Zodiac excursion (photo credit: Silversea)

Explore Greenland and Arctic Canada on the luxurious expedition ship Prince Albert II

ITINERARIES

September 7-25, 2010: 18-day expedition voyage from Reykjavik, Iceland to St. John's, Newfoundland

07 Sep 2010 Tue Reykjavik, Iceland 7:00 PM
08 Sep 2010 Wed Vestmannaeyjar
09 Sep 2010 Thu Day At Sea
10 Sep 2010 Fri Day At Sea
11 Sep 2010 Sat Skjoldungen Fjord, Greenland
12 Sep 2010 Sun Prince Christian Sound, Greenland
13 Sep 2010 Mon Qaqortoq, Greenland
13 Sep 2010 Mon Hvalsey, Greenland
14 Sep 2010 Tue Arsuk Brae, Greenland
15 Sep 2010 Wed Day At Sea
16 Sep 2010 Thu Day At Sea
17 Sep 2010 Fri Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada
18 Sep 2010 Sat Lower Savage Islands, Canada
19 Sep 2010 Sun Akpatok Island, Nuanvut, Canada
20 Sep 2010 Mon Saqlek Fjord
21 Sep 2010 Tue Day At Sea
22 Sep 2010 Wed Battle Harbour, Canada
23 Sep 2010 Thu L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, Canada
24 Sep 2010 Fri Twillingate, Newfoundland, Canada
25 Sep 2010 Sat St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada

Expedition Highlights:
- Visit remote Greenlandic villages
- Discover deep fjords, finger lakes, coastline caves and spectacular rock walls
- Cruise alongside active glaciers, icebergs and bird cliffs
- Photograph pristine landscapes of rugged mountains
- Watch for whales, walrus, seals and polar bears
- Identify seabirds including guillemots, falcons and puffins
- Explore the ancient Viking site at L’Anse aux Meadows

Day 1: Reykjavik, Iceland
Embark the Prince Albert II and depart on your exciting 16-day Silversea Expedition – “Greenland Exploration”. This evening, you will be introduced to your Expedition Leaders and receive a Zodiac briefing.

Day 2: Vestmannaeyjar Island, Iceland
Vestmannaeyjar (the Westman Islands) was named after the Irish slaves, the “Westmen” who fled here after murdering one of Iceland’s initial explorers, Hjorleifur Arnason. Heimaey is the largest and only inhabited island of the Westman Islands group. The village of Heimaey is characterised by brightly coloured roofs a community that sprawls out across about a third of the island. Heimaey became world-famous when, in 1973, a volcano erupted and residents were forced to flee to the main land. The port was saved when fire fighters cooled the lava using huge jets of water, creating a dam against the red-hot lava stream.

The Prince Albert II will dock in Heimaey in the early morning. Our exploration first stops in Herjolfsdalur valley, where we will visit ruins of old farmhouses dating back to the year 650 AD. We proceed to the island’s famous volcanoes: the 5,000-year-old Helgafell or Holy Mountain, and the considerably younger Eldfell or Mt. Fire. The latter will be our conquest of the day, as we will hike up to the crater. The mountain last erupted in 1973, and amazingly, parts of it are still warm.

Our next stop is Gaujulundur where, in 1988, a couple started planting seeds in the dark lava creating an oasis of colour. Our adventure continues over the new lava fields and into the very centre of the volcano’s crater before visiting the “Pompeii of the North” project, where houses buried in the eruption of 1973 are being excavated. Our last stop will be at Skansinn, site of a wooden church that was donated by the state of Norway to commemorate a millennium of Christianity in Iceland.

Days 3 – 4: At Sea
Spend the day crossing the iceberg-laden Denmark Strait, which connects the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. Meet some of your fellow explorers as you become acquainted with the luxurious amenities found onboard the Prince Albert II. Tonight, we invite you to attend a special Welcome Aboard cocktail party whereat the Captain will introduce his senior officers and various members of the crew.

Day 5: Skjoldungen fjord, Greenland
The wild, rugged and ice-packed fjords of Greenland’s southeastern coast beckon our attention as we begin our exploration of the Skjoldungen Sound. Surrounded by astonishing mountains, spectacular glaciers and undisturbed wildlife is a place the native Inuit call Kalaallit Nunaat or Land of the People. Today we take full advantage of the manoeuvrability and shallow draft of the Prince Albert II, anchoring at the top of the Skjoldungen fjord. Here our Zodiacs will take us scouting ashore with the ship’s own natural history staff, who will help us discover the splendour of nature’s palace.

