|Day 1||Reykjavik, Iceland||Arrive in the lively capital of Iceland|
|Day 2||Embarkation||Embark the Greg Mortimer in Reykjavik|
|Day 3||Westman Islands||Explore the islands on foot and by bus|
|Days 4 & 5||Crossing Greenland Sea||Sea birds, whales, polar bears, fjords, glaciers|
|Day 6||Prince Christian Sound||Famous channel in Southern Greenland|
|Day 7||Tasermiut Fiord, Nanortalik||fjords, Monastery Valley, southernmost town in Greenland|
|Day 8||Narsarsuaq and Uunartoq||Explore on food historical monuments and relax in the hot springs|
|Day 9||Hvalsey Church Ruin & Qaqortok||Learn about the history of the Church established in the 10th century|
|Days 10 & 11||Crossing Davis Strait||Attend lectures about geology or wildlife|
|Day 12||George River (Kangiqsualujjuaq)||Easternmost village of Nunavik region in Quebec province|
|Days 13 & 14||Torngat Mountains National Park||Breathtaking, prehistoric looking landscapes full of wildlife|
|Day 15||At Sea||Relax on board the Greg Mortimer|
|Day 16||Nain, Canada||Northernmost and largest community in Nunatsiavut|
|Day 17||Hopedale, Canada||Legislative capital of the Nunatsiavut Government|
|Day 18||Battle Harbour, Canada||Restored 19th century fishing village|
|Day 19||L’Anse Aux Meadows, Canada||UNESCO World Heritage Site and the first authenticated Norse settlement in North America|
|Day 20||Twilingate, Canada||Known as the “Iceberg Capital of the World”|
|Day 21||St. John’s, Canada||Disembark in St. Johns, Canada|
The Greg Mortimer is a new purpose built, polar expedition vessel taking 120 guests. This vessel has been designed in close consultation with Antarctic expedition specialists and is the first expedition cruise ship designed with the ULSTEIN X-BOW hull. This cutting edge nautical technology allows for gentle travel and motion at sea, improved comfort and safety on-board, reduced vibrations, lower fuel consumption and emissions and ‘virtual anchoring’ which means the ship can float anchor-less while launching the Zodiacs without disturbing delicate sea floor areas. There are four sea-level launching platforms for fast and efficient access to and from Zodiacs.
In Reykjavik, transfer to the group hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure. In the evening, you may wish to have dinner at the hotel restaurant or explore Reykjavik’s many eateries.
After breakfast, explore Reykjavik starting with a drive to Thingvellir National Park. This is a historical area where the Icelandic Parliament was held for several centuries. It is also considered one of the geological wonders of the world, where you can see the effects of tectonic plate movements that have opened various cracks and fissures in the earth’s crust. It was also here that 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. Board your vessel the Greg Mortimer in the late afternoon.
The Westman Islands are situated just off the south coast of Iceland. The main island, Heimaey, has a population of about 4,000. The islanders have made their living from the sea from the days of the first settlement and no port in Iceland registers bigger catches than here and the island has a wonderful buzzing atmosphere. Heimay’s main attractions are accessible on foot and you have the option of a guided walking tour including a visit to Eldfell volcano; the other option is to discover the island in small groups by bus, introducing you to the main attractions of the island.
Leave the perfectly-formed natural harbor area with its tall cliffs, which during Spring and Summer are inhabited by large numbers of puffins, fulmars and guillemot. Plan to see Surtsey Island on a special ship cruise, sailing past the cliffs surrounding the harbour passing bird colonies and exploring caves that can only bevisited by boat; landings are not allowed on Surtsey Island. Then sail into Klettshellir (Cliff Cave) where a musical instrument is played on board. The acoustics in the cave provide a wonderfully unique lcelandic experience. Return to the harbour to drop off the Icelandic captain before departing Iceland to sail to South Greenland.
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’re in the zone of the Aurora Borealis –a natural phenomenon that occurs when electrically charged particles from solar flares enter the magnetic northern atmosphere. There is simply no grander or more spectacular light show on earth.
Enter the magnificent Prince Christian Sound -a famous channel in southern Greenland that enables a safe passage for the largest ships between the East Coast and South Coast. It separates the mainland from the southern archipelago and saves marine traffic from being exposed to the dangerous storms around Cape Farewell. The sound is named in honour of Prince Christian, later King Christian VIII of Denmark. Prince Christian Sound connects the Labrador Sea with the Irminger Sea. It is around 100 km long and can be as narrow as only 500 metres wide. The fjord is surrounded by steep mountains, reaching over 2,200 metres high. Many glaciers go straight into its waters where they calve icebergs. There is only one settlement along this sound, Aappilattoq, at the extreme western end.
