West Greenland Explorer

Greg Mortimer Luxury Expidition Cruise Ship
Greg Mortimer
120 Passengers
Adventure Options

Boasting the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, West Greenland offers an adventure-filled experience that includes thrilling Zodiac cruises along gleaming ice-filled fjords, unbeatable photographic opportunities, and meeting friendly Inuit locals living in some of the world’s remotest and harshest environments. Affectionately known as the ice-factory of the north, the icebergs that are created from calving glaciers are some of the largest on the planet. On this unforgettable voyage in one of the world’s most remote regions, you will discover Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, an Arctic metropolis with a small-town feel, where you can marvel at the mummies in the National Museum or learn about Inuit culture at the Nuuk Art Museum. Hiking trails reveal stunning vistas of the icebergs as they approach the bay. Kayakers will glide across gleaming waters teeming with whales, while being surrounded by towering fjords.

Expedition Highlights
• Visit Ilulissat Icefjord, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home of one of the most actively calving glaciers in the world. Weather permitting enjoy Zodiac cruising, perhaps kayaking, or experience the glacier from a helicopter (additional cost)
• The word ‘kayak’ is said to originate from Greenland, so jump in and paddle across crystal-clear waters and get even closer to nature (additional cost)
• Photograph emerging tundra blooms as the winter ice begins to melt as the days start to get longer
• Discover the cultural attractions in Nuuk, one of the world’s northernmost and remote cosmopolitan capital cities
• Zodiac cruising offers wonderful opportunities for whale-watching and up to 15 species visit Greenland, with the Greenland right whale often seen in May

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Nuuk
Day 2 Embark the Greg Mortimer
Days 3 to 10 Exploring Greenland’s West Coast
Day 10 At Sea
Day 11 Nuuk

Day 1 — Nuuk

Arrive in Greenland’s capital, Nuuk and transfer to our group hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Day 2 — Embark the Greg Mortimer

The northernmost capital in the world, Nuuk was founded in 1728 by the Norwegian missionary Hans Egede, and has more than 17,000 inhabitants. The center of Greenland lies at the mouth of its very own fjord system, on the mid-west coast of Greenland. The fjord system, is the second largest fjord system in the world and is one of the country’s main drawcards.

On an introductory tour, discover Nuuk’s contrasting architecture from beautiful old buildings to colorful houses – one of Nuuk’s trademarks, with the brightly-colored houses providing a stark contrast to the rocks or white winter snow. Stop by the newly renovated and roof-covered "brættet", where the day's catch of seal, birds and fish are sold. Other attractions in the town include the award-winning culture center Katuaq, City Hall, the cathedral from 1849, as well as the National Museum, located down by the colonial buildings at the old harbor, with a stunning view over the fjord. The museum was established in 1966 and became Greenland's National Museum and Archives, offering a unique ethnographical collection. Discover the famous mummies and costumes from Qilakitsoq in northwest Greenland, as well as the world’s oldest and almost complete intact skin boat the Pearyland Umiaq, whose well-preserved remains are estimated to date back to the 1470s.

After discovering Nuuk on city tour, embark the Greg Mortimer to commence your voyage.

Days 3 to 10 — Exploring Greenland’s West Coast

Over the coming days, you will discover the immense beauty of West Greenland, and in true expeditionary style, we’ll keep our itinerary flexible as weather and sea ice determine where we go, what we do and see. We plan to visit the following places and hope for a few additional surprises

Eternity Fjord: located north of Maniitsoq town, this beautiful fjord offers numerous glaciers, Zodiac cruises through bergy bits, mountainous landscapes and perhaps a chance to hike or kayak under Greenland’s impressive peaks.

Sisimiut: Greenland’s second largest town, Sisimiut is the only place in Greenland that has an open-air public swimming pool and the town is famous for the old blue church with the gate made of whale jaws, which is located next to the cosy little museum, featuring a reconstruction of an Inuit turf house. Sisimiut offers hiking trails with various degrees of difficulty. The easier trails take you through town itself and its outskirts as well as into the mountains, where you will find spectacular vantage points.

