Day 1 - Reykjavík, Iceland
Day 2-3 - At Sea
Day 4 - Prins Christian Sound Region
Day 5 - Kvanefjord, Greenland
Day 6 - Nuuk, Greenland
Day 7 - Sisimiut
Day 8 - Ilulissat, Greenland
Day 9-10 - Labrador Sea
Day 11-17 - The Northwest Passage
Day 18 - Cambridge Bay, Victoria Island
Day 19 - Edmonton
Day 1 The
world’s northernmost capital
Your adventure starts in Reykjavík, the northernmost capital
in the world. Reykjavík is both quaint and cosmopolitan.
This small city is the perfect size for a walking tour, packed full of
art, culture, and history.
Stroll along Laugavegur, the main shopping street, filled with high-end
boutiques as well as bars and restaurants. Consider picking up some
Icelandic knitwear, famous for its quality, style, and warmth. Then
head toward the striking Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral. Art lovers can
visit the Reykjavík Art Museum, the National Gallery, and
the many smaller galleries and museums that dot the city. Learn about
Icelandic history by stopping off at the National Museum, the Saga
Museum, and the Maritime Museum. Bring your swimsuit to take a dip in
one of the city’s 18 swimming pools, many with saunas and hot
The list of possibilities doesn’t end there.
Reykjavík, whose name actually means ‘Smoky
Bay’ due to the rising steam from the surrounding geothermal
features, is just a few hours away from geysers, glaciers, hot springs,
and waterfalls. Why not book a Pre-Program and spend a few extra days
discovering Iceland’s Golden Circle? At Reykjavík
harbour, MS Fram awaits you. After checking in and collecting your
complimentary expedition jacket, you’ll have some time to
settle into your cabin. Everyone must go through a mandatory safety
drill just before departure. Then you’ll have time to walk
around and explore the ship. The welcome dinner in the evening ends
with a toast by the captain, who will wish everyone an enjoyable
expedition. You’ll meet the Expedition Team and key members
of the crew, who will take you through an important health and safety
Day 2-3 The Denmark Strait
Ease into your adventure with a day at sea on your way to the Northwest
Passage. The Denmark Strait is actually the site of the
world’s largest waterfall—it’s actually
underwater! The mixture of warm and cold currents and strong winds
means that the waters here are sometimes a bit choppy. Aboard the ship,
you can relax, get to know your fellow travelers, and check out the
onboard facilities. In the Science Center, the Expedition
Team’s lecture program focuses on the wildlife and ecosystems
of the Arctic to prepare you for the adventure ahead. They also run you
through important guidelines from AECO, the Association of Arctic
Expedition Cruise Operators. You'll learn how you can protect wildlife
habitats, keep a safe distance from animals, and visit Arctic
communities in a proper and respectful way.
Feel like staying active? Hit up the gym and get your blood pumping.
You can also access the sauna, an infinity pool, and two outdoor hot
tubs. Or enjoy drinks in the panoramic Explorer Lounge & Bar,
watching the rhythmic ocean waves roll by.
Day 4 'A river of melted
Prepare to marvel at some of the most stunning views on the planet in
Prince Christian Sound region. This southern Greenland sound connects
Labrador Sea with the Irminger Sea, separating the mainland from the
Cape Farewell Archipelago.
The 60-mile waterway is surrounded by granite mountains with sharp
peaks, some reaching up to over 7,200 feet high. Marvel at the maze of
geological patterns in the rock face, from deep cracks and crevasses to
lines of black lichen that seem to seep from the stone like paint.
The mountains’ muted grays and rusted greens stand in stark
contrast to the bright white of the bountiful glaciers. These
slow-moving masses of ice grind their way from the enormous Greenlandic
ice sheet and flow straight into the sound, calving white-blue icebergs
of all sizes, shades, and shapes. You’ll understand why 15th
century Italian explorer John Cabot famously described Prince Christian
Sound as ‘a river of melted ice’. Get your camera
ready and join the Expedition Team on the observation deck. Only two
signs of human life remain here: The Danish weather station built by
the U.S. during the Cold War at the entrance to the fjord, and the
colorful houses of the 100 residents of Aappilattoq, a fishing and
hunting village. When translated from local Greenlandic Inuit,
Aappilattoq means ‘Sea Anemone’.
