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Take a zodiac tour around glaciers.

Classic Northwest Passage

Example 13 Day Cruise aboard Akademik Sergey Vavilov
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This iconic voyage explores the remote Northwest Passage and stunning fjords of the Baffin Island coastline. Follow in the footsteps of the early Arctic explorers such as Franklin, Amundsen and Larsen, exploring the archipelago of islands and channels that create Canada’s high Arctic region. This is the home of the polar bear, the barren ground grizzly bear, musk ox, caribou and walrus. The stories of that ill-fated expedition by Sir John Franklin nearly 170 years ago are central to the voyage. Franklin made his last heroic foray into the Arctic in 1845 with two ships and 129 men, never to be heard from again. This is small ship expedition cruising at its best.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Fly from Ottawa to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland|Embark
Day 2 : Monumental Island
Day 3 : Sunshine Fjord
Day 4 : Auyittuq National Park
Day 5 : Isabella Fjord
Day 6 : Gibbs Fjord
Day 7 : Pond Inlet
Day 8 : Dundas Harbour
Day 9 : Beechey Island
Day 10 : Bellot Strait and Fort Ross
Day 11 : Conningham Bay
Day 12 : Victory Point, King William Island
Day 13 : Disembark in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut|Fly to Edmonton, Alberta


Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Take a zodiac tour around glaciers. Inuit woman A polar bear jumps into the arctic water. Arctic Fox Pups An old run down building with the Hudson's Bay Company sign on it.

Day 1 Fly from Ottawa to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland|Embark

Depart Ottawa this morning on the scheduled flight to Kangerlussuaq. Board the expedition ship, the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, and settle in to your cabin. Meet the expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome cocktail and cast off, bound for the fabled Northwest Passage.

Day 2 Monumental Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A cliff towering from the ocean in Davis Strait, Monumental Island is host to numerous bird species and is known to be an excellent place to spot both the gyrfalcon and the peregrine falcon. Walrus have been known to haul out here in great numbers. Explore along the shoreline by zodiac, looking for these fascinating creatures and smaller pups within the masses. Polar bears in this vicinity have been known to chase walrus off their haul out and into the water. As you continue your journey, why not visit the bridge and learn about the operations of the modern research vessel? Throughout the coming days and rest of the voyage, on board experts provide a series of presentations about the environment, wildlife, and history of the Canadian Arctic.

Day 3 Sunshine Fjord

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sunshine Fjord straddles the Arctic Circle. Depending on the weather, the ship might cruise across the circle, or perhaps you may cross it in the zodiac boats, or the more active option may be to hike across the circle. Whichever way, it’s a thrill to be above the Arctic Circle at last. This location offers terrific hiking opportunities. You may wish to take the extended hike, gaining some real elevation and wonderful views of the surroundings. Or choose to take the less strenuous option along the shoreline. The sheltered waters of the fjord provide the kayakers with great conditions for paddling.

Day 4 Auyittuq National Park

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Southern Baffin Island is wild and remote and is home to one of Canada’s most spectacular National Parks – Auyittuq. The landscape is dominated by steep and rugged mountain scenery, extensive glacial systems, and powerful rivers. In partnership with Parks Canada, venture into the park with skilled local guides who are able to interpret the flora, fauna, geological, and glacial systems which can be found here. It’s a fascinating place experienced by only a few fortunate visitors every season. Hike on shore and cruise the rocky shorelines looking for wildlife. Also plan to visit Qikiqtarjuaq, a small settlement which is home to several Inuit families. After an inspiring day of exploration, continue north along the rugged coastline of Baffin Island, venturing deeper into the Arctic wilderness.

Day 5 Isabella Fjord

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Isabella Bay (Niginaniq) is an important summer habitat and feeding area for endangered bowhead whales. These remarkable marine mammals are able to break sea ice with the crown of their head. The area also includes a shallow shelf at the entrance to the bay that provides protection for bowheads from predatory orca whales. Polar bears, ringed seals, Canada geese, snow geese and narwhal are also found in and around the area.

Day 6 Gibbs Fjord

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning enter the spectacular Gibbs Fjord with towering cliffs all around. The expedition ship seems dwarfed by the giant peaks and snowy glaciers as it cruises slowly along the dark waters. One past guest was known to liken Gibbs Fjord to a 'scene from a Lord of the Rings' - it's hard to disagree!

