Lone weathered wood hut stands among deserted beige arctic tundra, seen on the Complete Northwest Passage Expedition.
A polar bear mom and two cubs seen on the ice, walking toward the camera
Small white expedition ship with sharp bow sits in calm water by small icebergs & tall brown mountains in the Northwest Passage.
3 Northwest Passage travelers lean over side of Zodiac boat to look at iceberg bits on a cloudy day in the Canadian arctic.
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Polar Regions Arctic Cruise

Complete Northwest Passage Expedition

On this epic Northwest Passage cruise inspired by Roald Amundsen’s historic expedition, attempt to sail the full length of the Northwest Passage, carving west through the labyrinthine maze of waterways that hug the fabled islands of Arctic Canada until you reach the Beaufort Sea. Visit historical sites explored by heroic explorers, meet the incredible folk that call this region home and search for enigmatic wildlife found in this unique corner of the world. Pack ice may halt the voyage through the passage, so brace yourself for a genuine expedition where adventure awaits at every turn.

Highlights of this Traversing the Northwest Passage cruise include: Standing in awe of Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hiking on Devon Island, the world’s largest uninhabited island, which features stunning geology, fjords and glacial valleys to explore. Visiting memorials and graves of explorers from John Franklin’s expedition, on Beechey Island. Keeping watch with the hope of spotting iconic Arctic wildlife including musk ox, polar bears, beluga whales, walrus and perhaps narwhal. And savoring every moment of adventure.

Cruise aboard the adventure-ready polar expedition ship Sylvia Earle for her state-of-the-art design and technology, plus excursion-minded preparation rooms and multiple boarding platforms for efficient embarkation and disembarkation. Averaging 132 guests, this small ship offers a generous guest-to-guide ratio, with an educational and engaged team of expedition guides providing programming aimed at immersion into the surrounding polar wilds.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s other Greenland small ship cruises, Canada small ship cruises and Alaska small ship cruises or other Arctic cruises and Arctic trips.



Itinerary

2024 Traversing the Northwest Passage Itinerary

Follow the path of Roald Amundsen’s historic expedition over 30 days on this epic expedition where adventure awaits at every turn. In 2024 embark in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland.

A white and blue colored map showing the path of the Complete Northwest Passage expedition from Toronto to Anchorage
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Day 1
Arrive Toronto, Canada

Having made your way to Toronto Airport, check-in at the group hotel located near the airport for an overnight stay. Please visit the hospitality desk to collect your luggage cabin tags and to speak with the ground operations team, who may have information to share with you about pre-embarkation procedures and also about the charter flight to Kangerlussuaq tomorrow. You will receive cabin tags for your luggage. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number.

Accommodations

Westin Toronto Airport Hotel (or similar)

Meals

n/a

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Day 2
Fly to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland & Embark

This morning, ensure any cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags and take it down to hotel reception. Luggage will be collected from the hotel and transferred directly to port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of embarkation. Keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day.

After breakfast at the hotel, board a charter flight to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, where the ship awaits. Lunch is on the plane. After boarding, there is time to settle into your cabin before our important safety briefings. The sailing out of Søndre Strømfjord, with its towering mountains on both sides, is magnificent. This evening, meet your expedition team and crew at the captain’s welcome dinner.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Sisimiut

Greenland’s second largest town, Sisimiut, is located approximately 33.5 miles north of the Arctic Circle, meaning that during summer, you can experience the midnight sun here. The town is famous for the old blue church with the gate made of whale bone. In the cozy museum next door to the church, you will find an excellent reconstruction of an Inuit turf house as well as exhibits of local history and early life in Greenland.

Sisimiut offers hiking trails with various degrees of difficulty. The easier trails take you through the town itself, its outskirts and into the mountains, where you will find spectacular vantage points.

Approximately 4,500 years ago, the Saqqaq culture arrived from Canada and settled in the area. They lived here for approximately 2,000 years, after which they mysteriously disappeared from the area. The Dorset culture arrived around 500 CE and stayed until the 1200s until they were replaced by the Thule culture, and today, the majority of the population of Sisimiut are descendants of the Thule culture.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Ilulissat & Optional Helicopter Flight

Known as the “birthplace of icebergs,” this region produces some of the most dazzling icebergs found anywhere on earth. Hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Icefjord and stand in awe of its immensity. Sermeq Kujalleq, also known as Jakobshavn Glacier, is the most productive glacier – not only in Greenland but the entire Northern Hemisphere. It produces 20 million tonnes of ice each day, all floating into the Ilulissat Icefjord and Disko Bay. Conditions permitting, enjoy a Zodiac cruise at the mouth of the fjord and kayak through sea ice and icebergs.

