West Greenland Cruise - Disko Bay and Bowhead Whales

Book with KE and receive a Yukon Down Jacket worth nearly £300!




From $4,390 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Arctic cruise adventure and Whale Safari in West Greenland
  • A polar cruise with a difference on board a 3 mast schooner
  • Watch the skies for the magical Aurora Borealis in Disko Bay
  • Sail Greenland`s fjords in search of Bowhead Whales

The magic of West Greenland is conjured by its remote location, sparse population, abundant wildlife and rugged scenery, and that is especially the case on the Adventure Cruise holiday in West Greenland. Boarding the 3-mast sailing schooner, Rembrandt van Rijn, our exploration from Aasiaat takes us into hidden fjords, where we disembark and go in search of reindeer and the dwellings of the 13th century Thule culture. The Disko Bay area, which we sail through is a haven for whales and we could see Humpbacks and Bowheads, otherwise known as the Greenland Whale. On the earlier departures in May we may still be able to see the Aurora Borealis. As we get later into the season, at the end of May and June we can experience the midnight sun. Maybe play a game of cards on deck in the sunlight at midnight! The Bowhead Whales are more prolific on the earlier departures in May. We will also see plenty of Arctic birds, nesting in their hundreds on the basalt cliffs of Disko Island on along the Davis Strait. Sailing through fjords with icebergs and whales dotted about on the beautiful Rembrandt Van Rijn really is a truly magnificent Greenland experience.

explore international

Explore International. This is one of our Explore International holidays. Participants on these trips can book through KE or through one of our international partners. This helps us to gather together sufficient numbers of like-minded adventurers to get your holiday up and running quickly. Led by an English-speaking guide, the cosmopolitan nature of these groups can be an important part of the experience!

Is this holiday for you?

You must be in good general health and you should be able to walk for a couple of hours per day, although you are welcome to remain aboard the ship if you like. You must be able to get up and down the steep gangway from the ship to the water level to board the Zodiacs. Staff will assist you in and out of the boats. Ashore it can be slippery and rocky. Also consider that you are travelling in remote areas without quick access to sophisticated medical facilities. The Rembrandt Van Rijn is a sailing ship, with engines for poor weather. You will not be expected to ‘help out' with the crew on sailing the boat, however you can participate if you wish and it is always appreciated. If there is still too much sea ice west of Disko Island (possibly in May), we will remain in Disko Bay and explore to the southeast of Disko Bay and land on the central island of Gronne Island. By mid-June the Greenland Whales (Bowhead) have travelled through the Disko Bay region and if you are interested in seeing these please look at booking on the early departures.

Please see our online Polar Guide for the differences between our departures, ships and more Polar information.  

The day to day itinerary is for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions and in order to take advantage of opportunities to see wildlife. No two voyages are alike and flexibility is paramount on cruises. If there is still too much sea ice around Disko Island (possibly in May and early June), we will remain in Disko Bay and explore to the southeast to Grønne Island (cruise at 200m from seabird reserve), Saqqaq site at Qajaa, and to Cristianshaab/Qasingiannguit.  

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at Copenhagen Airport. Fly to Kangerlussaq and on to Aasiaat. Board.
  • At the mouth of Disko Bay.
  • Godhaven and the icebergs of Jakobshavn Isfjord.
  • Exploring along the coast.
  • Nordfjord and Quasigissat.
  • Exploring Kuanerssuit Fjord.
  • Whale spotting around Godhavn and Hunde Ejlands.
  • Departure day. Return to Aasiaat. Disembark. Fly back to Copenhagen.
Tue 24 May - Tue 31 May Code PDB /01/16/ Adult$4,390 Status Guaranteed Book now
Tue 31 May - Tue 07 Jun Code PDB /02/16/ Adult$4,390 Status Guaranteed Book now
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Copenhagen. For clients making their own flight arrangements, they should meet at Copenhagen Airport from where KE include the Greenland Air flight to Kangerlussauq and the charter flight onto Aasiaat. Please refer to 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' in the trip dossier for further details.

If choosing land only option, you can fly from the UK with the low cost airline Easy Jet flight from Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester, Bristol and Edinburgh to Copenhagen.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

Full payment for all Polar Cruises is 14 weeks prior to departure. Early booking is recommended as flights to fill early and cabin choice can be more limited nearer to departure.

