Greenland has been home to the Inuit people for more than 5,000 years and Hurtigruten makes its a point to educate its guests on the realities of living in on an ice-encrusted island where only two towns are connected by road, a summer day may find an iceberg floating by your beach setting, populations range from 2 to 15,469 hardy souls, and the dog sled has always been the principal mode of winter transport. Hurtigruten‘s expedition ship MS Fram arrives in the center of the towns, making it easier for its 318 guests to explore, meet and chat with locals and learn from onboard guides and expedition experts. Four different itineraries sail between the end of May and September, 2013. Early-booking fares, offering a savings of 20%, range from $6,781 to $9,005 for the nine-day ‘Heart of Greenland’ to $8,266 to $12,044 for a newer creation now with two departures – a 15-day expedition that takes in Spitsbergen, the rarely-visited North East Greenland National Park (world’s largest), and several stops in Iceland.
Greenland has been the focal point for the climate change debate for many years and the most affected are the Inuit people living there. Hurtigruten takes every opportunity to allow interaction for the guests – whether it is hosting locals on board, visiting nearby workshops, watching fisherman bring in their catches, speaking with a dog sled handler or just freely walking through the towns and chatting.
Highlights include the seafaring town of Sisimiut, Greenland’s second largest; the port of Qeqertarsuaq, home to an Arctic research station; the scenery of Uummannaq at the foot of a heart-shaped mountain, where guests are greeted by local school children and offered traditional “kaffemik” (a friendly cup of coffee); the traditional settlement of Ukkusissat; the impressive three-mile-long glacier front of Eqip Sermia; the huge complex of fjords that surround Narsaq; and some of the best preserved ruins from the Norse period located in Hvalsey. Most itineraries include visits to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ilulissat and the small island of Itilleq, where guests can join in or watch a traditional football (soccer) match. Three of the itineraries begin or end in Iceland with several stops included.
Guests can further explore the Inuit culture and icy landscape of Greenland by taking advantage of a wide range of optional excursions. Options include a helicopter flight to Ilulisat Glacier, the most productive glacier in the northern hemisphere; a polarcirkel landing at Eqip Sermia, complete with a barbecue on the outside deck of the ship; an exploration of the Viking ruins in Narsaq; and a visit to Great Greenland tannery, the only tannery in the country, where guests learn about the processes used to treat the furs. Two of the hiking expeditions offered – in Qeqertarsuaq and Ilulissat – are included at no extra cost in both itineraries.
Rates are subject to availability and include accommodation in cabin or suite of your choice; full board; educational lectures and all aspects of the onboard program; flight between Copenhagen and Kangerlussuaq when required; transfers; wind and rain resistant jacket; landing Polarcirkel boats; and specific excursions as indicated within each itinerary. International flights, optional excursions and cruise fuel surcharge are additional.
Additional information, brochures and reservations can be obtained from travel agents or Hurtigruten’s website, www.hurtigruten.us; by phone: (877) 301-3117. To order brochures 24 hours a day, call (800) 582-0835.