Iceberg at sunset

Northwest Passage - In the Footsteps of Franklin

17 days
from
$15,495 USD
incl. taxes
Loading...
Polar Expeditions
Activity level:
Leisurely
Activity Level: Leisurely
Trip code: 
PMP
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Polar
Max group size:
199
Ages:
18+

For centuries, fortune-seekers risked their lives to find the Northwest Passage, the fabled sea route running between Europe and Asia.

Winding your way through the icy channels of the legendary Northwest Passage is history brought to life. On this compelling 17-day journey aboard our new vessel, Ultramarine, 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 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, the most extensive portfolio of adventure options in the industry, more outdoor wildlife viewing spaces than any other expedition ship its size, and 20 quick-launching Zodiacs to get you closer to ancient glaciers, dramatic fjords and towering icebergs. Explore colourful Greenlandic villages, and shop for traditional Inuit handicrafts. Hike the endless Arctic backdrop and marvel at the vast, colourful tundra. Keep your eyes peeled for the elusive and majestic creatures that make their home in this wilderness, such as whales, walrus, Musk ox and Polar bears. Come aboard Ultramarine, follow in the footsteps of Franklin’s legendary Arctic voyage, and return home with memories to last a lifetime.

Highlights

  • Experience highlights of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic
  • Explore colourful Greenlandic villages and shop for traditional Inuit handicrafts
  • View iconic Arctic wildlife, such as whales, walrus and Musk ox
  • Hike the colourful tundra
  • Cruise in a Zodiac to get up close to glaciers, fjords, icebergs and more
  • Travel in a small expedition vessel
  • Enjoy flightseeing and heli landings with Ultramarine’s two onboard helicopters
  • Accompanied by extremely qualified Expedition Staff

Key information

  • 14 nights in a choice of cabin types, all with en suite facilities, 2 nights hotel in Toronto.
  • Expedition cruising in comfortable condition
  • Countries visited: Greenland, Canada, Arctic

What's included

  • All meals while on the ship
  • Beer and house wine during dinner
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Full complement of qualified Expedition Staff
  • We can include flights from the UK.  Please contact us for a quote.

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Mandatory transfer package (including charter flights Toronto to Kangerlussuaq & Resolute to Toronto)  which is £2200 per person (or equivalent in booking currency) paid on booking
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
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.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips which improve life for the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. To read more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice, click here, and to find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation click here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • We are extremely conscious of our presence in the Polar regions. Often seeing whales, Polar bears, seals and seabirds can be a very moving experience and clients either donate to related charities or develop a lifelong interest in conservation of these species. There is not much contact with local communities on these remote voyages, although we do encourage clients to explore and use local businesses before embarkation. There are some small businesses which benefit greatly from tourism commerce and plenty of locals to engage with. By supporting locally owned shops and using various other services and facilities, money goes towards an increase of employment opportunities and growth of the local economy.
  • We have developed a comprehensive staff training and accreditation program which ensures that our staff is fully aware of responsible tourism issues and that they are kept updated with refresher courses. From safety to environmental sustainability, our team of lecturers, specialists and crew are able to pass vital information on to clients in briefings.
  • We also send extensive preparatory packs out to every group including guidelines from the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) of which our operator is a full member.
  • Our on board gift shop only sells items which have been thoroughly researched as to where an item has come from, whether it has been produced fairly, what it is made of and distance it has had to travel.

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • Our Arctic expeditions are designed to operate in line with The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) which has guidelines in place to protect the fragile environment of this Polar region.
  • We emphasise that the protection of this pristine yet fragile environment and its wildlife is at the forefront of what we do. This is driven by our ‘leave no trace’ policy, which includes being vigilant with litter disposal and avoiding approaching animals any closer than 5 metres.
  • We strictly adhere to all international policies regarding disposal of waste at sea and only use recycled and acid free paper on board.  Clients are also encouraged to recycle and reduce waste throughout and are provided with a re-usable water bottle for the trip. Cabins are fitted with eco-friendly amenities and the laundry is done with green detergents.

Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • We do our best to take advantage of local products as a means of boosting the local economy and reducing our carbon footprint as a whole. This is evident in the meals provided, which are created with sustainability in mind. Seafood, for example, will always be fresh and purchased based on the responsible management of the fishery for each particular species and will observe guidelines similar to the MSC and Audubon Society.
  • We make a collective effort to minimise excess waste on board and offer a carbon offsetting option for clients.
  • Our small Zodiac landing crafts are lightweight and nimble and they are powered by low-emission engines.
  • Activities include sea kayaking and guided photography which have a minimal impact on the environment.
  • Our eco-conscious approach means we travel to remote and pristine destinations differently than others in the industry. Most of our vessels burn Marine Gas Oil (MGO) – a clean burning fuel with a low emission factor- and despite being far more expensive, it is the only fuel we consider using. We also reduce consumption and emissions by tailoring our itinerary to operate at a more leisurely pace.
  • Some departures of this itinerary travel on a new Polar expedition vessel called the Ultramarine, which features a pioneering mix of advanced sustainability features that reduce its environmental impact to an extent previously unseen for a polar vessel of comparable size. Energy efficiency begins with drag reduction. Ultramarine’s hull design combined the latest computational fluid dynamic techniques and state-of-the-art production faring to ensure the lowest possible resistance. In addition, detailed analyses were conducted on the propeller and hull interaction to reduce losses and determine the optimal propeller size, hull clearance and speed.
  • Ultramarine has been designed and built with energy efficiency in mind, including LED lighting and lighting controls and an energy recovery wheel that collects energy from exhaust air, reducing the energy required to maintain a comfortable environment for guests and staff. She is outfitted with four diesel-electric engines of two sizes that can be run in any combination according to combined power and propulsion needs, providing very flexible and efficient fuel consumption.
  • By minimizing waste brought on board, gasifying combustible waste to generate useful heat with a Micro Auto Gasification System (MAGS), and compacting other retained waste, Ultramarine can operate for 40 days and discharge no solid waste. Black and grey water generated onboard are thoroughly treated to dischargeable conditions anywhere in the world.
  • Ultramarine has been issued CLEAN certification by DNV GL, the world’s largest resource of independent energy experts, and TIER III status by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the organization responsible for developing the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring your own re-usable water bottle on this trip; filtered water will be provided where tap water is not drinkable.

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Toronto, Canada.

    Enjoy an included night in Toronto and meet your fellow travellers.

  • Day 2

    Fly to Kangerlussuaq and board the ship.

    After breakfast, board your charter flight to Kangerlussuaq, a small seaside community that’s your gateway to Greenland. 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.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Days 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, in its inaugural year, will take you beyond the familiar in Polar exploration. Throughout your journey, the 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. 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.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    At sea

    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.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 6-15

    Exploring Canada's High Arctic

    Visit towering fjords, historical sites and traditional Inuit communities as you follow the footsteps of famous explorers from long ago in the Canadian High Arctic.

    The picturesque Inuit hamlet of Pangnirtung, nicknamed the Switzerland of the Arctic, is nestled beneath the jagged peaks of Mount Duval. An artist’s hub, Pang is renowned for its traditional Inuit arts and crafts, especially lithographs and intricate tapestries. At the Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts, watch craftspeople in the tapestry studio and pick up a limited-edition print. A must for visitors, a colorful Pang hat will keep you warm during the remainder of your arctic voyage. You’ll also visit nearby Kekerten, an uninhabited island that was a major whaling destination in the 1800s.

    At the southern tip of the Cumberland Sound, Cape Mercy was named by British explorer John Davis (yes, he of the Davis Strait), who sailed through it in 1585. The site of an old Distant Early Warning Line installation, it’s an ideal spot to go ashore for a hike.

    As icebergs travel down the Davis Strait, they’re naturally trapped at Qikiqtarjuak (formerly known as Broughton Island), the iceberg capital of the world. The icy waters here are sometimes also home to narwhals, beluga and right whales, and ring and harp seals. A hike up to the hilltop inukshuk (a stone figure made by the Inuit) rewards with spectacular views of the community.

    Cruising farther north along the east coast of Baffin Island, we’ll approach Isabella Bay, an important summer and fall feeding area for a large population of Bowhead whales.

    Stacked side by side, the dozens of soaring cliffs of Sam Ford Fjord make for a majestic site as you sail by. One of the most isolated places on the planet, the big-wall playground attracts climbers eager to scale the sheer rock faces that shoot straight out of the sea.

    At the northern tip of Baffin Island, near the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage, is the picturesque hamlet of Pond Inlet. Spend some time exploring this traditional Inuit community that’s surrounded by scenic mountains, fjords, glaciers and icebergs.

    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. The Expedition Team will also keep its eyes peeled for the Musk ox and walrus that are known to visit the bay. A hike to a nearby archaeological site is another possible excursion. Farther west, some of the best ancient Thule remains in the Arctic are at Radstock Bay, beside the soaring Caswell Towers, a Polar bear observation site. Exploring the area, you’ll gain insight into how these pre-Inuit people lived.

    At the western end of Devon Island, the windswept Beechey Island might be small, but it’s 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. 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 have a chance of spotting beluga whales and narwhals, as they feed on the large numbers of arctic char that enter Creswell Bay in late summer. 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, a narrow channel that separates Somerset Island from mainland North America, you’ll reach the northernmost area of the continental landmass, Zenith Point.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 16

    Disembark in Resolute, fly to Toronto

    After disembarking in Resolute, you’ll be transferred to your charter flight to Toronto, where you’ll spend the night at your included hotel.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 17

    End Toronto

    Today, make your way to the airport to catch your homeward flights, or spend the day exploring this fascinating city.

    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 Ultramarine takes a maximum capacity of 199 passengers. The Exodus group forms part of the ship’s complement (max of approx. 100), 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, Quark Expeditions, 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

Greenland

No visa required for British passport holders.

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

Greenland

There are no specific health risks.

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.

Vegetarians and vegans can be well catered for on this holiday - please do inform us before departure of any special dietary requests so that our local team can be well prepared.

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.

Optional activities

Sea kayaking option

On our Northwest Passage - In the Footsteps of Franklin voyage there is the chance for some members of the party to take regular sea kayak excursions in place of the Zodiac excursions. There are a limited number of kayaks on each ship, and you must book and pay for this option in advance. All kayak trips are guided, and are subject to suitable locations and weather conditions. Should the kayaking not be possible, a place on a Zodiac is always available. Basic kayak competence is required.

Polar Itineraries

All Polar itineraries should be treated as a guide only - it is possible that, amongst other things, the capricious nature of wind, visibility and ice, intelligence from previous sailings, changes in local landing regulations or the expert opinion of the crew onboard may lead to adjustments to the route published.

Booking Conditions

Please note that the booking conditions for this trip differ from our standard conditions. 

As with all Polar holidays and voyages, the required deposit is 20% per person of your selected travel arrangements (minimum £1000 per person or equivalent) and the balance of the price of your travel arrangements must be paid at least 133 days before your departure date. The deposit is non-refundable, and at 133 days before departure date, our cancellation penalties are 100% of the holiday cost.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
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

Ultramarine

The Northwest Passage - In the Footsteps of Franklin is offered on the Ultramarine which is a Polar Adventure ship. Full board accommodation on the ship, generally on a twin share basis in a variety of cabin types, all with en suite facilities. Please visit the Polar Fleet page for Ship Information and Deck Plans.

Polar Adventure Ship:

These are small 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 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:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
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

Have you been on this adventure? Tell others what it’s like by writing a review.

Dates & Prices

 

Please contact our specialist Polar sales team on 020 8003 9957 or at [email protected] for further dates and prices

Polar Ships: For information regarding ship specifications, visit the Polar Fleet page.

 

Trips you might also like