Have questions? We're here.
Take a zodiac tour around glaciers.

Classic Northwest Passage

Example 13 Day Cruise aboard Akademik Ioffe
Talk with an expert
Customize any aspect of your Arctic trip. 1.406.541.2677
Help Me Plan My Trip
Talk with an expert Ask a Question
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 : Edmonton (Alberta) to Cambridge Bay (Nunavut) | Embark
Day 2 : Victory Point, King William Island
Day 3 : Conningham Bay
Day 4 : Bellot Strait | Fort Ross
Day 5 : Beechey Island
Day 6 : Lancaster Sound | Dundas Harbour
Day 7 : Pond Inlet
Day 8 : Gibbs Fjord
Day 9 : Isabella Fjord
Day 10 : Disko Bay | Ilulissat
Day 11 : Sisimiut
Day 12 : Sondre Stromfjord
Day 13 : Kangerlussuaq | Disembark | Return Flight to Ottawa

Highlights

  • Venture into wildlife area, Conningham Bay, to watch for polar bears
  • Explore remote Inuit community Pond Inlet to learn about their daily lives
  • Navigate deep fjords with breathtaking icebergs
  • Discover what we know about Franklin's ill-fated Northwest Passage voyage

Ship

Akademik Ioffe

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Take a zodiac tour around glaciers. Arctic Fox Pups Kayaking the polar waters A group of walrus rest on the sand. Inuit woman

Day 1 Edmonton (Alberta) to Cambridge Bay (Nunavut) | Embark

Your journey of discovery begins in Edmonton as you board a charter flight to Cambridge Bay, a remote outpost above the Arctic Circle. Located on the southern shores of Victoria Island, today it is a center for hunting, trapping, and fishing. Upon arrival, enjoy a walking tour of the town and in the afternoon board the expedition ship, the Akademik Ioffe. After settling in to your cabin and exploring the ship, 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 Victory Point, King William Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As you chart a course into the Northwest Passage, your onboard presentation series begins, and the legend of Sir John Franklin and his ‘lost expedition’ is beginning to unravel. 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. Aim to visit Victory Point, 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. Experts and marine archaeologists all agree, the second of Franklin’s lost ships, HMS Terror, is likely to be in this vicinity. There is great optimism that it can also be found when ice conditions permit the search to resume.

Day 3 Conningham Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive at Conningham Bay on the shore of Prince of Wales 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 during low tide. It is not unusual to find the shoreline littered with whale skeletons – and very healthy looking polar bears!

Day 4 Bellot Strait | Fort Ross

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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 become apparent during this exciting day of Arctic navigation. 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.

Day 5 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. 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. Roald Amundsen stopped at Beechey Island during the first successful complete transit of the Northwest Passage almost sixty years later. This is a thrilling location for history buffs and for many it is the defining moment of the expedition.

Day 6 Lancaster Sound | 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 7 Pond Inlet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sight the wild north coast of Baffin Island and navigate through Navy Board Inlet. 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 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 9 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 10 Disko Bay | Ilulissat

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
If one word could sum up today’s experience it would be 'ice'. Truly one of the wonders of the world, the Jacobshavn Icefjord – a UNESCO World Heritage site - spews giant tabular icebergs out into Disko Bay. The glacier that creates these stunning monoliths advances at over 40 meters per day, creating around 50 cubic kilometers of ice annually. Your approach to Ilulissat is dependent on the amount of ice in and around the mouth of the fjord. Your captain and officers are skilled ice navigators and the Akademik Ioffe has one of the highest ice ratings of any vessel exploring Arctic waters.

Day 11 Sisimiut

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Explore the fjord behind the town of Sisimiut before going ashore to explore this beautiful location. Characterized by colorful local houses, the town features a towering granite peak as a backdrop. You may meet a few of the traditional Greenlandic kayakers and see a demonstration of ‘Eskimo rolling’ by one of the former Greenland kayak champions. A small museum is another interesting diversion.

Day 12 Sondre Stromfjord

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
One of the world’s longest fjords, Sondre Stromfjord towers above the ship as you sail up it. Plan to venture into some of the small side fjords that you can zodiac into and explore on foot or by kayak. Major geologic and geomorphologic features surround you and you may find muskox along the shores of the fjord as well. Soaring high above you is the white-tailed sea eagle, riding the thermals off the ridges. There are fantastic opportunities for hiking.

Day 13 Kangerlussuaq | Disembark | Return Flight to Ottawa

  • 1 Breakfast
Drop anchor off the shore of Kangerlussuaq, and make your way ashore by zodiac. Transfer to the airport and board the scheduled flight to Ottawa, where your journey comes to an end.

