Northwest Passage, Ellesmere & West Greenland

Traversing west to east this voyage takes you to iconic sites such as Cambridge Bay, Lancaster and Smith Sounds and Ellesmere Island, before exploring the fjords and towns of West Greenland. Bears, narwhal, musk ox, beluga and northern lights are all possibilities along the way.
17 Days

Northwest Passage, Ellesmere & West Greenland - 17 Days - $11,995

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

  • 15 full days exploring - Canada (10)  & Greenland (5)
  • Visit key Franklin sites including the resting spot of HMS Erebus
  • Reach Canada's Ellesmere Island and explore Smith Sound which separates it from Greenland
  • Explore the ice of the UNESCO World Heritage site at Ilulissat and Disko Bay
  • Travel aboard a comfortable 199 passenger expeditionary ship
  • Kayaking available for adventurous travellers (additional cost)
  • Complimentary rubber boot loan

Start from Kugluktuk and end at Kangerlussuaq

Landmarks potentially visited on Northwest Passage, Ellesmere & West Greenland

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1 - Kugluktuk (Coppermine):

Located at the mouth of the Coppermine River, Kugluktuk is the westernmost community in Nunavut. Known for many years as Coppermine, the community reverted to its original Inuinnaqtun name—meaning “place of moving waters”—on January 1st, 1996. Our charter flight will land in Kugluktuk and we will embark Ocean Endeavour by Zodiac. Iqaluktuuttiaq (Cambridge Bay), is an alternate embarkation point, and may be used based on sea, ice and weather conditions.

Days 2 to 4: Kitikmeot Region:

The Kitikmeot Region consists of parts of Victoria Island, the adjacent part of the mainland as far as the Boothia Peninsula, King William Island, and the southern portion of Prince of Wales Island. Recently, the Kitikmeot Region has been in the news since the finding of the lost ships of the Franklin Expedition in its waters. It is Nunavut’s least-populated region, though wildlife abounds here both in the sea and on land. We'll explore by Zodiac and on foot.

Days 5 to 7 - Pringe Regent Inlet:

This passage marks an area rich in marine and avian life. Thick-billed murres, ivory gulls, beluga, narwhal and bowhead whales reside in the ice-strewn waters. In addition to abundant wildlife, we’ll delve deeper into the exploration of the Northwest Passage and the mercantile efforts of the Hudson's Bay Company. 

Day 8 - Beechey Island

In 1845, Sir John Franklin set out from England with HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, attempting to sail through the Northwest Passage. His crew overwintered at Beechey Island where three of his men died. Numerous search parties later used Beechey as a depot and rendezvous. Amundsen, Bernier, and Larsen visited Beechey. Thomas Morgan of HMS Investigator was buried there in 1854 alongside Franklin’s men. The graves and the ruins of Northumberland House are a haunting memorial.

Day 9 - Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound):

We will spend the day exploring Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound), one of Canada's newest National Marine Conservation Areas. Large populations of marine mammals, including narwhal, beluga, and bowhead whales transit and feed in this area. There is a great selection of landing sites available to choose from, depending on weather, wildlife, and sea conditions.

Day 10 - Aujuittuq (Grise Ford):

Aujuittuq means ‘place that never thaws. 1,150 kilometres above the Arctic Circle, Canada’s northernmost “civilian” community originated in the Cold War; in 1953, Inuit were relocated to Aujuittuq to boost Canadian sovereignty. We’ll be welcomed into the hamlet, where we will have a chance to meet members of the community, learn about their way of life, and hear their poignant stories.

Day 11 - Smith Sound:

Smith Sound, an ancient Inuit travel route, divides Ellesmere Island from Greenland, and served as the main route for explorers and adventurers searching for the North Pole. Adolphus Greely, Sir George Nares and Elisha Kent Kane all travelled these waters with varying degrees of success. 

Day 12 - At Sea:

On this exploration day, we’ll be making the most of what the wind, weather and wildlife have to offer. Our expedition staff will scan for polar bears, walrus, whales, seals, and seabirds as we go.

