Wilderness and Ancient Cultures from Iceland to Canada
About St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
- Join us on an epic voyage from Iceland via Greenland and the Northern
Labrador coast to Newfoundland
- Spend four days exploring the rarely visited Torngat Mountains National Park
- Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurant Aune
- Fine-dining À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm is included for suite guests
- Complimentary tea and coffee
- Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
- Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
- English-speaking Expedition Team who organize and guide activities, both on board and ashore
- Range of included activities
- Experts from the Expedition Team present detailed lectures on a variety of topics
- Use the ship’s Science Center, which features an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
- The Citizen Science program allows guests to contribute to current scientific research projects
- The onboard professional photographer will give tips and tricks for taking the best landscape and wildlife photos
- The ship has hot tubs, a sauna, and an indoor gym
- Participate in informal gatherings with the crew, such as daily recaps and the next day’s preparations
- Escorted landings with small boats (RIBs)
- Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment needed for the activities
- Complimentary wind- and water-resistant expedition jacket
- Expedition photographers will help configure your camera settings before landings
- International flights
- Travel protection
- Baggage handling
- Optional shore excursions with our local partners
- Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team
- All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions
- Excursions and activities are subject to change
- Please ensure you can meet all entry and boarding requirements
- No gratuities are expected
Cosmopolitan capital - Reykjavík, Iceland
Your adventure starts in Reykjavík, the northernmost capital in the world. Reykjavík is both quaint and cosmopolitan. This small city is the perfect for a walking tour, packed full of art, culture, and history.
Stroll along Laugavegur, the main shopping street, filled with high-end boutiques as well as bars and restaurants. Or head toward the striking Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral. Art lovers can visit the Reykjavík Art Museum, the National Gallery, and the many smaller galleries and museums dotting the city. Brush up on your Icelandic history by stopping off at the National Museum, the Saga Museum, and the Maritime Museum. Bring your swimsuit to take a dip in one of the city’s 18 swimming pools, many with saunas and hot tubs, too.
The list of choices doesn’t end there. Reykjavík, whose name actually means ‘Smokey Bay’ due to the rising steam from the surrounding geothermal features, is just a few hours away from geysers, glaciers, hot springs, and waterfalls. Why not book a Pre-Program and spend a few extra days discovering Iceland’s Golden Circle?
At Reykjavik harbor, MS Fridtjof Nansen awaits you. Collect your complimentary expedition jacket and check in, then you’ll have some time to settle into your cabin. Everyone must go through a mandatory safety drill just before departure. After, you’ll have time to walk around and explore the ship. The welcome dinner in the evening ends with a toast by the captain, who will wish everyone an enjoyable expedition. You’ll meet the Expedition Team and key members of the crew, who will take you through an important health and safety briefing.
Crossing the Denmark Strait - At sea
Ease into your adventure with a day at sea on your way to Greenland. Relax, get to know your fellow travelers, and check out the onboard facilities. In the Science Center, the Expedition Team’s lecture program focuses on the wildlife and ecosystems of the Arctic to prepare you for the adventure ahead.
They also run you through important guidelines from AECO, the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators. You'll learn how you can protect wildlife habitats, keep a safe distance from animals, and visit indigenous Arctic communities in a dignified and respectful way.
Feel like staying active? Hit up the gym and get your blood pumping. Choose between the indoor and outdoor gyms and an outdoor track up on deck 11. How about a soothing massage or facial? Book a treatment in the Wellness Center. Or enjoy drinks in the panoramic Explorer Lounge & Bar, while settling into a sofa and watching the rhythmic ocean waves roll by.
‘Paradise on Earth’ - Skjoldungen, Greenland
Welcome to Greenland. This is a glorious, vast realm of mountains, fjords, and glaciers. We’ll spend today exploring the uninhabited island of Skjoldungen in southeast Greenland. The island was originally part of the coast, until the fjords that crisscross the area separated it from the mainland.
In the summer, the brown-gray mountains will be bare of snow and covered in lush green patches of dwarf birch and other Arctic flora. The mountains are interspersed with valleys gouged out by glaciers that calve icebergs into the fjords. There is usually a mix of sea and glacial ice, and you may see larger icebergs in the fjords and along the coast. Danish Arctic explorer W.A. Graah rightly described the area as ‘paradise on Earth’ when he came here in 1829 looking for a lost Norse settlement.
In fact, Skjoldungen is thought to have been inhabited by the ancient Eskimo people as early as 4,000 years ago. Archeological remains also suggest later settlements by the nomadic Thule people, ancestors of the Inuit who came across the Atlantic from Canada. You’ll meet an Inuit community in Canada a bit later on your expedition.
Apart from enjoying a scenic cruise through the fjords, we’ll also try to land on the island, where we hope to offer hiking and kayaking as optional excursions. Our program and activities depend primarily on the weather and ice conditions that day.
