September 4th – 15th, 2023
East Greenland 2023
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McKay Photography Academy Presents Greenland!
This memorable northern lights cruise starts and finishes in Reykjavík, Iceland. Across the Denmark Strait, we explore the stunning Scoresby Sund fjord complex in East Greenland Here we discover unbelievable scenery, historical sites, massive icebergs, a contemporary Inuit village, and of course the mesmerizing northern lights.
On our cruise to Greenland, we visit the town of Ísafjörður in the Westfjords of Iceland. On our way back we explore Iceland’s picturesque Snæfellsnes peninsula. Every night on this voyage brings another excellent chance to experience the northern lights in a beautiful setting.
- Dates: September 4th -15th, 2023
- Price: $9800
- Classic Suites for MPA!
Included During Tour Dates:
- Personalized Instruction with MPA team**
- McKay Team Image Reviews with Editing Instruction
- Photographic Workshop Presentations.
- Luxury Expedition Ship Sea Spirit (max 114 passengers)
- Larger Comfortable Suites
- Arrival Night Hotel – Pre-Embarkation
- All Transfers In-Country Included
- Rubber Boots for Shore Landings – to borrow!
- Zodiac Excursions and Shore Landings (weather permitting)
- An Exclusive Expedition Parka is Yours to Keep!
- Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner while on Board- Prepared by a chef and his team.
**Note – Instructors are scheduled but may change without notice. You will always have a top MPA instruction team!
- Transportation to and from Reykjavik, Iceland
- Commercial flight accessible!
- Trip Insurance (Required)
- Personal Expenses such as soft drinks, alcohol, laundry, souvenirs, etc.
- Staff Gratuities
- David McKay
- Tim Scott
*Note – Instructors are scheduled but may change without notice. You will always have a top MPA instruction team!
About Our Vessel
Carrying a maximum of 114 passengers, the M/V Sea Spirit is an outstanding polar-approved vessel and the perfect home away from home. With luxurious amenities paralleling that of a fine hotel, this all-suite vessel is highly maneuverable and capable of navigating the narrow bays and channels of polar waters.
UN-BIASED SEA SPIRIT REVIEW
AdventureSmith Explorations’ Sea Spirit review includes a detailed description of the small ship including deck plans and a photo gallery. Our polar experts have been aboard nearly every first-class vessel in the Arctic and Antarctica. Please read our Sea Spirit review below.
Sea Spirit was built at the Nuovi Cantieri Apunia shipyard in Carrara, Italy, in 1991 as the Renaissance V, and subsequently sailed as the Spirit of Oceanus for Cruise West before being modified in 2010 to make her more suitable for polar cruising. The vessel has been operating on expedition voyages to the Arctic and Antarctica since late 2010.
The Sea Spirit is a luxury vessel and certainly one of the most accommodating ships to cruise polar waters. Stabilizers provide the smoothest sailing possible throughout the journey. Her open bridge policy allows guests to interact with the captain and officers while navigating landscapes from a special view angle.
Common Areas Aboard Sea Spirit
Spacious common areas aboard the Sea Spirit include a library offering a large collection of polar books and DVDs on the Club Deck, a presentation lounge with state-of-the-art equipment for briefings, lectures and recaps on the Ocean Deck, numerous outdoor deck areas to enjoy passing scenery and outdoor barbecues, a gym including aerobic and weight-lifting equipment on the Sports Deck, an infirmary with a licensed medical doctor and a polar boutique.
There is elevator access to all passenger decks, and a zodiac landing platform allows for rapid deployment of passenger landing craft on the aft of the Main Deck.
Meals Aboard Sea Spirit
The Sea Spirit has a full-service bar, so expect spirits and wine to flow freely during the voyage. Plus, coffee, tea, cocoa, and bottled water are available around the clock. Nightly four-course meals are prepared by top chefs and an expert kitchen staff. Special diets are easily accommodated with advance notice. Meals are served in a single, leisurely seating on the Main Deck.
