The Northwest Passage - In the Wake of Great Explorers (Itinerary 2)

The Northwest Passage - In the Wake of Great Explorers (Itinerary 2)

  • Attempt

The Northwest Passage - In the Wake of Great Explorers (Itinerary 2)

The Northwest Passage - In the Wake of Great Explorers (Itinerary 2)

  • Attempt
Travel information 20 days MS Fram
2 September 2022
Price from
£ 14736
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Join us on a thrilling expedition cruise as we attempt to cross the legendary Northwest Passage and explore the stunning landscapes and wildlife of southern Greenland.  

From the heart of the Northwest Passage 

We start off exploring lively Edmonton before flying to Cambridge Bay where our sea expedition begins into the Northwest Passage. Over the next seven days, we’ll explore the islands that dot this notoriously challenging territory, navigable only a few weeks of the year. Exactly what we’ll see and do depends on the sea ice and weather conditions.  

As we sail, you’ll pass spectacular ice cliffs and ice sculpted by the elements. Your Expedition Leader will pick locations for small boat cruising and escorted landings with the Expedition Team where possible, that may include Gjoa Haven, Fort Ross, Beechey Island, Radstock Bay, Dundas Harbor and Pond Inlet, where we’ll visit Thule and Inuit settlements and historic trading posts.  

Greenland: the world’s largest island 

If all goes to plan, we’ll exit the Northwest Passage and cross Baffin Bay towards Greenland. You’ll spend four days discovering its nature, history and wildlife, including the stunning UNESCO-listed Ilulissat Icefjord and the capital Nuuk. We continue towards Newfoundland and Labrador where you’ll visit the UNESCO-listed former Basque whaling station in Red Bay and the charming city of Corner Brook. Our memorable expedition ends in the historic city of Halifax, capital of Nova Scotia. 

Even if a full transit of the Northwest Passage isn’t possible due to sea ice, you’ll still experience the raw and remote beauty of the High Arctic and enjoy many opportunities to look for rare wildlife such as the mighty polar bear, the apex Arctic predator. 

The Northwest Passage - In the Wake of Great Explorers  (Itinerary 2) The Northwest Passage - In the Wake of Great Explorers  (Itinerary 2)

Our Northwest Passage Attempts are expeditions where we, in true expedition style, challenge the elements and the ice-edge of the Arctic Ocean, to circumnavigate this remote and icy waterways – in a safe way. Several alternative routes combined with our deep knowledge of the area and flexibility are key factors to giving you the most amazing experience. And if we really manage to circumnavigate Baffin Island or sail through the entire Northwest Passage, it will be one for the books.

  • Day 1
    Edmonton, Canada

    Canada´s Festival City

    2 September 2022

    Enjoy the lively and colourful city of Edmonton on one of our Pre-programmes before your expedition begins.

    Day 1
    Edmonton, Canada

    Canada´s Festival City

  • Day 2
    Edmonton / Cambridge Bay - Embarkation

    A Good Fishing Place

    3 September 2022

    After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Cambridge Bay. In Inuinnaqtun, Cambridge Bay is called 'Iqaluktuuttiaq', meaning a 'good fishing place', as it is famous for giant char caught in local waters. There is abundant wildlife in the area: seals, geese, muskoxen and caribou. Our expedition with MS Fram starts here.

    Day 2
    Edmonton / Cambridge Bay - Embarkation

    A Good Fishing Place

  • Day 3-10
    Northwest Passage Exploration

    Heart of the Northwest Passage

    4 September 2022 - 11 September 2022

    We aim to head into the heart of the Northwest Passage. Since the late 15th century, the search for this fabled seaway through the Canadian Arctic was a holy grail for hardy adventurers.  

    The first recorded voyage was led by John Cabot in 1497. James Cook attempted but failed to sail the Passage in 1776, and many are already familiar with the ill-fated Franklin expedition of 1845. The first to conquer the Passage by ship was Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen on an expedition that lasted from 1903 to 1906. 

