Circumnavigating Iceland with Iceland ProCruises

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CIRCUMNAVIGATING ICELAND WITH ICELAND PROCRUISES
Rose Palmer

I flung open the curtains to my balcony door and was greeted by a verdant green mountain capped with a white glacial peak which was reflected in the icy blue waters of a calm bay. This was the Iceland I had hoped to see, and it was just the first hour of the first morning on board the expedition vessel MS Seaventure

I was on a 10-day circumnavigation cruise with Iceland ProCruises that had started the afternoon before. We left out of Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, literally sailing into a beautiful sunset. During the night, as I was lulled to sleep by the gently rocking motion, the ship made its way to our first stop on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

 

I was not cruising on one of the large cruise ships this time, but rather on an expedition ship that had been specially built for polar explorations. During the winter months, the MS Seaventure toured to and from Antarctica. But in the summer months, Iceland ProCruises chartered the ship for their unique tours around Iceland and Greenland.

This was my first experience with an expedition ship, and I was surprised at its roominess and high level of comfort. I had always envisioned expedition ships to be bare bones and basic, but this was quite the opposite. The ship had only 82 cabins, all with portholes, windows, or balconies (no interior cabins at all).

With the exception of the two larger suites, all the cabins were the same size and felt quite roomy. My balcony cabin had all the usual amenities I had come to expect on larger ships. There were two twin beds (which could be combined into one bed), a huge amount of closet and cabinet space, a fridge, a TV, and a desk with two chairs. The en-suite bathroom was also roomy and had all the necessary amenities including a walk-in shower, nice toiletries, and fluffy towels.

What surprised me most though were the many large, public spaces on board. The Seabreeze lounge was the main gathering spot for relaxing after excursions. There were more than enough lounge chairs for everyone on board. A baby grand piano provided some of the evening entertainment and the bar and its staff were more than happy to keep everyone’s whistles wet throughout the day.

With a wall of forward-facing floor-to-ceiling windows, the top deck’s Expedition Lounge was the perfect spot for watching the scenery go by as we cruised and for the many informative lectures. There were also outdoor deck spaces with lounge chairs and also a small pool.

The other surprise was the elegant dining room and all the delicious meals served there each day. Iceland ProCruises brought an Icelandic chef on board and he and his team outdid themselves. The breakfast and lunch buffets had a wide variety of hot and cold choices for all dietary needs and limitations. The a la carte dinner menu always offered a fresh, local seafood option along with meat and vegetarian dishes. And the desserts were always divine.

My first morning in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula started with our first zodiac tour of the coastline around the hamlet of Anarstapi. This was my first time on a zodiac and the Seaventure crew made it all very effortless. A metal platform with stairs and railings led down to the zodiac and the crew helped us all to safely get in and out.

The Seaventure is a small ship and most of the time was able to dock in the ports where the larger ships could not. But in very small harbors, like the one at Anarstapi, we used the zodiacs to get to land. Throughout the cruise, we also had short zodiac tours to explore out-of-the-way sections of the coastline which provided a completely unique perspective.

Each day of the cruise brought us to a different location along Iceland’s coast. As with other cruises I have been on, I had a choice of excursions at every port at an additional cost. The excursions ranged from easy activity levels (bus tours) to more active hiking tours. There was definitely something for every ability level and interest.

It was with the excursions and the guides that led them that I thought Iceland ProCruises really excelled. The company is Icelandic owned and operated and all the guides were Icelandic. Because our guides were local, we got insights into Icelandic culture that were authentic and unique. The guides were happy to answer all our questions, no matter how mundane. They were also very knowledgeable about the geography, the flora, the fauna, and of course, the history of their country.

Each night, the ship’s crew sailed the ship to our next destination and every day we discovered a new location as we circumnavigated the island. We stopped at many of the popular cruise ship ports, like Isalfjordur and Husavik where we had excursions to some of Iceland’s most remarkable waterfalls including Dynjandi, Dettifoss, and Godafoss. But we also had stops at lesser visited locations like Grimsey Island located on the Arctic Circle and Westman Island where we got to see the effects of a huge volcanic eruption from 50 years ago.

My absolute favorite stop though was the private, little island of Flatey. The island has just a few holiday homes and a church and only Iceland ProCruises is allowed to bring their guests there. The big draw to this stop was the many puffin colonies. Because the island is not overrun with people, the puffins were not disturbed by our presence, and I was able to get relatively close.

My Iceland ProCruises circumnavigation trip gave me everything I was looking for in a cruise around Iceland. I was able to experience the major cultural and scenic highlights as well as some off-the-beaten-path sights with knowledgeable local guides. And all in complete comfort while unpacking and repacking only once over the course of 10 days.

Visit https://www.icelandprocruises.com/

Rose Palmer believes that life is a patchwork of experiences. Traveling the world is one of her deepest passions which continues to add to her ever-growing quilt of life experiences. She likes to focus her traveling lens on art, architecture, history, nature, and soft adventure with a touch of luxury. Rose shares her award-winning stories and photos on her blog www.Quiltripping.com

 

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About the Author:

Rose Palmer believes that life is a patchwork of experiences. Traveling the world is one of her deepest passions which continues to add to her ever-growing quilt of life experiences.

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