Polar Regions Arctic Cruise

Best of the Western Arctic

Venture far above the Arctic Circle in a land where the sun never sets and polar bears roam on this 20-day Best of the Western Arctic small ship cruise. Witness towering mountains, deep fjords, colorful tundra, Arctic wildlife and Inuit settlements while hiking, riding in Zodiacs and possibly sea kayaking or paddling. Begin and end in Toronto, Canada, sailing to Baffin Island, Landcaster Sound, Smith Sound, Northwest Greenland and more over the course of twenty fabulous days.

On Baffin Island, the rarely explored Sam Ford Fjord is one of the most isolated places on the planet and a spectacular playground for wildlife and adventurous climbers with its towering granite cliffs emerging from the sea. Farther north, Lancaster Sound is the gateway to the Northwest Passage and one of the richest marine habitats in the Arctic, with open water areas staying ice-free all year, providing important summer feeding opportunities for whales and other marine wildlife. Beechey Island, a Canadian National Historic Site set deep in Canada’s High Arctic, is the final resting place of members of Sir John Franklin’s 1845–46 expedition to find the Northwest Passage, whose graves were discovered on a desolate rocky beach in 1850 by a team searching for signs of the ill-fated expedition.

Loop back around to West Greenland, which boasts spectacular glaciers, mountainous landscapes, dramatic fjords and vibrant communities. Explore places like Uummannaq, Itilleq and the impressive Ilulissat Icefjord, as well as the traditional Inuit town of Uummannaq, known for the red heart-shaped mountain rising up behind it. Jakobshavn, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most active glaciers in the world, located in the beautiful Ilulissat Icefjord and offers adventures ashore alongside sparkling icebergs and rivers purging from the rocky shore.

Dog lovers rejoice in Itilleq, situated about a mile above the Arctic Circle, where no Greenlandic sled dog is allowed farther south and no other dog breed is allowed this far north. When not meeting pure bred sled dogs, explore the town’s traditional wooden houses painted in a rainbow of colors, chat with the locals and experience Itilleq’s famous friendly vibe.

The 20-day Best of the Western Arctic cruise is an all-encompassing exploration of the history, people, landscapes and wildlife that make the Arctic their incredibly special home. Your floating hotel for this voyage is the 200-guest Ultramarine, a modern, purpose-built polar expedition vessel. Her twin helicopters access unique terrain; her innovative, internal hangar launches Zodiacs in a modern way; and her specialized, cutting-edge safety features provide added security in remote Arctic environments.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Arctic cruises.