Tailor-Made Holiday

Canadian Arctic -The Crux of the Northwest Passage

The Rocky Mountains and Northwest Passage in a Nutshell

14 days

from £7,665pp (excluding flights)

This trip combines the beauty of the Canadian Rockies with a voyage to one of Canada’s most remote regions, the Arctic.  

  • Sail close to the final resting place of HMS Erebus, one of Franklin's missing ships
  • Experience zodiac cruising and landings in search of wildlife: polar bears, walrus, belugas along with ringed, harp and bearded seals
  • Encounter hundreds of thousands of nesting thick-billed murres, guillemots, fulmars and kittiwakes 
  • Explore Edmonton by Segway and indulge in a food tour
  • Spend two nights in Jasper and explore Maligne Lake and the surrounding area with a private guide

Explore Alberta’s capital city, Edmonton by Segway, taking in the highlights of the city and the beautiful scenery of the river valley. Later take a walking tour of Jasper Avenue where you will have the opportunity to sample a mix of sweet and savoury dishes at five of Edmonton’s premier dining establishments. Bison, craft brews and wood fired specialities maybe on offer, all accompanied by the history, art and culture of this former fur trading post.

With private guide, transfer to Jasper, located in the Athabasca valley of the Jasper National Park home to outstanding mountain scenery.  Explore the natural treasures of Canada’s largest national park including the Maligne Canyon. 

Leaving the Rockies behind, fly to Resolute, a remote outpost above the Arctic circle. The story of Sir John Franklin's expedition in the mid-18th century and the enduring mystery of their fate, has gripped the imagination and intrigue of many for over 150 years. A new chapter in this tale was written when in September 2014, a joint government and private expedition located the final resting place of one Franklin's two 'lost ships' - HMS Erebus, in the frigid waters of the Victoria Strait. 

Although the focus is on history and the Inuit that have inhabited the region for over 800 years, wildlife is another major draw card throughout the voyage.  Visit one of the largest migratory bird sanctuaries in Canada and several locations where encounters with polar bears are frequent.  Sightings of seals, whales and beluga are also common. 

Why Cruise?

A small expedition vessel such as the Akademik Ioffe is the perfect platform for exploring the remote inlets and fjords of the High Arctic and to navigate the small bays and ice of this remote wilderness.  Indeed, much of the High Artic can only be explored by the sea and is simply not accessible without the charter flights provided by the voyage and joining the cruise itself.   Landings using zodiacs also allow passengers greater exploration of isolated corners which are completely inaccessible by land.  Voyaging on a small expedition boat also maximises the wildlife opportunities, such as observing mega-colonies of seabirds that nest on coastal cliffs, not to mention the possible whale and polar bear encounters which would be significantly limited on land. 

Unique Experiences

To discover the Northwest Passage is to not only follow in the footsteps of Franklin, but to do so in the company of those involved with finding his missing ship, HMS Erebus.  There is no other expedition that knows these waters better and this is a fantastic way to experience maritime life and encounter some of the Canadian Arctic’s most notable wildlife. 

What is given back?

Travelling to the Arctic with reputable expedition vessels means you are also in part, investing in the research and conservation of these areas.  Partnered with the Coastal Ocean Research Institute at Oceanwise, Ioffe and her sister ships, will host researchers on board each summer in the Arctic to conduct water sampling to study the presence of micro plastics in the ocean. Commissioned by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, this is a vital research project.  The research is carried out alongside passengers during zodiac cruises and when aboard, providing an engaging and educational opportunity on plastic issues. 

Sustainability

  • Stainless steel water bottles are provided for each passenger, with re-fill stations on the ship
  • Recycling bins are available in the bar and restaurant areas
  • Refillable soap dispensers are fitted in the showers No plastic bags are provided onboard; passengers must use their own bags for gift shop purchases
  • One Ocean has taken the #BePlasticWise pledge and are now part of the United Nation Environment Programmes 'Clean Sea’ working group which aims to drastically reduce the consumption of single-use plastic.
  • One Ocean is the industry leader for their support of nationally accredited scientific programmes alongside tourism, providing such projects over 120 days per vessel per year.

