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Natural Wonders of Iceland

Natural Wonders of Iceland

From GBP £6,495

Description

Join us aboard the MS Hebridean Sky for this in-depth exploration of Iceland, one of the most extraordinary and dramatic lands on the planet. This is a unique opportunity to see nature in the raw and witness the huge icecaps and glaciers, active volcanoes, gurgling mud pools, steaming hot springs and lava fields of the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’. Europe’s least populated country offers the visitor an unparalleled experience of elemental forces at work and we will take advantage of weather conditions and possible whale sightings to achieve the maximum with our time.

After a day to explore Reykjavik and the iconic landmarks of the ‘Golden Circle’, we will set sail for our circumnavigation of the island during which we will witness the immense scale of the landscape, dominated by towering snow-capped mountains and thundering waterfalls, as we learn of the centuries old legacies of a Viking and Norse heritage. Early summer is the optimum time for our journey, the skies and rocks will be filled with the sights and sounds of puffins, guillemots and gannets, the wildflowers will be prevalent and the seas will hopefully be rich with whales and marine life. In addition to the wildlife, the island also provides a unique historical, cultural and geological experience. Under the surface, Iceland simmers with the sparks that are the tell-tale signs of its youthfulness as Europe’s most recent geological addition, only 16-20 million years old. Iceland is continuously being created; some of its newest land is a mere 40 years old.

We have timed our voyage for June when we can make the most of the long days and the midnight sun, spending time on deck whilst cruising, looking out for humpback whales, orcas, white-beaked dolphins and observing the colonies of seabirds. With just over 100 travelling companions the atmosphere on board is warm and friendly and ashore with our experts and fleet of Zodiacs we will divide into small groups enabling us to get up close to nature and explore areas inaccessible to larger vessels.

