In the Wake of Eric the Red- Iceland to Greenland
Follow the path of thousand-year old maritime course on this journey aboard the Ocean Albatros
In the Wake of Eric the Red- Iceland to Greenland
Local Folk dancing
Prince Christian Sound
The Polartours experience
Special Photo Workshop
Learn from Polar experts
Your trip is 100% carbon offset
Digital Visual Journal
Join us on an expedition cruise from Reykjavík to Kangerlussuaq, which follows the same maritime course set by Norse settlers over a thousand years ago. After crossing Danmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland, we will visit Skjoldungen island on the Greenlandic east coast. Further south we will pass from East Greenland to West Greenland though the dramatic Prince Christians Sound. Heading north along the coast we will visit the capital of Greenland, one of the smallest in the world. In the Disko Bay, we will experience local folk dancing in Qeqertarsuaq and sail to the renowned Eqi Glacier. At the Sermermiut Plain we will have the chance to admire the World Heritage Site of the Ilulissat Icefjord and the dazzling icebergs in the late evening sun. Finally, we enter the long fjord of Kangerlussuaq, where we can hope for a glimpse of the muskoxen and reindeers roaming the tundra along the Greenland Icecap.
We compensate all 3.38 tons of CO2 that this trip will cause.
Your ship: Ocean Albatros
Welcome aboard the brand new Ocean Albatros. This stunning, purpose-built polar cruise ship will be deployed to a large selection of expedition cruise destinations, Antarctica, the Arctic, and a variety of exciting new destinations in between.
Ocean Albatros offers a total of 95 comfortable staterooms and suites, all with unobstructed sea view, and most with their own balcony. Like her sistership, the Ocean Victory, her amenities include two restaurants, a wellness area, the “Albatros Nordic Bar”, an open deck dining facility, a modern lecture lounge, and other state-of-the-art amenitie … Read more about Ocean Albatros
Keep in mind this is an expedition cruise, so your itinerary will depend greatly on the weather, amount of ice and wildlife breeding behavior.
Your incredible Arctic adventure starts in Reykjavik
We are crossing the Denmark Strait and cruising along the dramatic Greenlandic East Coast. Our lecturers onboard will make inspiring and enriching presentations about both Iceland’s and Greenland’s past history and about nature, wildlife and climatology.
Enjoy lush landscapes around Skjoldungen
The island of Skjoldungen is without doubt one of most beautiful areas in East Greenland. Situated at 63° N, the island is surrounded by narrow, steep fjords and glaciers, and with plenty of the cool, crisp and clean air of the ever present and nearby ice sheet. Still, we will find and experience a lush landscape and a milder climate than most would expect. Acclaimed Norwegian explorer Fridjof Nansen came here in late summer 1888 in search of a suitable ascension point for the first inland ice crossing.
Skjoldungen is also the name of an abandoned settlement, located on the southwest side of the island. Up to 100 people lived here until 1965, and some houses remain. We continue our journey to Dronning Marie Dal in the area's northwestern corner to get a closer view of its interesting flora.
After Skjoldungen and Ilertakajik fjord, the Alpine peaks and mountainous landscape diminish and from here, we will find that over large stretches, the ice sheet reaches all the way to the shoreline, forming cohesive ice shelfs, a type of icy landscape that some travelers who have been to Antarctica will probably recognize.
Bernstorff Icefjord: The most productive glacier on the SE coast, but we keep a good distance to big icebergs in these ice-infested waters.
Explore the Prince Christian Sound
Prince Christian Sound
Kap Farvel, or Cape Farewell, is renowned not only as Greenland's southernmost point, but also for its infamous, although mostly seasonal, gale-force winds.
We deliberately opt for a far more comfortable but at the same time more spectacular route, cruising via the inside passage through the Prince Christian Sound. This 60 km long waterway, from the Atlantic in the east, to the settlement Aapilattoq in the heart of the fjordlands of South West Greenland.
The sound has steep mountainsides, and many adventurous kayakers have had to turn around because of a very limited number of landing sites available. The old weather station of Prince Christian Sound, manned until a two years ago by sturdy meteorologists, is another classic point-of-interest along this itinerary.
Explore South Greenland, Eric the Red’s Brattahlid at Qassiarsuk.
