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Ilulissat to Narsarsuaq – Inuit history & magnificent fjords 2024

Join a voyage filled with fascinating stories of ancient history, cultural legends and natural wonders! We will enjoy humpback feeding grounds, Norse history, Inuit culture and geological wonders. Our trip stretches from the ice-crowned north to the jagged mountains and green pastures of the south, resulting in a large variety of nature, wildlife and culture! The ice, land and nature we sail through will be given another dimension when seen through the prism of myths, legends and history of Inuit and Norse settlers, all shaped by its harsh bounty and beauty.  

Travelling with a small group of merely 12 passengers gives us flexibility, unique itineraries and more time ashore. Also, the footprints we leave behind are a lot smaller! We get to visit remote settlements, meet the welcoming people living here and in a personal way learn more about their fascinating culture. The M/S Balto has a lot of experience and is designed to explore the most remote fjord systems and take you to secret anchorages. This is true micro cruising. 

  • Small group of 12 passengers
  • Inuit culture & norse history
  • Beautiful fjords
  • Humpback feeding grounds
  • Small settlements & the capital Nuuk
  • The elegant M/S Balto
Accommodation: Cabin on board the expedition ship M/S Balto. Transport: Expedition ship, Zodiac. Ship: M/S Balto. Passengers: 12 passengers. Languages: English & Swedish. Length: 11 days, 10 nights on ship. Price: From USD 12 890. Departure: 15 July 2024


Day 1: Ilulissat, Greenland

We arrive independetly to the town by the ice fjord, Ilulissat. Immediately upon arrival we are struck by the natural beauty that surrounds us, with hills, glaciers and a bay filled with icebergs. The remoteness from our everyday life is obvious! 

In the afternoon we board M/S Balto. We are now on a voyage in true expedition style and our exact route is depending on weather and ice and the itinerary must be kept flexible!

Day 2 – 10: Expedition cruising through history

We continue to explore the ice-choked Disko bay area, before we head south. We are constantly on the lookout, since we are very likely to sail through humpback feeding grounds. We also pass the small and colourful houses of Aasiaat. As we continue via an inland passage towards Sisimiut, we sail amongst small islands, fjords and cliffs. We might pay a short visit to wander the streets, or we might opt for the surrounding wild fjords with an abundance of cod and various whale species. During hikes we might see reindeer, musk ox and foxes.

As we now leave the ice-filled fjords behind, only random icebergs will pass our way. We pass by Sermersuut Island and might enter the magical Kangerlussuatsiaq fjord (the fjord of eternity), where huge mountains up to 2000 metres rise straight from the ocean.

We then reach Nuuk. The capital’s setting is stunning, and the bay is sometimes visited by minke and pilot whales. We pay a visit to the National Museum, Greenland’s largest museum of cultural history. The collections come from all over the country, brought from various archaeological and small museum displays over recent years and the visit gives us great insight into the many different cultures of Greenland.

Our journey continues south towards the fjords around Qaqortoq. En route we hope to stop by the abandoned mining town of Ivittuut – one of the few places in the world to have discovered naturally occurring cryolite. During a hike here we have good chances of seeing muskox. 

Nearby is the Ikka fjord. The legend says that the Inuit people drove invaders out onto the thin ice and when the ice gave way, the invaders died in the ice-cold water. If you look closely, you can catch a glimpse of their petrified remains on the bottom. The figures on the bottom are made of ikaite, an unusual form of chalk or limestone that is formed under an enormous pressure. Only about five other findings of ikaite have been observed around the world.

The places we are travelling through on this voyage have many stories to tell. One is of the Inuit's great respect of and symbiotic relationship with environment and animals. During periods of weather change and animal numbers declining, amulets and fishing or hunting artefact became objects of great beauty and artistry. Of respect and love for the animals, who give themselves to sustain the Inuit life and culture, offerings are made to the Sea Goddess Sedna, to release the animals’ souls. Still today, Inuit carry a small jug of fresh water when hunting seal. After a seal is killed it is given fresh water, so its spirit will not go thirsty. We will have many opportunities to learn about stories and legends, different eras and people that migrated to Greenland, conflicts and the ultimate demise of the once powerful Norse civilisation.

We reach Qaqortoq, the largest city in Southern Greenland, beautifully situated on the mountain slopes and surrounded by fjords. We venture into Eriksfjord, named after Erik the Red, a Norse explorer believed to have founded the first settlement in Greenland. During a landing we visit Brattahlid, the estate he established at the end of the 10th century. We also hope to explore the hot springs of Uunarteq and enjoy a bath in these warm-tempered natural bathtubs, with breath-taking views of mountain peaks and drifting icebergs.

