Essential Greenland Southern Coasts and Disko Bay
Starting From:$12,790 USD
Enjoy an ultra-immersive exploration of Greenland’s most remote regions, sailing the icy waters of the rarely traveled southeast coast, traveling down to the lush southern tip, and stopping to visit local communities and observe imposing glaciers of the west coast. Visits to picturesque villages and Norse ruins will provide guests with an intimate look into Greenland’s distinct culture and history, while the rugged landscape, highlighted by dramatic fjords, imposing glaciers, towering mountains and verdant valleys, will leave you breathless. On Essential Greenland: Southern Coasts and Disko Bay, spectacular, unspoiled wonders await at every turn.
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
Visit Norse historical sites and learn about this fascinating culture
Cruise in a Zodiac to explore icebergs, glaciers, fjords and more
Immerse yourself in the icy realm of the Arctic with optional kayaking adventures
Enjoy flightseeing and heli landings with Ultramarine’s two onboard helicopters
Our portfolio of immersive itineraries allows you to choose where—and how—you’d like to explore the Arctic with the best expedition team in the Polar Regions.
- Departing From:
- Reykjavík, Iceland
- Starting From:
- $12,790 USD* Per person(Incl. Transfer Package)
- 15 Days
Arrive in the Icelandic capital and make your way to your included hotel. You will have the rest of the day to explore the city on your own.
This afternoon, you’ll board your vessel and begin your expedition. Get ready for a great adventure ahead!
As we sail across the Denmark Strait, your Expedition Team will teach you about the wildlife and enthralling history of Greenland, its fascinating geology, ecology and climate, and the incredible sights you will soon explore. Staff will also keep watch for the seabirds you’ll likely see soaring around your ship, as well as the whales that can be encountered here.
Your exploration of Greenland begins with East Greenland, one of the least visited and most remote parts of the island. Your days sailing along the coast will be 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.
One location we hope to visit if conditions allow is Skjoldungen Fjord (Inugsuarmiut), where you’ll cruise between the mountains to view glaciers deep within the fjords. The narrow part of the fjord provides an ideal place to put our Zodiacs in the water for a more in-depth exploration. If conditions allow, you may also see the site of an abandoned Inuit settlement, whose inhabitants were relocated to larger, more accessible towns around 1961.
If you’re feeling even more adventurous, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an optional paddling excursion (extra cost), an unforgettable opportunity to glide past icebergs and glaciers and capture some photographs from a unique perspective.
Another possible destination is Lindenow Fjord (Kangerlussuatsiaq), and if conditions are favorable, it’s a great spot for hiking through lush and varied flora, surrounded by epic mountain vistas. This rarely visited deep fjord is fed by a number of glaciers and offers ample opportunities for your camera
to get a workout.
Sailing on, we’ll 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 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 (Ikerasassuaq), a complex maze of narrow fjords and channels, is a great place for cruising. You’ll explore this stunning sound, home to calving glaciers, jagged mountains and sheer cliffs that plunge dramatically into the water. Sailing through this fjord from the vantage point of your 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. One such landing we hope to make is at Hvalsey (Qaqortukulooq), 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 25 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 tall 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, you’ll get to see a bit of history firsthand as you learn about this interesting relic of the Viking period. Together with four other historic farming communities, Igaliku is part of the newly established UNESCO World Heritage Site Kujataa.
Boasting spectacular glaciers, mountainous landscapes, and vibrant communities, the west coast of Greenland will leave you awestruck. Heading north, each day we hope to take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore local bays, channels and landing sites, discovering some of the quaint communities 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. You’ll have 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. You’ll have time to wander the town’s historic area, where several 18th-century colonial buildings still stand, including Greenland’s oldest surviving church. You’ll also be treated to a traditional kayaking demonstration. Experiencing a cultural resurgence, the kayak is a symbol of Greenland and can be traced back over 4,000 years to the Inuit, who used the vessels for hunting and transport.
