Greenland Explorer Sail and Soar the Alpine Arctic
Starting From:$7,476 USD
Our Greenland Explorer voyage is designed for travelers seeking to explore the majestic fjords, glaciers and mountains of South Greenland. This itinerary offers guests one– of–a–kind excursions exclusive to Quark Expeditions—some of them only made possible by our newest ship, the technologically–advanced Ultramarine, which is equipped with two twin–engine helicopters. On this journey, you can be as active as you like, or you can opt for more relaxing, immersive experiences.
Developed in partnership with local communities—a first of its kind in expedition travel—this itinerary offers unprecedented opportunities to explore the majesty of South Greenland’s diverse fjordlands. Ultramarine’s two helicopters will take you to areas in South Greenland that others can’t reach, especially for off–ship excursions. Some of these, such as our Exclusive Heli Landings and the Greenland Ice Sheet Experience, are included for all guests, who can also enjoy hikes, community visits and Zodiac cruises.
This voyage—accessible to guests of all fitness levels—offers something for everyone, whether you’re interested in soaking up the serene mountain views, sailing through the icebergs on a Zodiac cruise, or trying optional activities such as heli–hiking or camping in style on the shores of Tasermiut Fjord with local hosts.
Explore remote ridges and vast peaks during an Exclusive Heli Landing, which is included in the trip
Marvel at the Northern Lights lighting up the skies above South Greenland’s stunning fjords
Experience Greenlandic cultural highlights with local partners
Set foot on the Greenland Ice Sheet, the second-largest ice mass in the world
Choose from off-ship activities geared to all levels of fitness and interests, ranging from relaxed camping to heli-hiking
Visit the Kujataa UNESCO World Heritage site to learn about the intersection of Inuit and Viking cultures.
- Departing From:
- Reykjavík, Iceland
- Starting From:
- $7,476 USD* Per person(Incl. Transfer Package)
- 11 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.
In the early afternoon we will transfer you to Keflavik Airport for our private charter flight from the Icelandic capital to Narsarsuaq, Greenland, where you’ll set sail on Ultramarine. A scenic community deep in Tunulliarfik Fjord, Narsarsuaq is the gateway to South Greenland. Originally established in the 1940s as a U.S. military base, the approximately 2,000–metre paved runway and small terminal are now managed by Mittarfeqarfiit (the Greenlandic Airport Authority).
We set out for the wild fjords of the uninhabited east coast, one of which is Lindenow Fjord, also known by its Greenlandic name, Kangerlussuatsiaq. Thousands of years ago, groups of paleo– Inuit hunters and fishermen made their home in these isolated fjords, living off the land and surviving mostly on the resources the sea provided, before European explorers and the subsequent establishment of settlements prompted one of the biggest waves of migration in Greenland. Traces of these once proud peoples can still be found today against the backdrop of cascading glaciers and steep–walled mountains.
These fjords are frequented by marine mammals. Rare sightings of polar bears are possible, as they drift down from the north on sea ice floes propelled by the East–Greenland current. Humpback whales are often sighted when entering fjords as the shallowing seas bring an upwelling of nutrients to the surface. While we keep our eyes peeled for wildlife, the magnificent alpine terrain invites us to explore by sea, land and air to immerse ourselves completely in the remote icescapes of the region. The wild east is ideal for heli landings and hiking, paddle excursions, Zodiac cruises and shore landings.
The stunning maze of fjords, sounds, islets, inlets and skerries (rocky islands) in and around Cape Farewell (Nunap Isua) at Greenland’s most southern tip possesses its own particular magic. Transiting the 100–km long Prins Christian Sund (Ikerasassuaq)—one of the world’s most scenic fjords—will be truly unforgettable. Guests can then look forward to dramatic mountain and seascapes with glaciers tumbling down to down to the sea, and stunning vistas around every corner. Inhabiting this domain are Southern Greenlanders living on the frontier, a people as unique as the landscape they call home. This is where the migrating hunting peoples from the east finally settled around the European trading posts.
The few villages in this southern region have gained a level of fame thanks to the inhabitants who remain steadfastly faithful to their hunting and fishing heritage. We hope to visit Aappilattoq, perched on the shores of Prins Christian Sund (Ikerasassuaq), to introduce you to our friends and partners there. We hope to offer you the opportunity to listen to their stories, hear their music, taste their food, learn about their hunting traditions, and perhaps even join a friendly game of
soccer as a player or spectator.
If you are looking for the most iconic peaks of South Greenland, you’ll be in your glory when we reach the Tasermiut Fjord in the heart of what’s known as “Arctic Patagonia,” where guests can sign up for overnight camping (with local hosts) along the 70–km fjord. Marvel at the impressive Sermeq glacier at its head with rivers of ice tumbling almost down to sea level, and the imposing peaks of Nalumasortoq and Ulamertorsuaq dominating the skyline, making for the most scenic backdrops to your hike or helicopter–enabled excursions.
