Venture deep into the far reaches of the Arctic, a land where polar bears roam, walruses loll, and hardy Inuit communities maintain their traditional way of life. Aboard National Geographic Explorer, trace the fjords of Greenland and navigate the eastern entrance to Canada’s legendary Northwest Passage. Spot polar bears on the pack ice, and muskoxen on the tundra. Watch for a wide variety of whales — from minke and killer whales to the rare narwhal, with its long tusk that can project up to ten feet. Get up close to massive glaciers, and hike the wild islands that dot Canada’s northern shores.
Spend a week discovering the incredible wildlife and landscapes of the Canadian High Arctic.
Glide between soaring icebergs at the mouth of the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Observe polar bears, walruses, ringed seals, belugas and narwhals in their natural habitat.
Explore Uummannaq, site of Greenland’s impressive mummy find, and visit the historic Inuit village of Sermermiut, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
NOTE: REVERSE ITINERARY on some departures means different start and end points. Before booking flights, please confirm with an Expedition Specialist.
Arctic Quest: Greenland and the Canadian High Arctic (Nat Geo) itinerary:
DAY 1 — U.S./Ottawa, Canada **some trips operate in reverse - see Dates and Rates**
Arrive in Ottawa and check into the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel.
DAY 2 — Ottawa/Fly To Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Fly by chartered aircraft to Greenland. Embark National Geographic Explorer at the head of Kangerlussuaq Fjord, a picturesque waterway that stretches 100 miles.
DAY 3 — Greenland’s West Coast & Sisimiut
Dozens of deep fjords carve into Greenland’s west coast, many with glaciers fed by the ice cap that covers 80% of the country. Trace this ragged coastline, and search for humpback and minke whales. At Sisimiut, a former whaling port, visit the museum and wander amid a jumble of wooden 18th-century buildings. (B,L,D)
DAY 4 — Disko Bay & Ilulissat
Sail into Disko Bay and set out to explore the Ilulissat Glacier, a tongue of the Greenland ice cap. Take an extraordinary cruise among towering icebergs. Explore the historic Inuit fishing village of Sermermiut, and view the Ilulissat Icefjord and its immense, calving glacier.
DAY 5 — Uummannaq
In 1972, Uummannaq was the site of Greenland’s most remarkable archaeological find when an astounding collection of preserved mummies dating back to 1475 was discovered among the remains of an old Inuit settlement. The mummies were featured on the cover of the February 1985 issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC magazine.
DAY 6 — At Sea In Baffin Bay
DAY 7 — Exploring The Canadian High Arctic
Carved by Ice Age glaciers, Lancaster Sound is the eastern gateway to the Arctic Archipelago. European explorers like William Baffin first ventured here in the 15th century to search for the Northwest Passage. The sound has been a favorite Inuit hunting and fishing location for hundreds of years. Our days here will be spent searching for ringed seals, arctic foxes, walruses, and polar bears, as well as beluga, killer, and bowhead whales. We may even see the elusive narwhal, an arctic whale known for the long, spiraling tooth that projects up to ten feet from its upper jaw. Delve into the region’s human history on visits to vibrant Inuit villages sustained by fishing and artistic traditions, and to archaeological sites of the Thule people.
DAY 14 — Hall Peninsula
We spend another day in true expedition style, exploring the unspoiled Hall Peninsula of Baffin Island. Hike the tundra in search of caribou and arctic foxes, or follow our botanist to learn more about the hardy arctic plants. The exposed rocky cliffs of Monumental and Lady Franklin Islands are used as haul-outs by walruses. We’ll cruise the coastline in search of these icons of the Canadian North.
DAY 15 — South Baffin Island/Frobisher Bay
The southeastern tip of Baffin Island forms the mouth of the Hudson Strait and is surrounded by tiny islands. Lower Savage and Resolution Islands are often a summer home to polar bears stranded by the retreating pack ice. Navigate the ice floes and rocks in a Zodiac, and spot harbor seals frolicking in the icy waters. Continue into Frobisher Bay — named for the English navigator who came across it on his quest for the Northwest Passage— and sail towards Iqaluit.
DAY 16-17 — Disembark Iqaluit, Nunavut/Ottawa, Canada/U.S.
Disembark in Iqaluit and fly to Ottawa, Canada by chartered aircraft. Overnight in Ottawa at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, or similar. Fly home the next day.
National Geographic Explorer
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 108 meters
Beam: 16.5 meters
Speed (average): 14 knots
Built / Refurbished: 1982 / 2008
Capacity: 148 (single & twin cabins)
National Geographic Explorer is a state-of-the-art expedition ship. It is a fully stabilized, ice-class vessel, enabling it to navigate polar passages while providing exceptional comfort. It carries kayaks and a fleet of Zodiac landing craft. An Undersea Specialist operates a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and sophisticated video equipment, extending access to the underwater world.
Public areas: Bistro Bar; Chart Room; Restaurant; Global Gallery; Library, Lounge with full service bar and state-of-the-art facilities for films, slideshows and presentations; Mud Room with lockers for expedition gear, and Observation Lounge. Our “Open Bridge” provides guests an opportunity to meet our Officers and Captain and learn about navigation.
Meals: Served in single seatings with unassigned tables for an informal atmosphere and easy mingling. Menu is international with local flair.
Cabins: All cabins face outside with windows or portholes, private facilities and climate controls.
Expedition Equipment: Zodiac landing craft, kayaks, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), hydrophone, SplashCam, underwater video camera, Crow’s Nest remote controlled camera, video microscope, snorkeling gear.
Special Features: A full-time doctor, Undersea Specialist, LEX Photo Specialist and Video Chronicler, Internet Cafe and laundry.
Wellness: The vessel is staffed by two Wellness Specialists and features a glass enclosed Fitness Center, outdoor stretching area, two LEXspa treatment rooms and Sauna.