ARCTIC

Northwest Passage Express

Cruising through sea ice
from £8,304 9 nights | Aug Exc. flights See price details
  • Departs:
  • Aug

Overview

This action packed expedition cruise brings the nature of the Arctic into sharp focus. The nutrient-rich waters of the Bellot Strait and its surrounding regions make for some truly spectacular wildlife watching hotspots on this short but rewarding journey through one of the most fabled routes in the Arctic.

Highlights

  • Fantastic opportunites for marine wildlife watching including beluga whales and narwhal
  • Visit one of the largest migratory bird sanctuaries in the world
  • Potential for sightings of polar bears and seals
  • Voyage through the historic waters of the Northwest Passage

A visit to one of the largest migratory bird sanctuaries in the world and the possible sightings of seals, beluga whales and narwhal provide great interest, but the highlight for many will be the potential encounters with the iconic hunters of the north – the polar bear.

History also plays a large part in the voyage as you discover former Hudson’s Bay Company outposts and traverse the waters once travelled by the famous explorers of the past, including Sir John Franklin.

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: Edmonton - Resolute (Nunavut)
Depart Edmonton in the morning and board a charter flight to Resolute, a remote outpost above the Arctic Circle. Located on the southern shores of Cornwallis Island, the town is named after the British ship HMS Resolute which became trapped in ice and was abandoned in 1850, ending its search for the lost Franklin Expedition. A weather station and airstrip here made it a strategic outpost during the time of the Cold War. On arrival, transfer to the beach where the expedition team will prepare you for your zodiac ride to the ship. On board, you will have time to explore and get to know the ship before enjoying a welcome cocktail. Depart Resolute in the early evening.
Day 2: Beechey and Prince Leopold Islands
Beechey Island holds great historic importance in the story of the Northwest Passage. 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. The mystery of what happened to Franklin was partially solved in September 2014, when the HMS Erebus was found in the Victoria Strait. This find was followed up in 2016 by the discovery of her sister ship, the HMS Terror, near King William Island.

A trip to visit the grave markers for three of the ill fated party on a remote windswept beach is a thrilling location for history buffs. In the afternoon, sail across Barrow Strait and approach the towering bird cliffs of Prince Leopold Island. This is an important migratory bird sanctuary, home to thick-billed murres, black guillemots, northern fulmars and black-legged kittiwakes. Numbering several hundred thousand birds, Prince Leopold Island is one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the whole of the Canadian Arctic and makes for fantastic Zodiac cruising. The sea ice around Prince Leopold Island is a great place for spotting ringed seals - and wherever you find ringed seals, you usually find polar bears.
Day 3: Fury Beach
Sail south into Prince Regent Inlet and wake up along the southeastern shore of Somerset Island. The objective is to go ashore at Fury Beach, named after the HMS Fury, a Royal Navy sloop used in two Arctic expeditions by Commander Edward Parry. During her second expedition, she was damaged in the ice while overwintering and abandoned here in 1825. Her stores were unloaded on the beach and left as a supply depot for future Royal Navy expeditions into the Arctic.
Day 4: Somerset Island and Bellot Strait
Continuing to the southern end of Prince Regent Inlet, is the historic site of Fort Ross on Somerset Island. A former Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading outpost, it’s fascinating archaeological sites tell a story of more than a thousand years of habitation by the Inuit and their predecessors.

A transit of Bellot Strait is a thrilling experience as the currents roar through this narrow channel. You are now in the heart of the Northwest Passage. The mixing of waters in this strait provides an abundant food source for numerous marine mammal species including harp seals, bearded seals and even polar bears.
Day 5: Prince of Wales Island
Cross the Franklin Strait and arrive at Conningham Bay on the shore of Prince Of Wales Island. This is a known hotspot for polar bears which come here to feast on beluga whales, often caught 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!
Day 6: HMS Erebus
Pushing further to the south, the mystery of Sir John Franklin and his ‘lost expedition’ is beginning to unravel. Prior to the recent discoveries of the HMS Erebus and Terror, very little was known of how the Franklin Expedition spent its last months in the frozen Arctic. On Victory Point a lifeboat was left abandoned, bits and pieces of metal, cutlery, buttons and a skeleton, tell a story of a desperate race south in the hope of a rescue that never came. The aim is to travel very near the location of the wreck of HMS Erebus.
Day 7: Pasely Bay
Pasely Bay on the Boothia Peninsula is another fascinating historic location. The RCMP vessel St. Roch spent a winter here in 1942 frozen into the sea ice. The ship was the first Canadian vessel to ever transit the Northwest Passage. One of the ship’s crew passed away while in this location and was buried by shipmates along the shoreline.
Day 8: Peel Sound
Track northwards through the Franklin Strait and into Peel Sound. This area is known for its heavy sea ice concentrations, and is only open to vessel navigation for a short period each year. Franklin sailed his two expedition ships through Peel Sound in the summer of 1846, before becoming beset in the ice.
Day 9: Aston Bay
A deep inlet of Peel Sound, Aston Bay often features heavy concentrations of ice and is a known hotspot for wildlife activity. Explore in the Zodiacs and make a shore landing searching for wildlife.
Day 10: Disembark in Resolute and fly to Edmonton
By morning, you will be at anchor in Resolute. Make your way ashore by Zodiac and bid farewell to the crew. A charter flight returns you to Edmonton where the journey comes to an end.
Notes

