Greenland

See the Earth the way it once was

Belonging to the Kingdom of Denmark but run independently, those who cruise to Greenland meet a world where European culture meshes with that of the Inuit in a harsh but beautiful landscape of ice, rock, and the sea. Greenland or “Kalaallit Nunaat” (“Land of the People") in the Greenlandic language is a place of extremes.

Greenland is dominated by the second largest ice-sheet of the world. Although huge in size it is inhabited by less than a 100.000 people. The majority of the Greenlandic population is formed by Inuit, the indigenous people of the Arctic.

Despite the restricted access to land due to the ice sheet Greenland sports a diverse array of wildlife. Many land mammals enjoy the northern and eastern shores of the island where human populations are few and far between. The waters around Greenland are alive with belugas, blues, fins, Greenland whales (a.k.a. bowhead whales), minkes, narwhals, and sperm whales.

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Cruises to Greenland

23 Days Extensive Spitsbergen - Northeast Greenland - Aurora Borealis
Up to $5970 OFF

23 Days Extensive Spitsbergen - Northeast Greenland - Aurora Borealis

HDS10c25 A full circumnavigation of Spitsbergen combined with a voyage into northeast Greenland, this expansive expedition cruise explores some of the best spots in the high Arctic - including visits to Kvitøya and Scoresby Sund, Earth's largest fjord, along...

m/v Hondius

m/v Hondius

Cruise date:

14 Aug - 5 Sep, 2025

Berths start from:

10480 USD

23 Days Extended Around Spitsbergen & Northeast Greenland - Aurora Borealis
Up to $4540 OFF

23 Days Extended Around Spitsbergen & Northeast Greenland - Aurora Borealis

PLA10d24 When you join two outstanding Arctic cruises into one, you get powerhouse polar adventures like this. After edging the pack ice of the planet’s most stunning polar bear habitat, you head to scenically surreal northeast Greenland for views of the magical...

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Cruise date:

9 Aug - 31 Aug, 2024

Berths start from:

9920 USD

East Greenland, Scoresby Sund - Aurora Borealis, Including Long Hikes
Up to $900 OFF

East Greenland, Scoresby Sund - Aurora Borealis, Including Long Hikes

Witness the Northern Lights at Scoresby Sund

PLA12-24 The East Greenland – Scoresby Sund cruise crosses the Arctic Circle into the home waters of multiple species of whale. The expedition will spot huge icebergs as it journeys into the largest and deepest fjord system in the world. Along the way the Northern...

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Cruise date:

31 Aug - 8 Sep, 2024

Berths start from:

3700 USD

East Greenland, Scoresby Sund - Aurora Borealis, Including Long Hikes
Up to $900 OFF

East Greenland, Scoresby Sund - Aurora Borealis, Including Long Hikes

Witness the Northern Lights at Scoresby Sund

OTL12-24 The East Greenland – Scoresby Sund cruise crosses the Arctic Circle into the home waters of multiple species of whale. The expedition will spot huge icebergs as it journeys into the largest and deepest fjord system in the world. Along the way the Northern...

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

11 Sep - 19 Sep, 2024

Berths start from:

3700 USD

Spitsbergen - Northeast Greenland - Aurora Borealis, Including Long Hikes

A classic three island voyage: Ice, Inuit and Remoteness

PLA11-24 The Spitsbergen and Northeast Greenland cruise sails waters filled with breath-taking scenery. The expedition passes through areas that are home to seals, seabirds, whales, and polar bears, topped off with nighttime viewing of the Northern Lights.

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Cruise date:

18 Aug - 31 Aug, 2024

Berths start from:

9800 USD

Greenland cruise video

Latest blog and customer story

Greenland blog

Hondius begins her Arctic season, with other ships to follow

Oceanwide’s Polar Class 6 vessel Hondius set sail from her homeport Vlissingen in the Netherlands on Sunday, delivering passengers to her first Arctic voyage of the season.

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Greenland story

Greenland: Land of Superlatives

On September 16th, I flew to Iceland and spent an evening in Reykjavik, then crossed the island for the town of Akureyri the next day.

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Latest highlight and wildlife

Map of

Greenland photo

Greenland cruise reviews

by Laskmit Yamaui
Beautifull landscapes, excellent people, We were very lucky looking at the wild life (polar bears a lot). Read full review
by Sigrid Dr. Reinhardt,
A wonderfull journey with guides, who had a lot to tell in a very good atmosphere Read full review
by Chiara Mellina
I want to leave again
Read full review
by lynne parsons
Fantastic trip aboard the Hondius, made so special by the knowledgeable guides who were at our beck and call to answer all our questions, look out for our safety and with a great sense of humour.. i enjoyed the custom of them spreading around to eat at different tables and chat more informally with us. They were first rate. The hospitality staff were the best I have ever encountered. They were so helpful always with a happy smile on their face. I was astonished how quickly they knew our names and made each and everyone of us feel so special . The standard has been set so high I doubt it can be bettered. Read full review
by Juliette Chabrol
It was my first polar trip and it was amazing. I come from France. The ship team and the expedition trip were perfect. The organization of this trip was perfect. Everyone was very approachable and professional. The boat is amazing. We were very lucky with incredible weather conditions, allowing for fascinating outings every day. The bears and the northern lights were here. I hope to have the chance to go back in polar areas with Oceanwide. Thanks again for this trip. Read full review
by Brigitta Wegmann
Landscape, wildlife, guides, board service, food, ship and everything I haven't listed - I was totally thrilled. Maybe this trip was my childhood dream and now it has become a lifelong dream come true. My greatest wish came true, I saw polar bears in their natural environment. The landscape impressed me and was beautiful. The small, the delicate flowers, and the large, the icebergs and colorful mountains. I would like to thank everyone again for the great trip: the captain for the good journey, the guides Frigga, Michelle, Melodie, Chloé, Irene, Pierre, Ross and the expedition leader Rinie with their noticeable enthusiasm for nature and its exciting and highly interesting lectures. Not to forget the ship's doctor Veronique. Not needed by me, but knowing that she is there to look after me. All I can say is that I want to come back and always wish you a safe journey and always a hand's breadth of water under your keel! Kind regards Brigitta
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Greenland FAQ

Greenland is the world’s biggest island stretching approximately 2800 kilometres (1750 miles) from north to south. 85% of Greenland is covered in ice and is therefore white on the map.

The size of Greenland creates a diverse range of temperature and climate conditions. For example, the populated sections of Greenland are all found on the coast because this area is free of ice. Meanwhile, the central region of Greenland is covered by an ice sheet.

In Nuuk, the average winter temperature reaches as low as -8 degrees Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit), but this climbs up to 7 degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer. The area only rarely experiences any temperatures that go above this range, which makes the summer cool but renders the winter more tolerable than many regions that have a more variable climate.   

The surface of Greenland is dramatic and spectacular. Heavily indented with numerous fjords, the coast is formed by spectacular high mountains, 2000 meters (6500 feet) high cliffs and innumerable glaciers. The large glaciers produce the huge cathedral-like icebergs that are abundant in the Greenlandic waters. Greenland and its surrounding waters are home to an impressive array of wildlife.

A Greenland cruise may enable you to see a large variety of birds. There are about 52 bird species on the island.

The number of land mammal species is relatively small, but it is still possible to see polar bears, Arctic hares, reindeer, musk oxen and Arctic foxes. Marine mammals such as Fin whale, Minke whale and Humpback whales are frequently seen. Blue Whales, Sperm Whales, and Pilot Whales are also seen occasionally. 

Greenland is home to more terrestrial mammal species than Spitsbergen: The extremely rare Arctic Wolves, Arctic Foxes, Ermines, Collared Lemmings, Muskoxen, and Arctic Hares. The Polar Bear is rarely seen on the west coast, but is regularly seen on the northern and north-eastern coasts. 

Huge outlet glaciers slowly slide down the mountains towards the sea where the ice breaks of and creates the huge cathedral like icebergs that are so abundant in the Greenlandic waters.

Greenland uses Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), with a range of UTC +0 to -4. This means that if it is 18:00 UTC (6 p.m.) in Nuuk when you travel to Greenland, it would be 16:00 (4 p.m.) in New York City, USA, 21:00 (9 p.m.) in London, U.K. and 09:00 (9 a.m.) the next morning in the Antarctic South Pole.   

About

Greenland: The Land and People

Fewer than 100,000 people call Greenland home, the majority of them Inuit – the indigenous people of the Arctic. Positioned northeast of Canada, Greenland is considered part of North America, though politically it has always been associated with Scandinavia.

Despite the mile-thick ice sheet that covers most of the island, Greenland is home to a variety of wildlife. Numerous land mammals reside along the northern and eastern shores, where human populations are scarce. The waters around Greenland are similarly rich with belugas, blues, fins, Greenland whales (bowheads), minkes, narwhals, and sperm whales.

Greenland’s ice sheet is the only one of its size outside Antarctica. About a tenth of the Earth’s surface is covered in similar sheets, nearly all of which are concentrated in Greenland and the Antarctic Continent. As such, human centers of activity―even the capital of Nuuk―are chiefly located along the shore. It almost goes without saying, then, that there are no roads connecting the Greenland coasts. Travel there is done only by air and sea.

Facts About Greenland

  • Greenland is officially part of Denmark, though it retains a great degree of self-rule
  • Almost 80% of Greenland is frozen in ice – only Antarctica has a larger ice sheet
  • The remaining 20% of Greenland’s ice-free land is nearly the size of Sweden
  • Greenland is the largest island (and least densely populated landmass) on Earth
  • An estimated two million seals live in the waters around Greenland
  • Greenland’s ice sheet is estimated to be between 400,000 and 800,000 years old
  • Words like “igloo” and “kayak” – and more than a few synonyms for snow – originated from the Inuit of Greenland
  • Greenland’s warmest temperatures don’t average much higher than 10°C even during the summer

Travel to Greenland

Those who join one of our cruises to Greenland, or Kalaallit Nunaat (Land of the People) as it is called in Greenlandic, encounter a country in which European and Inuit cultures intersect to create a world wholly its own. It is a severe but stunningly picturesque landscape of sprawling ice, towering rock, and limitless sky-blue sea. 

From the midnight sun to the northern lights, the great polar bear to the colossal blue whale, the full range of this mythic environment’s awe-inspiring attractions are possible on our many Greenland cruises. Our ice-strengthened cruise ships, Plancius and Ortelius, will provide you a comfortable home base from which to embark on daily expeditions, allowing you to dig deep into the Greenland experience. And if traditional sailing is more your speed, join us aboard our three-masted schooner, Rembrandt van Rijn.

Our Greenland expeditions afford you experiences that are truly once-in-a-lifetime: hiking the same trails as the Vikings hundreds of years ago, watching the many species of whale that visit the spirited Greenland coast, meeting the Inuit people and learning firsthand about their vibrant Thule ancestry―not to mention bird watching, polar diving, and kayaking opportunities also available when you explore this otherworldly Arctic island with us.

You can see the wide array of Greenland cruises we offer on our dedicated Greenland Cruise Page.

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