Northwest Passage Cruises & Luxury Expeditions

Navigate frozen seaways and explore the untouched wilderness of the Canadian Arctic on a Northwest Passage cruise with great chances to encounter wildlife including the Arctic Big 5

Introduction

Our Northwest Passage Cruises are curated by our in-house team of expedition cruise experts with first-hand polar experience. We offer you the best selection of Northwest Passage cruises, allowing you to explore this spectacular part of the Arctic on a small ship with a team of naturalist guides.  

Northwest Passage expedition cruises offer an unrivalled opportunity to encounter rare wildlife such as Polar Bears, Belugas, Narwhals, Musk Oxen and Walruses from the ship and on Zodiac cruises. Visit sites of historical significance, hear the tales of early expeditions and enjoy the untamed wilderness of the Arctic.   

The Northwest Passage offers a variety of itineraries. Choose from an epic voyage to follow in the footsteps of Roald Amundsen and undertake a complete traverse of the fabled passage, or choose a shorter cruise to explore a section of the Northwest Passage, such as wildlife hotspots in Lancaster Sound and Baffin Island.

Northwest Passage Cruises

Prins Christian Sund Greenland Ponant
Explorers Club
Reykjavík, Iceland - Nome Alaska
12/08/2024 to the 05/09/2024
24 Nights

Price from per person

£37,130
Zodiac cruise in Northwest Passage
Kangerlussuaq, Greenland - Resolute, Canada
Aug 1 - Aug 17 2024
16 Nights

Price from per person

£11,540
Polar bear in the Northwest Passage
Resolute - Resolute
Aug 15 - Aug 26 2024
11 Nights

Price from per person

£8,670

Highlights Of Northwest Passage Cruise

Why Visit?

1

Witness The Arctic’s Big 5 Animals

Wildlife watching from the ship and Zodiacs with a team of onboard naturalist guides is an integral part of a Northwest Passage cruise. Keep an eye out for elusive Narwhals and Beluga whales, and spend time on deck searching for the king of the Arctic, the Polar Bear.

2

Follow In The Footsteps Of Explorers

A cruise to explore the Northwest Passage evokes a timeless sense of exploration from when it was first transited by ship in 1906 by Roald Amundsen. You can now experience this exhilarating feeling by traversing the Northwest Passage by expedition ship.

3

Explore Epic Polar Wilderness

Step ashore and explore by Zodiac with an expert guide team in isolated areas seldom seen by humans. Enjoy breathtaking landscapes, captivating glaciers and lofty mountains only seen by explorers.

4

Discover The History

From the sites from Franklin’s ill-fated attempt to traverse the Northwest Passage to the remnants of ancient settlements, explore with guides and historians who will bring the history to life.

5

Small Ship Expedition Cruise Experience

Experience the Northwest Passage with all the creature comforts of a modern, ice-strengthened expedition ship built for traversing the icy waters with a small group of fellow explorers.

What To See

Polar bear hunting a beluga whale in the Northwest Passage

Polar Bears and Diverse Wildlife

Polar bears, grazing musk ox, tusked narwhals navigating the ice floes, mysterious white Beluga whales, seals, and an array of Arctic bird species are some wildlife highlights of the Northwest Passage. 

Inuit inukshuk and polar wilderness in the Northwest Passage

Remote Arctic Landscapes

Tranquil fjords, a labyrinth of channels and sparse islands, the Northwest Passage offers a sense of isolation and pristine beauty that is unparalleled in more accessible regions.

Glaciers and Sea ice

Witness breathtaking glaciers, icebergs, and vast ice fields. The Northwest Passage is known for its stunning and dramatic scenery that captivated early explorers.

Remote Inuit Settlements and Culture

Encounter the people that live at the ends of the Earth. Meet local Inuit communities that live throughout the Northwest Passage and gain insights into their traditional lifestyles, art, and customs.

Historical Sites

Discover fascinating history sites throughout the Northwest Passage, including Beechey Island, and see artefacts from Franklin’s expedition, where all souls were lost 170 years ago, to the Davis Strait, where Roald Amundsen passed through on his ship Gjøa.

Getting To Your Northwest Passage Cruise

The Northwest Passage is an incredibly isolated part of the Canadian Arctic made up of captivating wilderness. Due to its remote location, no roads link settlements, and very little infrastructure exists. The only way to experience this region is to fly in or explore it on an expedition cruise. Many places are only accessible by ship, making a Northwest Passage cruise the preferred choice for many travellers seeking to explore the area.

Small expedition ships equipped with Zodiacs used for exploring and a team of expert guides offer the best option for encountering wildlife and sites of outstanding natural beauty. 

The easiest way to get to the Northwest Passage is to fly to the departure port for your expedition cruise. A flight to and from the departure port may also be included depending on your itinerary. If not, our Travel Experience Team can help you with this. 

