Greenland and The Northwest Passage

Vavilov Cruise Ship
Vavilov
92 Passengers
Adventure Options

This celebrated voyage explores the icy landscapes and colorful fishing villages of West Greendland, before crossing the Davis Strait to the stunning fjords of Baffin Island. From there, we continue into the remote Northwest Passage. We follow in the footsteps of the early Arctic explorers such as Franklin, Amundsen and Larsen, exploring the archipelago of islands and channels that create Canada’s High Arctic region. This is the home of the polar bear, the barren ground grizzly bear, musk ox, caribou and walrus. We journey along the coast of western Greenland and through the wild Canadian north aboard our celebrated expedition ship, Akademik Sergey Vavilov.

Wildlife is a major draw card of our expedition but there is plenty of historical interest and stories of the ill-fated expedition by Sir John Franklin more than 170 years ago is central to our voyage. Franklin made his last heroic foray into the Arctic in 1845 with two ships and 129 men, never to be heard from again.

The fate of the expedition remained a mystery until September 2014 when one of the vessels, HMS Erebus, was discovered in a remarkable state of preservation in the frigid waters of Victoria Strait. The find is undoubtedly one of the great archeological discoveries of the last 100 years and has been likened to the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb. This is small ship expedition cruising at its best.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Day 2 Sisimiut
Day 3 Ilulissat and the Jacobshavn Icefjord
Days 4 & 5 Baffin Bay
Day 6 Pond Inlet
Days 7 & 8 Lancaster Sound and Devon Island
Day 9 Beechey Island
Day 10 Fort Ross and Bellot Strait
Day 11 Coningham Bay
Day 12 Victory Point, King William Island
Day 13 Cambridge Bay, (Nunavut) to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Day 1 — Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

We depart Ottawa this morning on our charter flight to Kangerlussuaq, situated on the west coast of Greenland. Upon arrival into Kangerlussuaq we enjoy a short tour before boarding  the ship in the afternoon. After settling in to our cabins and exploring the vessel, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we cast off and enjoy a welcome cocktail while cruising along Sondre Stromfjord, bound for the fabled Northwest Passage.

Day 2 — Sisimiut

We will explore the fjord behind the town of Sisimiut before going ashore to explore this beautiful location in the afternoon. Characterized by colorful local houses, the town features a towering granite peak as a backdrop. We hope to meet a few of the traditional Greenlandic kayakers and to see a demonstration of ‘Eskimo rolling’ by one of the former Greenland kayak champions. A small museum is another interesting diversion.

Day 3 — Ilulissat and the Jacobshavn Icefjord

If one word could sum up today’s experience it would be 'ice'. Even our expedition team members, with years spent exploring both the Arctic and Antarctica, will take a moment to reflect on the awesome ice sculptures surrounding the ship in all directions. Truly one of the wonders of the world, the Jacobshavn Icefjord – a UNESCO World Heritage site - spews gigantic tabular icebergs out into Disko Bay. The glacier that creates these stunning monoliths advances at over 130 feet (40 m)  per day, creating something in the order of 11 cubic miles (50 cu km) of ice annually. Our approach to Ilulissat is always dependent on the amount of ice in and around the mouth of the fjord. Our captain and officers are skilled ice navigators and our ship has one of the highest ice ratings of any vessel exploring Arctic waters. Ilulissat was the hometown of Knud Rasmussen, one of Greenland’s most famous early explorers. The town is home to a pretty harbor with colorful fishing boats and houses on shore.

Days 4 & 5 — Baffin Bay

Leaving the rugged coastline of Greenland, our crossing of Baffin Bay is highly dependent on the extent of the so-called ‘middle ice’. We probe northwards seeking out the edges of the middle ice and plan to follow the line of ice until we reach the coast of Baffin Island. Our time at sea will be determined by the extent of the ice and amount of wildlife we encounter. As we transit Baffin Bay we are always on the lookout for fin, sperm, sei and humpback whales as well as the numerous species of Arctic seals and seabirds that inhabit these waters. Our onboard experts deliver fascinating presentations on board focusing on the wildlife, history, geology and culture of the Arctic.

Day 6 — Pond Inlet

Nearing the far north of Baffin Island we enter a broad channel - home to the remote Inuit community of Pond Inlet. A highlight is a visit to the Natinnak Center, where a fascinating cultural exhibit showcases aspects of daily life, culture and history of the people of the north. Inuit carvings, jewelry and other traditional crafts are on display and purchasing such items from the local artisans is a great way to support the community. We enjoy meeting the children of Pond Inlet and marveling at their athletic abilities as they demonstrate the skills and challenges of traditional Inuit games. Skills and physical agility developed by such games were often those necessary for everyday survival in the harsh Arctic environment.