Day 6: Cruising Prince Christian Sound, Greenland
Irish Monk St. Brendan was likely the first to suggest he had encountered a “floating crystal castle” or iceberg in his 6th century writings. Believed by many to have beaten the Vikings through the North Atlantic and into the New World, but St. Brendan’s adventures are also widely criticized as mythical. However, some truths have been proven possible in recent years. Whether we follow in the footsteps of a group of ancient Irish monks or primitive Vikings, today’s journey promises to be incredible.

We arrive at the entrance to one of south Greenland’s most dramatic natural features, Prince Christian Sound. The air is crisp, the water placid and the smell of ice fills the air. On either side of us, waterfalls are streaming down sharp, wrinkled mountainsides as we navigate the fjord through a sea of shimmering frozen gems with turquoise auras on their decidedly southern route. Coming to our turning point, we catch a glimpse of the constant state of change and movement that is the polar ice cap. Prince Christian Sound is where icebergs are born of compacted ancient snows that calve into the sound at the glacier’s edge. Like an artists imagination, this gallery of natural wonders is unbound by convention. Each one as different as the last and their beauty is undaunted by the sheer magnitude of their size. We set out via Zodiacs to discover this pristine world of bays, inlets and glaciers.

Day 7: Qaqortoq/Hvalsey, Greenland
After a morning at sea we arrive at Qaqortoq (pronounced ka-kor-tok), meaning “white place” in Greenlandic. As we dock in this picturesque harbour town, we go ashore and set afoot for an afternoon of discovery. Southern Greenland’s largest village is populated with striking primary coloured wood colonial buildings. Our local guides and ship’s staff of experts take us to the charming town square, home to Greenland’s oldest fountain. Built in 1928, it has stood the test of time. Surrounding it are two churches, one old and one new, an open-air fish and meat market, and the Qaqortoq Museum. The modest museum houses a superb collection of historical artefacts associated with Inuit hunting and fishing, a whaler’s gun and post-colonial history along with a collection of contemporary artwork.

Strolling through the streets of Qaqortoq is like meandering through a sculpture garden, as there are some 30 pieces of art carved into the granite bedrock all through the town. The “Stone and Man” exhibit is the realisation of a childhood fantasy. Renowned local artist and sculptor Aka Høegh, in the mid 90s gathered 18 Scandinavian artists in an effort to carve faces into the rocks, as she had imagined as a child. Whilst the initial project only lasted two summers, it continues to draw artists each year.

Before leaving, we enjoy a traditional Greenlandic kayak demonstration or folk dance performance. The kayak has long been an important mode of transportation in Greenland and in the 10th century was used as a hunting board by members of the prehistoric Thule culture.

A folk dance, known as the old drum dance is a complex dance and chant that is traditionally called the “Hunting Seal Song”. It talks about the people of Inuvik who were starving and had to go hunting. Songs and dances like these are traditional forms of recounting legends, stories and history at community gatherings. Out of respect, elders perform the first of these festival dances.

Day 8: Arsuk Brae, Greenland
Beautiful, wild and exactly what we love about expedition cruising is embodied in our tour of Arsuk Brae. In this seldom visited, vast white wilderness, listen for the sounds of silence. Aboard our Zodiacs, we journey up to the receding glacier, witnessing bird cliffs and the smaller, but magnificent Fox Havn glacier.

Days 9–10: At Sea
We bid farewell to Greenland and continue our journey westward across the Davis Strait toward the Americas and the Canadian Arctic.

Dividing Baffin Bay and the Labrador Sea, is a broad channel of the North Atlantic Ocean and an integral segment of the Northwest Passage known as the Davis Strait. Famous for fierce tides, which can range from 30-60 feet (9-18 metres), the intimidating strait discouraged many earlier explorers. However, in 1585 English explorer John Davis, undaunted by the tides, aspired to discover the Northwest Passage. Whilst he never did find the elusive passage, he did rediscover Greenland, which had been forgotten about since Norse times; charted most of the unknown Arctic coast; and made keen observations regarding weather, geology, vegetation and the native Inuits. Binoculars in hand, watch for massive icebergs that look like icy blue gems littered throughout the strait; or whales feeding in the rich waters and polar bears drifting aboard ice floes.

