Greenland Disko Bay: Ocean Albatros

Greenland

Navigating along Greenland’s old intercoastal routes, we can indulge in the multitude of wonders, including “Iceberg Capital of the World”, Ilulissat, and the nearby UNESCO-protected Icefjord. Visit the small town of Qeqertarsuaq on mountainous Disko Island where we can experience the “Kaffemik” tradition in the community house, and we’ll cruise close to the calving glacier of Eqip Sermia. Even make a call to the Polar Circle settlement of Itilleq. While overnighting in Iceland, have the opportunity to experience the island nation’s unique nature, as well as centuries-old history and culture

  • Serenity & history of Disko Bay Island
  • Whale sightings, bird watching & Arctic wildlife
  • Cultural Kaffemik experience
  • Visit Ilulissat, nicknamed “Iceberg Capital of the World”
  • UNESCO-protected Icefjord
  • Close encounter with the calving Eqip Sermia Glacier
  • Kangerlussuaq, tundra area close to Greenland’s Ice Cap
  • Flights from Iceland or Copenhagen included
  • Travelling by sea is still the best way to experience Greenland. The places most worth seeing are situated along the dramatic coastline: small and colourful houses resting on the steep mountainsides down to a fjord, giant glaciers producing enormous icebergs, meanwhile, 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 – in 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 can meet hospitable Greenlanders and learn more about the Inuit culture.

    But global warming is changing Greenland’s Arctic environment at an alarming rate. On this 8-day voyage to Disko Bay and Uummannaq, we follow the tracks of scientists and decision-makers to see with our own eyes the retreating glaciers and gasp at the thought of losing them. During our third day of the cruise, we visit the Danish Research Station on Disko Island. The expedition concept means we will utilize Zodiacs for beach landings and enjoy nature hikes to get close to receding glaciers. We reach our northernmost point at the fabulous town of Uummannaq. Before heading southbound, we attempt to make a Zodiac landing at Eqip Sermia, a giant retreating glacier and visit Ilulissat, the 'Iceberg Capital of the World'. Our last visit is to the small Inuit settlement of Sarfannguit. Back in Kangerlussuaq, we disembark and make our way back to Iceland or Denmark.

    Unforgettable experiences await you in Greenland!

    Stewart's Take

    Unforgettable experiences await you in Greenland!

    Overview

    Navigating along Greenland’s old intercoastal routes, we can indulge in the multitude of wonders, including “Iceberg Capital of the World”, Ilulissat, and the nearby UNESCO-protected Icefjord. Visit the small town of Qeqertarsuaq on mountainous Disko Island where we can experience the “Kaffemik” tradition in the community house, and we’ll cruise close to the calving glacier of Eqip Sermia. Even make a call to the Polar Circle settlement of Itilleq. While overnighting in Iceland, have the opportunity to experience the island nation’s unique nature, as well as centuries-old history and culture.
    DAY 1 - FLIGHT FROM ICELAND OR COPENHAGEN - KANGERLUSSUAQ Welcome to Greenland! Guests not participating in any excursions can take a stroll around the town on their own until embarkation time at the late afternoon. After finishing the day’s excursion, we will transfer to the harbour and board the ship by Zodiacs that ferry us in small groups to the ship anchored about one kilometre out into the fjord. After checking in, there will be a short safety demonstration before dinner is served in the lovely dining room. We will set sail on our voyage after dinner and begin our passage through the 160 km-long fjord and out into the ocean. NB. Your luggage will be transfered to the ship directly from the airport, so please pack any items you might need during the first day, in your carry-on. We suggest that you pack a waterproof jacket to wear as we are ferried to the ship on our Zodiaccs, which are open to the elements. DAY 2 - SISIMIUT - EXPERIENCE 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 can include the historic colonial quarter, as well as the museum and the beautiful church. Additionally, we are planning to 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 should 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 are set to 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-metre/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 Below Disko Island’s 1,000-metre tall mountains, we pull into port in a protected natural harbour. The place is aptly named Godhavn (“Good harbour”) in Danish, while its Greenlandic name “Qeqertarsuaq” simply means “The Big Island”. Up to 1950 Godhavn was the most important town north of Nuuk, the main town of Greenland, solely because of the many whales that the whaling boats towed here from Disko Bay. This bestowed the town with much wealth, starting already in the 16th century. The town is now on its way to oblivion as it gets harder and harder to find work, and because of the infrequent connections to the mainland. We walk through town to the characteristic, octagonal church, nicknamed “the inkpot of God”. During our stay in Qeqertarsuaq, we might visit the local community. DAY 4 - UUMMANNAQ AND A WALKING TOUR OF ONE OF GREENLAND'S MOST BEAUTIFULLY LOCATED TOWNS When you wake up this morning, you should find yourself in one of Greenland’s most beautiful and sunny regions. The ship is set to reach Uummannaq, situated on a small island. The impressive 1,175 metre heart-shaped mountain has given the town its name - Uummannaq means ‘place where the heart is’. There should be enough time to explore the city before heading back to the ship for lunch. Uummannaq was founded as a colony in 1758 on the Nuussuaq mainland, but shortly thereafter, in 1763, it was moved to the nearby island, as seal hunting was more bountiful here. On our walk along the town’s steep streets we visit the historic train-oil building, built in 1860. Inside its yellow walls, whale and seal blubber used to be stored. Because of the horrid stench, the blubber was not boiled here, but well outside town! Behind the train-oil storage we will find a peat hut, which was still in use a few years ago. The dry and settled arctic climate has around 2,000 hours of sunshine and 100 millimetres of precipitation per year, giving Uummannaq the right to call itself the Greenlandic Riviera! DAY 5 - THE CALVING EQIP SERMIA GLACIER AND EVENING WALKING TOUR TO THE SERMERMIUT PLAIN IN THE CAPITAL OF ICEBERGS, ILULISSAT In the morning the cruise ship should have reached a magnificent natural highlight - the calving Eqip Sermia glacier. We plan to enjoy lunch on the sun deck with this magnificent natural wonder in the background. 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. In the afternoon we will head for Ilulissat, where we berth in the evening and go for a night walk to the Sermermiut plain. If the sea ice is too dense between the Ataa fjord and the Eqi glacier, the captain will have to select a different route today. In this case, the itinerary will be adjusted accordingly and we might, for example, pay a visit to the abandoned coal mine at Qullissat or visit the settlement of Saqqaq. DAY 6 - ILULISSAT - OPTIONAL AIRZAFARI RIDE OR BOAT TRIP TO THE ICE FJORD 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 70 kilometres/43,5 miles deeper into the fjord by the enormous Sermeq Kujalleq glacier. This 10 kilometre/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 25 metres/82 feet per day. The icebergs produced by the glacier represent more than 10% of all icebergs in Greenland, corresponding to roughly 20 million tonnes 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 (price not included). The journey takes about two and a half hours in total. It's 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 flightseeing ride over the Icefjord (price 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. Contact us for more details. In the evening, we will cruise southward from “the Iceberg Capital”, leaving lovely Disko Bay behind us as we part. DAY 7 - THE SETTLEMENT OF SARFANNGUIT The settlement of Sarfannguit, which translates to "the place of the little stream” is 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. The planned 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 are planning to 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. DAY 8 - KANGERLUSSUAQ. OPTIONAL SIGHTSEEING IN KANGERLUSSUAQ During the night, we will have completed our passage through the 160-kilometre/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. Return by charter flight from Kangerlussuaq to Iceland or to Denmark.

