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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We have just returned from a fantastic 12-day cruise to West Greenland, Disko Bay and on the trail of the Vikings on the Poseidon Expeditions Sea Spirit.(PLEASE NOTE THAT CRUISE CRITIC HAS THE SHIP BELONGING TO CHIMU ADVENTURES. THIS IS ... Read More
We have just returned from a fantastic 12-day cruise to West Greenland, Disko Bay and on the trail of the Vikings on the Poseidon Expeditions Sea Spirit.(PLEASE NOTE THAT CRUISE CRITIC HAS THE SHIP BELONGING TO CHIMU ADVENTURES. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. IT IS A POSEIDON EXPEDITION SHIP). We flew into Reykjavik three days early and enjoyed the city and its marvelous food and Iceland’s scenery. We originally were to fly on an Air Greenland charter to Kangerlussuaq, but ice pack prevented the ship from being able to sail up the fjord that far. Poseidon did an excellent job of adjusting to the conditions. So our flights were changed to fly directly to Sisimuit, and after confusion at Keflavik airport due to airport personnel error on departure time, our flight took off on schedule. The three hour flight in a DASH aircraft was smooth and comfortable with Rita the friendliest flight attendant ever. Upon arrival at the ship at 8:30 pm, we were greeted with sparkling wine and had a quick talk about our schedule for the next day. Then it was down to dinner, which the ship had held for those of us arriving from Reykjavik. We were fitted with our wonderful complimentary parkas and our boots for wet landings. Then it was off to bed. Our cabin was a spacious balcony on the fifth deck. It was beautifully appointed and clean and comfortable. The bed was extremely comfortable, the marble bathroom had a large stand up shower with both sunflower and hand held showerheads. There was a huge walk in closet with drawers and hangers. And the cabin itself had a large dressing table with drawers and an entire additional wall with drawers. A safe and refrigerator were also in the cabinet. There was a comfortable couch and table as well. The balcony was large with two chairs and a table and we spent a lot of time outside viewing the incredible scenery. There was a tv with dvd player. There was no news channel, just the ship channel with daily program, a movie channel and a documentary channel. . Mario our cabin steward did an outstanding job keeping the room made up and handling special requests. The ship itself was lovely and up to date. There was a large lounge for all our lectures, a great bar room with a 24-hour coffee and tea machine and a library with books lining the shelves.A piano player, Piotr, played in the bar during tea and in the evening. Daily newspapers were printed out and available to read as well. Sea Spirit held 114 passengers, but this trip, we had 87 aboard from many countries. There was one very well behaved 7 year old child. Seating in the restaurant is open. Food was good to excellent. Both breakfast and lunch are served buffet style. Eggs and omelets are cooked to order and there is a daily breakfast special of pancakes or crepes. Fruit and cold fish like salmon and herring abounded, and bacon and sausage also were on the buffet. At lunch, there were a number of salads as well as hot dishes and either a carved meat like roast chicken or pork or a pasta dish being prepared. Desserts were excellent. At dinner, there was a menu with choices of salads, soups, and three entrees. There were also three or four dessert choices. While wine by the bottle was expensive, there were excellent wines by the glass for $6 or $7 a glass with no surcharge for tax or service. If however, you have sailed with Poseidon before, wine and beer are complimentary with lunch and dinner. This is a nice perk for return customers. There is no room service. Itinerary was flexible but we started with a day in Sisimuit, a beautiful colorful city with an Art and Craft Workshop that allowed us to meet local artists and buy some authentic Greenland made items such as jewelry or carvings. We did a guided walking tour of the city, including the interesting museum, church and cultural centre. We also were able to see Greenland dogs, sled dogs who are allowed only north of the Arctic Circle. They are essential to life in an island country that has few roads. The small shops of Sismuit also provided a chance to meet locals and see how they obtain essentials for their daily living. After returning to the ship we walked on the deck to marvel at a world champion kayaker doing his impressive “Eskimo Rolls,” flipping his kayak and returning upright. This is a survival essential capability in Artic waters, and he certainly showed his expertise. Kayaks in Greenland are made from driftwood from Siberia because Greenland has no trees. They are carved and then covered in seal skin by the women of the villages. We then had our safety drill and a meeting with our fantastic expedition leader Anya and Hotel Manager Siegfried. Both were very outgoing and available all trip to chat and help the passengers out with