Stride climate

Trip Type : Small Ship Cruise
Waterfalls-Greenary-Iceland_1751463_P

Glaciers, Geysers, Volcanoes & Elves: An Epic Family Voyage Around Iceland

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Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
91%
Travel Style: A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
13 days
From: $ 5,995 $ 461 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • See Europe’s largest glacier and take a boat excursion through icebergs on a glacier lagoon.
  • Witness the aftermath of a volcanic eruption on the island of Heimaey.
  • Discover incredible natural formations like Gullfoss (“Golden Waterfall”) and Geysir and take a dip in the famous Blue Lagoon.

Short Description

Iceland is a real-life fantasyland of towering waterfalls, bobbing icebergs, steaming lava beds and turquoise thermal pools. Share a voyage around this island country with your family. Experience incredible natural environments by land and sea, encounter whales, dolphins and birds, interact with the residents of remote villages and learn stories of Vikings and elves. Begin with two nights in Reykjavik then sail clockwise around the island, ultimately returning to the capital.

Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Trip Type Small Ship Cruise
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Reykjavik
End City Reykjavik

Trip Includes

  • 11 nights of accommodations
  • 1 expert-led lecture
  • 14 expert-led field trips
  • 1 performance
  • An experienced Group Leader
  • Customary gratuities throughout the program
  • The Road Scholar Travel Protection Plan, 24-hour-a-day emergency assistance coverage
  • Taxes

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Itinerary

Day 1: Departures

In Flight

Day 2: Arrive Reykjavik, Welcome, The Blue Lagoon

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Radisson Blu Saga Hotel

Activity note: If you wish to swim in the Blue Lagoon, please remember to pack your bathing suit in your carry-on luggage. Towels will be provided. Slippers, bathrobes and spa treatments are available at an additional cost.

Breakfast: At the Northern Light Inn, approx. 15 miles from the airport. On this program, breakfasts will offer a typical European style breakfast buffet with breads, cheeses, cold-cuts, yogurt, fruit, cereals, juice, milk, coffee, tea and water. Please note that water is included in the program cost at all meals.

Morning: After breakfast, drive to the Blue Lagoon for a relaxing bath in its mineral-rich, geothermally-heated waters. The Blue Lagoon, located just 40 minutes outside of Reykjavik, was accidentally formed in 1976 during operation at a nearby geothermal power plant. In the years that followed, people began to bathe in the unique water and apply the silica mud to their skin. Those with psoriasis noticed an incredible improvement in their condition. Today the Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland's most popular tourist destinations and features a research and development facility searching for cures for other skin ailments using the mineral-rich water. At the Blue Lagoon, you will learn the history of the volcanic eruption that formed the surrounding landscape 800 years ago, and how the Blue Lagoon itself came to be. Enjoy some free time to bathe in the lagoon. Fully refreshed, coach to Reykjavik to check into your hotel.

Lunch: Enjoy a 2-course light lunch at Lava Restaurant at the Blue Lagoon.

Afternoon: At 5:00 PM, meet in the hotel lobby for the program orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Enjoy a three-course set menu welcome dinner inclusive of tea, coffee, water at the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

Day 3: Reykjavik; The Golden Circle

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Radisson Blu Saga Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: This morning you will depart on a full day journey from Reykjavik on this popular route which covers over 185 miles from Reykjavik to central Iceland and back. Stop at Thingvellir National Park, home of Iceland's first parliament, Gullfoss (Golden Waterfall), and the spouting spring area of Geysir, after whom all geysers are named.

Lunch: At a local restaurant featuring a two-course set menu.

Afternoon: Field trip through the Golden Circle continues, concluding at the program hotel in the late afternoon.

Dinner: On your own. This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 4: Reykjavik, Embark Ocean Diamond

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: MV Ocean Diamond

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: Following breakfast, enjoy a lecture —“Iceland: Past and Present"—by a local expert before visiting the National Museum of Iceland. This charming museum traces the history of this remote island nation from the Settlement era to the modern day.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: Enjoy a bit of free time to see and do what interests you most before joining the group to embark the MV Ocean Diamond. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities provided in your first Information Packet or ask your Group Leader for ideas.

Dinner: Aboard the ship. All meals are served in the ship's main dining room. For dinner, you will enjoy a 3-crouse meal and can choose from one of the three chef-prepared entrées. Coffee, tea and water are included in all meals about the ship.

