roald amundsen north west passage cruise

Through the Northwest Passage - In the Footsteps of Roald Amundsen

  • Overview
    Be among the few to sail in the wake of great explorers on a journey through the legendary Northwest Passage. Experience the raw and daunting beauty of truly wild terrain on a rarely-travelled voyage. Even today, few ships have the capability to navigate this isolated sea passage that cuts through the wild and remote Arctic beauty of North America. Connecting the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the Northwest Passage is a beautiful and unforgiving route, having claimed the lives of many explorers over the years. Since the late 15th century, the search for this fabled seaway through the Canadian Arctic was a holy grail for hardy adventurers. There are records of almost 40 expeditions that sailed these waters, either to explore this unknown territory or to find the sea route to Asia. The first recorded attempt was the voyage of John Cabot in 1497. The most famous journey here was James Cook's failed attempt to sail the Passage in 1776, and of course the ill-fated Franklin expedition of 1845. The first to conquer the Northwest Passage by ship was Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen on an expedition that lasted from 1903 to 1906, aboard the converted herring boat Gjøa. On our Hurtigruten voyage, we sail in the wake of great explorers to rediscover these renowned waterways. Starting in Kangerlussuaq, we visit Greenlandic Inuit settlements and the UNESCO World Heritage site Ilulissat Icefjord, before we cross the Davis Strait and venture into the Canadian Arctic Archipelago of Nunavut. This is our launching point into the heart and history of the Northwest Passage. The true north - We make our way through the icy waters of Arctic Canada. You will be amazed by the vast expanses of pristine wilderness seen from the deck. We aim to visit several sites with traces of earlier expeditions. We will call at some of the world's northernmost communities, explore legendary inlets and channels, and take you on exciting small boat cruises and landings. When conditions allow, we will launch our kayaks or take you on hikes. Top of the world - Being at the top of the world means sailing in the midst of ice. On this voyage, like the voyages of the explorers before us, we will go where the ice allows. No matter where we sail or what we will see, we can promise a safe and thrilling expedition. After all, we sail into the Northwest Passage, something few ships even attempt today.
    Duration: 24 days
    Passengers: 500 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Copenhagen, Denmark
    Disembarkation Point: Vancouver, Canada
    Physical rating: Soft Adventure
    Fly/Cruise: Mandatory extra flight
    Single Supplement: 0.0x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq; Embarkation Day

      Starting with a flight from Copenhagen, you arrive late in the evening in Kangerlussuaq. The airport here dates back to the Second World War, when the US built this airstrip as a staging post for flights into Europe. Today, this is the main hub for international flights to Greenland’s scattered settlements. Kangerlussuaq means 'big fjord' and once on board, MS Roald Amundsen will sail almost the entire length of the fjord (190 km) before reaching the open sea.

    • Day 2 - Itilleq

      In the early afternoon, we reach the small settlement of Itilleq, translated as “the hollow". The settlement was founded in 1847 on another island, but was later moved one kilometre east to its present location, about 50 km south of Sisimiut at the head of the Itilleq Fjord. Around 130 people live here, mainly engaged in hunting and fishing. The island has no freshwater source, so Itilleq makes use of a facility for creating freshwater from seawater. The church here has an interesting history: It was built in Thule (Umanak- North Greenland) in 1930 and was moved to Itilleq in 1963.

      As its name suggests, the village is situated in a hollow, majestically surrounded by high mountains and glaciers. The settlement is also known as the Arctic Circle Village, with the arc of the Circle found only 200 metres to the south.

      *Please note some excursions may be at an additional cost.

    • Day 3 - Ilulissat

      Ilulissat is set in the stunning scenery of the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just outside the town, at the mouth of the fjord, you can often see enormous icebergs that have run aground that originate from the Jakobshavn Glacier, one of the most productive glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere.

      The icebergs make their way down the 20-km fjord before entering Disko Bay. Marvel at the changes in hue when the iceberg´s surface is struck by the Midnight Sun. Listen to the iceberg´s soundtrack of cracking and rumbling, as the sounds echo from one end of Ilulissat to the other.We offer a variety of excursions here: a short walk through town to a network of short trails that take you to the shores of the fjord. Or, get out on the water to get close to the ice and maybe whales on a local boat, or go high for an aerial view with a flightseeing trip by fixed wing aircraft or helicopter.

      *Please note some excursions may be at an additional cost.

    • Day 4 - Sisimiut

      En route to Sisimiut, we encourage you to be out on deck to scout for whales. The waters close to the settlement are frequented by several species, such as humpback and fin whales. Harbour porpoise and minke whales can be encountered along the west coast of Greenland. If we are lucky, we might also see large numbers of seals, the most common being the harp seal.

