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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.



Itinerary

Best of the Western Arctic: Canada & Greenland Itinerary

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 that begins and ends in Toronto, Canada.

Best of the Western Arctic cruise route map.
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Day 1
Arrive Toronto, Canada

This Arctic expedition begins in Toronto, Canada. Explore this vibrant city on your own before spending the night at your included hotel.

Accommodations

Included hotel TBA

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
Embark Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

In the morning, group transfer to the airport and board a private charter flight to Kangerlussuaq, a small town at the eastern head of Sondre Stromfjord, one of the longest fjords in the world. After embarking in the afternoon, enjoy time on deck, taking in the new surroundings as the ship sets sail.

Accommodations

Ultramarine

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Davis Strait & At Sea

Cruise across the Davis Strait while preparing for the adventures that await. Learn about the storied history and politics of the Arctic, its fascinating wildlife, geology, ecology, climate and incredible sights. Staff will keep a lookout for seabirds soaring above ship, as well as whales that frequent the waters below.

Accommodations

Ultramarine

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 4 - 6
Exploring Baffin Island, Canada

Baffin Island is the fifth-largest island in the world. It was named for English navigator William Baffin, who ventured to the area in the early 17th century in search of the fabled Northwest Passage. Sail along the island’s eastern coast guided by weather and ice conditions, with each day and each landing presenting new adventures. Some favorite destinations include Qikiqtarjuaq, Isabella Bay and Sam Ford Fjord. Towering mountains, deep fjords, colorful tundra and Inuit settlements await.

The Inuit community of Qikiqtarjuaq (which means “the big island” in Inuktitut) is located just north of the Arctic Circle, on Broughton Island. Fondly called Qik by locals, the welcoming hamlet offers a superb vantage point of the Davis Strait. Have a chance to support local Inuit artisans by purchasing unique artwork, crafts and jewelry.

The rarely explored Sam Ford Fjord is one of the most isolated places on the planet. It is a spectacular big-wall playground, attracting adventurous climbers eager to scale the dozens of towering vertical granite cliffs that erupt from the sea. Have a camera handy while cruising along this impressive coastline carved by ancient glaciers—the towering formations, stacked side by side, are simply majestic.

Accommodations

Ultramarine

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
At Sea

As the ship sails farther north, take in a presentation by on-board experts, sip an icy cocktail in the bar, watch a movie or join the expedition team on the bridge as they scan for wildlife—there is no shortage of activities while at sea.

Accommodations

Ultramarine

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 8 - 11
Lancaster Sound, Gateway to Northwest Passage

The gateway to the Northwest Passage, Lancaster Sound is one of the richest marine habitats in the Arctic. With open water areas staying ice-free all year, it is an important summer feeding area for whales and other marine wildlife. Days here will be spent exploring several of the sound’s beautiful bays and inlets, discovering historical sites, enjoying Zodiac cruises and searching for such iconic wildlife as walrus, seals and, of course, whales. Polar bear sightings are possible too, as Lancaster Sound is known for polar bear sightings. Those who are fortunate may even spot the elusive narwhal.

There may be a possibility for a shore visit at Radstock Bay, the location of one of the most impressive ancient Thule sites in the Arctic. Exploring the well preserved remains of the subterranean houses, including the whale bones used as supports for the dwellings, offers an understanding of how these pre-Inuit people thrived in the Far North.

Attempt a landing at Beechey Island, a Canadian National Historic Site named after explorer Frederick William Beechey. The island is the final resting place of members of Sir John Franklin’s 1845–46 expedition to find the Northwest Passage. The graves, on a desolate rocky beach, were discovered in 1850 by a team searching for signs of the ill-fated expedition. Predominantly covered in glaciers and ice fields, Coburg Island and its surrounding waters comprise the Nirjutiqavvik National Wildlife Area. The island’s steep coastal cliffs are an ideal habitat for hundreds of thousands of nesting seabirds like Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres), blacklegged kittiwakes, northern fulmars and black guillemots.

Accommodations

Ultramarine

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 12
Smith Sound

Before saying goodbye to Canada, the ship pushes as far north as possible, exploring both sides of Smith Sound, the uninhabited passage between Ellesmere Island and Greenland. Experience a true expedition as weather and ice determine how far north the ship can explore.

