Iceland Circumnavigation

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

Situated in the Atlantic Ocean and with Greenland as its western neighbor, Iceland is a remote volcanic island with mind-blowing landscapes and fascinating culture and history to please even the most discerning traveler. With most of the country uninhabited, much of Iceland’s terrain consists of plateaux, mountain peaks, and fertile lowlands. The landscape is characterized by volcanoes, thundering waterfalls, geysers, geothermal hot springs, black sand beaches, bubbling mud pools and lava fields. With many deep fjords that are ideal for kayaking and Zodiac cruising, and glaciers to explore including Europe’s largest, Vatnajökull, combined with splendid birdlife and friendly locals, a circumnavigation of Iceland is an experience not to be missed.

Expedition Highlights
• Keep watch for blow holes, breaching and tail flukes as we spot whales in Húsavik
• Westfjords offer some of the remotest fjords, bays and pristine environments in Iceland – perfect for kayaking, hiking and bird-watching
• Visit Vatnajökull National Park featuring Europe’s largest glacier, glacial lagoons, black sand beaches, colorful mountains and rich birdlife, reindeers and seals
• On Heimay in the Westman Islands, see the remnants of houses buried by the 1973 volcanic eruption of Mount Eldfell and sail past UNESCO heritage-listed Surtsey Island, created by volcanic eruptions lasting 3.5 years starting in 1963
• Witness the incredible 'heaven and hell' contrast in landscape at Lake Mývatn – an area said to be the most geologically active area in Iceland

Important Note: in order to experience some of Iceland’s incredible scenery, a number of the shore excursions on this itinerary require overland coach travel away from the coast.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Reykjavik
Day 2 Embark the Greg Mortimer / Hvalfjördur
Day 3 Stykkisholmur / Látrabjarg Cliffs
Days 4 & 5 Westfjords
Day 6 Akureyri and Mývatn
Day 7 Grímsey Island / Húsavik
Day 8 Mjóifjördur
Day 9 Vatnajökull National Park
Day 10 Westman Islands
Day 11 Reykjavik

Day 1 — Reykjavik

Arrive in Reykjavik and make your own way to our group hotel.

Day 2 — Embark the Greg Mortimer / Hvalfjördur

After breakfast at the hotel, a transfer is included to the pier to board our ship the Greg Mortimer. Sail into Hvalfjördur, a beautiful and fjord just north of Reykjavik with wide areas of flat verdant land along majestic mountains, and beaches cut with creeks. The fjord is approximately 19 miles (30 km) long and 3 miles (5 km) wide. The area is rich in bird life and is home to seals, perfect for Zodiac cruising, kayaking and hikes.

Historically, Hvalfjörður was home to one of the main whaling stations in Iceland, with ships heading out into Faxaflói Bay. It was one of the most important naval stations in the North Atlantic during World War II, when Iceland was occupied by the Allies after the Nazis conquered Denmark. The old whaling station and a war museum can be found in the fjord.

Day 3 — Stykkisholmur / Látrabjarg Cliffs

Stykkisholmur is the starting point of our adventures on the Snaefellnes Peninsula, gateway Snæfellsjökull National Park. Stykkishólmur is located by Breiðafjörður Bay on the north of Snæfellsnes peninsula and is surrounded by wonderful views of the innumerable islands. One of the defining landmarks in Stykkishólmur are the old houses in the old city center, some of which were owned by Danish traders, and every year in August there is a Danish town festival in Stykkishólmur called Danskir dagar or Danish days. The oldest house in Stykkishólmur is the Norwegian house, which dates back to 1832. The inhabitants take great pride in preserving the old houses and walking in the center of town is like walking in another era.

An area of diverse landscapes, characterized by lava fields and glistening fjords and home to bird-rich Breidafjordur Bay. The area is crowned by the magnificent, ice-capped Snæfellsjökull volcano, a 700,000-year-old dormant subglacial volcano, visible from Reykjavik on a clear day and immortalized in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

Disembark the ship for today’s full day (7 hours) excursion visiting the following areas:

Arnarstapi was an important trading post in the past and had a much bigger population than it has now. Columnar basalt, ravines and grottoes surround the Arnarstapi pier. There is a large arctic tern colony in the village itself, and a walk along the coastline is a great way to see birds such as kittiwake, Arctic tern and fulmar. You will also pass magnificent lava formations. The seaside and the cliffs between Arnastapi and Hellnar were made a Natural Reserve in 1979. A sculpture of Bardur Snaefellsas by Ragnar Kjartansson stands by the beach at Arnarstapi.

