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The Northwest Passage - M/S Fram
14 days
Arctic, Denmark, Greenland - Trip code FRNW

The Northwest Passage - M/S Fram

Sail in the wake of the early explorers from Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, to Cambridge Bay in Canada. Experience the raw and daunting beauty of the terrain that some of history's greatest explorers had to overcome. Even today, few ships have the capability of navigating this sea passage that cuts through the remote Arctic regions of North America - on this voyage of discovery, we will do just that!

Trip highlights

  • Sail - into the fabled Northwest Passage
  • Discover the Illulissat Icefjord - a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Discover more about the Amundsen expedition - as you explore Gjoa Haven
  • Re trace history - as you sail the route of the early Arctic explorers
Accommodation grade:
Premium
Our premium accommodation is hand-picked and chosen for its character, location or local importance. These properties have excellent facilities and a higher level of comfort and service. They provide the perfect wind down after an active day.
Trip pace:
Relaxed
You can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences on these Relaxed pace tours, with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings, but still come home feeling relaxed and refreshed.

Itinerary

Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Montreal

Your expedition starts with an overnight stay in Montreal. Take in the charming 18th-century facades of Old Montreal, before strolling along the Canal de Lachine. Discover the numerous downtown shops and sample one of the most exciting food scenes in North America. Montreal is famed for Kamouraska lamb and Arctic char and also Poutine: fries covered in cheese curd and gravy. Montreal also offers irresistible patisseries, delis and magnificent food markets reminiscent of Paris.

Accommodation: M/S Fram(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals provided : Dinner
Day 2 - Montreal to Cambridge Bay, Victoria Island

An early morning transfer will take you to the airport for your flight to Cambridge Bay. 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 continuously been living in this part of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago for the last four thousand years. Roald Amundsen visited 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 many years before it sank in the harbour. Its exposed hull has been a landmark here for 80 years and a conservation project is currently underway to re-float the vessel and return her to Norway. Wildlife abounds in this area with caribou, muskoxen and seals. It is from here that the \i M Fram\i0 will take you into the Northwest Passage.

Accommodation: M/S Fram(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 3 - Gjoa Haven

Gjoa Haven is a popular destination for those who are intrigued by Arctic history. The name honours the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who wintered here on the Gjoa Expedition. He called the place 'the finest little harbour in the World.' Amundsen and his men spent two years at Gjoa Haven, as they 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 these 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 Gjoa Haven is often visited by Arctic history buffs. Today the settlement is known for its vibrant arts and crafts scene, famous for their carvings of shamanistic faces and here, you will also find the talented work of local seamstresses who 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.'

Accommodation: M/S Fram(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 4 - At Sea

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 Gjoa Expedition. The strait runs between King William Island and the Boothia Peninsula and based on the conditions of the day, we will either conduct landings for hikes or use the Polar Cirkle boats for cruising.

Accommodation: M/S Fram(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 5 - At Sea

When we arrive in Coningham Bay, we will launch our Polarcirkle boats and explore the bay. We hope for wildlife sightings, as this shallow, broad bay is a known hotspot for belugas and polar bears. 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 will find the Boothia Peninsula - the northernmost point in mainland North America. The Strait, approximately 2 km wide, has fierce currents that can reach up to 15 km per hour. There may be the added navigational challenge of ice in these waters. As a result, a careful assessment of the conditions is required and our transit will be timed so that we avoid the strongest currents. The sturdy M Fram was built as an expedition vessel with an ice-rated hull to deal with these ice conditions, both the ship and the captain are experienced in sailing through treacherous seas and the captain will ensure that the crossing is made in a safe and timely manner. We will continue looking out for wildlife - remember to keep eyes peeled as the more people spotting for wildlife, the greater the chance of seeing a polar bear, who are often seen roaming in this area. This strait is where the waters of the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans meet and having crossed the passage, we will be leaving the Pacific Ocean and entering into theAtlantic Ocean.

Accommodation: M/S Fram(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 6 - Fort Ross

At the end of the channel is historic Fort Ross, a trading post established by the Hudson 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.

Accommodation: M/S Fram(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 7 - Beechy Island and Radstock Bay

Our first stop today is is Beechy Island - a place closely linked to the exploration history 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. Our next stop Radstock Bay, 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, leading to a pre-historic Inuit dwelling site. The tower features a challenging hike to the summit, offering great views over the surrounding area. At the top, you will also find a small station used seasonally for polar bear research.

