Day 1 - Edmonton, Canada
Day 2 - Edmonton / Cambridge Bay, Victoria Island
Day 3-10 - Northwest Passage Exploration
Day 11 - Baffin Bay and Davis Strait
Day 12 - Ilulissat, Greenland
Day 13 - Sisimiut, Greenland
Day 14 - Nuuk, Greenland
Day 15 - Kvanefjord, Greenland
Day 16 - At Sea
Day 17 - Red Bay, Canada
Day 18 - Corner Brook, Canada
Day 19 - At Sea
Day 20 - Halifax, Canada
Day 1 Canada’s
Big things are happening in Edmonton, the first destination on your
expedition cruise. 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 have arranged to arrive early,
you’ll find out why.
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. We highly recommend arriving a few days early to join a
Pre-Program to Elk Island National Park, where you can sample the vast
wilderness at Edmonton’s doorstep. Just 35 minutes away, it
is possible to see free-roaming bison grazing in a meadow in the
national park or standing in the middle of the road.
Day 2 A Good Fishing Place
In the morning, you’ll fly from Edmonton to Cambridge Bay,
where your expedition ship MS Fram awaits you.
Cambridge Bay is a village with fewer than 2,000 residents. The biggest
clue of the region’s hunting and fishing heritage is in its
name. In the local language of Inuinnaqtun, Cambridge Bay is called
‘Iqaluktuuttiaq’, meaning a ‘good fishing
place’. Fly-fishing for Arctic char in the nearby river
remains a draw to this day. The abundant wildlife is also an obvious
point of attraction for explorers. Others come to visit the Canadian
High Arctic Research Station, a world-class center for studying climate
change and all things Arctic.
It is only fitting for your expedition to start 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. After checking in and picking up
your complimentary expedition jacket, you will have some time to settle
into your cabin and explore the ship. There is also a mandatory safety
drill held every 30 minutes before our departure, allowing you to pick
a time convenient to you. The evening’s dinner—the
first of many on board—begins with a toast by the captain,
wishing everyone an enjoyable expedition. You will then meet?the
Expedition Team in a separate welcome session, where you’ll
cover important health and safety information.??
They will review important information from AECO, the Association of
Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators. You will learn how you can help
protect wildlife habitats, that you should keep a safe distance from
animals, and how to visit Arctic communities in a proper and respectful
Day 3-10 Heart of the
We aim to head into the heart of the Northwest Passage. Since the late
15th century, the search for this fabled seaway through the Canadian
Arctic was a holy grail for hardy adventurers.
John Cabot led the first recorded voyage here 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 lasting from 1903 to 1906.
Sea ice varies from year to year, making every expedition here unique.
We hope to show you some of the following places:
Gjoa Haven honors the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who wintered
here in 1903 on the Gjøa expedition. He called the place
‘the finest little harbor in the world.’ He learned
a great deal from local Netsilik Inuit people about survival and travel
in the polar regions. These skills were instrumental in helping
Amundsen become the first man to reach the South Pole, almost a decade
Fort Ross was established in 1937. The Canadian Coast Guard maintains
two small huts ashore, which are occasionally used by the local Inuit
people for shelter. It was one of Hudson’s Bay
Company’s few trading posts in the Canadian Arctic.
Beechey Island is closely linked to the history of exploration of the
Northwest Passage, particularly the voyage led by Sir John Franklin,
whose two ships sailed into the passage in 1845 but never returned. The
Franklin Expedition was known to have over-wintered here in 1845 and
three of his men are buried here.
Radstock Bay is dominated by the striking rock of Caswell Tower. The
shoreline here is excellent for a short walk to a prehistoric Inuit
site. Caswell Tower itself features a challenging hike to the summit
for great views.
Dundas Harbour is an abandoned settlement featuring an old Royal
Canadian Mounted Police camp and an old Hudson’s Bay Company
trading post, with several archeological sites from the Thule period.
Set on the picturesque Eclipse Sound with Bylot Island in the distance,
Pond Inlet, called ‘Mittimatalik’ in Inuktitut, is
a traditional Inuit community on Baffin Island. Pond Inlet is
surrounded by mountain ranges, where you can marvel at glaciers, scenic
fjords, ice caves, geological hoodoos, and drifting icebergs.
Throughout the journey, we will sail through spellbinding straits and
be on a constant lookout for wildlife such as the mighty polar bear.
Day 11 Crossing the Davis
It is time to leave Canada behind and set our course for
Greenland.?While sailing across Baffin Bay, do not miss the Expedition
Team’s ongoing informative lectures. Their topics may include
the wildlife you might see in Greenland, Greenlandic culture,
expedition photography, geology, and famous explorers throughout
Feel like being more active? Hit up the gym and get your blood pumping.
Do not forget you will have access to the sauna and two outdoor hot
tubs. Drinks can also be enjoyed in the panoramic Explorer Lounge
& Bar,?where you can watch the rhythmic waves of the ocean roll
Day 12 Birthplace of
Ilulissat (translated simply as ‘Icebergs’) is set
in the stunning scenery of the IlulissatIcefjord, 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 is 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
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 photographer’s dream. You won’t just see
these chiseled masses of ice up close, you will 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 surroundings.
Day 13 Modern settlement,
Located in a spectacular letting, Greenland’s second-largest
city, Sisimiut, sits 25 miles north of the Arctic Circle in the central
coastal area of the Davis Strait. It is a modern settlement, but its
roots stretch far back, with some estimates dating more than 4,500
years. Sisimiut’s name translates into ‘the people
at the fox holes’, a reference to the Arctic fox many burrows
that lie near the city. Another local animal is the musk ox, whose wool
is used to make a local fabric called qiviut—said to be 10
times warmer than sheep wool. You might like to pick up a qiviut scarf,
hat, or mittens while you are here.
