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Venture far above the Arctic Circle, in a land where the sun never sets and polar bears roam. On Quark Expeditions Best of the Western Arctic itinerary, you’ll explore the northerly shores of Canada’s Baffin Island and the western coast of Greenland, searching for wildlife and visiting local communities and searching for wildlife that inhabits this remote, mysterious region.
Enjoy Zodiac cruising to give you a one-of-a-kind perspective of icebergs, glaciers and fjords, allowing you to appreciate the rugged beauty of these pristine landscapes. Visits to local communities will reward you with insights into traditional and modern ways of life in the Western Arctic. On your travels, it is quite possible you will spot whales or catch a glimpse of one of the Arctic's most iconic animals - the Polar Bear.
The Arctic has been inspiring explorers for centuries, and this comprehensive 20-day itinerary offers you the chance to discover why.
Day 1: Reykjavik
Day 2: Kangerlussuaq
Day 3: At Sea
Days 4 - 6: Baffin Island
Day 7: At Sea
Days 8 - 11: Lancaster Sound
Day 12: Smith Sound
Days 13 & 14: Exploring Northwest Greenland
Day 15: At Sea
Days 16 - 18: Exploring West Greenland
Day 19: Disembark in Kangerlussuaq and fly to Reykjavik
Day 20: Depart Reykjavik
Your Arctic expedition begins in Reykjavik. Explore Iceland's capital city on your own before spending the night at your included hotel.
In the morning, the group will 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 your ship, enjoy time on deck, taking in your new surroundings as you set sail on your arctic expedition.
Cruise the Davis Strait, during which the Expedition Team will prepare you for the adventures that await. Learn about the storied history and politics of the Arctic, its fascinating wildlife geology, ecology and climate, and the incredible sights you will soon witness. Keep a lookout for seabirds soaring above your ship, as well as whales which are known to frequent the waters here.
Baffin Island is the fifth-largest island in the world, named after English navigator William Baffin, who ventured to the area in the early 17th century in search of the fabled Northwest Passage. Your days sailing along the island's eastern coast will be guided by weather and ice conditions, with each day and each landing presenting new adventures. Towering mountains, deep fjords, colourful tundra and Inuit settlements await.
As your ship sails farther north, enjoy presentations by onboard experts, enjoy a cocktail, watch a movie or join your Expedition Team on the lookout for wildlife - there is no shortage of activities whilst at sea.
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. Here explore several of the beautiful bays and inlets, discover historical sites, enjoy Zodiac cruises and search for iconic wildlife such as walrus, seals, and of course, whales. Polar bear sightings are also possible here. You may even spot the elusive Narwhal!
Before bidding farewell to Canada, your ship will push 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 you will explore.
Return to Greenland and sail along the remote northwest coast, an area of impressive icebergs and huge glaciers. Qaanaaq, formerly known as Thule, is one of the northernmost towns in the world. Here, local Inuit share their culture and traditions and shed light on life near the top of the world.
You will continue sailing along the west coast of Greenland today. Enjoy presentations by onboard experts to prepare you for the adventures that lie ahead in west Greenland.
Boasting spectacular glaciers, mountainous landscapes, dramatic fjords and vibrant communities, the west coast of Greenland will leave you breathless. Explore Uummannaq, quite possibly the most picturesque place in Greenland, plus llulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Enjoy one more Zodiac ride to shore, where you will board your charter flight back to Reykjavik and transfer to your included hotel
Today you will leave Iceland on your flight home or choose to spend more time exploring vibrant Reykjavik.
The Ocean Adventurer has been a very popular Antarctic exploration ship for many years and is perfectly designed for exploring the region. Carrying just 128 passengers ensures there is a high focus on exploration, and the ship boasts an expert team of expedition staff alongside a varied programme of landings, a fleet of zodiacs and a series of lectures.
Ultramarine is a purpose-built ship carefully designed to optimise your polar expedition experience so that you can discover some of the most mesmerising places on Earth and immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring landscapes of the polar regions. Equipped with two helicopters, she also brings you access to new places accessible only by air, pushing the opportunities for polar exploration even further and bringing you more options for adventure than ever before.
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We'll compare a huge selection of expedition ships, cruises and operators to find your perfect cruise.
Our expert team of Travel Specialists have extensive knowledge of all the expedition cruises, ships & operators.
Our prices are amongst the best you'll find, plus look out for Polar Routes exclusive offers!
As supporters of the Marine Conservation Society, booking with us helps support the protection of our oceans.
Our holidays are protected by ATOL and ABTOT, for your complete peace of mind.