Skip to main content
Photo by Acacia Johnson

Northwest Passage: Epic High Arctic

Duration
17 days
Departing From
  • Toronto, Canada
Starting Price
$13,045 USD
Adventure Options
Paddling
Helicopter_Black
Hiking
Zodiac

The fabled sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Northwest Passage continues to grip our collective imagination. On this captivating 17-day voyage, we invite you aboard our game-changing new vessel, Ultramarine, to explore this fascinating waterway with an incredible range of on-board comforts and off-ship adventures no other vessel can offer. Passing through the Canadian Arctic archipelago, guests will journey back in time to the height of Arctic exploration, navigating the waters explored by sailors from different lands and visiting the sites that helped unlock the eventual discovery of this long-coveted route. 

Aboard the technologically-advanced Ultramarine, you will explore this remarkable environment in unforgettable ways—taking advantage of two twin-engine helicopters, 20 quick-launching Zodiads, the most extensive portfolio of adventure options in the industry, more outdoor wildlife viewing spaces than any other expedition ship its size—to create your quintessential Arctic experience. Marvel at highlights of the Canadian Arctic and Greenland’s stunning west coast, stopping at traditional Inuit and Greenlandic communities. Participate in included helicopter activities and take in the vast, pristine Arctic wilderness from the air. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site Ilulissat Icefjord, whose Jakobshavn glacier calves off icebergs up to a kilometer high. And keep your eyes peeled for the elusive and majestic creatures who make their home in this harsh, remote landscapes, such as whales, walrus, muskoxen and polar bears. Come aboard Ultramarine, venture to the fabled route that for centuries held explorers in its grip, and return home forever bonded to the spirit of Arctic adventure.

Available Itineraries

2021 Arctic Season
17Days
Starting inToronto, Canada
Prices from (per person) $13,045 USD
2022 Arctic Season
17Days
Starting inToronto, Canada
Prices from (per person) $13,945 USD
Day 1
Arrive in Toronto, Canada

Your Arctic expedition begins in Toronto. Explore this vibrant city on your own before spending the night at your well-appointed hotel.

Day 2
Fly to Resolute and Embark

This morning, board your charter flight to Resolute. Upon arrival, you’ll have a chance to walk around this small Arctic town before enjoying your first of many Zodiac cruises as you’re transferred to your ship.

Days 3 to 6
Exploring Canada’s High Arctic

Cruising around the remote regions of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic aboard Ultramarine, the newest ship in our fleet, you’ll navigate the same icy inlets, channels and bays that fascinated legendary explorers of long ago. Designed to give polar adventurers unprecedented access to the hardest-to-reach places on the planet—and equipped with two onboard twin-engine helicopters for unparalleled access to areas only Quark Expeditions can bring you—this one-of-a-kind ship, in its inaugural year, will take you beyond the familiar in polar exploration. Throughout your journey, your Expedition Team will keep an eye toward immersing you in the best the Arctic has to offer at the top of the world.

Named after explorer Frederick William Beechey, of the Royal Navy, Beechey Island is a Canadian National Historic Site. It’s an important stop on our voyage, as this is the final resting place of three members of Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated 1845–46 expedition to find the Northwest Passage. The graves, on a remote windswept beach, were discovered in 1851 by the crew of British and American vessels searching for signs of Franklin’s lost expedition. 

Radstock Bay is a popular research location for observing polar bears, which are often seen here in summer. An impressive Thule archaeological site provides insight into how these pre-Inuit people lived in the Far North.

For almost 5,000 years, the hamlet of Arctic Bay and its surrounding area has been occupied by Inuit nomads migrating from the west. Surrounded by soaring cliffs teeming with seabirds, this is a great spot to go ashore and learn about the Inuit community’s traditional way of life.

The eastern end of Lancaster Sound affords numerous hiking opportunities on Devon Island. We’ll anchor at Croker Bay, where we’ll Zodiac cruise along the face of an active glacier. We’ll try to keep a safe distance, but still hope to get close enough to appreciate the splendor of calving ice. Walrus frequent the waters here, so be sure to have your camera handy. A hike to a nearby archaeological site is another possible excursion. At Dundas Harbour, trek along a beach to a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police outpost. Encounters with muskoxen are possible here.