An optional, added-cost 90-minute helicopter flight over the icefjord is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience here. This excursion is the only way you can get close to the gigantic glacier. The 12-seater helicopter departs from Ilulissat Airport and sweeps over hills, lakes and ice fjords. Land on the mountain at Kangia, in the middle of the preserved area, where you can revel in the incredible surroundings. On the return flight to Ilulissat, fly above the edge of the glacier with breathtaking views of the massive icebergs drifting in the fjord. The views of some of the largest icebergs that become stranded on a moraine underneath the water, just outside the town, offers a wonderful finale to this excursion.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Qeqertarsuaq (Disko Island)

The compelling Disko Island seems to have more in common with Iceland than Greenland. While most of the interior is mountainous and glaciated, its beautiful shorelines boast black sandy beaches, unusual basalt columns, hot springs and dramatic lava formations. On a guided hike, enjoy a diversity of arctic flora. Zodiac cruise in Disko Bay, a hotspot for marine life including humpback, fin, minke and bowhead whales.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
At Sea, Enter Canada

The ship’s team of experts entertain with informative talks about wildlife, geology and epic tales of early explorers such as Franklin and Amundsen. Reaching the coast of Baffin Island, you may encounter Greenland’s famous icebergs. Keep watch for humpback, sei, sperm and fin whales, as well as various species of seals such as ring and harp seal.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 7 - 10
Baffin Island

The east coast of Baffin Island features hidden bays that are feeding grounds for bowhead whales and where glaciers calve into the sea. Sail along inlets and fjords surrounded by towering mountains that feature impressive geology. Some of the places you may visit include: Home Bay, Isabella Bay, Sillem Island, John Ford Fjord, Sam Ford Fjord and Scott Inlet. Conditions permitting, hope to go ashore at Pond Inlet and be treated to a warm welcome from the local community.

Covered with mountains, icefields, steep cliffs, snowfields and glaciers, Bylot provides nesting habitat for large numbers of thick-billed murres and black-legged kittiwakes. A total of 74 unique species of arctic bird thrive on this island. Due to the richness of the wildlife and the beauty and diversity of the landscapes in the area, a large portion of the island was also included in the Sirmilik National Park, established in 2001. Hope to sail along the coastline of Bylot Island and enjoy the scenery and outstanding birdlife.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 11 - 12
Devon Island, Lancaster Sound

At a latitude almost 75° degrees north, you are now truly in the High Arctic. Here, nutrient-rich waters support an abundance of wildlife, giving the area the moniker “wildlife super highway” of the Arctic. Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island on Earth and features stunning geology, with flat-topped mountains and glacial valleys giving Devon Island its unique character. Hope to visit Dundas Harbor to enjoy walks on undulating tundra, and perhaps some birdwatching. Other possible places you might visit include Croker Bay and Maxwell Bay. A dilapidated Royal Canadian Mounted Police outpost and remnants of a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post can be found here. In the bay, walruses are often present.

Plan to land at Beechey Island, at the western end of Devon Island. Named after Frederick William Beechey, the island is one of Canada’s most important arctic sites and is a designated Canadian National Historic Site. During the Franklin expedition of 1845–46, Franklin attempted to sail through the Northwest Passage with HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, with perilous results–three of his men are buried here. Roald Amundsen landed at Beechey Island in 1903, during the first successful voyage by ship to fully transit the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 13 - 17
Expedition Cruising

In true expeditionary style, the itinerary for the following days is heavily dependent on unpredictable sea ice. The following places are on the tentative agenda:

Prince Leopold Island 

On the southern side of Lancaster Sound from Beechey Island lie the towering bird cliffs of Prince Leopold Island, a historic site where in 1848, English explorer James Clark Ross overwintered during the search for the missing Franklin expedition. Prince Leopold Island is the most important bird sanctuary in the Canadian Arctic, with approximately 500,000 birds nesting here in summer. Ringed seals are often spotted on the sea ice around the island and polar bear often lurk nearby. The shallow gravel beds attract beluga whales, who come to molt in this part of the Arctic each summer.

