Mighty glaciers crumble, Viking settlements lie in ruins, and Inuit culture flourishes on Greenland’s west coast.
This exceptional voyage departs from Reykjavík, Iceland and finishes in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland (or goes the other way around). Our explorations span the countless fjords of Greenland’s west coast from Cape Farewell, at the southern tip of the country, to Disko Bay, deep inside the Arctic Circle.
Inside Greenland’s southern fjords we discover well-preserved Viking ruins and the country’s most fertile landscapes. Along Greenland’s west coast we find colorful Inuit villages, as well as the capital city of Nuuk. In Disko Bay we find spectacular natural wonders including the famous Ilulissat Icefjord.
• Vikings started to arrive in southwestern Greenland in A.D. 986. They established numerous settlements on the coast between Cape Farewell and present-day Nuuk, where they engaged in farming and animal husbandry. By A.D. 1500 there were only artefacts, ruins, and the still-unsolved mystery of their disappearance. At Hvalsey, the site of a farmstead established the late 10th century by Erik the Red’s uncle, we find the large and impressive ruins of an exceptionally well-built stone church. Other archeological sites, including some of Greenland’s oldest, are located near the village of Narsaq, also on our route.
• Indigenous people, including modern Inuit and their ancestors and predecessors, have been living a subsistence, semi-nomadic lifestyle on the west coast of Greenland for thousands of years. Today, a contemporary lifestyle is blended with rich cultural traditions in settlements all along the coast. Brightly colored houses are a modern reflection of the pride and felicity of these robust people and their ancient lineage. Communities on our route, each with their own unique histories and characters, include Qaqortoq, Narsaq, Paamiut, Nuuk, Itilleq, Sisimiut, Ilulissat, and Qeqertarsuaq.
• Disko Bay is where we find the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for the endless parade of icebergs issuing from Sermeq Kujalleq, one of the fastest and most active glaciers in the world. Here we also have the chance to hike at Eqip Sermia, a calving tidewater glacier located in a wild and scenic fjord. The bountiful waters of Disko Bay are home to a variety of whale species including humpback, minke, fin, and bowhead (also known as the Greenland right whale). A ubiquity of icebergs makes whale watching in Disko Bay a particularly special experience.
The town of Kangerlussuaq is more or less only the airport. Though the Greenland ice cap “knocking at the door” of the town and colourful houses make it a special place.
In the afternoon we welcome you aboard the luxury expedition ship M/V Sea Spirit. Explore the ship and get comfortable in your home away from home for the extraordinary adventure to come. Savor the anticipation of your Arctic dreams coming true as we slip our moorings and sail out of the picturesque fjord.
Though settlements abound in this part of Greenland, unpredictable weather and dearth of docking facilities nevertheless make this a real expedition. As such, our route and exploration opportunities along this coast are heavily dependent on the weather and ice conditions we encounter. Our experienced captain and expedition leader decide the itinerary and continually adjust plans as conditions and opportunities warrant. You can be sure that the best possible advantage will be taken of the circumstances presented to us by Nature in this wild and remote region. Possible sites of exploration include:
Qeqertarsuaq – Located on volcanic Disko Island, the small town of Qeqertarsuaq enjoys views of basaltic mountains and the huge icebergs of Disko Bay. Founded in 1773 as a whaling station, Qeqertarsuaq is one of the oldest towns in Greenland. Cultural attractions include a distinctive octagonal church called the “Lord’s Ink Pot”.
Ilulissat – Formerly called Jakobshavn, the town of Ilulissat is best known for unbelievable quantities of icebergs issuing from the nearby Ilulissat Icefjord, into which one of the world’s fastest moving and most active glaciers calves 46 cubic kilometers of ice annually. Attractions in town include the Inuit Art Museum, which contains a large collection of paintings by Greenlandic, Faroese, and Danish artists.
Sisimiut – Located north of the Arctic Circle, the second-largest town in Greenland boasts a youthful, urban vibe and is also is known for adventure sports, especially dog sledding. The Sisimiut Museum offers insight into the local culture and a history of human habitation dating back 4,500 years.
Nuuk – Also known as Godthåb, Nuuk is the capital and largest city of Greenland. It has a population of over 16,000, making it one of the smallest capital cities in the world by population. It is also the world’s northernmost capital, located only a few kilometers further north than Reykjavík. The famous Qilakitsoq mummies can be seen at the Greenlandic National Museum.
Paamiut – The picturesque town of Paamuit has one of Greenland’s finest churches, built in 1909 from wood in the Norwegian style. The area is also known for an abundance of white-tailed eagles.
Narsaq – The colonial sealing and trading port of Narsaq was built in an area formerly inhabited by Vikings. Some of Greenland’s oldest Norse ruins are located nearby. Today the town’s inhabitants farm sheep in the surrounding fertile plains. Narsaq is also home to the Greenland Brewhouse.
