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Guests hiking in Radstock Bay, Nunavut in the Canadian High Arctic - Photo by Acacia Johnson
Canada’s Remote Arctic Northwest Passage to Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg Islands

Canada’s Remote Arctic Northwest Passage to Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg Islands

Starting From:
€8,800 EUR
12 days

Here, at the top of the world, nature has created unique wonders in astonishing variety. Our game-changing new expedition vessel Ultramarine, equipped with two twin-engine helicopters and 20 quick-launching Zodiacs, enables you to explore this breathtaking environment from brand new perspectives. You’ll  experience the same sense of wonder felt by early explorers as they navigated the region’s formidable bays, inlets and channels.

On this exciting itinerary, we follow the natural guides of sea and ice to showcase the region’s cultural, historic and geographic treasures, aiming to approach the farthest stretches of this rugged, rarely visited landscape. Ultramarine’s unprecedented range of adventure options, including activities such as helicopter flightseeing, gives you an unrivalled polar experience. You’ll be able to view the magnificent wildlife that make their home in this forbidding region: sea mammals, polar bears, muskox, and possibly even the elusive arctic wolf. From soaring cliffs to mummified forests, spectacular glacial formations to stunning alpine vistas, expansive waterways to sheltered shores, Canada’s Remote Arctic provides the definitive experience of a mysterious, magical region few ever get to see.

Canadas Remote Arctic: Northwest Passage to Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg Islands
Expedition in Brief

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

Learn about indigenous culture from Inuit guides onboard and ashore

Enjoy unforgettable flightseeing and heli-landings aboard Ultramarine’s two helicopters

Zodiac along the face of an active glacier

Channel your inner explorer as we set out to reach Canada’s most northerly islands: Axel Heiberg and Ellesmere Island

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

Passengers enjoying the views in Greenland


You will be transferred from Ultramarine’s heli-decks via our two twin-engine helicopters to a pre-selected Arctic destination. You’ll have time to explore the location, accompanied by Quark Expeditions team members, after which y... Read more
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

Tundra to Table: Inuit Culinary Experience

Our ground-breaking Tundra to Table experience offers guests a one-of-a-kind adventure into the culinary traditions of the Inuit in Greenland and Nunavut. Guests who participate in this on-ship Adventure Option will enjoy dishes f... 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.

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.

Winter Harbour, Melville Island

Winter Harbour is the overwintering site of legendary explorer Sir William Parry’s famous 1819–20 expedition to find the Northwest Passage. The first recorded voyage to this region, it predates the later exploration of Sir John Franklin and others by over 20 years! The site is home to a large sandstone rock known as Parry’s Rock. Designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1930, this natural monument bears an inscription by the ship’s surgeon of the expedition’s vessels and their captains, as well as a plaque marking when Canada took possession of the Arctic Archipelago.

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.

Coburg Island

A well-known nesting ground, Coburg Island is a wildlife reserve with a diverse avian community. Greater snow geese, snowy owls, peregrine falcons and gyrfalcons thrive in the protected environment at certain times of the year.

Grise Fiord

The Inuktitut name for this Ellesmere Island hamlet means “place that never thaws.” From April to August, the residents of Canada’s most northerly Inuit community experience continuous daylight.

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.

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.

Hell Gate

Known as the gateway to the mysterious Norwegian Bay, this narrow waterway runs alongside North Kent Island and sits between two of Canada’s most beautiful islands: Ellesmere Island and Devon Island. Transiting the channel is a rite of passage for any High Arctic explorer, as passing through it takes you to one of the most spectacular yet seldom-visited parts of our planet, Ellesmere Island. A natural convergence, channeling currents, drifting ice and marine life between its shores, Hell Gate supports a higher concentration of wildlife, including polar bears and northern fulmars, compared with the surrounding areas.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Axel Heiberg Island

Most famous for its mummified forest dating back over 30 million years, the island is home to several bird species, including arctic terns, geese, jaegers, snow buntings and ptarmigans. It’s named after Axel Heiberg, the sponsor of the 1897–1902 Norwegian expedition led by Otto Sverdrup to explore and name unchartered areas of the Arctic. Today, the island is the location of one of the longest-operating seasonal field research facilities (est. 1960) in the High Arctic. If we’re able to make landing here, we will take precautions to preserve this important geological site.


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.

Ellesmere Island

The most northerly point of land in Canada, this island at the top of the world features dramatic glacier-capped peaks that soar over 8,200 feet (2,500 meters). It is the third-largest island in the country and the 10th largest in the world. Those fortunate to visit Ellesmere will have achieved one of the most elusive landmarks in all of polar exploration.

Departure Dates and Cabins

Showing 1 - 3 of 3 Departures
Save up to 28%
  • Departure Date

    Aug 15 – 26, 2024

  • Itinerary

    12 days

  • Starting from

    Calgary, Canada

  • Ship


  • Languages

    English, French

Adventure Options
Starting from
€9,950 EUR
€13,400 EUR
(Incl. Transfer Package)
Save up to 38%
  • Departure Date

    Aug 24 – Sep 4, 2024

  • Itinerary

    12 days

  • Starting from

    Calgary, Canada

  • Ship


  • Languages

    English, French

Adventure Options
Starting from
€8,800 EUR
€13,400 EUR
(Incl. Transfer Package)
Save up to 26%
  • Departure Date

    Sep 9 – 20, 2025

  • Itinerary

    12 days

  • Starting from

    Calgary, Canada

  • Ship


  • Languages


Adventure Options
Starting from
€10,828 EUR
€14,300 EUR
(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. Quark Expeditions offers multiple travel packages that enable you to see more of the world before and after your Arctic adventure. Contact Us
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