East Greenland: Northern Lights

Arctic Splendor Aboard the Ocean Nova

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $7295  
Length: 14 days
Arrive: Reykyavik, Iceland
Depart: Reykjavik, Iceland
Lodging: 13 nights aboard a deluxe 68-guest vessel, 1 hotel night
Meals: All meals included aboard ship
Activity: Sea Kayaking, Wildlife & Natural History, Small Ship Cruising
Trip Level: 13-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours, Zodiac cruises


  • Vast Greenland landscapes, world’s largest and most remote national park
  • Zodiac cruising, tundra hiking
  • Possible musk ox and whale sightings
  • Community visits, optional kayaking adventures

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Scoresbysund, the world’s largest fjord system, beckons you to explore, enticing you with some of the world’s best displays of Northern Lights, the Inuit settlement of Ittoqqortoormiit, and people who continue to live in the traditional ways of their ancestors. Iceberg-choked fjords, tundra hikes, and the Arctic wildlife of Greenland National Park create picture-perfect scenes every day in this pure Arctic wilderness.


Day 1
Reykjavik, Iceland

Your adventure begins with an overnight stay in the modern city of Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital city.

Day 2
Akureyri, Iceland

You fly from Reykjavik to the northern Icelandic town of Akureyri to begin your expedition to Greenland. As you sail out to sea, your first wildlife sightings will be seabirds above and whales below. Get ready for a great adventure!

Day 3
At Sea

Sail through the Denmark Strait en route to mysterious Greenland. Your expedition team will keep you informed and entertained with presentations about Greenland’s wildlife, history and geography.

Days 4-7
Greenland National Park

Fjords and colorful tundra punctuate the scenery of Greenland National Park, where Arctic fox and musk ox roam free. Your days will be spent exploring and learning about the unique history and geology of Greenland. King Oscar Fjord is a hiker’s paradise. You may walk across the fall colors of the tundra at Holm Bay, Zodiac-cruise through spectacular Alepfjord or challenge yourself with a climb to the top of nearby Ella Island (the views are worth it). From Ella Island you’ll head to the Antarctic; the Antarctic Sound, that is. Yes, curiously, there is an Antarctic Sound in the Arctic. The area is home to beautiful purple- and gold-colored rocks with Ymer Island and Blomsterbugten, the “Bay of Flowers,” in the distance, waiting to be explored. Keeping a watchful eye out for wildlife, you will then head south along the Liverpool Coast. Weather conditions are variable here, but we’ll aim to visit Storefjord and the “warming island” of Uunartoq Qeqertaq, which was only discovered in 2005.

Days 8-11
Scoresbysund Fjord

Arriving at Scoresbysund, you’ll find yourself mesmerized by the largest, longest, and – some say – most beautiful fjord system in the world. This area was named for William Scoresby, who charted the east coast of Greenland in 1822. At the start of the sound, Ittoqqortoormiit is East Greenland’s most northerly community. With clear skies, you’ll have a great opportunity to see the Northern Lights here. You’ll also have the opportunity to support the local Inuit artisan community by purchasing unique handicrafts. Our time here is spent bonding with the Inuit people and gaining an appreciation of their way of life. Sailing on deeper into Scoresbysund, you’ll encounter massive icebergs and an ancient Thule settlement as we approach Sydkap and Øfjord. The scenery here is beyond belief, with towering mountain sides and hundreds of apartment-sized icebergs playing tricks with your sense of perception. Pushing onward, your expedition will come to Rypefjord and Kap Hofmann Halvø. We will keep our eyes peeled for sightings of rare blue icebergs, which are more normally seen in the Antarctic. With binoculars in hand, birders should keep watch for wheatears, snow buntings and ravens at Rypefjord. At Kap Hofmann Halvø we’ll have a good chance for closer encounters with grazing musk ox and enjoy a final hike out on the colorful tundra.

Days 12-13
At Sea

Your homeward journey re-crosses the Denmark Strait, giving you a couple of days for whale watching. During our crossings we’ll see white-beaked dolphins and humpback, Minke and blue whales. On our journey back to Iceland, birders will enjoy spotting kittiwakes, gannets, guillemots, fulmars and razorbills.

Day 14
Disembark in Akureyri

Your Greenland adventure comes to an end as you enter port in Akureyri and board your included flight to Reykjavik. A transfer is provided to downtown Reykjavik. If you have time, it’s worth sticking around to explore this great city.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.

What the Trip is Like

This trip is level 1, Easy. For most activities, a relatively moderate level of exertion is required. You will need to climb into and out of Zodiacs for excursions ashore and walk one to three miles over sometimes rough terrain such as cobblestones and uneven, rocky beaches. We have designed shore excursions to accommodate both those who wish moderate strolls and those who prefer more active hikes. In August, temperatures will range from the low 50sF–mid-60sF, cooling slightly as you travel north. Flexibility is a must, as itineraries are subject to change, and landings may be tidal or weather dependent.

Explanation of Trip Levels



Sep 5-18, 2015  Ocean Nova

Sep 17-30, 2015  Ocean Nova

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015

Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy

CategoriesCruise Price
Quad $7,295
Triple $7,995
Upper (Lower Berth) Twin $9,295
Upper Deck Twin $10,295
Bridge Deck Twin $10,795
Sole Occupancy $17,500
Optional Kayaking (subject to availability): $595

Trip Payment Schedule*

At time of reservation: 20% of trip cost
130 days prior to departure: Balance

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $1000 per person
179-120 days prior to departure: 20% of trip cost
119 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Deck Plan


Trip Cost Includes:

  • Pre expedition hotel night in Reykjavik and breakfast
  • Transfer from hotel to airport
  • Flights to and from Akureyri
  • Transfer to and from ship
  • Transfer from domestic airport in Reykjavik to downtown
  • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
  • All meals included aboard ship
  • All shore landings per the daily program
  • Leadership throughout the voyage by experienced Expedition Leader
  • A daily program of lectures by noted naturalists, historians and scientists
  • All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
  • Formal and informal presentations by Expedition Team and Special Guests as scheduled
  • Photographic Journal on DVD, documenting the voyage
  • A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings
  • An official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep
  • Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
  • Hair dryer and bathrobe in every cabin
  • Comprehensive pre-departure materials, including a map and an informative Arctic Reader
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
  • All luggage handling aboard ship
  • Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of US$100,000 per person
  • Greenland voyages Cruise Passenger Tax

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

  • International airfare
  • Passport and any applicable visa expenses
  • Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above
  • Any meals ashore
  • Baggage, cancellation, interruption, and medical travel insurance
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Laundry and other personal charges
  • Telecommunications charges
  • The voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew
  • Any overnight accommodation required due to flight connections
  • Optional kayaking activities and Ilulissat Icefjord Glacier helicopter excursion

Arrival & Departure Information

You are responsible for your own transportation to the arrival and from the departure cities listed below. For more detailed information, including transfers, please call our office at 1-800-368-2794.

Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip. Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule.

2015 Departures

Arrival & Meeting Place
Reykjavik, Iceland
Group Hotel (TBA)
Date: Day 1
Suggested arrival time: anytime

Suggested Arrival Airport
Keflavik International Airport (airport code KEF)
Day 1 of this program is your arrival day to Reykjavik.  Day 2 includes a transfer to the airport and flight to Akureyri where you will embark the Ocean Nova.
Reykjavik, Iceland
Date: Day 14
Fly from Akureyri back to Reykjavik where you are free to depart for home.  We do not recommend booking your international departure earlier than the afternoon of Day 14.  In fact, we suggest an extra overnight (or two!) to explore this modern capital city.

Suggested Airport for Departure
Keflavik International Airport (airport code KEF)

Expedition Details

A valid passport is required for traveling on this trip.  Be sure to check the expiration date.  Your passport must be valid for six months after the conclusion of your trip.  It is a good idea to carry photocopies of your passport photo page in case your passport is lost or as an additional piece of identification, as well as two extra passport photos.

No visa is required for US Citizens traveling to Iceland or Greenland.

We recommend checking the Center for Disease Control at should you have any international health concerns.

No vaccines are required for this trip.

Ocean Nova

The Ocean Nova is an expedition-style ship carrying just 68 to 86 guests, depending on the destination. She was built in Denmark in 1992 to sail the ice-choked waters of Greenland, and her ice-strengthened hull is ideally suited for travel in polar regions. The ship offers basic but comfortable outside-facing cabins, all with private facilities. Six of the cabins on the upper deck have upper and lower berths, while all other cabins have two lower berths. In addition to a glass-enclosed observation lounge and presentation room, the Ocean Nova has a spacious dining room, bar, and library. Guests are welcome on the bridge around the clock and there is always something to see or search for from the spacious observation decks. There are seven Zodiacs on board, ideal for disembarking for shore excursions and wildlife watching.