The coast, villages and countryside of the Eastern Algarve and then explore the treasures of this most westerly corner of Europe.
Greenland, a vast unspoiled wilderness where glaciers calve into bays strewn with icebergs, whale pods glide through the arctic waters and unique flora springs to life in the short summer months.
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 80600
Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain.
Most of these holidays have an element of sightseeing as well.
Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m.
When you sail north, you sail into the lands of natural wonders. This is a cruise for the spectacular scenery of cliffs, thermal eruptions, glaciers and fjords. Both Greenland and Iceland have a reputation for being expensive, but on a Ramblers Cruise & Walk holiday, you benefit from excellent value and all the amazing scenery you would get on a land-based holiday. After a few days at sea, our first port of call is Reykjavik from where we visit the continental divide and some of the waterfalls and geysers for which the country is so well known. Iceland is a destination you may have dreamed of visiting. Its volcanic landscape, rugged coastline and wild vastness exert a deep pull on the imagination. Its thermal areas, volcanoes and glaciers are amongst the natural wonders of the earth.
From Iceland, we sail across the North Atlantic to Greenland. Our first experience there could not be more spectacular as we sail through Prins Christiansund, with bountiful Arctic wildlife and soaring cliffs. We then visit three coastal sites on the west, Qaqortoq, Narsarsuaq and Nanortalik, to experience this wild and remote land. And at the end of each day’s activities, you return to the excellent food and comfort of Black Watch and sail on towards another scenic destination.
Please note, ports of call may change between different departure dates. It is important to check the individual tour date proposed itinerary for details of your cruise.
Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.
NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen
Itinerary & Travel
Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
Today you board Black Watch in Liverpool and set sail for Iceland. Check in for the cruise begins one hour prior to embarkation. Embarkation at the cruise terminal usually begins three hours before departure and closes one hour prior to sailing. At Liverpool you will be greeted by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ staff, including porters who will arrange for your luggage to be delivered to your cabin. There will be a letter from your Ramblers Cruise & Walk Holidays’ leader in your cabin informing you of the place and time for you to meet the rest of the group.
Sailing time is usually from mid afternoon to early evening and will be confirmed on your travel documents.
We have two days at sea to relax and enjoy the ship’s facilities. (‘Fair Isle, Faroes, Southeast Iceland’… where have you heard those names before?) There is usually a range of activities available on board – you may choose to join a fitness class or visit the on-board gym, attend one of the on-board lectures, treat yourself to a treatment in the spa, stroll along the deck, or just simply relax in one of the lounges with a coffee and a book from the library. Each evening a Daily Times newsletter will be placed in your cabin, detailing events and timings for the following day. As we approach Iceland on Wednesday evening there should be good views of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, the one that caused so much grief back in 2010 when it erupted and covered much of Europe in an ash cloud.
Today we undertake a Ramblers Cruise & Walk version of the famous Golden Circle Tour from Reykjavik, which showcases south west Iceland’s amazing landscapes. This includes time at the massive Gulfoss waterfall, a walk through the Thingvellir National Park where the land is split by a massive fissure, and time at Geysir to see the famous geyser. We walk for about an hour at Thingvellir, and less at Gulfoss and Geysir.
A 40 minute drive from Reykjavik brings us to the ‘Steam Valley’ just north of Hveragerdi. Our walk here takes us past steaming fumaroles to a spot where it is possible to take a dip in the thermal heated waters. Returning the same way we drive back to Reykjavik for free time to explore the city before boarding Black Watch.
It is strange to think that much of Greenland lies further south than Iceland… but it does. So we sail WSW towards the island’s southern tip.
Today we we cut through Greenland’s southern tip via Prince Christiansund. This 60 mile channel separating the Labrador and Irminger Seas is at times only 500m wide. There is one tiny village here, Aappilattoq, with its brightly coloured houses and a population of just 150. The mountains either side rise to 1500m and there are glaciers and waterfalls going straight into the waters. As if this weren’t enough, the sound is the world’s best location for whale watching. We hope to see Humpback, Blue, Northern Right and Minke Whales. In addition polar bears abound. From late afternoon to late night we cruise through Torssukatak Fjord, dominated by Thumbnail Cliff which rises over a mile vertically from the sea.
