Discover one of the world’s most beautiful, wild and pristine natural areas in the huge North Greenland National Park. On this unique Albatros expedition cruise, we will venture far from the usual tourist routes and visit places where only true expeditioners and scientists travel. Here we will experience unspoilt Arctic landscapes with good chances of seeing polar bears, whales and musk oxen.
Heading out from Reykjavík, our first call is the isolated Inuit community, Ittoqqortoormiit. From here we navigate into the overwhelming Kong Oskar Fjord, which acts as a gateway for the North Greenland National Park, the world’s largest nature reserve.
Navigating the sheltered interior of the national park’s fjord system, we are likely to enjoy stable September weather with clear skies and distant visibility. Snow dusts the mountain tops, and the supernatural wonders of Aurora Borealis can be seen at night. We make landings at century old hunting stations in breathtaking landscapes, as our ship navigates north around Ella and Ymer Islands into Kejser Franz Joseph Fjord. On the southbound voyage we aim for the dramatic Blosseville Coast, whilst planning to make landings near the great fjord of Kangerlussuaq. The last day will be at sea, enjoying lectures from Albatros’ expedition team – or getting glimpses of sea birds migrating south.
This is a true Expedition Voyage, with landings in harsh and pristine nature, abundant wild life – and compulsory permits needed from both national park authorities and the Arctic military patrol Sirius, who acts as national park officers. Albatros Expeditions and our expedition team onboard have huge experience, having navigated these remote fjords for more than 20 years. There are few wilder, more magnificent and untouched places than the Northeast Greenland National Park! And few ships better suited than Ocean Atlantic for such a voyage.
Day 1 ICELAND, REYKJAVÍK. EMBARKATION
In the afternoon, we board the Ocean Atlantic in Reykjavík and set our course northbound for Greenland.
After boarding and welcome drinks, the Expedition Leader will inform you about the voyage, the ship’s daily routines and the various security and safety procedures, then you will have time to unpack and get comfortable in your cabin. Before sailing, there will be a mandatory safety drill.
The Captain takes the ship out of Reykjavík in the early evening, as we enjoy our first hours onboard.
Day 2 AT SEA. CROSSING THE DENMARK STRAIT TOWARDS GREENLAND
Our lecturers onboard will make inspiring and enriching presentations about both Iceland and Greenland’s past history and about nature, wildlife and climatology.
Day 3 INUIT TOWN OF ITTOQQORTOORMIIT
We cross the huge entrance of Scoresbysund during the night and arrive at the Inuit community Ittoqqortoormiit (Scoresbysund) in the morning. About 500 people live here, most of whom base a large portion of their households on hunting. Seal, muskoxen and polar bear skins hang to dry outside many of the houses, and the sled dogs are waiting for sea ice to be safe for the first hunts of the fall. The town is extremely isolated, and the inhabitants only receive ship supplies twice a year. We have established good contacts with the local residents during our earlier visits and can go ashore to experience this unique little community.
Day 4-6 NORTHEAST GREENLAND NATIONAL PARK
During the night we cruise past the rugged peaks of the Liverpool Land peninsula and reach the mouth of King Oscar Fjord. We are now in the huge national park, established in 1974 and expanded in 1988. With an area of almost 1 mill. square kilometer, this is the world’s largest national park and largest protected land area. There are no permanent settlements in the area, but there have previously – most recently up to the middle of the 19th century – been various Inuit hunters here in the northeast corner of Greenland, including on Clavering Island further north.
The program for the next few days in the national park depends on the weather and ice conditions. The route and the landings are determined by the Captain and the Expedition Leader jointly and are typically announced the night before. Some of the interesting landings we strive to visit are:
After entering King Oscar Fjord, we sail along the impressive 1300-meter-high rock wall Bastionen on the Ella Island. A truly beautiful place on our route, and there is good reason why the “King of Northeast Greenland”, the Danish geologist and polar researcher Lauge Koch, established his headquarters here before World War II. We hope to spend the morning on Ella Island if the military patrol “Sirius” – who has its summer base here – grants us permission.
Further north we pass the small Maria Island, where the Germans had a camp during World War II. The Germans’ attempt to gain a foothold in Greenland during World War II is a fascinating story in itself. Look forward to learning more on our onboard lectures! We continue past Ruth Island and hope to make a landing on Ymer Island at Blomsterbugten, a small oasis in the national park. From the tiny hunting lodge Varghytten we can enjoy the formidable view of the characteristic, flat mountain Teufelsschloss, where the many rock layers in different colors testify to the area’s exciting geological development.
We are now well within the narrow and winding Kejser Franz Joseph Fjord, stretching more than 200 km from the icecap to the open Arctic Ocean. We will sail by the mighty iceberg-producing Waltershausen Glacier before entering beautiful Moskusokse Fjord.
On our way back towards open sea, we hope to make a landing at Myggbukta Hunting Station, which was the center of the Norwegian occupation of East Greenland in 1931. The occupation was found illegal by the International Court of Justice in Haag, and the Norwegian trappers had to leave. Cruising south along the coast, we aim for landings on Jameson Land, which is breeding ground for polar bears.
Day 7-8 CRUISING ALONG THE BLOSSEVILLE COAST
Possibly the most dramatic coast outside of Antarctica, the Blosseville is guarded by Greenland’s highest mountains and steepest fjords – and a belt of pack ice which before global warming would keep out any explorer for years. The recent decade has had warmer summers and much less ice which enables ice strengthened vessels such as the Ocean Atlantic to venture along the coast, on lookout for polar wildlife, abandoned Inuit settlements and otherworldly landscapes.
Day 9 AT SEA. LECTURES AND BIRD WATCHING
The last day will be at sea getting glimpses of sea birds migrating south.
Our lecturers onboard will make inspiring and enriching presentations about both Iceland’s and Greenland’s history, nature, wildlife and climatology. A captain’s farewell drink and a slideshow of our voyage will also be presented this evening.
Day 10 REYKJAVÍK, ICELAND. DEPARTURE
Early in the morning we slowly approach the Icelandic capital, Reykjavík, and your Arctic adventure will have concluded. We enter Reykjavík in the morning and bid farewell to the vessel and crew.
Ocean Atlantic is the perfect vessel for expedition cruising in Antarctic waters! Newly renovated in 2016 and with an international ice class rating of 1B, she is one of the strongest ships operating in Antarctica. Her high maneuverability, shallow draft and strong engines allow for extended voyages into isolated fjords, creating exciting adventures for any Antarctica traveler.
Ocean Atlantic is newly renovated (2016) with elegant common areas and accommodation for 198 passengers.
The ship was built in 1985 and underwent an extensive rebuild in 2010. With a length of 140m she has ample space on the multiple decks for several lecture halls, a relaxed restaurant serving 4-star international cuisine, professionally staffed bars and observation platforms – and even a pool.
All common areas on the Erickson Deck feature large panel windows, enabling passengers to quickly spot passing whales and photographic sights from the comfort of indoor lounges.
All private cabins are stylish appointed and feature individual bathroom facilities, phone for internal calls, individual temperature controls and TV. Ideal for relaxation, the vessels’ accommodation ranges in size from 11 – 35 m2 and are designed with either portholes or windows.
Daily shore landings at penguin rookeries, research stations and other Antarctic wonders are made possible by her fleet of 20 Zodiacs.
Year of construction 1985
Year of refurbishment 2016
Passenger capacity 198