Have You Ever Circumnavigated an Entire Country Before?

  Read below about new, exciting voyages from my friends at Hurtigruten Cruises: In the summer of 2020, we have two exciting itineraries that completely circumnavigate Iceland! Aboard MS Fram, named after the legendary ship used by Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen, each expedition dives deep into the history, culture, and wildlife of this magnificent island country. Plus, MS Fram will be completely refurbished in the spring of 2020; not only will her cabins and …

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Iceland ProCruises: Saying goodbye to a magical trip

Sometimes magic happens. Nothing you can really plan.  Even if you make all the best arrangements in the world, some trips just don’t quite come together as hoped. Maybe the food isn’t to your liking; the shore excursions too tough or too tame; entertainment rather bland or not your type; crew members inattentive or rude; fellow travelers are prima donnas or grouches. Maybe your room that looked so great in a brochure turns out to be dingy …

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Iceland ProCruises: One last Iceland museum, world’s only about Phallology

REYKJAVIK, Iceland – No way around it. To get into that museum restroom, I was going to have to grab the door handle and pull. No problem in most places. But this is the famous Icelandic Phallological Museum. The handle on that door was shaped like – you guessed it – a penis. Two visitors behind me were waiting to see what I would do. What else? Seize the unusual opener, give it a jerk and walk …

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Iceland ProCruises: Island rises from the volcanic ashes

ABOARD THE OCEAN DIAMOND – Shortly after midnight on Jan. 23, 1973, residents of Heimaey were awakened by the blare of fire engine horns. Looking outside, they were horrified to see bright red lava exploding into the night sky and a wall of fire spewing from a fissure snaking across the island. Although they had long lived within the shadow of a volcano, the eruption  came as a  surprise to the 5,300 Icelandic residents. “Can you imagine …

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Iceland ProCruises: Cruising on a photogenic glacier, sharing it with a seal

ABOARD THE OCEAN DIAMOND – James Bond was here. So was Batman. And Laura Croft the Tomb Raider. No wonder filmmakers have chosen this Icelandic spot for movie magic. The Jökulsárlon Glacier Lagoon is spectacular and considered one of the top natural wonders in a country that is known for natural treasures. Hard to believe the glacier lagoon has been here a mere 70 years or so. The lagoon was formed as the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier began to …

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Iceland ProCruises: Whales, horses, sheep, mosquitoes and crossing the Arctic Circle

ABOARD THE OCEAN DIAMOND – Imagine Iceland without horses, those beautiful short husky creatures that look so striking on the country’s landscape. That’s the way it was until the Vikings came more than 1,000 years ago and brought  Nordic horses with them. Although they are smaller than most horses, I learned shortly after arriving in Iceland not to call them ponies. “Icelanders get very offended when you say they are ponies,” said Hermann Guõmundsson, expedition team member …

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Iceland ProCruises: Visiting a restful lagoon and powerful waterfall

ABOARD THE OCEAN DIAMOND – No way around it. I was going to get cold. Very cold. I’d have to made a mad dash in low 50-degree temperatures, still wet from the dressing room shower to that glorious warm lagoon outside. Chilling for sure. But well worth it. Since opening in 2004, Myvatn Nature Baths has proven to be a comforting experience for travelers and residents. When I saw the shore excursion listed on the Ocean Diamond’s …

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Iceland ProCruises – Searching for trolls and elves

ABOARD THE OCEAN DIAMOND – Stopping to take photos of elves in a flower garden in Siglufjördur, I heard a man’s voice behind me, “You must be an American.” Sure am, I replied. He nodded at my Indiana University cap as a hint that I was from the States. Then the man named Viktor began regaling me with tales of trolls and elves and how important they are in Icelandic culture. The lady who owns the flower …

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Iceland ProCruises: Visiting birthplace of Iceland’s independence hero

ABOARD THE OCEAN DIAMOND – Iceland gained its independence from Danish rule on June 17, 1944. No shots were fired. No one was killed. Who was the man Icelanders say was mainly responsible for this bloodless revolution? Iceland’s independence was obtained by the hard work of many but it is attributed mostly to the tireless efforts of a man named Jón Sigurðsson. Born June 17, 1811, Jón is credited with stirring a great national awakening in Iceland. …

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Iceland ProCruises: Walking on glacier said to be portal to center of earth

ABOARD THE OCEAN DIAMOND – Today we walked on a glacier. I’ve seen many glaciers in my travels but I’ve never set foot on one. This was quite an adventure. First we docked in Stykkisholmur at about 10 a.m. Those of us going on the glacier tour (and it seemed like almost all of us were) then disembarked and climbed on tour buses. One nice thing about our cruise, I’ve been told, is that we seldom leave …

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