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MSFridtjof Nansen - Guests

Half-Circumnavigation Of Iceland

Explore Iceland’s natural wonders on a thrilling half-circumnavigation of the land of ice and fire via the beautiful Outer Hebrides.

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    Viking heritage
    Your journey starts in the historic port city of Liverpool. This metropolis has more museums and art galleries than any other British city outside of London. Your hybrid electric–powered ship then sails to the former Viking settlement of Stornoway, the largest town in Scotland’s Western Isles, the Outer Hebrides. Explore its recently revamped castle and the mysterious Carloway Broch, Scotland’s best-preserved fort, which dates back more than 2,000 years.

    Show-stealing puffins
    The colorful east-coast town of Seyðisfjörður is our first stop in Iceland. Vibrant buildings and the famous Rainbow Road pop out against a backdrop of mountains and waterfalls that is utterly unique. Birdwatchers get ready, because tiny Grímsey is a bird haven, located on the Arctic Circle. It’s home to millions of birds, including puffins (who tend to steal the show).

    Hot spring capital
    Getting to Akureyri, Iceland’s second city, is as rewarding as the destination itself. As we cruise along the stunning Eyjafjörður fjord, catch views of snow-capped peaks, a panoramic landscape, and the chance to see whales. After this lively ‘Northern Capital’, change pace in the peaceful fishing village of Patreksfjörður. Finally, end your expedition in style in Reykjavík, Iceland’s cosmopolitan capital. Here, you’ll be just a few hours away from of geysers, glaciers, hot springs, and waterfalls.


    Rates are listed per person in USD
    Start DateEnd DatePolar Outside CabinArctic SuperiorExpedition Suite
    Rates are listed per person in USD
    Start DateEnd Date(Starting from)
    Polar Outside Cabin
    Expedition Suite


    Day 1 - Liverpool, United Kingdom
    Day 2 - At sea
    Day 3 - Stornoway, Lewis & Harris, Scotland
    Day 4 - At sea
    Day 5 - Seyðisfjörður, Iceland
    Day 6 - Grímsey, Iceland
    Day 7 - Akureyri, Iceland
    Day 8 - Patreksfjörður, Iceland
    Day 9 - Reykjavík, Iceland

    Day 1 Embarkation
    Your expedition starts in Liverpool. This city is exciting to explore, so try and spend some extra time here before your expedition cruise. It features a curious blend of the old and the modern. The sense of history here is palpable, along with the lure of the sea in this profoundly maritime city.

    Famously, Liverpool is where The Beatles were from. Don’t leave without going on a city tour to visit all the interesting places associated with them. Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, the boys’ childhood homes, and the Cavern Club are just some of the destinations fans can see.

    The wide River Mersey made this lively city a key trade and migration port from the 18th to the early 20th century. A sense of imperial grandeur is still present amid the Victorian and Edwardian architecture.

    Explore the city and wander along the River Mersey waterfront and admire on the iconic mercantile buildings known as the ‘Three Graces’: the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building, and the Port of Liverpool Building. Keep an eye out for the famous Liver Birds, the city’s very own mythological creatures.

    MS Fridtjof Nansen awaits you at the Liverpool port. After checking in and collecting your complimentary expedition jacket, you’ll have some time to settle into your cabin and explore the ship. A mandatory safety drill takes place just before departure, followed by a welcome dinner and a toast by the captain. You’ll meet the Expedition Team and key crew members, who will take you through an important health and safety briefing.

    Day 2 Toward the Outer Hebrides
    Enjoy a day at sea as we sail to our first call, the Outer Hebrides. Days at sea can be as active or relaxing as you wish!

    As we set off on our journey, perhaps spend some time getting to know the crew and your fellow explorers? Strike up a conversation at the bar and see what you and your shipmates have in common.

    And feel free to explore the ship’s facilities. The Science Center is a great place to start. It has scientific equipment and an extensive library to deepen your knowledge of the places you’ll visit.

    Expedition Team members will share their knowledge of the region and prepare you for the adventures ahead. Lecture topics vary from local history and storytelling to biology and geology.

    Day 3 Capital of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides
    Stornoway is known as the gateway to the Hebrides, a stunning archipelago of hundreds of islands off Scotland’s northwest coast. Considered Scotland’s crown jewel, this is a region of jagged mountain landscapes, superb sandy beaches, and rugged coastlines.

    Originally a Viking settlement, Stornoway is the main town of the Western Isles and the capital of the Isle of Lewis & Harris, which is the largest and northermost of the Outer Hebrides. The heart and soul of this town lies in its bustling harbor. It has a beautiful waterfront with museums, art galleries, charming shops, and even a pair of resident seals.

    The stately Lews Castle imposes over the harbor, which we will explore. The castle grounds themselves are immense. There’s plenty to explore throughout its almost-500 acres, including a network of trails, historical buildings, and fantastic harbor views. After a recent extensive restoration project, the Lews Castle is should not be missed.

