Follow the route of the Nordic explorers

Trail of the Explorers

21 Day small ship cruise featuring Iceland, Greenland and Canada

Follow the trail of the early explorers as they sailed across the seas, from the volcanoes and waterfalls of Iceland to the glaciers and icebergs of Greenland before landing on the first nations islands of Eastern Canada.Meet Inuit communities, who have called these lands their home for thousands of years. Take a zodiac cruise through fjords populated by soaring icebergs and hike arctic tundra on the lookout for polar bear and caribou. Not forgetting to finish your days with an eye to the night sky in case the Aurora Borealis (Northern lights) dance a dazzling display.

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ITINERARY

WHAT, WHERE & WHEN

Day 1 Reykjavik, Iceland

Upon arrival in Reykjavik, make your own way to your included hotel for the night. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (Hotel confirmed at time of booking)

Staying at: The Greg Mortimer



Day 2 Reykjavik, Iceland

After breakfast you and your fellow travellers will drive to Thingvellir National Park, a historical area where the Icelandic Parliament was founded in the 10th century. After enjoying a walk amongst the unique landscape of Thingvellir, continue to Gullfoss, a magnificent waterfall, considered to be one of the most beautiful in Iceland before transferring to the pier to board the Greg Mortimer in the late afternoon.

Day 3 Westman Islands

The Westman Islands are situated just off the south coast of Iceland. The main island, Heimaey, has a population of about 4,000. Heimay’s main attractions are accessible on foot and you have the option of a guided walking tour including a visit to Eldfell volcano. Alternatively, discover the main attractions of the island on a city tour including Herjólfsdalur valley, to see the ruins of old Viking houses, drive Helgafell and ldfell volcanoes, and visit the Eldheimar museum that features specific exhibitions dedicated to the volcanic eruption that created Surtsey Island, a UNESCO world-heritage site.

Day 4 At sea

A few days to really settle into your cruise ship life as you cross the Greenland Sea.Join one of the informative onboard lectures from the specialist guides that will accompany you over the whole voyage. Enjoy presentations about volcanology and geothermal activity, Greenland’s massive ice shelf, sea ice, glaciers and icebergs. Sea days also offer a great opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers and expedition team.

Day 5 At sea

Onboard the Greg Mortimer

Day 6 Prince Christian Sound, Southeast Iceland

Today you enter the magnificent Prince Christian Sound - a famous channel in Southern Greenland connecting the Labrador Sea with the Irminger Sea. It is around 100 km (60 miles) long and can be as narrow as only 500 metres (1,600 ft) wide. The fjord is surrounded by steep mountains, reaching over 2,200 metres (7,200 ft) high. Many glaciers go straight into its waters where they calve icebergs. Enjoy a slow ship cruise through the sound soaking in the splendid scenery, great for photography. At Kangersuneq Qinngorleq fjord, weather permitting, you may take a Zodiac cruise to the glacier. At the southern part of the sound, pass Appilatoq, a tiny settlement famed for the extraordinary sharp mountain peaks that surround it, a delight for photographers.

Day 7 Tasermiut Fjord, Klosterdal, Nanortalik, Greenland

Tasermiut fjord is known as one of the most beautiful fjords in Greenland for its majestic mountains and lush valleys. At Klosterdal, find yourself amongst the three giant mountains of the area: Napasorsuaq, Ketil, and Nalumasortoq. The captain will sail the ship through the fjord towards Nanortalik, an area with a landscape unlike other areas in the country featuring deep fjords, small woodlands and grasslands, and rugged mountain side cliffs. Receive a very warm welcome from the local community who have opened up their town for you to explore. Visit Nanortalik Church, a wooden, Danish Lutheran church built in 1916, and Nanortalik Museum with exhibits featuring summer tents, kayaks and the oldest cargo boat ever discovered.

Day 8 Narsarsuaq and Uunartoq, Greenland

Narsarsuaq offers easy walks, which include Norse ruins, Inuit graves, and old farm houses. Paddlers may also have the opportunity to explore the little peninsular on kayaks. Uunartoq island is located halfway between Qaqortoq and Nanortalik. Hot springs are abundant in South and West Greenland, but Uunartoq island is home to the only hot springs in the country that are warm enough to bathe in. People have appreciated Uunartoq's remedial springs for more than 1,000 years and now you can too

Day 9 - Hvalsey church ruin and Qaqortoq, Greenland

This morning leave the ship to explore Hvalsey Church, the best-preserved Norse ruin in Greenland. ‘Hvalsey’ is old Norse for Whale Island. After exploring Hvalsey ruins, continue to Qaqortoq, where the Zodiacs take you ashore. Qaqortoq is the capital of South Greenland, and the town offers many cultural activities and just walking around, you will experience the “Man and Stone” art project, designed to transform the town into an open-air art gallery. Other activities may include a walking tour guided by local students, watch a kayak performance, sample local delicacies, or simply stroll around the picturesque lake.

