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I'm starting to plan for our Iceland/Ireland cruise in June 2022. I tend to do a lot of research early so I'm ready to lock in on tours when the timing is right. I'm struggling with what to do in port in Iceland. This will be our one and only time to visit this beautiful country so we want to make the most of it!!

 

We are scheduled to dock in Reykjavik at 10:00am with an overnight in port departing the next day at 1:00pm. From my reach it appears the 2 most popular tours are Golden Circle and South Coast. If you could only do one, which one would you do and why? I'm thinking the morning of our 2nd day we will do a walking tour of Reykjavik. Really not time to do much else.

 

We are scheduled to dock in Akureyri, at 10:00am with an overnight in port departing the next day at 2:00pm. I have found that the most popular tour here is the Lake Myvatn Tour. Thoughts or other suggestions?

 

Thank you in advance for sharing your insights and experiences!!

 

Cheryl

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Hi Cheryl, 

 

I'm a planner/researcher like you, so I appreciate what you are doing.  😊 

 

We visited Iceland on a HAL cruise in 2018, nearly circumnavigating the Island.  Among our port calls were overnights in Reykjavik and Akureyri.  You have correctly recognized that the Golden Circle and the South Coast are "the" day tours out of Reykjavik.  It would be virtually impossible with your schedule to do both, although perhaps some folks may have a suggestion for a shortened itinerary on your second day that encompasses part of the tour you did not do on the first day.   (It's really a shame about your 1pm departure on day 2.) 

 

If I could only do one,  hmm . . .  It’s a tough decision, as the tours are very different.  Fortunately, there is no wrong answer!  For me, I think it would be the South Coast, which I found to be spectacular from start to finish, with fabulous places to explore, including several magnificent waterfalls (one of which you can walk right up to and get soaked, and another that you can walk behind), a glacier (Sólheimajökull), and the extraordinary black sand beach and basalt columns of Reynisfjara.  It was a very long day, but fantastic and well worth it.  Although you don’t arrive in Reykjavik until mid-morning, I expect that long June day would enable you to do this tour, but you should confirm what you’d cover if you decide to do this.

 

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To be sure, the Golden Circle was quite interesting, and I don’t think you’d go wrong with it, especially if you have a particular interest in any of the three “main” sites:  Gulfoss (a spectacular waterfall, but keep in mind, there are waterfalls on the South Coast tour, as well as the Lake Myvatn tour out of Akureyri); the geothermal area in which you’ll find Geysir and Strokkur (but if you’ve even been to Yellowstone, this will pale in comparison); and Thingvellir National Park, of historical importance to Iceland as the location of its first parliament, and of great geologic significance as one of the only places on earth where you can see exposed tectonic plates (here, the North American and Eurasian plates).  For me, the high point of the Golden Circle tour was walking along the North American tectonic plate; that was awesome.  (For others, it might just be another cliff-face. 😄)

 

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As for Akureyri, the Lake Myvatn tour is popular for good reason – it’s another terrific day out of “town”  immersing yourself in the spectacular natural wonders that one visits Iceland to see.  Besides the usual highlights of this tour (e.g., Godafoss, Hverir, Dimmuborgir, etc.), ours also included a stop at the Myvatn Nature Baths (beautiful and reportedly less touristy than the Blue Lagoon).  It was incredibly relaxing; we could have spent the whole afternoon there!  

 

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I don’t know what things will be like by the time of your cruise, but pre-pandemic, the way to go as far as I was concerned was to do a small group tour (usually a 16-18 person mini-bus) with a highly rated private tour operator.   Other visitors rent cars, and I hope someone will advise you here about that in case that option is of interest to you.

 

I hope this was helpful.  If you have more questions, just ask.  Enjoy your planning, and your trip!

 

(photos by turtles06)

 

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If you want to "do it all", I'd suggest the South Coast tour for the full day, and try to find a GC tour for that second day that leaves early in the morning.  There are definitely 5 hour tour options, if you can find one that leaves at 7AM you can do both!

 

Or you might want to see if you can put together a custom overnight trip along the South Coast so you aren't rushing that beautiful area, and you can see the GC on the way back on the second morning.  If you can get 8-12 folks from your cruise together, a private tour might be quite reasonable

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22 hours ago, Turtles06 said:

Hi Cheryl, 

 

I'm a planner/researcher like you, so I appreciate what you are doing.  😊 

 

We visited Iceland on a HAL cruise in 2018, nearly circumnavigating the Island.  Among our port calls were overnights in Reykjavik and Akureyri.  You have correctly recognized that the Golden Circle and the South Coast are "the" day tours out of Reykjavik.  It would be virtually impossible with your schedule to do both, although perhaps some folks may have a suggestion for a shortened itinerary on your second day that encompasses part of the tour you did not do on the first day.   (It's really a shame about your 1pm departure on day 2.) 

 

If I could only do one,  hmm . . .  It’s a tough decision, as the tours are very different.  Fortunately, there is no wrong answer!  For me, I think it would be the South Coast, which I found to be spectacular from start to finish, with fabulous places to explore, including several magnificent waterfalls (one of which you can walk right up to and get soaked, and another that you can walk behind), a glacier (Sólheimajökull), and the extraordinary black sand beach and basalt columns of Reynisfjara.  It was a very long day, but fantastic and well worth it.  Although you don’t arrive in Reykjavik until mid-morning, I expect that long June day would enable you to do this tour, but you should confirm what you’d cover if you decide to do this.

 

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To be sure, the Golden Circle was quite interesting, and I don’t think you’d go wrong with it, especially if you have a particular interest in any of the three “main” sites:  Gulfoss (a spectacular waterfall, but keep in mind, there are waterfalls on the South Coast tour, as well as the Lake Myvatn tour out of Akureyri); the geothermal area in which you’ll find Geysir and Strokkur (but if you’ve even been to Yellowstone, this will pale in comparison); and Thingvellir National Park, of historical importance to Iceland as the location of its first parliament, and of great geologic significance as one of the only places on earth where you can see exposed tectonic plates (here, the North American and Eurasian plates).  For me, the high point of the Golden Circle tour was walking along the North American tectonic plate; that was awesome.  (For others, it might just be another cliff-face. 😄)

 

enhance

 

As for Akureyri, the Lake Myvatn tour is popular for good reason – it’s another terrific day out of “town”  immersing yourself in the spectacular natural wonders that one visits Iceland to see.  Besides the usual highlights of this tour (e.g., Godafoss, Hverir, Dimmuborgir, etc.), ours also included a stop at the Myvatn Nature Baths (beautiful and reportedly less touristy than the Blue Lagoon).  It was incredibly relaxing; we could have spent the whole afternoon there!  

 

enhance

 

enhance

 

I don’t know what things will be like by the time of your cruise, but pre-pandemic, the way to go as far as I was concerned was to do a small group tour (usually a 16-18 person mini-bus) with a highly rated private tour operator.   Other visitors rent cars, and I hope someone will advise you here about that in case that option is of interest to you.

 

I hope this was helpful.  If you have more questions, just ask.  Enjoy your planning, and your trip!

 

(photos by turtles06)

 

 

 

THANK YOU so much for the fabulous review of the tour options. This is very, very helpful (still not sure which to pick though...lol). Hubby and I will review the details and pictures you've provided. I guess the good news is we can't go wrong with whatever we pick!

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3 hours ago, Nitemare said:

If you want to "do it all", I'd suggest the South Coast tour for the full day, and try to find a GC tour for that second day that leaves early in the morning.  There are definitely 5 hour tour options, if you can find one that leaves at 7AM you can do both!

 

Or you might want to see if you can put together a custom overnight trip along the South Coast so you aren't rushing that beautiful area, and you can see the GC on the way back on the second morning.  If you can get 8-12 folks from your cruise together, a private tour might be quite reasonable

 

Thank you so much for your suggestions and options. I will definitely check in to the 5 hour tour option for the morning of the 2nd day. We can always catch up on sleep during a sea day!!

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 4/28/2021 at 12:41 PM, Turtles06 said:

Hi Cheryl, 

 

I'm a planner/researcher like you, so I appreciate what you are doing.  😊 

 

We visited Iceland on a HAL cruise in 2018, nearly circumnavigating the Island. 

 

You mentioned you circumnavigated - what other Iceland ports did you visit?  What would you recommend for touring in those locations?

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4 hours ago, Australia08 said:

You mentioned you circumnavigated - what other Iceland ports did you visit?  What would you recommend for touring in those locations?

 

I said "nearly circumnavigated." 😉   

 

We sailed counterclockwise, starting in Djúpivogur.  That port was added to our itinerary by Holland America at the very last minute, leaving no time to arrange anything but a ship-sponsored tour.  That wasn't a big problem, since the port is so tiny, with limited options, and the ship's tour was quite excellent.   It took us to Hoffellsjökull -- a beautiful (receding) glacier.  The drive to and from was beautiful (much of it was along the coast), and we also visited a small fishing village along the way.  The guide was terrific. 

 

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Our next port was to have been Seyðisfjörður, but we missed it because of weather.  That was a real disappointment, as we are fans of the Icelandic TV show "Trapped," which takes place there and is partially filmed there.   Having missed that port, we arrived in Akureyri a day early.  That gave us a good bit of time to walk around town on our own the day we arrived, since we had nothing scheduled until the next day (the originally scheduled arrival day).  We did not find Akureyri all that interesting, but we were glad to have had a chance to wander around.  The next day, we took the Lake Myvatn tour that I mentioned above; I highly recommend doing some version of that "classic" tour out of Akureyri. 

 

We were scheduled to leave Akureyri that evening, but a huge storm blowing across Iceland kept us in port, giving us what turned out to be a chunk of a third day in Akureyri, at least one day too many, since we had no advance notice of that extra day and no real way to plan anything out of town, especially since it was not clear when we'd be leaving.  But leave we finally did; the Captain announced that we'd spent longer in Akureyri than any other cruise ship, and had been made honorary citizens.  🤣

 

Our next port was Ísafjörður, where we took a private tour with others on our Roll Call to the Dynjandi Waterfall.  It's a pretty impressive, stepped waterfall, and you can walk along a trail toward the top. Unfortunately for us, it was not only pouring rain that day, but raining sideways, which made it pretty slick to do that hike (although we were dressed appropriately for the rain).  Going to and from Ísafjörður, we had to drive through a long two-way tunnel cut through the rock; there's only a single traffic lane, which made it quite exciting.  There's also an intersection in the tunnel, where traffic can go off in a different direction.  I thought the tunnel was fascinating.   And, of course, as elsewhere, the scenery along the route to the falls was spectacular.  I do wish we'd had some time to explore Ísafjörður itself.

 

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Our next port was Reykjavik, which I covered in my earlier comments. 

 

I hope this has been helpful.   Happy to answer any questions.  We had a great time, especially since Iceland was only part of a much longer cruise!

 

(photos by turtles06)

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6 hours ago, Turtles06 said:

 

I said "nearly circumnavigated." 😉   

 

We sailed counterclockwise, starting in Djúpivogur. 

 

I hope this has been helpful.   Happy to answer any questions.  We had a great time, especially since Iceland was only part of a much longer cruise!

 

(photos by turtles06)

Thanks. This has been extremely helpful!!

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On 4/27/2021 at 3:29 PM, MamasNomad said:

I'm starting to plan for our Iceland/Ireland cruise in June 2022. I tend to do a lot of research early so I'm ready to lock in on tours when the timing is right. I'm struggling with what to do in port in Iceland. This will be our one and only time to visit this beautiful country so we want to make the most of it!!

 

We are scheduled to dock in Reykjavik at 10:00am with an overnight in port departing the next day at 1:00pm. From my reach it appears the 2 most popular tours are Golden Circle and South Coast. If you could only do one, which one would you do and why? I'm thinking the morning of our 2nd day we will do a walking tour of Reykjavik. Really not time to do much else.

 

We are scheduled to dock in Akureyri, at 10:00am with an overnight in port departing the next day at 2:00pm. I have found that the most popular tour here is the Lake Myvatn Tour. Thoughts or other suggestions?

 

Thank you in advance for sharing your insights and experiences!!

 

Cheryl

Are you on the Jewel? We have a similar (maybe exact) itinerary on our Jewel cruise leaving Amsterdam on July 2, 2022. These replies will help me make our plans! 
 

Happy planning,

Dionne

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 5/22/2021 at 3:44 PM, Bama2georgia said:

Are you on the Jewel? We have a similar (maybe exact) itinerary on our Jewel cruise leaving Amsterdam on July 2, 2022. These replies will help me make our plans! 
 