Cunningham Inlet 

On the north coast of Somerset Island, when factors such as weather and whale behavior align, you might see the amazing spectacle of hundreds of beluga whales shedding their skin on shallow sandy banks. The local scenery makes for excellent guided walks, where waterway trails lead to waterfalls and higher ground.

Coningham Bay 

Across from Victoria Strait, Coningham Bay lies on the shores of Prince of Wales Island. This is a polar bear hotspot where the majestic creatures come to feast on beluga whales that are often trapped in the rocky shallows at the entrance to the bay. It is not unusual to find the shoreline littered with whale skeletons – and very healthy-looking polar bears!

King William Island 

In 1859, a Franklin expedition tent camp was discovered at Cape Felix. Remains attributed to the Franklin expedition have been found at 35 locations on King William Island and on nearby Adelaide Peninsula. South of Cape Felix, in Victoria Strait, we hope to visit Victory Point and get close to where the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were abandoned in 1848.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 18 - 22
Coronation & Amundsen Gulfs

In true expeditionary style, the itinerary for the following days is heavily dependent on unpredictable sea ice. The following places are on the tentative agenda:

Cambridge Bay
The administrative and transportation hub of the region, Cambridge Bay is the largest stop for passenger and research vessels traversing the Northwest Passage and unofficially marks the midpoint for voyages of the Northwest Passage. Zodiac ashore for an exploration of this Inuit settlement located in the high arctic. Enjoy a walk through the village, where you can visit the local church and visitor center, and support the local community by purchasing some locally made handicrafts. In the old town, plan to visit the ancient archaeological sites of the Pre-Dorset, Dorset and Thule people. Wildlife abounds in this area, and you might see caribou, musk ox and seals. The tundra is ablaze with wildflowers and birds including jaegers, ducks, geese and swans visiting the area in large numbers.

Johansen Bay, Edinburgh Island
Edinburgh Island is a small and uninhabited island in Canada’s Nunavut region. The scenery consists of colorful flowering shrubs and beaches tinged in stunning ochres, while the surrounding cliffs are shaded in rich, deep tones. Hope to enjoy a Zodiac excursion within an estuary at the northeast end of Johansen Bay and up the river towards the lake. A possible walk to a lookout overlooking the lake offers spectacular views over lakes, sea and mountains. Wildlife including caribous, reindeer, arctic foxes, hares and peregrine falcons frequent the area.

Jesse Harbor, Banks Island
Located in the north of Canada’s Northwest Territories, Banks Island, the fifth largest island in Canada, is home to approximately 60% of the world’s population of Lesser Snow Geese. Arctic foxes, wolves, polar bears, caribous, musk ox and many birds are also found here. Grizzly bears are occasionally spotted and bowhead whales are often seen offshore. The dramatic cliffs on the southeast coast feature colorful yellow, white and red quartzites, while the west coast is characterized by long, sandy offshore bars. Nelson Head cliffs feature ancient Precambrian rock that is almost 2 billion years old.

Smoking Hills, Franklin Bay
The smoking Hills in Canada’s Northwest Territories have been smouldering, sending plumes of gas across the landscape, for centuries. Technically sea cliffs, you would be forgiven for thinking that the multicoloured fiery natural phenomenon is the set to an apocalyptic movie depicting the end of the world. The smoke is caused by layers of combustible, sulphur-rich lignite (brown coal) that ignites and emits sulfurous gas into the air, when exposed to erosion and landslides, which also creates a dazzling coloration of the rocks.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 23 - 25
At Sea (Beaufort Sea) to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska

Excitement builds while sailing the Beaufort Sea. Whether you are out on deck or in the comfort of an observation lounge, watch as the captain navigates your state-of-the-art vessel through these waterways, which is frozen for most of the year. Keep a close watch for marine wildlife including beluga whales that are often seen here. At Prudhoe Bay, say farewell to Canada and enter the United States.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 26 - 28
At Sea (Chukchi Sea & Bering Strait)

While sailing westwards to Nome, along the northern coast of Alaska to where the U.S and Russia are only 60 miles (100 km) apart, separated by the Bering Sea, there is ample time to reflect on your adventures while scanning the water for marine life. Enjoy a massage in the wellness center; share, edit and submit pictures in the photo competition; and attend final lectures from your team of onboard experts. Hope to get permission to cruise close by Point Hope, Little Diomede and King islands in Alaska. Celebrate an unforgettable voyage at the captain’s farewell dinner on board.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 29
Disembark Nome, Fly to Anchorage & Overnight

In Nome, say farewell to the crew and expedition team after sharing a once-in-a-lifetime voyage together. Disembark and transfer to the airport for a charter flight to Anchorage, where you will stay overnight. A box lunch is provided upon disembarkation, and dinner is on the charter flight.

