Join Seabourn's ultra-luxury purpose-built Seabourn Venture on a 15-day Greenland & Canadian Arctic expedition cruise from Kangerlussuaq to Newfoundland. This expedition highlights Greenland and its towering fjords and rugged coastline plus the beauty of the Canadian Arctic.
Embark in Kangerlussuaq and visit Ilulissat and marvel at Greenland's spectacular glaciers and icebergs, visit remote towns, look out for unique wildlife and experience the luxury amenities of the Seabourn Venture on a remarkable adventure to Greenland and Canada.
Day 1: Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Day 2: Sisimiut
Day 3: Ilulissat
Day 4: Eqi Glacier
Day 5: Qilakitsoq & Uummannaq
Day 6: Upernavik
Day 7: Pond Inlet
Day 8: Dundas Harbour & Croker Bay
Day 9: Beechey Island
Days 10 & 11: At sea
Day 12: Lady Franklin Island & Monumental Island
Days 13 & 14: At sea
Day 15: St. Johns, Newfoundland
Today, arrive in Kangerlussuaq, from Reykjavik, Iceland. An important airbase for the United States Army, today Kangerlussuaq is the largest commercial airport in Greenland and supports a population of 500. A little known fact, from 1971 to 1987, 33 missiles from various countries, were fired from Kangerlussuaq for upper atmospheric scientific research.
Located 24 miles (40 km) north of the Arctic Circle, Sisimiut is “rough, real and remote.” These three words cut to the core of Sisimiut’s reputation as an outdoor adventure-travel hub. It’s the second-largest city in Greenland with 5,600 inhabitants and was founded in 1756 under the leadership of the Danish missionary, Hans Egede. The name is Greenlandic meaning ‘place of fox dens.’ The area has been inhabited for 4,500 years, first by the Inuit peoples of the Saqqaq culture, Dorset culture, and then the Thule people, whose descendants comprise the majority of the current population.
One of the most picturesque towns in Greenland, Sisimiut is set in a tranquil fjord perched on bare outcrops of rock. Mount Nasaasaaq, 2,572’ (784 m) tall, is the backdrop for the town, where colourful houses of bright red, yellow, green and blue stand out in stark contrast to a landscape of grey and white. The Sisimiut Museum hosts a traditional Greenlandic peat house and the remains of an 18th-century kayak.
There is no other place on Earth, other than Ilulissat, Greenland that can define itself by the size and volume of its icebergs. The name Ilulissat, in fact, is the Greenlandic word for ‘Iceberg’. This is truly an iceberg paradise! Despite its proximity to huge glaciers, people have lived here in excess of 4,000 years. The modern town of Ilulissat was founded in 1741 by the Danish merchant, Jacob Severin. With a current population of 4,500, it is the third-largest city in Greenland. The narrow inner harbour is lined by a kaleidoscope of colourful houses so typical of Greenlandic villages.
The mass and sheer volume of icebergs from nearby Jacobshvn Glacier has made Ilulissat the most popular tourist destination in Greenland.
One of Greenland’s largest and most active glaciers, Eqi is on the island’s west coast about 80 km/50 miles north of Ilulissat. Its fjord and the area of Disko Bay nearby is littered with huge icebergs, sometimes towering hundreds of feet tall. The glacier face is up to 200m/626 ft. high, and over two miles/4km wide. In summer, it calves huge icebergs an average of every 15 – 30 minutes, making any close approach unsafe. But the calving events are dramatic and the sight and sound of an apartment-block-sized slab crashing into the sea is one you will never forget. The downdraft of cold air from the glacier and the ice field recommends a warm jacket, hat and gloves as you watch this display of nature’s extravagance from the deck.
Most of the 1,300 inhabitants of Uummannaq Island make their living from halibut fishing. The high point on the small island is one of the most prominent mountains in West Greenland and rises to a height of 1,170 meters (3,839’). 4.5 miles south of Uummannaq lies the Nuussuaq Peninsula. Here, in 1972 one of the most impressive and poignant archaeological sites on Earth was discovered. Ptarmigan hunters came upon a shallow gave containing the 500-year-old mummified bodies of six women, a boy and an infant. All were so well preserved that the hunters thought that they were recent burials and that the infant was actually a doll. Four of the mummies are on display in the Greenland National Museum in Nuuk.
The community of Uummannaq sits at the base of a pyramidal peak of the same name a few miles across the Uummannaq fjord from Qiklakitso on the Nuusuaq Peninsula, in western Greenland. The peak is a good place for a fairly strenuous but rewarding hike around the base of the mountain, for those with good balance and who don’t suffer from vertigo. The reward is a visit to a hut that was constructed for a television program and became known by children throughout Scandinavia as ‘Santa’s Castle.’ Returning to the little fishing and hunting village, expect a warm welcome from the hardy villagers, who get limited visits from outsiders despite the global fame of the archaeological discoveries made just across the fjord.
