Greenland Disko Bay

From Iceland or Denmark
  • All Arctic Cruises
  • Iceland and Greenland
  • Small Ship Cruising
  • Wildlife and Nature
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Tour Description

Join a majestic adventure in Greenland and experience summer in the Arctic complete with: gigantic icebergs, settlement visits, the stunning Eqi Glacier and Greenland in a changing climate.

Travelling by sea is still the best way to experience Greenland. The places most worth seeing are situated along the dramatic coast line: small and colourful houses situated on the steep mountains sides down to a fjord, giant glaciers producing enormous icebergs, whilst whales and seals play in the sea. And only a few minutes’ hike away you will find yourself totally isolated, surrounded by wilderness. The people of Greenland live along the coast in small towns and settlements – at summer only accessible from the sea. Their culture, architecture and living conditions are enriched and limited by the harsh nature of the Arctic. On our town visits, you will have opportunities to meet the hospitable Greenlanders and learn more about the Inuit culture.

Embark our state-of-the-art vessel Ocean Albatros for an adventure through West Greenland. Utilising Ocean Albatros' fleet of Zodiacs, nowhere is off limits to us. With the ability to land in small villages or lonely beaches, we can access even the most remote locations. Witness Arctic nature from the superlative comfort of Ocean Albatros, as we follow the whales and seals along the coast of this remarkable island.

Unforgettable experiences await you in Greenland!

Viva's Best Bits...

Cruise above the Arctic Circle, witness giant icebergs floating in the water in Disko Bay. These icebergs come from enormous Sermeq Kujalleq glacier, the most productive glacier outside of Antarctica!

Disko Bay is a great area to learn more about life in the challenging environment of the Arctic. Meet hospitable Greenlanders and explore Inuit culture, as you visit churches, historic sites, colourful towns and villages.

Explore by zodiac boat getting you up close to the glaciers, on foot with shore visits, or perhaps add on kayaking among icebergs or book early for a flight sightseeing excursion over Icefjord!

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Kangerlussuaq Greenland

On the first day of our expedition, we board our flights bound for Kangerlussuaq on the west coast of Greenland.

Situated at the head of a 160km long fjord of the same name, Kangerlussuaq is Greenland's only inland town, and was established as Søndrestrom Air Base/Bluie West-8 by American troops in 1941. Existing largely to service the airport, the town of Kangerlussuaq itself retains a strong 'Cold War' feeling, hinting at its extensive American military use before it was signed over to the Greenlandic Government in 1992. Today Kangerlussuaq is Greenland's largest air hub, with flights arriving daily from Denmark and around the country. It's stable climate and lack of fog makes it ideal as an airport, but it exhibits some of the most varied temperatures in the country, commonly registering the highest summer and lowest winter temperatures due to its inland location.

Upon arrival in Kangerlussuaq, you will be transported to the small port located west of the airport, where the Ocean Albatros awaits at anchor. Zodiacs will transfer us the short distance to the ship, where you will be checked in to your stateroom. After the mandatory safety drill, enjoy dinner and a glass of champagne as we set sail a course for adventure through the 160-kilometre Kangerlussuaq fjord.

Day 2
Sisimiut, Greenlands second city

After breakfast, Ocean Albatros will arrive in the colourful city of Sisimiut. With around 5,400 inhabitants, it is Greenland’s second largest city, and one of the most interesting to explore. Paleo-Inuit people have lived around Sisimiut on and off since 2,500 BC, arriving in waves of migration from Arctic Canada. Remnants of turf huts and tent camps from this time can be found thorughout the vast back country which surrounds Sisimiut, including on Tele Island, a short pleasant walk from the harbour.

In 1756, Count Johan Ludvig Holstein established a colony here and called it “Holsteinsborg”. The oldest part of Sisimiut features town houses from this era, and the oldest dates back to 1756. One of the most culturally significant buildings is the Blue Church, built in 1775, now a landmark in the city’s historical museum district, arguably the best preserved in Greenland, and the perfect place to discover the Greenland of old.

Nowadays, Sisimiut is an important hub of education and industry, and local factories process the bulk of fish caught in the country (Greenland’s largest export). The fish processing plant in the harbour is one of the largest in Greenland, and among the most modern in the world. Just beyond the harbour sits the headquarters of KNI, the government-operated company which resupplies the many small settlements throughout Greenland - a vital service in a country with so many remote communties.

