Days
17
Price from
£9,700GBP

Follow in the footsteps of legendary arctic explorers through the Northwest Passage

Take flight from Ottawa and journey back in time on an exploration of the High Arctic. As a modern day adventurer on this new 17-day exploration, trace the route of Sir John Franklin’s fateful mid-19th century expedition to find the fabled Northwest Passage. Cruise on waters that few have sailed and set foot on lands that even fewer have walked, taking in incredible untouched scenery, searching for wildlife, and getting up close to fjords, glaciers and icebergs. Follow the coast of the islands of the Canadian High Arctic to see the graves of lost explorers, polar bear research stations, traditional Inuit communities, walrus waters and archaeological sites. Cross Baffin Bay to Greenland – a region ruled by ice – and see mountains towering over colourful settlements, soaring glaciers, and huge ice shards be born into icebergs. Hike the tundra and mountains, and glide a kayak along the surface of a bay in the presence of icebergs and glaciers. This is a new legend to add to the stories of the Northwest Passage.


Start
Ottawa, Canada
Finish
Ottawa, Canada
Countries
Canada, Greenland
Style
Peregrine
Code
PPNWE
Physical rating
Ages
Min 8
Group size
Min 1, Max 132

Why we love this trip

  • Experience the highlights of both the Canadian Arctic and Greenland, from historic Canadian and Inuit sites to former Mountie outposts, glaciers and fjords

  • Enjoy encounters with the Arctic’s impressive wildlife, including whales, walrus and muskoxen

  • Meet the locals of traditional Inuit and Greenlandic communities

  • Witness the birth of icebergs at as you cruise along the face of the World Heritage Ilulissat Icefjord

  • Boarding Zodiacs and kayaks will allow you to get even closer to the Arctic’s spectacular scenery

Is this trip right for you?

  • As you’d expect, temperatures in the Arctic are very cold. A warm parka will be provided along with waterproof boots and unlimited hot drinks, but you should also bring base layers and lots of warm clothing. Please see the trip notes for further important information about what to bring.

  • Weather depending, you will be making regular excursions in a Zodiac boat to explore the local area and look for wildlife. It can get very cold and wet on the Zodiac, so make sure you are dressed appropriately and that you keep your camera safe and dry. Sturdy sea legs are needed as you make wet and dry landings from the boat, and on steep terrain, snow and other uneven surfaces. Some ships have a lot of stairs, so please hold on to the handrails if seas are rough.

  • The weather plays a pivotal part in this adventure and although there’s an itinerary in place, there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to do everything that is planned for. A level of flexibility and openness to embracing the unexpected are important in expedition travel, especially to such a remote area.

  • Polar bears are one of the most incredible and appealing animals on the planet, but they are also powerful predators with little fear of humans. Therefore it’s necessary to be aware of the guidelines surrounding any contact with Polar bears. Follow your leader’s instructions and do not stray from your group – your leader carries equipment to protect you.

Itinerary

Welcome to Ottawa, where your Arctic adventure begins. Arrive into the city any time today, and independently transfer to the group hotel (accommodation for the night is included). On arrival at the hotel, you'll receive a welcome letter outlining the departure information for the following day’s flight. An agent will be available in the lobby to answer any questions you may have.

There’s plenty to see and do if you arrive early into Canada's capital. Browse the artwork in the beautiful National Gallery of Canada, take a stroll along Rideau Canal or soak up the buzzy atmosphere of ByWard Market.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
No arrival transfer is included. Please make your own way to the joining hotel. Full details of the hotel will be provided in your final documentation. You can arrive at any time on Day 1. A Quark representative will be in the hotel lobby in the evening to provide information on the arrangements for the following day.
This morning, board your charter flight to Resolute. Upon arrival, you’ll have a chance to walk around this small arctic town before enjoying your first of many Zodiac cruises as you’re transferred to your ship.

It's important to note that on the flight to Resolute, there's a strict luggage limit: 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of checked luggage and five kilograms (11 pounds) of cabin baggage. Should you have additional luggage, it can be stored at the hotel in Ottawa (you can't take it with you on the plane).

Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Remote and rich in history, the Canadian High Arctic is as awe inspiring as it is informative.
Named after explorer Frederick William Beechey, of the Royal Navy, Beechey Island is a Canadian National Historic Site. It’s an important stop on our voyage, as this is the final resting place of three members of Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated 1845–46 expedition to find the Northwest Passage. The graves, on a remote windswept beach, were discovered in 1851 by the crew of British and American vessels searching for signs of Franklin’s lost expedition.

Radstock Bay is a popular research location for observing polar bears, which are often seen here in summer. An impressive Thule archaeological site provides insight into how these pre-Inuit people lived in the Far North.

