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A mother polar bear and her young relax on the Arctic landscape

The Northwest Passage

Example 23 Day Cruise aboard L'Austral
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Embark L'Austral for a five-star expedition to the Arctic Circle and beyond. Set sail for the Far North to a legendary, highly-coveted maritime route: the Northwest Passage. Once the only possible shipping route between the Atlantic and the Pacific, the area transforms into a majestic white desert in the winter. Come to the "roof of the world" during this 23-day summer voyage to see the Arctic as life reappears, nature is reborn, and this mythical route is open. Breathe in the unique scent of great adventure!

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Depart Paris | Embark in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Day 2 : Sisimiut, Greenland
Day 3 : Ilulissat
Day 4 : Tugtutoq
Day 5 : Kullorsuaq
Day 6 : Savissivik
Day 7 : Pond Inlet, Canada
Day 8 : Beechey Island
Day 9 : Fury Beach, Nunavut
Day 10 : Qariaraqyuk | Fort Ross | Sailing Bellot Strait
Day 11 : Gjoa Haven
Day 12 : At Sea
Day 13 : Johanssen Peninsula | Edinburgh Island
Day 14 : Holman
Day 15 : Minto Inlet
Day 16 : Franklin Bay
Day 17 : At Sea
Day 18 : Herschel Island
Day 19 : Point Barrow, Alaska
Day 20 : At Sea
Day 21 : Inalik, Little Diomede | Fairway Rock
Day 22 : Ukivok Shoal
Day 23 : Disembark in Nome | Fly Seattle

Highlights

  • Discover the famous Ilulissat ice fjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Visit Kullorsuaq, a traditional hunting and fishing village
  • Cross the Arctic Circle, the line that separates man from lands of mystery
  • Admire Franklin's Bay breathtaking and enormous "Smoking Hills"

Ship

L'Austral

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

A mother polar bear and her young relax on the Arctic landscape Icebergs in Greenland Sisimiut Colin and Eugene Hiking in Greenland Whale sighting in Polar waters!

Day 1 Depart Paris | Embark in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

Fly from Paris. Arrive in Kangerlussuaq and transfer to the port where L' Austral awaits you. Kangerlussuaq is a settlement on the west coast of Greenland near the end of a fjord of the same name. A former U.S. military base, Kangerlussuaq is the transportation hub for the country today, connecting travelers and locals with other towns in Greenland to international destinations like Copenhagen, Denmark, and Iceland. The town is also surrounded by breathtaking landscapes and wildlife. Thousands of musk oxen roam the mountains and valleys near the town, which are accessible by hiking trails.

Day 2 Sisimiut, Greenland

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
North of the Arctic Circle, Sisimiut is both the northernmost city in Greenland able to maintain a year-round, ice-free port, as well as the southernmost town with sufficient snow for dogsledding in winter and spring. Visit the local museum with its exhibits on Inuit culture and Greenlandic colonial history. Set out to meet the locals in a typically arctic atmosphere.

Day 3 Ilulissat

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cruise into Disko Bay, a wide inlet off of Baffin Bay first explored by Erik the Red in 985, when he established the first Norse settlements in Western Greenland. Discover the Ilulissat ice fjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, at the sea mouth of one of the fastest and most active glaciers in the world, Sermeq Kujalleq. The scene is spectacular with giant icebergs, floating glacial ice, and the sounds of the iceberg calving. Take a walking tour of Ilulissat, including a visit to the local history museum, and meet with villagers to learn about life in this often-harsh Arctic region and shop for local handicrafts.

Day 4 Tugtutoq

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The small uninhabited island of Tugtutoq, a former Inuit encampment, is located in the Upernavik region. The power of this place lies in its soft landscapes, which conceal many archaeological treasures nestling in the wild tundra. After a stop on a beautiful beach, you have the opportunity to walk around ancient peat houses from the Thule civilization, built according to a traditional method. The graves of a cemetery, dotted here and there between the rocks, seem to remind visitors of the presence of ancestors in these places marked by the Thulean culture.

Day 5 Kullorsuaq

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Well beyond the Arctic Circle, in the majestic landscapes of Greenland’s Northwest, find the village of Kullorsuaq, the last bastion of Greenland’s traditional hunters. Here is where you find Greenland’s true character… Vast mineral expanses, sumptuous mountains, impressive glaciers and, above all, the local population which still lives off fishing and seal or bear hunting. Hospitality and respect for nature are essential elements in the daily lives of these men, who live an austere life. When the ship drops anchor in this remote part of the world, set off to discover these friendly people who are also talented craftsmen, deftly sewing the furs and skins of marine mammals. This is a unique and authentic experience.