any questions or issues. Sea Spirit then sailed to Disko Island and landed in Qeqertarsuaq. This was a special stop in a beautiful village with a beach with huge icebergs. An intern member of the expedition team, Ria, was from this town. After a walking tour, we assembled in the local community house where we had a very warm welcome and concert by members of the community, dressed in national costumes, including Ria’s mother and grandmother. They also had a small buffet with samplings of local cuisine, including whale, narwal, reindeer, shrimp and cakes. It was a lovely, warm gathering and we met townspeople who also put out their handcrafts for purchase. Back on the ship we had a lecture by expedition member Aaron on Icebergs and Glaciers and a briefing for the next day. We then sailed down to the lovely city of Ilulissat, which has to be one of the most beautiful towns in Greenland. Sparkling blue sky greeted us as we explored the town. We hiked to Ilulissat icefjord viewpoint, enjoyed the shops, and visited the Knud Rasmussen museum and wonderful art museum. Knud Rasmussen was the first person to find the Northwest Passage by dog sled and is considered a national hero. The museum held many of the items he used in his expeditions, including a reproduction of his sled and dog team. The art museum also had exceptional works and we had an interesting time chatting with the curator and guide. One of the best experiences of the cruise was our afternoon spent in a small boat cruising in the Illulissat fjord with huge icebergs. It is impossible to describe the majesty of the skyscraper sized icebergs surrounding us. Some gleamed like jewels while others towered in shapes and designs like large block-long buildings. It was a sight we will never forget. Some passengers also enjoyed a helicopter flight over the Jakobshavn glacier, from which the icebergs calved. This glacier is the one which calved the iceberg which sunk the Titantic. It also is retreating at alarming rates and could ultimately cause a rise in the seas worldwide. We had a morning at sea the next day and a lecture on The Polar Adventures of a Rich American Dame.” We zodiaced into Intelleq, where we had a Kaffemik, a meeting with a local family in their home and shared coffee, tea and cookies. The Poseidon team also played a soccer game with the local inhabitants, with much cheering on both sides. The locals won. We explored the village with an old church from the Thule era. Back onboard, those wishing took the “Polar Plunge” to much cheering from onlookers. Then it was on to Nuuk the capital city, with a population of 16,000. The ship provided a bus tour ending at the National Museum in the old town. We viewed the wonderful exhibits, including Greenland’s greatest national treasure, the mummies of Qilakitsoq, 500 years old. We had the afternoon free to wander the city, go to the art museum, visit shops and enjoy the beautiful weather. The ship kindly provided a free shuttle service back and forth to the city for our convenience. After dinner the documentary Minik the Lost Eskimo was shown in the Lounge. In the morning, we started with Aaron’s lecture on the Geology of Greenland and Ross’ presentation on the Vikings of Greenland. There was a great deck barbeque outside for lunch. In the afternoon, we took zodiacs into the abandoned mine town of Ivigttut. We hiked along the beach and had a geology tour around the old mine. It was the site of a cryolite mine until 1987 when the mineral was depleted. At one time, cryolite, used in the making of aluminum, was more precious and costly than platinum or gold. The beach also has diamonds, sapphires and gold, but mostly, pyrite or fool’s gold. The only tree we saw in Greenland sat and grew outside the old abandoned mine manager’s home. After a lovely dinner, we had a Q&A with Hotel Manager Siegfried and Bar Manager Sixto who served everyone Greenland coffee – coffee with flaming liquor and whipped cream on top. Siegfried had everyone laughing with his mind game tricks and happily answered all questions. The next day found us in Qassiarsuk, for a zodiac landing and guided tour of the first Norse settlement in Greenland. Eric the Red first landed here and established the buildings. Remains of the foundations were apparent and reconstruction of a typical house and church, including the clothing and utensils of life were on view. There was a large statue on the mountain of Leif Erickson, who continued the settlement. In the afternoon, we had another fantastic zodiac cruise among the icebergs in Qooroq fjord. We had the opportunity to watch an iceberg roll right next to us, creating a bit of a wave to navigate. The bright blue of the icebergs was the result of the loss of water and compression of pure snow in a rolled iceberg. They sparkled like jewels. After dinner at 10:30 we had a zodiac landing in the midnight sun at Hvalsey. This was for a visit to the best preserved Norse ruins from the Eastern Settlement. The light evening sky was a beautiful background to the ruins and mountains surrounding them. Our last landing of the trip was at