We liked the educational lectures that were provided and the daily wrap-up of activities.
— Paulette and Wally N., Ft. Collins, CO
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.
Fly from London to Reykjavik on scheduled flight. On arrival, transfer to the Ocean Diamond and sail this evening.
This morning, see the advantages of the small ship as you start to explore the fjords north of Reykjavik. Start in Breidafjordur, enjoying expedition cruising in the small islets where you see thousands of birds. Also keep an eye out for whales, and if time permits try and land on one of the islands for a nature walk. In the afternoon, you may visit the Latrabjarg cliffs, the westernmost point of Europe and home to millions of birds including puffins, northern gannets, guillemots, and razorbills.
Awake this morning in the Western Fjords, an isolated but spectacular area of Iceland. You will use Zodiacs to explore Isafjordur and Jokulfjordur. While the itinerary will be dependent on local weather conditions, you may visit Vigur, a serene little island with only five residents, but home to thousands of puffins, eider ducks, and arctic terns. You can also visit Iceland’s only extant windmill dating from the 19th century. Other places to explore include the villages of Thingeyri, one of the oldest settlements in the Westfjords and the location of the area’s first trading post, and Hrafnseyri, which boasts an old Viking farm and is the birthplace of nationalist leader Jón Sigurðsson—who was instrumental in Iceland gaining its independence from Denmark. Before returning to the ship, you will see the thunderous Dynjandi, the tallest waterfall in the Westfjords. Be sure to be on deck this afternoon as the ship cruises around the north coast of Iceland at the Hornbjarg Cliffs. These stunning cliffs rising more than 1,700 feet from the sea and are one of the largest centers for puffins in Iceland.
Siglufjordur and Grimsey Island
Siglufjordur is a picturesque town that offers an idyllic setting in a small fjord flanked by mountains. In the early 1900s, a booming economy due to the herring industry resulted in a prosperous town with some marvelous Icelandic architecture. Stroll through the town and visit the Herring Era Museum. Alternatively, take a Zodiac cruise in Hedinsfjordur, a dramatic and unspoiled landscape located between Olafsfjordur and Siglufjordur. This uninhabited fjord is surrounded by the majestic mountains of the Trollaskagi Peninsula, and enjoy the scenery as you watch for wildlife. In the afternoon, head to Grimsey Island. The Arctic Circle bisects this island, known for its tiny community, basalt cliffs, and large variety of birdlife. Here, you enjoy free time for a nature walk on the island.
From Akureyri, travel by bus to the Lake Myvatn- Krafla area, a fine example of the volcanic world with lava fields, craters, boiling and steaming mud pools, and steam vents of sulphur. The area illustrates the sheer magnitude of Iceland’s forces at work. The lake itself, with beautiful natural rock formations and hot springs, is also a unique ecosystem and the largest migratory bird sanctuary in Europe. Your route will take us by Godafoss (falls of the Gods), an imposing sight. Alternatively, join a tour to the 3,500-year-old Lofthellir lava field and ice cave. The 20-minute walk across lava fields leads to a 1,200-foot-long cave, where you can observe what are considered to be the most impressive natural ice sculptures in Iceland. Along the way, pass the unique Hverfell volcano, the crater row of Ludentarborgir, and the base of Mount Hvannfell.
Husavik is the whale watching capital of Iceland. On this trip, the ship’s Zodiacs take you into Skjalfandi Bay to enjoy the stunning views of the snow-capped Vik Mountains while looking for wildlife. In this sheltered bay, you can find up to 15 different species of whales as well as dolphins and many different kind of birds. For those that prefer to stay ashore, you can explore the town and the excellent Husavik Whale Museum.
Today, arrive at the natural harbour at Seydisfjordur, which has preserved its fishing heritage and its architectural style from the early 19th century. On a walking tour, pass brightly painted and well-preserved Norwegian-style wooden buildings and visit the shops famous for their Icelandic patterned woolens. Adventurous walkers might prefer an energetic hike up the river trail through a verdant landscape of wildflowers.
Today, see the shimmering white Vatnajokull Glacier, Europe’s largest glacier. Ice up to 2,000 feet thick surrounds active volcanoes, one of which erupted in 1996, creating a crater on the surface of the glacier, a most unusual phenomenon. You will venture out on a guided excursion and, after a local seafood lunch, explore the land-locked lagoon of Jokulsarlon.
Your last morning in Iceland is spent in Vestmannaeyjar (Westmann Islands). Islanders here live with a dramatic volcanic history. In 1973, the island of Heimaey experienced an eruption that created a new mountain, Eldfell, known as Mount Fire. This morning, as part of your exploration of the Westmann Islands, circumnavigate Surtsey Island, which was created volcanically in 1963, and is now a closed nature reserve. Few places in the world illustrate more dramatically the powerful forces of nature. Later, arrive at the only community, Heimaey, where half-buried houses can be seen peeking out through the lava and ash. If time permits, you will use the Zodiacs to explore the cliffs and coves in the afternoon.
Arrive in Reykjavik and disembark after breakfast. Transfer to the airport for your scheduled flight to Longon.