Day 6 Savissivik

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Some places in this world are so magical that their beauty cannot be described in words… Savissivik, a small Inuit village with less than a hundred inhabitants, is one such place. Rightly considered to be the biggest iceberg graveyard in Greenland, it is a stunning sight to behold. During your Zodiac outing, sail between these icy giants that have become stranded in the shallows. Once on land, you can hike to a viewpoint from which to enjoy breathtaking views over these icebergs, which come in an incredibly diverse range of shapes and colors. Savissivik Bay attracts many bears and is also known for having been the home of one of the world’s biggest meteorites, but the latter has now been moved to a museum in New York.

Day 7 Pond Inlet, Canada

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
On Baffin Island, located in northern Canada at the mouth of the famous Northwest Passage, there is a small Inuit settlement at the very bounds of infinity. To get there, cross the Arctic Circle, the imaginary line that separates man from lands of mystery and wonder. It’s not so much the way of life that sets Pond Inlet’s inhabitants apart, so much as the setting. Snow-capped mountains, fjords, and glaciers combine in a dazzling natural environment that fills space and expands time. Some discoveries change you forever: this is one of them.

Day 8 Beechey Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Beechey Island, at the eastern end of Resolute Bay, calls to mind some of the most important moments of Franklin’s expedition. Sir John set off in 1845 in search of the mythical Northwest Passage and was forced to take shelter in Erebus Harbour for two long years, while he waited for the ice floes to recede and allow him a way through. It is a spectacular location; seeing the three wooden grave markers, bleached by the sun (indicating the burial places of at least three of Captain Franklin’s men) and visiting the memorial that has been erected in memory of Franklin and his men can only reinforce the hushed sense of reverence. The ochre and yellows of the rocky desert soften the landscape.

Day 9 Fury Beach, Nunavut

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The ice floe gradually appears as you approach Somerset Island, in the heart of the Northwest Passage. In a Zodiac dinghy, land on Fury Beach, a place with a rich history where the English explorer William Edward Parry ran aground in 1825. He left materials and supplies here in order to help the next expeditions that would pass by this site. During your hike around the majestic canyon of Fury Beach, be dazzled by the surprising landscape: the turquoise green water and sheer cliffs are reminiscent of the Grand Canyon or the High Atlas in Morocco. If fortune smiles on you, perhaps come across a family of polar bears roaming the enormous ice floes. A sublime hike; a sense of wonder is guaranteed. 

Day 10 Qariaraqyuk | Fort Ross | Sailing Bellot Strait

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located at Hazard Inlet (Somerset Island), the abandoned village of Qariaraqyuk is home to the ruins of one of the largest Thule archaeological sites in the High Arctic. The foundations of several constructions as well as many whale bones found on the site bear witness to the village’s past activity and its inhabitants’ incredible capacity to adapt to such isolated lands. Qariaraqyuk had a population of 300 people who subsequently left the village for reasons that remain unknown. The Thule civilization is the last Paleo-Eskimo civilization from which all the Inuits we know today are descended.

Fort Ross is an abandoned trading post on the tip of Somerset Island founded in 1937 as a place for trappers to barter arctic fox pelts in exchange for food and necessities. Explore the remaining wooden buildings of the post, which closed in 1948, and imagine life in such a barren landscape. Keep an eye out for bowhead whales. Later in the day, the ship sails Bellot Strait, a narrow and dramatic channel named after French explorer Joseph René Bellot. The strait separates Somerset Island in the north and then Boothia Peninsula to the south. To the east is Murchinson Promontory, the northernmost part of mainland North America. As you sail, there may be opportunities to view polar bear, snow geese, and from a distance, musk oxen.

Day 11 Gjoa Haven

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Discovered by the Scottish explorer John Ross in 1830, King William Island was named in honor of the reigning British King. In September 1903, Captain Roald Amundsen was the first to drop anchor at Gjoa Haven, the only inhabited part of the island, where a few Inuit were the only sign of human life. The Norwegian sailor decided to overwinter here for two years, to attempt to find the location of the mysterious Magnetic North Pole. Roald Amundsen interacted with the local Inuit to learn how to survive in these extreme conditions and freezing temperatures. Discover this small hamlet in the Nunavut region, located just above the Arctic Circle. Do not miss this unique opportunity to discover these forgotten lands.

Day 12 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 13 Johanssen Peninsula | Edinburgh Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located to the south of Victoria Island, the Johanssen Peninsula is your opportunity for a shore visit to discover the tundra of the Canadian Arctic. Head off with the naturalist-guides in search of the wild berry bushes that grow in abundance and punctuate the landscape with colored patches. You may even be able to taste some of them, such as blueberries or bog Labrador tea.

