Into the North West Passage

Arctic Premium Expedition Cruise Ship
Ocean Albatros
189 Passengers
Starting 2023 Season

A new and unique voyage which combines the dramatic and wild Arctic Canada around Baffin and Ellesmere Island with the colorful settlements along northwest Greenland. Guests will experience the Arctic where adventurers of the past sought the Northwest Passage and through which the Greenlandic explorer Knud Rasmussen traveled on his longest sledge journey.

The journey begins in Kangerlussuaq in West Greenland, from where we cruise west to the Inuit land of Nunavut on Baffin Island. Inuit have lived on this coast for millennia, and during our voyage to the north we will visit several small settlements. It was from here that Inuit migrated to Northwest Greenland 1000 years ago and created the basis for the modern Greenlandic population. We will be constantly on the lookout for polar bears, narwhal and the numerous bowhead whales feeding off Baffin's coasts in September.

From Baffin Island we will steer into Lancaster Sound, the start of the Northwest Passage, and then head back to Greenland. We will visit the admired Knud Rasmussen's trading station in Thule and navigate further down the west coast to Upernavik, Uummannaq and Ilulissat before returning to Kangerlussuaq after an expedition voyage that encompasses the wide range of Arctic nature and its fascinating population.

HIGHLIGHTS
• Inuit settlements of Nunavut on Baffin Island
• Bowhead whale sanctuary at Isabella Island, Baffin
• Sam Ford Fjord, mountains “of another world”
• Colorful Inuit settlements along Greenland’s northwest coast
• Ilulissat, “Iceberg Capital of the World. Many optional excursions

Includes flights Iceland-Kangerlussuaq-Iceland.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Iceland, Flight to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Day 2 At sea towards Baffin Island, get to know the ship, enjoy lectures on wildlife and culture in the Nunavut territory
Day 3 Settlement visit in Qikiqtarjuaq (“the big island”) on Baffin
Day 4 Isabella Bay and Ninginganiq National Wildlife Area
Day 5 Sam Ford Fjord, majestic mountains raising straight out of the sea
Day 6 Pond Inlet, Inuit settlement known as “The Jewel of the North”
Day 7 Cruising into Lancaster Sound, start of Northwest Passage
Day 8 Qaanaaq, northernmost town in Greenland
Day 9 At sea through the Melville Bay
Day 10 Upernavik town and the world’s northernmost open air museum
Day 11 Uummannaq and a stroll through Greenland's most beautifully located town
Day 12 Ilulissat, the capital of the icebergs
Day 13 At sea, lectures and bird watching
Day 14 Kangerlussuaq, Flight to Iceland

Day 1 — Iceland, Flight to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

In the afternoon, we board our chartered flight in Keflavik, Iceland, bound for Kangerlussuaq, Greenland.

Upon arrival to Kangerlussuaq (Søndre Strømfjord), we will be transported to the small port located west of the airport, where our ship Ocean Albatros, will be anchored. Zodiacs will transfer us the short distance to the ship, where you will be checked in to your stateroom. You will enjoy a dinner as we ‘set sail’ through the 100-mile (160-km) Kangerlussuaq fjord.

Day 2 — At sea towards Baffin Island, get to know the ship, enjoy lectures on wildlife and culture in the Nunavut territory

We now have a day at sea, where the ship is heading across Davis Strait to Baffin Island in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. During our crossing, there are good opportunities to relax in the ship's library, participate in the series of lectures and look for seabirds and whales on our course to the southwest.

Our onboard lecturers will make inspiring and enriching presentations about both John Davis, Canada's and Greenland’s past history and about the unique polar wildlife, nature and climatology.

The west coast of Greenland is favored by mild waters of the Gulf Stream, whereas the current along Baffin Island's shores is cold. The officers on the bridge will keep an eye out for the icebergs flowing down "Iceberg Alley" from the big glaciers in Greenland and Arctic Canada.

Day 3 — Settlement visit in Qikiqtarjuaq (“the big island”) on Baffin

Overnight we have approached Cape Dyer, where the United States established one of their many DEW (Distant Early Warning) stations that surround the Arctic continental American. Cape Dyer itself is a towering edge towards the Davis Strait of about 2,600-foot (800-m) elevation. The cliff and the station could very well be our first view of Arctic Canada (if you’re awake!).  

