High Arctic Explorer Expedition Cruise
starting from US $11,821per person
Choose a wildlife viewing tour that works best with your travel style.
Tailor your stay to perfectly suit your timeline and budget.
This spectacular Arctic cruise is a perfect introduction to the wildlife, scenery and history of the Canadian north. The capable Akademik Ioffe vessel is a class 2 icebreaker built for Arctic waters and can venture where many can’t. Twenty four hour daylight means plenty of time to observe wildlife including whales, migratory birds, polar bears, as well as haunting historic sites like the Franklin Graves on Beechey Island. With a small number of guests onboard the large expedition team ensures each day of your trip is seamless and exhilarating.
Trip at a glance
Fly Edmonton to Resolute Bay
Lancaster Sound and Croker Bay
Grise Fjord and Craig Harbour
Nirjutiqavvik National Wildlife Area
Cape Hay and Elwin Inlet
Prince Leopold Island
Resolute to Edmonton
*Itinerary may vary to accommodate wildlife sightings and weather
Think of this itinerary as just a starting point. Our experienced Canadian Insiders will create a personalized experience for you that matches your schedule, travel style and budget.
Day 1 – Adventure Begins in Edmonton
Fly to the Canada’s northern city of Edmonton. A night is included at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald, where you’ll meet your fellow expedition guests and group leader.
Day 2 – Travel to Resolute Bay – Your Arctic Cruise Begins
Fly to Resolute on a charter flight – a remote outpost above the Arctic Circle named after the abandoned ship HMS Resolute. Celebrate at a reception with your expedition team, as your ship departs Resolute in the early evening.
A powerful, class 2 Icebreaker, the Akademik Ioffe vessel gives her captain superior capabilities in following Arctic wildlife such as polar bears.
Insider tip: Due to her strength and stability, most guests do not experience motion sickness onboard the ship.
Day 3 – Maxwell Bay
Wake up to the first full day of your trip and get ready to see wildlife up close. The Coast of Devon Island is home to muskox, caribou, as well as polar bears, and harp seals, ringed seals, bearded seals and even walrus have been spotted here. Hiking on shore or viewing wildlife from the ship are both a great way to spend your day.
Insider tip: On shore walks and hikes are great for all fitness levels. Each day the onboard concierge will customize your experiences based on your abilities and interests.
Day 4 – Lancaster Sound
Today you’ll sail eastwards through Lancaster Sound, between Devon and Baffin Islands. Considered the ‘super highway’ of the Arctic, waters from the Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Ocean, and the northern archipelago of islands converge to create bountiful food resources for wildlife. Hiking along Croker Bay, your guide will show you herds of prehistoric-looking muskox.
Awe-inspiring icebergs set against the glacial mountain peaks make for stunning zodiac rides, and an abandoned 1924 Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) outpost makes for great photos.
Day 5 – Nirjutiqavvik National Wildlife Area
Today you’ll marvel at colonies of hundreds of thousands of seabirds at the Nirjutiqavvik National Wildlife Area. See thick-billed murres and northern fulmars as you explore by zodiac and keep a watch out for beluga whales.
Insider tip: Taking part in the optional kayak program will increase your chances of seeing an elusive narwhal whale!
Day 6 – Grise Fjord and Craig Harbour
Grise Fjord is Canada’s most northerly and isolated community. Re-settled here in the cold war by the Canadian government, the tiny population are descended from a handful of Inuit families. You’ll see incredible scenery, the wildlife is abundant, and your group will be welcomed by the people here.
Day 7 – Cape Hay
The scenery of Cape Hay will amaze you today, as soaring mountain ranges rise out of the tundra. This is another great bird watching day.
Day 8 – Elwin Inlet
As the captain expertly navigates into Elwin Inlet, you’ll find yourself in a breathtaking fjord which is well protected and great for a zodiac cruise or hike on shore. Keep your eyes peeled for polar bears, which are plentiful along this coastline.
