MCNW The Northwest Passage 2020 Tour

A Martin Charlton 25th Anniversary Expedition

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

Exciting Zodiac excursions, including amongst icebergs; Seek the 'Arctic Big 5': polar bears, walrus, muskox, narwhal & belugas; the majesty of the Northern Lights; Franklin Expedition graves at Beechey Island; Visit Canada’s northernmost community; Voyage the length of Sondre Stromfjord; Thule & Dorset archaeological sites; Explore remote coastal communities in northern Canada and Greenland

  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to the entries under the blue box below.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Sun 06 Sep 2020Thu 24 Sep 2020 $19900 USD

$2000 PER PERSON DEPOSIT REQUIRED. The final payment date for this journey is 150 days prior to tour start date (09 April 2020). Contrary to our usual terms & conditions governing payments, for this trip your deposit is 100% non-refundable non-transferable once the tour becomes 'guaranteed.' We have a limited quantity of single cabins with no single supplement. Once these cabins are sold, the single supplement fee (in order to secure a cabin to yourself) is as listed below.

Optional Single Supplement: $8410 USD (number of singles limited).


Tour Overview


This Northwest Passage 2020 Tour is a one-time 2020 offering will be led/hosted by Senior Tour Leader, Martin Charlton, who in 2020 celebrates his 25th anniversary with Adventures Abroad. He invites you to join him on this spectacular journey.

One of the world's greatest voyages is calling! Pristine fjords. Looming glaciers. Jagged icebergs. Grand vistas, historic sites.

Marine mammals, bears, and birds. Find a warm welcome in Nunavut's communities, and enjoy Greenland's geology, geography, and culture with a European flair.

Every day is a new adventure in the Northwest Passage: hiking, photography, birding. Learning with our experts. Meeting the people who call the Arctic home. Sailing the passage at the top of the world!

The spirit of exploration is what draws us to visit places seldom seen, off the beaten path... and even off the map!

That means visiting new places as often as possible. It means travelling with experts and local cultural ambassadors.

This journey from Coppermine River (Kugluktuk) in Nunavut to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland is one of the world’s greatest voyages.

Regions visited: North America and Western Europe
Countries visited: Canada and Greenland


Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Arrival in Calgary, Canada
Arrive in Calgary, Alberta.

PLEASE NOTE that our hotel located within the airport terminal.

Overnight in Calgary.

Included Meal(s): Dinner

Day 2 Calgary - Kugluktuk, Nunavut
We depart early this morning by charter flight and land in Kugluktuk. Upon arrival we will transfer to the Ocean Endeavour by Zodiac to commence our adventure!

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. The Hudson Bay Company established a trading post here in 1927.

Located north of the Arctic Circle, the region has a unique microclimate that extends a narrow band of stunted boreal forest trees northwards toward the Arctic Ocean.

The Ocean Endeavour: This is the perfect vessel for expedition cruising. Outfitted with twenty Zodiacs, advanced navigation equipment, multiple lounges, and a top deck observation room, she is purpose-built for passenger experiences in remote environments. The Ocean Endeavour boasts a 1B ice class, enabling her to explore throughout the Arctic summer. Launched in 1982, she has had numerous upgrades, most recently in 2018. At 137 metres in length, the Ocean Endeavour has plenty of interior and exterior space. Ample deck space offers comfortable lounge chairs, a swimming pool, two saunas, and a hot tub. The spacious interior allows for varied workshops and presentations to occur simultaneously. The three lounges aboard the Ocean Endeavour are optimal locations for seminars, events, and conversation. This vessel has been purpose-built for passenger experiences in remote environments.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 3 Kitikmeot Region, Nunavut
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). This region is a crossroads of the Arctic - bringing together an amazing array of ecosystems and cultures.

It is here that the true story of Arctic exploration rests. For thousands of years Inuit were students of the land and have become masters of survival in this often harsh environment. Recently, the Kitikmeot Region has been in the news since the finding of the lost ships of the Franklin Expedition in its waters. This is Nunavut’s least-populated region, though wildlife abounds here both in the sea and on land.

Meals On Board: We will enjoy sumptuous meals in the spacious Polaris Restaurant, surrounded by ocean views. Buffet-style breakfasts and lunches offer fresh and healthy choices. Supper is a la carte to suit every taste, including fish and vegetarian options. Desserts, made fresh daily, are a highlight! Food sensitivities can be accommodated with advance notice. Early-bird breakfast, afternoon tea, late-night snacks, and treats round out the offerings. And tea, coffee, and cookies are always available!

