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Disko Bay - The Heart of Greenland

Expedition Voyage along the West Coast of Greenland from Reykjavik
Disko Bay, Greenland © Hurtigruten

This Hurtigruten expedition cruise explores both rare natural beauty and fascinating Inuit culture. Meet the welcoming people who thrive in the Arctic landscape as we sail under the Midnight Sun among giant icebergs, to highlights including Disko Bay. Landings, excursions and optional activities such as kayaking and hiking give you the chance to get out and explore world-famous natural treasures, such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site Ilulissat Icefjord, where massive icebergs emerge from the enormous Sermeq Kujalleq glacier, a part of the Greenlandic inland ice sheet.


Your trip begins and ends in Iceland, giving you a great opportunity to add an exploration of the land of fire and ice before or after your voyage, see our range of independent, escorted and self-drive tours

Day 1 Reykjavik Embarkation

Your adventure starts in the world’s northernmost capital. Reykjavik has traditional charm coupled with a cosmopolitan outlook. This small, safe city is the perfect size for a walking tour, and is packed full of art, culture and history. We recommend you make the most of being here before or after your voyage, if you have the time. Take a stroll along Laugavegur, the main shopping street, with its boutiques and outdoor shops, or head to the architecturally striking Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral. Art lovers can visit the Reykjavik Art Museum, the National Gallery and the many smaller galleries and museums dotting the city.
MS Fridtjof Nansen awaits you in Reykjavik Harbour. Make your own way to the pier for check in and collect your complimentary expedition jacket, you’ll have time to settle in your relaxed and stylish cabin. There is a mandatory safety drill just before departure after which you can walk around and explore your new home-from-home and enjoy and the premium onboard experience. The welcome dinner in the evening ends with a toast by the Captain, wishing everyone an enjoyable adventure. You’ll then meet the Expedition Team and key members of the crew who’ll provide you with information about what to expect on your exciting voyage to Greenland. Estimated time of departure is 8:00 PM.

Days 2-3 Crossing the Denmark Strait

We sail to Greenland across the Denmark Strait, the route taken by Erik the Red, supposedly the first European to have settled there. Time to relax and explore the stylish onboard facilities of our hybrid electric–powered ship. Your Expedition Team will explain the protocols of respectfully visiting wildlife habitats and indigenous Arctic communities. In the Science Center, you can learn more about Greenland's geology, or join one of our Citizen Science projects. Then hit the gym, swim in the infinity pool, book a treatment in the wellness area or enjoy a delicious meal in one of our three onboard restaurants.

Day 4 Qaqortoq

Our Greenland expedition cruise begins in earnest in a town has been settled since prehistoric times. The colourful houses and lush scenery of Qaqortoq provide a beautiful setting in which to discover its rich culture. Explore the local museum, with its rare Inuit artifacts, or enjoy the beautiful green scenery on a walk to a nearby lake. Join an optional excursion to meet friendly locals and hear their stories at a traditional kaffemik social gathering.

Day 5 Kvanefjord area

Experience your first sight of Greenland’s sublime west coast fjords as we reach Kvanefjord in Sermersooq, meaning 'Place of Much Ice'. Have your camera ready for glistening icebergs and semi-submerged glacial ice – pure white with undertones of crystalline blue. These sculpted ice blocks are some of Arctic nature’s finest creations. Few people venture into this remote fjord, making it even more special to spend the day exploring here. The Expedition Team will select places to venture ashore and enjoy the beautiful scenery on a nature walk, or head out in boats to scout for wildlife.

Day 6 Maniitsoq 

Today our expedition cruise reaches Maniitsoq. Nicknamed the 'Venice of Greenland' for its natural canals, the surrounding mountains deliver awe-inspiring views. You might even spot pods of humpback whales from shore. Once a regional hub for trading reindeer hides, people have lived here for 4,000 years. Discover figurines carved from walrus ivory, traditional Greenlandic costumes and many works of art in the local museum. Maniitsoq has many hiking options with different viewpoints to discover. And don’t miss an opportunity to chat to the town's welcoming locals.

Day 7 Sisimiut

We reach spectacularly situated Sisimiut, just north of the Arctic Circle, where you'll experience the Midnight Sun at the height of summer. Old traditions are alive and well here, and you can learn more about the ancient Saqqaq artifacts in the local museum. If you're looking for a special souvenir, pick up a scarf, hat or mittens made of qiviut, the inner wool of a musk ox, said to be 10 times warmer than sheep wool. One of the best things you'll experience on your expedition cruise to Greenland with us is meeting the local communities in the places we explore – authentic interactions that make for fantastic memories.

