Northwest Passage and Greenland Expedition Cruise
starting from US $15,900per person
Choose your own activities and experiences to enjoy between scenic train tours.
Tailor your stay to perfectly suit your timeline and budget.
Travel back in time, along the paths of early explorers on this iconic Arctic small ship cruise expedition. Travel along the Northwest Passage, explore spectacular fjords and bays, view rare Arctic wildlife, and see amazing ice formations in Greenland.
Trip at a glance
Depart Edmonton for Cambridge Bay
King William Island
Prince of Wales Island
Prince Leopold Island
Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet)
*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 – Arrive in Edmonton
Today your adventure begins as you fly to Edmonton, Alberta and spend the night at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald. Meet your group this evening for a briefing on tomorrow’s events.
Day 2 – Edmonton to Cambridge Bay
Depart Edmonton on a charter flight to Cambridge Bay, a remote outpost above the Arctic Circle. Located on the southern shores of Victoria Island. Enjoy a walking tour of the town before boarding your expedition ship, the Akademik Ioffe. A welcome reception kicks off your Arctic adventure, before you cast off for the fabled Northwest Passage.
Day 3 - King William Island and Victory Point
As the ship charts a course into the Northwest Passage, The Captain aims to visit Victory Point, travelling very near the location of the wreck of HMS Erebus, one of the lost ships of the doomed Franklin Expedition of 1845. The Academic Ioffe and her team were part of the expedition which discovered the sunken Franklin vessels, so make sure to take advantage of the onboard presentations. The second ship, the HMS Terror, has just been discovered.
Day 4 - Prince of Wales Island
This morning the ship arrives at Conningham Bay on the shore of Prince of Wales. This is one of the most remarkable wildlife sites in the Arctic – here you’ll see polar bears feeding on Beluga whales, and it is not unusual to find the shoreline littered with whale skeletons and well-fed looking bears!
Day 5 - Prince Leopold Island
Today the ship sails the Bellot Strait. The rich waters in this strait provide abundant food for marine mammals, so keep your eyes peeled for harp seals, bearded seals and even polar bears. In addition you’ll visit the historic site of Fort Ross, a former fur trading outpost, located at the southern end of Somerset Island. Archaeological sites nearby reveal the centuries of habitation by the Inuit people, and their predecessors.
Day 6 - Beechey Island
Beechey Island holds a special place in Arctic history. It is here that Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition was last seen, before disappearing into the icy vastness. A trip ashore at Beechey Island to visit the grave markers is haunting, as you imagine the struggle for Franklin’s team to survive in the harsh Arctic winter.
Day 7 - Devon Island
Cruising the coastline of Devon Island, you will be travelling the wildlife ‘super highway’ of the Arctic. An old RCMP outpost makes for unique photographs against the stunning landscape, and Muskox and Arctic hare may be seen as you hike the area.
Day 8 - Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet)
Today you’ll travel the wild north coast of Baffin Island. The vast landscapes of Sirmilik National Park surround you as the ship approaches the remote Inuit community of Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet). A highlight will be a visit to the Natinnak Centre, where a fascinating cultural exhibit showcases daily life, culture and history of the people of the north. Meeting local Inuit will be a highlight, as they demonstrate traditional Inuit games.
Day 9 - Gibbs Fjord
Today you are treated to the spectacular Gibbs Fjord. The expedition ship will feel almost engulfed by the giant peaks and snowy glaciers as you cruise along.
Day 10 - Baffin Bay
As you cross Baffin Bay today, your team of onboard experts will continue to educate you on the history and wildlife of the Arctic, while naturalists keep watch for fulmars and dovekies, pilot whales and perhaps even orca. As the ship approaches Greenland, the likelihood increases of spotting some of the big baleen whale species.
Day 11- Ilulissat
Today cruise into one of the wonders of the world, the Jacobshavn Icefjord – a UNESCO World Heritage site. The glacier that creates these stunning icebergs advances at over 40 metres per day, creating around 50 cubic kilometres of ice each year. The approach to Ilulissat is dependent on the amount of ice in and around the mouth of the fjord. Your Captain and officers are skilled ice navigators and the ship has one of the highest ice ratings of any vessel exploring Arctic waters.
Day 12 - Sisimiut
Today explore some more of the fjord, before visiting the beautiful town of Sisimiut. Here cheerfully colourful houses contrast against a dark granite peak in the background. If you’re lucky, the traditional Greenlandic kayakers will demonstrate the art of ‘Eskimo rolling.’
Day 13 - Kangerlussuaq
See one of the world’s longest fjords, Sondre Stromfjord, tower above the ship, and venture out by zodiac to explore the side fjords with your guides. Here you may see Muscox on-shore, and the white-tailed sea eagle soaring above you. This is a great day for hiking.
Day 14 - Flight to Ottawa
Today you say farewell to your group and guides, as a flight takes you back to Ottawa where you’ll stay overnight at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier.
Day 15 – Depart
Check out of your hotel, and make your way independently to the Ottawa airport, or as us about adding time Ottawa, or perhaps taking the train to explore Quebec.
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, muscox
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 Sergey Vavilov Expedition Ship
An example of our expedition cruise accommodations
The Akademik Sergey Vavilov 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 & Dates2018 Start Dates
* August 11 start date begins in Ottawa and ends in Edmonton
** August 23 start date begins in Edmonton and ends in Ottawa
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 $15,900to US $17,172per 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 $16,899to US $18,251per 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 $18,299to US $19,763per 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 $19,299to US $20,843per 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.
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