The Northwest Passage in Luxury 25 DaysAboard: Le Commandant Charcot
Join us on an epic journey through the labyrinth of icy channels that make up the mythical Northwest Passage. On this exciting voyage of discovery you will follow in the wake of legendary explorers as you visit some of the world’s most remote and intriguing destinations. Your trip will commence in Reykjavik from which you will depart across the Denmark Strait to explore along the beautiful south coast of Greenland, before heading into the Hudson Strait and beginning your Northwest Passage adventure. Along the way you will discover emblematic waterways, traditional Inuit villages, breathtaking landscapes and national parks filled with iconic wildlife and birdlife, before concluding your journey in the rustic former gold-mining town of Nome in Alaska.
Sailing in the company of a team of destination experts, and enjoying memorable shore excursions and Zodiac cruises, a truly unique sailing experience through countless icebergs and historical sites awaits.
- Cross the Northwest Passage to discover the most remote places and icy channels of this legendary maritime zone
- Explore along Greenland’s beautiful southern coast
- Visit traditional Inuit villages
- Experience incredible landscapes of vast ice floes, fjords, icy channels, blue-toned glaciers, mountains and more
- Search for wildlife observations including Arctic foxes, whales, walruses, seabirds and maybe even Polar bears
- Visit the Aulavik National Park, renowned for the largest concentration of musk oxen in the world
- Enjoy memorable Zodiac cruises and thrilling ice navigation
- Activity options including kayaking, hiking and snowshoeing (costs may apply)
- Full board accommodation on board, including bar/beverage service
- Flight from Nome to Seattle post-voyage
- Transfer between ship and airport in Nome
- Zodiac cruises and shore excursions
- Entertainment and expert lecture programme
- Loan of rubber boots
- Expedition parka
So much to experience
Too much to choose from? This is where we come in
Take advantage of our vast experience, passion and expertise to help you hand craft the perfect Arctic adventure for you.
Simon’s deep passion for and first-hand knowledge of a vast range of destinations all over the world gives him the ideal skills to help you create a truly unforgettable wildlife inspired adventure to the most exciting places on the planet.
Mike lives and breathes adventure travel and has a wealth of experience in some of the most exciting and inspirational destinations in the world. His expertise and first-hand experience afford him the skills to help build holidays to remember.
Zoe’s abiding love of adventure travel has taken her to some of the most incredible wildlife-rich places on Earth. Her vast experience and genuine desire to share her knowledge makes her an outstanding and invaluable person to help you organise your wildlife adventure trip.
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All our itinerary holidays are fully customisable
Reykjavik - Embark
Your thrilling expedition begins in Reykjavik, the vibrant Icelandic capital, where after arriving independently you will make your way to the port to board your luxury expedition vessel. After settling into your supremely comfortable cabin and familiarising yourself with the fantastic facilities on board, you might wish to make your way to the deck to watch as we leave Iceland behind and set sail into the Denmark Strait towards Greenland.
We recommend arriving in Reykjavik a few days ahead of departure to allow you time to soak up the sights of this very special city and its beautiful surroundings. Please let us know if you would like any advice on places to visit and stay.
Today will be spent at sea in the Denmark Strait sailing towards the southern Greenland coastline. This will be the perfect time to relax and enjoy the luxurious facilities on board including the spa, wellness centre, fitness centre, swimming pool and panoramic lounge. You might also choose to spend some time on deck looking for seabirds and whales following the ship and soaking up the beautiful surroundings.
South Greenland Coast
We will spend two days sailing in the traces of the Norwegian explorer Erik Le Rouge by travelling along the south coast of Greenland. Your ship will head deep into the longest network of fjords in the region, the Prins Christian Sund, a sumptuous natural canal that offers up mightily impressive landscapes of vast glaciers and snow-topped craggy mountains.
Our next two days are spent at sea sailing towards Arctic Canada. Spend some time relaxing, observing wildlife on deck or attending some of the entertaining and informative lectures and presentations that will be delivered throughout your trip.
The next 3 days are spent in the Hudson Strait, the passage of water that links the Atlantic Ocean to Hudson Bay, the second largest bay in the world. This stretch, some 800km in length, was an important commercial route for fur trading in the 18th century and has become a legendary path for Polar explorers. Ice-clogged for most of the year and inaccessible to many other ships, the Hudson Strait offers a truly unique and memorable sailing experience.
