In the Footsteps of Franklin

Cross the Northwest Passage


Here’s your chance to cruise the mythical Northwest Passage, discovering rich wildlife, scenic beauty and the fascinating history of life at the “roof of the world.” Explore islands, icebergs and Arctic communities from the comfort of a working, ice-strengthened expedition ship, experiencing one of the planet’s most stark, beautiful and remote regions. Following the footsteps of the doomed Franklin Expeditions, daily Zodiac excursions seek out whales, polar bears and abundant seabirds, allowing you to hike the tundra and explore historical outposts. There’s truly no place on Earth like the high Arctic.

Length of Trip : 12 nights, 13 days. Budget at least two weeks for this itinerary

Cost : Prices start at US$8300 per person for a triple share cabin, all the way to $15,000 for the One Ocean Suite. For the latest prices, visit One Ocean Expeditions.

Best time to go : The trip typically runs in August.

Wheelchair friendly : Call ahead to make arrangements if possible.

Family friendly : Yes, although suited for older kids.

Where to eat : Delicious meals are served onboard the Vavilov (likewise if you're on the sister ship, the Ioffe). These include multiple main options, buffet breakfasts, lots of salads, tea, coffee and water. Alcoholic beverages are not included, but the Scotch bar is fantastic and well-priced.

Official Site : Cruise the magnificient Northwest Passage with One Ocean Expeditions and Great Canadian Trails

Where to Stay : Accommodation is basic but comfortable on-board the working Russian polar expedition ship, the Akademik Sergey Vavilov or One Ocean's sister ship, the Ioffe. Bathrooms are shared. When staying in Ottawa, we recommend the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. When staying in Edmonton, we recommend the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald.

Getting There : You'll likely depart from Ottawa, and return from Edmonton. A return charter flight is included from Greenland or Cambridge Bay. Being the Arctic, the trip might conclude in Resolute if sea-ice prevents a successful passage.

Note from Robin : Oh, this one is a pearl on the Bucket List! Wet gear (including boots) are provided, so you don't need to pack heavy, although definitely bring layers as it does get chilly. I didn't find sea sickness a problem at all, although the two-day sailing across Baffin Bay might be rough. Bring some patches just in case, which I find way preferable to Gravol, which tends to zonk you out. The people on the trip make it that much more fascinating, so don't miss the nightly fireside chats to hear their amazing stories. The hot tub and sauna are particularly fantastic on the Vavilov, so take full advantage. You'll also find the best Scotch prices I've seen anywhere! Like all cruises, you'll get out of it what you put in.


Joining the Vavilov in Greenland


The desolate Beechey Island


Photo Credit: Robin Mckie


Photo Credit: Jeff Topham


Photo Credit: Jeff Topham


Photo Credit: Jeff Topham


Photo Credit: Jeff Topham


Photo Credit: Jeff Topham


Photo Credit: Jeff Topham


Photo Credit: Jeff Topham


Photo Credit: Jeff Topham



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