The eight-day voyage, featuring naturalist guides, lectures and Zodiac landings, starts in Kangerlussuaq Fjord, one of the world’s longest fjords, and sails along Greenland’s west coast to huge Disko Bay amid ice floes and icebergs of all shapes and sizes; many species of whales, seals, sea eagles and other birds; and a changing landscape of mountains, waterfalls, walls of ice and calving glaciers. The Midnight Sun can be seen in Ilulissat on Disko Bay from May 25 to July 25.
Guided walking tours take in Inuit villages and towns with tongue-twisting names — Qeqertarsuaq, Ukkusissat, Saqqaq and Ilulissat — spectacular scenery, and fishing and hunting as their way of life. Passengers also visit Itteleq, a tiny but modern town of 125 residents and Internet cafes; Uummannaq, a halibut center at the foot of a heart-shaped mountain; and Sisimuit, the second largest town with about 4,900 people, a 1775 wooden church, a large trawler fleet, shipyard and fish factory.
Scenic highlights are Eqip Sermia Glacier, a huge wall of ice that calves directly into the sea; towering icebergs in Disko Bay and at the mouth of Jakobshavn Ice Fjord, a World Heritage Site; and Jakobshavn Glacier, the worldâ€™s most active glacier. Optional excursions include hiking or a helicopter trip to the Jakobshavn Glacier, hiking in the Valley of the Winds (Blaesedalen) and to Santaâ€™s Summer Cabin, boat trip to the Ice Fjord, musk oxen photo safari, ice cap tour by car and a visit to the 500-year-old mummies of women and children at Qilakitsoq.
Built in Denmark in 1992 for Greenland service as the Saqqit Ittuk and converted to an expedition ship in 2004, the Disco II has a panoramic lounge with bar, restaurant and 26 outside cabins with private facilities.
Cruise rates of $6,740 to $8,065 per person, double occupancy, include roundtrip SAS flights from New York to Copenhagen, flight to Kangerlussuaq and back, two nights at a first-class Copenhagen hotel with breakfast, cabin category selected and three meals daily aboard ship, services of naturalist guides, specified walking tours and Zodiac excursions, ship transfers, air taxes and port charges. Add-on airfares are available from other cities. A 21-day, air-inclusive Viking Trail Expedition departs August 28 to Iceland, South Greenland, Labrador and Newfoundland on the 100-berth Polar Star.
NCV Expedition Voyages are also scheduled to Spitsbergen from June through August on the MS Polar Star and MS Nordstjernen and to Antarctica from October to March, 2007, on the MS Nordnorge and MS Nordkapp. Norwegian Coastal Voyage is at (800) 323-7436 or (212) 319-1300; for brochures, (800) 666-2374, 24 hours a day; www.norwegiancoastalvoyage.us.