Best of the Western Arctic: Canada and Greenland
Venture far above the Arctic Circle, in a land where the sun never sets and polar bears roam. Explore the northerly shores of Canada's Baffin Island and the western coast of Greenland, searching for wildlife and visiting the communities that call this mysterious realm home. The rugged beauty of these pristine places will have you marveling at the soaring cliffs of Sam Ford Fjord and the dazzling icebergs dotting the Ilulissat Icefjord.
Highlights include: Search for iconic arctic wildlife, such as polar bears, muskoxen, walrus and whales, explore Canadian wildlife sanctuaries and the Ilulissat Icefjord, visit traditional settlements and meet Inuit and Greenlandic locals. Cruise in a Zodiac to explore icebergs, glaciers and fjords; and immerse yourself in the icy realm of the Arctic with optional kayaking adventures.
Your Ship: The Quark Expeditions fleet never exceed more than 200 passengers , which gives guests the best polar experience on a smaller ship. Their ice strengthened vessels are built for challenging polar environments, which takes you to places ordinary cruise companies wouldn't dream of going.
Ultramarine: The newest ship in the fleet and equipped with two twin-engine helicopters, offering a robust portfolio of activities and and the most spacious suites in its category. Features include breathtaking public spaces, and more outdoor wildlife viewing spaces than other ships its size.
Day 1: Toronto Your arctic expedition begins! Explore the city on your own before spending the night at your included hotel.
Day 2: Toronto > Kangerlussuaq In the morning, the group will transfer to the airport and board a private charter flight to Kangerlussuaq, a small town at the eastern head of Sondre Stromfjord, one of the longest fjords in the world. After embarking your ship in the afternoon, enjoy time out on deck, taking in your new surroundings as you set sail on your arctic expedition.
Day 3: At Sea As you cruise across the Davis Strait, your Expedition Team will prepare you for the adventures that await. Learn about the storied history and politics of the Arctic, its fascinating wildlife, geology, ecology and climate, and the incredible sights you will soon explore. Staff will also keep a lookout for seabirds soaring above your ship, as well as whales that frequent the waters here.
Days 4 - 6: Baffin Island Baffin Island is the fifth-largest island in the world, and was named for English navigator William Baffin, who ventured to the area in the early 17th century in search of the fabled Northwest Passage. Your days sailing along the island's eastern coast will be guided by weather and ice conditions, with each day and each landing presenting new adventures. Some of our favorite destinations include Qikiqtarjuaq, Isabella Bay and Sam Ford Fjord. Towering mountains, deep fjords, colorful tundra, and Inuit settlements await!
The Inuit community of Qikiqtarjuaq (which means "the big island" in Inuktitut) is located just north of the Arctic Circle, on Broughton Island. Fondly called Qik by locals, the welcoming hamlet offers a superb vantage point of the Davis Strait. You'll also have a chance to support local Inuit artisans here by purchasing unique artwork, crafts and jewellery. The rarely explored Sam Ford Fjord is one of the most isolated places on the planet. It is a spectacular big-wall playground, attracting adventurous climbers eager to scale the dozens of towering vertical granite cliffs that erupt from the sea. Have your camera handy as you cruise along this impressive coastline carved by ancient glaciers - the towering formations, stacked side by side, are simply majestic.
Day 7: At Sea As your ship sails farther north, take in a presentation by on-board experts, sip an icy cocktail in the bar, watch a movie or join your Expedition Team on the bridge as they scan for wildlife - there is no shortage of activities while at sea.
Days 8 - 11: Lancaster Sound The gateway to the Northwest Passage, Lancaster Sound is one of the richest marine habitats in the Arctic. With open water areas staying ice-free all year, it is an important summer feeding area for whales and other marine wildlife. Days here will be spent exploring several of the sound's beautiful bays and inlets, discovering historical sites, enjoying Zodiac cruises and searching for such iconic wildlife as walrus, seals and, of course, whales. Polar bear sightings are possible too, as Lancaster Sound is known for polar bear sightings. If you're fortunate, you may even spot the elusive narwhal.
There may be a possibility for a shore visit at Radstock Bay, the location of one of the most impressive ancient Thule sites in the Arctic. Exploring the well preserved remains of the subterranean houses, including the whale bones used as supports for the dwellings, will give you an understanding of how these pre-Inuit people thrived in the Far North. A landing attempt will be made at Beechey Island, a Canadian National Historic Site. Named after explorer Frederick William Beechey, the island is the final resting place of members of Sir John Franklin's 1845-46 expedition to find the Northwest Passage. The graves were discovered on a desolate rocky beach in 1850 by a team searching for signs of the ill-fated expedition.
Predominantly covered in glaciers and ice fields, Coburg Island and its surrounding waters comprise the Nirjutiqavvik National Wildlife Area. The island's steep coastal cliffs are an ideal habitat for hundreds of thousands of nesting seabirds like Brunnich's guillemots (thick-billed murres), black legged kittiwakes, northern fulmars and black guillemots.
Day 12: Smith Sound Before saying goodbye to Canada, the ship will push as far north as possible, exploring both sides of Smith Sound, the uninhabited passage between Ellesmere Island and Greenland. Experience a true expedition as weather and ice determine how far north you explore.