Trip Name
Natural Wonders of Iceland
Days
11
Overview
Vessel Type: Expedition Length: 90.6 metres Passenger Capacity: 118 Built / Refurbished: 1992 / 2016 The MS Hebridean Sky is one of our three flag ships and sister vessel to the MS Island Sky and MS Caledonian Sky. All three vessels were built in the same ship yard in Italy at similar times and share the same excellent attributes that make them three of the finest small ships in the world. Formerly known as the Sea Explorer, the vessel underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment in Sweden in Spring 2016 before being re-launched as the MS Hebridean Sky. Your Suite. On board there are 59 exceptionally spacious and well-designed suites. All feature a sitting area and fourteen suites have private balconies. The feeling of luxury is enhanced by the wood panelling and brass which predominates throughout the vessel conveying the atmosphere of a private yacht. The passenger accommodation is arranged over five decks and all suites have outside views with suites on the Scott and Shackleton Decks featuring private balconies. Each suite affords considerable comfort with en-suite bathroom featuring vanity unit with sink and walk-in rainfall shower, large wardrobes, dressing table with large mirror and stool and excellent storage. There is a minifridge, flat screen television and a telephone in each suite. Refillable water bottles, towelling dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort. Additional facilities include a programmable electronic safe, hairdryer, assorted Molton Brown toiletries and individually controlled air-conditioning and heating. Soft hues and blended tones enhance the traditional maritime style making the passenger accommodation an inviting and relaxing place to be. The beds in each suite can be configured as twins or double with the exception of suite 601 and 602 which feature fixed double beds. The impressive Hebridean Suite, located on the Shackleton Deck consists of a separate bathroom and sitting room with extra large balcony stretching the length of the suite. Additional benefits of booking this marvellous suite include complimentary mini-bar stocked with your preferences and complimentary laundry. Your Space. The spacious and finely decorated public rooms on board the MS Hebridean Sky include a large lounge on the Byrd Deck featuring a selection of seating options from individual armchairs and sofas to side cushioned benches. Daily briefings given by the Cruise Director and talks from Guest Speakers and expedition staff take place in The Lounge which is fitted with the highest standard of presentation equipment including multiple screens. In addition to the Lounge, there is also The Club, located on the Mawson Deck which features the main bar where the onboard pianist plays periodically throughout the day. The Club also offers a 24-hour tea and coffee station. Towards the aft of the ship on the Mawson Deck is The Library which is well stocked with reference books pertaining to the destinations the vessel is visiting and a selection of essential reads. A collection of games and devices to access the internet via the ship’s satellite can also be found in the library. Access to the ship’s satellite Wi-Fi via your own device is complimentary on board (signal strength varies depending on location and demand). The Dining Room which can seat all guests at one sitting is located on the Amundsen Deck and is a bright and charming setting to enjoy the delicious meals on board. Outside there is a rear Lido Deck located on the Scott Deck where meals are served in warm weather under shade. Whilst heaters and blankets make dining al fresco comfortable in cooler climates. Further to this, on the top Shackleton Deck there is an observation area which offers a fantastic platform for spotting wildlife complete with deck furniture, ideal for relaxing with a book or catching up with fellow travellers. You will also find a clinic and Doctor on board and a lift that serves all decks. Additionally there is a small hairdressers with appointments made on request. Your Dining. It is quite a task to create a dining experience as that found on board our Sky vessels when you are cruising in far-flung corners of the globe, indeed it takes a team of highly talented chefs to deliver fresh, varied dishes no matter where you are at sea. Fortunately, our catering teams are well adapted to the world of small ship cruising where no two days are the same and the menus are often scheduled and tailored around the days’ excursions. With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the cuisine on board is of a consistent superior quality that befits such vessels. Where possible and when it meets their high standards, our accomplished chefs will obtain local produce in markets. Such purchases enhance the well-stocked larders and enable the chefs on board to exhibit their culinary skills and bring a local touch to the varied menus, emphasising the international expertise of the chefs on board. Afternoon tea and pre-dinner canapés take place every day in either the comfort of the Lounge or out on the Lido Deck when the weather is favourable. Tea and coffee are also available 24 hours a day. Special diets can be catered for with sufficient notice. In keeping with the informal atmosphere on board, when dining you are able to choose your seating arrangements at your leisure. Whether that be joining a table of four to six other passengers outside on the Lido Deck in the evening’s sunshine or whether you prefer to enjoy meals in the à la carte restaurant. For those travelling alone, our onboard friendly restaurant staff will take care to ensure you are seated with other like-minded travellers. In the main elegant dining room, breakfast is served buffet-style, with certain items cooked to order on request. Lunch and dinner are à la carte with an excellent choice of dishes, with the menu reflecting the daily catch or local delicacies. To enhance your dining experience even further a selection of wines are included with both meals and there is also a comprehensive wine list with a wide selection of new and old world wines from which to choose. The onboard catering and restaurant staff are experienced at sea and enthuse a passion for superb service. Whether it be ensuring you have an outdoor blanket as you enjoy the crisp sea breeze on the Lido Deck or sharing their knowledge of the characteristics of the days’ wine selections, you will experience a service on board like no other. You may also enjoy sumptuous barbeques on deck whilst at times, the chef will make your dish to order at special pasta or stir fry stations. For Your Comfort. The MS Hebridean Sky is equipped with the latest safety, navigation and communications equipment along with roll stabilizers to minimize the ship’s motion. During your voyage we hope to offer the opportunity to visit the Captain and Officers on the Bridge to check the vessels progress by charts and learn more about your journey. There is also a dedicated channel on your television in your suite showing the routing of the vessel along with technical information and estimated times of arrival and departure from port. On board you will also find a clinic and Doctor and a lift that serves all decks. Smoking on board is restricted to a specific area on deck. Life Onboard. If large resort-style vessels accommodating many thousands of passengers are your ideal, then our ships are not for you as you will not find endless entertainment, round the clock buffets and the people management which is so much a part of today’s big ship on board style. However, if like us you prefer a more peaceful life at sea you will find our flagships the perfect vessels. When choosing your next voyage the choice of vessels is astounding. You can select a ship carrying in excess of 4000 passengers with impersonal service or join us aboard the MS Caledonian Sky, MS Island Sky or MS Hebridean Sky where peace, high quality service and attention to detail are the order of the day. We promise there will be no organised entertainment, fancy dress, deck games or any of the usual big ship experiences. Instead, the atmosphere is warm and convivial and more akin to a private yacht or country hotel in which you can learn more about the wonders of nature, culture and ancient civilisations in the company of like-minded people. A little music in the lounge or bar after dinner, Guest Speakers and informative port briefings from our Expedition Leader or Cruise Director and of course good food with wine included at lunch and dinner, all contribute to make any voyage aboard these wonderful vessels a memorable and joyful experience. After a day ashore you will return to the comfort and peace of an exceedingly comfortable ship. The daily programme on board is in the capable hands of our Cruise Director or Expedition Leader and staff who coordinate with the Captain and Officers to make the most of each day. Briefings and talks will be provided throughout the voyage together with a ‘Daily Programme’ that is distributed every evening to your suite outlining the next day’s activities. Dress on board is casual and relaxed and there will be no ‘black tie’ evenings.

