11 nights onboard Greg Mortimer

Iceland: Encircling the Land of Fire and Ice

Winners 2022 Best Expedition Cruise Line

On this adventure, where we plan to circumnavigate Iceland, a country often described as ‘the land of fire and ice,’ where snow-capped peaks rise above glaciers and active volcanoes rumble. We explore Westfjords, one of the remotest and most pristine regions in Iceland—ideal for nature hikes and sea kayaking. We amble along black sand volcanic beaches, cross over the Arctic Circle to Grimsey Island to stretch our legs on hikes and discover cliffs teeming with seabirds. Our team of experts will interpret this fascinating country— one of the world’s youngest. It’s a land of spectacular geology that is rich in wildlife, culture and human history. Note: In order to experience some of the incredible scenery of Iceland, a number of the shore excursions on this itinerary require coach travel away from the coast.

Leaving from: Reykjavík
Cruise ship: Greg Mortimer
Visiting: Reykjavík Reykjavík Grundarfjørdur Westfjords
AE Expeditions Logo
AE Expeditions

AE Expeditions is a small Australian cruise line which specialises in off-the-beaten-track voyages led by remote area experts.

The company’s adventurous co-founders, Greg and Margaret Mortimer, established AE Expeditions in 1991 and had by the following year, already begun running voyages to Antarctica

132
Passengers
74
Crew
2019
Launched
7400t
Tonnage
104.4m
Length
18.2m
Width
12kts
Speed
8
Decks
USD
Currency
Cruise Itinerary
Days 1 - 2
Reykjavík, Iceland
Day 3
Grundarfjørdur, Iceland
Days 4 - 5
Westfjords, Iceland
Day 6
Akureyri, Iceland
Day 6
Husavik, Iceland
Day 7
Grímsey Island, Iceland
Day 8
Seydisfjørdur, Iceland
Day 9
Djúpivogur, Iceland
Day 11
Westman Islands, Iceland
Day 12
Reykjavík, Iceland
Reykjavík, Iceland image
Days 1 - 2
Reykjavík, Iceland
Sprawling Reykjavík, the nation's nerve center and government seat, is home to half the island's population. On a bay overlooked by proud Mt. Esja (pronounced eh-shyuh), with its ever-changing hues, Reykjavík presents a colorful sight, its concrete houses painted in light colors and topped by vibrant red, blue, and green roofs. In contrast to the almost treeless countryside, Reykjavík has many tall, native birches, rowans, and willows, as well as imported aspen, pines, and spruces.Reykjavík's name comes from the Icelandic words for smoke, reykur, and bay, vík. In AD 874, Norseman Ingólfur Arnarson saw Iceland rising out of the misty sea and came ashore at a bay eerily shrouded with plumes of steam from nearby hot springs. Today most of the houses in Reykjavík are heated by near-boiling water from the hot springs. Natural heating avoids air pollution; there's no smoke around. You may notice, however, that the hot water brings a slight sulfur smell to the bathroom.Prices are easily on a par with other major European cities. A practical option is to purchase a Reykjavík City Card at the Tourist Information Center or at the Reykjavík Youth Hostel. This card permits unlimited bus usage and admission to any of the city's seven pools, the Family Park and Zoo, and city museums. The cards are valid for one (ISK 3,300), two (ISK 4,400), or three days (ISK 4,900), and they pay for themselves after three or four uses a day. Even lacking the City Card, paying admission (ISK 500, or ISK 250 for seniors and people with disabilities) to one of the city art museums (Hafnarhús, Kjarvalsstaðir, or Ásmundarsafn) gets you free same-day admission to the other two.
Grundarfjørdur, Iceland image
Day 3
Grundarfjørdur, Iceland
Westfjords, Iceland image
Days 4 - 5
Westfjords, Iceland
Akureyri, Iceland image
Day 6
Akureyri, Iceland

Northeast of the country’s capital city Reykjavík lies Akureyri, the oldest and second-largest town in Iceland. The charming, pint-sized city may be small in size with a population of just 20,000, but it is a surprisingly lively place with a wealth of attractions and activities, not to mention remarkable natural wonders. Boasting one of the best skiing areas in the country as well as great hiking trails, an 18-hole golf course and Icelandic swimming pools, Akureyri is an ideal port of call for the active among you, as well cruise passengers in search of the elusive and ethereal northern lights.