Day 9 – Prince Leopold Island
Having crossed Prince Regent Inlet overnight, your vessel will now approach the towering bird cliffs of Prince Leopold Island. This is a protected migratory bird sanctuary, and the sea ice around Prince Leopold Island is a great place for spotting polar bears as they hunt the ringed seals. Keep your eyes trained on the shoreline, as the shallow gravel beds attract molting beluga whales.
Day 10 – Beechey Island
Beechey Island is a symbol of the Northwest Passage’s exploration history. In 1845 Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition spent its final winter, before vanishing into the icy wilderness. On shore, you’ll see their haunting grave markers on a remote windswept beach – a sight you are sure to remember for years to come.
Day 11 – Resolute to Edmonton
By morning, you’ll arrive in Resolute, where a charter flight returns you to Edmonton. A post-night in Edmonton is included at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald.
Day 12 – Depart Edmonton
Today your Arctic adventure comes to an end, as you check out of your hotel and make your way independently to the Edmonton Airport for your flight home.
What are the best months to see the polar bears?
The peak bear viewing months in Churchill are October and November. As the bears wait for the ice to freeze on the Hudson Bay. But you can see the bears and other wildlife (like beluga whales) throughout the summer.
Where do we sleep at night?
You can choose to stay in a cozy hotel in the town of Churchill or sleep aboard the 'Tundra Buggy Lodge'. It's a converted and comfortable Tundra Buggy from which you can view bears round the clock.
How cold will it be?
Temperatures range from 24-35 degrees fahrenheit in October, and about 3-16 degrees in November. In October, the snow is just starting to accumulate.
What we love about this trip
Pristine and stunning Arctic wilderness
Onshore hikes and wildlife spottting
Wildlife such as polar bears, beluga whales, muskox
High crew to guest ratio
Expert guides with insider area knowledge
Class 2 Icebreaker research vessel
Team of resource specialists
Unique optional kayak program
Below you'll find examples of this trip's accommodation options. Please call us for the full list or advice on how to customize your experience.
Akademik Ioffe Expedition Ship
An example of our expedition cruise accommodations
The Akademik Ioffe is simple, comfortable, and agile Arctic expedition vessel. Rated a class 2 ice breaker, her captain is able to quickly change course to follow wildlife - where other expedition ships may get left behind. From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, public spaces onboard the ship ideally suited for each and every need. A separate lounge and bar with panoramic views, as well as a library provide ideal places to sit and relax or catch up on some reading. Other facilities include a lounge, theater style presentation room, gift-shop, fitness room, massage room, hot water spa, sauna and plunge pool.
Prices & Dates2019 Start Date
Prices listed may vary by departure date, hotel class and degree of personalization. Please speak with one of our travel advisors to get a personalized quote.
Twin Private Cabin
from US $11,821to US $12,767per person
Twin Private Cabins are spacious, well appointed cabins featuring two lower berths, one of which can be converted to a sofa during the day, with private washroom facilities, sink, shower, toilet and bathroom cabinet. There are tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage, a writing desk, chair, bookshelf, and a window that can be opened.
from US $12,921to US $13,954per person
Superior Cabins feature two lower berths, a comfortable sofa, a writing desk and chair and plenty of storage space, private washroom facilities and several portholes which open. These cabins provide great access to the outer decks, ship reception and dining room and the expedition mudroom where you prepare for your off-ship excursions.
from US $14,421to US $15,574per person
Shackleton Suite type cabins are separated into two spacious rooms, one that is ideal for relaxation with a sofa convertible to bed, large table, writing desk, chair, ample storage and a large window that can be opened. The separate private bedroom features one large lower bed.
One Ocean Suite
from US $16,121to US $17,410per person
One Ocean Suite is the most spacious cabin of the ship. It is separated into two rooms and a private bathroom with bathtub and shower. The well appointed lounge area features a sofa and large windows overlooking the bow (forward facing) that can be opened. The separate bedroom features a double bed.
Canada Polar Bears Vs. Others
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Flexibility and freedom of a personalized tour to suit your travel goals.
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Cheapest type of travel with rigid itineraries and crowds.
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