national geographic explorer luxury iceland cruise

A Circumnavigation of Iceland

  • Overview

    Iceland’s geology in all its manifestations––glaciers, thundering waterfalls, immense cliffs, geothermal springs, boiling mud pots, and rock and lava-scapes of unearthly beauty––is world-class. It alone makes a circumnavigation a very compelling idea. And when you add in the other itinerary components––Iceland’s people, their unique cultural heritage and contemporary character, the island’s geography and birdlife––seeing it all in one 360º expedition is irresistible.

    There’s one place on Earth where geology is so exciting, it’s downright sexy, even if you’re not a geologist: Iceland. Geologically young, Iceland is located on both the Iceland hotspot and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge––which means it is highly geologically active with many volcanoes––hundreds of them, in fact. Most famously, the volcano in Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 2010. On this unique 360º itinerary you will:

    • Experience all of Iceland’s geological manifestations: glaciers, geysers, thundering waterfalls, immense cliffs, geothermal springs, boiling mud pots and rock- and lava-scapes of unearthly beauty
    • Meet Iceland’s people, learn about their unique cultural heritage and contemporary character
    • Actively explore Iceland’s wild western coast; Siglutjörout in the north; the rarely-visited rugged east coast; and the Westman islands, one of the planet’s youngest archipelagos
    • Enjoy superlative photos ops and on-board photo assistance
    • Travel with an expert team on a holistic, narrative voyage
    Duration: 11 days
    Passengers: 148 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Reykjavik, Iceland
    Disembarkation Point: Reykjavik, Iceland
    Physical rating: Soft Adventure
    Fly/Cruise: Cruise only
    Single Supplement: 2.0x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Reykjavik; Embarkation Day

      Arrive in Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital, which lies only a fraction below the Arctic Circle and receives just four
      hours of sunlight in winter and 22 in summer. Have a guided overview of the Old Town, including Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral
      with its 210-foot tower, and perhaps shed some light on Nordic culture at the National Museum, with its Viking treasures and
      artifacts, and unusual whalebone carvings on display. Embark National Geographic Explorer.

    • Day 2 - Explore the West Coast of Iceland

      National Geographic Explorer navigates Iceland’s wild western frontier, sailing past the immense Latrabjarg cliffs, the
      westernmost point of Iceland and home to a huge population of razorbills. The cliffs are an area once famous for egg collecting;
      the men were tied to ropes and lowered like spiders down onto the ledges. Continue to Flatey Island, a trading post for many
      centuries, for walks around the charming little hamlet that grew here, and take a Zodiac cruise along the coast.

    • Day 3 - Ísafjördur

      Located in the Westfjords, Ísafjördur is surrounded by water on three sides, sculpted by glaciers. Renowned for its traditional
      eider down production, it is a picture postcard of traditional Icelandic life and a great place for hiking, kayaking and for
      spotting eider ducks.

    • Day 4 - Exploring Northwestern Iceland

      Hornstrandir is Iceland's northernmost peninsula, situated in the Westfjords region. Stunningly beautiful and peaceful, this remote
      corner of Iceland is uninhabited and can only be accessed on foot or by boat. Summertime is magical with 24 hours of daylight and
      many species of seabirds, including puffins, guillemots, razorbills, and kittiwakes.

    • Day 5 - Siglufjördur and Akureyri

      Siglufjördur was the center of Iceland’s once-thriving herring industry. We stop by the Herring Museum for a talk and a
      tasting. Continue to picturesque Akureyri, backed by snow-capped mountains. Explore the old town, with its
      beautifully maintained period houses, or visit the botanical garden.

    • Day 6 - Lake Mývatn and Húsavík

      Drive to Mývatn, the most geologically active area in Iceland. This is world-class field geology! See the bizarre mud pools at
      Hverarönd — so hot they actually bubble. At the Krafla geothermal area see the explosion crater at Viti and continue to
      an unforgettable sight: Godafoss, the waterfall of the gods. Meet the ship in Húsavík, and watch for whales as we sail north to the
      land of the midnight sun. Take Zodiacs ashore to the tiny island of Grimsey, which lies exactly on the Arctic Circle. Here we
      celebrate being officially in the Arctic, in the company of nesting arctic terns, fulmars, and puffins in burrows, all bathing, courting
      and fishing — another wonderful photo op.