Sisimiut is located approximately 33.5 miles (54 km) north of the Arctic Circle, meaning that during summer, you can experience midnight sun in here. Approximately 4,500 years ago, the Saqqaq culture arrived from Canada and settled in the area. They lived here for about 2,000 years, after which they mysteriously disappeared from the town. The Dorset culture arrived around AD 500 and stayed until the 1200s until they were replaced by the Thule culture, and today, the majority of the population of Sisimiut are descendants of the Thule culture.

The museum in Sisimiut allows you to experience local history as well as some cultural historical treats, exhibiting early life in Greenland. The town also has a cultural center - Taseralik Arts Center, where you can experience concerts, plays, films and much more, and its café offers a great views.

Hiking Excursion: Palasip Qaqqaa – The Priest Mountain
Perhaps one of the more challenging hikes offered to cruise expeditioners visiting Greenland. Palasip Qaqqaa is a 1,800 foot-high (550 m) mountain a few miles from downtown Sisimiut. The tour begins at the harbor where you are transported by bus to the starting point of the hike. The first part of the hike is along a small river with fresh drinking water, so remember a drinking bottle. During the hike you will see the local flora, perhaps encounter foxes, grouse and eagles are also present. If you’re lucky you might even come across musk oxen. Throughout the hike, you will be rewarded with stunning views of Sisimiut and at the top, there is a fantastic view of town and the surrounding fjords and the sea.

Ilulissat is renowned for mountainous icebergs drifting from one of the most productive glaciers in the northern hemisphere and out into the Disko Bay. A short distance south of town is the mind-blowing Ilulissat Icefjord, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, and home of one of the most actively calving glaciers in the world, Sermeq Kujalleq (also known as Jacobshavn glacier). Sermeq Kujalleq produces about 20 million tons of ice each day, all floating into the Ilulissat Icefjord and Disko Bay. Ilulissat is the third largest town municipality in Greenland with more than 5,000 inhabitants.

Ilulissat Glacier is the most productive glacier, not only in Greenland, but in the northern hemisphere. The glacier is 4.5 mi (7 km) wide and more than a 1/2 mile (1 km) steep. It produces 43 million tons of ice and moves about 165 feet (50 m) a day. It is an amazing sight to see this enormous amount of ice and experience the awe-inspiring power of nature.

Conditions permitting, enjoy a Zodiac cruise at the mouth of the fjord and kayak through sea ice and icebergs. More than 40 million tons of ice flows out into the fjord 24 hours a day, resulting in gigantic icebergs that can be in excess of 330 ft (100 m) on each side with a height of more than 330 ft (100 m) above the water surface. These giants often become stranded at the end of the fjord, providing excellent opportunities to sail among them - an exceptional experience and certainly a highlight for many visitors to West Greenland.

Hiking in Greenland generally is done on rugged unmarked tracks. However, in Ilulissat, there are a few well-marked routes that take you along the Icefjord. An easy hike to the old settlement at the Icefjord takes about 30-45 minutes from the center of town, leading to a fantastic spot at the edge of the Icefjord where a former settlement was situated. Different Inuit cultures have lived here during the last 4,000 years, and today you can still find artifacts, which witness their presence. Hear the story about the life and the customs of the Greenlanders before the Europeans´ arrival; see the ruins, the kitchen mitten, and fell the permafrost with your own hands. The route to the edge has a walkway and when you reach the edge of the icefjord you can walk up a little hill for an even more breathtaking view. However, a moderate level of fitness and balance is required to summit the small hill as the terrain is rugged.

Optional helicopter flight: this excursion is the only way you can get close to the gigantic glacier. The 10-seater helicopter takes off from Ilulissat Airport and flies as low as safely possible, crossing hills, lakes and ice fjords. We land on the mountain at Kangia, in the middle of the preserved area, and for 30 minutes, you can revel in the incredible surroundings. We fly above the edge of the glacier and the icebergs in the fjord on the ride back to Ilulissat. Some of the biggest icebergs strand on a moraine underneath the water just outside the town, and it makes a wonderful finale to this excursion.

Eqip Sermia (Eqi the calving glacier) is accessible only by sea. Eqi glacier is located 50 miles (80 km) north of Ilulissat. It’s one of the most active glaciers in Greenland. Although it’s smaller than Sermeq Kujalleq glacier in Ilulissat, it’s more accessible, and if ice conditions permit, we’ll Zodiac cruise within safe distance, waiting for chunks of ice to calve, and hearing the deafening crash of the ice breaking off followed by the huge splash when it hits the water – an experience you won’t soon forget. We may land our Zodiacs on a moraine and walk close to the glacier.