Another beautiful locale, and one of west Greenland’s highlights is the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to the world’s most productive glacier in the northern hemisphere, Jakobshavn Glacier or Sermeq Kujalleq in Greenlandic, this is a great place to enjoy a Zodiac excursion to experience icebergs from a unique perspective not afforded by land. Venturing ashore in the nearby town, Ilulissat (which means “iceberg”), rewards with its own spectacle: enormous bergs floating out to Disko Bay. A hike from the town to the icefjord will allow you to view this unforgettable river of ice from the rocky shore. Given that in the past, it has been 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 (2 km) above the Arctic Circle. Explore traditional wooden houses painted in a rainbow of colors, chat with the locals and join a customary football (soccer) match between visitors and residents, and you’ll be experiencing Itilleq’s famous friendly vibe in no time.
Enjoy one more Zodiac ride to shore, where you’ll board your charter flight back to Reykjavik, Iceland. Upon arrival in Reykjavik, we will transfer you to your included hotel.
Today, you can make your way home at your leisure or spend some time exploring this artistic city.
- Leadership throughout your voyage by our experienced Expedition Leaders, including shore landings and other activities
- All Zodiac transfers and cruising as per the daily program
- All shore landings as per the daily program
- Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
- All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage (Please inform us of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals.)
- Select beer and wine during dinner; and coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
- Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled
- A photographic journal documenting the expedition
- A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions
- An official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep
- Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
- All luggage handling aboard the ship
- Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person
- Greenland voyages cruise passenger tax
- International airfare
- Arrival transfers in Reykjavik
- 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 and domestic flights
- Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other gear not mentioned
- Laundry, bar and other personal charges unless specified
- Phone and Internet charges (connectivity may vary by location)
- Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew
- Additional overnight accommodation
- Adventure Options not listed in Included Activities
All we need is a little bit of information about your travel preferences and one of our Polar Travel Advisors will be in touch.
in open water
Staff and Crew
The newest ship in our fleet, Ultramarine, is designed to go beyond the familiar in polar exploration, to discover new places, and immerse you in the best the region has to offer. More details
Ultramarine's off-ship adventures start here on Deck 2. This is where you’ll find the efficiently-designed Ready Rooms A and B next to the Zodiac hangar, where you'll embark on your off-ship adventure options. Ultramarine’s two ready rooms include an individual locker for each guest to safely store and dry personal items and expedition gear between outings. They're also equipped with benches that are handy when changing attire before or after off-ship excursions. Zodiac embarkation is at water-level which makes for quick deployment.
Deck 3 is where you’ll find Reception, where a crew member is available (during posted hours) to assist you. It’s also where you’ll purchase internet or email access cards and phone cards, arrange for a wake-up call, or settle your accounts at the end of the voyage. Also on Deck 3 is the Polar Boutique, which is stocked with expedition gear and a selection of polar souvenirs. The Clinic is located on Deck 3, as are the Explorer Triples and the Explorer Suites (two of which offer modified layouts and bathrooms for wheelchair accessibility).
- Explorer Suite
- Explorer Triple
Deck 4 offers guests two categories of suites. The Balcony Suites feature one double or two single beds, and a 52 sq. ft. (4.8 sq. m) balcony, a refrigerator, safe, TV, and a bathroom with shower and heated floors. (Some Balcony Suites offer interconnecting rooms.) The larger Deluxe Balcony Suites feature one double or two single beds, a 70 sq. ft. (6.5 sq. m) balcony, refrigerator, safe, TV, and a bathroom with shower, bathtub and heated floors.
- Deluxe Balcony Suite
- Balcony Suite
Deck 5 is home to Balena restaurant, featuring tables that accommodate 2 to 10 guests. Every seat in Ultramarine’s main restaurant offers views of the wraparound deck. At the opposite end of Deck 5 is the state-of-the-art Ambassador Theatre, where guests enjoy daily presentations and films on the high-definition LED wall screen. This space is large enough to accommodate all guests.
During your voyage you may be granted access to the Bridge to observe how the Captain and officers sail and navigate the ship. This is an excellent opportunity to learn how your vessel operates. Strict etiquette applies during Bridge visits which can be facilitated through the Expedition Leader. Also on Deck 6 is a selection of Deluxe Balcony Suites, Ultra Suite, Solo Panorama, Owner’s Suite and Terrace Suites.