Activities Aboard Sea Spirit
Optional excursions including hiking, kayaking, birding and snorkeling are available during your stay on the Sea Spirit. Daily briefings by staff naturalists prep you for any activity you may desire, as well as wildlife viewing. An onboard gym on the Sports Deck provides a great place to unwind. The gym is open daily and offers stationary bikes, several treadmills and some multi-functional training machines.
CABINS & DECK PLAN ABOARD SEA SPIRIT
All cabins on the Sea Spirit feature an exterior view and spaciousness not commonly found on other expedition ships of this size. All cabins have a flat-screen TV, DVD player, in-room safe, refrigerator, individual temperature control and hair dryers en suite. Satellite phone and internet access is available in every cabin. Private facilities in each cabin include a sink, toilet and shower. Nearly all suites offer either two twin beds or a king size bed, with the exception of the Owner’s Suite, which has a fixed king bed.
Located on Oceanus Deck, averaging 226 square feet, with two twin beds that convert into a king bed if desired, comfortable sofa bed, picture window and two wardrobes.
Main Deck Suite
Located on Main Deck, averaging 248 square feet, with two twin beds that convert into a king bed if desired and a minimum of two portholes for exterior views.
Located on Oceanus Deck, averaging 226 square feet, with two twin beds that convert into a king bed if desired, picture window and two wardrobes.
Located on Club Deck, averaging 215 square feet, with two twin beds that convert into a king bed if desired and picture window overlooking outside walkway.
Located on Sports Deck, averaging 258 square feet, with two twin beds that convert into a king bed if desired, sliding glass door to private balcony and walk-in closet or wardrobe.
Located on Sun Deck, averaging 323 square feet, with two twin beds that convert into a king bed if desired, en suite lounge area and sliding glass door to private balcony.
Welcome to Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland and starting point of our Arctic expedition! At the Keflavik international airport, you will be greeted by our staff and transferred to the city center. After checking into your hotel, which has been arranged by us and is included in the price of the itinerary, you will be free to explore this attractive, friendly and quintessentially Nordic city.
For an excellent overview of Iceland’s history and culture, we recommend starting at the superb National Museum and Culture House. You will also want to visit the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church, Reykjavík’s most famous landmark. For those interested in natural history, we recommend the Whales of Iceland museum, which houses full-sized models of the 23 species of whale found around Iceland. For dinner, Reykjavík offers countless options for an authentic Icelandic meal.
After breakfast at your hotel, the morning is yours to enjoy Reykjavík. Take a leisurely stroll through a peaceful garden or a relaxing soak in a thermal bath. Nature lovers will appreciate the abundant birdlife at Tjörnin, a placid lake in the heart of the city. You can also take advantage of shopping for souvenirs or some last-minute necessities such as cold-weather gear. Just remember, you will soon receive your very own parka to keep and waterproof boots to borrow on board the ship.
In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the pier where we will warmly welcome you aboard the deluxe expedition vessel M/V Sea Spirit. Get settled in your spacious suite and explore the ship that will be your comfortable home during the extraordinary adventure to come. After getting underway, a full schedule of events kicks off with informative briefings and introductions from your expedition staff. After the first of many delicious dinners on board, step out onto the open decks to admire the views as we sail through Faxaflói, where it is possible to encounter our first whales.
As we sail north across the Denmark Strait to East Greenland, we celebrate our crossing of the Arctic Circle. We keep a continuous lookout for great whales and flocks of seabirds feeding in the productive waters near the sharp rise of Greenland’s continental shelf. After nightfall, we have our first of many opportunities to see the aurora borealis overhead.
Day 4 – 9;
The itinerary for this part of our voyage focuses on the spectacular fjords, coasts and islands of Scoresby Sund, also known as Kangertittivaq in the Greenlandic language. This area contains some of the world’s most impressive scenery and Greenland’s best wildlife viewing. As with any true polar expedition, our exact schedule and route will be shaped by weather and ice. Our experienced captain and expedition leader will continually adjust plans as conditions and opportunities warrant in this wild and remote corner of the Arctic.
