Iceland & Greenland through the Northwest Passage

Modern-day life bombards us with news, technology, and general sensory overload. Rarely do we step back, unplug, and give ourselves the time to recharge as we’re meant to – in unfettered and pristine nature. On a small ship cruise to Iceland and Greenland through the Northwest Passage, you have the rare opportunity to experience one of the world’s most extraordinary Arctic environments with time to savor the beauty of this remote part of the world.

Historically, the Northwest Passage was first sailed by courageous explorers such as Roald Amundsen, James Clark Ross, and William Edward Parry. By exploring Iceland and Greenland and crossing the Northwest Passage aboard a small cruise ship, you will be a history-maker yourself. 

In June 1903, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and a lean crew of six sailed from Oslo seeking to cross the impenetrable Northwest Passage. They reached the Boothia Peninsula in September. Their ship, the Gjoa, was put in a natural harbor and became iced in by early October. It was here the expedition team remained for two years, learning the skills and customs of the Inuit people. Upon breaking through the ice, Amundsen’s team made history by being the first to cross the Northwest Passage. From his landing at Herschel Island, Amundsen strapped on skis and skied nearly 500 miles to Eagle, Alaska, where he sent a telegram citing his successful journey. He then skied back to his crew and set out for Oslo.

Vital to Amundsen’s success was the survival ingenuity he learned from the Inuit, the indigenous peoples who reside in the Canadian Arctic and Greenland. The Inuit developed a lifestyle well suited to living in the Arctic’s extreme conditions. Essential to their survival is their skill at hunting and trapping. The Inuit and their ancestors have always regarded the place they live with the utmost respect. On your Arctic cruise, meet today’s Inuit, gaining insight about their unique way of life. 

Learn about geology and the lore of the Vikings as you explore Iceland. At Thingvellir National Park, see volcanic mountains and lava flows. Visit the geothermal hot springs at Geysir and the Gullfoss Waterfall, known as the golden waterfall, with two-tiered falls that drop over 100 feet into a narrow canyon. A walk through the whale capital and fishing village of Husavik reveals hundreds of fjords. At Lake Myvatn soak in a warm bath of blue geothermal waters. As you explore Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, learn about the Icelandic people and their distinct cultural heritage. And during your time here, experience the natural phenomenon of the aurora borealis.

On this small ship cruise, explore the east and west coasts of Greenland, the world’s largest non-continental island and the land of the midnight sun. Greenland is an autonomous country with ties to Denmark that date back to the 10th century explorations of the Vikings. The native people of Greenland are descendants of Inuit nomads from northern Canada. A must-see is a visit to the Ilulissat Icefield, a tongue of the Greenland icecap and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The prolific wildlife includes whales, seals, reindeer, walruses, and polar bears. Hiking in Greenland is amply rewarding as there is no property ownership in the entire country. Wandering the small paths is highly recommended. Greenland is also an extraordinary place to kayak and experience nature at its glorious best.

During your cruise, see magnificent ice-sculpted glaciers and fjords. Photographers delight in the northern light and wildlife, including walruses and polar bears – clearly the iconic symbol of the Arctic. Sail along the Viking trail , witness seldom-seen geography, and see amazing wildlife aboard an ice-class ship full of world class explorers, yourself among them. 

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