Northwest Passage

from £7608
excluding flights *
9–16 nights Sep, Aug

Overview

Join an adventurous cruise following one of the Arctic's most iconic routes - the epic quest to find the Northwest Passage occupied some of the best minds of European civilization for half a millennium. Today this elusive route offers a fascinating history, spectacular icebergs and the chance to see wildlife including polar bears and narwhals.

Highlights

  • Stop at Beechey Island to see the graves from the lost Franklin Expedition
  • Enjoy cultural presentations including traditional throat-singing and Inuit games
  • Deep fjords, ancient glaciers and countless icebergs provide a spectacular backdrop
  • Wildlife in abundance including polar bears, narwhals, seals, muskox and caribou

What's Included

  • Shipboard accommodation
  • All breakfasts, lunches & dinners on board
  • Shore landings & Zodiac cruises
  • Experienced Expedition Team
  • Presentations on board

Full description

The legendary Northwest Passage boasts a fascinating polar history, and this voyage from Greenland to Canada includes some interesting historical visits.

In addition to its long history of exploration, this region also offers a chance to visit local communities and to experience the isolated way of life faced by the Inuits of the Canadian Arctic. The Northwest Passage may now be an established sailing route but it remains a legendary voyage of discovery to this day!

Contact our Arctic specialists now
worldwide team erin glennie bw
Authentic holidays for passionate travellers

Prices & Dates *

Offers

Airfares are quoted separately to the holiday price. When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.

2018 Departures - prices are per person, based on a twin cabin

Departure Duration Vessel Activities Prices from (pp) Availability
12 Aug 2018 13 days Akademik Vavilov £9,862
17 Aug 2018 17 days Ocean Endeavour £11,316 Waitlist only!
23 Aug 2018 10 days Akademik Ioffe £7,608
24 Aug 2018 13 days Akademik Vavilov £9,862
26 Aug 2018 17 days Ocean Adventurer £11,123
01 Sep 2018 13 days Akademik Ioffe £10,377
02 Sep 2018 17 days Ocean Endeavour £11,316 Limited availability!
09 Sep 2018 17 days Ocean Adventurer £11,123

2019 Departures - prices are per person, based on a twin cabin

Departure Duration Vessel Activities Prices from (pp)
17 Aug 2019 17 days Ocean Endeavour £12,454
20 Aug 2019 13 days Akademik Ioffe £11,138
31 Aug 2019 13 days RCGS Resolute £14,288
02 Sep 2019 17 days Ocean Endeavour £12,454
10 Sep 2019 17 days Ocean Adventurer £11,600

Please contact our team of travel specialists for alternative occupancy and cabin upgrades.

Activity Key:

Kayaking

Kayaking taster session

What's Included

  • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
  • All breakfasts, lunches & dinners on board
  • Tea & coffee available around the clock
  • All Zodiac transfers, cruising & shore landings as per the daily programme
  • Presentations by the Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled
  • Loan of rubber boots during voyage
  • Comprehensive pre-departure materials
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee

NOTES

  • A pre- and post-voyage night in a hotel in Ottawa, with flights between Ottawa and Resolute, and between Kangerlussuaq and Ottawa, are included with the Ocean Adventurer.
  • Flights between Edmonton and Resolute and between Cambridge Bay and Edmonton are included with the Ocean Endeavour
  • Flights between Edmonton and Cambridge Bay and between Kangerlussuaq and Edmonton are included with the RCGS Resolute and Akademik Ioffe
  • Expedition jackets are provided on loan for the duration of the voyage on the Akademik Ioffe and RCGS Resolute. On all other ships you will be provided with an expedition jacket to keep.
  • Rubber boots are NOT provided on the Ocean Endeavour. On all other ships you will be provided with a pair of boots for the duration of the voyage.

Please contact us for full details and to discuss the options best for you.

Itinerary & Accommodation

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: Fly to Kangerlussuaq and embark ship

Begin your adventure by flying from Toronto to Kangerlussuaq and embarking the ship. Set sail in Sondre Stromfjord, one of the longest fjords in the world - boasting 168 kilometres of superb scenery.

Day 2: Sisimiut

People have lived in the Sisimiut area for 4,500 years. For the first 2,000 years, the people of the Saqqaq culture made it their home before the Dorset culture took over around 2,500 years ago. They lasted for 1,500 years and were followed by the people of the Thule culture - the ancestors of the current population. All these cultures came from Canada and primarily lived on fish, birds, and mammals such as whales and seals. You will explore this historic region and learn more about the society’s evolution through time.

Days 3-4: Ilulissat

Ilulissat translates literally into “iceberg”, and there couldn’t be a more fitting name for this pretty town on Greenland’s west coast. Your visit will include a chance to hike out along a boardwalk to an elevated viewpoint where you can observe great fields of ice crackling ice. You will also take a Zodiac cruise to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ilulissat Icefjord.

The icefjord is where you will find the Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier, one of the most active and fastest moving in the world, which calves more than thirty-five square kilometres of ice annually. The glacier has been the object of scientific attention for 250 years.

Days 5-6: Western Greenland

Today cruise Karrat Fjord, one of Greenland’s most spectacular fjords, known for plentiful marine life and inspiring landscapes. Seals use the long leads created by high winds in this region to hunt in the nutrient rich waters. The cliffs and talus slopes within the fjord should also allow good opportunities to see colonies of dovekies.