Husavik, Iceland image
Day 6
Husavik, Iceland
The town of Húsavík sits below Húsavíkurfjall mountain on the eastern shore of Skjálfandi bay. Just above the town is lake Botnsvatn, a popular place for outings. The lake is just the right size for a nice hike around it. The lakes surroundings are rich in vegetation and bird life and trout is said to be abundant, though small. Húsavík harbour lies below the bank right in the heart of town. The harbour once boasted a large fishing fleet, bustling with the activity of fishermen. It still serves as a fishing harbour but today's activity revolves more around the successful whale watching businesses. The first organised whale watching excursions in Iceland started from here in 1995. Since then, whale watching has become a major attraction and Húsavík continues to be the leading destination for whale watching. In addition to the tours, a fascinating whale museum is located right by the harbour. Húsavík is considered to be the oldest settlement in Iceland. The Swedish explorer, Gardar Svavarsson, spent one winter there in 870 AD during which time he built himself a house from which the settlement derives its name.
Grímsey Island, Iceland image
Day 7
Grímsey Island, Iceland
Seydisfjørdur, Iceland image
Day 8
Seydisfjørdur, Iceland
Seyðisfjörður, a beautiful 19th-century Norwegian village on the east coast of Iceland, is regarded by many as one of Iceland's most picturesque towns, not only due to its impressive environment, but also because nowhere in Iceland has a community of old wooden buildings been preserved so well as here. Poet Matthías Johannessen called Seyðisfjörður a 'pearl enclosed in a shell'. The community owes its origins to foreign merchants, mainly Danes, who started trading in the fjord in the mid-19th century. But the crucial factor in the evolution of the village was the establishment of the Icelandic herring fishery by Norwegians in 1870-1900. The Norwegians built up a number of herring-fishing facilities, and in a matter of years the little community grew into a boom town. Today, about 800 people live in Seyðisfjörður. The local economy has long been based on the fisheries, while light industry also flourishes. Tourism is playing a growing role, as the picturesque town in its spectacular surroundings attracts more and more visitors. The car/passenger ferry Norrøna, which plies between continental Europe and Iceland every summer, docks at Seyðisfjörður every Thursday. Seyðisfjörður has been a cosmopolitan community from its foundation, and the ferry service has contributed to ensuring that it remains so.
Djúpivogur, Iceland image
Day 9
Djúpivogur, Iceland
It may be surrounded by pulse-raising volcanic scenery, boast extraordinary wildlife, and sit on a dramatic, jutting fjord - but it's fair to say Djúpivogur likes to take things slow. In fact, Djúpivogur relishes its peace and quiet so much that it's won recognition as a 'Cittaslow' - a Slow City. So prepare to take a new, leisurely look around, as you relax into the breathtaking natural glory of Iceland, and explore this unique location - filled with folklore, fabulous food and fantastic fjords.
Westman Islands, Iceland image
Day 11
Westman Islands, Iceland
The name Vestmannaeyjar refers to both a town and an archipelago off the south coast of Iceland. The largest Vestmannaeyjar island is called Heimaey. It is the only inhabited island in the group and is home to over 4000 people. The eruption of the Eldfell Volcano put Vestmannaeyjar into the international lime light in 1973. The volcano’s eruption destroyed many buildings and forced an evacuation of the residents to mainland Iceland. The lava flow was stopped in its tracks by the application of billions of liters of cold sea water. Since the eruption, life on the small island outpost has returned to the natural ebb and flow of a small coastal fishing community on the edge of the chilly and wild North Atlantic.
Reykjavík, Iceland image
Day 12
Reykjavík, Iceland
Sprawling Reykjavík, the nation's nerve center and government seat, is home to half the island's population. On a bay overlooked by proud Mt. Esja (pronounced eh-shyuh), with its ever-changing hues, Reykjavík presents a colorful sight, its concrete houses painted in light colors and topped by vibrant red, blue, and green roofs. In contrast to the almost treeless countryside, Reykjavík has many tall, native birches, rowans, and willows, as well as imported aspen, pines, and spruces.Reykjavík's name comes from the Icelandic words for smoke, reykur, and bay, vík. In AD 874, Norseman Ingólfur Arnarson saw Iceland rising out of the misty sea and came ashore at a bay eerily shrouded with plumes of steam from nearby hot springs. Today most of the houses in Reykjavík are heated by near-boiling water from the hot springs. Natural heating avoids air pollution; there's no smoke around. You may notice, however, that the hot water brings a slight sulfur smell to the bathroom.Prices are easily on a par with other major European cities. A practical option is to purchase a Reykjavík City Card at the Tourist Information Center or at the Reykjavík Youth Hostel. This card permits unlimited bus usage and admission to any of the city's seven pools, the Family Park and Zoo, and city museums. The cards are valid for one (ISK 3,300), two (ISK 4,400), or three days (ISK 4,900), and they pay for themselves after three or four uses a day. Even lacking the City Card, paying admission (ISK 500, or ISK 250 for seniors and people with disabilities) to one of the city art museums (Hafnarhús, Kjarvalsstaðir, or Ásmundarsafn) gets you free same-day admission to the other two.
Ship Details
AE Expeditions
Greg Mortimer

We drew on centuries of collective experience to map out the Greg Mortimer: purpose-built for expeditions to the most remote places on earth.

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