Accommodations

Ultramarine

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 13 - 14
Exploring Northwest Greenland

Return to Greenland by sailing along the remote northwest coast, a land of impressive icebergs and massive glaciers. Qaanaaq, formerly known as Thule, is one of the northernmost towns in the world. Here, local Inuit share their culture and traditions, while the museum sheds more light on life near the top of the world. Perhaps explore Melville Bay, a significant whaling site until the early 1900s. Opening up to Baffin Bay, the area is a major egress for the Greenland ice cap and is home to spectacular icebergs in all shapes and sizes, making it an ideal spot for Zodiac cruising. Those feeling adventurous might partake in an optional paddling excursion (additional cost) for a truly unique arctic experience.

Accommodations

Ultramarine

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 15
At Sea

Continue sailing south along the west coast of Greenland, with presentations by on-board experts that overview the upcoming adventures.

Accommodations

Ultramarine

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Days 16 - 18
Exploring West Greenland

Boasting spectacular glaciers, mountainous landscapes, dramatic fjords and vibrant communities, the west coast of Greenland is unforgettable. Possible exploration sites here are Uummannaq, Itilleq and the impressive Ilulissat Icefjord. Quite possibly the most picturesque place in Greenland, the traditional Inuit town of Uummannaq (which means “heart-like”) takes its name from the red heart-shaped mountain that rises up a staggering 3,840 feet behind it. As the ship approaches the shore, be ready on deck to capture the inspiring vistas of the twin peaks soaring high above the colorful houses dotting the rugged coastline.

Another beautiful locale is the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to Jakobshavn, one of the most active glaciers in the world, this is a great spot to enjoy a Zodiac excursion past towering icebergs. Venturing ashore in the town of Ilulissat (which means “iceberg”) allows a visit to the icefjord on foot, where an unforgettable river of ice purges from the rocky shore.

Surrounded by sea and mountains, Itilleq (meaning “crossing place”) is situated about a mile above the Arctic Circle, in a scenic hollow on a small island. It is the southern limit of the Greenlandic sled dog. To keep the breed pure, the dogs are not permitted south of this community and all other dog breeds are prohibited this far north. Explore the town’s traditional wooden houses painted in a rainbow of colors, chat with the locals, whose main trade is fishing and maybe challenge them to a game of soccer—it won’t be long before guests experience Itilleq’s famous friendly vibe.

Accommodations

Ultramarine

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 19
Disembark Kangerlussuaq, Greenland & Fly to Toronto, Canada

Enjoy one more Zodiac ride to shore and board the charter flight back to Toronto, Canada. Upon arrival in Toronto, we will transfer you to your included hotel.

Accommodations

Included hotel TBA

Meals

breakfast, lunch

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Day 20
Depart Toronto, Canada

Today, you can make your way home at your leisure or spend time exploring the fascinating city of Toronto.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping; all meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board; beer and house wine during dinner; all shore landings per the daily program; leadership throughout the voyage by experienced expedition leader; all Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program; formal and informal presentations by expedition team and special guests as scheduled; photographic journal documenting the voyage; a pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings; official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep; coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock; hair dryer and bathrobe in every cabin; comprehensive onboard materials, including a map and an informative Arctic Reader; all miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program; all luggage handling aboard ship; Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person; Greenland voyages cruise passenger tax.

Exclusions

Mandatory Transfer Package (approximate package price is $1,995, which includes one night’s pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Toronto; group transfer from the Toronto hotel to the ship on day 2; charter flight from Toronto to Kangerlussuaq; group transfer from the ship to the Kangerlussuaq airport on disembarkation day; charter flight from Kangerlussuaq to Toronto; group transfer from Toronto airport to hotel on disembarkation day; one night’s post-expedition hotel accommodation in Toronto); international airfare; arrival and departure transfers, except where listed in the Mandatory Transfer Package; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above; meals ashore unless otherwise specified; baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended; excess-baggage fees on international flights; mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other gear not mentioned; laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified; phone and Internet charges; voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew; additional overnight accommodation; any adventure options.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 20% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 120 days with 100% payment received – 100% of total trip cost retained, applied as a Future Travel Refund Credit for 120% of total trip cost
Up to 120 days with partial payment received – 100% of deposit + any additional partial payment retained, applied as a Future Travel Refund Credit
119 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Best of the Western Arctic cruise begins and ends in Toronto, Canada (YYZ). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Plan flights to arrive to Toronto anytime on day 1 of the itinerary. Embarkation is on day 2 after a group charter flight from Toronto to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. Disembarkation is between 7:00 and 8:00am on day 19 of the itinerary in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, followed by a return charter flight to Toronto. Plan flights to depart Toronto on day 20 of the itinerary anytime; however, AdventureSmith strongly suggests that a flexible air ticket be held for your journey home in case you need to change your travel arrangement following a delay of the return flight from the Arctic. Airport transfers are not included. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Internal Flights

