Northwest Passage

The icy and labyrinthine channels of the legendary Northwest Passage have enchanted explorers and adventurers for centuries.

Get a glimpse into the world that captivated early explorers such as Franklin, Amundsen and Larsen by exploring a portion of the fabled Northwest Passage.


Canadian Arctic and Greenland
© S. Scott

Visit the final resting places of some of the heroic explorers to have ventured here and experience the archipelago of islands and channels that form Canada’s High Arctic region.

Duration: 17 days
Starts: Toronto, Canada
Ends: Calgary, Canada
Language: English speaking voyage

*All cabin prices are inclusive of charter flight.


Included
Optional


Along the way, we hope to meet local indigenous people who call this remote wilderness home, and encounter enigmatic Arctic wildlife, including walrus, beluga whale, polar bear, musk ox and the elusive narwhal. Pack ice always threatens to halt our voyage through the passage, adding a compelling element of adventure that is integral to any genuine expedition.

Itinerary

© Michelle Valberg
© AUE
© AUE

Highlights
Stand in awe of Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hike on Devon Island, the world’s largest uninhabited island, which features stunning geology, fjords and glacial valleys to explore.
On Beechey Island, visit memorials and graves of explorers from John Franklin’s expedition.
Keep watch with the hope of spotting iconic Arctic wildlife including musk ox, polar bears, beluga whales, walrus and perhaps narwhal.

Day 1 Toronto
Arrive in cosmopolitan Toronto and transfer to your group hotel. At this evening’s voyage briefing, enjoy a welcome drink and meet your fellow expeditioners.

Day 2 Kangerlussuaq
Transfer to the airport to board your charter flight to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, to embark the Greg Mortimer. Enjoy a short tour before embarkation in the afternoon. The sail out of Sondre Stromfjord, with its towering mountains on both sides, is magnificent.

Day 3 Eternity Fjord
Evighedsfjorden, or Eternity Fjord, is one of the more spectacular fjord complexes in west Greenland due to its forested landscape. Hike through a forested valley, witness hills become towering snow-capped mountains as countless glaciers pour down from sheer cliff walls. Occasionally, the thunderous sound of a calving glacier breaks the silence in a place where you are unlikely to see another soul.

Day 4 Ilulissat
Known as the ‘birthplace of icebergs’, this region produces some of the most dazzling icebergs found anywhere on earth. Hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Icefjord and stand in awe of its immensity. Sermeq Kujalleq, also known as Jakobshavn Glacier, is the most productive glacier – not only in Greenland but the entire Northern Hemisphere. It produces 20 million tonnes of ice each day, all floating into the Ilulissat Icefjord and Disko Bay. Conditions permitting, enjoy a Zodiac cruise at the mouth of the fjord and kayak through sea ice and icebergs. An optional 90-minute helicopter flight over the icefjord is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Day 5 Qeqertarsuaq (Disko Island)
This compelling island seems to have more in common with Iceland than Greenland. While most of the interior is mountainous and glaciated, its beautiful shorelines boast black sandy beaches, unusual basalt columns, hot springs and dramatic lava formations. On a guided hike, enjoy a diversity of arctic flora. Zodiac cruise in Disko Bay, a hotspot for marine life including humpback, fin, minke and bowhead whales.

Day 6 At sea, Qikiqtarjuaq, Baffin Island
The team of experts entertain us with informative talks about wildlife, geology and epic tales of early explorers such as Franklin and Amundsen. Reaching the coast of Baffin Island, you may encounter Greenland’s famous icebergs. Keep watch for humpback, sei, sperm and fin whales, as well as various species of seals such as ring and harp seal.

Day 7 Isabella Bay
Farther north along the east coast of Baffin Island lies Isabella Bay, an important summer and autumn feeding ground for a large population of bowhead whales.

Day 8 Sillem Bay
You sail around Sillem Island, with glacial features on all sides. A slow cruise offers the chance to see many glaciers, discharging cascades as well as a variety of seals and other arctic wildlife.