Fall under the charm of small and uninhabited Edinburgh Island, in Nunavut. Blueberries, crowberries, arctic willow, cranberries: vegetation rules the roost here, with no fewer than 19 types of dwarf shrubs, berries and flowers identified. In autumn, these species are adorned with shimmering colors that produce a magnificent picture. The tundra, dotted with red and yellow touches, competes in its beauty with the superb ochres of the sandy beaches and the dark tones of the surrounding cliffs. At the end of a walk towards the heights of the island, enjoy a superb panorama with a view over lakes, sea, and basalt mountains. It's an enchanting place, frequented by caribous, peregrine falcons, reindeer, Arctic foxes and hares.

Day 14 Holman

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Set off to meet the inhabitants of Holman for an unforgettable moment in the midst of a welcoming community. With some 500 inhabitants, this hamlet located on the west of Victoria Island has learned how best to adapt to an at-times harsh environment and a difficult climate. As you visit this village in the Canadian Far North, admire the prints and other objects created by the very rich local craftsmanship. Traditional singing and dancing are also part of the daily life of this commune, to the great delight of fans of Inuit culture. The village of Holman, also called Ulukhaktok, is one of those places in which you can share an authentic experience in a remote land. 

Day 15 Minto Inlet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Located to the east of the Amundsen Gulf, in the eastern part of Victoria Island, Minto Inlet is an integral part of the history of the Copper Inuits. The representatives of this people, also called the Kitlinermiut, are the descendants of the old Thule. Hunter-gatherer nomads during more than three millennia, they knew how to flawlessly exploit the copper deposits in the regions where they set up camp, which is what earned them their name. Arrows, knives, spears, ulus (blades) and harpoons: all these objects made with a deft hand and used day-to-day by this small community. During your visit, you have the opportunity to visit their territory, in a landscape of tundra frequented by many caribou.

Day 16 Franklin Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the Northwest Territories at Franklin Bay, see the spectacular and enormous "Smoking Hills," cliffs of bituminous shale that endlessly combust and burn. This rare geological phenomenon has likely been occurring for millennia, with layers of the relatively delicate mineral jarosite covering these hills. When the mineral comes into contact with cold air, it becomes red-hot and produces a thick, black smoke, a fantastic sight not unlike the smoky fumaroles produced by volcanoes, though far rarer to see.

Day 17 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 18 Herschel Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Canadian Arctic Archipelago is composed of a myriad of islands and reveals landscapes you only see at this far end of the world. Come and discover the small Canadian island of Herschel, a frozen paradise located in the Beaufort Sea, within the Ivvavik National Park. During an expedition in 1826, Sir John Franklin was the first European to lay eyes on these unique places and their inhabitants, the Inuvialuit, the Nordic cousins of the Inuit. It was during this trip that he named the island after one of his friends, John Herschel, a brilliant british astronomer and scientist. Herschel Island is a landmark in the West Arctic and has since served alternately as a whaling station, a relay station, and a refuge for travelers.

Day 19 Point Barrow, Alaska

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Normally dense with ice floes and fog, the Beaufort Sea opens up a 60-mile-wide coastal pass from August to September. As the voyage continues, participate in lectures led by the expedition team. Be on the watch across the sea for bowhead and beluga whales. After an outing in a Zodiac dinghy, here you are in Barrow. With some 5,000 inhabitants, this commune curled in the heart of herbaceous tundra is the most northern town in Alaska. Inhabited partly by Inupiats, it is home to the ruins of old sod houses that you are able to explore after a short hike. During your stopover, don’t miss the visit to the local museum and art workshop displaying painted or engraved whalebones. This is a great opportunity to find out more about this people’s culture and customs.

Day 20 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 21 Inalik, Little Diomede | Fairway Rock

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Continue cruising through the Bering Sea to Little Diomede, an island that sits between Alaska and Russia at the edge of the International Dateline. There may be an opportunity to disembark for a Zodiac cruise of the island, where the Ingalikmiut still maintain a traditional lifestyle of hunting and fishing. The Ingalikmiut also use seal, walrus, and polar bear hides to make clothing, parkas, hats, and mukluks.

Your ship moves slowly towards Fairway Rock, a small rocky island lost in the middle of the Bering Strait. This little piece of pebble, located off the Russian coastline and the Diomedes Islands, rises a hundred meters above the water. It is home to many species of marine birds that the naturalist-guides help you to identify: Tridactyl gulls, thick-billed murres, Atlantic puffins, and cormorants have set up home on the cliffs of Fairway Rock. Spotted seals and walruses have also found their place here and make a warm welcome committee. If you’re lucky, you can perhaps spot the blow of a humpback whale from the deck of your ship. 