Like its Greenlandic named counterpart Qeqertarsuaq, Qikiqtarjuaq means “the big island”. The town with around 600 inhabitants lies on an island outside of Baffin’s east coast. The area is known for their many whales, and the Bowhead whale (also known as the Greenland right whale or Arctic whale) which is only found in polar waters, is often observed in congregations here.

Day 4 — Isabella Bay and Ninginganiq National Wildlife Area

We follow the Baffin Island east coast further north to Isabella Bay, which is designated a Bowhead whale sanctuary, so if we haven’t had any sightings yet, the chances are very good with hundreds of whales feeding here each summer. The Ninginganiq marine habitat around Isabella Bay has been a protected National Wildlife Area since 2010. This is an important habitat for a lot of marine mammals and seabirds, apart from the Bowhead whales. The Inuktitut word "Ninginganiq" translates roughly into "the place where fog sits". We hope to avoid this foreboding name as we journey into the bay and keep a watchful eye for the excitingly abundant fauna.

Eastern Arctic Canada is the territory of Nunavut. The North Eastern area that includes Ellesmere, Devon and Baffin Island is known as the Qikiqtaaluk region. It covers an area of nearly 385,000 sq mi (1 million sq km), which is roughly half of Greenland. The desolate landscapes offer us beautiful views that can stretch for hundreds of miles over the glacially scarred landmasses.

Day 5 — Sam Ford Fjord, majestic mountains raising straight out of the sea

The sheer magnitude of vertical rocks on each side of the Sam Ford Fjord, make it worth a side step. For many rock climbers these steep granite walls are pilgrimage objects. However, we are not adventuring in here for climbing, but much more for the natural beauty of the fjord and the dark waters that are home to narwhals and seals. The isolated fjord was created by glaciers and some of the cliffs rise to 5,000 feet (1,500 m) above sea level. In this amazing wilderness area, we also hope to spot many migratory birds.

Day 6 — Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet), the Inuit settlement known as one of “The Jewels of the North”

Pond Inlet, which in the local Inuit language is named Mittimatalik is a town of 1600 inhabitants, of which most are Inuit. We take a stroll through the town and we will do well to notice the building styles and culture, as we will compare these to what we see later in Greenland.

The polar Arctic climate allows for only short summers. Still visitors like us come here to experience the spectacular views with mountains, glaciers and icebergs floating along.

After our visit we head back to our ship for lunch and head north through the Eclipse Sound dividing Baffin Island and Bylot Island.

Day 7 — Cruising into Lancaster Sound, start of Northwest Passage

Today we cruise further north into the gateway to the Northwest Passage, Lancaster Sound. Depending on the ice situation and the weather, we will make our way into the entrance of the passage. The idea of a short cut through the North West to the Pacific Ocean was alive for hundreds of years before it was finally deemed too difficult. A few icebreaking tanker ships from Canadas northern oil fields are the only commercial ships navigating the route.

During the day we will cruise along the eastern coast of Devon, which is the largest uninhabited island in the world. We will continue north towards Ellesmere Island, which is the third largest island in Arctic Canada. All migrations of the Inuit to Greenland have crossed over Ellesmere Island and Smith Sound. Our course will break east and set straight for Greenland’s western coast, as we wave our goodbyes to the Canadian coasts and waters.

Smith Sound and its northern continuation, the Kennedy Channel have strong currents, acting as an outlet for polar pack ice and icebergs from the Arctic Ocean. Our bridge officers will of course keep a vigilant watch as we approach Greenland.

Day 8 — Qaanaaq, northernmost town in Greenland

During the night we will have traversed Smith Sound and we arrive at Greenland’s northwest corner. Entering Inglefield Bay, we pass some of Greenland’s biggest bird cliffs and are again in habituated areas. The captain anchors off Qaanaaq, the only proper town in northwest Greenland.

The town was founded in 1953, when the Americans built their base near the original trading post of Thule. All Inuit were transferred to this new place. Today, some 600 people live in Qaanaaq, which is supported weekly by Air Greenland flights and twice a year by cargo ship.

We take a walk through the town, where we can visit the small museum, and the well stocked super market.