Guides

The expedition leaders are not only superb naturalist guides, but they can also bring to life the regions they visit with you. Ted Irniq is a native son of the North, an expedition guide and a true ambassador of the Canadian Arctic. He draws on his experiences of growing up in Ranklin Inlet whilst guiding passengers through this remote region of the world.

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

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 7665 £ 1000

Itinerary at a glance

Collapse all
Day 1

Day at leisure in Edmonton


You will be staying at The Fairmont Hotel Edmonton, room only

Day 2

Downtown Delights Food Tour
Meet at one of Edmonton's finest hidden gems for a palate awakening. Start a gentle stroll along Jasper Avenue where you will have the opportunity to sample a mix of sweet and savoury dishes at five of Edmonton's premier dining establishments. Bison, craft brews and wood fired specialities maybe on offer all accompanied by the history, art and culture of this former fur trading post.

Notes:

Non-alcoholic tastings are included for guests under the age of 18.

Gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian diets can be accommodated with advance notice. Some allergies can be accommodated.

Please note that this tour is not a good fit for vegan guests, or guests with specific food preferences.

Please dress accordingly to the weather. Comfortable shoes for walking are recommended.

Guide gratuity is not included.


Segway Tour
Discover Edmonton on a Segway. This Segway adventure starts with in-depth training session from a certified Segway trainer, who will go over the skills and drills for everything you will need to know before heading out on your adventure. The training session usually takes about thirty minutes however everyone learns at a different pace. After the training you will be taken on a ride through North America's largest urban parkland. You'll have the chance to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the river valley like never before.


You will be staying at The Fairmont Hotel Edmonton, room only

Day 3

Drive from Edmonton to Jasper (Road Journey)


Have breakfast and prepare for a long drive to the Maramures region and the village of Breb.

The drive will be around six hours so the group will stop for lunch en route. This is a lovely opportunity to visit a local market or just stroll around the centre of an ordinary Romania town. Depending on how time is going, we will try and stop at Gherla, a small town know for its Armenian church, said to host a painting by Reubens.

You will arrive in Breb in the late afternoon. Take some time to discover the village and its surroundings or just relax and settle in. Breb is a beautiful and well worth spending some time.

Have dinner in Breb in the house of a local family.


You will be staying at Sawridge Inn, room only

Day 4

Half day tour with private guide
Half day (5 hour) private sightseeing tour, starting and ending in Jasper.

Explore the largest national park in the UNESCO Canadian Rockies marked by dramatic mountains, thick forests, glaciers and vast valleys. Home to nearly 70 species of mammals including black bear, moose, bighorn sheep and mounain goats the park often offers good wildlife sightings. Explore the 615 miles of hiking trails that offer access throughout the park or travel by road on one of the spectacular mountain drives.

This day is flexible so you can create a tour program that will move at your pace and on your schedule or just sit back and let your driver guide you for the day. (Please call Sun Dog Tours at 780 852 4056 to reconfirm your pick-up time and be in the hotel lobby 10 minutes prior to present your voucher to the driver.)


Maligne Lake Cruise
The 90-minute interpretive cruise travels 14 km down the lake through Sampson Narrows and onto Spirit Island. The vessels are staffed by recognised Heritage Tourism Guides and Coast Guard licensed pilots. Learn of the local history, geology, wildlife and glaciology of Maligne Lake and of Jasper National Park as some of the most spectacular scenery in the Rockies drift past your window. At Spirit Island the boat lands to allow for a short walk to the viewpoint overlooking the mountain ringed southern shores of Maligne Lake.

Departs daily on the hour from the Maligne Lake Dock:

Mid-May to early October: between 10:00am and 4:00pm

July - August: additional departure at 5:00pm

Schedule is weather dependent and subject to change.


You will be staying at Sawridge Inn, room only

Day 5

Drive from Jasper to Edmonton (Road Journey)


Transfer to Edmonton, a journey time of approximately four hours.


