Tailor-Made Holiday

Canadian Arctic - Northwest Passage

Traverse the Northwest Passage, following in the footsteps of early explorers

15 days

from £10,300pp

The Northwest Passage, a route almost across the roof of the world linking the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, was long sought by the traders, explorers and military strategists of Europe, Russian Asia and America and is one of the world's great historical sea journeys.

  •  Tread in the footsteps of early explorers as you traverse the mythical Northwest Passage, a land of ice-choked channels and spectacular scenery
  • Visit many of the significant locations associated with Franklin's tragic search for the Northwest Passage, as well as those associated with Amundsen's successful first transit
  • Travel aboard the comfortable 96 passenger Akademik Ioffe, with an emphasis on experiencing the region up close with opportunities for long hikes on the tundra, zodiac cruises and kayaking

It's now possible to undertake a similar journey to that first completed by Roald Amundsen, navigating a course through the Arctic that very few people manage to achieve. These waterways are renowned for tricky navigation, rapidly changing ice conditions and for supporting a diverse population of wildlife, as well as vestiges of former expeditions, including the most notorious of all, the ill-fated Franklin expedition of 1845.

This voyage begins in Cambridge Bay in the Coronation Gulf heading east, stopping at Victory Point before navigating the treacherous Bellot, Fury & Hecla Straits. Steeped in history the region also offers the opportunity to visit many small and isolated communities along with a good chance of wildlife sightings.

2017 EXPEDITION DATES

24 August - 05 September 

2018 EXPEDITION DATES

26 August - 11 September
09 - 25 September 

IncludesExcludes
Voyage on full board basisInternational flights 
Charter flights to point of embarkation Pre/post voyage accommodation
All lectures and guided zodiac excursionsAny additonal pre or post voyage hotel 
Post expedition voyage logGratuities, laundry and drinks onboard ship 
All port duties Medical Insurance

 

Please note that these prices are a guide only and are subject to exchange rate fluctuations and fuel surcharges.


For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas

PLEASE NOTE THE COST SHOWN INCLUDES INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK, BASED ON AN APPROXIMATE AIR FARE. PLEASE ASK YOUR TRAVEL EXPERT FOR AN ACCURATE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT QUOTE. INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Ottawa


You will be staying at Novotel Ottawa, Bed & Breakfast

Day 2

Ottawa to Sondre Stromfjord
Sondre Stromfjord is one of the world's longest fjords cutting into the interior of Greenland. Take the charter flight from Ottawa, Canada into Greenland landing at a former American Airbase (Bluie West Eight and Camp Lloyd), located just miles north of the Arctic Circle. Board the expedition vessel by zodiac and weigh anchor. Throughout the evening and the night sail down this incredible fjord, crossing the Arctic Circle, before reaching the ocean and Davis Strait. Turn north out of Sondre Stromfjord and cross the Arctic Circle yet again, remaining north of this point for the rest of the voyage.

Day 3

Sisimiut
Explore the fjord behind the town of Sisimiut before visiting the town in the afternoon. Hopefully meet a few of the traditional Greenlandic kayakers and perhaps see a demonstration of "Eskimo Rolling" by one of the former champions of the Greenland Kayaking Championships.

Day 4

Ilulissat and Jacobshavn Icefjord
One of the wonders of the world, the Jacobshavn Icefjord spews massive tabular icebergs out into Disko Bay. The approach to Ilulissat will be dependent upon the amount of ice in and around the mouth of the icefjord. Ilulissat was the hometown of Knud Rasmussen, one of Greenland's most famous explorers and anthropologists, born here in 1879.

Day 5

Baffin Bay
The crossing of Baffin Bay will depend on the extent of the so-called 'middle ice'. The goal will be to find the edge of this and then follow it around and to the coast of Baffin Island. The time at sea will be determined by the extent of the ice and amount of wildlife. While crossing Baffin Bay keep a look out for fin, sperm, sei and humpback whales as well as the numerous species of Arctic seals and seabirds that abound in the Bay.

Day 7

Pond Inlet
Visit the town of Pond Inlet and the Natinnak Centre, where a spectacular cultural exhibit will be the background of a display created by the elders and youth of Pond Inlet. Inuit carvings, jewellery and other local craft will be available to purchase from the local artisans. Take time to meet the children of Pond Inlet and marvel at their athletic abilities as they demonstrate the challenges of the Inuit Games.

Day 8

Lancaster Sound and Devon Island
Lancaster Sound is in many ways the wildlife 'super-highway' of the Arctic. A massive outlet for water from the high Arctic Archipelago, there is a mixing of water here that is rich in nutrients. Coupled with areas of open water for much of the year, Lancaster Sound is home to a diverse concentration of wildlife that can be staggering, especially given the sparseness of the region. The stops along the shore of Lancaster Sound will depend very much on ice conditions and weather.

