Colorful houses dot a rocky bluff overlooking the ocean, icebergs, and mountains, in the greenland, the arctic circle
a puppy sits on the ground in greenland
Guides and passengers from Essential Greenland expedition cruise stand atop a rock, arms outstretched, with a view of the ocean and the arctic in front of them.
a man wearing a brown jacket paddles a traditional wooden kayak in greenland
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Polar Regions Arctic Cruise

Essential Greenland: Southern Coasts & Disko Bay

Essential Greenland: Southern Coasts & Disko Bay is a 15-day cruise through the Arctic, traveling round-trip from Reykjavik, Iceland. Embark in Reykjavik, cross the Denmark Strait to explore East Greenland and West Greenland, then disembark in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, for a private charter flight back to Reykjavik.

This in-depth exploration of Greenland is like no other, as it covers the most remote regions of the country: icy waters, little-visited coastlines, charming communities, the lush southern tip and unspoiled glaciers. Visit picturesque villages and Norse ruins that dot the shoreline; photograph and explore the rugged landscape dominated by dramatic fjords, imposing glaciers, towering mountains and verdant valleys. The Arctic has been inspiring explorers for centuries, and this small ship expedition offers the chance to discover why. Search for iconic Arctic wildlife such as whales, seals and seabirds. Explore the Ilulissat Icefjord and Kujataa farming communities, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Meet locals and experience traditional Inuit settlements. The Norse historical sites reveal fascinating culture and the human history of the Arctic. And daily activities include riding in a Zodiac to explore icebergs, glaciers, fjords and even optional kayaking adventures.

The 15-day Essential Greenland: Southern Coasts & Disko Bay cruise is aboard the 199-guest Ultramarine, a modern, purpose-built polar expedition vessel. Her twin helicopters access unique terrain; her innovative, internal hangar launches Zodiacs in a modern way; and her specialized, cutting-edge safety features provide added security in remote Arctic environments. AdventureSmith Explorations’ crew of award-winning polar small ship cruise experts have personal experience sailing in the polar regions. Contact us to discover more about this Arctic small ship cruise and other options to suit your travel interests and timeline.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Greenland small ship cruises and Iceland cruises or more Arctic cruises and Arctic trips.


Essential Greenland: Southern Coasts & Disko Bay Itinerary

Essential Greenland: Southern Coasts & Disko Bay is a 15-day voyage through the Arctic, traveling roundtrip from Reykjavik, Iceland.

Essential Greenland: Southern Coasts & Disko Bay cruise route map.
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Day 1
Arrive Reykjavik, Iceland

Arrive in the Icelandic capital and head to the included hotel. Enjoy the day exploring the city on your own.


Included hotel TBA



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Day 2
Embark Reykjavik

Board the vessel this afternoon and begin this Arctic expedition. Get ready for a great adventure ahead!




breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Denmark Strait & At Sea

Cruise across the Denmark Strait while the expedition team teaches about the wildlife and storied history of Greenland, its fascinating geology, ecology, climate and incredible sights. Staff keeps watch for seabirds soaring above, as well as the whales that can be encountered here.




breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 4 - 5
Exploring East Greenland

Begin with East Greenland, one of the least visited and most remote parts of the island. Sail along the coast guided by weather and ice conditions, with each day and each excursion presenting new adventures. The region is a sight to behold, boasting a mesmerizing maze of vast glaciers, steep mountains and breathtaking fjords.

If conditions allow, visit Skjoldungen and cruise between the mountains to view glaciers deep within the fjords surrounding this island. The narrow part of the fjord provides an ideal place to put in Zodiacs for a more in-depth exploration. If conditions allow, perhaps visit the site of an abandoned Inuit settlement, whose inhabitants were relocated to larger, more accessible towns around 1961.

Another possible destination is Lindenow Fjord, a great spot for hiking through lush and varied flora surrounded by epic mountain vistas, if conditions are favorable. This rarely visited deep fjord is fed by a number of glaciers and offers ample opportunities for photography.




breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 6 - 7
Exploring South Greenland

Sailing on, explore Greenland’s fertile southern coast. Nicknamed Arctic Patagonia, this region is as rich in spectacular scenery as it is in history and culture. Here, it’s easy to see why Erik the Red gave Greenland its name: everywhere you look rewards with vistas of icy waters set against a backdrop of soaring mountains, crystal-clear waterfalls and unbelievably lush, green valleys. Scattered around the shores of the fjord systems that dominate the area are several small settlements, both ancient and present day, making South Greenland an ideal place to explore.

