Why you want to go: Polar bears in the summer, for starters, and the Northern Lights in fall. And the musk ox, and the ring seals, Arctic fox, Arctic hare, glaciers, fjords, utter lack of light pollution, the largest national park in the world. And narwhals, but don’t hang all your expectations on seeing those. You can hike in the footprints of the ancient Thule, kayak between icebergs (or, more accurately, “bergy bits” and “growlers” -- the larger and smaller chunks that have broken off, respectively) and, for those of bold spirit and steady cardiac rhythm, take a polar plunge.
Why you should go there on a cruise: Tourism in Greenland is decidedly on the up, but there’s not a lot of land-based infrastructure -- human activity is concentrated in a few spots on the coasts, and it’s infinitely easier to connect the dots by sea than by land. The eastern side is where you’ll find some of the world’s most stunning fjords, but it’s basically out of reach for non-cruisers unless you’ve your own boat and are remarkably adept at handling it. Quark Expeditions offers several Greenland cruises optimized for different experiences -- prioritizing the Northern Lights, for example, or bears (I saw both on mine). Yes, you will have the opportunity to take a polar plunge. And it will come with little warning, which is for the best.