What a coincidence… And a very pleasant one at that!
It seems that the first ship of the season to call in Akureyri, Iceland is none other than the beautiful Celebrity Eclipse. The cruise in question is also one of just two Celebrity President’s Cruises for the 2017 Europe season and promises to be quite something – with all sorts of special events and shore excursions planned for Celebrity Captain’s Club members.
This is the very same ship that my husband, Ægir and I are due to spend 14 nights on in the Caribbean this coming March and I have a very soft spot for her and her outstanding crew – and so with this in mind, and in celebration of the occasion, I have put together a list of my top five favourite Celebrity Cruises’ Akureyri shore excursions.
‘Jewels of the North’
Alternatively known as Lake Mývatn and surroundings. An extended half day (approximately 5,5 hrs) that showcases the area’s beautiful volcanic environs and includes some very photogenic stops. The history laden Goðafoss waterfall, the Dimmuborgir lava labyrinth and the bubbling mud pools at the Namaskarđ thermal field. You won’t regret this one, its the area’s best seller and its very easy to see why!
‘Mývatn Nature Baths’
If bathing in mineral laden, warm geothermal water is at the top of your Iceland bucket list – then you’ve hit the jackpot! This is the ultimate Icelandic wellness experience. Relaxing body and soul amongst clouds of steam that escape from the earth’s surface as you soak away your troubles. Bliss!
The baths are located close to the Mývatn lake and there is some lovely scenic driving to be enjoyed en-route. Plus as an added extra, there’s a (short!) photo stop at the Goðafoss waterfall.
‘Polar Flight to Grímsey’
A popular combination of flight seeing and a visit to Iceland’s most northern settlement on the Island of Grímsey. The island is located at the edge of the Arctic Circle – very remote, even by Icelandic standards and it’s not unusual for the community to be cut off from the ‘outside world’ for days in winter. Needless to say, there are some wonderful folk tales to be enjoyed.
You’ll need your walking shoes for this one.
‘Nature Folk and Flora‘
Step back in time and explore a little of Iceland’s traditional side. Along with a leisurely scenic drive along the Eyjarfjörður fjord, a visit to the picturesque turf farmhouse, Laufás, is also on the agenda. Beware of low ceilings and high thresholds as you explore this wonderfully preserved and atmospheric farmstead. Be sure to visit the church built in 1856 and please ‘say one for me’ while you are there..
‘Akureyri Walking Tour’
Personally, I love exploring towns and cities on foot. It’s a perfect way to soak up a little of the town’s atmosphere and get a glimpse into local life. Akureyri has livened up considerably in recent years and there is a lively artistic cultural vibe in the town that it quite tangible. A guided tour is always a good place to start and get your bearings and learn a little about the culture and history of the town. What’s great about Akureyri is that the ship is berthed close enough for you to wander and explore on your own too – just be sure to take in the Church and the Botanical Gardens, though be warned that there might not be too many flowers in bloom in early May. Not to worry as there are museums enough and some lovely cafés to enjoy whatever the weather. And did I mention the local geothermal pool?
All in all, there are shore excursion choices enough to take your pick from and I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time. Just please be sure to extend my very best regards to the crew of Celebrity Eclipse and I look forward to sharing my own Celebrity Cruises adventures with you soon.