fram northwest passage cruise

The Northwest Passage - In the Wake of Great Explorers - Westbound

  • Overview
    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 route through the Canadian Arctic was a holy grail for explorers. 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 1834. The first to conquer the Northwest Passage by ship was Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. His expedition lasted from 1903 to 1906, on the converted herring boat Gjøa. On our Hurtigruten voyage, we sail in the wake of the great explorers to discover these renowned waterways. Starting in Kangerlussuaq, you have a chance to see some of the 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, starting our expedition into the heart and history of the Northwest passage. The true north We make our way through the icy waters of Arctic Canada, or Nunavut as it is known in Inuit. 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 cruising 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, you will sail into the Northwest Passage, something few ships attempt even today.
    Duration: 13 days
    Passengers: 318 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Copenhagen, Denmark
    Disembarkation Point: Edmonton, Canada
    Physical rating: Expedition
    Fly/Cruise: Mandatory extra flight
    Single Supplement: 0.0x - 2.0x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Copenhagen/Kangerlussuaq; Flying north

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

    • Day 2 - Sisimiut; Modern settlement with ancient traditions

      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. Sisimiut is situated 40 km north of the Arctic Circle. It 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 Disco Bay is the Disco Island and settlement 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.

    • Day 3 - Ilulissat; Witness the “birth” of icebergs

      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. They 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 Disco Bay. Marvel at the changes in hue of the ice when the iceberg surface is struck by the Midnight Sun. Hear the icebergs’ soundtrack of cracking and rumbling, as the sounds echo from one end of Ilulissat to the other. We offer a variety of options for viewing the Icefjord. A short walk through town will bring you to the head of a network of short trails that take you to the shores of the fjord. There are also options to get out on the water to see the ice and maybe whales from local boats, or to get high up for an aerial view with flightseeing trips by fixed wing aircraft or helicopter.

    • Day 4/5 - At sea; Crossing the Davis strait

      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 North West Passage, and he discovered the Hudson Strait. Davis was the first to draw attention to seal hunting and whaling possibilities in the Davis Strait, and to show that the Newfoundland cod fisheries extended this far north.

    • Day 6 - Pond Inlet, Baffin island; One of Canada's true jewels of the north.

      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. 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, only 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 that you have seen in 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.

    • Day 7 - Landcaster Sound and Devon Island; Abandoned settlements and wildlife encounters

      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 archeological sites. Come shore to see the ruins of some of these buildings, along with an impressive Thule site.

      The Thule people were the ancestors of the Inuit. Further west is Croker’s Bay, a large fjord with two tidewater glaciers at the head of the bay. The area is rich in wildlife and as with any expedition in the Arctic, the search for natural encounters is part of the experience. We may see several seal species such as walrus, beluga or even narwhal. Polar bears are frequently seen 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 see marine life and glaciers up close.

    • Day 8 - Beechy Island and Radstock Bay; Thrilling locations for history buffs

      Our first stop today is Radstock Bay. It is dominated by the striking landmark Caswell Tower - a prominence of sedimentary rock rising from the sea. The shoreline around Caswall Tower is a good location for short walks to a pre-historic Inuit dwelling site. Caswall Tower features a challenging hike to the summit for great views over the surrounding area. The summit is the location of a small station used seasonally for polar bear research.

      Next up is Beechy 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 neither the ships nor any of the 129 crewmembers were ever seen again. It is known that the Franklin Expedition over-wintered on Beechy 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 expedition members.

      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.

    • Day 9 - Fort Ross and The Bellot Strait; Fierce currents and icebergs

      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, you find 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 Fram was purpose built as an expedition vessel with a 1B ice class, 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 having crossed the passage we will be leaving the Atlantic Ocean and enter the Pacific Ocean. We will continue looking out for wildlife. Remember the more eyes keeping watch, the bigger the chance of spotting the polar bear, which is often seen in this area.

    • Day 10 - At sea; Cruising Conningham Bay

      After the safe emergence from the Bellot strait we cross Victoria Strait and arrive at Conningham Bay. We will launch our tender boats and explore the bay. We hope for wildlife sightings, as this shallow, broad bay is a known hotspot for belugas and polar bears.Enjoy navigating through the 180 km long and 50-65 km wide James Ross Strait. It is named after British Polar explorer James Clark Ross, and Roald Amundsen sailed here on the Gjøa Expedition. The strait runs between King William Island and the Boothia Peninsula and based on conditions at hand we will conduct landings for hikes or small boat cruising.

    • Day 11 - At sea; Cruising the James Ross Strait

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

    • Day 12 - Gjøa Haven; The heart of the Northwest Passage

      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, and they were busily engaged in collecting scientific data. Hunting caribou and exploring the surrounding area varied their work routines. When Amundsen arrived, there was no European settlement here. But he was in contact with the local Inuit and he learned a lot from them about survival and travel in polar regions.

      The local Inuit people, the Netsilik Inuit, are direct descendants of the ancient Thule people and they 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 are famous for their renderings of shamanistic faces and talented seamstresses produce beautiful articles 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 muskoxen 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.'

    • Day 13 - 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 all over 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 called the Maud.

      The Hudson Bay Company purchased this vessel as a fur trading supply ship, arriving in Cambridge Bay in 1921. The Maud was used for years before it sank in the harbour. Its exposed hull has been a Cambridge Bay landmark for 80 years. An attempt 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. This is where the expedition ends.

      After disembarkation in the morning, we will transfer you to the airport for your flight to Edmonton, followed by a transfer to your hotel and overnight stay.

