21877
Iceland

Fire and Ice: A Circumnavigation of Mystical Iceland

On an expedition cruise ship, discover Iceland’s natural fjords, geysers, glaciers and fascinating human history during a voyage around this dramatic country.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21877RJ
Length
13 days
Starts at
6,899
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
FREE
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13 days
12 nights
32 meals
12 B 10 L 10 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Iceland, Blue Lagoon, Check-in, Orientation
Reykjavik
B,L,D
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina

Activity note: Walking from the airport terminal with luggage about 3 minutes/328 feet to the Aurora Star Airport Hotel. Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 15 miles to Blue Lagoon, approximately 1/2 hour; about 35 miles to hotel, approximately 1 hour. If you wish to swim in the Blue Lagoon, please remember to pack your bathing suit in your carry-on luggage. Towels will be provided. Slippers, bathrobes and spa treatments are available at an additional cost. Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Breakfast: At the Aurora Star Airport Hotel. Upon arrival, please stop by the hotel's front desk to receive a voucher for your breakfast. The European-style breakfast buffet offers choices such as cold cuts, cheeses, cereals, yogurt, fruit, breads, juice, milk, coffee, tea, water. If you arriving independently, please arrive to the Aurora Star no later than 10:00 a.m. to avoid missing any program content.

Morning: After meeting our group at the Aurora Star Airport Hotel, we will depart via motorcoach at approximately 10:30 a.m. to the Bridge Between Continents to see where Europe and North America meet.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we'll enjoy a two-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase

Afternoon: We will board a motorcoach and continue our Icelandic adventure with a soak in the mineral-rich, geothermally heated waters of the Blue Lagoon. (Entrance fee and towels included at Blue Lagoon; slippers and bathrobes available at additional cost.) There are other “blue lagoons” but this one is truly unique. The stark volcanic terrain that surrounds it creates an otherworldly feeling. The lava field is surely natural, but in fact the lagoon owes its existence to a geothermal power station built in 1975. Superheated water from a nearby lava flow feeds into the power plant system and finally flows into the lagoon, where the temperature stays between 98°-104°F (36°-40° C). Minerals from the underground geological layers account for the coloration. Not only is lounging in the waters delightfully comfortable, the minerals and white silica mud are reputed to provide benefits for skin conditions. After, we'll continue our transfer to central Reykjavik to check into our hotel. The rest of the afternoon is free time to relax before dinner.

Dinner: In the hotel restaurant, we will have a 3-course plated meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. European-style breakfast buffets will offer choices such as cold cuts, cheeses, cereals, yogurt, fruit, breads, juice, milk, coffee, tea, water. Unless otherwise noted, dinners will typically be 3-course plated meals. Water is included with all meals. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

DAY
3
The Golden Circle of Landscape & History
Reykjavik
B,L
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 185 miles, approximately 4 hours aboard motorcoach. Total walking distances up to 2 miles; uneven, hilly terrain.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as cold cuts, cheeses, cereals, yogurt, fruit, breads, juice, milk, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll set out from the hotel by motorcoach for a full-day field trip around the Golden Circle. Our field trip will begin with a visit to the UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park, site of the original parliament, which is known as the most sacred place in Iceland due to its geological and historical significance. The Althing, or General Assembly, was established here in 930 CE and is the world’s oldest existing parliament. Not only historically significant, the site is located on the meeting point of the American and European continental plates.

Lunch: At a local restaurant we’ll have a two-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Moving on, we’ll reach Gullfoss — golden falls — the most famous waterfall in Iceland. Water from the Langjökull glacier flows into the Hvítá (White) River. When it reaches the great Gullfossgjúfur canyon, it falls in two stages more than 100 feet (32 meters). We’ll experience the stillness and beauty of the wintry countryside and the frozen waterfall. We’ll then continue our ride to Geysir, where the active Strokkur geyser bursts forth every few minutes in a cloud of steam, before returning to our hotel in Reykjavik in the late afternoon.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Reykjavik, Embark Ocean Diamond
At Sea
B,D
Iceland Pro’s MV Ocean Diamond

Activity note: The time available in each port is set by the cruise line. Whenever possible, the Road Scholar daily schedule indicates port arrival and departure times (subject to change by the cruise line). Road Scholar delivers a robust educational program in each port, and this may mean free time in port is limited.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: At the hotel, we’ll attend a lecture on Iceland’s past and present delivered by a local expert. We'll board a motorcoach for a panoramic field trip through Reykjavik, first seeing the historic Höfði House, site of the 1986 summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev that precipitated the end of the Cold War. We’ll then visit the Perlan, the city’s hot water storage facility with a glass dome and deck providing a 360° vista of Iceland's capital city. It is one of Reykjavik’s most recognized landmarks. We will also drive by Lake Tjornin, a small lake in downtown Reykjavik known for its birdlife, as well as the Parliament House and City Hall, worth a visit for its large topographic map of Iceland.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: We’ll then enjoy a field trip to the National Museum of Iceland. This charming museum traces the history of this remote island nation from the Settlement era to the modern day. Next, we'll transfer to the port for embarkation. Once on board, we’ll attend a brief safety drill.