You may spot ringed seals and bearded seals on the ice. Look up to the
steep cliffs, where you might find nesting Glaucous Gulls and Black
Guillemots. Minke and humpback whales may also make an appearance,
although they tend not to swim into the narrow stretches of the sound,
preferring the wider sections at the entrance. Navigating Prince
Christian Sound is only possible in the summer, when the sea ice is
less packed and icebergs don’t block the entrance. However,
our route may still be blocked by weather, sea ice, and gate-keeping
icebergs. Even if that happens, don’t worry! That’s
the nature of an expedition into true wilderness. Here, nature sets the
rules. Instead, we may sail toward Nunap Isua—a.k.a. Cape
Farewell—the southernmost point of Greenland.
Day 5 Expedition day
The Kvanefjord is a fjord stretching 30 miles along the west coast of
Greenland in the Sermersooq district, which means ‘place of
much ice’. The fjord extends over six miles inland before
branching into three smaller channels, each with a glacier at its head.
Today, we’ll explore this amazing fjord and the captain will
search for places to drop anchor and head ashore. There will be plenty
of opportunities to watch for wildlife, either from the deck or on
land, or perhaps you’d just like to stretch your legs and
enjoy the stunning scenery. Then Kvanefjord is also close to
Kvanefjeld, an area with one of the largest concentrations of
rare-earth mineral deposits in the world. Recent surveys even estimate
that a quarter of the world’s rare-earth minerals lie within
these hills. The Kvanefield site is particularly noteworthy for its
concentrations of uranium and the fabled Greenlandic ruby, the
tugtupite (meaning ‘reindeer blood’). Cerium,
lanthanum, and other precious metals are also found here, which are
crucial to modern technology like smartphones, electric cars, and MRI
Day 6 The Capital of
Nuuk was settled in 1728, making it the oldest settlement in the
nation. Although Greenland’s capital is classed as a
‘city’, fewer than 17,000 people call it home.
‘Nuuk’ means peninsula, as it is located at the
mouth of a system of spectacular fjords and mountains. The first thing
you’ll notice about this low-rise settlement is its colorful
houses. The red, green, blue, and yellow buildings pose a striking
contrast to the icy black and white backdrop of the mountains. Today,
Nuuk combines old and new traditions. The old picturesque buildings
dotting the fjord’s edge give way to ultra-modern
architecture in the Greenlandic Parliament and the wave-shaped Katuaq
Cultural Centre, inspired by the Northern Lights.
Visit the oldest building in Greenland at Hans Egede’s House,
constructed in 1721 by the Norwegian missionary who is credited with
founding the city. As you roam the city, keep an eye out for a statue
and the church bearing his name. The red-painted Nuuk Cathedral and its
typical Lutheran clock tower and steeple is worth a visit, too. Drop by
the Greenland National Museum to see the Qilakitsoq mummies or admire
local paintings at the Nuuk Art Museum. We’ll also be
offering a long hike through Paradise Valley and around Mt. Lille
Malene as part of an optional excursion. As you follow a path formed by
old reindeer tracks, you’ll bask in splendid views of the
Greenlandic coast and pass by a small lake and natural springs.
There are also a range of restaurants in Nuuk to satisfy all tastes,
some of which feature local delicacies such musk ox, seal soup, and
snow crab. Rather just have a coffee? There are several excellent
cafés serving hot drinks and snacks like burgers and Danish
Day 7 Sisimiut, Greenland
Guests come ashore and explore the colorful town. They can visit the
small museum, hike in the hills and shop for local handicrafts. In
addition, enjoy a traditional kayaking demonstration and the Sisimiut
museum which features local cultural history and exhibits different
periods of the city’s history and its surroundings.
Temperature range in August: 41 – 50 °F
Day 8 Birthplace of
Ilulissat (translated simply as ‘Icebergs’) is set
in the stunning scenery of the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World
Heritage Site. This gem of a town stands out for its colorful houses
sitting along the fjord, which features an ever-changing gallery of
icebergs. This place is truly picture perfect.
It’s also a vibrant hub for adventure seekers who head out
onto the polar ice sheet. There are almost as many sled dogs living
here as people. Each spring, one of the world’s greatest dog
sled races takes place here, with 100 sleds participating. Just outside
the town, you can often see enormous icebergs floating in the deep blue
waters. They originate from the Jakobshavn Glacier, which calves some
35 billion tons of icebergs each year. The icebergs make their way down
the 12-mile fjord before entering Disko Bay. They are a nature
You won’t just see these chiseled masses of ice up close,
you’ll also hear them. Their cracks, rumbles, and creaks echo
throughout the fjord as they bump into one another and into the shores.
If those noises are drums, the crumble, crash, and splash of ice
calving from the icebergs into the waters below are the cymbals. Take a
moment to sit, watch, and listen to the icebergs in these beautiful
Day 9-10 Crossing the
The Davis Strait is named for English explorer John Davis, who led
expeditions searching for a route through the Northwest Passage between
1585 and 1587. Davis was the first to note the seal hunting and whaling
possibilities in the area and demonstrated that the Newfoundland cod
fisheries extended this far north.
