UNDER THE NORTHERN LIGHTS: EXPLORING ICELAND & EAST GREENLAND
Explore two of the last unspoiled wilderness areas on the planet with the Under the Northern Lights: Exploring Iceland & East Greenland itinerary. Cruising along Iceland’s mountainous Vestfjords and Greenland’s remote northeast coast, home to the largest fjord system in the world, you’ll discover diverse and dramatically rugged landscapes rich in iconic arctic wildlife.
Immersed in the untamed beauty of the Arctic, you’ll experience Inuit culture firsthand at Ittoqqortoormiit, visit ancient Thule sites steeped in history, and marvel at the majesty of massive icebergs and towering bird cliffs. If you’re lucky, you may also catch sight of the spectacular northern lights dancing across the sky.
The Arctic has been inspiring explorers for centuries, and our expeditions offer the chance for you to discover why. We’re excited to host you on your unforgettable adventure! Feel free to reach out to our team of Polar Travel Advisers or your travel professional, who can answer your questions and provide assistance at any time.
Day 1 Arrive in Reykjavik, Iceland
Arrive in the Icelandic capital in the morning and make your way to your included hotel. You will have the day to explore the city on your own.
Day 2 Embarkation Day
This afternoon, you’ll board your vessel and begin your expedition. Get ready for a great adventure ahead!
Day 3 Exploring the Vestfjords
Each region of Iceland has its own appeal for nature, bird and history lovers, and the little-visited Vestfjords (Westfjords), where the land meets the sea in the most dramatic fashion, is no exception. Exploring this rugged peninsula at the country’s remote northwestern tip offers awe-inspiring vistas of mountains, fjords and towering cliffs. If we’re lucky and conditions allow, we might cruise along Látrabjarg, known as Europe’s largest bird cliff. In summer, these cliffs teem with puffins, razorbills, guillemots and more, but toward the end of the season when we visit, sightings will be more rare. Another possible destination is the quaint island of Flatey, where a replica of Iceland’s largest medieval manuscript, Flateyjarbók, can be viewed in the library. The church here features murals symbolizing life on the island, including one of Jesus wearing a classic Icelandic sweater.
Day 4 At Sea
As we cruise north across the Denmark Strait, your Expedition Team will prepare you for the adventures that await. Learn about the storied history and politics of the Arctic, its fascinating wildlife, geology, ecology and climate, and the incredible sights you will soon explore. The team will also search for the seabirds soaring around your ship, as well as the whales that frequent the waters here.
Day 5 – 12 Exploring Northeast Greenland
During your tour of Greenland’s remote northeast coast, you’ll enjoy Zodiac cruises and shore visits to several locations. We’ll also keep an eye out for grazing muskoxen, as 40 percent of the world’s muskoxen population lives in Northeast Greenland National Park. Sailing through spectacular Scoresbysund, the birthplace of many icebergs, you’ll immediately see why some say it’s the most beautiful fjord system on the planet. Sites such as Frederiksdal and Sydkap offer opportunities to explore the colorful tundra and the remains of ancient Thule settlements. At the entrance of the sound is East Greenland’s most northerly community, Ittoqqortoormiit, where you may spend time interacting with the Inuit people and learning about their way of life. You may also have a chance to see the northern lights here if the skies are clear. Deeper in the sound, Røde Øya offers a picturesque locale for admiring the beauty of sky-blue bergs set against striking red sandstone cliffs. Magnificent vistas also await at Kong Oscar Fjord, with possible landings at Ella Øya, renowned for its rugged cliffs and ice-choked waters, and flower-rich Botanikerbugt, on Ymer Øya.
Day 13 At Sea
As your arctic adventure winds down, take in a presentation by our onboard experts, share your photos, sip an icy cocktail in the bar or watch a movie—there are many activities during your time at sea. Your Expedition Team will also be on hand to answer any questions and point out wildlife.
Day 14 Depart Reykjavik, Iceland
You’ll disembark in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, at the end of your journey. If you have booked post-expedition accommodation, we provide a transfer to a central downtown location.
Ocean Adventurer has long been a fleet favorite among guests and crew who’ve appreciated the charm and intimacy of this 128-passenger vessel, its ample outdoor deck space, numerous cozy spots to socialize onboard—and the outdoor jacuzzi. A few years ago, Ocean Adventurer underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation involving a talented team of marine architects, engineers, interior designers and polar expedition specialists. Quark Expeditions is proud of the enhancements to the much-loved polar vessel—which subsequently won the Travel Weekly Magellan Award for Overall Small Cruise Ship (500 passengers or under).
The refurbishments now enjoyed by guests:
- A refreshed, contemporary new look and feel throughout the ship
- The addition of six new twin cabins and three new suites
- All existing cabins furnished with new soft furnishings and brand new bathrooms
- Remodelling of common areas such as the Lounge and Dining Room
- Major technical enhancements, such as two new Rolls Royce engines, which increase fuel efficiency and minimize carbon footprint.
Staff and crew: 87
Draft: 4.5 meters
Stabilizers: 2 x sperry gyrofin (1998)
Propulsion: diesel twin engines – 5,400 horsepower
Lifeboats: 4 partially-enclosed
Zodiacs: 14 (mark v type)
Voltage: 220v, european plugs
Length: 101.1 meters
Ice class: 1a
Breadth: 16.2 meters
Gross tonnage: 4614 tons
Cruising speed: 12 knots, in open water