Day 9 Pond Inlet (Mittimatalik), Bylot Island
The picturesque hamlet of Pond Inlet, overlooking Eclipse Sound, is surrounded by scenic mountain ranges and numerous glaciers and fjords. Travellers come to marvel at the abundant wildlife hoping to see narwhals, beluga and orca whales, ringed and harp seals, caribou and the occasional polar bear. Explore churches and visit the Natinnak Center to see exhibits showcasing the culture and history of the local Inuit people.

In the afternoon, sail along coastline of nearby Bylot Island. Covered with mountains, icefields, steep cliffs, snowfields and glaciers, Bylot provides nesting habitat for large numbers of thick-billed murres and black-legged kittiwakes. A total of 74 unique species of arctic bird thrive on this island. Due to the richness of the wildlife and the beauty and diversity of the landscapes in the area, a large portion of the island was also included in the Sirmilik National Park, established in 2001.

Day 9 Lancaster Sound
At a latitude almost 75° degrees north, you are now truly in the High Arctic. Here, nutrient-rich waters support an abundance of wildlife, giving the area the moniker ‘wildlife super highway’ of the Arctic. Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island on earth and features stunning geology, with flat-topped mountains and glacial valleys giving Devon Island its unique character. You may explore Croker Bay or Maxwell Bay, both offering great opportunities for Zodiac cruising. Dundas Harbour offers walks on undulating tundra and the area is great for birdwatching. A dilapidated Royal Canadian Mounted Police outpost and remnants of a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post can be found here. In the bay, walruses are often present.

Day 10 Devon Island
At a latitude almost 75° degrees north, you are now truly in the High Arctic. Here, nutrient-rich waters support an abundance of wildlife, giving the area the moniker ‘wildlife super highway’ of the Arctic. Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island on earth and features stunning geology, with flat-topped mountains and glacial valleys giving Devon Island its unique character. You may explore Croker Bay or Maxwell Bay, both offering great opportunities for Zodiac cruising. Dundas Harbour offers walks on undulating tundra and the area is great for birdwatching. A dilapidated Royal Canadian Mounted Police outpost and remnants of a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post can be found here. In the bay, walruses are often present.

Day 11 Beechey Island
At the western end of Devon Island lies Beechey Island. Named after Frederick William Beechey, the island is one of Canada’s most important arctic sites and is a designated Canadian National Historic Site. During the Franklin expedition of 1845–46, Franklin attempted to sail through the Northwest Passage with HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, with perilous results – three of his men died here. Roald Amundsen landed at Beechey Island in 1903, during the first successful voyage by ship to fully transit the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Days 12–15 Expedition cruising
*Note: In true expeditionary style, your itinerary for the following days is heavily dependent on unpredictable sea ice. The following places are where is hoped to visit.

Prince Leopold Island
On the southern side of Lancaster Sound from Beechey Island lie the towering bird cliffs of Prince Leopold Island, a historic site where in 1848, English explorer James Clark Ross overwintered during the search for the missing Franklin expedition. Prince Leopold Island is the most important bird sanctuary in the Canadian Arctic, with approximately 500,000 birds nesting here in summer. Ringed seals are often spotted on the sea ice around the island and polar bear often lurk nearby. The shallow gravel beds attract beluga whales, who come to moult in this part of the Arctic each summer.

Cunningham Inlet
On the north coast of Somerset Island, when factors such as weather and whale behaviour align, you might see the amazing spectacle of hundreds of beluga whales shedding their skin on shallow sandy banks. The local scenery makes for excellent guided walks, where waterway trails lead to waterfalls and higher ground.

Prince Regent Inlet, Fort Ross
Sailing down the east coast of Somerset Island, you might spot 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. At Fort Ross, see an abandoned Hudson’s Bay Company trading outpost founded in 1937, which closed in 1949 because supply ships could not get through the thick sea ice. Enjoy guided walks on the tundra.

