Traversing the Northwest Passage

Toronto - Anchorage

Canada, Arctic, Northwest Passage
August
28 Nights

Choose Your Departure Date

Glacier near Dundas Harbour on Devon Island Northwest Passage
Toronto - Anchorage
Aug 27 2025 - Sep 24 2025
28 Nights

Price from per person

£27,676

Cruise Overview

Embark on an extraordinary journey inspired by Roald Amundsen's legendary expedition as we aim to navigate the entire length of the Northwest Passage. Our route takes us westward through the intricate network of waterways that weave around the storied islands of Arctic Canada, ultimately leading to the Beaufort Sea.

Enhancing our traditional Northwest Passage voyage, we explore historic sites once traversed by intrepid explorers, engage with the remarkable communities that inhabit this remote region, and seek out the elusive wildlife that thrives in this unique environment. The voyage may be interrupted by pack ice, so prepare for a true adventure where excitement and discovery await at every turn.

Along the way, you may meet the indigenous communities who call this remote wilderness home and spot the region’s remarkable wildlife, including arctic foxes, bowhead whales, polar bears, and the elusive narwhal.

 

Traversing the Northwest Passage

Cruise Highlights

Cruise Highlights

  • Marvel at the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Trek across Devon Island, the largest uninhabited island on the planet.
  • Pay your respects at Beechey Island, where explorers from John Franklin’s expedition are buried.
  • Be captivated by the stunning scenery of towering cliffs, remarkable geology, and icy bays, where you might spot Arctic wildlife such as polar bears, whales, seals, and the elusive narwhal.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Embark on an Epic Voyage To Legendary Northwest Passage

Toronto city skyline at dusk in Canda
Day 1

Arrival in Toronto

Upon arriving in Toronto, check in at our group hotel near the airport. Stop by the hospitality desk to pick up your luggage cabin tags and to speak with our ground operations team. They will provide important information about pre-embarkation procedures and the charter flight to Nuuk scheduled for tomorrow. Ensure you label your luggage tags clearly with your name and ship cabin number.

Accommodation: Westin Toronto Airport Hotel (or similar)

Nuuk capital of Greenland
Day 2

Flight to Nuuk & Embarkation

Make sure your luggage is properly tagged with your name and cabin number. Keep all valuables and personal items with you throughout the day. Your luggage will be delivered to your cabin prior to your arrival on board.

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before boarding our charter flight to Nuuk, where the Sylvia Earle will be ready to welcome you. After boarding, take some time to get comfortable in your cabin before attending the mandatory safety briefings. This evening, you’ll have the opportunity to meet your expedition team and crew members.

Sisimiut, Greenland
Day 3

Sisimiut

After a morning of sailing, we reach Sisimiut, Greenland’s second-largest town. Situated about 54 kilometers (33.5 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, Sisimiut offers the unique experience of the midnight sun during the summer. The town is renowned for its historic blue church, featuring a gate made of whale bone. Next to the church, the cozy museum showcases an impressive reconstruction of an Inuit turf house and exhibits detailing local history and early life in Greenland.

Sisimiut boasts a variety of hiking trails suitable for different skill levels. The easier trails take you through the town, its outskirts, and into the surrounding mountains, offering breathtaking views from spectacular vantage points.

Approximately 4,500 years ago, the Saqqaq culture migrated from Canada and settled in this area, living here for around 2,000 years before mysteriously vanishing. The Dorset culture arrived around 500 CE and remained until the 1200s, after which they were succeeded by the Thule culture. Today, most residents of Sisimiut are descendants of the Thule culture.

Day 4 

Ilulissat 

Dubbed the 'birthplace of icebergs,' this area is renowned for producing some of the planet’s most spectacular ice formations. Embark on a hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Icefjord and marvel at its sheer scale. Sermeq Kujalleq, also known as Jakobshavn Glacier, is the most prolific glacier in the Northern Hemisphere, generating 20 million tonnes of ice each day. This ice flows into the Ilulissat Icefjord and Disko Bay. If conditions allow, you can enjoy a Zodiac cruise at the fjord’s mouth or kayak among the sea ice and icebergs. For a truly unique experience, consider an optional 90-minute helicopter flight over the icefjord.

