Albatros Expeditions

Exploring the seven seas since 1994
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PAGEMENU
Dates
  • 9 Aug 2018
  • 23 Aug 2019
  • 28 Aug 2019
  • 18 Aug 2019
Duration
7 days
Start
Kangerlussuaq
End
Reykjavik

Greenland Disko Bay

Greenland’s combination of impressive land- and seascapes makes this country one of the world’s most remarkable expedition destinations. We love introducing guests to Greenland’s beauty from the sea’s vantage point.

Here, we will 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 with Albatros Expeditions’ 4-star cruise ship, Ocean Diamond

Navigating along Greenland’s old inter-coastal routes, we can indulge in the multitude of beautiful natural wonders, including the “Iceberg Capital of the World” of Ilulissat and the nearby UNESCO-protected Icefjord, the beautiful basalt mountains of Disko Island and the calving glacier of Eqip Sermia. in Disko Bay. We will pay a visit to the polar circle village of Itilleq. While overnighting in Iceland, we will have an opportunity to experience the island nation’s unique nature, as well as centuries-old history and culture in the capital Reykjavík.

All cabins and suites aboard Ocean Diamond are spacious, exterior and offer a private bath/toilet.

Trip Info

  • 16th century community of Qeqertarsuaq
  • Serenity & history of Disko Bay islands
  • Whale sightings, bird watching & artic wildlife
  • Cultural Kaffemik experience
  • Visit Ilulissat, nicknamed "The Iceberg Capital"
  • UNESCO-protected Icefjord
  • Close encounter with the calving Equip Sermia Glacier

Itinerary

Day 1: Iceland - Kangerlussuaq. Embarkation.
Kangerlussuaq 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, a restaurant and Polar Lodge, which houses Albatros Travel’s Greenland office. This hotel is located just 100m from the airport building.

Upon arrival, we 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 us in small groups to the ship, anchored about one kilometre out into the fjord. Each of us 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, we will each be shown to a suite and the crew will review the safety procedures prior to dinner. As we sit down to our first chef-prepared dinner at sea, Ocean Diamond will set sail, passing through the 160-kilometer fjord and cruise out into the ocean.
Day 2: Sisimiut - Experience Greenland's second-largest city at the foot of Nasaasaaq Mountain
Early in the morning, we 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, we will 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, we will 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, we will be 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.
Day 3: Qeqertarsuaq on Disko Island, 'kaffemik' in a community centre and Eqip Sermia Glacier
Our next sojourn lies on Disko Island, where Ocean Diamond will dock in a protected natural harbour, which is reassuringly named Godhavn (‘Good Harbour’) in Danish, while its Greenlandic name, Qeqertarsuaq, simply means ‘The Big Island’.

Qeqertarsuaq lies well protected below 1000 m high basalt mountains, and the town maintains a long, rich history. It 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, we will 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.

We will 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.
Day 4: Capital of icebergs, Ilulissat
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, we will cruise southward from “the iceberg capital”, leaving lovely Disko Bay in our wake.
Day 5: 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.
Day 6: Kangerlussuaq. Fly to Iceland.
During the night, we will complete our passage through the 160-kilometer Kangerlussuaq Fjord. After breakfast aboard the ship, we will bid farewell to the ship's staff and the Zodiac boats will shuttle us to shore.

Depending on prevailing conditions, we may offer an 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. Refer to Price Information for more details. 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 our time in Greenland concludes, we will fly from Kangerlussuaq to Reykjavik.
Day 7: Reykjavik, Iceland. Departure.
After breakfast and checkout, your arctic adventure will come to an end. We hope to see you again soon!

Inclusions/Exclusions

Inclusions
• English-speaking guides
• Flights Reykjavik – Kangerlussuaq round trip
• Local transport in Kangerlussuaq on day 1
• 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 on day 6

 

Exclusions

• Extra optional excursions
• 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

Optional Excursion

Day 4: Helicopter ride or sailing among icebergs

Day 5: Reindeer Glacier, Kangerlussuaq

 

Practical information

General Safety Rules
  • Make sure your life jacket is properly secured before you climb down the ladder to the Zodiac rubber boats.

  • Make sure you have both hands free when you board the dinghy. Any photographic equipment and other items should be placed in your day pack.

  • Do not walk alone in uninhabited areas. Be sure to have the group in sight all the time, and remember that the weather may change rapidly and reduce visibility.

  • Keep at a safe distance from any animals and birds you encounter (a minimum of five meters).

  • Keep track of the time, and remember at what time the ship sails again. Make sure that your watch shows the same time as the vessel, and be aware of when the last boat leaves the beach.

  • When the vessel alarm sounds, it means that everyone must urgently proceed to the Zodiacs.

About Ocean Diamond

For more information about the ship, look here.


Packing Tips

Even during the summer months, the weather can be quite changeable. It is rather more important to wear the right clothes in order to adapt to the different weather conditions. So, what's the secret of staying comfortable in the Arctic, and adapting to the different climate along your itinerary? Layers! They insulate trapped air, and you can adjust them as needed. Select lightweight technical fabrics engineered to wick away moisture, while keeping you dry and warm.


A few other accessories that will be beneficial:


  • High-protection sunglasses

  • Sunscreen and SPF lip balm

  • Small waterproof bag

  • Binoculars

  • Camera

  • Extra batteries / charger

  • Extra memory cards

The dress code on board is casual. Ties, jackets and evening dresses you may leave at home; however, some guests choose to dress up for dinner. 


If you plan to extend your trip, be sure to bring extra clothing appropriate for your chosen itinerary.


Activities

Concept


We believe the primary focus of an expedition cruise is to experience the distinctive nature along the route, and to broaden one’s horizons across borders and cultures. For this purpose, our expedition team consists of former expedition leaders, biologists and professionals who have an extensive knowledge of the Polar Regions and a passion for exploration.


During Albatros Expeditions’ voyages, the days are brimming with frequent shore landings, zodiac cruises, hiking along the fjords and even upon the ice, as well as visits to cultural sites, bird colonies, historical landmarks and geological treasures.


As these are expedition cruises in the world’s most remote regions, we must adapt to Mother Nature and therefore, all itineraries are flexible. We view interruptions as opportunities to welcome the unexpected. The itineraries can and will be changed according to weather, ice conditions and wildlife sightings to provide you with the best possible voyage.


We believe an essential element of any expedition is the ability to come in contact with the natural surroundings. Therefore, we strive to conduct as many shore landings, Zodiac cruises and hikes as possible.


The Expedition Team will host thought-provoking discussions, either as a workshop or seminar series in the ship’s lecture theatre or on deck. Certain shore landings may be arranged to address a specific topic and even include local experts. For example, a shore lecture might highlight climate change in the Arctic, illustrate the resulting environmental impacts, and include contributions from scientific experts.


Please refer to your itinerary to learn more about the various activities, which have been planned for this trip. However, keep in mind that we are at the mercy of Mother Nature and may  be required to adjust our plans to ensure the safety and comfort of all aboard.


Pre- & Post-tour Extensions

Pre- or post-tour extensions to further explore Norway, Denmark, Iceland or Greenland may be available for this itinerary. Contact us for more information and options. 


Who can participate?

Although we do not have an official requirement regarding personal fitness, you should be able to move on board and ashore without the help of others. 


Children under 12 years of age will be taken into consideration on each landing. Due to safety precautions, it is entirely at the Expedition Leader’s discretion to permit children on excursions and shore landings.


Due to health and safety reasons, pregnant women may not participate in Alabtros Expeditions cruises after the 24th week of pregnancy. A medical certificate is required to document the length of pregnancy at the time of departure.


Health & Medical

Clinic
Each of our vessels has a small medical facility equipped with the necessary equipment and medicine to handle illness and small emergencies. The clinic is staffed at all times by a professionally licensed, English-speaking physician and nurse. Should a serious incident occur, the nearest hospital will be contacted. All guests must have personal travel/health insurance.


