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Historic cruise is the ultimate ice-breaker

If the Northwest Passage sounds like a corridor in Downton Abbey and doesn’t instantly make you think of brave, yet doomed expeditions, then let me tempt you with some history in the blue panel below.

The Northwest Passage

Back in the day, the Northwest passage was the holy grail of a ‘quick way’ for tall ships laden with goodies to get from the Atlantic to the Pacific and vice versa, before so much as a spade was turned on the Panama Canal.

But… it’s cold up there, isn’t it? Not so much now but that could be less to do with global warming and more to do with the Little Ice Age from the 1300s to 1850 ish.

None of the brave explorers in this time, risking all in their wooden ships made it through; some were even stuck in ice for years through cold summers when the ice didn’t melt. Many died, some disappeared in suspicious circumstances.

Captain James Cook decided to give it a crack and it turned out to be his last hurrah. He planned to go from the Pacific side, making his ill-fated stopover at Hawaii where being the world’s greatest cartographer wasn’t enough to stop the locals stealing one of his longboats.

Cook’s cunning plan to get it back by kidnapping a Hawaiian chief as a hostage didn’t come off and he was surrounded and killed.

Many failed attempts later, along came Roald Amundsen, the Norwegian explorer who broke Scott’s heart by being first to the South Pole.

The Northwest passage was the first of his firsts so to speak, as between 1903 and 1906 he found the way through, spending two winters learning the icy survival skills which came in very useful a couple of years later in the Antarctic.

Just over a century later, you can see all the majestic scenery, unique local culture and wildlife without wearing a smelly seal skin and risking frostbite. A good puffer jacket and gortex rain-jacket should suffice when you’re on deck or at port although you do also score an expedition parka to keep.

Meanwhile, there’s the voyage of a lifetime to book. Couples can save more than US$16,000 on a once-in-a-lifetime expedition cruise out of the famed Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic, renowned for its wild and pristine icebergs, fjords, glaciers, polar bears and whales. And for a limited time, there’s also a zero supplement for solo travellers in selected cabins.

The savings are part of a new, adventure-filled cruise and stay package released by Australian small ship cruise specialist, Cruise Traveller, and expedition cruise line, Adventure Canada.

The 18-night ‘Out of the Northwest Passage’ package features a voyage from Canada to Greenland, showcasing the Arctic’s natural beauty while also offering a glimpse into the lives of the Inuit people who call it home.

Guests also have the added chance of seeing the majestic Northern Lights – the swirling auroras of purple and green which often light up the Arctic sky.  

Linking the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the Northwest Passage is only navigable by ships for a few weeks a year after the peak of summer. Many 19th century European explorers tried to traverse the passage as a possible trade route to Asia, often with journeys ending in disaster.

Today, the Northwest Passage is accessible by ice-strengthened expedition ships – but the icy waters still retain their mystic charm.

Guests will travel onboard Adventure Canada’s 198-passenger, eco-friendly vessel, the Ocean Endeavour and enjoy daily Zodiac shore visits and excursions which will take them close to wildlife and provide an immersive insight into the traditional Inuit culture—including a visit to Canada’s northernmost communities.

During the journey, expedition staff from Adventure Canada will help spot polar bears, walrus, muskox, whales, seals and other wildlife while maintaining passenger safety at all times. There will also be opportunities for hiking, photography, birding and for exploring archaeological sites.

The adventure begins on September 11, 2024, with a flight from Vancouver to Yellowknife in Canada’s far north for a pre-cruise, hotel stay before another flight next day to the Arctic hamlet of Kugluktuk in Canada where the 16-night cruise through the Northwest Passage to Greenland will commence.

The voyage ends in Kangerlussuaq in Greenland where guests will be flown to Toronto for a one-night hotel stay, ending the trip.

The 18-night ‘Out of the Northwest Passage’ package is available from US$17,395 per person, twin-share, in an Inside Cabin – a saving of US$6705 per person. Supplement-free solo fares start at US$17,395 in selected cabins, subject to availability.

Northern Light froms Kangerlussuaq

In an Oceanview Cabin, the package is priced from US$20,695 per person, twin-share – a saving of US$8305 each. The savings are for bookings made by March 31, 2024. 

Fares include shore excursions, charter flights between Canada and Greenland and an expedition parka to keep. Flights from Australia are extra.
Call Cruise Traveller on 1800 507 777 or CLICK HERE for all the crisp, clear details.

Michael G Browne
Michael G Browne
Michael G Browne is a crime author (Money Bags), comedy writer an inveterate traveller.

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