Optional helicopter flight (90 mins): This excursion offers the exclusive opportunity to approach the enormous glacier up close. Departing from Ilulissat Airport, the 12-seater helicopter flies over hills, lakes, and ice fjords, landing on the mountain at Kangia, in the heart of the preserved area. Here, you can immerse yourself in the breathtaking landscape. On the return journey to Ilulissat, the flight passes over the glacier’s edge, offering stunning views of massive icebergs drifting in the fjord. The sight of some of the largest icebergs, which become stranded on an underwater moraine just outside the town, provides a magnificent finale to this excursion. Please note that a minimum of eight passengers is required for this excursion to operate.

whales by an iceberg in Greenland
Day 5

Qeqertarsuaq (Disko Island)

This captivating island shares many characteristics with Iceland rather than Greenland. While its interior is dominated by mountains and glaciers, its stunning shorelines feature black sandy beaches, unique basalt columns, hot springs, and striking lava formations. Take a Zodiac cruise in Disko Bay, where the fascinating geology is on full display. The area is also a hotspot for marine life, including humpback, fin, minke, and bowhead whales.

Baffin island best places to visit in the Arctic
Day 6

Qikiqtarjuaq, Baffin Island

Our Expedition Team experts will captivate you with insightful talks on wildlife, geology, and the legendary adventures of early explorers like Franklin and Amundsen. As we approach the coast of Baffin Island, be on the lookout for Greenland’s iconic icebergs. You might also spot whales and various seal species, including ringed and harp seals.

Houses in Pond Inlet Nunavut Northwest Passage Canadian Arctic
Days 7 - 9

Baffin Island

As we sail through inlets and fjords, you'll be surrounded by towering mountains showcasing remarkable geology. Some potential stops on our journey include Home Bay, Sillem Island, John Ford Fjord, Sam Ford Fjord, and Scott Inlet. If conditions allow, we'll go ashore at Pond Inlet, where the local community will extend a warm welcome.

Bylot Island, covered with mountains, icefields, steep cliffs, snowfields, and glaciers, provides nesting habitats for numerous thick-billed murres and black-legged kittiwakes. This island hosts a total of 74 unique Arctic bird species. Due to its rich wildlife and diverse, beautiful landscapes, a significant portion of Bylot Island was designated as part of Sirmilik National Park in 2001. Our plan includes sailing along the coastline of Bylot Island to enjoy its stunning scenery and exceptional birdlife.

Beechey Island, Canada
Days 10 - 12

Devon Island, Lancaster Sound

Situated nearly 75° north in latitude, we are now deep within the High Arctic. This region's nutrient-rich waters sustain a vibrant array of wildlife, earning it the nickname "wildlife super highway" of the Arctic. Devon Island, the largest uninhabited island on the planet, boasts remarkable geology with its flat-topped mountains and glacial valleys that define its unique landscape. Our planned visit to Dundas Harbour offers opportunities for walks across rolling tundra and potential birdwatching. Other destinations we hope to explore include Croker Bay and Maxwell Bay. Here, we can find the remains of an old Royal Canadian Mounted Police outpost and a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post. Walruses are often spotted in these bays.

On the western edge of Devon Island lies Beechey Island, our next intended landing site. Named after Frederick William Beechey, this island is one of Canada's most significant arctic locations and is designated as a Canadian National Historic Site. The Franklin expedition of 1845–46, which sought to navigate the Northwest Passage with HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, ended tragically with three of Franklin's men buried here. Beechey Island also marks the spot where Roald Amundsen landed in 1903 during the first successful ship voyage to completely traverse the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Days 13 - 16

Expedition Cruising

Prince Leopold Island: Located south of Lancaster Sound from Beechey Island, this historic site features towering bird cliffs where English explorer James Clark Ross overwintered in 1848 during the search for the missing Franklin expedition. It is the most important bird sanctuary in the Canadian Arctic, with around 500,000 birds nesting in summer. Ringed seals are often seen on the sea ice, and polar bears are frequently nearby. The shallow gravel beds attract beluga whales, which come to moult each summer.

Coningham Bay: Situated across from Victoria Strait on Prince of Wales Island, this bay is a polar bear hotspot. Bears often feast on beluga whales trapped in the rocky shallows. Whale skeletons and healthy-looking polar bears are common sights.

King William Island: Remains of the Franklin expedition have been found at 35 locations here and on nearby Adelaide Peninsula. South of Cape Felix, in Victoria Strait, we hope to approach where the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were abandoned in 1848.

Zodiac Cruising, Cunningham Inlet, Canada, Michael Baynes
Days 17 - 22

Coronation and Amundsen Gulfs

Our experienced expedition team will craft daily itineraries based on sea ice and weather conditions. Following the paths of Franklin and Amundsen, we'll visit historic sites and meet the resilient locals of the far north. We'll use Zodiacs to explore coastlines, bays, and hidden estuaries, enjoying vibrant autumn colors. Marvel at the 'Smoking Hills,' where sulphurous fumes rise from the earth. Where possible, we'll hike through dramatic landscapes of hills, valleys, cliffs, and canyons.