Following in the footsteps of the Greenlandic Norse into the Western fjords, it’s easy to appreciate why Erik the Red chose this land as his home and gave Greenland its name: every direction you look rewards visitors with vistas of blue, ice–strewn waters set against a breathtaking backdrop of lush, verdant valleys and pastures bursting with blooms.
Unique to Greenland, and indeed the entire Arctic, warm microclimates deep in the fjords have created a surprisingly fertile Arctic Garden of Eden. South Greenlandic farming traditions dating back to Viking days are still kept alive. Many families work their remote sheep farms along the shores of the fjords, their lives very much attuned to the seasons as they produce a variety of organic home– grown produce (such as potatoes, turnips and kale).
Also in the West, we find the perfect access points to the Greenland Ice Sheet, the largest mass of ice in the northern hemisphere and second largest in the world, flowing from the heights of the polar plateau to sea level. Become one of the very few people to ever set foot on this incredible body of ice during our included Greenland Ice Sheet Experience.
Over these two days you will have the opportunity to explore the Ice Sheet, hike the surrounding foothills, cruise or paddle through the azure ice–filled waters, and engage with our local friends and partners during the most meaningful and in–depth community experiences offered on any Quark Expeditions voyage.
Before you depart on your charter flight back to Reykjavik in the early evening of day 10, we plan to spend the day visiting the sites surrounding Narsarsuaq, including the Kujataa UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is a living history lesson in Viking farming. We hope to offer you the opportunity to visit charming Qassiarsuk, a small sheep farming settlement across the fjord from Narsarsuaq, where you can experience true South Greenland hospitality and gain insight into the fascinating lives of sheep farmers living at the edge of the Ice Sheet. We suggest you take time to explore the remains and replicas of Brattahlíð, Erik the Red’s estate, once the epicenter of the Greenland Norse Eastern Settlement, before heading back across the bay to Narsarsuaq to visit the museum, hike to Signal Hill for a panoramic view, and enjoy the frontier–town ambience.
Before our early evening charter flight, we will celebrate our voyage with a ‘Farewell to Greenland’ dinner ashore at the iconic Hotel Narsarsuaq.
Upon landing back at Reykjavik’s international airport in the evening, you will be transferred to a hotel in nearby Keflavik.
Today, you can make your way home at your leisure or continue your independent explorations of Iceland.
- 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 domestic and international 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
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.
Kangerlussuatsiaq (Lindenow Fjord)
Ships rarely venture into Lindenow Fjord, one of the least-occupied fjords in Greenland. With your Expedition Team in the lead, you may cruise by Zodiac in an arm of the fjord, as our staff use their years of Arctic experience to search for wildlife. You may also spot waterfalls along the sheer rock face or enjoy a hike amongst waterfalls, flowers and blueberry fields.
The settlement of Narsarsuaq (meaning “the large plain”) is the gateway to South Greenland and numerous hiking trails and Norse sites. It is the lush, fertile land surrounding this area—located deep in the Tunulliarfik Fjord, only about 4 miles (6 km) from the ice sheet—that earned Greenland its name. Norse ruins dot the hills around the village, including Brattahlíð, where Erik the Red settled in the 10th century and his descendants remained until about the 15th century.
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.
Brattahlíð (meaning “the steep slope”) was Erik the Red’s estate in the Viking Eastern Settlement, which he established in 985. Brattahlíð was the site of the first Greenlandic parliament, as well as Greenland’s first Christian church, built for Erik’s newly converted wife, Tjodhilde. The ruins of several buildings, including living quarters, outhouses and Tjodhilde’s church, are still visible today, and replicas of the original chapel and longhouse are located nearby. The present village, Qassiarsuk (the Greenlandic name for Brattahlíð), was founded in 1924. The area is home to some of the most fertile land in the country, just as it was when Erik first laid eyes on it.
Paddling and Zodiac excursions into Tasermiut Fjord allow for closer connection with the landscape that is considered one of the most beautiful places in Greenland. At 43 miles (70 km) long, this picturesque fjord will be a highlight of your south Greenland experience, even if you don’t opt to camp.
Greenland Ice Sheet
The largest mass of ice in the Northern Hemisphere—one of only two polar ice sheets on the planet, second only to the Antarctic ice sheet—is located at the heart of Greenland. The ice sheet covers 80 percent of the country’s land area and is nearly 2 miles (3 km) thick. It spans coast to coast, contained to the east and west only by the coastal mountains. Stepping onto the ice, which moves undetected beneath your feet, is a moment you’ll never forget.
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.
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.