The Northwest Passage - In the Wake of the Great Explorers

The Northwest Passage - In the Wake of the Great Explorers

  • Attempt

The Northwest Passage - In the Wake of the Great Explorers

The Northwest Passage - In the Wake of the Great Explorers

  • Attempt
Travel information 26 days MS Roald Amundsen
23 August 2022
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Embark on this expedition cruise attempt to sail all through the fabled Northwest Passage from Alaska all the way to Greenland and Nova Scotia. 

The beginning of your adventure 

Your starting point is the multicultural city of Vancouver before flying to Nome, Alaska, the famous Gold Rush town. Boarding MS Roald Amundsen, we’ll traverse the first section of the Northwest Passage from the Pacific Ocean east through the Bering Strait, Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea, and the Amundsen Gulf.  

Aside from experts on biology and wildlife, your Expedition Team will also be made up of a professional photographer, an archaeologist, and one or more Inuit cultural interpreters.  

A journey of epic proportions 

Over 10 days of exploration, we’ll attempt to navigate the ice floes and islands of the scenic Northwest Passage. You’ll learn about the history of the region in places that might include Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Haven, Fort Ross, Beechey Island, and Dundas Harbour. 

With sea ice and weather conditions guiding their decisions, your Expedition Team will pick locations for escorted landings and small boat cruising. We’ll also always be looking for opportunities to spot whales, seals and possibly even polar bears. 

We’ll then cross Baffin Bay and Davis Strait to the stunning, UNESCO-listed Ilulissat Icefjord in Greenland. You’ll then visit the picturesque town of Sisimiut before heading to the city of Corner Brook in eastern Canada, and finally to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Even if a full transit of the Northwest Passage isn’t possible due to sea ice, you’ll still experience the beauty of the High Arctic and look for wildlife such as polar bears. 

The Northwest Passage - In the Wake of the Great Explorers The Northwest Passage - In the Wake of the Great Explorers

Our Northwest Passage Attempts are expeditions where we, in true expedition style, challenge the elements and the ice-edge of the Arctic Ocean, to circumnavigate this remote and icy waterways – in a safe way. Several alternative routes combined with our deep knowledge of the area and flexibility are key factors to giving you the most amazing experience. And if we really manage to circumnavigate Baffin Island or sail through the entire Northwest Passage, it will be one for the books.

  • Day 1
    Vancouver, Canada

    Cosmopolitan city, stunning setting

    23 August 2022

    Your expedition cruise starts in Vancouver. Set amidst beautiful mountain scenery and the waters of English Bay, Vancouver is both bustling seaport and cosmopolitan city. If you arrange to arrive a few days ahead of your cruise, you’ll soon find out just why people rave about British Colombia’s largest city.  

    Its various neighbourhoods buzz with world-class, farm-to-table, fresh cuisine. Chinatown and Punjabi Market have arguably the best Asian food in North America while Commercial Drive is the home of Little Italy.  

    Don’t rule out Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood either. Gastown’s Victorian buildings house some of the hottest restaurants and its 167-metre-high Vancouver Lookout offers a perfect panorama. 

    You can take in the neon lights and nightlife along the Granville Street strip or just go and chill on one of the beaches in West End. The latter is also the gateway to explore the wide-open spaces and greenery of Stanley Park.  

    For an easy way to take in Vancouver’s highlights, we have a half-day Vancouver Sightseeing Tour as a Pre-Programme. It even includes a trip to the thrilling Capilano Suspension Bridge that hangs 70 metres high over the river. To venture even further, what could be better than a Pre-Programme trip aboard the Rocky Mountaineer train? The scenery is nothing short of spectacular. 

    Day 1
    Vancouver, Canada

    Cosmopolitan city, stunning setting

  • Day 2
    Nome, Alaska

    There’s No Place Like Nome

    24 August 2022
    Estimated time of departure is 10:00 PM

    You’ll fly from Vancouver to Nome, where MS Roald Amundsen waits to begin your expedition cruise. 

