Northwest Passage - In the Wake of Great Explorers (Itinerary 1)
About Edmonton, Alberta
- Experience Greenland and the Canadian High Arctic in the Northwest Passage
- Discover UNESCO-listed sites, Inuit settlements, and a range of Arctic wildlife
- Overnight in Edmonton after the expedition cruise, including breakfast
- Economy flight from Cambridge Bay to Edmonton
- Transfer from the ship to the airport in Cambridge Bay after the expedition cruise
- Transfer from the airport in Edmonton to the hotel after the Expedition cruise
- Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, soda, and mineral water) in the Aune and Fredheim restaurants
- Fine-dining Lindstrøm, À la carte restaurant, is included for suite guests
- Complimentary tea and coffee
- Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
- Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
- English-speaking Expedition Team who organize and guide activities, both on board and ashore
- Range of included excursions
- Experts from the Expedition Team present lectures on a variety of topics
- Use of the ship’s Science Center which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
- The Citizen Science program allows guests to contribute to current scientific research
- The onboard professional photographer will give tips and tricks for taking the best landscape and wildlife photos
- The ship has hot tubs, an infinity pool, a sauna, an outdoor and indoor gym, and an outdoor running track
- Participate in informal gatherings with the crew, such as daily recaps and the next day’s preparations
- Escorted landings with small boats (RIBs)
- Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment needed for the activities
- Complimentary wind- and water-resistant expedition jacket
- Expedition photographers will help configure your camera settings before landings
- International flights
- Travel protection
- Baggage handling
- Optional shore excursions with our local partners
- Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team
- Optional treatments in the onboard wellness and spa area
- All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions
- Excursions and activities are subject to change
- Health declaration form is mandatory
- Please ensure you can meet all entry and boarding requirements
- No gratuities are expected
The world’s northernmost capital - Reykjavík, Iceland
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 tubs, too.
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 briefing.
The Denmark Strait - At Sea
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.
'A river of melted ice’ - Prins Christian Sound Region
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.
Expedition day - Kvanefjord, Greenland
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 machines.
The Capital of Greenland - Nuuk, Greenland
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 pastries.
Sisimiut, Greenland - SisimiutGuests 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
Birthplace of Icebergs - Ilulissat, Greenland
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 photographer’s dream.
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 surroundings.
Crossing the Davis Strait - Labrador Sea
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.
Heart of the Northwest Passage - The Northwest Passage
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:
Pond Inlet, 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.
Radstock Bay 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.
Beechey Island 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.
Gjoa Haven 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.
‘A Good Fishing Place’ - Cambridge Bay, Victoria Island
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 change.
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.
End of an expedition - Edmonton
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 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.
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.