We walk up to the viewpoint of Quassik (308m) above the town for great views down over the town and beyond the islands, water and mountains. Back in the town there should be time to visit the old harbour area with its fine museum.
The tour begins with a 10-minute drive from the harbour to the starting point. Here we begin our gentle hike into a low mountain ridge situated between two valleys. We’ll walk along an easy trail with lush vegetation and birch and willow trees. After about an hour walk, we reach the highest point on the Ridge (163 metres above sea level). The plan is to eat our lunch at the top of the ridge as we admire spectacular views of the glacier and the distant mountains. After a break, we continue the walk down to the glacial river before entering the Flower Valley. We ascend slightly and walk over a pass and into Hospital Valley. After a while, we reach the old hospital area, there a stone-built chimney still stands as a relic from the past. After another half hour, we reach the starting point and transfer back to the ship.
Qaqortoq is the largest town in south Greenland and has an old town dating back to 1750. From the pier we walk through the town to some private gardens with a fine showing of Arctic flowers & vegetation. From here we head off to walk around the Storesø (Big Lake) experiencing the natural richness of the short Greenland summer. A local guide accompanies us on this walk.
We have four final days at sea to mull over the amazing sights we have seen in Iceland & Greenland, as well as taking it easy on Black Watch, enjoying the food and the many comforts the ship has to offer.
You arrive in Liverpool around 07.00 for disembarkation after breakfast.
Departure dates for your selected tour
14th Aug 2021 - 28th Aug 2021 (14 Nights)
UK departure ports vary, please see the individual itineraries for details.
Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.
Black Watch is sleek, intimate and harks back to the days when cruise ships were revered for their style and charm. The ultimate home-from-home at sea; Black Watch is spacious with a friendly and familiar feel, and provides guests with a traditional cruise experience. Having undergone a thorough refurbishment in late 2016, Black Watch features a selection of stylish suites and rooms, restaurants and spacious public rooms that provide up to 804 guests with everything needed for a comfortable, enjoyable and stress-free stay on board, while retaining the elegant style of a traditional cruise ship.
Black Watch has several restaurants; welcoming bars and lounges offering an array of music, dance, comedy and entertainment. There are inviting open deck spaces; and a teak-lined promenade. You can soak-up the sunshine at the Marquee Bar; or enjoy the sophistication of a Traditional Afternoon Tea, accompanied by breathtaking views, in the Observatory. To satisfy your caffeine cravings, visit The Bookmark Café for luxurious coffees and indulgent chocolates. In the evening, settle-in amongst the familiar surroundings of the Morning Light Pub; then take in the after-dinner show in the Neptune Lounge. In the Lido Lounge you can simply sit back with a drink in hand, or hit the dance floor! Black Watch also has an upgraded 4K, 3D cinema if you fancy a ‘movie night’.
On board facilities also include two swimming pools, a fitness centre including a sauna, steam room and beauty salon, two sun decks, Jacuzzis, several lounges and bars, a card room, small casino, library, coffee shop, internet room and restaurants. The ship has a medical centre, a boutique, a shop where you can buy essentials such as sun cream or toiletries, and there is also a self service laundrette and ironing room on board.
All guest cabins are are equipped with climate control, an interactive smart TV, hairdryer, desk, phone, fridge (which can be stocked as a mini-bar) and tea and coffee making facilities as standard. Allocated cabins will be an inside cabin unless you have paid a supplement to upgrade.
Your cabin steward will keep your cabin in immaculate condition, replacing any linen or towels as or when required. Separate towels are provided for poolside use. Black Watch operates a satellite telephone system, with telephones in each cabin, and personal mobile phones enabled for international roaming should work on board. The voltage on board the Black Watch is supplied at 220 volts (requiring a continental style 2-pin plug).
Payment on board is in Sterling, and a credit account system is operated on board allowing purchases to be charged to your account which must be settled at the end of your cruise.
This Grade 4 moderate holiday includes full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain and is likely to include an element of sightseeing as well. Half day walking will probably include about 3 hours of walking, with full days having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to about 600m. See the 'Proposed Itinerary' section for more information.
