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8 days - Explore Greenland on MS Balto - Scoresby Sund in-depth
50 Degrees North offers unique, small-group expedition voyages to the Arctic that allow you to enjoy the natural wildlife and scenery of some of the world's most spectacular and pristine shorelines.
Join the elegant 12-passenger ship M/S Balto on a true expedition cruise to Northeast Greenland, one of the last unspoiled wildernesses in the world. As you venture into the world’s largest fjord system, you will experience breath-taking nature and scenery, large icebergs in unimaginable shapes. The clean air, the silence and the enormity of nature is captivating.
During walks we are always keeping an eye out for grazing musk-oxen, Arctic hare, Arctic fox and other wildlife. With our sturdy Zodiacs we explore further afield, cruise amongst large stranded icebergs and make shore landings. With some luck we might also encounter polar bears. During summer you can often spot small groups of narwhal in the innermost fjords. It is truly exciting and a great privilege to witness these beautiful unicorns of the sea.
- The world's greatest fjordsystem
- The small village of Ittoqqortoormiit
- Gigantic and beautiful icebergs
- Chance to encounter mysk-ox
- Small of max 12 passengers
- The elegant ship M/S Balto
- Day 1
- Fly into Constable Point
- Days 2 - 4
- Explore one of the largest wilderness areas in the Northern Hemisphere
- Days 5 - 8
- Visit Ittoqqortoormiit and Nordvestfjord
- Day 9
- Disembark in Constable Point
- Start Place
- Tasiilaq, Greenland tours
- End Place
- Scoresby Sund, Greenland tours
- Country Visited
- Greenland tours
- 9 Days
- Group Size
M/S Balto, named after the leading sled dog of 1925 Nome serum run. She was built for the highest ice class in Rauma, Finland, to serve as a government service vessel in the Baltic sea. During 2019-2020, she has been totally refurbished and is now one of the roomiest and most elegant small polar expedition yachts in service. M/S Balto offers a relaxed luxury accommodation for 12 guests in 7 outside cabins, all with private facilities and lower beds. The spacious cabins include 1 Owner’s cabin, 1 superior cabin, 3 double cabins and 2 single cabins. The Owner’s cabin is 30m2, has 6 windows and a queen bed, the superior cabin has two twin beds while the double cabins has a queen bed. The Owner's and superior cabin also offer a separate seating area. In all cabins you find a desk with a chair and a closet for storage.
On the guest deck you also find a cider lined sauna, accommodating 4-6 persons, with a cold shower and a small changing room. The richly appointed saloon and the beautiful dining messroom feature crotch-mahogany panelling, a bar, a card table, a library, coffee and tea stations. She offers a large restaurant style open galley, where you can check on the marvels of our chefs and sample freshly baked bread.
There are several open and semi enclosed deck spaces from where you can enjoy the stunning Arctic sceneries. You are welcomed by an international crew and the bridge is open for visitors.
The ship has been fitted with an electric diesel propulsion capable of maintaining versatile manoeuvring and survey speeds with no vibration. It is therefore ideal as film and photo platform. There is also a mud room for expedition gear and two Zodiacs for wilderness cruises and offshore experiences. M/S Balto is truly one of a kind when it comes to small polar expedition ships. Travelling with this unique 12-passenger ship offers a completely different and much more intimate experience of Greenland compared to a larger expedition ship.
A small group of merely 12 passengers gives us more flexibility, unique itineraries and more time ashore. Also, the footprints we leave behind are a lot smaller!
- Voyage aboard the indicated vessel as indicated in the itinerary
- All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea
- All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage
- Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme
- AECO fees and governmental taxes
- Comprehensive pre-departure material
- The trip is climate compensated
- Mandatory flight package return from Reykjavik to Constable Point - USD 1595 per person
- International flights to and from Iceland
- Travel and cancellation insurance
- The customary gratuity to the ship’s crew
- Personal expenses such as bar and shop charges
Day 1 - Fly into Constable Point
We fly to one of the world's smallest airports, Constable Point, located at the end of a narrow fjord. We embark the M/S Balto and make ourselve at home. We are now in a part of the world where we are totally dependent on ice and weather conditions. Our exact itinerary depends on these factors and on the wildlife we encounter. Our ambition is to make landings every day with our rigid Zodiac crafts.
