Northwest Passage: Franklin's Legend Cruise

Photos Provided by Quark Expeditions
Rugged mountains juxtspose the icy waters of the Arctic
Photos Provided by Quark Expeditions
Remote villages along Greenland's coast bring color to the Arctic
Photos Provided by Quark Expeditions
Hike along Eastern Greenland's red earth hills to gaze down at the iceberg-filled seas.
Photos Provided by Quark Expeditions
It may be sparse, but color comes to the Arctic too!
Photos Provided by Quark Expeditions
Travlers prepare to kayak while penguins look on
Sun deck
Sea Adventurer's Dining Room.
For centuries, fortune-seekers risked their lives to find the Northwest Passage, the fabled sea route running between Europe and Asia. During this active 20-day adventure, cruise through the heart of the Northwest Passage. Experience first-hand those islands, waterways and wilds that still yield a gratifying sense of achievement for all those who make the voyage.

Day 1

    Ottawa, Ontario

    Enjoy an included night in Ottawa (Copenhagen in 2015) and meet your fellow travelers.

    Day 2

    • Ship
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Embark in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

    Just 60 km (37 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, Kangerlussuaq sits at the head of one of the longest fjords in Greenland. Musk ox and Arctic foxes inhabit the tundra-covered plain that surrounds the town. Arrive by way of our group charter flight and then transfer to the Sea Adventurer. Tonight, enjoy views of the fjord as the evening turns to twilight.

    Day 3

    • Ship
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Itilleq and Sisimiut, Greenland

    As your ship heads north, reach the village of Itilleq, a typical Greenlandic village. Situated on a hollow, Itilleq is on an island without any fresh water. The village has approximately 130 inhabitants and offers charming views of colorful native houses along the tundra.

    In Sisimiut, you are treated to a traditional kayaking demonstration. Kayak is an Inuit word the English borrowed to describe a small vessel propelled by paddles, seating one or two people. There is time to explore the town where 18th century buildings from Greenland’s colonial period still stand. Take the time to wander through the historic area by passing under the arch formed by two giant bowhead whale bones.

    Day 4

    • Ship
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Ilulissat, Greenland

    Ilulissat Kangerlua is Greenlandic for the Iceberg Fjord. The glacier at the head of the fjord is the most productive in the Northern Hemisphere. The icebergs calves float down the fjord to enter Baffin Bay. As the ship approaches Ilulissat, have your cameras ready to take photos of young icebergs. The journey of these 'bergs ends years later, somewhere off the coast of Newfoundland. So significant is Ilulissat Fjord that UNESCO has designated the area a World Heritage Site. Listen to the growling of the icebergs as we cruise the fjord in Zodiacs. Enjoy a hike along the lovely boardwalk down to a stunning viewpoint of the bay, or a helicopter ride to the foot of the glacier. If you have a little time left, enjoy a local microbrew at a pub, or shop for local handicrafts.

    Day 5

    • Ship
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Eqip Sermia, Greenland

    Visit one of the best-run small villages in Greenland, Saqqaq. Several anthropologists have published books on the village’s original inhabitants and their hunting methods. The town gave the ancient people their name, Saqqaq. Then sail to the beautiful glacier Eqip Sermia, tracing the massive glacier front for some distance.

    Day 6

    • Ship
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Uummannaq, Greenland

    You'll want to be out on deck as the ship approaches Uummannaq, regardless of the time of day. The vista is simply breathtaking. The heart-shaped mountain that gave the town its name dominates the view.

    Uummannaq was founded as a Danish colony in 1758 on the Nuussuaq mainland, but in 1763 it was moved to the nearby island, as seal hunting was more plentiful there. On your walk through the town, you’ll visit the historic oil warehouse built in 1860. Look for the peat hut, behind the warehouse, which was still in use up until a few years ago.

    In the afternoon visit Qilaqitsoq, where five Greenland mummies were discovered in 1972. Four women and a child are thought to have drowned and remained buried in a dry and cool cave for the last 600-700 years. The mummified remains are kept in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland.

    Day 7

    • Ship
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Baffin Bay

    Baffin Bay is technically a sea not a bay; it is an extension of the Arctic Ocean, the massive body of water that separates Canada from Greenland. As the ship sails westward, travelers should be on the lookout for icebergs and seabirds gliding on the wing, and whales in the water below.

    Day 8

    • Ship
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Pond Inlet, Nunavut, Canada

    Arriving in the Canadian Arctic, the people of Pond Inlet or Mittimatalik – as it has been called by the Inuit for thousands of years – welcomes you to their town and the Artist’s Co-operative. In addition to the internationally renowned art they produce, the people of "Pond" earn their living fishing for Arctic char. Take time for photos, explore the hamlet and hike the nearby tundra to a local Thule site before returning back to the Sea Adventurer.

    Day 9

    • Ship
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Devon Island

    In the Maxwell Bay region of Devon Island, go for hikes and cruise in Zodiacs as you visit a Thule site, where the ancestors of the Inuit lived. Watch for wildlife at Dundas Harbour as walrus and musk ox inhabit the area. The abandoned settlement you visit was once a Royal Canadian Mounted Police depot. This depot is still considered active, as every year a detail of Mounties arrives to tend the graves of their fallen comrades.

    Day 10

    • Ship
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Beechey Island

    Just offshore at the western end of Devon Island is Beechey Island. There, on a stony beach, stand three grave markers, solemn reminders of the lives lost during Sir John Franklin's search for the Northwest Passage. Upon approaching Beechey Island, you are treated to presentations about Franklin and his expedition. Radstock Bay has an impressive archaeological site and is beside Caswell Towers, used as a polar bear observation point.

