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The Northwest Passage - Sylvia Earle


Discover the storied Northwest Passage, navigating a labyrinth of channels that fascinated explorers for centuries, and exploring the region’s history, culture, and natural beauty along the way.

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The Arctic: Drink It In

Welcome Aboard the


Sylvia Earle

Welcome to Aurora’s Northwest Passage expedition. The labyrinthine channels of the legendary Northwest Passage have enchanted explorers and adventurers for centuries and have been home to the local Inuit and their ancestors for many more. Get a glimpse into the world that captivated early explorers such as Franklin, Amundsen and Larsen, by exploring a portion of the fabled Northwest Passage. Experience landscapes and communities of West Greenland before entering the archipelago of islands and channels that make up Canada’s High Arctic region.

Along the way, we hope to meet local indigenous people who call this remote wilderness home, and perhaps catch glimpses of the wildlife that inhabit the region, including ringed and bearded seals, beluga whale, polar bear and the scores of seabirds that migrate here every summer. Like the many explorers and seafarers before us, the seasonal variability of pack ice always threatens to halt our voyage through the passage, adding a compelling element of adventure that is integral to any genuine expedition.
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    •Cruise in true expeditionary style, with a flexible, condition-dependent itinerary that ensures you get the most out of your trip!
    •Visit a remarkable polar bear hotspot, where these regal animals come to dine on beluga whales.
    •Discover the ‘birthplace of icebergs’, a region that produces some of the most dazzling icebergs found anywhere on Earth, and visit the most productive glacier in the Northern Hemisphere!

Travel Curator’s Insights:


Book now and save 10%, plus get $2,500 in air credit!

From $18,613 per person
Policies and protocols provided before you book.

Jul. 20 - Aug. 5, 2024
Aug. 3 - Aug. 19, 2024
Aug. 25 - Sep. 9, 2025
Sep. 7 - Sept. 22, 2025

July - September
Hover here for specific dates.


Trip Sustainability Awards 



Participates in clean up initiatives aimed at clearing the coastline of marine debris



Offsets 100% of operations and is carbon neutral



Partnered with the Community Ambassador Program to foster economic and social benefits for the Inuit


Day 1: Arrive Toronto

Having made your way to the hotel with the Westin Toronto Airport Hotel complimentary shuttle, check-in at our group hotel located near the airport for an overnight stay. Please visit the hospitality desk to collect your luggage cabin tags and to speak with our ground operations team, who may have information to share with you about pre-embarkation procedures and also about the charter flight to Kangerlussuaq tomorrow. You will receive cabin tags for your luggage. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number.

Accommodation: Westin Toronto Airport Hotel

Day 2: Embarkation, Kangerlussuaq

Please ensure that your luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Any valuables or personal items should be kept on you throughout the day. Your luggage will be delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. After breakfast at the hotel, board our charter flight to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, where our vessel the Sylvia Earle awaits. After boarding, there is time to settle into your cabin before our important safety briefings. The sailing out of Søndre Strømfjord, with its towering mountains on both sides, is magnificent. This evening, meet your expedition team and crew at the Welcome Dinner.

Day 3: Sisimiut

Greenland’s second largest town, Sisimiut is located approximately 54 kilometres (33.5 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, meaning that during summer, you can experience the midnight sun here. The town is famous for the old blue church with the gate made of whale bone. In the cosy museum next door to the church, you will find an excellent reconstruction of an Inuit turf house as well as exhibits of local history and early life in Greenland.

Some 4,500 years ago, the Saqqaq culture arrived from Canada and settled in the area. They lived here for approximately 2,000 years, after which they mysteriously disappeared from the area. The Dorset culture arrived around 500 CE and stayed until the 1200s until they were replaced by the Thule culture, and today, much of the population of Sisimiut are descendants of the Thule culture.

Day 4: Ilulissat

Known as the ‘birthplace of icebergs’, this region produces some of the most dazzling icebergs found anywhere on Earth. Hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Icefjord and stand in awe of its immensity. Sermeq Kujalleq, also known as Jakobshavn Glacier, is the most productive glacier – not only in Greenland but the entire Northern Hemisphere. It produces 20 million tonnes of ice each day, all floating into the Ilulissat Icefjord and Disko Bay. Conditions permitting, enjoy a Zodiac cruise at the mouth of the fjord and kayak through sea ice and icebergs.

