Wilderness and Ancient Cultures from Iceland to Canada

Wilderness and Ancient Cultures from Iceland to Canada

Wilderness and Ancient Cultures from Iceland to Canada

Wilderness and Ancient Cultures from Iceland to Canada

Travel information 13 days MS Fridtjof Nansen
Departure
5 September 2022
Price from
$ 8535
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
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Sailing currents once travelled by Vikings, you’ll go on an adventure from Iceland to Canada, discovering scenic landscapes and pre-Inuit culture in Greenland on your way. Explore rarely experienced Torngat Mountains National Park along the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador before visiting the remote Inuit village of Makkovik and former Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows.

Heritage and scenery in Greenland

Your adventure starts in Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital city. Sailing west through the Denmark Strait, we’ll reach Greenland and the island of Skjoldungen. Learn about the Thule people who once lived here and who were the ancestors of all modern Inuit. Depending on sea ice, we'll then attempt to sail through spectacular Prince Christian Sound before continuing to Canada.

Torngat Mountains National Park

Arriving in Northern Labrador, you’ll start by exploring Torngat Mountains National Park, a haven for caribou, black bears, foxes, golden eagles and even polar bears. It is also the ancestral home of the Labrador Inuit people and their predecessors. Only accessible by sea or plane, the park receives less than 600 people each year. You’ll be one of them. Sailing south, you’ll arrive at the small village of Makkovik, inhabited by people of Inuit and European descent. Then, at L’Anse aux Meadows, you’ll visit the 1000-year-old remains of a Viking encampment. Your adventure ends in historic St. John’s, capital of Newfoundland and the oldest city in North America.

Wilderness and Ancient Cultures from Iceland to Canada Wilderness and Ancient Cultures from Iceland to Canada
  • Day 1
    Reykjavik, Iceland

    Cosmopolitan capital

    5 September 2022
    Estimated time of departure is 4:00 PM

    Your adventure starts in Reykjavik, the northernmost capital in the world. Reykjavik is simultaneously quaint and cosmopolitan. This small city is the perfect size for a walking tour, packed full of art, culture and history.

    Take a stroll along Laugavegur, the main shopping street, with its boutiques and outdoor shops. Or head towards the architecturally striking Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral. Art lovers can visit the Reykjavik Art Museum, National Gallery and the many smaller galleries and museums dotting the city. Stopping off at the National Museum, the Saga Museum and the Maritime Museum is sure to fill you in about Iceland’s history. And bring your swimsuit if you fancy a dip in one of the city’s 18 swimming pools, many with saunas and hot tubs.

    The list of possibilities doesn’t end there. From Reykjavik, whose name actually means ‘Smokey Bay’ due to the rising steam from the surrounding geothermal features, you’ll be just hours away from geysers, glaciers, hot springs and waterfalls. Why not book a Pre-Programme with us and spend a couple of extra days fully discovering Iceland’s Golden Circle.

    At Reykjavik harbour, MS Fridtjof Nansen awaits you. After you collect your complimentary expedition jacket and check-in, you’ll have time to settle in your cabin. There is a mandatory safety drill just before departure after which you can walk around to explore the ship. The welcome dinner in the evening ends with a toast by the Captain, wishing everyone an enjoyable expedition. You’ll then meet the Expedition Team and key members of the crew who will take you through an important health and safety briefing.

    Day 1
    Reykjavik, Iceland

    Cosmopolitan capital

  • Day 2
    At sea

    Crossing the Denmark Strait

    6 September 2022

    Ease in to your adventure as you spend today at sea on your way to Greenland. You’ll have time to relax, get to know your fellow travellers, and check out the facilities onboard. In the Science Center, the Expedition Team will hold lecture programmes on the wildlife and ecosystems of the Arctic, preparing you for the adventure ahead.

    They will also talk you through important guidelines from AECO, the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators. You'll learn how you can protect wildlife habitats, keep a safe distance from animals, and visit indigenous Arctic communities in a dignified and respectful way.

    If you feel like getting active, you can hit the gym and get your pulse up. You’ll have access to indoor and outdoor gyms, and an outdoor 150-metre running track up on deck 11. Or for a soothing spa break, book a treatment in the Wellness Center. Drinks can be enjoyed in the panoramic Explorer Lounge & Bar too, while settling into a sofa and watching the rhythmic ocean waves roll by outside. 

    Day 2
    At sea

    Crossing the Denmark Strait

  • Day 3
    Skjoldungen, Greenland

    ‘Paradise on earth’

    7 September 2022

    Welcome to Greenland. This is a glorious, vast realm of mountains, fjords and glaciers. We’ll spend today exploring the uninhabited island of Skjoldungen in southeastern Greenland. The island was originally part of the coast until the many fjords that criss-cross the area separated it from the mainland.

