The Northwest Passage: From Greenland to the Bering Sea - L'Austral
Travel in style across the top of the world to Greenland and the most remote reaches of the Canadian Arctic with this world-class operator and expedition team.
The Arctic: Drink It In
Welcome Aboard the
Embark on an extraordinary expedition through the rarely-transited Northwest Passage, voyaging from western Greenland through the Canadian Arctic to Nome, Alaska. Explore the west coast of Greenland, where you may cruise iceberg-strewn fjords and visit with local Inuit in their villages. Marvel at wonders from the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to Franklin Bay’s “Smoking Hills”. Follow in the footsteps of the most legendary polar explorers and under the wing of this operator's famed Expedition Team‚ including an Inuit cultural expert, while experiencing iceberg-laden shores, remote Inuit villages, historic islands and spectacular geological wonders.
- • Sail with an award-winning Expedition Team, including an Inuit culture expert, Arctic historian, geologist, botanist and marine biologist, as well as a team of field naturalists and Zodiac driver-guides.
• Conveniently start and end your journey in North America by taking offered internal flights to Kangerlussuaq and Anchorage.
• Even as you sail though remote and rugged lands, enjoy this fantastic luxury ship with Continental-style cuisine and many amenities.
Travel Curator’s Insights:
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From $34,495 per person
Cancel with a Covid-related reason up to 15 days prior to departure for a future travel credit. (Restrictions apply) Policies and protocols provided before you book.
Aug 25-Sept 18, 2023
Trip Sustainability Awards
Supports habitat conservation efforts across the globe
Funds healthcare projects in local communities
Provides schooling opportunities for local children
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.
Accommodation: Four Seasons Montreal
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.
Accommodation: Four Seasons Montreal
Day 3: Kangerlussuaq | Edge of Islandsis
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 4-8: 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.
Days 9-16: 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, your ship's 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 17-19: 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: The 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 Sea | 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.
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 the Captain.
Charter Air: Economy class from USD $3,150 per person (Montreal/Kangerlussuaq; Nome/Anchorage)
Activity Level: Moderate. This journey contains some active elements, including Zodiac boat excursions, walks over uneven terrain and optional, challenging hikes.
Child Age: Minimum age is 7 years.
Butler Service: Categories 5–8 include room upgrade at the hotel and butler service aboard the ship.
First group event: welcome reception at 6:30 p.m. on Aug 23.
Last group event: disembarkation and excursion in Nome on Sep 15.
First introduced in 2011 and the second ship in the Sisterships series, L'Austral is the very embodiment of this generation of intimately sized cruise ships. Innovative design, sleek shape and profile, refined interior decoration, friendly, intimate atmosphere: French designers and decorators have managed to give this ship a unique style and veritable signature of its own. Combinations of fine materials, colors and tones harmoniously livened up with touches of bright color, elegant lines, discreet and subtle refinement… everything has been designed to create a unique atmosphere onboard, a veritable personality: the chic style and naturally relaxing ambiance of a veritable private yacht.
• Capacity: 264 Guests
• Cabins: 132 cabins
• Specialists: Historian, Geologist, Botanist and Marine Biologist, Highly Credentialed Naturalists & Experts, 1.1.3 Guest to Staff Ratio
Travel Weekly's "Best Tour Operator - Luxury" (17 Years)
Afar Magazine's "Best Cultural Trips" 2020
Travvy Awards "Best Escorted Tour Operator - Luxury" 2020
"L'Austral is one of the most luxurious expedition ships at sea, and when operated by this world-class company, her voyages come alive with expert guiding and off-the-beaten-path itineraries. If you're looking for a way to see the world in comfort and style with Continental-style service, enthusiastic staff, and a fantastic education program, we heartily recommend this lovely ship."
Life On Board
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This world class operator has deep connections to the people and places in this region and I highly recommend you experience it with them. I assure you this epic journey will touch you deeply.
Joy Martinello, Founder
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