A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT 

Encounter Iceland’s thrilling geological extremes—from glaciers to still-warm lava fields—on an 8-day voyage that includes some of the island’s most remote corners.  

Starting at: $6,010 Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Godafoss Waterfall  Landscape of Isafjordur in the West Fjords  Breaching whale in Icelandic waters  Iceland's Namaskard geothermal area near Lake Mývatn  Volcanic steam vent  Landscape of Skutustadir, near Lake Myvatn  Puffins along the cliffs of Iceland  Heimaey Island  The colorful capital of Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland Voyage: Land of Fire and Ice

Round-trip from Reykjavík Aboard the 184-guest Le Bellot

8 days from $6,010

A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT 

Encounter Iceland’s thrilling geological extremes—from glaciers to still-warm lava fields—on an 8-day voyage that includes some of the island’s most remote corners.  

or Call 855-330-1542

Activity Level

Activity Level 3:  Moderate / Active

Unique cruise that explores the west coast of Iceland. Ocean-going ship requires using smaller boat conveyances to get to shore for excursions, although the ship may also pull into a pier for embarkation and disembarkation. Excursions will be at an active pace and you could spend some full days off the ship; some days require early morning departures (8:00 or 8:30 am.). Fully scheduled days are balanced by time at leisure in some ports. Some standing and walking for long periods of time (up to two hours or more) during outdoor activities and tours, city tours, and museum visits. Our guides will find you a place to sit if necessary (although this may not always be feasible). Walking two to three miles will be over sometimes uneven terrain, such as walking trails at geological sites, muddy trails, and cobblestones in towns.   

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, lead active lives, are comfortable participating in long days of activities, and expect some physical exertion. 

Ship

Le Bellot

Launched in 2020, Le Bellot is among a new fleet of luxury expedition ships launched by PONANT. These ships combine revolutionary design and a new standard of luxury. 
 
Spacious, Ocean-view Suites and Staterooms 
Each of the 92 elegant suites and staterooms features a private balcony, while Grand Deluxe Suites have a bay window and spacious private terrace. The deluxe, air-conditioned staterooms and suites (up to 484 square feet) have two twin beds that convert to one queen-size bed. Each cabin has a private bathroom with shower (bathtub in limited number of staterooms) and the luxurious amenities of a fine hotel, including individual climate control, satellite flat screen television, wireless Internet access, safe, minibar, full-length closet, writing desk/dressing table, and plush robes. 
 
Chic and Casual Dining 
International and regional cuisine are served in the stylish, spacious indoor-outdoor restaurant in a single, unassigned seating; at the casual pool deck grill; or from 24-hour room service. Continental and buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea, and a four-course dinner are served daily. Wine is served at your table during lunch and dinner and complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise. 
 
Spacious Public Areas, Intimate Atmosphere, and World-Class Service 
The warm and inviting public areas accommodate all passengers comfortably. Enjoy sweeping views from the Observation Lounge and Main Lounge, both of which open to the outdoors, and lectures, cultural performances, or film screenings in the state-of-the-art theater. For your convenience, complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship. 

The ship also features the first luxury underwater observatory, the Blue Eye, a multisensory underwater observation lounge that incorporates decor and technology to immerse you in the beauty of the ocean's ecosystem. Here, you can observe fascinating marine life through the large subaquatic windows while digital screens and the specially designed global listening system relay the sights and sound beneath the ocean surface.  

Other amenities aboard ship are a Sun Deck, swimming pool, beauty salon, spa and sauna, fitness room, and two elevators. In addition, there is a three-level marina platform with complimentary kayaking and snorkeling equipment, as well as 10 easily accessible Zodiacs.  

The highly trained, English-speaking international crew are personable and attentive, and the ship has an infirmary staffed with a doctor and nurse. 
 
Respect for the Environment 
The newest additions to a fleet that has been awarded the prestigious "Clean Ship" designation, a rarity among ocean-cruising vessels, these expedition ships are designed with energy efficient, advanced eco-friendly features that protect fragile marine ecosystems while providing a safe and comfortable voyage. 

Le Bellot

Launched in 2020, Le Bellot is among a new fleet of luxury expedition ships launched by PONANT. These ships combine revolutionary design and a new standard of luxury. 
 
Spacious, Ocean-view Suites and Staterooms 
Each of the 92 elegant suites and staterooms features a private balcony, while Grand Deluxe Suites have a bay window and spacious private terrace. The deluxe, air-conditioned staterooms and suites (up to 484 square feet) have two twin beds that convert to one queen-size bed. Each cabin has a private bathroom with shower (bathtub in limited number of staterooms) and the luxurious amenities of a fine hotel, including individual climate control, satellite flat screen television, wireless Internet access, safe, minibar, full-length closet, writing desk/dressing table, and plush robes. 
 
