Out of the Northwest Passage

From Canada to Greenland aboard the Ocean Endeavour


The Northwest Passage is one of the world’s greatest voyages. Venture into the Arctic to explore pristine fjords, mammoth glaciers, and villages perched on remote mountaintops in the world’s most northerly reaches. In this distant realm where polar bears roam and seabirds soar, you’ll experience the majesty of the Northern Lights and voyage the length of the Sondre Stromfjord—one of the longest fjords in the world! Visit the graves at Beechey Island from the famed Franklin Expedition, explore the icebergs at Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and embrace a warm welcome in Aujuttuq, Canada’s northernmost community. An incredible adventure awaits on this Arctic wildlife and cultural expedition.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.


Day 1, Sep 7, 2020

Located at the mouth of the Coppermine River, Kugluktuk is the westernmost community in Nunavut. Known for many years as Coppermine, the community reverted to its original Inuinnaqtun name—meaning “place of moving waters”—on January 1, 1996.

The Coppermine River is designated a Canadian Heritage River for the important role it played as an exploration and fur trade route. Your charter flight will land in Kugluktuk and you will embark the Ocean Endeavour by Zodiac to commence your trip!

Days 2-4, Sep 8-10, 2020
Kitikmeot Region

The Kitikmeot Region consists of parts of Victoria Island, the adjacent part of the mainland as far as the Boothia Peninsula, King William Island, and the southern portion of Prince of Wales Island. Its regional seat is Iqaluktuuttiaq (Cambridge Bay), though it also contains five other hamlets (including Uqsuqtuuq and Kugluktuk).

Recently, the Kitikmeot Region has been in the news since the finding of the lost ships of the Franklin Expedition in its waters. It is Nunavut’s least-populated region. Wildlife abounds here both in the sea and on land.

Days 5-7, Sep 11-13, 2020
Peel Sound and Parry Channel

Peel Sound was the Franklin expedition’s route south. It presents numerous wildlife and expedition opportunities. The setting is optimal for hiking and exploring the geological diversity of the area.

The ‘obvious’ route through the Northwest Passage, Parry Channel seldom provides a full transit because of ice. It is named after Arctic explorer William Edward Parry, who got as far as Melville Island in 1819 before being blocked by ice at McClure Strait.

Day 8, Sep 14, 2020
Beechey Island

In 1845, Sir John Franklin set out from England with HMS Erebus and Terror, attempting to sail through the Northwest Passage. Franklin’s party overwintered at Beechey Island where three of his men died.

Numerous search parties later used Beechey as a depot and rendezvous. Amundsen, Bernier, and Larsen visited Beechey. Thomas Morgan of HMS Investigator was buried there in 1854 alongside Franklin’s men. The graves and the ruins of Northumberland House are a haunting memorial.

Day 9, Sep 15, 2020
Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound)

Spend the day exploring the ocean wilderness of Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound). In August of 2017, this enormous body of water was declared a National Marine Conservation Area.

Large populations of marine mammals, including narwhal, beluga and bowhead whales transit and feed in this area. There is a great selection of landing sites available, depending on weather, wildlife, and sea conditions.

Day 10, Sep 16, 2020
Aujuittuq (Grise Fiord)

Aujuittuq means ‘place that never thaws.’ 1,150 kilometres above the Arctic Circle, Canada’s northernmost “civilian” community originated in the Cold War; in 1953, residents were relocated to Aujuittuq to boost Canadian sovereignty. In 2016, the census placed the population at 129.

Activities will center in the village where you will have a chance to meet members of the community, learn about their way of life, and hear their poignant stories.

Day 11, Sep 17, 2020
Smith Sound

Smith Sound served as the main route for explorers and adventurers searching for the North Pole. Adolphus Greely, Sir George Nares, and Elisha Kent Kane all travelled these waters with varying degrees of success.

Between forty-eight and seventy-two kilometres wide and eighty-eight kilometres long, Smith Sound divides Ellesmere Island from Greenland. Here, the sea ice provided an ancient Inuit travel route. Optimal sea ice conditions in Smith Sound can also make for excellent wildlife viewing.

Days 12-14, Sep 18-20, 2020
Northwest Greenland

Today you'll explore the stunning fjords that line the coast. Glaciers and icebergs abound here. In true expedition style, seek opportunities to hike, take photographs, and view wildlife as conditions allow.

Day 15, Sep 21, 2020

Ilulissat translates literally into “iceberg”, an apt name for this site at the mouth of the Ilulissat Icefjord—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The icefjord is the outlet of the Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier, source of many of the icebergs in the north Atlantic.

Here, you will cruise in a Zodiac to appreciate the icebergs. And you’ll visit the bustling town of Ilulissat, with its museums, cafes, craft shops, and busy fishing harbor.

Day 16, Sep 22, 2020
Itilleq Fjord

The west Greenland coastline is a rich mixture of fishing communities, many islands, and complex coastal waterways. The waters are relatively warm here, due to the West Greenland current and the more southerly location. This makes for lusher vegetation.

As the Arctic autumn unfolds, the tundra foliage will be in gorgeous color. You will stop here to explore the landscapes of wild Greenland.

Day 17, Sep 23, 2020

Sondre Stromfjord is one of the longest fjords in the world and boasts 168 kilometres of superb scenery. End your adventure by sailing up this dramatic fjord where you'll have a good chance of experiencing the majesty of the Northern Lights.

Kangerlussuaq, the town at its eastern head, is a former US Air Force base and Greenland’s primary flight hub. Here you will disembark the Ocean Endeavour and transfer to the airport for your return charter flight.



Watch for Arctic wildlife including polar bears, walrus, seabirds, and whales
Visit Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound) Marine Protected Area
Spend time in Auguittuq (Grise Fiord), Canada's northernmost community
Enjoy Zodiac cruising among the icebergs at Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Voyage the length of Sondre Stromfjord, one of the the longest in the world!


Length: 17 days
Cost From: $10,995  
Arrive: Calgary, Canada
Depart: Toronto, Canada
Lodging: 16 nights aboard a 198-passenger vessel
Meals: All group meals included (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Wildlife & Natural History, Photography, Whale Watching, Small Ship Cruising
Trip Level:

17-day cruise, wildlife and cultural explorations, walking tours