Cruising the island of fire and ice


Though the central interior of Iceland is largely uninhabitable, fascinating flatlands in and around fjords and rivers attract visitors to soak in steaming hot springs, to walk mudflats bubbling from gases beneath the Earth’s crust, and to straddle the European and North American tectonic plates that grind apart and tremble across the island (at one accessible spot you may stand, legs spread, touching both plates). 

Tectonic plates

A traveler straddles the European and North American tectonic plates that cross Iceland. They are separating, though straddlers need not hurry.

Island tours will take you to wild and lush lowlands surrounded by rugged mountains. Spas await to relieve tension. Fairy tales and folklore about beasts and elves will captivate. Adventure tours will take you deeper and higher. Campers may see the Northern Lights. Add the Reykjavik art scene and city restaurants that cook the local catch, and you have reasons for Iceland’s rise as a vacation getaway.

In 2022, numerous cruise lines are scheduled to call on Iceland, among them Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, MSC, Princess, Celebrity, Regent, Holland America, Carnival, Cunard, Windstar, Oceania, Seabourn, Azamara, Crystal, Siversea, and Viking Ocean.

Viking Ocean chose Iceland as a destination to restart its cruises this summer after more than a year of resting during the early days of the pandemic (other Viking restarts were in Bermuda and Malta).

My Viking Sky itinerary from Reykjavik was to circle the island clockwise, stopping at five ports before returning to Reykjavik: fishing villages Isafjordur in the northwest and Akureyri, a college town only 62 miles from the arctic circle; Seydisfjordur, one of the earliest Viking settlements; Djupivogur, population about 300 and gateway to Vatnajokull, the biggest glacier; and the volcanic island of Heimaey, summer home to millions of puffins and other species who migrate to feed and breed.


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