Day 11: Iqaluit, Canada
Our first foray into Canada begins in the town of Iqaluit located at the head of Frobisher Bay, an inlet of the North Atlantic extending into southeastern Baffin Island. Iqaluit is the capital of Canada’s newest territory Nunavut, which is Inuktitut for “our land”. Nunavut is both the least populated and largest of all Canada’s provinces and territories, but is filled with culture and charm.

After completing formalities associated with customs and immigration, we go ashore and explore the edges of Canada’s, “true north”. Our ship’s experts along with local guides point the way. Here we find the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum and the Nunavut Legislative Assembly Building, both housing incredible collections of Inuit artwork. Another distinctive building is the St. Jude's Anglican Cathedral, which is shaped like an igloo. Currently, the cathedral is undergoing extensive construction work due to a fire that destroyed much of the interior’s one-of-a-kind décor. The distinctive architecture should still be in tact and is quite impressive on its own.

Day 12: Lower Savage Islands, Canada
Dropping anchor in the turbulent waters between Frobisher Bay and the Hudson Strait, we hunt for the elusive polar bear. Via our Zodiacs, we cruise the southeastern tip of Baffin Island know as the Lower Savage Islands. Here, polar bears spend their summer on, and sometimes get stranded by, the retreating pack ice.

The polar bear’s scientific name is ursus maritimus or sea bear, but the Arctic’s native Inuit refer to it as Nanuk or Nanuuq. The adult male measures 8-10 feet (2.5-3 metres) tall and weighs in at about 550-1,700 pounds (250-770 kilograms). A polar bear’s physique is exceptionally well adapted to Arctic life. With a double coat of fur, a 4.5-inch (11.5 cm) layer of blubber insulation, plus compact ears and a small tail keep heat from escaping. Papillae or small bumps keep their feet from slipping on the ice. Massively powerful claws enable them to catch their most common prey, the ringed or bearded seal. A far-reaching sense of smell makes it possible for them to detect prey miles away.

 

sisimut
Sisimiut, Greenland (photo credit: Katrina Barre)

ice berg
Icebergs in Greenland (photo credit: Katrina Barre)



Rocky alcoves and reefs are perfect hiding places for both predator and prey, so be on the lookout for Harbour seals, birds and sea life – all enjoy the rich ocean environment.

Day 13: Akpatok Island
This morning we venture out with our fleet of Zodiacs in search of the King of the Arcitc, the Polar Bear. Remote, rugged and uninhabited Akpatok island, is the largest in Ungava Bay. Thickbilled Murre breed and live on the ledges along the limestone cliffs surrounding the island.

We hope to find polar bears patrolling the beaches along the steep limestone cliffs that towers 200 – 300 meters above the sea level.

Day 14: SaGlek Fjord, Labrador, Canada
Abrupt, stately mountains, deep fjords, finger lakes and spectacular rock walls are all products of glaciations making Saglek Fjord one of Canada’s most incredible landscapes. Only sparse vegetation in low, sheltered valleys reside in this rocky tundra, whilst the caribou thrives. A popular summer fishing destination of the Inuit, from nearby Nain, seek out the plentiful Arctic char.

This morning we explore this impressive fjord, and if conditions permit, we will attempt landing. The ship’s natural history staff will provide insight and highlights of the area. We hope to meet up with some local Inuit fishermen and watch them prepare pitsik, a northern delicacy of dried char.

Day 15: At Sea
As we make our way along Canada’s eastern coast, enjoy some time out on deck keeping an eye out for seabirds, dolphin, seals and migrating humpback, fin and blue whales, or listen to additional presentations by our expert natural history staff in The Theatre or in the comfort of your own accommodation. Enjoy the finest cigars and cognacs at the Connoisseur’s Corner or indulge in any of the other special amenities offered aboard ship.

Day 16: Battle Harbour, Battle Island, Labrador, Canada
Step back in time as we meander through the streets of this painstakingly restored fishing village that salutes the Labrador lifestyle of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. This National Historic District commemorates the era of whalers, seasonal or floater fishermen, mercantile salt fisheries, and polar explorers.

Most notable explorers beginning treks deep into the arctic included North Pole discoverers and Americans Robert E. Peary and Matthew Henson along with Inuits, Oatah, Egingwah, Seegloo and Ookeah; and American Frederick Cook. Cook is best known for falsifying evidence pointing to his being the first person to discover the North Pole, one year prior to Peary. It was here in 1909, that Peary wired the announcement, “The Pole is ours”! to a world audience. Battle Harbour is also the site of two press conferences that ignited the controversy between Peary and Cook.

