Iceland, home to massive glaciers and some of the world’s most active volcanoes, is truly “the land of fire and ice.” Set out on an inspiring small ship expedition of this country’s volcanic landscapes, glacial fjords, and coastal villages with Vantage Deluxe World Travel.
Step aboard the luxurious Ocean Odyssey, an elegant expedition vessel designed with exploration and indulgence in mind. Cross the Arctic Circle and circumnavigate the Nordic island country, and discover the stunning beauty of vast landscapes, natural wonders, and cultural surprises. Explore the famed Golden Circle, spend time in UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park, delve into Iceland’s maritime history in Siglufjörður, and head out on a one-of-kind whale-watching excursion in Húsavík. In all, you’ll enjoy 22 included features and Cultural Discoveries, along with the knowledge and guidance of your highly-skilled onboard Expedition Team.
Throughout the entirety of your small ship expedition cruise, you’ll indulge in the first-class amenities aboard your elegant vessel. Treat yourself to a pampering treatment at the spa, join an instructor-led class at the fitness center, savor gourmet cuisine at one of several onboard restaurants, pick up a page-turner at the well-stocked library, or simply relax on the top-level sundeck and enjoy the panoramic views.
Fly to Reykjavík
Begin your journey today with an overnight flight to Reykjavík, Iceland. Or, depart earlier and explore Copenhagen with an optional pre-trip extension.
Arrive in Reykjavík
Welcome to Iceland. If you purchased airfare with Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport to assist with transfers to your hotel. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to acclimate before joining your fellow travelers for a Welcome Briefing and Dinner at your hotel tonight.
Enjoy Reykjavík at your leisure
Following breakfast at your hotel, you’ll enjoy a day at leisure to explore Reykjavík on your own.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Set out on an optional tour of Iceland’s famed Blue Lagoon. Learn More
This optional excursion will introduce you to one of the Iceland’s top attractions: the Blue Lagoon. This manmade geothermal spa is located in a lava field near Grindvik where super-heated water is fed into the lagoon from nearby Svartsengi. The water’s high silica content creates soft white mud on the bottom of the lake, giving the spa its famous milky-blue shade. This is one of Iceland’s most visited attractions, and bathing in this otherworldly environment is considered a rejuvenating ritual.
Due to high call volume, we recommend you visit MyPortfolio to book this Destination Enhancement. Don’t wait — these optional experiences are limited to a select number of guests and are selling out fast!
Tour Reykjavík and embark the Ocean Odyssey
You’ll check out of your hotel today and embark the Ocean Odyssey to begin the cruise portion of your journey. Along the way, you’ll enjoy a tour of Reykjavík's highlights. Visit Hallgrímskirkja Church, Iceland’s tallest church, before continuing on to the Perlan viewpoint. This interactive natural history museum is housed inside an immense glass dome sitting atop six geothermal hot water tanks. You’ll also have time to visit Reykjavík’s city center before heading to the pier. Upon embarkation, you’ll have time to settle into your luxurious stateroom and explore your elegant cruise ship before enjoying your first of many skillfully prepared meals aboard.
Explore volcanic vistas and a shark museum
Today, you’ll explore the highlights of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, and delve into the history and geology of Iceland. Your excursion will begin with a scenic drive, taking in the craters, rock formations, lava fields, and black sand beaches created by the volcano at Snæfellsnes’ center. You’ll have a front-row seat to view majestic Snæfellsjökull Glacier and the dramatic basalt cliffs of Lóndrangar. Your tour will conclude with a visit to the Snæfellsnes Shark Museum. Located on a farmstead in the Bjarnarhöfn region, the museum features exhibits focused on the history and production of hákarl, a traditional Icelandic delicacy comprised of fermented shark meat. Following your tour, you’ll have the remainder of the afternoon at your leisure.
Onboard Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional onboard experience. Enhance your time on board with one of our Vantage-exclusive activities, including wine and whiskey tastings, a multicourse Chef’s Table Dinner, or an exclusive wine-pairing dinner. Learn More
Enjoy Ísafjörður at your leisure
Located in northwest Iceland, idyllic Ísafjörður is the largest town in the Westfjords region. Originally settled during the 9th century, by the 16th century Ísafjörður had grown into a prosperous merchant trading post. You’ll have a day at leisure to explore this quaint village on your own. Or, if you’re looking for something more adventurous to do, head out on an optional Zodiac excursion with your Expedition Team. This secluded peninsula rewards its visitors with jaw-dropping views of dramatic fjords, sheer table mountains plunging below the sea, and unspoiled North Atlantic forests.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Explore the village of Thingeyri and visit Dynjandi Waterfall on an optional tour. Learn More
Join this optional tour and explore the historic village of Thingeyri, the area’s first trading post. This is one of the oldest settlements in the region, with a current population of approximately 260 residents, Along the way, enjoy a light family-style lunch at a local community house and enjoy musical entertainment by a local band. Later, you’ll stop at thunderous Dynjandi Waterfall, the tallest and most impressive waterfall in the Westfjord region. On your return drive to the ship, be on the lookout for Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Ships once sought shelter from northerly winter storms below its mountains.