Canada’s most northern settlement, Grise Fjord will be your final shore visit in the Canadian High Arctic. Now home to about 150 residents, the traditional, mostly Inuit community was created in 1953, when the federal government resettled eight Inuit families from northern Quebec. Hunting and fishing are a significant part of their way of life. Visit the monument to the first Inuit settlers, as well as the remnants of the “old camp” where they lived.

Days 7 and 8
Exploring Smith Sound

Before saying goodbye to Canada, we’ll try to cruise as far north as possible, exploring both sides of Smith Sound, the uninhabited passage between Ellesmere Island and Greenland.

Day 9
Qaanaaq, Greenland

Your first stop in Greenland is Qaanaaq, formerly known as Thule, one of the northernmost towns in the world (there’s a reason ancient philosophers called it Ultima Thule, or “edge of known territory”). Here, local Inuit share their culture and traditions, and the museum sheds more light on what it’s like living near the top of the world.

Day 10
At Sea

As we sail south along the west coast of Greenland, presentations by our on-board experts will prepare you for the adventures that lie ahead.

Days 11 to 15
Exploring West Greenland

With spectacular glaciers, soaring fjords and vibrant communities, the west coast of Greenland will leave you breathless. 

Nuussuaq (formerly known as Kraulshavn) is the only mainland community in the Upernavik Archipelago. Founded in 1923 as a trading station, it’s one of the most traditional hunting and fishing villages in Greenland.

It’s not surprising that the red-hued, heart-shaped mountain that rises up behind Uummannaq gave the traditional community its name (Uummannaq means “heart-like” in Greenlandic). As your ship approaches the shore, you’ll want to be on deck to take in the incredible view of the twin peaks towering over the vibrantly painted wooden houses dotting the rocky terrain below. The settlement was established as a Danish colony in 1758 on the mainland, but it relocated five years later because seal hunting was more plentiful here.

In the nearby archaeological site of Qilaqitsoq (also known as Qilakitsoq), you’ll visit the ruins of an ancient settlement, where the remains of eight fully dressed mummies were discovered under a rock outcrop in 1972 by a pair of hunters. The famous Greenlandic mummies, which date back to 1475 A.D., are on view at the Greenland National Museum in Nuuk.

Cruising farther south rewards with spectacular views of Eqip Sermia. The jagged, blue-tinged glacier soaring out of the crystal-clear water is one of the most beautiful sights in Greenland, and we hope to Zodiac cruise along its massive front from a safe distance. We may also go ashore to explore nearby.

Just south of Ilulissat, which means “iceberg” in Greenlandic, is the impressive Ilulissat Icefjord. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to Sermeq Kujalleq, the most productive glacier in the northern hemisphere. As we Zodiac cruise at the mouth of the fjord, you may be lucky to witness the wonders of calving ice (listen to the loud roars as the ice breaks off). Founded in 1741, the traditional town, which boasts more sled dogs than people, is famous in its own right: it was the birthplace of explorer Knud Rasmussen, the first to traverse the Northwest Passage by dogsled, in the early 1920s . Hikes here lead out to stunning views of the young icebergs as as they float out the fjord to Disko Bay.

In Sisimiut, you’ll be treated to a traditional kayaking demonstration.
The kayak (an Inuit word that the English borrowed) is Greenland’s national symbol and can be traced back to the country’s first immigrants, who used vessels that resemble the narrow one- or two-person boats. The town has several 18th-century colonial buildings, including the oldest surviving church in Greenland, so take time to wander through the historic area. You’ll also have a chance to hike amongst the area’s surrounding mountains.

Situated in a scenic hollow on a small island with no freshwater, the colorful community of Itilleq, which has about 130 inhabitants, is surrounded by sea, mountains and fjords. The final excursion of your Arctic adventure may be a hike around Itilleq Fjord.

Day 16
Disembark in Kangerlussuaq & fly to Toronto

Enjoy one more Zodiac ride to shore, where you’ll board your charter flight back to Toronto, Canada. Upon arrival in Toronto, we will transfer you to your included hotel.

Day 17
Depart Toronto, Canada

Today, you can make your way home at your leisure or spend some time exploring this fascinating city.