PHD Jacket

Free PHD Yukon Down Jacket worth £284 with every booking!

Everyone booking a cruise between now and the end of 2014 will receive a FREE PHD Yukon Down Jacket worth £284. Made with probably the warmest down in the world (grade 900), this quality jacket was designed to keep competitors warm at -35C during the Yukon Arctic Ultra sled dog race. Naturally, it's also perfect for spotting wildlife from the deck of your cruise ship. Jackets will be sent out on receipt of full payment.

Medical Form

Please note that for all our Polar Cruises you are required to complete a confidential medical form. This will be sent to you with your booking confirmation.

Upgrade Price per person and cabins

Our base price for this holiday includes accommodation in a triple cabin with a double bunk and a single with a porthole. It is possible to upgrade to cabins with twin berths with no porthole or a twin with porthole. If you are travelling on your own and book a triple room you will be with the same sex however there will be 3 people in the cabin. If you are travelling on your own and book a twin cabin then we try to match you with someone of the same sex, although this is not always possible. Single cabins are also available. Please contact the office for further details on specific departure roomings and prices. All cabins and have private en-suite bathrooms.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • trip direction
  • transfer
  • internalflight

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at Copenhagen Airport. Fly to Kangerlussaq and on to Aasiaat. Board.

    In the morning we rendezvous at the airport in Copenhagen and take the Greenland Air flight on to Kangerlussaq, followed by a charter flight on to Aasiaat. In the 17th century this tiny settlement was populated by a community of whalers, there to hunt in the mouth of Disko Bay. Nowadays, the multi coloured wooden houses are home to local fisherman. The port at Aasiaat is ice free from late spring to early winter. After boarding our vessel, the Rembrandt van Rijn, we have time to settle into our cabins before our evening meal. We spend the first part of the night at anchor in Aasiaat or another of the bas nearby. KE Land Only package services begin with the flight from Copenhagen to Kangerlussaq.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals d

  • At the mouth of Disko Bay.

    We spend the day at the mouth of the Disko Bay. The waters here are rich with marine life attracting both seabirds and whales and we can expect to see our first Greenland whale today. We spend the evening close by in Fortune Bay or Engelsmanden’s Haven, where there are warm springs.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Godhaven and the icebergs of Jakobshavn Isfjord.

    Sailing south of Godhaven, this is another day full of opportunities to see Greenland Whales. In the afternoon we sail to the mouth of the Jakobshavn Isfjord with its enormous icebergs. We will the rest of the day here enjoying the wildlife and dramatic scenery.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Exploring along the coast.

    Navigating a course through the domineering icebergs, we land at Flakkerhuk on the east side of Disko Island. Weather allowing this will be the first of several landings along the coast today. We hope to make stops a Narujuk and Modderbugt to enjoy the abundant arctic birdlife, such as long-tailed skua, turnstone and grey phalarope. The birds breed on the beautiful tundra landscape, bounded by basalt cliffs. We may also pay a visit to the settlement of Saqqaq. This is the earliest known archeological culture in Greenland. The remains of the dwellings here are thought to be around 4000 years old. Alternatively we may sail into Ata Sund, to Eqip Sermia glacier.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Nordfjord and Quasigissat.

    This morning, in Davis Strait, we may glimpse the edge of the Baffin Bay sea-ice; some tens of miles west of Disko Island. We will attempt some landings in Nordfjord and Qasigissat, where we can explore the valleys, lakes and lush tundra landscape encircled by the basalt cliffs. At Qasigissat we may see populations of ducks and geese.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Exploring Kuanerssuit Fjord.

    From Diskofjord we sail into Kuanerssuit Fjord, toward some warm springs. Near Sioraq settlement, where the people keep sledge dogs, we also visit a beautifully located Thule dwelling site with large turf huts. In the evening we cruise along Queqertaq Island (1000 m high) home to the largest northern fulmar colony in Greenland.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Whale spotting around Godhavn and Hunde Ejlands.

    Sailing south of Godhavn to Hunde Ejlands, we have another day full of opportunities to see Greenland Whales. Hunde Ejlands is famous for its small Greenlandic settlement, here you can see the old dwellings of Greenland’s Thule culture (dating from 11th century) and graves from 18th century European whalers.