Dinner: Aboard the ship. All meals are served in the ship's main dining room. For dinner, we’ll enjoy a 3-course plated and served meal and can choose from one of the three chef-prepared entrées. Coffee, tea and water are included in all meals on the ship.

Evening: At leisure. Evenings on board the Ocean Diamond typically include a presentation or concert by members of the ship's expedition team.

DAY
5
Stykkisholmur, Snæfellsjökull Glacier
At Sea
B,L,D
Iceland Pro’s MV Ocean Diamond

Activity note: Today's field trip includes a glacier walk over rugged terrain and is weather dependent. The approximate duration of the field trip is 5 hours. Please be prepared for cold temperatures (winter coat, warm hat and gloves), and be sure to bring sunglasses and sunscreen. We will be travelling to the glacier in an open vehicle.

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: We’ll step ashore this morning at Stykkisholmur, a small town on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. We’ll board a bus at the pier, and ride to transfer to a snowcat that will take us up to 4600 feet onto Snæfellsjökull Glacier, which lies atop a volcano. On a clear day, the glacier offers a fantastic view over Hellissandur and Breidafjörður Bay.

Lunch: We’ll have a box lunch provided by the ship during our full-day field trip.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our field trip through Snæfellsjökull National Park, an ideal place to learn more about Iceland’s volcanic geology through the spectacular variety of lava formations visible in the landscape. Jules Verne’s adventurers in “Journey to the Center of the Earth” began their journey in the crater of Snæfellsjökull. We’ll return to the ship at Stykkisholmur by bus.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Isafjördur, Thingeyri and Dynjandi Waterfall
At Sea
B,L,D
Iceland Pro’s MV Ocean Diamond

Activity note: Zodiac landings; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking distances up to 2 miles on uneven and hilly terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: We’ll visit a recreated Viking village in the town of Thingeyri for an interactive view of Viking history in the Westfjords. We’ll begin with a short hike to the ruins of the Viking meeting place, Thing, or "parliament." Then, at the Viking center, we’ll learn more about everyday Norse life through hands-on experiences with authentic hand-sewn clothing, bread-baking, and a taste of Icelandic Viking beer.

Lunch: We’ll have a box lunch provided by the ship during our full-day field trip.

Afternoon: Next, admire the thunderous Dynjandi, the highest (and most impressive) waterfall in the Westfjords.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Siglufjörðir, Island Birdlife
At Sea
B,L,D
Iceland Pro’s MV Ocean Diamond

Activity note: Zodiac landings; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking distances up to 2 miles on uneven and hilly terrain. Landing at Hrisey is dependent upon weather and sea conditions.

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: We’ll step ashore in Siglufjörðir, where we’ll learn about Iceland’s fishing industry at the town’s Herring Museum. The work of herring salting is traditionally accompanied by song and dance, and we’ll watch a performance of these folk traditions by local “Herring Girls” during our field trip. We’ll then have some free time to explore this port town independently, before returning to the ship which will set sail for Grimsey or Hrisey at lunchtime.

Lunch: Aboard the ship.

Afternoon: Our captain will judge whether the sea conditions are suitable to make a landing at Hrisey, and we’ll aim to make landfall by Zodiac in the late afternoon to explore on foot and get a sense of what life is like in this remote locale. It is believed that up to 40 bird species nest on the island (mid April to mid August) whereas the ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) is the most prominent. Some can only be counted in a few pairs while others are in thousands. The main reason for this unusually large concentration of birds is that all hunting of birds and gathering of eggs is banned on the island and there are no natural predators such as foxes, minks, mice or rats. We will also visit the oldest house in Hrisey, the House of Shark Jorundur. Here, we'll see an exhibition about the history of the island and the history of shark fishing in Iceland in earlier centuries.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Akureyri, Lake Myvatn
At Sea
B,L,D
Iceland Pro’s MV Ocean Diamond

Activity note: Zodiac landing; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking distances up to 2 miles on uneven and hilly terrain. Bathing suit and a towel for Lake Mývátn. This is a full-day field trip covering about 150 miles over the course of the day, with several stops.

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: We’ll make landfall at Akureyri, board a motorcoach, and ride to one of the most beautiful spots in northern Iceland, the Lake Mývátn area. Today’s field trip through an area of extreme contrasts, teeming with fauna, starts at the spectacular Godafoss Waterfall. From there we’ll continue to the pseudocraters of Skútustaðagígar, and the impressive lava formations of Dimmuborgir, said to resemble a collapsed citadel. In Icelandic folklore Dimmuborgir is said to connect the earth to the infernal. The mineral-rich water of the lake is an ideal habitat for fish and birds. Finally, we’ll visit the Mývátn Nature baths for a relaxing geothermal bath in the quiet of the countryside.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our exploration of the area around Lake Mývátn.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Husavik, Whale Watching
At Sea
B,L,D
Iceland Pro’s MV Ocean Diamond

Activity note: Please wear warm clothing; the boat is not enclosed.