Optional helicopter flight (90 mins): this excursion is the only way you can get close to the gigantic glacier. The 12-seater helicopter departs from Ilulissat Airport sweeping over hills, lakes and ice fjords. Land on the mountain at Kangia, in the middle of the preserved area, where you can revel in the incredible surroundings. On the return flight to Ilulissat, fly above the edge of the glacier with breathtaking views of the massive icebergs drifting in the fjord. The views of some of the largest icebergs that become stranded on a moraine underneath the water, just outside the town, offers a wonderful finale to this excursion. Please note that this excursion requires advance pre-booking and a minimum of 8 passengers to operate.

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Day 5: Qeqertarsuaq (Disko Island)

This compelling island seems to have more in common with Iceland than Greenland. While most of the interior is mountainous and glaciated, its beautiful shorelines boast black sandy beaches, unusual basalt columns, hot springs and dramatic lava formations. Zodiac cruise in Disko Bay, which features fascinating geology. Keep an eye out for marine life including humpback and minke whales.

Day 6: At sea, Qikiqtarjuaq, Baffin Island

Our team of experts entertain us with informative talks about wildlife, geology and epic tales of early explorers such as Franklin and Amundsen. As we cross Baffin Bay, keep watch for various species of whale and some of Greenland’s famous icebergs.

Days 7-9: Baffin Island

The east coast of Baffin Island features hidden bays that are feeding grounds for bowhead whales and where glaciers calve into the sea. Sail along inlets and fjords surrounded by towering mountains that feature impressive geology. Conditions permitting, we hope to go ashore at Pond Inlet and be treated to a warm welcome from the local community.

Days 10-11: Devon Island, Lancaster Sound

At a latitude of almost 75° degrees north, we are now truly in the High Arctic. Lancaster Sound - located between Devon Island and Baffin Island - forms the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage. It also forms part of the newly formed Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area, where nutrient-rich waters support an abundance of wildlife.

Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island on Earth and features stunning geology, with flat-topped mountains and glacial valleys giving it its unique character. We hope to visit Dundas Harbour to enjoy offers walks on undulating tundra, and perhaps some birdwatching. A dilapidated Royal Canadian Mounted Police outpost and remnants of a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post can be found here. Other possible places that we might visit include Croker Bay and Maxwell Bay.

At the western end of Devon Island lies Beechey Island, where we hope to land. Named after Frederick William Beechey, the island is one of Canada’s most important arctic sites and is a designated Canadian National Historic Site. During the Franklin expedition of 1845–46, Franklin attempted to sail through the Northwest Passage with HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, with perilous results – three of his men are buried here. Roald Amundsen landed at Beechey Island in 1903, during the first successful voyage by ship to fully transit the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

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Days 12–15: Expedition Cruising

Note: In true expeditionary style, our itinerary for the following days is heavily dependent on unpredictable sea ice. The following places are where we hope to visit.

Prince Leopold Island

On the southern side of Lancaster Sound from Beechey Island lie the towering bird cliffs of Prince Leopold Island, a historic site where in 1848, English explorer James Clark Ross overwintered during the search for the missing Franklin expedition. Prince Leopold Island is the most important bird sanctuary in the Canadian Arctic, with approximately 500,000 birds nesting here in summer.

Cunningham Inlet

On the north coast of Somerset Island, the local scenery makes for excellent guided walks, where waterway trails lead to waterfalls and higher ground.

Port Leopold

In 1848, the English explorer James Clark Ross wintered here during his search for the missing Franklin expedition. Later, it became the site of a Hudson's Bay Company trading post.

Coningham Bay

Across from Victoria Strait, Coningham Bay lies on the shores of Prince of Wales Island. This is a polar bear hotspot where the majestic creatures come to feast on beluga whales who enter the bay each summer to shed their skin on shallow sandy banks. It is not unusual to find the shoreline littered with whale skeletons – and very healthy-looking polar bears!

King William Island

Remains attributed to the Franklin expedition have been found at 35 locations on King William Island and on nearby Adelaide Peninsula. South of Cape Felix, in Victoria Strait, we hope to get close to where the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were abandoned in 1848.

Day 16: Cambridge Bay-Iqaluktuuttiaq

In Cambridge Bay-Iqaluktuuttiaq, farewell the crew, expedition team and fellow travelers before a Zodiac shuttle whisks you ashore. Transfer to the airport for a charter flight to Calgary, where you will stay overnight.

Accommodation: Residence Inn by Marriott Calgary Downtown / Beltline District (or similar)

Day 17: Depart Calgary

After breakfast, check-out of your room and you will be transferred to the airport to continue your journey.

Please note:

The rates listed for this trip reflect current exchange rates to USD and are subject to change.

Sylvia Earle

On our small purpose-built ship, the Sylvia Earle, connect with like-minded travelers in a meaningful way on perspective-altering voyages to some of the most remote, unique and spectacular places on the planet. Featuring the Ulstein X-BOW® design, it cuts through the swell for a smoother transit through waves while minimizing its environmental impact.