Days 7 & 8 — Lancaster Sound and Devon Island

Leaving the wild landscapes of Baffin Island, we cross Lancaster Sound to Devon Island. We are now at almost 75 ̊ degrees north of latitude. This broad channel of water has been likened to the wildlife ‘super highway’ of the Arctic. Massive volumes 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, living both above and below the water. We plan to visit the old Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) outpost at Dundas Harbor, situated on the southern shores of Devon Island. Musk ox and Arctic hare are sometimes sighted in the vicinity and there are some great hiking options in the area.

Day 9 — Beechey Island

Beechey Island holds great historic importance on our journey through the Northwest Passage. It is here that Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition spent its last ‘comfortable’ winter in 1845 before disappearing into the icy vastness, sparking an incredible series of search expeditions that would span almost three decades. The mystery of what happened to Franklin was partially solved in September 2014, when a joint Parks Canada and Royal Canadian Geographic 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, is a thrilling location for history buffs and for many will be the defining moment of our expedition. We cross the Barrow Strait into Prince Regent Inlet, stopping to view the bird cliffs at Prince Leopold Island. This is an important migratory bird sanctuary, 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 bird sanctuaries in the whole of the Canadian Arctic. Given the abundance of food in this vicinity we often sight beluga, narwhal and bowhead whales here, as well as several species of seal and polar bear.

Day 10 — Fort Ross and Bellot Strait

Continuing to navigate the ship south into Prince Regent Inlet, we approach the eastern end of 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 11 — Coningham Bay

Having emerged from Bellot Strait, we cross the Victoria Strait and arrive at Coningham 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.  They 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 12 — Victory Point, King William Island

Heading further into the Northwest Passage, 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 archeological 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 and the 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. On this, our last night of the expedition, we enjoy a celebratory dinner, attended by the captain of the ship and reflect on our epic voyage.

Day 13 — Cambridge Bay, (Nunavut) to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Our journey is all but complete as we approach the community of Cambridge Bay. This remote outpost is a center for hunting, trapping and fishing. The Inuit have had summer camps in the vicinity for hundreds of years. Amundsen spent two winters in this area, learning how to master dog-sledding from the locals prior to his attempt on the South Pole. We say farewell to our crew and make our way ashore by Zodiac. A special charter flight returns us to Edmonton.

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
Triple Shared
Twin Semi-Private
Twin Private
Superior
Shackleton Suite
One Ocean Suite
Charter
Air
Kayak
Charter Air: Ottawa/Kangerlussuaq & Cambridge Bay/Edmonton
$9,595Full$11,395Full$13,695Full$14,695Full$16,095Full$17,095Full$1,995 
Kayak
Charter Air: Edmonton/Cambridge Bay & Kangerlussuaq/Ottawa
$9,595 $11,395Limited$13,695Full$14,695Full$16,095Full$17,095Full$1,995 
Kayak
Charter Air: Ottawa/Kangerlussuaq &
Iqaluit/Ottawa
$6,695 $7,595Limited$8,995Full$9,495 $10,895Full$12,295Full$1,995 
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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.
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
Triple Shared
Twin Semi-Private
Twin Private
Superior
Shackleton Suite
One Ocean Suite
Charter
Air
Kayak
Save $1,000 (Prices in Red)
Expires Aug 31st 2018
$8,095$7,095$9,095$8,095$10,395$9,395$12,395$11,395Limited$13,595$12,595Limited$15,495$14,495 
Photography, Kayak
Special Photography Symposium

Save $1,000 (Prices in Red)
Expires Aug 31st 2018
$5,895$4,895$6,995$5,995Limited$8,495$7,495Limited$9,795$8,795Full$10,895$9,895Limited$12,695$11,695 
Kayak
Save $1,000 (Prices in Red)
Expires Aug 31st 2018
$5,895$4,895$6,995$5,995$8,495$7,495$9,795$8,795$10,895$9,895$12,695$11,695 
Kayak
Save $1,000 (Prices in Red)
Expires Aug 31st 2018
$8,095$7,095$9,095$8,095$10,395$9,395$12,395$11,395$13,595$12,595Full$15,495$14,495 
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.

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.
Airfare to/from destination is not included.

Kayaking option available for $695 per person.
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_Vavilov_c

   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
There are three superior cabins, all located on Deck 3. These spacious and well-appointed cabins feature two lower berths, a writing desk and chair and plenty of storage space. Washroom facilities are private and all cabins have a porthole, which opens. These cabins provide great access to the outer decks, the dining room and gangway.
   Twin Private Cabins
Located on decks 3, 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 Private cabins on deck 3 feature portholes instead of windows.
   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