Scoresby Sund is one of the longest and most visually stunning fjord systems in the world. Almost totally devoid of human habitation, it is also one of the most pristine natural environments on Earth. In this epic wilderness, the forces of nature have shaped a landscape of incomparable grandeur. Deep fjords and narrow passages are framed by sheer rock walls up to 2,000 meters high. Colossal icebergs—calved by immense glaciers and sculpted by wind and water into fantastic shapes—drift throughout the intricate fjord system in striking contrast to sparkling blue waters and polychromatic mountainsides. From verdant coastal plains to ice-clad peaks all the way to the glaciated heart of Greenland, a trip through Scoresby Sund sets a new standard for “scenic”.
Our area of exploration includes part of Northeast Greenland National Park, the largest and most northerly national park in the world. This vast Arctic landscape is a paradise for hikers who appreciate astounding views of untouched tundra wilderness. Across hillsides emblazoned with autumnal red and yellow, a flash of white reveals the flight of a snowy owl or a startled mountain hare. Tufts of the finest fleece ensnared in polar willows underfoot point the way to a nearby herd of shaggy musk oxen. You may hear the crack of horns colliding as bulls engage in fearsome battles of strength. All throughout the waterways of Scoresby Sund, we are on constant watch for polar bears and other marine mammals, including a variety of seals, walrus and narwhal, which can be spotted at any time.
Ancient Thule archeological sites remind us of humankind’s age-old relationship with this austere yet life-sustaining environment. For a look at how this tradition has been carried forward, we plan to visit the modern Inuit village of Ittoqqortoormiit, the only permanent settlement in the region and one of the most remote communities in the world. The village boasts a wonderful museum, a bookstore, handmade crafts for sale, a post office, and an abundance of Greenlandic sled dogs.
In September, near the equinox, day and night are given equal opportunities to astound you. As night falls, the darkening sky becomes a stage for nature’s greatest celestial performance: the Northern Lights. East Greenland is one of the very best places in the Arctic to view this otherworldly natural phenomenon. In addition to being at the perfect latitude for strong aurora displays, the skies above Scoresby Sund are often cleared by katabatic winds rolling down from the nearby Greenland Ice Sheet. Lights dancing from horizon to horizon are mirrored in calm waters while the silhouettes of gigantic icebergs and serrated mountains add to the romantic splendor of the experience.
This itinerary offers a deep dive into one of the Arctic’s most scenic and soulful environments. From dawn to dusk and beyond, your days will be filled with incredible shore excursions, world-class Zodiac cruising, and enough stunning scenery to fill your camera and overwhelm your emotions. Hikers will live their wilderness dreams and sea kayakers will be rewarded with some of the finest paddling on the planet.
After our amazing time in Scoresby Sund, we head back across the Denmark Strait toward Iceland. Presentations and workshops by our expert staff, as well as our range of onboard recreation facilities, ensure that this day at sea is not idly spent. Seabird viewing and whale sightings can be enjoyed from panoramic open decks and balconies.
Our last full expedition day is spent in the beautiful Vestfirðir (Westfjords) of Iceland. This remote and sparsely populated region of crenulated coastlines, voluminous waterfalls and rugged mountains sees only 10% of Iceland’s visitors. Deep fjords are home to whales while estuaries abound with seals and birdlife. Traditional towns like Ísafjörður embody Iceland’s unique blend of rich cultural heritage and contemporary charm.
After filling up with one last buffet breakfast on board, we bid you a fond farewell in Reykjavík. We provide transfers to Keflavik international airport or to the city center in case you plan to extend your stay in Iceland.
Please download the Tour Packet from the link below when it becomes available. . Much of the information contained in this packet is also available under the Tour Prep page here on the website. However, this packet will also include some gear specifics for this tour. Please note that specific flight information, arrival and departure times, accommodations, and other logistical information may not be in this packet. Those items will be emailed to you at various times in the planning process of each tour.
The 2023 tour pack will be coming soon. If you would like a head start, here is the 2022 tour pack.