    The sea ice varies from year to year and every expedition here is unique. We hope to be able to show you some of the following places: 

    Gjoa Haven honours the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who wintered here from 1903 on the Gjøa expedition. He called the place 'the finest little harbour in the world.' He learned a great deal from local Netslik Inuit people about survival and travel in polar regions. These skills were instrumental in helping Amundsen be the first to reach the South Pole almost a decade later. 

    Fort Ross was established in 1937. There are two small huts ashore maintained by the Canadian Coast Guard, and occasionally used by the local Inuit for shelter. It was one of several Hudson’s Bay Company trading posts in the Canadian Arctic. 

    Beechey Island is closely linked to the history of exploration of the Northwest Passage, particularly the voyage led by Sir John Franklin, whose two ships sailed into the passage in 1845, but never returned. It is known that the Franklin Expedition over-wintered here in 1845 and three of his men are buried here. 

    Radstock Bay is dominated by the rock of Caswell Tower. The shoreline here is excellent for short walks to a pre-historic Inuit site. Caswell Tower itself features a challenging hike to the summit for great views. 

    Dundas Harbour is an abandoned settlement with an old Royal Canadian Mounted Police camp and Hudson Bay Company trading post, together with several archaeological sites from the Thule period.   

    Set on the picturesque Eclipse Sound with Bylot Island in the distance, Pond Inlet, called 'Mittimatalik' in Inuktitut, is a traditional Inuit community on Baffin Island. Pond Inlet is surrounded by mountain ranges, with glaciers, scenic fjords, ice caves, geological hoodoos and drifting icebergs to marvel at. 

    Throughout the journey, we will be sailing spell-bindingly scenic straits and on the constant look out for wildlife such as the mighty polar bear. 

    Day 3-10
    Northwest Passage Exploration

    Heart of the Northwest Passage

  • Day 11
    Baffin Bay and Davis Strait

    Crossing the Davis Strait

    12 September 2022

    We have left Canada behind and now set course for Greenland. While sailing across Baffin Bay, you can continue to enjoy informative lectures presented by the Expedition Team. Their topics may include wildlife you might see in Greenland, Greenlandic culture, expedition photography, geology, and historic explorers.   

     If you feel like getting active, you can hit the gym and get your pulse up. You’ll also have access to a sauna and two outdoor hot tubs. Drinks can be enjoyed in the panoramic Explorer Lounge & Bar too, while settling into a sofa and watching the rhythmic ocean waves roll by outside.    

    Day 11
    Baffin Bay and Davis Strait

    Crossing the Davis Strait

  • Day 12
    Ilulissat, Greenland

    Birth of Icebergs

    13 September 2022

    Ilulissat – meaning simply ‘Icebergs’ – is set in the stunning scenery of the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This beautiful gem of a town is characterised by its colourful houses sitting down by the fjord which features an ever-changing gallery of icebergs – it really is a picture-perfect kind of place.  

    It’s also a vibrant hub for adventure seekers who head out onto the polar ice cap, and there are almost as many sled dogs living here as there are people. Each spring, one of the world’s greatest dog sled races takes place here, with 100 sleds.  

    Just outside the town you can often see enormous icebergs floating in the deep blue waters. They originate from the Jakobshavn Glacier, which calves some 35 billion tonnes of icebergs each year. The icebergs make their way down the 20km fjord before entering Disko Bay, and they are a photographer’s dream.  

    You won’t just see these huge, chiseled masses of ice, you’ll also hear them. As they bump into one another and into the shores, the sounds of cracking, rumbling, and creaking echo throughout the fjord.  

    If that background noise is like the drums, the crumble, crash, and splash of ice calving off the icebergs into the waters below are the cymbals. Take a moment just to sit, watch, and listen to the icebergs in the beautiful surroundings. 