    • Accommodation Boat

    • Meals bld

  • Departure day. Return to Aasiaat. Disembark. Fly back to Copenhagen.

    We arrive in Aasiaat and disembark. In the morning we fly from Aasiaat to Kangerlussaq by chartered flight, and onward by scheduled flight to Copenhagen. KE Land Only package services end in Copenhagen.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • Expert Expedition staff and sailing staff
  • All accommodation as described
  • All meals on board the SV Rembrandt Van Rijn
  • Flights from Copenhagen to Aasiaat

  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for staff
  • Transfers to/from airport hotel in Copenhagen if applicable
  • Meals other than those on the ship
  • Airport departure taxes
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

The group will rendezvous at Copenhagen airport in the early morning of day 1 of the Land Only itinerary. From here we will take the Greenland Air flight to Kangerlussaq and the charter flight onwards to Aasiaat. On the return we will arrive into Copenhagen airport in the evening of the last day of the Land Only itinerary between 8pm and 10pm. Flight inclusive clients will have a hotel room booked for them at the airport before flying back to the UK the following day. Land Only clients MUST provide the KE office with full details of their flights. Emergency contact numbers will be provided with your booking confirmation.

During this trip the group will spend 7 nights on board the SV Rembrandt van Rijn. This is a 3 mast schooner sailing vessel. It was built as a herring lugger early last century. The vessel was rebuilt as a three-mast passenger sailing schooner in the Netherlands, we final refurbishments completed in 2011. The ship is well suited for expedition cruising among small islands (due to its size) and offers good open deck viewing areas also when under sail. Two zodiacs enable landing and wildlife viewing opportunities. The bow of the vessel is enforced and is therefore suitable to sail in Greenlandic waters.

The Rembrandt van Rijn measures 56m in length, 7m in width and has a draft of 2,5 m. The maximum speed on engines is 9 knots. It has an experienced crew of 12 persons on board including 2 tour guides. The ship can accommodate a maximum of 33 passengers in 16 twin cabins in 1 Triple Private cabin with porthole which has a double and single bed, 6 Twin Private Inside cabins (no porthole), 9 Twin Private cabins with porthole. All cabins have ensuite facilities with a shower & toilet. On board there is also a restaurant and a bar/reading room for use to everyone whilst on board.

Our base price is a triple cabin with a double bunk and a single with a porthole. It is possible to upgrade to cabins with twin berths with no porthole or a twin with porthole. If you are travelling on your own and book a triple room you will be with the same sex however there will be 3 people in the cabin (so sharing the double bed). If you are travelling on your own and book a twin cabin then we try to match you with someone of the same sex, although this is not always possible. Single cabins are also available. Please contact the office for further details on specific departure roomings and prices. All cabins and have private en-suite bathrooms.

Within the flight inclusive package we also have 2 nights at an airport hotel in Copenhagen.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

On board the ship a range of international dishes will be available. Meals are prepared and catered by professional chefs and all meals on board are included in the holiday price. Special dietary requirements, including vegetarians, can be accommodated with advance notice (please advise at time of booking). Coffee, tea and water are all provided free of charge. All other beverages, alcoholic and not-alcoholic are not included and can be purchased in the bar area.

All meals whilst on board the Rembrandt Van Rijin are included. The meals are of international cuisine and are served buffet style in the restaurant. The meals are prepared by the on board cook.

Prices on board are in Euros or US dollars. it is not practical to set a recommended amount for personal spending on a holiday like this. All meals while on board are included in the trip price. The main additional spend on board will be on drinks and this will vary greatly from person to person. A drink on board cost from €2.50. On board ship, bar bills can be put on a tab and paid at the end of the cruise by credit or debit card or in cash (Euro or Us Dollar). You will also need some money for any meals taken in Copenhagen or Aasiaat and for tips to your crew and expedition staff. We recommend that you bring a minimum of US$200 in cash for emergency situations.

A carefully chosen team will lead your voyage. The ships boast an international team of professional naturalists and lecturers. Their goal is to provide an informed and balanced interpretation of the destination, accomplished through stimulating lectures, day-to-day briefings, and informal discussions. Your leaders will cover all aspects of the voyage including ornithology, marine biology, geography, geology, history and the environment, as well as practical things like photography. The expedition staff work conscientiously with you on deck and in the field, improving your observational skills to allow you to experience all that the destination has to offer. Their strong sense of ethics and ecological knowledge make for stimulating and mindful conversation whether onshore or at the dinner table.