The busy city centre of Sisimiut offers a glimpse of what daily life is like in 21st-century Greenland, where seal hunts and smartphones collide. Take a refreshing stroll around Spedjesø and take in an exhibition at the city's cultural centre Taseralik, explore the region's fascinating heritage at the city museum, or visit the Artists Workshop, where savvy shoppers can purchase traditional artworks direct from the artist. As evening falls, we will leave Sisimiut and set a course for the iceberg studded waters of Disko Bay (Qeqertarsuup Tunua) as Ocean Albatros sails for Qeqertarsuaq.

Day 3
Qeqertarsuaq on Disko Island

Nestled below Disko Island’s 1,000-metre mountains, we pull into port in a beautifully sheltered natural harbour. The place was aptly named Godhavn (“Good Harbour”) in Danish, while its Greenlandic name “Qeqertarsuaq” simply means “The Big Island”.

For most of Greenland’s modern history, Godhavn was the political and economic capital of North Greenland (while Godthåb, now Nuuk, served this role in Southern Greenland). Its importance was due to the vast economic activity generated by whaling in Disko Bay, the preeminent Arctic industry since the 16th Century. As the whaling industry collapsed in the early 1900s, Godhavn lost its political status as all government functions moved south to Godthåb/Nuuk, and the town was forced to reinvent itself, changing its name to Qeqertarsuaq in 1979 . Today, hunting and fishing are the main industries in Qeqertarsuaq, while tourism is becoming increasingly important. Ferries arrive in the town daily in summer from around Disko Bay, while in winter, access is only by helicopter from nearby Ilulissat.

Qeqertarsuaq’s sweeping red-and-black basalt mountains are radically different to the rolling granite hills which characterize much of Greenland, and provide a much richer soil. Despite being situated well above the Arctic Circle, this rich volcanic soil and the area’s mild microclimate make it much more green and lush compared to the rest of the country. Locals from all over Disko Bay come to the island in summer to hunt and collect angelica, herbs and mushrooms, and the stunning rock formations and black sand beaches attract visitors from all over the world. The town itself is typically Greenlandic, with quaint multicoloured homes, a splendid museum, and the unique octagonal church nicknamed 'God's Inkpot' (built in the Norwegian stave style). With excellent hiking opportunities, friendly locals, and a fascinating place in regional history, Qeqertarsuaq has a lot to offer.

On the afternoon of our day on Disko Island, we will reposition our vessel slightly to the east and launch our fleet of Zodiacs to explore the coast of Kuannit. Kuannit means 'Angelica' in Greenlandic, referring to the herb which grows abundantly on the rich south-facing slopes of the island. This stretch of coastline is one of Greenland's best kept secrets; with lush greenery dripping with water from mountain springs, spectacularly weird basalt rock formations riddled with caves and waterfalls, and plenty of sapphire-blue icebergs, this section of coast is one of the most spectacular in the Arctic.

From Kuannit, we will set a northerly course towards Uummannaq.

Day 4
Uummannaq - the Greenlandic Riviera!

The small city of Uummannaq sits perched precariously at the foot of a massive mountain. Like the rest of the area, here the mountain reaches vertically out of the icy depths, punching 1170m into the clear blue sky. Uummannaq mountain (translated from Greenlandic as “heart shaped”) is a true Greenlandic icon, and is a mecca for climbers who visit from all over the world. The city itself occupies a small area of flatter ground at the foot of the mountain, founded by Danish colonists in 1763 – some of the original buildings from this era can still be visited in the harbour-front area. More recently, Uummannaq has become famous in Scandinavia as the home of Santa Claus – the small turf house belonging to the festive hero himself can be reached via a pleasant (if challenging) 2-3h hike out of town.

As for many towns in Greenland however, the Inuit history of the area reaches back much further. At some point around the year 1600, a group of Inuit women and children died in the area (possibly in a boating accident). They were lovingly laid to rest in a rocky cairn under a cliff on the mainland overlooking Uummannaq at a site called Qilakitsoq, protected from the rain and snow, but exposed to the dry Arctic wind which mummified their bodies. They were rediscovered in 1972 by two brothers from Uummannaq (possibly on the advice of elders in Uummannaq, who had preserved rumours of the site for centuries). The mummies were taken to Denmark for analysis before being returned to Greenland, where today they rest in the National Museum in Nuuk. The small museum in Uummannaq did not have the facilities to house such an important find, but several artefacts such as clothing from the archaeological site (as well as a plethora of finds from before, during and after the Qilakitsoq period) are displayed, along with a cabinet of curiosities from the city’s brief mining boom.

Uummannaq itself is a lively little town. Expect to see enterprising locals selling handicrafts in the grassy town square, while others sell their catch in the local fish market - always a fascinating sight. Watch fishermen bait their long lines as they head out in search of halibut, or load up with provisions for hunting trips deep into the vast fjordlands outside town.

Ensure you are on Ocean Albatros’ outer decks during our sail-out from Uummannaq – the deep clear blue iceberg-studded waters of the fjord and the dramatic vertical mountains around the city offer some of the best views in Greenland. With a calm microclimate and round-the-clock summer sunshine, not for nothing is this staggeringly beautiful area nicknamed the Greenlandic Riviera!

Day 5
Eqip Sermia glacier

From Uummannaq, we return to the heart of Disko Bay, setting sail towards Eqip Sermia.

Eqip Sermia (a typically descriptive Greenlandic name meaning 'the Glacier at the End of the Fjord') is a relatively small glacier compared to many in Greenland, although it is still a truly vast river of ice, flowing directly from the Greenland Ice Sheet. It is also one of the most active, and ice tumbles off the vast glacier-front almost constantly. Watching the vast cataracts of ice fall into the ocean is a sight which has to be seen to be believed, and the comfortable viewing decks of Ocean Albatros offer the best possible platform to do so... Perhaps with a specially crafted cocktail in hand!

If conditions allow, we will launch our fleet of Zodiacs to approach this vast river of ice, and hopefully experience the roar of the glacier's frequent calvings at sea level (from a safe distance of course)!

From Eqip Sermia, we will reposition slightly southwards during the evening towards Ilulissat, the largest city in Disko Bay and the Iceberg Capital of the World.

Day 6
Ilulissat - the iceberg capital of the world!

This is it. This is why visitors from all over the world come to Greenland. Translated from Kalaallisut simply as ‘icebergs’, Ilulissat is rightly known the world over as ‘the Iceberg Capital of the World’. Surely no other city on Earth occupies such a spectacular natural setting.

Situated within a short walk of the harbour lies Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland’s most famous site. Choked with city-sized icebergs so closely packed one could almost walk across to the other side, Ilulissat Icefjord stretches 70 km from its outlet in Disko Bay near the city of Ilulissat back to the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier. This is the single largest glacier on Earth outside Antarctica, draining 13% of the Greenland Ice Sheet, and producing 10% of all the ice in the Northern Hemisphere (enough water to supply the annual needs of the entire United States). These mind-blowing statistics, together with the indescribably beautiful scenery, have secured the Ilulissat Icefjord designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

While archaeological finds detail the long Inuit habitation of the area, the modern town has steadily flourished in the 280 years since its establishment; legendary Arctic explorer, Knud Rasmussen was born in Ilulissat, and his childhood home now houses the city museum. Today, Ilulissat is Greenland’s third largest town, with more than 4,500 inhabitants, and is undoubtedly Greenland’s tourism capital, with more hotel rooms than even Nuuk. The city offers excellent amenities to visitors, with fresh locally caught seafood served in the city’s cafes and restaurants, and excellent shopping – look out especially for the Artist’s Workshop above the harbour, where you can buy handmade artworks direct from the artist. The city typically experiences dry sunny weather throughout the summer, and there are a variety of well-marked hiking routes around the Icefjord, with options to suit all abilities.

During the visit you will have the opportunity to join a boat trip with a local captain to the Icefjord (optional excursion – charge applies). The journey takes about two and a half hours and is considered the best way to experience the magic of Ilulissat Icefjord up close. If a hike or a trip by boat does not present enough excitement, there is also the opportunity to join a flightseeing excursion in fixed-wing aircraft over the Icefjord (optional excursion – charge applies).

Please note the boat and flight excursions to the Icefjord are not included in the general tour price. Refer to Price Information for further details.

Day 7
The settlement of Sarfannguit

The settlement of Itilleq, which translates roughly as "the Crossing Place from the Sea” nestles at the foothills of the mountains and and fjords which line central Greenland's backcountry. Situated just north of the Arctic Circle, Itilleq is one of the many tiny villages dotting the coast of Greenland. The settlement is situated in the heart of the Aassivisuit-Nipisat UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was inscribed due to its ancient Inuit hunting heritage, documenting the entire habitation history of Greenland.

While the turf houses and hide tents have been replaced by colourful modern houses, the lifestyle here has changes little since the Inuit first arrived in Greenland. The local highways are the water and the ice, and the sea and tundra continue to nourish the locals, as they has for thousands of years. Arctic char, reindeer and muskoxen are typical catches, and are all plentiful in the area.

Despite this ancient heritage, locals in Itilleq are still firmly in the modern world, with smartphones, speedy wifi and satellite TV. However, the people of Itilleq remain justly proud of their ancient heritage, and continue to move their culture forward in a modern fast paced world. Locals are pleased to show off their piucturesque town, and visitors are greeted with typical warm Greenlandic hospitality.

After departing Itilleq, we will head slightly south and enter the 160km-long Kangerlussuaq Fjord.

Day 8
Kangerlussuaq Greenland Disembarkation

During the night, we will sail up the 160-kilometer/100 mile Kangerlussuaq Fjord. After breakfast aboard the ship, we will bid a fond farewell to the ship's crew, Expedition Team and fellow travellers before shuttling ashore by Zodiac.

Due to Kangerlussuaq’s military history and present-day role as an important air travel hub, Kangerlussuaq remains fairly isolated from Greenland’s rich cultural traditions, in comparison to other regions. While you still find cultural experiences when visiting Kangerlussuaq, the most impressive attraction is the surrounding nature, which is just beckoning to be explored. The town itself was largely constructed by the American military in the 1950s, and this small airport town has retained something of its Cold War atmosphere. Your Arctic adventure and time in Greenland concludes as we board the flight from Kangerlussuaq back to the southern world.

What’s Included

  • Included Copy 20 7 nights in a stateroom featuring ensuite facilities
  • Included Copy 31 Cabin upgrades available
  • Included Copy 20 Full board on the ship - breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks
  • Included Copy 20 Free coffee, tea and afternoon snacks on the ship
  • Included Copy 20 Welcome and farewell cocktails
  • Included Copy 20 Dinner drink package
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Flights between Copenhagen - Kangerlussaq - Copenhagen via Keflavik
  • Included Copy 20 Local transport in Kangerlussuaq on day 1
  • Included Copy 20 Selected excursions and experiences in port, as per itinerary
  • Included Copy 20 Guided walks with the expedition team
  • Included Copy 20 Nature hikes and Zodiac cruises per itinerary
  • Included Copy 20 Information briefings and lectures by the expedition team
  • Included Copy 20 Taxes, landing fees and tariffs
  • Included Copy 20 Digital visual journal link after voyage, including voyage log, gallery, species list and more!
  • Included Copy 20 Special photo workshop
  • Included Copy 31 Option to add kayaking, heli or boat trips
  • Included Copy 7 Tips for ship crew (approx. 16 USD per day per participant).
  • Included Copy 7 Flights not listed, travel insurance, beverages, jacket

Ocean Albatros

175 Passengers


  • Included Explore coastal life along the shores of Greenland
  • Included Cultural Kaffemik experience
  • Included Whale sightings, bird watching & Arctic wildlife
  • Included Close encounter with the calving Eqip Sermia Glacier
  • Included Visit Ilulissat, nicknamed “Iceberg Capital of the World”
  • Included Experience the serenity & history of Disko Island
  • Included Sisimiut - experience Greenland’s second-largest city at the foot of Nasaasaaq Mountain
  • Included Experience Inuit hunting culture at the small settlement of Sarfannguit
Click here for dates & prices

8 days

Price from

$6,595 USD

Per person, sharing

Based on a triple cabin

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