply smile at locals, and they’ll enthusiastically share their fondness for their town, and fishermen will happily talk about their trade. You’ll have the opportunity to hike a nature trail that’s a thousand years old. You also may be able to spot fin, humpback, minke or killer whales from shore. History and culture buffs will find plenty to do in the bustling Greenlandic capital of Nuuk. Wander along to the waterfront to see the Hans Egede Church and Hans Egede statue, both named after the missionary who founded the settlement in 1728. At the Greenland National Historic Museum, you can view the 500-year-old remains of fully dressed mummies, found in 1972 after two brothers out grouse hunting discovered their graves under a rock outcrop. Also worth exploring are the Katuaq Culture Centre and Nuuk Art Museum.
Today, we sail across the Davis Strait, a major summer feeding ground for walrus and narwhals. Our informative presentations will prepare you for your Baffin Island adventures. During this time at sea, it’s easy to stay entertained: learn to identify seabirds on the wing, share photos and swap stories with shipmates, lounge with a book in our Polar Library, savor a glass of wine in the bar or get active in the exercise room. Or simply stay up on deck, enjoying the impressive sea views.
We’ll trace the southeastern coast of Baffin Island, the largest island in Canada and the fifth largest in the world. In this land of glacial lakes, an abundance of vibrant wildflowers such as yellow arctic poppies and purple saxifrage are scattered across the fertile landscape. Your time here will be spent going on wildlife excursions by Zodiac, hiking the tundra and visiting fishing villages and traditional Inuit settlements, learning about the local history and culture.
Dubbed the Switzerland of the Arctic, the Inuit hamlet of Pangnirtung is nestled beneath the jagged, frosty peaks of Mount Duval, at the mouth of the picturesque Pangnirtung Fjord, which merges with the Cumberland Sound. Artists in Pang, as locals call it, are renowned for their traditional Inuit arts and crafts, especially intricate woven tapestries and lithographs. Here, you can visit the internationally acclaimed Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts to watch craftspeople in action in the tapestry studio, purchase a limited- edition litho at the print shop, and even pick up a colorful Pang hat (with matching scarf and mittens) to keep you warm during the rest of your arctic adventure. Nearby, you’ll explore the historic remains of a whaling station on the small uninhabited island of Kekerten, and imagine what life was like long ago. Settled in 1840 by Captain William Penny, a Scottish whaler, the area is now a National Historic Site of Canada. During the height of bowhead whaling in the late 1800s, the station was the most important one in the Cumberland Sound area (the slopes along the harbor were ideal for scouting whale activity). The site represents the impact that the industry had on the culture and economy of the Inuit in the sound, as locals adapted to the rhythm of the whaler’s year.
Expect more wildlife sightings at Monumental Island, located off the southern coast of Baffin Island. Though uninhabited by people, the island is a well-known habitat of some of the Arctic’s most magnificent animals. As you cruise in a Zodiac along the rocky shores, keep your eyes peeled for hauled-out walrus and prowling Polar bears.
Cruising in a Zodiac through the narrow channels separating the three rocky islands of this uninhabited archipelago, there’s a possibility of seeing polar bears meandering the rugged coast.
Before disembarking in Iqaluit, you’ll have a chance to bid farewell to your Expedition Team and shipmates. After, board your direct charter flight to Ottawa, where you’ll spend the night at your included hotel.
Today, you can make your way to the Ottawa airport to connect with your homeward flight, or spend more time exploring Canada’s capital if you have booked additional accommodation.
* 15 nights in a choice of cabin types, all with en suite facilities, 1 night hotel in Reykjavik and 1 night in Ottawa * Expedition cruising in comfortable conditions
All meals while on the ship included. *Typical Meals* The ships galley offers good quality service and cuisine throughout, with excellent chefs preparing international menus including vegetarian dishes, accompanied by a wide variety of drinks from around the world on sale. *Breakfast:* Buffet style – unlimited tea and coffee, a selection of fruit juices, hot options including bacon and eggs or omelettes, a selection of bread and toast and jam/honey/marmalade, fruit and cereal. *Lunch:* Three course set meal, or the occasional buffet or BBQ. *Dinner:* Three courses with a starter of soup, salad or anti-pasto, a choice of three mains with at least one vegetarian and one seafood option and a dessert of sweet pudding or ice cream or fruit, tea and coffee.
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