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Northwest Passage: In the Footsteps of Franklin

Canadian Arctic Cruise Information

Summary : Winding your way through the icy channels of the legendary Northwest Passage is history brought to life. On this compelling 17-day journey, retrace the steps of the intrepid Franklin Expedition, which left the shores of England in 1845 in search of the last unexplored section of the Northwest Passage—only to become permanently icebound. Its discovery more than a century and a half later was a much-celebrated moment in polar history. Explore the same landscapes and waters that have enchanted adventurers for hundreds of years. Witness ancient glaciers, dramatic, fjords, and towering icebergs. Visit colorful Greenlandic villages and shop for traditional Inuit handicrafts. Marvel at the endless Arctic backdrop and vast, colorful tundra. Keep your eyes peeled for the elusive and majestic creatures that make their home in this wilderness, such as whales, walrus, muskoxen and polar bears. This active adventure features included flightseeing, heli-landings, hiking, Zodiac cruising, and optional kayaking and paddling.

NOTE: This ship is NEW for the 2021 season! As with any new vessel, we strongly suggest selecting a departure date at least six weeks after launch. Please ask for details.

Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins

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Itinerary
Day 1
Toronto, Canada

Your arctic expedition begins in Toronto. Explore this vibrant city on your own before spending the night at your hotel.

(Please see Rate Notes for mandatory transfer package details.)

Day 2
Toronto, Canada / Kangerlussuaq, Greenland / Embarkation

After breakfast, board your charter flight to Kangerlussuaq, a small seaside community that’s your gateway to Greenland. Enjoy your first Zodiac ride as you’re transferred from shore to ship. Out on deck, take in your new surroundings before you set sail on your Arctic adventure.

Day 3 – 4
West Greenland

Cruising around the remote regions of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic, navigate the same icy inlets, channels and bays that fascinated legendary explorers of long ago. Throughout your journey, your Expedition Team will work to immerse you in the best the Arctic has to offer. Locals call Maniitsoq the Venice of Greenland, as it’s situated in an archipelago intersected by natural canals. Soaring, snow-capped mountains surround the small, rocky town, whose name means “the uneven place.” Playful humpback whales spend summer in the waters around here. The Greenlandic capital of Nuuk is a haven for history and culture lovers. Stroll down to the waterfront to see the Hans Egede Church and Hans Egede statue, named for the missionary who established the settlement in 1728. Marvel at the famous remains of 500-year-old fully dressed mummies, discovered under a rock outcrop in 1972 by two brothers out hunting, at the Greenland National Museum. The Nuuk Art Museum and Katuaq Culture Centre are also worth visiting.

Day 5
At Sea

Say goodbye to Greenland’s shores as you traverse the Davis Strait in pursuit of the Canadian Arctic. Presentations by onboard experts will prepare you for the adventures that lie ahead.

Day 6 – 15
Canada's High Arctic

Visit the towering fjords, historical sites and traditional Inuit communities of the Canadian High Arctic as you follow the footsteps of famous explorers from long ago. The picturesque Inuit hamlet of Pangnirtung, nicknamed the Switzerland of the Arctic, is nestled beneath the jagged peaks of Mount Duval. An artist’s hub, Pang is renowned for its traditional Inuit arts and crafts, especially lithographs and intricate tapestries. At the Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts, watch craftspeople in the tapestry studio and pick up a limited-edition print. A must for visitors, a colorful Pang hat will keep you warm during the remainder of your arctic voyage. You’ll also visit nearby Kekerten, an uninhabited island that was a major whaling destination in the 1800s.

At the southern tip of the Cumberland Sound, Cape Mercy was named by British explorer John Davis (of the Davis Strait), who sailed through it in 1585. The site of an old Distant Early Warning Line installation, it’s an ideal spot to go ashore for a hike.

As icebergs travel down the Davis Strait, they’re naturally trapped at Qikiqtarjuak (formerly known as Broughton Island), the iceberg capital of the world. The icy waters here are sometimes also home to narwhals, belugas, right whales, and ring and harp seals. A hike up to the hilltop inukshuk (a stone figure made by the Inuit) rewards with spectacular views of the community.

Cruising farther north along the east coast of Baffin Island, approach Isabella Bay, an important summer and fall feeding area for a large population of bowhead whales. Stacked side by side, the dozens of soaring cliffs of Sam Ford Fjord make for a majestic site as you sail by. One of the most isolated places on the planet, the big-wall playground attracts climbers eager to scale the sheer rock faces that shoot straight out of the sea.

At the northern tip of Baffin Island, near the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage, is the picturesque hamlet of Pond Inlet. Spend some time exploring this traditional Inuit community that’s surrounded by scenic mountains, fjords, glaciers and icebergs. The area around Lancaster Sound affords several hiking opportunities.

At Dundas Harbour, on Devon Island, you’ll visit an abandoned beach-side outpost of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. At nearby Croker Bay, cruise in a Zodiac (at a safe distance) along the face of an actively calving glacier. Your expedition team will also keep its eyes peeled for the muskoxen and walrus that are known to visit the bay. A hike to a nearby archaeological site is another possible excursion.

