THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE

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25 DAYS

Leaving from Reykjavik, you will sail along the south coast of Greenland, before reaching the Hudson Strait, named after the English sailor Henry Hudson, who mapped it for the first time in the early 17th Century.

Then you will chart a course towards the Fury and Hecla Strait, named after the ships of the explorer William Parry. Constantly covered in ice, this seawater channel, some 1900 metres wide at its narrowest point, represents an impassable obstacle for most ships. When you enter the passage, you will have the privilege of visiting Igloolik, an Inuit village that was only discovered in 1822.

A little further on, the Bellot Strait will offer you a unique sailing experience, in the midst of countless icebergs. You will then sail along Banks Island, famous for the wreck of HMS Investigator lying off shore – the ship was tasked to search for Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition, but also for its national park, which is home to extremely rich fauna.

ITINERARY SUMMARY
DayPlaceHighlights
Day 1Reykjavik, IcelandStart your adventure of the North West passage on the Le Commandant Charcot in the capital of Iceland
Day 2At Seatowards Greenland
Days 3 & 4Southern Coast of GreenlandPrinz Christian Sund, craggy mountains, glaciers, spectacular cliffs of Akpatok
Days 5 & 6At SeaRelax on board as you take in your surroundings
Days 7 - 10Hudson Strait800km in length, this route is congested with ice for most of the year. Be one of the few who have passed it
Days 11 & 12Fury and Hecla Strait Visit the Inuit village of Igloolik, sail icy seas
Days 13 & 14Bellot Strait A key stage in the Northwest Passage, the Bellot Strait was discovered in 1852 crossed by strong currents
Days 15-18Sailing ice floes in the North of the Arctic ArchipelagoSail through the most northerly part of the Arctic Archipelago, spectacular landscapes and gigantic fjords
Days 19 & 20Banks IslandArctic wolves, muskox, caribou, Arctic foxes, lemmings and a variety of birds
Days 21 - 24Sailing Ice Floes in Beaufort Sea A key stage in the Northwest Passage, the Bellot Strait was discovered in 1852 crossed by strong currents
Day 25Nome, AlaskaRustic Nome is the charm of a former gold-mining town. Disembark here and fly to Seattle.

Ship Offering This Itinerary

Le Commandant Charcot
Render Le Commandant Charcot

Hailing as the world’s first hybrid luxury polar exploration vessel, the Le Commandant Charcot combines the top tier of luxury with sustainable development at the heart of the design. Equipped with 135 luxury staterooms featuring elegant and warm stone, wood and leather detailing’s to reflect the natural environment that the ship will be sailing in, the Le Commandant Charcot is setting a new level for opulence in the polar regions.  Guests are spoilt for choice when it comes to places to relax and unwind on-board with an abundance of social areas to choose from ranging from two pools (indoor and outdoor), a beauty corner, theater, three different lounges, multiple reception areas and different restaurants to choose from.

 

Day 1 Reykjavik, Iceland

Blue Lagoon Iceland Reykjavik

Iceland’s capital stretches along the edge of a vast bay in the west of the country. Perlan, the “Pearl of Reykjavík”, a museum located on ’Oskjuhlið hill, offers a panoramic view of the lush, green landscapes. A little further, one can easily spot the signpost showing the way to the evangelical Hallgrímskirkja church, and to the historical centre where one can stroll along the Skólavördustígur and the Laugavegur, two lively streets with charming small shops. For some relaxation just outside of the city, visitors have the opportunity to visit the Reykjanes peninsula and its famous thermal lagoons of the Blue Lagoon. Embark on the Le Commandant Charcot in the mid afternoon as you set sail on this epic adventure.

Day 2 At Sea

Northern Fulmar Arctic

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Days 3-4 Southern Coast of Greenland

Colourful houses Greenland

Set sail in the traces of the Norwegian explorer Erik Le Rouge by travelling along the south coast of Greenland. Your ship will head deep into the longest network of fjords in the region, the Prinz Christian Sund. This sumptuous natural canal, surrounded by craggy mountains and impressive glaciers will offer you stunning landscapes. During your journey, you will also get a glimpse of the spectacular cliffs of Akpatok, a mysterious and uninhabited island where it is not uncommon in the summertime to encounter bears, drawn by the impressive colony of thick-billed murres that have taken up residence there.

