1 877 412-8527

The Northwest Passage – Greenland to Alaska

Arctic Cruise

Summary : Set sail for the Far North, well beyond the Arctic Circle, to a legendary, highly coveted maritime route: the Northwest Passage, the only possible shipping route between the Atlantic and the Pacific. In winter, this “roof of the world” is transformed into a majestic white desert; while in summer, for a few short weeks, the temperature raises enough for the ice to melt. Life reappears, nature is reborn, the mythical route is finally free and you can breathe in the refreshing scent of adventure. Watch for amazing wildlife: foxes, seabird colonies, bowhead whales, orcas, walruses, and possibly polar bears.

Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins

PRICING

Prices from
$24,870 to $71,210

View All Rates

Itinerary
Day 1
Paris, France / Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

Board your flight in Paris taking you to Kangerlussuaq where the ship awaits your arrival. Embark your vessel for introductions to experienced crew and fellow travelers. Settle in to life on board as your cruise begins its voyage.

Day 2 – 3
Sisimiut / Ilulissat / Disko Bay

Discover Sisimiut, founded in 1756 and the second largest town in Greenland. This small town is typical of Greenland, boasting bewitching panoramas: here and there, colorful stilt houses dot the undulating landscape, and the small fishing port stands as the gateway to an icy realm. As for the town center, it is home to a number of historic buildings, a small church and a museum which retraces the history of the Inuit people, as well as many craft shops. When your ship drops anchor here, you will set out to meet the locals in a typically arctic atmosphere.

At the heart of Disko Bay—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—the Ilulissat Icefjord provides an extraordinary spectacle of almost surreal beauty, with the largest icebergs of the northern hemisphere. The sculptural icebergs continue their timeless journey, shimmering with their eternal light. Vast pieces of ice break off from the bergs and rejoin the inexorable movement of the sea. Close by lies the town of Ilulissat, the region’s principal destination. Encircled by icebergs, it has retained a unique mix of traditional Arctic life, with multicoloured wooden houses, huskies and the leather tanners who still work today using the ancient methods of their ancestors.

Day 4 – 5
Tugtutoq (Karrat) / Kullorsuaq

The small uninhabited island of Tugtutoq, a former Inuit encampment, is located in the Upernavik region. The power of this place lies in its soft landscapes, which conceal many archaeological treasures nestling in the wild tundra. After a stop on a beautiful beach, you will have the opportunity to walk around ancient peat houses from the Thule civilization, built according to a traditional method. The graves of a cemetery, dotted here and there between the rocks, seem to remind visitors of the presence of ancestors in these places marked by the Thulean culture.

Well beyond the Arctic Circle, in the majestic landscapes of Greenland’s Northwest, you will find the village of Kullorsuaq, the last bastion of Greenland’s traditional hunters. Here is where you will find Greenland’s true character… Vast mineral expanses, sumptuous mountains, impressive glaciers and, above all, the local population which still lives off fishing and seal or bear hunting. Hospitality and respect for nature are essential elements in the daily lives of these men, who live an austere life. When the ship drops anchor in this remote part of the world, set off to discover these friendly people who are also talented craftsmen, deftly sewing the furs and skins of marine mammals. This will be a unique and authentic experience.

Day 6
Savissivik, Greenland

Some places in this world are so magical that their beauty cannot be described in words… Savissivik, a small Inuit village with less than a hundred inhabitants, is one such place. Rightly considered to be the biggest iceberg graveyard in Greenland, it is a stunning sight to behold. During your Zodiac outing, you will sail between these icy giants that have become stranded in the shallows. Once on land, you can hike to a viewpoint from which to enjoy breathtaking views over these icebergs, which come in an incredibly diverse range of shapes and colors. Photographers will love it. Savissivik Bay attracts many bears and is also known for having been the home of one of the world’s biggest meteorites, but the latter has now been moved to a museum in New York.

Day 7
Pond Inlet, Canada

On Baffin Island, located in northern Canada at the mouth of the famous Northwest Passage, there is a small Inuit settlement at the very bounds of infinity. To get there, cross the Arctic Circle, the imaginary line that separates man from lands of mystery and wonder. It’s not so much the way of life that sets Pond Inlet’s inhabitants apart, so much as the setting. Snow-capped mountains, fjords and glaciers combine in a dazzling natural environment that fills space and expands time. Some discoveries change you forever: this is one of them.

