Greenland airport expansion is fueling new expedition itinerary options: Travel Weekly

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An airport expansion set to be completed this year in Nuuk, the capital city of Greenland, is driving new expedition itineraries in 2025 for Viking, Silversea and HX, formerly known as Hurtigruten Expeditions.

While expedition and oceangoing ships alike call at Nuuk almost daily during the summer, the airport’s longer runway and new terminal are expected to open in late November, providing more options for airlift into Greenland.

Icelandair said it will offer service to Nuuk from the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik, and Air Greenland will offer service from Copenhagen, according to Cirium flight schedule data. Officials hope to eventually offer U.S. service, as well.

The development is helping turn the town on the west coast of Greenland into a strategic starting place for roundtrip and open-jaw expeditions rather than originating in nearby Reykjavik.

The Viking Octantis will sail three new cruises from Nuuk next year.

The Viking Octantis will sail three new cruises from Nuuk next year. Photo Credit: Viking

Viking is offering four new cruises from Nuuk on the Viking Octantis next year, ranging from 13 to 27 days and exploring the polar north of Greenland and Canada. On all of these sailings, Nuuk will act as a point for embarkation, debarkation or both.

Viking’s Into the Northwest Passage is a 13-day cruise with four departures from late July through early September with sailings roundtrip from Nuuk. The cruises begin by traveling the coast of Greenland into the Arctic Circle before crossing Baffin Bay to Canada’s Nunavut territory and exploring the Pond Inlet and Beechey Island. The ship then returns to Greenland for a call in Sisimiut before returning to Nuuk. 

Arctic cotton in Sisimiut, Greenland's second-largest city.

Arctic cotton in Sisimiut, Greenland’s second-largest city. Photo Credit: Andrea Klaussner

Two longer Viking cruises sail between Nuuk and Toronto. A 15-day version called Canada and Greenland Explorer makes three calls in Greenland, including Ivittuut, before sailing south to the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador en route to Toronto. The sailings will depart on July 15 from Toronto and Sept. 15 from Nuuk.

A 27-day Canada and Northwest Passage sailing includes more calls on the western edge of Greenland and into the Canadian High Arctic, including Nunavut. The itinerary overlaps with Viking’s Canada and Greenland Explorer, continuing north of Nuuk to experience more of Greenland and Beechey Island, Dundas Harbor and Cape Hay in Canada. Departures are scheduled for July 15 out of Toronto and Sept. 3 out of Nuuk. 

A fourth new itinerary is Viking’s most expansive from Nuuk. Overlapping with the Canada and Northwest Passage itinerary, the line will sail an 87-day cruise on Sept. 3 to reposition for Antarctica expeditions. After calling in Toronto, the ship will head south along the east coast of the U.S. and transit the Panama Canal to sail the west coast of South America before reaching Antarctica, where the ship will spend four days before the cruise concludes in Ushuaia, Argentina.

HX's Fridtjof Nansen will sail new itineraries from Nuuk.

HX’s Fridtjof Nansen will sail new itineraries from Nuuk. Photo Credit: HX

HX going big for 2025

HX plans to offer its largest Greenland season ever next year. The line will sail nine Greenland itineraries, three of them new Grand Greenland sailings that will begin and end in Nuuk.

The itineraries include flights to and from Nuuk to Reykjavik, providing a chance to see both Iceland and Greenland. All new itineraries will sail on the Fridtjof Nansen.

The three new itineraries — Icy Giants of Disko Bay, Mythical Lands of the North, Farthest North to Thule and Kane Basin — all begin the same way, heading north from Nuuk along the western coast of Greenland. The cruises include visits to the Unesco-listed Ilulissat Icefjord, Uummannaq Fjord and the communities of West Greenland, including Sisimiut. The routes then differ with visits to Disko Bay, the Thule region and the Kane Basin, depending on the itinerary. The Icy Giants of Disko Bay sailing will be offered in June; the other two are scheduled for July.

HX will also sail a South Greenland expedition: In the Wake of Erik the Red. The 14-day journey departs June 13 by ship from Reykjavik to the southern tip of Greenland before proceeding up the coast, including a call at Kangiussap Nunaa, and ending in Nuuk. 

Silversea's Silver Endeavour will sail a 15-day cruise on July 25 from Churchill, Manitoba, to Nuuk.

Silversea’s Silver Endeavour will sail a 15-day cruise on July 25 from Churchill, Manitoba, to Nuuk. Photo Credit: Silversea Cruises

Silversea Cruises is also sailing a new route with Nuuk as a key point of interest. The 15-day cruise aboard the Silver Endeavour departs from Churchill, Manitoba, on July 25 and sails through Hudson Bay to explore Canada’s northern territories and Greenland. The ship will call at Walrus Island, Marble Island, Cape Dorset and other ports before sailing to Sisimiut and then south to Nuuk. Air from Montreal to Churchill is included.

Robert Silk contributed to this report. 

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