    Day 12
    Ilulissat, Greenland

    Birth of Icebergs

  • Day 13
    Sisimiut, Greenland

    Modern settlement, ancient traditions

    14 September 2022

    Spectacularly situated Sisimiut – Greenland’s second city – is placed 40km north of the Arctic Circle in the central coastal area of the Davis Strait. It’s a modern settlement but its roots stretch back in time a long way, with estimates that the area has been settled by Greenlandic peoples for over 4,500 years.  

    Its name translates into ‘the people at the fox holes’, a reference to the many burrows of Arctic fox that lie near the city. Another animal local to the area is the musk ox whose wool is used to make a local fabric called qiviut – said to be 10 times warmer than sheep wool. You might like to pick up a qiviut scarf, hat, or mittens while you are here. 

    With a population of around 5,500, Sisimiut is an important regional hub and is often a stopover point for boats heading between Nuuk and the Disko Bay area, with many coming here to enjoy backcountry sports on the Greenland ice cap such as skiing or dog sledding.  

    The small museum houses artefacts from excavations of ancient Saqqaq settlements near the town, some as old as 4,000 years. There’s also the Taseralik Cultural Centre, the place to go to learn more about the cultural heritage of the area.  

    For the fit and healthy, we offer a 4-5 hour hike  up Palaasip Qaqqa mountain, a steady, steep climb to over 500 metres above sea level. The effort to go up will be well rewarded with unique views of Greenland’s exceptional scenery. 

    Day 13
    Sisimiut, Greenland

    Modern settlement, ancient traditions

  • Day 14
    Nuuk, Greenland

    The Capital of Greenland

    15 September 2022

    Nuuk was settled in 1728, which makes it the oldest settlement in the nation. And although Greenland’s capital is classed as a city, fewer than 17,000 people call it home. The name Nuuk means peninsula, and it’s located at the mouth of a system of spectacular fjords and mountains.  

    The first thing you’ll notice about this low-rise settlement is how colourful the houses are, with red, green, blue and yellow buildings standing out against the icy black and white backdrop of the mountains.  

    Today Nuuk is a place where old and new traditions meet, from the picturesque old buildings dotting the edge of the fjord, to the ultra-modern architecture of the Greenlandic Parliament and the wave-shaped Katuaq Cultural Centre.  

    You can visit the oldest building in Greenland at Hans Egede’s House, constructed in 1721 by the Norwegian missionary who is credited as founding the city. Elsewhere in the city, you can look for a statue and a church named after him.  

    The red-painted Nuuk Cathedral with the typical Lutheran clock tower and steeple is worth a visit too. Drop by the Greenland National Museum to see the Qilakitsoq mummies or admire local paintings at the Nuuk Art Museum, the only private arts and crafts museum in Greenland. 

    We’ll also be offering a long hike through Paradise Valley and around Mt. Lille Malene as part of an optional excursion. As you follow a path formed by old reindeer tracks, you’ll bask in splendid views of the Greenlandic coast and pass by a small lake and natural springs. 

    There are also a range of eateries in Nuuk to satisfy all tastes, some of them featuring local delicacies such as musk ox, seal soup and snow crab on the menus. If you’d rather just have a coffee, there are several excellent cafes that serve hot drinks and snacks such as burgers and Danish pastries. 

    Day 14
    Nuuk, Greenland

    The Capital of Greenland

  • Day 15
    Kvanefjord, Greenland

    Expedition day

    16 September 2022

    Kvanefjord is a 48km-long fjord on the west coast of Greenland in the district of Sermersooq, which means ‘place of much ice’. The fjord extends around 10km inland before branching into three smaller channels, each with a glacier at its head.  

    We will spend the day exploring this amazing fjord and the captain will seek out places where we can drop anchor and head ashore. There will be plenty of opportunities for scouting out wildlife, either from the deck or on land, or perhaps you’d just like to stretch your legs and enjoy the stunning scenery.  

    Kvanefjord is also close to Kvanefjeld, an area with one of the largest concentrations of rare-earth mineral deposits in the world. Recent surveys even estimate that a quarter of the world’s rare-earth minerals lie within these hills.  

