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Greenland & Canadian Arctic: The Baffin Sea

Greenland Canada Arctic Cruise

Summary : Embark on a 14-day luxury expedition through the Baffin Sea. Your first port of call will be Greenland's Northwest Coast, home to majestic icebergs and colorful villages encircled by mountains and basalt formations. Meet the community and learn about Greenland's Inuit culture. Marvel at the astounding glacier of Disko Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visit Paul Emile Victor Base which holds artifacts and relics of French polar expeditions. North Greenland reveals remote villages of the Arctic tundra where the people live by following their ancestral traditions handed down from generation to generation. Observe ruins of ancient Inuit civilizations and discover Savissivik, the largest “iceberg graveyard” in Greenland.

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

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Itinerary
Day 1
Paris, France / Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

Board your included 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.

Day 2 – 3
Ilulissat / Disko Bay

At the heart of Disko Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ilulissat Icefjord provides an extraordinary spectacle of surreal beauty. Sculptural icebergs continue on their timeless journey, shimmering with eternal light. Vast pieces of ice break off from the bergs rejoining 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 multicolored wooden houses, huskies and leather tanners who still use the ancient methods of their ancestors.

Day 4
Eqi Glacier / Paul Emile Victor Base

"The most beautiful place in the Arctic" is how Paul-Émile Victor described Greenland, a land of great table icebergs and of towering ice formations calved by the giant glaciers of the polar ice cap. The Eqi Glacier is one of the region’s most impressive sights. Here, the silence is broken only by the roaring and cracking of the ice. It is impossible to know if one is shivering from cold or from the sheer thrill of being here... Imagine the vast outline of a glacier, its translucent crystals glowing with an ice-blue fire in the sunlight. Paul-Émile Victor’s shelter cannot be overlooked; it was from here that the French Polar Expeditions’ anthropological and geographic explorations set off in the 1950s.

Day 5 – 6
Tugtutoq / 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 7 – 8
Savissivik / Thule

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 colours. 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.

Welcome to Greenland’s northernmost town. With some 600 inhabitants, Qaanaaq, which is also called “New Thule”, perfectly illustrates the quintessence of Inuit culture. Shrouded in darkness during the long winter months, this town, where most people get around by dog sled, was created in the 1950s. The Inuit, who at the time lived some one hundred kilometres further south, were forced to settle here after an American air base was created in their home village.

Day 9
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 10 – 12
Sam Ford Fjord / Isabella Bay / Kivitoo

All around you is a raw landscape of spectacular beauty. Nothing seems to want to disturb the silence. You are in the Sam Ford Fjord, on the east coast of Baffin Island. Located near the Inuit community of Clyde River, this fjord has the kind of world’s end appearance that only the Arctic lands can offer. From your ship, allow yourself to be dazzled by the series of vertiginous cliffs plunging into the waters of the fjord. These impressively high walls of rock, known worldwide to climbing enthusiasts, are reflected in the waters of the fjord, as though to completely shift perspectives and blur the lines between land and sea.

Welcome to the kingdom of the cetaceans! Here, those who love the giants of the Arctic won’t know where to look. Isabella Bay is in fact part of the Ninginganiq National Wildlife Area, one of the finest places to observe bowhead whales. From your ship, watch the sumptuous ballet performed by these impressive mammals. With deep undersea faults, Isabella Bay, located on the northeast coast of Baffin Island, attracts cetaceans which come here to feed. In addition to the bowhead whales, the uncontested stars of these parts, the Ninginganiq Wildlife Area is also home to ringed seals, narwhals, polar bears, king eiders, little auks and northern fulmars.

Located on the east coast of Baffin Island, in Nunavut, Kivitoo is a simultaneously calm and unsettling place that you will explore with your naturalist-guides. This former Inuit camp lying in the heart of a heathland landscape was abandoned in 1923. Here you will pass before a broken-down cabin surrounded by metal tanks that stored whale oil at the time when cetacean hunting was in full swing. You will see walrus skulls and the graves of Inuits, revealing their past presence. Kivitoo had its days of technological glory in the 1950s, with the installation of an American radar station on top of the mountain overlooking the area.

Day 13
Sisimiut, Greenland

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.

Day 14
Kangerlussuaq, Greenland / Paris, France

Disembark in Kangerlussuaq after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your charter flight to Paris.

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.

Bilingual Departures: All departures are French/English.

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:
round-trip flight between Paris and Kangerlussuaq as per itinerary in economy class; transfers between Kangerlussuaq airport and ship; meals and accommodation on board the ship; Captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner; coffee, juice, soft drinks and 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; 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, © Ponant

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