Aappilattoq, a very small town reached by a narrow opening in a cove. The colorful houses of the town were set among towering mountains. Children greeted our ship, smiling cheerfully. The local choir at the small church gave us a wonderful concert of Greenland songs. It was a great send-off from the beautiful largest island in the world. Our last hours in Greenland were a sail rarely done due to ice pack, through Prins Christiansund. The scenery in this narrow passage rivals that of Patagonia, with glaciers and waterfalls on each side. Because the ship had an open bridge policy, we were able to be on the bridge, watching the officers as we sailed through the narrowest part, 500 meters and 60 miles long and on to Reykjavik. The last two days of the cruise were sea days as we crossed the Danish straits. The seas were a bit rough and a number of passengers remained in their cabins, seasick. The waves were 4 -5 meters and wind Beaufort scale of 5. We however, listened to lectures by the Expedition Staff on The Epic Journey of Wally Herbert, Nansen’s Crossing of the Greenlandic Icecap and Whales and humans. The next day we had lectures on Sailing to Antarctica and Airships in the Artic. We then gathered for the Captain’s farewell reception, and sipped champagne while watching a video and slide show of our fabulous adventure. We sailed into Reykjavik the next morning, docking next to the Harpa and disembarked. We hated to leave our wonderful home for the last two weeks, and look forward to another cruise on the Sea Spirit in the near future. We have taken more than 60 cruises and we have to say this was one of the best we have taken. The itinerary was exceptional, but the crew and expedition team on the Sea Spirit made the cruise special. We were called by name from the first day, and made to feel so welcome at meals and lectures. We returned to the same table with friends we made on the cruise so we knew the staff well. Our servers Conrado, Roberto and dining room manager Ruel were warm and caring. We did not lack for anything. And special thanks to Conrado for the iced tea he made specially each day. Special thanks also to Shulie at Poseidon for her information on the trip and ship. We hope to return to the Sea Spirit soon. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
10 day cruise around Svalbard "Searching for Polar Bears" . The ship is very pleasant - cabins are comfortable and hotel and dining staff are excellent. Food was quite varied with vegetarian and fish options at every meal as ... Read More
10 day cruise around Svalbard "Searching for Polar Bears" . The ship is very pleasant - cabins are comfortable and hotel and dining staff are excellent. Food was quite varied with vegetarian and fish options at every meal as well as special meals for gluten intolerant. Ship's musician was substandard - same set every evening using prerecorded keyboard music and subdued singing in the background. Unable (or refusing) to perform the most basic request for rock/Jazz/pop classics ... The Expedition staff was very pleasant, with differing language and presentation skills - some require serious training regarding presentation and speaking in front of an audience. The main problem is the ship's fear of ice - instead on circling the archipelago, the cruise stayed in the ice free water off Western Svalbard, dramatically lowering the chances of encountering bears. The result was a cruise to mostly visit abandoned whale and walrus abbatoirs - disappointing and depressing. Some of the location are very beautiful. When approached with the issue, the expedition leader invoked time issues, however, having spent and entire day sailing in circles off the edge of the ice-shelf and having seen the entire itinerary pre-planned, time was not the issue. Bottom line - very nice ship (****) - except music, disappointing expedition.(**) Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
It was an Expedition cruise. The Expedition leader and his time had no idea about an expedition cruise. No decent lectures on Svalbard. Did not visit, Barensburg and Magdalenenfjord. When queried about the reason, the reply came ... Read More
It was an Expedition cruise. The Expedition leader and his time had no idea about an expedition cruise. No decent lectures on Svalbard. Did not visit, Barensburg and Magdalenenfjord. When queried about the reason, the reply came "I'm french and we do everything different from other people" One so called lecturer could barely speak english or German. When you want to learn something about the Arctic sail with Hurtigruten Fram. Expedition staff usually stay for about 1-2 months. Cabins and food are very good. If you look for comfort and reasonable food this is the ship for you. Seaspirit has a number 5 ice-rating. (the lowest) would never travel with them again. Cabins were very well appointed, very comfortable. Dining room staff were very good and fast. Ship was clean. Food was good also their selection of wine. Although we had a cabin with balcony we missed an observation deck. Read Less
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