Days 9 — At sea through the Melville Bay

Having left Qaanaaq in the evening, we pass the American Thule Base as well as Meteor Island and settlement of Savissivik during the night. The Melville Bay is an exciting and adventurous place to travel through. Until modern times, yearlong sea ice and plenty of calving glaciers into the bay isolated North Greenland, and it was only through the adventurous dogsledding expeditions and tireless work of Knud Rasmussen and his friends at the beginning of nineteen hundred that the Thule Inuit came into contact with the Greenlanders further south. The language of the Northern Inuit is still different from the rest of Greenland.

Day 10 — Upernavik town and the world’s northernmost open air museum

The Upernavik territory covers an area nearly the size of Great Britain. The town itself, and the ten smaller settlements in the area, inhabits 3000 people, mostly Inuit hunters. Upernavik is home to the world’s northernmost open air museum with well-preserved buildings from the colonial period. Today, Upernavik is a mix between the hunter culture of old and the new wave with high-tech fishing. You can equate the old and new with the dog sleighs that exist alongside the modern snowmobiles. Even this far north the modern times are catching up.

The city itself was founded as a Danish colonial station, but the surrounding areas and small villages history go back more than 4500 years. This was when groups of hunters and gatherers travelled along the coasts of Alaska, Canada and ultimately Greenland.

We anchor and make a landing, allowing us to visit the little city and the museum.

Leaving Upernavik behind us we pass Svartenhuk's darkly colored hills, we keep a lookout for the whales these waters are famous for.

Day 11 — Uummannaq and a stroll through Greenland's most beautifully located town

When you wake up this morning, you will find yourself almost 375 mi (600 km) north of the Arctic Circle, and in one of Greenland’s most beautiful and sunny regions. The ship has reached Uummannaq, situated on a small island. The impressive 8,850 ft (1,175m) heart-shaped mountain that has given the town its name dominates the view (Uummannaq means ‘place where the heart is’). There will be time to explore the city before heading back to the ship for lunch.

Day 12 — Ilulissat, the capital of the icebergs

Ilulissat is one of the most scenicly located towns in Greenland. The name simply means ‘icebergs’ in Greenlandic, and the town’s nickname is rightly ‘the Iceberg Capital of the World’.

Just south of town, Ilulissat Icefjord expels gigantic icebergs into the cold waters of Disko Bay. These impressive frozen structures are born some 20 mi (30km) deeper into the fjord by the enormous Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier. This 6 mi (10km) wide glacier is the most productive outside of Antarctica. Whereas most glaciers only calve at a rate of approximately three feet (1m) a day, the Ilulissat glacier moves forward at a rate of 80 feet (25 m) per day, producing more than 10% of all icebergs in Greenland. These facts, together with the fjord’s unforgettable scenery, have secured the Ice fjord a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

During the more than 250 years that have passed since the establishment of Ilulissat, the town has steadily flourished. Today, Ilulissat is Greenland’s third largest town, with more than 4,500 inhabitants. The town is very vibrant, welcoming and lively with a wide range of cultural attractions, according to Greenlandic standards. The legendary Arctic explorer, Knud Rasmussen was born in Ilulissat.

During the visit you will have the opportunity to join a boat trip to the Ice fjord (optional excursion). The journey takes about two and a half hours in total, a great opportunity to take a closer look at the amazing ice-sculpted scenery.

If a hike or a trip by boat does not present enough excitement, there is also an opportunity to arrange a flight excursion in fixed wing aircrafts over the Ice fjord (optional excursion).

Please note the boat and flight excursions to the Ice fjord are not included in the general tour price.

In the evening, we will cruise southward, leaving lovely Disko Bay behind us as we depart.

Day 13 — At sea, lectures and bird watching

The last day will be at sea getting glimpses of sea birds migrating south.

Our lecturers onboard will make inspiring and enriching presentations about Greenland’s history, nature, wildlife and climatology. Enjoy the captain’s farewell drink and a slideshow with all the memories and highlights from our voyage made by the onboard photographer.

Day 14 — Kangerlussuaq, Flight to Iceland

During the night, we will have completed our passage through the 100 mile (160 km) Kangerlussuaq Fjord. After breakfast aboard the ship, we will bid farewell to the ship's staff and the Zodiac boats will shuttle us to shore.

Due to Kangerlussuaq’s military history and present-day role as an important air travel hub, Kangerlussuaq remains fairly isolated from Greenland’s rich cultural traditions, in comparison to other regions. While you still find cultural experiences when visiting Kangerlussuaq, the most impressive attraction is the surrounding nature, which is just beckoning to be explored.