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: Our port of call today, Husavik, is considered by many to be the whale-watching capital of Europe. We’ll enjoy an exciting trip on a traditional wooden harbor boat to watch for the gentle giants. The wonders of nature are on display in the beautiful surroundings of Skjálfandi Bay, sheltered by the stunning mountains of Vík.

Lunch: Aboard the ship.

Afternoon: We’ll take a scenic drive from Húsavík to the beautifully restored Turf House of Grenjaðarstaður, where we’ll step back in time with an exclusive Icelandic folkloric experience. In the past, Grenjaðarstaður was the manor of the county, with the total area of its dwelling houses covering about 8,500 square feet. The dwelling houses were inhabited until 1948, then abandoned; in the late 1950s, after a thorough restoration, this charming folk museum was made open to the public. A visit inside the museum offers a wonderful glimpse into the past of Iceland's traditional farming methods and way of life, as well as a visit to the country church on the property. We’ll hear tales of Icelandic tradition from local experts in traditional dress, and sample some classic Icelandic snacks. Once we have returned to the ship, we’ll gather in the Observation Lounge for an exclusive Road Scholar cocktail party.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Seydisfjördur, Eastfjords
At Sea
B,L,D
Iceland Pro’s MV Ocean Diamond

Activity note: Today's field trip is approximately 7 hours and covers about 125 miles.

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: At sea as we sail towards Seydisfjördur.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Narrow fjords, jagged mountain peaks, remote farms and small fishing villages are some of East Iceland’s characteristics. Today’s field trip by motorcoach will begin with a journey inland from Seydisfjorður, via the mountain road Breiddalsheidi, to Stöðvarfjorður. Here we’ll explore the diversity of Iceland’s geology at a charming museum, located at the former home of a beloved local resident aptly named Petra, who had a lifelong fascination with the minerals she encountered while exploring East Iceland. When her collection outgrew her house, she created the beautiful educational garden we will explore today. Her children and grandchildren now look after the museum, and the collection continues to grow! During our full-day field trip, we’ll also enjoy a lecture on Icelandic crafts by a local expert. We’ll return to the ship by motorcoach at the end of our field trip.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: After dinner, we’ll gather for a lecture.

DAY
11
Djupivogur, Glacier Lagoon Jökulsárlon
At Sea
B,L,D
Iceland Pro’s MV Ocean Diamond

Activity note: The journey from Djupivogur to the glacial lagoon is quite far - about 110 miles each way - 2.5 hours including stops. Please be prepared for a long but very rewarding day!

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: Today's field trip from Djupivogur will take us to the magnificent Glacier Lagoon of Jökulsárlon. Huge blocks of ice constantly break off the Breidamerkurjokull glacier, and these large icebergs float on the lagoon. The lagoon itself is not very wide, but it is up to 750 feet deep which makes it the deepest lake in Iceland. Breidamerkurjokull is an outlet of the Vatnajokull glacier. We’ll sail among the huge icebergs in the picturesque scenery of Jökulsárlon aboard a specially equipped boat.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our field trip, and return to the ship in port by motorcoach.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Vestmannaeyjar, Zodiac Cruise at Heimaey Island
At Sea
B,L,D
Iceland Pro’s MV Ocean Diamond

Activity note: Zodiac excursions are dependent on favorable weather conditions.

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: In the Westman Islands this morning, we’ll board Zodiacs and set out on a journey at the coast of the volcanic island of Heimaey. We’ll be on the look-out for caves, birdlife, and hopefully whales.

Lunch: Aboard the ship.

Afternoon: After lunch we’ll step ashore at Heimaey, and board a motorcoach at the pier for a panoramic exploration of this unique and fascinating landscape. The effects of the volcanic eruption of 1973 are still visible, with half-buried houses and a dramatic crater. Heimaey is also known for its diversity of birdlife. We’ll finish our field trip at the volcanic center, Eldheimar. This unique museum tells the story of the 1973 Heimaey eruption, the emergence of Surtsey island in 1963, and the geology of the Vestmannaeyjar Islands.

Dinner: Aboard the ship. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for tomorrow’s disembarkation and departure.

DAY
13
Disembarkation, Program Concludes, In Transit from Program
In Flight
B

Activity note: The ship is scheduled to arrive in Reykjavik at 8:00 a.m. Getting on/off motorcoach. Transfers to the Keflavík International Airport (KEF) based on final flight times.

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: After disembarkation, either transfer to the airport based on final flight times, or enjoy some free time for independent exploration in Reykjavik. Our Group Leader will tell us where to meet for transfers to the airport. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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