Enter a world of breathtaking grandeur, where smooth rock walls rise two kilometres to monolithic spires, colossal glaciers calve aquamarine icebergs 100 metres high, vast tundra feeds musk oxen and reindeer, and waterways abound with whales and seals.
Greenland, the world’s largest island, is draped in the planet’s second largest ice sheet and cut by the greatest fjords on Earth. From Northeast Greenland National Park (the world’s largest) south along the east coast, fjord systems wind up to 350 magical, often ice-laden kilometres from the coast.
It takes a special ship to explore these remote regions, our ultra-luxury Discovery Yacht Scenic Eclipse,designed and built to Polar Class 6 standards. Scenic Eclipse operates in places other ships can’t reach, like Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord early in the season. This red-rock wonderland of wind and wave sculpted icebergs offers a secret passage to Kong Oskar Fjord, where your expert Discovery Team will lead you on walks across blossoming tundra to encounter musk oxen families and pure white Arctic hare.
Learn what life was like for nomadic paleo-Eskimos who inhabited the region for more than 4000 years, visit Inuit hunting camps abandoned two centuries ago, but remain so well-preserved that circular stone tent rings, winter houses, bear-proof meat caches and grave sites can still be seen.
Listen as your Discovery Team historian regales you with tales of polar exploration, from Fridtjof Nansen and Otto Sverdrup’s ski crossing of the Greenland Ice Sheet in 1888, to their drift across the Arctic Ocean on board the specially designed Fram. Sverdrup’s Fram II scientific expedition, which spent four years exploring north Greenland, is an epic tale.
Delight in a warm welcome to communities like remote Ittoqqortoormiit, where Inuit hunters, trappers and fishermen keep traditions alive; Narsaq, on Tunulliarfik Fjord, where Norseman Erik the Red first settled and Qaqortoq, a town of 18th-century colonial buildings and a museum featuring Greenlandic culture that is set on a bay often dotted with icebergs and lively whales.
Spend time on deck relishing the flight of fulmars as they accompany our passage. Watch for the beautifully patterned great northern diver, the oldest bird species in the world, or its more-showy relative, the red-throated diver. Greenland is host to more than 60 species of birds, so ‘twitchers’ will be well-rewarded.
Transit Prins Christian Sund, a narrow channel between Cape Farewell and the mainland more than 100 km long and discover why Scenic Eclipse, is truly where luxury meets discovery. Relax on your private verandah with in-suite binoculars, admiring magnificent granite walls and exquisite icebergs passing by. Or visit the Observation Lounge where precise Swarovski telescopes offer close views of minke whales, or ringed and bearded seals hauled out on floating ice.
Greenland’s west coast is swept by warm Gulf Stream currents, offering a more temperate climate and more populous towns including the capital, Nuuk. Join our Discovery Team on a guided tour through picturesque Old Harbour, find mummies and Inuit skin boats in the Greenland National Museum and local art in the Nuuk Art Museum and Katuaq cultural centre.
From Illulissat, a small village on Disko Bay, listen to the growl and thunder of massive icebergs calved from Sermeq Kujalleq, the world’s fastest and most active glacier, to fill Illulissat Icefjord with grinding ice castles. Or gain a close-up view of the Greenland Ice Sheet itself on an excursion from Kangerlussuaq, where the U.S. established one of several airbases during World War II. Your Discovery Team historian tells how the two countries forged stronger ties during the Cold War that continue today.
Whether approaching Greenland from Svalbard or Iceland on an Arctic Islands or Exploring the High Arctic voyage, joining a Northwest Passage voyage in Greenland, or sailing from Dublin to Boston on A Viking Voyage, memories of wild Greenland will remain with you forever.