Pathways to Franklin

Ioffe Cruise Ship
Ioffe
96 Passengers
Adventure Options

This outstanding expedition showcases the breathtaking wilderness of Canada's High Arctic. Wildlife is another major draw card and throughout the voyage we visit one of the largest migratory bird sanctuaries in Canada and a number of locations where encounters with polar bears are frequent. Sightings of seals, whales and narwhal are also common.

However, the principal focus of our expedition is the history of Arctic exploration and early quest for the Northwest Passage. The story of Sir John Franklin's expedition from the mid 18th century and the enduring mystery of their fate has gripped the imagination and intrigue of Canadians - and history lovers - for more than 150 years.

A new chapter in this tale was written in September 2014 when a joint government/ private expedition located the final resting place of one of two of Franklin's 'lost ships' - HMS Erebus, in the frigid waters of the Victoria Strait.

We navigate our modern expedition vessel through these very same waters and wonder about the fate of these early Arctic explorers. Throughout the journey, we enjoy onboard presentations by polar experts and fascinating shore excursions to many key historic sites.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Edmonton (Alberta) to Resolute (Nunavut)
Day 2 Beechey Island and Radstock Bay
Day 3 Cape Charles Yorke and Elwin Inlet
Day 4 Prince Leopold Island
Day 5 Fort Ross and Bellot Strait
Day 6 Conningham Bay
Day 7 Victory Point, King William Island and Vicinity
Day 8 Royal Geographical Society Islands
Day 9 Exploration of Victoria Island or King William Island
Day 10 Cambridge Bay (Nunavut) to Edmonton (Alberta)

Day 1 — Edmonton (Alberta) to Resolute (Nunavut)

We depart Edmonton this morning on our special charter flight to Resolute, a remote outpost above the Arctic Circle. Located on the southern shores of Cornwallis Island, the town is named after the British ship HMS Resolute which became trapped in ice and abandoned here in 1850 while searching for the lost Franklin Expedition. A weather station and airstrip here made it a strategic outpost during the time of the Cold War. On arrival, we are transferred to the beach where our expedition team will meet us and prepare us for our Zodiac ride to the ship. Onboard, we will have time to explore the ship and get to know our cabins before a welcome cocktail. We weigh anchor and depart Resolute in the early evening.

Day 2 — Beechey Island and Radstock Bay

Beechey Island is a site of great historical importance. It is here that Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition spent its last ‘comfortable’ winter in 1845-1846 before disappearing into the icy vastness to the south, as they probed for a route through the Northwest Passage. The enduring mystery of what happened to the Franklin party and two ships was partially solved in September 2014, when a joint Parks Canada and Royal Canadian Geographical Society expedition found the long lost Franklin shipwreck, HMS Erebus, in the Victoria Strait. Our Expeditions played a vital role in the search by carrying underwater search equipment on our ship as well as scientists, historians, researchers, dignitaries and sponsors of this history defining mission.

A trip ashore at Beechey Island to visit the grave markers on a remote windswept beach, gives one pause to wonder on the bravery (or foolhardiness) of these pioneering explorers, as they sought a way through the barren, frozen landscape. Over the coming days you will learn about this enduring Arctic tale from our onboard historians and polar experts. An afternoon visit to Radstock Bay brings us to the imposing Caswell Tower - a huge rock headland and known archaeological site. Remains of Thule ‘qarmat’ homes, made of rocks, whale bones, rock and sod walls and skins for roofs can be found in the vicinity telling a story of over 800 years of human habitation.

Day 3 — Cape Charles Yorke and Elwin Inlet

We cross the broad expanse of Lancaster Sound, spending time on the ship’s bridge or outer decks looking for wildlife. The sound has been likened to the wildlife ‘super highway’ of the Arctic. A massive confluence of water from the Atlantic to the east and Pacific to the west, and from the archipelago of islands to the north all mix here, combining to make a rich source of nutrients and food for an abundance of Arctic wildlife. Approaching northern Baffin Island we are in awe of the spectacular Arctic landscape that seemingly stretches on forever. Cape Charles Yorke offers several great walking opportunities and we may enjoy some sightings of polar bears along this coast. We navigate the ship into nearby Elwin Inlet, a breathtaking fjord which is well protected and great for a Zodiac cruise or hike onshore.

