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Northwest Passage: The Legendary Arctic Sea Route
Arctic
Northwest Passage The Legendary Arctic Sea Route

Northwest Passage The Legendary Arctic Sea Route

Starting From:
$14,411 USD
Duration:
17 days

Winding your way through the icy channels of the legendary Northwest Passage is history brought to life during this expedition in the Canadian High Arctic and Greenland. On this compelling 17-day journey aboard our game-changing new vessel Ultramarine, passengers retrace the steps of the intrepid Franklin Expedition, which left the shores of England in 1845 in search of the last unexplored section of the Northwest Passage—only to become permanently icebound. Its discovery more than a century and a half later by Norwegian Roald Amundsen was a much-celebrated moment in polar history.

On Ultramarine, guests benefit from two twin-engine helicopters that will provide spectacular aerial views of the Arctic landscape, the most extensive portfolio of Adventure Options in the industry, more outdoor wildlife viewing spaces than any other expedition ship its size, and 20 quick-launching Zodiacs to get you closer to ancient glaciers, dramatic fjords and towering icebergs. Explore colorful Inuit villages, and shop for traditional Inuit handicrafts. Hike the endless Arctic backdrop and marvel at the vast, colorful tundra. Keep your eyes peeled for the elusive and majestic creatures that make their home in this wilderness, such as whales, walrus, muskoxen and polar bears. Come aboard Ultramarine for this immersive journey along the legendary Arctic sea route, and return home with memories permanently etched in your heart.

Expedition in Brief

Experience highlights of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic

Explore colorful Greenlandic villages and shop for traditional Inuit handicrafts

View iconic Arctic wildlife, such as whales, walrus and muskoxen

Hike the colorful tundra

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

Enjoy flightseeing on one of Ultramarine’s two twin-engine helicopters.

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

1A+

PC6

Cruising Speed

16 knots

in open water

Guests

199

Staff and Crew

140

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
Helicopter_Black

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

Hiking

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
Zodiac cruising in the Arctic
Zodiac

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

Heli-Landing

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

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.

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.

Cape Mercy

In June 1585, British explorer John Davis (he of the Davis Strait) embarked on the first of three voyages to search for the legendary Northwest Passage. In August 1585, he reached this area at the northern entrance to the Cumberland Sound and named it Cape of God’s Mercy. Now known as Cape Mercy, it’s the site of a dramatic glacial fjord.

Qikiqtarjuaq

Known until 1998 as Broughton Island, Qikiqtarjuaq boasts some of the highest mountains in North America east of the Rocky Mountains. From the cape, multitudes of icebergs can be seen coming down Davis Strait, and the rich arctic waters are home to numbers of seals and whales.

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.

Resolute

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.

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.

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.

Pangnirtung

When the Hudson’s Bay Company built a trading post in Pangnirtung in 1926, local Inuit families moved to the tiny settlement. A Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment was established two years later. A hospital opened in 1929, but it wasn’t until 1962 that most of the Inuit who lived on Cumberland Sound relocated to Pang. The community has become internationally renowned for the tapestries and prints by local artists.

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.

Pond Inlet

Europeans have been visiting the area that came to be known as Pond Inlet since the 1600s. The first visitors arrived seeking the Northwest Passage. In the 1800s, whalers brought wood and barter goods to the community. These visitors were latecomers, as the indigenous peoples had been living in the region for thousands of years.

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.

Kangerlussuaq

Kangerlussuaq sits at the head of a 118- mile (190 km) long fjord. The tiny town has Greenland’s largest airport and a unique history. Although Inuit and their predecessors occupied or visited the area, Kangerlussuaq’s modern incarnation dates back to the U.S. occupation of Greenland as an air force base beginning in World War II.

Nuuk

Nuuk is the epicenter of Greenland’s fascinating emerging culture. At population 15,000, the world’s smallest capital city is a wonderful and curious mix of the traditional and the new. A particular highlight is the Greenland National Museum, which offers an insight into social change affecting the country from the 1950s onwards. Other exhibits include some of the the world’s oldest rocks (approx. 3.8 billion years found close to Nuuk), and the Qilakitsoq exhibit displaying the mummified remains of 15th century Inuit women and a six-month old child. The Katuaq Culture Centre and Nuuk Art Museum are also worth exploring.

Departure Dates and Cabins

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  • Departure Date

    Aug 26 – Sep 11, 2025

  • Itinerary

    17 days

  • Starting from

    Toronto, Canada

  • Ship

    Ultramarine

  • Languages

    English

Adventure Options
  • Paddling
Starting from
$14,411 USD
$20,390 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. Quark Expeditions offers multiple travel packages that enable you to see more of the world before and after your Arctic adventure. Contact Us
Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavík, Iceland

Reykjavík, Iceland

Not only is Reykjavík the social and cultural hub of Iceland, but it’s also one of the most walkable capitals in the world. Most of the city’s main attractions and venues can be reached on foot, which is not surprising for a capital with only 230,000 inhabitants. Iceland’s entire population is about 360,000. The country’s Viking roots are traced in Reykjavík's major museums, yet the city, located on the southern shore of Faxaflói Bay, is the perfect base for anyone with a yearning to connect with nature and the outdoors. The range of options includes whale watching, geothermal pools, glacier walking, and kayak tours.

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