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The Northwest Passage – Iceland to Cambridge Bay

Northwest Passage Cruise Information

Summary : Sail from Reykjavik, Iceland to Cambridge Bay, Victoria in the wake of early explorers, visiting several sites in Greenland along the way. This long-ranging adventure showcases the raw, daunting beauty of the terrain that some of history’s greatest explorers encountered. Even today, few ships have the capability to navigate this sea passage, which cuts through remote Arctic regions of North America. Gaze on vast expanses of pristine wilderness from the deck as you make your way through icy waters. Call at some of the world’s northernmost communities and learn about Inuit culture with visits to remote settlements. Explore legendary inlets and channels and scout for whales, a variety of bird species, and musk oxen.

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


Prices from
$15,224 to $27,234

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Day 1
Reykjavik, Iceland / Embark

Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital city. Nordic settlers named the place Reykjavik (meaning “Smoky Bay”) after the columns of steam rising from area hot springs. The surroundings offer fantastic natural beauty with geysers, mountains, glaciers, and geothermal baths that are well worth exploring before embarking your ship.

Day 2 – 3
At Sea – Denmark Strait

Cross Denmark Strait, plied by Vikings to migrate from Iceland to South Greenland some 1,000 years ago. Use the days at sea to prepare for your upcoming adventure. Enjoy lectures by the expedition team, explore and learn in the Science Center, relax with a book, or get to know your fellow explorers.

Day 4
Prince Christian Sound

Prince Christian Sound separates Greenland from the Cape Farewell archipelago. If conditions allow, you will sail through this narrow channel and enjoy the spectacular scenery. The sound is around 60-miles long and very narrow. If the channel is blocked with ice, the ship will sail around Nunap Isua (Cape Farewell).

Day 5

Kvanefjord is a 30-mile-long fjord on the west coast of Greenland. Spend the day here exploring the amazing landscape.

Day 6

Nuuk is the oldest town in Greenland, founded in 1728. Nuuk, which means 'peninsula,' is located at the mouth of one of the most spectacular fjord systems in the world. Today, Nuuk is where old and new traditions meet, from historic buildings in Kolonihaven to sleek modern architecture.

Day 7

Sisimiut is situated 25 miles north of the Arctic Circle and is a modern settlement that maintains ancient traditions. Come ashore and explore this colorful town. Visit the small museum, hike in the hills, and shop for local handicrafts.

Day 8

Ilulissat lies in the stunning setting of Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Just outside of town you can often see enormous icebergs from Jakobshavn Glacier, one of the most productive glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere. The icebergs make their way down the 12-mile-long fjord before entering Disko Bay.

Day 9
At Sea - Labrador Sea

Davis Strait is named for English explorer John Davis, who led expeditions searching for the Northwest Passage between 1585 and 1587. He was the first to draw Europe’s attention to the region’s seal hunting and whaling possibilities.

Day 10
Sam Ford Fjord

Sam Ford Fjord is on the east coast of Baffin Island. The fjord is known for its magnificent glaciers and granite cliffs rising steeply from the shoreline to heights reaching 5,000 feet above sea level.

Day 11 – 17
Northwest Passage

The goal is to sail into the heart of the Northwest Passage. Since the late 15th century, the search for this fabled seaway through the Canadian Arctic was the holy grail for hardy explorers. There are records of almost 40 expeditions that sailed these waters. The first recorded attempt was the voyage of John Cabot in 1497. The most famous journeys here were James Cook’s failed attempt to sail the passage in 1776, and the ill-fated Franklin expedition of 1845. The first to successfully navigate the Northwest Passage by ship was Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen on an expedition that lasted from 1903 to 1906.

Ice conditions vary from year to year—one of the reasons this voyage is still one of a kind. Subject to favorable conditions, visits to the following locations may be possible:

-Pond Inlet, called “Mittimatalik” in Inuktitut, is a traditional Inuit community surrounded by mountains, glaciers, fjords, ice caves, geological hoodoos, and drifting icebergs.

-Dundas Harbor is an abandoned settlement with an old Royal Canadian Mounted Police camp and several archaeological sites. Come ashore to see the ruins of some of these buildings, along with an impressive Thule site.

-Radstock Bay is dominated by the striking rock of Caswell Tower. The shoreline here is ideal for walking to a prehistoric Inuit site. Caswell Tower itself features a challenging hike to the summit for great views.

-Beechey Island is known for the ill-fated Franklin expedition. Two ships sailed into the passage in 1845, but neither were ever seen again. It is known that the Franklin Expedition overwintered on Beechey Island in 1845-1846.

-Fort Ross is a trading post established in 1937. There are two small huts ashore that are maintained by the Canadian Coast Guard.

-Gjøa Haven honors the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who wintered here in 1903/04 and 1904/05. He learned much about survival and travel in polar regions from the local Netsilik Inuit people.

Regardless of location, you'll continue to sail through amazing waters with unique nature and hopefully enough ice for excellent wildlife spotting.

Day 18
Cambridge Bay, Canada / Disembark / Edmonton, Canada

In Inuinnaqtun, Cambridge Bay is called “Iqaluktuuttiaq,” meaning a “good fishing place.” It is known for the giant char caught nearby. Local wildlife is abundant and includes seals, geese, muskoxen, and caribou. Your expedition ends here upon disembarkation. A transfer to the airport and flight to Edmonton are included.

Day 19
Edmonton, Canada

Enjoy the exciting city of Edmonton before your flight home.


Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program—including a full circumnavigation of Iceland—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.

Travel Insurance:
This shipping company recommends that all passengers purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your trip investment from unexpected events such as cancellations, delays, and medical emergencies. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for polar 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.

Multilingual Departures: English/German (All Departures)

Explorer Science Program: Included
Participate in lectures, activities, and current research to cultivate greater knowledge about the regions explored. 

Optional Activities:
From kayaking to glacier traversing, there are several supplemented activities to choose from. Some are pre-bookable. Most are booked once on board. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details and rates.


One-way economy flight Cambridge Bay/Edmonton; one post-cruise hotel night in Edmonton including breakfast; transfer ship/airport in Cambridge Bay; transfer airport/hotel in Edmonton; shipboard accommodations; landings and activities onboard and ashore; professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures and accompanies landings and activities; introductory photography lecture; Explorer Science program; expedition logbook; Wi-Fi (limited access; streaming not supported); complimentary wind- and water-resistant parka; gear on loan (waterproof rubber boots, trekking poles, and equipment needed for optional and included activities); meals onboard the ship; house beer and wine during lunch and dinner; sodas, coffee, tea, and mineral water. Inclusions subject to change without notice.

Expedition Suites include a separate check-in; welcome package on embarkation day; a la carte restaurant; room service from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; minibar replenishment; fleece blanket/throw; espresso maker; turn-down service; and laundry service. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
International flights; transfers unless mentioned as included; travel protection plan (highly recommended); luggage handling; optional excursions with local partners and small-group adventures (such as kayaking) with expedition team; gratuities; fuel surcharge may apply.

PHOTOS: © Thomas Haltner (Ilulissat Eisfjord), © Harald Maikisch (Sisimiut), © Mads Pihl (Ilulissat Zodiac riders), © Mark McDermott (Ilulissat plants), © Petra Wöbke (whale tail), © Hurtigruten

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