Days 2 - 4 - Explore one of the largest wilderness areas in the Northern Hemisphere
We are travelling in one of the largest wilderness areas in the Northern Hemisphere. It introduces its visitors to some of the most spectacular coast lines in the world and the deep fjords are surrounded by majestic peaks and tundra covered slopes. We will use our sturdy Zodiacs to explore further afield, cruise amongst large stranded icebergs and make shore landings.
Scoresby Sound is the world’s largest fjord system and could be explored for weeks. It offers some of the most spectacular scenery Greenland has to offer: jagged peaks as tall as 2000 meters coming straight out of the sea and rare glimpses of the Greenland ice cap, the largest ice cap in the northern hemisphere. Large glaciers pour into the sea, giving birth to an unexpected quantity of beautiful icebergs, some of them lager than high-rise buildings.
During our expedition we have good chances to spot magnificent prehistoric-looking musk-ox or the lovely white Arctic hare. We also keep an eye out for snow bunting, gyrfalcon and ptarmigans. With a portion of luck, we actually might encounter polar bears.
Days 5 - 8 - Visit Ittoqqortoormiit and Nordvestfjord
We hope to circumnavigate Milne Land, the second largest island in Greenland, sailing through the narrow and spectacular Føhn Fjord, Røde Fjord and Ø Fjord. During walks on the tundra we may find remains from early Inuit cultures that settled here. The archaeological record in Northeast Greenland is long and involves a remarkable diversity of groups that discovered and explored the region at least seven times over thousands of years.
As we sail into the rarely visited Nordvestfjord, we also enter the largest national park in the world at almost 1 million square kilometers, more than twice the size of Sweden. This fjord is often filled with icebergs making for challenging but spectacular navigation.
We also plan to visit Ittoqqortoormiit, home to some 450 Greenlanders and the only settlement in Northeast Greenland. It is located 500 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle and nearest town is Tasiilaq, 800 kilometres to the south.
In a town where the sea ice blocks ships from visiting most part of the year, hunting and fishing are the only ways of survival. During our visit we get a unique opportunity to learn more about the living and surviving in this remote part of the world.
Day 9 - Disembark in Constable Point
In the morning we disembark in Constable Point for homebound flights.
All prices listed are per person. Outside double window cabin. March 2022: Early birds available now for 2023 cruise.
16 Aug 2023
23 Aug 2023
30 Aug 2023
Many other Arctic ships do the Northeast Greenland voyages. Ask us for further details if these dates do not match your travel needs.
Northeast Greenland is a true and very remote wilderness. To get here with ship from Iceland takes at least three or four sea days on the Denmark strait, a passage that can be quite rough for a small ship like M/S Balto. To be able to offer you a more comfortable experience with focus on Greenland’s spectacular nature, we have therefore chosen to book flights between Reykjavik (Iceland) and Constable Point (Greenland).
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Your Expedition Voyage to the Arctic
Practical information about your Arctic Voyage
Itinerary for the Arctic Voyages
All promoted itineraries are for general guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions and ad hoc decisions by the Expedition Leader to take advantage of opportunities to see wildlife. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Landings are always subject to weather, local site availabilities and environmental regulations (AECO). Official sailing plans and landing slots will be scheduled with AECO prior to the start of the season. The final sailing plan will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. The implementation of the sailing plan is subject to the capability of the vessel and the discretion of the Master. Taking the high fuel prices into account, it is agreed that Oceanwide Expeditions has the right to reduce the speed of the engines (incl. sailing on one engine) wherever possible, unless this affects the character of the intended voyage substantially and jeopardizes the safety of the vessel, its crew, staff and passengers.
Rubber Boots and Expedition Jackets
Onboard Plancius all passengers are entitled to use a pair of sturdy rubber boots for free. Sizes need to be pre ordered 8 weeks prior to departure at the latest. A voucher will be sent with final travel documents approximately 4 weeks prior to departure. Laying claims on equipment items without pre-order and voucher cannot be accepted when boarding the vessel. Boots will need to be returned to the expedition team at the end of the voyage. Rubber boots are of high quality, which keep your feet dry, warm and comfortable for all landings. Expedition jackets can also be pre-ordered for a special price. Terms and conditions can be found on the pre order form.
Shore Excursions and Zodiac Cruising
Guided shore excursions, walks and wildlife spotting and zodiac cruises are included in the fare and will be offered to all passengers during the voyages. We put our emphasis on active wildlife and nature experience.
