Venture deep into the far northern reaches of the Arctic, on a quest for arctic wildlife and the magisterial scenery of the ice––occurring at an epic scale in Greenland. And share the experience of explorers from ancient to modern, goaded by the desire to discover the Northwest Passage.
See the roots of human history in the ice
It’s one thing to meet people who thrive in the extreme conditions of the Arctic, it’s another to see deeply into their culture, history, and traditions. This expedition reveals the deep connection of the Inuit people to these ice lands, as we visit Inuit villages sustained by fishing and artistic traditions. And, it also illuminates the dramatic exploration history of the region––and the changing conditions of the ice that is the topic of much scientific discussion today.
The drama of fjords, crystalline sounds & the ice creatures
We’ll look for polar bears hunting along the far reaches of the ice. And will have the opportunity to see the other beautiful creatures of the Arctic: walruses and ringed seals, which have played such a key role in the life of the Inuit. And arctic foxes, plus many of the 60 species of birds that breed in Greenland, including the white-tailed eagle. In the summer months, when we’ll be there, it’s likely we’ll see whales: beluga, bowhead, and perhaps even the elusive narwhal.
Every day is active and engaging
You’ll get out on adventures every day––to Zodiac cruise, hike and walk, or kayak in spectacular fjords and crystalline waters like Lancaster Sound, a vital Inuit hunting ground for centuries. You’ll have a choice of activities, plus your choice of naturalists to join––for a moveable feast of personalities, insights, and interests. Choice also includes opting to relax too. Enjoy the view from behind Explorer’s panoramic glass windows. Or visit the fitness center with its generous views of the ice vistas, or ease into the sauna or a massage in the wellness center.
Travel in excellent company
Explore under the sure guidance of an expedition leader, an assistant expedition leader, eight veteran naturalists, a National Geographic photographer, plus a National Geographic certified photo instructor, an undersea specialist, a Global Perspectives guest speaker, a wellness specialist and a video chronicler. Their knowledge and passion for the fascinating Arctic region is the key to your extraordinary experience.
Arrive in Reykjavík and take a guided overview of the old town, including Hallgrímskirkja Cathedral. Following lunch, check into the Grand Hotel. The next day, fly by chartered aircraft to Greenland. Embark National Geographic Explorer. (Day 1: L,D; Day 2:B,L,D)
Cruise down the length of Kangerlussuaq Fjord en route to Sisimiut. Dozens of deep fjords carve into Greenland’s west coast, many with glaciers fed by the ice cap that covers 80% of the country. At Sisimiut, a former whaling port, visit the museum and wander amid a jumble of wooden 18th-century buildings. There are several walking options to explore in and around town. (B,L,D)
A relaxing day at sea allows for time to hear talks from our staff about the fascinating history of polar exploration. Go up to the bridge to watch for whales. Head up to the library. Enjoy the sauna or have a rigorous workout in the fitness center, with its “million dollar views.” Or simply relax in the Observation Lounge. (B,L,D)
We begin our exploration of the Canadian High Arctic with a visit to the small Inuit community of Pond Inlet, Nunavut. We will explore some of the beautiful bays and inlets along Baffin Island's Lancaster Sound. Carved by Ice Age glaciers, Lancaster Sound is the eastern gateway to the Arctic Archipelago. European explorers like William Baffin first ventured here in the 17th century to search for the Northwest Passage. The sound has been a favorite Inuit hunting and fishing location for hundreds of years. Our days here will be spent searching for ringed seals, arctic foxes, walruses, and polar bears, as well as beluga whales. We may even see the elusive narwhal, an arctic whale known for the long, spiraling tooth that projects up to ten feet from its upper jaw. Visit Devon Island and walk with our ship's archaeologist to learn about the Thule people that once inhabited this region and were the ancestors of all modern Inuit. Go ashore Dundas Harbor for a chance to hike on the tundra and search for interesting flora and fauna, including extensive moss beds with interspersed flowering vascular plants. Look for gyrfalcons, nesting above the sod and stone dwellings once inhabited by the Thule. (B,L,D)
We make our way across Baffin Bay with a relaxing day at sea. Enjoy talks from our staff and look for wildlife from the Bridge. (B,L,D)
Sail into Disko Bay and set out to explore a tongue of the Greenland ice cap. Take an extraordinary cruise among towering icebergs of the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Ilulissat Icefjord. Visit the town of Ilulissat and take a hike to the archaeological site in the Sermermiut Valley. (B,L,D)
Our final day exploring will be spent in Greenland's beautiful, scenic fjords. Take a Zodiac cruise or kayak some of the picturesque waterways. Our undersea specialist may launch the ROV to see the marine life inhabiting the fjord floor. (B,L,D)
Disembark in Kangerlussuaq and take a charter flight to Reykjavik where we will stay two nights in the Grand Hotel. The next day features either a full day tour of the Golden Circle or choose a walking or city-by-bike tour of Reykjavik. On our final day in Reykjavik you have your choice of options: a soak in the Blue Lagoon; a tour of Reykjanes Peninsula; or a visit to a hot springs, geothermal power plant and horse farm. After lunch, transfer to the airport in Keflavík for flights home. (Days 13 and 14: B,L,D, Day 15: B,L)
Flexibility is a hallmark of our expeditions, and often the day-by-day itinerary will change as we take advantage of rare wildlife sightings or photographers linger ashore through the golden hour of light. Extraordinary adventure is a guarantee.
Main Deck with one or two Portholes #301-308
Main Deck with Window #317-320, 335-336
Main Deck with Window #313-316, 321-328, 337-340, 342, 344, 346, 348, 350 Triples: Main Deck with WIndow #341, 343
Upper and Veranda Decks with Window #103-104, 107-108, 201-202, 204-207, 210, 212, 217, 226, 228
Solo A Main Deck with Window #309-312, 329-334
Solo B Upper and Veranda Decks with Window #105-106, 203, 208
Upper Deck with Balcony #209, 211, 214, 216, 218, 220-222, 224
Veranda Deck–Suite #101-102; Upper Deck-Suite with Balcony #213 Triples: #101-102
Upper Deck–Suite with Balcony #215, 219, 230 All cabins are available as triples.
National Geographic Explorer
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 108 meters
Passenger Capacity: 148 (single & twin cabins)
Built / Refurbished: 1982 / 2008
National Geographic Explorer is a state-of-the-art expedition ship. It is a fully stabilized, ice-class vessel, enabling it to navigate polar passages while providing exceptional comfort. It carries kayaks and a fleet of Zodiac landing craft. An Undersea Specialist operates a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and sophisticated video equipment, extending access to the underwater world.
Public areas: Bistro Bar; Chart Room; Restaurant; Global Gallery; Library, Lounge with full service bar and state-of-the-art facilities for films, slideshows and presentations; Mud Room with lockers for expedition gear, and Observation Lounge. Our “Open Bridge” provides guests an opportunity to meet our Officers and Captain and learn about navigation.
Meals: Served in single seatings with unassigned tables for an informal atmosphere and easy mingling. Menu is international with local flair.
Cabins: All cabins face outside with windows or portholes, private facilities and climate controls.
Expedition Equipment: Zodiac landing craft, kayaks, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), hydrophone, SplashCam, underwater video camera, Crow’s Nest remote controlled camera, video microscope, snorkeling gear.
Special Features: A full-time doctor, Undersea Specialist, LEX Photo Specialist and Video Chronicler, Internet Cafe and laundry.
Wellness: The vessel is staffed by two Wellness Specialists and features a glass enclosed Fitness Center, outdoor stretching area, two LEXspa treatment rooms and Sauna.