Arctic Adventure
Global Traveler|January/February 2021
Cruise amid the remote beauty of Greenland.
By J.D. Brown and Margaret Backenheimer

In terms of cruise destinations, Greenland is the new Iceland, as Green-land is becoming the hottest destination in Arctic cruising. This owes to its remoteness, beauty and peculiarities. Earth’s biggest ice sheet (outside of the South Pole) occupies most of the huge island, leaving just the green fringes for villages and towns, none connected by road or rail. The ice and snow are spectacular year-round, the mountains steep, the glaciers vast, the wildlife (whales, polar bears, musk oxen, reindeer) wide-ranging. Most citizens are Inuit, native migrants from nearby Canada, and many still lead a traditional life, pitted against the extreme elements of the Arctic Circle. The capital, Nuuk, is home to about 18,000 of Greenland’s 56,000 residents.

For travelers by sea, Greenland ranks among Earth’s most remote and dazzling polar destinations, and expedition cruise lines, with their small, ice-resistant ships, serve it well. Here the French cruise ship operator Ponant will inaugurate its revolutionary hybrid electric polar expedition vessel, the 270-passenger Le Commandant Charcot, on a May 31–June 14 voyage exploring the “world’s largest fjord” (Scoresby Sound) as well as remote Ittoqqortoormiit, one of the coldest permanently inhabited places on Earth.

Hurtigruten, a company known for its coastal ferry services in Norway, will make three Greenland sailings as well this summer from Reykjavík, Iceland, to the west coast of Greenland on the 530-passenger MS Fridtjof Nansen. Each cruise calls on Nuuk, home to the National Museum and its four 15th-century Greenlandic mummies.

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