'A river of melted ice’ - Prince Christian Sound, Greenland
Get ready to marvel at some of the most stunning views on the planet in Prince Christian Sound. This southern Greenland sound connects Labrador Sea with the Irminger Sea, separating the mainland from the Cape Farewell Archipelago. The 60-mile waterway is surrounded by granite mountains with sharp peaks, some reaching up to over 7,200 feet high. Marvel at the maze of geological patterns in the rock face, from deep cracks and crevasses to lines of black lichen that seem to seep from the stone like paint.
The mountains’ muted grays and rusted greens stand in stark contrast to the bright white of the bountiful glaciers. These slow-moving masses of ice grind their way from the enormous Greenlandic Ice Sheet and flow straight into the sound, calving white-blue icebergs of all sizes, shades, and shapes. You’ll understand why 15th century Italian explorer John Cabot famously described Prince Christian Sound as ‘a river of melted ice’.
Whip out your camera and join the Expedition Team on the observation deck. Only two signs of human life remain here: the Danish weather station built by the U.S. during the Cold War at the entrance to the fjord, and the colorful houses of the 100 residents of Aappilattoq, a fishing and hunting village. When translated from local Greenlandic Inuit, Aappilattoq means ‘Sea Anemone’. You may spot ringed seals and bearded seals on the ice. Look up to the steep cliffs, where you might find nesting glaucous gulls and black guillemots. Minke and humpback whales may also make an appearance, although they tend not to swim into the narrow stretches of the sound, preferring the wider sections at the entrance.
Navigating Prince Christian Sound is only possible in summer, when the sea ice is less packed and icebergs don’t block the entrance. Nonetheless, our route may still be blocked by weather, sea ice, and gate-keeping icebergs. Even if that happens, don’t worry! That’s the nature of an expedition into true wilderness. Here, nature sets the rules. Instead, we may sail toward Nunap Isua—a.k.a. Cape Farewell—the southernmost point of Greenland.
Day 5 - At sea
We’ve left Greenland behind and set our course for Canada. While sailing across the Labrador Sea, enjoy informative lectures presented by the Expedition Team. Their topics may include the wildlife you might spot in Northern Labrador, Inuit culture, expedition photography, and historic explorers of the Canadian Arctic.
We also support a number of Citizen Science projects that you can join. These include the Happywhale project, where your photographs help identify and track the movement of specific whales across the planet, identified from their distinguishing characteristics. You may also join the GLOBE Observer project, which combines your observations of clouds and sky conditions with satellite data. This helps scientists at space agencies like NASA more comprehensively understand the clouds in our atmosphere. By participating in these projects, not only will you be supporting the scientific community, you’ll also be gaining better understanding of the world around you.
'Place of spirits’ - Northern Labrador
Welcome to one of the highlights of this expedition cruise. You’ll spend the next four days exploring Torngat Mountains National Park and northern Labrador.
This is a region of superlative beauty. Gigantic glaciers carve smooth cliffsides into the mountains, seemingly spattered with grey and peach paint. Patches of green grass and shrubs creep up the edges of the dramatic river valleys.
Torngat Mountains National Park is not just stunning—it’s massive. At over 3,700 square miles, it extends from Cape Chidley Islands in the High Arctic all the way to Saglek Fjord in the south. These are also the highest mountains in mainland Canada east of the Rockies.
The park’s name comes from the Inuktitut word ‘Tongait’, meaning ‘Place of Spirits’. It is a fitting description for an area rich in wildlife and considered the ancestral home of the Labrador Inuit and their predecessors. Caribou, black bears, wolves, foxes, peregrine falcons, and golden eagles all call Torngat home. But the polar bear is the undisputed apex predator. If luck is on your side, you might spot one of these powerful mammals as they migrate north in search of sea ice this time of the year. Our first priority is protecting you from risk, so any sightings will of course be from a completely safe distance.
There are a number of possible sites of interest for us to visit as we discover the region. The Expedition Team and the captain will select these sites based on local weather conditions. Two potential places are Ramah Bay and Hebron. The latter is the site of a 19th-century German Moravian mission, while Ramah Bay is famous for a semi-translucent stone called chert, which was highly valued by ancient cultures as far back as 7,000 years.
The Expedition Team will guide you every step of the way and explain the region’s geology and wildlife. You’ll appreciate the archeologist on the Expedition Team, who is highly knowledgeable about the Torngats and eager to share with you the history and culture of this Inuit heartland. During our landings, you can explore freely within the perimeter set by the Expedition Team. This perimeter puts you under the protective ‘umbrella’ of our professionally trained bear guards who will keep a watchful eye on your surroundings. You may also have a chance to tour the area by kayak on an optional excursion.
