Classic Northwest Passage and Greenland

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4.5 / 5 from 2 reviews >
Leisurely
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Trip code: 
PNW
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Polar
Min age:
18
Max group size:
92

Sail the Arctic's most fabled route, made famous by Amundsen and Franklin

This iconic voyage through the remote Northwest Passage follows in the footsteps of the early Arctic explorers such as Franklin, Amundsen and Larsen. 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.

Highlights

  • Sail the most legendary route in Arctic lore
  • Navigate the coastline of Devon Island, the wildlife 'super highway' of the Arctic
  • Start to unravel the legend of Sir John Franklin's 'lost expedition'
  • Explore stunning iceberg-studded Disko Bay, and the bizarre landscape of volcanic Disko Island
  • Travel in a small expedition vessel
  • Accompanied by extremely qualified Expedition Staff

Key information

  • 12 nights in a choice of cabin types, all with shared or en suite facilities
  • Expedition cruising in comfortable conditions

What's included

  • All meals while on the ship
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Full complement of qualified Expedition Staff
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Fly Edmonton to Cambridge Bay (Nunavut) and board ship

    We depart Edmonton on a charter flight to Cambridge Bay, a remote outpost above the Arctic Circle. Located on the southern shores of Victoria Island, today it is a centre for hunting, trapping and fishing. Enjoy a walking tour of the town and then board our expedition ship, the Akademik Sergey Vavilov. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail and cast off, bound for the fabled Northwest Passage.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Victory Point, King William Island

    As we chart a course into the Northwest Passage, our onboard presentation series begins and we delve into the tale of the Franklin expedition. The mystery of what happened was partially solved in September 2014, when a joint Parks Canada and Royal Canadian Geographic Society expedition found the HMS Erebus in the Victoria Strait. One Ocean Expeditions played a pivotal role in the search by carrying underwater search equipment on our ship as well as scientists, historians, researchers, dignitaries and sponsors. We aim to visit Victory Point, travelling very near the actual location of the wreck of HMS Erebus, while learning about the quest for exploration that eventually opened up the Arctic. To end this remarkable find, the sister ship - HMS Terror was discovered nearby in the Summer of 2016.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Conningham Bay

    This morning we arrive at Coningham Bay on the shore of Prince of Wales Island. This is one of the most remarkable wildlife sites in the Arctic. A hotspot for Polar bears who come here to feast on Beluga whales, it is not unusual to find the shoreline littered with whale skeletons and very healthy looking Polar bears!

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Bellot Strait and Fort Ross

    Today we transit the narrow passage of Bellot Strait. The mixing of waters in this strait provides an abundant food source for marine mammals, and we will keep our eyes peeled for Harp seals, Bearded seals and even Polar bears. The skill of the Captain and officers and the capabilities of the ship become apparent during this exciting day of Arctic navigation. The historic site of Fort Ross, located at the southern end of Somerset Island, is a former Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading outpost. Fascinating archaeological sites nearby tell a story of more than a thousand years of habitation by the Inuit and their predecessors.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Beechey Island

    Beechey Island is of great historic importance. It is here that Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition spent its last ‘comfortable’ winter in 1845 before disappearing into the icy vastness. A trip ashore at Beechey Island to visit the grave markers on a remote windswept beach gives one pause to wonder on the bravery (or foolhardiness) of these pioneering explorers, as they sought a way through the barren, frozen landscape.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Devon Island and Dundas Harbour

    Cruising the coastline of Devon Island, we are now in the waters of Lancaster Sound – a rich, bio-diverse region often referred to as the wildlife ‘super highway’ of the Arctic. Massive volumes of water from Baffin Bay to the east, Beaufort Sea to the west, and the archipelago of islands to the north combine here to make a rich cocktail of nutrients supporting an abundance of Arctic wildlife. We plan to visit the old Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) outpost at Dundas Harbour. Muskox and Arctic hare are sometimes seen around here, and there are great hiking options in the area.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet)

    We sight the wild north coast of Baffin Island and navigate through Navy Board Inlet. The vast landscapes of Sirmilik National Park surround us as we approach the remote Inuit community of Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet). A highlight will be a visit to the Natinnak Centre, where a fascinating cultural exhibit showcases daily life, culture and history of the people of the north. We also enjoy meeting the local children of Mittimatalik and marveling at their athletic abilities as they demonstrate traditional Inuit games.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Gibbs Fjord

    This morning we enter the spectacular Gibbs Fjord. Our expedition ship will be dwarfed by the giant peaks and snowy glaciers as we cruise along the dark waters.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Baffin Bay

    Leaving the rugged coastline of Baffin Island, our crossing of Baffin Bay allows us time to slow down and reflect on the beauty and experiences we have shared. Our team of onboard experts will continue to educate us on the history and wildlife of the region while our naturalists keep watch looking for fulmars and dovekies, Pilot whales and perhaps even Orca. As we approach Greenland, we also increase our likelihood of spotting some of the big baleen whales like the Fin and Sei whales.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Ilulissat Icefjord

    If one word could sum up today’s experience it would be 'ice'. Truly one of the wonders of the world, the Jacobshavn Icefjord – a UNESCO World Heritage site - spews giant tabular icebergs out into Disko Bay. The glacier that creates these stunning monoliths advances at over 40 metres per day, creating around 50 cubic kilometres of ice annually. Our approach to Ilulissat is dependent on the amount of ice in and around the mouth of the fjord. Our Captain and officers are skilled ice navigators and our ship has one of the highest ice ratings of any vessel exploring Arctic waters.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Sisimiut

    We will explore the fjord behind the town of Sisimiut before going ashore to explore this beautiful location. Characterized by colourful local houses, the town features a towering granite peak as a backdrop. We hope to meet a few of the traditional Greenlandic kayakers and to see a demonstration of ‘Eskimo rolling’ by one of the former Greenland kayak champions. A small museum is another interesting diversion.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Sondre Stromfjord

    One of the world’s longest fjords, Sondre Stromfjord towers above the ship as we sail up it. We plan to venture into some of the small side fjords that we can zodiac into and explore on foot or by kayak. Major geologic and geomorphologic features will surround us and we hope to find Muskox along the shores of the fjord as well. Soaring high above us will be the white-tailed Sea eagle, riding the thermals off the ridges. There are fantastic opportunities for hiking.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    Disembark Kangerlussuaq, Greenland and fly to Ottawa

    Our journey through the Arctic is all but complete as we disembark the ship in Kangerlussuaq and make our way to the airport and a charter flight returns us to Ottawa. A transfer is provided from the airport to a central location downtown.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Group Information

The Akademik Sergey Vavilov takes a maximum capacity of 92 passengers.The Exodus group forms part of the ship’s complement, enjoying the relaxed, intimate and informal atmosphere, which breaks into smaller groups to facilitate the frequent excursions. We offer these cruises in conjunction with our partner, One OceanExpeditions, and Exodus participants will join an international group, not all of whom have booked through Exodus. Occasionally some of these may be younger than 18 years old, the Exodus' stated minimum age for this trip.

Visas

Canada

The Government of Canada has an entry requirement, known as an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), for some international travellers flying into Canada. Citizens from countries other than the US who do not require a visa to enter Canada are required to obtain an eTA before entering the country. Eligible travellers will need to go online to apply for their eTA.

To apply for your eTA you will need your passport, credit or debit card and an email address. At the time of publication there was a CAD$7 fee to process your eTA. Your eTA will be valid for a period of five years, or until your passport expires. We recommend you carry a print out of your eTA approval when you travel. Please visit www.canada.ca/eTA to apply.

If you have not applied for and received authorisation via an eTA prior to travel you may be denied boarding, experience a delayed processing or be denied admission at the Canadian point of entry. However, neither possession of a visa nor meeting the basic requirements for travelling visafree on the eTA, guarantees admission to Canada. As with most countries, the final determination of admissibility is made by immigration officials at the point of entry.

Arctic

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Canada

There are no specific health risks.

Arctic

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All meals while on the ship included.

Typical Meals

The ships galley offers good quality service and cuisine throughout, with excellent chefs preparing international menus including vegetarian dishes, accompanied by a wide variety of drinks from around the world on sale.

Breakfast: Buffet style – unlimited tea and coffee, a selection of fruit juices, hot options including bacon and eggs or omelettes, a selection of bread and toast and jam/honey/marmalade, fruit and cereal.

Lunch: Three course set meal or buffet, or the occasional BBQ.

Dinner: Three or four courses with a starter of soup and/or salad, a choice of mains with at least one vegetarian option and a dessert, with tea and coffee.

Is this trip for you?

Travelling Conditions

The voyages are designed to be as flexible as possible, taking advantage of circumstances and events as they occur, as well as passengers' wishes and particular interests wherever possible. The atmosphere on board is relaxed and friendly with expedition staff, including naturalists and Polar experts, on hand and the opportunity to mingle with people from all over the world. The ship is kept warm, clean and comfortable with a wet/mud room in which to hang gear and store boots ready for the next adventure.

On the Zodiac cruises you are sitting still for most of the time with the potential for some sea spray and a cold headwind - if you are not dressed appropriately you will get cold. On the shore excursions, the majority of landings are wet which means that the Zodiacs beach and you are helped to slide into the ankle deep shore break before walking up onto dry land (wellington boots are issued to all passengers). There are, of course, no paths, so be prepared for slippery, rough terrain and sometimes fairly deep snow. Back on board the cosy ship after each adventure, you can have a sauna and/or a hot shower and then relax with a tea, coffee, hot chocolate or something stronger from the bar.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Akademik Sergey Vavilov

The Classic Northwest Passage and Greenland is offered on the Akademik Sergey Vavilov which is a Polar Adventure Ship. Please visit the Polar Fleet page (www.exodus.co.uk/polar-holidays/polar-fleet) for Ship Information and Deck Plans.

Polar Adventure Ships

These are small (approx. 100 passengers) ice rated vessels well qualified for Polar waters. Intimate adventures are always more enjoyable with like-minded passengers and staff, so these voyages are for people who like flexible itineraries and plenty to keep them busy. Activities include frequent Zodiac excursions, trekking, kayaking and many hours on deck in areas that other ships only dream about accessing. Food and staff are superb and every guest benefits from the technical advances of this superb fleet. Rest assured our Polar Adventure Ships enable any traveller to maximize their experience sensitively in the Poles.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed September 2015
    Andrew Fellows

    North West Passage

    Wonderful experience in a very different series of environments.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Zodiac cruising through brash ice and meeting a polar bear only 30 metres away.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - Solan Jensen is a great individual with a love of the polar regions.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not assume this trip is similar to either the Antarctic or Arctic cruises. It is very different in many ways.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A great experience
  • Reviewed September 2014
    Judi Friend

    North West Passage

    I thought that this trip looked exciting. I realised before I went that there was a lot of ice at the earlier part of the route. This meant that our tour started from Resolute Bay rather than Cambridge Bay, which was initially disappointing, as I was interested in the Franklin expedition and would have liked to see where it had been. However, it did mean that we had more time in the Lancaster Strait area which is wonderful for wildlife. We saw about 20 polar bears, gyrfalcon, snowy owl, distant narwal and muskoxen and two breathtaking pods of Orcas (killer whales). We had an interesting talk by the CEO of the Victoria Strait Expedition, which was then taking place, and although we were told that no trace of Franklin's ships had been found, we later heard that one HAD been found.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A large pod of orcas, some even swam under our ship.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A knowledgeable laugh a minute!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take more memory cards and batteries than you think you'll need. The Arctic is BEAUTIFUL!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The staff were very knowledgeable, and did their utmost to give us a most memorable holiday. I'd just like to see a non-slip surface near the plunge pool.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Call us on 020 8772 3936