Venture deep into the far reaches of the Arctic, a land where polar bears roam and hardy Inuit communities maintain their traditional way of life. Aboard the National Geographic Explorer, trace the rugged fjords of Greenland and navigate Canada’s legendary Baffin Island. Spot polar bears on the pack ice, get up close to massive glaciers, and hike the myriad islands that dot Canada’s northern
Maneuver between the soaring icebergs at the mouth of the Ilulissat Icefjord,
a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Join our naturalists to observe polar bears, arctic foxes, ringed seals,
belugas, and—with luck—narwhals in their natural habitat.
Explore Lancaster Sound, the gateway to the Northwest Passage, and
hear from our experts and onboard cartographers about the legendary
explorers who sought to make history here.
Discover Arctic-adapted flora, and seek out caribou and arctic foxes
while hiking the landscapes of Baffin Island.
Itinerary - 16 Days
Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Keflavík, Iceland/Reykjavík
Take an overnight flight to Keflavík. Transfer to Reykjavík and take a guided overview of the old town, including Hallrímskirkja Cathedral. After lunch, check into the hotel in time for a welcome reception and dinner. Grand Hotel (Day 2: L, D)
Day 3 — Reykjavík/Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Fly by chartered aircraft to Greenland, the land of the midnight sun. Embark the National Geographic Explorer at the head of Kangerlussuaq Fjord, a scenic waterway that stretches 100 miles, and is aptly known as the “long fjord.” (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Greenland’s West Coast and Sisimiut
Dozens of deep fjords carve into Greenland’s west coast, many with glaciers fed by the ice cap that covers about 80 percent of the country. Discover this beautiful and ragged coastline in Zodiacs, searching for humpback and minke whales. At Sisimiut, a former whaling port, visit the museum and wander amid a picturesque jumble of historic and modern wooden buildings. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — At Sea in Baffin Bay
Sail into Disko Bay to explore the World Heritage site of Ilulissat Icefjord, a tongue of the Greenland ice cap that extends to the bay. Take an extraordinary cruise among towering icebergs at the mouth of the fjord. Then walk alongside this immense, calving glacier to the Inuit fishing village and archaeological site of Sermermiut. (B,L,D)
Days 6 through 10 — Exploring the Canadian High Arctic
We begin our exploration of the Canadian High Arctic with a visit to the small Inuit community of Pond Inlet, Nunavut. We will explore some of the beautiful bays and inlets along Baffin Island's Lancaster Sound. Carved by Ice Age glaciers, Lancaster Sound is the eastern gateway to the Arctic Archipelago. European explorers like William Baffin first ventured here in the 15th century to search for the Northwest Passage. The sound has been a favorite Inuit hunting and fishing location for hundreds of years. Our days here will be spent searching for ringed seals, arctic foxes, walruses, and polar bears, as well as beluga whales. We may even see the elusive narwhal, an arctic whale known for the long, spiraling tooth that projects up to ten feet from its upper jaw. Visit Devon Island and walk with our ship's archaeologist to learn about the Thule people that once inhabited this region and were the ancestors of all modern Inuit. Go ashore Dundas Harbor for a chance to hike on the tundra and search for interesting flora and fauna, including extensive moss beds with interspersed flowering vascular plants. Look for gyrfalcons, nesting above the sod and stone dwellings once inhabited by the Thule people. (B,L,D daily)
Days 11, 12, & 13 — At Sea/Disko Bay and Ilulissat Icefjord/Exploring West Greenland
We make our way across Baffin Bay during a relaxing day at sea. Enjoy talks with our expedition team and search for wildlife from the bridge. Sail into Disko Bay to explore the World Heritage site of Ilulissat Icefjord, a tongue of the Greenland ice cap that extends to the bay. Take an extraordinary cruise among towering icebergs at the mouth of the fjord. Visit the town of Ilulissat and walk to the archaeological site in the Sermermiut Valley. Our final day of exploration will be spent in Greenland's beautiful, scenic fjords. Take a Zodiac cruise or kayak some of the picturesque waterways. Our undersea specialist may also launch our remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to view the marine life inhabiting the fjord’s floor. (B,L,D daily)
Days 14 & 15 — Kangerlussuaq/Reykjavík/Keflavík/U.S.
Disembark in Kangerlussuaq and fly by chartered aircraft to Reykjavík, Iceland where we will stay for two nights at our fine hotel. The next day features either a full-day tour of the Golden Circle or choose a walking or city-by-bike tour of Reykjavík. Our final day in Reykjavík you have the choice of options: a soak in the Blue Lagoon; a tour of the Reykjanes Peninsula; or a visit to the hot springs, geothermal power plant and horse farm. After lunch, transfer to the airport in Keflavík for flights home. Grand Hotel (Days 14-15: B,L,D daily; Day 16: B,L)
During the past 25 years, Phil Schermeister completed more than 40 major assignments for the National Geographic Book Division, National Geographic magazine and other National Geographic publications. He has photographed on assignment in more than 40 National Parks around the United States and has published six single-photographer books with National Geographic, including Range of Light, Our National Parks and America's Western Edge. Some of his other assignments have included coverage of Quechua Indians in the Andes of Peru, Tarahumara Indians in Mexico’s Copper Canyon and Native Americans across the Western United States.
Phil is drawn to high-latitudes, and has photographed all types of natural landscapes from National Parks, Seashores, and Recreation Areas to Wild and Scenic Rivers and National Wildlife Refuges. In his search for “decisive moments” in nature, Phil seeks to find drama in the changing light and seasons as the forces of nature continue to sculpt an unfinished natural landscape.
If departing from outside the U.S., plan to arrive on the morning of Day 2.
Category A Solo
Category B Solo
Prices are per person, double occupancy, except those marked solo, which are based on single occupancy.
*The 2019 departure date follows a 19-day itinerary which will be posted soon. Please call for details.
Airfare to/from Keflavík and round-trip charter airfare between Reykjavik and Kangerlussuaq is not included in the expedition cost. The group flights between Kangerlussuaq and Reykjavik are $1,520 (subject to change).
Travelers can choose between a light or moderate activity level. For a light level of activity, they should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, or easy hikes.
For a moderate level, travelers should be prepared for multiple hours of physical activity (e.g. hiking, kayaking, biking) each day.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.