Potential Destinations:

Cambridge Bay

As a key stop and unofficial midpoint of the Northwest Passage, Cambridge Bay offers an opportunity to explore an Inuit settlement. Visit local landmarks, purchase handmade crafts, and explore ancient archaeological sites. Wildlife sightings may include caribou, musk ox, and seals, with abundant wildflowers and birds.

Johansen Bay, Edinburgh Island

Uninhabited Edinburgh Island features flowering shrubs, ochre-tinged beaches, and rich-toned cliffs. We'll take a Zodiac excursion through Johansen Bay and hike to a lookout for views of lakes, sea, and mountains, with potential sightings of caribou, reindeer, arctic foxes, hares, and peregrine falcons.

Jesse Harbour, Banks Island

Banks Island, home to 60% of the world's Lesser Snow Geese, also hosts arctic foxes, wolves, polar bears, caribou, musk ox, and more. Dramatic cliffs with colorful quartzites and ancient Precambrian rock characterize the landscape. Offshore, you may spot bowhead whales.

Smoking Hills, Franklin Bay

The Smoking Hills emit sulphurous gas, creating a fiery, multicolored spectacle caused by igniting sulphur-rich lignite. This natural wonder showcases nature's raw power and resembles an apocalyptic movie set.

Days 23 - 25

Beaufort Sea

Anticipation mounts as we journey across the Beaufort Sea. Whether you're out on deck or relaxing in an observation lounge, witness our captain skillfully steer our advanced vessel through these mostly frozen waterways. Be on the lookout for marine wildlife, such as Beluga whales, often spotted in these waters. Upon reaching Prudhoe Bay, we say goodbye to Canada and cross into the United States.

Days 26 - 27

Chukchi Sea and Bering Strait

As we sail westward to Nome along Alaska's northern coast, where only 100 km (60 miles) separate the U.S. and Russia across the Bering Sea, there will be plenty of time to reflect on our journey and watch for marine life. Participate in our photo competition by sharing, editing, and submitting your pictures, and attend final lectures from our onboard experts. We aim to get permission to cruise near Point Hope, Little Diomede, and King Islands in Alaska.
Sylvia Earle x bow
Day 28

Disembark in Nome and fly to Anchorage

In Nome, bid farewell to your expedition team and crew after sharing an unforgettable journey. After disembarking, transfer to the airport for a charter flight to Anchorage, where you'll stay overnight.

Accommodation: Captain Cook Hotel Anchorage (or similar)

Places to visit in the Arctic Dalton Highway Prudhoe Bay Alaska
Day 29

Depart Anchorage

Enjoy breakfast and continue your journey.

Activities

Activities

Zodiac Cruising

Zodiac Cruising in Antarctica on the Greg Mortimer

Join us on daily adventures with our fleet of Zodiacs, expertly piloted by polar guides who will take you to the heart of stunning natural landscapes and wildlife. Enjoy the excitement of shore landings on secluded beaches and cruises through icy waters to explore intriguing sites. Every day promises new adventures and unforgettable encounters with the wild while experiencing the comfort and thrill of our Zodiacs.

Kayaking

Greg Mortimer expedition cruise ship activity platform

Embark on a thrilling sea kayaking adventure that  takes you through breathtaking polar landscapes. All necessary equipment will be provided, so you don't have to worry about a thing. As you glide through the icy waters, you'll be surrounded by stunning vistas that are sure to leave an indelible mark on your memory. This is a seamless and exciting way to experience the wonders of the natural world.

*Please note that limited spots are available for this exclusive experience and there is an additional charge. Please enquire at time of reservation.

Your Ship

Your Ship

Sylvia Earle

Do you need help planning your expedition cruise?

Why Reserve With Us?

Join Us

Subscribe to be the first to know about new voyages, exclusive offers and insider travel tips.

North Pole Cruises – a brand by the Expedition Collective Limited

© 2024 The Expedition Collective

Ask A Question

Do you have a question for our knowledgeable Travel Experience Team? We’re all ears! Just fill out this form, and we will be in touch shortly to answer your question.

Call Us

UK | EU
USA & Canada

Your Guide To Exploring The Polar Regions

Subscribe to be the first to know about new voyages, exclusive offers and insider travel tips.