23414
Iceland/Greenland

North Atlantic Expedition: Discoveries of Iceland and Greenland

Vikings and Inuits, whales and glaciers. Navigate the awe-inspiring coasts of Greenland to remote villages and mighty glaciers in search of wildlife aboard an arctic expedition.
Rating (4.5)
Program No. 23414RJ
Length
16 days
Starts at
7,499
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
FREE
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16 days
15 nights
40 meals
15 B 12 L 13 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 total time on motorcoach. Walking distances up to 2 miles on uneven and 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, Free Time, Embark Ship
At Sea
B,D
Ocean Atlantic

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 2 miles to National Museum of Iceland, approximately 1/4 hour.

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. 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.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will rejoin the group to embark the ship. Once on board, we will attend a brief safety drill. Expedition ships — more rugged than traditional sailing vessels — are designed to venture into remote landscapes, enabling us to seek opportunities for getting up close to nature and wildlife. These educational adventures have flexible schedules. The itinerary may change daily based on weather, sailing conditions, and potential wildlife sightings. There may also be serendipitous occasions to experience something unexpected. While on board, rotating members of the ship's resource staff will offer educational presentations on a variety of topics. Many are active researchers with expertise in areas such as history, paleontology, geology, and biology. Due to the remote location of some ports, embarkation and disembarkation may be done via Zodiac boats. Staff will be available for assistance. Should you require medication during the day please ensure you keep this with you.

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

Evening: At leisure. With lively talks, presentations, trivia nights, concerts, and movie nights, there’s certainly no shortage of things to do.

DAY
5
Onboard Lectures
At Sea
B,L,D
Ocean Atlantic

Activity note: Full day at sea.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: As our journey from Iceland to Greenland continues, we'll enjoy a series of onboard lectures given by local experts who will teach us about the histories of both island nations, and their endlessly fascinating wildlife and climates.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Our onboard lecture series will continue as we sail across the Greenland Sea.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Tasiilaq
At Sea
B,L,D
Ocean Atlantic

Activity note: Walking and standing during field trips.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We'll continue to sail towards Greenland, which we’ll reach in the late morning and make our way into King Oskar's Harbour at Tasiilaq on the island of Ammassalik. Since its foundation in 1894, Tasiilaq's population has grown to approximately 2,000 people, making it the largest community in eastern Greenland. Its harbor is cut off from open water by ice floes for much of the year, so visits by sea are only possible during the summer. Upon arrival, we'll step ashore with members of the expedition team to explore the town on foot, and take a field trip including visits to the local museum and a traditional turf hut.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our exploration of Tasiilaq until mid-afternoon, then leave King Oskar’s Harbour and start sailing along the coast. We'll be able to admire the imposing mountain landscape ashore and from the decks of the ship.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Skjoldungen (Saqqisikuik), Ilertakajik Fjord, Bernstorff
At Sea
B,L,D
Ocean Atlantic

Activity note: Walking and standing during field trips.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: At sea. We'll travel south to the island of Skjoldungen, surrounded by glaciers and narrow fjords. The island lends its name to an abandoned settlement on its southwest side, where some 100 people lived until 1965.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Upon arrival at Dronning Marie Dal, we'll venture ashore to discover the tundra flora that thrives in the shelter of this lush ravine. After, as we continue southward, the landscape ashore becomes flatter and, without mountains to break it up, the ice sheet forms distinctive ice shelves. Our captain will navigate the ship past icebergs originating from the Bernstorff Icefjord, site of the most productive glacier in this part of Greenland. While aboard, we’ll attend a lecture given by the ship's guest lecturers and take some time to enjoy the ship's amenities and activities.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Prince Christian Sound
At Sea
B,L,D
Ocean Atlantic

Activity note: Full day at sea.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: At sea.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: This afternoon, our ship will traverse Prince Christian Sound, a 37-mile waterway that offers mariners a route between the east and west coasts without the fearsome winds for which Greenland's southernmost point, Cape Farewell, is renowned. Steep mountainsides tower above the sound and block access to the shore for most of its length, but these slopes are home to a weather station that was crucial to USAF operations during the Second World War and is still manned today. As we travel through Prince Christian Sound, we will pass the village of Aappilattoq, located at the foot of the red mountain for which it is named. While aboard, we’ll attend a lecture by the ship's guest lecturers before taking the remainder of the afternoon to enjoy the ship's amenities and activities.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Ivittuut
At Sea
B,L,D
Ocean Atlantic

Activity note: Walking and standing during field trips.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Continuing our voyage around southern Greenland, we’ll visit the former mining town of Ivittuut, which was founded to take advantage of the rich deposits of cryolite, a mineral that plays an important role in the extraction of aluminum. During the Second World War, the mines were of strategic importance to U.S. forces, but once the mineral could be synthesized they ceased to operate, leading to the abandonment of the settlement.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Our journey up Greenland’s west coast will begin and, after a lecture given by one of the speakers aboard the ship, we’ll enjoy the rest of the afternoon independently.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Nuuk, Greenland National Museum
At Sea
B,L,D
Ocean Atlantic

Activity note: Possibility of Zodiac landing depending upon harbor conditions; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; paved city streets, occasional uneven and hilly terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: With a population of 17,000, Nuuk is the world's smallest capital, but it is by far the largest settlement in Greenland. The Nuuk area has a long history of occupation, and for some 500 years was home to a community of Norse who lived alongside the local Inuit. Today it is a thriving cultural center, and home to Greenland's Parliament, the Landsting. At the Greenland National Museum, we'll explore the archaeology, history, and art of this endlessly fascinating country. The museum's collection includes the famed Qilakitsoq mummies discovered in a tomb dating to 1475 C.E.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free time in Nuuk.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Evighedsfjorden
At Sea
B,L,D
Ocean Atlantic

Activity note: Full day at sea.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Our northward voyage will continue. Evighedsfjord, the "Fjord of Eternity," is renowned for its tranquil beauty. We'll spend some time in its calm waters, bordered by cliffs thousands of feet high and slow-moving glaciers.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: After a lecture given by one of the ship’s guest experts, take the rest of the afternoon to do what you wish independently aboard the ship.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: As we travel north this evening, we will cross the Arctic Circle and pass Aasiaat, Greenland's fifth-largest town, to enter the iceberg-filled waters of Disko Bay under the nighttime sun.

