The Northwest Passage: From Greenland to the Bering Sea

Ship L'Austral tile
L'Austral
199 Passengers

Join our world-class expedition team on a cruise through the rarely-transited Northwest Passage, an extraordinary voyage from western Greenland to Nome, Alaska, all while following in the footsteps of the greatest explorers.

• Cruise the full extent of the Northwest Passage for 21 nights, voyaging from Greenland to the Canadian Arctic to the Bering Sea and ending in Alaska
• Travel in the company of a world-class expedition team for a deeply enriching and captivating journey
• Discover the most historic and remote islands, fjords and harbors along the elusive Northwest Passage, taking in moving stories of voyages won and lives lost, all in the name of conquering a trade route between the Atlantic and Pacific
• Explore the West Coast of Greenland, where you may meet with local Inuits in their homes or alongside their dog-sled teams; visit a traditional hunting village; and learn the art of leather tanning
• Marvel at geological wonders from the "Smoking Hills" of Franklin Bay to the dramatic Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site teeming with icebergs
• Discover the Northwest Passage as the world's greatest polar explorers once did, with stops along the way that may include Beechy Island, Franklin Camp, Fort Ross and Gjoa Haven
• Delve into the rarely visited Yukon Territory, where whaling once thrived and an abundance of wildlife still reigns supreme
• See the spectacular Northern Lights

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Montreal, Quebec
Day 2 Montreal | Dynamic French-English City
Day 3 Kangerlussuaq | Edge of Indlandsis
Days 4 to 8 Western Greenland | Amundsen’s Beginning
Days 9 to 16 Nunavut | Vast Canadian Arctic Archipelago
Days 17 to 19 Northwest Territories | Remote Frontier
Day 20 Herschel Island | The Yukon Territory
Days 21 & 22 Beaufort & Chukchi Seas | Waters of the White Whale
Day 23 Little Diomede | Along the Alaskan Coast
Day 24 Nome, Alaska | Gold Rush Fever

Day 1 – Arrive Montreal, Quebec

Arrive in Montreal and transfer to your hotel. Later, gather for a welcome dinner, where you meet your fellow guests and expedition team.

Day 2 – Montreal | Dynamic French-English City

Today, explore this modern Canadian city with a choice of engaging tours, including a panoramic city tour that begins with a guided visit of Notre-Dame Basilica, reveals the scenic summit of Mount Royal and includes a tasting of the city’s fabled bagels. You may opt instead to explore Old Montreal and Little Italy with its open-air Jean Talon Market. As an alternative, explore Old Montreal on foot, learning about its French and English heritage; see Jacques-Cartier Square, Place d’Armes and Saint Jacques Street with its notable Victorian architecture. As another option, you may take a guided walking tour through the city’s downtown, traversing its “Underground City,” Sainte Catherine Street and Quartier des Spectacles, the city’s entertainment district.

Day 3 – Kangerlussuaq | Edge of Indlandsis

Transfer to the airport for an early morning charter flight to Western Greenland, arriving at Kangerlussuaq at the edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Later, board your luxury expedition cruiser and enjoy the thrill of setting off for sea. This evening, join fellow guests and your expedition team for a welcome reception.

Days 4 to 8 – Western Greenland | Amundsen’s Beginning

In 1906, Roald Amundsen became the first polar explorer to successfully cross the entire Northwest Passage. Begin as he did, venturing along Greenland’s stunning West Coast and north into Baffin Bay for the next five days. Your captain and expedition team determine the day’s best excursions, which may include the following areas:

Sisimiut: North of the Arctic Circle, Sisimiut is the northernmost city in Greenland able to maintain a year-round, ice-free port as well as sufficient snow for dogsledding in winter and spring. Visit the local museum and enjoy an Inuit sea kayak demonstration.

Disko Bay & Ilulissat: Cruise into the wide inlet of Disko Bay, first explored by Erik the Red in 985. Discover the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the mouth of one of the fastest and most active glaciers in the world, Sermeq Kujalleq. Take a walking tour of Ilulissat, visit its history museum, and meet with villagers to learn about local life. Conditions permitting, board a local vessel for an iceberg cruise of Disko Bay.

Uummannaq Fjords: North of Ilulissat, this geological wonder teems with marine life. Visit Karrat Fjord to see the iceberg-clad bay and the remains of ancient huts, built by Thule hunters (Inuit ancestors) more than 500 years ago.

Kullorsuaq: Translated as “Big Thumb,” Kullorsuaq remains one of the most traditional hunting, fishing and trading villages in Greenland.

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In 1906, Roald Amundsen became the first polar explorer to successfully cross the entire Northwest Passage. Begin as he did, venturing along Greenland’s stunning West Coast and north into Baffin Bay for the next five days. Your Captain and Expedition Team determine the day’s best excursions, which may include the following areas:

Sisimiut: North of the Arctic Circle, Sisimiut is the northernmost city in Greenland able to maintain a year-round, ice-free port as well as sufficient snow for dogsledding in winter and spring. Visit the local museum and enjoy an Inuit sea kayak demonstration.

Disko Bay & Ilulissat: Cruise into the wide inlet of Disko Bay, first explored by Erik the Red in 985. Discover the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the mouth of one of the fastest and most active glaciers in the world, Sermeq Kujalleq. Take a walking tour of Ilulissat, visit its history museum, and meet with villagers to learn about local life. Conditions permitting, board a local vessel for an iceberg cruise of Disko Bay.

Uummannaq Fjords: North of Ilulissat, this geological wonder teems with marine life. Visit Karrat Fjord to see the iceberg-clad bay and the remains of ancient huts, built by Thule hunters (Inuit ancestors) more than 500 years ago.

Kullorsuaq: Translated as “Big Thumb,” Kullorsuaq remains one of the most traditional hunting, fishing and trading villages in Greenland.

Days 9 to 16 – Nunavut | Vast Canadian Arctic Archipelago

Cruise into the Canadian Arctic Archipelago of Nunavut and enter the heart of the Northwest Passage. As your luxury expedition cruiser winds through legendary channels and inlets, our enrichment specialists continue to spark captivating discussions that enhance your discovery. Your crew and expedition team determine your itinerary, which is dependent on weather, sea, ice and wildlife conditions. Exciting excursions may include:

Pond Inlet: “Place of Mittima’s Grave,” Pond Inlet is the gateway to the Northwest Passage and a rich archaeological site. After clearing customs formalities, embark on a shore excursion to an area once inhabited by the ancient Thule. Visit the Nattinnak Visitor’s Center or Toonoonik Sahoonik Co-op, where you may shop for handcrafted goods.

Lancaster Sound: Situated between Devon Island and Baffin Island, this body of water is home to an abundance of Arctic cod and seasonal populations of Beluga and bowhead whales, black guillemots, Arctic terns and other wildlife.

Beechey Island: Historic moments in Arctic exploration define this island. Beechey is best known for providing a safe haven to British explorer Sir John Franklin in 1845, who took shelter for two years before his ill-fated attempt to conquer the Northwest Passage. See the grave markers for three of his men and visit the Franklin’s cenotaph.

Fort Ross: Abandoned in 1948, this former trading post was founded in 1937 as a place for trappers to barter Arctic fox pelts in exchange for necessities. Explore its remaining structures and perhaps take a Zodiac excursion to CoBay, as your naturalists share stories about its residents.

Gjoa Haven: During his attempt on to cross the passage on ‘Gjoa’, Roald Amundsen took respite in this natural harbor as he waited for ice conditions to improve. For two years, he lived with the Netsilik Inuits and learned survival skills that later proved invaluable on his South Pole expedition.

Victoria Island: Cruise the south coast of Victoria and through Queen Maud Gulf, Dease Strait and Coronation Gulf. Expedition stops may include bird sanctuary Jenny Lind Island and Johansen Bay.

