Travelers on a Northwest Passage small ship cruise walk along a sandy riverbank in a barren landscape on a hazy day.
Travelers on a Northwest Passage small ship cruise come into a rocky shoreline by Zodiac, past iceberg bits under clouds.
Aged white wood pillar monument with weathered metal plaques sits on rocky shoreline on a northwest passage small ship cruise.
Woman in woven hat, blue sweater & yellow coat sits on rock face overlooking ice field in the distance on a sunny day.
A Northwest Passage small ship cruise traveler in yellow jacket stands on deck of the boat, gazing at a large iceberg in the sun.
View Photos
Polar Regions Arctic Cruise

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

Witness a polar landscape preserved in all of its astonishing beauty—free of human development. On this exciting northwest passage small ship cruise, 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. Aim to visit Nunavut’s northernmost islands: Axel Heiberg, and Ellesmere. This flexible itinerary, which embarks and disembarks in Resolute, Canada, enables the ship to position nearby to top visitor sites along the shores of this historic area of adventure.

View the magnificent wildlife that make their home in this forbidding region, including polar bears, whales, seals, walrus, caribou, and muskox. Learn about the rich Inuit culture that has persevered against all odds. From soaring cliffs to 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. Experience the same sense of wonder felt by early explorers as they navigated the region’s formidable bays, inlets and channels.

Aboard the technologically-advanced, 199-guest Ultramarine, take advantage of two twin-engine helicopters and 20 quick-launching Zodiacs to create the quintessential Arctic experience. This modern, purpose-built polar expedition vessel comes equipped with specialized, cutting-edge safety features to provide added security in remote environments like the Northwest Passage.

Read on for details about this northwest passage small ship cruise, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Arctic cruises, Arctic trips and Canada adventure travel.



Itinerary

Canada's Remote Arctic: Northwest Passage to Ellesmere & Axel Heiberg Islands Itinerary

The Canada’s Remote Arctic cruise operates round-trip via charter flights from Calgary, Canada. Embark the ship in Resolute, Canada, and cruise an unplanned route among the central Nunavut islands of Baffin, Beechey, Devon and Coburg, plus attempting to reach Canada’s most northerly islands of Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg, before disembarking back in Resolute.

Route map of the Canada's Remote Arctic: Northwest Passage to Ellesmere & Axel Heiberg Islands cruise, operating round-trip via charter flight from Calgary, with embarkation and disembarkation in Resolute, Canada, and visits to the central Nunavut islands of Baffin, Beechey, Devon, Coburg, Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg.
Read More
Day 1
Arrive Calgary, Canada

The Arctic expedition begins in Calgary. Explore this vibrant city on your own before spending the night at the well-appointed hotel.

Accommodations

Hotel TBA

Meals

n/a

Read More
Day 2
Fly to Resolute, Canada & Embark

This morning, board the charter flight to Resolute, Nunavut. Upon arrival, there may be a chance to check out some of the town’s sites before being transferred to the ship via Zodiac or helicopter (depending on ship location and weather conditions).

Accommodations

Ultramarine

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Days 3 - 10
Canada's High Arctic

Cruising around the remote islands of the Canadian High Arctic, navigate the same icy inlets, channels and bays that fascinated legendary explorers of long ago. With no fixed itinerary, the skilled expedition team selects the best course given weather and ice conditions. Enjoy Zodiac cruising, land excursions, a robust education program, a community visit and wildlife viewing opportunities. Conditions permitting, enjoy ultra-immersive activities like flightseeing and heli-landings.

Travel through the ancestral homelands of the Inuit, illuminated by Inuit guides on board and ashore. Nunavut is an Inuktitut word meaning “our land” and the Nunavummiut (the people of Nunavut) are renowned for their incredible resourcefulness, hospitality, good humor, and a deep knowledge of the land and animals that has allowed them to thrive in the far north for millennia. Aim to transit through the famous Hell Gate to reach Ellesmere, the northernmost island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

Weather and ice conditions permitting, take in the unique glaciology of Axel Heiberg Island, Canada’s second most northerly island and home to the most dramatic and impressive Piedmont glaciers in the world. Birders will want to have their binoculars and cameras at the ready, as the island also affords opportunities for sightings of snow buntings, ptarmigans, jaegers and arctic terns, among others. It’s likely to see polar bears, muskoxen and several bird species, such as gyrfalcons and dovekies (little auks). Possibly even spot the elusive narwhal or arctic wolf.

