The Northwest Passage in The Wake of Great Explorers – Eastbound (15 Days)

Cruise Line: Hurtigruten
Ship: MS Fram
Montreal, QC, Canada to Copenhagen, Denmark
Dates: 09 Sep 2018 - 23 Sep 2018

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Tour Segment  Cruise Segment
09 Sep 2018
Montreal, QC, Canada

Your expedition starts with an overnight hotel stay in Montréal. While you are here, you have an opportunity to take in the picturesque 18th-century façades of Old Montréal before strolling along the Canal de Lachine. Explore the shops downtown before experiencing one of the most exciting food scenes in North America. Montréal is famous for Kamouraska lamb and Arctic char. Not to mention poutine: French fries covered in cheese curds and gravy. Montréal also offers irresistible patisseries, English pubs, Jewish delis, and magnificent food markets reminiscent of Paris.

10 Sep 2018
Montreal, QC, Canada
Air travel
Cambridge Bay, NU, Canada

An early morning transfer will take you to the airport for your flight to Cambridge Bay. The community of Cambridge Bay is located on the southeast coast of Victoria Island. In Inuinnaqtun it is called 'Iqaluktuuttiaq', meaning 'a good fishing place'. The hamlet is located close to the Ekalluk River, which is famous for giant char. It is rich in archaeological history. Archaeological sites found all over this enormous island prove that indigenous peoples have been living in this part of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago continuously for the last 4,000 years. Roald Amundsen visited the Cambridge Bay in 1905. In 1918 he traversed the same route back from west to east in his new ship – the Maud. The Hudson's Bay Company purchased this vessel as a fur trading supply ship, arriving in Cambridge Bay in 1921. The Maud was used for years before it sank in the harbor. Its exposed hull has been a Cambridge Bay landmark for 80 years. An attempt is currently underway to re-float the vessel and return her to Norway. Wildlife abounds in this area with caribou, musk oxen, seals, and geese. In August, when the tundra is brilliant with wildflowers, it is also teeming with birds. This is where MS Fram awaits to take you into the Northwest Passage.

11 Sep 2018
Gjoa Haven, Canada

Gjoa Haven is a popular destination for fans of Arctic history. The name honors Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who wintered here during the Gjøa expedition. He called the place 'the finest little harbor in the world'. Amundsen and his men spent two years at Gjoa Haven, and they were busily engaged in collecting scientific data. Hunting caribou and exploring the surrounding area varied their work routines. When Amundsen arrived, there was no European settlement here. But he was in contact with the local Inuit and he learned a lot from them about survival and travel in polar regions. The local Inuit people, the Netsilik Inuit, are direct descendants of the ancient Thule people, and they have lived in the area for over 1,000 years. The John Ross expedition of 1829–1833 had previously visited this region and the ill-fated John Franklin expedition of 1845 perished nearby, so Gjøa Haven is often visited by Arctic history buffs. Today the settlement is known for its vibrant arts and crafts scene, where carvers are famous for their renderings of shamanistic faces and talented seamstresses produce beautiful articles of Inuit clothing. It is also home to excellent cultural venues including the Heritage Centre, the Hamlet Centre, and the Northwest Passage Territorial Trail. In the warm months when the tundra is covered with flowers and the sea is open, numerous Arctic birds nest nearby, including loons, geese, ducks, terns, jaegers, plovers, snow buntings, and snowy owls. A handsome herd of musk oxen live on the island and there are some caribou too. When we arrive, we will be warmly welcomed to 'the finest little harbor in the world'.

12 Sep 2018
James Ross Strait, NU, Canada

Enjoy being navigating through the 112 miles long and 31 to 40 miles wide James Ross Strait. It is named after British Polar explorer James Clark Ross, and Roald Amundsen sailed here on the Gjøa expedition. The strait runs between King William Island and the Boothia Peninsula, and based on the conditions, at hand we will conduct landings for hikes or small boat cruising.

13 Sep 2018
Coningham Bay, NU, Canada
Bellot Strait, Canada

When we arrive at Coningham Bay, we will launch our small boats and explore the bay. We hope for wildlife sightings, as this shallow broad bay is a known hotspot for beluga whales and polar bears. The Bellot Strait is a narrow passage that serves as the route from Prince Regent Inlet to Peel Sound and Franklin Strait. To the south of the channel, you find the Boothia Peninsula – the northernmost point in mainland North America. The strait, only about one mile wide, has fierce currents that can run up to nine miles per hour. There may be the added navigational challenge of ice in the water. As a result, a careful assessment of the conditions of the day is required and the transit must be timed to avoid the strongest currents. No need to worry, though. MS Fram was purpose-built as an expedition vessel with a 1B ice class, ship-depth sounding database, extractable forward-sounding sonar, and iceberg search lights – and the captain and his crew are experienced in sailing treacherous waters. We will continue to keep an eye out for wildlife. Remember, the more eyes keeping watch, the greater the chance of spotting the polar bear, which is often seen in this area. This strait is where the waters of the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans meet. After crossing the passage we will be leaving the Pacific Ocean and entering the Atlantic Ocean.

