Explore the Land of Fire and Ice aboard the Silver Cloud

Overview

Experience the singular beauty of Iceland on this circumnavigation of the land of “fire and ice.” The breathtaking beauty of remote fjords, thundering waterfalls, seaside cliffs packed with nesting birds, quiet lakes and lagoons, mighty glaciers, and the awesomeness of Iceland’s geothermal power are all on view on this exciting voyage, along with encounters with the fascinating local culture. Throughout the voyage, learn about the geology, wildlife, and botany of this spectacular area from lecture presentations offered by your knowledgeable on board Expedition Team. Weather permitting, you’ll have the opportunity to kayak in a small group under the guidance of certified kayak instructors—a chance to truly appreciate the wilds of the Arctic.

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.

Itinerary

Day 1, Aug 5, 2019
Reykjavík

Sprawling Reykjavík, the nation's nerve center and government seat, is home to half the island's population. On a bay overlooked by proud Mt. Esja (pronounced eh-shyuh), with its ever-changing hues, Reykjavík presents a colorful sight, its concrete houses painted in light colors and topped by vibrant red, blue, and green roofs. In contrast to the almost treeless countryside, Reykjavík has many tall, native birches, rowans, and willows, as well as imported aspen, pines, and spruces. Reykjavík's name comes from the Icelandic words for smoke, reykur, and bay, vík. Embark on the Silver Cloud in the late afternoon and cruise toward Vestmannaeyjar.

Day 2, Aug 6, 2019
Vestmannaeyjar / Surtsey Island

The name Vestmannaeyjar refers to both a town and an archipelago off the south coast of Iceland. The largest Vestmannaeyjar island is called Heimaey. It is the only inhabited island in the group and is home to over 4,000 people. The eruption of the Eldfell Volcano put Vestmannaeyjar into the international limelight in 1973. The volcano’s eruption destroyed many buildings and forced an evacuation of the residents to mainland Iceland. The lava flow was stopped in its tracks by the application of billions of liters of cold sea water.

In the mid-afternoon, arrive at Surtsey. On November 14, 1963, a trawler passing the southernmost point of Iceland spotted a column of smoke rising from the sea. Expecting to find a burning boat they were surprised to find, instead, explosive volcanic eruptions. They were witnessing the birth of a new island. Columns of ash reached heights of almost 30,000 feet in the sky and could be seen on clear days as far away as Reykjavík. The eruptions continued for three and a half years, ending in June 1967. Once formed, Surtsey was 492 feet above sea level and covered an area of almost 2 square miles.

Day 3, Aug 7, 2019
Djupivogur

Situated in the southeastern part of Iceland, the little town of Djupivogur is one of the easiest spots in Iceland to reach from northern Europe. Evidence of this is apparent in the presence of a trading post built here as early as the 16th century. In the modern era, fishing is still important, but tourism is increasing more and more. Nearby Bulandsnes has a renowned bird sanctuary, and Papey Island, just slightly to the east, is home to large colonies of Atlantic puffins. Djupivogur is also not too far from Vatnajökull National Park. Enjoy a cruise by local watercraft across a huge freshwater lagoon formed by the melting ice of one of the several tongues of the Vatnajökull Glacier. See the crystal-clear blue ice of hundreds of massive icebergs that float in the lagoon or have run aground.

Day 4, Aug 8, 2019
Langanes Peninsula

Located in northeast Iceland, Langanes Peninsula, whose name translates as “long peak,” extends 25 miles out to sea, ending in a thin strip of land called Fontur. The mostly flat peninsula is verdant green in summer, covered by mossy meadows studded with crumbling remains of long-ago settlements. The coastline is fringed by seemingly endless beaches that are peppered with driftwood. In spring, the sea cliffs are full of guillemots, kittiwakes, gannets, and puffins.

Day 5, Aug 9, 2019
Húsavík

The town of Húsavík, the self-declared “Whale Capital of Iceland,” sits below Húsavíkurfjall mountain on the eastern shore of Skjálfandi Bay. Just above the town is Lake Botnsvatn, a popular place for outings and hikes. The lake's surroundings are rich in vegetation and birdlife and trout is said to be abundant, though small. Húsavík harbor, which once boasted a large fishing fleet bustling with the activity of fishermen, lies right in the heart of town. Visit the whale museum and go on a whale-watching excursion looking for humpback and minke whales, as well as other cetaceans.

Day 6, Aug 10, 2019
Akureyri

Akureyri, called the Capital of the North, is the second largest urban area in Iceland, and a lively one at that. Hemmed by the 37-mile-long Eyjafjörður, Akureyri is sheltered from the ocean winds and embraced by mountains on three sides. Late 19th-century wooden houses impart a sense of history, and the twin spires of a modern Lutheran church rising on a green hill near the waterfront provide a focal point. To the south of Akureyri is the pyramid-shape rhyolite mountain of Súlur. Beyond it is Kerling, the highest peak in Eyjafjörður District. Akureyri is the gateway to Lake Myvatn (“Midges Lake”). The lake is part of a protected nature reserve and many birds (including thirteen species of ducks) frequent the surrounding wetlands.

Day 7, Aug 11, 2019
Cruise along Hornbjarg Cliffs / Vigur Island

Vigur Island is a little more than a mile in length and about 450 yards wide. This green oasis punctuates the waters of the Ísafjarðardjúp fjord east of the town of Isafjordur. The private island is home to a single farming family and has some meticulously preserved historical landmarks including Iceland’s only windmill, built in 1840 and used until 1917 for grinding imported wheat from Denmark; and a 200-year-old rowing boat, which is still in use to ferry sheep to the mainland. Summer is the best time to see large numbers of Atlantic puffins, Arctic terns, and black guillemots, which can be seen while walking across the island. After the walk, enjoy home-baked cakes and cookies made by Vigur Island residents.

Day 8, Aug 12, 2019
Dynjandi Waterfall / Latrabjarg Cliffs

Iceland is well known for its spectacular waterfalls. The iconic Dynjandi waterfall, located in the Westfjords region, is regarded as one of Iceland’s most impressive and majestic waterfalls. At the top, the cascading water is roughly 100 feet wide and tumbles down about 330 feet into the fjord. Its name Dynjandi means, “the thundering one,” and its vast size, enormous sound, and sheer force is overwhelming. It has also been nicknamed “The Bridal Veil’ because of the way the water sprays and spreads over the rocks.

On Iceland’s north coast and close to the westernmost tip of the country are the impressive cliffs of Latrabjarg; Europe’s largest bird cliff. Millions of individual seabirds make their home along the promontory, safe from the range of scavenging foxes on the steep ledges. Atlantic puffins, northern gannets, razorbills, and guillemots have each selected their preferred areas in and above the cliff in which to roost and nest. The Latrabjarg cliffs reach heights of up to 1,500 feet along a staggering 9-mile stretch of the coast.

Day 9, Aug 13, 2019
Klakkeyjar Islands / Stykkishólmur

The Klakkeyjar Islands are a group of small low-lying remote islands in Breidha Fjord, in the western region of Iceland (Vesturland). The west part of the country has a magnetic charm discovered while navigating the ins and outs of the various fjords, peninsulas, and island groups like the Klakkeyar group in the chilly North Atlantic. Stykkishólmur, located in western Iceland at the northern end of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, is the commercial center for the area. Its natural harbor allowed the town to become an important trading center early in Iceland’s history. The first trading post was established in the 1550s, and fishing is still the major industry. The town center boasts beautiful and well-preserved old houses from earlier times.

Day 10, Aug 14, 2019
Reykjavík / Depart

Arrive in Reykjavík in the morning and disembark. Transfer to the airport for departure on homeward-bound flight.

Highlights

Highlights

Enjoy a cruise by local watercraft across a huge freshwater lagoon formed by the melting ice of one of the several tongues of the Vatnajökull Glacier
In Húsavík, go on a whale-watching excursion looking for humpback and minke whales, as well as other cetaceans
Cruise past some of Europe’s largest bird cliffs, where tens of thousands of Atlantic puffins, northern gannets, razorbills, and guillemots perch
Visit a private island and enjoy home-baked goods with the residents

Details

Length: 10 days
Cost From: $21,400  
Arrive: Reykjavík, Iceland
Depart: Reykjavík, Iceland
Lodging: 9 nights aboard a 254-guest vessel
Meals: All meals aboard ship, with beverages included (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History, Special Interest, Photography, Whale Watching, Small Ship Cruising
Trip Level:

9-day cruise, walking tours and cultural explorations, optional kayaking
Cruise collection 2019 brochure

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