    • Day 7 - Exploring Northeast Iceland

      With plenty of rarely-visited coastline, this day is left open to explore Iceland's rugged east coast. Join our naturalists for a
      hike or a Zodiac cruise to get a better view of the beautiful stacks at the end of the peninsula. Or, conditions permitting, we may
      have our first chance to kayak today under the steep cliffs.

    • Day 8 - Djúpivogur, Iceland

      Explore the vast Vatnajökull icecap and take the opportunity for either a snowmobile or super jeep adventure. Via small boat, get
      up-close and personal with the deep blue icebergs of the large ice lagoon of Jökulsárlón.

    • Day 9 - Islands of Heimaey & Surtsey, Westman

      The Westman Islands were formed by undersea volcanoes between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago and are among the
      youngest of the world’s archipelagos. In 1963, the world witnessed on film the birth of its newest island, Surtsey — a
      UNESCO World Heritage Site — which we see as we cruise past the coast. In 1973, Heimaey was threatened by lava flows
      that nearly closed off its harbor. We visit the crater, where the earth is still hot, and have amazing views of areas that had been
      engulfed by lava.

    • Day 10 - Reykjavik/Disembark/Home

      Today we complete our circumnavigation of Iceland, disembarking in Reykjavík. Stop by the famous Blue Lagoon
      thermal baths, prior to our flight home. Whether you choose to enjoy the surreal bath and spa facilities or just stroll around the
      fascinating environs, the Blue Lagoon is unforgettable!

    Please consider that our voyages are expeditionary in nature. This means, that there are no concrete itineraries, your captain and expedition leader will utilise their vast experience to chart the best course for your expedition depending on the climatic and environmental conditions. Mentioned highlights and wildlife cannot be guaranteed.

  • Adventure Activities


    We pioneered kayaking in polar geographies, allowing our guests to have unprecedented personal experiences in the ice.

    Now, nearly all our ships carry types of kayaks designed to get guests of all experience and fitness levels out on the water comfortably and safely. And more than just a token few, we carry a veritable fleet to ensure everyone who wants to can.


    Explore Iceland

    View one of Europe’s largest ice cap. Feel the percussive cascade and the spray of Godafoss Waterfall. Walk along lava fields and ice sheets. Zodiac cruise among magnificent icebergs in Jökulsárlón. Kayak into fjords and serene bays, or take a snowmobile jaunt on a glacier. Go hiking on magnificent and remote stretches of the coast. And cap off the adventure with a soak in the famous Blue Lagoon.

  • Inclusions

    Expedition Team

    Every expedition sails with a veteran expedition leader, an assistant expedition leader, and a team of eight naturalists, many of them polar veterans, of a variety of specialties: zoology, biology, ornithology, geology, polar history, and more. Other members of the 15-person team include an undersea specialist, a photographer, plus a certified photo instructor, a Global Perspectives guest speaker, a video chronicler, and a wellness specialist. Together they provide you with a greater understanding and appreciation for this extraordinary and diverse geography.

    Excellent food

    Our chefs use fresh, local ingredients whenever possible, including sustainably caught fish, and other local and indigenous products. Breakfast and lunch are buffet-style; dinner is served. There are fish or meat choices at every meal, and our chef will happily accommodate vegan or other special diet requests.

    Inclusions / Exclusions

    Included in your Expedition

    Not included in your Expedition

    - Massage services
    - Gratuities
    - Internet and Wifi expenses
    - Airfares unless stated in the itinerary
    - Bar expenses
    - Laundry expenses
    - Mandatory waterproof gear not provided
    - Baggage / cancellation / interruption and medical travel insurance
    - Passport and Visa expenses
  • Map
    Screen shot 2017 07 05 at 2.12.22 pm
  • Gallery
  • Vessel