14 Sep 2018
Fort Ross, Canada

At the end of the channel is historic Fort Ross, a trading post established by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1937. There are still two small huts ashore that are maintained by the Canadian Coast Guard, which are occasionally used by the local Inuit for shelter during hunting trips.

15 Sep 2018
Beechey Island, Canada
Radstock Bay, NU, Canada

Our first stop today is Beechey Island. This place is closely linked to the history of exploration of the Northwest Passage. The most famous voyage, one surrounded in mystery, is the British expedition led by Sir John Franklin. Two ships sailed into the passage in 1845, but neither the ships nor any of the 129 crewmembers were ever seen again. It is known that the Franklin Expedition spent the winter of 1845–1846 on Beechey Island. Three graves on the shore (plus another one from one of the search parties) is proof of the unfortunate outcome for the expedition members. As you go ashore, you will see the graves and the remains of Northumberland House, a house built by the rescuers searching for Franklin and his men. The desolate location of the graves and the ruins of Northumberland House create a haunting reminder of the incredible challenges faced by explorers in this powerful wilderness. Next up is Radstock Bay, which is dominated by the striking Caswell Tower – a prominence of sedimentary rock rising from the sea. The shoreline around Caswell Tower is a good location for short walks to a prehistoric Inuit dwelling site, annd Caswell Tower features a challenging hike to the summit for great views over the surrounding area. The summit is actually the location of a small station used seasonally for polar bear research.

16 Sep 2018
Dundas Harbour, Canada
Crocker Bay, Canada

Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island on Earth (Antarctica is counted as a continent). On the south coast of Devon Island lies Dundas Harbour, an abandoned settlement with 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. The Thule people were the ancestors of the Inuit. Further west is Croker Bay, a large fjord with two tidewater glaciers at the head of the bay. The area is rich in wildlife, and as with any expedition in the Arctic, the search for wildlife is part of the experience. We may see several seal species such as walrus and beluga, or even narwhal whales. Polar bears are frequently seen in the area and the tundra around the shore supports small populations of Arctic hares and musk oxen. This is a perfect place for a small boat excursions, and your opportunity to see marine life and glaciers up close.

17 Sep 2018
Pond Inlet, NU, Canada

In the morning, we will head farther south and sail the spectacular Arctic landscape of the Eclipse Sound before we arrive at Pond Inlet. Explorer Sir John Ross named Pond Inlet in 1818 after John Pond, a renowned British astronomer. Today the picturesque hamlet, also called 'Mittimatalik' in Inuktitut, is a traditional Inuit community located on the northern tip of Baffin Island, near the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage. Pond Inlet is surrounded by mountain ranges, several dozen glaciers, scenic fjords and inlets, ice caves, geological hoodoos, and drifting icebergs. As we arrive, we sail through a pretty channel flanked by the peaks and glaciers of the Baffin and Bylot Islands. At these latitudes the sea is frozen for most of the year, only opening up in July for a short while. This is where the search for High Arctic wildlife, such as polar bears, can begin. Pond Inlet is also a great place to see large pods of narwhal. Pond Inlet has a small visitor's center, and the cultural performance by the local community will be a highlight.

DAY 10
18 Sep 2018
Davis Strait

We cross the Davis Strait, a northern arm of the Labrador Sea. This strait was named after the English explorer John Davis, who led three expeditions in the area between 1585 and 1587. He was looking for a route through the Northwest Passage, and discovered the Hudson Strait. Davis was the first to draw attention to seal hunting and whaling possibilities in the Davis Strait, and to show that the Newfoundland cod fisheries extended this far north.

