Northwest Passage: In Franklin's Footsteps

The big ice and small towns of West Greenland provide a stunning start to this trip before you sail across the Davis Straight to Baffin Island and enter the Northwest Passage. This voyage offers a rich blend of history, culture, scenery and an ever present chance of amazing wildlife. Pay your respects at the Franklin Expedition graves at Beechey Island, try to spot Musk Oxen and visit some of Canada’s northernmost communities.

17 Days

$11,895

Northwest Passage: In Franklin's Footsteps - 17 - $11,895

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

  • 15 full days exploring - Greenland (6) & Canadian Arctic (9)
  • Flights Toronto/ Kangerlussuaq & Coppermine (Kugluktuk)/ Edmonton
  • Travelling aboard a comfortable 199 passenger expeditionary ship
  • Mountain Biking (additional cost)
  • Complimentary Wellington boot loan

Start from Kangerlussuaq and end at Kugluktuk

Landmarks visited on Northwest Passage: In Franklin's Footsteps

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Kangerlussuaq

Sondre Stromfjord is one of the longest fjords in the world and boasts 168 kilometres of superb scenery. Kangerlussuaq, the town at its eastern head, means 'the big fjord.' You begin your adventure by sailing down this dramatic fjord as the sun sets before you.


Day 2: Sisimiut

Blessed with an ice-free harbour year-round, Sisimiut has been inhabited for the last 4,500 years, first by the the Saqqaq, the Dorset, and then by the Thule (the ancestors of today's Inuit). Their descendants form the majority of its present-day population of some 6,000 inhabitants. It is the largest business centre north of Nuuk and the fastest-growing community in Greenland.


Day 3-4: Ilulissat

Ilulissat translates literally into “iceberg”, and there couldn’t be a more fitting name for this spectacular place. Our visit will include time in the colourful town, famed for its handicrafts, cafes, museums, and picturesque habitation. We’ll have a chance to hike out along a boardwalk to an elevated viewpoint where we can observe the great fields of ice. We will also cruise in our fleet of Zodiacs in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ilulissat Icefjord. The Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier is one of the most active and fastest moving in the world at nineteen metres per day and calving more than thirty-five square kilometres of ice annually. The glacier has been the object of scientific attention for 250 years.


Days 5-6: Western Greenland

Today we will cruise one of Greenland’s most spectacular fjords, known for plentiful marine life, plentiful icebergs and inspiring landscapes. Seals use the long leads created by high winds in this region to hunt the rich waters of the fjord. The cliffs and talus slopes within the fjord should give us good opportunities to see colonies of dovekies. Time spent on deck today should result in some good wildlife sightings, not to mention unbeatable photographic opportunities of icebergs amid mountain peaks.


Day 7 : Qikiqtarjuak

Qikiqtarjuaq, a community located on Broughton Island, is known for its wildlife, whale watching, and as an access point for Auyuittuq National Park. It is one of the Nunavut communities closest to Greenland. Qikiqtarjuaq (fondly called “Qik”, for short) is known as the iceberg capital of Nunavut and was home to a NORAD military station that formed part of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line in the 1950s. Qikiqtarjuaq also boasts a burgeoning traditional Inuit craft industry, and local craftspeople are eager to share their wares. Talented local artists produce Inuit carvings, with a particular focus on intricate ivory work and jewelry. The community is famously warm and welcoming of visitors.


Day 8: East Baffin Island

Today we will explore the eastern coast of Baffin Island or Qikiqtaaluk in the region of Auyuittuq National Park. Named after English explorer William Baffin, Baffin Island is the largest island in Canada, and home to 11,000 people. Likely known to Pre-Columbian Norse of Greenland and Iceland during the eleventh century, the island is presumed to be the Helluland of the Viking sagas. The Penny Ice Cap and the Barnes Ice Cap are the largest ice caps on the island, both remnants of the Laurentide ice sheet that once covered much of the North American continent. Both are currently in a state of retreat.


Day 9: North east Baffin Island

Today will be an expedition day in the truest sense as we navigate the fjords of the northeast Baffin Island. The Ocean Endeavour is the perfect vessel for exploring these hidden treasures of the north, as her manoeuvrability and shallow draft allow her to access regions that would be impassable to larger vessels. Moving through waters known to harbour belugas, narwhals, and other marine mammals, we will be monitoring at al times from the deck and bridge to maximize our wildlife opportunities.


Day 10: Devon Island

Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island on earth and comprises over fifty thousand square kilometres. It was first sighted by Europeans in 1616, though they never set up a base here until the arrival of the Hudson’s Bay Company, three hundred years later—a short-lived endeavour now long abandonned. The island's geology consists of reddish Precambrian gneiss and Paeleozoic siltstones and shales; a landscape so barren in places that NASA has tested its Mars rovers at Devon Island. Substantial Thule sites are among Devon Island’s many treasures.