For almost 5,000 years, the hamlet of Arctic Bay and its surrounding area has been occupied by Inuit nomads migrating from the west. Surrounded by soaring cliffs teeming with seabirds, this is a great spot to go ashore and learn about the Inuit community’s traditional way of life. The eastern end of Lancaster Sound affords numerous hiking opportunities on Devon Island. We’ll anchor at Croker Bay, where we’ll Zodiac cruise along the face of an active glacier. We’ll try to keep a safe distance, but still hope to get close enough to appreciate the splendor of calving ice. Walrus frequent the waters here, so be sure to have your camera handy. A hike to a nearby archaeological site is another possible excursion. At Dundas Harbour, trek along a beach to a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police outpost. Encounters with muskoxen are possible here.
Canada’s most northern settlement, Grise Fjord will be your final shore visit in the Canadian High Arctic. Now home to about 150 residents, the traditional, mostly Inuit community was created in 1953, when the federal government resettled eight Inuit families from northern Quebec. Hunting and fishing are a significant part of their way of life. Visit the monument to the first Inuit settlers, as well as the remnants of the “old camp” where they lived.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (4)
  • Lunch (4)
  • Dinner (4)
Before saying goodbye to Canada, we’ll try to cruise as far north as possible, exploring both sides of Smith Sound, the uninhabited passage between Ellesmere Island and Greenland.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Your first stop in Greenland is Qaanaaq, formerly known as Thule, one of the northernmost towns in the world (there’s a reason ancient philosophers called it Ultima Thule, or “edge of known territory”). Here, local Inuit share their culture and traditions, and the museum sheds more light on what it’s like living near the top of the world.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
As we sail south along the west coast of Greenland, presentations by our onboard experts will prepare you for the adventures that lie ahead.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
With spectacular glaciers, soaring fjords and vibrant communities, the west coast of Greenland will leave you breathless.
Nuussuaq (formerly known as Kraulshavn) is the only mainland community in the Upernavik Archipelago. Founded in 1923 as a trading station, it’s one of the most traditional hunting and fishing villages in Greenland .
It’s not surprising that the red-hued, heart-shaped mountain that rises up behind Uummannaq gave the traditional community its name (Uummannaq means “heart-like” in Greenlandic). As your ship approaches the shore, you’ll want to be on deck to take in the incredible view of the twin peaks towering over the vibrantly painted wooden houses dotting the rocky terrain below. The settlement was established as a Danish colony in 1758 on the mainland, but it relocated five years later because seal hunting was more plentiful here.
In the nearby archaeological site of Qilaqitsoq (also known as Qilakitsoq), you’ll visit the ruins of an ancient settlement, where the remains of eight fully dressed mummies were discovered under a rock outcrop in 1972 by a pair of hunters. The famous Greenlandic mummies, which date back to 1475 AD, are on view at the Greenland National Museum in Nuuk.
Cruising farther south rewards with spectacular views of Eqip Sermia. The jagged, blue-tinged glacier soaring out of the crystal-clear water is one of the most beautiful sights in Greenland, and we hope to Zodiac cruise along its massive front from a safe distance. We may also go ashore to explore nearby.
Just south of Ilulissat, which means “iceberg” in Greenlandic, is the impressive Ilulissat Icefjord. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to Sermeq Kujalleq, the most productive glacier in the northern hemisphere. As we Zodiac cruise at the mouth of the fjord, you may be lucky to witness the wonders of calving ice (listen to the loud roars as the ice breaks off). Founded in 1741, the traditional town, which boasts more sled dogs than people, is famous in its own right: it was the birthplace of explorer Knud Rasmussen, the first to traverse the Northwest Passage by dogsled, in the early 1920s . Hikes here lead out to stunning views of the young icebergs as float out the fjord to Disko Bay .
In Sisimiut, you’ll be treated to a traditional kayaking demonstration. The kayak (an Inuit word that the English borrowed) is Greenland’s national symbol and can be traced back to the country’s first immigrants, who used vessels that resemble the narrow one- or two-person boats. The town has several 18th-century colonial buildings, including the oldest surviving church in Greenland, so take time to wander through the historic area. You’ll also have a chance to hike amongst the area’s surrounding mountains.
Situated in a scenic hollow on a small island with no freshwater, the colourful community of Itilleq, which has about 130 inhabitants, is surrounded by sea, mountains and fjords. The final excursion of your arctic adventure may be a hike around Itilleq Fjord.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (5)
  • Lunch (5)
  • Dinner (5)
Enjoy one more Zodiac ride to shore, where you’ll board your charter flight back to Ottawa, Canada. Upon arrival in Ottawa, we will transfer you to your included hotel.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, you can make your way home at your leisure or spend some time exploring this historic city.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
You are free to depart at anytime today. Please note that no airport departure transfer is included.

Meals

16 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 14 dinners

Transport

Ship, Zodiac, Plane

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Northwest Passage Eastbound trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

BOOKING CONDITIONS
Arctic and Antarctic bookings have an increased deposit requirement of 20% of the full voyage cost (before any discount).  The balance is due 120 days before departure. 

If a booking is cancelled 120 days or more before departure - the cancellation fee is the full loss of the deposit paid.

If a booking is cancelled between 119 days and departure - the cancellation fee is 100% of the total price of the voyage.

Other fees may apply for air tickets and other arrangements booked in conjunction with a Polar voyage.

ADVENTURE OPTIONS 
Kayaking is available to book on all Arctic voyages except on Icebreakers. Kayaking must be booked prior to departure and incurs an additional cost. Spaces are limited so please inquire at time of booking. Some previous, recent experience is essential. Snowshoeing and hiking is also offered on some itineraries. These activities are at no additional cost and do not need to be pre-booked. See the itinerary for Adventure options available on this voyage.

Your voyage is operated by our sister company, Quark Expeditions. All accommodation and transfer arrangements as listed in the itinerary are also operated by Quark Expeditions or their local representatives.

Strict luggage limits apply. Please see Trip Notes (What to Take) for more information.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.