Farther west, some of the best ancient Thule remains in the Arctic are at Radstock Bay, beside the soaring Caswell Towers, a polar bear observation site. Exploring the area, you’ll gain insight into how these pre-Inuit people lived.

At the western end of Devon Island, the windswept Beechey Island might be small, but it’s steeped in history. Named after famed British explorer Frederick William Beechey, it’s a Canadian National Historic Site. You’ll visit the small marked graves of three crew members who died during Sir John Franklin’s tragic 1845–46 expedition. Roald Amundsen landed here in 1903, during the first successful voyage by ship through the Northwest Passage.

Sailing down the east coast of Somerset Island, you may be fortunate to spot beluga whales and narwhals, as they feed on the large numbers of arctic char that enter Creswell Bay in late summer. An Important Bird Area, the bay also attracts such species as black-bellied plovers, king eiders and white-rumped sandpipers. You’ll also have time to explore Fort Ross, where the Hudson’s Bay Company established a now-abandoned trading post in 1937. At the midpoint of the Bellot Strait, a narrow channel that separates Somerset Island from mainland North America, you’ll reach the northernmost area of the continental landmass, Zenith Point.

Day 16
Resolute, Canada / Disembarkation / Toronto

After disembarking in Resolute, you’ll be transferred to your charter flight to Toronto, where you’ll spend the night at your hotel.

(Please see Rate Notes for mandatory transfer package details.)

Day 17
Toronto, Canada

Today, make your way to the airport to catch your homeward flight or spend the day exploring the city.

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 is not responsible for itinerary changes.

NOTE: This ship is NEW for the 2021 season! As with any new vessel, we strongly suggest selecting a departure date at least six weeks after launch. Please ask for details.

Mandatory Travel Insurance:
Due to the remoteness of the areas in this itinerary, travelers must carry a minimum $50,000 of emergency medical coverage. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. The travel insurance policy should also cover trip cancellation insurance, trip delay, interruption or after departure coverage, baggage and repatriation. The shipping company will not be held responsible for delays due to force majeure. Any additional costs accrued will be the responsibility of the traveler. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends that you select a travel protection plan that includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage and at least $200,000 in medical evacuation coverage. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.

Kayaking:
Pre-booking required. A small group of sea kayakers will plan to go out multiple times per voyage instead of shore landings. The number of opportunities to kayak is weather dependent and will only be conducted during calm conditions. Prior kayaking experience is required and you must have the capability to do a wet exit to participate. Must be 16 years of age or older to participate. Beginners interested in kayaking should consider participating in the paddling excursions described below. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.

Paddling:
Pre-booking required. If you’re interested in kayaking but would like to try something less in-depth than the full kayaking program, you can still enjoy an on-water experience with a paddling excursion. Sign up for a one-time, one-hour paddle on a sit-on-top kayak, which is stable and unencumbered: perfect for anyone with little to no experience with kayaking. No experience necessary. Space is limited. Must be 16 years of age or older to participate. All sit-on-top kayaks are doubles. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.

Included:
Shipboard accommodations; all shore landings per the daily program; all Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program; flightseeing; heli-landing; experienced Expedition Leader; formal and informal presentations by Expedition Team and special guests as scheduled; photographic journal; gear to keep (expedition parka and reusable water bottle); gear on loan (waterproof expedition boots for shore landings, walking poles); all meals on board ship; snacks, soft drinks, and juices on board; beer and house wine during dinner; coffee, tea, cocoa available around the clock; hair dryer and bathrobe in every cabin; daily housekeeping; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program; luggage handling aboard ship; Greenland voyages cruise passenger tax; emergency evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of $500,000 per person*. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Mandatory Transfer Package (see Additional Costs); international airfare; arrival and departure transfers, except where listed in the Mandatory Transfer Package; passport and visa expenses; Canadian eTA required for non-Canadian or U.S. visa-exempt passengers; government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above; any beverages not mentioned in inclusions; meals ashore unless otherwise specified; emergency medical coverage (required); baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance (strongly recommended); excess baggage charges; mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising or any other gear not mentioned; laundry, bar, beverage, and other personal charges unless specified; phone and internet charges; voluntary gratuity at end of voyage for shipboard staff and crew; Adventure Options not listed as included, such as optional kayaking and optional paddling; additional overnight accommodation; fuel surcharge may apply.

*Emergency Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $500,000 is included in the cost of this expedition. Included coverage is applicable only while traveling with the shipping company between the first and last day of the expedition. Additional days of travel prior to the expedition and/or after the expedition, including pre- and post-packages/hotels/flights, purchased from the shipping company or from suppliers other than the shipping company, are not covered by the included emergency evacuation insurance. We strongly advise all passengers to purchase medical, cancellation and baggage insurance, and additional emergency evacuation coverage.


PHOTOS: © Acacia Johnson, © Michelle Sole, © Quark Expeditions

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