Reminder

MANDATORY TRANSFER PACKAGE INCLUDES:

  • One night’s pre-expedition airport hotel accommodation in Toronto
  • Group transfer from the Toronto hotel to the airport on Day ”
  • Charter flight from Toronto to Resolute
  • Group transfer from the Resolute airport to the ship on embarkation day
  • Group transfer from the ship to the Kangerlussuaq airport on disembarkation day
  • Charter flight from Kangerlussuaq to Toronto
  • One night’s post-expedition airport hotel accommodation in Toronto

PACKAGE PRICE: $ 2,895 USD

Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.

  • Leadership throughout your voyage by our experienced Expedition Leaders, including shore landings and other activities
  • All Zodiac transfers and cruising as per the daily program
  • All shore landings as per the daily program
  • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
  • All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage (Please inform us of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals.)
  • Beer and wine during dinner; and coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
  • Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled
  • A photographic journal documenting the expedition
  • A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions
  • An official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep
  • Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
  • All luggage handling aboard the ship
  • Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person
  • Greenland voyages cruise passenger tax
  • Mandatory Transfer Package*
  • International airfare
  • Arrival and departure transfers, except where listed in the Mandatory Transfer Package
  • Passport and visa expenses
  • Canadian eTA required for non-Canadian or U.S. visa-exempt passengers
  • Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above
  • Meals ashore unless otherwise specified
  • Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended
  • Excess-baggage fees on international flights
  • Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other gear not mentioned
  • Laundry, bar and other personal charges unless specified
  • Phone and Internet charges
  • Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew
  • Additional overnight accommodation
  • Adventure Options not listed in Included Activities
Blue Shield Icon

Book with Confidence

Quark Expeditions’ enhanced Book with Confidence Guarantee is an industry first cancellation and rebook policy where we have our guests covered from the initial booking date until their expedition cruise returns to give 100% risk-free cancellation and flexibility options. From “Booking to Boarding” we have you covered all the way.

Padlock icon

Refund Guarantee

Easily rebook or we will refund you if we have to cancel your voyage for COVID-19 reasons.

Circle Arrows Icon

30 Day Easy Rebook Guarantee

Easily rebook your trip for any reason up to 30 days prior to your voyage.  No questions asked.

Ship Bow Icon

COVID-19 Protection Guarantee

Easily rebook if you have to cancel your trip within 29 to 1 day of the voyage due to COVID-19.

Departure Dates and Cabins

Showing 1 - 1 of 1 Departures
Day 1
Arrive in Toronto, Canada

Your Arctic expedition begins in Toronto. Explore this vibrant city on your own before spending the night at your well-appointed hotel.

Day 2
Fly to Resolute and Embark

This morning, board your charter flight to Resolute. Upon arrival, you’ll have a chance to walk around this small Arctic town before enjoying your first of many Zodiac cruises as you’re transferred to your ship.

Days 3 to 6
Exploring Canada’s High Arctic

Cruising around the remote regions of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic aboard Ultramarine, the newest ship in our fleet, you’ll navigate the same icy inlets, channels and bays that fascinated legendary explorers of long ago. Designed to give polar adventurers unprecedented access to the hardest-to-reach places on the planet—and equipped with two onboard twin-engine helicopters for unparalleled access to areas only Quark Expeditions can bring you—this one-of-a-kind ship will take you beyond the familiar in polar exploration. Throughout your journey, your Expedition Team will keep an eye toward immersing you in the best the Arctic has to offer at the top of the world.

Named after explorer Frederick William Beechey, of the Royal Navy, Beechey Island is a Canadian National Historic Site. It’s an important stop on our voyage, as this is the final resting place of three members of Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated 1845–46 expedition to find the Northwest Passage. The graves, on a remote windswept raised beach, were discovered in 1851 by the crew of British and American vessels searching for signs of Franklin’s lost expedition.

Radstock Bay is a popular research location for observing polar bears, which are often seen here in summer. An impressive Thule archaeological site provides insight into how these pre-Inuit people lived in the Far North.

For almost 5,000 years, the hamlet of Arctic Bay and its surrounding area has been occupied by Inuit people who were previously nomads migrating from the west. Surrounded by soaring cliffs teeming with seabirds, this is a great spot to go ashore and learn about the Inuit community’s traditional way of life.

