Albatros Expeditions

Exploring the seven seas since 1994
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PAGEMENU
Dates
  • 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.

Traveling by sea is a magnificent way to experience Greenland. The places most worth seeing are situated along the dramatic coast line: small and colourful houses situated on the steep mountains sides down to a fjord, giant glaciers producing enormous icebergs, whilst whales and seals play in the sea. And only a few minutes’ hike away you will find yourself totally isolated, surrounded by wilderness.

The people of Greenland live along the coast in small towns and settlements – at summer only accessible from the sea. Their culture, architecture and living conditions are enriched and limited by the harsh nature of the Arctic. On our town visits, you will have opportunities to meet the hospitable Greenlanders and learn more about the Inuit culture.

Flying in from Kaflavík to the airport of Kangerlussuaq, we embark the ship and head for the colourful town of Sisimiut. Then further to the small settlement of Qeqertarsuaq on Disko Island. Here we can experience the age-old “Kaffemik” tradition in the community house. On the southward voyage we visit the calving glacier at Eqip Sermia, the town of Ilulissat, Iceberg Capital of the World, and the settlement Itelleq to experience Inuit hunting culture. Back in Kangerlussuaq we disembark Ocean Atlantic and enjoy a bus tour to the Icecap before flying back to Keflavík and Iceland.

Trip Info

  • Six fascinating days along Greenland’s West Coast.
  • Whale sightings, bird watching & arctic wildlife.
  • Cultural Kaffemik experience in Qeqertarsuaq .
  • Visit to Ilulissat,"The Iceberg Capital of the World".
  • UNESCO-protected Icefjord.
  • Calving Equip Sermia Glacier.

Optional Excursions:

Day 4: Helicopter ride or sailing among icebergs.

Day 6: Reindeer Glacier, Kangerlussuaq.


Itinerary

Day 1: Iceland - Kangerlussuaq. Embarkation.
Upon arrival from Keflavík in Iceland, we will be transported to the small port located west of the airport, where our ship, Ocean Diamond, will be anchored. Zodiacs will transfer us the short distance to the ship, where you will be checked in to your outside cabin. After the safety drill, you will enjoy a dinner as Ocean Atlantic ‘sets sail’ through the 160-kilometre Kangerlussuaq fjord.
Day 2: Sisimiut, Greenland's second-largest city.
After breakfast, we arrive to the colourful town of Sisimiut, where we will get an idea of what modern Greenland looks like. With 5,400 inhabitants, it is considered Greenland’s second ‘city’. People have lived around Sisimiut on and off since 2,500 BC.
In 1756, Count Johan Ludvig Holstein, established a colony here and 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, 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 most modern in the world.
Our city 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 centre for a glimpse of what daily life is like in 21st century Greenland. In the afternoon, our voyage will continue northward.
As evening falls, we will pass the Sisimiut Isortuat Fjord, the Nordre Strømfjord 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/3,280 feet 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 Icefjord 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 the southern tip of the Disko Island, where Ocean Diamond will dock in a protected natural harbour, which is named Godhavn (‘Good Harbour’) in Danish, while its Greenlandic name, Qeqertarsuaq, means ‘The Big Island’.