Day 7 Pond Inlet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The vast landscapes of Sirmilik National Park surround the ship as it approaches the remote Inuit community of Pond Inlet. Visit the Natinnak Center, where a fascinating cultural exhibit showcases aspects of daily life, culture, and history of the people of the north. Inuit carvings, jewelry and other traditional craft is on display and purchasing such items from the local artisans is a great way to support the community. Meet the local children of Pond Inlet and marvel at their athletic abilities as they demonstrate the skills and challenges of traditional Inuit games. The skills and physical agility developed by such games were often those necessary for everyday survival in the harsh Arctic environment.

Day 8 Dundas Harbour

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
At almost 75⁰ degrees north of latitude, cruise the coastline of Devon Island in the waters of Lancaster Sound – a rich, biodiverse region often referred to as the wildlife ‘super highway’ of the Arctic. A mixing of massive volumes of water from the Atlantic to the east, Pacific to the west, and the archipelago of islands to the north combine to make a rich cocktail of nutrients supporting an abundance of Arctic wildlife. The expedition ship plans on visiting the old Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) outpost at Dundas Harbour, situated on the southern shores of Devon Island. Musk ox and Arctic hare are sometimes sighted in the vicinity and there are some great hiking options in the area.

Day 9 Beechey Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Beechey Island holds great historic importance, as 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 that lasted almost three decades. 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 long lost Franklin shipwreck, HMS Erebus, in the Victoria Strait. A trip ashore at Beechey Island to visit the grave markers on a remote windswept beach gives one pause to wonder on the bravery (or foolhardiness) of these pioneering explorers, as they sought a way through the barren, frozen landscape. This is a thrilling location for history buffs and for many it will be the defining moment of the expedition.

Cross the Barrow Straight into Prince Regent Inlet, stopping to view the bird cliffs at Prince Leopold Island. This is an important migratory bird sanctuary, home to thick-billed murres, black guillemots, northern fulmars, and black-legged kittiwakes. Numbering in the order of several hundred thousand birds, Prince Leopold Island is one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the whole of the Canadian Arctic. Given the abundance of food in this vicinity, beluga, narwhal and bowhead whales, several species of seal, and polar bear are often seen here.

Day 10 Bellot Strait and Fort Ross

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Continuing to navigate the ship south into Prince Regent Inlet, approach the eastern end of the Bellot Strait. The historic site of Fort Ross, located at the southern end of Somerset Island, is 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.

Transit the narrow passage of Bellot Strait – a channel separating northerly Somerset Island from continental North America. The aim is to enter at slack tide if possible, in order to avoid a current that roars through the passage at more than seven knots during the peak flow. The mixing of waters in this strait provides an abundant food source for marine mammals. Keep your eyes peeled for harp seals, bearded seals and even polar bears. The skill of the Captain and Officers and capabilities of the ship are apparent during this exciting day of Arctic navigation.

Day 11 Conningham Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Having emerged from Bellot Strait, cross the Victoria Strait and arrive at Conningham Bay on the shore of Prince Edward 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 12 Victory Point, King William Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Heading further into the Northwest Passage, 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 archeological team and the recent Victoria Strait Expedition. On Victoria Point an abandoned lifeboat, bits and pieces of copper and iron, cutlery, buttons, and a skeleton here and there all tell a story of a desperate race south in search of rescue that never came.

Hope to visit Victory Point and the Victoria Strait, traveling very near the actual location of the wreck of HMS Erebus, all the while learning about the quest for exploration that eventually opened up the Arctic. On this, your last night on expedition, enjoy a celebratory dinner attended by the Captain of the ship and reflect on your epic voyage across the top of the remote Canadian Arctic.

Day 13 Disembark in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut|Fly to Edmonton, Alberta

  • 1 Breakfast
Your journey through the Northwest Passage is all but complete as you approach the community of Cambridge Bay and drop anchor offshore. This remote outpost on the southern shores of Victoria Island is a center for hunting, trapping and fishing. The Inuit have had summer camps in the vicinity for hundreds of years. Today ships visit the region annually, bringing supplies. Amundsen spent two winters in this area, learning how to master dog sledding from the locals prior to his attempt on the South Pole. Make your way ashore by zodiac and say farewell to your crew. Board a charter flight to Edmonton, where your voyage through the Northwest Passage 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.

Please note: Specific sites visited will depend on ice and weather conditions experienced and the itinerary will be updated throughout the voyage in order to take advantage of favorable conditions.

Charter Flights: Charter flights are $1,200 round-trip. The cost of these flights must be added to your voyage price.

Included in cruise fare:
- Transfer from the airport to the ship and from the ship to the airport


  • 12 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 12 Dinners
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