    Situated on the Seward Peninsula, Nome’s name went down in Alaska history the day the ‘Three Lucky Swedes’ discovered gold in Anvil Creek in 1898. Prospectors soon flocked from the Yukon and from San Francisco in steamers. Even the famous sheriff Wyatt Earp followed the call of gold and opened a saloon here. You can see evidence of the gold rush era everywhere, including abandoned dredges, turn-of-the-century steam engines, and old railroad tracks. Cries of ‘Gold! Gold!’ can still be heard today by those foraging on the banks of the Snake River and elsewhere in the area.  

    The town also marked the end point of three of Roald Amundsen’s great expeditions; the Northwest Passage in 1906, the Northeast Passage in 1921, and an aircraft attempt to the North Pole in 1926.  

    It seems only fitting therefore that you’ll board an expedition ship bearing his name here in Nome, eagerly embarking on your own modern-day adventure across the Arctic. 

    Day 2
    Nome, Alaska

    There’s No Place Like Nome

  • Day 3-7
    At Sea

    Seeing the sights while sailing the seas

    25 August 2022 - 29 August 2022

    These initial days at sea give you all the time you need to ease into your journey and acclimatise for your adventure ahead. You’ll definitely want to explore the ship and enjoy onboard facilities like the infinity pool, hot tubs, sauna, indoor gym, outdoor running track and spa.  

    There are also informative lectures from the Expedition Team in the Science Centre. Each topic, ranging from wildlife, tectonic activity, glaciology, or local history and culture, is designed to help you appreciate the areas you are sailing through and inform your upcoming landings. 

    The Expedition Team will also talk you through important guidelines from AECO, the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators. You'll learn how you can protect wildlife habitats, keep a safe distance from animals, and visit Arctic communities in a dignified and respectful way.  

    We’ll sail through the Bering Strait and look to the skies to spot a range of sea birds. There are over 30 species to spot, including Black-legged Kittiwakes and various species of auklets and murrelets. Late summer sees upwards of 10 million winged wonders in the region, giving you plenty to point your binoculars at. 

    Through the Bergin Strait, you’ll also have Russia to the west and the USA to the east. This is the international date line, where you’ll have ‘tomorrow’ on your left and ‘today’ to the right.  

    Crossing Chukchi Sea, we reach Point Barrow, the northernmost point of the USA and enter the Beaufort Sea. Keep an eye on the waters here for bowhead and grey whales and we might also start seeing sea ice.  

    We continue into the Amundsen Gulf, where we hope to observe the remarkable and colourful Smoking Hills - an amazing sight, with smoke billowing from the cliffs on the east coast of Cape Bathurst. Lignite – a combination of eroded shale and pyrite – spontaneously ignites when exposed to air, creating this photogenic phenomenon. 

    Day 3-7
    At Sea

    Seeing the sights while sailing the seas

  • Day 8-17
    Northwest Passage

    All the way through the Northwest Passage

    30 August 2022 - 8 September 2022

    It’s now time for us to attempt to make a complete transit of the Northwest Passage. Before us, only around 60 expeditions have tried to navigate this seaway, with the earliest attempts going as far back as 1497.  

    James Cook attempted it in 1776 and many are familiar with the ill-fated Franklin expedition of 1845. The first to conquer the Northwest Passage by ship was Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen on an expedition that lasted from 1903 to 1906.  

    Now in our modern era, aboard a state-of-the-art expedition ship named in Amundsen’s honour, we’ll also enter the Northwest Passage on our own adventure, aiming to sail through to Greenland and eastern Canada. 

    During our journey, we will land at sites that are linked to early exploration history, visit Inuit communities, and hope to spot Arctic wildlife such as polar bears, whales, seals, and a mixture of seabirds.  

    There will also be opportunities for small boat cruising between ice floes, and in true expedition style, we will go ashore and experience the pristine wilderness first hand.  

    The ship Captain and Expedition Leader will continuously assess the current weather and sea conditions, adapt activities accordingly, and adjust the itinerary to where the sea ice allows us to go. Like all good explorers, we respect and work with nature, not against it.  

    Here are some of the places in the region that we hope to explore together during landings and short walks, if wind, waves, and sea ice allow: 


    Many in the 500-strong community are involved in the local artists' co-op, producing prints, tapestries, and other crafts. This is also the location of the world's northernmost golf course which plays host to a tournament each summer. 

