One of our friendly team will be at the airport to welcome you on arrival and ensure the transfer to your hotel runs smoothly. For the remainder of the day you are free to enjoy the charming European-influenced city of Quebec’s Montreal. Our hospitality staff will be pleased to advise you of the best sights and help with any arrangements or reservations.
After breakfast you can continue to explore this beautiful and culturally rich city on your choice of a range of scheduled walking tours. Don’t wear yourself out though, because in the evening you’ll be joining your expedition team and fellow guests for a cocktail reception and dinner to toast the beginning of your adventure.
Flying west to Kangerlussuaq, you’ll travel to the edge of the Greenland ice sheet. This immense body of ice covers 80 per cent of the continent. Native wildlife, including reindeer, Arctic fox, falcon and eagle, can often be spotted in the area. Later, you’ll board our expedition cruiser Le Boreal and enjoy welcome drinks while the crew cast off. Your Northwest Passage cruise has launched!
Heading along the west coast of Greenland you will pass the spot where Amundsen begun his quest. Your fascinating enrichment program includes talks and sightseeing opportunities to help you delve deeper into this remote, enigmatic region. You will explore Inuit culture and meet a dogsled team in Sisimiut, discover ancient huts made of whale bones and see traditional leather-tanning workshops in the Uummannaq Fjords. And you’ll sail past the huge icebergs of the Ilulissat IceFjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Spectacular panoramas continue as you cruise to the heart of the Northwest Passage. Your crew navigate expertly around the ever-changing ice conditions while you watch the narwhal, seal and walrus of Lancaster Sound. Polar bear can often be seen feeding at Somerset Island’s abandoned trading post of Fort Ross. Gyoja Haven and Beechey Island played invaluable roles in the epic efforts to conquer the Arctic, while in Queen’s Bay you’ll meet Inuit communities and learn first-hand about their unique culture.
The incredible Smoking Hills of Franklin Bay are a spectacular sight: its immense shale cliffs are covered with the mineral jarosite, which combusts and burns when it makes contact with cold air. And there’s always plenty of cold air! This unusual geological phenomenon, not dissimilar to a volcano, has been pouring thick black smoke into the skies for millennia.
Named by the ill-fated Arctic explorer Captain Franklin, Herschel Island has served variously over the years as a whaling station, relay station and a refuge for travellers. This safe haven for explorers is also rich in wildlife, including some 94 species of bird. The island is best known as one of the few places where you can see grizzly, black and polar bear in the same place.
As Le Boreal threads her way between ice floes while crossing the Beaufort Sea you are headed for Alaskan waters. You may hear the clicks and squeals of whale as you relax on your private balcony. During autumn cruises, don’t forget to look up from time to time, as the magnificent Northern Lights can often be seen illuminating the skies above.
You’ll disembark for a Zodiac cruise of Little Diomede, an island positioned between Alaska and Russia. Here you are right at the edge of the International Dateline. The Ingalikmiut people still hunt and fish these waters according to ancient customs and use the hides of seal, walrus and polar bear for clothing and currency.
As your Arctic expedition winds down, Le Boreal arrives in Nome, where some of mainland America’s most dramatic scenery is a commonplace sight. Here you can try your luck panning for gold and watch an exciting dogsled demonstration. There will be time for a tour of the city’s historic sights before transferring to the airport for your flight to Anchorage and the end of an epic trip.