Northwest Passage: The Legendary Arctic Sea Route - 17 days

Aboard Ultramarine – 199 passengers

Winding your way through the icy channels of the legendary Northwest Passage is history brought to life during this expedition in the Canadian High Arctic and Greenland. On this compelling 17-day journey, passengers retrace the steps of the intrepid Franklin Expedition, which left the shores of England in 1845 in search of the last unexplored section of the Northwest Passage—only to become permanently icebound. Its discovery more than a century and a half later by Norwegian Roald Amundsen was a much-celebrated moment in polar history.

On Ultramarine, guests benefit from two twin-engine helicopters that will provide spectacular aerial views of the Arctic landscape. Explore colorful Inuit villages, and shop for traditional Inuit handicrafts. Hike the endless Arctic backdrop and marvel at the vast, colorful tundra. Keep your eyes peeled for the elusive and majestic creatures that make their home in this wilderness, such as whales, walrus, muskoxen and polar bears.

Tour Dates

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Toronto, Canada
Your Arctic expedition begins in Toronto. Explore this vibrant city on your own before spending the night enjoying the comfort and amenities of your designated hotel.

Day 2: Fly to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland and Embark
After breakfast, board your charter flight to Kangerlussuaq, a small community nestled deep inside a 118 mile (190 km) long fjord. Enjoy your first Zodiac ride as you’re transferred from shore to ship. Out on deck, take in your new surroundings before you set sail on your Arctic adventure.

Day 3 – 4: Exploring West Greenland
Cruising around the remote regions of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic aboard Ultramarine, the newest ship in our fleet, you’ll navigate the same icy inlets, channels and bays that fascinated legendary explorers of long ago. Designed to give polar adventurers unprecedented access to the hardest- to-reach places on the planet—and equipped with two onboard twin-engine helicopters for unparalleled access to areas only Quark Expeditions can bring you—this one-of-a-kind ship will take you beyond the familiar in polar exploration. Throughout your journey, your Expedition Team will keep an eye toward immersing you in the best the Arctic has to offer at the top of the world. Locals call Maniitsoq the Venice of Greenland, as it’s situated in an archipelago intersected by natural canals. Soaring, snow-capped mountains surround the small, rocky town, whose name means “the uneven place.” Playful humpback whales spend summer in the waters around here.

The Greenlandic capital of Nuuk is a haven for history and culture lovers. See for yourself the unique and thriving culture of contemporary Greenland that mingles the ancient with the modern in surprising and wonderful ways. Stroll down to the waterfront to see the Hans Egede Church and Hans Egede statue, named for the missionary who established the settlement in 1728. Marvel at the famous remains of 500-year-old fully dressed mummies, discovered under a rock outcrop in 1972 by two brothers out hunting, at the Greenland National Museum. The Nuuk Art Museum and Katuaq Culture Centre are also worth visiting.

Day 5: Crossing the Davis Strait
Say goodbye to Greenland’s shores as you traverse the Davis Strait in pursuit of the Canadian Arctic. Presentations by on-board experts will prepare you for the adventures that lie ahead.

Day 6 – 15: Exploring Canada’s High Arctic
Visit towering fjords, historical sites and Inuit communities as you follow in the footsteps of famous explorers from long ago in the Canadian High Arctic. At the southern tip of the Cumberland Sound, you’ll visit Cape Mercy, which was named by British explorer John Davis (yes, he of the Davis Strait), who sailed through it in 1585. This is the site of an old Distant Early Warning Line installation, dating back to the Cold War. These and many other stations were set up to detect Soviet bombers. It’s an ideal spot to go ashore for a hike.

As icebergs travel down the Davis Strait, they’re naturally trapped at Qikiqtarjuaq (formerly known as Broughton Island). The icy waters here are also home to ring and harp seals. A hike up to the hilltop inuksuk rewards with spectacular views of the community. Inuksuks are stone figures or cairns that traditionally call attention to the location for navigation, abundant harvesting or spiritual significance.

Cruising further north along the mountainous east shore of Baffin Island, we’ll approach Isabella Bay, an important summer and fall feeding area for the largest concentration of bowhead whales in Canada. Bowheads are a truly a remarkable arctic leviathan that research has revealed may live more than 200 years of age – the oldest mammal. At the northern tip of Baffin Island, near the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage, is the Inuit hamlet of Pond Inlet, surrounded by scenic mountains, fjords, glaciers and icebergs. Many in the community still follow a nomadic lifestyle and hunt for their food.

At the top of Baffin Island sits Lancaster Sound, a true arctic oasis. Known by the Inuit and their predecessors for thousands of years, this channel and the surrounding lands are extremely rich in wildlife and history, both indigenous and European. The area around Lancaster Sound affords several hiking opportunities. At Dundas Harbour, on Devon Island, you’ll visit an abandoned beachside outpost of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. At nearby Croker Bay, cruise in a Zodiac (at a safe distance) along the face of an actively calving glacier. Your Expedition Team will also keep its eyes peeled for walrus that are known to visit the bay. Farther west, some of the best ancient Thule remains in the Arctic are at Radstock Bay, beside the soaring Caswell Towers.

At the western end of Devon Island, the windswept Beechey Island is steeped in history. Named after famed British explorer Frederick William Beechey, it’s a Canadian National Historic Site. You’ll visit the small marked graves of three crew members who died during Sir John Franklin’s tragic 1845–46 expedition. Over 150 years later, Roald Amundsen landed here in 1903, during the first successful voyage by ship through the Northwest Passage.

Sailing down the east coast of Somerset Island, you may be fortunate to spot beluga whales and if you’re very fortunate, narwhals, as they feed at Creswell Bay. An Important Bird Area, the bay also attracts such species as black-bellied plovers, king eiders and white-rumped sandpipers. You’ll also have time to explore Fort Ross, where the Hudson’s Bay Company established a now-abandoned trading post in 1937. At the midpoint of the Bellot Strait, the narrow channel that separates Somerset Island from mainland North America, you’ll reach the northernmost area of the continental landmass, Zenith Point.

Day 16: Disembark in Resolute, Canada and Fly to Calgary
After disembarking in Resolute, you’ll be transferred to your charter flight to Calgary, where you’ll spend the night at your included hotel.

Day 17: Depart Calgary
Today, make your way to the airport to catch your homeward flights, or spend the day exploring this fascinating city.

EXPEDITION SPIRIT: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your Expedition Team  must  consider  the sea, ice and weather to guide the route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you may experience on this voyage; please  be  aware  that  no  specific  itinerary can be guaranteed. By the same  token,  wildlife  encounters  as  described  are  expected,  but  not  guaranteed.  Your  Expedition  Team  will  use  their  considerable  experience to seek out wildlife in known habitats, but the presence of any particular species of bird or marine wildlife is not guaranteed.

Route Map

Trips and Rates

Please note, rates are Per Person in USD
Explorer Triple
$18,395
Save 25%
$13,796
Limited
Explorer Suite
$24,495
Save 25%
$18,371
 
Balcony Suite
$26,895
Save 25%
$20,171
 
Deluxe Balcony Suite
$31,895
Save 25%
$23,921
 
Terrace Suite
$33,095
Save 25%
$24,821
Full
Penthouse Suite
$34,295
Save 25%
$25,721
Limited
Owner's Suite
$44,095
Save 25%
$33,071
Limited
Ultra Suite
$48,895
Save 25%
$36,671
Limited
Solo Panorama
$34,295
Save 25%
$25,721
 
Transfer Package
$1,995
 

Transfer Package is an additional cost and not included in the cabin pricing. See the neon green box in the pricing grid for the cost of transfer package, which varies based on departure.

A 5% Goods & Services Tax (GST) will be added to both the cabin & transfer package cost on all “Canada’s Remote Arctic” and “Arctic Express Canada” departures and is not included in the above prices.

Single Travelers:

  • Can book a dedicated Solo Panorama at the pricing listed above
  • Can book into a share cabin in the following categories: Explorer Triple, Explorer Suite & Balcony Suite
  • Can book a twin cabin at solo occupancy at 1.7x the per person share price in Explorer Suite & Balcony Suite and 2x the per person price for all other categories

Adventure Options:

  • Kayaking (full program, multiple paddles): $795/person – requires experience
  • Paddling (one-time): $195/person
  • Tundra to Table: Inuit Culinary Experience: $125/person
  • Greenland Camp Experience: $795/person
  • Mountain Biking: $195/person
  • Exclusive Heli-Landing: $395/person

Mandatory Transfer Package is $995/person and not included in the cabin cost. Transfer package includes a hotel night in Buenos Aires on Day 1 and roundtrip flights between Buenos Aires & Ushuaia. See additional notes in the Inclusions section on itinerary page.

Single Travelers:

  • Can book a dedicated Solo Panorama at the pricing listed above
  • Can book into a share cabin in the following categories: Explorer Triple, Explorer Suite & Balcony Suite
  • Can book a twin cabin at solo occupancy at 1.7x the per person share price in Explorer Suite & Balcony Suite and 2x the per person price for all other categories

Adventure Options:

  • Kayaking (full program, multiple paddles): $995/person – requires experience
  • Paddling (one-time): $295/person
  • Exclusive Heli-Landing: $395/person
  • Stand-Up Paddleboarding: $295/person

Availability & prices are subject to change at anytime. Please contact us for the real time availability & prices.

Cabin Descriptions

Ultra Suite

Located on Deck 6, with approximately 563 sq. ft. (52.3m2) of interior living space, and a 46 sq. ft. (4.3 m2) balcony. This suite is perfect for guests who want to travel without compromise. The largest and most luxurious suite features the most sleeping, entertainment and storage space onboard the ship. Features one double or two single beds in a private bedroom with walk-in closet, sitting area with sofa bed and additional walk-in hallway closet, private balcony, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower, bathtub and heated floors and separate powder room. Amenities include hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, complimentary water bottle, upgraded bedding, in suite coffee, binoculars on loan.

Owners Suite

Owner's Suite

Located on Deck 6, with approximately 446 sq. ft. (41.4 m2) of indoor living space and a 46.3 sq. ft. (4.3 m2) balcony. This suite is perfect for guests who want it all. A large, luxurious suite featuring a private bedroom, full bathroom, powder room, and two separate living spaces. This suite is perfect for families or couples who want all the comforts of home onboard the ship. Features one double or two single beds in a private bedroom with walk-in closet, sitting area with sofa bed and additional closet, private balcony, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower, bathtub and heated floors and separate powder room. Amenities include hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, complimentary water bottle, upgraded bedding, in suite coffee, binoculars on loan.

Penthouse Suite

Penthouse Suite

The only suite category to be located on Deck 7, with approximately 369 sq. ft. (34.3 m2) of indoor space, and a 67 sq. ft. (6.2 m2) balcony. This suite is perfect for guests wanting to wake up to unobstructed polar views from the warmth and comfort of their bed onboard the ship. These suites offer the best of everything—views, spacious interiors, full bathrooms and generous balcony sizes—as well as easy access to the wellness centre. Features one double or two single beds, sitting area with sofa bed, private balcony, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower, bathtub and heated floors. Amenities include hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, complimentary water bottle, upgraded bedding and in suite coffee. 

Terrace Suite

Terrace Suite

Located on Deck 6, with approximately 350 sq. ft. (32.5 m2) of indoor living space, and a 100 sq. ft. (9.3 m2) balcony. This suite is perfect for guests wanting generous interiors with a wide layout and the largest balconies on the ship. Centrally located on Deck 6, guests will enjoy minimal movement and motion from the comfort of these suites. Features one double or two single beds, sitting area with sofa bed, private extra-wide balcony, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower, bathtub and heated floors. Amenities include hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, complimentary water bottle, upgraded bedding and in suite coffee. 

Deluxe Balcony Suite

Deluxe Balcony Suite

Located on Decks 4 & 6, with approximately 299 sq. ft. (27.8 m2) of indoor space and a 70 sq. ft. (6.5 m2) balcony. This suite is perfect for guests wanting a larger living space, full bathroom, and a substantial balcony. Deluxe Balcony Suites are the first suite type to offer additional privacy in the bathroom with an enclosed toilet, a full bath and shower to make it easier for guests to get ready together in the morning. Featuring one double or two single beds, sitting area with sofa bed, private balcony, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower, bathtub and heated floors. Amenities include hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, complimentary water bottle.

Balcony Suite

Balcony Suite

Located on Decks 4 & 6 with approximately 226 sq. ft. (21 sq. m) of indoor space and a 52 sq. ft. (4.8 sq. m) balcony. The Balcony Suite is the entry level balcony cabin. Featuring one double or two single beds, sitting area with sofa bed, private balcony, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower and heated floors. Amenities include hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, complimentary water bottle. Some suites in this category offer interconnecting rooms. The balconies in suites 421, 422, 423, and 424 are partially enclosed.

Explorer Suite

Explorer Suite

Located on Deck 3, and approximately 285 sq. ft. (26.5 m2). Large entry-level double occupancy suites maximizing interior living space while still offering guests the opportunity to stay connected to the outdoors. Featuring one double or two single beds, sitting area with sofa bed, picture window, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower and heated floors. Cabin amenities include hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, complimentary water bottle.  Suites 319 and 322 offer modified layouts and bathrooms for wheelchair accessibility.

Explorer Triple

Explorer Triple

Located on Deck 3, and approximately 285 sq. ft. (26.5 m2). This cabin is for solo passengers looking to share a cabin with other passengers of the same gender or 3 people traveling together. Featuring three separate single beds (two of which can be combined into a double bed), sitting area, picture window, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower and heated floors. Cabin amenities include hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, complimentary water bottle.

Solo Panorama cabin

Solo Panorama

Located on Deck 6, and approximately 132 sq. ft. (12.3 m2). This suite is perfect for solo guests who appreciate privacy and want to wake up to sweeping views from the comfort of their bed. These are the only solo suites with floor-to-ceiling windows available onboard any ship in its class. Features a single bed, floor-to-ceiling window, desk, refrigerator, TV, private bathroom with shower and heated floors. Cabin amenities include hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, complimentary water bottle.

Deck Plan

Inclusions & Exclusions

Inclusions: 

  • Leadership throughout your voyage by our experienced Expedition Leaders, including shore landings and other activities
  • All Zodiac transfers and cruising as per the daily program
  • All shore landings as per the daily program
  • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
  • All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage (Please inform us of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals.)
  • Free beer, standard wines, spirits, and cocktails during bar service hours and dinner
  • Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled
  • A photographic journal documenting the expedition
  • A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions
  • An official expedition parka to keep
  • Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
  • All luggage handling aboard the ship
  • Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person
  • Greenland voyages cruise passenger tax
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi service on one device permitting basic Internet browsing, email, posting on social media and voice applications. (Premium packages are available for more data intensive applications)

Exclusions: 

  • International airfare
  • Arrival and departure transfers in Toronto
  • Passport and visa expenses
  • Canadian eTA required for non-Canadian or U.S. visa-exempt passengers
  • Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above
  • Meals ashore unless otherwise specified
  • Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended
  • Excess-baggage fees on international and domestic flights
  • Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other gear not mentioned
  • Laundry, bar and other personal charges unless specified
  • Phone and Internet charges (connectivity may vary by location)
  • Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew
  • Additional overnight accommodation
  • Adventure Options not listed in Included Activities