Evening: At leisure. Evenings on board the Ocean Diamond typically include a presentation or concert by the ship's expedition team.

Day 5: Stykkisholmur, Snæfellsjökull Glacier

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: MV Ocean Diamond

Activity note: Today's excursion includes a glacier walk and is weather dependent. Please be prepared for cold temperatures (winter coat, warm hat and gloves). You will be in an open vehicle.

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: Take a snow cat up to 4,600 feet onto Snæfellsjökull Glacier, which lies atop a volcano. On a clear day, you will enjoy a fantastic view over Hellissandur and Breidafjördur Bay. It is through the crater of Snæfellsjökull that Jules Verne's promises a "Journey to the Center of the Earth" in his classic 1864 novel.

Lunch: Box lunch is provided by the ship.

Afternoon: Continuation of the full-day excursion to Snæfellsjökull National Park.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 6: Isafjördur, Vigur Island

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: MV Ocean Diamond

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: Enjoy an expert-led field trip to Vigur. This serene little island, which boasts only five inhabitants, is a perfect location to observe an array of birds in their natural surroundings including puffins, eider ducks, arctic terns and black guillemot. While on the island, you can also visit Iceland's only extant windmill which dates from the 19th century. The boat ride to Vigur takes about 35 minutes each way.

Lunch: Aboard the ship.

Afternoon: At leisure. Enjoy some free time in Isafjördur before the ship sails at 5:00 PM for the next port.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 7: Siglufjördur, Grimsey Island

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: MV Ocean Diamond

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: Disembark in Siglufjördur where you will first visit its Herring Museum where you'll learn about the history of this industry. There is a bit of free time for independent exploration of this port town before the ship sails to Grimsey Island at lunchtime.

Lunch: Aboard the ship.

Afternoon: The ship arrives into Grimsey by late afternoon. Just three square miles, this small island is located on the Arctic Circle, just 25 miles from the mainland. Grimsey is home to a handful of families and hundreds of birds. Explore the island to get a sense of what life is like in this remote locale.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: Enjoy live entertainment provided by your Icelandic guides.

Day 8: Akureyri, Lake Myvatn

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: MV Ocean Diamond

Activity note: Don't forget to bring bathing suit and a towel for today's excursion to Lake Myvatn. This is a full-day field trip, covering about 150 miles over the course of the day, with several stops.

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: One of the most beautiful spots in northern Iceland, the Lake Myvatn area teems with fauna. This morning's field trip starts at the spectacular Godafoss Waterfall and continues to the small settlement of Skutustadagígar and to the impressive lava formations of Dimmuborgir, said to resemble a collapsed citadel. In Icelandic folklore Dimmuborgir is said to connect the earth to the infernal. Finally, we visit the Myvatn Nature Baths for a relaxing geothermal bath. Look forward to an amazing journey through an area of extreme contrasts.

Lunch: Road Scholar lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Continue exploring the area around Lake Myvatn.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 9: Husavik, Whale Watching

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: MV Ocean Diamond

Activity note: Please wear warm clothing; the boat is not enclosed.

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: Husavik is considered by visitors as the Whale Watching Capital of Europe. Enjoy an exciting trip on a traditional wooden harbor boat to watch for the gentle giants. The wonders of nature are on display in the beautiful surroundings of Skjálfandi Bay, sheltered by the stunning mountains of Vík.

Lunch: Aboard the ship.

Afternoon: Attend a talk by your Road Scholar Group Leader.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 10: Seydisfjördur

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: MV Ocean Diamond

Activity note: This morning's excursion involves a 45 minute moderate hike over uneven terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: Visit on of Iceland's most remote regions to explore a Viking-era archaeological site before venturing to the Skálanes Nature Reserve to learn about their research. This area is a habitat for about 50 different bird species during the summer.

Lunch: Box lunch provided by the ship.

Afternoon: Continuation of full day excursion in the East Fjords.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 11: Djupivogur, Glacier Lagoon Jökulsárlon

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: MV Ocean Diamond

Activity note: The journey from Djupivogur to the glacial lagoon is quite far - about 110 miles each way. Please be prepared for a long but very rewarding day!