Chic and Casual Dining 
International and regional cuisine are served in the stylish, spacious indoor-outdoor restaurant in a single, unassigned seating; at the casual pool deck grill; or from 24-hour room service. Continental and buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea, and a four-course dinner are served daily. Wine is served at your table during lunch and dinner and complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise. 
 
Spacious Public Areas, Intimate Atmosphere, and World-Class Service 
The warm and inviting public areas accommodate all passengers comfortably. Enjoy sweeping views from the Observation Lounge and Main Lounge, both of which open to the outdoors, and lectures, cultural performances, or film screenings in the state-of-the-art theater. For your convenience, complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship. 

The ship also features the first luxury underwater observatory, the Blue Eye, a multisensory underwater observation lounge that incorporates decor and technology to immerse you in the beauty of the ocean's ecosystem. Here, you can observe fascinating marine life through the large subaquatic windows while digital screens and the specially designed global listening system relay the sights and sound beneath the ocean surface.  

Other amenities aboard ship are a Sun Deck, swimming pool, beauty salon, spa and sauna, fitness room, and two elevators. In addition, there is a three-level marina platform with complimentary kayaking and snorkeling equipment, as well as 10 easily accessible Zodiacs.  

The highly trained, English-speaking international crew are personable and attentive, and the ship has an infirmary staffed with a doctor and nurse. 
 
Respect for the Environment 
The newest additions to a fleet that has been awarded the prestigious "Clean Ship" designation, a rarity among ocean-cruising vessels, these expedition ships are designed with energy efficient, advanced eco-friendly features that protect fragile marine ecosystems while providing a safe and comfortable voyage. 

Reading List

Highly Recommended

Ring of Seasons: Iceland--Its Culture and History
By: Terry G. Lacy
A remote island with a rich and ancient literature. A land of hot springs and volcanoes. A country with an extraordinary history, a challenging geography and a vibrant contemporary culture. A land of ice.In Ring of Seasons, Terry Lacy--an American who has lived in Iceland for twenty-four years-- brings both the perspective of the outsider and the familiar eye of the long-term resident to this delightful exploration of all facets of Iceland, past and present. She conveys her story with a skillful interlacing of history, religion, politics, and culture to paint a vivid picture of the way Icelanders live today as members of a wealthy society still very dependent upon nature--from a reliance on her icy waters to support an international fishing industry to a watchful cohabitation with the volcanoes that both destroy villages and create new islands.This is a book for all who have been charmed by reading the Norse sagas, for all those intrigued by the country that can claim the oldest living democracy. It is an excellent introduction for anyone planning to visit Iceland and a delightful read for all those who do their exploration from the comfort of an armchair.Terry G. Lacy is an American currently residing in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Independent People
By: Halldor Laxness
From the Nobel Prize-winning Icelandic author, a magnificent, epic novel—"funny, clever, sardonic and brilliant" (Annie Proulx)—at last available to contemporary American readers.Set in the early twentieth century, Independent People recalls both Iceland's medieval epics and such classics as Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdatter. If Bjartur of Summerhouses, the book's protagonist, is an ordinary sheep farmer, his flinty determination to achieve independence is genuinely heroic and, at the same time, terrifying and bleakly comic.Having spent eighteen years in humiliating servitude, Bjartur wants nothing more than to raise his flocks unbeholden to any man. But Bjartur's spirited daughter wants to live unbeholden to him. What ensues is a battle of wills that is by turns harsh and touching, elemental in its emotional intensity and intimate in its homely detail. Vast in scope and deeply rewarding, Independent People is a masterpiece.
Insight Guides Iceland (Travel Guide with Free eBook)
By: Guides, Insight
Iceland: Land of the Sagas
By: Jon Krakauer, David Roberts
"We raised our fists and cheered. . . . With the sagas in our heads, with Iceland at its wildest beneath our boots, it would not have been impossible to see Bárdr clumping along the summit ridge, prodding the glacier with his staff, ready to show us the way down."Iceland is a pictorial classic on one of the last "undiscovered" countries in Europe--reissued for the first time in paperback.        Iceland is often thought to be covered by ice, but in fact it is gloriously green. Lush meadows, wildflower fields, and miles of rich tundra cover a landscape of remarkable variety: deep lakes, bubbling hot springs, tumbling waterfalls, snow-capped mountains. It's also a landscape amazingly alive with massive lava flows and enormous glaciers. The human story of Iceland goes back more than eleven thousand years, and its heritage is told here in a treasury of riveting sagas of real-life heroes and all manner of supernatural beings.        Both the land and the people of one of Europe's most gorgeous countries come to life in this colorful account of the authors' adventures as they walk, climb, and photograph their way through Iceland and connect to the bone-chilling sagas and the unfamiliar terrain. With breathtaking photographs from critically acclaimed writer and journalist Jon Krakauer, author of the international bestsellers Into Thin Air and Into the Wild, and a penetrating narrative from Outside contributing editor and travel writer David Roberts, Iceland splendidly captures the spirit of this enigmatic country.         Circumnavigating Iceland in summer and winter, Krakauer and Roberts encounter tales of monks and Vikings, outlaws and adventurers, trolls and witches. While touring and photographing, they discover the myths and legends of Iceland's stirring history. Numerous other feats--including a hazardous winter climb to the summit of one of Iceland's tallest mountains--round out a fascinating introduction to this unique and beautiful land.

Also Recommended

The Vikings: Lord of the Seas (Abrams Discoveries)
By: Yves Cohat
In an historical saga that spans centuries, the author reveals how the Vikings used their superior navigational and boat-building skills to rule the seas and terrorize the European continent. Original.
North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland
By: Gunnar Karl Gíslason, Jody Eddy
An unprecedented look into the food and culture of Iceland, from Iceland's premier chef and the owner of Reykjavík's Restaurant Dill. Iceland is known for being one of the most beautiful and untouched places on earth, and a burgeoning destination for travelers lured by its striking landscapes and vibrant culture. Iceland is also home to an utterly unique and captivating food scene, characterized by its distinctive indigenous ingredients, traditional farmers and artisanal producers, and wildly creative chefs and restaurants. Perhaps no Icelandic restaurant is as well-loved and critically lauded as chef Gunnar Gíslason’s Restaurant Dill, which opened in Reykjavík’s historic Nordic House in 2009. North is Gíslason’s wonderfully personal debut: equal parts recipe book and culinary odyssey, it offers an unparalleled look into a star chef’s creative process. But more than just a collection of recipes, North is also a celebration of Iceland itself—the inspiring traditions, stories, and people who make the island nation unlike any other place in the world.
The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings (Hist Atlas)
By: John Haywood
Viking marauders in their longships burst through the defences of ninth-century Europe, striking terror into the hearts of peasants and rulers alike for two centuries. But the Vikings were more than just marine warriors and this atlas shows their development as traders and craftsmen, explorers, settlers and mercenaries. With over sixty full colour maps, it follows the tracks of the Viking merchants who travelled deep into Russia, of Viking mercenaries who served in the emperor’s bodyguard at Constantinople, and Viking mariners who sailed beyond the edge of the known world to North America.
Iceland Imagined: Nature, Culture, and Storytelling in the North Atlantic (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books)
By: Karen Oslund
Iceland, Greenland, Northern Norway, and the Faroe Islands lie on the edges of Western Europe, in an area long portrayed by travelers as remote and exotic - its nature harsh, its people reclusive. Since the middle of the eighteenth century, however, this marginalized region has gradually become part of modern Europe, a transformation that is narrated in Karen Oslund’s Iceland Imagined.This cultural and environmental history sweeps across the dramatic North Atlantic landscape, exploring its unusual geography, saga narratives, language, culture, and politics, and analyzing its emergence as a distinctive and symbolic part of Europe. The earliest visions of a wild frontier, filled with dangerous and unpredictable inhabitants, eventually gave way to images of beautiful, well-managed lands, inhabited by simple but virtuous people living close to nature.This transformation was accomplished by state-sponsored natural histories of Iceland which explained that the monsters described in medieval and Renaissance travel accounts did not really exist, and by artists who painted the Icelandic landscapes to reflect their fertile and regulated qualities. Literary scholars and linguists who came to Iceland and Greenland in the nineteenth century related the stories and the languages of the “wild North” to those of their home countries.
Last Places: A Journey in the North
By: Lawrence Millman
A classic of northern exploration and adventure, LAST PLACES is Lawrence Millman's marvelously told account of his journey along the ancient Viking sea routes that extend from Norway to Newfoundland. Traveling through landscapes of transcendent desolation, Millman wandered by way of the Shetland Islands, the Faeroes, Iceland, Greenland, and Labrador. His way was marked by surprising human encounters--with a convicted murderer in Reykjavik, an Inuit hermit in Greenland, an Icelandic guide who leads him to a place called Hell, and a Newfoundlander who warns him about the local variant of the Abominable Snowman. By turns earthy and lyrical, LAST PLACES is an ebullient celebration of the exotic North.
Jar City: A Reykjavi­k Thriller
By: Arnaldur Indridason
Jar City: A Reykjavi
Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths
By: Nancy Marie Brown
An Indie Next pick for December 2012, Song of the Vikings brings to life Snorri Sturluson, wealthy chieftain, wily politician, witty storyteller, and the sole source of Viking lore for all of Western literature. Tales of one-eyed Odin, Thor and his mighty hammer, the trickster Loki, and the beautiful Valkyries have inspired countless writers, poets, and dreamers through the centuries, including Richard Wagner, JRR Tolkien, and Neil Gaiman, and author Nancy Marie Brown brings alive the medieval Icelandic world where it all began. She paints a vivid picture of the Icelandic landscape, with its colossal glaciers and volcanoes, steaming hot springs, and moonscapes of ash, ice, and rock that inspired Snorri's words, and led him to create unforgettable characters and tales. Drawing on her deep knowledge of Iceland and its history and first-hand reading of the original medieval sources, Brown gives us a richly textured narrative, revealing a spellbinding world that continues to fascinate.