Seasickness
The ship is equipped with stabilisers in order to reduce the ship’s roll. However, these expeditions are hosted in remote regions, and it is possible to periodically encounter changing environments and climate patterns, including rough seas and large swells. Seasickness patches (Scopoderm or similar) work solely or in part to help cure nausea for most people. These medicines can cause sleepiness. If you are prone to motion sickness, consult with your doctor prior to departure to help ensure your comfort while travelling.


Sunscreen
We recommend that you bring sunscreen and lip balm (with a high SPF). Due to the nature and conditions of our northerly destinations and the Arctic, the sun's rays can be stronger than you are accustomed to.


Vaccination & Immunization

At the time of publication, no vaccinations or immunizations are required for travel to the Arctic region.


However, we strongly recommend that you are up-to-date on routine vaccinations when planning any type of travel. Ideally 4-6 weeks before departure, speak with your doctor about vaccinations, immunizations and medicines that you may need.


Language Aboard

The official language aboard our vessels is English; however, our expedition leaders and crew are knowledgeable in a variety of languages. If there is a large group, who desires communication in their own language, we will make special arrangements to accommodate their needs.


Money & Local Currency

Aboard the ship
At the time of embarkation, you will receive your personal cruise card, which you should always have with you. This card is used on board as payment instrument (except in the onboard shop), key card and identity card. All on board purchases from the bar, telephone, laundry, and the like are charged to your shipboard account.


To activate your personal cruise card account, we accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards. Alternately, you can deposit cash (US$ or EUR/exchange rate US$-EUR). At the end of the voyage, your account will be settled by the payment methods mentioned above. There is no currency exchange office onboard the vessel. 


Greenland
Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark and the Danish currency is the "Danish Kroner". 


Iceland
The Icelandic currency is the "Icelandic Kroner". 


NOTE: It's a good idea to have a bit of cash with you, however, most establishments accept debit or credit cards. Contact your bank for further information on using your debit/credit cards while travelling.


Time Difference

Greenland
Greeland is so large it covers 4 time zones. Most of Greenland follows West Greenland Time (WGT). Key cities within different time zones, include:


Thule Airbase - Follows Atlantic Standard Time - AST / UTC -04:00


Nuuk - Follows West Greenland Time - WGT / UTC -03:00


Ittoqqortoormitt - Follows East Greenland Time - EGT / UTC -01:00


Danmarkshavn - Follows Greenwich Mean Time - GMT / UTC +0:00


Iceland
Follows Greenwich Mean Time - GMT/UTC +0:00
Iceland does not utilize Daylight Savins Time


Electricity

Aboard the ship
The ship has a 220v / 50 Hz cycle system. Please check your appliances before use. 110-volt appliances require an adapter prior to use aboard the ship.


Itinerary & Program Changes

As this is an expedition cruise to the world's most remote regions, we are at the mercy of Mother Nature. We have planned itineraries for each tour package, but to ensure the safety of our guests and crew, we may be forced to change the route.


The itinerary can and will be changed according to weather, ice and local conditions, and travellers should consider this part of the journey. We strive to conduct as many shore landings, Zodiac excursions and hikes (up to 11km) as possible and these can be adjusted as desired to ensure everyone's safety.


For these reasons no compensation will be paid for delays and changes to the ship’s course that cause less than 24 hours of disruption in any given period.


Ship

Ocean Diamond

Its ice-strengthened hull and relatively small size makes this ship perfect for sailing in the ice-choked polar seas. Without compromising on safety, the ship is designed with top-notch passenger experience and comfort in mind. The vessel’s well- equipped 101 cabins are tastefully decorated and with exterior views.

The ship also boasts spacious lounge and common areas, an elegant restaurant, a well-stocked polar library and a bright panorama lounge perfect for observing arctic wildlife.