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13 days - Expedition voyage through the Northwest passage.
This iconic voyage through the remote Northwest Passage follows in the footsteps of the early Arctic explorers such as Franklin, Amundsen and Larsen, as we explore the archipelago of islands and channels that create Canada’s high Arctic region.
This is the home of the polar bear, the barrenground grizzly bear, muskox, caribou and walrus and we journey through the wild Canadian north aboard our celebrated expedition ships, Akademik Ioffe and Akademik Sergey Vavilov.
Wildlife is the major draw card of our expedition but there is plenty of historical interest and the stories of that ill-fated expedition by Sir John Franklin more than 150 years ago are central to our journey. Franklin made his last heroic foray into the Arctic in 1845 with two ships and 129 men, never to be heard from again. We visit the last known wintering site of his ships the Erebus and Terror, and other sites along the way where traces of the expedition have been found. For lovers of remote expedition cruising this journey has it all!
- The iconic voyage through the remote Northwest Passage
- Visit Monumental Island, a final highlight and a known location for walrus
- Explore by Zodiac along the shoreline looking for walrus and polar bear
- Visit the Angmarlik Visitor Centre has a wonderful interpretive display featuring the lifestyle of the Thule and of the modern Inuit.
- Day 1
- Travel from Ottawa, Canada to Sondre Stromfjord (Kangerlussuaq)
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Ilulissat and Jacobshavn Icefjord
- Days 4 - 5
- Baffin Bay
- Day 6
- Pond Inlet
- Days 7 - 8
- Lancaster Sound and Devon Island - wildlife 'super-highway'
- Day 9
- Beechey Island and Prince Leopold Island
- Day 10
- Fort Ross and Bellot Strait
- Day 11
- Conningham Bay
- Day 12
- Victory Point, King William Island
- Day 13
- Cambridge Bay, Nunavut to Edmonton, Alberta
- Start Place
- Kangerlussuaq, Greenland tours
- End Place
- Cambridge Bay, Canada tours
- Destinations Visited
- Greenland tours
- Canada tours
- 13 Days
- Group Size
This is the near identical sister-ship to Akademik Ioffe, catering for 92 passengers. Built in Rauma (Finland) these Baltic Class 1A (Canadian Type B) ice strengthened ships are the leaders in their class. They are the pride of the polar fleet featuring first class amenities catering to the demands of today’s most discerning guests.
Other facilities include the theatre style presentation room, gift-shop, fitness room, massage room, hot water spa, sauna and plunge pool. There’s also a dedicated expedition ‘mud-room’ where you prepare for your off-ship excursions.
Designed for polar research, with a maximum of 96 passengers, the Akademik Ioffe is modern, comfortable, safe and ice-strengthened. From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, we have public spaces onboard the ship ideally suited for each and every need. A separate bar and lounge, as well as a library provide ideal places to sit and relax or catch up on some reading. A selection of movies and documentaries can also be watched in the lounge.
Enjoy the sumptuous meals prepared for you by our culinary team in our dining room, which can host all clients in a single seating with ample room.
Other facilities include the theatre style presentation room, gift-shop, fitness room, massage room, sauna and plunge pool. This ship is a step up from your average expedition ship.
- Transfer from the airport in Kangerlussuaq to the ship, and transfer from the ship to the airport in Cambridge Bay.
- Outside view with opening porthole/window
- Extensive pre-departure information package
- All zodiac and landing excursions
- Zodiac cruising, hiking, guided walks, photography workshops, fitness & yoga
- All meals during the voyage
- Welcome reception & welcome dinner
- Farewell dinner hosted by the Captain
- Daily afternoon tea with fresh snacks
- Coffee, tea & hot chocolate available anytime
- Access to wellness area (Finnish Sauna, Plunge Pool filled with sea water, Hot Tub)
- Natural essential oil amenities
- Services of English speaking medical officer
- Use of multimedia room to download images. Lightroom, Adobe, Photoshop and card readers are available for use on MAC and PC computers
- Onboard Information Folder
- Complimentary use of wet weather gear
- Complimentary use of wellington boots
- Complimentary use of waterproof backpack and binoculars
- Innovative dream sleep package
- 100% cotton bathrobes
- Custom blend natural Canadian made essential oil amenities
- Custom colour coordinated Canadian made linen package
- Black out curtains
- Clock radio with media connector
- Desk with chair
- Complimentary water bottle
- In room coffee & tea station
- Charter Flights: USD$1995.00
- International and national airfares
- Visa and passport fees, airport taxes
- Pre- or post-cruise hotel accommodation in arrival / departure cities
- Meals & transfers in arrival / departure cities
- Personal expenses
- Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
- Massages from registered therapist
- Personal laundry charges
- Postage, telephone calls & email set up
- Medical expenses such as fees, prescriptions or medications
- Travel medical insurance including medical evacuation (mandatory)
- Trip interruption / cancellation insurance
- Gratuities to staff and crew
Sea Kayaking at an extra cost of US$695. Confirmed access to kayak at any offered excursion. Limited to 16 passengers per voyage. Includes high quality kayaking equipment.