The customary gratuity to the ship's service personnel is made as a blanket contribution in one envelope at the end of the voyage, which is divided among the crew and staff. You will receive detailed guidelines on board. Tipping is a very personal matter and the amount you wish to give is at your discretion. It is better for the crew and staff, if you can give them cash, either US Dollar or Euro. You may give individually and/or communally as a personal 'thank you' to one or more of the ship's personnel. As a guide, we recommend you allow $10 - $15 per day for tips to your crew and expedition staff.

On the Greenland Air flights (Copenhagen to Kangerlussaq return), each passenger can check in up to 20 kg of baggage and bring an additional 8kg in to the passenger cabin (within standard cabin size regulations). We recognise that for some of our holidays and for some of our travellers, the KE Trek Bag (see below) may not provide the best solution when packing for your trip. A bag with fitted wheels or a holdall with more than one compartment and more than one access zip can, in some circumstances, be more appropriate. We have no problem if you choose to use an alternative bag.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

A passport with 3 months remaining validity is required. Passport holders from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or any EU countries do not require a visa. Other nationalities should check with the respective consulate in their own country.

Whilst we keep our information up to date, you should be advised that visa requirements can change. It is recommended that you contact the relevant commission in case of recent amendments.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. Please restrict your baggage to one main bag (your KE Trek bag) and a small daypack.

You must bring the following items:

  • Causal shoes / Trainers / Sneakers or similar for onboard
  • Rubber boots (Wellington boots)
  • Walking shoes or hiking boots
  • Socks (Warm, high wool or similar socks worn over a thin pair of silk, polypropylene socks should provide enough warmth and insulation for your feet. Bring several pairs of socks, since you will inevitably get your feet wet)
  • Waterproof & Windproof jacket
  • Trekking trousers / pants
  • Waterproof pants/trousers
  • Long johns (thermal underwear)
  • Underwear
  • Baselayer shirts / fleece
  • Casual shirt and/or T-shirts
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper/sweater
  • Down Jacket
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat
  • Scarf and/or neck gaiter
  • 1 x Ski goggles (windproof)
  • 1 x Sun glasses/glacier glasses with sides
  • Gloves or mittens (Thin polypropylene gloves under warm outer gloves is a good combination)
  • Headtorch/Headlamp with spare batteries
  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
  • Water bottles 1 Litre (1 Quart) x1
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Small towel
  • Selection of dry bags (to keep daypack/rucksack contents dry)
  • Small padlock (to lock trek bag)
  • Small daypack/rucksack
  • Warm jacket (down)
  • Basic First Aid Kit including: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, and plasters (band-aids). Glucose tablets and multi-vitamin tablets are also a good idea.

The following items are optional:

  • Warm Ski pants
  • Shorts
  • Spare gloves
  • Wet wipes
  • Travel clothes
  • Camera (in a dry bag), film/memory cards, batteries
  • Binoculars
  • Penknife (remember to pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
  • Seasickness remedy

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:


It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on an active holiday getting some exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. We would suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime in the 6 to 8 week period leading up to your trip. Running, cycling, indoor rowing machines and swimming are excellent cross training methods for developing endurance. Nordic walking or the cross trainer machine are also excellent ways to imitate the arm action needed for skiing and help to build up arm and shoulder strength.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: www.fco.gov.uk. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

Greenland's location within the Arctic circle is the biggest factor on climate but temperatures. On deck with a sea breeze, the wind chill can bring the temperature down well below freezing. Snow should be expected in April/May. When the sun is out and the weather is calm it can feel warm and well above zero.

English is the ship's language and spoken by all staff and crew. Several departures are dedicated to certain language groups, so called bilingual voyages. Some German speaking expedition staff will be on board for bilingual voyages (English - German). Welcome 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 if a lecture Guidance during activities ashore will depend on the group each passenger chooses according to their own physical ability.

Lonely Planet. Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands Visitor's Guide Iceland and Greenland (World Traveller) Don Philpott

Greenland Explorer: Visitor's Map of Greenland (Ocean Explorer Maps) by Nigel Sitwell

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