Day 11: Narsarsuaq

At the end of Eriksfjord is Narsarsuaq, a small village with approx. 150 inhabitants. Here where we disembark, continue to the airport and begin our journey home.

Please note: Our exact route will depend on ice, weather conditions and wildlife as well as permissions and restrictions from local authorities. The places mentioned are just examples of some of the many sites this region of Greenland has to offer. We always strive to maximize your experience. Please remember that flexibility is the key to a successful expedition!

The Package Travel Directive – protects the traveller’s rights

When you have booked a trip with PolarQuest, you are protected by the Package Travel Directive. This includes that you have the right to rebook your trip or cancel and receive a full refund, if your Government, or other relevant authorities, have implemented restrictions against travelling. This includes documented quarantine requirements in the country you are travelling to. However, free cancellation is only possible when it is less than 30 days to departure, provided the travel restrictions are still in place and clearly will affect your trip. You are also entitled to a full refund, should PolarQuest cancel the trip for any reason whatsoever.

Flying to Greenland

Greenland is an enormous island, wild, and remote and offers a fascinating culture and history. Most airports are very small, the airlines flying there are few and flights do not arrive daily. For these reasons you will most likely find it necessary to add extra hotel nights in connection to your outbound and/or inbound flights. Flight tickets to Greenland are also rather high-priced, comparing to many other destinations. But even if flying here is a little bit of a challenge, the grand nature experience that awaits you is incomparable and worth every effort.

Be inspired by our digital polar lectures!

To sail along Greenland’s spectacular coastline offers some of the most remarkable nature experiences. But what is it like to be on an expedition cruise in Greenland with a small, unique 12-passenger ship? Maybe you are wondering which places you can visit or what separates the east coast from the west coast? We believe that this digital polar lecture will give you a lot of answers and inspiration about our expeditions to Greenland. The presentation is be given by one of our Greenland expert and expedition leader, Gunilla Lindh.

The ship M/S Balto

  • Bar
  • Dining room
  • Salon
  • Sauna
  • Bathroom
  • Double cabin
  • Owner's cabin
  • Owner's cabin
  • Superior cabin
  • Single cabin
  • Crew mess
  • Kitchen

M/S Balto is named after the leading sled dog of 1925 Nome serum run. She was built for the highest ice class in Rauma, Finland, to serve as a government service vessel in the Baltic sea. During 2019-2022, she has been totally refurbished and is now one of the roomiest and most elegant small polar expedition yachts in service. M/S Balto offers a relaxed luxury accommodation for 12 guests in 7 outside cabins, all with private facilities and lower beds. The spacious cabins include 1 Owner’s cabin, 1 superior cabin, 3 double cabins and 2 single cabins. The Owner’s cabin is 30m2, has 6 windows and a queen bed, the superior cabin has two twin beds while the three double cabins has a queen bed. The Owner's and superior cabin also offer a separate seating area. In all cabins you find a desk with a chair and a closet for storage.

On the guest deck you also find a small sauna with a cold shower. The richly appointed saloon and the beautiful dining messroom feature crotch-mahogany panelling, a bar, a library, coffee and tea stations. 

There are several open and semi enclosed deck spaces from where you can enjoy the stunning Arctic sceneries. You are welcomed by an international crew and the bridge is open for visitors.

With our two Zodiacs, we will explore the wilderness and go ashore in the settlements and in the middle of the breathtaking nature.

M/S Balto is truly one of a kind when it comes to small polar expedition ships. Travelling with this unique 12-passenger ship offers a completely different and much more intimate experience of Greenland compared to a larger ship. 

A small group of merely 12 passengers gives us more flexibility, unique itineraries and more time ashore. Also, the footprints we leave behind are a lot smaller!

The M/S Balto is designed to explore the most remote fjord systems, visit Inuit settlements, take you to remote anchorages and maximise each guest’s experience in the unspoiled wilderness. 

Cabins & prices

Cabin category Price per person
Double cabin Double bed USD 12 890
Superior cabin Twin beds USD 13 790
Owner's cabin Double bed USD 15 590
Single cabin Single bed USD 16 190

Price includes

  • 10 nights on board M/S Balto
  • All meals on board
  • Coffee and tea 24 hours
  • 1 Expedition Leader and 1 guide
  • Guiding ashore and talks on board
  • All excursions and activities

Not included

  • Flights to Ilulissat and from Narsarsuaq
  • Travel and cancellation insurance
  • Gratuity to the ship’s crew
  • Personal expenses such as bar charges

Departures & booking

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or wish to make a reservation.

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Departure Return
15 July 2024 25 July 2024

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