Day 1 - Travel from Ottawa, Canada to Sondre Stromfjord (Kangerlussuaq)
Sondre Stromfjord is one of the world’s longest fjords cutting into the interior of Greenland. Our charter flight from Ottawa, Canada into Greenland will see us land at a former American Airbase (Bluie West Eight and Camp Lloyd), located just miles north of the Arctic Circle.
We will board our expedition vessel by zodiac and weigh anchor. Throughout the evening and through the night we will sail down this incredible fjord, crossing the Arctic Circle, before reaching the ocean and Davis Strait. We turn north out of the mouth of Sondre Stromfjord and cross the Arctic Circle yet again, remaining north of this point for the rest of the voyage.
Day 2 - Sisimiut
We will explore the fjord behind the town of Sisimiut before visiting the town in the afternoon. We will hope to meet a few of the traditional Greenlandic kayakers and perhaps see a demonstration of “Eskimo Rolling” by one of the former champions of the Greenland Kayaking Championships.
Day 3 - Ilulissat and Jacobshavn Icefjord
One of the wonders of the world, the Jacobshavn Icefjord spews massive tabular icebergs out into Disko Bay. Our approach to Ilulissat will be dependent upon the amount of ice in and around the mouth of the icefjord. Ilulissat was the hometown of Knud Rasmussen, one of Greenland’s most famous explorers and anthropologists, born here in 1879.
Days 4 - 5 - Baffin Bay
Our crossing of Baffin Bay will depend on the extent of the so-called ‘middle ice’. Our goal will be to find the edge of this and then follow it around and to the coast of Baffin Island. Our time at sea will be determined by the extent of the ice and amount of wildlife. As we cross Baffin Bay we will keep a look out for fin, sperm, sei and humpback whales as well as the numerous species of Arctic seals and seabirds that abound in the Bay.
Day 6 - Pond Inlet
We will visit the town of Pond Inlet and make our base at the Natinnak Centre, where a spectacular cultural exhibit will be the background of a display put on for us by the Elders and youth of Pond Inlet. Inuit carvings, jewellery and other local craft will be available to purchase from the local artisans. We will take time to meet the children of Pond Inlet and marvel at their athletic abilities as they demonstrate the challenges of the Inuit Games.
Days 7 - 8 - Lancaster Sound and Devon Island - wildlife 'super-highway'
Lancaster Sound is in many ways the wildlife ‘super-highway’ of the Arctic. A massive outlet for water from the high Arctic archipelago, there is a mixing of water here that is rich in nutrients. Coupled with areas of open water for much of the year, Lancaster Sound is home to a diverse concentration of wildlife that can be staggering, especially given the sparseness of the region. Our stops along the shore of Lancaster Sound will depend very much on ice conditions and weather.
Day 9 - Beechey Island and Prince Leopold Island
Beechey Island holds great importance in our quest to complete the Northwest Passage. It is here that 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 finished the charting of Canada’s northern archipelago. Almost sixty years later, Roald Amundsen stopped at Beechey Island during the first successful complete transit of the Northwest Passage.
Following our visit to Beechey Island, we sail south toward Prince Regent Inlet, stopping for a view of the bird cliffs at Prince Leopold Island. A migratory bird sanctuary, Prince Leopold Island is home to thick-billed murres, black guillemots, northern fulmars and black-legged kittiwakes. Totalling several hundred thousand birds, Prince Leopold Island is one of the most important bird sanctuaries in the Canadian Arctic.
Encounters with polar bear, beluga, narwhal and the occasional bowhead whale have also been known in the summering grounds around Prince Leopold Island and Prince Regent Inlet.
Day 10 - Fort Ross and Bellot Strait
If ice conditions permit, we will sail south through Prince Regent Inlet and approach the eastern end of the Bellot Strait. Fort Ross, located at the southern end of Somerset Island, is a former Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading outpost. Ancient archaeological sites nearby tell a story of more than a thousand years of habitation by the Inuit and their predecessors. Upon leaving Fort Ross, we will attempt the passage of the Bellot Strait, entering at slack water if possible, in order to avoid a current that can be more than seven knots during the peak flow. The mixing of waters in this strait provides ample food source for marine mammals and we will keep our eyes peeled for harp seals, bearded seals and even polar bears. Upon exiting Bellot Strait we will turn south in Victoria Strait, taking a bearing for King William Island.
