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A polar bear wanders onto an iceberg in Greenland

Northwest Passage

Toronto - Calgary - Example 16 Day Cruise aboard Greg Mortimer
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Embark on a 16-day expedition cruise aboard the Greg Mortimer. Explore a segment of the legendary Northwest Passage, a historic and captivating route cherished by early explorers like Franklin, Amundsen, and Larsen. Visit the resting places of these pioneers and discover Canada's High Arctic region—an archipelago of islands and channels. Encounter indigenous communities witness diverse wildlife like polar foxes, bowhead whales, polar bears, and the elusive narwhals. Brace for the ever-changing sea ice that once challenged this passage, adding an adventurous edge to your expedition.
Amazing blue water and ice in GreenlandMarvel at the size of glaciers in GreenlandKayaking in the Northwest PassageSled dogs on Baffin Island, CanadaMusk Ox roaming the Northwest PassageA polar bear wanders onto an iceberg in Greenland
Highlights
  • Experience Qeqertarsuaq and its black sandy beaches, basalt columns, hot springs, and dramatic lava formations
  • Visit Prince Leopold Island, the most critical bird sanctuary in the Canadian Arctic, with approximately 500,000 nesting birds
  • Discover Ilulissat, known as the 'birthplace of icebergs,' and hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Icefjord
  • Explore Sisimiut, Greenland's second-largest town, and hike its various trails with spectacular vantage points
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Toronto

Having made your way to Toronto, check in at your group hotel at Toronto Airport. Please visit the Aurora Expeditions hospitality desk to collect your luggage cabin tags and to speak with the ground operations team, who may have information to share with you about pre-embarkation procedures and the charter flight to Nuuk tomorrow. Receive Aurora Expeditions cabin tags for your luggage. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number.

Day 2: Fly to Nuuk | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
Please ensure your luggage has cabin tags clearly labeled with your name and cabin number. Any valuables or personal items should be kept on you throughout the day. Your luggage will be delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board.  

After breakfast at the hotel, board your charter flight to Nuuk, where Greg Mortimer awaits. After boarding, there is time to settle into your cabin before the important safety briefings. This evening, meet your expedition team and crew.

Day 3: At Sea | Sisimiut

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After a morning of sailing north towards the Arctic Circle, arrive in Sisimiut, Greenland’s second-largest town. Sisimiut is located approximately 54 kilometers (33.5 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, meaning that you can experience the midnight sun here during the summer. 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 can find an excellent reconstruction of an Inuit turf house and exhibits of local history and early life in Greenland.

Sisimiut offers hiking trails with various degrees of difficulty. The more accessible trails take you through the town, its outskirts, and into the mountains, where you can find spectacular vantage points.

Approximately 4,500 years ago, the Saqqaq culture arrived from Canada and settled there. They lived here for about 2,000 years, after which they mysteriously disappeared from the area. The Dorset culture came around 500 CE and stayed until the 1200s when the Thule culture replaced them. Today, most of the population of Sisimiut are descendants of the Thule culture.

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 at its immensity. Sermeq Kujalleq, also known as Jakobshavn Glacier, is the most productive glacier in Greenland and throughout the entire Northern Hemisphere. It produces 20 million tons of ice daily, 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 over the ice fjord is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Optional helicopter flight (90 minutes): this excursion is the only way to get close to the gigantic glacier. The 12-seater helicopter departs from Ilulissat Airport, sweeping over hills, lakes, and ice fjords. Land on the mountain at Kangia, in the middle of the preserved area, to revel in the incredible surroundings. On the return flight to Ilulissat, fly above the glacier's edge with breathtaking views of the massive icebergs drifting in the fjord. The views of some of the enormous icebergs that become stranded on a moraine underneath the water just outside the town offer a fantastic finale to this excursion. Please note that this excursion requires a minimum of 8 passengers to operate.

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. The Zodiac cruise in Disko Bay features fascinating geology. It is also a hotspot for marine life, including humpbacks, fins, minkes, and bowhead whales.

Day 6: At sea | Qikiqtarjuaq, Baffin Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The experts entertain you with informative talks about wildlife, geology, and epic tales of early explorers such as Franklin and Amundsen. Reaching the coast of Baffin Island, you may encounter Greenland’s famous icebergs. Watch for whales and various seals, such as ring and harp seals.

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. You may visit Home Bay, Sillem Island, John Ford Fjord, Sam Ford Fjord, and Scott Inlet. Conditions permitting, you can go ashore at Pond Inlet and be treated to a warm welcome from the local community. Covered with mountains, icefields, cliffs, snowfields, and glaciers, Bylot provides nesting habitat for large numbers of thick-billed murres and black-legged kittiwakes. A total of 74 unique species of arctic birds thrive on this island. Due to the richness of the wildlife and the beauty and diversity of the landscapes in the area, a large portion of the island was also included in the Sirmilik National Park, established in 2001. You can plan to sail along the coastline of Bylot Island, where you hope to enjoy the scenery and outstanding birdlife.

