Things to consider

  • A ship’s capabilities in the ice is a key attribute, particularly in East Greenland where the pack ice can sweep down without warning
  • Glance at a regional map and you realise that distances are large - ship speed is a worthy consideration
  • The size, skill and knowledge of the expedition staff makes all the difference - particularly during tricky landings
  • Optional kayaking is a popular add-on, however it’s not offered on all Greenland ships, so choose carefully

Swoop Says

Greenland Ships

Polar Pioneer (54 passengers)

One of the last of a smaller class of ships still operating in The Arctic, Polar Pioneer’s high ice class rating and experienced ice captain makes her ideal for exploring Greenland’s icy east coast.

Plus, its becoming an increasingly rare luxury to travel on a ship of this size with such a select number of fellow passengers. Fast zodiac logistics, the ability to be more spontaneous and a more close knit atmosphere onboard all make her one of our favourites.

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Ocean Nova (68 passengers)

Scandinavian style and a stunning panoramic lounge, means this small expeditionary-style ship is a real gem in Arctic waters. The intimate nature of sailing on the Ocean Nova is not just down to her capacity to take under 70 passengers, but also thanks to fantastic crew that are so friendly you feel like you’re among family.

We also like that this is one of the few small ships sailing to the Arctic that offers dedicated single cabins. And though she may be small, that works in her favour; with excellent manoeuvrability and a high ice-class rating, meaning she can reach places other ships simply can’t.

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Akademik Vavilov & Ioffe (92 & 96 passengers)

While there’s no hiding the working ship credentials of these sister ships, what they lack in polish they more than make up for by their impressive capabilities in ice and overall stability. With both ice and large distances being synonymous with Greenland’s long coastline, they are a very solid option.

We also like that they provide on loan a full set of outer gear, which makes packing easier: parka jacket, waterproof trousers & insulated rubber boots. Plus, binoculars and telescopic walking poles are also available. Most other ships just offer boots and jacket.

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Ocean Adventurer (134 passengers)

For travel in Greenland it’s Ocean Adventurers’ fast speed (17.5 knots) courtesy of new engines, spacious decks - so everyone’s got plenty of room for taking in the majestic surroundings - and good stability which recommends her. We also like her elegant lines and the big windows in the restaurant, so you never miss out.

An extensive upgrade in the spring of 2017 to all bathrooms, new Deluxe cabins and a remodelling of the dining room have further enhanced her.

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MS Expedition (134 passengers)

What we like about this ship is her generous space throughout including the cabins, 360 degree Observation Lounge - a great place to stay warm while admiring the view - and huge mudroom, where you leave your outdoor gear instead of having to store it in your cabin, as is the case on most other expedition ships.

Also, her high ice class rating of 1B definitely makes a difference in East Greenland for muscling through heavy ice.

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Ocean Endeavour (199 passengers)

While many of the ships plying Greenland’s waters began as working ships and have since been re-modelled for expedition travel, Ocean Endeavour is cut from a different cloth. Her profile is more akin to a small cruise ship. But don’t let this put you off - we really like the comfort and extra space this larger ship provides, while delivering a first rate expedition experience.

Plus, no other ship has such a large and experienced expedition team (up to 34 experts), or offers mountain biking.

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East Greenland trips on these selected ships

West Greenland trips on these selected ships

Other Greenland ships

  • Plancius
  • Ortelius
  • Le Lyrial & Le Soleal
  • Sea Spirit
  • National Geographic Explorer & Orion
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