Early in the morning we sailed into Eriksfjord, which in Greenland is called Tunulliarfik. We throw anchor off Erik the Red's Brattahlíð settlement, where the Qassiarssuk village is today. Here we see, among other things, a reconstruction of Tjodhildur's church, which was the first church on the North American continent. There are also other ruins after the Norse people, which disappeared in the 1400s. Here one can really sense the path of history and wonder why the Norse people suddenly disappeared from Greenland.
It was from Brattahlíð that Erik and Tjodhildur's son Leif Eriksson, about 1000, went west and discovered Baffin Island, the Labrador coast and Newfoundland, before returning to South Greenland a few years later. Around lunch time we sail out of Eriksfjord close to Qooroq Isfjord.
Visit Nuuk, the capital of Greenland
During the morning and day, we cruise north to reach Nuuk in the afternoon. As we enter the Nuuk Fjord we have fair chances of encountering the area's seasonal visitors: the humpback whales.
The world's smallest capital is in Greenland considered by many a mighty metropolis - a total of 17,000 people live here today, almost a third of the country’s population.
The area has been inhabited back to 2200 BC by pre-Inuit hunters. From year 1000 to 1350 AD, the Icelandic Vikings and farmers settled in South Greenland and in the Nuuk Fjord, while at the same time Inuit hunters of the Thule culture moved south from North Greenland. The Nordic settlers disappeared around 1350 AD, but the Inuit stayed, being far better equipped to hunt and survive in the tough Arctic nature.
Modern history of Greenland began in 1721, when the Norse missionary Hans Egede founded a permanent colony and trading station near Nuuk. In fact, Egede’s main purpose to return to Greenland was to convert the Catholic northerners to Lutherans, but soon after his arrival he realized the Norse had disappeared, a mystery yet unresolved.
In 1979, the Landsting (Parliament) was established in Nuuk, and the town was finally recognized as the country's capital.
Late in the night, we will leave the capital and continue our northbound journey.
At Sea, West Greenland
Listen to a lecture from our experienced expedition staff, see a film about Arctic nature – or go out on deck to catch glimpses of migrating birds and hopefully some whales.
Qeqertarsuaq on Disko Island, 'kaffemik' in a community centre, and Eqip Sermia Glacier.
Under Disko Island’s 1000-metre-high mountains we enter the protected natural habour that has the Danish name ‘Godhavn’ or Good Harbour and in Greenlandic ‘Qeqertarsuaq’ which means ‘The Big Island’.
Godhavn was until 1950 the most important town north of Nuuk, solely because of the large number of whales caught and landed here. This gave the town great wealth. Now it’s on the way to oblivion with declining job opportunities and connections to mainland.
The local community center hosts a traditional Greenlandic “kaffemik”, 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 would be played by hitting the frame with a stick, and not the skin itself. This modest instrument was used for a variety of purposes, including entertainment, exorcism and witchcraft.
During the afternoon the ship heads east towards the giant glacier Eqip Sermia in the north-easterly corner of Disko Bay. This glacier is, without overstating, one of the most impressive in Greenland. Here you can experience a glacier calve up close, which is not possible in Ilulissat. Great crevasses, deep blue glacial streams, a landscape so unique and stunning that words are simply not sufficient. An outstanding opportunity to see, hear and smell this mighty ice world. In the evening, we will prepare for departure.
Ilulissat - the capital of 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 of the World’.
The icebergs come from the Icefjord, which is located a half hour’s hike south of Ilulissat. These impressive frozen structures are born some 70km deeper into the fjord by the enormous Sermeq Kujalleq glacier. This 10km-wide glacier is the most productive glacier outside of Antarctica. Whereas most glaciers only calve at a rate of approximately a meter a day, the Ilulissat glacier calves at a rate of 25 meters per day. The icebergs produced by the glacier represent more than 10% of all icebergs in Greenland, corresponding to 20 million tons!
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 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. 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 flightseeing ride over the Icefjord (not included).
Please note the boat and flightseeing excursions to the Icefjord are not included in the general tour price. Furthermore, the flightseeing 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.
The settlement of Sarfannguit
The settlement of Sarfannguit, which translates into "the place of the little stream” an appropriate name for a settlement nestled at the foothills of the mountains and glaciers in the distant backcountry. 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 Sarfannguit is quite remote, it lies within a few hours 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 Sarfannguit.
