Feb 13, 2013

Cruise Around Iceland Sweepstakes: Grand Prize Description

We’re giving away round-trip flights to Iceland, courtesy of Icelandair, and a trip for two on the 10-day Iceland Circumnavigation trip. Below is a complete grand prize description. Click here to learn more about the sweepstakes and how to enter.

Cruise Departure: July 18, 2015


Trip Itinerary

Day 1 Reykjavik

Arrive in Iceland on your free Icelandair flight. Use your complimentary Reykjavik City Card to explore the highlights of the world’s northernmost national capital city on your own, or book one of our exciting pre-cruise programs and discover Reykjavik and its surroundings by land or air. The Ocean Diamond docks in the old harbor located in the heart of town which is a 5 minute walk to the inner city. The ship will depart Reykjavik harbor at 8 p.m.

Day 2 Stykkisholmur

Stykkisholmur is the starting point for our explorations of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, which juts out from Iceland’s west coast. Like a long arm with a clenched fist at its tip, the peninsula is in many ways a microcosm of the whole island. Boarding our Zodiacs, passengers will explore Breidafjördur Bay, known for its colorful bird life, unique basalt rock formations and stunning scenery. You also have an opportunity to join an adventurous snowcat expedition to the extinct volcano glacier Snaefellsjökull with our experienced guides. The glacier is one of the most famous sites in Iceland primarily because it featured in the novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne in which the entrance to the mysterious interior of our planet is located on Snaefellsjökull.

Day 3 Isafjördur

Today’s destination is the idyllic town of Isafjördur, capital of the Westfjords region. This secluded peninsula is connected to the rest of Iceland by only a narrow strip of land. Even by Icelandic standards, the area can be described as unusually isolated. The landscape is characterized by mesas and dramatic fjords that cut deep into the landscape. Enjoy silence and nature while sea fishing or bird watching on the small island of Vigur, or by visiting the Dynjandi Waterfall, the highest cascade in this area.

Day 4 Siglufjördur

The next morning we reach the city of Siglufjördur, once the center of the Icelandic herring industry. Learn all about the golden age of Icelandic herring fishing at the award-winning Herring Museum. At lunchtime, we take a Zodiac excursion to Hedinsfjördur, an uninhabited inlet surrounded by the majestic mountains of the Tröllaskagi Peninsula. In the early evening we arrive in Akureyri, capital of the north. Go for a stroll through the beautiful town and visit the botanical garden. All native Icelandic flowers are represented here – an impressive variety, considering the location is almost on the Arctic Circle.

Day 5 Akureyri

Today the Ocean Diamond remains in the port of Akureyri while we explore Iceland’s north shore. Around 90 minutes by road to the east of the city is the Lake Myvatn region, a schizophrenic landscape where it’s said that “heaven and hell” clash. One side of the lake is characterized by the rugged remnants of volcanic activity, while on the other you find fertile plains with lush greenery and a varied bird life. You have a choice between several exciting shore excursions. One possibility is the “Diamond Circle” tour which includes a visit to the massive Dettifoss waterfall, the colorful Myvatn area and the lush Asbyrgi canyon.

Day 6 Flatey

Early in the morning we anchor off the island of Flatey, where we will board the Zodiacs for a whale watching tour in Skjalfandi Bay. During the journey enjoy views of the often snow-capped peaks of the Vik Mountains and be on the lookout for whales and dolphins. In the sheltered bay you can find up to 15 different species of whale, as well as dolphins and birds. After our zodiac tour we will visit the island of Flatey, a bird paradise with over 30 different types of birds and enjoy lunch on the island.

Day 7 Seydisfjördur

For our exploration of the Eastfjords, the ship docks in the port of Seydisfjördur. Characteristic of the region are the picturesque fishing villages, steep slopes and panoramic sea views. Spot seals while horseback riding, paddle kayaks in the idyllic fjords, take a hike and look out for wild reindeer or explore the town of Egilsstadir by bike.

