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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was a trip circumnavigating Iceland (the system won't permit writing Iceland as the destination -- Iceland is below the arctic circle except for a tiny area on one offshore island, so Arctic is not the correct destination, but ... Read More
This was a trip circumnavigating Iceland (the system won't permit writing Iceland as the destination -- Iceland is below the arctic circle except for a tiny area on one offshore island, so Arctic is not the correct destination, but it's the only reasonable one to choose from the available choices). Adventure Canada tours (this was our second trip with them) involve intensive experiences with the local sights, people, culture. The level of professional personnel on board is exceptional. On this trip were 5 experienced Icelandic guides, a vulcanologist/geologist, an ornithologist, several naturalists, an Icelandic story-teller and cultural interpreter, and many others, experts all. If you want to learn something about where you are, Adventure Canada trips are best bar none. Included were at least one excellent excursion per day, often two. For example, a two-hour whale sighting expedition, top notch. On this trip, there were a few excursions that cost extra (such as snowmobiling on a glacier), but if you took only the excursions included in the price of your ticket you had a wonderful time on excellent daily excursions, saw things you'd never see at home, got excellent value for money. Given the prices in Iceland, I understand why they had to charge extra for some excursions, but the included ones (such as the whale watching) were of first quality, not done on the cheap. Ship went to 9 towns, circumnavigating the island. Tiny fishing villages, a town two-fifths of which was buried by volcanic ash and lava etc etc. Iceland is cool in the summer, so follow the advice in the copious Adventure Canada briefing material before you leave. This type of cruise is very different from big ship cruising. It is called adventure cruising, like Celebrity X in the Galapagos. About 140 passengers, very friendly atmosphere among passengers. Seating is free in the restaurant, but people sit with others just to get to know them. Staff often sits with passengers, enhancing the experience. At many destinations, the ship anchors and you get to shore in 10-passenger Zodiac inflatables. Specifically in Iceland, the ship physically docked more often than in Newfoundland (also a fabulous trip) the previous year, meaning fewer Zodiac rides to shore. In more than one port, Zodiac cruises along shorelines with very interesting volcanic geology and wonderful seabirds, with highly knowledgeable guides were offered among other excursions. There are briefings the day before all outings, a daily summary, informative short talks, entertaining evenings. This is an outing for folks who want to get up early, and get going on exciting days. While there were also small children, many of the passengers were over 60 years, and the excursions were entirely appropriate and doable for them (well, for us!). In a number of places, excursions for very fit people were available such as long hikes in mountainous terrain. Bicycles were available for rent. Most tourists to Iceland see famous sights in the southwest of the island (Geyser, Gullfoss, etc). These sites are not included on the cruise, so you might wish to do as we did and take a few days to drive around the southwest, or take an organized tour of that inland region. The Ocean Endeavour is an excellent ship, well-maintained, comfortable, clean, with excellent facilities for a ship this size (sorry, no casino). The ship-based staff and crew are excellent, service is topnotch, the staff is friendly and accommodating. The Adventure Canada staff is super helpful, and deal graciously with special requests. Excellent value. We are planning additional trips with Adventure Canada. The two we've been on have been fabulous. As you can tell from the above, we have no gripes at all about this trip; it was terrific and excellent value. Adventure Canada is a family owned business that has been around since 1987. On this trip, a total of 5 members of the two families that own the company were aboard, interacting with passengers all the time. You can chat directly with the owner over dinner! Adventure Canada leases the Ocean Endeavour for half the year each year. Read Less
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