Day 10 At sea

After a busy first week, enjoy some down time to attend informative and entertaining lectures ahead of your arrival into Canada’s spectacular and remote East Coast. The team of experts may present on the incredible geology or the rich wildlife found in the Torngat Mountains National Park and are available to answer any questions you may have.

Day 11 At sea

Onboard Greg Mortimer

Day 12 George River (Kangiqsualujjuaq), Canada

Kangiqsualujjuaq (George River) is the easternmost village of Nunavik region in Quebec province. For adventure and nature lovers, the surroundings of Kangiqsualujjuaq are full of natural attractions and common wildlife found of the area include Caribou, black bear, fox and wolf. About 100 km to the east of Kangiqsualujjuaq are the Torngat Mountains. You will be privileged to visit Kangiqsualujjuaq community, where you will meet with friendly locals who are proud to show you their home and introduce you to the distinctive characteristics of their cultural and linguistic heritage, art and stories. Discover the splendid Autumn tundra on a short hike. The world's largest caribou herds roam freely in Nunavik.

Day 13 Torngat Mountains National Park, Canada

Torngat Mountains National Park is a mysteriously beautiful landscape reminiscent of Earth a million years ago. It takes its name from the Inuktitut word ‘Tongait’, meaning place of spirits. It is 9,700 square kilometres of spectacular wilderness, a land of mountains and polar bears, small glaciers, and caribou, where the Inuit hunt, fish, and travel, as their predecessors did for thousands of years.The Torngat Mountains are also home to some rock formations about 3.92 billion years old, making them the second oldest in the world! Over the next two days, you’ll explore the deep fjords and channels by ship and Zodiac, cruising through some of the most spectacular and dramatic landscapes found anywhere in the world, and getting out for hikes, searching for wildlife, visiting archaeological sites. Weather conditions and tides will determine the exact itinerary and landings during the time exploring Torngat Mountains National Park. You may find yourself sailing through the Eclipse Channel or Nachvak Fjord, a deep and narrow fjord stretching more than 20 kilometres with rocky walls of the fjord soaring almost 900 metre above us at several points. Around the southern part of the national park in places such as Saglek Fjord, attempt to look for polar bears roaming the rocky shores of the outlying islands of the park on their hunt for food.Autumn brings shorter days and when the sun goes down, look up. Chances are, you’ll see something to take your breath away – bright green ribbons of light dancing and swirling across the night sky. You are in the zone of the Aurora Borealis. Brilliant, exhilarating and utterly unforgettable, the Northern Lights are the crowning glory to the dramatically beautiful Torngats.

Day 14 - Torngat Mountains National Park, Canada

A further day to explore the Torngat Mountains National Park

Day 15 At sea

As you sail south to Nain, the onboard lecture series continues and you’ll learn about the history of Moravian missionaries. Spend your free time catching up on editing photos and relaxing in the various public areas, stay active in the fitness centre or unwind in the wellness centre.

Day 16 Nain, Canada

Nain is the most northern and largest community in Nunatsiavut. Founded in 1771 by Moravian Missionaries, Beautiful artefacts and buildings built by the Moravians remain in the community to this day. In smaller groups accompanied by local guides, you will be taken on a walking tour visiting the town’s key sites including the Moravian church; Torngat Arts and Crafts Gift Shop; Illusuak Cultural Centre and perhaps see a demonstration of stone carving by a local carver. Time permitting, there may be a chance for a hike to Mount Sophie, escorted by local Inuit bear guards as bears are frequent in the area outside of town.

Day 17 Hopedale, Canada

Located in the heart of Nunatsiavut, Hopedale is the legislative capital of the Nunatsiavut Government. Originally known by its Inuktitut name Arvertok, which translates to "the place of whales", the community was renamed Hopedale by Moravian Missionaries arriving from Germany in 1782. Today, there remains an incredible legacy of structures and artefacts from the Moravians in Hopedale. Some of the oldest wooden-framed buildings in Canada still stand in Hopedale. Take a walk through the Nunatsiavut Assembly Building and learn about the local labradorite and seal skin materials found throughout. Browse through the Moravian Mission Museum Interpretation Centre to view three storeys of artefacts and written materials collected since the late 1700's.