Day 11 - Conningham Bay
Having emerged from the exciting transit of Bellot Strait, we then cross the broad Victoria Strait and arrive at Conningham Bay on the eastern shore of Prince Edward Island. Here, in the heart of the Northwest Passage is perhaps one of the most remarkable wildlife sites in the Arctic and a known hotspot for polar bears. Beluga whales come to the shallow inlet to rub their white skins against the gravel bottom - an annual ritual.
Often when the tide recedes, the whales become trapped in the shallows making them easy prey for the polar bear. It's common to find mothers and their cubs here in sizeable numbers and the skeletons of beluga whales litter the shore - grim testament to the ebb and flow of life in the Arctic.
Day 12 - Victory Point, King William Island
Little is known of how the remainders of the Franklin Expedition spent its last months in the frozen Arctic. The vessels, abandoned in the ice of Victoria Strait have left no trace. A lifeboat left abandoned, bits and pieces of copper and iron, cutlery and buttons and a skeleton here and there all tell a story of a desperate race south in search of rescue that never occurred. We will visit Victory Point and continue to reflect on the quest for exploration that opened up the Arctic, while sacrificing some of its bravest explorers.
Day 13 - Cambridge Bay, Nunavut to Edmonton, Alberta
We hope to visit the community of Cambridge Bay, on the southern shores of Victoria Island. Cambridge Bay, also known as Ikaluktutiak or “good fishing place”, is a centre for hunting, trapping, and fishing. Local Inuit have had summer camps in the locality for hundreds of years. Today ships visit the region annually bringing supplies. Amundsen spent two winters in this area, learning how to master dogsledding from the locals. Prior to this, McClintock found solid evidence of the Franklin Expedition here in 1859, including naval artifacts, sledges, graves and letters.
We drop anchor in the harbour of Cambridge Bay and make our way ashore by zodiac. Our charter flight to Edmonton will await us here and we will board the flight for the short flight back to ‘southern’ Canada.
Single Supplement: 1.5 for twin cabins and 2 for the suites (not available in the Triple cabin category).
Interactive Tour Map
One Ocean Expeditions - Practical Information
We put safety first and that means weather, ice, wildlife, political or other conditions may require us to modify the itinerary as we go. We consider this half the intrigue of Polar exploring. In every expedition, our undertake is a little different. It may mean we have to cancel certain shore excursions if conditions are not suitable but we always find other fun things to do. Polar exploring is not predictable which is one of the many reasons we think it is so special.
Once you have booked your voyage to the Polar Regions, you will be required to complete a Medical Information Form. This form must be completed, signed and returned to 50 Degrees North no later than 90 days prior to departure.
Well before travelling, please ensure you have a current passport with an accurate photo, valid for at least six months after your scheduled return flight home. Also check that your airline tickets are in exactly the same name as your passport. Some countries may require you to have a return air ticket or sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket.
It is a good idea to bring along some $US cash. There are some onboard expenses such as those incurred at the bar, in our gift shop, and for satellite communication, as well as several souvenir shopping opportunities throughout the voyage. Onboard the vessel USD is preferable, however US cash, travellers cheques (US) and both Visa and Mastercard are accepted. Please note there may be a variance in exchange rate when the posting of your account goes through to your credit card.
We do not need to tell you it is cold in the Arctic. So make sure you come prepared with clothes that will adequately protect you from the weather and wet conditions (sea spray is common onboard Zodiacs). Expensive specialty gear is not required, but you should be dressed in warm, waterproof clothing available upon your arrival. Please read the 50 Degrees North Pre-departure Information for more details about what to bring on the journey. We also have foul weather gear available on board of the ship. You should prearrange the rental of this gear should you require it.
Like the weather, sea conditions can also be unpredictable. You will be safe and comfortable aboard with your experienced crew in control of our ship, but you may suffer the effects of motion sickness, unless you have taken precautions. We recommend visiting your doctor prior to departure for medication that can help you avoid this easily treated condition.
We suggest you allow the equivalent of $US10 a day for gratuities for the crew and expedition staff. This is usually collected just prior to the end of the cruise. If you wish, the amount can be paid by Visa or MasterCard.
If you have some experience sea kayaking and are interested in doing this activity during the expedition, you will need to book this option prior to departure from home. We cannot book this activity once onboard. There is a separate document for sea kayakers that you will need to review beforehand.
Guests arrive with the rest of the group accompanied by the 50 Degrees North Representative. Full details of embarkation/disembarkation procedures will be supplied with your final documentation. Once onboard, you will be participating in an obligatory lifeboat drill. We will also conduct important briefings on landing procedures and Zodiac operations.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all tours with 50 Degrees North. Please ensure that you have this organised as we will need to see proof of this upon issuing your tour documentation. Please contact us for a quote or visit http://www.suresave.net.au/