You will be staying at Renaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel, room only

Day 6

Edmonton to Resolute
Depart Edmonton on the charter flight to Resolute, a remote outpost above the Arctic Circle, located on the southern shores of Cornwallis Island, the town is named after the British ship HMS Resolute which became trapped in ice and abandoned here in 1850 while searching for the lost Franklin Expedition. A weather station and airstrip here made it a strategic outpost during the time of the Cold War. On arrival transfer to the beach and then by zodiac to the ship. Weigh anchor and depart Resolute in the early evening.


You will be staying at Akademik Ioffe, FI meal basis

Day 7

Beechey Island and Prince Leopold Island
Beechey Island is a site of great historical importance. It is here that Sir John Franklin's ill-fated expedition spent its last 'comfortable' winter in 1845-1846 before disappearing into the icy vastness to the south. The enduring mystery of what happened to the Franklin party and two ships, was partially solved in September 2014, when a joint Parks Canada and Royal Canadian Geographic Society expedition, found the long lost Franklin shipwreck, HMS Erebus in the Victoria Strait.

Ashore at Beechey Island visit the grave markers of three of Franklin's men. A remote windswept beach, gives one pause to wonder on the bravery (or foolhardiness) of these pioneering explorers, as they sought a way through the barren, frozen landscape.

Through the afternoon sail across Barrow Strait and approach the towering bird cliffs of Prince Leopold Island. This is an important migratory bird sanctuary, home to thick-billed murres, black guillemots, northern fulmars and black-legged kittiwakes. Numbering in the order of several hundred thousand birds, Prince Leopold Island is one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the whole of the Canadian Arctic and makes for fantastic zodiac cruising. The sea ice around Prince Leopold Island is a great place for spotting ringed seals and with these polar bears are frequently sighted.


You will be staying at Akademik Ioffe, FI meal basis

Day 8

Fury Beach, Somerset Island
Overnight sail south through Prince Regent Inlet and wake along the south-eastern shore of Somerset Island. The goal is to get ashore at Fury Beach, named after the HMS Fury, a Royal Navy sloop used in two Arctic expeditions by Commander Edward Parry. During her second expedition, she was damaged in the ice while overwintering and was abandoned in August of 1825 on a beach on Somerset Island, now known as Fury Beach. Her stores were unloaded on the beach as a depot of supplies and the location shared around to other Royal Navy expeditions. John Ross, another Royal Navy explorer relied on these stores to save the lives of his men after he lost his ship to the ice in 1829.


You will be staying at Akademik Ioffe, FI meal basis

Day 9

Fort Ross and Bellot Strait
Continuing to the southern end of Prince Regent Inlet, approach the eastern end of the Bellot Strait. The historic site of Fort Ross, located at the southern end of Somerset Island, is a former Hudson's Bay Company fur trading outpost. Fascinating archaeological sites nearby tell a story of more than a thousand years of habitation by the Inuit and their predecessors. Having explored Fort Ross, attempt a transit through the narrows of Bellot Strait. The aim is to enter at slack tide if possible, in order to avoid a current that roars through the passage at more than seven knots during the peak flow. The mixing of waters in this strait provides an abundant food source for marine mammals so keep eyes peeled for harp seals, bearded seals and even polar bears. The skill of the Captain and Officers and capabilities of the ship becomes apparent during this exciting day of Arctic navigation.


You will be staying at Akademik Ioffe, FI meal basis

Day 10

Conningham Bay, Prince of Wales Island
Having emerged from Bellot Strait, cross Franklin Strait and arrive at Conningham Bay on the shore of Prince of Wales Island. Here, in the heart of the Northwest Passage it is hoped to encounter one of the most remarkable wildlife sites in the Arctic. This is a known hotspot for polar bears who come here to feast on beluga whales, often caught in the rocky shallows at the entrance to the bay. It is not unusual to find the shoreline littered with whale skeletons - and very healthy looking polar bears!