      Sisimiutis situated 40 km north of the Arctic Circle, and is a modern settlement that maintains ancient traditions. Come ashore to explore the colourful town, visit the small museum, hike in the hills and shop for local handicrafts. Just across the bay is Disko Island and the settlement of Qeqertarsuaq. This is where the Gjøa Expedition and the second Fram expedition stopped to get dogs and other equipment on their way to the Northwest Passage.

      *Please note some excursions may be at an additional cost.

    • Day 5/6 - At Sea

      We cross the Davis Strait, a northern arm of the Labrador Sea. This strait was named for the English explorer John Davis, who led three expeditions in the area between 1585 and 1587. He was looking for a route through the Northwest Passage, discovering the Hudson Strait in the process. Davis was the first to draw attention to seal hunting and whaling possibilities in the area, and to show that the Newfoundland cod fisheries extended this far north.

    • Day 7 - Pond Inlet, Baffin island

      Explorer Sir John Ross named Pond Inlet in 1818 for John Pond, a renowned British astronomer. Today the picturesque hamlet of Pond Inlet, also called 'Mittimatalik' in Inuktitut, is a traditional Inuit community, located on the northern tip of Baffin Island, near the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage. Pond Inlet is surrounded by mountain ranges, with several dozen glaciers, scenic fjords and inlets, ice caves, geological hoodoos and drifting icebergs nearby.

      As we arrive, we sail through a pretty channel flanked by the peaks and glaciers of Baffin and Bylot Islands. At these latitudes the sea is frozen for most of the year, opening up in July for a short late-summer season. This is where the search for High Arctic wildlife, such as polar bears, can begin. Pond Inlet is also a great place to see large pods of narwhal, signalling the start of our Arctic safari.

      When you come ashore, you will have your first chance to compare life in a settlement in the Canadian Arctic with your experience of Greenland. Pond Inlet has a small visitor centre, and the cultural performance by the local community will be a highlight. In the evening, we will cruise the spectacular Arctic landscape of Eclipse Sound.

      *Please note some excursions may be at an additional cost.

    • Day 8 - Lancaster Sound and Devon Island

      Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island on Earth (Antarctica is counted as a continent).

      On the south coast of Devon Island lies Dundas Harbour, an abandoned settlement with an old Royal Canadian Mounted Police camp and several archaeological sites. Come ashore to see the ruins of some of these buildings, along with an impressive site that traces back to the ancestors of the Inuit, the Thule people. Further west is Croker’s Bay, a large fjord with two tidewater glaciers at the head of the waterway.

      The area is rich in wildlife; we hope to see seal, walrus, beluga whales or even narwhal. Polar bears are frequently sighted in the area and the tundra around the shore supports small populations of Arctic hare and musk ox. This is a perfect place for small boat excursions to get close to rich marine life and beautiful glaciers.

      *Please note some excursions may be at an additional cost.

    • Day 9 - Beechey Island and Prince Leopold Island

      Our first stop today is Beechey Island. This place is closely linked to the history of exploration of the Northwest Passage. The most famous voyage, one surrounded in mystery, is the British expedition led by Sir John Franklin. Two ships sailed into the passage in 1845, but the ships with their 129 crew members vanished into the wilderness.

      It is known that the Franklin Expedition over-wintered on Beechey Island in 1845-1846. Three graves on the shore (plus another from one of the search parties) is proof of the unfortunate outcome for the explorers. The wreckage of the two ships has only been located in recent years. As you go ashore, you will see the graves and the remains of Northumberland House, built by the rescuers searching for Franklin and his men. The desolate location of the graves and the ruins of Northumberland House create a haunting reminder of the incredible challenges faced by explorers in this powerful wilderness.

      Next is Prince Leopold Island. With sheer cliffs rising high above sea level, this oval isle is home to almost 200,000 pairs of sea birds.

      *Please note some excursions may be at an additional cost.

    • Day 10/11 - Fort Ross, The Bellot Strait and Conningham Bay

      The Bellot Strait is a narrow passage serving as the transit from Prince Regent Inlet to Peel Sound and Franklin Strait. To the south of the channel is the Boothia Peninsula - the northernmost point in mainland North America. The strait, about 2 km wide, has fierce currents that can run up to 15 km per hour. There may be the added navigational challenge of ice in the water. As a result, a careful assessment of the conditions on the day is required and the transit must be timed to avoid the strongest currents. No need to worry, though.

