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Northwest Passage: Epic High Arctic

Northwest Passage Cruise Information

Summary : The Northwest Passage, the fabled sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, continues to grip the imagination of explorers worldwide. Passing through the Canadian Arctic archipelago, journey back in time to the height of Arctic exploration, navigating the waters explored by sailors from different lands and visiting the sites that helped unlock the eventual discovery of this long-coveted route. Marvel at highlights of the Canadian Arctic and Greenland’s stunning west coast, stopping at traditional Inuit and Greenlandic communities. Participate in included helicopter activities and take in the vast, pristine Arctic wilderness from the air. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site Ilulissat Icefjord, whose Jakobshavn glacier calves off icebergs over 1/2-mile high. Scout for the elusive and majestic creatures who make their home in this harsh, remote landscape, such as whales, walrus, muskoxen and polar bears.

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, Triple/Quad Cabins

PRICING

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$14,495

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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 / Resolute / Embarkation

This morning, board your charter flight to Resolute, Canada. Upon arrival, you’ll have a chance to walk around this small Arctic town before enjoying your first of many Zodiac cruises as you’re transferred to your ship.

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

Day 3 – 6
Exploring Canada's High Arctic

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. Designed to give polar adventurers unprecedented access to the hardest-to-reach places on the planet—and equipped with two onboard twin-engine helicopters for unparalleled access to areas only Quark Expeditions can bring you—this one-of-a-kind ship, in its inaugural year, will take you beyond the familiar in polar exploration. Throughout your journey, your Expedition Team will keep an eye toward immersing you in the best the Arctic has to offer at the top of the world.

Named after explorer Frederick William Beechey, of the Royal Navy, Beechey Island is a Canadian National Historic Site. It’s an important stop on your voyage, as this is the final resting place of three members of Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated 1845–46 expedition to find the Northwest Passage. The graves, on a remote windswept beach, were discovered in 1851 by the crew of British and American vessels searching for signs of Franklin’s lost expedition. Radstock Bay is a popular research location for observing polar bears, which are often seen here in summer. An impressive Thule archaeological site provides insight into how these pre-Inuit people lived in the Far North.

For almost 5,000 years, the hamlet of Arctic Bay and its surrounding area has been occupied by Inuit nomads migrating from the west. Surrounded by soaring cliffs teeming with seabirds, this is a great spot to go ashore and learn about the Inuit community’s traditional way of life. The eastern end of Lancaster Sound affords numerous hiking opportunities on Devon Island. Anchor at Croker Bay, and Zodiac cruise along the face of an active glacier. From a safe distance, get close enough to appreciate the splendor of calving ice. Walrus frequent the waters here, so be sure to have your camera handy. A hike to a nearby archaeological site is another possible excursion. At Dundas Harbour, trek along a beach to a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police outpost. Encounters with muskoxen are possible here.

Canada’s most northern settlement, Grise Fjord, will be your final shore visit in the Canadian High Arctic. Now home to about 150 residents, the traditional, mostly Inuit community was created in 1953, when the federal government resettled eight Inuit families from northern Quebec. Hunting and fishing are a significant part of their way of life. Visit the monument to the first Inuit settlers, as well as the remnants of the “old camp” where they lived.

Day 7 – 8
Smith Sound

Before saying goodbye to Canada, you'll cruise as far north as possible, exploring both sides of Smith Sound, the uninhabited passage between Ellesmere Island and Greenland.

Day 9
Qaanaaq, Greenland

Your first stop in Greenland is Qaanaaq, formerly known as Thule, one of the northernmost towns in the world (there’s a reason ancient philosophers called it Ultima Thule, or “edge of known territory”). Here, local Inuit share their culture and traditions, and the museum sheds more light on what it’s like living near the top of the world.

Day 10
At Sea

As you sail south along the west coast of Greenland, presentations by your onboard experts will prepare you for the adventures that lie ahead.

Day 11 – 15
West Greenland

With spectacular glaciers, soaring fjords and vibrant communities, the west coast of Greenland will leave you breathless. Nuussuaq (formerly known as Kraulshavn) is the only mainland community in the Upernavik Archipelago. Founded in 1923 as a trading station, it’s one of the most traditional hunting and fishing villages in Greenland .

It’s not surprising that the red-hued, heart-shaped mountain that rises up behind Uummannaq gave the traditional community its name (Uummannaq means “heart-like” in Greenlandic). As your ship approaches the shore, you’ll want to be on deck to take in the incredible view of the twin peaks towering over the vibrantly painted wooden houses dotting the rocky terrain below. The settlement was established as a Danish colony in 1758 on the mainland, but it relocated five years later because seal hunting was more plentiful here.

In the nearby archaeological site of Qilaqitsoq (also known as Qilakitsoq), visit the ruins of an ancient settlement, where the remains of eight fully dressed mummies were discovered under a rock outcrop in 1972 by a pair of hunters. The famous Greenlandic mummies, which date back to 1475 AD, are on view at the Greenland National Museum in Nuuk.

Cruising farther south rewards with spectacular views of Eqip Sermia. The jagged, blue-tinged glacier soaring out of the crystal-clear water is one of the most beautiful sights in Greenland. Zodiac cruise along its massive front from a safe distance. You may also go ashore to explore nearby.

Just south of Ilulissat, which means “iceberg” in Greenlandic, is the impressive Ilulissat Icefjord. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to Sermeq Kujalleq, the most productive glacier in the northern hemisphere. As you Zodiac cruise at the mouth of the fjord, you may be lucky to witness the wonders of calving ice (listen to the loud roars as the ice breaks off ).

Founded in 1741, the traditional town, which boasts more sled dogs than people, is famous in its own right: it was the birthplace of explorer Knud Rasmussen, the first to traverse the Northwest Passage by dogsled, in the early 1920s . Hikes here lead out to stunning views of the young icebergs as float out the fjord to Disko Bay . In Sisimiut, you’ll be treated to a traditional kayaking demonstration. The kayak (an Inuit word that the English borrowed) is Greenland’s national symbol and can be traced back to the country’s first immigrants, who used vessels that resemble the narrow one- or two-person boats. The town has several 18th-century colonial buildings, including the oldest surviving church in Greenland, so take time to wander through the historic area. You’ll also have a chance to hike amongst the area’s surrounding mountains.

Situated in a scenic hollow on a small island with no freshwater, the colorful community of Itilleq, which has about 130 inhabitants, is surrounded by sea, mountains, and fjords. The final excursion of your Arctic adventure may be a hike around Itilleq Fjord.

Day 16
Kangerlussuaq, Greenland / Disembarkation / Toronto

Enjoy one more Zodiac ride to shore, where you’ll board your charter flight back to Toronto, Canada. Upon arrival in Toronto, transfer to your hotel.

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

Day 17
Toronto, Canada

Today, make your way home at your leisure or spend some time 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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