Day 10

Beechey Island and Prince Leopold Island
Beechey Island holds great importance in the quest to complete the Northwest Passage. It is here that Franklin's ill-fated expedition spent its last 'comfortable' winter in 1845 before disappearing into the icy vastness, sparking an incredible series of search expeditions that finished the charting of Canada's northern archipelago. Almost sixty years later, Roald Amundsen stopped at Beechey Island during the first successful complete transit of the Northwest Passage. Following the visit to Beechey Island, sail south toward Prince Regent Inlet, stopping for a view of the bird cliffs at Prince Leopold Island. A migratory bird sanctuary, Prince Leopold Island is home to thick-billed murres, black guillemots, northern fulmars and black-legged kittiwakes. Totalling several hundred thousand birds, Prince Leopold Island is one of the most important bird sanctuaries in the Canadian Arctic. Encounters with polar bear, beluga, narwhal and the occasional bowhead whale have also been known in the summering grounds around Prince Regent Inlet.

Day 11

Fort Ross and Bellot Strait
If ice conditions permit, sail south through Prince Regent Inlet and approach the eastern end of the Bellot Strait. Fort Ross, located at the southern end of Somerset Island, is a former Hudson's Bay Company fur trading outpost. Ancient archaeological sites nearby tell a story of more than a thousand years of habitation by the Inuit and their predecessors. Upon leaving Fort Ross, attempt the passage of the Bellot Strait, entering at slack water if possible, in order to avoid a current that can be more than seven knots during the peak flow. The mixing of waters in this strait provides ample food source for marine mammals so keep a look out for harp seals, bearded seals and even polar bears. Upon exiting Bellot Strait turn south in Victoria Strait, taking a bearing for King William Island.

Day 12

Conningham Bay
Having emerged from the transit of Bellot Strait, cross the broad Victoria Strait and arrive at Conningham Bay on the eastern shore of Prince Edward Island. Here, in the heart of the Northwest Passage is perhaps one of the most remarkable wildlife sites in the Arctic and a known hotspot for polar bears. Beluga whales come to the shallow inlet to rub their white skins against the gravel bottom - an annual ritual. Often when the tide recedes, the whales become trapped in the shallows making them easy prey for the polar bear. It's common to find mothers and their cubs here in sizeable numbers and the skeletons of beluga whales litter the shore - grim testament to the ebb and flow of life in the Arctic.

Day 13

Victory Point, King William Island
Little is known of how the remainders of the Franklin Expedition spent its last months in the frozen Arctic. The vessels, abandoned in the ice of Victoria Strait have left no trace. An abandoned lifeboat, bits and pieces of copper and iron, cutlery and buttons and a skeleton here and there all tell a story of a desperate race south in search of rescue that never occurred. Visit Victory Point and continue to reflect on the quest for exploration that opened up the Arctic, while sacrificing some of its bravest explorers.

Day 14

Cambridge Bay - Edmonton
Visit the community of Cambridge Bay, on the southern shores of Victoria Island. Cambridge Bay, also known as Ikaluktutiak or "good fishing place", is a centre for hunting, trapping, and fishing. The Inuit have had summer camps in the locality for hundreds of years. Today ships visit the region annually bringing supplies. Amundsen spent two winters in this area, learning how to master dogsledding from the locals. Prior to this, McClintock found solid evidence of the Franklin Expedition here in 1859, including naval artefacts, sledges, graves and letters. Drop anchor in the harbour and make your way ashore by zodiac. Board the charter flight to Edmonton.

Fly Edmonton to London overnight

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Canadian Arctic

Roxy Dukes, Travel Expert

"Roxy filled us with enthusiasm and came up with some great ideas for a trip. We liked the idea of a slightly 'off the beaten track experience' and some private bespoke activities and that's exactly what we've had. Thank you!"

"Roxy created a wonderfully interesting route which was the basis for a super trip. She also chose lovely places for us to stay and interesting activities for us to participate in, introducing us to the idea of private guided experiences which we thoroughly enjoyed."

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Sue Grimwood, Travel Expert

"It was tremendously helpful to be able to speak to someone who had been to Antarctica before - Sue had been on the ship we had booked, so was able to give us some very useful information. We felt that at every stage of the booking process that we were in safe hands. "

""I was uncharacteristically worried about this trip - neurotic some might say - and I was given 110% support and help with everything. I had been disappointed by not being able to get a space on the 2014 trip and so Sue was stuck with me for 2 years - a testament to her patience and professionalism. I was confident in Sue - she knows Antarctica and speaks from experience, that is worth a huge amount. Emails, which I would send were responded to almost immediately.""

Read More

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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