- Ultra Suite
- Owner's Suite
- Terrace Suite
- Deluxe Balcony Suite
- Solo Panorama
- Balcony Suite
Guests can go to Deck 7 to visit Bistro 487, an alternative dining option to the larger Balena restaurant. Here, they'll enjoy selections from the main menu, healthy eating options and light snacks, as well as an early riser’s breakfast, afternoon tea and late night snacks. Also on Deck 7 are the Sauna (with floor-to-ceiling windows), the Library, Tundra Spa, a gym with the latest fitness equipment, and studio space for informal yoga.
- Penthouse Suite
Ultramarine’s two twin-engine H145 helicopters enable guests to enjoy the largest selection of off-ship adventures, all of which start at the two helidecks. It’s here on Deck 8 that guests will safely board the two helicopters to experience more unique aerial perspectives and heli-supported activities than are possible on any other ship in the industry.
This fjord offers contrasting colors of bright turquoise water and piercing white ice. Waterfalls pour down the tall cliffs, with the Thryms Glacier in the distance. The fjord was once home to a small Inuit settlement, which was evacuated by the government in 1961.
Also known as Qaqortukulooq, Hvalsey is the site of Greenland’s best-preserved Norse ruins. Built around 1300, the medieval church attracted people from near and far to attend Christian festivals throughout the year. The last written record of the Norse in Greenland recounts the wedding of an Icelandic couple here in 1408. Surrounding the church are the ruins of a farmstead, including stables and a banquet hall. The area is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Area.
Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Area known as Kujataa, the small community of Igaliku (Igaliko) was founded in 1783 and is Greenland’s oldest sheep-farming settlement. Quite different from the distinctive colorful wooden houses seen throughout Greenland, the 19th- and early 20th-century stone dwellings of Igaliku incorporate building stones from the Norse ruins of the nearby Gardar cathedral and bishop’s farm (the largest in the country).
This sub-Arctic farming landscape— the earliest example of agriculture in the Arctic—was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Area in 2017. Featuring archeological sites and agricultural lands, Kujataa is comprised of five areas (Igaliku, Hvalsey, Qassiarsuk, Sissarluttoq and Tasikuluulik) that represent the most comprehensive cultural histories of Norse and Greenlandic farmer–hunters. In honor of the designation, Greenlandic Post issued a stamp in 2018 showcasing the landscape of Kujataa.
Ikerasassuaq (Prins Christian Sund)
The massive tidewater glaciers and dramatically steep cliffs dominating this picturesque fjord system, named after Christian III of Denmark, are one of the many reasons South Greenland has earned the moniker Arctic Patagonia. Aappilattoq, home to about 100 people, is the only settlement in this remote region. This is an ideal place for ship cruising, as the icebergs here come in all shapes and sizes.
North of the Arctic Circle, this ice fjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Recognized as one of the fastest-moving glaciers in the world, the Jakobshavn Glacier (or Sermeq Kujalleq in Greenlandic) located at the head of the icefjord moves 62 feet (19 m) per day. More glacial ice is calved into the ocean here than anywhere else in the Arctic.
Kangerlussuaq sits at the head of a 118- mile (190 km) long fjord. The tiny town has Greenland’s largest airport and a unique history. Although Inuit and their predecessors occupied or visited the area, Kangerlussuaq’s modern incarnation dates back to the U.S. occupation of Greenland as an air force base beginning in World War II.
Nuuk is the epicenter of Greenland’s fascinating emerging culture. At population 15,000, the world’s smallest capital city is a wonderful and curious mix of the traditional and the new. A particular highlight is the Greenland National Museum, which offers an insight into social change affecting the country from the 1950s onwards. Other exhibits include some of the the world’s oldest rocks (approx. 3.8 billion years found close to Nuuk), and the Qilakitsoq exhibit displaying the mummified remains of 15th century Inuit women and a six-month old child. The Katuaq Culture Centre and Nuuk Art Museum are also worth exploring.
The second-largest town in Greenland, Sisimiut is a place to stretch your legs. Inhabited for more than 4,000 years, Sisimiut has a history that is a mix of Saqqaq, Dorset and Thule cultures. The colorful wooden houses here are typical of Greenlandic communities today. Nasaasaaq, an impressive mountain, provides a scenic backdrop for this settlement.
Departure Dates and Cabins
All we need is a little bit of information about your travel preferences and one of our Polar Travel Advisors will be in touch.