Accommodations

Hilton Hotel Anchorage (or similar)

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 30
Depart Anchorage, Alaska

Check out of your room and continue your journey home or in Anchorage.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All airport transfers mentioned in itinerary; one night’s hotel accommodation in Toronto on Day 1 (including breakfast on Day 2); charter flight from Toronto to Kangerlussuaq on Day 2; group transfer from the pier to airport on Day 29; charter flight from Nome to Anchorage (Economy Class) on Day 29; one night’s hotel accommodation in Anchorage on Day 29 (including breakfast on Day 30); onboard accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service; all meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage; beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner; Captain’s Welcome & Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, and non-alcoholic beverages; all shore excursions & Zodiac cruises; educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team; complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consult); a 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket; complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage; comprehensive pre-departure information; port surcharges, permits and landing fees; crew gratuities (suite guests only).

Exclusions

International or domestic flights, unless specified in the itinerary; transfers not mentioned in the itinerary; airport arrival or departure taxes; passport, visa and vaccination charges; travel insurance, emergency evacuation charges or personal insurance (required); hotels and meals not included in itinerary; optional excursions not included in the itinerary; optional activity surcharges; all items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, email or phone charges; automatic crew gratuities of $15 per person, per day (non-suite guests) which may be removed or amended at the end of the cruise.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a nonrefundable deposit of $2,500 is required per person at time of booking (additional nonrefundable $250 deposit is required for optional activities). The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
91 days or more – 100% of deposit
90 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The 2024 Complete Northwest Passage cruise begins in Toronto, Canada (YYZ), and ends in Anchorage, Alaska (ANC). Plan flights to arrive to Toronto any time on Day 1, but we highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Plan flights to depart Anchorage any time on Day 30. Airport shuttles are provided by the hotels for your arrival & departure. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

Two group charter flights are required on this trip’s itinerary and are included in the listed per-person cabin rates: 1) from Toronto to Kangerlussuaq 2) from Nome to Anchorage. All transfers between the airport and hotels for these charter flights are included. Luggage weight limits for the charter flights are 50lbs for a checked bag, carry-on bags must be under 10 inches by 18 inches by 22 inches (26 cm x 46 cm x 56 cm) with a max weight of 22lbs/10kg.

Activities

Birdwatching, walking, Zodiac cruising, photography tips, lectures, a polar plunge & all trips ashore are included in the rate. Add on kayaking ($1,660 in 2024) to join 20 like-minded paddlers (in small groups of 10 per guide) to fully experience nature at its wildest. The optional, added-cost, 90-minute helicopter ride in Ilulissiat requires a minimum of 8 people to operate. Please contact AdventureSmith for further details and to reserve space with your booking.

Room Configuration

Single travelers wishing to book a double-occupancy cabin may do so at a 50% supplement of the per-person listed rate in select cabins upon availability. Solo travelers willing to share may be matched with a person of the same gender, and if the other cabin berth goes unsold, will only pay the standard double-occupancy rate. 

Families & Children

Kids 8 years and older are welcomed aboard all departure dates. Children between 8-17 years of age must pay the adult price of the expedition.

Travel Insurance

A medical form for all travelers, signed by their doctor, is required for every departure. Comprehensive travel insurance is mandatory for this trip, with a minimum required coverage of $250,000 USD per person, covering medical, accident and repatriation/emergency evacuation, as well as baggage loss and cancellation or curtailment of holiday. In addition, we highly recommend our travelers protect their investment with travel insurance that includes trip cancellation and other benefits. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice, weather conditions, wildlife encountered and the captain’s discretion. Flexibility is the key to the success of any Arctic expedition.

2025 Traversing the Northwest Passage Itinerary

Follow the path of Roald Amundsen’s historic expedition over 30 days on this epic expedition where adventure awaits at every turn. In 2025 embark in Nuuk, Greenland and spend one fewer day overall, with notably no visit to Cunningham Inlet for beluga whales.