    • Day 14 - Edmonton, Canada; Departure Day

      Fly home or extend your experience with more days to explore Edmonton. The contrast to your recent expedition through the Northwest Passage will provide a delightful and striking ending note to your journey. Edmonton is the capital city of the province of Alberta.

      Located on the North Saskatchewan river, provides it a wide range of cultural, sporting and tourist attractions. Stroll through the Fort Edmonton Park, Canada's largest living history museum, discover the West Edmonton Mall, the largest mall in North America and enjoy the longest stretch of urban parkland in North America, the Edmonton's river valley.

    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.

    The Northwest Passage

    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, you will sail into the Northwest Passage, something few ships attempt even today.

  • Inclusions

    Dynamic Cabin Pricing

    Cabin prices on board the Fram are dynamic, that is the cabin pricing fluctuates with changes in bookings and exchange rates. Cabin prices below are not guaranteed and are subject to change and availability at the operators discretion. Please feel free to contact us for the most accurate pricing on this voyage.

    Expedition Gear

    Expedition boots and a specially designed high quality polar expedition jacket are provided on board.

    Inclusions / Exclusions

    Included in your Expedition

    - Transfers where stated in the itinerary
    - Excursion a shore and lectures
    - Expedition jacket
    - Flights where stated in the itinerary
    - One night hotel pre-cruise
    - Accommodation while on board
    - Hot beverages

    Not included in your Expedition

  • Map
    Map coming soon
  • Gallery
  • Vessel

    FRAM

    The ship is purpose-built as an expedition vessel with a higher ice-class, chart drawing tools,ship depth sounding database, extractable forward sounding sonar, iceberg search lights, autonomous tracking system, oversized oil retention system for self-sufficiency, and a full ‘expedition tools-deck’ equivalent to a car-deck that holds 25 vehicles. We believe that as an explorer you need an ‘expedition base-camp’ that is comfortable – something that combines ‘all oceans capabilities’ with safety, flexibility and environmental friendliness. That’s Fram – simply the best expedition ship imaginable. The observation lounge, with comfortable sitting areas at the top of the ship and large panoramic windows, gives you incredible views of nature. A pair of binoculars is installed for spotting wildlife and details of the ever changing landscape. In the restaurant on deck 5, you can enjoy the finest cuisine. The floor has different levels, so no matter where your table is placed; there are views to the outdoors. The restaurant is located in the aft of the ship, on your way there you walk through an exhibition of original artefacts from the historic expeditions of Amundsen and Nansen. At the far end of the restaurant there is a balcony for taking pictures when wildlife show up during a meal. On deck 7 you will find a well-equipped fitness room, with its panoramic ocean view there is no better place to exercise. On top of the ship you can get warm and cosy in the sauna or bathe in one of the outdoor Jacuzzis. Let the warm water surround you while the icebergs float silently past the side of the ship. With 127 cabins on Fram, you have a choice of comfortable cabins and a number of superior suites to choose from. Our suites are named after Norwegian polar heroes, MS Fram travels in the wake of these great explorers. We are very proud of the art commissioned for MS Fram – local artists from the Arctic have contributed to making her a modern masterpiece. The ‘tender pit’ is where we embark, fully dressed in suitable expedition and excursion gear, on our sturdy Polarcirkel boats to take you safely from ship to shore. The original Fram was a ship for broadening the understanding of the world – let the new MS Fram do the same for you.

    Features & Facilities
    • Enhanced expedition vessel
    • Superior accommodation
    • Observation lounge with panoramic windows
    • Restaraunt
    • Gym with panoramic windows
    • Sauna
    • Outdoor Jacuzzies
    • Internet/Wifi
    Key Facts
    Luxury star rating: 4
    Guests #: 318
    Crew #: 75
    Ice Class: 1B
    Speed: 16
    Refurbished:
    Technical Specs
    Year built:
    Length: 113m
    Width: 20
    Draft:
    Tonnage: 11647
    Registry: Norway
    Elec Outlets: 220V / 2 Round Pin
Check Voyage Dates, Pricing and Availability
All available dates

Polar Outside Middle Deck - Quad

19 Aug 2019 - 31 Aug 2019
Quad cabin, private facilities, with limited view.
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Polar Outside Upper Deck

19 Aug 2019 - 31 Aug 2019
Twin cabin, private facilities, with a limited view.
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Polar Outside Middle Deck - Twin

19 Aug 2019 - 31 Aug 2019
Twin cabin, private facilities, some with double bed.
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Polar Inside Middle Deck - Quad

19 Aug 2019 - 31 Aug 2019
Quad cabin, private facilities, some with double bed.
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Polar Inside Middle Deck - Twin

19 Aug 2019 - 31 Aug 2019
Twin cabin, private facilities, some with double bed.
USD $POA
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Arctic Superior - Upper Deck Twin

19 Aug 2019 - 31 Aug 2019
Top/upper deck twin cabin, private facilities, some with double beds.
USD $POA
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Arctic Superior - Middle Deck Twin

19 Aug 2019 - 31 Aug 2019
Twin cabin on upper or middle deck, private facilities, some with double beds.
USD $POA
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Expedition Suite

19 Aug 2019 - 31 Aug 2019
Twin cabin on upper deck, sitting room, private facilities, most with double beds.
USD $POA
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Expedition Grand Suite

19 Aug 2019 - 31 Aug 2019
Twin cabin, private facilities, sitting room, some with double bed, bathtub, private balcony, and/or bay window.
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