DAY 11
19 Sep 2018
Davis Strait
DAY 12
20 Sep 2018
Ilulissat, Greenland

Our first stop in Greenland is at Ilulissat. When you go ashore, you will have your first opportunity to compare life in a settlement in Greenland with a settlement in the Canadian Arctic. The town is set in the stunning scenery of the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just outside the town, at the mouth of the fjord, you can often see enormous icebergs that have run aground. They originate from the Jakobshavn Glacier, one of the most productive glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere. The icebergs make their way down the 12-mile fjord before entering Disko Bay. Marvel at the changes in hue of the ice when the iceberg surface is struck by the midnight sun. Hear the icebergs' soundtrack of cracking and rumbling as the sounds echo from one end of Ilulissat to the other. We offer a variety of options for viewing the Icefjord. A short walk through town will bring you to the head of a network of short trails that take you to the shores of the fjord. There are also options to get out on the water to see the ice and maybe even whales from local boats. You can also go high up for an aerial view – with 'flightseeing' trips by fixed-wing aircraft or by helicopter.

DAY 13
21 Sep 2018
Sisimiut, Greenland

On our way to Sisimiut, we encourage you to be out on deck to look for whales. The waters close to the settlement are frequented by several species of whales, such as humpback and fin. Harbor porpoises and minke whales can be encountered along the west coast of Greenland. If we are lucky, we might also see a large number of seals, the most common being the harp seal. Sisimiut is situated 25 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It is a modern settlement that maintains ancient traditions. Go ashore to explore the colorful town, visit the small museum, hike in the hills, and shop for local handicrafts. Just across Disko Bay is Disko Island and the settlement of Qeqertarsuaq. This is where the Gjøa expedition and the second Fram expedition stopped to procure dogs and other equipment on their way to the Northwest Passage.

DAY 14
22 Sep 2018
Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Air travel

Kangerlussuaq means 'big fjord' and MS Fram will sail almost the entire length of the fjord (118 miles) before reaching the town. When we arrive in Kangerlussuaq, the expedition is over. After debarkation you will join a final excursion to the Greenland ice sheet. This vast icy wasteland stretches 1,500 miles north and reaches heights of up to 10,500 feet above sea level. The road to the edge of the ice sheet boasts beautiful natural scenery ranging from Arctic desert and tundra with low-growing shrubs to hilly terrains that offer breathtaking views over the landscape. Your plane to Copenhagen leaves late in the evening.

DAY 15
23 Sep 2018
Copenhagen, Denmark

You arrive in the Danish capital early in the morning and we hope you have the time to explore "Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen" before you head home.

The Northwest Passage in The Wake of Great Explorers – Eastbound map

About the Ship

South America landscape
MS Fram

The original Fram was the most famous explorer ship of its time, and the achievements of her expeditions are unparalleled. MS Fram honors the heritage of the original Fram, using the most advanced technology and making her exceptionally well suited for expedition voyages in polar regions.

What's Included


  • Daily Meals & Select Beverages

  • Wind/water-resistant jacket

  • Landings and activities on board and ashore

  • Professional English-speaking Expedition Team

  • Complimentary use of Muck Boot rubber boots

Not Included

  • International Flights

  • Travel Protection Plan

  • Luggage handling

  • Optional excursions and gratuities

About Us

Exploring since 1893, Hurtigruten operates premium exploration voyages to Norway, Antarctica, Iceland, Greenland, Spitsbergen, Europe, Africa, South/Central America and Arctic Canada. Our itineraries to these unique destinations focus on the stunning diversity of its wilderness, inhabitants, flora, and fauna. Hurtigruten’s unique heritage, combined with highly skilled crews and a diverse fleet of nimble, intimately-scaled expedition ships, enable us to offer guests unforgettable experiences in some of the most exciting corners of the world.

Insider Tip

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The terms and conditions of this contract apply to the sea passage as well as to all other products or services of any kind whatsoever provided for or arranged by Hurtigruten AS, their agents or independent contractors. These terms and conditions represent the entire agreement and a binding contract between Hurtigruten AS and the customer. These pro-visions supersede any oral or written representations. Any change in these provisions must be in writing signed by the president of Hurtigruten AS.The transports of passengers, baggage and vehicles is subject to the provisions of the Act no. 39 of 24 June 1994 Norwegian Maritime Code, as amended (‘Norwegian Maritime Code’), and package tours are subject to the provisions of the Act no. 57 of 25 August 1995 Relating to Package Tours (‘Package Tours Act’). Copies of the Norwegian Maritime Code and the Package Tours Acts, in Norwegian and in English, are on file with Hurtigruten AS and available upon request. The terms and conditions of this contract are drawn up in accord ance with the Norwegian Maritime Code, Package Tours Act, and the regulations laid down by the Norwegian Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion. However, in case of conflict between this contract and the Norwegian Maritime Code or Package Tours Act, this contract shall take precedence.

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Shore Excursions

Montreal, QC, Canada - 09 Sep 2018

Montreal, QC, Canada - 10 Sep 2018

Copenhagen, Denmark - 23 Sep 2018

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