Qaqortoq – Formerly called Julianehåb, the town of Qaqortoq is the most populous town in southern Greenland. Colorful historical buildings, such as the former blacksmith shop that now houses the Qaqortoq Museum, reflect the town’s Danish colonial past. Greenland’s oldest fountain and numerous stone sculptures can be found around town.
Hvalsey – The island of Hvalsey is the site of Greenland’s largest and best-preserved Norse ruins. According to the Icelandic Book of Settlements, the farmstead was established in the late 10th century by Erik the Red’s uncle, Thorkell Farserkur. Most impressive among the remains are the walls of an exceptionally well-built stone church.
After our amazing time in West Greenland we head toward Iceland. Presentations and workshops by our expert staff, as well as our range of onboard recreation facilities, ensure that these days at sea are not idly spent. Seabird viewing and whale sightings can be enjoyed from panoramic open decks as well as exterior stateroom windows and balconies.
After breakfast we say farewell in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland and ending point of our expedition. We provide a transfer to the international airport or to the city center if you wish to spend another day or more in Iceland before flying home. From Reykjavík the entire country is accessible through day tours or longer journeys by rental car. The options for additional adventures are endless!
Itinerary, landings and all other activities during the cruise depend strongly on ice and weather conditions and are subject to the decisions of the Expedition Leader and the Captain of the vessel. Encounters with any mentioned wildlife cannot be guaranteed.
Averaging 21 square metres/226 square feet, these staterooms have two twins and a comfortable sofa bed. The twins also convert to a King, if desired. Located on Oceanus Deck, these suites have a picture window, two wardrobes and en suite facilities. Amenities include: in-room safe, refrigerator, satellite telephone access, TV/DVD, individual temperature control, and hair dryer.
Averaging 23 square metres/248 square feet, Main Deck cabins are equipped with either two twins or a King Size bed. They are located on the Main Deck with a minimum of two portholes for exterior views. Amenities include: en suite facilities, in-room safe, refrigerator, satellite telephone access, TV/DVD individual temperature control and hair dryer.
Averaging 21 square metres/226 square feet, these cabins are located on the Oceanus Deck. They feature a picture window, two wardrobes and a choice of either two twin beds or a King Size bed. Amenities include: en suite facilities, in-room safe, refrigerator, satellite telephone access, TV/DVD, individual temperature control and hair dryer.
Superior Suites are located on the Club Deck. Averaging 20 square metres/ 215 square feet, these cabins feature two twin beds or a King Size bed. The picture window overlooks an outside walkway on the Club Deck. Amenities include: en suite facilities, walk-in closet or wardrobe, in-room safe, refrigerator, satellite telephone access, TV/DVD, individual temperature control, hair dryer.
The Deluxe Suites with balconies are located on the Sports Deck. Averaging 24 square metres/ 258 square feet means plenty of room. Choose from either two twin beds or a King Size bed. A sliding glass door leads to a private balcony. These suites feature a walk-in closet or wardrobe. Amenities include en suite facilities, in-room safe, refrigerator, satellite telephone access, TV/DVD, individual temperature control, and a hair dryer.
The Premium Suites are located on the Sun Deck. Averaging a generous 30 square metres/ 323 square feet, with two twin beds or a King Size bed. Access the private balcony by a sliding glass door. Amenities include: en suite facilities, lounge area, in-room safe, refrigerator, satellite telephone access, TV/DVD, individual temperature control, and hair dryer.
Super-spacious (43 square metres/ 463 square feet) elegant suite on the Sun Deck. Designed for entertaining, the Owner's Suite has a separate living room with game and meeting area. A BOSE stereo system provides background music, or watch videos on the HD plasma TV. Sliding glass doors lead to a private deck. Refresh in the jetted bathtub in en suite facilities. Slumber in the King Size bed. A sofa bed can accommodate a third person.
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 90 metres
Passenger Capacity: 114
Built / refurbished: 1992 / 2016
Like some of the birds we see in the Arctic and Antarctica, our m/v Sea Spirit is migratory and follows the sun, northbound in the summer and southbound in the winter, always ready for spontaneous discoveries – a pod of whales, a family of polar bears or a glaciated mountain vista. She is highly maneuverable and capable of navigating the narrow fjords of East Greenland and entering the small bays of Spitsbergen.
Onboard, we create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for all our guests. They are united by one goal – to have a memorable wilderness experience and to become real polar adventurers. We believe that first-hand travel to such places makes one an ambassador for conservation, and helps strengthen our resolve to protect these natural environments for future generations.
Public areas include: Reception, Restaurant, Bar, Outdoor Bistro, Club Lounge, Library, Presentation Lounge, Infirmary, Gym, Bridge.
We have open Bridge policy. Talk to the Captain and officers. Watch landscapes from this special angle of view. Fix your location at a map of your expedition.