Standard routes to explore the Northwest Passage is to sail on an expedition cruise from Iceland, Greenland or Alaska, which are all served by international airlines. 

Please see our guide below for all the different ways to get to the Northwest Passage.

Best Time To Go On A Northwest Passage Cruise

Due to the thick sea ice, Northwest Passage cruises only operate for a few months a year during the summertime between July and September. Expedition cruises that traverse the entire Northwest Passage take place during the late summer during August and September, when the sea ice is at its lowest, offering the best chances for passage. 

The best time to explore the Northwest Passage depends on your preferences. July and August offer the best wildlife viewing opportunities during mid-summer, and you can witness the midnight sun. Wildlife begins to migrate south in September, but it is the best month for viewing the Northern lights. 

Please see our detailed guide below to learn what a Northwest Passage cruise offers each month.

Choose Your Year

Northwest Passage Cruises 2024

Northwest Passage Cruises 2025

Northwest Passage Cruises 2026

Types of Northwest Passage Cruises

Northwest Passage Traverse

For the explorers, embark on an epic exploration and undertake a complete traverse of the Northwest Passage as Roald Amundsen did in 1906 and experience all it has to offer.
where is the northwest passage?

Northwest Passage Small Ship Cruises

For nature lovers looking to get close to wildlife, choose from our selection of small ship cruises to the Northwest Passage on modern expedition ships with premium comfort.
From the St Lawrence to Greenland, the Last Moments of Winter PONANT

Northwest Passage and Greenland Cruises

Combine an expedition cruise that explores greenlands, majestic icebergs, and remote settlements with the Northwest Passage for the ultimate journey.
Silver Wind Luxury Arctic Cruise Ship In Greenland

Northwest Passage in Ultra Luxury

For the connoisseurs, choose from a selection of ultra-luxury Northwest Passage cruises on 5 and 6-star ships, complete with butler service, luxury amenities and the finest dining in the Arctic.

Places To Explore On A Northwest Passage Cruise

A polar bear on the sea ice in Lancaster Sound

Lancaster Sound

Located between Baffin Island and Devon Island, Lancaster Sound is a strait of water and a wildlife hotspot for Belugas, Polar Bears, Walruses, Harp Seals and Bowhead whales among its inhabitants.
Houses in Pond Inlet Nunavut Northwest Passage Canadian Arctic

Pond Inlet

Framed by mountains, Pond Inlet is a small village located on the north coast of Baffin Island, where 1,555 people, predominantly Inuit, call home.
Glacier near Dundas Harbour on Devon Island Northwest Passage

Dundas Harbour

The remains of a government outpost abandoned in 1951 located on Devon Island that the Hudson Bay Company formerly owned.
Inukshuk in Gjoa Haven Nunavut Northwest Passage Canadian Arctic

Gjoa Haven

An Inuit hamlet on King William Island named after Roald Amundsen's ship, the Gjøa, where he overwintered nearby due to the heavy ice for 2 years on his first traverse of the Northwest Passage.

Beechey Island

It is a small island and a site of historical interest located off the coast of Devon Island, where the graves of 3 men from Franklin's Ill-fated expedition can still be seen today.
Northwest Passage icebreaker cruise PONANT

Queen Maud Gulf

Named by Amundsen after Queen Maud of Wales, this passage marks the final resting place of HMS Erebus in 1845, discovered in 2014.

Best Northwest Passage Cruise Ships

Le Commandant Charcot

245 Guests
PC2 Icebreaker
150m
A 5* luxury icebreaker which excels at breaking new ground (or should we say ice!) Le Commandant Charcot makes it possible to explore the most northern reaches of the Northwest Passage due to its unique ice-breaking hull, allowing it to go where others can't. Choose a Northwest Passage cruise on le Commandant Charcot to fulfil the inner explorer in you and undertake a complete traverse of the Northwest Passage. Onboard guests can enjoy gourmet dining options, spacious staterooms and luxury suites, a large outdoor heated lagoon and an indoor relaxation area with a pool and spectacular views.

Plan Your Northwest Passage Cruise

Book Well in Advance: Northwest Passage cruises often fill up quickly due to their limited capacity and the short season. To secure your cabin, book your cruise well in advance.

Choose Your Itinerary: There are a variety of luxury ships, itineraries, and activities to choose from. Choose a voyage that aligns with your interests, whether it's wildlife viewing or specific activities such as kayaking. Our Travel Experience Team advises and recommends different options based on your preferences.

Reserve Your Cabin With North Pole Cruises: We will ensure you receive the best price from the operator when booking. Our knowledgeable Travel Experience Team will help you choose your trip and answer any questions. Before the voyage, we will provide lots of helpful information, including packing lists, and support you during your journey if you have any issues. We offer peace of mind with our 100% financial protection with every booking.

Travel Insurance: When booking, purchase comprehensive travel insurance for your Arctic cruise that covers trip cancellations, medical emergencies, and evacuation from remote locations. Ensure that your policy explicitly covers polar travel.

Visiting the Northwest Passage on an expedition cruise is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, and we are here to help you plan and prepare for your extraordinary voyage to one of the Arctic's most remote and unspoiled destinations.

Frequently Asked Questions

The price of a Northwest Passage cruise varies depending on a wide range of factors, including the ship size, the level of luxury, the destination, the number of guests, the time of year, and the length of your chosen itinerary. As a rule of thumb, prices per person start from £1,000 ($1274, €1152) per person per night.

Yes, we offer no single supplement on selected Northwest Passage cruises. Our Travel Experience Team has access to the best offers for solo travellers. We recommend you contact us with your requirements, and we can help you find the best no-single supplement Antarctica cruise for you.

Yes, seeing polar bears on a Northwest Passage cruise is possible. Polar bears are frequent visitors to the area and can be seen hunting on ice flows or searching the coastline for food during the summer. Whilst sightings can never be guaranteed, polar bears are frequently sighted. For the best chances of seeing polar bears, we recommend a more extended expedition, which offers more opportunities to encounter these majestic creatures.

Weather conditions in the Northwest Passage during a cruise can vary, and it’s essential to be prepared for various temperatures and weather patterns. Here’s a general overview of what you might expect during a Northwest Passage cruise in July, August, and September:

July

Temperature: Daytime temperatures typically range from 32°F to 50°F (0°C to 10°C). Warmer temperatures are more common later in the month.

Daylight: July experiences long daylight hours, with the possibility of 24-hour daylight, especially in the later part of the month.

Weather: Weather conditions can vary, but you can expect a mix of clear days, overcast skies, and the possibility of fog. Precipitation is relatively low.

August

Temperature: Similar to July, with daytime temperatures ranging from 32°F to 50°F (0°C to 10°C). Warmer temperatures are more likely in the earlier part of the month.

Daylight: Days start to become shorter, but there is still a significant amount of daylight. The possibility of 24-hour daylight decreases.

Weather: Conditions can be similar to July, with clear days, overcast skies, and potential fog. Precipitation remains relatively low.

September

Temperature: Temperatures begin to cool, with daytime highs ranging from 23°F to 41°F (-5°C to 5°C). Nighttime temperatures may drop below freezing.

Daylight: Days continue to shorten, and by the end of September, you may experience a significant reduction in daylight hours.

Weather: Colder temperatures may bring the possibility of snow, especially later in the month. Ice conditions could become more challenging as the season progresses.

Packing appropriate clothing, including insulated and waterproof layers, is essential to stay warm and dry in cold and potentially wet conditions. We will supply you with a complete packing list and what is included during your reservation. 

 

ach Northwest Passage cruise includes accommodation in well-appointed cabins, meals, expert guides, guest lecturers outlined in the itinerary, Zodiac cruises and excursions, and specified charter flights

Please check the tour page of your chosen itinerary to see a complete list of inclusions.

Financial security is paramount for our clients, so all bookings made through North Pole Cruises include 100% financial protection. We also include supplier failure insurance free of charge for extra peace of mind. This ensures you have the very best protection on your booking. 

When reserving your chosen itinerary, the payment options will be quoted.

Typical payment terms are a 25% deposit when booking to reserve your cabin and the final balance payable 90 days before departure. 

We accept payment via credit card or bank transfer.

Each ship and voyage offers different activities to explore the Northwest Passage. Zodiac excursions and shore landings are standard for all Northwest Passage expedition cruises.

Optional activities such as kayaking and trekking are available on selected departures. 

During the reservation process, please specify which activities you are interested in, and we will assist you in finding the right voyage for you. Depending on the ship, some activities are included in the cost, and others are extra.

Wildlife in the Northwest Passage is spread out over a vast area. For the best wildlife-watching experience, we recommend a small ship and a longer itinerary, such as a traverse of the entire passage. All Northwest Passage cruises have expert guides and naturalists onboard.

For help deciding which Northwest Passage cruise fits your interests, please get in touch with our Travel Experience Team.

Northwest Passage cruises vary between 12 days for an expedition to explore the entrance to the Northwest Passage and 28 days for a traverse of the entire length of the Northwest Passage with a deep exploration. 

We recommend reserving your Northwest Passage cruise a year in advance to ensure you get your preferred choice of ship and cabin. We usually have last-minute availability on select departures for late bookers.

Please contact our Travel Experience Team to find out about last-minute availability.

The first step to booking your Northwest Passage cruise is to contact our Travel Experience Team, who will be happy to help you with your itinerary and provide details about availability and pricing for your selected voyage.

Do you need help planning your expedition?

Our friendly and knowledgeable Travel Experience Team is ready to assist you.

North Pole Cruises – a brand by the Expedition Collective Limited

© 2024 The Expedition Collective

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