      MS Roald Amundsen is a purpose-built as an expedition vessel with ice strengthening, ship-depth sounding database, extractable forward-sounding sonar and iceberg search lights – and the Captain and his crew are experienced in sailing treacherous waters. At the eastern end of the channel is historic Fort Ross, a trading post established by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1937. There are still two small huts ashore that are maintained by the Canadian Coast Guard, occasionally used by the local Inuit for shelter during hunting trips. Having explored Fort Ross, we attempt a transit through the narrows of Bellot Strait. This strait is where the waters of the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans meet.

      After crossing the Passage, we will leave the Atlantic Ocean and enter the Pacific. We will continue looking out for wildlife, of course. Remember, the more eyes keeping watch, the better the chance of spotting polar bears, which are often seen in this area.

      After our safe emergence from the Bellot Strait, we cross Victoria Strait and arrive at Coningham Bay, where we launch our tender boats to explore. We hope to see a lot of wildlife, as this shallow, broad bay is a known hotspot for belugas and polar bears.

      *Please note some excursions may be at an additional cost.

    • Day 12 - At Sea

      Enjoy navigating through the 180 km long and 50-65 km wide James Ross Strait, named after British polar explorer James Clark Ross. In addition, Roald Amundsen sailed here on the Gjøa Expedition. The strait runs between King William Island and the Boothia Peninsula. Based on conditions at hand, we will conduct landings for hikes or small boat cruising.

    • Day 13 - Gjøa Haven

      Gjøa Haven is a popular destination for fans of Arctic history. The name honours the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who wintered here on the Gjøa Expedition. He called the place 'the finest little harbour in the world.' Amundsen and his men spent two years at Gjøa Haven, where they collected data and hunted for caribou. When Amundsen first arrived, there were no European settlements here, so the Norwegian spent time learning about polar survival from the local community. The local tribe, the Netsilik Inuit, are direct descendants of the ancient Thule people and have lived in the area for over a thousand years.

      The John Ross expedition of 1829-1833 had previously visited this region and the ill-fated John Franklin expedition of 1845 perished nearby, so Gjøa Haven is often visited by Arctic history buffs. Today the settlement is known for its vibrant arts and crafts scene, where carvers render fine shamanistic faces and talented seamstresses produce beautiful examples of Inuit clothing. It is also home to excellent cultural venues, including the Heritage Centre, the Hamlet Centre and the Northwest Passage Territorial Trail.

      In the warm months, when the tundra is covered with flowers and the sea is open, numerous Arctic birds nest nearby, including loons, geese, ducks, terns, jaegers, plovers, snow buntings and snowy owls. A handsome herd of musk oxen lives on the island and there are some caribou too. When we arrive, we will be warmly welcomed to 'the finest little harbour in the world.'

      *Please note some excursions may be at an additional cost.

    • Day 14 - Cambridge Bay, Victoria Island

      The community of Cambridge Bay is located on the southeast coast of Victoria Island. In Inuinnaqtun it is called 'Iqaluktuuttiaq', meaning a 'good fishing place.' The hamlet is located close to the Ekalluk River, which is famous for giant char. It is rich in archaeological history and blessed with abundant fish, seals, geese, muskoxen and caribou.

      Archaeological sites found throughout this enormous island prove that indigenous peoples have been living in this part of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago continuously for the last four thousand years. Roald Amundsen visited the Cambridge Bay in 1905. In 1918 he traversed the same route back from west to east in his new ship Maud. The Hudson Bay Company then purchased this vessel as a fur trading supply ship, arriving in Cambridge Bay in 1921.

      The Maud was used until she sank in the harbour in 1930 and her exposed hull served as a Cambridge Bay landmark for 80 years. A project is currently underway to re-float the vessel and return her to Norway. Wildlife abounds in this area with caribou, muskoxen and seals. In August, when the tundra is brilliant with wildflowers, it is also teeming with birds.

      *Please note some excursions may be at an additional cost.

    • Day 15 - Coronation Gulf and Amundsen Gulf

      We sail first through Coronation Gulf and then, no doubt with some celebration, enter our namesake: the Amundsen Gulf. Here we leave behind the series of islands and maze of channels that perplexed early explorers. The next section of the transit features an unobstructed ocean between us and the North Pole!

      Spend your time enjoying some illuminating lectures, sampling the fitness suite and swimming pool on board, or organizing your photographs. There will also be gatherings with the Expedition team to summarize the voyage so far, and present the plan for the days to come.