DAY
12
Qeqertarsuaq, Kaffemik, Eqip Sermia Glacier
At Sea
B,L,D
Ocean Atlantic

Activity note: Zodiac landing; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; uneven and hilly terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: This morning, the ship will moor in the harbor of Qeqertarsuaq, Disko Island's only town. We'll spend much of the day ashore, exploring this town to learn about its rich history. There is evidence of settlement at this site dating back to the late Stone Age, but the town of Qeqertarsuaq itself traces its foundation to the arrival of whalers in the 18th century. Today it is home to approximately 900 inhabitants, including the environmental researchers at the University of Copenhagen's Arctic Station. During this morning's explorations, we'll enjoy an expert-led visit to the distinctive octagonal church known as "God's Inkpot." At a community center in Qeqertarsuaq, we'll join locals at a traditional "kaffemik," an informal gathering where cake and coffee are served while traditional dances and music are performed. Greenlandic music has a distinctive character of its own, but keen listeners may be able to detect the influences of Dutch and Scottish polka, American country music, and even the music of Hawaii.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Setting sail from Qeqertarsuaq, we'll travel across Disko Bay to the beautiful Eqip Sermia Glacier. Our captain will judge the safest distance at which to anchor, then we'll board zodiac boats to experience the tumultuous calving of icebergs up close, and spend some time ashore hiking on the tundra. Once we have returned to the ship, we'll begin to travel southwards towards Ilulissat.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Ilulissat & Icefjord, Free Time
At Sea
B,L,D
Ocean Atlantic

Activity note: Zodiac landing; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; uneven and hilly terrain. Icefjord boat field trip is approximately 2.5 hours.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Today we’ll reach Ilulissat, within sight of the Ilulissat Icefjord UNESCO World Heritage Site. Originally founded by the Danes as a trading post in 1741, Ilulissat is Greenland's third largest town with over 4,500 inhabitants. The Sermeq Kujalleq glacier calves at a rate of 25 meters per day, making it the most productive glacier outside Antarctica, and leading to the town of Ilulissat's nickname "the Iceberg Capital". We’ll begin our time here with a walk through the town, visiting the harbour, Zion Church and a museum. We'll then don our warmest clothing for a field trip by boat to explore the icefjord, learning from members of the expedition team how the ice sculpts this fascinating landscape as we view the calving glacier up close.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free time to see and do what interests you most in Illulissat.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure as we leave Disko Bay and travel south overnight.

DAY
14
Itivdleq, Inuit Traditions, Sail Sondrestromfjord
At Sea
B,L,D
Ocean Atlantic

Activity note: Zodiac landing; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; uneven and hilly terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: As we continue our journey south from Disko Bay, we’ll gather for a lecture introducing us to today’s destination, Itivdleq.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: We’ll land at the tiny town of Itivdleq, where we'll spend the afternoon exploring on foot to learn how the hundred or so inhabitants preserve Inuit traditions in a world that is more interconnected than ever. The town is the most southerly place in which Greenland sled dogs are permitted to be kept—in order to preserve this ancient breed, no other types of dog are allowed in the part of Greenland that lies above the Arctic Circle.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. We will continue our shipboard journey towards the fjord of Kangerlussuaq, also known as Sondrestromfjord. At 100 miles in length, Sondrestromfjord reaches deep into Greenland's land mass and will take the whole night for our ship to traverse. As we enter the fjord, we'll be able to enjoy panoramic views of the imposing mountain landscape. Be sure to prepare for tomorrow’s check-out, disembarkation, and transfer.

DAY
15
Disembark, Kangerlussuaq, Reindeer Glacier, To Reykjavik
Reykjavik
B,D
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina

Activity note: Zodiac landing; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; uneven and hilly terrain. Getting on/off a 4-wheel-drive bus; driving about 40 miles; approximately 2 hours. Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 35 miles; approximately 1 hour.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: After breakfast, we will bid farewell to the ship and disembark by boarding Zodiacs to travel ashore to Kangerlussuaq. This small town grew around a USAF (United States Air Force) base during the Second World War and now serves as Greenland's main air transport hub. The landscape surrounding Kangerlussuaq is quite different from anything else we have encountered in Greenland, featuring rounded ice-smoothed mountains and numerous lakes, filled by the meltwater from the Greenland Ice Sheet. We'll travel via a 4-wheel drive bus across the alluvial plain on gravel roads to the Reindeer Glacier, where the Ice Sheet meets the rolling hills.

Lunch: 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.

Afternoon: Upon our return to Kangerlussuaq, we'll check in at the airport and board our flight to Reykjavik. Upon arrival at Keflavik International Airport, we'll travel by motorcoach and check into our hotel. Then, during a farewell meeting, we’ll review the program and what we’ve learned, as well as share some of our favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a 3-course plated welcome dinner from a select menu with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
16
Program Concludes, In Transit from Program
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 noon. Luggage may be stored at the hotel reception before the group transfer. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll have some free time in Reykjavik to see and do what interests us most. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: 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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