You will be staying at Akademik Ioffe, FI meal basis

Day 11

Victory Point, King William Island
Heading further south, the mystery of Sir John Franklin and his 'lost expedition' is beginning to unravel. Prior to the recent discovery of the HMS Erebus in September 2014, very little was known of how the Franklin Expedition spent its last months in the frozen Arctic. The vessels, abandoned in the ice of Victoria Strait are just coming to life thanks to the ongoing efforts of Parks Canada's marine archaeological team and the recent Victoria Strait Expedition. On Victory Point a lifeboat left abandoned, 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 came. Visit Victory Point during the transit of Victoria Strait, travelling very near the actual location of the wreck of HMS Erebus, all the while, learning about the quest for exploration that eventually opened up the Arctic. One can only imagine the last desperate days of Franklin's men as another frigid Arctic winter approached, supplies dwindling and health failing


You will be staying at Akademik Ioffe, FI meal basis

Day 12

Pasely Bay, Boothia Peninsula
Working north, stop in Pasely Bay, on the Boothia Peninsula. The RCMP vessel St. Roch, during her transit of the Northwest Passage in 1942 was frozen in Pasely Bay and in February of 1942, one of the sailors onboard died. He was buried along the shores of Pasely Bay in the spring before the ship broke out of the ice and continued north through the passage. Explore the shore of Pasely Bay, searching for wildlife and enjoying the isolated beautify of the Boothia Peninsula.


You will be staying at Akademik Ioffe, FI meal basis

Day 13

Peel Sound
Sail through Franklin Strait and into Peel Sound, between Somerset Island and Prince of Wales Island. Peel Sound is known for its often heavy sea ice concentrations and is only open to vessel navigation for a short period each year. The ice plug in the top of Peel Sound frustrated many explorers as they tried to pass through this body of water in order to complete the Northwest Passage. This stretch of water from Victoria Strait through Franklin Strait and into Peel Sound is considered the crux of the Northwest Passage and it is now known that Franklin sailed his two ships, the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror through Peel Sound in the summer of 1846, before becoming beset in the ice '5 leagues NE of Victory Point'.


You will be staying at Akademik Ioffe, FI meal basis

Day 14

Aston Bay
On the last day of excursions before returning to Resolute Bay visit the northern end of Peel Sound and on the southern shore of Barrow Strait. Aston Bay is an arm of Peel Sound and with the heavy concentrations of ice in the area should be a hotspot for wildlife activity. Head out into the zodiacs and possibly ashore in search of wildlife.


You will be staying at Akademik Ioffe, FI meal basis

Day 15

You will be staying at Akademik Ioffe, FI meal basis

Day 16

You will be staying at Akademik Ioffe, FI meal basis

Day 17

You will be staying at Akademik Ioffe, FI meal basis

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."

Read More

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.

Enquire about this holiday:
Speak to a Canadian Arctic holiday expert:

Tailor-Made Holiday Ideas

Booking a Tailor-made holiday gives you the flexibility to customise your journey, travelling when and where suits you.

Holiday Ideas in Canadian Arctic

You are unique, so we believe your holiday should be too.

We listen to what you want and create a personalised itinerary tailored around you.

Your holiday. Your experience. Your way.

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Call our Travel Experts on +01285 880 980
Start Your Journey
 

Expertise

  • Established for over 25 years creating journeys across 100 destinations worldwide
  • Exclusive access to the best private guides

PRICING

  • We negotiate the best rates with hotels and expert guides
  • Be protected from fluctuations in exchange rates

RESPONSIBLE STEPPES

  • Each time you travel with us we donate £5 to a local charity in the UK and £10 to an international charity

Fully Protected

  • Your monies are financially protected
  • 24/7 Emergency UK contact whilst abroad
 

Featured in the Press

Financial Times
The Telegraph
Sunday Times logo
CNT
Wanderlust

Our Partners

African Parks
Galapagos Conservation Trsut
OF_Primary_Logo_Tan
Restless Development
Save The Rhino
Tusk Trust
World Land Trsut
Gorilla Doctors
 

© Steppes Travel, 51 Castle St, Cirencester, GL7 1QD, United Kingdom