Connecting the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the Northwest Passage is a beautiful and unforgiving route, having 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 Northwest Passage in 1776, and of course the ill-fated Franklin expedition of 1834. The first explorer to conquer the Northwest Passage by ship was Norwegian Roald Amundsen. His expedition lasted from 1903 to 1906, on the converted herring boat named 'Gjøa'. On this Hurtigruten cruise, we sail in the wake of the great explorers to discover this renowned waterway.
Starting in Kangerlussuaq, you have the opportunity to see some Greenlandic Inuit settlements and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ilulissat Icefjord before we cross the Davis Strait and venture into the Canadian Arctic archipelago of Nunavut, starting our expedition into the heart and history of the Northwest passage.
The True North
We make our way through the icy waters of Arctic Canada, or ‘Nunavut’, as it is known in Inuit. You will be amazed by the vast expanses of pristine wilderness seen from the deck. We aim to visit several sites with traces of earlier expeditions. We will call at some of the world’s northernmost communities, explore legendary inlets and channels, and take you on exciting small-boat tours and landings. When conditions allow, we will launch our kayaks or take you on hikes.
Top of the World
Being at the top of the world means sailing in the midst of ice. On this voyage, like the voyages of the explorers before us, we will go where the ice allows.