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Out of the Northwest Passage 2017

Example 17 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Endeavour
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This expedition takes you to the heart of the Northwest Passage. Presented in proud partnership with Parks Canada, this remarkable voyage features visits to some of Canada’s most spectacular and remote wilderness areas. Explore Qausuittuq, Simirlik and Auyuittuq national parks, and gain a new respect for these protected areas as you experience the landscape, history and wildlife in the company of Parks Canada experts. At the site of the recently discovered wreck of HMS Erebus, be the first expedition voyagers allowed to snorkel the wreck, or observe the wreck from the newly constructed observation platform and via an underwater remote operated vehicle (ROV). Visit remote northern communities, seek out Arctic wildlife in their stunning natural habitats, and zodiac cruise to glaciers calving and icebergs towering in deep fjords. 
Hiking through the arctic tundra.The White-Beaked Dolphin swimming by the Greenland coast.A polar bear and her cub relaxing in the ice.A local stands in traditional dress for the arctic.A local boy carries the flag of Greenland.
  • Observe the incredible northern lights in all their majesty
  • Snorkel in a dry-suit 11m (30ft) above the wreck of the HMS Erebus
  • Explore Qausuittuq aboard the first expedition vessel to visit the park
  • Enjoy exclusive visits to vibrant Inuit communities
  • Visit the historic graves of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition
  • Cruise the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Places Visited
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Embark in Kugluktuk (Coppermine)

Located at the mouth of the Coppermine River, southwest of Victoria Island on the Coronation Gulf, Kugluktuk is the westernmost community in Nunavut. 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. Because the tundra is close to the tree line, a variety of wildlife can be viewed in the area, including grizzly bears, wolverines and moose, as well as tundra wildlife, such as musk ox, caribou, foxes, and wolves.

Day 2: Coronation Gulf

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 honor 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. Explore the area and make an opportunistic expedition stop.

Day 3: Wreck of the HMS Erebus

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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. Here, have a chance to snorkel over the wreck. Those not wanting to get in the water may be able to view the wreck on screen where a member of Parks Canada’s Underwater Archaeology Team can interpret the wreck using an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV).

Day 4: Usqsuqtuuq (Gjøa Haven)

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In 1903, explorer Roald Amundsen, while looking for the Northwest Passage, sailed through the James Ross Strait and stopped at a natural harbor on the island’s south coast. Unable to proceed due to sea ice, he spent the winters of 1903–04 and 1904–05 at 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 traveling to the magnetic North Pole. Usqsuqtuuq offers a lot to its visitors, including he Northwest Passage Territorial Historic Park, where you can learn about the voyages of explorers such as Frobisher, Ross, and Franklin. Also, there is a 9-hole golf course, known to be Canada’s most northerly course. Although Usqsuqtuuq is becoming more modern, many traditional Inuit activities are still being enjoyed, including throat singing, drum dancing, and hunting.

Day 5-6: Peel Sound and Parry Channel

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
As you head north up Peel Sound, get into serious polar bear country and 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, you 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 7: Qausuittuq National Park

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Parks Canada and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) worked together with the community of Resolute Bay to create this new national park on Bathurst Island. After a local contest, the name of the park was selected: Qausuittuq means “place where the sun doesn’t rise”. During the winter months, the sun stays below the horizon for several months at a time. It is a traditional Inuit hunting ground, a vast habitat for the endangered Peary caribou, and a pristine example of Arctic wilderness. Today represents an unparalleled opportunity to experience the true spirit of expedition, and become a part of Qausuittuq’s future.

Day 8: Beechey Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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, and in 2015, her sister ship—the Terror—was similarly located.

