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Day 1 Modern City, Stunning Setting
Location : Vancouver, Canada
Your journey begins with an overnight stay in Vancouver, giving you the opportunity to get a taste of the Canadian city’s rich culture, great restaurants, and undeniable natural beauty. To experience more of the region before your voyage begins, join an optional Pre-program travelling on the scenic Rocky Mountaineer train.
Day 2 There’s No Place Like Nome
Location : Nome, Alaska
We fly to Nome to board MS Roald Amundsen. Set at the tip of the Seward Peninsula, overlooking the Bering Sea, Nome is perhaps the most famous gold rush town in Alaskan history. There are artifacts of the gold rush era to be seen everywhere, including abandoned dredges, turn-of-the-century steam engines, and old railroad tracks.
Day 3-7 Seeing the Sights While Sailing the Seas
Location : At Sea
Days at sea are spent at your leisure aboard the ship. Relax while gazing out at the view, learn more from the knowledgeable Expedition Team in our lecture series, or chat with your fellow explorers.
We sail through the Bering Strait before heading into the Chukchi Sea. As we reach Point Barrow, the northernmost point of the United States, we enter the Beaufort Sea. We will keep a sharp eye open here for bowhead and gray whales, and we might also start seeing sea ice.
We continue into the Amundsen Gulf, where we hope to observe the remarkable Smoking Hills - an amazing sight, with smoke billowing from the cliffs on the east coast of Cape Bathurst. Lignite – a combination of eroded shale and pyrite – spontaneously ignites when exposed to air, creating this photogenic phenomenon.
Day 8-17 Heading into the Heart of the Northwest Passage
Location : Northwest Passage
Almost 40 expeditions tried to navigate this seaway as far back as 1497. James Cook attempted it in 1776 and many are familiar with the ill-fated Franklin expedition of 1845. The first explorer to conquer the Northwest Passage by ship was Norwegian Roald Amundsen on an expedition that lasted from 1903 to 1906. Now, in our modern era, we aim to follow the wake of their ships and sail through the Northwest Passage, too.
During our journey, we will land at sites that are linked to early exploration history, visit Inuit communities, and hope to spot Arctic wildlife such as polar bears, whales, seals, and large colonies of seabirds. There will also be opportunities for small-boat cruising between ice floes, and in true expedition style, we will go ashore and experience the pristine wilderness firsthand.
The ship captain and Expedition Leader will continuously assess the current weather and sea conditions, adapt activities accordingly, and adjust the itinerary to where the sea ice allows us to go. Like all good explorers, we respect and work with nature, not against it.
Here are some of the places in the region that we plan to explore together, subject to favorable conditions:
Many in the 500-strong community are involved in the local artists’ co-op, producing prints, tapestries, and other crafts. This is also the location of the the world's northernmost golf course, which plays host to a tournament each summer.
Located on Victoria Island, this is the largest stop for vessels traversing the Northwest Passage. It is also called ‘Iqaluktuuttiaq', or ‘A Good Fishing Place’ due to the Ekalluk River, which attracts giant char, musk oxen, and caribou.
Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen wintered at this hamlet in 1903 on his Gjøa expedition. There is an informative walking tour, Heritage Centre, and Hamlet Centre dedicated to the history and culture of the area.
An abandoned Hudson’s Bay Trading post located at the southern end of Sommerset Island, the storehouse here is still used as a shelter by occasional travellers, with bunk beds and shelves of canned goods.
This is the final resting place for three members of the lost Franklin expedition, which sailed into the Northwest Passage in 1845 but never returned. It is customary for explorers to stop and pay their respects, as Roald Amundsen did in 1903.
Welcome to the largest uninhabited island on Earth. The only signs of human life are at the long abandoned settlement of Dundas Harbour along with several archaeological sites from the Thule period.
Picturesque Pond Inlet, called 'Mittimatalik' in Inuktitut, is a traditional Inuit community on Baffin Island. It overlooks the Eclipse Sound and the mountains of Bylot Island and is known as a great place to see large pods of narwhal.
Day 18 Crossing the Davis Strait
Location : Labrador Sea - At sea
This strait was named after English explorer John Davis, who searched for a route through the Northwest Passage between 1585 and 1587. Wind down and watch the waves aboard the ship, or enjoy a lecture from the Expedition Team as we head north toward Greenland.
Day 19 Where Icebergs are born
Location : Ilulissat - Full Day
This small town is set in the stunning scenery of the Ilulissat Icefjord UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the mouth of the fjord you can see enormous icebergs that have run aground. These ice masses originate from the Jakobshavn Glacier, one of the fastest-moving glaciers in the world. Join one of our many optional excursions here.
Included Excursions: Ilulissat - Walk to the Icefjords - Hear the ice cracking in the distance?
Day 20 'The People Living in a Place of Fox Dens'
Location : Sisimiut - Half Day
Sisimiut is the second largest town in Greenland, located 25 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It is a modern, growing settlement with a history that goes back 4,500 years. For example, its name means `The People Living in a Place of Fox Dens.´ There are a variety of optional excursions to discover the area.
Included Excursion: Sisimiut - Kayak Demo and Museum visit - Sisimiut is Greenland's second largest town with approximately 5.500 inhabitants. That's almost 4 times smaller than the Capital, Nuuk.
Day 21-22 Across the Labrador Sea
Location : Labrador Sea - At sea
It is time to say goodbye to Greenland, and head out on another stretch of open sea. We will cross the southern part of the Labrador Sea, this time toward Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada.
Day 23 Canada’s Hidden but Rich Maritime History
Location : Red Bay
Preserved in the ice-cold waters, the remains of several 17th century Basque whaling ships have led to the town being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the local museum that documents this interesting history or take the trail up to Tracey Hill for scenic views, and where, legends say, pirate captain Kidd buried treasure.
Included Excursion: Red Bay Highlights Access - Want to get a feel for Red Bay’s local culture and history?
Day 24 A Classic Canadian City
Location : Corner Brook - Half Day
Located at the mouth of the Bay of Islands and Humber River, Corner Brook is the second largest city in the province and local to the core. Explore the city center or enjoy its many walking trails along the Humber River, decorated at this time of year with vibrant autumn leaves.
Day 25 Relaxing Day
Location : At Sea
The adventure is drawing to a close. Spend time with the other guests and the Expedition Team reviewing the many exciting experiences you shared during our voyage together.
Day 26 The End of the Passage
Location : Halifax
Your journey exploring the Northwest Passage comes to an end in Halifax, capital of Nova Scotia. There are red-brick heritage buildings, parks, a landmark citadel, some world-class museums, and a 2.5 mile seafront boardwalk. If you can, we recommend spending an extra day or two here on one of our Post-programs before you head home.