Akademik Ioffe

Per person starting at
$9,195
Main Deck Triple Cabins
Select a Date
Main Deck Triple
Deck 3. Two lower berths (one which can be converted to a sofa during the day) and one upper berth. Shared facilities, in cabin washbasin, writing desk/chair, ample storage, and two portholes.
Twin Semi Private Cabins
Select a Date
Twin Semi-Private
Deck 4. Two lower berths (one which can be converted to a sofa during the day), a writing desk/chair, bookshelf and tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage. Facilities are semi-private (one bathroom between two cabins) and all cabins have a window that can be opened.
Twin Private Cabins
Select a Date
Twin Private
Deck 4 and 5. Two lower berths (one which can be converted to a sofa during the day), a writing desk/chair, bookshelf and ample storage. Facilities are private and all cabins have a window that can be opened.
Superior Cabins
Select a Date
Superior
Deck 6. Two lower berths, a sofa, a writing desk/chair and ample storage. Facilities are private and all cabins have a window that can be opened.
Shackleton Suites
Select a Date
Shackleton Suite
Deck 4 & 5. One double bed, one sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters, up-graded bedding, a writing desk/chair, IPod alarm clock, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, mini bar. Private facilities. Large window that can be opened.
One Ocean Suite
Select a Date
One Ocean Suite
Deck 5. One double bed, one sofa bed & separate sleeping quarters, up-graded bedding, a writing desk/chair, IPod alarm clock, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, mini bar. Private facilities with tub. Windows overlooking the bow.

Notes

- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double or triple occupancy. Request the Twin or Triple Share Program where you are matched with a cabin mate of the same gender. Even if a cabin mate is not found for you, no single supplement will be charged.

- Twin and superior cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.5 times the shared price, suites for 2 times the shared price. Single supplement is not available in triple cabins.

- 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: Polar exploration can be unpredictable, which regularly causes variations to itineraries. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a 'guide only' and is subject to change.​

This itinerary includes:
  • Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip in Canada's Atlantic provinces
  • Transfers from the airport to your hotel upon arrival
  • Transfers to the ship on embarkation day and from the ship to the airport or local hotel on disembarkation
  • Shipboard accommodation in your selected cabin category with daily housekeeping. Cabins feature outside views with windows or portholes that open on each deck
  • High quality, eco friendly, Canadian made natural amenities in every cabin
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage with daily afternoon tea
  • 24 hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar lounge plus in cabin tea, coffee, hot chocolate replenished daily
  • Experienced Expedition Leader and professional expedition team of marine bioligists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers
  • Daily off-ship excursions by Zodiac boat breaking into small groups for shore landings
  • Guided hikes and walks on shore of various durations for guests of all abilities
  • Visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty and community visits
  • Educational presentations and talks by polar experts in their field (ie. marine biologists, naturalists, historians etc). Onboard or on shore
  • Resident photography guide available to assist all guests
  • Access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads, file back up and management
  • An emergency trained Physician onboard every voyage
  • Dedicated hospitality team including Hotel Manager, four chefs, professional bar staff and Adventure Concierge staff
  • Onboard sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi and fitness centre including personal trainer and massage options (charge applies for massage and spa treatments)
  • Sea Kayaking programme available (additional charge of $695pp) – must be reserved at the time of booking your voyage and you must have some prior paddling experience
  • Access to well stocked library full of polar reference books
  • An activity program that includes stand-up paddle boarding, sea kayaking and cycling options on shore
  • End of voyage video, photos and take home USB
  • Port fees and all permits to access visited areas
This itinerary does not includes:
  • Any internartional or local airfare unless otherwise specified in the voyage itinerary
  • Visa and passport expenses
  • Pre or post-cruise hotel accommodation unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
  • Pre or post-cruise transfers unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
  • Personal expenses on board such as alcoholic beverages, bar charges or laundry expenses
  • Telecommunication charges (ie. email, satellite phone)
  • Baggage, cancellation or medical travel insurance related expenses (comprehensive travel insurance is mandatory on all trips)
  • A voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and ship crew (suggested amount –
  • $US12-15 per day)

Included

  • 12 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 12 Dinners

Excluded

  • Internal Flights
    • $1,200 Edmonton to Cambridge Bay | Iqaluit to Ottawa (2016)
    • $1,995 Edmonton to Cambridge Bay | Iqaluit to Ottawa (2017)
    • Flight cost is subject to change
Payment & Cancellation Policies
Change & customize to make it yours.
Callie's headshot
Callie W

We Love to Talk Travel

Call 1.800.344.6118
or
Chat Now
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.
Nancy Sin

Why Travel With Adventure Life

More Reasons

Awards and Accolades

All News