The Inland Ice Sheet is made of snow and when densely packed, it becomes ice. This procedure puts pressure on the air between the snow flakes and results in air bubbles. When the glacier calves, the air is released and this is what creates the explosion-like sounds. The oxygen-rich ice is a food resource for many animals; cormorants, guillemots, kittiwakes and the rare praise gull are often seen nearby. Seals often live in the ice in front of the glacier and the great eagle can be spotted in the area. You may also come across grouse, hare and small arctic fox.

Qeqertarsuaq means ”the large island” and it is indeed Greenland’s largest island. The island lies in the middle of Disko Bay, about 45 miles (70 km) from the mainland and can be reached in a day’s sailing. The island is different from the rest of Greenland due to its volcanic origin. The landscape is characterized by red-tinged basalt mountains, verdant hilltops, interesting rock figures and hot springs (not suitable for bathing).

Disko Island is well-known for its beautiful nature, abundant flora and interesting geology that made geological surveys possible from 1848. In 1906, the “Arctic Station” was founded and it is now the oldest manned field station in the arctic region. The Arctic Station conducts arctic research on bio and geo-related problems. With an area of 3,300 sq mi (8,580 km²), it is one of the largest islands in the world. If we’re lucky, staff from the station may come aboard and share with you the work they do at the station.

The main town of Qeqertarsuaq is also called Qeqertarsuaq, and has about 850 residents. Qeqertarsuaq was founded in 1773 and is beautifully located by Disko Bay. The town is located on a peninsula and has a natural harbor. From spring to autumn the area around Disko Island becomes a meeting ground for large whales such as bowhead whale and humpback whale – a perfect place for kayaking and Zodiac cruising for possible whale encounters. In the 17th Century, the first whaling stations were established on Disko Island and the optimal fishing areas drew many European whaling expeditions. Being located nearer to the Arctic Circle, during the summer months, you will see the midnight sun in Qeqertarsuaq, an experience that you won’t have south of Sisimiut.

Surrounded by steep islands, and an endless supply of icebergs from the Qarajaq Glacier, Uummannaq (meaning “heart-like”) is the centerpiece of an archipelago where everyday hunting and fishing life plays out in the middle of one of nature’s grandest creations in Greenland. As the ship approaches Uummannaq, have your camera ready and be out on deck as the vista is magnificent. Founded as a Danish colony in 1758 on the mainland, the settlement was moved five years later to this nearby island, where seal hunting was more plentiful. As you wander the town, through the snow and ice, watch out for the colorful local houses that are so emblematic of Greenland.

The iconic heart-shaped mountain of Uummannaq towers over the island, and the symbol of the heart is an unmistakable landmark for visitors. Nearby Qilakitsoq, a former settlement, but now an archaeological site, is famous for the discovery of eight mummified bodies in 1972. The mummies which date back to 1475 AD, can now be viewed at the Greenland National Museum in Nuuk. Uummannaq is a great place for Zodiac cruising to explore the coastline, kayaking and hiking.

With a name that translates to the Springtime Place, Upernavik town has long been associated with Inuit traditions of ice fishing and hunting for sea mammals. A bay dotted with hundreds of islands, the world's largest bird cliffs at Apparsuit, an open-air museum revealing colonial and Viking histories, see thousands of islands interspersed with icebergs stretching off into the distance as you kayak or sail around the waterways, and if conditions permit traverse the mesmerizing waters of the Upernavik Icefjord.

Day 10 — At Sea

As we sail back south to Nuuk, keep a lookout for whale blows and the seabirds that trail our ship in the ever-present Arctic winds. Enjoy the time to reflect on your recent adventures in Greenland, share and exchange photos, and soak in the spectacular scenery of West Greenland.

Day 11 — Nuuk

Arrive back in Nuuk where you disembark and farewell your crew, expedition team and fellow travelers. A transfer to downtown or to the airport is included.

* Itinerary may be subject to change

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Charter Air: Copenhagen-Nuuk-Copenhagen ($1,335)

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International Airfare Not Included. Rates are per person, based on twin-share. Single costs are 1.7 times the twin rate in all cabin categories. Twin share, with no supplement, is available in Aurora Stateroom and Balcony Stateroom categories.