    Further inland you can find mills and cottages used to weave hearty Harris Tweed. There are tiny folk museums, the world-famous Callanish Standing Stones, and the mysterious Carloway Broch—the best-preserved ancient fort in Scotland, dating back more than 2,000 years.

    The Hebrides have recently transformed into a seafood paradise and Stornoway is no exception. Take this opportunity to try fresh angoustines, crabs, scallops, mussels, and oysters. For a true taste of the Western Isles, try Stornoway’s famed black pudding. You’re in Scotland, so wash it all down with one of the varieties of single-malt whiskey. Don’t worry, the whisky won’t be in short supply.

    Day 4 To Iceland
    Days at sea offer an opportunity for you to wind down. Take in the views in the panoramic Explorer Lounge as you recline with a drink in hand. Watch for whales and dolphins and keep an eye on the sky for seabirds. For even deeper relaxation, soak in a hot tub on deck and be pampered with a luxurious treatment in the spa and wellness area.

    If you like to keep active, both the indoor and outdoor gyms on board are well-equipped and offer great views. Swimmers should be excited too—the ship has a heated infinity pool for you to enjoy.

    Join the Expedition Team in the Science Center to learn about Icelandic culture and their belief in the hidden people, also known as Icelandic elves. You might even have a chance to improve your knitting skills in one of our workshops.

    Day 5 Nordic Heritage
    Some places just know how to make an entrance. Today’s destination sits at the end of a 10-mile fjord lined with picturesque mountains and waterfalls. Seyðisfjörður (roughly pronounced as ‘say-this-further’) is a progressive village full of character. Its colorful cast of roughly 700 people certainly makes it one of the most eclectic towns you’ll visit in Iceland.

    Seyðisfjörður is famous for its colorful wooden houses, built by Norwegian settlers in the early 20th century. The vibrant buildings pop out against a backdrop of mountains and waterfalls, creating a genuinely unique identity for the settlement.

    The aptly named Rainbow Road is a perfect example of this delightfully quirky aesthetic. Not many streets in the world are painted top to bottom with the colors of the rainbow, with an eye-catching blue church at the end. A picture here is a must.

    Remote, peaceful, and serene, Seyðisfjörður is the perfect spot for outdoor adventures such as birdwatching, hiking, and kayaking (as an optional excursion, if available). A short trail leading uphill from the town brings you to Tvísöngur, an unusual sound sculpture—a cluster of concrete domes with incredible acoustics. For longer hikes, head for the hills above town. Waterfall Lane is an enjoyable 4–6 mile hike that, true to its name, winds its way to several stunning waterfalls.

    You’ll find Skálanes at the edge of the fjord. This private nature reserve is surrounded by cliffs and home to wildlife such as reindeer, Arctic fox, and mink. Bird lovers, prepare to spot the species vacationing at the site each summer, including Black-tailed Godwit, Golden Plover, and—if you’re lucky—the Gyr Falcon, Europe’s largest falcon.

    Day 6 Step Across the Arctic Circle
    When people imagine a windswept, remote Icelandic isle, they’re probably thinking about Grímsey. We’ll use our small boats (RIBs) to reach this small, green, grassy island. With only 60 or so residents, the only settlements here are located on the southern and western parts if the island—mostly around the little harbor.

    Grímsey is serene, beautiful, and steeped in folklore and legend. Legend has it that local fishermen are hardy because of Grímsey’s first settler, Grímur. Legend has it that he slew the giants and trolls who inhabited the island and took one of their daughters as his bride.

    Grímsey’s sheer cliffs are home to vast colonies of seabirds—outnumbering humans 17,000 to 1. The chance to see Atlantic Puffins, Grímsey’s iconic seabird species, is a major attraction for bird lovers.

    Grímsey is probably best known for having the Arctic Circle so close that it actually cuts across the island—the only part of Iceland to do so. You’ll have the opportunity to skip, step, or do whatever dance you’d like across the line.

    Explore the island on foot and hike to the ‘Orbis et Globus’, a nine-ton concrete sphere that marks the edge of the Arctic Circle. The walk to the monument will allow you to take in the windswept scenery and do some birdwatching. The locals move the globe (which is 10 feet wide) a bit each year since the Arctic Circle creeps slowly northwards at a rate of about 48 feet per year.

    By 2050, Grímsey Island will lie outside the Arctic Circle! In the afternoon, we’ll sail to Húsavík, where we will arrive in the evening and stay overnight.

    Day 7 Northern Center
    Akureyri is located near the base of the longest fjord in Iceland, Eyjafjörður. As we cruise along the fjord, enjoy incredible views of snow-capped peaks and a lush coastline. The fertile waters here also make it one of the best places in the country for whale watching. Species including humpback, white-beaked dolphins and harbor porpoises are regular visitors, although orcas, blue, and fin whales have been seen here too.