Group charter flights between Toronto and Kangerlussuaq are required on this trip’s itinerary; see the Mandatory Transfer Package information listed in this trip’s Exclusions (Rates & Dates tab). The flight to the Arctic is expected to depart after breakfast on day 2 of the itinerary. Although the flight will have a scheduled departure time, there is significant variability based on weather conditions. Be prepared to depart the hotel for the airport on the group transfer at any time. There is a strict luggage limit of 44 lbs (20 kg) checked luggage and 11 lbs (5 kg) cabin baggage on the flights to and from Kangerlussuaq. Should you have additional luggage, it can be stored at the hotel in Toronto. There is no option to pay for additional luggage. On day 19 of the itinerary, the ship is scheduled to arrive at the pier between 7:00am and 8:00am local time. Disembarkation follows breakfast, with a transfer to the airport for the return charter flight to Toronto.

Activities

Various optional activities may be available on your Best of the Western Arctic cruise. Included activities are optional hiking, Zodiac cruising, daily presentations, photography guides, the polar plunge and the two following weather-dependent helicopter-assisted excursions: Flightseeing and heli-landing and a transfer to explore the Arctic. Extra cost adventure options are sea kayaking and one-time paddle excursion programs. Both paid activities must be reserved in advance. One-time paddling excursions are available for those who want something less in-depth than the full sea kayaking program; no experience is necessary. Each departure’s first two paddling excursions may be pre-booked and all subsequent outings are booked on the ship via lottery. Please contact AdventureSmith to reserve activity space with your booking. For the 2021 season sea kayaking is $695 and the one-time paddling excursion is $195.

Room Configuration

Select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. Solo travelers willing to share can reserve a triple or twin-shared cabin, where you will be matched with a person of the same gender. If the other cabin berth goes unsold, you will be guaranteed the double rate. Single travelers wishing to book a double-occupancy cabin may do so at 1.7x (2x for Premium cabins) the per-person listed rate in select cabins based upon availability. Premium Cabins are as follows:
Ultramarine: Balcony Suite, Deluxe Balcony Suite, Terrace Suite, Penthouse Suite, Owner’s Suite & Ultra Suite

Families & Children

At date of embarkation, a minimum age restriction of 8 years and minimum height and weight requirements (weight of 64lbs or 29kg and 48 in. or 1.2 m. tall) must be met. Children under 16 years of age must be supervised by a parent/guardian at all times, and may not participate in adventure options.

Travel Insurance

Emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum benefit of up to $500,000 USD per paying traveler provides coverage between the first and last day of ship-based travel and is included in the cost of this trip. For ship- and land-based trips, additional days of travel pre- and post-expedition are not covered. Travelers are responsible for having adequate international medical coverage prior to embarkation, with a minimum benefit of $50,000 USD. In addition, we highly recommend our travelers also protect their investment with travel insurance that includes trip cancellation and other benefits. Our partners at Travelex offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 15 or 21 days of booking (depending on plan) for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice, weather conditionswildlife encountered and the captain’s discretion. Flexibility is the key to the success of any Arctic expedition. 

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Sep 14 - Oct 03, 2021
Ultramarine • 20 days
From $16495USD
Per Person
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Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
Ultramarine

The new Ultramarine 200-passenger polar ship is purpose-built for safety and far-off exploration in Antarctica and the Arctic. Dual helicopter pads and an incredible 70-day cruising range allow access to the hardest-to-reach places.

Deals

Current Deals on This Trip

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Offer expires September 30th, 2020
Save 15% On 2021 Best of the Western Arctic Expeditions

Book your 2021 Arctic expedition and save up to 15% per person in this special early-booking deal.

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Offer expires November 30th, 2020
Flexible Cancellation Policy On Select 2021 & 2022 Arctic Expeditions

Book your 2021 or 2022 Arctic expedition with confidence using this risk-free, flexible cancellation policy.

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Offer expires November 30th, 2020
10% Early Booking Full Payment Bonus on Select 2021 & 2022 Arctic Expeditions

Book your select 2021 or 2022 Arctic expedition and make the full payment now to save an additional 10% on the voyage fare.

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Offer expires November 30th, 2020
Save 15-25% On Select 2022 Arctic Expeditions

Book your select 2022 Arctic cruise by November 30, 2020 to save 15-25% in this special early-booking deal.

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Best of the Western Arctic

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