Butterflies in November
By: Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
* Long-listed for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2014 *"I can’t remember the last time I was so enchanted by a novel like I am by Butterflies in November. Zany, surprising, full of twists and turns, it left me breathless. I just love this book." —Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle and The Obituary WriterAfter a day of being dumped—twice—and accidentally killing a goose, a young woman yearns for a tropical vacation far from the chaos of her life. Instead, her plans are wrecked by her best friend’s four-year-old deaf-mute son, thrust into her reluctant care. But when the boy chooses the winning numbers for a lottery ticket, the two of them set off on a road trip across Iceland with a glove compartment stuffed full of their jackpot earnings. Along the way, they encounter black sand beaches, cucumber farms, lava fields, flocks of sheep, an Estonian choir, a falconer, a hitchhiker, and both of her exes desperate for another chance. What begins as a spontaneous adventure will unexpectedly and profoundly change the way she views her past and charts her future.Butterflies in November is a blackly comic, charming, and uplifting tale of friends and lovers, motherhood, and self-discovery.
The Sagas of Icelanders: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
By: Ornolfur Thorsson
A unique body of medieval literature, the Sagas rank with the world's greatest literary treasures--as epic as Homer, as deep in tragedy as Sophocles, as engagingly human as Shakespeare. Set around the turn of the last millennium, these stories depict with an astonishingly modern realism the lives and deeds of the Norse men and women who first settled Iceland and of their descendants, who ventured further west--to Greenland and, ultimately, the coast of North America itself.The ten Sagas and seven shorter tales in this volume include the celebrated "Vinland Sagas," which recount Leif Eiriksson's pioneering voyage to the New World and contain the oldest descriptions of the North American continent.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Auroras: Fire in the Sky
By: Bortolotti, Dan
Island on Fire: The Extraordinary Story of a Forgotten Volcano That Changed the World
By: Alexandra Witze, Jeff Kanipe
Can a single explosion change the course of history? An eruption at the end of the 18th century led to years of climate change while igniting famine, disease, even perhaps revolution. Laki is one of Iceland’s most fearsome volcanoes.Laki is Iceland’s largest volcano. Its eruption in 1783 is one of history’s great, untold natural disasters. Spewing out sun-blocking ash and then a poisonous fog for eight long months, the effects of the eruption lingered across the world for years.  It caused the deaths of people as far away as the Nile and created catastrophic conditions throughout Europe.Island on Fire is the story not only of a single eruption but the people whose lives it changed, the dawn of modern volcanology, as well as the history―and potential―of other super-volcanoes like Laki around the world. And perhaps most pertinently, in the wake of the eruption of another Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, which closed European air space in 2010, acclaimed science writers Witze and Kanipe look at what might transpire should Laki erupt again in our lifetime.
The Control of Nature
By: John McPhee
The Control of Nature is John McPhee's bestselling account of places where people are locked in combat with nature. Taking us deep into these contested territories, McPhee details the strageties and tactics through which people attempt to control nature. Most striking is his depiction of the main contestants: nature in complex and awesome guises, and those attempting to wrest control from her - stubborn, sometimes foolhardy, more often ingenious, and always arresting characters.
A Naturalist's Guide to the Arctic
By: E. C. Pielou
This book is a practical, portable guide to all of the Arctic's natural history—sky, atmosphere, terrain, ice, the sea, plants, birds, mammals, fish, and insects—for those who will experience the Arctic firsthand and for armchair travelers who would just as soon read about its splendors and surprises. It is packed with answers to naturalists' questions and with questions—some of them answered—that naturalists may not even have thought of.
The Arctic: A guide to coastal wildlife (Bradt Travel Guide)
By: Soper, Tony
24x36 World Wall Map by Smithsonian Journeys - Tan Oceans Special Edition (24x36 Laminated)