In Kangerlussuaq, we offer an optional excursion (not included in the tour price) to the beautiful Reindeer Glacier. The duration of the excursion is about four hours.

Your arctic adventure and time in Greenland concludes as we board the flight from Kangerlussuaq to Keflavik Airport, Iceland.

* Itinerary may be subject to change

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Rates Arctic 2023
Cat G
Single
Porthole
Cat F
Triple
Porthole
French
Balcony
Suite
Cat D
Albatros
Stateroom
Cat C
Balcony
Stateroom
Cat B2
Balcony
Suite
Cat B1
Balcony
Suite
Cat A
Junior
Suite
Premium
Two-Room
Suite
Save $1,000 on Suites - Cat B and higher (Prices in Red) Expires Sep 30th 2021
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Save $1,000 on Suites - Cat B and higher (Prices in Red) Expires Sep 30th 2021
$6,590 $4,290 $5,790 $5,490 $6,290 $6,990$5,990$8,290$7,290$9,690$8,690$11,290$10,290
Kayak
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Kayak
Save $1,000 on Suites - Cat B and higher (Prices in Red) Expires Sep 30th 2021
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Save $1,000 on Suites - Cat B and higher (Prices in Red) Expires Sep 30th 2021
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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.

Rates based on shared occupancy.

Dedicated Triple in Category F. Possible triple rooms in Categories C, B2 & A.; third person in the same room is at 50% off (except Cat F)

Shared accommodations are only available in Category F and Category C

10% off on second room for family booking; only for two rooms with connecting doors (Category B and C only)

Single supplement 75%

VIP service included for Categories B1, B2, A and Premium Suites: unlimited access to the specialty restaurant, Julius Meinl coffee machine, upgraded hair and lotion products, stocked minibar, wine and fruit in-room at commencement of cruise, free laundry.

Kayaking: $250. Snowshoeing: $150.

DeckPlan_OceanAlbatros_profileDeckPlan_OceanAlbatros

   Premium Two-Room Suite
The largest of all the cabins on board, this 2-bedroom suite features a double bed (or twin beds), a sofa bed, table and chair, a private observation deck and spacious bathroom. Located on deck. 4.
Approximately 485 sq ft/45 m²
   Category A - Junior Suite
These suites have a great view from their location high up on the ship on deck 7. The suites feature a double bed or twin beds, sofa bed, seating area, a spacious bathroom and private observation deck. The cabin can accommodate up to 3 people.
Approximately 450 sq ft/42 m²
   Balcony Suite B1
These two suites on deck 4 feature double or twin beds and a seating area, bathroom and an extra-large private observation deck.
Approximately 375 sq ft/35 m²
  Balcony Suite B2
These four suites on decks 4 & 6 feature double or twin beds and a seating area, bathroom and an extra-large private observation deck.
Approximately 300 sq ft/28 m²
   Category C - Balcony Stateroom
The most abundant type of cabin, the Balcony Staterooms are located in decks 4 & 6. They have a private observation deck, a double bed or two single beds, a bathroom and a sofa that can be used as a bed for a child if traveling as a family. Connecting staterooms are available in this category.
Approximately 260 sq ft/24 m²
   Category D - Albatros Stateroom
These staterooms are close to the Mudroom and have quick access to the Zodiac platforms for disembarkation during landings. This is very convenient if you have more limited mobility and would like a short distance to the Zodiacs. The cabins are perfect for those who wish a comfortable base during their stay. All have 2 single beds and a bathroom. One of the cabins is located on deck 4, and the rest on deck 3.
Approximately 240 sq ft/22 m²
   Category E French Balcony Suite
These standard cabins feature a french balcony, a double bed, floor-to-ceiling windows and a bathroom. All are located on Deck 7.
Approximately 175 sq ft/16 m²
  Category F - Triple Porthole
These cabins feature portholes with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they’re close to the mudroom and loading platforms.
Approximately 240 sq ft/22 m²
  Category G - Single Porthole
These deck 3 cabins are conveniently located close to the Mudroom which facilitates access to the Zodiacs for off-ship excursions. Perfect for solo travelers.
Approximately 195 sq ft/18 m²