Icelandic Saga Aboard the M/S Panorama (Reykjavik to Akureyri)
From active volcanic landscapes, erupting geysers, and geothermal hot springs to thundering waterfalls, massive glaciers and black-sand beaches, venture into diverse and unique Iceland, “The Land of Fire and Ice.”
Forged millions of years ago in volcanic eruptions, Iceland is the youngest land mass in Europe. Its isolated location and harsh environment lent to the distinctive country we know today. One of the most sparsely populated countries on earth, with around only 320,000 residents, much of Iceland’s population resides near the capital city. Icelanders take pride in the natural beauty of their country and strive to both preserve their fragile environment and harness the benefits of the natural resources. In fact, almost all electricity in Iceland is produced by renewable resources, such as geothermal energy.
This voyage will take you on an adventure through a one of a kind landscape. Visit some of the country’s most famous landmarks and attractions. Discover a land almost completely unaltered by human presence. Interact with the locals, sample Icelandic cuisine and be immersed in the history of this beautiful nation.
Icelandic Saga Aboard the M/S Panorama (Reykjavik to Akureyri)
Day by Day Itinerary
DAY 1 - KEF AIRPORT/REYKJAVIK, ICELAND
Arrive at Keflavik International Airport in the morning and enjoy a panoramic drive across the volcanic Reykjanes Peninsula, containing several dormant volcanoes and extensive lava fields. Our first destination is Iceland’s most famous and popular geothermal spa, the Blue Lagoon. After having breakfast on your own, there will be time for a relaxing bath in the milky blue seawater. Heated by geothermal energy, the mineral rich waters are famous for their rejuvenating and beneficial qualities. A visit to the spa promotes harmony between body, mind and spirit, and enables one to soak away the stresses of modern life. Depart the lagoon for a short drive to the nearby fishing village of Grindavik for lunch at Papa’s Restaurant, where we can sample the fresh catch of the day, followed by a visit to the Kvikan Museum. In the afternoon, we will journey to the Krýsuvík Geothermal area, an expanse of steaming vents, boiling hot springs, and multi-colored volcanic craters. A sturdy boardwalk, bearing informative and educational signs, allows visitors to traverse the bubbling mud pools and sulphur pits. Ascend the massive steam vent for spectacular views of the surrounding area. We will drive across mossy lava fields to beautiful Kleifarvatn Lake, one of the largest and deepest lakes in the country, before travelling to Reykjavik for embarkation. Evening at leisure.
DAY 2 – REYKJAVIK, ICELAND
Today, we will explore three of the country's most famous landmarks – Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall, and Geysir Hot Spring Area– together known as the Golden Circle. We make our way across the Mosfellsheidi Heath to Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that ranks at the top of Iceland's attractions. The area is surrounded by mountains and encompasses a vast lava plane of green moss and wild flowers. Walk through the geological fault known as Almannagja, part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which separates the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. Not only is Þingvellir of tremendous geological interest, it is also held sacred by Icelanders as the site where the legislative parliament, the Althing, was founded in the year 930 AD. Symbolically, it is considered the place where the settlers of Iceland became a unified nation and where some of the nation's most important historical events unfolded. After Þingvellir, the tour continues over fertile farmlands to the Gullfoss Waterfall, or the “Golden Waterfall,” the most famous and beautiful in the country. The last of the “big three” is Geysir Hot Spring Area, from where the word “geyser” originates. The most active geyser in the area, Strokkur, erupts in a towering fountain every few minutes. On our return to Reykjavik, we will stop at the Hellisheiði Geothermal Power Plant. The exhibition provides an opportunity to learn about the harnessing and usage of clean, green geothermal energy in Iceland. Return to the ship in Reykjavik for an overnight in port and an early morning departure for Akranes.
DAY 3 – AKRANES, ICELAND
Early morning arrival in Arkanes. After breakfast, our adventure begins as we disembark and drive to the isolated community of Husafell. From there, we will transfer via a specialized 4x4 vehicle to Base Camp Klaki near the Langjökull Glacier, the second largest in Europe, rising between 1,200 and 1,300m above sea level. All guests are required to wear necessary safety equipment; crampons are provided, as well as additional insulated clothing. Ascend in the 4x4 to the mouth of the tunnel leading to the ice cave. Located about 30 meters below the glacier’s surface, the awe-inspiring cave has been carved into hundreds of meters of tunnels and chambers. One such chamber even resembles a chapel, complete with ice benches and an ice pulpit. Crevasses that pull the glacier apart along with sunlight penetrating the packed ice are among the natural wonders to be witnessed. As we descend into the depths of the glacier, we will see the newer, white ice blend into the older, rarely glimpsed deep blue ice. Lit from behind with LED lights, the ice gives off an ethereal glow that lends to this surreal experience. When we emerge from the caves, an optional snowmobiling excursion will be offered at additional cost. Those who do not wish to participate may return to base camp for the duration of the excursion. We will return to Husafell for lunch at the Husafell Bistro, followed by a drive to Hraunfoss and Barnafoss, two of Iceland’s most picturesque waterfalls. Return to Arkanes for embarkation and a late afternoon sailing to Patreksfjörður, arriving that night.
DAY 4 – PATREKSFJORDUR, ICELAND
Disembark in Patreksfjörður, one of the largest towns in the Westfjords. Named for St. Patrick, the spiritual guide of the town’s first settler, the town of Patreksfjörður played a significant role in the Icelandic fishing industry. We make our way from Patreksfjörður to pristine Látrabjarg Cliff, one of the most visited attractions in the Westfjords. Over 8 miles in length and peaking at over 1,000 feet high, Látrabjarg Cliff is home to an untold number of seabirds. Some of the species include razorbills, white-tailed eagles, red-throated loons, arctic terns, redshanks, snipes, and Iceland’s iconic puffins. Safe from natural predators, the birds residing on the cliff are fearless, which provides ample photo opportunities. As we descend from the cliff, we will take a quick photo stop with Iceland’s oldest steel ship, Garðar BA. Built in Norway in 1912, it was originally used as a whaling ship and then later for herring. It was deemed ruined and inoperable in 1981, and was stranded on land in Skapadalur valley. Continue to the Rauðisandur Beach, or “Red Sand” Beach. Unlike most other beaches in Iceland, which have black sand from the volcanic rock, the sand on this beach is unique in its golden pink hue. Ride on a tractor carriage with our expert guide and local farmer along the sandy beach to a seal colony, where you can see the seals up close. Return to Patreksfjörður for embarkation and a late afternoon sailing to Ísafjörður, with a stop at the Arnarfjörður Fjord to view the Dynjandi Waterfall, sometimes referred to as the jewel of the Westfjords. Arrive in Ísafjörður that night.
DAY 5 - ÍSAFJORDUR, ICELAND
After breakfast onboard, disembark in Ísafjörður, the largest town on the Westfjords peninsula and one of the first areas of the country to be settled by Vikings. We will drive to the old Viking village of Thingeyri to learn about the Viking ways and how they lived off the land. We will walk through a recreated Viking settlement, take a short hike to the ruins of Thing, or “parliament,” and visit the interactive Viking museum. Here, we will be able to dress in Viking clothing, take photographs, drink Icelandic Viking beer, bake our own Viking bread, and explore the museum. After our Viking experience, we return to Ísafjörður to visit the Heritage Museum, located inside one of the oldest houses in the town. Return to the ship for embarkation in the late afternoon. Overnight sailing to Siglufjörður.
DAY 6 – SIGLUFJORDUR/HUSAVIK, ICELAND
This morning we disembark in the small, once bustling herring town of Siglufjörður. In the winter, the ample snowfall and mountainous landscape provide the perfect conditions for snow sports such as skiing, skating, or riding snowmobiles. In the summer, visitors can enjoy the black sand beaches and the surrounding walking and hiking trails. Siglufjörður is also home to the largest marine and industrial museum in Europe, the award-winning Herring Era Museum. Here, we will attend a presentation that discusses the invaluable role that herring fishing played in Iceland’s history. We will also attend an outdoor salting show in a salting station dating back to 1907, where guests can watch how “herring girls” used to work. After our visit to the museum, you may enjoy leisure time to explore on your own. Get caught up in lively accordion music and ring dancing. Sample a traditional rye bread with local herring and Icelandic schnapps. Learn about the local history and culture of this wonderful northern town. Return to the ship for an afternoon sailing to Húsavík, with late afternoon arrival..
DAY 7 – FRIDAY: HUSAVIK – AKUREYRI, ICELAND
Disembark this morning in Húsavík, the whale watching capital of Iceland. Enjoy the magnificent wildlife and stunning scenery aboard a renovated traditional oak fishing boat on our optional 3-hour whale watching excursion in Skjalfandi Bay. There is perhaps no better place in the world to see the friendly minke whale, normally quite timid creatures, who have been known to approach the boats and surface right alongside. Whales are often encountered within 20 minutes of leaving the harbor and appear to take as much interest in humans as we do in them. Boisterous white beaked dolphins and harbor porpoises frequently join the party, and sometimes humpback and other large whales are spotted. From Húsavík, we will visit Lake Myvatn, the Namaskard Geothermal Field, and the Dimmuborgir lava formations, all fine examples of the volcanic world, with boiling purple and yellow sulphur cauldrons, towering rock formations, steam vents and lava fields. After lunch we continue along the Ring Road to reach Godafoss Waterfall - Waterfall of the Gods - and will hear about the Kristni saga, recounting the arrival of Christianity and the end of paganism. Journey to Akureyri, the capital of northern Iceland, and spend some time walking around this colorful city. Overnight in Akureyri.
DAY 8 – SATURDAY: AKUREYRI, ICELAND
Disembark this morning for your transfer to the Akureyri Domestic Airport.
Category A Cabin
Category B Cabin
Category C Cabin
Ports of Call
Discover a 3 masted Motorsailer which can accommodate up to 49 passengers in 24 cabins. The "Panorama" was launched in 1993 and has been rebuilt in 2001, followed by a latest renovation in 2014. In 2014, the Upper Deck cabins and Lounge, as well as the Main Deck cabin en suite bathrooms and Lounge have been refitted. This state of the art Motorsailer has performed several Atlantic Ocean crossings and has sailed from the Seychelles to Monte Carlo and from the Black Sea to Tunis and offers the highest standard of accommodation and comfort safety.
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