Like legendary Arctic explorers before you, explore the fabled Northwest Passage

The elusive Northwest Passage between Europe and Asia fascinated adventurers for centuries, and now you can become a modern-day voyager on the waters of the High Arctic. Fly from Canada to icy Greenland and begin a cruise that takes in the history, landscapes and wildlife of this last wilderness. Explore the country’s capital and look for the whales that swim offshore, then cross the Davis Strait to check out the art and culture of traditional Inuit communities. Hike to hilltops, search for whales and, inspired by the voyages of Arctic adventurer Sir John Franklin, sail into the fjords that mark some of the most isolated places on Earth. From polar bears to narwhals, birds to walruses, you’ll be surrounded by some of the Arctic’s most memorable wildlife. Uncover the secrets of this mysterious icy world on an active and immersive 17-day expedition.


Start
Ottawa, Canada
Finish
Ottawa, Canada
Countries
Canada, Greenland
Style
Comfort
Theme
Polar, Wildlife
Code
BQMWW
Physical rating
Ages
Min 8
Group size
Min 1, Max 132

Why we love this trip

  • Discover Greenland and the Canadian Arctic on an expedition that takes in everything from incredible landscapes and ancient cultures, to local history and unique wildlife

  • Explore Greenland’s colourful villages and shop for traditional Inuit handicrafts

  • Look out the Arctic’s impressive wildlife, including whales, walrus and muskoxen

  • Take hikes like no other on the tundra and discover the stories of the Arctic’s history

  • Jump into Zodiacs and kayaks to get even closer to the Arctic’s spectacular scenery of glaciers, fjords, icebergs and more

Is this trip right for you?

  • As you’d expect, temperatures in the Arctic are very cold. A warm parka will be provided along with waterproof boots and unlimited hot drinks, but you should also bring base layers and lots of warm clothing. Please see the trip notes for further important information about what to bring.

  • Weather depending, you will be making regular excursions in a Zodiac boat to explore the local area and look for wildlife. It can get very cold and wet on the Zodiac, so make sure you are dressed appropriately and that you keep your camera safe and dry. Sturdy sea legs are needed as you make wet and dry landings from the boat, and on steep terrain, snow and other uneven surfaces. Some ships have a lot of stairs, so please hold on to the handrails if seas are rough.

  • The weather plays a pivotal part in this adventure and although there’s an itinerary in place, there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to do everything that is planned for. A level of flexibility and openness to embracing the unexpected are important in expedition travel, especially to such a remote area.

  • Polar bears are one of the most incredible and appealing animals on the planet, but they are also powerful predators with little fear of humans. Therefore it’s necessary to be aware of the guidelines surrounding any contact with Polar bears. Follow your leader’s instructions and do not stray from your group – your leader carries equipment to protect you.

Itinerary

Welcome to Ottawa, where your Arctic adventure begins. Arrive into the city any time today, and independently transfer to the group hotel (accommodation for the night is included). On arrival at the hotel, you'll receive a welcome letter outlining the departure information for the following day’s flight. An agent will be available in the lobby to answer any questions you may have.

There’s plenty to see and do if you arrive early into Canada's capital. Browse the artwork in the beautiful National Gallery of Canada, take a stroll along Rideau Canal or soak up the buzzy atmosphere of ByWard Market.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
No arrival transfer is included. Please make your own way to the joining hotel. Full details of the hotel will be provided in your final documentation. You can arrive at any time on Day 1. A Quark representative will be in the hotel lobby in the evening to provide information on the arrangements for the following day.
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.

It's important to note that on the flight to Resolute, there's a strict luggage limit: 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of checked luggage and five kilograms (11 pounds) of cabin baggage. Should you have additional luggage, it can be stored at the hotel in Ottawa (you can't take it with you on the plane).

Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
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 (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
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
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. Your Expedition Team will also keep its eyes peeled for the muskoxen 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 (10)
  • Lunch (10)
  • Dinner (10)
After disembarking in Resolute, you’ll be transferred to your charter flight to Ottawa, where you’ll spend the night at your included hotel.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, make your way to the airport to catch your homeward flights, or spend the day exploring Canada’s capital city.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
You are free to depart at anytime today. Please note that no airport departure transfer is included.

Meals

16 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 14 dinners

Transport

Ship, Zodiac, Plane

Accommodation

Expedition Cruise Ship, Comfortable Hotel

Dates & availability

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Important notes

BOOKING CONDITIONS
Arctic and Antarctic bookings have an increased deposit requirement of 20% of the full voyage cost (before any discount).  The balance is due 120 days before departure. 

If a booking is cancelled 120 days or more before departure - the cancellation fee is the full loss of the deposit paid.

If a booking is cancelled between 119 days and departure - the cancellation fee is 100% of the total price of the voyage.

Other fees may apply for air tickets and other arrangements booked in conjunction with a Polar voyage.

ADVENTURE OPTIONS 
Kayaking is available to book on all Arctic voyages except on Icebreakers. Kayaking must be booked prior to departure and incurs an additional cost. Spaces are limited so please inquire at time of booking. Some previous, recent experience is essential. Snowshoeing and hiking is also offered on some itineraries. These activities are at no additional cost and do not need to be pre-booked. See the itinerary for Adventure options available on this voyage.

Your voyage is operated by our sister company, Quark Expeditions. All accommodation and transfer arrangements as listed in the itinerary are also operated by Quark Expeditions or their local representatives.

Strict luggage limits apply. Please see Trip Notes (What to Take) for more information.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.