    Day 11

    • Ship
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Somerset Island

    Call on Somerset Island, in Peel Sound, located above the 74th parallel directly on the Northwest Passage (close to 800 km north of the Arctic Circle). Here you may see Peary caribou and musk ox, as well as the hundreds of thousands of birds that nest on the sheer cliffs of Prince Leopold I, off the NE tip of Somerset. The island was named by Lt W.E. Parry who discovered it in 1819, after the county in England.

    Day 12

    • Ship
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Fort Ross and Bellot Strait

    Through the night your ship sails in a southerly direction, following the coast of Somerset Island, just as Amundsen did. Plan to go ashore at Fort Ross, an uninhabited Hudson’s Bay Company trading post. In May 1670, King Charles II granted the lands of the Hudson Bay watershed to "the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson Bay." For nearly two hundred years, the administration of Canada’s north was the responsibility of the merchants of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Sail westward through Bellot Strait, a narrow channel separating mainland North America from Somerset Island. About mid-point through the channel is the northernmost area of the continental land mass, Zenith Point.

    Day 13

    • Ship
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Victory Point

    In 1845, John Franklin led an expedition of 129 British naval officers and seamen to the Canadian Arctic, tasked with finding the Northwest Passage. By 1848, they were presumed missing. Rescue missions were conducted for 32 years. The first skeletal remains attributed to the crew were discovered in 1859 by Captain Francis McClintock on the western shore of King William Island. McClintock also discovered the only written remains under a cairn erected on Victory Point.

    Since 1859, many skeletal remains and artifacts from Franklin’s expedition have been found at various locations on King William Island. The most recent was in 2013 when Parks Canada gathered several bones for identification and analysis, as well as about 200 small artifacts, ranging from bits of canvas and leather to nails, rivets, cans, metal containers, cast iron and rope.

    Day 14

    • Ship
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    King William Island

    Return to the site of Sir John Franklin's saga. For two winters, Franklin’s ships Erebus and Terror were beset in ice near the island. In 1848, the ships were abandoned.

    A decade passed before a cairn with a terse note of explanation was discovered on Victory Point. The questions raised by that discovery have inspired search expeditions into the 21st century.

    In 2008, remnants of copper sheeting believed to be from the ships were discovered during a six-week expedition under the auspices of Parks Canada in the area of O’Reilly Island. Weather and ice conditions permitting, we may attempt to visit the community of Gjoa Haven.

    Day 15

    • Ship
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Coronation Gulf and Cambridge Bay

    In 1821, on an earlier voyage to the Arctic, Sir John Franklin named the gulf in honor of the coronation of King George IV.

    Your Expedition Team uses ice charts, weather forecasts and their years of Arctic expedition experience to make the most of time spent in Coronation Gulf. Go ashore to hike or cruise in Zodiacs in search of wildlife. If weather conditions permit, visits can be made to historic sites.

    The people of Iqaluktuuttiaq, also known as Cambridge Bay and the largest community on Victoria Island, welcome your ship and guests to their culture through dance and song. Travelers have time to explore the community of 1,400, a commercial hub for the region.

    Day 16

    • Ship
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Bathurst Inlet

    In the area around Bathurst Inlet, enjoy a hike on the tundra among the spectacular fall colors. Here you can fully appreciate the lush flora that flourishes briefly during the short Arctic summer. This is also the area where the first polar bear and grizzly hybrid was discovered, and be sure to lookout for all three species.

    Days 17-18

    • Ship
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Amundsen Gulf

    At the eastern end of the gulf is Dolphin and Union Strait, crossed in 1851 by Dr. John Rae, his two companions, two sledges and five dogs. At the completion of that expedition, Rae and his companions were only 80 km (50 miles) west of the beset ships of Sir John Franklin. Had Rae known, perhaps Franklin’s expedition would have had an entirely different ending. Your in-depth education program provides the basis for on-going discussions over dinner or drinks in the bar.

    Day 19

    • Breakfast, Lunch

    Kugluktuk (Coppermine)

    Your final destination is the town of Kugluktuk. Here you have a chance to explore and bid the community farewell. Later make your way to the airport where you board a charter flight back to Edmonton. Upon Arrival in Edmonton, transfer to a nearby airport hotel.

    Day 20

    • Breakfast

    Edmonton (Departure)

    Today you can make you way home at your leisure or spend some more time in the Edmonton area.

     TripleLower Deck TwinMain Deck Twin with PortholeMain Deck Twin with WindowSuperiorDeluxeSuite
    Transfer/Charter Flight Package: $1,950
    Kayaking Option: $595
    - Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy. Request the Twin Share Program where you are matched with a cabin mate of the same gender. Even if a cabin mate is not found for you, no single supplement will be charged.
    - Cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.7 times the double occupancy rate. The supplement for a suite is 2 times the shared rate.
    - Emergency medical evacuation coverage for a minimum of US$100,000 per person required. Contact us for details on arranging travel insurance.

    Mandatory Transfer Package (Charter Flight) available for US$1,950 per person
    (Please note that these prices are guaranteed against fuel price increases. No fuel surcharge will be applied).

    Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.
    Arctic, North America, Europe, Iceland, Norway, Greenland, Baffin Island, Canada, Pond Inlet, Somerset Island, Beechey Island, Uummannaq, Ilulissat, Itilleq, Kangerlussuaq, Devon Island, Bellot Strait, Uqsuqtuuq (Gjoa Haven), Bathurst Inlet, Kugluktuk, Cambridge Bay, Sisimiut, Baffin Bay, Northwest Passage, Western Europe, Scandinavia
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