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: Today's field trip from Djupivogur takes you to the magnificent Glacier Lagoon of Jökulsárlon. Huge blocks of ice constantly break off the glacier, Breidamerkurjokull, and large icebergs float on the lagoon. The lagoon is not very wide but it is up to 750 feet deep which makes it the deepest lake in Iceland. Breidamerkurjokull is an outlet of the Vatnajokull glacier. Sail among the huge icebergs in the picturesque scenery of Jökulsárlon with a specially equipped boat.

Lunch: Box lunch is provided by the ship.

Afternoon: Continuation of excursion, coach back to port to re-embark the ship.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 12: Vestmannaeyjar, Heimaey Island by Zodiac

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: MV Ocean Diamond

Activity note: Zodiac excursions are dependent on favorable weather conditions.

Breakfast: Aboard the ship.

Morning: Enjoy a panoramic coach exploration around Heimaey Island. See the effects of the volcanic eruption of 1973: half-buried houses and the volcanic crater. It’s a unique and fascinating landscape with diverse birdlife. The excursion ends at the volcanic center. This unique museum tells the story of the Heimaey volcanic eruption in 1973, the Surtsey Island in 1963 and the geology of the Vestmannaeyjar Islands.

Lunch: Aboard the ship.

Afternoon: For a different perspective, travel by Zodiac around Heimaey Island. Be on the look out for caves, birdlife and hopefully whales.

Dinner: Aboard the ship.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare belongings for tomorrow's disembarkation and departure.

Day 13: Reykjavik, Program Concludes

Meals: Breakfast

In Flight  B

Aboard the ship.

Morning: Ocean Diamond is scheduled to arrive in Reykjavik at 8:00 AM. Upon disembarkation, enjoy a panoramic coach excursion of Reykjavik. See historic Höfði House - sight of the 1986 meeting between Reagan and Gorbachev that precipitated the end of the Cold War. Visit the Perlan, one of Reykjavik's most recognized landmarks, and also the city's hot water storage facility that has a deck providing a 360° vista of Iceland's capital city. Coach by Lake Tjornin, a small lake in downtown Reykjavik and teeming with birdlife, as well as the Parliament House and City Hall, worth a visit for its large topographic map of Iceland. Enjoy some additional free time in Reykjavik. Make sure to pop into the stunning Harpa Music Hall. This concludes our program.

Lunch: Free time for lunch on your own.

Afternoon: Transfer to the Keflavík International Airport (KEF) for late afternoon flights returning to North America. Group flights are currently scheduled to depart at 5:00 PM. If you are arranging your own flights, we recommend coordinating your flights so they coincide with the group departure. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Availability

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Price Per Day: $ 461 per day
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45 Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings

91%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 38
Great 3
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 2
Value
4.6
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.7
Lodging
4.5
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.5

Glaciers, Geysers, Volcanoes & Elves: An Epic Family Voyage Around Iceland

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Old Cuba is fantastic and should be seen before it's spoiled by capitalism.

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals3.0
This was my wife's and my first trip with Road Scholar. At the time (April, 2012), it was not possible for Americans to directly visit Cuba. You had to do it with a cultural/educational group, often associated with a university. Or, you could fly to Canada, Mexico, or Europe first and then get a flight to Cuba from there (while risking a ~$10,000 fine from the US Government). We opted for the legal route with Road Scholar.

It was a fantastic trip! We had a small-ish group of about 20 people and a wonderful guide, José Luis (who, like most Cubans, had never been off the island).
The trip began in Miami where we had an orientation and spent the night. Then we flew to Havana and stayed in the Hotel Nacional for four nights. It doesn't get more historic -- or fun -- than the Nacional:
https://vimeo.com/41612444

While in Havana, we enjoyed great history/culture lectures from experts, toured various parts of Havana (including Hemmingway's home in the hills nearby), and, on our own, had the opportunity to have dinner at a paladar -- a restaurant inside someone's home.

The Cuban people are friendly but the infrastructure of their country is in shambles. It's been a long time since Russia's deep pockets left the island (1991), and you see poverty everywhere. But not the begging-in-the-street kind. Cuba provides universal health care, education (including room and board all the way through grad/med school!), food staples, and a very modest income (~$30/month) to everyone. Most people add to that income by working on the side.

After Havana, we traveled to Cienfuegos. From there we saw the infamous Bay Of Pigs, but also the wonderful Benny Moré Art School where we learned of the fantastic support for the arts by the Cuban government. Children are identified in grade school as having artistic talent and then funneled into magnet schools like Benny Moré to study art for their entire scholastic career!