The magical Prins Christian Sund, a complex maze of narrow fjords and channels, is a great place for cruising. Explore this stunning sound, home to calving glaciers, jagged mountains and sheer cliffs that plunge dramatically into the water. Sailing this coastline from the vantage point of the ship or a Zodiac is an exhilarating experience. If conditions allow, venturing ashore provides opportunities for all levels of hiking.

Steeped in Norse history, the southern coast of Greenland provides plenty of places to learn about this ancient culture. Hope to land at Hvalsey, the site of Greenland’s largest and best-preserved Norse ruins. Exploring the remains of the circa 14th-century church will feel like stepping back in time, as the building appears much as it did when it was abandoned in the 15th century and the surrounding fells and fjord remain similarly untouched.

The little village of Igaliku, home to about 30 inhabitants, is Greenland’s oldest sheep-farming settlement. It’s a charming place to go ashore, as sheep peacefully graze on the grass, surrounded by bloom-covered rolling valleys and snow-capped mountains. The area is also known for its storied past, as evidenced by the remarkable red sandstone ruins of the Gardar cathedral (the largest church in Greenland in the Middle Ages) and bishop’s residence, which date back to the early 12th century, when Greenland’s first bishop was appointed. Wandering the foundations, excavated in 1926, see a bit of history firsthand while learning about this interesting relic of the Viking period. Together with four other historic farming communities, Igaliku is part of a newly established UNESCO World Heritage Site Kujataa.




breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 8 - 13
Exploring West Greenland

Boasting spectacular glaciers, mountainous landscapes and vibrant communities, the west coast of Greenland leaves guests awestruck. Heading north, each day hope to take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore local bays, channels and landing sites, discovering some of the quaint villages dotting the islands and fjords in the region and cruising in some of Greenland’s most picturesque places.

The west coast is home to Nuuk, the charming Greenlandic capital. Enjoy time to wander the streets of the historic Old Nuuk neighborhood and see the Hans Egede Church and Hans Egede statue near the waterfront, both named after the missionary who founded the settlement. History buffs will want to visit the national museum to view the famous Greenlandic mummies, found under a rock outcrop in 1972 by two brothers who were ptarmigan hunting.

Sisimiut is another interesting place to go ashore, as there are more dogsleds here than humans. Have time to wander the town’s historic area, where several 18th-century colonial buildings still stand, including Greenland’s oldest surviving church. Next, be treated to a traditional kayaking demonstration. The kayak is Greenland’s national symbol and can be traced back over 4,000 years to the Inuit, who used the vessels for hunting and transportation.

Another beautiful locale, and one of west Greenland’s highlights is the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to Jakobshavn Glacier or Sermeq Kujalleq in Greenlandic, one of the world’s most active glaciers, this is a great place to enjoy a Zodiac excursion to experience icebergs from a unique perspective not afforded by land. Venturing ashore at the nearby town, Ilulissat (which means “iceberg”), rewards with its own spectacle: young bergs floating out to Disko Bay. A hike from the town to the icefjord offers a view of this unforgettable river of ice from the rocky shore.

Given that it’s known for having more sled dogs than people, it’s not surprising that Ilulissat is the birthplace of the first European to traverse the Northwest Passage by dogsled: explorer Knud Rasmussen. Surrounded by sea and mountains, the fishing community of Itilleq (meaning “crossing place”) is situated in a scenic hollow on a small island, about a mile above the Arctic Circle. Explore traditional wooden houses painted in a rainbow of colors, chat with the locals and join a customary soccer match between visitors and residents. Then you’ll be experiencing Itilleq’s famous friendly vibe in no time.




breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 14
Disembark Kangerlussuaq, Greenland & Fly to Reykjavik, Iceland

Enjoy one more Zodiac ride to shore, then board the charter flight back to Reykjavik, Iceland. Upon arrival in Reykjavik, be transferred to the included hotel.


Included hotel TBA


breakfast, lunch

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Day 15
Depart Reykjavik, Iceland

Today, make your way home at your leisure or spend some time exploring this artistic city.





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Inclusions, Terms & Notes


Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping; all meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board; select beer and house wine during dinner; all shore landings per the daily program; leadership throughout the voyage by experienced expedition leader; all Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program; formal and informal presentations by expedition team and special guests as scheduled; photographic journal documenting the voyage; a pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings; official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep; coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock; hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin; all miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program; all luggage handling aboard ship; Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person; Greenland voyages cruise passenger tax.


