Cruise call list for cruises to Greenland.
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Cruising in Greenland is as popular as ever, and is the ideal way for travelers to feel like a pioneer, sailing in the wake of history’s great adventurers, while retaining all the familiar comforts of home. This page is your one-stop shop for all things ‘cruise’ in Greenland, whether you’re a cruise operator, or a land-based operator hoping to connect with cruise tourists in the port.
Cruise call list for cruises to Greenland.
→ Call List
Exercise pertinent precaution when
sailing near glaciers.
The call of a cruise ship to a Greenland port is always a welcome and happy occasion.
Pilot service is mandatory for all passenger ships with over 250 Pax.
Nature protection and cultural
history in Arctic.
Exercise caution when sailing
Are you interested in cooperating
with the locals in the Arctic?
Here we have compiled a list of questions frequently asked by cruise tourists to give you an idea of what your guests might be curious about.
What to bring and wear?
As the saying goes, there is no bad weather – it is only a question of dressing properly. What to wear depends on the season, place, type and level of activity and the weather.
When hiking in Greenland it is often good to think on bringing multiple layers, so you can adjust accordingly to temperature and weather. Take off layers when you are warm and put on layers when you are cold.
In general we advise you to bring:
– Waterproof and breathable footwear with a good grip and support around your ankles. Many places in Greenland you will find yourself walking on rocks, gravel or dirt tracks. Proper footwear may be the difference between great and bad experiences.
– Rain- and windproof breathable clothing. Even on days with blue skies, the weather may change and the wind is almost always cool. A light and packable jacket allows you to wear it when needed.
– Warm clothing, to wear if the temperature changes.
– Warm and sheltering headwear. Your head is one of the main areas of warmth drain and should be covered in cold conditions. In high summer the sun can be very strong, and a hat or cap can come in handy.
– Gloves. To protect your hands on the water and chilly days.
– Sunglasses. The sun is very strong during summer and especially on the water.
– Sunscreen for exposed skin. In summer the air may feel cool, but the sun still burns
– Mosquito net and repellent. Especially in July and August. If you are allergic to insect bites, you should bring antihistamine.
Tipping and gratuity
All prices in Greenland include tips and gratuity.
If you find the service at a restaurant or by a guide to be good, gratuity is appreciated. How much you wish to give is entirely up to you.
Also feel free to express if the service exceeded your expectations, as this both encourages and makes the service provider conscious of what they are doing good.
How should I behave when meeting locals?
Most people in Greenland welcome visitors and are in many cases just as curious as you are. For many visitors and locals the best experiences comes from meeting and engaging each other in a way that provides value for both. This can be from just a smile, a conversation to engaging in shared activities.
Even if a small Greenlandic village may seem like another world from your home, the general rule of conduct is basically not to behave in a way you would not at home.
There are however some special considerations as most settlements in Greenland are working areas and designed for local use. In North Greenland sled dogs are not pets and should never be approached. You may find tools and equipment apparently lying around, but be sure it belongs to someone and has a purpose.
Ask your onboard-guides if there are special considerations before going a shore, and follow these simple advices:
– Smile and say hello
– Ask before you take pictures, and always respect a “no”
– Talk to people, not about them
– Respect local habits
– If invited into a local’s home, always remember to take off your shoes before entering
Which currency and credit cards can I use?
Danish kroner (DKK) is the valid currency in Greenland. Some souvenir shops may accept foreign currency, but only in notes. In smaller towns and settlements the local Pilersuisoq shop accepts cash in Danish Kroner, Euro, US Dollar, Canadian Dollar, British Pounds, Norwegian Kroner and Swedish Kroner.
As a general rule it is always a good idea to bring cash in DKK, especially when visiting small towns and settlements.
The following credit cards are accepted in Cash Dispensers (ATMs): Visa, Mastercard, Eurocard, Diners, Dankort and American Express. Pin-code must be used to draw money.
Cash Dispensers (ATMs) are found in the following towns: Nanortalik, Narsaq, Qaqortoq, Paamiut, Nuuk, Maniitsoq, Sisimiut, Kangerlussuaq, Aasiaat, Qasigiannguit, Ilulissat, Qeqertarsuaq, Uummannaq, Upernavik, Tasiilaq.
Which temperatures can I expect in Greenland?
The shear size of Greenland makes for considerable differences in climatic conditions from the South-west to the North-East. Even within the regions there may be great differences, whether you are near the ocean or in the fjords, or between night and day.
Mean temperatures are only advisory and are averages over a period of years. You may encounter considerably colder or warmer temperatures on site.
Where can I find general guidelines on how to behave when visiting the Arctic?