    Cambridge Bay 

    Located on Victoria Island, this is the largest stop for vessels traversing the Northwest Passage. It is also called ‘Iqaluktuuttiaq', or ‘A Good Fishing Place’ due to the Ekalluk River which attracts Arctic char, muskoxen, and caribou. 

    Gjoa Haven 

    Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen wintered at this hamlet in 1903 on the expedition the ‘haven’ is named after. During his time here, he learnt crucial survival skills from the local Nesilik Inuit. This knowledge would later give him the upper hand in his famous race to the South Pole in 1911. There is an informative walking tour, Heritage Centre, and Hamlet Centre dedicated to the history and culture of the area. 

    Fort Ross 

    An abandoned Hudson’s Bay Trading post located at the southern end of Somerset Island. The storehouse here is still used as a shelter by occasional travellers, with bunk beds and shelves of canned goods. 

    Beechey Island 

    This is the final resting place for three members of the lost Franklin expedition which sailed into the Northwest Passage in 1845 but never returned. It is customary for explorers in the region to stop and pay their respects at the graves, as Roald Amundsen did in 1903. 

    Devon Island  

    Welcome to the largest uninhabited island on Earth. The only signs of human life are found at the long-abandoned settlement of Dundas Harbour along with several archaeological sites from the Thule period.   

    Pond Inlet  

    Called 'Mittimatalik' in Inuktitut, it means ‘the place where the landing place is’. This is a traditional Inuit community on Baffin Island, boasting views of Eclipse Sound and the mountains of Bylot Island. It is also known as a great place to see narwhal - the unicorn of the sea. 

    Day 8-17
    Northwest Passage

    All the way through the Northwest Passage

  • Day 18
    Labrador Sea

    Crossing Baffin Bay and Davis Strait

    9 September 2022

    We have left Canada behind and now set course for Greenland. While sailing across Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, you can continue to enjoy informative lectures in the Science Center. Some of the topics may include wildlife you might see, Greenlandic culture, expedition history, geology, photography, and historic explorers.   

    If you feel like getting active, you can hit the gym and get your pulse up. You’ll also have access to the sauna, an infinity pool, and two outdoor hot tubs. Drinks can be enjoyed in the panoramic Explorer Lounge & Bar too, while settling into a sofa and watching the rhythmic ocean waves roll by outside.    

    In the evening, swap stories of your adventures with the Expedition Team and learn more about these modern-day explorers. Each of them are walking, talking treasure troves of exploits and information. 

    Day 18
    Labrador Sea

    Crossing Baffin Bay and Davis Strait

  • Day 19

    Where icebergs are born

    10 September 2022

    Ilulissat – meaning simply ‘Icebergs’ – is set in the stunning scenery of the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This beautiful gem of a town is characterised by its colourful houses sitting down by the fjord which features an ever-changing gallery of icebergs – it really is a picture-perfect kind of place.  

    It’s also a vibrant hub for adventure seekers who head out onto the polar ice cap, and there are almost as many sled dogs living here as there are people. Each spring, one of the world’s greatest dog sled races takes place here, with 100 sleds.  

    Just outside the town you can often see enormous icebergs floating in the deep blue waters. They originate from the Jakobshavn Glacier, which calves some 35 billion tonnes of icebergs each year. The icebergs make their way down the 20km fjord before entering Disko Bay, and they are a photographer’s dream.  

    You won’t just see these huge, chiseled masses of ice, you’ll also hear them. As they bump into one another and into the shores, the sounds of cracking, rumbling, and creaking echo throughout the fjord.  

    If that background noise is like the drums, the crumble, crash, and splash of ice calving off the icebergs into the waters below are the cymbals. Take a moment just to sit, watch, and listen to the icebergs in the beautiful surroundings. 

    Day 19

    Where icebergs are born

  • Day 20

    Modern settlement, ancient traditions

    11 September 2022

    Spectacularly situated Sisimiut – Greenland’s second city – is placed 40km north of the Arctic Circle in the central coastal area of the Davis Strait. It’s a modern settlement but its roots stretch back in time a long way, with estimates that the area has been settled by Greenlandic peoples for over 4,500 years.

