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Take a zodiac tour to see polar bears.

Pathways to Franklin

Example 10 Day Cruise aboard Akademik Sergey Vavilov
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This voyage appeals to both lovers of wildlife and the dramatic history of early polar exploration. Trace the routes of the early explorers who sailed – and perished – in these waters as they sought a way through the fabled Northwest Passage. Your itinerary includes a visit to one of the largest migratory bird sanctuaries in the world, and you enjoy frequent sightings of seals as well as beluga whale. The mythical narwhal inhabits these waters, and you can also hope to encounter polar bears at special locations that have been discovered over the years.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Embark in Resolute
Day 2 : Beechey Island | Prince Leopold Island
Day 3 : Somerset Island: Fury Beach
Day 4 : Somerset Island: Fort Ross
Day 5 : Conningham Bay
Day 6 : Cruising south
Day 7 : Pasely Bay
Day 8 : Peel Sound
Day 9 : Aston Bay
Day 10 : Disembark in Resolute


  • Discover the mystery of Franklin's ill-fated Northwest Passage voyage
  • Observe one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the Canadian Arctic
  • Land at historic sites such as Fury Beach and Fort Ross
  • Venture into Conningham Bay, one of the best places to see polar bears


Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Take a zodiac tour to see polar bears. Ice Bridge near Baffin Island Remains of early Arctic exploration on Baffin Island Walking through vast arctic landscapes. Inuit woman

Day 1 Embark in Resolute

Depart Edmonton on your charter flight to Resolute, a remote outpost above the Arctic Circle. Located on the southern shores of Cornwallis Island, the town is named after the British ship HMS Resolute which was trapped in ice and abandoned here in 1850 while searching for the lost Franklin Expedition. A weather station and airstrip made it a strategic outpost during the Cold War. On arrival, meet your expedition team and prepare for your zodiac ride to the ship. After a welcome cocktail, weigh anchor and depart Resolute in the early evening.

Day 2 Beechey Island | Prince Leopold Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Beechey Island holds great historic importance in the story of the Northwest Passage. It is here that Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition spent its last ‘comfortable’ winter in 1845 before disappearing into the icy vastness, sparking an incredible series of search expeditions. The mystery of what happened to Franklin was partially solved in September 2014, when a joint Parks Canada and Royal Canadian Geographic Society expedition found the HMS Erebus in the Victoria Strait. One Ocean Expeditions played a vital role in the discovery by carrying underwater search equipment on their ship as well as scientists, historians, researchers, dignitaries, and sponsors. A trip ashore at Beechey Island to visit the grave markers on a remote windswept beach is a thrilling location for history buffs. Through the afternoon sail across Barrow Strait and approach the towering bird cliffs of Prince Leopold Island. This is an important migratory bird sanctuary, home to thick-billed murres, black guillemots, northern fulmars, and black-legged kittiwakes. Numbering several hundred thousand birds, Prince Leopold Island is one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the whole of the Canadian Arctic and makes for fantastic zodiac cruising. The sea ice around Prince Leopold Island is a great place for spotting ringed seals - and wherever you find ringed seals, you usually find polar bears.

Day 3 Somerset Island: Fury Beach

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Overnight sail south into Prince Regent Inlet and wake up along the southeastern shore of Somerset Island. The objective is to go ashore at Fury Beach, named after the HMS Fury, a Royal Navy sloop used in two Arctic expeditions by Commander Edward Parry. During her second expedition, she was damaged in the ice while overwintering and abandoned here in 1825. Her stores were unloaded on the beach and left as a future supply depot for future Royal Navy expeditions into the Arctic.

Day 4 Somerset Island: Fort Ross

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Continuing to the southern end of Prince Regent Inlet, find the historic site of Fort Ross on Somerset Island. A former Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading outpost, fascinating archaeological sites nearby tell a story of more than a thousand years of habitation by the Inuit and their predecessors. A transit of Bellot Strait is a thrilling experience as the currents roar through this narrow channel. You are now in the heart of the Northwest Passage. The mixing of waters in this strait provides an abundant food source for numerous marine mammal species including harp seals, bearded seals, and even polar bears. The skill of the Captain and Officers and capabilities of the ship becomes apparent during this exciting day of Arctic navigation.