Day 8 Höfn

The former fishing village of Höfn is a good starting point to explore Vatnajökull glacier. Go on a four-wheel-drive Jeep tour to the foot of the glacier and take a boat trip in the Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon. Icebergs in all shapes and sizes are floating in the water – an unforgettable adventure on a body of water that didn’t exist at the beginning of the last century, as the lagoon was recently formed by the retreat of the Breidarmerkurjökull glacier tongue.

Day 9 Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands)

Located about five miles off the coast of southern Iceland, the island group Vestmannaeyjar were formed by submarine volcanic eruptions around 10,000 years ago. The youngest of the islands only emerged from the sea in 1963. We go ashore in the harbor of Heimaey, the only inhabited island of the group. Residents here live with the constant threat of another violent eruption. In 1973, the entire population had to be evacuated after Helgafell Volcano suddenly exploded. In many places in Heimaey one still sees the houses half buried by lava and ash. We circumnavigate the island in our Zodiacs and stop at places of interest where you will get to know the local bird life, visit caves and, if lucky, spot whales. There is also the opportunity to play an extraordinary round of golf in a sunken volcanic crater.

Day 10 + Day 11 Reykjavik

In the morning we return to the port of Reykjavik. Reykjavik, which is both the economical and cultural hub of Iceland, boasts a variety of museums and shops. Scattered around the city are fascinating natural wonders like glaciers, waterfalls and geysers. Use your complimentary Reykjvaik City card to explore the bustling city on your own or enjoy the highlights of the region on our Golden Circle bus tour. The next day after breakfast it’s time to bid farewell to the Ocean Diamond and board your Icelandair flight home.


We want to make your trip to Iceland an unforgettable one! Here are the exciting excursions offered.

Zodiac Birdwatching (ST1)

Experience the beauty and wonder of Breidafjördur Bay up close from our own Zodiacs. The bay is known for its colorful birdlife, unique basalt rock formations and stunning scenery. During this tour you get the chance to observe and photograph puffins, eider ducks, shags, kittiwakes, fulmars and the majestic white-tailed eagle from close proximity.

Bus Excursion Around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula (ST2)

Snaefellsnes Peninsula is often called “Iceland in miniature” due to the diverse landscapes and places of national interest. This excursion includes views of the Snaefellsjökull Glacier, the dramatic rock formations of Svörtuloft, and the remnants of a large volcanic crater called the Londrangar Rocks, as well as a stop in the small fishing village of Arnarstapi.

Zodiac Trip Hedinsfjördur (S2)

The ship’s Zodiacs whisk you to Hedinsfjördur, a dramatic and unspoiled landscape located between Ólafsfjördur and Siglufjordur. This uninhabited fjord is surrounded by the majestic mountains of the Tröllaskagi Peninsula and is a popular destination for hiking and other outdoor activities.

Zodiac Tour Heimaey ISland and Hljodhellir (V2)

A Zodiac cruise around Heimaey Island, this maritime excursion stops at various places of interest. Your expert guide will point out caves, birdlife and hopefully whales.

We would also like to offer you the choice of 1 of these 3 exciting excursions:

Thingeyri, Hrafnseyri, Dynjandi Waterfall (I3)

This daytrip explores the Westfjords, two historic villages and a magnificient waterfall. Thingeyri, with a population of about 260, is one of the oldest settlements in the Westfjords and the location of the area’s first trading post. Hrafnseyri boasts an old Viking farm and is also the birthplace of nationalist leader Jón Sigurðsson who was instrumental in Iceland gaining its independence from Denmark. This tour also stops at the thunderous Dynjandi, the highest (and most impressive) waterfall in the Westfjords.

Hiking Tour (SF3)

An organized hiking tour takes you through majestic landscapes while keeping a lookout for wildlife. The tour is focused on reindeer watching, geology and flora in the wonderful Borgarfjördur region.

Golf the Volcano (V3)

Don’t miss the chance to play an unforgettable round of golf. The famous Vestmannaeyjar islands golf course lies beside the sea in a sunken volcanic crater. Take in the panoramic views over the rugged coast and the volcanic landscape while playing 18 holes at this challenging par 70 course, ranked by Golf Digest as one of the best 200 courses in Europe.