Iceland small ship cruising travel guide

Iceland small ship cruises travel guide


There are a couple of fundamental differences between Iceland small ship cruising holidays and land based holidays, and we don’t just mean the water. Small ship cruises are not only about gaining access to some of the most magnificent sights of this geologically gorgeous country, but also the sounds. On small ship cruises all your senses are awakened, especially that of hearing, such as in remote spots like Snaefellsnes peninsula where you might wake up to whale song. Or the Westman Islands where the croaky calls of thousands of puffins is music to your ears. And then there’s that heart stopping crack of ice as the Vatnajökull glacier calves into Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon. But mostly it is the sound of silence. So, as the country’s most famous singer Bjork says, “Shhh, it’s oh so quiet. Shhh it’s oh so still… until you fall in love”, which you will with Iceland. And then… “Zing boom.”
Iceland small ship cruises are...

the perfect way to see Iceland’s glorious wilderness and wildlife without the coach loads.
Iceland small ship cruises aren’t...

about giant floating hotels that cater to your every whim. They inspire, rather than invade.
If you'd like to chat about Iceland cruising or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Rosy & team.
01273 823 700

Best time to go on a small ship cruise to Iceland


The best time to go on a small ship cruise to Iceland is when the skipper says it is OK to go. These are near-Arctic waters after all, and conditions are usually only suitable for expeditions from May until September. September is great for seeing the Northern Lights, and there are whales around during most of this time too. June to August have endless daylight and temperatures reach the low 20s. Inland Iceland is drier at this time for hiking and sightseeing excursions.

Is an Iceland small ship cruise for you?

Responsible Travel recommends

Go on an Iceland cruising holiday if…

… you want to escape the overcrowded tourist route that is taking over Iceland at the moment.

… you love the idea of luxury on the water, but don’t want to be surrounded by thousands of other guests. These expedition boats sleep between 70-250 passengers.

… you want to be surrounded by Iceland’s wildlife, be it whales, dolphins, puffins or seals. And the odd Arctic fox if you are lucky.

… you would like to combine Iceland with a natural heritage expedition to Greenland and Spitsbergen.

Don’t go on an Iceland cruising holiday if...

… you are a stickler for rigid itineraries. The captain is in charge on these trips and his/her boss is always the weather. So sometimes plans have to change.

… you favour giant, floating hotels, with myriad swimming pools and after dinner entertainment. These are smaller ships, where itineraries are as much about onshore exploration as on the water fun.

… you want to be part of the famous Iceland party scene. These trips are about enjoying nature, star gazing and chilling on deck. The only rock ‘n’ roll will be that of the waves.

Photo credits: [topbox: Brian Gratwicke] [Temp chart: Axel Kristinsson] [Helpdesk: Alessio Maffeis]
Written by Catherine Mack
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