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The Northwest Passage: Iceland & Greenland

Northwest Passage Cruise

Summary : Following in the footsteps of dauntless explorers who came before, accompanied by a veteran expedition team, and captained by Ice Master Leif Skog, National Geographic Explorer will—for the first time ever—set an east-west course through the Northwest Passage. A navigational highlight will be seeing the captain and his officers use the ‘mud maps’ made by Lars-Eric Lindblad’s team, as they navigate the James Ross Strait. But this is far more than a hydrographic survey: what makes this voyage extraordinary, as well as historic, is not only the route you take, but the content of your explorations. Spend time exploring the most exciting parts of Northwest Passage, discover the actual islands, protected waterways, ice-filled fjords, historic sites, and native communities. Marvel at the extraordinary Arctic wildlife and rugged landscapes you'll encounter on this monumental adventure.

Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography


Free Chronicle: Receive a free video chronicle of your trip, compliments of ExpeditionTrips!
Free Subscription: Complimentary 1-year subscription to National Geographic Magazine (one per booking).

Prices from
$999,999,999 to $0

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Day 1
U.S. / Fly Overnight To Reykjavik, Iceland

Depart on your overnight flight to the Land of Fire and Ice–Iceland.

Day 2
Reykjavik / Embark

Arrive in Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital, which lies only a fraction below the Arctic Circle and receives just four hours of sunlight in winter and 22 in summer. Have a guided overview of the Old Town, including Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral with its 210-foot tower, and shed some light on Nordic culture at the National Museum, with its Viking treasures and artifacts. Embark National Geographic Explorer.

Day 3
Explore The West Coast of Iceland

National Geographic Explorer navigates Iceland’s wild western frontier, sailing past the immense Latrabjarg cliffs, the westernmost point of Iceland and home to a huge population of razorbills. The cliffs are an area once famous for egg collecting; the men were tied to ropes and lowered like spiders down onto the ledges. Continue to Flatey Island, a trading post for many centuries, for walks around the charming little hamlet that grew here.

Day 4
Crossing The Denmark Strait

Follow the wake of Eric the Red and Brendan the Navigator as you cross to Greenland, watching for the magnificent blue whale.

Day 5
Prins Christian Sund & Nanortalik, Greenland

Prins Christian Sund is a major fjord on the southern coast of Greenland. Surrounded by mountain pinnacles and glaciers, the decks are perfect for viewing this landscape. Anchor off Nanortalik, Greenland’s most southerly town. Go ashore to the picturesque little town by the water’s edge.

Day 6

Inhabited since Norse times, the Scandinavian influence is still apparent in the colorful wooden buildings and town museum, displaying Greenlandic kayaks, hunting equipment, art and crafts.

Day 7

Tiny Ivittuut stands at the site of the original Norse Middle Settlement, which included about 20 Viking farms. An abandoned mining town, Ivittuut is the only town in Greenland to have a road leading to another town. The Ivittuut mining operations were a major factor in the American occupation of Greenland during World War II. The name means ‘grassy place’ in Greenlandic, and you'll encounter breathtaking vistas and hope to spot herds of muskoxen.

Day 8

Nuuk is the world’s smallest capital city with 15,000 inhabitants. Visit the National Museum with its famous 15th-century Qilakitsoq mummies, found near Uummannaq, and the subject of a National Geographic cover story.

Day 9 – 10
Greenland’s West Coast & Sisimiut

Dozens of deep fjords carve into Greenland’s west coast, many with glaciers fed by the ice cap that covers 80% of the country. Trace this ragged coastline, and search for humpback and minke whales. At Sisimiut, a former whaling port, visit the museum and wander amid a jumble of wooden 18th-century buildings.

Day 11
Disko Bay & Ilulissat

Sail into Disko Bay and set out to explore the Ilulissat Glacier, a tongue of the Greenland ice cap and a UNESCO site. Take an extraordinary cruise among towering icebergs. Explore the historic Inuit fishing village of Sermermiut, and view the Ilulissat Icefjord and its immense, calving glacier.

Day 12

In 1972, Uummannaq was the site of Greenland’s most remarkable archaeological find when an astounding collection of preserved mummies dating back to 1475 was discovered among the remains of an old Inuit settlement. The mummies were featured on the cover of the February 1985 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Day 13
At Sea in Baffin Bay

Head up to the Bridge to keep watch for marine life.

Day 14 – 23
Exploring the Northwest Passage

The ice ship National Geographic Explorer navigates through the quintessential Northwest Passage—following nature’s path, dependent on ice and weather conditions. Explore the ice-choked channels and glacier-carved islands that stretch for hundreds of miles—a stunning display of raw geology. Take cues from nature: following wildlife, stopping for hikes on the tundra, and dropping anchor in a beautiful fjord or an iceberg-strewn bay to kayak or explore by Zodiac. Encounter ringed seals, arctic foxes, musk oxen, walruses and polar bears, as well as beluga and bowhead whales, and perhaps even the rare narwhal. Learn about the Inuit peoples who have hunted and fished here for thousands of years. And hear heroic stories of the early explorers: Roald Amundsen, John Ross, William Edward Parry, and James Clark Ross among others.

Day 24 – 25
Kugluktuk / Disembark / Edmonton / Home

After breakfast, disembark in Kugluktuk and fly to Edmonton where you overnight at your hotel. The next morning, transfer to the airport for flights home.


Photo Expeditions:
The photo team, a National Geographic Photographer and a Lindblad Photo Specialist, will enhance your voyage by working with you on photo composition and exposure; helping you develop your own unique vision; showing you how professionals edit and store images while on the go; and sharing the stories behind some of their greatest images. Whether expert or interested beginner, you'll find added benefits such as walks ashore and Zodiac cruises dedicated to photography, presentations on the creative and technical aspects of photography, and one-on-one mentoring and coaching in the field.

Accommodations aboard ship; one hotel night in Edmonton; all meals and non-alcoholic beverages aboard the ship; some meals ashore; all shore excursions and sightseeing; transfers to and from group flights; tips (except to ship's crew), taxes and service charges; services of a ship physician and expedition staff; use of kayaks; expedition parkas.

Not Included:
Air transportation; passport and visa expenses; baggage/accident/cancellation insurance; immigration fees; items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, email and laundry; gratuities to ship's crew at your discretion; fuel surcharge may apply.

© Michael S Nolan - Walrus
© Stewart Cohen - Zodiac

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