Northwest Passage: Greenland & Canada - Endurance
Experience unbridled 21st-century exploration on a cutting-edge vessel, as you venture deep into remote Arctic waters to Zodiac cruise, kayak, and hike the tundra.
The Arctic: Drink It In
Set off on a grand polar adventure that traces the spectacular icy shores of Western Greenland and Arctic Canada. Powered by the new National Geographic Endurance, sail into dramatic fjords, narrow straits, and breathtaking bays and call in on remote villages where Inuit communities have lived off the land for hundreds of years. Heading ever northward, we’ll follow leads through the ice to search for the King of the Arctic, the polar bear, along with other iconic wildlife from whales to walrus. Finally, in the farthest reaches of the region, discover the untamed beauty of the storied Northwest Passage and experience the intoxicating thrill of true exploration.
Travel Curator’s Insights:
- •Travel with world class experts well above 80º north into the fabled Northwest Passage.
•Explore Ellesmere Island and spot polar bears, walruses, ringed seals, belugas, bowhead whales, and maybe the elusive narwhal.
•Travel on the new gold standard of expedition ships with updated features like a science hub with scientists gathering data and a full yoga studio!
From $39,990 per person
Policies and protocols provided before you book.
Aug 21-Sept 13, 2024
Ask us for later dates.
August 2023, 2024
Hover here for specific dates
Trip Sustainability Awards
Fantastic advances in minimizing carbon footprints at locations.
On the East African Energy Renewal Board
Runs local educational facilities for children.
Days 1-2: U.S. / Reykjavík, Iceland
Depart on an overnight flight to Reykjavík. Upon arrival, take a tour an excursion to see Iceland’s hot springs, beautiful Icelandic Horses, and a fascinating power plant. After lunch, check into our centrally located hotel. (Day 2: L,D)
Day 3: Reykjavík, / Kangerlussuaq, Greenland / Embark
The morning is at leisure followed by lunch and a tour of the city ending at either the National Museum or the Whale Museum. Transfer to the airport for a chartered flight to Greenland and embark our ship at the head of Kangerlussuaq fjord, a 120-mile-long waterway whose name means “large fjord” in Greenlandic. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Sisimiut
Dozens of deep fjords carve into Greenland’s west coast, many with glaciers fed by the ice sheet that covers about 80 percent of the country. Discover this beautiful and rugged coastline in Zodiacs, keeping an eye out for humpback and minke whales. At Sisimiut, a former whaling port, visit the museum and stroll around a picturesque jumble of historic and modern wooden buildings. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Ilulissat
Sail into Qeqertarsuup Tunua, also known as Disko Bay, to explore the World Heritage site of Ilulissat Icefjord, a tongue of the Greenland ice cap that extends to the sea. Take an extraordinary cruise among towering icebergs at the mouth of the fjord. Visit the town of Ilulissat and walk to the archaeological site in Sermermiut, an abandoned valley previously inhabited by several distinct Inuit cultures. (B,L,D)
Day 6-8: Exploring Eastern Baffin Island
We continue our exploration of the Canadian High Arctic with a visit to the small Inuit community of Pond Inlet, Nunavut. Explore some of the beautiful bays and inlets along Baffin Island’s Lancaster Sound, a favorite Inuit hunting and fishing location for hundreds of years. Carved by Ice Age glaciers, Lancaster Sound is also the eastern gateway to the Arctic Archipelago, where European explorers like William Baffin first ventured in the 17th century to search for the Northwest Passage. Our days here will be spent searching for ringed seals, arctic foxes, walruses, and polar bears, as well as beluga and bowhead whales. Visit Devon Island and take a walk with our ship’s archaeologist to learn about the Thule people—ancestors of the modern Inuit—that once inhabited this region. (B,L,D)
Day 9-12: Exploring the Queen Elizabeth Islands
We explore the ice-choked channels and glacier carved islands that stretch for hundreds of miles—a stunning display of raw geology. We’ll explore the rocky, “Mars-like” terrain of uninhabited Devon Island. We take our cues from nature: following wildlife, stopping for hikes on the tundra, dropping anchor in a beautiful fjord or an iceberg-strewn bay to explore and kayak beneath massive ice sculptures and soaring cliffs. Sail past the northernmost part of mainland North America in the Bellot Strait, one of the narrowest and most infamous of the passage. We’ll learn about the Inuit peoples who have hunted and fished here for thousands of years, as well as be on the lookout for the animals that call this region home such as ringed seals, arctic foxes, musk oxen, walruses, and polar bears, as well as beluga and bowhead whales. (B,L,D)
Day 13-17: Exploring Ellesmere Island
Heading ever northward, we make our way up the beautiful and remote east coast of Ellesmere Island. Cruise along scenic Smith Bay (a.k.a. Skog Inlet) bordered by a steep wall of mountains, with a glacial ice tongue which pours down the mountains on either side. Be up on the bridge as we search for a patch of "polar bear ice," the mixture of first-year and multi-year sea ice that is the preferred habitat of the ice bears. Our binoculars seek out any small ivory-colored dot on an otherwise white ice surface. We strain to see the dot move. Yes, it is a bear, spotted at a considerable distance. We approach, ever so slowly, stalking the polar bear much as the bear stalks seals on the ice. At the end of the bay, we go ashore to hike or kayak in picturesque surroundings. Ice is always present here.
