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On board M/S Sarfaq Ittuk

Inspiration / Excursions / On board M/S Sarfaq Ittuk

When a trip is more of an experience

This guide is an introduction to a little Greenlandic gem, namely the coastal ferry Sarfaq Ittuk, which carries passengers back and forth along the west coast of Greenland. For many years, we have been organizing trips to Greenland, where part of the journey is made by coastal ferry.

This guide provides an insight into the experiences that await you on a trip – long or short – on board Sarfaq Ittuk.

Transport and experience in one – a unique opportunity for tourists

Sarfaq Ittuk, is going up and down the west coast of Greenland, providing three small settlements and most towns along the coast with a lifeline. When Greenland’s beloved coastal ferry calls into port at the settlements, they become a hive of activity and a stage for joyful reunions. Passengers on board are informed by the bridge on the sight of whales. The ferry ride is not merely a mode of transportation, but an experience – whatever the weather. The trip is also a great opportunity to get to know the locals.

The ferry goes from Qaqortoq in the south, right up to Ilulissat in Disco Bay. You can travel the entire distance or part of it.

Source: Arctic Umiaq Line

Experiences on board – Greenlands secret gem

As a tourist, it is an opportunity for you to experience the Northern Lights, whales, unspoiled nature and, not least, enjoy an unforgettable and moving encounter with the inhabitants of the small settlements. These experiences are part of the life on board for the ferry’s passengers. At some times of the year, travelers experience the Northern Lights, and at other times, they enjoy the midnight sun.

Sarfaq Ittuk has a lounge with panoramic windows at the rear of the ship, offering views of the stunning mountains, vast plains, massive icebergs and most likely whales. On board the ferry, you will here and there find photographs of polar explorer Knud Rasmussen, who had a huge impact on Greenland, and recalls a time when transport was not by ferry such as Sarfaq Ittuk, with all its modern amenities. Here, the sense of adventure lives on. There are also amazing experiences to be had outside, on the top deck, for example. The loungers are often pulled out on summer evenings, when the sun does not go down. Tourists call Sarfaq Ittuk Greenland’s secret gem, as it provides a great opportunity to experience Greenland from the sea and to really meet the locals. And that’s a very good description.


Life on board

One of the things we like best about sailing on the coastal ferry is that you forget you are a tourist. You feel like a part of life on board. The locals board and disembark the ferry, and their loved ones wave them goodbye or meet them on the quayside. On board the ferry, you are very likely to find yourself striking up a conversation with other passengers. Particularly in the warmer months, spring, summer and autumn, the decks buzz with life. When the sun shines, most passengers can be found on the decks, reclining in one of the loungers or standing on the lookout for whales and seals.

In the ferry’s cafeteria, you can buy good food and drinks, and enjoy the view. The ferry is narrow enough to allow light to stream in from both sides. Sailing on the coastal ferry is an informal and social experience, and if you feel the need, you can always retire to your cabin and enjoy the view from your window. All cabins are on the outside and are bright and spacious. You can also relax with a good book in the ferry’s aft end salon, where the other passengers, or perhaps the captain, will soon let you know, when whales are in sight

Sarfaq Ittuk

In recent years, Sarfaq Ittuk has undergone renovation in the areas used by passengers. The ferry has a café, an aft end salon with panoramic windows, a playroom and a hospital clinic for use in the event of injury or sudden illness on board.

You have the choice of a cabin or a couchette. Most of our passengers prefer a cabin as they are all located on the outside of the ferry. On some of our trips, couchettes are used.

MS Sarfaq Ittuk in numbers

  • Year of construction: 1992/2000
  • Length: 73 m
  • Width: 11m
  • Passengers: 270
  • Crew: 22
  • Motor: 2000 horse powers
  • Speed: 12 knots

All cabins have a sea view

The cabins, which are designed to sleep 1 to 4, are roughly 9.9 m2 in size and contain a table, a chair, a wardrobe and 220-volt power outlets. They have their own shower and toilet, and bed linen and towels are included. All cabins are outside cabins with a sea view.

Safety on board

At Arctic Umiaq Line, which is the operator of Sarfaq Ittuk, safety always comes first. The Arctic climate places great demands on the ferry and safety on board, and Sarfaq Ittuk has been designed to fully meet those demands. MS Sarfaq Ittuk has ice class rating 1A, which means that it is certified to operate in icy waters. The captain and the sailing crew all know the area well and are experts in sailing in Greenlandic waters.

Choice of season

The coastal ferry sails all year round, but for tourists, we recommend spring, summer and autumn. In some towns, you get a few hours to explore, and elsewhere the stop is so brief that we recommend you to remain on board. In spring and autumn, Greenland Travel offers its own special trips on the coastal ferry, accompanied by one of our own travel guides. These trips are a big hit as they provide passengers with a unique opportunity to experience popular places in Greenland like the capital Nuuk, Sisimiut and Ilulissat as well as a lot of the smaller settlements along the coast.