Days 13 & 14: Northwest Greenland Your return to Greenland will have you sailing along the remote northwest coast, a land of impressive icebergs and massive glaciers. Qaanaaq, formerly known as Thule, is one of the northernmost towns in the world. Here, local Inuit share their culture and traditions, while the museum sheds more light on life near the top of the world. You may be able to explore Melville Bay, a significant whaling site until the early 1900s. Opening up to Baffin Bay, the area is a major egress for the Greenland ice cap and is home to spectacular icebergs in all shapes and sizes, making it an ideal spot for Zodiac cruising. If you're feeling adventurous, perhaps you'll treat yourself to a unique arctic experience by partaking in an optional paddling excursion (additional cost).
Day 15: At Sea As you continue sailing south along the west coast of Greenland, presentations by on-board experts will prepare you for the adventures that lie ahead.
Days 16 - 18: West Greenland Boasting spectacular glaciers, mountainous landscapes, dramatic fjords and vibrant communities, the west coast of Greenland will leave you breathless. Some areas you might explore here are Uummannaq, Itilleq and the impressive Ilulissat Icefjord.
Quite possibly the most picturesque place in Greenland, the traditional Inuit town of Uummannaq (which means "heart-like") takes its name from the red heart-shaped mountain that rises up a staggering 1,170 metres behind it. You'll want to be positioned on deck as your ship approaches the shore, with your camera ready to capture the inspiring vistas of the twin peaks soaring high above the colourful houses dotting the rugged coastline. Another beautiful locale is the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to Jakobshavn, one of the most active glaciers in the world, this is a great spot to enjoy a Zodiac excursion past towering icebergs. Venturing ashore in the town of Ilulissat (which means "iceberg") will allow you to visit the icefjord on foot and gaze at this unforgettable river of ice from the rocky shore.
Surrounded by sea and mountains, Itilleq (meaning "crossing place") is situated about 2 kilometres above the Arctic Circle, in a scenic hollow on a small island. It is the southern limit of the Greenlandic sled dog. To keep the breed pure, the dogs are not permitted south of this community and all other dog breeds are prohibited this far north. Explore the town's traditional wooden houses painted in a rainbow of colours and chat with the locals, whose main trade is fishing. Perhaps challenge them to a game of football - it won't be long before you're experiencing Itilleq's famous friendly vibe.
Day 19: Kangerlussuaq > Toronto Enjoy one more Zodiac ride to shore, where you'll board your charter flight back to Toronto. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your included hotel.
Day 20: Toronto Today, you can make your way home at your leisure or spend time exploring this vibrant city.
• Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping • All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board • Beer and house wine during dinner • All shore landings per the daily programme • Leadership throughout the voyage by your experienced Expedition Leader • All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily programme • Formal and informal presentations by the Expedition Team and special guests as scheduled • Photographic journal documenting the expedition • Waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings • Official Quark Expeditions parka to keep • Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock • Complimentary reusable water bottle • Hair dryer and bathrobe in every cabin • Comprehensive onboard materials, including a map and an informative Arctic Reader • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme • All luggage handling aboard the ship • Emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum benefit of US$500,000 per person • Greenland voyages cruise passenger tax
Mandatory Transfer Package Includes: • One nights' pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Toronto • Group transfer from the Toronto hotel to the ship on Day 2 • Charter flight from Toronto to Kangerlussuaq • Group transfer from the ship to the Kangerlussuaq airport on disembarkation day • Charter flight from Kangerlussuaq to Toronto • Group transfer from Toronto airport to hotel on disembarkation day • One nights' post-expedition hotel accommodation in Reykjavik • Shuttle transfer to airport on last day of itinerary
Pricing (per person) $USD
2022 13 Sep 2023 11 Sep
Booking conditions • Baggage allowance on charter flight is 20 kg checked and 5 kg carry-on
• Single cabin prices available on request
• Baggage allowance on charter flight is 20 kg checked and 5 kg carry-on • Single cabin prices available on request
Not included • International airfare
• Arrival and departure transfers, except where listed in the Mandatory Transfer Package
• Passport and visa expenses
• Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above
• Meals ashore unless otherwise specified
• Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance - strongly recommended
• Excess-baggage fees on international flights
• Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other 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
• International airfare • Arrival and departure transfers, except where listed in the Mandatory Transfer Package • Passport and visa expenses • Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above • Meals ashore unless otherwise specified • Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance - strongly recommended • Excess-baggage fees on international flights • Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other 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
Gratuity • Gratuities are voluntary and can be given at the end of your cruise
• We recommend that you budget US$10 to US$15 per person per day, if you are pleased with the service on board
• Gratuities are voluntary and can be given at the end of your cruise • We recommend that you budget US$10 to US$15 per person per day, if you are pleased with the service on board
Early booking offers for cruises departing 2022 and 2023
Early booking offer: • Up to 25% savings on select voyages for departures between May 2022 - Sep 2023. • Subject to availability.
Additional full payment bonus: • 10% saving on select voyages departing 1 Oct 2022 - 31 Mar 2023 • Full payment must be received no later than 30 days after the booking is confirmed.
Offers are valid for new bookings made by 5 Jan 2022 and applies to the voyage fare only. Please contact World Journeys for up to date details, terms and conditions at the time of booking.