The described walks assume that the weather will be good and that the ship will keep to the planned schedule. We may have to change the walks if the ship’s schedule changes or there is poor weather.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
Fred Olsen Paying On Board
The currency on board ship is sterling. A credit account system is operated onboard allowing bar drinks, wine in restaurants, laundry charges, purchases from the shop and any other incidental expenses to be automatically charged to your account. You will be required to register a debit or credit card at check-in against which to charge your onboard account. At the time of writing there is no charge for payment by credit or debit card. Onboard accounts can be settled in cash, however, a debit or credit card must still be registered at check-in to secure the on-board account balance.
The following credit cards are accepted: Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. Fred. Olsen also accepts Visa debit cards but is unable to accept American Express, Solo, and Electron, travel agent debit cards or traveller’s cheque cards.
The ship operates a Bureau de Change onboard, where currency can be purchased or sold subject to local currency restrictions. All major currencies are stocked based on the cruise destinations with no commission charge and competitive rates.
Whilst sightseeing plays a part in our itinerary, no entrances to museums or monuments are planned, and therefore no entrance fees are included in the price of the holiday.
Fred. Olsen operates a system whereby the recommended level of gratuities will be automatically added to guests’ onboard accounts at the end of the cruise. Ramblers Cruise & Walk Holidays include the tips for the dining room waiters but £2.50 per guest per day will be added to all onboard accounts for cabin stewards. Anyone wishing to vary the amount given can do so via reception and guests are free to remove the charge from their onboard account and tip the relevant staff in the traditional ‘envelope & cash’ method if they prefer.
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
To enhance your experience, as well as your tour leader, each holiday will be accompanied in some centres by a well qualified and knowledgeable English-speaking local guide.
Getting to Liverpool
For all information on how to get to Liverpool by car or public transport please consult www.fredolsencruises.com/cruising-information/departure-port
On arrival at the port you will need to produce both your ticket and a valid passport, so please ensure you have both ready to hand. When checking in you will be issued with your ship’s pass and boarding card. Your ship’s pass acts as your security pass and onboard account card for the full duration of the cruise. Each time you embark or disembark the ship your card will be swiped to record whether you are on board or ashore. In addition, your hand luggage may be subject to either x-ray scanning or a manual search each time you re-join the ship.
At least 24 hours before the end of your cruise the full disembarkation instructions will be placed inside your cabin. Please ensure you have settled all onboard accounts before leaving the ship.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
Your luggage allowance is 200lbs or 90kg. For safety reasons, each piece of luggage should weigh less than 44lbs or 20kg.
Approximately 10 days prior to departure, we will send you your cruise tickets and luggage labels.
Please be advised that there are a number of items that are prohibited to be taken on board. To avoid any items being confiscated at check-in, please familiarise yourself with our prohibited items policy at www.fredolsencruises.com and search for ‘prohibited items’.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
Fred Olsen Holiday and Passport Info
Please ensure your passport has at least 6 months’ validity from the date you return from the cruise and have enough spare pages to accept immigration stamps/visas. Ramblers Walking Holidays will not be held responsible for any guest refused entry to a country/countries for non-compliance with the above, and passage will be refused to any guest at point of embarkation with insufficient passport validity. We would suggest a minimum of four clear pages excluding pages required for any visas you are required to apply for in advance of sailing. It is also a requirement of all immigration authorities that your passport is not damaged in any way or has no missing pages - we strongly recommend you check the condition of your passport prior to travel.
So, what’s on the menu? One certainty is that no one on board the ship will ever go hungry. All meals are included, and you start the day with breakfast, a buffet arrangement where you can choose from fresh fruits, cereals, yoghurts, a full English breakfast, cheeses, cold cuts, breads, pastries, fresh juices and unlimited tea or coffee.
We’ll take our lunches on board on cruising days and the choice is yours: sample the ample buffet in the restaurant, see what’s on offer in the informal café or choose an alfresco poolside affair. When we’re out for the day we’ll be provided with a packed lunch.