Although topographically quite different from mainland Greenland due to the basalt characteristics of the Disko Island’s mountains, Qeqertarsuaq maintains a long, rich history and once served as one of the country’s important economic centres. From the 16th century, the community was relatively prosperous and, in fact, considered the most important town north of Nuuk until the mid-1900s, due in part to the area’s sizeable whale hunting population.
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 traditional dances and music.
Musicians from Greenland originally played on a drum (qilaat) made from an oval wooden frame covered with the bladder of a polar bear. Unlike other drums, the qilaat was played by hitting the frame with a stick, not the skin itself. This modest instrument was used for a variety of purposes, including entertainment, exorcism and witchcraft.
After the missionaries arrived, drum dancing was prohibited and later replaced by part-singing of psalms and choral works, which today are renowned for their particular Greenlandic sound. Today, drum dance is used as entertainment in cultural events and on festive occasions.
Greenlandic music is inspired and influenced by music from other cultures, like the Danish and Inuit cultures, and more specifically, Dutch and Scottish polka, American country and rock ‘n’ roll and even Hawaiian music, which inspired the so-called Vaigat-musicians in Greenland in the 1950s and 60s.
As the day draws to a closing, Ocean Atlantic will set a north-easterly course 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 for its jaw-dropping beauty. 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 sheet over a century ago.
We will sail as close as possible to the ice’s edge – but at a safe distance to avoid plunging blocks of ice and violent waves that often result from the calving glacier.
Day 4: Ilulissat, Capital of the Icebergs.
Ilulissat is possibly the most well located 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 born some 70km/43,5 miles deeper into the fjord by the enormous Sermeq Kujalleq glacier. This 10km/6 miles-wide glacier is the most productive glacier outside of Antarctica; Whereas most glaciers only calve at a rate of approximately a metre/three feet a day, the Ilulissat glacier calves at a rate of 25m/82 feet per day. The icebergs produced by the glacier represent more than 10% of all icebergs in Greenland, corresponding to 20 million tonnes/22 million us tons of ice per day!
These facts, together with the fjord’s unforgettable scenery, 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 town, 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.
On this day, you will also have the opportunity to join a boat trip to the Icefjord (not included). The journey takes about two and a half hours in total, a great opportunity to take 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 have warm clothing on!
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 (not included).
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 behind us as we part.
.
Day 5: A visit to Itilleq.
In the morning, we will wake up to a picturesque sight — the settlement of Itilleq, which translates to ‘the hollow’ or ‘the flatlands’, quite an appropriate name for a settlement nestled at the foothills of mountains and glaciers in the distant backcountry to the east. The settlement’s slightly more than 100 residents live off hunting, trapping and fishing, most often in pursuit of arctic char, reindeer and musk oxen.
Although Itilleq is quite remote, it lies within a few hours via dinghy sail from Sisimiut, the second-largest town in Greenland. The accessibility to such a large town provides an indispensable economic benefit to a small community like Itilleq’s.
A stroll through the settlement offers insight into rural life in today’s Greenland, where modern conveniences and technological advancements, such as internet and smart phones have become commonplace, yet locals still place great value on important customs and preserving their traditions and Inuit heritage.
Before lunch, we will return to Ocean Diamond and continue our journey toward the fjord of Kangerlussuaq, also known as Sondrestromfjord. Especially the first part of the fjord gives a great opportunity to enjoy an impressive passage with panoramic views of high mountains and deep valleys.
Day 6: Kangerlussuaq. Air to Iceland.
During the night, we will have completed our passage through the 160-kilometer/100 mile 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.
Due to Kangerlussuaq’s military history and present-day role as an important air travel hub, Kangerlussuaq remains fairly isolated from Greenland’s rich cultural traditions, in comparison to other regions. While you still find cultural experiences when visiting Kangerlussuaq, the most impressive attraction is the surrounding nature, which is just beckoning to be explored.
It is not difficult for one to see that Kangerlussuaq’s landscape has largely been shaped by the last glaciation period, often known simply as the “Ice Age,” some 18,000 years ago. The mountains are rounded and soft, and many meltwater lakes remain. From the inland ice sheet, best known as the Greenland Ice Sheet, the meltwater cuts its way through the porous moraine landscape and flows into Kangerlussuaq Fjord.
Kangerlussuaq’s present-day climate is largely influenced by its well-sheltered location between Greenland’s Ice Sheet, the fjord and mountains. This contributes to its stable conditions, minimal cloud cover and roughly 300 clear nights per year.
This close proximity to the Ice Sheet, combined with the continental climate, is also of great significance to the local conditions. The dry climate, combined with warm winds that “fall” from the Ice Sheet, can result in temperatures that jump up to 30°C (86°F) in the summer, but then fall to an extreme -40°C (-40°F) in winter, making it the coldest inhabited area in Greenland.
In Kangerlussuaq, we offer an optional excursion to the beautiful Reindeer Glacier. The duration of the excursion is about four hours.
Please note that 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 gravel road to the ice sheet is occasionally bumpy and uneven.
As our time in Greenland concludes, after breakfast and checkout, your arctic adventure will have concluded. We hope to see you again soon!
Flight from Kangerlussuaq to Reykjavík.

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 Atlantic

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.