    Its name translates into ‘the people at the fox holes’, a reference to the many burrows of Arctic fox that lie near the city. Another animal local to the area is the musk ox whose wool is used to make a local fabric called qiviut – said to be 10 times warmer than sheep wool. You might like to pick up a qiviut scarf, hat, or mittens while you are here.

    With a population of around 5,500, Sisimiut is an important regional hub and is often a stopover point for boats heading between Nuuk and the Disko Bay area, with many coming here to enjoy backcountry sports on the Greenland ice cap such as skiing or dog sledding.

    The small museum houses artefacts from excavations of ancient Saqqaq settlements near the town, some as old as 4,000 years. There’s also the Taseralik Cultural Centre, the place to go to learn more about the cultural heritage of the area.

    Day 20

    Modern settlement, ancient traditions

  • Day 21-22
    Across the Labrador Sea

    Across the Labrador Sea

    12 September 2022 - 13 September 2022

    ou’ll have time to relax, get to know your fellow travellers better, and make full use of the facilities on board. In the Science Center, the Expedition Team will hold lecture programmes on the wildlife and ecosystems of the Arctic.  

    We also support a number of Citizen Science projects that you can join. These projects include Happywhale, where your photographs help identify and track the movement of specific whales across the planet due to their distinguishing characteristics.

    Or you can participate in the GLOBE Observer project, which combines your observations of clouds and sky conditions from below with data collected by satellites from above.

    By participating in these projects, not only will you be supporting the scientific community, you’ll also be gaining a better understanding of the world around you. 

    Day 21-22
    Across the Labrador Sea

    Across the Labrador Sea

  • Day 23
    Red Bay

    Canada’s hidden history

    14 September 2022

    Red Bay is a former Basque whaling settlement on the coast of southern Labrador in the Strait of Belle Ile. You might catch a glimpse of humpback or minke whales that first drew Basque whalers to this harbour back in the 17th century. For about 70 years, these fishermen would return to catch whales and export their refined oil back to Europe. 

    Not all whaling ships were able to reach Red Bay’s shores though. Wrecked chalupas and galleons are just some of the ships that have been found preserved in the ice-cold waters. These discoveries make Red Bay one of the most important underwater archaeological sites in the world. 

    As you explore this fascinating town, make sure to visit the local museum which is part of the Red Bay National Historic Site to see an eight-metre chalupa – a small whale-catching boat – and imagine life as a Basque whaler on the Labrador Sea.  

    You can also look for whale bones in the protected National Historic Site or for pirate captain Kidd’s buried treasure around Tracey Hill. While you might not find any gold doubloons, you’ll at least be rewarded with a fantastic view. 

    Day 23
    Red Bay

    Canada’s hidden history

  • Day 24
    Corner Brook

    A classic Canadian city

    15 September 2022

    As you sail into the Bay of Islands, surrounded by the jagged slopes and dense forests of the Long Range Mountains, you’ll be charting the same course that Captain James Cook did over 250 years ago.

    Just like that esteemed captain, we are headed to Corner Brook at the mouth of the Humber River. This is the second-largest city in the Newfoundland and Labrador province after St. John’s. If the latter is trendy and international, Corner Brook is decidedly traditional and local.

    You can get a sense of the regional history here at Corner Brook Museum. There are a number of artifacts that chart the indigenous cultures, logging industry, and of course, Captain James Cook. The exhibit on World War II brides from England and Scotland is particularly fascinating.

    We offer an optional excursion up to Crow Hill, home of the Captain James Cook National Historic site. Standing where the famous British Explorer once stood to survey the area, you’ll have pleasant views over the city. Don’t forget to grab a photo with the statue of the man himself.

    Other optional excursions include a guided hike along a portion of the Corner Brook Stream trail. Or adrenaline-inducing zip-lining high up over the scenic Humber Valley, admiring views of Marble Mountain and Steady Brook Falls.

    When it’s time to depart, a local band might come aboard and treat us to a performance, sending us on a way in true Corner Brook hospitality.

    • Included Newfoundland Music & Storytelling
    Day 24
    Corner Brook

    A classic Canadian city

  • Day 25
    At Sea

    Coming to a close

    16 September 2022

    It’s our final day at sea and your cruise with us is fast drawing to a close. You might like to spend this day at sea just fully unwinding from the excitement of the past two weeks. 

