Become a modern-day explorer on an expedition through the fabled Northwest Passage
Like legendary adventurers before you, set sail on the waters of the Canadian High Arctic and encounter the history, landscapes and wildlife that have drawn people for centuries. Fly from Canada and touch down on the vast arctic expanses of Greenland, looking out for whales while exploring the historical and cultural sides of the country’s capital. Cross the Davis Strait to immerse yourself in the art of traditional Inuit communities, hike to hilltops, search for whales, and – like Sir John Franklin’s fateful voyage – sail through immense fjords to some of the most isolated places on Earth. Keep fingers crossed for sightings of polar bears alongside whales, narwhals, and numerous bird species while taking Zodiacs close to the faces of glaciers and landing at historical sites. This active and immersive 17-day expedition will take you to the best of this mysterious icy realm.
- Physical rating
- Min 8
- Group size
- Min 1, Max 132
Why you'll love this trip
Discover highlights of both Greenland and the Canadian Arctic on an expedition that takes in everything from incredible landscapes to ancient cultures, local history and unique wildlife
Explore the colourful villages of Greenland and shop for traditional Inuit handicrafts
Enjoy encounters with the Arctic’s impressive wildlife, including whales, walrus and muskoxen
Set foot on the rarely stepped on land to hike the Arctic’s surprisingly colourful tundra and explore historical sites
Board Zodiacs and kayaks to get even closer to the Arctic’s spectacular scenery of glaciers, fjords, icebergs and more
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.
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 IncludedThere are no meals included on this day.
Special InformationNo 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.
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).
The Greenlandic capital of Nuuk is a haven for history and culture lovers. Stroll down to the waterfront to see the Hans Egede Church and Hans Egede statue, named for the missionary who established the settlement in 1728. Marvel at the famous remains of 500-year-old fully dressed mummies, discovered under a rock outcrop in 1972 by two brothers out hunting, at the Greenland National Museum. The Nuuk Art Museum and Katuaq Culture Centre are also worth visiting.
- Breakfast (2)
- Lunch (2)
- Dinner (2)
The picturesque Inuit hamlet of Pangnirtung, nicknamed the Switzerland of the Arctic, is nestled beneath the jagged peaks of Mount Duval. An artist’s hub, Pang is renowned for its traditional Inuit arts and crafts, especially lithographs and intricate tapestries. At the Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts, watch craftspeople in the tapestry studio and pick up a limited-edition print. A must for visitors, a colorful Pang hat will keep you warm during the remainder of your arctic voyage. You’ll also visit nearby Kekerten, an uninhabited island that was a major whaling destination in the 1800s.
At the southern tip of the Cumberland Sound, Cape Mercy was named by British explorer John Davis (yes, he of the Davis Strait), who sailed through it in 1585. The site of an old Distant Early Warning Line installation, it’s an ideal spot to go ashore for a hike.
As icebergs travel down the Davis Strait, they’re naturally trapped at Qikiqtarjuak (formerly known as Broughton Island), the iceberg capital of the world. The icy waters here are sometimes also home to narwhals, beluga and right whales, and ring and harp seals. A hike up to the hilltop inukshuk (a stone figure made by the Inuit) rewards with spectacular views of the community.
Cruising farther north along the east coast of Baffin Island, we’ll approach Isabella Bay, an important summer and fall feeding area for a large population of bowhead whales.
Stacked side by side, the dozens of soaring cliffs of Sam Ford Fjord make for a majestic site as you sail by. One of the most isolated places on the planet, the big-wall playground attracts climbers eager to scale the sheer rock faces that shoot straight out of the sea.
At the northern tip of Baffin Island, near the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage, is the picturesque hamlet of Pond Inlet. Spend some time exploring this traditional Inuit community that’s surrounded by scenic mountains, fjords, glaciers and icebergs.
The area around Lancaster Sound affords several hiking opportunities. At Dundas Harbour, on Devon Island, you’ll visit an abandoned beachside outpost of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. At nearby Croker Bay, cruise in a Zodiac (at a safe distance) along the face of an actively calving glacier. Your Expedition Team will also keep its eyes peeled for the muskoxen and walrus that are known to visit the bay. A hike to a nearby archaeological site is another possible excursion. Farther west, some of the best ancient Thule remains in the Arctic are at Radstock Bay, beside the soaring Caswell Towers, a polar bear observation site. Exploring the area, you’ll gain insight into how these pre-Inuit people lived.
At the western end of Devon Island, the windswept Beechey Island might be small, but it’s steeped in history. Named after famed British explorer Frederick William Beechey, it’s a Canadian National Historic Site. You’ll visit the small marked graves of three crew members who died during Sir John Franklin’s tragic 1845–46 expedition. Roald Amundsen landed here in 1903, during the first successful voyage by ship through the Northwest Passage
Sailing down the east coast of Somerset Island, you may have a chance of spotting 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. You’ll also have time to explore Fort Ross, where the Hudson’s Bay Company established a now-abandoned trading post in 1937. At the midpoint of the Bellot Strait, a narrow channel that separates Somerset Island from mainland North America, you’ll reach the northernmost area of the continental landmass, Zenith Point.
- Breakfast (10)
- Lunch (10)
- Dinner (10)
Special InformationYou are free to depart at anytime today. Please note that no airport departure transfer is included.
Meals16 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 14 dinners
TransportShip, Zodiac, Plane
AccommodationExpedition Cruise Ship 14 nights, hotel 2 nights
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.
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.