A floating ambassador for the conservation of the planet, the Sylvia Earle pays tribute to marine biologist, oceanographer and explorer Dr. Sylvia Earle and six pioneering women in conservation – Dr. Carden Wallace AM, Joanna Ruxton, Sharon Kwok, Bernadette Demientieff, Dr. Asha de Vos and Hanli Prinsloo – with public decks honoring their contributions and shining a light on their important causes. With a fully equipped Citizen Science Center, expert lecturers and a participative Citizen Science Program, our aim is to enrich your knowledge and connection to the places we travel to onboard the Sylvia Earle.

The Sylvia Earle is a comfortable base camp for adventure. Carrying on average 132 expeditioners, our aim is to get you off the ship so you can experience the natural environment as much as possible in smaller, more intimate groups.


2023 World Travel Awards: "World's Leading Polar Expedition Operator"
2023 World Travel Awards: "World's Best Expedition Cruise Line"
2023 Wave Awards 2023: "Best Expedition Cruise Line"
2022 Wave Awards 2022: "Best Expedition Cruise Line"
2022 World Travel Awards: "World's Leading Polar Expedition Operator"

"The Sylvia Earle is a small, purpose-built X-bow ship that combines cutting edge safety and comfort with an admirable dedication to female scientists, fostering curiosity and discovery. Modern and inviting, yet informal, this smaller ship still offers plenty of common space for guests to spread out. With the help of the onboard naturalist and knowledgeable expedition team, you can deepen your understanding of the region both onshore and in the ship’s modern science center. Attracting particularly adventurous and high energy travelers, this operator offers more active excursions. With her enthusiastic and seasoned crew, the Sylvia Earle promises an incredible polar experience!"

Wild Nectar

Life On Board

Deck Plan

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244 SF; One king or two twin beds plus a separate daybed; private en-suite bathroom, porthole window, closet space, flat-screen TV, & a desk and chair.

From in USD:


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210-309 SF; One king or two twin beds; private en-suite bathroom, lounge chairs or small couch, private balcony, full size window, closet space, flat-screen TV, & a desk and chair.

From in USD:


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448 SF; One king or two twin beds; private en-suite bathroom, private balcony, full size window, closet space, flat-screen TV, & a desk and chair, + separate lounge area, pair of binoculars, free stocked mini bar and bottle of champagne.

From in USD:


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214-223 SF; One king or two twin beds plus a small couch; private en-suite bathroom, french balcony, closet space, flat-screen TV, & a desk and chair.

From in USD:


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210-309 SF; One king or two twin beds; private en-suite bathroom, lounge chairs or small couch, private balcony, full size window, closet space, flat-screen TV, & a desk and chair.

From in USD:


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471 SF; One king or two twin beds; private en-suite bathroom, private balcony, full size window, closet space, flat-screen TV, & a desk and chair, + separate lounge area, pair of binoculars, free stocked mini bar and bottle of champagne.

From in USD:


NG Ex Cat 1.JPG


210-309 SF; One king or two twin beds; private en-suite bathroom, private balcony, full size window, closet space, flat-screen TV, & a desk and chair.

From in USD:


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314-379 SF; One king or two twin beds; private en-suite bathroom (some wheelchair accessible), private balcony, full size window, closet space, flat-screen TV, & a desk and chair.

From in USD:


The Sylvia Earle is offered by an Australian operator determined to live up to her namesake, marine biologist, Sylvia Earle’s passion for ocean preservation and adventure. Expect a very active, highly enthusiastic crew on this purpose-built X-bow ship!

Joy Martinello, Founder



What’s Included & Cancellation Policy:

All transfers mentioned in the itinerary; One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Toronto on Day 1; One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Calgary on Day 16; Charter flight from Toronto to Kangerlussuaq on Day 2; Charter flight from Cambridge Bay to Calgary on Day 16; Departure transfer from the pier to airport on Day 16; On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service; All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage; Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner; Captain’s Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages; All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises; Educational lectures and guiding services provided by Expedition Team; Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consultation); One 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket; Complimentary use of Muck Boots during the voyage; Comprehensive pre-departure information; Port surcharges, permits and landing fees; Wi-Fi - Please note we travel to remote regions and therefore the connection can be unreliable.

International or domestic flights – unless specified in itinerary.
Transfers – unless specified in itinerary.
Airport arrival or departure taxes.
Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination fees and charges.
Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges.
Hotels and meals – unless specified in the itinerary.
Optional excursions and optional activity surcharges.
All items of a personal nature, including but not limited to alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), gratuities, laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, or phone charges

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