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 their Inuit heritage.
We will continue our journey toward the fjord of Kangerlussuaq, also known as Sondre Stromfjord. 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.
Disembark in Kangerlussuaq, flight to Reykjavík Airport
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 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 impacted by its well-sheltered location between Greenland’s Ice Sheet, the fjord and mountains. This contributes to its stable conditions, minimal cloud presence and roughly 300 clear nights per year.
In Kangerlussuaq we offer an optional excursion 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 this 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, we will fly from Kangerlussuaq to Reykjavík Airport, Iceland, and your Arctic adventure will have concluded.
Dates & Prices
Preferred date unavailable? Contact us
Single Cabin Supplement
When booking online, you can choose the option to "Upgrade to single occupancy". This will guarantee you the whole cabin to yourself, for an additional fee. If you don't select this option, then another traveler of the same sex might be placed into the same cabin with you.
11-day/10-night cruise in a shared outside double stateroom with bathroom/toilet.
Flight Kangerlussuaq - Reykjavik.
Slow-cruising in Zodiacs in fjords.
Briefings and guided walks by tour leaders.
Inspiring and enriching presentations onboard by qualified lecturers.
Town and settlement tours in Qassiarsuk, Nuuk, Qeqertarsuaq, Ilulissat & Sarfannguit.
Church visit and ‘kaffemik’ in Qeqertarsuaq.
Full board on the ship.
Free coffee, tea and afternoon snacks on the ship.
Taxes and tariffs.
What's not included
Hotel accommodation in Iceland.
Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary.
Single room supplement.
Meals not on board the ship.
Beverages (other than coffee and tea).
Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 14 per person per day).
Anything not mentioned under 'Price includes'.
What is the booking process for a Polartours Cruise?
We love to help people find their dream vacation to the Arctic and Antarctic. Whether you give us a call, contact us via email, or use our website inquiry form, one of our Polar travel experts will be more than happy to answer any questions, recommend ships and itineraries, and walk you through the whole process!
Step 1: Find your perfect trip. If you have already started looking for Polar Cruises, you will have quickly noticed that the sheer amount of options can be quite overwhelming. To help you navigate the countless departures and itineraries that our fleet offers, we have put together a great filter page for Antarctic and Arctic Expedition Cruises. Use this page to filter all trips by price, date, ship category, and even destinations you wish to visit. We update all dates, prices, and availabilities daily, and are proud to host what is doubtlessly the world's most complete collection of information.
Step 2: Found something you love? We'll hold your spaces, free of charge! If you find a cruise you like, you can either inquire directly with us or make an unbinding booking online. We will then reach out to the shipowners to put a hold on your spaces for a limited time, free of charge. Once we have confirmed your block with the ship, we will send you a written confirmation of your reservation and include full payment details in an invoice. Typically, we are able to hold unpaid reservations for up to 1 week*. This gives us time to clarify all your remaining questions, and also ensures that no other passengers can book your spaces, while we continue our conversation.
Step 3: Confirm your booking. In order to confirm your booking, we ask for a deposit payment. You can pay via bank transfer or credit card. Keep in mind, that we can only hold your spaces for a limited amount of time. If we don't receive your payment after this time, we can no longer guarantee that the places will be available or that the price won't increase. To prevent disappointment, we will automatically cancel your reservation if we don't receive your deposit by the due date stated on your booking reservation.
Step 4: Booking confirmation & Payment. As soon as we have received your deposit and a completed passenger information form, we will be pleased to send your booking confirmation and updated invoice, along with your trip itinerary, important information, and other great tips for your cruise.
Step 5: Final payment. In your initial invoice, we will define a final payment date by when you need to pay us the remaining amount of your trip. Once we have received your final payment we'll send you your cruise documents and voucher. As your trip approaches, we make sure to pass along all necessary information, so you feel super prepared and stress-free.
*For last-minute bookings, we might not be able to hold your spaces for so long. We will also require the full payment of your cruise upon booking.
When is the best time to book?
An expedition cruise to Antarctica or the Arctic is a big deal! Most people plan for this type of trip at least 8 months in advance. This means the earlier you book, the better chance you'll have to reserve your prefered cabins. Early bird discounts are also popular and a great way to get 10-30% off your cruise.