With a population of around 5,500, Sisimiut is an important regional
hub. Boats heading between Nuuk and Disko Bay area frequently use it as
a stopover point, with many coming here to enjoy backcountry sports
like skiing or dog sledding on the Greenland ice sheet. The small
museum here houses artifacts from excavations of ancient Saqqaq
settlements near the town, some up to 4,000 years old. You can also
visit the Taseralik Cultural Center, the perfect place to learn about
the area’s cultural heritage. If you are fit and healthy,
join an optional 4- to 5-hour hike up PalaasipQaqqa, a steady but steep
climb to over 1,640 feet above sea level. The effort on the way up is
well rewarded with unique views of Greenland’s exceptional
Day 14 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 will notice about this
low-rise settlement is its colorful houses. The red, green, blue, and
yellow buildings are 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-shapedKatuaq
Cultural Center. 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 will 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
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 15 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 fjordand 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 would 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 machines.
Day 16 Labrador Sea
Relax, get to know your fellow travellers,?and make full use of the
facilities on board. Meanwhile, the Expedition Team will hold lecture
programs on Artic wildlife and ecosystems in the Science Center.
We also support a number of Citizen Science projects that you can join.
These projects include Happywhale, 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 will also be gaining a better understanding
of the world around you.
Day 17 Red Bay, Labrador
Red Bay is a former Basque whaling settlement on the coast of southern
Labrador in the Strait of Belle Isle. You might catch a glimpse of
humpback or minke whales, which first drew Basque whalers to this
harbour back in the 17th century. For about 70 years, these fishermen
hunted whales and exported their refined oil back to Europe.
But not all the whaling ships were able to reach Red Bay’s
shores. Wrecked chalupas and galleons are just some of the ships that
have been found preserved in the surrounding ice-cold waters. These
discoveries make Red Bay one of the most important underwater
archeological sites in the world.
On your visit to this fascinating town, make sure to visit the local
museum, which is part of the Red Bay National Historic Site. Here, you
can see a 26-foot chalupa (a small whale-hunting boat) and imagine life
as a Basque whaler on the Labrador Sea.
You can also look for whale bones in the protected National Historic
Site, or even search for the buried treasure of pirate Captain Kidd
around Tracey Hill. You might not find any gold doubloons, but you will
certainly be rewarded with a fantastic view.
Day 18 In the wake of
Captain James Cook
As you sail into the Bay of Islands, surrounded by the jagged slopes
and dense forests of the Long Range Mountains, you’ll chart
the same course as Captain James Cook over 250 years ago.
Our next stop is Corner Brook, at the mouth of the Humber River. This
is the second-largest city in the Newfoundland and Labrador province,
after St. John’s. While St. John’s is trendy and
international, Corner Brook is traditional and local. The Corner Brook
Museum will give you a sense of the regional history. There are a
number of artifacts that illustrate the indigenous cultures of the
region, the logging industry here, and of course, Captain James Cook.
One particularly fascinating exhibit is on World War II brides from
England and Scotland. We offer an optional excursion up to Crow Hill,
home of the Captain James Cook National Historic Site. Standing where
the famous British Explorer once stood to survey the area,
you’ll have pleasant views over the city. Make sure to grab a
photo with the statue of the man himself.
Other optional excursions include a guided hike along a portion of the
Corner Brook Stream Trail. Or get your adrenaline flowing by zip-lining
high up over the scenic Humber Valley while admiring views of Marble
Mountain and Steady Brook Falls. When the time comes to set sail again,
a local band might just come aboard and treat us to a performance,
sending us off with true Corner Brook hospitality.
Day 19 Coming to an end
It is our final day at sea and your expedition cruise is drawing to a
triumphant close. You might like to spend this day at sea just fully
unwinding from the excitement of the past two weeks. Your thoughts
might naturally turn to home, or maybe you will find that you will have
already left a piece if your heart back in one of the special places
you visited. Spend some time reflecting on and taking stock of all the
wonderful experiences you have had.
The Expedition Team will likely be in a similar mood. Join them as they
fondly recap the highlights of the thrilling cruise we have shared
together. You will probably have a few hundred photos to sift through
of the scenic landscapes, activities, and memories you have experienced!
Day 20 Capital of Nova
Your exciting, epic journey from the heart of the Northwest Passage
ends triumphantly in Halifax.
This cosmopolitan capital of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia sits
in the center of the region’s east coast. This important
seaport looks out over one of the world's largest natural harbors. With
its red-brick heritage buildings, the landmark Citadel Hill National
Historic Site, a historic 1820 brewery, and the epic 2.5-mile seafront
boardwalk, Halifax has plenty in store if you feel like extending your
trip. Near our docking site, you will find Pier 21, the
‘Ellis Island of Canada,’ where thousands of
immigrants arrived from all over the world. It is the perfect place for
Canada’s Museum of Immigration. You can also visit the
Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, which contains a large exhibit on the
notorious Titanic disaster.
Not far from downtown Halifax is the Halifax Common, which is
Canada’s oldest park. It opened in 1763. If you enjoy art, do
not miss the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s extensive
collection. We recommend spending a few extra days here on our
Post-Program before heading back home. You will visit the historic
community of Peggy’s Cove and see its iconic lighthouse. And
pay your respects at Halifax Fairview Lawn Cemetery, the solemn burial
place of 121 tragic passengers of the Titanic.