Historic Siglufjörður and lovely Hrísey await you today
Today, you’ll head out to explore modest Siglufjörður. This historic fishing village has long been tied to Iceland’s fishing industry and is the region’s undisputed capital of Atlantic herring fishing. You’ll learn all about the ins and outs of the fishing industry during a visit to the award-winning Herring Era Museum, the largest maritime and industrial museum in Iceland. Established in 1957, the museum’s onsite exhibits include a 1906 herring house, a display of technical relics, and a waterfront dock with over 10 different fishing vessels on display.
At the end of your museum visit, we’ll return to the ship for lunch on board and scenic sailing as we make our way to Hrísey. Upon arrival at this diminutive settlement, you can head ashore to explore on your own or join your Expedition Team on an optional Zodiac excursion.
Uncover charming Akureyri at your own pace
Situated in northeast Iceland, Akureyri is one of the country's longest fjords, surrounded by soaring mountains and sprawling hillsides. Settled by the Norse in the 9th century, today Akureyri is the second largest urban area in Iceland, bustling with shops, cafés, and museums. You’ll have a day at leisure to explore this captivating city on your own.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Set out on a relaxing optional tour of the Icelandic countryside as you make your way to Goðafoss Waterfall. Learn More
On this relaxed tour, you will depart from Akureyri and travel north toward scenic Godafoss Waterfalls, The name means “waterfall of the Gods” and it’s easy to believe this name was chosen due to the awe-inspiring beauty of these expansive cascades. However, Icelandic legend says the name was chosen by Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði, a Viking explorer who is said to have thrown his Pagan statues into the falls. You’ll have a quick stop in Fosshóll, a small 1930s-era farm and trading community, before returning to Akureyri.
Discover Iceland’s whale-watching capital
Early risers will have an opportunity to board Zodiac boats and visit Flatey Island this morning. This quirky fishing village served as a hub for shark hunting and whaling in the 19th century. Today, it’s an icon of small-town Iceland and you’ll have time to explore with the Expedition Team. You’ll return to the ship and enjoy lunch on board as we make our way to nearby Húsavík. As with many Icelandic villages, this picturesque town is a thriving port for fishing and other maritime industries. It is also a well-known whale-watching destination, due to the more than 15 different species of whales found in adjacent Skjálfandi Bay. This afternoon, you’ll set out aboard rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) for an opportunity to witness these majestic mammals in their natural environment. You may even spot dolphins and varied seabirds during this once-in-a-lifetime excursion. Don’t forget your camera!
Head into historic Húsavík today
Following breakfast on board, you’ll head ashore in Húsavík for a guided walking tour with the Expedition Team. Situated on the eastern shore of Skjálfandi Bay, Húsavík was one of the first places in Iceland to be settled by Norse Vikings in the 9th century. You’ll explore some of the town’s most popular sites, including Húsavíkurkirkja. This Swiss chalet-style wooden church, built in 1907 by Icelandic architect Rögnvaldur Ólafsson, is one of Húsavík’s most notable landmarks. You’ll also visit the town’s main square and the picturesque botanical garden before returning to the ship.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Explore the fascinating volcanic region of Lake Mývatn on an optional excursion. Learn More
Set off on an amazing full-day journey through the Lake Mývatn region, an area of extreme contrasts. While one side of the lake features rugged volcanic remnants, the other side is blessed with lush vegetation and varied wildlife. You’ll continue to the small settlement of Skutustadagígar and enjoy a stop at Dimmuborgir’s impressive lava formations. Icelandic folklore says that Dimmuborgir is said to connect the earth to the infernal regions. Towards the end of your tour, you’ll stop at the Myvatn Nature Baths for a relaxing geothermal bath.