A white & blue map showing the path of the Traversing the Northwest Passage expedition from Toronto to Anchorage.
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Day 1
Arrive Toronto, Canada

Having made your way to Toronto Airport, check-in at the group hotel located near the airport for an overnight stay. Please visit the hospitality desk to collect your luggage cabin tags and to speak with the ground operations team, who may have information to share with you about pre-embarkation procedures and also about the charter flight to Kangerlussuaq tomorrow. You will receive cabin tags for your luggage. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number.

Accommodations

Westin Toronto Airport Hotel (or similar)

Meals

n/a

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Day 2
Fly to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland & Embark

This morning, ensure any cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags and take it down to hotel reception. Luggage will be collected from the hotel and transferred directly to port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of embarkation. Keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day.

After breakfast at the hotel, board a charter flight to Nuuk, Greenland, where the ship awaits. Lunch is on the plane. After boarding, there is time to settle into your cabin before our important safety briefings. This evening, meet your expedition team and crew at the captain’s welcome dinner.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Sisimiut

Greenland’s second largest town, Sisimiut, is located approximately 33.5 miles north of the Arctic Circle, meaning that during summer, you can experience the midnight sun here. The town is famous for the old blue church with the gate made of whale bone. In the cozy museum next door to the church, you will find an excellent reconstruction of an Inuit turf house as well as exhibits of local history and early life in Greenland.

Sisimiut offers hiking trails with various degrees of difficulty. The easier trails take you through the town itself, its outskirts and into the mountains, where you will find spectacular vantage points.

Approximately 4,500 years ago, the Saqqaq culture arrived from Canada and settled in the area. They lived here for approximately 2,000 years, after which they mysteriously disappeared from the area. The Dorset culture arrived around 500 CE and stayed until the 1200s until they were replaced by the Thule culture, and today, the majority of the population of Sisimiut are descendants of the Thule culture.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Ilulissat & Optional Helicopter Flight

Known as the “birthplace of icebergs,” this region produces some of the most dazzling icebergs found anywhere on earth. Hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Icefjord and stand in awe of its immensity. Sermeq Kujalleq, also known as Jakobshavn Glacier, is the most productive glacier – not only in Greenland but the entire Northern Hemisphere. It produces 20 million tonnes of ice each day, all floating into the Ilulissat Icefjord and Disko Bay. Conditions permitting, enjoy a Zodiac cruise at the mouth of the fjord and kayak through sea ice and icebergs.

An optional, added-cost 90-minute helicopter flight over the icefjord is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience here. This excursion is the only way you can get close to the gigantic glacier. The 12-seater helicopter departs from Ilulissat Airport and sweeps over hills, lakes and ice fjords. Land on the mountain at Kangia, in the middle of the preserved area, where you can revel in the incredible surroundings. On the return flight to Ilulissat, fly above the edge of the glacier with breathtaking views of the massive icebergs drifting in the fjord. The views of some of the largest icebergs that become stranded on a moraine underneath the water, just outside the town, offers a wonderful finale to this excursion. Please note that this excursion requires a minimum of 8 passengers to operate.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Qeqertarsuaq (Disko Island)

The compelling Disko Island seems to have more in common with Iceland than Greenland. While most of the interior is mountainous and glaciated, its beautiful shorelines boast black sandy beaches, unusual basalt columns, hot springs and dramatic lava formations. On a guided hike, enjoy a diversity of arctic flora. Zodiac cruise in Disko Bay, a hotspot for marine life including humpback, fin, minke and bowhead whales.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
At Sea, Enter Canada

The ship’s team of experts entertain with informative talks about wildlife, geology and epic tales of early explorers such as Franklin and Amundsen. Reaching the coast of Baffin Island, you may encounter Greenland’s famous icebergs. Keep watch for humpback, sei, sperm and fin whales, as well as various species of seals such as ring and harp seal.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 7 - 9
Baffin Island

The east coast of Baffin Island features hidden bays that are feeding grounds for bowhead whales and where glaciers calve into the sea. Sail along inlets and fjords surrounded by towering mountains that feature impressive geology. Some of the places you may visit include: Home Bay, Isabella Bay, Sillem Island, John Ford Fjord, Sam Ford Fjord and Scott Inlet. Conditions permitting, hope to go ashore at Pond Inlet and be treated to a warm welcome from the local community.