Day 8 – 10
Beechy Island / Fury Beach / Qariaraqyuk / Bellot Strait

Beechey Island, at the eastern end of Resolute Bay, will call to mind some of the most important moments of Franklin’s expedition. Sir John set off in 1845 in search of the mythical Northwest Passage and was forced to take shelter in Erebus Harbour for two long years, while he waited for the ice floes to recede and allow him a way through. It is a spectacular location; seeing the three wooden grave markers, bleached by the sun (indicating the burial places of at least three of Captain Franklin’s men) and visiting the memorial that has been erected in memory of Franklin and his men can only reinforce the hushed sense of reverence. If the surrounding wilderness impresses us, the ochre and yellows of the rocky desert soften the landscape.

The ice floe gradually appears as you approach Somerset Island, in the heart of the Northwest Passage. In a Zodiac dinghy, you will land on Fury Beach, a place with a rich history where the English explorer William Edward Parry ran aground in 1825. He left materials and supplies here in order to help the next expeditions that would pass by this site. During your hike around the majestic canyon of Fury Beach, you’ll be dazzled by the surprising landscape: the turquoise green water and sheer cliffs are reminiscent of the Grand Canyon or the High Atlas in Morocco. If fortune smiles on you, you will perhaps come across a family of polar bears roaming the enormous ice floes. A sublime hike; a sense of wonder is guaranteed.

Located at Hazard Inlet (Somerset Island), the abandoned village of Qariaraqyuk is home to the ruins of one of the largest Thule archaeological sites in the High Arctic. The foundations of several constructions as well as many whale bones found on the site bear witness to the village’s past activity and its inhabitants’ incredible capacity to adapt to such isolated lands. Qariaraqyuk had a population of 300 people who subsequently left the village for reasons that remain unknown. The Thule civilization is the last Paleo-Eskimo civilization from which all the Inuits we know today are descended.

Discover Fort Ross, the last trading post established by the Hudson's Bay Company. Constructed in 1937, it was used as a fur and whaling trading post at the same time. Fort Ross, located on a small island at the entrance to the Bellot Strait, is still home to this former store as well as the house for the manager and staff. The interior of these two buildings has been damaged over time and by the presence of polar bears. After a short walk towards the summits of the island, you will be able to enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view over the Bellot Strait and surrounding area.

A key stage in the Northwest Passage, the Bellot Strait, crossed by strong currents, promises you an unforgettable sailing experience. The entrance to the strait is dominated by the Ross Cairn. The buildings of Fort Ross also stand not far from here. Separating Somerset Island from the Boothia Peninsula, the strait was discovered in 1852 by Captain William Kennedy of the Royal Navy, and the Frenchman Joseph-René Bellot, during an expedition in search of Sir John Franklin. Discover a magnificent décor covered in snow, fragmented by large ice floes. As you sail between them, your ship will perhaps be accompanied by an icebreaker… and a few polar bears.

Day 11
Gjoa Haven, King William Island

Discovered by the Scottish explorer John Ross in 1830, King William Island was named in honor of the reigning British King. In September 1903, Captain Roald Amundsen was the first to drop anchor at Gjoa Haven, the only inhabited part of the island, where a few Inuit were the only sign of human life. The Norwegian sailor decided to overwinter here for two years, to attempt to find the location of the mysterious Magnetic North Pole. Roald Amundsen interacted with the local Inuit to learn how to survive in these extreme conditions and freezing temperatures. Discover this small hamlet in the Nunavut region, located just above the Arctic Circle. Do not miss this unique opportunity to explore these forgotten lands.

Day 12
Day 13
Day 14 – 15
Ulukhaktok / Minto

Set off to meet the inhabitants of Ulukhaktok (Holman) for an unforgettable moment in the midst of a welcoming community. With some 500 inhabitants, this hamlet located on the west of Victoria Island has learned how best to adapt to an at-times harsh environment and a difficult climate. As you visit this village in the Canadian Far North, admire the prints and other objects created by the very rich local craftsmanship. Traditional singing and dancing are also part of the daily life of this commune, to the great delight of fans of Inuit culture. The village is one of those places in which you can share an authentic experience in a remote land.