Don't go to Cuba for the food. It's edible (and won't make you sick) but rather boring. You mainly get the "three amigos": fish, pork, or chicken, along with rice and/or black beans. But the aged rum is superb and so are the cigars!

Probably my favorite thing on the island, though, was the music -- whether on the street or in a more formal setting:
https://vimeo.com/43273083

Cuba is fantastic. Go enjoy it!
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Best trip I ever took!

5.0
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Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Loved the variety of different hotels, the expertise of the individual tour guides, the meals and especially the beautiful countryside. All 17 of us on the t rip got to know each other well, thanks to the kindness, the personality and the organizational skill of Mark, our tour director. Keep up the good work!
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Sunrise, Sunset, Learning Photography

5.0
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Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals4.0
Road Scholar offers many tours starting in Utah. The one I took focused of photography of the National Parks in Utah, with a professional photographer traveling with us. The schedule was set up such that we would get "the golden light" at each of the parks. Those not familiar with the term must know that the best light occurs at either sunrise or sunset, when the impact of the sun on objects is diffused by having to travel through the earth's atmosphere on a diagonal rather than vertically.

As such, you can now expect that sleep will be an issue as you will get to bed late and rise early. But the territory is beautiful at all times, and more so illuminated by the golden light.

In order to maximize your sleeping ability, the tour is only offered in the spring and the fall. Doing this in the winter would be pretty cold and require special equipment to traverse the snow. Doing it in the summer would basically mean no sleep as the daylight is so long.

A great learning experience in beautiful territory.
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Thank you Road Scholar

5.0
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Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
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Thank you Road Scholar Staff for planning a wonderful introduction to Cuba today. My previous knowledge was from people who felt they had to leave Cuba more than fifty years ago. I learned from qualified professors, tour guides and from talking to Cuban people from different parts of Cuba who work in different kinds of jobs. I could see how the Cuban people have come together to meet the challenges of the past and to prepare for a brighter future.
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Thank you Road Scholar!

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Meals5.0
Road Scholar tours are the best bang for your buck

Fabulous!

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This is a fabulous program for young and old. The instructors are great with kids and adults. The activities are very well organized and varied. My grandson is already making plans for next year.
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Details

Ship Name

MV Ocean Diamond

Ship Stats

  • Registration: Bahamas
  • Launched/Renovation: 1974/1986/2012
  • Staff and Crew: 106
  • Guests: 199
  • Ice Class: 1D
  • Length: 124 m
  • Breadth: 16 m
  • Draft: 4,9 m
  • Max. Speed: 15 Knots
  • Voltage onboard: w220V

Ship Description

Enjoy The Breathtaking Nature Of Iceland And Greenland Aboard The Ocean Diamond

Thanks to two stabilizers that significantly reduce roll and an ice-strengthened hull (ice class 1D), the super yacht OCEAN DIAMOND is the ideal ship for expeditions in the Arctic region. Due to the ship’s compact size, we can take passengers to places off the traditional cruise routes to experience all the highlights of both Iceland and Greenland.

With a maximum of 199 passengers, the OCEAN DIAMOND features a range of modern onboard amenities and is staffed with outstanding officers and crew, as well as bilingual expedition leaders and guides. The 107 cabins and suites, all of them elegantly designed, offer modern amenities and exterior views. The ship’s own Zodiacs are available for shore excursions. After a busy day of exploration, passengers can browse books or DVDs in the well-stocked Polar library or enjoy views of the spectacular Arctic scenery from the panorama salon.

Deck & Cabin Plans

Deck plan Ocean Diamond

All Deck & Cabin Plans

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Standard Group

Accomodations

Radisson Blu Saga Hotel: 2 nights  Reykjavik, 107

Settle in with exceptional service and stunning views of the urban landscape, sea or glaciers at this sleek hotel just a ten-minute walk from the heart of the city. With a history of hospitality that dates back nearly 50 years, the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel is an iconic Icelandic accommodation. Its modern, stylish spaces and amenities still embrace timeless traditions of high quality and impeccable service.

Age Notes

Min. Age: 10

Trip ID#:

GlaGeyRoa

Meals Included:

12 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches and 10 Dinners

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