Discover the ethereal “Land of Fire and Ice”—one of the world’s most enchanting and distinctive destinations—on this specially designed seven-night circumnavigation cruise of this stunning Nordic island nation. Cruise aboard the exclusively chartered, Five‑Star, expedition vessel Le Bellot, featuring only 92 Suites and Staterooms and the worlds first multiensory underwater observation lounge. Look for orca, humpback whales and rare migratory birds; see landscapes of ancient Viking ruins and crystalline glaciers atop simmering volcanoes; and touch ice fragments calved from one of Europe’s largest glaciers. Complimentary alcoholic & nonalcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise! Tom Moriarty is the study leader on the June 28-July 6, 2020 departure.
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- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Ocean & Sea Voyages
- Departure Dates
- Jun 21, 2020 - Jun 29, 2020
Jun 28, 2020 - Jul 6, 2020
Jul 5, 2020 - Jul 13, 2020
Tom Moriarity is a nationally recognized preservationist and urban development specialist. Trained as an architect, Tom was one of the founders of the National Trust’s pioneering Main Street Program. As Managing Principal at Retail & Development Strategies LLC, Tom has been involved in major restoration and urban rehabilitation projects across the U.S. and the world. He will bring his expertise on architecture, architectural history, historic preservation and adaptive use that will help each traveler better understand the beauty and significance of the places we will visit. Tom holds two degrees in Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin.
- day 1
Depart the U.S.
- day 2
Arrive in Reykjavík, the world’s northernmost capital. See the idyllic recreational sports area of Laugardalur, where geothermal water keeps an Olympic‑sized outdoor swimming pool open year round. Continue to the National Museum for a comprehensive overview of Iceland’s history, culture and heritage. Visit the Lutheran church, Hallgrímskirkja, whose iconic silhouette ascends above Reykjavík’s skyline and whose ridged structure mirrors natural rock formations found on Iceland’s coast. Pass by the charming houses of central Reykjavík before boarding Le Champlain. (b,d) Please note that the ship’s cruising pattern and direction are dependent on weather conditions and are subject to change.
- day 3
Enjoy the morning cruise to the awe‑inspiring Westfjords. On verdant Vigur Island—home to one single farming family and thousands of puffins, Arctic terns, red‑footed black guillemots and eider ducks—observe the birds in their natural habitat and see Iceland’s only windmill, built in 1840 to grind imported wheat from Denmark. Visit the country’s smallest post office and enjoy coffee and cakes served by our hosts in their home, the well‑preserved, 19th‑century Viktoria House. This afternoon, cruise up the dominant fjord, Ísafjarðardjúp (“ice fjord deep”), of this remote 14‑million‑year‑old region, framed by a dramatic rise of rugged mountains. Near the town of Ísafjörður, visit the open‑air Ósvör Maritime Museum, where restored, traditional, 19th‑century fishermen’s huts and fishing equipment vividly depict the harsh reality of the lives of generations of Iceland’s fishermen. Tour Ísafjörður’s Westfjords Heritage Museum to learn more about this remote outpost’s fascinating maritime history. Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception on board the ship this evening. (b,l,r,d)
- day 4
Siglufjörður/Arctic Circle/Grímsey Island
Bustling Siglufjörður is a small fishing hub built from the success of the herring industry. Visit the award‑winning Herring Era Museum and enjoy a lively, music‑filled performance, then sample traditional local herring and Icelandic schnapps. Return to the ship and cruise to Grímsey Island, which straddles the Arctic Circle. Visit Grímsey Church, built out of driftwood in 1867. Cross the Arctic Circle, the top of the world, where the island is treeless but lush with grasses and mosses. See thriving populations of puffins and auks—waterbirds similar to penguins, but with the distinctive ability to fly. (b,l,d)
- day 5
Húsavík for Lake Mývatn
Explore northern Iceland’s extraordinary natural landscapes, stopping at Námaskarð, a field of boiling, sulfurous mud pots, and the pseudocraters at Skútustaðir, formed when hot lava flowed over the wetlands some 2,300 years ago. Walk among the surreal lava formations of Dimmuborgir, the mythic source of Icelandic folklore, and drive along the shores of cerulean‑blue Lake Mývatn, a birder’s paradise and a haven for many rare migratory birds and 14 species of Iceland’s bountiful wild ducks. Continue to Goðafoss, “Waterfall of the Gods.” According to legend, this spectacular waterfall earned its name when an Icelandic chieftain threw wooden statues of his Norse gods into its crashing waters, signifying his conversion to Christianity. (b,l,d)
- day 6
Seyðisfjörður is a tranquil, 11‑mile‑long fjord that winds toward its eponymous town, where colorful, chalet‑style houses shelter beneath Mounts Strandartindur and Bjólfur (Beowulf). Cascading from the heather‑covered valley, the Fjarðará River runs through the center of town into the lagoon at the fjord’s head. Visit the sky‑hued Blue Church and observe a specially arranged cultural and musical performance.
Continue to the Technical Museum to learn more about the mechanics, communications and architectural innovations that characterize this island nation, and enjoy light refreshments. (b,l,d)
- day 7
Djúpivogur for Jökulsárlón
Enjoy a full‑day scenic excursion, with lunch, along Iceland’s east coast with stunning mountain views.
Board a specially designed small boat for a private cruise amid the breathtaking icebergs of Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, and actually touch the ice that has calved off the outlet tidewater glacier, Breiðamerkurjökull. (b,l,d)
- day 8
Heimaey, Westman Islands/Cruise along Surtsey Island
Arrive at Heimaey Island, part of the Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) archipelago, where the tall cliffs are inhabited by puffins, fulmars, guillemots and other waterbirds. Stop at “Sprangan,” the craggy cliff where young islanders learn the local pastime of rope swinging; see the ruins of ancient Viking farmhouses dating from A.D. 650 in lushly gullied Herjólfsdalur Valley; observe Heimaey’s largest puffin colony from the precipitous headland of Stórhöfði; and view a timbered stave church, modeled after the medieval Norse style, in scenic Skansinn. See imposing Mount Eldfell, also known as “Fire Mountain,” where lava fields are still warm to the touch over 40 years after its last eruption, and tour the Eldheimar Museum, which chronicles the fateful volcanic activity of 1973 that created this incredible formation. This evening, cruise along the coast of Surtsey Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Created during volcanic activity between 1963 and 1967, it is one of the youngest islands on Earth and one of the most fragile; scientists continue to carefully monitor and study the evolution of its flora and fauna. Be on the lookout for graceful orcas that frequent the region. Join your traveling companions for the Captain’s Farewell Reception. (b,l,r,d)
- day 9
After breakfast, disembark and transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S. (b)
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