The town of Upernavik, with its 1,100 inhabitants, marks the most northerly extent of your voyage in Greenland. Located in the Upernavik Archipelago, consisting of over 100 small islands, the very picturesque and colourful town is perched on the side of a steep rocky bay. Although founded in 1772, it was the site of much earlier exploration by Inuit hunters. Greenlandic sled dogs are the mode of winter transportation here and can be seen staked out in the yards of the hunter’s homes. Their wooden sledges known as qamutiqs lay stacked atop each other awaiting the first snows of late Autumn.
It was near here in 1824 that a Viking runestone was found atop a mountain, between three rock cairns set in an equilateral triangle. Situated 21 miles to the west of Upemavik, Kingittorsuaq Island is the farthest north that any Norse artefact has ever been found. Known as the Kingittorsuaq runestone it displays the names of three Vikings and dates to approximately the 13th century A.D.
As your ship approaches the Inuit town of Pond Inlet, you transit through ice-speckled scenic Eclipse Sound set against the backdrop of the tall glaciated peaks of distant Bylot Island. The town was named in 1818 by explorer Captain John Ross for John Pond, an English astronomer. With over 1,600 inhabitants, Pond Inlet is one of northern Canada’s most interesting, culturally rich and welcoming communities. A walk through town immerses one into the life of the modern Inuit. Caribou antlers and skulls hang from private homes. The hides of seals, caribou and maybe even a polar bear hang on racks drying in the sun. At the local market can be found, parts of seal, whale, caribou and a huge variety of fish. Wooden sledges known as qamutiqs, now towed by snowmobiles rather than dogs, sit idle in front yards awaiting the first snow. At the local museum and cultural centre, enjoy a cultural performance showcasing unique Inuit throat-singing with dancers dressed in traditional sealskin anoraks and mukluks.
Croker Bay is a 20-mile deep fjord on the southern shore of Devon Island and is flanked by colourful 450m high table-like mountains. The tidewater glacier at its head descends 12 miles from the icefield at the centre of the island and terminates in spectacular cliffs of ice. Some 2 miles wide, the glacial front calves huge amounts of ice into the bay. Here polar bears, seals and even a pod of beluga whales can be seen travelling amongst the brash ice.
To the east is the abandoned community of Dundas Harbour. The derelict buildings of the R.C.M.P. post are all that remain and serve as a silent reminder to the 52 Inuit that came here in 1934. Here, set amongst a landscape aglow in the colours of Arctic Autumn, lay the stark white crosses and picket fence enclosure of one of the most northerly cemeteries on Earth. Nearby, 1,000-year-old stone remains of earlier Inuit settlers can be found.
The first European to visit Beechey Island was British Captain William Parry in 1819. One of Parry’s lieutenants named it after his father, artist William Beechey. The Island has gone down in the annals of Arctic exploration during the search for famed Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin, who vanished without a trace in 1846 while exploring a route through the Northwest Passage.
It was here at Beechey Island that Franklin’s ships spent the winter of 1845 frozen in ice awaiting Spring thaw. During that time three of Franklin’s men died and were buried on the island. There are few places on Earth that feel as barren and lonely as Beechey Island. Imagine a treeless, windswept landscape of gravel ridges and expansive beaches. In the distance small white crosses mark the final resting place for the young Englishmen, so far from home.
Enjoy the many amenities of your ship as you sail towards Lady Franklin Island
Lady Franklin Island is truly breathtaking in its appearance! The rock here is some of the oldest on Earth, having been formed some 2.5 to 4 billion years ago. Barren, rocky and exposed to the full wrath of the weather, the island is home to breeding seabirds, ducks and walrus. With a bit of luck, it's possible to see Atlantic puffins and even the rare Sabine’s gull.
Monumental Island is home to nesting black guillemots and is a favourite resting spot for walrus as they may be viewed at numerous haulouts around the island. The elusive Polar bear patrols the ice-floes here in search of seals while a variety of whales feed offshore.
As your ship makes its final stretch towards Newfoundland, enjoy relaxation time onboard Seabourn Venture.
St John’s, the capital of Newfoundland, is your last port of call. As the ship squeezes through the ‘narrows’ and enters into the inner harbour, the cultural and traditional flavour of the city quickly becomes apparent. The two towers of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist are amongst the tallest buildings on St. John’s skyline. Disembark here for your onward journey.
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