Day 9: Simirlik National Park

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sirmilik National Park, located in the Qikiqtaaluk region of Nunavut, is known as “the place of glaciers” in Inuktitut. It is composed of three areas: most of Bylot Island, Oliver Sound, and Baffin Island’s Borden Peninsula. Beluga whales, seals, walruses, Peary caribou, arctic foxes, arctic hares, and wolves all call the area home—and the park is a migratory area for narwhals. A major seabird colony is found in Baillarge Bay and Bylot Island, the latter of which contains a rare colony of greater snow geese. The local glacial activity is of particular note, as are the sedimentary remains they deposit in the sea, leading to stunningly opaque, azure waters. Though the area became a national park in 2001, it continues to be inhabited by the Inuit who continue to hunt and fish the area as their ancestors did.

Day 10: Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet)

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Mittimatalik is a bustling Arctic community surrounded by one of the most beautiful landscapes in the eastern Arctic. Have a chance to explore the town, including its excellent library and other facilities, and meet many local citizens who gladly share their culture. Mittimatalik is a famous region for viewing marine mammals, including the elusive narwhal.

Day 11: Northeast Baffin Fjords

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This day enjoy an expedition in the truest sense as you navigate the fjords of northeast Baffin Island. Baffin’s fjords are striking, affording stunning perspectives on geological processes. The Ocean Endeavour is the perfect vessel for exploring these hidden treasures of the north, as her maneuverability and shallow draft allow her to access regions that would be impassable to larger vessels. The crew is on alert for changing weather and ice conditions and uses its judgement as to which route along the coast would be the most spectacular. As ever, the team is on deck for the duration, searching for wildlife and contextualizing the mighty landscape through which you travel.

Day 12: Auyuittuq National Park

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located on the Cumberland Peninsula, Auyuittuq National Park (“the land that never melts”) transitioned from a national park reserve to a full national park in 2000. It is home to little vegetation, although plants like mountain avens and saxifrage eke out lives on the barren terrain. Only twelve species of mammal call this remarkable area home due to the exceptionally low vegetation supply. Auyuittuq is noted for spectacular fjords, glaciers, and ice fields.

Day 13: East Baffin Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today explore the eastern coast of Baffin Island or Qikiqtaaluk, the largest island in Canada and the fifth largest island in the world, with a population of over 11,000. Named after English explorer William Baffin, it is likely that the island was known to Pre-Columbian Norse of Greenland and Iceland during the eleventh century, and presumed to be the Helluland of the Viking sagas. The coastline of Baffin Island is highly indented, particularly on the east and north. Large bays such as those of Frobisher Bay and Cumberland Sound are the largest and cut deeply into the southeast coast. The island's immensity and bewildering coastline confused early explorers and concealed its geography until recent times. It was likely here that one of the great ice sheets that covered most of Canada originated some 18,000 years ago, and ice lingered on the island until almost 1500 years ago; vast areas are still sheathed in ice year-round. Today, the Penny Ice Cap and the Barnes Ice Cap are the largest ice caps on the island; they are 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 14: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today the presentation series kicks you into a high gear as you steam across the Davis Strait, bound for the spectacular Greenlandic coast. Expect to participate in workshops, engage in discussions and hear expert reflection on the journey thus far, and look forward to the exciting trip finale that awaits.

Day 15: Ilulissat

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Ilulissat translates literally into “iceberg”, and there couldn’t be a more fitting name for this stunning coastal community. Your visit includes time in the colorful town and a chance to hike out along a boardwalk to an elevated viewpoint where you can observe the great fields of ice. Cruise in a fleet of Zodiacs through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ilulissat Icefjord. The Icefjord is home to the Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier, the most active and fastest moving glacier in the world at nineteen meters per day, calving more than thirty-five square kilometers of ice annually. The glacier has been the object of scientific attention for 250 years.

Day 16: Itilleq Fjord

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The west Greenland coastline is a rich mixture of fishing communities, many islands, and complex coastal waterways. Make an expedition stop here to explore the Greenlandic landscape.

Day 17: Disembark in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

  • 1 Breakfast
Make your journey down spectacular Sondre Stromfjord, where early risers can experience its beauty. Sondre Stromfjord is one of the longest fjords in the world and boasts 168 kilometers of superb scenery! Kangerlussuaq, the town at its eastern head, means ‘the big fjord.’
Disembark the Ocean Endeavour and make your way to the airport to meet your charter flight home.