Stroll through Seyðisfjörður and see the famous Blue Church
Following breakfast on board, head ashore with the Expedition Team for a guided walking tour of Seyðisfjörður. Surrounded by cascading waterfalls and the snow-capped peaks of Mt. Bjólfur and Strandartindur, this is a favorite destination for travelers. Just like many Icelandic ports-of-call, Seyðisfjörður’s history is deeply-rooted in its maritime industries. It’s easy to understand why, as this town boasts one of the best harbors in the country. You’ll stroll down a rainbow-tiled street, past colorful wooden houses, as you make your way to the Church in Seyðisfjörður. This powder blue structure is one of the most easily recognizable landmarks in Iceland. Following your tour of this picturesque village, you’ll have leisure time to continue exploring on your own.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional excursion. Set out on an optional bus tour of Skálanes Nature Reserve. Learn More
Board an off-road bus and travel past jagged mountain peaks and remote farmlands, exploring the rugged landscape of Skálanes Nature Reserve. Your tour includes a stop for refreshments at the charming lakeside Skálanes House. Built in 1926 as a private farm, Skálanes House was renovated in 2006 and converted into a research and education center focused on the conservation of Iceland’s natural and cultural environment. Guests can embark on a moderate walk through the surrounding landscape, or simply relax at Skálanes House and enjoy the scenery.
Delve into Djúpivogur’s history and geology
Head ashore with your Expedition Team today and explore the quaint coastal village of Djúpivogur on a leisurely walking tour. You’ll stop at Langabúð, a late 18th-century warehouse that now serves as the town's cultural center and site of its Heritage Museum. Next, head to Audun’s Stone & Mineral Museum. This region of Iceland abounds with agate, quartz crystal, and zeolite, and you’ll see many of these unique stones and geodes on display at this museum. Proceed to the Old Harbor area and view the unique granite artwork on display around the lovely waterfront, including the Eggs of Merry Bay sculpture. Almost three dozen large, granite eggs line the road along the bay in Djúpivogur as a tribute to the native birds of eastern Iceland. At the conclusion of your guided walk, you’ll have time to continue your explorations at your leisure.
Tour the glacial lagoon region of Jökulsárlón
Today’s included excursion will take you to Jökulsárlón, a glacial lagoon bordering Vatnajökull National Park. Calm, bright blue waters are dotted with calving glaciers that are carried out to sea via currents along a small channel. You will have the opportunity to view these glacial icebergs from the shores of Diamond Beach. The stunning contrast of bright blue icebergs against the black volcanic sand of this beach is truly a sight to behold.
Visit the Vestmannaeyjar Islands and the “Pompeii of the North”
Located off the southern coast of Iceland, the Vestmannaeyjar Islands were formed by submarine volcanic eruptions 10,000 years ago. We’ll step ashore in Heimaey, the only one of these islands that is inhabited, and explore this unique landscape on a guided bus tour. You’ll see half-buried houses, the only remnants of a violent volcanic eruption in 1973. Known as the “Pompeii of the North,” the eruption of Eldfell Volcano engulfed over 400 buildings in 200 million tons of ash and lava. You’ll also visit the island’s Volcanic Center, where we’ll hear the story of the Eldfell eruption and learn about formation of Surtsey Island, the Earth’s youngest volcanic landmass. The island is named after Surtr, a fire giant from Norse mythology.
Disembark the Ocean Odyssey and explore the Golden Circle
Following breakfast on board today, you will disembark the Ocean Odyssey and transfer to your hotel. Along the way you will have a chance to explore the Golden Circle and discover some of Iceland's most prized natural attractions. Our first stop is awe-inspiring Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Renowned for its extraordinary landscapes, this remarkable site has a rich history stretching back to the Iceland’s first settlers. We’ll also stop to admire Gullfoss Waterfall and the hot springs of the Geysir geothermal field. Finally, we'll pay a visit to a tomato farm and greenhouse, where you'll savor a taste of "Iceland's best Bloody Mary." Following your tour, you’ll check in to your hotel and enjoy the evening at your leisure. Dinner tonight is on your own.
Enjoy Reykjavik at your leisure
You’ll have a full day at leisure to explore Reykjavik at your own pace today. Surprisingly cosmopolitan, you'll find that Reykjavík is rich with culinary options, from Icelandic fare to international dishes. It also boasts an impressive spread of museums and art galleries for you to visit.
Following breakfast at your hotel, you’ll transfer to the airport and board your return flight home. Or, extend your discoveries with an optional post-trip extension in Stockholm.
Please note: Ocean-cruising is not the same experience as river cruising; as such, you may experience fluctuating tides and weather patterns that may involve some rocking of your vessel. Itineraries will include all activities as planned except in extreme cases that can’t be controlled by your shipboard crew. The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Cruise Director or regional expert.