Happy planning,

Dionne

Dionne,

 

My apologies for the delay in my response. I'm not receiving notifications when new comments are posted. We are on Celebrity Apex which leaves Amsterdam on June 26, 2022. 

 

I've taken a break from planning since so much is still up in the air even for 2022. 

 

Regards,

Cheryl

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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

There is a lot of info on Iceland in the Viking Ocean cruises section of the forums.  Viking is circumnavigating Iceland now, and there's a long thread that plenty of people are posting to.  Now that Viking, in response to Iceland's easing of Covid precautions, has eased up on their policy of no independent tours after boarding the ship for the summer months, people are starting to do more independent tours.  Ship goes to Reykjavik Isafjordur, Akureyri, Seydisfjordur, Djupivogur, Heimaey (Westman Islands) and back to Reykjavik.  I think the big thread is called "Iceland's Natural Beauty" or something like that. There is also a Facebook group for friends of Viking Cruises that is good to skim to see pictures people have taken, comments on Viking's excursions (which are often excursions you can find to do on your own), etc.  I love the Iceland webcams, too. 

 

When we were in Reykjavik in 2017 (before flying to London for a cruise) we did the Golden Circle tour by car and loved it.  But I've heard the south is great, too, so that's a hard choice you have. And when we cruise later this summer, I'm definitely taking the Myvatn excursion.  All reports are wonderful.  (There's another thread in Viking section which is "Live" on the Iceland cruise.  I think they go to Isafjorder tomorrow.)  If you haven't found these threads, you may want to check them out, at least to skim.  There's lots of good info there, although if you're not on Viking, you'll have to skim, skim, roll, skim through them!

Edited by IWantToLiveOverTheSea
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we are booked on the June 7, Celebrity ---- Ireland and Iceland leaving from Amsterdam.  If anyone is interested in sharing private tours let me know... thanks.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, CCJack said:

we are booked on the June 7, Celebrity ---- Ireland and Iceland leaving from Amsterdam.  If anyone is interested in sharing private tours let me know... thanks.

 

 


The place for seeking others to join private tours is on the Roll Call for your cruise. If none exists, you can start one. 
 

Assuming you are on the Apex June 7, 2022 sailing, your Roll Call is here:

 

 

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16 hours ago, Turtles06 said:


The place for seeking others to join private tours is on the Roll Call for your cruise. If none exists, you can start one. 
 

Assuming you are on the Apex June 7, 2022 sailing, your Roll Call is here:

 

 

thanks, will do.        Yes, now I recall roll calls.  I took a 1.5 year break from CC and just now remembering the set up !!

 

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 4/27/2021 at 3:29 PM, MamasNomad said:

I'm starting to plan for our Iceland/Ireland cruise in June 2022. I tend to do a lot of research early so I'm ready to lock in on tours when the timing is right. I'm struggling with what to do in port in Iceland. This will be our one and only time to visit this beautiful country so we want to make the most of it!!

 

We are scheduled to dock in Reykjavik at 10:00am with an overnight in port departing the next day at 1:00pm. From my reach it appears the 2 most popular tours are Golden Circle and South Coast. If you could only do one, which one would you do and why? I'm thinking the morning of our 2nd day we will do a walking tour of Reykjavik. Really not time to do much else.

 

We are scheduled to dock in Akureyri, at 10:00am with an overnight in port departing the next day at 2:00pm. I have found that the most popular tour here is the Lake Myvatn Tour. Thoughts or other suggestions?

 

Thank you in advance for sharing your insights and experiences!!

 

Cheryl

Our 2021 Celebrity cruises, b2b from East Coast to Southampton and back, (cancelled of course) included an overnight in Reykjavik with much the same schedule. I had a plan. I was booked with a guide through Tours by Locals (expensive but great quality!) and we would do South coast on Day 1, a quickie Golden Circle on Day 2. It could barely work…

 

One thing to remember is that sunset at that time of year isn’t until midnight or so. And dawn is just 2-3 hours later.

 

We will get there in 2022, this time with advance time before, and we will be doing a 7-8 day self drive tour, then a week on Windstar around the country, then a few days later onto Celebrity with a few more Iceland port stops on the way to Boston. All of that obviously gives me the luxury of a much more leisurely approach to our visits to the must-see spots.

 

Stan

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