Accommodation: M/S Fram(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 8 - Landcaster Sound and Devon Island

Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island on Earth. 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. Go ashore 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 wildlife and glaciers up close.

Accommodation: M/S Fram(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 9 - Pond Inlet, Baffin Island

In the morning, we will head further south and cruise the spectacular Arctic landscape of Eclipse Sound, before we arrive in Pond Inlet. Explorer Sir John Ross named Pond Inlet in 1818 for John Pond, a renowned British astronomer. Today this picturesque hamlet, 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 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. Pond Inlet has a small visitor centre and the cultural performance by the local community will be a highlight.

Accommodation: M/S Fram(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 10 - At Sea

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

Accommodation: M/S Fram(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 11 - At Sea

Enjoy informative lectures on the early exploration of this area as we continue across the Davis Strait.

Accommodation: M/S Fram(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 12 - Ilulissat

The meaning of Ilulissat is icebergs and the Ilulissat Ice fjord was inscribed to the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 2004. The floating icebergs form impressive sculptures against the Arctic backdrop with colours varying, depending on the light cast by the Midnight Sun. Hear the icebergs' soundtrack of crackling and rumbling, as the sounds echo from one end of Ilulissat to the other. Our shore excursions include hikes, an historic town walk and a boat tour to the ice fjord.

Accommodation: M/S Fram(or similar)

Premium Boat
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 13 - Sisimiut

En route to Sisimiut, we encourage you to go out on deck. The waters close to the settlement are frequented by several species of marine wildlife, including humpback and fin whales. Minke whales can also be encountered along the west coast of Greenland. If you are lucky, you may also see large numbers of seals, the most common being the harp seal. Sisimiut is the second largest community in Greenland and is situated 40 km north of the Arctic Circle. Here you'll find fishing trawlers, a shipyard and a busy fish processing factory. We recommend a visit to the arts and crafts workshop close to the pier. Watch the local craftsmen at work, as they create traditional jewellery. Here you will have the opportunity to purchase some of their handicrafts and local souvenirs.

Meals provided : Breakfast
Day 14 - Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq

Kangerlussuaq means 'big fjord' and the M Fram will sail almost the entire length of the 190km fjord, before reaching the town. As we arrive in Kangerlussuaq, the expedition comes to a close. After debarkation, enjoy a final excursion to the Greenland Ice Sheet, which stretches 1,500 miles north and reaches heights of up to 3,200 metres above sea level. The road to the edge of the Ice Sheet boasts beautiful, natural scenery, ranging from Arctic desert and tundra, to hilly terrain, offering breathtaking views over the landscape. Your flight to Copenhagen will depart late in the evening.

Meals provided : Breakfast
Day 15 - Arrive Copenhagen

Arrive in Copenhagen early in the morning.

Polar information

Ship information
The M Fram is a comfortable vessel for your polar exploration with modern amenities such as a fitness room, Jacuzzi and sauna. The ample indoor and outdoor public spaces are designed to ensure you enjoy the passing scenery and wildlife sightings; each table in the restaurant has scenic views and the observation lounge has panoramic windows. There's also a selection of shore excursions to choose from, allowing you to experience as much of the polar wilderness as possible.

What's included?

Included meals
  • Breakfast: 13
  • Lunch: 11
  • Dinner: 12
Transport
  • MS Fram
  • Zodiac
Trip staff
  • Expedition Crew
  • Naturalist(s)
Accommodation
  • 12 nights premium boat
Award Winning Explore Leaders
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Price Guarantee Promise
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Airport Transfers
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FairFX currency card
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Trip information

Country information

Arctic Region Holidays & Tours

Denmark Trips

Greenland Trips

Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

Whilst landings are included in the cost of your trip as per the outline itinerary, there are many optional excursions available on your voyage that can be pre-booked with the ship operator directly. These will be charged at an additional fee, depending on the excursion, and we recommend booking these in advance to ensure availability. Please speak to a member of our Polar team who will advise you on the booking process.