At Bjarnarhöfn you will enjoy a guided tour of the shark museum and have the opportunity to taste the famed cured shark.

Though Grundarfjörður is not the most well-known town in Snæfellsnes, Mount Kirkjufell is certainly one of the most famous mountains in Iceland, if not the world. It is not unusual for photographers from all over the world to make their way to Grundarfjörður for the sole purpose of photographing this unique landmark which has even starred in a number of films. However, there is a lot more on offer in Grundarfjörður than just Mount Kirkjufell. Nature abounds, with vibrant birdlife and spectacular waterfalls.

En route to Isafjordur, we sail past the immense Látrabjarg cliffs, Iceland’s westernmost point and home to a huge population of razorbills and puffins.

Days 4 & 5 — Westfjords

Over the next two days, explore the Westfjords region featuring outstanding landscapes with jaw-dropping views of dramatic fjords carved by ancient glaciers, sheer table mountains that plunge into the sea and pristine North Atlantic vegetation. The region features attractive towns such as Isafjordur, the famous Dynjandi waterfall, and spectacular fjords offering kayaking excursions, hiking trails, and bird-watching.

In true expeditionary style, we keep our itinerary flexible to allow for spontaneity based on weather and sea conditions. We plan to visit Hornstrandir peninsula, one of Iceland’s remotest and most pristine regions filled with many deep and dramatic fjords, towering bird cliffs, stunning natural beauty and opportunities for wildlife encounters. Enjoy the bountiful silence and magnificent landscapes seen only by the few adventurers that make their way here.

Day 6 — Akureyri and Mývatn

Picturesque Akureyri is Iceland’s second largest city outside the capital area with a superb snow-capped mountain backdrop. Explore the old town, with its beautifully maintained period houses before heading inland to nearby Mývatn region – an area said to be the most geologically active area in Iceland.

Shore Excursions (choose one of the following)

Option One (up to 9 hours)
The Goðafoss waterfall is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. In the year 1,000 the Lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði made Christianity the official religion of Iceland. After his conversion, Þorgeir threw his statues of the Norse gods into the waterfall earning the waterfall its name - waterfall of the gods.

Námaskarð is well-known for its sulfurous mud springs called solfataras and steam springs called fumaroles. Even though you won’t find any pure spring water in this wonderful geothermal site of Iceland, the beauty of the colorful minerals and the gigantic mud craters are truly impressive.

Dettifoss is a waterfall in northeast Iceland and is reputed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe. The falls are 330 feet (100 m) wide and have a drop of 145 ft (44 m) down to the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon.

Ásbyrgi is a forested horse-shoe shaped canyon in Oxarfjordur. Asbyrgi is a part of Jökulsárgljúfur, within the Vatnajökull National Park.

Option two (up to 7-8 hours)
Akureyri Public Parkand Botanic Garden
The garden is one of the northern most botanical gardens in the world. The Public Park was opened in 1912 but the botanic gardens section was open in 1957. There are about 6,600 different species of plants grown in the garden, of which, 430 species are native to Iceland.

The Goðafoss waterfall is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. In the year 1,000 the Lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði made Christianity the official religion of Iceland. After his conversion, Þorgeir threw his statues of the Norse gods into the waterfall earning the waterfall its name - waterfall of the gods.

Dimmuborgir is an area of strewn with enormous lava rocks and cliffs. The formation of these extraordinary lava cliffs and pillars are the result of molten lava flowing over a pond in the eruption of Lúdentsborgir and Þrengslaborgir some 2,300 years ago. The most famous of these formations is "The Church", aptly named, as this is a cave, open at both ends and with a dome-like ceiling.

Námaskarð is well-known for its sulfurous mud springs called solfataras and steam springs called fumaroles. Even though you won’t find any pure spring water in this wonderful geothermal site of Iceland, the beauty of the colorful minerals is impressive and the gigantic mud craters are truly impressive.

Mývatn Nature Baths: Drawing on a centuries-old tradition, the tastefully designed complex offers bathers a completely natural experience that begins with a relaxing dip amidst clouds of steam rising up from a fissure deep in the Earth´s surface, and ends with a luxurious swim in a pool of geothermal water drawn from depths of up to 8,200 feet (2,500 m).