Overnight on Ocean Endeavour.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 4 Kitikmeot Region, Nunavut
Weather permitting, we do get off the ship at least once and sometimes twice a day. We may visit communities, go exploring in our Zodiacs to look for wildlife, or hike where possibly no one has been before. On shore, when possible, we will break into guided groups depending on interest and physical ability, so you will never be left behind.

Overnight on Ocean Endeavour.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 5 Kitikmeot Region, Nunavut
Sailing aboard this ice-class expedition vessel is engaging and exciting, featuring an unparalleled mix of discovery, learning, and fun. Above all, expedition life means true adaptability; each day features unique programming, and there’s something for everyone! There’s never a shortage of things to do - from lively talks, to workshops and presentations.

Enjoy the on-board spa, pool, and hot tub; enjoy a therapeutic massage or a quiet sauna after a day out in the Zodiacs. Top it all off with unbeatable gourmet food. Travelling aboard the Ocean Endeavour is an experience like no other: all the comforts of a boutique hotel, at sea in one of the world's most remote environments!

Overnight on Ocean Endeavour.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 6 Peel Sound and Parry Channel, Nunavut
Peel Sound was the Franklin expedition’s route south, and today it presents numerous wildlife and expedition opportunities. The setting is optimal for hiking and exploring the geological diversity of the area. Peel Sound separates Somerset Island on the east from Prince of Wales Island on the west. To the north it opens onto Parry Channel while its southern end merges with Franklin Strait.

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.

Much of the focus for the next three days is on discovering the wildlife of the region. Many people are familiar with the term "Big Five" as it pertains to African wildlife. But there is also a "Big Five" of Arctic wildlife. In the Arctic the "Big Five" are the walrus, the caribou, the musk ox, the whale and the polar bear.

Overnight on Ocean Endeavour.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 7 Peel Sound and Parry Channel, Nunavut
The spirit of exploration is what draws us to visit places seldom seen, off the beaten trail—even off the map! That means visiting new places as often as possible. It means travelling with experienced experts, and local cultural ambassadors. If the itinerary makes a deviation from the expected route, it’s all part of the adventure!

Overnight on Ocean Endeavour.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 8 Peel Sound and Parry Channel, Nunavut
Shore Excursions: Wherever possible while on shore excursions, we will break into smaller, guided groups according to interest and physical ability. This may mean one small group going off on a strenuous, two-hour hike on steep terrain, while another explores the area in and around the landing beach, keeping to relatively level terrain and short distances. Generally speaking, once a few people are ready to return to the ship, the Zodiacs are usually available to take you back at the time of your choosing.

Overnight on Ocean Endeavour.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 9 Beechey Island,Nunavut
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.

The first European visit to the island was in 1819, by Captain William Edward Parry. The island was named after the artist William Beechey by his son Frederick William Beechey, who was then serving as Parry's lieutenant.

Overnight on Ocean Endeavour.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 10 Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound), Nunavut
We will 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. Tallurutiup Imanga is an area rich in biodiversity and has been used by Inuit since time immemorial.

Located at the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage, Tallurutiup Imanga is a region of spectacular fjords, jagged mountains and tidewater glaciers and is home to Inuit who have long relied on its rich biological productivity. 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. We hope to visit unique cultural and historical sites from the Thule period and the explorer era. We will seek seabirds, marine mammals, and polar bears in this unique protected habitat.

Overnight on Ocean Endeavour.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 11 Aujuittuq (Grise Fiord), Nunavut
Aujuittuq (Grise Fiord) 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. Situated in a spectacular landscape, Aujuittuq is nestled beneath tall cliffs at the entrance to a beautiful fiord in the southern shores of Ellesmere Island at Jones Sound. Due to its remote and isolated location near the top of the world, it is a tightly knit community.

Our activities here will centre in the village where we will have a chance to meet members of the community, learn about their way of life, and hear their poignant stories.

Overnight on Ocean Endeavour.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 12 Smith Sound - Arctic Sea Passage
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. This uninhabited Arctic sea passage links Baffin Bay with Kane Basin and forms part of the Nares Strait.

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.

Overnight on Ocean Endeavour.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 13 Northwest Greenland
We will explore the stunning fjords that line the coast. Glaciers and icebergs abound here. In true expedition style, we will seek opportunities to hike, explore, and view wildlife as conditions allow.

Weather permitting, we do get off the ship at least once and sometimes twice a day. We may visit communities, go exploring in our Zodiacs to look for wildlife, or hike where possibly no one has been before.