    Nicknamed ‘Iceland’s Northern Capital’, Akureyri is a lively university town. With a population of almost 20,000 it is the largest metropolitan area outside of the populated southwest region. There is plenty to delve into here, including top-notch eateries and museums. Check out the Akureyri Museum, which gives you insight into how Icelanders used to live. The Norðurslóð Museum of natural history also features exhibitions about the local environment and the history of settlers

    You’ll be astonished by the array of flowers and foliage at the Arctic Botanical Gardens. Its serene atmosphere is an oasis of lush green in the most unlikely of settings. While you’re exploring the town, check out the striking architecture of Akureyri Church, designed by the famous architect Guðjón Samúelsson.

    On an optional excursion outside town, explore natural treasures that rank among Iceland’s must-see sights. At Goðafoss Waterfall, nicknamed the ‘waterfall of the gods’, marvel at the translucent turquoise water pounding against immense black rocks.

    The unique and beautiful geology of Lake Mývatn is located within a highly active volcanic area and includes shimmering waters and otherworldly colors. It’s also a great place to watch for birds, especially Eider and Earlequinn Ducks. Game of Thrones fans may also find a few sites familiar!

    Day 8 Patreksfjörður
    When &Öuml;rlygur Hrappsson saw this destination for the first time in the 9th century, he gave it a straightforward name: Patreksfjörður, meaning ‘the fjord of St. Patrick’, after his spiritual guide. The town’s appeal is just as simple—this settlement on the west coast of Iceland is utterly gorgeous.

    Discover the peace and silence of a tranquil fishing village. Serving as a fishing port as far back as the 16th century, this town is steeped in rich maritime history. Over the centuries, Patreksfjördur has served as a base for fishermen, merchants, and naval mariners from England, France, and Germany.

    Explore the lively harbor and learn about the town’s local fishing tradition and the different kinds of fish found in its waters. Or take a dip in the outdoor pool, a new addition to the town, where you can enjoy wonderful views over the fjord.

    The sheer beauty of this region makes hiking here a very rewarding activity, weather conditions permitting. Nearby is Látrabjarg, Europe’s largest bird cliff and most western point. It is home to millions of birds, including puffins, Northern Gannets, guillemots and razorbills. Birdwatching here is spectacular. Safe from Arctic foxes, the birds bravely cling to the high cliffs, and offer excellent photo opportunities.

    Nearby, you also have the dream beach of Rauðisandur. In contrast to other beaches in Iceland coated with black volcanic sands, Rauðisandur offers rose–colored sands with golden hues.

    The Dynjandi Waterfalls are also one of the big draws of this area, and it’s easy to see why. Six different waterfalls combine to make the largest waterfall in the Westfjords, with a cumulative height of 328 feet. In a country famed for its waterfalls, this is one of the most impressive.

    Day 9 The End of the Adventure
    Say a fond farewell to MS Fridtjof Nansen back where we started, in the fabulous city of Reykjavík. Take another opportunity to explore Reykjavík and its surrounding areas. There are so many amazing ways to prolong your adventure here. Reykjavik’s galleries, restaurants, and spas are internationally recognized.

    If you want to recharge your batteries, consider Iceland’s most famous heitur pottur (‘hot pool’: a natural hot spring), the Blue Lagoon. Situated in a vast 800-year-old lava field, the blend of silica, algae, and minerals in the waters have earned this magical location a place on National Geographic’s 25 wonders of the world. Nothing sends off your Icelandic adventure like soaking yourself in volcanic water with your beverage of choice in hand, surrounded by gorgeous nature.

    We recommend booking one of our Post-Programs to further explore the city and beyond. Whatever’s next for you, we wish you a safe onward journey and look forward to seeing you on your next adventure!

    (Click image to view Ship details)


    Expedition Cruise
    • Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
    • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurant Aune
    • Fine-dining À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm is included for suite guests
    • Complimentary tea and coffee
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
    • Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
    • English-speaking Expedition Team who organize and guide activities, both on board and ashore
    • Range of included excursions
    Onboard activities
    • Experts from the Expedition Team present detailed lectures on a variety of topics
    • Use of the ship’s Science Center which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
    • The Citizen Science program allows guests to contribute to current scientific research
    • The onboard professional photographer will give tips and tricks for taking the best landscape and wildlife photos
    • The ship has hot tubs, a sauna, and an indoor gym
    • Participate in informal gatherings with the crew, such as daily recaps and the next day’s preparations
    Landing activities
    • Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment needed for the activities
    • Complimentary wind- and water-resistant expedition jacket
    • Expedition photographers will help configure your camera settings before landings
    Not Included In Your Expedition
    • International flights
    • Travel protection
    • Baggage handling
    • Optional shore excursions with our local partners
    • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team

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    DISCLAIMER: Rates are per person and subject to change.