Covered with mountains, icefields, steep cliffs, snowfields and glaciers, Bylot provides nesting habitat for large numbers of thick-billed murres and black-legged kittiwakes. A total of 74 unique species of arctic bird thrive on this island. Due to the richness of the wildlife and the beauty and diversity of the landscapes in the area, a large portion of the island was also included in the Sirmilik National Park, established in 2001. Hope to sail along the coastline of Bylot Island and enjoy the scenery and outstanding birdlife.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 10 - 12
Devon Island, Lancaster Sound

At a latitude almost 75° degrees north, you are now truly in the High Arctic. Here, nutrient-rich waters support an abundance of wildlife, giving the area the moniker “wildlife super highway” of the Arctic. Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island on Earth and features stunning geology, with flat-topped mountains and glacial valleys giving Devon Island its unique character. Hope to visit Dundas Harbor to enjoy walks on undulating tundra, and perhaps some birdwatching. Other possible places you might visit include Croker Bay and Maxwell Bay. A dilapidated Royal Canadian Mounted Police outpost and remnants of a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post can be found here. In the bay, walruses are often present.

Plan to land at Beechey Island, at the western end of Devon Island. Named after Frederick William Beechey, the island is one of Canada’s most important arctic sites and is a designated Canadian National Historic Site. During the Franklin expedition of 1845–46, Franklin attempted to sail through the Northwest Passage with HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, with perilous results–three of his men are buried here. Roald Amundsen landed at Beechey Island in 1903, during the first successful voyage by ship to fully transit the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 13 - 16
Expedition Cruising

In true expeditionary style, the itinerary for the following days is heavily dependent on unpredictable sea ice. The following places are on the tentative agenda:

Prince Leopold Island 

On the southern side of Lancaster Sound from Beechey Island lie the towering bird cliffs of Prince Leopold Island, a historic site where in 1848, English explorer James Clark Ross overwintered during the search for the missing Franklin expedition. Prince Leopold Island is the most important bird sanctuary in the Canadian Arctic, with approximately 500,000 birds nesting here in summer. Ringed seals are often spotted on the sea ice around the island and polar bear often lurk nearby. The shallow gravel beds attract beluga whales, who come to molt in this part of the Arctic each summer.

Coningham Bay 

Across from Victoria Strait, Coningham Bay lies on the shores of Prince of Wales Island. This is a polar bear hotspot where the majestic creatures come to feast on beluga whales that are often trapped in the rocky shallows at the entrance to the bay. It is not unusual to find the shoreline littered with whale skeletons – and very healthy-looking polar bears!

King William Island 

In 1859, a Franklin expedition tent camp was discovered at Cape Felix. Remains attributed to the Franklin expedition have been found at 35 locations on King William Island and on nearby Adelaide Peninsula. South of Cape Felix, in Victoria Strait, we hope to visit Victory Point and get close to where the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were abandoned in 1848.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 17 - 22
Coronation & Amundsen Gulfs

In true expeditionary style, the itinerary for the following days is heavily dependent on unpredictable sea ice.

In Zodiacs, plan to explore the coastlines, bays and hidden estuaries of the region, and delight in the show of autumn colors during this season of change. Hold your breath as you near the geological wonder evocatively known as the Smoking Hills, where the stench of sulphur rises from below the earth. Where it’s possible to land, stretch your legs on hikes to explore the dramatic landscapes of hills, valleys, cliffs and canyons of the region.

The following places are on the tentative agenda:

Cambridge Bay
The administrative and transportation hub of the region, Cambridge Bay is the largest stop for passenger and research vessels traversing the Northwest Passage and unofficially marks the midpoint for voyages of the Northwest Passage. Zodiac ashore for an exploration of this Inuit settlement located in the high arctic. Enjoy a walk through the village, where you can visit the local church and visitor center, and support the local community by purchasing some locally made handicrafts. In the old town, plan to visit the ancient archaeological sites of the Pre-Dorset, Dorset and Thule people. Wildlife abounds in this area, and you might see caribou, musk ox and seals. The tundra is ablaze with wildflowers and birds including jaegers, ducks, geese and swans visiting the area in large numbers.

Johansen Bay, Edinburgh Island
Edinburgh Island is a small and uninhabited island in Canada’s Nunavut region. The scenery consists of colorful flowering shrubs and beaches tinged in stunning ochres, while the surrounding cliffs are shaded in rich, deep tones. Hope to enjoy a Zodiac excursion within an estuary at the northeast end of Johansen Bay and up the river towards the lake. A possible walk to a lookout overlooking the lake offers spectacular views over lakes, sea and mountains. Wildlife including caribous, reindeer, arctic foxes, hares and peregrine falcons frequent the area.