    Coming in the summer, the brown-grey mountains will be bare of snow and covered in lush green patches of dwarf birch and other Arctic flora. The mountains are interspersed with valleys gouged out by glaciers that calve icebergs into the fjords. There is usually a mix of sea and glacial ice, and you may see larger icebergs in the fjords and along the coast. Danish Arctic explorer W.A. Graah rightly described the area as ‘paradise on earth’ when he came here in 1829 looking for a lost Norse settlement. 

    Talking of age-old cultures, Skjoldungen is thought to have been inhabited by ancient Eskimo people as early as 4,000 years ago. Archaeological remains also point to later settlements of the nomadic Thule, ancestors of Inuit who came across the Atlantic from Canada. You’ll be meeting an Inuit community in Canada later on your expedition.

    Apart from enjoying a scenic cruise of the fjords here, we will also try to make a landing on the island and organise hikes and kayaking as optional excursions. Our programme and activities depend primarily on the weather and ice conditions on the day.

    Day 3
    Skjoldungen, Greenland

    ‘Paradise on earth’

  • Day 4
    Prince Christian Sound, Greenland

    'A river of melted ice’

    8 September 2022

    Get ready to marvel at some of the most stunning views on the planet in Prince Christian Sound. The Southern Greenland sound connects the Labrador Sea and the Irminger Sea, separating the mainland from Cape Farewell archipelago. The 60-mile waterway is surrounded by granite mountains with sharp peaks, some reaching up to 2,220 metres high. You’ll marvel at the maze of geological patterns in the rock face, from deep cracks and crevasses to lines of black lichen that seem to seep from the stone like paint.

    The muted greys and rusted greens of the mountains stand in contrast to the bright white of the many glaciers you’ll see. These slow-moving masses of ice grind their way from the enormous Greenlandic Ice Sheet and flow straight into the sound, calving white-blue icebergs of all sizes, shades, and shapes. You’ll understand why 15th century Italian explorer John Cabot famously described Prince Christian Sound as ‘a river of melted ice’.

    Get your camera ready and join the Expedition Team on the observation deck. There  are only two signs of human life here: the Danish weather station built by the US during the Cold War at the entrance to the fjord, and the colourful houses of the 100-strong fishing and hunting village of Aappilattoq, which when translated from local Greenlandic Inuit means ‘Sea Anemone’. You may see ringed seals and bearded seals on the ice, while the likes of glaucous gulls and black guillemots nest in the steep cliffs. Minke and humpback whales may make an appearance too, although they tend not to swim into the narrow stretches of the sound, preferring the wider sections at the entrance.

    Navigating Prince Christian Sound is only possible in summer each year when sea ice is less packed and icebergs don’t block the entrance. However, weather, sea ice, and gate-keeping icebergs on the day may mean our route is still barred. If that does happen, don’t worry! It’s all to be expected on an expedition into true wilderness. This is where nature sets the rules, not the other way around. We may instead sail towards Nunap Isua, otherwise known as Cape Farewell, the southernmost point of Greenland.

    Day 4
    Prince Christian Sound, Greenland

    'A river of melted ice’

  • Day 5
    At sea

    9 September 2022

    We have left Greenland behind and now set course for Canada. While sailing across the Labrador Sea, you can continue to enjoy informative lectures presented by the Expedition Team. Some of their topics could include wildlife you might see in Northern Labrador, Inuit culture, expedition photography, and historic explorers of the Canadian Arctic.

    We also support a number of Citizen Science projects that you can join. These projects include Happywhale, where your photographs help identify and track the movement of specific whales across the planet due to their distinguishing characteristics. Or you can participate in the GLOBE Observer project, which combines your observations of clouds and sky conditions from below with data collected by satellites from above. This then helps scientists at space agencies such as NASA get a more complete picture of the clouds in our atmosphere. By participating in these projects, not only will you be supporting the scientific community, you’ll also be gaining a better understanding of the world around you.

    Day 5
    At sea

  • Day 6-9
    Northern Labrador

    'Place of spirits’

    10 September 2022 - 13 September 2022

    We have arrived at one of the highlights of this expedition cruise. You’ll be spending the next four days exploring Torngat Mountains National Park and Northern Labrador.

    This is a region of superlative beauty. Gigantic glaciers have carved smooth cliffsides into the mountains which seem spattered with grey and peach paint. Patches of green grass and shrub creep up the edges of the dramatic river valleys.

