Day 01: Saturday 03 August, Australia – New York (USA)
Depart Australia with Qantas Airways to New York via Los Angeles. After crossing the International Date Line we arrive and transfer to the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel.
Day 02: Sunday 04 August, New York
Today is at leisure. You may wish to enjoy shopping along Fifth Avenue. If art is one of your interests you may like to visit one of the galleries for which New York is famous – the Guggenheim, the MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to name but a few. New York is a wonderful city in which to simply stroll and watch the scenes go by.
This evening we come together for our Welcome Reception and Dinner at a fine New York restaurant.
Day 03: Monday 05 August, New York – Reykjavik (Iceland)
Enjoy a leisurely morning before transferring to JFK airport to join our Icelandic Air flight to Reykjavik. We arrive late this evening and check into the comfortable but not elaborate Hotel Borg in the centre of Reykjavik.
Day 04: Tuesday 06 August, Reykjavik
Today we capture the true essence of Iceland, visiting Geysir Hot Springs and Gullfoss, a majestic waterfall. At Pingvellir National Park we see where the oldest active National Parliament was founded in 930AD. Lunch will be served during our exploration of the highland plateaux, waterfalls, geysers (bubbling hot springs), farmland and geological phenomena.
Day 05: Wednesday 07 August, Reykjavik – Join Silver Explorer
This morning we take a walking tour around the town of Reykjavik itself. A visit to Iceland is not complete without a visit to the Blue Lagoon, which we visit later today. Wander around this incredible complex of geothermal pools and enjoy relaxing in the remedial waters.
This afternoon we board Silver Explorer for our 18 day Expedition. This evening you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and fellow cruise guests.
Day 06: Thursday 08 August, Crossing the Denmark Strait
Spend today crossing the Denmark Strait, connecting the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. Settle into your new home and become acquainted with the luxurious amenities found aboard Silver Explorer. Tonight you are invited to attend a special Reception and Welcome Aboard cocktail party, where the Captain will introduce his senior officers and various members of the crew.
Day 07: Friday 09 August, [Thyrms Glacier] (Greenland)
Cruising along Greenland’s rugged eastern coast we explore Skoldungen Fjord. Today is best spent on deck in order to take in the enchanting scenery – towering mountains tipped with snow, ice scraped valley sides and sculptured icebergs in shades of white and blue. At the top of the fjord we embark upon our first Zodiac cruise of the journey, enabling us to explore the picturesque setting from up close.
Day 08: Saturday 10 August, Prince Christian Sound
Our plan for today is to explore one of South Greenland’s most dramatic natural features, Prince Christian Sound. The water is placid and the crisp scent of ice fills the air. Waterfalls stream down sharp, wrinkled mountainsides as we navigate the fjord through a sea of glittering icebergs. Each iceberg is completely unique, created when ancient snows calve into the sound at the glacier’s edge. Time and weather conditions permitting we plan to use the Zodiacs to explore further.
Day 09: Sunday 11 August, Nanortalik & Uunartoq Island
Nanortalik, Greenland’s most southerly town, lies in a scenic area surrounded by steep mountainsides. The town’s name means ‘place of polar bears’, which refers to the polar bears that were once seen floating offshore on summer’s ice floes. Nanortalik has an excellent open air museum that gives a broad picture of the region from Inuit times to the current day. At the summer hunting camp traditional Inuits will describe aspects of their ancestor’s customs and lifestyle. Time permitting we enjoy the tradition of kaffe-mik (coffee and cake) and a folk dancing presentation.
This afternoon our luxury expedition ship will drop anchor at Uunartoq Island. Since the days of the Norse these hot springs have been renowned for their healing effects. Take this opportunity to relax and unwind in the steaming waters.
Day 10: Monday 12 August, Qaqortoq & Hvalsey
This morning we arrive at the picturesque harbour town of Qaqortoq. The town’s name translates to ‘white place’ but today, instead of snow, we can admire the hillsides of colourful houses painted in bright colours. Our local guide will take us to the charming town square, home to Greenland’s oldest fountain. Surrounding the square are two churches, one old and one new, an open air fish and meat market and the Qaqortoq Museum. This modest museum houses a superb collection of historical Inuit artefacts, a whaler’s gun and a collection of contemporary artwork.
This afternoon the Silver Explorer anchors off Hvalsey. At Hvalsey we learn how Christianity spread throughout Europe, eventually reaching remote Greenland, where it was established in 1,000AD. Hvalsey Church was built in the 14th century and is Greenland’s best preserved church from that period.
Day 11: Tuesday 13 August, Qassiarsuk & Itilleq
Encircled by a wealth of Norse ruins the small village of Qassiarsuk, formerly known as Brattahlid, is where we begin our day. We tour the remains of the manor house of Erik the Red who founded Greenland after being banished from Iceland and Norway for murder. We will also visit the site of the first Christian church ever built in the New World (or Western Hemisphere), and see a recently unearthed Norse graveyard that contains remains of 144 Norse colonists.
Relax over lunch as we cruise to Itilleq, where we walk 4km to Igaliku. The 30 local inhabitants proudly show us their beautiful village including the ruins of Garðar.
Day 12: Wednesday 14 August, Crossing the Davis Strait
We bid farewell to Greenland and sail toward the Americas, following in the wake of the Vikings. Watch for whales feeding in the rich waters and the seabirds that will follow our passage.