Jesse Harbor, Banks Island
Located in the north of Canada’s Northwest Territories, Banks Island, the fifth largest island in Canada, is home to approximately 60% of the world’s population of Lesser Snow Geese. Arctic foxes, wolves, polar bears, caribous, musk ox and many birds are also found here. Grizzly bears are occasionally spotted and bowhead whales are often seen offshore. The dramatic cliffs on the southeast coast feature colorful yellow, white and red quartzites, while the west coast is characterized by long, sandy offshore bars. Nelson Head cliffs feature ancient Precambrian rock that is almost 2 billion years old.

Smoking Hills, Franklin Bay
The smoking Hills in Canada’s Northwest Territories have been smouldering, sending plumes of gas across the landscape, for centuries. Technically sea cliffs, you would be forgiven for thinking that the multicoloured fiery natural phenomenon is the set to an apocalyptic movie depicting the end of the world. The smoke is caused by layers of combustible, sulphur-rich lignite (brown coal) that ignites and emits sulfurous gas into the air, when exposed to erosion and landslides, which also creates a dazzling coloration of the rocks.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 23 - 25
At Sea (Beaufort Sea) to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska

Excitement builds while sailing the Beaufort Sea. Whether you are out on deck or in the comfort of an observation lounge, watch as the captain navigates your state-of-the-art vessel through these waterways, which is frozen for most of the year. Keep a close watch for marine wildlife including beluga whales that are often seen here. At Prudhoe Bay, say farewell to Canada and enter the United States.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 26 - 27
At Sea (Chukchi Sea & Bering Strait)

While sailing westwards to Nome, along the northern coast of Alaska to where the U.S and Russia are only 60 miles (100 km) apart, separated by the Bering Sea, there is ample time to reflect on your adventures while scanning the water for marine life. Enjoy a massage in the wellness center; share, edit and submit pictures in the photo competition; and attend final lectures from your team of onboard experts. Hope to get permission to cruise close by Point Hope, Little Diomede and King islands in Alaska. Celebrate an unforgettable voyage at the captain’s farewell dinner on board.

Accommodations

Sylvia Earle

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 28
Disembark Nome, Fly to Anchorage & Overnight

In Nome, say farewell to the crew and expedition team after sharing a once-in-a-lifetime voyage together. Disembark and transfer to the airport for a charter flight to Anchorage, where you will stay overnight. A box lunch is provided upon disembarkation, and dinner is on the charter flight.

Accommodations

Captain Cook Hotel Anchorage (or similar)

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 29
Depart Anchorage, Alaska

Check out of your room and continue your journey in Anchorage or transfer to the airport to head home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

All airport transfers mentioned in itinerary; one night’s hotel accommodation in Toronto on Day 1 (including breakfast on Day 2); charter flight from Toronto to Kangerlussuaq on Day 2; group transfer from the pier to airport on Day 28; charter flight from Nome to Anchorage (Economy Class) on Day 28; one night’s hotel accommodation in Anchorage on Day 28 (including breakfast on Day 29); onboard accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service; all meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage; beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner; Captain’s Welcome & Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, and non-alcoholic beverages; all shore excursions & Zodiac cruises; educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team; complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consult); a 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket; complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage; comprehensive pre-departure information; port surcharges, permits and landing fees; crew gratuities (suite guests only).

Exclusions

International or domestic flights, unless specified in the itinerary; transfers not mentioned in the itinerary; airport arrival or departure taxes; passport, visa and vaccination charges; travel insurance, emergency evacuation charges or personal insurance (required); hotels and meals not included in itinerary; optional excursions not included in the itinerary; optional activity surcharges; all items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, email or phone charges; automatic crew gratuities of $15 per person, per day (non-suite guests) which may be removed or amended at the end of the cruise.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a nonrefundable deposit of $2,500 is required per person at time of booking (additional nonrefundable $250 deposit is required for optional activities). The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
91 days or more – 100% of deposit
90 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The 2024 Complete Northwest Passage cruise begins in Toronto, Canada (YYZ), and ends in Anchorage, Alaska (ANC). Plan flights to arrive to Toronto any time on Day 1, but we highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Plan flights to depart Anchorage any time on Day 30. Airport shuttles are provided by the hotels for your arrival & departure. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

Two group charter flights are required on this trip’s itinerary and are included in the listed per-person cabin rates: 1) from Toronto to Kangerlussuaq 2) from Nome to Anchorage. All transfers between the airport and hotels for these charter flights are included. Luggage weight limits for the charter flights are 50lbs for a checked bag, carry-on bags must be under 10 inches by 18 inches by 22 inches (26 cm x 46 cm x 56 cm) with a max weight of 22lbs/10kg.