Pulâgiagitsi! (Come visit!) - Makkovik, Canada
‘Pulâgiagitsi!’ That’s the warm, Inuktitut invitation from the Makkovik community for you to ‘come visit’! This friendly town of about 400 inhabitants is only accessible by sea or air. Its people will be more than happy to welcome you, openly sharing their Inuit culture and unique heritage.
At the White Elephant Museum, you’ll learn how Makkovik was the first permanent settlement in Labrador, established by Moravian Missionaries in 1752. A century later, Norwegian immigrant Torsten Kverna Andersen arrived and set up Makkovik as a small fur trading post linked to Hudson’s Bay Company. This plus rich fishing grounds attracted Inuit and settler populations to the town, allowing it to flourish. Today’s Makkovik inhabitants are very proud of their mixed ancestry and many are direct descendants of Andersen himself.
Aside from the museum, you might also have time to walk the Poet’s Path through the forest, looking out for wildflowers and plaques with inspiring quotes.. Maybe chat with a local and learn more about the town’s main commercial activity, snow-crab fishing. Take the boardwalk, which has views of the Atlantic Ocean and visit the crafts center, which is filled with carvings and traditional Inuit art.
Science and art - At sea
We spend another day at sea as we head toward St. Anthony. Nothing brings passengers together like a shared experience, so you’ll likely have become good friends with a few of your fellow explorers. Chat and reminisce about your favorite parts of the expedition or swap other adventure stories. The Expedition Team members are modern-day explorers and certainly have thrilling experiences to share.
You can also spend some time in the Science Center, making full use of its state-of-the-art microscopes to view our library of microscopic slides. Or look under the lens at field samples that have been carefully collected by the Expedition Team during the course of your own expedition cruise.
Inspired by the raw natural beauty of the landscapes you’ve seen, you might be feeling more creative than curious. An art workshop will allow you to get your creative juices going, visually expressing your take on your expedition experience.
For whales and Vikings - St. Anthony
At St. Anthony, you’ll find a remote town located on a scenic harbor. Whales, seals, dolphins, porpoises, and perhaps even a few icebergs are common sights in the late summer waters, so keep your eyes peeled and put those photography tips into practice.
The region around St. Anthony reportedly has the longest whale-watching season in North America thanks to the vast capelin feeding grounds. Good places to whale watch are Fishing Point Municipal Park and the aptly named Whale Watchers Trail, which leads to panoramic views across the Atlantic. Even if you don’t spot any whales, the area is also reputed to have the highest density of moose and woodland caribou in the world. We certainly hope to catch at least a glimpse or two of these majestic creatures. For the best view of the area and the town, hike up the Tea House Hill trail to the lookout at the top. You won’t be disappointed!
St. Anthony was first settled by Europeans back in the early 16th century, when French and Basque fishermen used the sheltered harbor as a seasonal fishing station. The town really came into its own after the arrival of British doctor Wilfred Grenfell in 1900. He was a medical missionary who devoted his life’s work to Northern Newfoundland and Labrador. Learn more about him by visiting the local Grenfell Museum.
For Viking history, visit L’Anse aux Meadows, located at the tip of Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula. Here, you’ll find the first known evidence of European presence in North America, long before Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ the ‘New World’. Over a thousand years ago, a Norse expedition sailing from Greenland landed and camped for a time in this beautiful area of rugged cliffs and marshlands. Two Norwegian archeologists excavated the site in 1960 and it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The reconstructed camp is now recognized as a Canadian National Historic Site and exhibits original artifacts from this significant archeological find.
Full of ‘Newfie’ character - St. John’s, Newfoundland
Our journey comes to an end at St. John’s. Even though it’s the oldest and easternmost city in North America, it’s also one of the country’s most ‘up and coming’ destinations. If you only have time for one thing after disembarking the ship, take a hike up Signal Hill for sweeping views of this picturesque city. At the top of Signal Hill, you’ll find the Cabot Tower, which resembles a castle. It’s where famous inventor Guglielmo Marconi successfully received the first ever transatlantic wireless message in 1901.
We highly recommend booking a Post-Program to dive deeper into this exciting city. Hang out in the attractive downtown area, nicknamed ‘Jellybean Row’ for its brightly painted multi-colored houses. Check out The Rooms, a combined art gallery/provincial museum, or admire the twin clock towers of the St. John the Baptist Basilica. Don’t miss the nightlife, including award-winning restaurants and a bar scene that blends sophistication with simplicity.
Head to the charming lakeside neighborhood of Quidi Vidi to try beer brewed with iceberg water. Feeling bold? Initiate yourself as a ‘Newfie’ (Newfoundlander) and tackle one of the ‘screeching-in’ challenges on offer at many bars. This includes downing some strong Newfoundland rum and undertaking tasks that become more ridiculous and hilarious with every step. Or you could channel your inner-Canadian and support the local team at an exhilarating ice hockey match!