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Three graves of Franklin expedition members on Beechey Island, Nunavut in the Canadian High Arctic - Photo by Acacia Johnson
Arctic Express Canada The Heart of the Northwest Passage

Arctic Express Canada The Heart of the Northwest Passage

Starting From:
$7,031 USD
9 days

The quest for trade routes to the Far East inspired much of the age of exploration of North America, with the promise of the Northwest Passage its elusive jewel. On Arctic Express Canada, discover the great sea route at the top of the world—that obsessed explorers for centuries—on our game-changing new expedition ship Ultramarine, which allows you a journey no traditional vessel could offer: immersing yourself in the full Arctic experience while getting back home a week and a half later.

Nature and wildlife are the guides on this voyage as you explore the region’s diverse treasures. The Arctic’s stark beauty offers an unforgettable backdrop, while Quark Expeditions’ world-class team provides the knowledge and insight to help you connect with the region’s unique history and geography. Ultramarine’s two twin-engine helicopters, 20-quick-launching Zodiacs and unprecedented mix of on-ship amenities and off-ship adventure options will deliver an unrivalled Arctic experience no one else can.

Arctic Express Canada: TheHeart of the Northwest Passage
Expedition in Brief

Explore the highlights of Lancaster Sound

Search for iconic Arctic wildlife, such as polar bears and muskoxen

Experience incredible flightseeing and heli-landings aboard Ultramarine’s two helicopters

Cruise in a Zodiac to get up close to glaciers, fjords, icebergs and more

Visit Inuit communities and learn about their traditions and customs

Make Your Polar Dream a Reality

All we need is a little bit of information about your travel preferences and one of our Polar Travel Advisors will be in touch.

Your Ships

When it comes to polar expeditions, you’re only as good as where your ships can take you. And our diverse fleet of small polar vessels, which includes icebreakers and expedition ships, can take you to places larger ships can’t navigate. View All of Our Ships

Ice Class



Cruising Speed

16 knots

in open water



Staff and Crew


Ultramarine - Deck 2
Deck 2

Ultramarine's off-ship adventures start here on Deck 2. This is where you’ll find the efficiently-designed Ready Rooms A and B next to the Zodiac hangar, where you'll embark on your off-ship adventure options. Ultramarine’s two ready rooms include an individual locker for each guest to safely store and dry personal items and expedition gear between outings. They're  also equipped with benches that are handy when changing attire before or after off-ship excursions. Zodiac embarkation is at water-level which makes for quick deployment.

Ultramarine - Deck 3
Deck 3

Deck 3 is where you’ll find Reception, where a crew member is available (during posted hours) to assist you. It’s also where you’ll purchase internet or email access cards and phone cards, arrange for a wake-up call, or settle your accounts at the end of the voyage. Also on Deck 3 is the Polar Boutique, which is stocked with expedition gear and a selection of polar souvenirs. The Clinic is located on Deck 3, as are the Explorer Triples and the Explorer Suites (two of which offer modified layouts and bathrooms for wheelchair accessibility).

  • Explorer Suite
  • Explorer Triple
Ultramarine - Deck 4
Deck 4

Deck 4 offers guests two categories of suites. The Balcony Suites feature one double or two single beds, and a 52 sq. ft. (4.8 sq. m) balcony, a refrigerator, safe, TV, and a bathroom with shower and heated floors. (Some Balcony Suites offer interconnecting rooms.) The larger Deluxe Balcony Suites feature one double or two single beds, a 70 sq. ft. (6.5 sq. m) balcony, refrigerator, safe, TV, and a bathroom with shower, bathtub and heated floors.

  • Deluxe Balcony Suite
  • Balcony Suite
Ultramarine - Deck 5
Deck 5

Deck 5 is home to Balena restaurant, featuring tables that accommodate 2 to 10 guests. Every seat in Ultramarine’s main restaurant offers views of the wraparound deck. At the opposite end of Deck 5 is the state-of-the-art Ambassador Theatre, where guests enjoy daily presentations and films on the high-definition LED wall screen. This space is large enough to accommodate all guests.

Ultramarine - Deck 6
Deck 6

During your voyage you may be granted access to the Bridge to observe how the Captain and officers sail and navigate the ship. This is an excellent opportunity to learn how your vessel operates. Strict etiquette applies during Bridge visits which can be facilitated through the Expedition Leader. Also on Deck 6 is a selection of Deluxe Balcony Suites, Ultra Suite, Solo Panorama, Owner’s Suite and Terrace Suites.

  • Ultra Suite
  • Owner's Suite
  • Terrace Suite
  • Deluxe Balcony Suite
  • Solo Panorama
  • Balcony Suite
Ultramarine - Deck 7
Deck 7

Guests can go to Deck 7 to visit Bistro 487, an alternative dining option to the larger Balena restaurant. Here, they'll enjoy selections from the main menu, healthy eating options and light snacks, as well as an early riser’s breakfast, afternoon tea and late night snacks. Also on Deck 7 are the Sauna (with floor-to-ceiling windows), the Library, Tundra Spa, a gym with the latest fitness equipment, and studio space for informal yoga.

  • Penthouse Suite
Ultramarine - Deck 8
Deck 8

Ultramarine’s two twin-engine H145 helicopters enable guests to enjoy the largest selection of off-ship adventures, all of which start at the two helidecks. It’s here on Deck 8 that guests will safely board the two helicopters to experience more unique aerial perspectives and heli-supported activities than are possible on any other ship in the industry.

Included Activities

Ultramarine view from Helicopter

Flightseeing aboard Ultramarine

While polar landscapes are spectacular from the sea, they’re even more stunning from the air, a view you can enjoy while seated in one of the two twin-engine helicopters stationed on Ultramarine. Typically in groups of 7 to 9, you... Read more
Passengers Hiking in Svalbard


Hiking in the polar regions differs from your typical trail experience. Here, in a tree-less terrain, you are the tallest figure on the landscape as you walk over spongy tundra, crusty snow or sandy beaches in remotes parts of the... Read more
Passenger getting ready for a polar plunge in the Arctic

Polar Plunge

The Polar Plunge is scheduled once during each voyage. Throughout the journey, the Expedition Leader and Captain constantly monitor conditions in order to choose the optimal time and location. The Polar Plunge sometimes takes plac... Read more
Zodiac cruising in the Arctic

Zodiac Cruising

Zodiacs are used for transferring you ashore, transporting your luggage when necessary and for taking you ocean-level cruising among icebergs, whales and seabirds. During the expedition, you will visit remote and isolated sites th... Read more

Adventure Options

Paddling excursion in the Arctic

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 c... Read more
Passengers kayaking in Arctic Landscape

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 Progr... Read more

Possible Excursions

When traveling in extremely remote regions, your Expedition Team must consider the sea, ice and weather to guide the route and itinerary details. The following sites are a sample of what you may experience on your expedition, whether by ship, Zodiac cruise, helicopter, or shore landing.

Fort Ross

In 1937, the Hudson’s Bay Company established a trading post, named Fort Ross, on the coast of Somerset Island. Due to the harsh conditions and isolation of the post, it was closed in 1948. The store and manager’s house still stand.

Beechey Island

Named after Frederick William Beechey, an explorer with the Royal Navy, this is one of Canada’s most important Arctic sites and has been deemed a Canadian National Historic Site. During the Franklin expedition of 1845–46, two of Franklin’s ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, anchored here with perilous results. Three of Franklin’s crew died here and are buried at marked gravesites.

Prince Leopold Island

Impressive, vertical cliffs surround part of this small island. This creates an ideal environment for nesting seabirds, and they nest here in vast numbers—more than 300,000 strong! Thick-billed murres, black guillemots and northern fulmars are most commonly seen here.

Bellot Strait

The 1.2 mile (2 km) wide Bellot Strait separates Somerset Island from the Boothia Peninsula. During the transit, you’ll sail past the northernmost point of mainland North America, Zenith Point.


One of Canada’s most northern settlements, Resolute was formed by forceful relocation of Inuit from northern Quebec by the Canadian government in 1953, during the Cold War. Today, it’s also a jumping off point for much high Arctic research. It has everything from a grocery store and cable TV to a school and a couple of hotels. About 200 people live in Resolute throughout the year, where hunting and logistical support to research, mining and tourism contribute to the community’s economy.

Croker Bay

On the south coast of Devon Island is Croker Bay. A glacier here actively calves off chunks of ice, creating a birthplace for icebergs. The bay was a popular stop during the 1800s, when a path to the Pacific (the Northwest Passage) was at the forefront of Arctic exploration.

Devon Island

This is the largest uninhabited island in the world. Marking the northern side of Lancaster Sound, this desert island is so cold and dry that NASA and other organizations conduct research here for future missions to Mars. The Inuktitut name, Tallurutit means “tatoos on the chin” referring to the similarity of the geological features of the area to an Inuit woman’s traditional chin tattoos.

Admiralty Inlet

Situated on Baffin Island’s most northerly shore is Admiralty Inlet, whose steep coastline soars 1,500 feet (460 meters) above sea level. Just off the inlet’s northeastern shore lies Arctic Bay, an Inuit community we partner with to arrange authentic experiences that highlight the best this area has to offer. Narwhals and polar bears are known to frequent the fjord.

Dundas Harbour

Located on Devon Island, there are the remains of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police post, dating back to 1924. The RCMP cemetery is tended annually by a contingent of Mounties, who arrive especially for that purpose. Other evidence of human habitation found nearby is centuries older.

Arctic Bay

This picturesque and remote community maintains strong ties to the land and sea, as its Inuit inhabitants have lived as nomadic hunters in this region for almost 5,000 years. The protective high hills and sheltered shores of this hamlet make for an ideal nesting habitat for various Arctic birds, including thick-billed murres, kittiwakes, ivory gulls and Ross’s gulls. Seals, narwhals and bowhead whales call the waters here home.

Departure Dates and Cabins

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  • Departure Date

    Sep 2 – 10, 2024

  • Itinerary

    9 days

  • Starting from

    Calgary, Canada

  • Ship


  • Languages

    English, French

Adventure Options
Starting from
$7,031 USD
$9,190 USD
(Incl. Transfer Package)
Make Your Polar Dream a Reality

All we need is a little bit of information about your travel preferences and one of our Polar Travel Advisors will be in touch.

Extend Your Trip

Getting to the Arctic can be just as much fun as being there. If you are arriving prior to Day 1 of your expedition or are staying after the disembarkation day and would like to extend your stay, Quark Expeditions can help you book additional nights at our preferred hotels in the destination city that enable you to explore more before and after your Arctic adventure. Contact Us

Passenger Reviews