Reasons to Go
Retrace the routes of legendary explorers and discover extraordinary scenery, remarkable wildlife and unique Inuit culture.
- Set foot on one of the world’s most remote and least populated regions
- Tread in the footsteps of the early explorers amongst the myriad islands, channels and bays of the Northwest Passage
- There’s nowhere better for sightings of the Arctic Big 5 - keep a keen eye out for polar bears, belugas, walrus, musk ox & narwhal
- Visit the remote Inuit communities living on top of the world- a warm welcome is guaranteed
Things to consider
Given the overall time and cost factors involved with a once-in-a-lifetime trip like this, choosing exactly the right trip for you is crucial. Here are a few tips on key areas you should be considering:
- The limited number of cruises and strong demand means booking 12 -18 months ahead is recommended
- Most depart in August/ September when late summer ice allows safe passage through the narrow channels
- There’s no definitive route to traversing the Northwest Passage, so focus on the planned landings
- The distances are significant - trips range from 13 -17 days - which means ship speed is significant
- Northwest Passage cruises typically start or finish in West Greenland, providing interesting contrast
- When to go & the direction of travel are important variables worth considering as they both carry influence
- Due to the logistical challenges of travelling in such a remote area, the distances covered and the overall duration, these trips aren't low cost. Prices start from around USD$9,600 per person. On top of the actual voyage cost, there’s an additional mandatory charter flight package which can add on USD$1,500 - $2,500 per person, depending on the routing.
Discover The Northwest Passage
Northwest Passage Ships
With zero infrastructure or hotels outside the Northwest Passage’s few scattered communities, exploring the icy channels by expedition ship is ideal, providing flexible …
Northwest Passage Landing Sites
Expedition cruising provides a fully immersive and educational Arctic experience of which the daily landings are a key component. From the thrill of encountering Arctic wildlife…
Northwest Passage Wildlife
The Northwest Passage is most closely associated with history, however this overshadows its impressive wildlife. Home to iconic Arctic wildlife - polar bear, musk ox, narwhal, …
There’s nowhere else in the entire Arctic Region which can deliver such a heady cocktail of history, wildlife, scenery & northern hospitality.
Plan your trip
When to Visit The Northwest Passage
While the window of opportunity to explore the Northwest Passage each year is narrow, it's important to understand the nuances between these key months in terms of both wildlife…
Getting to The Northwest Passage
The Northwest Passage, a beautiful and sparsely populated labyrinth of islands stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Vast distances and limited transport means …
The search for the Northwest Passage is one of the greatest stories in the annals of exploration, capturing the imagination of generations. But this watery labyrinth is much …
Help Me Choose
We're all clear on where the Arctic is located and why we want to visit, but its vastness and the sheer variety of experiences on offer can be a real challenge when deciding …
Trips to the Northwest Passage
This comprehensive westbound voyage stands out for its compelling combination of West Greenland, in-depth exploration of remote Baffin Island and the historic Northwest Passage. Jaw dropping scenery, towering icebergs, thrilling wildlife encounters, Inuit community visits and fascinating history pervade this…
Traversing the heart of the Northwest Passage this compact trip focuses on the region’s fascinating history and wildlife. Planned visits to numerous locations linked to the Franklin expedition, narrated by onboard historians, combine with renowned wildlife hotspots such as Lancaster…
Spending equal time exploring Canada’s historic Northwest Passage and West Greenland, we like this voyage’s balance and variety as much as exploring little visited places like Thule, one of the northernmost towns in the world. Big ice, rich history, exotic…
Initially heading northwards up the West Greenland coastline before exploring Baffin Island and traversing the Northwest Passage, this voyage offers a rich blend of history, culture, scenery and wildlife. Pay your respects at the Franklin Expedition graves at Beechey Island,…
Northwest Passage Cruises: Your Questions Answered
The Northwest Passage is a sea route connecting the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans via waterways through the islands of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Explorers for centuries sought the existence of a navigable passage, however it wasn’t until 1903–1906 when the Norwegian Roald Amundsen proved it with the first successful transit.
Edmonton and Ottawa are the main international gateways for onward scheduled and charter flights to the start and end points further north, which are typically Cambridge Bay, Resolute, Kugluktuk (Coppermine) or Kangerlussuaq in West Greenland. See more.
The search for the fabled Northwest Passage stretched across four centuries and is a fascinating story of failure, disaster and tragedy, but also of great heroism and endurance which continues to resonate and be of great interest. Recent changes in Arctic climate and the viability of an ice free Northwest Passage for commercial shipping has further peaked interest in this incredibly rich historical region.
The wildlife in The Arctic isn’t as plentiful and guaranteed as it is in Antarctica, however it is there and can be seen with patience and tenacity.