Tasermiut fjord is known as one of the most beautiful fjords in Greenland for its majestic mountains and lush valleys. Arriving in the early morning at Klosterdal (Monastery Valley), find yourself amongst the three giant mountains of the area: Napasorsuaq, Ketil, and Nalumasortoq, which is approximately 2,051 metres high. Go ashore for a walk to see if you can find the Norse ruin, hike into the valley, or explore the area by kayak. Continue sailing through the fjord towards Nanortalik, the southernmost town in Greenland, located on an island of the same name. Its name derives from the West Greenlandic word ‘Nanoq’ meaning ‘The Place Where Bears Pass Through’. In the old days bears would drift past on sea ice washed around by the current from East Greenland. The area is somewhat unique in Greenland, with a landscape unlike other areas in the country. There are deep fjords and, small woodlands and grasslands, and rugged mountainside cliffs.
Narsarsuaq offers easy walks, which include Norse ruins, Inuit graves, old farm houses, and maybe even some berry-picking. It’s also an excellent opportunity for kayakers to circle the little peninsular of Narsarsuaq Uunatoq, offering accessible beach landings on both sides of the peninsula. Scattered around the island are a number of pools fed by hot water springs bubbling up from the ground below that keep the water temperature a balmy 34-38 degrees even during the freezing winter. What’s unique about Uunartoq is that the hot springs are in a completely natural environment in the middle of a grassy field.
Hvalsey Church is the best-preserved Norse ruin in Greenland. ‘Hvalsey’ is old Norse for Whale Island. Christianity arrived in Greenland around 1000 and gradually churches began to be built. Late medieval documents indicate there were up to 14 parish churches in the Eastern Settlement. Hvalsey itself was built in the early 14thcentury, but it was not the first church built on this site. After exploring Hvalsey ruins, continue to Qaqortoq, where the Zodiacs take you ashore. Qaqortoq is the capital of South Greenland with a history dating back to 1775. The town offers many cultural activities and just walking around, you will experience the “Man and Stone” art project, which is stone carvings made by different artists throughout the city.
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.
Kangiqsualujjuaq (pronounced Kangsualujak), also known simply as ‘George River’, is the easternmost village of Nunavikregion in Quebec province. Located 25 kilometres from Ungava Bay on the George River, Kangiqsualujjuaq did not really develop as a village before the early 1960s. For adventure and nature lovers, the surroundings of Kangiqsualujjuaq are full of natural attractions and common wildlife found in the area include Caribou, black bear, fox and wolf.
About 100 km to the east of Kangiqsualujjuaq are the Torngat Mountains. This range stretches for 300 km along the Quebec-Labrador border, between Ungava Bay and the Labrador Sea. Its eternal snow, glacial troughs, fjords and the majestic mountains dominated by Mount D’Iberville make it an exceptional destination to visit.
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. The Torngat Mountains National Park is located at the northern tip of Nunatsiavut Autonomous Region and was created in 2005 with the signature of the Labrador Inuit Land Claim Agreement. It is 9,700 square kilometres of spectacular wilderness stretching from Saglek Fjordin the southern end of the park to the northern tip of Labrador, and westward from the Atlantic seacoast to the Québec border. It’s 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.
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.
Nain is the northern most and largest community in Nunatsiavut. Nain was an important outpost for the missionising efforts of the Moravians. 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 an option for a hike to Mount Sophie, up to two hours roundtrip. A local Inuit bear guard will accompany the walk as you are leaving town limits and bears frequent the area.
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 to Hopedale by Moravian Missionaries arriving from Germany in 1782. Hopedale has always played an important role in the history of the Labrador Inuitand continues to play an important role by being at the centre of decisions that affect the future of Nunatsiavut.
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 in the north. 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.
Depart the pier for the short drive to L’Anse aux Meadows aboard a local school to visit the Norse site discovered in 1960 by Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad. L’Anse aux Meadows was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 and is the first authenticated Norse settlement in North America. Norse sagas had spoken of their discovery for centuries, but it wasn’t until the discovery of a small cloak pin in 1968, by archaeologists Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad confirmed that Leif Erickson and crews of Norse explorers settled here in Newfoundland and Labrador (or Vinland as they called it). 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. Today’s other shore excursion reveals the fascinating story of Dr. Wilfred Grenfell, a young English doctor and pioneer who in 1892 visited Newfoundland and founded the Grenfell Mission.
Twillingate is known as the “Iceberg Capital of The World” because of the many icebergs that flow past its shores in early spring and summer. Located on Newfoundland’s Northeast Coast, it was known as “Toulinquet”, after the French because its appearance was like that of a group of islands near Brest. In the early 1700s, Toulinquet soon became “Twillingate” to the English Settlers who could not speak or read the French language. This area was the heart of the Newfoundland seal and cod fisheries into the late 20th century. The town has a population of approximately 2,600 and became linked to the mainland of Newfoundland by a causeway in 1973. Twillingate offers many features and attractions that Newfoundland and Labrador outports are famous for: stunning coastline, and historical and picturesque streets. Enjoy two alternating shore excursions with a hike or a region tour.
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. It is Canada’s youngest province and Britain’s oldest overseas colony 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.