Days 13 & 14 - Northwest Greenland

We will explore stunning fjords that line the coast. Glaciers and icebergs abound here. In true expedition style, we will seek opportunities to hike, explore, and view wildlife as conditions allow.

Day 15 - Ilulissat:

Ilulissat translates literally into “iceberg”, an apt name for this site at the mouth of the Ilulissat Icefjord—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The icefjord is the outlet of the Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier, source of many of the icebergs in the North Atlantic. Here, we will cruise in Zodiacs to appreciate the icebergs. And we’ll visit the bustling town of Ilulissat, with its museums, cafes, craft shops, and busy fishing harbour.

Day 16 - Itilleq Fjord:

The west Greenland coastline is a rich mixture of islands and complex coastal waterways. As we enter the Arctic autumn, the tundra foliage will be in gorgeous colour. We will be making an expedition stop here to explore the landscape of wild Greenland.

Day 17 - Kangerlussuaq:

Sondre Stromfjord is one of the longest fjords in the world and boasts 168 kilometres of superb scenery. We end our adventure by sailing up this dramatic fjord. Kangerlussuaq, the town at its eastern head, is a former US Air Force base and Greenland’s primary flight hub. Here we will disembark our vessel for the return charter flight to Toronto.

Please note:This itinerary is for guidance only as each voyage will vary depending on ice and weather conditions, and opportunities to see wildlife. Flexibility is key and all part of the adventure of an expeditionary cruise.

Customer review background image

What our customers think of Northwest Passage, Ellesmere & West Greenland

Keep in mind that itineraries are a guide and embrace the changes that weather, wind and ice bring to each voyage. Landing in areas where things are uncharted and new to even the most experienced expedition staff is all part of the adventure.

Travelled: September 2018

Elaine Green - United States Of America

The landscape was fantastic and seeing the Inuit villages was both inspiring and entertaining.

Travelled: August 2018

Pat Clark - United States of America


I love this really stable ship for the huge amounts of space from which to take in your surroundings either on deck or in a cosy lounge. 

Loli Figueroa Polar Specialist

Prices, Departures and Inclusions

Prices quoted below are per person based on 2 people sharing. Cabin availability changes all the time so please contact us for up-to-date details and information on specific cabin availability.

Additional Notes

Charter flights

The charter flights at the beginning and end of the voyage cost an additional USD $2,695 per person. The flights are outward: Calgary to Kugluktuk (Coppermine) and return: Kangerlussuaq to Toronto

Discovery Fund Fee

The Discovery Fee is a contribution of $250 per person that is included in the cost of your trip. It is used to support local projects in the areas you will be travelling through, helping to ensure the longevity and success of educational, environmental and cultural initiatives in the regions we visit. 

Optional Adventure Activities

Kayaking is available for those who want to get close to the water and see the Arctic from a different angle. The cost for this full program is US$695 per person.

Mountain Biking - typically only during community visits and not on expedition stops, due to polar bears. $40 CDN per rental paid onboard.

Single Supplement And Child Policy

For those travelling solo there are dedicated single cabins available. The single supplement for your own twin cabin is 1.7 times the cost of a single berth.

Young travellers are very much welcome with no minimum age requirement. Children under 2 years old travel for free, ages 3 & 4 only pay the charter flight cost and ages 5 - 30 receive a 30% discount off the cost of the berth.


  • Voyage aboard the vessel as indicated in the itinerary
  • Accommodation during the voyage on full board basis
  • All shore excursions and zodiac activities
  • Educational lectures by expert onboard polar guides
  • Access to an onboard doctor and basic medical services
  • Loan of rubber boots for the voyage's duration
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Port taxes and any entry fees to historic landing sites


  • Flights to and from points of embarkation/disembarkation
  • Any additional services before and after your voyage
  • Transfers not specific to the itinerary
  • Optional adventure activities (e.g. mountain biking)
  • Discovery Fund Fee - Out of the Northwest fee
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses
  • Airport arrival and departure taxes
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature (laundry, beverages, etc.)
  • Customary staff gratuity at the end of the voyage
  • Additional onboard purchases (i.e. gift shop)

Questions about this Voyage?