Day 7: Qikiqtarjuaq

Qikiqtarjuaq, a community located on Broughton Island, is known for its wildlife, whale watching, and as an access point for Auyuittuq National Park. Qikiqtarjuaq (fondly called “Qik”, for short) is known as the iceberg capital of Nunavut and was home to a NORAD military station that formed part of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line in the 1950s.

Qikiqtarjuaq also boasts a burgeoning traditional Inuit craft industry, and local craftspeople are eager to share their wares. Talented local artists produce Inuit carvings, with a particular focus on intricate jewelry. The community is famously warm and welcoming of visitors.

Day 8: East Baffin Island

Today explore the eastern coast of Baffin Island or Qikiqtaaluk in the region of Auyuittuq National Park. Named after English explorer William Baffin, Baffin Island is the largest island in Canada, and home to 11,000 people. Likely known to Pre-Columbian Norse of Greenland and Iceland during the eleventh century, the island is presumed to be the Helluland of the Viking sagas. The Penny Ice Cap and the Barnes Ice Cap are the largest ice caps on the island, both remnants of the Laurentide ice sheet that once covered much of the North American continent. Both are currently in a state of retreat.

Day 9: Northeast Baffin Island

Today will be an expedition day in the truest sense as you navigate the fjords of northeast Baffin Island. Moving through waters known to harbour belugas, narwhals, and other marine mammals, the crew will be watching at all times from the deck and bridge to maximize your wildlife opportunities.

Day 10: Devon Island

Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island on earth and comprises over fifty thousand square kilometres. It was first sighted by Europeans in 1616, though it was not inhabited for another three hundred years with the arrival of the Hudson’s Bay Company. The island’s geology consists of reddish Precambrian gneiss and Paeleozoic siltstones and shales; these, combined with its harsh climate, have drawn comparisons with the conditions on the planet Mars.

Day 11: Beechey Island

In 1845 Sir John Franklin took his expedition of 129 men and two ships into the Wellington Channel in search of a safe passage through the icy waters to help establish a potentially lucrative new trade route. Not a soul returned alive. It was two years before search parties were launched and aside from three bodies buried on Beechey Island, until recently, only relics were found as clues to the mysterious disappearance.

Days 12-13: Peel Sound & Parry Channel

Sailing Peel Sound, you are entering into serious polar bear country. Parry Channel is named after Arctic explorer William Edward Parry who got as far as Melville Island in 1819 before being blocked by ice at McClure Strait. Depending on ice conditions, you may make expedition stops among the spectacular landscapes, a perfect setting for hiking and exploring the geological diversity of the area.

Day 14: Usqsuqtuuq (Gjøa Haven)

In 1903, explorer Roald Amundsen attempted the Northwest Passage, sailing through the James Ross Strait. Unable to proceed due to sea ice, he spent the winters of 1903–04 and 1904–05 in the beautiful harbour he found - Usqsuqtuuq. While there, he learned Arctic living skills from the local Netsilik Inuit, skills that would later prove invaluable in his Antarctic explorations. He used his ship, Gjøa, as a base for explorations in the summer of 1904, sledding the Boothia Peninsula and travelling to the magnetic North Pole. Usqsuqtuuq offers a lot to its visitors, including he Northwest Passage Territorial Historic Park, and Canada’s most northerly golf course. Although Usqsuqtuuq is becoming more modern, many traditional Inuit activities are still being enjoyed, including throat singing, drum dancing, and hunting.

Day 15: Queen Maud Gulf

Sir John Franklin’s flagship, the HMS Erebus, was a Hecla-class bomb vessel, built in Wales in 1826. She was named after the dark region in Hades of Greek mythology and weighed 372 tons. The ship took part in the Ross Expedition from 1839 to 1843, and was abandoned during the legendary Franklin Expedition after becoming icebound during an attempt to locate the fabled Northwest Passage. Her sunken wreck had actually been designated a National Historic Site prior to even being located in September of 2014 by a Parks Canada underwater archaeology team in the eastern waters of Queen Maud Gulf. Two years later, Franklin’s other ship, HMS Terror, was also located, spurring further interest in one of the great mysteries of polar exploration.

Day 16: Coronation Gulf

Located between Victoria Island and the Arctic coast of mainland Canada, the Coronation Gulf is an extensive body of water that is linked to the Arctic Ocean via the Dolphin and Union Strait on the west and by the Dease Strait and Queen Maud Gulf on the east.

The gulf was named in 1821 by John Franklin in honour of the coronation of King George IV. The environment and Inuit cultural history of the region was studied by Rudolph Anderson and Diamond Jenness in 1916 as part of the Canadian Arctic Expedition. You will be exploring the area scouting for an opportunistic expedition stop.

Day 17: Kugluktuk (Coppermine)

Located at the mouth of the Coppermine River, southwest of Victoria Island on the Coronation Gulf, Kugluktuk is the western most community in Nunavut. Coppermine reverted to its original Inuinnaqtun name - Kugluktuk, meaning “place of moving waters”- on January 1st, 1996. The Coppermine River itself is designated a Canadian Heritage River for the important role it played as an exploration and fur trade route. Copper deposits along the river attracted the first explorers to the area.

Today disembark the ship and fly to Edmonton before continuing your journey home from here.

Notes

Important Reminder: All voyage itineraries are intended as a guideline only - embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy of expedition travel. Actual routes and landings will be dependent on weather, sea and ice conditions. A degree of flexibility is essential in the polar regions!

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