Day 18 Battle harbour, Canada

Battle Harbour is a restored, 19th-century fishing village on a small island in the Labrador Sea. Regarded by generations as the unofficial capital of Labrador, it was once the salt fish capital of the world and also a government centre bringing medicine and supplies to Indigenous communities to the north. Welcome to a place without power lines or cell towers, without cars or paved roads, you can walk footpaths worn by fishermen and merchants centuries ago. Spend a few hours in Battle Harbour exploring the buildings and walking the trails on this island with local, knowledgeable hosts. Hiking the island reveals its Arctic vegetation and rock formations. In this sub-Arctic region, the dark Autumn night sky is full of bright, gigantic stars occasionally joined by the northern lights.

Day 19 L'Anse aux Meadows, Canada

L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site contains the excavated remains of a complete 11th-century Viking settlement, the earliest evidence of Europeans in North America. This and subsequent archaeological discoveries proved Leif Erickson and crews of Norse explorers settled here in Newfoundland and Labrador (or Vinland as they called it). L’Anse aux Meadows was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 and is the first authenticated Norse settlement in North America. Wander the new world home of Leif Ericson and learn about the sagas and technologies of the Norse that explored North America over 10 centuries ago. On today’s other shore excursion, learn the fascinating story of Dr. Wilfred Grenfell, a young English doctor renowned for bringing medicine and education to the Inuit and poor European settlers along the harsh Labrador Coast.

Day 20 Twilingate, Canada

Twillingate is known as the “Iceberg Capital of The World” because of the many icebergs that flow past its shores from Greenland in early spring and summer. Twillingate offers many features and attractions that Newfoundland and Labrador outports are famous for: stunning coastline, and historical and picturesque streets.

Day 21 St. John's, Canada

After a leisurely breakfast, bid your fellow travellers, new friends and expedition team a fond farewell before disembarking in St. John’s. Since 1497, explorers, adventurers, pirates and all manner of seafarers have found their way into the spectacular harbour of St John’s. A legendary seaport on the edge of the continent with a rich 500-year seafaring history. St. John's is North America's oldest European-settled city and is the capital of Newfoundland and a place well worth spending a few days at the end of your voyage. Wander the colourful Victorian streets with plenty of heritage shops, boutiques, art galleries, fine restaurants, bistros, and pubs – just steps from dockside. Transfer to the airport or into St John’s for an overnight stay.

PRICE

From £10,520 per person, based on 2 persons sharing an Aurora stateroom on a full board basis

£10520.00 GBP roughly converts to: 11,572 EUR | 14,202 USD

Price conversions are indicative only, payment is in GBP.

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Price Includes

  • One night’s pre-voyage hotel accommodation with breakfast in Reykjavik on Day 1

  • Tailor-made Reykjavik city tour on Day 2

  • Luggage transfer from your hotel in Reykjavik to ship on Day 2

  • Transfer to downtown St. John’s or airport on Day 21

  • On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service

  • All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage

  • Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner

  • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises

  • Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team

  • A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket

  • Loan of gumboots during the voyage

  • A printed photo book produced with photos from your voyage (one per booking)

  • Port surcharges and landing fees

 

All our trips include:

  • 24/7 emergency line and concierge service
  • Personalised travel documents
  • Exclusive access to our client travel app where you'll find your travel documents, destination guides, maps, practical tips, Arctic Library and pre-trip inspiration  

Price Excludes

  • International or domestic flights, unless specified

  • Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary

  • Airport arrival or departure taxes

  • Passport, visa, reciprocity fees, vaccination charges

  • Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges

  • Hotels and meals not included in itinerary

  • Optional excursions not included in the itinerary

  • Optional activity surcharges

  • All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, gratuities, and email or phone charges.

 

Photo credits: Greenland photos by Mads Pihl - Visit Greenland and Stacy William Head.

Additional Info

DATES

This trip has fixed departure dates

23 Sep 2020 - 13 Oct 2020

Many of trips can be tailored to your requirements and departure dates. Please get in touch with us for a tailored quotation and details of availability for your preferred travel dates. All trips and departures are subject to availability.

AIRPORT ARRIVAL

Reykjavik (KEF)

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Winter Spring Summer Autumn
20 nights

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