Ocean Endeavour

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
Ocean Endeavour - Cat 1 Quad
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Quadruple - Category 1
Deck four: Interior cabin, four lower berths, private bath (separate shower room and powder room) - approx. 240 sq. ft.
Ocean Endeavour - Cat 2 Triple
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Triple - Category 2
Deck four: Interior cabin, three lower berths, two private baths - approx. 200 sq. ft.
Interior Twin cabin on the Ocean Endeavour
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Interior Twin - Category 3
Deck five: Interior cabin, two lower berths, private bath - approx. 125 sq. ft. (twin)/110 sq. ft. (single)
Exterior Twin Cabin on the Ocean Endeavour
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Exterior Twin - Category 4
Deck four: Porthole window, unobstructed view, two lower berths, private bath - approx. 100 sq. ft. (twin)/90 sq. ft. (single)
Exterior Twin Cabin on the Ocean Endeavour
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Main Twin - Category 5
Deck five: Picture window, unobstructed view, two lower berths, private bath - approx. 115 sq. ft.
Comfort Twin cabin on board Ocean Endeavour
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Comfort Twin - Category 6
Deck four: Two portholes windows, unobstructed view, two lower berths - 175 sq.ft. Deck seven: picture window, partial view, two lower berths- 135 sq.ft. Deck eight: Picture windows, obstructed view, matrimonial bed, pvt. bath, fridge - 160 sq.ft.
Top Deck Twin on the Ocean Endeavour
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Select Twin - Category 7
Deck five. Picture windows, unobstructed view, two lower berths, approx. 190 sq. ft. Deck eight: oversize windows, partially obstruction view, matrimonial bed, private bath, refrigerator - approx. 145 sq. ft.
Superior Twin on the Ocean Endeavour
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Superior Twin - Category 8
Deck five. Two picture windows, unobstructed view, two lower berths, sitting area- 210 sq.ft. Deck seven: forward-facing windows with unobstructed view, matrimonial, private bath w/full tub- 180 sq.ft. Deck seven midship: picture windows, partially obstructed view, matrimonial, private bath, fridge - 190 sq.ft
Ocean Endeavour Cabin Category 9
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Junior Suite - Category 9
Deck five: Picture windows, unobstructed views, matrimonial bed, sitting area- approx. 270 sq. ft. Deck seven: forward-facing picture windows, views, matrimonial bed, private bath w/full tub, sitting area, private bath, refrigerator - approx. 290 sq. ft.
Ocean Endeavour Cabin Category 10
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Suite - Category 10
Deck seven. Forward-facing picture windows, unobstructed view, matrimonial bed, private bath with full tub, refrigerator - approx. 310 sq. ft.


Expedition Costs Include:
  • Pre-departure materials
  • Special access permits, entry and park fees
  • Team of expedition staff
  • Applicable taxes
  • Educational program
  • Interactive workshops
  • Evening entertainment
  • Guided activities
  • Sightseeing and community visits
  • All shipboard meals
  • All Zodiac excursions
  • Port fees

Expedition Cost Does Not Include:
  • $250 Discovery Fee
  • Commercial and charter flights
  • Gratuities (suggested $15 USD per passenger per day)
  • Personal expenses
  • Mandatory medical evacuation insurance
  • Additional expenses in the event of delays or itinerary changes
  • Possible fuel surcharge
  • Pre & post hotel accommodations
  • Optional excursions
  • Additional costs associated with payments made by credit card

Charter Flights:
Northbound: Early morning departure from Edmonton, AB to Kugluktuk (Coppermine), NU on September 7, 2017.
Southbound: Kangerlussauq, Greenland to Toronto, ON (early evening arrival) on September 23, 2017.

Pre and post hotel nights are available and recommended in Edmonton and Toronto at additional cost, upon request.



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