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Amazing blue water and ice in Greenland

Northwest Passage

Toronto, ON - Calgary, AB - Example 17 Day Cruise aboard Sylvia Earle
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The icy and labyrinthine channels of the legendary Northwest Passage have enchanted explorers and adventurers for centuries. Get a glimpse into the world that captivated early explorers such as Franklin, Amundsen, and Larsen by exploring a portion of the fabled Northwest Passage. Visit the final resting places of some of the heroic explorers to have ventured here and experience the archipelago of islands and channels that form Canada’s High Arctic region. Along the way, meet local indigenous people who call this remote wilderness home and encounter enigmatic Arctic wildlife, including walrus, beluga whale, polar bear, musk ox, and the elusive narwhal. Pack ice always threatens to halt our voyage through the passage, adding a compelling element of adventure that is integral to any genuine expedition.
Kayaking in the Northwest PassageMusk Ox roaming the Northwest PassageFirst views of Baffin IslandBylot IslandPond InletAmazing blue water and ice in Greenland
Highlights
  • Discover Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Explore Devon Island, the world’s largest uninhabited island
  • Visit memorials and graves of explorers on Beechey Island
  • Spot iconic Arctic wildlife including musk ox, polar bears, beluga whales
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Toronto

Having made your way to Toronto Airport, check-in at Westin Toronto Airport Hotel for an overnight stay. At our welcome briefing this evening, enjoy a drink and meet fellow expeditioners. A representative from Aurora Expeditions will provide you with important information about biosecurity and also about the charter flight to Kangerlussuaq tomorrow. You will receive Aurora Expeditions cabin tags for your luggage. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number. 

Accommodation: Westin Toronto Airport Hotel (or similar)

Day 2: Kangerlussuaq | Embark

After breakfast at the hotel, board our charter flight to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, where Aurora Expeditions' vessel Sylvia Earle awaits. After boarding, there is time to settle into your cabin before the important safety briefings. The sailing out of Søndre Strømfjord, with its towering mountains on both sides, is magnificent. This evening, meet your expedition team and crew at the Captain’s Welcome Dinner.

Day 3: Sisimiut

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Greenland’s second largest town, Sisimiut is located approximately 54 kilometers (33.5 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, meaning that during summer, you can experience the midnight sun here. The town is famous for the old blue church with a gate made of whalebone. In the cozy museum next door to the church, you will find an excellent reconstruction of an Inuit turf house as well as exhibits of local history and early life in Greenland. Sisimiut offers hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty. The easier trails take you through the town itself, its outskirts, and into the mountains, where you will find spectacular vantage points. 

Day 4: Ilulissat

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Known as the ‘birthplace of icebergs’, this region produces some of the most dazzling icebergs found anywhere on earth. Hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Icefjord and stand in awe of its immensity. Sermeq Kujalleq, also known as Jakobshavn Glacier, is the most productive glacier – not only in Greenland but the entire Northern Hemisphere. It produces 20 million tonnes of ice each day, all floating into the Ilulissat Icefjord and Disko Bay. Conditions permitting, enjoy a Zodiac cruise at the mouth of the fjord and kayak through sea ice and icebergs. An optional 90-minute helicopter flight over the icefjord is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Day 5: Qeqertarsuaq (Disko Island)

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This compelling island seems to have more in common with Iceland than Greenland. While most of the interior is mountainous and glaciated, its beautiful shorelines boast black sandy beaches, unusual basalt columns, hot springs and dramatic lava formations. On a guided hike, enjoy a diversity of arctic flora. Zodiac cruise in Disko Bay, a hotspot for marine life including humpback, fin, minke and bowhead whales.

Day 6: At sea | Qikiqtarjuaq, Baffin Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Our team of experts entertain us with informative talks about wildlife, geology and epic tales of early explorers such as Franklin and Amundsen. Reaching the coast of Baffin Island, we may encounter Greenland’s famous icebergs. Keep watch for humpback, sei, sperm and fin whales, as well as various species of seals such as ring and harp seal.

Day 7-9: Baffin Island

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
The east coast of Baffin Island features hidden bays that are feeding grounds for bowhead whales and where glaciers calve into the sea. Sail along inlets and fjords surrounded by towering mountains that feature impressive geology. Some of the places that we may visit include: Home Bay, Isabella Bay, Sillem Island, John Ford Fjord, Sam Ford Fjord and Scott Inlet. Conditions permitting, we hope to go ashore at Pond Inlet and be treated to a warm welcome from the local community. 

Covered with mountains, icefields, steep cliffs, snowfields and glaciers, Bylot provides nesting habitat for large numbers of thick-billed murres and black-legged kittiwakes. We plan to sail along the coastline of Bylot Island to enjoy the scenery birdlife. 

Day 10-11: Beechey Island | Devon Island, Lancaster Sound

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
At a latitude almost 75° degrees north, we are now truly in the High Arctic. Here, nutrient-rich waters support an abundance of wildlife, giving the area the moniker ‘wildlife super highway’ of the Arctic. Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island on earth and features stunning geology, with flat-topped mountains and glacial valleys giving Devon Island its unique character. We may explore Croker Bay or Maxwell Bay, both offering great opportunities for Zodiac cruising. Dundas Harbour offers walks on undulating tundra and the area is great for birdwatching. A dilapidated Royal Canadian Mounted Police outpost and remnants of a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post can be found here. In the bay, walruses are often present.

Day 12-15: Expedition Cruising

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Note: In true expeditionary style, our itinerary for the following days is heavily dependent on unpredictable sea ice. The following places are where we hope to visit. 