Day 10-11: Devon Island, Lancaster Sound

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
You are now in the high Arctic at almost 75° north latitudes. Here, nutrient-rich waters support abundant 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 it its unique character. You may hope to visit Dundas Harbour to enjoy walks on undulating tundra and perhaps some birdwatching. Other possible places that you might see include Croker Bay and Maxwell Bay. 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.

Beechey Island, where you plan to land, is at the western end of Devon Island. Named after Frederick William Beechey, the island is one of Canada’s most critical arctic sites and is a designated Canadian National Historic Site. During the Franklin expedition of 1845–46, Franklin attempted to sail through the Northwest Passage with HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, with dangerous results—three of his men are buried here. Roald Amundsen landed at Beechey Island in 1903, during the first successful voyage by ship to transit the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean fully.

Day 12-14: Expedition cruising

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Note: In true expeditionary style, the itinerary for the following days heavily depends on unpredictable sea ice. The next are places you 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 historical site where 1848 English explorer James Clark Ross overwintered during the search for the missing Franklin expedition. Prince Leopold Island is the most critical bird sanctuary in the Canadian Arctic, with approximately 500,000 birds nesting here in the summer. Ringed seals are often spotted on the sea ice around the island, and polar bears often lurk nearby. The shallow gravel beds attract beluga whales, who come to molt in this part of the Arctic each summer.

Cunningham Inlet
On the north coast of Somerset Island, when factors such as weather and whale behavior align, you might see the fantastic spectacle of hundreds of beluga whales shedding their skin on shallow sandy banks. The local scenery provides 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 that 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 characterized by intense, 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, the Bellot Strait is better transited during eastbound voyages because if it is blocked, there is an alternative to continuing north through Peel Sound. Making a long detour back north through Prince Regent Inlet on a westbound journey would be necessary.

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
Remains attributed to the Franklin expedition have been found at 35 locations on King William Island and the nearby Adelaide Peninsula. South of Cape Felix, in Victoria Strait, you hope to get close to where the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were abandoned in 1848.

Day 15: Cambridge Bay | Disembark | Fly to Calgary

  • 1 Breakfast
In Cambridge Bay, farewell the crew, expedition team, and fellow travelers before a zodiac shuttle whisks you ashore. Transfer to the airport for a charter flight to Calgary, where you stay overnight.

Day 16: Depart Calgary

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast, check out of your room and continue your journey.

Ship/Hotel

Greg Mortimer

Kayak in Antarctica
Greg Mortimer- Comfortable Dining
Greg Mortimer

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Book now and save up to 25% off on select 2025 Arctic and beyond departures. Bookings must be made and deposited by June 30, 2024. This promotion is valid for new bookings and is capacity-controlled. A non-refundable deposit of $2,500 per person is required to confirm your booking within seven days of reserved berth/s. Additional restrictions may apply. Please contact us for details.
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Greg Mortimer-Aurora StateroomGreg Mortimer-Aurora Stateroom Triple
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Aurora Stateroom Triple
230.34 ft² - 245.41 ft² - 6 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, three single beds, porthole window, desk area and 42" flat-screen TV
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Aurora Stateroom Twin Share
170 ft² - 245.41 ft² - Greg Mortimer features 8 porthole rooms, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms, perfect for adventurers who are looking for a comfortable base that's close to the action.
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Balcony Stateroom C
224.97 ft² - 266.95 ft² - 14 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
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Balcony Stateroom B
254.03 ft² - 266.95 f - 22 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
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Balcony Stateroom A
259.41 ft² - 301.39 ft² - 22 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
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Balcony Stateroom Superior
303.54 ft² - 432.70 ft² - With a bit more room to stretch the legs, the Greg Mortimer's two Balcony Suites are perfect for polar adventurers who travel with plenty of gear. Featuring private balconies, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area, these will sell out quickly!
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Junior Suite
The Greg Mortimer's four Junior Suites take in some impressive scenery from their vantage 418.71 ft² - 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.
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Captain's Suite
478.99 ft² - The largest of all the rooms, the Greg Mortimer's singular Captain's Suite will take you to the polar regions in ultimate style and comfort. Complete with large lounge area, balcony, walk-in wardrobe and en-suite.
Included
  • 14 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 13 Dinners
  • 14 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Beer, House Wine, and Soft Drinks with Dinner 
  • Educational Lectures and Guiding Services from Expedition Team 
  • Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consult)
  • 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.
  • A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
  • Complimentary use of Muck boots during the voyage
  • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
  • All airport transfers mentioned in the itinerary.
  • On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
  • One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Toronto on Day 1
  • One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Calgary on Day 15
  • Charter flight from Toronto to Nuuk on Day 2
  • Charter flight from Cambridge Bay to Calgary on Day 15
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • 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), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges
  • Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
  • Optional activity surcharges
  • Reciprocity and Vaccination Charges
  • Passengers traveling with Aurora Expeditions are required to be covered by a reputable travel insurance policy that includes baggage loss, cancellation & curtailment of the holiday, medical, accident, and repatriation/emergency evacuation coverage worth at least $250,000 USD.

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