Summary : Cruising through the maze-like, icy channels of the legendary Northwest Passage is like sailing deep into the history of the High Arctic. On this immersive 17-day expedition through the fabled sea route, you’ll explore the same landscapes and waters that have enchanted adventurers for hundreds of years, tracing their footsteps. Pay your respects at the final resting place of three of Sir John Franklin’s lost crew. Visit traditional Inuit communities, and learn about ancient cultures at remote historical sites. Learn about the whaling heyday of the 1800s and, if you’re lucky, spot present-day whales frolicking in their natural surroundings. On this active adventure, Zodiac, kayaking and hiking excursions make it easier than ever to encounter the unique wildlife that call this mysterious realm of dramatic fjords, glaciers and mountains home.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins
$999,999,999 to $0
Your arctic expedition begins in Ottawa. Explore Canada’s capital city on your own before spending the night at your hotel. (Please see Rate Notes for mandatory charter flight package details.)
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.
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 Center are also worth visiting.
Say goodbye to Greenland’s shores as you traverse the Davis Strait in pursuit of the Canadian Arctic. Presentations by on-board experts will prepare you for the adventures that lie ahead.
Visit towering fjords, historical sites and traditional Inuit communities as you follow the footsteps of famous explorers from long ago in the Canadian High Arctic. 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 (yes, he 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, beluga and 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 beachside 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 have a chance of spotting 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.
After disembarking in Resolute, you’ll be transferred to your charter flight to Ottawa, where you’ll spend the night at your hotel.
Today, make your way to the airport to catch your homeward flight, or spend the day exploring Canada's capital city.
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.
Bilingual Departure: English/French
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
Due to the remoteness of the areas in this itinerary, travelers must have a minimum $50,000 of emergency medical coverage. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. 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 the travel insurance policy covers trip cancellation insurance, trip delay (interruption or after departure coverage), baggage and repatriation. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.
Not included in cruise rate. See rates page for price. Minimum age 16 years. This is a pre-booked option for kayakers with some experience. Places are strictly limited so please advise at time of booking. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
If you’re interested in kayaking and would like to try something less in-depth than sea kayaking, you can still enjoy the benefits of adding an on-water experience to your expedition 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. Max. 10 kayakers for a limit of one excursions. All sit-on-top kayaks are doubles. Pre-booking required. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping; all meals throughout your voyage; all shore landings per the daily program; Expedition Leader; Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program; presentations by Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled; photographic journal; a pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings; an expedition parka—yours to keep; coffee, tea, cocoa available around the clock; hair dryer and bathrobe in every cabin; pre-departure materials; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program; luggage handling aboard ship; emergency evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of $500,000 per person*; use of snowshoes (weather dependent); gratuities (2019); beer and wine with dinner (2019); soft drinks 24/7 (2019). Inclusions subject to change without notice.
Any airfare; mandatory charter flight package; arrival and departure transfers in Ottawa; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; any beverages that are not in the complimentary selection; any meals ashore; baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance; excess baggage charges; laundry and other personal charges; telecommunications charges; the customary gratuity at the end of the voyage for ship’s crew and Expedition Team members; optional kayaking; optional paddling; 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.