Itinerary



Day 1 - Day 1 London to Reykjavik, Iceland.
Fly by scheduled flight. On arrival transfer to the MS Hebridean Sky and enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we moor overnight.
Day 2 - Day 2 The Golden Circle.
A full day tour will head inland to the famous ‘Golden Circle’ with three of Iceland’s most iconic landmarks. We will start at Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is situated in a rift valley that offers incredible views of the Reykjanes Ridge. This is the only place in the world where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which separates the Eurasian and North American plates, is above sea level. Not only is Thingvellir of tremendous geological interest, it is where the legislative parliament, the Althing, was founded in the year 930 AD. Also see the Gullfoss Waterfall, the most famous of the country’s numerous waterfalls. Here, a huge amount of water rushes down a stone cascade into a deep ravine with incredible force, creating a powerful spectacle. Our last stop is the Geysir geothermal area, the place where the word ‘geyser’ originates and where Strokkur, an explosive geyser, erupts every few minutes. Return to the ship in Reykjavik and sail this evening.
Day 3 - Day 3 Snaefellsnes Peninsula.
Sail this morning into Stykkisholmur, located in Breidafjordur Bay and surrounded by an archipelago of islands. The town is famed for its beautiful and well preserved old houses and is also the gateway to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula which is dominated by the Snaefellsjokull volcano, regarded as one of the symbols of Iceland and known as the setting for Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”. Our tour will include a drive through the lava landscape to the glacier visiting pretty fishing ports and beaches along the way. Afterwards, there will be the opportunity to spend some time at leisure in the town.
Day 4 - Day 4 Western Fjords.
This morning we enter the Western Fjords, an isolated but spectacular area of Iceland. We will explore Isafjardardjup and depending on local weather conditions, we hope to land on Vigur, a serene little island with only five residents but home to many more puffins, eider ducks, black guillemots and Arctic terns. We will also visit Iceland’s only extant windmill dating from the 19th century. Sail over lunch and maybe join a lecture as we spend a leisurely afternoon at sea.
Day 5 - Day 5 Grimsey Island & Siglufjordur.
Spend the morning on Grimsey Island. The Arctic Circle bisects this island which is known for its tiny community, basalt cliffs and large variety of birdlife. Join our expedition team members for a morning nature walk on the island. In the early afternoon we sail into Siglufjordur, a picturesque town that enjoys an idyllic setting in a small fjord backed by mountains. Here in the early 1900s, a booming economy due to the herring industry resulted in a prosperous town with some marvellous Icelandic architecture. Stroll through the town and visit the Herring Era Museum.
Day 6 - Day 6 Akureyri & Hrisey Island.
Akureyri is a delightful town on the north coast of Iceland. On a morning tour we will visit the spectacular Godafoss Waterfall where water from the Skjalfandafljot River falls from a height of 12 metres over a width of 30 metres. From Godafoss we return to the charming town of Akureyri and visit the botanical garden which was founded in 1912 and grows examples of every species indigenous to Iceland as well as an extensive collection of high-latitude and high-altitude plants from around the world. Our tour ends at the Art Alley where artisans keep their workshops and galleries. Return to the ship for lunch and sail to Hrisey Island this afternoon where you can join nature walks. The island is known for its rich and diverse birdlife and approximately 40 species of birds nest on the island.
Day 7 - Day 7 Husavik.