Activities

Birdwatching, walking, Zodiac cruising, photography tips, lectures, a polar plunge & all trips ashore are included in the rate. Add on kayaking ($1,660 in 2025) to join 20 like-minded paddlers (in small groups of 10 per guide) to fully experience nature at its wildest. The optional, added-cost, 90-minute helicopter ride in Ilulissiat requires a minimum of 8 people to operate. Please contact AdventureSmith for further details and to reserve space with your booking.

Room Configuration

Single travelers wishing to book a double-occupancy cabin may do so at a 50% supplement of the per-person listed rate in select cabins upon availability. Solo travelers willing to share may be matched with a person of the same gender, and if the other cabin berth goes unsold, will only pay the standard double-occupancy rate. 

Families & Children

Kids 8 years and older are welcomed aboard all departure dates. Children between 8-17 years of age must pay the adult price of the expedition.

Travel Insurance

A medical form for all travelers, signed by their doctor, is required for every departure. Comprehensive travel insurance is mandatory for this trip, with a minimum required coverage of $250,000 USD per person, covering medical, accident and repatriation/emergency evacuation, as well as baggage loss and cancellation or curtailment of holiday. In addition, we highly recommend our travelers protect their investment with travel insurance that includes trip cancellation and other benefits. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice, weather conditions, wildlife encountered and the captain’s discretion. Flexibility is the key to the success of any Arctic expedition.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Aug 17 - Sep 15, 2024
Sylvia Earle • 30 days
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From $35795USD
Per Person
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Aug 27 - Sep 24, 2025
Sylvia Earle • 29 days
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From $44395USD
Per Person
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brown helicopter icon depicting flightseeing activity Helicopter Activity
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Accommodation

Learn All About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle offers a robust menu of adventure activities from kayaking and polar diving to mountaineering and backcountry skiing and snowboarding. Cruise responsibly knowing this brand new icebreaker polar expedition ship was built with cutting edge nautical technology including one of the lowest polluting marine engines in the world.

Deal

Current Deals on This Trip

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Offer expires September 30th, 2024
Save Up to 20% + $1,500 Air Credit On Select 2025 Arctic Expedition Cruises

Receive up to 20% off and $1,500 in air credit per person when you book your 2025 Arctic expedition cruise aboard the Greg Mortimer or Sylvia Earle.

Expert Review

Reviews From Our Experts So You Know What To Expect

Todd Smith • January 19th, 2021
Expert Aboard: Sylvia Earle & Greg Mortimer Ship Review

Read a detailed ship review about the identical polar sister ships Greg Mortimer & Sylvia Earle and what they offer travelers. Our expert has been aboard and writes this from his firsthand experience.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

Extend Your Trip

Additional Travel Options Before or After Your Cruise

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5 - 6 Day Land Tour
Within the Wild

The Within the Wild luxury Alaska adventure brings travelers into the Alaskan backcountry without sacrificing comfort. Enjoy remarkable helicopter- and floatplane-assisted adventures, hiking, sportfishing and a wellness program with massage and yoga.

From $10700USD
Jun Jul Aug Sep
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8 - 9 Day Land Tour
Camp Denali Adventure

This premier Denali National Park base camp, in view of Denali, is located near Wonder Lake at the end of the 92-mile Denali Park Road and offers expert guided explorations and unique hikes.

From $6700USD
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12 Day Land Tour
Ultimate Alaska Wildlife Safari

On this 12-day Alaska wildlife safari, travel farther afield from standard routes, for a genuine Alaskan wilderness adventure. With only 14 or fewer fellow travelers and in the company of top naturalist guides, sample some of Alaska's highlights—with a few by private excursion. Along the way, stay at vetted, authentic Alaskan lodges and hotels.

From $15995USD
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Complete Northwest Passage Expedition