Overnight on Ocean Endeavour.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 14 Northwest & West Greenland
At sea…

Overnight on Ocean Endeavour.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 15 Northwest & West Greenland
At sea…

Overnight on Ocean Endeavour.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 16 Ilulissat, Greenland
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, we will cruise in our fleet of Zodiacs to appreciate the icebergs. And we’ll visit the bustling town of Ilulissat, with its museums, cafes, craft shops, and busy fishing harbour. Cruise among icebergs at Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. View the icebergs from the shore on a hike along the boardwalk in town and then board a Zodiac to cruise your way among them!

Overnight on Ocean Endeavour.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 17 Itilleq Fjord, Greenland
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 we enter the Arctic autumn, the tundra foliage will be in gorgeous colour. We will be making an expedition stop here to explore the landscape of wild Greenland.

Overnight on Ocean Endeavour.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 18 Kangerlussuaq, Greenland - Toronto, Canada
Sondre Stromfjord is one of the longest fjords in the world and boasts 168 kilometres of superb scenery. This is one of the longest fjords in the world, and is framed by dramatic, glacial-carved mountains, 40 miles (60 km) north of the Arctic Circle. We end our adventure by sailing up this dramatic fjord as the sun rises to greet us.

Kangerlussuaq, the town at its eastern head, is a former US Air Force base and Greenland’s primary flight hub. This comparatively small village of approximately 500 inhabitants was originally established by the Americans during World War 2 under the name Bluie West-8. The airport played a major role as a stopover site for aircraft missions between America and Europe.

Here we will disembark the Ocean Endeavour and transfer to the airport for our evening charter flight to Toronto.

Overnight in Toronto (airport area hotel).

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 19 Departure
Departure from Toronto.

PLEASE NOTE that our hotel located within the airport terminal.

BON VOYAGE!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

Tour Map

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

MCNW Map

Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Marriott Calgary Airport

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Calgary
Country: Canada



Click here to visit hotel website

The Ocean Endeavour


Location: Calgary
Country: Canada

This is the perfect vessel for expedition cruising. Outfitted with twenty Zodiacs, advanced navigation equipment, multiple lounges, and a top
... observation room, she is purpose-built for passenger experiences in remote environments. The Ocean Endeavour boasts a 1B ice class, enabling her to explore throughout the Arctic summer. Launched in 1982, she has had numerous upgrades, most recently in 2018. At 137m in length, the Ocean Endeavour has plenty of interior and exterior space. Ample deck space offers comfortable lounge chairs, a swimming pool, two saunas, and a hot tub. The spacious interior allows for varied workshops and presentations to occur simultaneously. The three lounges aboard the Ocean Endeavour are optimal locations for seminars, events, and conversation. This vessel has been purpose-built for passenger experiences in remote environments.
Read More.

Sheraton Gateway

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Toronto
Country: Canada

Linked to Toronto's Pearson International Airport by a walkway, this hotel features relaxed rooms, Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and desks, as
... as minifridges and coffeemakers.
Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website


Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

Passage aboard the Ocean Endeavour, two nights' accommodation in Calgary & Toronto, complimentary expedition jacket, special access permits, entry and park fees, guided activities, sightseeing and community visits, all Zodiac excursions, port fees, pre-departure materials, educational program, interactive workshops, evening entertainment, all shipboard meals, including water, tea & coffee (other meals as per tour itinerary); and Adventures Abroad Tour Leader services. Upon reservation, all participants will receive a detailed pre-departure guide booklet.

Taxes - Any taxes applicable to the expedition portion of the tour are included in the tour price (see also 'exclusions').

Adventures Abroad will also include gratuities for ship's crew at a level commensurate with satisfactory service. You are, of course, welcome to augment directly yourself should you feel the service warranted.

Our tour price also includes the charter flights Calgary-Kugluktuk & Kangerlussuaq, Greenland - Toronto (a US$2595 per person value).

Exclusions

Flights to Calgary/From Toronto. Program Enhancements/optional excursions (see pre-trip notes sent upon reservation); personal expenses, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on board the ship, additional expenses in the event of delays or itinerary changes, possible fuel surcharges. Optional single supplement fees.

It is customary to offer your Adventures Abroad Tour Leader a gratuity upon conclusion of the trip.

Taxes - Any taxes applicable to the expedition portion of the tour are included in the tour price; however, the two hotel nights (Calgary & Toronto) are subject to an additional Canadian tax (GST) which we are required to list separately on your bill.