The eastern end of Lancaster Sound affords hiking opportunities on Devon Island. We’ll anchor at Croker Bay, where we’ll cruise near enough to appreciate the splendor of glacial textures and calving ice, while always keeping a safe distance. Walrus frequent the waters here, so be sure to have your camera handy. At Dundas Harbour, trek along
a beach to a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police outpost.

Canada’s most northern settlement, Grise Fiord will be your final shore visit in the Canadian High Arctic. Now home to about 150 residents, the mostly Inuit community was created in 1953, when the federal government forcefully relocated eight Inuit families from northern Quebec. Hunting and fishing are a significant part of their way of life. Visit the monument to the first Inuit settlers, as well as the remnants of the “old camp” where they lived.

Days 7 and 8
Exploring Smith Sound

Before saying goodbye to Canada, we’ll try to cruise as far north as possible, exploring both sides of Smith Sound, the uninhabited passage between Ellesmere Island and Greenland.

Day 9
Qaanaaq, Greenland

Your first stop in Greenland is Qaanaaq, formerly known as Thule, one of the northernmost towns in the world. Here, local Inuit share their culture and traditions, and the museum sheds more light on what it’s like living near the top of the world.

Day 10
At Sea

As we sail south along the west coast of Greenland, presentations by our onboard experts will prepare you for the adventures that lie ahead.

Days 11 to 15
Exploring West Greenland

With spectacular glaciers, soaring fjords and vibrant communities, the west coast of Greenland will leave you breathless.

Nuussuaq (formerly known as Kraulshavn) is the only mainland community in the Upernavik Archipelago. Founded in 1923 as a trading station, it’s one of the most traditional hunting and fishing villages in Greenland.

Each community visit in Greenland is a unique experience and Uummannaq might just steal your heart. It´s not surprising that the red-hued, heartshaped mountain that rises up behind gave this traditional village its name.

It’s not surprising that the red-hued, heart-shaped mountain that rises up behind Uummannaq gave the traditional community its name (Uummannaq means “heart-like” in Greenlandic). As your ship approaches the shore, you’ll want to be on deck to take in the incredible view of the twin peaks towering over the vibrantly painted wooden houses dotting the rocky terrain below. The settlement was established as a Danish colony in 1758 on the mainland, but it relocated five years later because seal hunting was more plentiful here.

In the nearby archaeological site of Qilaqitsoq (also written as Qilakitsoq), you’ll visit the ruins of an ancient settlement, where the remains of eight fully dressed mummies were discovered under a rock outcrop in 1972 by a pair of hunters. The famous Greenlandic mummies, which date back to 1475 A.D., are on view at the Greenland National Museum in Nuuk.

Cruising farther south rewards with spectacular views of Eqip Sermia. The jagged, blue-tinged glacier soaring out of the icy waters is one of the most beautiful sights in Greenland, and we hope to Zodiac cruise along its massive front from a safe distance. We may also go ashore to explore nearby.

Just south of Ilulissat, which means “iceberg” in Greenlandic, is the impressive Ilulissat Icefjord. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to Sermeq Kujalleq, the most productive glacier in the northern hemisphere. As we Zodiac cruise at the mouth of the fjord, you may be lucky to witness the wonders of calving ice (listen to the loud roars as the ice breaks off ). Founded in 1741, the traditional town, which boasts more sled dogs than people, is famous in its own right: it was the birthplace of explorer and anthropologist Knud Rasmussen, the first to traverse the Northwest Passage by dogsled, in the early 1920s . Hikes here lead out to stunning views of the young icebergs as they float out the fjord to Disko Bay.

In Sisimiut, you’ll be treated to a traditional kayaking demonstration.  The kayak (an Inuit word that the English borrowed) has become a national symbol of Greenland and has been used by Inuit hunters for thousands of years. The town has several 18th-century colonial buildings, including the oldest surviving church in Greenland, so take time to wander through the historic area.

Surrounded by sea and mountains, Itilleq is situated about a mile (2 km) above the Arctic Circle, in a scenic hollow on a small island. It is the southern limit of the Greenlandic sled dog. To keep the breed pure, the dogs are not permitted south of this community and all other dog breeds are prohibited this far north. It’s also known as a welcoming community, where you might experience “kaffemik,” a Greenlandic tradition of inviting visitors in for coffee, cakes and conversation. Explore the town’s charming wooden houses painted in a rainbow of colors, chat with the locals, whose main trade is fishing, and maybe challenge them to a game of football (soccer) —it won’t be long before you’re experiencing Itilleq’s famous friendly vibe.

Day 16
Disembark in Kangerlussuaq & fly to Toronto

Enjoy one more Zodiac ride to shore, where you’ll board your charter flight back to Toronto, Canada. Upon arrival in Toronto, you will be transferred to your included hotel.

Day 17
Depart Toronto, Canada

Today, you can make your way home at your leisure or spend some time exploring this fascinating city.

Reminder

MANDATORY TRANSFER PACKAGE INCLUDES:

  • One night’s pre-expedition airport hotel accommodation in Toronto
  • Group transfer from the Toronto hotel to the airport on Day 2
  • Charter flight from Toronto to Resolute
  • Group transfer from the Resolute airport to the ship on embarkation day
  • Group transfer from the ship to the Kangerlussuaq airport on disembarkation day
  • Charter flight from Kangerlussuaq to Toronto
  • One night’s post-expedition airport hotel accommodation in Toronto

PACKAGE PRICE: $ 2,895 USD

Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.

  • Leadership throughout your voyage by our experienced Expedition Leaders, including shore landings and other activities
  • All Zodiac transfers and cruising as per the daily program
  • All shore landings as per the daily program
  • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
  • All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage (Please inform us of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals.)
  • Select beer and wine during dinner; and coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
  • Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled
  • A photographic journal documenting the expedition
  • A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions
  • An official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep
  • Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
  • All luggage handling aboard the ship
  • Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person
  • Greenland voyages cruise passenger tax
  • Mandatory Transfer Package*
  • International airfare
  • Arrival and departure transfers in Toronto
  • Passport and visa expenses
  • Canadian eTA required for non-Canadian or U.S. visa-exempt passengers
  • Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above
  • Meals ashore unless otherwise specified
  • Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended
  • Excess-baggage fees on international flights
  • Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other gear not mentioned
  • Laundry, bar and other personal charges unless specified
  • Phone and Internet charges (connectivity may vary by location)
  • Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew
  • Additional overnight accommodation
  • Adventure Options not listed in Included Activities
Blue Shield Icon

Book with Confidence

Quark Expeditions’ enhanced Book with Confidence Guarantee is an industry first cancellation and rebook policy where we have our guests covered from the initial booking date until their expedition cruise returns to give 100% risk-free cancellation and flexibility options. From “Booking to Boarding” we have you covered all the way.

Padlock icon

Refund Guarantee

Easily rebook or we will refund you if we have to cancel your voyage for COVID-19 reasons.

Circle Arrows Icon

30 Day Easy Rebook Guarantee

Easily rebook your trip for any reason up to 30 days prior to your voyage.  No questions asked.

Ship Bow Icon

COVID-19 Protection Guarantee

Easily rebook if you have to cancel your trip within 29 to 1 day of the voyage due to COVID-19.

Departure Dates and Cabins

Showing 1 - 1 of 1 Departures
Save up to 19%

Northwest Passage: Epic High Arctic

Learn more about this expedition

  • Departure Date

    Aug 30 – Sep 15, 2022

  • Itinerary

    17 days

  • Starting from

    Toronto, Canada

  • Ship

    Ultramarine

  • Languages

    English

Starting from
$13,945 USD
$15,495 USD

Adventure Options

Passengers enjoying the paddling excursion experience
Passengers enjoying the paddling excursion experience
Paddling Excursion

Every sweep of the paddle as your craft glides through the pristine polar waters creates an incredible soundtrack: the jostle of glacial ice, the lapping of waves against the rocky shore, the perpetual drip from your paddle, the call of seabirds, and the occasional splash as wildlife break the surface of the water.

Passengers kayaking with whale
Passengers kayaking near Norwegian Coast
Sea Kayaking

Positioning yourself in the seat of a kayak is one of the most intimate ways travelers can connect with the polar regions—at water level, up close, where you can touch and feel every polar sensation imaginable. The Sea Kayak Program enables a small group of like-minded individuals to forge bonds as they explore fjords, glacial faces or mazes of sea ice.

Pre- and Post-Trip Options

Getting to the Arctic can be just as much fun as being there. Quark Expeditions offers multiple travel packages that enable you to see more of the world before and after your Arctic adventure.