Basecamp Plancius - Our activity base
The ship becomes our base camp on selected dates. 'Base camp' is by definition a temporary storing and starting place, from which an activity starts, in this instance a 'coast to mountain' expedition. During designated 'Basecamp Plancius' voyages the ship will be taken to carefully chosen places in the Arctic . The vessel will stay for two or three days at specific locations to serve our active passengers as a comfortable hub to allow more time than usual for wide ranging activities: mountaineers and hikers to climb mountain ranges, campers to enjoy life at shore base camps, kayakers and zodiac passengers to explore near shores where the ship cannot go. Passengers who do not wish to become physically active will enjoy our zodiac excursions and follow the normal shore Program and land excursions (easy to moderate walks and hikes with focus on wildlife). We also offer photo workshops. All adventure activities are free of charge.
Bilingual voyages (B)
English is the ship's language. Some German speaking expedition staff will be onboard for bilingual voyages (English & German). Welcome and safety briefings, announcements, daily briefings, and recaps will be provided in English and German. English and German lectures may vary in content. Simultaneous translations of lectures will not occur but a summary in the second language may be given at the end of a lecture. Guidance during activities ashore will depend on the group each passenger chooses according to their own physical ability. In the Arctic we aim to split into three groups: a hiking group on a strenuous walk, a medium-paced group with more time for photography etc., and a leisurely group. A German speaking staff member will not necessarily be available for each group. During Zodiac cruises, each boat's driver/guide will not necessarily be bilingual.
We offer an exciting 'open air' camping option, which gives an intensive experience of Arctic wilderness. Special gear and field equipment will be provided: tents, wind and waterproof bivouac bags (lightweight alternative to tent system). This shelter will protect you from the elements during the night in the open air of the Arctic. Mattresses and polar sleeping bags provide comfort during the night. The maximum number of participants for this camping option is 30 participants per night. Two expedition guides will conduct the activity ashore. Camping is always subject to weather, local site and environmental regulations. 1 night has to be booked prior to trip, any extra nights that can be arranged onboard, will be charged by the hotel manager. For prices please refer to our Dates & Rates and more details please refer to the activity manual.
Polar Diving (D)
Polar divers must be advanced and experienced in dry suit and cold water diving. We hope for 1-2 different dives per day parallel to all other activities. Diving depends on local ice and weather conditions. Dive masters and dive guides are responsible for safety during operation. Basic equipment is onboard (scuba tanks, compressors, weights and diving essentials. Divers bring their personal gear. For prices please refer to our Dates & Rates and more details please refer to the activity manual.
German Speaking (G)
Voyages marked with G are German speaking voyages
During hiking voyages we exceed our normal shore excursion walking Program. In general we plan to offer 3 possibilities to become active ashore. There will be easy, moderate and more demanding walks on offer in the vicinity of the landing sites. There are walks on offer which suit everyone's capability. In the Arctic we aim at two hikes per day, each 2 - 3 hours long during morning and / or afternoon landings. Also we offer several full day walks (5 - 7 hrs) with packed lunch. The final decision on those hiking options will be met by the Expedition Leader on the day of the excursion. We recommend bringing a proper pair of hiking boots and gaiters. Hiking is free of charge, more details can be found in the activity manual and the day by day Programs.
In general we plan to offer 4 kayak days at least. Basic kayak experience is required and physical fitness essential. Parallel to all other activities we are aiming at kayak excursions during morning and / or afternoon landings. The final decision on those excursions will be met by the Expedition Leader. Oceanwide will provide kayaks and neoprene wet suits. Kayakers will bring their personal gear. Kayaking is subject to weather and prevailing ice conditions. For prices please refer to our Dates & Rates and more details please refer to the activity manual.
Especially on early departures at the beginning of the season there are still snow covered hills and mountains further afield. On North Spitsbergen voyages we are aiming at offering hiking excursions with snowshoes, which are easy to use and which don't require any technical skills. With the use of snowshoes it is easy and safer to walk on snow surfaces. Snowshoes will be provided for everybody on board which fit all boot sizes and can be used in combination with Oceanwide rubber boots. Snowshoe hiking is free of charge, more details in the activity manual and day by day Programs.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all tours with 50 Degrees North. Please ensure that you have this organised as we will need to see proof of this upon issuing your tour documentation. Please contact us for a quote or visit http://www.suresave.net.au/
Fitness Requirement and Preparation - Small Ship Expeditions
Refer to our comprehensive Expedition Manual, which you will receive upon confirmation of your booking.