Northwest Passage

Facts About Polar Bears—Their Plight and Prospects
September 4, 2015
20 Days
Small-Ship Cruise
110 Guests
From $15,980


Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.

Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.

Northwest Passage

Depart USA / Edmonton, Canada

September 4

Board your independent flight to Edmonton. Transfer to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

Edmonton / Kugluktuk, Nunavut / Embark Sea Adventurer

September 5

Board your flight for Kugluktuk, also known as Coppermine, where you will be treated to a welcome by the community. Board the Sea Adventurer this afternoon.

Bathurst Inlet

September 6

In the area around Bathurst Inlet, make an expedition stop for a hike on the tundra among the spectacular fall colors. Naturalists offer insight on the lush flora that flourishes briefly during the short Arctic summer.

Queen Maud Gulf

September 7
Common eiders

The extensive wetlands at Queen Maud Gulf provide an important breeding area for a large number of waterfowl, including Ross’s, snow, and greater white-fronted geese; tundra swans; king and common eiders; as well as a variety of waders and shorebirds.

Victory Point, King William Island

September 8
Cruising the Northwest Passage

In 1845, John Franklin led an expedition of 129 British naval officers and seamen to the Canadian Arctic. Their mission was to find the Northwest Passage; by 1848, they were presumed missing. Rescue missions were conducted for 32 years. The first skeletal remains attributed to the crew were discovered in 1859 by Captain Francis McClintock on the western shore of King William Island. He also discovered the only written remains under a cairn erected on Victory Point. Since 1859, many skeletal remains and artifacts from Franklin’s expedition have been found at various locations on King William Island. The most recent was in 1992, when the remains of 11 men were found near Erebus Bay.

Bellot Strait / Fort Ross

September 9

Today the ship cruises eastward through Bellot Strait, a narrow channel separating mainland North America from Somerset Island. About mid-point through the channel is the northernmost point of the continental land mass, Zenith Point. Conditions permitting, go ashore at Fort Ross, an uninhabited Hudson’s Bay Company trading post.

Beechey & Devon Islands

September 10
Musk oxen

If conditions permit, land on Beechey Island, where Sir John Franklin and his men spent a winter in the mid-1800s before disappearing forever—a tragedy that motivated one of the greatest search missions ever known. Go ashore on Devon Island to visit a deserted Canadian Mounted Police station and search for the musk oxen that often roam the rocky slopes.

At Sea / Grise Fjord, Ellesmere Island

September 11September 12
Ellesmere Island

After a day at sea, visit Grise Fjord, the only settlement on Ellesmere Island. The tiny hamlet, the most northerly community in Canada, has only 140 residents who will entertain you with a cultural performance and talk about their ancient traditions.

Coburg Island

September 13
Coburg Island

Coburg Island is a significant nesting site for Arctic seabirds. Board Zodiacs for a cruise along the base of the cliffs to view black guillemots, black-legged kittiwakes, northern fulmars, and thick-billed murres. There is also a chance of sighting walrus, seals, and with luck, polar bears.

Kane Basin

September 14
Kane Basin

Dependent on ice conditions, today’s destination will be the furthest point north of the voyage, about 10 degrees from the North Pole. Kane Basin is a waterway that lies between Greenland and Ellesmere Island. It was here, in 1855, that Elisha Kane abandoned an icebound ship to lead his men on an 83-day march across the frozen Arctic to Upernavik, Greenland. Although they were carrying invalids, Kane only lost one man on the journey in what is acknowledged as one of the greatest feats of Arctic exploration.

Qaanaaq, Greenland

September 15
Qaanaaq, Greenland

Tidy houses painted in a rainbow of colors rise from the shores and into the hills that surround this tiny community of 650. Learn about Inuit culture and life in the far north, and take a hike along the nearby ice sheet.

Cape York

September 16

The ice and weather conditions associated with Cape York combine to create an ideal environment for narwhal and seals. And, the presence of seals and pack ice may draw hungry polar bears. Search for wildlife by Zodiac as you cruise among dazzling sea and wind-sculpted icebergs.


September 17
Upernavik, Greenland

Upernavik is found at 72 degrees north and features the world’s northernmost open-air museum, which preserves period buildings and has two women’s boats on display (men use kayaks). Kayakers will enjoy the more than 100 islands in the area and the protected fjord for paddling.


September 18
Whale watching

As the ship approaches Uummannaq, keep watch for the minke, humpback, fin, and killer whales that are often found in these waters. Take a walk through this extremely photogenic town of colorful houses back-dropped by the sheer slopes of Mt. Uummannaq. In the afternoon, Zodiacs bring you ashore in the tiny town of Ukkusissat.

Eqip Sermia

September 19
Eqip Sermia

Today enjoy an exhilarating visit to the Eqip Sermia Glacier. As you approach the face of the glacier, keep watch for the calving icebergs that crash dramatically into the bay.


September 20

Ilulissat means “iceberg” in Greenlandic and it is quite obvious how this fjord received its name as you cruise through a laybrinth of young icebergs, an awe-inspiring experience. Also on offer is a hike along the lovely boardwalk of Ilulissat down to a stunning viewpoint of the bay, and time permitting, shop for local handicrafts.


September 21

Enjoy a stroll through this community which is renowned for its talented stone carvers and skilled kayak builders. Musicians and folkloric dancers entertain you before a cruise along a picturesque fjord, past abandoned villages.

Kangerlussuaq / Disembark / Copenhagen, Denmark

September 22
Kangerlussuaq Fjord, Greenland

Be on deck to soak in fabulous scenery as the ship cruises down the sinuous, 100-milelong Kangerlussuaq Fjord. Join naturalists to search for peregrine falcons, gyrfalcon, and rare white-tailed eagles. Disembark in Kangerlussuaq, located just above the Arctic Circle, and board your flight to Copenhagen. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Copenhagen / USA

September 23

Board your independent homeward flight.