Day 13: Thursday 15 August, Crossing the Davis Strait
Onboard Silver Explorer a variety of diversions are available including educational lectures, spa treatments (additional costs), a workout in the Fitness Centre and of course wonderful dining experiences.
Day 14: Friday 16 August, Iqaluit [Baffin Island] (Canada)
Our first foray into Canada begins in the town of Iqaluit, located at the head of Frobisher Bay on Baffin Island. Iqaluit is the capital of Canada’s newest territory, Nunavut, which is Inuktitut for “our land”. Filled with culture and charm Nunavut is the largest but least populated of all Canada’s provinces and territories.
We go ashore and start our week exploring the edges of Canada’s ‘true north’. Expedition leaders and local guides will lead us through the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum and the Nunavut Legislative Assembly Building, both housing incredible collections of Inuit artwork. Before returning to our luxury expedition ship we are treated to a performance of traditional throat singing.
Day 15: Saturday 17 August, Lower Savage Islands
Today we search for the magnificent polar bear. The Lower Savage Islands are a small group of islands off the southeastern tip of Baffin Island and a prime location for polar bears during the summer months. With plenty of land to roam, and the opportunity to feed, many bears migrate here as the ice vanishes with the season’s warming temperatures. Our Zodiacs will allow us to cruise through the narrow channels between the islands to search for the wildlife that resides among the unusual rocky formations.
Day 16: Sunday 18 August, Akpatok Island
We continue exploring Canada’s Nunavut territory at remote Akpatok Island, positioned at the northernmost extremity of the Labrador Peninsula, where sheer limestone cliffs jut out of the icy waters. Encased in snow and surrounded with sea ice in the winter months this uninhabited island lures hordes of wildlife, most notably the world’s largest population of breeding thick-billed murres. These auks flock to the bare cliffs of the island between June and September and female murres incubate their single pear shaped egg on the cliff’s ledges. Glaucous gulls can be seen soaring above looking for unguarded eggs and chicks, while black guillemots paddle the nearby sea. Akpatok Island is also a favourite summer home for polar bears. Later today we reposition to the west in the hope that conditions will permit us to step ashore for a closer inspection of the island by foot.
Day 17: Monday 19 August, Diana Island & Opingivik Island
Diana Island is an oasis of Arctic tundra plant life with green cliffs, sparkling streams and an abundance of shorebirds. We take a walk in one of the beautiful valleys and search for members of the muskox herd that frequent this area.
Opingivik Island translates to ‘a summering place’ and it is one of the most concentrated archaeological sites in the region, dating back thousands of years. Whilst uninhabited this tiny island is still used for hunting and fishing. Local guides will help us interpret the many rock constructions and ancient relics.
Day 18: Tuesday 20 August, Douglas Harbour
This morning we enter the fjord of Douglas Harbour – a stunning site with sheer cliffs that plummet into the sea. Be out on deck to search for a herd of caribou that spend the summer months here. We plan to make a Zodiac landing and explore ashore with our Expedition Team. This afternoon you may like to relax in one of the onboard lounges, attend an entertaining lecture with insights from our knowledgeable Expedition Team or perhaps participate in the friendly team competition of a hilarious Liar’s Club game.
Day 19: Wednesday 21 August, Cape Dorset
Cape Dorset is the most famous Inuit art village in Canada’s north. Here we will visit the printmakers and carvers of the region. Travelling across the bay by Zodiac we also explore Mallikjuaq Territorial Park, where the remains of winter residences from thousands of years ago can be seen. Our local guide will explain in detail the aspects of his ancestor’s daily life. An afternoon at sea allows us to make progress towards our next destination and enables you to enjoy a siesta before another early morning start tomorrow.
Day 20: Thursday 22 August, Bencas Island & Walrus Island
Bencas Island and Walrus Island are known for the walruses that frequent their shores. Our Zodiacs will cruise around the islands for a close up look at these remarkable creatures.
Day 21: Friday 23 August, Cruising Hudson Bay
As we make our way along Canada’s scenic coast spend some time on deck, keeping an eye out for seabirds, dolphin, seals and migrating whales. Our natural history expert will give a presentation in The Theatre. This evening join your Tour Escort Team for a pre dinner drink in the bar.
Day 22: Saturday 24 August, Hudson Bay, Churchill & Winnipeg
During the summer months a truly spectacular sight can be witnessed in Churchill, Manitoba. On the west coast of Hudson Bay thousands of beluga whales, having just given birth, gather together to feed in the brackish waters in front of the town. Join our Expedition Team for a Zodiac cruise into the mouth of the river in hopes of observing the majestic white whales and their young.
Day 23: Sunday 25 August, Hudson Bay, Churchill & Winnipeg
After breakfast we disembark Silver Explorer and transfer to the airport for our charter flight to Winnipeg. We take a brief tour of Winnipeg before checking into the Fairmont Winnipeg Hotel.
This evening we come together for our Farewell Dinner and reflect upon the incredible sights and experiences of this extraordinary journey.
Day 24: Monday 26 August, Depart Winnipeg
We transfer to the airport this morning and fly to Los Angeles to join our Qantas Airways flight home.
Day 25: Tuesday 27 August, Day Lost
A day is lost crossing the International Date Line.
Day 26: Wednesday 28 August, Arrive Australia
Arrive this morning in Australia.
Note: This is a true expedition cruise. Highlights and wildlife in the itinerary are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure your opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather conditions and wildlife activity.