Connecting the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the Northwest Passage is a beautiful and unforgiving route that has claimed the lives of many explorers over the years. Since the late 15th century, the search for this fabled route through the Canadian Arctic was a holy grail for explorers. There are records of almost 40 expeditions that sailed these waters, either to explore this unknown territory or to find the sea route to Asia. The first recorded attempt was the voyage of John Cabot in 1497. The most famous journeys here were James Cook’s failed attempt to sail the Passage in 1776, and, of course, the ill-fated Franklin expedition of 1834. The first to conquer the Northwest Passage by ship was Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. His expedition lasted from 1903 to 1906 on the converted herring boat named ‘Gjøa’. On our Hurtigruten cruise, we sail in the wake of the great explorers to discover this renowned waterway.
The True North
From Cambridge Bay, we venture into the Canadian Arctic Archipelago of Nunavut, starting our expedition into the heart and history of the Northwest Passage. As we make our way through the icy waters you will be amazed by the vast expanses of pristine wilderness seen from the deck. We aim to visit several sites that have traces of these expeditions. We will call at some of the world’s northernmost communities, explore legendary inlets and channels, and take you on exciting small-boat cruises and landings. When conditions allow, we will launch our kayaks or take you on hikes.
Then we cross Davis Strait, and as we reach Greenland, you have the opporunity to discover some of the Greenlandic Inuit settlements and the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage site, before the expedition ends in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland.
Top of the World
Being at the top of the world means sailing in the midst of ice. On this cruise, like the voyages of the explorers before us, we will go where the ice allows. No matter where we sail or what we will see, we promise a safe and thrilling expedition. After all, you will sail through the Northwest Passage, something few ships attempt even today.