Home to the last emerged lands to be discovered in North America, (the Prince Charles, Air Force and Foley Islands), Foxe Basin famously marks the entry to the mythical and much-coveted Northwest Passage. Finally crossed from one side to the other by Roald Amundsen in 1906, the Northwest Passage holds many secrets and stories of intrepid adventurers, who we will learn all about as we follow in their wake and seek out these wild and unforgiving lands. As we sail in the Foxe basin area we will hope for sightings of Polar bears and the bowhead whales that take up residence here in the summer to give birth.
Fury & Hecla Strait
At the heart of the Arctic Ocean, set sail in the footsteps of the British explorer W.E. Parris who in 1822, during his desperate quest to find the North West Passage, discovered the Fury and Hecla Strait. The expedition that he led with two Royal Navy vessels, HMS Fury and HMS Hecla, in the hope of crossing the mythical maritime passageway, ended in failure. Trapped in the ice, the two ships were blocked to the north of Foxe Basin, but this allowed them to identify the strait separating the Melville peninsula and Baffin Island. Covered by ice floe for the majority of the year, this narrow stretch of sea is very difficult to access. When you enter the passage, you will have the privilege of visiting the Inuit village of Igloolik.
Sailing the Northwest Passage
The pinnacle of our adventure, we now spend the next 6 days sailing through the fabled Northwest Passage, the most northerly part of the Arctic archipelago and the shortest waterway between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. The holy grail of explorers for centuries, the Passage is still blocked by thick ice floe for most of the year, meaning sailing from one side of it to the other is still a feat worthy of significant celebration. Little-mapped and little-explored, the area brings countless delights. Following in the footsteps of explorers, you will sail the channels surrounded by spectacular landscapes of majestic fjords, glacial erosion and craggy terrains, soaking up every moment of this unforgettable exploration and revelling in becoming one of very few people to experience the pull of the Passage.
Having successfully navigated through the unforgettable Northwest Passage, the adventure doesn’t stop there as we make our way to Banks Island in the north of the Canadian archipelago of the Northwest Territories. Boasting incredible landscapes of hills and valleys as well as sheer cliffs and canyons, a result of the glacial erosion, the island is home to the famous Aulavik National Park where we will take a visit to look for sightings of the abundant Arctic wildlife that calls the park home, including caribou, Arctic foxes, Arctic wolves, lemmings, myriad birds and the world’s largest concentration of musk oxen. Banks Island is also famous for the wreck of HMS Investigator.
Bordering the north coasts of Alaska and Canada, the Beaufort Sea was feared for centuries because of its extreme climatic conditions. Covered for most of the year with a thick layer of ice, and unexplored until 1914, this part of the Arctic Ocean, named in honour of the British Admiral Francis Beaufort, will reveal to you its sumptuous icy landscapes. Will a bit of luck, maybe you will cross the path of some Beluga, with the region being renowned for hosting many colonies of these white whales.
Disembark Nome, Fly to Seattle
Your epic Northwest Passage cruise concludes in Nome, along the Bering Strait at the westernmost point of Alaska. Upon disembarkation you will be transferred to the airport for your included flight to Seattle where your itinerary will end. Please enquire for advice on post-cruise arrangements and flight options.
A view from Above
The truly luxurious, brand-new (2021) Le Commandant Charcot is the latest addition to the stunning fleet of high-class Ponant expedition ships. Re-imagining luxury Polar cruises, the ship is the very first hybrid-electric polar exploration ship powered by liquefied natural gas and has been designed with the greatest attention to detail in terms of safety and respect for the environment. Offering more comfort and luxury than any other expedition ship on the market, Le Commandant Charcot features a beautiful indoor swimming pool, a fantastic spa, gym and wellness area, and truly elegant common areas including a panoramic indoor restaurant, Blue Lagoon outdoor restaurant, lounge bar, observation lounge and conservatory. Every element of the ship has been designed to both convey French-style discreet luxury and arouse wonder and amazement. The 135 exceptional suites and staterooms, ranging in size from20 to 115 m², provide ultimate relaxation after a long day of exploring. With private balconies or terraces, each room allows for incredible views of your surroundings, and with their unique understated design each room exudes the feeling and sense of sailing on a private yacht. Large comfortable beds, air-conditioning, minibars, satellite TV, Bose Bluetooth speakers, Wi-Fi, bathrobes and top-of-the-line toiletries are just a few of the room features. Premium rooms also feature a butler service, and some even have their own private jacuzzis.
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