    • Day 16 - Ulukhaktokk

      Ulukhaktokk, formerly known as Holman, is a settlement on the west coast of Victoria Island, in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Due to the remote location, the people of Ulukhaktokk have had little to do with the rest of the world and remain traditional in many aspects of their daily life. Around 460 people call this remote village home.

      The area is known for slate and copper unearthed in the region, which is used for "ulus" – traditional semi-lunar shaped knives. Local artisans are also internationally famed for traditional Inuit Art and Print Making. This remote spot is also known for having the world's most northerly golf course, where they host an annual tournament for 4 days every summer.

      *Please note some excursions may be at an additional cost.

    • Day 17 - Smoking Hills

      Having been burning for centuries, the Smoking Hills are a remarkable sight, with smoke billowing from the cliffs on the east coast of Cape Bathurst. Local Lignite - a combination of shale and pyrite – spontaneously ignites when exposed to air, due to the erosion of the hills. In 1850, a search party was sent to the area to locate the lost Franklin expedition. Having spotted the smoke, a team was sent ashore to investigate, believing it to be the campfires of the missing expedition team, only to discover billows of smoke coming from the cliffs, leaving them no closer to finding the lost Franklin team.

      The name of the nearby settlement of Paulatuuq translates to "place of coal".

      *Please note some excursions may be at an additional cost.

    • Day 18/19 - The Beaufort Sea

      Lazy days at sea are yours to enjoy. We sail through the Beaufort Sea, named for Sir Francis Beaufort who in 1805 developed his eponymous wind scale for describing the force of the wind. He later directed operations to search for Franklin in the Northwest passage. On board, you can take advantage of the facilities and treat yourself to some genuine relaxation. There will be plenty time to get to know the other explorers on board, and we will invite you to spend time out on deck to fully enjoy the experience of being at sea.

    • Day 20 - Point Barrow, Alaska

      As well as being the northernmost point of Alaska (and therefore the USA), Point Barrow also marks the end of our navigation of the Beaufort Sea and our entry into the Chukchi Sea. We will keep a sharp eye open here for bowhead and grey whales. The near-by settlement of Barrow is a city when compared to our previous landings, and indeed despite a population of just 4,000, enjoys full city status. The Inupiat Heritage Center offers visitors the opportunity to purchase arts and crafts such as local carvings, masks, parkas and fur mittens.

      *Please note some excursions may be at an additional cost.

    • Day 21/22 - At Sea

      Vitus Bering first sailed this strait in 1728, without any of the comforts found onboard today. Our last sea days are a chance to organise your photos, dash off some postcards or simply lounge in the pool. We will sail around the westernmost point of the north American continent, Cape Prince of Wales at 168°W.

    • Day 23 - Nome, Alaska / Vancouver, Canada; Disembarkation Day

      Our epic voyage comes to an end at Nome, where Roald Amundsen finished the first crossing of the Northwest Passage in 1906. In 1898 three lucky Swedish men discovered gold in the nearby Anvil Creek, and within a year, 10,000 men had arrived desperate to repeat the feat. In the winter of 1925 Nome suffered an outbreak of diphtheria whilst cut off from the rest of the world by snow and sea ice. The only way to get the serum to treat the disease from Anchorage, 1,000 miles away, was by a relay team of dog sledges. This colourful local history is on display at the Carrie M. McLain Museum.

      Disembarkation and transfer to the airport for your flight to Vancouver takes place in the morning, and after arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel for an overnight.

    • Day 24 - Vancouver, Canada

      Vancouver ranks among the most sustainable cities in North America. Take time to enjoy the culture, restaurants, shops, art and music scenes in a stunning natural setting. Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before your departure home.

    Please consider that our voyages are expeditionary in nature. This means, that there are no concrete itineraries, your captain and expedition leader will utilise their vast experience to chart the best course for your expedition depending on the climatic and environmental conditions. Mentioned highlights and wildlife cannot be guaranteed.

  • Highlights & Activities

    The Northwest Passage

    Be amazed by the vast expanses of pristine wilderness seen from the deck. We aim to visit several sites with traces of earlier expeditions. We will call at some of the world’s northernmost communities, explore legendary inlets and channels, and take you on exciting small boat cruising and landings. When conditions allow we will launch our kayaks or take you on hikes.

    Search for Polar bears

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  • Inclusions

    Expedition Jacket

    Wind and water resistant jacket

    Economy Flights

    Your voyage includes flights in economy class from;

    - Copenhagen, Denmark to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland &
    - Nome, Alaska to Vancouver, Canada

    Post-Cruise Accommodation

    Your voyage includes 1 night at a hotel in Vancouver after your voyage.