Day 22 Ukivok Shoal

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 23 Disembark in Nome | Fly Seattle

  • 1 Breakfast
Located along the Bering Strait at the westernmost point of Alaska, Nome offers the rustic charm of a former gold-mining town, set in the middle of magnificent wilderness. As you weave in and out of the brightly colored houses, discover the pioneering legacy that still marks local traditions. Fishing, reindeer rearing, sled-racing - people here live doing manual labor. The surrounding plains provide stunning vantage points for observing Arctic fauna. Disembark after breakfast and catch your flight back to Paris.

L'Austral

Per person starting at
$24,870
Superior Stateroom
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Superior Stateroom
8 cabins, 226 sq ft, located on Le Champollion Deck. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area and private bath.
Deluxe Stateroom
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Deluxe Stateroom
28 cabins, 200 sq ft with private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 4
200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 5
200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Prestige Stateroom
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Prestige Stateroom - Deck 6
200 sq ft with 43 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, private bath.
Deluxe Suite
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Deluxe Suite
3 suites, 290 sq ft with 54 sq ft private balcony, located on the Le France Deck. A/C, king or twin beds, seating area, desk, minibar, private bath.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite - Deck 5
398 sq ft with 86 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living area, private bath.
Prestige Suite
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Prestige Suite - Deck 6
398 sq ft with 86 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living area, private bath.
Owner's Suite
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Owners Suite
484 sq ft with 97 sq ft private balcony. A/C, king or twin beds, communicating cabins available. Separate living, dining areas, private bath with large tub and shower, minibar, 2 flat screen TVs, DVD, CD, and IPOD, Video on demand, Satellite phone

Notes

Please note:
Fares are based on double occupancy and are capacity controlled. Rates may increase at any time as the ship sells out and subject to change without notice.

Children welcome:
- Flexible, or connecting staterooms
- Baby-sitting service on request
- Children's menus, fun tea parties, games, piano lessons and a host of other activities
- Special kids' rates

*Rates are capacity controlled and are subject to change without notice.

Please note:
  • An individual Russian visa must be obtained prior to cruise departure
  • Canadian National Park fees (approximately $50, subject to change) will be charged to your shipboard account
  • A Russian disembarkation fee (approximately $40, subject to change) will be charged to your shipboard account
These voyages include activities such as Zodiac landings (sometimes with "wet landing"), zodiac outings, moderate walks to more active hikes. All this accompanied by an expedition team of naturalist guides. Certain zodiac outings will not allow for landings just cruising. Landings will depend on weather conditions, position of ice and winds and the state of the sea. These can force a change of plans at any time.

Taking into consideration the unusual and exceptional character of this itinerary, the calls shown are an indication only. The final route will be confirmed by the Captain of the ship, who will take into account the touristic quality of the sites and above all, the safety of the passengers. His decision will be subject to that of local authorities and the expert pilots present on board during the navigation in the Arctic zone.


Cruise fares are per person and include the following:
  • All meals while on board the ship 
  • Captain’s welcome cocktail and gala dinner
  • “Open Bar” (pouring wines, house champagne, alcohol except premium brands...list available upon request)
  • Evening entertainment and events
  • 24h room service (special selection)
  • English-speaking lecturer 
  • Water sports activities (except scuba diving) using the ship’s equipment, when permitted by local authorities and confirmed by ship Master according to safety and sea conditions onsite
  • Highly experienced bilingual (French-English) Expedition team 
  • Park entry fees into protected areas
  • Complimentary boot rental on select cruises
 Cruise, Flights & Transfers program rates are per person and also include:
  • Flight Paris/Kangerlussuaq and Nome/Seattle in economy class
  • Meet and Greet by representatives at the destination airport
  • Transfers to and/or from the ship and other services before and after the cruise according to detailed programs available upon request 10 months prior departure
* Flights are being studied and are subject to change until the flight plan is confirmed and this up to 3 months prior to each cruise
 
Cruise fares do not include:
  • Any ground services before and/or after the cruise other than the ones mentioned in each “Cruise, Flights & Transfers” package and for which details are available upon request
  • Pre or post cruise programs, overland programs or shore excursions mentioned
  • Visa expenses and/or immigration reciprocity taxes if applicable
  • Luggage handling
  • Gratuities to onboard crew, local guides and drivers
  • Optional Spa package to be booked prior to your departure
  • Beverages other than the ones mentioned
  • Laundry services, hair salon and à la carte Spa treatments
  • Personal expenses, on board medical consultations and drug prescriptions
  • Cancellation/luggage/assistance/repatriation/medical insurance(s)
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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