This expedition cruise follows in the footsteps of great explorers and sails through the remote and challenging Kennedy Channel. The cruise visits the former Thule hunting station, explores the Inuit culture, and sees the stunning scenery of Greenland. This is an adventurous and unforgettable cruise for experienced travelers.
Greenland is a beautiful place to visit.
If you are not taking part in an excursion, then guests can stroll through the city on their own up until the time of embarkation. This is usually late afternoon.
We will then be taken to a small port west of the Airport, where Ocean Albatros will anchor. Zodiacs transport us to the small port where Ocean Albatros will anchor. You will then be checked into your cabin. You will be served dinner after the safety drill. Ocean Albatros is cruising through the 160 km Kangerlussuaq Fjord.
We will visit the vibrant town of Sisimiut after breakfast to get a feel for modern Greenland. Greenland’s second-largest town, Sisimiut has 5,400 residents.
In 1756, Johan Ludvig Holstein established here a colony and named it "Holsteinsborg". In the oldest part of Sisimiut’s historical quarter, you can find townhouses dating back to this "Holsteinsborg", such as Blue Church built in 1775.
Sisimiut has become an important center for industry and education, with local factories processing the majority of Royal Greenland’s fish. This fish processing facility is the biggest of its type in Greenland and among the world's most advanced.
The highlights of our city tour can include the colonial district, the museum, and the stunning church. After lunch, we will travel northward.
We pull in to a natural harbor protected by the 1,000-metre high mountains of Disko Island. The Danish name for the place, Godhavn (meaning "Good Harbour") is perfect. The Greenlandic "Qeqertarsuaq", which means simply "The Big Island", sums up its Greenlandic description.
Godhavn, located north of Nuuk (the main Greenland town), was the largest town in Greenland until 1950, mainly because the whales were towed by the whaling ships from Disko Bay. The town was enriched by this activity, which began in the 16th Century. As it becomes harder to get a job and as the connections with the mainland become more and less frequent, the town will soon be forgotten. The octagonal, characteristic church is a must-see in town. It's nicknamed the "inkpot of God". We may visit the community during our time in Qeqertarsuaq.
The Captain will set a direct course to Hans Island and Nares Strait based on constantly updated ice charts. We will spend a few days on the sea to ensure we can get past any pack ice. The days at sea are not wasted, as there is always a chance to spot minke and fin whales. The little arctic Fulmar is always following us, moving along with speed and agility from lee to windward. In the lecture room, our staff will present a variety of lectures on Greenlandic culture and nature.
We cross Melville Bay at night, which is marked by the calving of glaciers. Due to dangerous winter ice and the distance from Denmark to the south, the Thule District polar Inuit were separated from West Greenland for 130 years. The Inuit of Canada have an even closer connection with them and speak a dialect which is different from southern Greenlandic.
Uummannaq, a Nuussuaq colony, was established in 1758, on Nuussuaq's mainland. However, shortly after, in 1763 it was relocated to the island nearby, where seal hunting is more abundant. We visit the historic Train-Oil Building, which was built in 1860. Whale and seal blubber was once stored inside its walls. The blubber wasn't boiled in town because of its horrible smell. We can find an old peat hut behind the oil storage for trains. It was in operation a few decades ago.
Uummannaq, with its dry and settled climate and 2,000 hours per year of sun and around 100 millimetres in precipitation gives it the right to be called the Greenlandic Riviera.
We continue to the north if the conditions of ice are favorable. We will have to reduce the ship's pace and expect that we will spend most of our time at sea. As we sail, Cape Alexander is the westernmost tip of Greenland.
Smith Sound, its northern extension, and the Kennedy Channel are characterized by strong currents that act as a channel for Arctic Ocean icebergs and pack ice. As we near Hans Island, or Hans O as it's written in Danish, our bridge officers are sure to keep an eye on us.
Hans Island is a topic of much media coverage because it lies exactly in between Ellesmere Island, Canada, and Greenland. Both sides can claim the island under international law because it is within a 12-mile territory. Since then, a flag war between Canadian and Danish officials has erupted. They alternately hoisted the flag of their country and positioned a bottle either of Canadian whiskey or Danish Schnapps. The governments of both countries agreed in 2018 to settle the border dispute through negotiations and build a weather monitoring station on the Island to track the unique pack ice conditions which occur along the Nares Strait.
Albatros Travel landed a group of tourists on Ocean O in 2010, the first ever to visit the island. The visit was commemorated by a small cairn.
The Captain then sets out again for the South after calling Hans O.
We plan to leave the Nares Strait during the night. We enter Inglefield bay, passing some of Greenland’s largest bird cliffs. Ocean Albatros is anchored by the Captain off Qaanaaq - the only town of northwest Greenland.
In 1953, the Americans established their base in the vicinity of the Thule trading post. The Inuits were all transferred here. To date, around 600 people are living in Qaanaaq. The city is served by Air Greenland weekly flights, and by cargo ships twice a year.
We can walk around the city, depending on the weather. You will find a small museum, and a well-stocked supermarket.
After leaving Qaanaaq late in the night, the captain will anchor at North Star Bay in the American Thule Base. We are not allowed to enter the base and it is outside of our scope.
Planned landing of the Zodiac at abandoned settlement Uummannaq, at the base of Dundasfjeldet. Knud Rasmussen established the legendary Thule station here in 1910. The polar Inuit were able to trade their furs and skins in exchange for cash for the first time, instead of the glass beads that whalers had previously paid. Rasmussen and Peter Freuchen, who accompanied him on the first to sixth Thule Expeditions, used a large part of their earnings for the benefit of society. Local Inuit men and women always took part in these expeditions on an equal basis with Knud and Peter Freuchen.
We will pass Cape York, Meteor Island and the famous Cape York iron meteorites on our way south. American Museum of Natural History displays the largest of many pieces, the Ahnighito 40-ton fragment. Robert Peary also erected a huge cairn at Cape York.
The Devil's Thumb is a 540 metre high rock column that rises above flat terrain. The settlement Kullorsuaq is the home of 400 people who live on the island. In Greenlandic, this means "The Big Thumb". The local hunters are allowed to kill a certain number of bears, as we remain in bear-dominated territory. The skins of the polar bears are made into the highly sought after polar pants and the meat (favorable to the local palate) is distributed amongst the entire settlement.
Upernavik covers an area almost as large as Great Britain. Around 3000 Inuit hunter people live in Upernavik and the 10 smaller settlements. Upernavik has a mixture of the old hunter culture and modern high-tech fisherman. Dog sleighs and modern snowmobiles are examples of old and new.
It was originally founded by the Danish as a colonial settlement, but its surrounding area and villages have a history dating back over 4500 years. Hunters and gatherers traveled along the coastlines of Alaska and Canada, and eventually Greenland.
We can visit both the small city and open-air museum if everything goes according to the plan.
The nights are becoming darker and you might want to get dressed up, head out on the deck, and look for aurora borealis, the Northern Lights.
You should wake up in one of Greenland’s most sunny and beautiful regions. Uummannaq is located on a tiny island. Uummannaq is named after the impressive mountain (1,175 metres high) that has a heart shape. You should have enough time to visit the town before returning to the ship to eat lunch.
Ilulissat, located in Greenland's most picturesque town. Named 'Icebergs', the name in Greenlandic simply means "icebergs". The town is also known as 'The Iceberg Capital of the World.
The Ilulissat Icefjord, located just south of the town of Disko Bay, is responsible for sending huge icebergs to its cold waters. The Sermeq Kujalleq glacier, which is 30km deep in the fjord, produces these impressive structures. The 10km-wide glacier has the highest production outside of Antarctica. Ilulissat Glacier moves at 25 meters per day. Most glaciers only produce icebergs at the rate of a metre every day. The fjord has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List because of these facts and its breathtaking scenery.
Ilulissat has grown steadily over the past 250 years. Ilulissat, Greenland’s third-largest town, has more than 4500 residents. Knud Raasmussen, the legendary Arctic Explorer was born in Ilulissat.
If the weather permits, during the visit you can join an optional boat excursion to the Ice Fjord. This journey lasts about 2 and half hours and is a wonderful opportunity to see the ice sculptured landscape up close.
There is an option to fly over Ice Fjord in a fixed-wing aircraft if a boat trip or hike does not provide enough thrill.
The price of the tour does not include the cost of boat or flight excursions. Please refer to Price Information.
We will cruise to the south in the evening and leave Disko Bay.
Sarfannguit is a name that describes a remote settlement at the foothills and glaciers of mountains. More than 100 people live in the settlement, mainly through hunting, fishing and trapping. They are usually on the hunt for arctic Char, Reindeer, and Musk Oxen.
Sarfannguit may be remote but it is only a couple of hours away from Sisimiut - the second largest town in Greenland. Sarfannguit's proximity to Sisimiut, Greenland's second-largest town, is a major economic advantage.
The settlement offers a glimpse into the rural lifestyle of Greenland today, with its modern technology and conveniences such as smartphones and the internet. Yet, locals place great importance on their Inuit traditions, their customs, and their Inuit heritage.
The fjord known as Sondre Stromfjord, or Kangerlussuaq is the next destination.
We will complete our journey through the Kangerlussuaq Fjord, a 160-kilometre fjord. We will say goodbye to our ship staff after breakfast and then take the Zodiacs to the shore.
Kangerlussuaq is relatively isolated, compared to other Greenland regions, due to its military past and current role as a major air hub. Kangerlussuaq offers cultural activities, but the real attraction of the area is its natural beauty.
We offer an optional tour (not included in your tour cost) that takes you to the stunning Reindeer glacier. It takes about 4 hours to complete the tour. The gravel road leading to the ice sheets is sometimes bumpy, so we do not recommend this excursion for those with back or neck problems.
We will board our return flight to Reykjavik, or Copenhagen from Kangerlussuaq.