On our next day, we enter Buchanan Bay, and turn into Alexandra Fjord to reach the area of Skraeling Island. (“Skraeling” is the word that the Norse settlers of Greenland used for the Inuit.) This is the site of an important archaeological find. Norse artifacts show that the Norse traded with the natives here on Ellesmere Island, far north of their settlements on Greenland. Last summer, quite unexpectedly, we discovered the remains of a summer encampment of natives, we think of the Thule Culture (the third of the three Inuit cultures to occupy this area.) We saw rings of stones that held down the edges of skin tents against the wind, and stone chambers that might have been constructed for storage. Perhaps the Inuit camped at this very site as they traded with the Norsemen, exchanging skins and walrus ivory for European goods, especially metal. (B,L,D)
Day 18-20: Exploring Above 80 Degrees North
On these two days we explore to 80ºN and beyond, ice conditions permitting. We take full advantage of our “human resources”—our experienced captain, expedition leader and naturalists—as well as our technological resources. We chart where the ice is impenetrable and where there are leads guiding us to exciting discoveries. (B,L,D)
Day 21: Kiatassuaq Island, Greenland
Marking the southern border of Melville Bay, Kiatassuaq Island means “a large torso” in the Greenlandic language. Known as an important area for whaling in the 19th century, we spend the day exploring the southern reaches of Melville Bay and shores of the island, marveling at the ice dispatched from the Greenland Ice Cap as well as being on the lookout for whales and other marine life. (B,L,D)
Day 22-23: Disko Island / Exploring
Continue south, stopping to explore the volcanic Disko Island, home to isolated Greenlandic settlements, dramatic cliffs laced with waterfalls, and black-sand beaches. (B,L,D)
Day 24-25: Kangerlussuaq / Disembark /Reykjavik, Iceland / U.S.
Sail back into Søndre Strømfjord to Kangerlussuaq and disembark the ship. Take an evening charter flight to Reykjavík and transfer to the Marriott Keflavik Airport Hotel. On our final morning, you may choose to enjoy a soak in the Blue Lagoon or take a tour of the Reykjanes Peninsula before transferring to the airport for flights home. (Day 24: B,L,D; Day 25: B,L)
Please Note: Itinerary is for guidance purposes only and may be adjusted due to unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildlife, ice, medical emergencies and other conditions beyond this operator's control at the sole discretion of this operator.
Special Offer (Subject to change): Travel aboard the National Geographic Endurance on any voyage and this operator will cover your bar tab and all tips for the crew.
Economy: from $600 per person
Business: from $2,300 per person
Charter( Reyjavik/Kangerlussuaq): from $1,520 per person
Airfares are subject to change.
Children: Take $500 off for each child under the age of 18.
Back-to-Back: Save 10% on any consecutive journeys taken on board one of this operator's expedition ships. This savings is applicable on voyage fares only and are not valid on extensions or airfare. Ask your Travel Curator for dovetailing options.
Group Rates: Save 5% when traveling as a group of 8 or more people. Take advantage of these great savings, while enjoying traveling with your friends and family. This savings is applicable to voyage fares only, and is not valid on extensions or airfare. Deposit, final payments, and cancellation policies for group travel vary from regular policies.
I've helped design itineraries in this region, and this one includes so many remote and spectacular landing sites that you'll come away from it with deeper insight into Arctic life than on most other voyages. Highly recommended!
Joy Martinello, Founder
What’s Included & Cancellation Policy: