Scheduled flight from Germany to Keflavik
Journey to Reykjavik/Iceland
Reykjavik/Iceland, departure 19.00 hrs
In Iceland, where impressive natural spectacles allow you to experience the wonder of creation, humans are just the supporting cast. This is strikingly underlined as soon as you reach Olafsvik. On a tour of the Snaefellsnes peninsula*, uncover the secrets of the beautiful and dramatic landscape.
Your exciting circumnavigation begins with the Westman Islands. In 1973, the Eldfell volcano erupted on Heimaey, the largest island, covering it in lava streams. Take a scenic flight above volcanoes and waterfalls* and see the black fields stretch out below you, combining with the icy blue and the white of the glaciers to form a sea of colour.
Iceland’s east coast (cruising through the eastern fjords, Seydisfjordur, Bakkagerdi )
Marvel at Seydisfjordur, located at the end of a fjord surrounded by snow-capped peaks. The historic wooden buildings will provide great photo opportunities as you take a walk. The flourishing plant variety in the Vestdalur Valley* is an enchanting sight. Iceland’s magical side as the “island of mythical creatures and trolls” is revealed in Bakkagerdi. Legend has it that the queen of the elves reigns over Borgarfjordhur and the bird-inhabited cliffs where countless puffins learn to fly.
Iceland’s north coast (Husavik , Akureyri, Hrisey , Grimsey )
Husavik is the European capital of whale watching*. Will you manage to spot humpback whales, porpoises and dolphins in the ice-blue bay? Heading ashore, the waterfalls of the north* are a wonder to behold – for example Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall cascading around 45 m (148 ft). A hike in Asbyrgi Canyon* will take you across the rocky horseshoe-shaped basin. While the myth says that an enormous horse made this impression in the earth, the canyon was probably hollowed out by icefalls. Akureyri, a northern gem at the end of the 90 km (56 mi.) long Eyjafjordur, is home to the writer Jon Sveinsson and your gateway to majestic nature. A hike on Mount Sulur* allows you to experience Iceland’s vastness and feeling of freedom with every step. Green meadows alternate with rocky terrain, filled with watercourses fed by the melting snow. At the peak, enjoy a legendary view of Iceland’s longest fjord. A flight over the volcanic landscape* will reveal the staggering dimensions of Iceland’s largest lava field and the mighty Vatnajokull glacier. Or opt to be carried through this idyllic landscape on small island inhabitants known for their friendly character: riding Icelandic horses* will introduce you to these lovely creatures and show you how comfortable they are to ride with their special tolt gait. Will the next day’s weather allow you to land on the small island of Hrisey? Once ashore, this dreamy piece of earth tells of life in the home of the rock ptarmigan. Your knowledge will keep pace with these new impressions as you gain fascinating insights into the Viking history, wildlife and geology of the volcanic island of Grimsey. The island lies right on the Arctic Circle. Passing it is a special moment for seafarers.
Passing Jan Mayen/Norway
Relaxation at sea
Spitsbergen (Hornsund, Prins Karls Forland, Magdalenefjord, Liefdefjord, Raudfjord, Amsterdamoya, Ny-Alesund, Alkhornet)
Untouched wilderness and deep fjords: thrilling days lie ahead on the coast of Spitsbergen – home to whales, Arctic foxes, walruses and the king of the Arctic, Ursus maritimus. The Hornsund cuts deep into the land, as though the archipelago were welcoming you to its beauty with thrilling views. Vast stretches of coastline alternate with glaciers and striking peaks in the 25 km (15.5 mi.) long fjord. The many years of polar experience offered by our captain and crew mean that you can explore the many wonders of Spitsbergen in exceptional detail. They will always react flexibly and spontaneously to capture unforgettable moments depending on the weather and ice. For example, bringing the ship about if you are lucky enough to hear a cry of “Polar bear spotted!” Overwhelming wildlife encounters might also await you on the small island of Prins Karls Forland, where imposing walruses often gather in herds. The scenes at the Magdalenefjord leave no doubt that the nature of the far north will take your breath away. In good weather, the silhouette of the mountains around the Liefdefjord against a blue sky merges with its mirror image in the water to form a surreal still-life painting. Here, the Monacobreen provides a striking conclusion to your many expedition experiences on both sides of the Arctic Circle. The palpable effects of the Gulf Stream pave the way to the Raudfjord, the archipelago’s most northerly fjord. In certain lights, the mountains take on shades of reddish brown. Amsterdamoya is home to historic man-made relics: the remains of 400-year-old ovens bear witness to the whalers who once cooked blubber here to make lamp oil. Ny-Alesund combines the pioneering spirit of the past and present – it was here, in 1926, that Roald Amundsen and Umberto Nobile set out for the North Pole in an airship. In Alkhornet, imposing limestone cliffs that form the breeding grounds for thousands of guillemots and other bird species await. With a little luck, you might see some Arctic foxes and polar bears, too. Your expedition may come an end here, but these exceptional experiences will stay with you forever.
Longyearbyen/Spitsbergen/Norway, arrival 7.00 hrs
Charter flight from Longyearbyen to Hanover**
* The organised shore activities are not included in the cruise price and are in the planning stage. You will receive details prior to departure. All shore activities (organised and individual) may be cancelled by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises at short notice, depending on the given developments at the time of the cruise.
** Depending on the flight time, an extra night (at extra cost) in an airport hotel may be required for your departure.