Day 11: Beechey Island

In 1845 Sir John Franklin took his expedition of 129 men and two ships into the Wellington Channel. Not a soul returned from the fateful expedition. It was two years before search parties were launched. Aside from the bodies of three souls buried here, only relics were found as clues to the disappearance. The three graves found at Beechey Island left no indication as to the fate of the rest of the British party. In the autumn of 2014, Canadian archaeologists discovered remnants of the HMS Erebus in the frozen waters of the Northwest Passage, a discovery that has re-galvanized interest in the fabled region.


Day 12-13: Peel Sound and Parry Channel

Sailing Peel Sound, we get into serious polar bear country and will be on the lookout for good spotting opportunities. Parry Channel is named after Arctic explorer William Edward Parry who got as far as Melville Island in 1819 before being blocked by ice at McClure Strait. Depending on ice conditions, we may make expedition stops along the way among the spectacular landscapes, a perfect setting for hiking and exploring the geological diversity of the area.


Day 14: Usqsustuuk

In 1903, explorer Roald Amundsen attempted the Northwest Passage, sailing through the James Ross Strait. Unable to proceed due to sea ice, he spent the winters of 1903–04 and 1904–05 in the beautiful harbour he found—Usqsuqtuuq. While there, he learned Arctic living skills from the local Netsilik Inuit, skills that would later prove invaluable in his Antarctic explorations. He used his ship, Gjøa, as a base for explorations in the summer of 1904, sledding the Boothia Peninsula and travelling to the magnetic North Pole. Usqsuqtuuq offers a lot to its visitors, including he Northwest Passage Territorial Historic Park, and Canada’s most northerly golf course. Although Usqsuqtuuq is becoming more modern, many traditional Inuit activities are still being enjoyed, including throat singing, drum dancing, and hunting.


Day 15: Queen Maud Gulf

Sir John Franklin’s flagship, the HMS Erebus, was a Hecla-class bomb vessel, built in Wales in 1826. She was named after the dark region in Hades of Greek mythology and weighed 372 tons. The ship took part in the Ross Expedition from 1839 to 1843, and was abandoned during the legendary Franklin Expedition after becoming icebound during an attempt to locate the fabled Northwest Passage. Her sunken wreck had actually been designated a National Historic Site prior to being located in September of 2014 by a Parks Canada underwater archaeology team. Two years later, Franklin’s other ship, Terror, was located, spurring further interest in one of the great mysteries of polar exploration.


Day 16: Coronation Gulf

Located between Victoria Island and the Arctic coast of mainland Canada, the Coronation Gulf is an extensive body of water that is linked to the Arctic Ocean via the Dolphin and Union Strait on the west and by the Dease Strait and Queen Maud Gulf on the east. The gulf was named in 1821 by John Franklin in honour of the coronation of King George IV. The environment and Inuit cultural history of the region was studied by Rudolph Anderson and Diamond Jenness in 1916 as part of the Canadian Arctic Expedition. We will be exploring the area scouting for an opportunistic expedition stop.


Day 17: Kugluktuk

Located at the mouth of the Coppermine River, southwest of Victoria Island on the Coronation Gulf, Kugluktuk is the westernmost community in Nunavut. Coppermine reverted to its original Inuinnaqtun name, Kugluktuk, meaning 'place of moving waters', on 1st January, 1996. The Coppermine River itself is designated a Canadian Heritage River for the important role it played as an exploration and fur trade route. Copper deposits along the river attracted the first explorers to the area. Today you will disembark the ship and transfer to the airport to meet your charter flight home.


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.

About The Ship

  • A middle-sized 4* ship suitable for up to 189 guests
  • Well-appointed, offering comfort & stability
  • Recently refurbished in 2015
  • 1B ice class rating
  • Loan of rubber boots
Loli Figueroa

Originally built for 450 people and now capped at just 199, we like this ship for her spaciousness.

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.

Triple
Interior Twin
Exterior Twin
Main Deck
Comfort Twin
Select Twin
Superior Twin
Junior Suite
Suite
August 2019
17-Aug-2019 $11,895* $13,595 $15,095 Full $18,095 $19,595 $21,095 $22,595 Full
August 2020
22-Aug-2020 $12,895 $14,595 $16,095 $17,595 $19,095 $19,595 $22,095 $23,595 $25,095

* Note: Prices are per person. Paid in USD ($) - figure above is based on today's exchange rate. Actual cost $11895

Additional Notes

Charter flights

The charter flights Edmonton/ Cambridge Bay (Nunavut) & Kangerlussuaq (Greenland)/ Ottawa at the beginning and end of the voyage cost an additional:

US$ 2,595 per person in 2019

US$ 2,695 per person in 2020

Discovery Fund Fee

The Discovery Fee of $250 per person is included in the cost of your trip. This 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

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

From 2019: kayaking and snorkelling will be offered

Single Supplement & 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.

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

Includes

  • 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

Excludes

  • Flights to & from points of embarkation/disembarkation
  • Any additional services before & after your voyage
  • Transfers not specific to the itinerary
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional adventure activities
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses
  • Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • 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?