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Along the Viking Trail: From Iceland to GreenlandLe Ponant Cruise

Reykjavik (Iceland) to Kangerlussuaq (Greenland) - 10 nights aboard the National Geographic Explorer

July 19 - 29, 2013 

Centuries ago, Erik the Red became the first European to visit Greenland—and in 1972, Lars-Eric Lindblad pioneered expeditions to the icy country. Follow in the wake of Erik the Red and his son Leif Erikson, seeing remarkable Viking sites settled 500 years before Columbus. The region’s history is enriched through guided walks amid Viking ruins and colorful Scandinavian villages inhabited since Norse times. The Greenland Ice Sheet covers roughly 80% of Greenland, and the high arctic-like landscape is dominated by ice floes and mountain pinnacles. Our expedition team will provide a rich understanding of the dramatic landscape and wildlife, and we’ll use our tools for exploration to the fullest, taking Zodiac or kayak forays among the icebergs and deploying our ROV undersea.


  • Explore Nordic culture in Reykjavik’s Old Town.
  • Hike the lava-sculpted landscapes of Iceland’s Westman Islands.
  • Explore Qaqortukulooq, the most extensive Viking site in Greenland and a World Heritage Site.
  • View the famous 15th-century Qilakitsoq mummies, the subject of a National Geographic cover story.
  • Zodiac and kayak amid the icebergs of east Greenland, calved from the Greenland Icecap.
  • Meet the friendly Greenlanders who maintain their traditional lifestyle.

Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1 - Reykjavik/Embark
Arrive in Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital, which lies only a fraction below the Arctic Circle and receives just four hours of sunlight in winter and 22 in summer. Have a guided overview of the Old Town, including Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral with its 210-foot tower, and shed some light on Nordic culture at the National Museum, with its Viking treasures and artifacts. Embark National Geographic Explorer. (L,D)
Day 2 - Explore the West Coast of Iceland
National Geographic Explorer navigates Iceland’s wild western frontier, sailing past the immense Latrabjarg cliffs, the westernmost point of Iceland and home to a huge population of razorbills. The cliffs are an area once famous for egg collecting; the men were tied to ropes and lowered like spiders down onto the ledges. Continue to Flatey Island, a trading post for many centuries, for walks around the charming little hamlet that grew here. (B,L,D)
Day 3 - Crossing the Denmark Strait
Follow the wake of Eric the Red and Brendan the Navigator as we cross to Greenland. Watch for blue whales. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - Exploring East Greenland
The Greenland Ice Sheet, roughly 80% of the surface of Greenland, is the second largest ice body in the world, after the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The high arctic-like climate is dominated by ice floes. Among the options for exploration are landings at Skjoldungen fjord or Napasorsuaq fjord. We’ll use our tools for exploration to the fullest, taking Zodiac or kayak forays among the icebergs and deploying our ROV. (B,L,D)
Day 5 -Day 5 - Prins Christian Sund & Nanortalik
Prins Christian Sund is a major fjord on the southern coast of Greenland. Surrounded by mountain pinnacles and glaciers, the decks are perfect for viewing this landscape. Anchor off Nanortalik, Greenland’s most southerly town. Go ashore to the picturesque little town by the water’s edge. (B,L,D)
Day 6 - Qaqortukulooq (Hvalsey Ruins)/Qassiarsuk & Brattah
Explore two remarkable sites on the Viking Trail. Qaqortukulooq was settled by one of Erik the Red’s cousins in 986 AD. A World Heritage Site, it is the most extensive Norse site in Greenland. Our ship continues to Eriksfjord, the area Erik the Red chose for his farm when he settled here in 982 AD. Explore Brattahlid, site of the first Christian church in the western hemisphere, built by Erik’s wife, Tjodhilde. This region is also the starting point of the first voyages to North America by his son Leif Eriksson 500 years before Columbus. (B,L,D)
Day 7 - Qaqortoq
Inhabited since Norse times, the Scandinavian influence is still apparent in the colorful wooden buildings and town museum, displaying Greenlandic kayaks, hunting equipment, art and crafts. (B,L,D)
Day 8 - Nuuk
Nuuk is the world’s smallest capital city with 15,000 inhabitants. Visit the National Museum with its famous 15th-century Qilakitsoq mummies, found near Uummannaq, and the subject of a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC cover story. (B,L,D)
Day 9 - Exploring Greenland’s West Coast
Today is left open for exploration of this rugged coastline. We may take a Zodiac cruise, kayak, or hike across the tundra. Our Undersea Specialist may launch the ROV to see the marine life inhabiting the fjord floor. (B,L,D)
Day 10-11 - Kangerlussuaq/Disembark/Fly to Ottawa
Disembark in Kangerlussuaq and fly to Ottawa via privately chartered aircraft. Overnight at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, or similar.  (B)

Terms and Conditions:

Basis of Rates:
All prices are based on two persons sharing a cabin, or a single where noted. Shared accommodations are available on certain ships and categories. For more information, please refer to our Share Guarantee Program section of our Terms and Conditions, or call us for details. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars.

Costs Include: 
All accommodations aboard ships or in hotels per itinerary or similar, all meals and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship, meals on land as indicated, air transportation where indicated as included, shore excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees, special access permits, transfers to and from group flights, use of snorkeling equipment and wet suits, use of kayaks (where available), gratuities (except to ship’s crew), taxes and service charges, services of a ship physician on most voyages, and services of our expedition staff.

Not Included:
Air transportation (except where shown as included), extensions, passport, visa, immigration fees, scuba diving (where available), meals not indicated, travel protection plan, items of a personal nature, such as alcoholic beverages, internet access, and laundry. Gratuities to ship's crew are at your discretion.

For all programs, airfare is an additional cost unless otherwise indicated. Sample airfares are subject to change. We will gladly assist in making your air arrangements for a $50 per person service fee.

To reserve your place, an advance payment for the program is required at the time of reservation. The per person advance payment amount varies by program, and is outlined in our brochures, as well as on our website. Holiday departure dates and certain longer voyages may carry additional advance deposit requirements due to high demand for these voyages. Payment is accepted by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover or check.

Receipt of your initial payment indicates your acceptance of our complete Terms and Conditions.

We require written notice at the time of reservation for any physical condition, diet, or treatment requiring special attention.

Smoking Policy:
Smoking is allowed only in designated outdoor areas.

Share Guarantee Program:

If you are a solo guest willing to share accommodations, we will be happy to make arrangements to match you with another solo guest, so you may travel at the double occupancy rate. If you are willing to share, and we are unable to make shared arrangements for you, we will guarantee you the per person double occupancy rate, and you will not incur the solo rate. This program is subject to availability, and limited to certain ships and categories.

Medical Information:
It is essential that guests with medical conditions and/or special dietary restrictions, make them known to us in sufficient time for us to accommodate their request.