    Geological concentrations of uranium and the fabled Greenlandic ruby, the tugtupite – meaning ‘reindeer blood’ make the Kvanefield site particularly noteworthy. Cerium, lanthanum, and other precious metals crucial to modern technology, such as smartphones, electric cars, and MRI machines, are also found here. 

    Day 15
    Kvanefjord, Greenland

    Expedition day

  • Day 16
    At Sea

    Labrador Sea

    17 September 2022

    You’ll have time to relax, get to know your fellow travellers better, and make full use of the facilities on board. In the Science Center, the Expedition Team will hold lecture programmes on the wildlife and ecosystems of the Arctic.   

    We also support a number of Citizen Science projects that you can join. These projects include Happywhale, where your photographs help identify and track the movement of specific whales across the planet due to their distinguishing characteristics.  

    Or you can participate in the GLOBE Observer project, which combines your observations of clouds and sky conditions from below with data collected by satellites from above. By participating in these projects, not only will you be supporting the scientific community, you’ll also be gaining a better understanding of the world around you.  

    Day 16
    At Sea

    Labrador Sea

  • Day 17
    Red Bay, Canada

    Red Bay, Labrador

    18 September 2022

    Red Bay is a former Basque whaling settlement on the coast of southern Labrador in the Strait of Belle Ile. You might catch a glimpse of humpback or minke whales that first drew Basque whalers to this harbour back in the 17th century. For about 70 years, these fishermen would return to catch whales and export their refined oil back to Europe.  

    Not all whaling ships were able to reach Red Bay’s shores though. Wrecked chalupas and galleons are just some of the ships that have been found preserved in the ice-cold waters. These discoveries make Red Bay one of the most important underwater archaeological sites in the world.  

    As you explore this fascinating town, make sure to visit the local museum which is part of the Red Bay National Historic Site to see an eight-metre chalupa – a small whale-catching boat – and imagine life as a Basque whaler on the Labrador Sea.   

    You can also look for whale bones in the protected National Historic Site or for pirate captain Kidd’s buried treasure around Tracey Hill. While you might not find any gold doubloons, you’ll at least be rewarded with a fantastic view. 

    Day 17
    Red Bay, Canada

    Red Bay, Labrador

  • Day 18
    Corner Brook, Canada

    The course of Captain James Cook

    19 September 2022

    As you sail into the Bay of Islands, surrounded by the jagged slopes and dense forests of the Long Range Mountains, you’ll be charting the same course that Captain James Cook did over 250 years ago. 

    Our next stop is Corner Brook at the mouth of the Humber River. This is the second-largest city in the Newfoundland and Labrador province after St. John’s. If the latter is trendy and international, Corner Brook is decidedly traditional and local.  

    You can get a sense of the regional history here at Corner Brook Museum. There are a number of artifacts that chart the indigenous cultures, logging industry, and of course, Captain James Cook. The exhibit on WWII brides from England and Scotland is particularly fascinating. 

    We offer an optional excursion up to Crow Hill, home of the Captain James Cook National Historic site. Standing where the famous British Explorer once stood to survey the area, you’ll have pleasant views over the city. Don’t forget to grab a photo with the statue of the man himself. 

    Other optional excursions include a guided hike along a portion of the Corner Brook Stream trail. Or adrenaline-inducing zip-lining high up over the scenic Humber Valley, admiring views of Marble Mountain and Steady Brook Falls. 

    When it’s time to depart, a local band might come aboard and treat us to a performance, sending us on a way in true Corner Brook hospitality. 

    Day 18
    Corner Brook, Canada

    The course of Captain James Cook

  • Day 19
    At Sea

    Coming to a close

    20 September 2022

    It’s our final day at sea and your cruise with us is fast drawing to a close. You might like to spend this day at sea just fully unwinding from the excitement of the past two weeks. 

    Your thoughts might naturally turn to home, or maybe you’ll find that you’ll have already left your heart back in one of the special places you’ve visited. Today will be a good time to spend reflecting on and taking stock of all the wonderful experiences you’ve had. 

