Iceland's rugged coastline is defined by numerous stunning fjords. Credit: Shutterstock

Cruise to Iceland – the land of fire & ice

Author: Daniel Edward

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A cruise to Iceland is the perfect voyage to try small-ship specialist Fred. Olsen

There are few places around the world where nature showcases its most awe-inspiring and dramatic facets as much as in Iceland.

This northern Atlantic island is bursting with enthralling contrasts – thick verdant moss, next to stark volcanic rock. Steaming geothermal hotspots, next to snow fields that reach for what seems forever.

And a cruise to Iceland is a great chance to experience Fred. Olsen, a cruise line known for its smaller ships, which enjoy unrivalled access to some of the most interesting places on earth.

Fred. Olsen sails from the UK, with itineraries reaching all corners of the globe, from the Caribbean and Latin America to European hotspots and boutique destinations.

The line’s Iceland itineraries showcase its small-ship flair for calling in lesser-known ports that most cruisers miss due to the ever-increasing size of mega-ships. Of course, you’ll still visit Reykjavik – the capital – but stops in the less-touristy spots of Akureyri and Isafjordur for opportunities to really immerse yourself in local culture and traditions.

Balmoral is the smallest ship in Fred. Olsen's fleet. Credit: Fred. Olsen

Highlights of Iceland

Visiting Iceland by ship is one of the best ways to approach this diverse, volcanic vista. The island, quite literally bubbling with geothermal energy, is home to impressive geysers, glaciers and waterfalls.

One of the most popular things to do when visiting the country of fire and ice is to indulge in a spa day at the Blue Lagoon – a vast naturally heated lagoon pool, which has medicinal qualities thanks to the high silicone content in the water. Ship excursions can take you to the Blue Lagoon for a day trip, or to other geothermal spas if you want to try some of the alternatives.

Whale watching is also a hugely popular activity in the region, and Fred. Olsen has teamed up with ORCA who provide experts to sail onboard with you and guide your experience of whale and dolphin spotting from the ship. Not only does this partnership enrich your sailing experience, it also supports scientific research and ORCA’s conservation efforts.

Speaking of animals, Iceland is full of animal life to meet and interact with. Excursions include fishing and horse-riding options, while those with an interest in mythical creatures will have plenty of chances to get up close and personal with trolls and elves.

At night, Iceland is an ideal spot to witness the magnificent Northern Lights, and there’s nowhere better to observe this natural phenomenon than from the open deck of a Fred. Olsen ship, away from the light pollution of land. If the Northern Lights make an appearance, you’ll be in the best position for an incredible photo.

From late Autumn into winter, Iceland is an ideal spot to witness the magnificent Northern Lights, and there’s nowhere better to observe this natural phenomenon than from the open deck of a Fred. Olsen ship, away from the light pollution of land. However, for an authentic Northern Lights experience we recommend visiting Northern Norway in winter when the lights are at their brightest, and with the best chance of being spotted.

Hunt for the spectacular Northern Lights with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. Credit: Fred. Olsen

Fred. Olsen Iceland itineraries

Ready to head off soon? Sail from Southampton on May 14, 2024 for an 11-night whale watching and volcanic vistas cruise on Borealis. You’ll be joined onboard by Reykjavik local Sólveig Dagmar Þórisdóttir, who will enrich your experience with authentic local insights throughout.

If northern England departure ports are more convenient for you, Fred. Olsen offers voyages departing from Liverpool and Newcastle, in addition to those from the South Coast.

Step onboard Bolette in Liverpool for a nine-night cruise to Iceland, departing September 12, 2024. Wasting no time to get into the meat of the voyage, Bolette steams up north and introduces you to Reykjavik before taking you on a journey around the northern coast of Iceland, where you’ll spend several days in the Arctic Circle.

Iceland's diminutive yet dramatic capital, Reykjavik, rewards a visit. Credit: Shutterstock
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