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Circumnavigation of Iceland
Le Ponant Cruise
Reykjavik (Iceland) - Reykjavik (Iceland) - 8 nights aboard the National Geographic Explorer

July 11 - 19, 2013

Experience an enchanting land of geological extremes on a circumnavigation of Iceland. Encounter vast volcanic landscapes and the world’s youngest island, walk on lava fields and ice sheets, and feel the spray of gushing hot springs and cascading waterfalls. Cruise among magnificent icebergs in Jokulsarlon, and spend a day on the Arctic Circle spotting rich birdlife. Kayak into fjords and serene bays, and go hiking on spectacular and remote stretches of the coast. Cap off the adventure with a soak in Reykjavik’s famous Blue Lagoon.

EXPEDITION HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore Europe’s largest icecap and discover the lava-sculpted landscapes of the Westman islands.
  • Soak in hot springs, and see boiling mud pots and thundering Godafoss waterfall.
  • Go whale-watching and spot birdlife on the shores of Iceland and its surrounding isles.
  • Paddle a kayak and take a Zodiac foray in the serene bays.


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 perhaps shed some light on Nordic culture at the National Museum, with its Viking treasures and artifacts, and unusual whalebone carvings on display. 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, and take a Zodiac cruise along the coast. (B,L,D)
Day 3 - Ísafjördur
Located in the Western Fjords, Ísafjördur is surrounded by water on three sides, sculpted by glaciers. Renowned for its traditional eider down production, it is a picture postcard of traditional Icelandic life and a great place for hiking, kayaking and for spotting eider ducks. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - The North Coast of Iceland
Siglufjordur was the center of Iceland’s once-thriving herring industry. We stop by the Herring Museum for a talk and a tasting. Continue to picturesque Akureyri, backed by snow-capped mountains. Explore the old town, with its beautifully maintained period houses, or visit the botanical garden. (B,L,D)
Day 5 - Lake Mývatn and Húsavík
Drive to Mývatn, the most geologically active area in Iceland. This is world-class field geology! See the bizarre mud pools at Hverarönd — so hot they actually bubble. At the Krafla geothermal area see the explosion crater at Viti and continue to an unforgettable sight: Godafoss, the waterfall of the gods. Meet the ship in Húsavík, and watch for whales as we sail north to the land of the midnight sun. Take Zodiacs ashore to the tiny island of Grimsey, which lies exactly on the Arctic Circle. Here we celebrate being officially in the Arctic, in the company of nesting arctic terns, fulmars, and puffins in burrows, all bathing, courting and fishing — another wonderful photo op. (B,L,D)
Day 6 - Explore the Langanes Peninsula
With plenty of rarely-visited coastline, this day is left open to explore Iceland’s rugged east coast. Join our naturalists for a hike or a Zodiac cruise to get a better view of the beautiful stacks at the end of the peninsula. Or, conditions permitting, we may have our first chance to kayak today under the steep cliffs. (B,L,D)
Day 7 - Djúpivogur, Iceland
Today we see firsthand how the country got its chilly name. From Djúpivogur, explore the vast Vatnajökull ice cap, third largest in the world. For a closer look at the ice, we take a boat ride through Jökulsárlón, a lagoon strewn with large, sculpted icebergs, or you may take a snowmobile ride across the ice. Photo lovers may set off together with the National Geographic photographer. (B,L,D)
Day 8 - Islands of Heimaey & Surtsey, Westman Islands
The Westman Islands were formed by undersea volcanoes between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago and are among the youngest of the world’s archipelagos. In 1963, the world witnessed on film the birth of its newest island, Surtsey — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — which we see as we cruise past the coast. In 1973, Heimaey was threatened by lava flows that nearly closed off its harbor. We visit the crater, where the earth is still hot, and have amazing views of areas that had been engulfed by lava. (B,L,D)
Day 9 - Reykjavik
Today we complete our circumnavigation of Iceland, disembarking in Reykjavík. Stop by the famous Blue Lagoon thermal baths, prior to your flight home. Whether you choose to enjoy the surreal bath and spa facilities or just stroll around the fascinating environs, the Blue Lagoon is unforgettable! (B, L)


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.

Airfare: 
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.

Deposits: 
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.