    Inaugurated in 2008, National Geographic Explorer is the world’s ultimate expedition ship. The embodiment of the National Geographic alliance, her design and equipment is the result of almost 200 years of collective expedition experience. Originally built for service along Norway’s coast as part of the famed Hurtigruten, or Coastal Express, her excellent maneuverability and just-right size made her a natural choice for addition to our fleet. Drawing on our nearly 50 years of pioneering expedition history and expertise, we completely redesigned and rebuilt her. Explorer is uniquely equipped with an ice-strengthened hull and advanced navigation equipment for polar expeditions; a roster of tools for exploration; and a well-appointed interior with vast expanses of glass for an unprecedented connection to the regions we explore. She provides a peerless expedition experience. Explorer accommodates 148 guests in 81 cabins, including 13 cabins with private balconies, six spacious suites and 14 cabins specifically designed for solo travelers. At 367 feet with six decks, she is spacious and modern, with a variety of public rooms that offer startling views of the passing landscape. Friendly and informal, Explorer instantly fosters a welcoming environment where enthused and curious passengers share in exceptional experiences and enrichment.

    Features & Facilities
    • Luxury expedition vessel
    • Affiliated with National Geographic
    • Dining room & Bistro
    • Large observation decks
    • Open Bridge
    • Library
    • Observation lounge
    • 24 hour beverage station
    • Wellness Centre
    • Gym
    • laundry
    • Spa
    • Internet/Wifi
    Key Facts
    Luxury star rating: 5
    Guests #: 148
    Crew #: 70
    Ice Class: 1A
    Speed: 18
    Technical Specs
    Year built:
    Length: 112m
    Width: 16
    Tonnage: 6471
    Registry: Bahamas
    Elec Outlets: 220V / 2 Round Pin
Check Voyage Dates, Pricing and Availability
All available dates
Ready to book your expedition?

We understand that the trip of a lifetime takes planning, so we make the financial commitments easy to manage.

  • Confirm your booking today with just USD$ 1,000 per passenger.
  • Pay your 25% deposit 5 day later.
  • Final payment due 120 days prior to departure.
national geographic explorer category 1 cabin

1 - Twin Cabin with Porthole

25 Jul 2019 - 04 Aug 2019
Twin cabin, with private facilities with plenty of luxury finishings
USD$ 9,343pp
USD$ 9,343pp
national geographic explorer category 2 cabin

2 - Twin Cabin with Window

25 Jul 2019 - 04 Aug 2019
Twin or double cabin, with private facilities with plenty of luxury finishings.
USD$ 10,506pp
USD$ 10,506pp
national geographic explorer category 3 cabin

3 - Twin Cabin with Window

25 Jul 2019 - 04 Aug 2019
Twin or double cabin, with private facilities with plenty of luxury finishings.
USD$ 10,927pp
USD$ 10,927pp
national geographic explorer category 4 cabin

4 - Superior cabin with Window

25 Jul 2019 - 04 Aug 2019
Twin or double cabin, with private facilities with plenty of luxury finishings.
USD$ 12,491pp
USD$ 12,491pp
national geographic explorer category SA Single cabin

SA - Single cabin with Porthole

25 Jul 2019 - 04 Aug 2019
Single cabin, perfect for the decerning solo traveller.
USD$ 13,137pp
USD$ 13,137pp
national geographic explorer category 5 cabin

5 - Superior cabin with Balcony

25 Jul 2019 - 04 Aug 2019
Superior cabins with Balcony and luxury finishings.
USD$ 13,593pp
USD$ 13,593pp
national geographic explorer category SB Single cabin

SB - Single cabin with Window

25 Jul 2019 - 04 Aug 2019
Single cabin, perfect for the decerning solo traveller.
USD$ 13,661pp
USD$ 13,661pp
national geographic explorer category 6 cabin

6 - Suite with Balcony

25 Jul 2019 - 04 Aug 2019
Suite cabin with Balcony and luxury finishings.
USD$ 16,279pp
USD$ 16,279pp
national geographic explorer category 7 cabin

7 - Suite with Balcony

25 Jul 2019 - 04 Aug 2019
The largest suites with Balcony and luxury finishings.
USD$ 18,870pp
USD$ 18,870pp