    Not just supremely stunning in beauty, Torngat Mountains National Park is also massive. At 9,700 square kilometres, it extends from Cape Chidley Islands in the High Arctic all the way to Saglek Fjord in the south. These are also the highest mountains in Mainland Canada east of the Rockies.

    The name of the National Park derives from the Inuktitut word ‘Tongait’, meaning ‘Place of Spirits’. It is a fitting description for an area rich in wildlife and considered the ancestral home of the Labrador Inuit and their predecessors. Caribous, black bears, wolves, foxes, peregrine falcons, and golden eagles all have a home in Torngat. But the undisputed apex animal here is certainly the polar bear. If luck is on your side, you might spot one of these powerful mammals which are usually migrating north at this time of the year in search of sea ice. Our priority is to protect you from risk, so any sightings of the vulnerable species will of course be from an absolutely safe distance.

    Over the course of your time discovering the region, there will be a number of possible sites of interest for us to stop at. These will be chosen by the Expedition Team and Captain based on local weather conditions. Two potential places are Ramah Bay and Hebron. The latter is the site of a preserved 19th century German Moravian mission while Ramah Bay is famous for a semi-translucent stone called chert, highly valued by ancient cultures as far back as 7,000 years.

    The Expedition Team will accompany you every step of the way, telling you about the region’s geology and wildlife. You’ll also benefit from having a qualified archaeologist as part of the Expedition Team, highly knowledgeable about the Torngats and eager to fascinate you with the history and culture of this Inuit heartland. On landings ashore, you can explore freely within the perimeter set by the Expedition Team. The perimeter puts you under the protective ‘umbrella’ of professionally trained bear guards who will be keeping a watchful eye on your surroundings. There will also be opportunities to tour the area by sea, with some kayaking on an optional excursion.

    Day 6-9
    Northern Labrador

    'Place of spirits’

  • Day 10
    Makkovik , Canada

    Pulâgiagitsi! (Come visiting!)

    14 September 2022

    ‘Pulâgiagitsi!’ That’s the warm, Inuktitut invitation from the community of Makkovik for you to ‘come visiting’! Only accessible by sea or air, the friendly town of about 400 inhabitants will be more than happy to welcome you, openly sharing their Inuit culture and unique heritage.

    At the White Elephant Museum, you’ll be able to learn how Makkovik was the first permanent settlement established by the Moravian Missionaries in Labrador in 1752. And how, a century later, Norwegian immigrant Torsten Kverna Andersen arrived and set Makkovik up as a small fur trading post linked to Hudson’s Bay Company. This plus rich fishing grounds attracted Inuit and settler populations to the town, allowing it to flourish. Today, Makkovik inhabitants are very proud of their mixed ancestry, and many are direct descendants of Andersen himself.

    Aside from the museum, you might also have time to walk the Poet’s Path through the forest, looking out for wildflowers and plaques of inspiring quotes. Or perhaps chat to a local and learn more about the town’s main commercial activity of snowcrab fishing. There’s also the boardwalk which has views of the Atlantic Ocean while the crafts centre is the place to go for carvings and traditional Inuit art.

    Day 10
    Makkovik , Canada

    Pulâgiagitsi! (Come visiting!)

  • Day 11
    At sea

    Science and art

    15 September 2022

    On course towards St. Anthony, we spend another day at sea. Nothing bonds a group of fellow adventurers better than shared experience and you’ll likely have become good friends with your fellow explorers. Enjoy chatting and reminiscing about your favourite parts of the expedition so far or swap stories of other adventures. The Expedition Team are modern-day explorers and will certainly have some thrilling but also hair-raising experiences to share.

    You could also spend time in the Science Center, making full use of its state-of-the-art microscopes to view our library of microscopic slides. Or look under the lens at field samples which have been carefully collected by the Expedition Team during the course of your own expedition cruise.

    Inspired by the raw natural beauty of the landscapes you’ve seen, you might be feeling less curious and more creative. An art workshop will allow you to get your creative juices going, visually expressing your take of your expedition experience.

    Day 11
    At sea

    Science and art

  • Day 12
    St. Anthony

    For whales and Vikings

    16 September 2022

    Arriving at St. Anthony, you’ll find this remote town located in a scenic natural harbour. Whales, seals, dolphins, porpoises, and perhaps a few icebergs are known to grace the waters here in late summer, so keep on the lookout to put some of those photography tips into practice.

    The region around St. Anthony reportedly has the longest whale watching season in North America thanks to the vast capelin feeding grounds. A good place to go to see if such a claim is true is Fishing Point Municipal Park and the aptly named Whale Watchers Trail which leads to a panoramic view across the Atlantic Ocean. If you don’t spot any whales, the area is also thought to have the highest density of moose and woodland caribou in the world. We’ll certainly be hoping to catch at least one or two glimpses of these majestic creatures. To get the best view of the area and of the town, we suggest hiking up the Tea House Hill trail to the viewing platform at the top. You won’t be disappointed if you do!

