U.S. or Canada
Depart from the U.S. or Canada.
This morning, arrive in Reykjavík, the world’s northernmost capital, inhabited by one‑half of Iceland’s total population of 300,000. Visit the Pearl, Reykjavík’s landmark glass dome built atop six 10-story hot water tanks—an architectural wonder as well as an amazing feat of engineering—and admire a captivating view from across the dome’s observation deck. Tour the National Museum for a comprehensive overview of Icelandic history, culture and heritage. It exhibits nearly 3000 objects and artifacts dating from the island’s settlement in 874 to the present day. Pass by the colorful, picturesque houses of central Reykjavík before boarding the m.v. Star Pride. (D)
Cruise along Surtsey Island/Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands) for Heimaey Island
Early this morning, cruise along the coast of Surtsey Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Created during volcanic activity between 1963 and 1967, it is the youngest island on Earth and one of the most fragile; scientists are carefully monitoring the evolution of its flora and fauna.
Arrive at fascinating Heimaey Island, part of the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago, where the tall cliffs are inhabited by puffin, fulmar and guillemot bird species. Tour the fascinating Eldheimar Museum, which chronicles the fateful volcanic activity of 1973 that created Mount Eldfell. Then, see this incredible formation, also known as “Fire Mountain,” and its lava fields, which are still warm to the touch even 40 years after its last eruption. Stop at the precipitous headland of Stórhöfði to observe Heimaey’s largest puffin colony and see ruins of ancient Viking farmhouses dating from A.D. 650.
Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception this evening. (B,L,R,D)
Day at Sea/Seyðisfjörður
Today, delight in a cruise along the east coast of Iceland, characterized by beautiful fjords, and attend educational lectures on board. (B,L,D)
Seyðisfjörður is rich in history, culture and evidence of Iceland’s amazing technological achievements, including the country’s longest serving power station. Visit the picturesque farmstead of Skriðuklaustur, the former home of Gunnar Gunnarsson—one of Iceland’s most celebrated authors. Donated to the Icelandic state in 1948, the house now hosts cultural, artistic and educational programs in Gunnarsson’s honor. Nearby, the austere church at Valthjófsstaður houses historical treasures, including an 18th-century chalice and baptismal font and an exquisite replica of its hand-carved medieval door; the 14th-century original is on display at the National Museum in Reykjavík.
This evening, cross into the Arctic Circle, the top of the world. (B,L,D)
Akureyri for Lake Mývatn
Be on deck this morning for the unforgettable approach to lively Akureyri, nestled beneath the mountains of Eyjafjörður, Iceland’s longest fjord. Visit the monumental hilltop Akureyrarkirkja (Church of Akureyri), which showcases an intricate stained-glass central window that once graced England’s Coventry Cathedral, and walk amid the extensive collection of flora blooming in the open-air Botanical Gardens.
Explore northern Iceland’s unique and extraordinary natural landscapes, including Námaskarð, an unearthly, steaming field of boiling, sulfurous mud pots, and the distinctive pseudo craters at Skútustaðir, formed when hot lava flowed over the wetlands 2300 years ago. Walk among the surreal, almost eerie lava formations of Dimmuborgir, the mythic source of Icelandic folklore, and drive along the shores of cerulean Lake Mývatn, a birdwatcher’s paradise and a haven for many rare and migratory birds and 14 species of Iceland’s bountiful wild ducks. Look for broods of the sleek harlequin duck and the black-and-white Barrow’s goldeneye, a remarkable bird species that nests nowhere else. Marvel at spectacular Goðafoss, “Waterfall of the Gods.” According to legend, this dramatic waterfall earned its name when an Icelandic chieftain threw wooden statues of his Norse gods into its crashing waters, signifying his conversion to Christianity. (B,L,D)
Spend the morning cruising to the awe-inspiring Westfjords. Cruise up the dominant fjord of Iceland’s distinct and remote 14-million-year-old region, Ísafjörður’s Djúp (“deep”), defined by ruggedly stunning mountains. Near the town of Ísafjörður, a vibrant center of art and culture, visit the open-air museum of Ósvör to see restored traditional 19th-century fisherman’s huts and fishing equipment that vividly depict the harsh reality of the lives of generations of Iceland’s fishermen. Tour Ísafjörður’s Westfjords Heritage Museum to learn more about the vibrant coastal art and culture and fascinating maritime history of this remote outpost.
Charming Vigur Island is home to one single farming family and thousands of puffins, Arctic terns, black guillemots and eider ducks—where time seems to stand still, see the birds in their natural habitat and Iceland’s only windmill, built in 1840. Visit the country’s smallest post office and enjoy coffee and cake served by our island hosts in their well-preserved, 19th-century home. (B,L,D)
Cruise into the majestic fjord that borders Snæfellsnes Peninsula—a captivating landscape of lava caves, waterfalls, mineral hot springs, lush foliage and glacier-tipped mountains. The peninsula’s unique natural formations were sculpted throughout the island’s active geological history. See Snæfellsjökull, a glistening glacier formed on top of a dormant volcano, showcasing the island’s magnificent extremes of fire and ice. Experience for yourself the views that inspired centuries of poets and writers, including Jules Verne, who chose this glacier as his “doorway to inner space” in his novel Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Enjoy time at leisure in the picturesque town of Grundarfjörður this afternoon and join your traveling companions for the Captain’s Farewell Reception in the evening. (B,L,R,D)
Reykjavík/U.S. or Canada
Disembark and transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S. or Canada. (B)