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    M/V OCEAN ALBATROS

    Ocean Victory

    The brand-new luxury infinity vessel Ocean Albatros is one of the most modern small ship vessels in the world. This stylish cruise ship is ideally suited to small-ship expeditions, with a total of 93 comfortable cabins for guests, all with a view of the ocean, 90% with a balcony, even a suite with a French balcony! Ocean Albatros is deployed and dedicated to varied Arctic polar voyages. With the highest Polar code 6 and Ice class 1A, Ocean Victory is the ideal vessel for small-ship cruising due to her sturdy construction and X-BOW® – Infinity class, which provides high stability in rough weather and allows for the smoothest movements on high waves, and a Solas 2012 classification, which facilitates a safe return to port. The vessel will have more than a 50% lower carbon footprint than traditional expedition vessels and be one of the most environmentally friendly, implementing the Green Initiative Program, ensuring both absolute comfort and sustainability for our guests. Ocean Albatros will also offer a unique panorama sauna, and a total of 12 dedicated solo travel cabins without a single-supplement. Like it's sistership the Ocean Victory it offers two restaurants, a wellness area, an Albatros Nordic Bar, an open deck dining facility, a modern lecture lounge, and other state-of-the-art amenities.

    For full information about this vessel click here:

    Included
    • English-speaking Guides
    • Flights Keflavík – Kangerlussuaq round trip
    • Local transport in Kangerlussuaq on day 1
    • City walks in Sisimiut, Qeqertarsuaq, Ilulissat, and Itilleq
    • 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 with full board
    • Coffee, tea and water on the ship
    • Taxes and tariffs
    Excluded
    • 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
    EXTRA OPTIONAL EXCURSIONS
    • Day 4 Flightseeing by fixed wing aircraft or helicopter over icebergs.
    • Day 5 From Kangerlussuaq to Reindeer Glacier by 4WD buses
    Deposit Reservations require a 25% deposit at the time you receive a booking confirmation from Expeditions Online. A payment link will be sent to you and this may be paid by major credit card. Bookings within 90 days of departure require full payment. Balances are due 90 days prior to departure and can be paid by bank transfer. Balance payments may be made by credit card however subject to a 2% surcharge. Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received 180 days or more prior to departure, are refundable less an administration fee of minimum USD 1,000 per person. Cancellations received From 179 days to 91 days prior to departure 25% of the total cruise tariff. From 90 days until departure: 100% of the total cruise tariff. Insurance Adequate trip cancellation insurance is required for this expedition, including emergency medical evacuation coverage. Pricing, Sharing and Single Occupancy Prices shown are per person on a shared basis. If you are travelling alone and wish to share, you will be matched with someone of the same gender and pay only the share rate. Single occupancy is available in dedicated category G sole use cabins or by supplement. Booking Terms Please read carefully the general Terms and Conditions for Expeditions Online. This voyage is operated by Albatros Expeditions and you additionally travel under their terms and conditions as the operator as well as of the Shipping Company/transport carrier. Personal information forms will be required to be completed, as well as separate waiver and information forms for swim participants. More information will be sent to you at the time of booking.
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