The association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators, AECO, have produced an informative and comprehensive animated short film about best practices for visitors to the Arctic which you can watch below. For more information about guidelines when visiting the Arctic you can visit the AECO website.
How am I covered if I hurt myself or get sick?
There are hospitals in the towns and nursing clinics in the settlements.
If you use medication regularly it is recommended, that you bring your own medicine for the stay in Greenland.
Read here about rules governing health care provision for temporary residents in Greenland.
Are there places to shop in Greenland?
In larger towns in Greenland you may be surprised at the variety of shops and goods. There may only be a few shops, but the selection is wide. Often there are one or two larger super markets selling all from hardware to milk, and a selection of smaller specialized shops. In Nuuk you will find the first proper mall in Greenland.
In smaller towns and settlements the selection is smaller. Here there may only be a single store dealing in food, hunting equipment, fishing tackle and other items necessary. You may also find postcards and greenlandic handicrafts for sale here. The store also functions as post office and bank.
There is no VAT in Greenland, but as most goods must be either shipped or flown in, prices tend to be on par or a bit higher than in Northern Europe.
In Greenlandic shops prices are set and not for negotiation. This is also the case for most street vendors. Do not attempt to hackle unless expressly invited to.
Are there any special conditions of entry to Greenland?
If you do not need a visa for Denmark, you do not need a visa for Greenland.
If you need a visa to enter Denmark, please be aware that you need a special permit to enter Greenland, as Greenland is outside the Schengen agreement. Make sure to note that you are traveling to Greenland, when applying for a visa.
Who and what can I photograph in Greenland?
PEOPLE & PLACES
People in Greenland are generally welcoming and friendly, and most people will enjoy being photographed. However, always ask before taking a photo and always respect a “no” or a gesture signaling no.
You are also always allowed to photograph in the public space, including photos of both the natural world, public buildings, and private homes.
However, please be considerate when photographing in public, and note that some destinations, especially in the Disko Bay area in and around Ilulissat, see a lot of visitors every year. This may at times make locals a little less forthcoming when you ask about taking their photograph.
When photographing wildlife of any species and size do not disturb, frighten, approach, or feed the animal in order to try and make it respond or move. Be patient and enjoy the moment – and accept that most natural wildlife shots require the kind of good timing which does not always happen in the spur of the moment on a quick visit.
OBJECTS & PLANTS
Also, leave everything in place where you find it, so please do not rearrange objects, plants or other features of the natural environment in order to get “the right shot”. The right shot is what is available in the context of the environment around you, and changing body position or camera angle is the wiser choice compared to physical intervention.
In accordance with the ‘Order no. 1698 on Pilotage Around Greenland‘ issued by the Danish Maritime Authority it is required for passenger ships with more than 250 passengers to use a local pilot. Read more here.
In a number of incidents Zodiacs and dinghies have been used by cruise vessels to bring passengers within close proximity of icebergs and glaciers in Greenland.
We must stress that such excursions and transports may endanger the lives of passengers and crew.
Over the past few years there have been several incidents in which calving icebergs and glaciers – and their resulting tidal waves have caused boats to capsize.
Unfortunately, we have also had a case of a glacier that suddenly calved and released a flood of melting water with fatal injuries to tourists who had been landed nearby the glacier to take photos.
We therefore strongly urge that all boat excursions be carried out by certified passenger vessels, whose crews have extensive knowledge of the area and of the ice. And we strongly advise you not to land passengers nearby glaciers.
In general, exercise pertinent precaution when sailing near glaciers and keep a MINIMUM distance of 200 meters, preferably more. Regardless of the vessel type – including cruise ships – remain at a safe distance from icebergs and glaciers. Icebergs can suddenly and without prior indications fall apart or flip over. Likewise, glaciers occasionally calve huge chunks of ice into the sea causing big and dangerous waves which can hit the coastline several nautical miles from where the ice calved.
Visit Greenland – The National Tourist Board of Greenland.
The call of a cruise ship to a Greenland port is always a welcome and happy occasion. Locals find both the ships and their passengers interesting. However in order to make your call truly successful it is important that ship, incoming agency, port agent and local authorities work in close collaboration.
In Greenland, towns and settlements are small – even the capital Nuuk has no more than 15,000 inhabitants. It is important to realize, that in many settlements it is a substantial part of the population who are involved when a cruise ship arrives. Local capacity is often stretched to its limits in order to service you and your passengers. It is necessary to take this into consideration when planning the duration of your call. A few extra hours in port may be just that, which turns your call into a rich experience for all your passengers.
Therefore it is also crucial, that the local destination is informed of your call well in advance, either directly or through your incoming agent, in order to advise you regarding logistics and possibilities.