Bellot Strait
A deep and windy waterway bordered by steep slopes, Bellot Strait is characterised by strong, swirling, tidal currents that require navigation to be undertaken close to times of slack water (four times a day). Point Zenith, the most northern continental point of the Americas is located in the strait.

*Note: Due to swirling currents up to 10 knots, Bellot Strait is better transited during eastbound voyages because if it is blocked, there is the alternative to continue north through Peel Sound. On a westbound voyage, it would be necessary to make a long detour back north through Prince Regent Inlet.

Coningham Bay
Across from Victoria Strait, Coningham Bay lies on the shores of Prince of Wales Island. This is a polar bear hotspot where the majestic creatures come to feast on beluga whales often trapped 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!

King William Island
In 1859, a Franklin expedition tent camp was discovered at Cape Felix. Remains attributed to the Franklin expedition have been found at 35 locations on King William Island and on nearby Adelaide Peninsula. South of Cape Felix, in Victoria Strait, you hope to visit Victory Point and get close to where the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were abandoned in 1848.

Day 16 Cambridge Bay, Calgary
In Cambridge Bay, farewell the crew, expedition team and fellow travellers before a Zodiac shuttle whisks you ashore. Transfer to the airport for a charter flight to Calgary, where you will stay overnight at the Delta Hotel Calgary Airport.

Day 17 Depart Calgary
Check out of your room and continue your journey.

Itinerary

Highlights
Stand in awe of Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hike on Devon Island, the world’s largest uninhabited island, which features stunning geology, fjords and glacial valleys to explore.
On Beechey Island, visit memorials and graves of explorers from John Franklin’s expedition.
Keep watch with the hope of spotting iconic Arctic wildlife including musk ox, polar bears, beluga whales, walrus and perhaps narwhal.

Day 1 Toronto
Arrive in cosmopolitan Toronto and transfer to your group hotel. At this evening’s voyage briefing, enjoy a welcome drink and meet your fellow expeditioners.

Day 2 Kangerlussuaq
Transfer to the airport to board your charter flight to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, to embark the Greg Mortimer. Enjoy a short tour before embarkation in the afternoon. The sail out of Sondre Stromfjord, with its towering mountains on both sides, is magnificent.

Day 3 Eternity Fjord
Evighedsfjorden, or Eternity Fjord, is one of the more spectacular fjord complexes in west Greenland due to its forested landscape. Hike through a forested valley, witness hills become towering snow-capped mountains as countless glaciers pour down from sheer cliff walls. Occasionally, the thunderous sound of a calving glacier breaks the silence in a place where you are unlikely to see another soul.

Day 4 Ilulissat
Known as the ‘birthplace of icebergs’, this region produces some of the most dazzling icebergs found anywhere on earth. Hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Icefjord and stand in awe of its immensity. Sermeq Kujalleq, also known as Jakobshavn Glacier, is the most productive glacier – not only in Greenland but the entire Northern Hemisphere. It produces 20 million tonnes of ice each day, all floating into the Ilulissat Icefjord and Disko Bay. Conditions permitting, enjoy a Zodiac cruise at the mouth of the fjord and kayak through sea ice and icebergs. An optional 90-minute helicopter flight over the icefjord is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Day 5 Qeqertarsuaq (Disko Island)
This compelling island seems to have more in common with Iceland than Greenland. While most of the interior is mountainous and glaciated, its beautiful shorelines boast black sandy beaches, unusual basalt columns, hot springs and dramatic lava formations. On a guided hike, enjoy a diversity of arctic flora. Zodiac cruise in Disko Bay, a hotspot for marine life including humpback, fin, minke and bowhead whales.