Dinner is a sumptuous five course feast. The choices are many, and the food is excellent. The menus are varied and mouth-watering, freshly cooked by award-winning chefs. Special diets such as fat-free, vegetarian and gluten-free meals can be catered for. Dinner is taken in a stylish restaurant with smiling courteous waiting staff creating a wonderful atmosphere for your evening meal. We are booked for dinner at 6.15pm to allow you plenty of time to also enjoy the evening entertainment if you wish. Wine can be pre-ordered from the Maître’d, over the interactive intranet in your cabin, or at the table.
If this is not enough, there is also morning coffee, afternoon tea and extensive late-night suppers to indulge in! We’ll also have an exclusive drinks party for our group one evening in addition to the Captain’s welcome and farewell parties and a traditional afternoon tea with waiter service on one of our sea days.
Complimentary tea and coffee can be found aboard the ship throughout the day, usually in the informal café. Other drinks must be purchased but the prices are very reasonable. No alcoholic drinks purchased ashore may be taken aboard the ship for consumption during the cruise.
If you have any special dietary requirements such as diabetic, gluten/wheat-free, dairy-free/soya, vegetarian, vegan, or low fat please advise us at the time of booking or no later than 14 weeks prior to departure.
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Daytime wear is casual with comfortable shoes for walking around deck. A lightweight jacket or coat is recommended for the early evening when the sun sets. You may also like to take a towel and swimwear as Black Watch has two small swimming pools and Jacuzzis. Towels are provided at the poolside should you forget your own. During the day casual wear is allowed in the restaurant but not swimwear.
During your cruise, there will be formal and smart casual evenings. On formal evenings, gentlemen are encouraged to wear ‘black tie’, although a dark suit and tie will suffice, with ladies elegantly dressed in cocktail or evening dress. On smart casual evenings, men can wear open-necked shirts, chinos and dark coloured jeans, and women dress or trousers and a top.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Electricity on Board
The voltage on board is supplied at 220 volts (requiring a continental style 2-pin plug).
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Staying Healthy Onboard
Although most cruises experience calm seas, there is always the possibility of heavy weather. It is possible in these circumstances that some clients may be susceptible to sea-sickness. You may wish to consider packing some travel motion sickness medication which can greatly reduce any symptoms. Please liaise with your local pharmacist or doctor for advice regarding particular medication.
Whilst none of the walks is difficult you need to be comfortable walking over uneven and occasionally steep ground to enjoy them to the full.
Network and Centre website at www.travelhealthpro.org.uk, the NHS Fit for Travel website at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk and the Foreign Office Travel Advice website at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice or a local travel health clinic.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
We cannot stress enough the importance of good quality, comprehensive cruise insurance. Insurance is a mandatory requirement for all customers travelling on board. If for any reason you are yet to do so, please contact Ramblers Walking Holidays.
We do not insist that you insure with us, but we require that you are adequately insured for the nature of your holiday. You will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance. Your Ramblers Cruise & Walk leader will ask for this information locally and you will not be able to join our walking and activity programme without this information.
Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region) and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue) and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities, included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday. It is vital that you have disclosed all pre-existing medical conditions to your insurer. Please see our brochure or website for further advice regarding holiday insurance.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
Naturally, the safety and comfort of our guests and crew is always our highest priority. We would therefore like to reassure you that when in certain ‘hot spots’ around the world, additional and robust security measures are put in place. Whereas you will appreciate that we cannot divulge these plans we would like to pre-advise that additional safety drills will take place prior to reaching these waters and it may be necessary to close the portholes of lower deck cabins whilst in areas considered to be at a higher threat level. We thank you in advance for your co-operation and understanding.
Fred Olsen Plastic Policy
The use of single-use plastics on board Fred Olsen ships has been stopped wherever possible, including the banning of plastic straws, cocktail sticks, stirrers, cutlery and take away coffee cups. In addition, their officers and crew always consider how they can reduce the use of plastic further. All waste is collected, sorted and discharged by the ship’s staff following strict environmental regulatory requirements. This waste is subsequently landed ashore to approved recycling and receiving operators. The only waste that is discharged at sea is commuted food waste and wastewater.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
Visas and Passports
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