Even more important is subsequent and continuous information on deviations from schedule, as this often implies huge logistical challenges to the local organizers.
The better the local organizers are informed, the better they can prepare to make your call memorable. Also make sure, that information from the local organizers on possible program changes or practical information is channelled to the right persons onboard, so your passengers may also be well prepared for the call.
If you do not cooperate with a port agent in Greenland, please advise Visit Greenland in advance about your calls to Greenlandic ports by writing an email.
In accordance with the ‘Order no. 1698 on Pilotage Around Greenland‘ issued by the Danish Maritime Authority it is required for passenger ships with more than 250 passengers to use a pilot when sailing within the National waters of Greenland.
For more information,
Greenland Pilot Services
3900 Nuuk , Greenland
Phone: +45 42 90 19 77 (24/7 Operations)
Imaq Pilot – Your local Greenlandic pilotage
3900 Nuuk, Greenland
Phone: +299 53 92 77
The Arctic is fragile, vast and beautiful with pristine spaces and extreme climate, and a wealth of natural resources. It is the permanent home of both highly developed living organisms and, during the short summer, the temporary home for scores of migratory species of sea-mammals and birds.
At the same time all Arctic ecosystems are characterized by simple food chains and relatively slow ecological processes with limited resilience and very long recovery time from human disturbances.
Therefore it is extremely important to take precautions not to disturb unnecessarily or leave anything behind but footprints.
Among the most important legislation to be aware of is:
– Landsting Act no. 29 of 2003 on the Protection of Nature
– Executive order no. 8 of March 2 2009 on protection of birds
– Executive orders no. 7 of 1992 and no. 16 of 1999 on the National Park
– Executive order no. 10 of June 15 2007 on the protection of Ilulissat Icefjord
– Executive order no. 21 of May 17 1989 on the Sanctuary in Melville Bay.
– Executive order no. 4 of April 12 2010 on the preservation of an area at Ivittuut and Kangilinnguit
– Executive order no. 11 of April 19 2005 on preservation of parts of the Island of Uunartoq, Nanortalik
– Executive order no. 11 of April 17 2008 on preservation of Kitsissunnguit (Grønne Ejland)
– Executive order no. 19 of November 1 1998 on preservation of the island Aklia, Nuup Kommunia
Watch here the AECO Animated Visitors Guidelines from Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators(AECO) on Vimeo.
The Greenlandic Act of Preservation of Cultural History severely forbids any kind of violation of man-made monuments such as graves, ruins, hunting structures as well as structures from recent times protected by preservation regulations. Collecting items from protected areas are under all circumstances prohibited. Furthermore, the Act underlines the fact that cemeteries in abandoned settlements are protected by law. Violation of graves by collection of souvenirs such as bones, part of headstones, whole headstones etc. is strictly prohibited. Violation of these acts is a criminal act and subject to penalty .
We strongly urge all cruise vessels to provide their passengers with guidelines and a code of conduct based on the above when visiting abandoned settlements and other historic sites in Greenland and help prevent any behaviour that harms the site. Help us preserve the unique cultural history of Greenland.
Greenland National Museum and Archives
P.O. Box 145, DK-3900 Nuuk, Greenland
Tel: +299 322611, Fax: +299 322622
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.natmus.gl
For whale watching, please following these guidelines.
The Ministry of Housing, Nature and Environment
P.O. Box 1614, DK-3900 Nuuk, Greenland
Tel: +299 345 000, Fax: +299 325286
NNPAN@gh.gl | www.naalakkersuisut.gl
For bird watching, please following these guidelines:
Ministry of Fisheries, Hunting and Agriculture,
Imaneq 1A, 701 Postboks 269, 3900 Nuuk,
Tel: (+299) 34 50 00, Fax: (+299) 32 47 04
Within the last years – and especially near Ilulissat Icefjord – locals have witnessed cruise ship vessels that have approached big icebergs far too close for photo opportunities.
We must strongly warn all captains against such kind of navigation near the icebergs of Ilulissat Icefjord. Not keeping a minimum safe distance of 900 meters may endanger the lives of passengers and crew onboard.
Furthermore, we recommend NOT to use Zodiacs or dinghies to take passengers close to the ice on sea excursions.
Please take advantage of local excursion operators as these are familiar with local conditions and are fully safety certified by appropriate authorities.
This will also be beneficial to the local communities and to the overall image of cruise tourism in Greenland as being an economically viable industry for the locals.
For cruise vessels AND tour operators that despite these messages intend to continue the above-mentioned practices, we urge that passengers be duly notified of the inherent risks.
Are you interested in cooperating with the locals in the Arctic? Read AECO’s guidelines here: