- Toronto, Canada
Starting Price$14,845 USD
Venture far above the Arctic Circle to a land where polar bears roam and the sun never sets. On the Best of the Western Arctic: Canada and Greenland itinerary, you’ll explore the northerly shores of Canada’s Baffin Island and the western coast of Greenland, visiting local communities and searching for wildlife that inhabit this remote, mysterious realm. Zodiac cruising will give you one-of-a-kind perspectives of icebergs, glaciers and fjords. Community visits will reward you with insights into traditional and modern ways of life in the Western Arctic, and the rugged beauty of these pristine landscapes will leave you breathless, whether it’s the soaring cliffs of Sam Ford Fjord or the sculpted icebergs that dominate the Ilulissat Icefjord. In a wildlife-rich region such as this, it’s quite possible you’ll spot whales or catch a glimpse of one of the Arctic’s most iconic animals—the polar bear.
The Arctic has been inspiring explorers for centuries, and our expeditions offer the chance for you to discover why. We’re excited to host you on your unforgettable adventure! Feel free to reach out to our team of Polar Travel Advisers or your travel professional, who can answer your questions and provide assistance at any time.
Your Arctic expedition begins in Toronto. Explore this vibrant city on your own before spending the night at your well-appointed hotel.
This morning, board your charter flight to Kangerlussuaq, a small town at the eastern head of Sondre Stromfjord, one of the longest fjords in the world. After embarking your ship in the afternoon, enjoy time out on deck, taking in your new surroundings as you set sail on your Arctic expedition.
As we cruise across the Davis Strait, your Expedition Team will prepare you for the adventures that await. Learn about the storied history and politics of the Arctic, its fascinating wildlife, geology, ecology and climate, and the incredible sights you will soon explore. Staff will also keep a lookout for seabirds soaring above your ship, as well as whales that frequent the waters here. Sailing this remote region on board 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 twin-engine helicopters and 20 quick-launching Zodiacs—this technologically-advanced ship will take you beyond the predictable.
Baffin Island is the fifth-largest island in the world, it was named for English navigator William Baffin, who ventured to the area in the early 17th century in search of the fabled Northwest Passage. Your days sailing along the island’s eastern coast will be guided by weather and ice conditions, with each day and each landing presenting new adventures. Some of our favorite destinations include Qikiqtarjuaq, Isabella Bay and Sam Ford Fjord. Towering mountains, deep fjords, colorful tundra, and Inuit settlements await!
The Inuit community of Qikiqtarjuaq (which means “the big island” in Inuktitut) is located just north of the Arctic Circle, on Broughton Island. Fondly called Qik by locals, the welcoming hamlet offers a superb vantage point of the Davis Strait. You’ll also have a chance to support local Inuit artisans here by purchasing unique artwork, crafts and jewelry.
The rarely explored Sam Ford Fjord is one of the most isolated places on the planet. It is a spectacular big-wall playground, attracting adventurous climbers eager to scale the dozens of towering vertical granite cliffs that erupt from the sea. Have your camera handy as you cruise along this impressive coastline carved by ancient glaciers—the towering formations, stacked side by side, are simply majestic.
As our ship sails farther north, take in a presentation by our on-board experts, sip an icy cocktail in the bar, watch a movie or join your Expedition Team on the bridge as they scan for wildlife—there is no shortage of activities while at sea.
The gateway to the Northwest Passage, Lancaster Sound is one of the richest marine habitats in the Arctic. With open-water areas staying ice-free all year, it is an important summer feeding area for whales and other marine wildlife. Our days here will be spent exploring several of the sound’s beautiful bays and inlets, discovering historical sites, enjoying Zodiac cruises and searching for such iconic wildlife as walrus, seals and, of course, whales. Polar bear sightings are possible too, as Lancaster Sound is known for polar bear sightings. If you’re fortunate, you may even spot the elusive narwhal.
There may be a possibility for a shore visit at Radstock Bay, the location of one of the most impressive ancient Thule sites in the Arctic. Exploring the well-preserved remains of the subterranean houses, including the whale bones used as supports for the dwellings, will give you an understanding of how these pre-Inuit people thrived in the Far North.
We will attempt to land at Beechey Island, a Canadian National Historic Site. Named after explorer Frederick William Beechey, the island is the final resting place of members of Sir John Franklin’s 1845–46 expedition to find the Northwest Passage. The graves, on a desolate rocky beach, were discovered in 1850 by a team searching for signs of the ill-fated expedition.
Predominantly covered in glaciers and ice fields, Coburg Island and its surrounding waters comprise the Nirjutiqavvik National Wildlife Area. The island’s steep coastal cliffs are an ideal habitat for hundreds of thousands of nesting seabirds like Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres), black-legged kittiwakes, northern fulmars and black guillemots.
Before saying goodbye to Canada, we’ll push as far north as possible, exploring both sides of Smith Sound, the uninhabited passage between Ellesmere Island and Greenland. Experience a true expedition as weather and ice determine how far north we explore.
Your return to Greenland will have you sailing along the remote northwest coast, a land of impressive icebergs and massive glaciers. Qaanaaq, formerly known as Thule, is one of the northernmost towns in the world. Here, local Inuit share their culture and traditions, while the museum sheds more light on life near the top of the world
We hope to explore Melville Bay, a significant whaling site until the early 1900s. Opening up to Baffin Bay, the area is a major egress for the Greenland ice cap and is home to spectacular icebergs in all shapes and sizes, making it an ideal spot for Zodiac cruising. If you’re feeling adventurous, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to a unique arctic experience by partaking in an optional paddling excursion (additional cost).
As we continue sailing south along the west coast of Greenland, presentations by our on-board experts will prepare you for the adventures that lie ahead.
Boasting spectacular glaciers, mountainous landscapes, dramatic fjords and vibrant communities, the west coast of Greenland will leave you breathless. Some areas we hope to explore here are Uummannaq, Itilleq and the impressive Ilulissat Icefjord.
Quite possibly the most picturesque place in Greenland, the traditional Inuit town of Uummannaq (which means “heart-like”) takes its name from the red heart-shaped mountain that rises up a staggering 3,840 feet (1,170 meters) behind it. You’ll want to be positioned on deck as your ship approaches the shore, with your camera ready to capture the inspiring vistas of the twin peaks soaring high above the colorful houses dotting the rugged coastline.
Another beautiful locale is the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to Jakobshavn, one of the most active glaciers in the world, this is a great spot to enjoy a Zodiac excursion past towering icebergs. Venturing ashore in the town of Ilulissat (which means “iceberg”) will allow you to visit the icefjord on foot and gaze at this unforgettable river of ice from the rocky shore.
Surrounded by sea and mountains, Itilleq (meaning “crossing place”) 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. Explore the town’s traditional 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.
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.
Today, you can make your way home at your leisure or spend time exploring this fascinating city.
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 Kangerlussuaq
- Group transfer from the Kangerlussuaq 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: $1,995 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 per the daily program
- All shore landings 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
- Comprehensive onboard materials, including a map and an informative Arctic Reader
- 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