Day 8 Ilulissat Icefjord - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Our expedition cruise reaches Disko Bay – a haven for whales and seals. The Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, regularly tops the list of things to see and do in Greenland, and today you'll find out why. Enjoy breathtaking scenery as you walk to the ice fjord and the old Inuit settlement of Sermermiut. Marvel at giant icebergs floating past in the deep blue waters, as they take on different hues of white, grey and blue. Even amateur photographers will return to the ship with the most enviable images. Back in pretty Ilulissat, perhaps enjoy a hot drink among the colourful houses by the water.

Day 9 Vaigat Sound

Rugged Vaigat Sound is our most northerly point, and you'll feel like the first person to walk here. We're in the hands of Mother Nature today and the Expedition Team will identify the best landing sites to explore. If possible, we'll take the expedition boats out on shore landings, or go on optional kayaking trips between icebergs. You may visit Camp Frieda, trek across tundra and get up close to a glacier and learn how it moves. Have your binoculars and camera ready as wildlife sightings in Disko Bay can include orcas and bowhead whales, as well as harp, hooded, bearded and ringed seals.

Day 10 Evighed Fjord (Eternal Fjord)

Our expedition cruise is now heading back south. You'll enjoy an exploration day in magical yet imposing Evighedsfjord near Kangerlussuaq. We'll determine on the day what exciting adventures lie in store for you. The 'Fjord of Eternity' is fed by an ice cap that calves huge icebergs into its 2,300 ft  deep waters. It's surrounded by mist-cloaked mountains with beautiful white ridges, punctuated by crystal blue ice caves. Nature reigns here. The only settlements in this region are tiny fishing hamlets clinging to the shores. As ever, we'll be on the lookout for Arctic flora and wildlife, including whales and seabirds.

Day 11 Nuuk - The Vibrant Capital of Greenland

After several days exploring remote, idyllic icescapes, you'll cruise into Nuuk, Greenland’s colourful capital. With a population of 18,000, it has a striking mix of old and new buildings. Compare the old buildings – such as Hans Egede House and Nuuk Cathedral – with the ultra-modern architecture of the Parlaiment of Greenland building. Visit the national museum to gain fascinating insight into life here 500 years ago and see the six Qilakitsoq mummies. Or join a long nature walk through Paradise Valley and around Mt. Lille Malene as part of an optional excursion.

Day 12 Ivittuut - Musk Oxen and a Norse Settlement

As you wander around the abandoned ruins of this ghost town, it’s hard to believe that Ivittuut, a former mining outpost, once played a pivotal role in the course of history. During WWII, the US secretly stationed troops here to prevent rare cryolite – used to make aluminum alloys – falling into enemy hands. Supplies were instead shipped to the UK to manufacture aircraft, used in the Battle of Britain. Here, you can walk among the area's deserted buildings. Once the last Viking settlement in Greenland, these days the only inhabitants you’re likely to see are musk oxen.

Day 13 Prins Christian Sund Region

We aim to explore the incredible waters of the 60-mile-long Prince Christian Sound today. Sharp-peaked granite mountains provide a stunning contrast to the bright white glaciers. Look out for calving icebergs and colourful houses in the village of Aappilattoq. Nature is abundant here. Keep an eye out for ringed and bearded seals resting on the ice, and Glaucous Gulls and Black Guillemots soaring above. You may even spot minke and humpback whales. If sea ice prevents us entering the sound, we'll head to craggy Cape Farewell, the southernmost point of Greenland.

Day 14-15 Irminger Sea – Denmark Strait

After exploring the ethereal, rugged beauty of western Greenland, we set our course for Iceland. You'll enjoy two days at sea recapping highlights with the Expedition Team, learning about the delicate ecology of Greenland in the Science Center, and relaxing. Out on deck, you might spot seabirds or whales that like to follow our ship. Our onboard photographer can share tips to capture them in action. You can even count any whales you see for our Happywhale Citizen Science project. This might be the time to enjoy the panoramic sauna, on-deck hot tubs or heated pool. Or why not book a treatment in our wellness area. You can also enjoy the company of fellow explorers over drinks in the Explorer Lounge & Bar.

Day 16 Reykjavik Disembarkation

Early morning arrival in the Icelandic capital and disembark. End of arrangements.

2024 departures:
09, 24 June
09, 24 July 


Maximum number of passengers: 528

This is an expedition where the elements rule, and the weather, wind and ice conditions will determine our final schedule. Safety is paramount and the captain will decide the sailing itinerary during the voyage. Therefore, this itinerary is just an indication of what you may experience, and why every expedition is unique. All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions.

About the vessel, MS Fridtjof Nansen
MS Fridtjof Nansen is a revolutionary new hybrid addition to the Hurtigruten fleet utilising electric propulsion, built in 2020. This state-of-the-art technology, coupled with its advanced construction is expected to cut fuel consumption and CO2-emissions by 20%. Hybrid technology will also enable periods of silent cruising, immersing passengers in their surrounds.

Nordic Travel is 100% Australian owned and operated