    Your thoughts might naturally turn to home, or maybe you’ll find that you’ll have already left your heart back in one of the special places you’ve visited. Today will be a good time to spend reflecting on and taking stock of all the wonderful experiences you’ve had. 

    The Expedition Team will likely be in a similar mood as you, and you can join them as they fondly recap the highlights of the thrilling cruise you’ve shared together. You’ll probably also have a few hundred photos of scenic landscapes, activities, and memories to sift through and sort out! 

    Day 25
    At Sea

    Coming to a close

  • Day 26

    Capital of Nova Scotia

    17 September 2022

    And with that, your exciting, epic journey from one end of the Northwest Passage all the way to the other ends in Halifax.  

    The cosmopolitan capital of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia sits in the centre of the region’s east coast and is an important seaport that looks out over one of the world's largest natural harbours.  

    With its red-brick heritage buildings, the landmark Citadel Hill National Historic Site, a historic 1820 brewery and the epic 4-km seafront boardwalk, Halifax offers plenty of potential if you want to extend your trip.  

    Close to where we dock is Pier 21, the ‘Ellis Island of Canada’ where thousands of immigrants arrived from all over the world, and an appropriate site for Canada's Museum of Immigration. There is also the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic which contains a large exhibit of the notorious Titanic disaster.  

    Not far from Downtown Halifax is Halifax Common which opened in 1763 and is Canada’s oldest park. And if you enjoy art, the extensive collection in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is sure to make an impression on you.   

    If you can, spend a few extra days here on our Post-Programme before you head home. You’ll visit the historic community of Peggy's Cove and see its iconic lighthouse. There’ll also be time to pay your respects at Halifax Fairview Lawn Cemetery, the solemn burial place of 121 tragic passengers of the Titanic. 

    Day 26

    Capital of Nova Scotia



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What's included

Included in your voyage


  • Overnight in Vancouver before the Expedition cruise including breakfast


  • Economy flight from Vancouver to Nome


  • Transfer from the hotel in Vancouver to the airport before the Expedition cruise
  • Transfer from the airport to the ship in Nome before the Expedition cruise

Expedition Cruise

  • Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurants Aune and Fredheim
  • À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm included for suite guests
  • Complimentary tea and coffee
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to use at water refill stations on board
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organise and accompany activities on board and ashore
  • Range of included excursions

Onboard Activities

  • Experts on the Expedition Team deliver in-depth lectures on a variety of topics
  • Use of the ship’s Science Center which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
  • Citizen Science programme allows guests to assist with live scientific research
  • Professional onboard photographer gives top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos
  • Use of the ship’s hot tubs, infinity pool, panoramic sauna, outdoor and indoor gyms, and outdoor running track
  • Informal gatherings with the crew such as daily recaps and preparation for the day to come

Landing Activities

  • Escorted landings with small expedition boats
  • Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment for activities
  • Complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket
  • Expedition Photographers help with your camera settings before landings

Not included in your voyage

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners
  • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team
  • Optional treatments in the onboard wellness and spa area


  • All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions
  • Excursions and activities are subject to change
  • Medical questionnaire is mandatory
  • Please make sure you meet all entry and boarding requirements
  • No gratuities expected
MS Roald Amundsen in Antarktis
Photo: Dan Avila
MS Roald Amundsen
Aune Restaurant, MS Roald Amundsen
Photo: Espen Mills
Your ship

MS Roald Amundsen

Year built 2019
Shipyard Kleven Yards
Passenger capacity 528 (500 in Antarctica)
Gross tonnage 20 889 T
Length 140 m
Beam 23,6 m
Speed 15 knots
MS Roald Amundsen in Antarktis
Photo: Dan Avila

In 2019, Hurtigruten added a brand new ship to its fleet: the MS Roald Amundsen. The state of the art vessel features new and environmentally sustainable hybrid technology that will reduce fuel consumption and show the world that hybrid propulsion on large ships is possible.

Read more about MS Roald Amundsen

Science Center
Photo: Agurtxane Concellon
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