Itinerary Variations

Akademik Ioffe - 23 Aug 2018

Day 1 Fly from Edmonton to Resolute and embark ship
Day 2 Beechey Island and Radstock Bay
Day 3 Cape Charles Yorke and Elwin Inlet
Day 4 Prince Leopold Island
Day 5 Fort Ross and Bellot Strait
Day 6 Coningham Bay
Day 7 Victory Point and King William Island
Day 8 Royal Geographic Society Islands
Day 9 Victoria Island OR King William Island
Day 10 Disembark in Cambridge Bay and fly to Edmonton

Please note that all voyage itineraries are intended as a guideline only - embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy of expedition travel. Actual routes and landings will be dependent on weather, sea and ice conditions. A degree of flexibility is essential in the polar regions!

Accommodation Options

Akademik Sergey Vavilov

  • Grade:
  • Type: Expedition Ship

Taking up to 92 passengers, this ice-strengthened vessel…

Akademik Ioffe

  • Grade:
  • Type: Expedition Ship

Taking up to 96 passengers the Akademik Ioffe is the num…

Excursions

Kayaking

Optional Adventure Activity on selected Arctic Cruises

Prices & Dates

2017 Season

Prices are per person, based on a twin cabin. Please contact our team of travel specialists for alternative occupancies and cabin upgrades.

DepartureActivitiesDurationVesselPrices from
14 Aug 2017 10 days Akademik Vavilov £8,304 - Waitlist Only!

Activity options:

≠ Kayaking is available on this voyage: £608 per person on the Akademik Vavilov

Inclusions and Exclusions

Akademik Vavilov

Price includes Return charter flights between Edmonton and Resolute • Group transfers between airports and ports of embarkation/disembarkation • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage • Leadership throughout the voyage by an experienced Expedition Leader, including shore landings and other activities • All shore landings per the daily program • All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program • Formal and informal presentations by the Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled • Comprehensive pre-departure materials • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program • Loan of boots, jacket and waterproof trousers - must be requested at time of booking

Price excludes Return airfares between UK and Canada • Any pre- or post-voyage accommodation. A pre-voyage night is strongly recommended • Additional airport or airline security charges • Passport and visa expenses (we will be pleased to advise you on any necessary documentation, however this is passengers' own responsibility) • Alcoholic and soft drinks, telecommunication charges, laundry costs and other charges of a personal nature • The customary gratuity at the end of the voyage for Hospitality Team members, ship's crew and Expedition Team members (guidelines will be provided) • Travel insurance

We would be pleased to quote for the best available airfares and comprehensive travel insurance to suit your specific holiday requirements.

2018 Prices and Dates

2018 Season

Prices are per person, based on a twin cabin. Please contact our team of travel specialists for alternative occupancies and cabin upgrades.

DepartureActivities DurationVesselPrices from
23 Aug 2018 10 days Akademik Ioffe £8,566

Activity options:

≠ Kayaking is available on this voyage: £608 per person on the Akademik Ioffe

Inclusions and Exclusions

Akademik Ioffe

Price includes Charter flights from Edmonton to Resolute and from Cambridge Bay to Edmonton • Group transfers between airports and ports of embarkation/disembarkation • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage • Leadership throughout the voyage by an experienced Expedition Leader, including shore landings and other activities • All shore landings per the daily program • All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program • Formal and informal presentations by the Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled • Comprehensive pre-departure materials • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program • Loan of boots, jacket and waterproof trousers - must be requested at time of booking

Price excludes Return airfares between UK and Canada • Any pre- or post-voyage accommodation. A pre-voyage night is strongly recommended • Additional airport or airline security charges • Passport and visa expenses (we will be pleased to advise you on any necessary documentation, however this is passengers' own responsibility) • Alcoholic and soft drinks, telecommunication charges, laundry costs and other charges of a personal nature • The customary gratuity at the end of the voyage for Hospitality Team members, ship's crew and Expedition Team members (guidelines will be provided) • Travel insurance

We would be pleased to quote for the best available airfares and comprehensive travel insurance to suit your specific holiday requirements.

OFFERS

How to book

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So that we may send you a personalised quote and confirmation of availability, please click on the link below and complete our Enquiry form. One of our Travel Specialists will then be in touch to complete your booking or answer any further questions you might have.

travel guaranteeWe will always offer the best price available at the time of booking and guarantee no surcharges - see our 100% Guarantee for full details.

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