Day 4 — Prince Leopold Island

Having crossed Prince Regent Inlet overnight, we approach the towering bird cliffs of Prince Leopold Island in the morning. The island is home to thick-billed murres, black guillemots, northern fulmars and black-legged kittiwakes. Numbering in the order of several hundred thousand birds, Prince Leopold Island is one of the most significant Migratory Bird Sanctuaries in the whole of the Canadian Arctic and makes for fantastic Zodiac cruising. The sea ice around Prince Leopold Island is a great place for spotting ringed seals and wherever we find ringed seals we usually find polar bears. Nearby Port Leopold is a historic site where in 1848, English explorer James Clark Ross wintered here during the search for the missing Franklin expedition. In addition to Port Leopold’s historical attraction, the shallow gravel beds along the shoreline are attractive to the beluga whales who tend to molt in this part of the Arctic each summer.

Day 5 — Fort Ross and Bellot Strait

Continuing to navigate the ship south into Prince Regent Inlet, we approach the eastern end of the Bellot Strait. The historic site of Fort Ross, located at the southern end of Somerset Island, is a former Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading outpost. Fascinating archaeological sites nearby tell a story of more than a thousand years of habitation by the Inuit and their predecessors. Having explored Fort Ross, we attempt a transit through the narrows of Bellot Strait. The aim is to enter at slack tide if possible, in order to avoid a current that roars through the passage at more than seven knots during the peak flow. The mixing of waters in this strait provides an abundant food source for marine mammals and we keep our eyes peeled for harp seals, bearded seals and even polar bears. The skill of the captain and officers and capabilities of the ship becomes apparent during this exciting day of Arctic navigation.

Day 6 — Conningham Bay

Having emerged from Bellot Strait, we cross Franklin Strait and arrive at Conningham Bay on the shore of Prince of Wales Island. Here, in the heart of the Northwest Passage we hope to encounter one of the most remarkable wildlife sites in the Arctic. This is a known hotspot for polar bears who come here to feast on beluga whales, often caught in the rocky shallows at the entrance to the bay. It is not unusual to find the shoreline littered with whale skeletons – and very healthy looking polar bears!

Day 7 — Victory Point, King William Island and Vicinity

Heading further south, the mystery of Sir John Franklin and his ‘lost expedition’ is beginning to unravel. Prior to the recent discovery of the HMS Erebus in September 2014, very little was known of how the Franklin Expedition spent its last months in the frozen Arctic. The vessels, abandoned in the ice of Victoria Strait are just coming to life thanks to the ongoing efforts of Parks Canada’s marine archaeological team and the recent Victoria Strait Expedition.

On Victory Point a lifeboat left abandoned, bits and pieces of copper and iron, cutlery and buttons and a skeleton here and there - all tell a story of a desperate race south in search of rescue that never came. We hope to visit Victory Point as we transit Victoria Strait, traveling very near the actual location of the wreck of HMS Erebus, all the while, learning about the quest for exploration that eventually opened up the Arctic. One can only imagine the last desperate days of Franklin’s men as another frigid Arctic winter approached, supplies dwindling and health failing.

Day 8 — Royal Geographical Society Islands

This small nondescript group of islands is of tremendous historic importance. In this vicinity the wreck of HMS Erebus was found in September 2014. To end this remarkable find, the sister ship - HMS Terror was discovered nearby in the Summer of 2016. It is profoundly moving to be in the location where Franklin and his men abandoned their ships knowing hope of rescue was virtually nonexistent. We plan a shore landing on the islands to stretch our legs as we cross islands that may have felt the doomed footsteps of Franklin's men.

Day 9 — Exploration of Victoria Island or King William Island

We are in a very historic part of the Northwest Passage as we explore the waters of southern Victoria Strait and into the top of Queen Maud Gulf. Our itinerary today will be driven by the weather and ice conditions as we surround ourselves in history and search for wildlife. This area was traveled on foot (on the sea ice) as well as by small boat before it was ever navigated by sailing or motor vessel. As we wrap up our last excursion we will marvel at the sense of adventure that each explorer must have had. Returning to the ship, we meet in the presentation room and enjoy a memorable voyage recap by our expedition leader. We celebrate with a special dinner, attended by the captain of the ship reflecting on a wonderful expedition.

Day 10 — Cambridge Bay (Nunavut) to Edmonton (Alberta)

By morning, we are at anchor in Cambridge Bay – our final destination. Today, this remote outpost on the southern shores of Victoria Island is a centre for hunting, trapping and fishing. We make our way ashore by Zodiac and bid farewell to our crew. A charter flight returns us to Edmonton where our journey comes to an end.

