East Greenland voyages, incorporating the Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland, combine some of the most dramatic mountain and iceberg scenery in the Arctic and in some of the best whale watching waters in the Northern Hemisphere. The mid to late summer timing (September) also presents opportunities to see the Northern Lights (Aurora borealis).
The voyage starts and ends in Iceland which is itself an excellent location to explore either before or after your voyage with again more northern light opportunities. From the coast of Iceland you will cross the Denmark Stait to Greenland, watching out for Blue Whales and other marine life as you go. An estimated 10% of the world's population of blue whales visit these waters each year.
Our target in Greenland is Scoresby Sund: the largest and most spectacular fjord in the World. The sheer scale of this inlet is difficult to put into words. All around you, mountains rise 2,000m from the sea and continue beneath the waterline a further 1,000m to the ocean depths. You will be able to see as many as seven glaciers at once grinding their way through rugged rocks towards the tranquil fjord waters. Unlike Spitsbergen, the sea drops off sharply so some very large chunks of glacier can break off each time. This results in some huge icebergs, as much as 100m high and a kilometre in length, the scale of which you are only likely to see in Antarctica. These bergs can dwarf your ship and provide beautiful sculptures to explore at relatively close, but safe range in a rigid inflatable boat.
Scoresby Sund is the most northerly point of this voyage and part of the world's national park: the Northeast Greenland National Park which covers an incredible 97,200,000 hectares. The most prominent community here reside at Ittoqqortoormiit, a remote Inuit town with still strong traditional existence, using dogs and skidoos to travel and hunt. The picturesque painted wooden houses clustered on the icy fjord coast is a unique place to visit, meet the locals and learn about a Greenlandic community surviving in a time of great change. The sheer size of Greenland, together with the fact that hunting is still practiced means that wildlife is more dispersed than in Spitsbergen, but Polar Bears have been seen on these voyages, as well as Atlantic Walrus, Arctic Foxes, the Canadian Arctic hare, grey wolves and the large hairy Musk Oxen.
Those keen on trekking can enjoy some wonderful opportunities in East Greenland, with groups often split between those who want to scale higher up the island's dramatic coastal mountains and those who want to take a more leisurely and shorter stroll closer to the shore. Looking back out to sea, your ship will look incredibly small and the sea usually devoid of any sign of another visitor.
Our East Greenland voyages are ideal for those seeking some of the Earth's most dramatic landscapes. It is also an ideal voyage if you are keen on seeing whales, icebergs and an Arctic voyage which provides opportunities to see the Northern Lights.
If you are trying to decide which polar voyage to consider, call one of our polar guides and experts who describe to you in more detail the differences in voyaging to different polar locations.
8 Day Sample Itinerary
Please note that the following itinerary is draft only, designed to provide you with a flavour of this Arctic and sub-Arctic voyage. All polar voyages are expeditionary in nature and the actual route will depend upon sea and weather conditions, seasonal opportunities to sea wildlife, birdlife and scenery, decisions made by the expedition crew, Captain and local authorities - and in particular ice conditions which can vary considerably year by year.
Day 1 - Embarkation in Akureyri, Iceland
Your journey begins in the morning, where by request you can transfer via chartered bus from Radhus Reykjavikur / city hall in Vonarstraeti in Reykjavik (the meeting point) to the ship in Akureyri (the embarkation point). You arrive in the afternoon after a six-hour drive through northern Iceland. PLEASE NOTE: This transfer is supplemented, and must be booked and paid for in advance. In the early evening the ship departs from the port of Akureyri, sailing north toward the Denmark Strait.
Day 2: Sea Life on the Move
Whilst sailing north you are likely see fulmars, kittiwakes, gannets, and common guillemots. You then cross the Arctic Circle, possibly spotting whales. By evening the first icebergs flash into sight with the approach of the east Greenland coast, near Brewster.
Day 3: Scoresbysund
Today you can hope to reach Scoresbysund, sailing along the glaciated Volquart Boons Kyst. You may enjoy a Zodiac cruise along one of the glacier fronts, along with a visit to the basalt columns and ice formations of Vikingebugt. Later you land on Danmark Island, where you find the remains of an Inuit settlement abandoned around 200 years ago. The circular stone tent rings indicate the summer houses, while the winter houses can be seen closer to a small cape. The sites are well preserved, with easy identifiable entrances, bear-proof meat caches, and grave sites. In the evening you continue sailing the berg-crowded fjords to the west.
Day 4: Colours of the Cape
The goal is a Zodiac cruise near Røde Ø, one of the world’s most cherished iceberg attractions: The austere blue-white of the icebergs sets sharp against the brooding red backdrop of the sediment slopes. The afternoon plan is to sail through the northern parts of Røde Fjord, with the chance to see musk oxen and warm autumnal foliage.
Day 5: Icebergs & Hares
In the morning you encounter colossal icebergs, some over 100 meters (328 feet) high and more than a kilometer (.62 mile) long. Most of them are grounded, as the fjord is only about 400 meters (1,312 feet) deep. You then land near Sydkap, with fine views of Hall Bredning and a good shot of seeing Arctic hares.
Day 6: Scoresbysund Settlement
Stopping at a lagoon on the south coast of Jameson Land, you can hope to encounter waders and geese gathering for the autumn migration. Musk oxen and collared lemming survive on the sparse vegetation here. Later in the day you visit Ittoqqortoormiit, the largest settlement near Scoresbysund – about five hundred inhabitants. At the post office you can buy stamps for your postcards, or just stroll around to see the sled dogs and drying skins of seals and musk oxen.
Day 7: Under the Northern Lights
A day at sea grants you winning opportunities to spot whales and seabirds – and at night, the magical northern lights.
Day 8: Disembarkation in Akureyri
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. You disembark in Akureyri, where on request you can transfer by chartered bus – a six-hour drive that you must book in advance – to Radhus Reykjavikur / city hall in Vonarstraeti in Reykjavik. The memories made on this voyage will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
Longyearbyen - Longyearbyen (14 Days)
Includes: free Expedition Jacket
Contact us for a detailed itinerary
Akureyri - Akureyri (9 Days)
Small expedition ship carrying 108 passengers
Reykjavik - Reykjavik (10 Days)
Voyage as indicated in draft itinerary
All meals, snacks, coffee and tea
All shore excursions and zodiac activities
Group airport transfers to & from the vessel (when arriving/departing on recommended group flight)
Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
All miscellaneous services taxes and port charges throughout the programme
Comprehensive pre-departure material
Aqua-Firma automatically offsets the Carbon Emissions of your polar voyage and flights booked through us in getting to and from your voyage.
International flights (please enquire).
Land based accommodation (please enquire).
Pre and post land arrangements (please enquire).
Fuel surcharge if applicable.
Passports and visas.
Arrival and departure tax.
Excess baggage on flights.
Items of a personal nature (alcohol, laundry etc).
There is no single supplement to pay if you are willing to share your cabin with someone of the same gender.
For a cabin to yourself the supplement is 1.8x the per person rate
Potential Fuel Surcharge:
If the cost per Brent barrel price rises significantly then there may be an additional fuel surcharge applied to some voyages.
Low to Medium