Clothing

Pack comfortable, casual clothing for all activities. Wind and waterproof outer layers are essential, and a jacket is provided in the cost of the cruise. Beware of tight clothing that leaves no room for trapped air, which is an excellent insulator. Wool, silk and some of the new synthetic fibres, like polar fleece, retain heat better than cotton. Parkas A wind and waterproof jacket is provided as part of the cost of your holiday. Gloves Keeping your hands warm and dry can be a challenge. Thin polypropylene gloves can be worn underneath warm outergloves. This allows you some protection from the cold when removing your gloves to operate your camera etc. We strongly recommend that you bring more than one pair of gloves, in case one gets wet (or lost). Hat/Cap Warm, woollen hat/cap to protect your ears, as well as a scarf, neck gaiter or other face protection, such as a balaclava. Trousers Water-resistant trousers of coated nylon or, even better, Gore-Tex® are essential for your comfort. They can be worn over your regular clothes to keep you warm and dry. We suggest that you purchase trousers a few sizes larger than you normally wear as you will be wearing them over other clothing. Gore-Tex® or similar fabrics are excellent for keeping out wind and water without trapping excess heat. Rain gear and Gore-Tex® products can be found in any outdoor sport clothing store. In addition to your waterproof trousers, warm ski pants are suggested if you have them. Warm trousers such as jeans, corduroys etc are also good. Socks Warm wool socks worn over a thin pair of silk, polypropylene socks should provide enough warmth and insulation for your feet. Bring several pairs of socks, since you will inevitably get your feet wet. Outer Clothing Woollen, knit or cotton sweaters/tops, polar fleece tops (medium weight), several cotton turtlenecks and T-shirts for layering on and off the ship. Underclothing Thermal underwear is highly recommended as it will keep you warm without adding bulk. Most polar travellers prefer a lightweight version.

Footwear

Waterproof boots are available on-board, free of charge. Ensure that you take good walking boots with you and comfortable trainers or grip-type shoes, for relaxing on the ship and for when out on deck.

Luggage

20kg

Luggage: On tour

One main piece of baggage and daypack. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage so don't overload yourself.

Equipment

Sunglasses and sun cream Personal toiletries A refilllable water bottle Books/reading material Camera and memory cards (and something to protect the camera when out in the elements) Seasickness remedy Walking poles

Tipping

Local crew
Tipping is collected at the end of the voyage and is divided among the crew. Tipping is a very personal matter and the amount you wish to give is at your discretion, but as a generally guideline, we suggest US$12 per person per day.
Country Information

Arctic Region Holidays & Tours

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Foreign Exchange

Denmark Trips

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Foreign Exchange

Greenland Trips

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Foreign Exchange

Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

MS Fram, Zodiac

Ship description

The M Fram is a comfortable vessel for your polar exploration with modern amenities such as a fitness room, Jacuzzi and sauna. The ample indoor and outdoor public spaces are designed to ensure you enjoy the passing scenery and wildlife sightings; each table in the restaurant has scenic views and the observation lounge has panoramic windows. There's also a selection of shore excursions to choose from, allowing you to experience as much of the polar wilderness as possible.

Cabins

Prices are based on the use of inside, category one cabins on decks 3, 5 and 6. Category one cabins are based on twin share, with one bed and one sofa bed. They are comfortable with a private toilet and shower, fridge and TV. The MS Fram has a number of different cabin categories, many of which are outside facing, with two beds (apart from superior cabins and suites, which have double beds). Some cabins have portholes and others, larger windows and sitting areas. All cabins are twin share, but we can also offer single occupancy at a supplement, if you are travelling alone. Call us for details on the cabin choice to fit your requirements.

Essential information

FCO Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here
 

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Essential Information

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa Information

Entry visas NOT required by UK, AUS, NZ, USA, CAN Citizens. Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate. All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related issues with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.


If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

Transfers

Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  


For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

Insurance

It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

  

Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Arctic Region Holidays & Tours

Denmark Trips

Greenland Trips

Dates, prices and booking

Date
Price from
Single room option
Wednesday 29 August 2018 - Tuesday 11 September 2018
FRNW_2018 WEST
From £9029
Single room option
Show full details for this departure, including trip notes
All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
Joining Point
Town
Copenhagen
Time and place
00:00 at
Ending Point
Town
Montreal
Time
00:00
If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
Download Trip Notes
Sunday 9 September 2018 - Sunday 23 September 2018
FRNW_2018 EAST
From £9010
Single room option
Show full details for this departure, including trip notes
All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
Joining Point
Town
Montreal
Time and place
00:00 at
Ending Point
Town
Copenhagen
Time
00:00
If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
Download Trip Notes

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