Days 5-6 At Sea

Arctic Tern

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Days 7-10 Hudson Strait

Icy-scenery-enroute-North-Pole-Blog

Linking Hudson Bay, the second largest bay in the world, to the Atlantic Ocean, the Hudson Strait was identified for the first time by the Venetian explorer Sebastian Cabot in 1517. However, it wasn’t until 1660 that the English sailor Henry Hudson explored this maritime passage as far as the bay. Offering privileged access to the centre of Canada, in the 18th Century the Hudson Strait became a commercial route, notably used for fur trading. Some 800km in length and congested with ice for most of the year, it will offer you a truly unique sailing experience.

Days 11-12 Fury and Hecla Straight

At the heart of the Arctic Ocean, set sail in the footsteps of the British explorer W.E. Parris who in 1822, during his desperate quest to find the North West Passage, discovered the Fury and Hecla Strait. The expedition that he led with two Royal Navy vessels, HMS Fury and HMS Hecla, in the hope of crossing the mythical maritime passageway, ended in failure. Trapped in the ice, the two ships were blocked to the north of Foxe Basin, but this allowed them to identify the strait separating the Melville peninsula and Baffin Island. Covered by ice floe for the majority of the year, this narrow stretch of sea is very difficult to access. When you enter the passage, you will have the privilege of visiting the Inuit village of Igloolik.

Days 13-14 Bellot Strait

marching-Polar-Bear-small-web-site

A key stage in the North West Passage, the Bellot Strait, crossed by strong currents, promises you an unforgettable sailing experience. The entrance to the strait is dominated by the Ross Cairn. The buildings of Fort Ross also stand not far from here. Separating Somerset Island from the Boothia Peninsula, this 2km wide strait was discovered in 1852 by Captain William Kennedy of the Royal Navy, and the Frenchman Joseph-René Bellot, during an expedition in search of Sir John Franklin. Discover a magnificent décor covered in snow, fragmented by large ice floes. As you sail between them, your ship will perhaps be accompanied by a few polar bears.

Days 15-18 Sailing ice floes in the North of the Arctic Archipelago

scoresbysund-fjord-system-greenland

At the far north of the American continent, you will sail in the most northerly part of the Arctic archipelago. Covering some 1.4 million km² and boasting more than 35,000 islands, this region offers spectacular landscapes made up of sheer reliefs and gigantic fjords. Notably characterised by the particularly impressive scale of its channels, sculpted by glacial erosion and trapped in a thick ice floe for most of the year, the region has been little mapped or explored.

Days 19-20 Banks Island

Arctic-Fox-summer-FRanz-Josef-Land-shutterstock_323518226

Located in the north of Canadian archipelago of the Northwest Territories, Banks Island, also known as Banks Land offers landscapes that are as sumptuous as they are spectacular. The island, covering some 70,000km², offers a landscape of hills and valleys as well as sheer cliffs and canyons, a result of the glacial erosion. To the north of the island, the Aulavik National Park is home to a very rich wildlife mainly consisting of Arctic wolves, muskox, caribou, Arctic foxes, lemmings and many varieties of birds.

Days 21-24 Sailing Ice Floes in Beaufort Sea

Beluga-Whale-Arctic-_724777189

Bordering the north coasts of Alaska and Canada, the Beaufort Sea was feared for centuries because of its extreme climatic conditions. Covered for most of the year with a thick layer of ice, and unexplored until 1914, this part of the Arctic Ocean, named in honour of the British Admiral Francis Beaufort, will reveal to you its sumptuous icy landscapes. Will a bit of luck, maybe you will cross the path of some Beluga, the region being renowned for hosting many colonies of these white whales.

Day 25 Nome, Alaska

Nome,-Alaska-SS_1069893506-small

Located along the Bering Strait at the westernmost point of Alaska, Nome offers the rustic charm of a former gold-mining town, set in the middle of magnificent wilderness. As you weave in and out of the brightly coloured houses, you will discover the pioneering legacy that still marks local traditions. Fishing, reindeer rearing, sledge-racing… People here live from their manual labour. The surrounding plains provide stunning vantage points for observing Arctic fauna. It is here that your journey on board the Le Commandant Charcot will come to an end – fly from Nome to Seattle.

To book this cruise contact us on 1300 323 194 or email: contact@arctictravelcentre.com.au

We will tailor the perfect holiday to suit your needs.