    The Expedition Team will likely be in a similar mood as you, and you can join them as they fondly recap the highlights of the thrilling cruise you’ve shared together. You’ll probably also have a few hundred photos of scenic landscapes, activities, and memories to sift through and sort out! 

    Day 19
    At Sea

    Coming to a close

  • Day 20
    Halifax, Canada

    Capital of Nova Scotia

    21 September 2022

    And with that, your exciting, epic journey from the heart of the Northwest Passage all the way to the other ends in Halifax.  

    The cosmopolitan capital of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia sits in the centre of the region’s east coast and is an important seaport that looks out over one of the world's largest natural harbours.  

    With its red-brick heritage buildings, the landmark Citadel Hill National Historic Site, a historic 1820 brewery and the epic 4-km seafront boardwalk, Halifax offers plenty of potential if you want to extend your trip.  

    Close to where we dock is Pier 21, the ‘Ellis Island of Canada’ where thousands of immigrants arrived from all over the world, and an appropriate site for Canada's Museum of Immigration. There is also the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic which contains a large exhibit of the notorious Titanic disaster.  

    Not far from Downtown Halifax is Halifax Common which opened in 1763 and is Canada’s oldest park. And if you enjoy art, the extensive collection in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is sure to make an impression on you.   

    If you can, spend a few extra days here on our Post-Programme before you head home. You’ll visit the historic community of Peggy's Cove and see its iconic lighthouse. There’ll also be time to pay your respects at Halifax Fairview Lawn Cemetery, the solemn burial place of 121 tragic passengers of the Titanic. 

    Day 20
    Halifax, Canada

    Capital of Nova Scotia



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What's included

Included in your voyage


  • Overnight in Edmonton before the Expedition cruise including breakfast


  • Economy flight from Edmonton to Cambridge Bay


  • Transfer from the hotel in Edmonton to the airport before the Expedition cruise
  • Transfer from the airport to the ship in Cambridge Bay before the Expedition cruise

Expedition Cruise

  • Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurants Aune and Fredheim
  • À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm included for suite guests
  • Complimentary tea and coffee
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to use at water refill stations on board
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organize and accompany activities on board and ashore
  • Range of included excursions

Onboard Activities

  • Experts on the Expedition Team deliver in-depth lectures on a variety of topics
  • Use of the ship’s Science Center, which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
  • Citizen Science programme allows guests to assist with current scientific research
  • Professional onboard photographer gives top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos
  • Use of the ship’s hot tubs, infinity pool, sauna with floor-to-ceiling window, outdoor and indoor gyms, and outdoor running track
  • Informal gatherings with the crew such as daily recaps and preparation for the day to come

Landing Activities

  • Escorted landings with small explorer boats
  • Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment for activities
  • Complimentary wind- and water-resistant expedition jacket
  • Expedition photographers help with your camera settings before landings

Not included in your voyage

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners
  • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team
  • Optional treatments in the onboard wellness and spa area


  • All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions 
  • Excursions and activities are subject to change  
  • Medical questionnaire is mandatory 
  • Please make sure you meet all entry and boarding requirements
  • No gratuities expected 
MS Fram in Greenland
Photo: Stian Klo
MS Fram in Antarctica
Photo: Sandra Walser
Your ship

MS Fram

Year built 2007
Year of refurbishment 2022
Ship yard Fincantieri, Italy
Passenger capacity 250 (200 in Antarctica)
Beds 276
Car capacity 0
Gross tonnage 11 647 T
Length 114 m
Beam 20.2 m
Speed 13 knots
MS Fram in Greenland
Photo: Stian Klo

The original Fram was the most famous explorer ship of its time, and the achievements of her expeditions are unparalleled. MS Fram brings on the heritage of the original Fram, using the most advanced technology to make her exceptionally well suited for expedition voyages in Polar Regions.

Read more about MS Fram

Icebergs – one of many favorite photo motives when on an expedition with MS Fram
Photo: Tomas Mauch
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