    Inclusions / Exclusions

    Included in your Expedition

    - Zodiac and land excursions with our expert expedition team
    - Transfers on embarkation and disembarkation day

    Not included in your Expedition

    - Items of a personal nature such as; Beverages / Laundry / Medical expenses / Gratuities / Internet & Wifi
    - Luggage handling
    - Travel insurance (mandatory)
    - International and internal flights that are not specified
    - Optional excursion and activities not included in the voyage itinerary
  • Map
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  • Gallery
  • Vessel

    ROALD AMUNDSEN

    Named after two of the greatest heroes in Polar history, MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridtjof Nansen, our new hybrid-powered expedition ships, will combine state of the art technology and premium onboard experience with 125 years of experience and unparalleled destinations. The result: The next generation of adventure travel. With the great explorers deeply rooted in our history and heritage, these ships aim to be one step ahead when exploring the world. They will be moving boundaries for the technology, for the industry and for our guests. Currently under construction at Kleven Yard in Norway, MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridtjof Nansen will debut in 2018 and 2019 – and has been branded as the world’s greenest, safest and most advanced expedition ships. One of the most eye-catching exterior design features of the ships will be the two-level indoor/outdoor Observation Deck wrapped around the top of the ships’ raked bow. In a vast area behind it, you’ll find the core of the onboard experience: Amundsen Science Center / Nansen Science Center. Packed with state of the art technology and high tech gadgets such as touch screens and science equipment, the immersive edutainment area will be the place guests and staff/crew meet, mingle and create a deeper understanding for the areas they explore. The flexible venue will feature lecture spaces, a small library, and speciality areas for workshops in photography, biology, and more. The area, featuring large windows, will also be the onboard HQ for Hurtigruten’s hand-picked Exedition Team. In addition to vast in- and outdoor Observation Decks, guests can enjoy the scenery and drinks through the large panoramic windows on the forward-facing Explorer Lounge on deck 10. The stunning scenery will be reflected in a rich and comfortable interior design. Scandinavian materials from nature, such as granite, oak, birch and wool will be used to create relaxed and stylish cabins and public areas. All cabins are outside, 50 % will have private balconies, aft suites will feature private outdoor Jacuzzis with spectacular views.

    Features & Facilities
    Key Facts
    Luxury star rating: 5
    Guests #: 500
    Crew #: 151
    Ice Class: PC6
    Speed: 13
    Refurbished:
    Technical Specs
    Year built: 2018
    Length: 140m
    Width:
    Draft:
    Tonnage: 20889
    Registry: Norway
    Elec Outlets: 2 Round Prongs
Check Voyage Dates, Pricing and Availability
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roald amundsen arctic superior

2. Arctic Superior

20 Aug 2019 - 12 Sep 2019
Arctic Superior class cabins are comfortable and roomy accommodation and most have balconies. Flexible sleeping arrangements, sofa beds, TV and other features make this one of our most popular categories. Our Arctic Superior concept includes an amenity kit, kettle, tea and coffee. Can accommodate two to four passengers. [IMPORTANT] Please note that on board the Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen each cabin category has multiple sub-categories. These vessels work with a dynamic pricing structure based on yield, which is why are unable to show the cost of the cabin. Enquire now for the cost of this cabin category.
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roald amundsen polar outside

1. Polar Outside

20 Aug 2019 - 12 Sep 2019
The Polar Outside cabins are primarily on the middle decks with windows, most are spacious, have flexible sleeping arrangements and TV for excellent and high standard accommodation. Can accommodate two to four passengers. [IMPORTANT] Please note that on board the Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen each cabin category has multiple sub-categories. These vessels work with a dynamic pricing structure based on yield, which is why are unable to show the cost of the cabin. Enquire now for the cost of this cabin category.
AUD $POA
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roald amundsen expedition suite

3. Expedition Suite

20 Aug 2019 - 12 Sep 2019
These suites are large, well-appointed cabins with expansive windows and most have balconies. Some have private outside Jacuzzi. The suites feature flexible sleeping arrangements with comfortable sofas, sitting areas and TV. Expedition suites are exclusively in upper and mid-deck locations. Our Expedition Suite concept includes an amenity kit, bathrobe, espresso maker, and more. Can accommodate up to four passengers. [IMPORTANT] Please note that on board the Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen each cabin category has multiple sub-categories. These vessels work with a dynamic pricing structure based on yield, which is why are unable to show the cost of the cabin. Enquire now for the cost of this cabin category.
AUD $POA
AUD $POA