From our berth in Husavik we will head inland to visit the Lake Myvatn-Krafla area, a fine example of the volcanic world with lava fields, boiling and steaming mud pools and steam vents of sulphur and craters. The area illustrates the sheer magnitude of Iceland’s forces at work. The lake itself, with beautiful natural rock formations and hot springs, is also a unique ecosystem and the largest migratory bird sanctuary in Europe. There will be the opportunity to spend some time in the natural baths before returning to the ship. After lunch on board we have the afternoon to explore the pretty town of Husavik including time at the excellent whale museum, the exploration museum and quaint local church. Be on deck in the early evening as we sail from Husavik whilst our expedition team keep an eye out for whales.
Day 8 - Day 8 Neskaupstadur & Mjoifjordur.
Today we will enjoy the benefits of our small ship as we spend the day exploring the lesser known fjords in the east of Iceland. We hope to land at the small town of Neskaupstadur for a chance to visit the excellent museum which features the local art gallery, the Museum of Natural History and the Maritime Museum. Those that are feeling active can hike to the avalanche barriers behind the town, offering great views of the surrounding areas. We will also cruise through Mjoifjordur where we can enjoy the wilderness of this remote area.
Day 9 - Day 9 Hofn.
As we approach Hofn we will see the shimmering white Vatnajokull Glacier, Europe’s largest glacier, sometimes called an icecap. The 600 metre thick ice surmounts active volcanoes, one of which erupted in 1996 creating a crater on the surface of the glacier, a most unusual phenomenon. From our berth we will drive to the otherworldly glacial lagoon of Jokulsarlon, a dramatic drive through some of the finest scenery that Iceland offers. Once we reach Jokulsarlon, the 100 metre deep glacial river lagoon which is full of large icebergs carved from the glacier Breioamerkurjokull, we will embark on a cruise on the pristine water.
Day 10 - Day 10 Westman Islands.
Our morning is spent at the Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands). Islanders here live with a dramatic volcanic history. In 1973 the island of Heimaey experienced an eruption which created a new mountain, Eldfell, known as Mount Fire. Explore the only community, Heimaey, where half buried houses can be partially seen peeking out through the lava and ash. We will also use the Zodiacs to explore the cliffs and coves. If time permits, we will also use our ship to circumnavigate Surtsey Island which was created volcanically in 1963 and is a closed nature reserve. Few places in the world illustrate more dramatically the powerful forces of nature.
Day 11 - Day 11 Reykjavik to London.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.
Day 12 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
13-06-202423-06-2024GBP £6,495Amundsen Deck Standard Suite
13-06-202423-06-2024GBP £8,495Amundsen Deck Standard Sole
13-06-202423-06-2024GBP £8,495Shackleton Deck Owner's Balcony Suite
13-06-202423-06-2024GBP £8,795Byrd Deck Superior Sole
13-06-202423-06-2024GBP £8,995Shackleton Deck Hebridean Suite
13-06-202423-06-2024GBP £6,795Byrd Deck Superior Suite
13-06-202423-06-2024GBP £7,095Mawson Deck Premium Suite
13-06-202423-06-2024GBP £7,495Mawson Deck Corner Suite
13-06-202423-06-2024GBP £7,995Scott Deck Deluxe Balcony Suite
23-06-202403-07-2024GBP £6,495Amundsen Deck Standard Suite
23-06-202403-07-2024GBP £6,795Byrd Deck Superior Suite
23-06-202403-07-2024GBP £7,095Mawson Deck Premium Suite
23-06-202403-07-2024GBP £7,495Mawson Deck Corner Suite
23-06-202403-07-2024GBP £7,995Scott Deck Deluxe Balcony Suite
23-06-202403-07-2024GBP £8,495Shackleton Deck Owner's Balcony Suite
23-06-202403-07-2024GBP £8,495Amundsen Deck Standard Sole
23-06-202403-07-2024GBP £8,795Byrd Deck Superior Sole
23-06-202403-07-2024GBP £8,995Shackleton Deck Hebridean Suite

Inclusions

    • Experience a complete circumnavigation of Iceland.
    • Enjoy excellent bird & whale watching opportunities including the waters off Husavik, Iceland’s whale watching capital.
    • Discover the island’s cultural heritage in Siglufjordur & Akureyri.
    • Cross the Arctic Circle on Grimsey.
    • Explore the smaller fjords which the larger ships are unable to access.
    • Travel with an experienced expedition team bringing knowledge of the flora and fauna, geology & cultures of Iceland.

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