Iceland Circumnavigation: Ultimate Fire and Ice

Extraordinary Natural Wonders Aboard the Ocean Nova

Iceland Circumnavigation: Ultimate Fire and Ice route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $6995  
Length: 12 days
Arrive: Reykjavik, Iceland
Depart: Reykjavik, Iceland
Lodging: 1 night hotel, 10 nights aboard a deluxe 68-guest vessel
Meals: all meals included on board
Activity: Sea Kayaking, Wildlife & Natural History, Small Ship Cruising
Trip Level: 11-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours


  • Dramatic landscapes of Thingvellir National Park, majestic Gullfoss, Iceland’s most famous waterfall
  • Picturesque Snaefellsnes Peninsula and the Western Fjords
  • The warm waters of the Blue Lagoon, the 10-story-high Vatnajokull Glacier
  • Grimsey Island, above the Arctic Circle

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.

Pre-Departure Information

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Our expedition around Iceland offers an in-depth exploration of this small island of geological extremes. Encounter unrivaled natural diversity, from volcanic landscapes to lava fields and ice sheets to gushing hot springs and cascading waterfalls. Our Expedition team will make every effort to maximize your experiences with all the extremes of this land, its incredible birdlife, colorful hamlets, friendly and hearty people, and serene bays perfect for kayaking.


Day 1

Arrive in the Icelandic capital this morning and transfer to the Grand Hotel Reykjavik. You will have the day on your own to explore the city. Join us at the hotel in the evening for a welcome reception and orientation.

Day 2
Golden Circle and Embarkation

After breakfast, we will venture south from Reykjavik along Iceland’s famous Golden Circle route, starting with Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we’ll enter a dramatic landscape of wild contrasts, with lava plains, clear lakes and wildflowers in the shadow of soaring mountains. This was also the site of Iceland’s parliament from 930 until 1798. We will also visit Iceland’s most famous waterfall, Gullfoss, at the height of its flow. We complete the Golden Circle with Haukadalur, where we’ll the Strokkur geyser erupts every 5-10 minutes, along with plenty of other evidence of the intense geological processes beneath our feet. After lunch, we’ll make our way to the Ocean Nova and set sail.

Day 3

Today we will reach the photogenic Snaefellsnes Peninsula and visit our first small Icelandic town, Grundarfjordur. We will sail into the small harbor and have a chance to walk around this picturesque fishing village. In the afternoon, we will sail to the westernmost point of Iceland. If we can stop at the seabird colony, we will spot Atlantic puffins, thick-billed murres and black-legged kittiwakes.

Day 4

We awake to the sight of the Westfjords area, with its high rock walls carved by intense glacier action. Here we’ll find the colorful town of Isafjordur, home to a charming museum dedicated to Iceland’s rich maritime history. We may also have a chance to sample some local Icelandic delicacies and take in some local entertainment. In the afternoon we will explore the dramatic fjords that make this area famous.

Day 5
Grindavík and the Blue Lagoon

Today we’ll visit one of Iceland’s most popular attractions, the Blue Lagoon. You’ll be able to soak in the geothermally-heated seawater, rumored to be good for both the body and soul. For those who don’t crave the comforts of the spa, an optional round of golf is also available at the Continental Drift Club, where the American and Eurasian plates meet.

Day 6
Heimaey and Surtsey Islands

Lying off the southern coast of Iceland, these islands are an example of the constant geological battle being waged underground. In 1973 a volcanic eruption destroyed many buildings on the islands and today a project dubbed the “Pompeii of the North” aims to excavate those ruins. Not to be out-named, the entire archipelago has been called the “Capri of the North” because of all the sea caves created by frequent volcanic activity. Sea birds, including puffins, call this place home.

Day 7
Jokulsarlon and Hofn

This morning we visit one of the most impressive wonders of Iceland: Vatnajokull Glacier. It is over 1,000 feet high, we can't appreciate the full scale of the ice until we get out on Jokulsarlon Lake and sail among the icebergs that frequently calve from the ice face. In the afternoon, we arrive at Hofn, a small and traditional fishing community.

Day 8

We’ll call into Seydisfjordur, a small, friendly town with a thriving art scene. We can visit the power plant museum, shop for locally produced handicrafts in the town, and join a tour conducted by the locals. The area also boasts over 90 archaeological sites, some dating back 1,000 years.

Days 9-10
Husavík and Grimsey Island

Husavík is an excellent example of the geological processes that have made Iceland famous. We will spend the day crossing through the highland lava desert, past lava formations, mud pools and sulfur pits en route to the impressive canyons and waterfalls that lie beyond. Returning back to town, we’ll have a chance to wander around and visit the Whale and Exploration Museums before boarding the Ocean Nova. This area is the center of the whale-watching industry in Iceland, so we’ll be on the lookout for whales as the ship pulls away from this pretty town. In the late afternoon we should cross the Arctic Circle and reach Grimsey Island. The abundant bird life far outnumbers the fewer than one hundred residents of this small village.

Day 11
Westfjords: Hornvik and Area

Today we reach the very top of Iceland as we venture north into the peaceful bay of Hornvik. Grand landscapes and exploration will be the order of the day, with a chance to stretch our legs and marvel at the geology and bird life that dominate the area.

Day 12
Disembarkation in Akureyri

On our last day we arrive in Akureyri, where we board our charter flight back to Reykjavík.

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. Flexibility is a must, as itineraries are subject to change, and landings may be tidal or weather dependent.

Explanation of Trip Levels



Aug 26-Sep 6, 2015  Ocean Nova

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015

Cruise Rates by Cabin Category
Per person, double occupancy

CategoriesCruise Price
Quad $6,995
Triple $7,495
Upper (Lower Berth) Twin $8,295
Upper Deck Twin $8,795
Bridge Deck Twin $9,995
Sole Occupancy $14,950
Optional Kayaking (subject to availability): : $525

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:

  • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
  • All breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks on board
  • 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
  • On embarkation day, transfer to the ship
  • On disembarkation day, group transfer to the Akureyri airport
  • Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all Inclusions passengers to a maximum benefit of US$100,000 per person
  • Pre-night accommodations as indicated in the itinerary
  • Iceland Cruise Passenger Tax
  • Charter flight from Akureyri to Reykjavik domestic airport
  • Group transfer from the airport to downtown Reykjavik

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

  • Passport and any applicable visa expenses
  • Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above
  • Any meals ashore with the exception of breakfast at the host hotel
  • Baggage, cancellation, interruption, and medical travel insurance
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified
  • 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

Arrival & Departure Information

Arrival & Meeting Place
Reykjavik, Iceland
Date: Day 1
Flight arrival time: Before 4:00pm

Suggested arrival airport
Reykjavik, Iceland (KEF)

Arrive Reykjavik on Day 1 of the trip anytime before 4:00pm.  Transfer on your own to the Grand Hotel Reykjavik where a welcome reception and orientation is planned.  The overnight is included in the cruise price.  Embarkation will take place on the afternoon of Day 2 after some local sightseeing.

Day 12: Akureyri
Disembark: In the morning
Charter flight to Reykjavik (included in cruise price)

Transfer downtown
Depart on evening flights

Departure airport
Reykjavik, Iceland (KEF)

Passengers disembark on Day 12 in Akureyri and fly back to Reykjavik on a charter flight.  Your departing flights from Reykjavik home should be booked no earlier than the evening of Day 12.  This may be cause for a forced overnight in Reykjavik (which would not be included in the trip price).

Expedition Details


A valid passport is required for Iceland. 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.


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


No inoculations are currently required for entry into Iceland.

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.