Both options will end with a transfer to Húsavik, where you can explore the small town at your own leisure before re-boarding the ship to sail to Grímsey Island.

Day 7 — Grímsey Island / Húsavik

Located approximately 25 miles (40 km) off the mainland, Grímsey is a verdant grassy island, probably best known for its proximity to the Arctic Circle, which cuts across the island. Many people travel to Grímsey just to say they have stepped across the imaginary line. With a tiny population of approximately 100 inhabitants, it’s a fantastic place for Zodiac cruising, kayaking, and photographing seabirds such as guillemots, gulls and puffins.

Leaving Grímsey to return closer to the mainland, we spend time scanning the waters of Skjálfandi Bay around Húsavik, a town known as the Iceland’s ‘whale watching capital’, home to up to 24 different whale species, as well as dolphins and 30 variety of birds. The largest animal on earth, the blue whale, has also been spotted in Skjálfandi Bay, and if you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of this magnificent creature as well as others, such as orcas, fin whales and pilot whales.

Day 8 — Mjóifjördur

Mjóifjördur (meaning narrow fjord) is an 11 mile (18 km) fjord on Iceland’s east coast length is a little-known gem cherished by locals. Hidden between Nordfjördur and Seydisfjördur mountains that provide shelter and pleasant weather, the fjord is known by locals as an excellent place to soak in the peaceful surroundings and for its spectacular waterfalls – ideal for kayaking and Zodiac cruising.

Mjóifjörður is an exceptionally beautiful, tranquil and remote area with spectacular cliffs, and because of the fjord's still weather it has lush green hills and exceptionally rich flora lining its shores. It also has the impressive Prestagil (The Priest's Ravine) and the Hofsárgljúfur Canyon with delightful rivers and waterfalls. If it weren’t for the weekly ferry that comes here once a week in the winter, the local people would be completely isolated. At Asknes are the remains of an old whaling station, the largest in the world at the time, built by the Norwegians around 1900, with over 200 hundred workers. Today, on the way to the tiny village, Brekkuþorp, where only about 20 people live, a shipwreck on the shore acts as a haunting reminder of the town’s whaling past.

Day 9 — Vatnajökull National Park

Höfn is a lively fishing town with a healthy population of 1,800, and gateway to Vatnajökull National Park – one of the most spectacular and special parts of Iceland, home to Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull - our shore excursion for the day. We’ll visit Skaftafell National Park which was established in 1967, but in 2008 it became part of the larger Vatnajökull National Park, Europe’s second largest after Yugyd Va in Russia.

Inside the national park you can find glacier tongues resting on the green fields of the lowland, Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, a glacial lagoon open to the ocean and filled with floating icebergs that wash up on shore and stand gleaming on the black beach, dubbed Diamond beach. The park also boasts colorful mountains and deep valleys, as well as rich birdlife, reindeers and seals.

Day 10 — Westman Islands

Located off Iceland’s south coast, the Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar) were formed by volcanic eruptions around 10,000 years ago. Sail past Surtsey Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site that emerged from the sea in 1963 and is one the youngest land masses on earth. Westman Islands are surrounded by 15 other uninhabited islands and around 30 rocks and skerries offering refuge for rich array of seabirds. Westman Islands are considered to have the largest Atlantic puffin colony in the world, and when sailing around the islands it is not uncommon to see puffins but also whales and seals.

Heimaey is the main island in the archipelago and it has the population of around 4,200. Ashore on Heimaey, the only inhabited island in the archipelago, we see half-buried houses that remain from a violent 1973 eruption and visit the impressive Eldheimar Museum to learn about the volcanic eruption.

Eruptions are a big part of the history of Westman Islands where there are two volcanoes – one that erupted around 6,000 years ago and of course, Eldfell that erupted in 1973, forcing all of the island’s inhabitants to evacuate for the mainland. Serendipitously, due to bad weather the day prior to the eruption, all the fishing boats remained in the harbor and were able to help transport Heimaey’s inhabitants to the mainland. You can learn more about the story of the eruption and the aftermath at the fascinating Eldheimar museum, which includes a display of a house that was buried in ash during the eruption.

Day 11 — Reykjavik

After breakfast, bid farewell to the expedition team, crew and newfound friends as you disembark in Reykjavik, where the voyage ends. A transfer to downtown Reykjavik or to the airport is included.

* Itinerary may be subject to change

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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