    St. Anthony was first settled by Europeans back in the early 16th century, when French and Basque fishermen used the sheltered harbour as a seasonal fishing station. But the town started to come into its own after the arrival of British doctor Wilfred Grenfell in 1900. He was a medical missionary who devoted his life’s work to Northern Newfoundland and Labrador. You can learn more about him by visiting the local Grenfell Museum.

    For Viking history, visit L’Anse aux Meadows, located at the tip of Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula. Here, you’ll find the first known evidence of European presence in North America, long before Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ the ‘New World’. Over a thousand years ago, a Norse expedition sailing from Greenland landed and camped for a time in this beautiful area of rugged cliffs and marshlands. The site was excavated in 1960 by two Norwegian archaeologists and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The reconstructed camp is now recognised as a Canadian National Historic Site and exhibits original artefacts from the significant archaeological find.

    Day 12
    St. Anthony

    For whales and Vikings

  • Day 13
    St. John’s, Newfoundland

    Full of ‘Newfie’ character

    17 September 2022
    Estimated time of departure is 1:00 PM

    Our journey together comes to an end as we reach St. John’s. Even if it is the oldest and most easterly city in North America, it is also one of the country’s most ‘up and coming’ destinations. If there’s only one thing you have time to do after disembarking the ship, let it be a hike up Signal Hill for the best views of this picturesque city. At the top of Signal Hill, you’ll also find castle-like Cabot Tower, the place where famous inventor Marconi successfully received the first ever transatlantic wireless message in 1901.

    We highly recommend booking a Post-Programme to allow you more time to dive deeper into this exciting city. You’ll definitely want to hang out in the attractive downtown area, nicknamed ‘Jellybean Row’ for its brightly painted, multi-coloured houses. Check out The Rooms here for the combined art gallery and provincial museum or admire the twin clock towers of the St. John the Baptist Basilica. The nightlife has also got to be experienced, including award-winning restaurants and a bar scene that seamlessly blends sophistication with simplicity. 

    Head to the charming lake-side village-neighbourhood of Quidi Vidi to try beer brewed from iceberg water. And if you’re feeling even bolder and want to initiate yourself as a ‘Newfie’ or Newfoundlander, many bars offer ‘screeching-in’ tasks that start with downing some strong Newfoundland rum before growing more ridiculous and hilarious with each step. To further channel the Canadian in you, how about going to support the local team at an exhilarating ice hockey match?

    Day 13
    St. John’s, Newfoundland

    Full of ‘Newfie’ character

Departures

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    *Up to $1,500 OBC is based on two passengers travelling on selected twin cabins to Antarctica between October 2022 and March 2023.
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What's included

Included in your voyage

Expedition Cruise

  • Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurant Aune
  • À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm included for suite guests
  • Complimentary tea and coffee
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to use at water refill stations on board
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organise and accompany activities on board and ashore
  • Range of included activities

Onboard Activities

  • Experts on the Expedition Team deliver in-depth lectures on a variety of topics
  • Use of the ship’s Science Center which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
  • Citizen Science programme allows guests to assist with live scientific research
  • Professional onboard photographer gives top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos
  • Use of the ship’s hot tubs, panoramic sauna, indoor gym
  • Informal gatherings with the crew such as daily recaps and preparation for the day to come

Landing Activities

  • Escorted landings with small expedition boats
  • Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment for activities
  • Complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket
  • Expedition Photographers help with your camera settings before landings

Not included in your voyage

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners
  • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team

Notes

  • All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions
  • Excursions and activities are subject to change
  • Please make sure you meet all entry and boarding requirements
  • No gratuities expected
A large boat in a body of water with a mountain in the background
Pool area on MS Fridtjof Nansen
Photo: Oscar Farrera
Science Center
Photo: Agurtxane Concellon
Your ship

MS Fridtjof Nansen

Year built 2020
Shipyard Kleven Yards, Norway
Passenger capacity 528 (500 in Antarctica)
Gross tonnage 20 889 T
Length 140 m
Beam 23,6 m
Speed 15 knots
A large boat in a body of water with a mountain in the background

MS Fridtjof Nansen is the latest addition to Hurtigruten’s fleet of custom built ships – and the next generation expedition ship. She will explore some of the most spectacular corners of the globe.

Read more about MS Fridtjof Nansen

Suite MD on MS Roald Amundsen
Photo: Agurtxane Concellon
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