Day 6 At sea, Qikiqtarjuaq, Baffin Island
The team of experts entertain us with informative talks about wildlife, geology and epic tales of early explorers such as Franklin and Amundsen. Reaching the coast of Baffin Island, you may encounter Greenland’s famous icebergs. Keep watch for humpback, sei, sperm and fin whales, as well as various species of seals such as ring and harp seal.

Day 7 Isabella Bay
Farther north along the east coast of Baffin Island lies Isabella Bay, an important summer and autumn feeding ground for a large population of bowhead whales.

Day 8 Sillem Bay
You sail around Sillem Island, with glacial features on all sides. A slow cruise offers the chance to see many glaciers, discharging cascades as well as a variety of seals and other arctic wildlife.

Day 9 Pond Inlet (Mittimatalik), Bylot Island
The picturesque hamlet of Pond Inlet, overlooking Eclipse Sound, is surrounded by scenic mountain ranges and numerous glaciers and fjords. Travellers come to marvel at the abundant wildlife hoping to see narwhals, beluga and orca whales, ringed and harp seals, caribou and the occasional polar bear. Explore churches and visit the Natinnak Center to see exhibits showcasing the culture and history of the local Inuit people.

In the afternoon, sail along coastline of nearby Bylot Island. Covered with mountains, icefields, steep cliffs, snowfields and glaciers, Bylot provides nesting habitat for large numbers of thick-billed murres and black-legged kittiwakes. A total of 74 unique species of arctic bird thrive on this island. Due to the richness of the wildlife and the beauty and diversity of the landscapes in the area, a large portion of the island was also included in the Sirmilik National Park, established in 2001.

Day 9 Lancaster Sound
At a latitude almost 75° degrees north, you are now truly in the High Arctic. Here, nutrient-rich waters support an abundance of wildlife, giving the area the moniker ‘wildlife super highway’ of the Arctic. Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island on earth and features stunning geology, with flat-topped mountains and glacial valleys giving Devon Island its unique character. You may explore Croker Bay or Maxwell Bay, both offering great opportunities for Zodiac cruising. Dundas Harbour offers walks on undulating tundra and the area is great for birdwatching. A dilapidated Royal Canadian Mounted Police outpost and remnants of a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post can be found here. In the bay, walruses are often present.

Day 10 Devon Island
At a latitude almost 75° degrees north, you are now truly in the High Arctic. Here, nutrient-rich waters support an abundance of wildlife, giving the area the moniker ‘wildlife super highway’ of the Arctic. Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island on earth and features stunning geology, with flat-topped mountains and glacial valleys giving Devon Island its unique character. You may explore Croker Bay or Maxwell Bay, both offering great opportunities for Zodiac cruising. Dundas Harbour offers walks on undulating tundra and the area is great for birdwatching. A dilapidated Royal Canadian Mounted Police outpost and remnants of a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post can be found here. In the bay, walruses are often present.

Day 11 Beechey Island
At the western end of Devon Island lies Beechey Island. Named after Frederick William Beechey, the island is one of Canada’s most important arctic sites and is a designated Canadian National Historic Site. During the Franklin expedition of 1845–46, Franklin attempted to sail through the Northwest Passage with HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, with perilous results – three of his men died here. Roald Amundsen landed at Beechey Island in 1903, during the first successful voyage by ship to fully transit the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Days 12–15 Expedition cruising
*Note: In true expeditionary style, your itinerary for the following days is heavily dependent on unpredictable sea ice. The following places are where is hoped to visit.

Prince Leopold Island
On the southern side of Lancaster Sound from Beechey Island lie the towering bird cliffs of Prince Leopold Island, a historic site where in 1848, English explorer James Clark Ross overwintered during the search for the missing Franklin expedition. Prince Leopold Island is the most important bird sanctuary in the Canadian Arctic, with approximately 500,000 birds nesting here in summer. Ringed seals are often spotted on the sea ice around the island and polar bear often lurk nearby. The shallow gravel beds attract beluga whales, who come to moult in this part of the Arctic each summer.

