Time is now 8/12/2020, 3:09:11 PM
  • Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Log In
  • Find a Cruise
  • Deals
  • Excursions
  • More

Cruises to Ilulissat

Ilulissat (Photo:Vadim Petrakov/Shutterstock)
Ilulissat (Photo:Vadim Petrakov/Shutterstock)

About Ilulissat

Ilulissat means "iceberg" in Greenlandic. One look and it's obvious where the town got its name. On a clear day, the landscape is truly surreal. Hundreds of icebergs surround Ilulissat. They vary in shape from flat-topped hunks to jagged mountain peaks and in size from small doghouses to mega-cruise ships and larger. And that's just the part above the surface!

The icebergs originate from the Jakobshavn Glacier, called Sermeq Kujalleq in Greenlandic. It is the most active glacier in the world outside Antarctica. The bergs collect at the mouth of the fjord just outside the harbor.

All this ice has recently put Greenland in the news and on travelers' radar screen with concerns about global warming. The country is officially part of Denmark, though it has been self-governed since 1979. It's the largest island on earth and would stretch from New York City to Denver if tilted on its side. Roughly 85 percent of the land is covered by the polar icecap. The coastal areas, where towns like Ilulissat are located, are free of snow in summer, making exploration by cruise ship a hassle-free way to go. Beginning in 2007, this far off-the-beaten-path destination has become accessible with Hurtigruten's new ship, the Fram, spending entire summers cruising Greenland itineraries.

Ilulissat, the hub of the west coast Disko Bay region, is the country's third largest town, boasting a population of roughly 4,500 people and at least as many sled dogs. Located about 150 miles north of the Arctic Circle, it is the most accessible place to see both massive icebergs and the polar icecap. For this reason, tourism here is on the rise. The town offers a variety of hotel accommodations and half a dozen tour operators.

No roads lead to Ilulissat. Access is by air or local ferry service. Visiting cruise ships include Hurtigruten's Fram, which calls once a week in summer, and the icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov. The midnight sun shines here from late May through July. Having daylight 24/7 is a boon for sightseeing and for navigating through a sea full of icebergs.

Find Ilulissat Cruises

Any
Any
More Filters
DAY 1: Reykjavik

28 Night
Cruise to Ilulissat

Leaving:
Reykjavik
Visiting:
Heimaey, Sermilik ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes
DAY 1: Liverpool

24 Night
Cruise to Ilulissat

Leaving:
Liverpool
Visiting:
Reykjavik, Qaqortoq ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Cruise & Maritime Voyages
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
DAY 1: London

22 Night
Cruise to Ilulissat

Leaving:
London
Visiting:
Reykjavik, Qaqortoq ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Cruise & Maritime Voyages
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
Sponsored
Cruises from $650 w/ Virgin Voyages
Plus receive over $600 in value included in fare
  • 20+ Eateries, gratuities, WiFi & more included
  • 18+ Adults only sailings - Adult-By-Design!
  • Flexible booking and cancellation policy
  • 4-, 5-, & 7-night Caribbean itineraries from Miami
Virgin Cruises Intermediate Limited
DAY 1: London

22 Night
Cruise to Ilulissat

Leaving:
London
Visiting:
Reykjavik, Qaqortoq ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Cruise & Maritime Voyages
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices

16 Night
Cruise to Ilulissat

Leaving:
Isle of Islay
Visiting:
Sermilinnguaq, Maniitsoq ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes
Cruise Critic Favorite

21 Night
Cruise to Ilulissat

Leaving:
Copenhagen
Visiting:
Rostock, Akureyri ...
see more
Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes
Cruise Critic Favorite

21 Night
Cruise to Ilulissat

Leaving:
Rostock
Visiting:
Akureyri, Isafjord ...
see more
Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get tomorrow's price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

24 Night
Cruise to Ilulissat

Leaving:
Isle of Islay
Visiting:
Kangaamiut, Evigheds Fjord ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
Get Price Alerts
No prices currently available for this sailing.

Please try a different departure date.
View Cruise Info
  • Itinerary
  • Ship Details
  • Reviews
  • View All Prices
  • Fare Includes

Why go to Ilulissat?

Pros:

Stunningly beautiful icebergs from Jakobshavn Glacier surround this off the beaten path destination

Cons:

Do not try to make friends with the local sled dogs -- they are bred to work, not socialize and are not friendly

Bottom Line:

You might visit to see the icebergs, but Ilulissat offers much more including shopping, history and art

Ilulissat Cruise Port Facilities?

Everything is a few minute's walk from the dock -- souvenir shops, hotels, museums, the bank, you name it.

Good to Know?

The sled dogs. They may look like pets, but these dogs are used to pull sleds in Greenland and are bred to work, not to be your best friend. You'll see them by the dozen, snoozing in front of practically every house. By law, they have to be tied up. Even so, if you get too close, they growl and snap at you. Beware of the really cute puppies. They can run free until they are five months old, and they may or may not be the friendly type.

Mosquitoes. Don't let all that ice fool you. Mosquitoes thrive in Greenland, particularly in July and August. Bring your bug spray and keep covered up.

Getting Around?

This is a really small place. Walking is the best, easiest and fastest way to get around. You can circle the whole of Ilulissat in 25 minutes or less. Get a map from the ship or stop by just about any shop and ask for one. Most of the places you're likely to go are marked on the map. You don't need a street address, and you can't get lost.

Yes, there are taxis and occasional van-type buses if you can communicate with drivers who probably don't speak English, and if you have Danish money to pay the fare. Bus fare is 10 DKK (about $2).

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The official currency is the Danish krone (DKK), about 5.5 to the U.S. dollar. Check www.oanda.com or www.xe.com for current rates. There is an ATM at the Bank of Greenland, open weekdays 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. Good news: Many restaurants and shops take Visa and Mastercard. Bad news: Most add a 5-percent service fee for credit card purchases. It's a good idea to carry some cash. Euros are generally okay. U.S. dollars are rarely accepted.

Language?

Greenlandic, an Inuit dialect, and Danish are the official languages. Some children learn English in school, and resident Danes usually speak English. Don't count on being understood if you stop someone on the road. Go to one of the souvenir shops instead. Greenlandic is said to be one of the hardest languages to learn. You can practice by saying "kutaa" (KO'-daa) for "hello."

Where You're Docked?

Ships anchor outside the main harbor where there's a good chance of being right next to an iceberg. The inner harbor is filled with small fishing boats, and your ship's tenders or Zodiacs must travel at slower-than-normal speeds while taking passengers ashore. From the dock, it's a fairly short climb up the wooden stairs to reach town.


Ilulissat Cruise Reviews

SteveJAB
Sail Date: Sep 2018
A pleasant little Greenland town. There was nothing outstanding here but normal shops, post office etc.... Read More
Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.