The NW Passage: Newfoundland and Labrador

National Geographic Explorer Cruise Ship
National Geographic Explorer
148 Passengers

The Northwest Passage, the most legendary route in Arctic lore, is a series of deep channels through Canada’s Arctic islands that have been historically ice-clogged year-round. Arctic warming has opened a window of opportunity to explore the quintessential Northwest Passage aboard National Geographic Explorer. Our ultimate expedition ship navigates from Kugluktuk, Nunavut in the west, tracing the coast of Baffin Island, all the way along the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador. Our itinerary is flexible, and completely ice dependent, dictating our path north or south of Baffin Island out into the Atlantic.

Day 1: U.S./Edmonton, Canada

Fly to Edmonton and overnight at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald

Day 2: Kugluktuk, Nunavut/Embark

This morning we fly to Kugluktuk, a traditional fishing hamlet and the most westerly community in the territory of Nunavut. Embark National Geographic Explorer and begin our Northwest Passage adventure.

Days 3 - 11: Exploring the Northwest Passage

The Northwest Passage: the legendary sea passage of the North American continent, representing centuries of effort to find a trade route from the Atlantic Ocean through the Arctic Archipelago over the top of Canada. One of the world’s greatest maritime challenges, the route is located 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Our ultimate ice ship, National Geographic Explorer, follows nature’s path, dependent on ice and weather conditions. We explore the ice-choked channels and glacier-carved islands that stretch for hundreds of miles—a stunning display of raw geology. We take our cues from nature: following wildlife, stopping for hikes on the tundra, and dropping anchor in a beautiful fjord or an iceberg-strewn bay to kayak or explore by Zodiac. We may encounter ringed seals, arctic foxes, walruses and polar bears, and maybe even beluga and the rare narwhal. We’ll learn about the Inuit peoples who have hunted and fished here for thousands of years. And we’ll hear heroic stories of the early explorers: Roald Amundsen, John Ross, William Edward Parry, and James Clark Ross among others.

Days 12 - 16: Baffin Island

All eyes will be on the Bridge as the Captain and his officers study the satellite ice imagery to decide whether ice conditions allow us to go south or north around Baffin Island. A narrow passage filled with islands and clogged with ice even during the summer months which has made it impassable for most ships—the Fury and Hecla Strait is our quest. The strait is named after the two ships of Sir William Edward Parry, who spent many years searching for the Northwest Passage. If conditions are right and we are able to navigate this exciting passage, we will then spend the following days exploring–via ship, Zodiac, kayak and hikes ashore–the islands of the Foxe Basin and Hudson Strait. Wildlife and exciting new explorations will be plentiful.

If the Fury and Hecla Strait is impassable, we’ll sail to the north of Baffin Island, very familiar waters to us, filled with whales, birds and polar bears. The landscape is equally as stunning with great places to hike, kayak or Zodiac cruise, as well as plenty of late-season ice still to be found clinging reliably to parts of the eastern shore of Baffin Island.

Days 17 - 20: Exploring Newfoundland and Labrador

We make our way, like the Vikings before us, south along the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, stopping at scenic Ikkudliayuk Fjord. At Hebron, see the Moravian Mission, established in the 1830’s to minister to the Inuit. Pass through Mugford Tickle, yet another scenic highlight flanked by the 4,000-foot-high Kaumajet Mountains. Continue to the fishing village of Battle Harbour and visit its historic 18th-century whaling buildings.

Day 21: L’anse Aux Meadows

In 1960, the remains of a Viking village established in the 11th century were discovered at L’Anse aux Meadows, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Walk among the Norse ruins and reconstructed sod huts and learn the saga of the Vikings in North America—nearly 500 years before Columbus arrived.

Day 22: Gros Morne National Park

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Gros Morne National Park is characterized by ancient serpentine rock and vivid examples of plate tectonics at work. Go on a variety of hikes along waterfalls, marine inlets, sea stacks, and sandy beaches.

Day 23: Iles De La Madeleine, Quebec

A cluster of wispy islands isolated in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Îles de la Madeleine are home to miles of dunes, grassy hills, and red sandstone cliffs. Local experts guide us across this landscape of caves and sea arches, while visiting colorful fishing villages and learning about Acadian culture. Weather permitting, set off to explore on a bike or in a sea kayak.

Day 24: Saint Pierre Island/Disembark/ Fly to St. John’s, Newfoundland/U.S.

Disembark at Saint Pierre Island, France’s oldest remaining overseas territory. Board our complimentary private charter flight to St. John’s. Continue on a homeward-bound flight, or be our guest for a complimentary overnight stay in St. John’s.

Day 25: For Those Extending Their Stay in St. John’s

Be our guest for a tour of St. John’s, the picturesque capital city of Newfoundland: visit Cape Spear and Signal Hill, discover the botanical gardens or visit the historic Rooms Museum, a cultural center and art gallery.

* Itinerary may be subject to change

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Free Bar Tab plus Crew Gratuities.
$16,570 $17,460Full$18,360Limited$19,760 $22,590Full$26,370Full$30,300Full$21,820 $22,950Limited$363 
Free Bar Tab plus Crew Gratuities.
$10,220 $10,880 $11,320 $11,990 $14,150 $16,530 $18,890 $13,600 $14,150 $725 
Free Bar Tab plus Crew Gratuities.
$10,220 $10,880Limited$11,320 $11,990 $14,150 $16,530 $18,890 $13,600 $14,150 $725 
Free Bar Tab plus Crew Gratuities.
$10,220 $10,880 $11,320 $11,990 $14,150 $16,530Limited$18,890Full$13,600 $14,150 $725 
Free Bar Tab plus Crew Gratuities.
$10,220 $10,880Limited$11,320 $11,990 $14,150 $16,530Full$18,890Full$13,600 $14,150Full$725 
Free Bar Tab plus Crew Gratuities.

Free Air Oslo/Longyearbyen
Expires Dec 31st 2016
$14,950 $15,780Full$16,530 $17,800 $20,350 $23,750 $27,280Full$19,720 $20,660  
Free Bar Tab plus Crew Gratuities.

Free Air Kangerlussuaq/Reykjavik
Expires Dec 31st 2016
$15,390 $16,430 $17,120 $18,120 $21,370 $24,900 $28,480 $20,540 $21,400  
Free Bar Tab plus Crew Gratuities.
$13,990 $14,990 $15,600 $16,750 $20,200 $23,290 $27,000 $18,740 $19,500 $1,050 
Free Bar Tab plus Crew Gratuities.
$25,990 $27,990 $28,970 $30,990 $37,470 $42,710 $49,640 $34,990 $36,210 $1,450 
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National Geographic Explorer Deck Plan