Cunningham Inlet
On the north coast of Somerset Island, when factors such as weather and whale behaviour align, you might see the amazing spectacle of hundreds of beluga whales shedding their skin on shallow sandy banks. The local scenery makes for excellent guided walks, where waterway trails lead to waterfalls and higher ground.

Prince Regent Inlet, Fort Ross
Sailing down the east coast of Somerset Island, you might spot 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. At Fort Ross, see an abandoned Hudson’s Bay Company trading outpost founded in 1937, which closed in 1949 because supply ships could not get through the thick sea ice. Enjoy guided walks on the tundra.

Bellot Strait
A deep and windy waterway bordered by steep slopes, Bellot Strait is characterised by strong, swirling, tidal currents that require navigation to be undertaken close to times of slack water (four times a day). Point Zenith, the most northern continental point of the Americas is located in the strait.

*Note: Due to swirling currents up to 10 knots, Bellot Strait is better transited during eastbound voyages because if it is blocked, there is the alternative to continue north through Peel Sound. On a westbound voyage, it would be necessary to make a long detour back north through Prince Regent Inlet.

Coningham Bay
Across from Victoria Strait, Coningham Bay lies on the shores of Prince of Wales Island. This is a polar bear hotspot where the majestic creatures come to feast on beluga whales often trapped 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!

King William Island
In 1859, a Franklin expedition tent camp was discovered at Cape Felix. Remains attributed to the Franklin expedition have been found at 35 locations on King William Island and on nearby Adelaide Peninsula. South of Cape Felix, in Victoria Strait, you hope to visit Victory Point and get close to where the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were abandoned in 1848.

Day 16 Cambridge Bay, Calgary
In Cambridge Bay, farewell the crew, expedition team and fellow travellers before a Zodiac shuttle whisks you ashore. Transfer to the airport for a charter flight to Calgary, where you will stay overnight at the Delta Hotel Calgary Airport.

Day 17 Depart Calgary
Check out of your room and continue your journey.


© Michelle Valberg
© AUE
© AUE


INCLUSIONS

• One night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Toronto on day 1
• Charter flights: Toronto-Kangerlussuaq // Cambridge Bay-Calgary
• Sightseeing in Kangerlussuaq (time permitting) and transfer to the pier for embarkation on day 2
• Transfer from harbour to airport in Cambridge Bay
• One night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Calgary on day 16
• On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
• All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage
• Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
• Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic • beverages
• All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
• Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team
• Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consult)
• Complimentary 3-in-1 polar jacket
• Comprehensive pre-departure information
• Port surcharges, permits and landing fees
• Gratuities for ship crew

EXCLUSIONS

• International or domestic flights, unless specified
• Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
• Airport arrival or departure taxes
• Passport, visa, reciprocity fees and vaccination charges
• Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
• Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
• Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
• Optional activity surcharges
• All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges


Dates & Rates


Ship: Sylvia Earle | Date: 27 Jul 2023 - 12 Aug 2023 (1533)
Aurora Stateroom Triple Share
$18,995
Aurora Stateroom Superior
$20,595
Balcony Cat. B
$22,195
Balcony Cat. A
$23,795
Balcony Stateroom Superior
$2,609,532
Junior Suite
$32,795
Captain's Suite
$38,795
Ship: Sylvia Earle | Date: 10 Aug 2023 - 26 Aug 2023 (1534)
Aurora Stateroom Triple Share
$18,895
Aurora Stateroom Superior
$20,595
Balcony Cat. C
$21,095
Balcony Cat. B
$22,195
Balcony Cat. A
$23,795
Balcony Stateroom Superior
$26,095
Junior Suite
$32,795
Captain's Suite
$38,795

* The prices are per person in US Dollars, unless expressly specified in a different currency. In that case, payment will be in US dollars at the exchange rate of the day.
** All prices will be re-confirmed by email at the time of booking.
NOTE: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.

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