Iceland is a country that begs to be explored, and you’ll navigate to hard-to-reach areas, unlocking the secrets of the west coast on this 8-day small ship adventure cruise.

Encounter a dramatic volcanic landscape of geysers, hot springs, waterfalls, glaciers and black sand beaches. Experience rugged landscapes, ancient stories of Vikings and the Norse, and exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities.

Aboard the M/Y Callisto, surrounded by rich fabrics, woodwork, antiques and fine works of art, cast off from Akureyri and cruise past soaring coastal cliffs lined with birds to the far north-western reaches of the island, where few travellers tread.

Disembark to learn about Iceland’s unique heritage and culture, exploring historic museums and towns – from tiny fishing villages to the country’s northernmost city Siglufjordur. Walk to waterfalls of the gods, see Europe’s most powerful glacier, choose to visit volcanoes on an isolated island, then dock in fascinating Reykjavik. This cruise will reveal the inspirational, ancient, and untamed beauty of Iceland.

Why we love this trip

  • Icelandic tourism is booming, but it’s still mostly land-based around the famous – yet well-worn – Golden Circle route. We’re the only adventure company offering this unique coastal itinerary.
  • While bigger cruise liners have to moor out at sea and commute into shore via tender, we’ll drop anchor in the middle of port towns like Akranes or Isafjodur. You can hop on or off the boat as you please.
  • On Day 4 we sail directly beneath the incredible Latrarbag Cliffs, a sheer 450 metre wall of volcanic rock, home to millions of puffins and northern gannets.
  • Many land-bound Iceland itineraries never make it to the stunning West Fjordlands, and rarely to the fishing villages of the north coast. You’ll meet native herring fisherman and get a feel for the local way of life.

    Is this trip right for you?

    • This is a small ship adventure cruise, which means you’ll be sailing on a yacht with between 30 – 50 other people. The boat is spacious and comfortable, but it focuses more on the destination than on-board activities. Instead of a pool, we have the sea itself. Instead of a casino, we’ve got board games and a good book. There’s also no formal dress code to worry about. Wifi is available for a small charge.
    • Our ship moves under engine power, rather than sailing, so all cabins will experience light engine noise when the ship is moving (and occasionally when we drop anchor). It’s probably worth packing earplugs if you’re a light sleeper.
    • Onshore activities and excursions will involve a bit of walking. You’ll be visiting sites where at times you may have to cross uneven ground and challenging conditions underfoot. If you have any concerns, please speak to your group leader before taking part.
    • If you’re concerned about seasickness, there are seasickness tablets on-board. The ship will experience some roll and pitch in choppy conditions, however all of our ships come equipped with stabilisers to minimise movement. Most of our departures run in peak season, when the seas are calmer. Your crew will do all they can to minimise any discomfort.
    • There are no lifts (elevators) on-board our ships, so you’ll have to navigate a few steep flights of stairs on-board. Handrails are always available.
    • If you’re keen to swim off the boat, this may not be the tour for you. Even in high summer, the waters around Iceland are far too cold for a dip.


    We sail 3 times a year: June, August, September.

    When to go to Icleland?

    Iceland’s far north ocean location makes for fluctuating weather. May-Sep is the best time to visit Iceland if you want to go whale watching; you can combine orcas with Northern Lights in late Sep. Jun-Aug offer endless days, low 20s warmth plus summer festivals. Dry weather inland makes this prime hiking season. Snow comes as early as Sep (and can linger to May) but Iceland can look good too in autumn. Winters can be brutal – but offer the aurora borealis for the long dark hours.

    Visas and passports

    NZ passport holders do not require a visa at present to enter Iceland for touristic purposes for a stay of up to 90 days.

    Geography & environment

    Much of Iceland’s landscape could double for a Tolkien fantasy – the very earth is hot beneath your tread, spitting out hot liquids, lava, dark ash and otherworldly fumes. Craggy mountains brood around iceberg dotted fjords, while long winter darkness is lit by ethereal glowing aurora swirling above glaciers and ice plains in green and magenta shimmers. But there’s another side to this amazing island: soft hillocks roll down to brightly coloured traditional fishing villages; verdant meadows are carpeted with fantastic wildflowers and prowled by spritely Arctic fox; seacliffs and dark sand beaches raucous with birdlife and barking seals.

    Local culture

    The people are as distinctive, descended from Norse settlers driven from the mainland for being too toughly spirited even for the Vikings. Icelandic culture is fed by this unique geography and history, fomenting a nation with more writers per capita than any other.