Adventure options must be pre-booked and paid for prior to start of the trip. Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.

Optional Activities: Kayaking $940 (Svalbard), $1,090 (FJL Explorer, Jewels of the Arctic, Arctic Discovery & Inuit Arctic and Beyond), $1,560 (High Arctic Adventure & Arctic Complete), $900 (West Greenland & Iceland Circumnavigation), Photography Free, Climbing $1,090 (Jewels of the Arctic & Arctic Complete), Snorkeling $600 (Jun 22nd & Jul 2nd).

Note: "Inuit Arctic and Beyond" is open for 160 passengers instead of the usual 120.

A $15 per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or increase/decrease the amount) when you settle your account. It is not necessary to tip the expedition team members.

Mandatory Emergency Evacuation Insurance Required. All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.

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No trips meet your criteria. Please increase the budget above to view more results.
Click on the tour dates in the left column to view a trip itinerary. Point MOUSE at Cabin Category to view DETAILED description.

International Airfare Not Included. Rates are per person, based on twin-share. Single costs are 1.7 times the twin rate in all cabin categories. Twin share, with no supplement, is available in Aurora Stateroom and Balcony Stateroom categories.

Adventure options must be pre-booked and paid for prior to start of the trip. Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.

Optional Activities: Kayaking $1,150 ('Svalbard Odyssey', 'Jewels of the Arctic', 'East Greenland Explorer'), $1,190 ('Orkneys, Faroes, Jan Mayen & Svalbard', 'FJL Explorer'), $1,830 ('Arctic Complete'), $1,270 ('Inuit Arctic and Beyond'), Photography Free, Climbing $1,050 ('Jewels of the Arctic', 'East Greenland Explorer' & 'Arctic Complete'), Standup Paddleboarding $500 (('Jewels of the Arctic', 'East Greenland Explorer' & 'Arctic Complete'), Snorkeling $590 (Aug 18th, 30th & Sep 10th).

Note: "Inuit Arctic and Beyond" is open for 160 passengers instead of the usual 120.

A $15 per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or increase/decrease the amount) when you settle your account. It is not necessary to tip the expedition team members.

Mandatory Emergency Evacuation Insurance Required. All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.

DeckPlan_GregMortimer-ship
DeckPlan_GregMortimer

         Captain's Suite *
480 Sq Ft / 44.5 m² including balcony
Deck 4
Twin or double bed • Private en-suite • Full size window • Desk area • Closet space • Private balcony • Room-controlled thermostat • Safe for storing valuables • Separate lounge area • 42" flat-screen TV
         Junior Suite *
420 Sq Ft / 38.9 m² including balcony
Deck 7
Twin or double bed • Private en-suite • Full size window • Desk area • Closet space • Private balcony • Room-controlled thermostat • Safe for storing valuables • 42" flat-screen TV • Separate lounge area
         Balcony Suite *
328-433 Sq Ft / 30.5-40.2 m² including balcony
Deck 4
Twin or double bed • Private en-suite • Full size window • Desk area • Closet space • Private balcony • Room-controlled thermostat • Safe for storing valuables • 42" flat-screen TV
         Balcony Stateroom-A, Balcony Stateroom-B, Balcony Stateroom-C
225-337 Sq Ft / 20.9--31.3 m² including balcony
Decks 4 & 6
Twin or double bed • Private En-suite • Floor to ceiling window • Desk area • Closet space • Private balcony • Room-controlled thermostat • Safe for storing valuables • 42" flat-screen TV
Many "B" staterooms are fitted with interconnecting features making them great for families or groups
         Aurora Stateroom  Twin & Triple (on select voyages)
170-245 Sq Ft / 15.8-22.8 m²
Deck 3
Twin or double bed (Three twin beds in Triple) • Private En-suite • Porthole window • Desk area • Closet space • Room-controlled thermostat • Safe for storing valuables • 42" flat-screen TV

*

      Suite benefits include:
• One free pair of binoculars per suite
• 1-hour spa treatment (per person)
• Free stocked mini bar (Balcony & Junior stocked once, Captain’s replenished as needed)
• Gratuities/tips for crew included to the value of $15 per person per day
• 1 free bottle of champagne per suite