Most expedition cruises offer optional activities like camping and kayaking, but the spaces are limited. A cruise with 120 passengers can have only 10-15 spaces for kayaking. These are reserved on a first come first served basis. The earlier you book, the higher your chance of grabbing a spot.
Even though last minute deals do occur, keep in mind that the airline prices will be much higher if you purchase them last minute. You may save a few hundred on your cruise, but you may end up paying the most for airfare.
How to choose the right ship?
Choosing the right ship for a cruise to Antarctica or the Arctic seems difficult, but it doesn't have to be. Our fleet is over 30 vessels, we are sure that there is the perfect one for you. Please, follow these simple steps, and you will be able to find your ideal ship:
- Determine your budget and desired level of comfort: Are you looking for luxury or more budget-friendly options? On our website you can set the price range.
- Consider ship size: Large ships offer more amenities and facilities, but they can also feel crowded and impersonal. Smaller ships offer a more personal experience, but may not have as many amenities.
- Look at the cabins: Although you probably won’t spend much time in your cabin, look at the photos and read the descriptions to make sure you're happy with the one you choose.
- Consider the activities on board: Are you interested in kayaking, camping, diving or a photography workshop? Or maybe you want to take part in a Citizen Science Program? These activities can enhance your overall experience. See what our ships have to offer.
- Read customer reviews: Learn about other travelers' experiences by reading reviews.
- Ask your Polar Specialist: Feel free to contact your Polar Specialist. They are happy to share their knowledge and are always ready to help.
In addition: We work with responsible partners who provide a great experience for their passengers. All of our providers are committed to sustainability and to preserving the beauty of the polar regions. You don’t need to worry about the impact of your cruise, because we’ve already taken care of it.
What can i do to avoid seasickness?
If you are prone to motion sickness then here are a few hints to help you.
Firstly, book a cabin in the middle of the ship. The middle of the ship will move less, both in roll and in pitch. Secondly, chose a larger ship. Bigger vessels typically are more stable, and some of them are even equipped with "stabilizers", fins under water that remove the rolling in the swells. Thirdly, take medical advice on anti-seasickness medication. Some traditional remedies are said to be very effective, such as taking ginger or using commercially-available acupressure wristbands.
Watch this informative video about life onboard an expedition ship and seasickness from our expert guide and Polartours Brand Ambassador, Kevin.
Why is insurance mandatory on all Polar cruises?
There is no doubt the Arctic and Antarctic are some of the world's most remote destinations. In order to visit with complete piece of mind, your safety MUST be taken into consideration.
A Polar expedition is one of the most singular travel experiences you could ever have. Its isolated location comes with a unique set of health-and-safety-related requirements. It is mandatory to be reasonably fit and in possession of a comprehensive travel insurance policy that’ll cover medical and evacuation expenses. We know Polar expedition cruises can be quite expensive, which is why we also strongly recommend Trip Cancellation Coverage in addition to your medical policy.
All Polar tour operators insist you purchase Travel Insurance covering emergency Medical evacuation and repatriation. This is mandatory for all Polar trips! An emergency evacuation from an Antarctic cruise expedition can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Without this coverage, tour operators will refuse your boarding. While the chances of you using this are very slim to none, it is better be safe than sorry.
What should you look for when choosing travel insurance for Arctic/Antarctica expeditions?
A good, reliable insurance company should offer comprehensive Antarctica-specific insurance with a minimum 1 million USD evacuation coverage and medical fees.
Most tour operators in the Arctic require cover of $200,000 for evacuation or repatriation.
If you are an EU resident, please inquire about insurance packages from our partner by clicking here.
What is a fuel surcharge?
Global oil prices are extremely unpredictable. With that in mind, ship operators who operate in the polar regions are at liberty to implement a fuel surcharge as they see fit. In addition to the fuel pricing changes, all vessels visiting Antarctica are required to use much higher-grade and expensive fuel under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty.
While the charge itself will depend on the ship and duration of the cruise, it is possible that a surchage will be added to your final invoice. If this is the case, you will receive a formal e-mail from your travel specialist with an explanation and your new cruise total added to your final invoice.
We appreciate your understanding and are grateful for your trust and business.
In the Wake of Eric the Red- Iceland to Greenland
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