Today we catch a re-enactment of one of these press conferences and meet our local guides, who will teach us about the Newfoundland and Labrador fishing industry. Before leaving, we delight in a Canadian “crab fest” complete with fresh snow crab, cheese and crackers and accompanied by traditional interpretations of coastal Labradorean music.

Day 17: L’Anse Aux Meadow, Labrador, Canada
We continue our voyage southward whilst enjoying a spot of lunch aboard the Prince Albert II. After midday, like ancient Vikings, we land on the shores of L’Anse aux Meadows or Land of Meadows albeit via Zodiac. After a short walk with our local guides, we encounter the ruins of an entire Viking village dating back to the year 1000. Norseman Leif Eriksson, son of Erik the Red, established this colony in the New World some 500 years before the likes of Christopher Columbus and John Cabot. In 1978, this village was designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Much of the L’Anse aux Meadows archaeological site remains natural and unspoiled. Three building have been reconstructed near the original site in order to provide visitors insight into the lifestyles of these hardy explorers.

Day 18: Twillengate, Newfoundland, Canada
Welcome to the self-proclaimed ‘Iceberg Capital of the World’. Twillingate is one town on two islands with about 3,000 residents and is one of the oldest towns in this part of Newfoundland. We begin our day with our local guides as they take us atop a 114–year-old lookout known as Long Point Lighthouse. The panorama of the bay and coastal cliffs is simply breathtaking!

Next we visit The Prime Berth Museum, where our guides explain the town’s history, as well as, the interworkings of Newfoundland’s traditional inshore fishery, including a tour of the net loft, fishing stage, fish store and a fully restored Newfoundland motor boat. Enjoy interactive demonstrations of cod splitting and salting, mending holes in a cod trap, and catching “conners” or local fish.

Day 19: St Johns, Newfoundland, Canada
We will arrive at St Johns, Newfoundland in the morning of August 25th, and go alongside. After breakfast, disembark the Prince Albert II.

Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather, wildlife activity and ice conditions.

 

Early Booking Rates
Oceanview cabins from USD 8195 per person plus $325 in taxes
Call us for details at
1-800-345-
3324 (India) or go to How to Book


ABOUT PRINCE ALBERT II
Embark on a luxurious expedition to the best far-flung destinations in the world aboard Prince Albert II, a purpose-built expedition ship unlike any other. Designed specifically for navigating waters in some of the world’s most remote destinations, including both of earth’s polar regions, the 6,072-ton vessel boasts a strengthened hull with a Lloyd’s Register ice-class notation (1A) for passenger ships. With eight Zodiac boats, her 132 privileged guests can visit even the most off-the-beaten path locations. Experience the thrill of a true expedition aboard Prince Albert II. Venture deep into regions where other vessels cannot go whilst enjoying a privileged lifestyle that is simply second-to-none.

Onboard Luxury
Savour a convivial cosmopolitan ambience and many special amenities usually found only on larger ships, including a spacious Library with an Internet Café, boutique shopping, a full-service spa, beauty salon, fitness centre, sauna, live evening entertainment and two top-deck whirlpools. The Prince Albert II even features The Humidor, where connoisseurs can enjoy the finest cigars and cognacs - a diversion offered by no other expedition ship.

More information and photos of Prince Albert II

Sailings in Svalbard, 80 degrees north, on Prince Albert II

Prince Albert's deck plan and cabin/suite descriptions (pdf file)

Why us and what we can offer groups and organizations (pdf file)


PRINCE ALBERT II DISTINCTIONS
- Superior accommodations in a large suite
- Superlative service and genuine hospitality
- Crew to guest ratio of nearly 1 to 1
- Expert naturalists and special guest lecturers
- Complimentary, hosted adventures ashore
- Complimentary parka
- Fares include all onboard gratuities
- Complimentary fine wines, champagnes and spirits served throughout the ship
- In-room beverage cabinet stocked with your complimentary selections
- Casual/informal attire – no formal nights
- Open-seating dining
- Gourmet menus by Relais and Chateaux
- Complimentary 24-hour room service
- Spa, fitness centre, two top-deck whirlpools, live evening entertainment
- Ship-wide Internet access and cellular phone service (fee applies)

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We offer the right Greenland expedition at the right price. Call 1-800-345-3324 (India) or go to How to Book




ice
On the icecap in Greenland (photo credit: Katrina Barre)

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