Located to the east of the Amundsen Gulf, in the eastern part of Victoria Island, Minto Inlet is an integral part of the history of the Copper Inuits. The representatives of this people, also called the Kitlinermiut, are the descendants of the old Thule. Hunter-gatherer nomads during more than three millennia, they knew how to flawlessly exploit the copper deposits in the regions where they set up camp, which is what earned them their name. Arrows, knives, spears, ulus (blades) and harpoons: all these objects made with a deft hand and used day-to-day by this small community. During your visit, you will have the opportunity to visit their territory, in a landscape of tundra frequented by many caribou.

Day 16
Franklin Bay

This large bay is located in the Northwest Territories, in Canada. It was given its name in 1826 by the naturalist John Richardson, in honor of the British polar explorer Sir John Franklin. Franklin Bay always offers fine occasions to come across marine mammals. During your cruise here, you will also see the famous smoke column show at Smoking Hills, which are cliffs made of sulfur and lignite in beautiful yellow, ochre and brown colors.

Day 17
At Sea

Explore the ship and enjoy time to take advantage of onboard amenities. Relax in the spa, read in the library, workout in the fitness center, enjoy a delicious meal, or watch incredible views from the panoramic lounge.

Day 18 – 19
Herschel Island / Point Barrow

The Canadian Arctic Archipelago is composed of a myriad of islands and reveals landscapes you will only see at this far end of the world. Come and discover the small Canadian island of Herschel, a frozen paradise located in the Beaufort Sea, within the Ivvavik National Park. During an expedition in 1826, Sir John Franklin was the first European to lay eyes on these unique places and their inhabitants, the Inuvialuit, the Nordic cousins of the Inuit. It was during this trip that he named the island after one of his friends, John Herschel, a brilliant British astronomer and scientist. Herschel Island is a landmark in the West Arctic and has since served alternately as a whaling station, a relay station and a refuge for travelers.

Day 20
At Sea

Explore the ship and enjoy time to take advantage of onboard amenities. Relax in the spa, read in the library, workout in the fitness center, enjoy a delicious meal, or watch incredible views from the panoramic lounge.

Day 21
Inalik, Little Diomede, Alaska / Fairway Rock

Your ship moves slowly towards Fairway Rock, a small rocky island lost in the middle of the Bering Strait. This little piece of pebble, located off the Russian coastline and the Diomedes Islands, rises above the water. It is home to many species of marine birds that the naturalist guides will help you to identify many birds who have set up home on the cliffs such as Tridactyl gulls, thick-billed murres, Atlantic puffins and cormorants. Spotted seals and walruses have also found their place here and make a warm welcome committee. If you’re lucky, you will perhaps spot the blow of a humpback whale from the deck of your ship. A magical encounter with the local fauna.

Day 22
Day 23
Nome, Alaska / Seattle, Washington

Disembark the vessel and transfer to the airport for your flight to Seattle.

Notes

Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions - and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.

Travel Insurance:
ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.

Included:
Flights from Paris/Kangerlussuaq and Nome/Seattle in Economy-class as per itinerary; meet and greet by representatives at the destination airport, transfer from Kangerlussuaq airport to ship; transfer from ship to Nome airport; all meals on board the ship; Captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner; organized entertainment and events; mineral water, tea, filter coffee, a selection of white, red and rosé wines offered during meals; afternoon tea; open bar (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands); port and safety taxes; gratuities; luggage transfer from pier to the ship and vice versa; 24-hour room service (special selection); butler service is included for guests staying on Deck 6; parka; boot rental. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Airfare except flights mentioned as included; any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones included; visa and passport fees; travel insurance; personal expenses such as onboard medical consultations and drug prescriptions, spa, laundry and hair salon; other drinks not included in open bar; fuel surcharge may apply.

Photo Credit: © Servane Roy-Berton, © Nathalie Michel, © Lorraine Turci, © Ponant

Would you like to learn more about this trip or request availability?

YES!