Days 17 to 19 – Northwest Territories | Remote Frontier

Enter Canada’s Northwest Territories and continue through the heart of the Northwest Passage, where you may experience exciting excursion opportunities that include:

Ulukhaktok: Visit with the local Inuit of Holman Village, experiencing drum dances, and tastings of fresh char and bannock rings (fried dough) prepared over an open fire. Tour the town art center and discover Ulukhaktok’s beautiful printmaking tradition, carvings and hats made of coveted musk ox wool.

Banks Island: This fourth largest island in the Canadian Archipelago, Banks is home to deep Inuit history and a population of about 60,000 muskoxen.

Franklin Bay: Discover the “Smoking Hills,” cliffs of bituminous shale that endlessly combust and burn. This geological phenomenon has likely been occurring for millennia and is a rare sight to see.

Day 20 – Herschel Island | The Yukon Territory

On expedition in 1826, Captain Franklin was the first European to lay eyes on this unique island at the northernmost point of the Yukon Territory. Herschel supports numerous wildlife and is one of the only places on earth where you may see a grizzly bear, black bear and polar bear. Evidence of the island’s whaling culture and Thule ancestors remains along its coastline, now greatly affected by sea erosion and climate change.

Days 21 & 22 – Beaufort & Chukchi Seas | Waters of the White Whale

Typically dense with ice floes and fog, the Beaufort Sea opens up a 60-mile-wide coastal pass from August to September. As your expedition ship cruises into the U.S. and clears at Point Barrow, Alaska (U.S. Customs clearance only), continue participating in lectures led by your expedition team. Relax on your private balcony or join fellow guests on deck where, with some luck, you may spy beluga whales, which travel in numbers here, and the northern lights in autumn.

Day 23 – Little Diomede | Along the Alaskan Coast

Continue cruising to Little Diomede, an island between Alaska and Russia at the edge of the International Dateline. Enjoy a Zodiac cruise of the island, where the Ingalikmiut maintain a traditional lifestyle.

Day 24 – Nome, Alaska | Gold Rush Fever

Arrive and disembark in Nome, Alaska, among the wildest reaches of mainland America. Try your hand at gold panning, experience a dogsled demonstration and see the Bering Sea Land Bridge National Monument. Later, transfer to the airport for your chartered flight to Anchorage, and then continue on with your homebound flight.

* Itinerary may be subject to change

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DeckPlan_LAustral

   Owner's Suite — Deck 6
Cabin: 484 sq. ft. (45 sq. m.) Balcony: 97 sq. ft. (9 sq. m.)
Includes Butler Service
   Prestige Two-Room Suite — Deck 6
Cabin: 388 sq. ft. (36 sq. m.) Balcony: 86 sq. ft. (8 sq. m.)
Includes Butler Service
   Premier Two-Room Suite — Deck 5
Cabin: 388 sq. ft. (36 sq. m.) Balcony: 86 sq. ft. (8 sq. m.)
Includes Butler Service
   Prestige Suite — Deck 6
Cabin: 290 sq. ft. (27 sq. m.) Balcony: 54 sq. ft. (5 sq. m.)
Twin Beds or 1 King Bed.
Includes Butler Service
   Superior Stateroom — Deck 6
Cabin: 200 sq. ft. (18 sq. m.) Balcony: 43 sq. ft. (4 sq. m.)
Twin Beds or 1 King Bed
   Premier Stateroom — Deck 5
Cabin: 200 sq. ft. (18 sq. m.) Balcony: 43 sq. ft. (4 sq. m.)
Twin Beds or 1 King Bed
   Deluxe Stateroom — Deck 4
Cabin: 200 sq. ft. (18 sq. m.) Balcony: 43 sq. ft. (4 sq. m.)
Twin Beds or 1 King Bed
   Classic Stateroom — Deck 3
Cabin: 200 sq. ft. (18 sq. m.) Balcony: 43 sq. ft. (4 sq. m.)