We’ve left Greenland behind and now set our course for
Canada. While sailing across the Labrador Sea, enjoy informative
presentations from the Expedition Team. Their topics may include the
wildlife you might spot in Northern Labrador, Inuit culture, expedition
photography, and the historic explorers of the Canadian Arctic. We also
support a number of Citizen Science projects that you can join. These
include the Happywhale project, where your photographs help identify
and track the movement of specific whales across the planet, identified
from their distinguishing characteristics.
You may also join the GLOBE Observer project, which combines your
observations of clouds and sky conditions with satellite data. By
participating in these projects, not only will you be supporting the
scientific community, you’ll also be gaining a better
understanding of the world around you.
Day 11-17 Heart of the
It’s time to explore the heart of the Northwest Passage. The
first recorded voyage here was by John Cabot in 1497. James Cook
attempted but failed to sail it in 1776, and many may have heard about
the ill-fated Franklin expedition of 1845. The first to conquer the
Northwest Passage by ship was Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen on an
expedition that lasted from 1903 to 1906.
Depending on the ice (which varies from year to year), we hope to show
you some of the following places:
called 'Mittimatalik' in Inuktitut, is a traditional Inuit community
surrounded by mountains, glaciers, fjords, ice caves, geological
hoodoos, and drifting icebergs.
Dundas Harbour is
an abandoned settlement featuring an old Royal Canadian Mounted Police
camp and several archeological sites. Go ashore to see the ruins of
some of these buildings, along with an impressive Thule site.
is dominated by the striking natural profile of Caswell Tower. The
shoreline here is ideal for walks to a pre-historic Inuit dwelling
site. Caswell Tower itself features a challenging hike to the summit
for great views.
is known for the ill-fated Franklin expedition. Two ships sailed into
the passage in 1845, never to be seen again. The Franklin Expedition
was known to have over-wintered on Beechey Island in 1845-1846.
Fort Ross is
a trading post established in 1937. There are two small huts ashore
maintained by the Canadian Coast Guard.
honors the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen who wintered here in 1903.
He was in close contact with the local Netsilik Inuit people, who
taught him about survival and travel in polar regions, which eventually
gave him the upper hand years later in the race to the South Pole.
Throughout the journey, we will sail spellbinding straits and be on a
constant lookout for wildlife like the mighty polar bear.
Day 18 ‘A Good
Cambridge Bay is a hamlet with fewer than 2,000 residents. The
region’s native name reveals the biggest clue about the
region’s hunting and fishing heritage. In Inuinnaqtun,
Cambridge Bay is called ‘Iqaluktuuttiaq’, meaning a
‘good fishing place’. Fly-fishing for giant char in
the river nearby remains a draw to this day.
The abundant wildlife, including musk oxen and caribou, is an obvious
point of attraction for explorers. Others come to visit the Canadian
High Arctic Research Station, a world-class center for studying climate
It’s only fitting for your expedition to end here, where
Arctic explorers of old often sheltered while seeking the Northwest
Passage. Now you can add your name to that illustrious list, which of
course includes the legendary Roald Amundsen. From here, you will be
transferred to the airport for your flight to Edmonton, where
you’ll spend the night.
Day 19 End of an
Big things are happening in Edmonton, the final destination of your
expedition. Alberta’s capital has always been a dependable
hub for business and government, but Forbes magazine recently called it
‘one of Canada’s hottest destinations’.
If you don’t have to hurry back home, stick around to find
The city is lively and colorful, with all the features of a modern
metropolis: a thriving food scene, craft breweries and distilleries,
independent shopping boutiques, and a cutting-edge arts scene. It is
also home to the fifth-largest shopping center in the world, the West
Edmonton Mall. Extending your stay, however, will allow you to sample
the vast wilderness at Edmonton’s doorstep. You can see
free-roaming bison grazing in a meadow or blocking your path in the
road, just 35 minutes away in the national park. Enjoy a visit to Elk
Island National Park as an optional Post-Program before you fly home.
attempts to transit the Northwest Passage are expeditions in the truest
sense of the word. We challenge the elements and the ice edge of the
Arctic Ocean to circumnavigate these remote and icy
waterways—safely, of course. Our deep knowledge of the area,
our flexibility, and the multiple alternative routes available are key
factors to giving you the most amazing experience possible. If we
manage to circumnavigate Baffin Island or sail through the entire
Northwest Passage, it will be one for the books.