Classic Canada Cruises Itineraries

Classic Canadian Arctic Cruise through the Northwest Passage

Cruising the Canadian Arctic is an unforgettable journey through mysterious lands, visited by many an explorer (both lucky and unlucky souls) seeking the famed Northwest Passage. You’ll visit several sites that track their many expeditions. Experience the thrill of spotting incredible wildlife and photographing otherworldly Arctic landscapes. You’ll also learn about the ancient native pre-inuit and inuit cultures, some of whom still maintain an active presence in these areas today. Many Canadian Arctic Cruises also visit Greenland and Russia.

Day 1, Ottowa: Begin in Ottowa, where you'll have a day to explore the city and pick up any last minute essentials. If you get seasick, definitely stock up on remedies!

Day 2, Above the Arctic Circle: On the second day of your Canadian Arctic cruise, you’ll head out over the icy waters to the haunting and wild lands of the Arctic. Among the archipelago, your route may change depending on ice conditions and weather, but the view will be spectacular.

Day 3-4, Radstock Bay and Beechey Island: Disembark first for an excursion at Radstock Bay, where you can explore an archaeological site to learn about pre-Inuit culture. You can also visit Caswell Towers, a Polar Bear lookout station. Continue to Beechey Island, the site of a ship crews mysterious disappearance in 1845. They most likely perished from lead poisoning and cold, and a walk among their headstones is incredibly eerie and poignant. Here you’ll also attend a talk about John Franklin’s search for the Northwest Passage.

Day 5, Prince Leopold Bird Sanctuary: Enter Lancaster Sound, where many a sailor has gone before, unsure of their trajectory or if they will ultimately find the fabled path to the East through the Northwest Passage. You’ll make a stop at Prince Leopold Bird Sanctuary for a chance to view some of Canada’s most impressive bird life up close. Sail past daunting 800 foot tall limestone cliffs in a zodiac and feel completely dwarfed by nature. You may also spot a polar bear or two here.

Day 6-7, Arctic Sailing: Ice-breaking through the waters is a thrill as you witness incredible arctic sights from the warmth of your stateroom, or if you want to brave it, from outside on the decks.

Day 8, Aulavik National Park: Explore this stunning polar landscape, which is, believe it or not, technically a desert. One of the most remote national parks in Canada, Aulavik is home to beautiful Mercy Falls and Thomsen River.

Day 9, Sachs Harbour: Named for Mary Sachs, who was a member of a 1913 Canadian Arctic expedition, this is the northernmost point in the Canadian Arctic which is permanently settled. A fascinating place where you’ll learn more about the native Inuit culture of Canada.

Day 10, Smoking Hills: One of the world’s more unusual natural phenomenon, the Smoking Hills are a result of lignite (carbon-rich shale and sulfur-rich pyrite) becoming ignited when exposed to oxygen, which happens through erosion. Originally discovered and named by Robert McClure who was on an expedition to find Franklin’s lost ship in 1850. McClure’s sailors brought a specimen of the smoldering rock back on board - where they set it down on the captain’s desk, where it quickly burned a hole straight through.

Day 11, Franklin Bay: Near the mouth of the Beaufort Sea, this delta is the perfect spot for wildlife viewing. Have your camera ready for beluga whales, tundra swans, and brant geese!

After stopping in Franklin Bay, many cruises enter the Beaufort Sea up north to Russian waters, or circle back to your starting point visiting many wonderful sights in Greenland.

See All Canadian Arctic Cruises

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