Note: Polar exploration can be unpredictable. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a ‘guide only’ and may change. The ship’s captain in conjunction with the expedition leader continually review the sailing plan throughout the voyage, making adjustments to the itinerary along the way to take advantage of optimal weather and ice conditions or to maximize our encounters with wildlife. Decades of experience spent exploring these waterways mean we have a large number of outstanding landing sites and Zodiac cruising locations to consider, even when the weather conditions may not be ideal. A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship.

* Itinerary may be subject to change

Only show rates under
$ X
Please note that availability is updated about once a week.
Per Person USD
Rates Arctic 2018
Main Deck Triple
Twin Semi-Private
Twin Private
Superior
Shackleton Suite
One Ocean Suite
Charter
Air
Kayak
Kayaking Free on this Voyage
$3,395 $4,395Full$5,695Full$6,395Full$7,795Full$9,395Full 
Kayak
Kayaking Free on this Voyage
$3,395Full$4,395Limited$5,695Full$6,395Full$7,795Full$9,395  
Kayak
Charter Air: Iqaluit/Ottawa

Note: An additional 5% Canadian GST will be assessed on all associated trip costs.
$3,695 $4,695Limited$6,295Full$6,795Full$8,295Full$9,895Full$995 
Kayak
Charter Air: Ottawa/Iqaluit & Resolute/Edmonton

Note: An additional 5% Canadian GST will be assessed on all associated trip costs.
$7,295 $8,295Limited$9,895Full$10,395Limited$11,895Full$13,495Full$1,995 
Kayak
Charter Air: Edmonton/Resolute/Edmonton

Note: An additional 5% Canadian GST will be assessed on all associated trip costs.
$6,795 $7,795Limited$9,395Limited$10,095Full$11,395Full$12,995 $1,995 
Kayak
Charter Air: Edmonton/Resolute & Cambridge Bay/Edmonton

Note: An additional 5% Canadian GST will be assessed on all associated trip costs.
$6,795Full$7,795Full$9,395Full$10,095Full$11,395Full$12,995Full$1,995 
Kayak
Charter Air: Edmonton/Cambridge Bay & Iqaluit/Ottawa

Note: An additional 5% Canadian GST will be assessed on all associated trip costs.
$9,595Full$11,395Full$13,695Full$14,695Full$16,095Full$17,095Full$1,995 
No trips meet your criteria. Please increase the budget above to view more results.
Click on the tour dates in the left column to view a trip itinerary. Point MOUSE at Cabin Category to view DETAILED description.

A 5% GST tax applies to all travel on the domestic Canadian voyages and will be calculated on the full voyage cost including charter flights, hotel, and kayaking. 

Rates are per person, based on twin-share. Single Supplement for twin cabins is 1.5 times the twin rate & single supplement for suites is double the suite rate.

All cabins are smoke-free. Smoking is only permitted in designated areas.
Trip cost does not include Mandatory Charter Flights listed in pricing chart.
Airfare to/from destination is not included.

Kayaking option available for $695 per person. Kayaking is complimentary on 'Canada's East Coast' departures.
Adventure options must be pre-booked and paid for prior to start of the trip. Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.

All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.
Mandatory Emergency Evacuation insurance is required on all trips.

Only show rates under
$ X
Please note that availability is updated about once a week.
Per Person USD
Rates Arctic 2019
Main Deck Triple
Twin Semi-Private
Twin Private
Superior
Shackleton Suite
One Ocean Suite
Charter
Air
Kayak
Special: $150 Shipboard Credit & Pre-Voyage Hotel Night.
$3,595 $4,595 $5,895 $6,695 $7,795 $9,295  
Kayak
Charter Air: Iqaluit/Ottawa

Special: $150 Shipboard Credit & Pre-Voyage Hotel Night.
$3,895 $4,895 $6,295 $7,095 $8,295 $10,095 $995 
Kayak
Charter Air: Ottawa/Iqaluit & Resolute/Edmonton

Save $1,000 (Prices in Red)
Expires Jun 30th 2018
$7,895$6,895$8,995$7,995$10,895$9,895$11,795$10,795$13,495$12,495$15,495$14,495$1,995 
Kayak
Charter Air: Edmonton/Resolute/Edmonton

Save $1,000 (Prices in Red)
Expires Jun 30th 2018
$7,095$6,095$8,095$7,095$9,595$8,595$10,695$9,695$12,195$11,195$13,895$12,895$1,995 
Kayak
Charter Air: Edmonton/Resolute & Cambridge Bay/Edmonton

Save $1,000 (Prices in Red)
Expires Jun 30th 2018
$7,095$6,095$8,095$7,095Limited$9,595$8,595Limited$10,695$9,695Limited$12,195$11,195$13,895$12,895$1,995 
Kayak
Charter Air: Edmonton/Cambridge Bay & Iqaluit/Ottawa

Save $1,000 (Prices in Red)
Expires Jun 30th 2018
$9,995$8,995$11,795$10,795$13,995$12,995$15,295$14,295$16,795$15,795$18,695$17,695$1,995 
No trips meet your criteria. Please increase the budget above to view more results.
Click on the tour dates in the left column to view a trip itinerary. Point MOUSE at Cabin Category to view DETAILED description.

