Category: Greenland

On Ben’s bucket list since he was seven years old, here are our tips and tricks for cruising in Greenland, including what to see and do.

Prince Christian Sound

According to the Captain, we’ll be entering Prince Christian Sound at around 10am and it will take eight hours to transit. We’re also promised a running commentary from the ‘onboard destination expert’ over the ship’s intercom.

We’re up early and spot an iceberg from our balcony which is pretty cool. We then head to breakfast where the buffet and upper deck are already packed by excited cruisers.

Entrance to the Sound

Instead we head back to our own balcony where we stay for the next eight hours. The journey is spectacular, taking in more icebergs, glaciers, mountains and even a tiny village of just 100 people. At some points the waterway is just 500m wide, so you get a feeling for just how tall these mountains really are.

Top tip: The voyage down Prince Christian Sound is dependent on several factors including, visibility, wind and icebergs – hence the reason why it was never mentioned on the cruise itinerary until the last moment. However, if cruising to Greenland via Iceland, consider booking a starboard balcony cabin just in case.

The scenery is incredible and twice the captain performs a 360º spin, allowing us to see both sides of the Sound. However, it is clear that the starboard side of the ship offers the very best views.

The ice is an astonishing shade of blue

The mountains look totally unreal

Spot the village

As we clear the waterway, we can totally understand why the Captain was so excited. For me, Prince Christian Sound beats out any of the Norwegian fjords we have visited.


Today we finally get to set foot on Greenland but we can’t see a thing through the fog – apart from the Danish warship cruising slowly past, checking us out.

Good morning?

The captain assures us that you can see for miles at sea level, but I’m not convinced. Eventually we head down to the tender and make our way ashore.

The mist lingers for a little while and then suddenly burns off as the sun gets higher in the sky. It’s a beautiful day after all.

Top tip: Despite being a Danish protectorate, Greenland is not part of the European Union. This means that you will not be able to use any roaming minutes or data included in your cellphone contract – even if it includes EU roaming. Expect to pay £2.50 per minute to make calls, £1.50 per minute to receive calls, £0.40 per SMS message and £5 per megabyte to use data services.

Bonus tip: Don’t activate your cellular data on land. And don’t expect to find many free WiFi networks either. You’re better off waiting until you get back on the ship to make calls and share photos.

Qaqortoq is a tiny place, especially with two cruise ships in port. Cruisers outnumber locals by about 4 to 1.

Island Princess is moored behind the Zuiderdam

There are a few shops and the supermarket is doing a roaring trade. Some of the cruisers I speak to are upset that the only coffeeshop in town has not yet opened.

Top tip: The café is in the central square near the famous fountain – and it opens at 12pm (so there’s no need to complain). They also sell beer.

There is a local fish market with two traders, one selling very large fish and the other seal meat.

Lovely fresh seal meat

The locals have also set up a series of small stands, selling polished stone jewellery in a vivid pink colour as well as beaded trinkets and polar bear claws. Behind them, local artists have made a series of carvings into the cliffs, one of the few attractions in the town.

Top tip: The local traders tend to accept payment in Danish Krone, Euros and US Dollars. There is a bank in town with a cashpoint if you need it – look for the large black building.

Despite the massive influx of cruisers, the town is surprisingly peaceful and looks beautiful in the sun. I suspect it is quite bleak here in the winter though.

Top tip: The locals offer plenty of iceberg and whale watching tours departing from the dock. Expect to pay around $100 USD per person.

There is a massive queue for the return water shuttle, but thankfully it moves quite smoothly. Once back on board we are treated to the sight of a helicopter dumping water on the local garbage dump where a controlled burn has got out of control.

I’ve seen more fire and ice in Greenland than in Iceland

Our next stop, Nanortalik, is just 75 miles from Qaqortoq, so we will arrive there around 10pm and anchor in the harbour overnight.

Just before heading to bed, I take my chances on the balcony – and finally get to see the Northern Lights. I’ve managed to tick two items off my bucket list – what a day!


After last night’s light show, there’s not much more Nanortalik needs to offer. Which is just as well because this town is tiny.

There are two surprises when we arrive ashore on the tender. First, there is a sizeable queue of cruisers waiting to return to the ship. Second, it looks like the entire town has turned out to greet us.

This lady just wanted to show off her traditional Greenlandic outfit

There are people selling handmade beaded goods, seal fur, cross stitch and various other trinkets all along the road through the town. It also seems that anyone who owns a musical instrument is putting on their own impromptu concerts outside their houses.

I leave Linda to enjoy the sun and head towards the church where there is a geocache, hidden in a field of massive scattered boulders (GC4JHR9).

There is one pub in town which is doing a roaring trade. Disappointingly they only sell Danish and Belgian beers, so we give it a miss. Out the back, two men are selling local food from a large tent. Sadly I have no cash, so I have no idea what the food actually was.

Top tip: You will need cash for just about everything in Nanortalik – especially if you want to buy something from the locals. Most accept US dollars or Danish Krone. There is a bank in town but it is only open two hours each day (not Sundays) – and there is no cashpoint.

There is also a tourist centre of sorts where you can buy souvenirs, including some awesome looking sealskin boots. They do accept card payments here.

Definitely not cheap, but they look very warm

Otherwise, there is literally nothing here to look at except the scenery.

Once done, we join the queue for the tenders which now extends from the port and up the hill into the town. The dock is so small there is only room for one tender at a time, so the queue takes two hours. Thankfully the cheerful locals continue to sing and entertain, but it’s a very, very long wait.

When we finally make it back on board, we spot a small whale swimming straight towards our balcony which is a nice surprise.

Greenland has been absolutely spectacular and I’m glad we came. The mountains, icebergs and pretty coloured villages have been great and I wouldn’t mind visiting again one day. I just wish I had managed to get a stamp in my passport.

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