Mandatory Transfer Package ($1,295 for 2023 & 2024; includes one night’s pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Reykjavik; group transfer from the Reykjavik hotel to the ship on Day 2; group transfer from the ship to the Kangerlussuaq airport on disembarkation day; charter flight from Kangerlussuaq to Reykjavik; group transfer from Reykjavik airport to airport hotel; one night’s post-expedition hotel accommodation in Keflavik; shuttle transfer to Keflavik [KEF] airport on last day of itinerary); international airfare; arrival and departure transfers, except where listed in the Mandatory Transfer Package; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above; meals ashore unless otherwise specified; baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended; excess-baggage fees on international flights; mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other gear not mentioned; laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified; phone and Internet charges; voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew; additional overnight accommodation; any adventure options.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 25% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 180 days – $1,250 fee
179 to 120 days – 100% of deposit
119 to 90 days – 50% of total trip cost
89 to 60 days – 75% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Essential Greenland: Southern Coasts & Disko Bay voyage begins and ends in Reykjavik, Iceland (KEF). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Plan flights to arrive to Reykjavik anytime on Day 1 of the itinerary and make your way to the included hotel. Embarkation is usually at 4:00pm on Day 2 in Reykjavik with an included transfer from the hotel to the ship. Disembarkation is between 7:00 and 8:00am on Day 14 of the itinerary in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, followed by a return charter flight to Reykjavik. Plan flights to depart Reykjavik on Day 15 of the itinerary anytime after breakfast; however, AdventureSmith strongly suggests that a flexible air ticket be held for your journey home in case you need to change your travel arrangement following a delay of the return flight from the Arctic. Airport transfers are not included but can be pre-arranged at added cost with at least 30 days’ notice. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

The group charter flight between Kangerlussuaq and Reykjavik is required on this trip’s itinerary; see the Mandatory Transfer Package information listed in this trip’s Exclusions. There is a strict luggage limit of 50 lbs (23 kg) checked luggage and 18 lbs (8 kg) cabin baggage on the flight from Kangerlussuaq. Should you have additional luggage, it can be stored at the hotel in Reykjavik. There is no option to pay for additional luggage. On Day 14 of the itinerary, the ship is scheduled to arrive at the pier between 7:00am and 8:00am local time. Disembarkation follows breakfast, with a transfer to the airport for the return charter flight to Reykjavik.


Various optional activities may be available on your Essential Greenland: Southern Coasts & Disko Bay voyage. The sea kayaking program must be reserved in advance. One-time paddling excursions are available for those who want something less in-depth than the full sea kayaking program; no experience is necessary. Each departure’s first paddling excursion may be pre-booked and all subsequent outings are booked on the ship. Please contact AdventureSmith to reserve activity space with your booking. For the 2023 & 2024 seasons sea kayaking is $695; one-time paddling excursion is $195; hiking is included; and flightseeing is included. In 2024, an exclusive Heli-Landing is available for $395.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Single cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. Solo travelers willing to share can reserve a triple or twin-shared cabin, where you will be matched with a person of the same gender. If the other cabin berth goes unsold, you will be guaranteed the double rate. Single travelers wishing to book a double-occupancy cabin may do so at 1.7x (2x for Premium cabins) the per-person listed rate in select cabins based upon availability. Premium Cabins are as follows:
Ultramarine: Deluxe Balcony Suite, Terrace Suite, Penthouse Suite, Owner’s Suite & Ultra Suite

Families & Children

At date of embarkation, a minimum age restriction of 8 years and minimum height and weight requirements (weight of 64lbs or 29kg and 48 in. or 1.2 m. tall) must be met. Children under 16 years of age must be supervised by a parent/guardian at all times, and may not participate in adventure options.

Travel Insurance

Emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum benefit of up to $500,000 USD per paying traveler provides coverage between the first and last day of ship-based travel and is included in the cost of this trip. For ship- and land-based trips, additional days of travel pre- and post-expedition are not covered. Travelers are responsible for having adequate international medical coverage prior to embarkation, with a minimum benefit of $50,000 USD. In addition, we highly recommend our travelers also protect their investment with travel insurance that includes trip cancellation and other benefits. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice, weather conditions, wildlife encountered and the captain’s discretion. Flexibility is the key to the success of any Arctic expedition.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

This itinerary is no longer offered.  Please contact AdventureSmith for alternative Greenland small ship cruises.


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Expedition Ship

The new Ultramarine 199-passenger polar ship is purpose-built for safety and far-off exploration in Antarctica and the Arctic. Dual helicopter pads and an incredible 70-day cruising range allow access to the hardest-to-reach places.

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Andrew Browning • September 6th, 2023
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Essential Greenland: Southern Coasts & Disko Bay