Day 5 Conningham Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cross the Franklin Strait and arrive at Conningham Bay on the shore of Prince of Wales Island. This is a known hotspot for polar bears who come here to feast on beluga whales, often caught 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!

Day 6 Cruising south

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Pushing further to the south, the mystery of Sir John Franklin and his ‘lost expedition’ is beginning to unravel. Prior to the recent discovery of the HMS Erebus in September 2014, very little was known of how the Franklin Expedition spent its last months in the frozen Arctic. The vessels, abandoned in the ice of Victoria Strait, are just coming to life thanks to the ongoing efforts of Parks Canada’s marine archaeological team and the recent Victoria Strait Expedition. On Victory Point a lifeboat left abandoned, bits and pieces of metal, cutlery, buttons, and a skeleton here and there tell a story of a desperate race south in the hope of a rescue that never came. Aim to travel very near the location of the wreck of HMS Erebus.

Day 7 Pasely Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Pasely Bay on the Boothia Peninsula is another fascinating historic location. The RCMP vessel St. Roch spent a winter here in 1942 frozen into the sea ice. The ship was the first Canadian vessel to ever transit the Northwest Passage. One of the ship’s crew passed away while in this location and was buried by shipmates along the shoreline.

Day 8 Peel Sound

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Track northwards through the Franklin Strait and into Peel Sound. The area is known for its heavy sea ice concentrations, and is only open to vessel navigation for a short period each year. The high ice-rating of your expedition ship means that it is well equipped to take on the challenges of this route through the heart of the Northwest Passage. Franklin sailed his two expedition ships through Peel Sound in the summer of 1846 before becoming beset in the ice.

Day 9 Aston Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
An exciting last day is planned in Aston Bay. A deep inlet of Peel Sound, this location often features heavy concentrations of ice and is a known hotspot for wildlife activity. Explore in the zodiacs and aim to make a shore landing searching for wildlife. This evening, enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship and the chance to reflect on what has been a superb 10 days of exploration in this pristine Arctic wilderness.

Day 10 Disembark in Resolute

  • 1 Breakfast
By morning, anchor in Resolute. Make your way ashore by zodiac and bid farewell to your crew. A charter flight returns you to Edmonton where your journey comes to an end.

Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Per person starting at
The Triple Cabins.
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Triple Share
Bunk beds and a sofa bed. Facilities are shared and there is a washbasin in the cabin, writing desk, porthole.
Twin Private Cabins.
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Twin Semi-Private
1 lower berth, 1 sofa bed and semi-private (one bathroom between two cabins) facilities. Writing desk, window.
Twin Private Cabin.
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Twin Private
1 sofa bed, 1 lower berth and private facilities. Writing desk, window.
The Superior Cabins.
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2 lower berths, sofa and private facilities. Writing desk, window.
The Shackelton Suite.
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Shackleton Suite
1 double berth, 1 sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters and private facilities, up-graded bedding. Fridge, TV, VCR, writing desk, windows.
One Ocean Suite.
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One Ocean Suite
1 double berth, 1 sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters and private facilities, up-graded bedding. Fridge, TV, VCR, writing desk, windows.


- Single Supplement: 1.5x for twin and superior cabins and 2x for suites. Single supplement is not available in the triple cabin category.

- Child and Youth Prices: 25% discount for young people aged up to 17 years, and 20% off for those aged from 18-21 years who can prove they are in full-time education.

All bookings on voyages that operate domestically within Canada are subject to a compulsory 5% goods and services tax


  • 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 9 Dinners


  • Internal Flights
    • $1,995 Edmonton - Resolute - Edmonton
    • Flight cost is subject to change
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Kassandra Miller
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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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