Prince Leopold Island 

On the southern side of Lancaster Sound from Beechey Island lie the towering bird cliffs of Prince Leopold Island, a historic site where in 1848, English explorer James Clark Ross overwintered during the search for the missing Franklin expedition. Prince Leopold Island is the most important bird sanctuary in the Canadian Arctic, with approximately 500,000 birds nesting here in summer. Ringed seals are often spotted on the sea ice around the island and polar bear often lurk nearby. The shallow gravel beds attract beluga whales, who come to moult in this part of the Arctic each summer. 

Cunningham Inlet 

On the north coast of Somerset Island, when factors such as weather and whale behaviour align, you might see the amazing spectacle of hundreds of beluga whales shedding their skin on shallow sandy banks. The local scenery makes for excellent guided walks, where waterway trails lead to waterfalls and higher ground. 

Prince Regent Inlet, Fort Ross 

Sailing down the east coast of Somerset Island, you might spot beluga whales and narwhals as they feed on the large numbers of arctic char that enter Creswell Bay in late summer. An important bird area, the bay also attracts such species as black-bellied plovers, king eiders and white-rumped sandpipers. At Fort Ross, see an abandoned Hudson’s Bay Company trading outpost founded in 1937, which closed in 1949 because supply ships could not get through the thick sea ice. Enjoy guided walks on the tundra. 

Bellot Strait 

A deep and windy waterway bordered by steep slopes, Bellot Strait is characterised by strong, swirling, tidal currents that require navigation to be undertaken close to times of slack water (four times a day). Point Zenith, the most northern continental point of the Americas is located in the strait. 

Note: Due to swirling currents up to 10 knots, Bellot Strait is better transited during eastbound voyages because if it is blocked, there is the alternative to continue north through Peel Sound. On a westbound voyage, it would be necessary to make a long detour back north through Prince Regent Inlet. 

Coningham Bay 

Across from Victoria Strait, Coningham Bay lies on the shores of Prince of Wales Island. This is a polar bear hotspot where the majestic creatures come to feast on beluga whales often trapped 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! 

King William Island 

In 1859, a Franklin expedition tent camp was discovered at Cape Felix. Remains attributed to the Franklin expedition have been found at 35 locations on King William Island and on the nearby Adelaide Peninsula. South of Cape Felix, in Victoria Strait, we hope to visit Victory Point and get close to where the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were abandoned in 1848. 

Day 16: Cambridge Bay | Disembark

In Cambridge Bay, farewell the crew, expedition team and fellow travellers before a Zodiac shuttle whisks you ashore. Transfer to the airport for a charter flight to Calgary, where you will stay overnight. 

Accommodation: Delta Calgary Airport Hotel (or similar) 

Day 17: Depart Calgary

Check out of your room and continue your journey. 

Ship/Hotel

Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle
Sylvia Earle - Sun Deck
Science center

Calgary - Hotels

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$18,895
Greg Mortimer-Aurora Stateroom Triple
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Aurora Stateroom Triple
22.67m2 (244ft2) - There are two Aurora Stateroom Triple cabins featuring portholes, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms.
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Aurora Stateroom Superior
19.9m2 - 20.8m2(214.2ft2 - 223.9ft2) - Located on Deck 7, the Staterooms feature french balconies, floor to ceiling windows, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area. Perfect for polar adventurers who travel with plenty of gear.
Greg Mortimer-Balcony Stateroom
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Balcony Stateroom C
19.5m2 - 28.7m2 (209.9ft² - 308.9ft2) - 11 Balcony Stateroom C cabins - most economical, fitted with all the necessities and comfortable for up to 2 people. These cabins are scattered throughout Deck 6.
Greg Mortimer
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Balcony Stateroom B
19.5m2 - 28.7m2 (209.9ft² - 308.9ft2) - 17 Balcony Stateroom B Cabins - standard cabin, many fitted with interconnecting features making them great for families or groups. These cabins are located at the fore and aft of Deck 4 and 6.
Greg Mortimer
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Balcony Stateroom A
19.5m² - 28.7m² (209.9ft² - 308.9ft²)- 23 Balcony Stateroom A cabins - premium cabin, and the most abundant on board. These cabins are located in preferred positions on Deck 4 and 6 which provides easy access between Decks via the internal stairs or elevator.
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Balcony Stateroom Superior
29.2m2 - 35.2m2 (314.3ft2 - 378.9ft2) - Located on Deck 4 and 6, the Staterooms feature floor to ceiling windows, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area. Some of these rooms are equipped with wheelchair accessible bathrooms.
Junior suite
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Junior Suite
Up to 41.6m2 (447.8ft2)- 4 Junior Suites take in some impressive scenery from their vantage points on Deck 7. When you aren't enjoying a landing, you can relax in the suites' separate lounge area, or just watch the world float by from the private balcony.
Greg Mortimer-Captain's Suite
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Captain’s Suite
43.8m2 (471.5 ft2) - Captain's Suite - the largest of all our rooms, will take you to the polar regions in ultimate style and comfort. Complete with large lounge area, balcony, walk-in wardrobe and en-suite, you'll need to get in early to secure this suite.
Included
  • 14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 14 Dinners
  • 16 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Gratuities to Onboard Crew
  • World-class lecture and expedition team
  • Daily activity options including cultural tours, nature walks, and Zodiac cruises
  • Beer, House Wine, and Soft Drinks with Dinner 
  • Educational Lectures and Guiding Services from Expedition Team 
  • Access to Onboard Doctor and Basic Medical Services
  • Wifi
  • Port Surcharges, Permits, and Landing Fees
  • Captain's Welcome and Farewell drinks including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Complimentary use of Muck boots during the voyage
  • Complimentary Parka
  • Charter flight from Cambridge Bay to Calgary on Day 16.
  • Charter Flight from Toronto to Kangerlussuaqon day 2.
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Passport and Applicable Visa Expenses
  • Airport Departure Tax - Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service)

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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
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