Coburg Island is a wildlife reserve for such birds as snowy owls and peregrine falcons, while the impressive vertical cliffs of Prince Leopold Island are dotted with nesting seabirds like northern fulmars and black guillemots. The sheltered shores and steep cliffs of Arctic Bay, a hamlet located off of Admiralty Inlet, provide an ideal nesting habitat for various High Arctic birds such as snow geese, thick-billed murres (Brünnich’s guillemots) and kittiwakes. Occupied by Inuit and Thule cultures for almost 5,000 years, this traditional community is also an ideal spot to go ashore and learn more about the Inuit culture, sampling the local cuisine and mingling with artists, perhaps picking up carvings or other handicrafts as a memento of this polar adventure.

Devon Island is another possible locale for wildlife encounters, as walrus, polar bears and muskoxen inhabit the area, which is also the location of the remains of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police outpost, established at Dundas Harbour in 1924 to curb foreign whaling and other activities. Nearby is a small cemetery, one of Canada’s most northerly, still maintained by the RCMP to this day. Hope to fly up to explore the Devon ice cap, one of the largest in the Canadian Arctic. History buffs will enjoy the chance to visit an abandoned Hudson’s Bay Company trading post at Fort Ross, at the southern end of Somerset Island, and pay their respects to the ill-fated Franklin expedition of 1845–46 at the gravesite of three crew members on Beechey Island, one of Canada’s most significant Arctic sites.

Possibly Zodiac cruise along the face of an active glacier near Croker Bay and possibly even witness the wonders of calving ice, at a safe distance. Be on the lookout for the walrus that are often seen in the area. There is no shortage of natural beauty, wildlife and history in Canada’s High Arctic. Each day, discover something new and inspiring, whether it is admiration of the tundra flora to survive the rugged environment, a rare bird species soaring overhead, a polar bear on the hunt in its natural habitat, or the remains of a century-old hut.

Accommodations

Ultramarine

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 11
Disembark Resolute, Canada & Fly to Calgary

After disembarking in Resolute, be transferred to the charter flight to Calgaru, where you’ll spend the night at the included hotel.

Accommodations

Hotel TBA

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 12
Depart Calgary, Canada

Today, make your way to the airport to catch homeward flights, or spend the day exploring this fascinating city.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Mandatory Transfer Package (approximate package price for 2024 and 2025 is $1,995 and includes one night’s pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Calgary, group transfer from the hotel to the airport on Day 2, charter flights between Calgary and Resolute, group transfers between the Resolute airport and the ship, group transfer from the airport to the hotel in Calgary on disembarkation day, and one night’s post-expedition hotel accommodation in Calgary); shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping; all meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board; select beer and house wine during dinner; coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock; leadership throughout the voyage by experienced expedition leaders, including shore landings and other activities; all Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program; formal and informal presentations by the expedition team and special guests as scheduled; photographic journal documenting the expedition; a pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions; official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep; hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin; all miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program; all luggage handling aboard the ship; emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum benefit of US $500,000 per person.

Exclusions

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), or insurance of any kind; excess baggage fees on international flights; mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, and any gear not mentioned; laundry, bar, beverage 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; any adventure options or excursions; 5% Canadian GST tax.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 25% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 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:
Up to 180 days – $1,250 fee
179 to 120 days – 100% of deposit
119 to 90 days – 50% of total trip cost
89 to 60 days – 75% of total trip cost
59 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 Canada’s Remote Arctic: Northwest Passage to Ellesmere & Axel Heiberg Islands voyage begins and ends in Calgary, Canada (YYC). Plan to arrive any time on Day 1 of the itinerary. Check in time for the included group hotel is 3:00pm on Day 1. We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. An included group flight (with airport transfer) to Resolute is on Day 2 of the itinerary. The scheduled flight time will be communicated in your final documents.

On Day 11 of the itinerary, the ship is scheduled to arrive at the pier between 7:00am and 8:00am local time. Disembarkation follows breakfast, with a transfer to the airport for the return charter flight to Calgary. Plan flights to depart Calgary anytime on Day 12. Airport transfers in Calgary are not included and cannot be pre-arranged through the cruise operator. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

Group charter flights between Calgary and Resolute are required on this trip’s itinerary; see the Mandatory Transfer Package information listed above under Inclusions. The flight to Resolute is expected to depart early on Day 2 of the itinerary. There is a luggage limit which will be detailed in your final documents. Additional luggage can be stored at the hotel in Calgary. There is no option to pay for additional luggage. On Day 11 of the itinerary, the ship is scheduled to arrive at the pier between 7:00 and 8:00am local time. Disembarkation follows breakfast, with a transfer to the airport for the return charter flight to Calgary.

Activities

Included is a weather-dependent, small-group, 10-15-minute helicopter flightseeing excursion; additional helicopter activities may be available for purchase on board. Various optional activities may be available on your Canada’s Remote Arctic: Northwest Passage to Ellesmere & Axel Heiberg Islands cruise, for guests aged 16 and older. The sea kayaking program must be reserved in advance. Please contact AdventureSmith to reserve activity space with your booking. Sea kayaking is $695 in 2024 or $795 in 2025; the culinary Tundra to Table experience is $125 in 2024 & 2025; an exclusive heli-landing is $395 (2024 only); and flightseeing, hiking, Zodiac cruising, daily presentations, photography guides and the polar plunge are optional and included.

Room Configuration

Select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. Solo travelers willing to share can reserve a triple or twin-shared cabin, where you will be matched with a person of the same gender. If the other cabin berth goes unsold, you will be guaranteed the double rate. Single travelers wishing to book a double-occupancy cabin may do so at 1.7x (2x for Premium cabins) the per-person listed rate in select cabins based upon availability. Premium Cabins are as follows:
Ultramarine: Deluxe Balcony Suite, Terrace Suite, Penthouse Suite, Owner’s Suite & Ultra Suite

Families & Children

At date of embarkation, a minimum age restriction of 8 years and minimum height and weight requirements (weight of 64lbs or 29kg and 48 in. or 1.2 m. tall) must be met. Children under 16 years of age must be supervised by a parent/guardian at all times, and may not participate in adventure options.

Travel Insurance

Emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum benefit of up to $500,000 USD per paying traveler provides coverage between the first and last day of ship-based travel and is included in the cost of this trip. For ship- and land-based trips, additional days of travel pre- and post-expedition are not covered. Travelers are responsible for having adequate international medical coverage prior to embarkation, with a minimum benefit of $50,000 USD. In addition, we highly recommend our travelers also 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

Rates are variable per remaining availability and are subject to change.

Aug 15 - Aug 26, 2024
Ultramarine • 12 days
brown helicopter icon depicting flightseeing activity brown kayaking icon depicting offered kayaking activity
From $11205USD
Per Person
Read More
Read More
Aug 24 - Sep 04, 2024
Ultramarine • 12 days
brown helicopter icon depicting flightseeing activity brown kayaking icon depicting offered kayaking activity
From $11205USD
Per Person
Read More
Read More
Sep 09 - Sep 20, 2025
Ultramarine • 12 days
brown kayaking icon depicting offered kayaking activity
From $13263USD
Per Person
Read More
Read More
brown helicopter icon depicting flightseeing activity Helicopter Activity
brown kayaking icon depicting offered kayaking activity Kayaking
Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
Ultramarine

The new Ultramarine 199-passenger polar ship is purpose-built for safety and far-off exploration in Antarctica and the Arctic. Dual helicopter pads and an incredible 70-day cruising range allow access to the hardest-to-reach places.

Deal

Current Deals on This Trip

Add to Wishlist
Offer expires August 30th, 2024
Save Up To 30% On Select Canadian Arctic Expedition Cruises

Don't miss out! Save big when you book your select 2024 or 2025 Canadian Arctic expedition.

Expert Review

Reviews From Our Experts So You Know What To Expect

Andrew Browning • December 1st, 2023
Expert Aboard: Ultramarine Ship Review

Read a detailed ship review from our expert who was aboard Ultramarine, plus see traveler ratings on everything from the food & helicopters to his Greenland itinerary highlights.

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

Add to Wishlist
9 Day Land Tour
Arctic Watch

Explore the Canadian Arctic on Somerset Island in Nunavut by e-biking, rafting, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, hiking, kayaking, trail running and exploring on ATVs at this unique wilderness lodge and world-class beluga whale observation site.

From $13380USD
Jul Aug
Add to Wishlist
10 - 10 Day Cruise
The Canadian Maritimes & Newfoundland

Cruise the eastern Canadian coast exploring historical maritime communities, legendary islands, Viking history and breathtaking sandstone cliffs aboard the 148-guest National Geographic Explorer.

From $11104USD
Aug Sep
Add to Wishlist
8 - 11 Day Cruise
Great Lakes of North America Cruise

Set sail on these 8-day small ship Great Lakes cruises, operating in the colorful summer months. Cruise between Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Toronto, Canada aboard 184-guest Le Bellot or Le Champlain. Along the way, appreciate points of natural and cultural interest, learning about the Native American and European influences that live on today.

From $7340USD
Aug Sep Oct
More to Explore

Trips You Might Also Like

Exit Created with Sketch.

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

test message
View Wishlist