Emergency Medical Evacuation Insurance: All travellers must obtain Medical and Emergency Evacuation Insurance (not included), including without limitation, emergency medical evacuation insurance in a minimum amount of USD$75,000 per passenger, which includes evacuation by air ambulance.

Seasonality and Weather

The Northwest Passage is only accessible for a few short months: July to September. Most expedition cruises only operate in August & September once the narrow channels become ice free; it's not until late summer that the ice has receded sufficiently to allow ships to navigate the narrow channels.

Average temperatures during this brief window are +4 to -4C (40-25 °F). In early September, shorter days, slightly cooler weather and higher chances of snow, mark a change in the seasons and the onset of autumn. However, as the ice continues to melt through September it becomes easier to get to ice strewn locations, which were inaccessible earlier in the season. Wildlife is still very much in the area, and September can provide excellent sightings! Our September departure also benefits from better chances of experiencing the Northern Lights.

Transport and Travel Conditions

This expedition is best suited for people with an adventurous spirit, who still want comfortable accommodations and good food!

We will be cruising the Northwest Passage aboard the Ocean Endeavour. Outfitted with twenty Zodiacs, advanced navigation equipment, multiple lounges, and a top-deck observation room, she is purpose-built for passenger experiences in remote environments. The Ocean Endeavour boasts a 1B ice class, enabling her to explore throughout the Arctic summer.

Specifications:

Capacity - 198 passengers
Registry - Bahamas
Year built - 1982, Szczecin, Poland
Refurbished - 001, 2004, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2018
Length - 137m (450 ft); Breadth - 21m (69 feet); Draft - 5.8m (19 feet)
Stabilizers - Gyrofin stabilizers

The ship also offers laundry service, a medical clinic, panoramic top-deck observation platform, elevators.

Our Excursions & Activities:

Weather-permitting, we get off the ship at least once, and sometimes twice a day. We may visit communities, go exploring in our Zodiacs to look for wildlife, or hike where possibly no one has been before. On shore, when possible, we will break into guided groups depending on interest and physical ability, so you will never be left behind. This is not a strenuous trip, but it is busy; you'll need to be sure on your feet and able to manage getting into/out of small boats and bravely face a wide range of weather conditions. Though we travel mostly in protected waters and the ship has stabilizers, we have some open water crossings; you should be comfortable with wave motion in the event that we encounter weather and/or swells.

Zodiacs are the favoured means of transportation for all our expeditions and, indeed, wherever shallow waters and beaches ring the shoreline. Zodiacs are inflatable, rigid-hulled watercraft, powered by outboard motors.

Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.

Accommodation

Life aboard the Ocean Endeavour is as relaxed or as engaged as you want it to be. The onboard spa, library, hot tub, gym, sauna, gift shop, lounges, and viewing areas offer comfort and ease. Programming is designed to enhance your understanding and appreciation of the regions we visit. Presentations, workshops, entertainment, and special events complete the excursions.

Buffet-style breakfast and lunch offer fresh and healthy choices. Supper is a la carte to suit every taste, including fish and vegetarian options. Desserts, made fresh daily, are a highlight! Food sensitivities, special diets, and personal choices can be accommodated with advance notice. Early-bird breakfast, afternoon tea, late-night snacks, and treats round out the offerings. And tea, coffee, and cookies are always available!

Cabins Amenities:

Private bath, telephone, flat screen TV, intercom, hair dryer, bathrobe, towels, body wash, and hair care products.

Our Cabins:

Category 6, 'Comfort Twin'
Twins will be accommodated on Deck 4: Two porthole windows, unobstructed view; two lower berths - approx. 175 sq ft.

Singles will be accommodated on Deck 7: Picture windows, partial obstruction, two lower berths – approx 135 sq ft.

For the expedition we have a limited quantity of single cabins with no single supplement! Yes, you read that right; but once these cabins are sold, the single supplement fee (in order to secure a cabin to yourself) is 1.5 times the berth cost. A single supplement will apply for single hotel accommodation requested in Calgary & Toronto (2 nights total).

For more information, please click on the 'Map & Hotels' tab elsewhere on this page.

Staff and Support

The ship is, of course, fully-crewed, including wildlife/cultural specialists, medical personnel, expert Zodiac captains, and local cultural ambassadors.

This tour will be lead/hosted by senior Tour Leader, Martin Charlton, who in 2020 celebrates 25 years of leadership for Adventures Abroad.

Group Size

Maximum 16 plus Tour Leader

MCNW TRIP DETAILS

DURATION19 days

TOUR STARTCalgary

TOUR ENDToronto

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