A 5% GST tax applies to all travel on the domestic Canadian voyages and will be calculated on the full voyage cost including charter flights, hotel, and kayaking. 

Rates are per person, based on twin-share. Single Supplement for twin cabins is 1.5 times the twin rate & single supplement for suites is double the suite rate.

In the Canadian Arctic, charter flights are required to get to the start and finish points of the voyage. Ottawa is the gateway for Iqaluit (Baffin Island). Edmonton is the gateway for Cambridge Bay and Resolute (Nunavut).

All cabins are smoke-free. Smoking is only permitted in designated areas.
Trip cost does not include Mandatory Charter Flights listed in pricing chart.
Airfare to/from destination is not included.

Kayaking option available for $695 per person. Kayaking is complimentary on 'Canada’s East Coast – Fins and Fiddles' departures.
Adventure options must be pre-booked and paid for prior to start of the trip. Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.

All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.
Mandatory Emergency Evacuation insurance is required on all trips.

DeckPlan_Ioffe_b

   One Ocean Suite
Located on deck 5 this cabin is separated into two very spacious rooms. A spacious lounge area is perfect for relaxation and features a sofa (convertible to bed), large table, writing desk, ample storage, plus large picture windows overlooking the bow (forward facing) that can be opened. The separate bedroom features a double bed with upgraded linen/ pillows, night light, and window over the port side of the ship. The bathroom has a bathtub and shower. There is also a region specific iPad, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, fully stocked mini bar, iPod alarm clock with audio line and several arms chairs.
   Shackleton Suites
Located on decks 4 and 5 these cabins are separated into two spacious rooms, one that is ideal for relaxation with a sofa (convertible to bed), large table, writing desk, chair, ample storage and a large window that can be opened. A separate private bedroom has a double berth with upgraded linen/pillows, night light, private facilities, a region specific iPad, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, fully stocked mini bar, iPod alarm clock with audio line.
   Superior Cabins
These very large cabins are located on deck 6, and feature two lower berths, a loveseat, writing desk and chair, ample storage and private washroom facilities. All cabins have a window that can be opened. These cabins provide great access to the outer observation decks and ship’s bridge.
   Twin Private Cabins
Located on decks 4 and 5 these spacious, well-appointed cabins feature two lower berths, with private washroom facilities (sink, shower, toilet and bathroom cabinet). There are tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage, a writing desk, chair, bookshelf, and a window that can be opened.
   Twin Semi-Private Cabins
Located on deck 4 these cabins have two lower berths, one of which can be converted to a sofa during the day. These cabins have tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage, a writing desk, chair, bookshelf, and a window that can be opened. Facilities are semi-private – meaning you share the washroom with the adjacent cabin.
   Main Deck Triple Cabins
Located on deck 3 these cabins feature two lower berths and one upper berth. One lower berth can be converted to a comfortable sofa during the day. Washroom facilities are shared. There is a washbasin in the cabin, a writing desk and chair and ample storage for all cabin occupants. These cabins are efficient and well-appointed with two portholes with the option to open one.

 

Cabin and Voyage Inclusions            
Outside View With Opening Porthole/Window
Complimentary use of Wet Weather Gear
Complimentary use of Wellington Boots
Complimentary use of Waterproof Backpack and Binoculars
Innovative Dream Sleep Package
100% Cotton Bathrobes
Custom Blend Natural Canadian Made Essential Oil Amenities
Custom Color Coordinated Canadian Made Linen Package
Black Out Curtains
Clock Radio with Media Connector
Desk with Chair
Complimentary Water Bottle
In-Room Coffee & Tea Station
In-Room Private Field Guide    
In-Room Private Reference Library      
In-Room Mini Bar        
In-Room iPad Preloaded With Reference And Fictional Content        
In-Room Single Brew Coffee System        
In-Room Mini Stereo        
Complimentary Welcome Package (Wine, Fruit Basket, Natural Snacks)        
Complimentary Field Guide to the High Arctic        
Early Morning Adventure Concierge Coffee Service