Heading for the skies we board an Emirates flight, eagerly anticipating our voyage across the polar landscapes of the Northwest Passage.
Landing in Paris, we’re whisked away to the 18th-century Le Meurice, a hotel set beside the Tuileries Gardens on the Rue de Rivoli where taking a personal moment or two is considered a typical indulgence.
Dine in the hotel’s prestigious Pompadour Room. Our meals are inspired by Alain Ducasse’s team of renowned chefs, and we savour the convivial excitement of the affair.
Spend a full day in the City of Light with one of the following Your World opportunities:
The end of our day is marked by an array of quintessentially Parisian restaurants from which to choose.
We waste no time in making our way to Greenland’s icy fjords. Board a charter flight direct to Kangerlussuaq where we are greeted by our new home, Le Soléal.
Glaciers creak in a weary afternoon yawn, and along a mirror of water, we carve the first leg of our journey.
Traditional wooden houses pepper the harbour - an eclectic display of painted contrasts. We alight at the fishing village of Sisimiut where remote terrain is met by an innovative approach to architecture. Admire the natural surrounds, and delve into the town’s fascinating history before rejoining Le Soléal.
The iceberg-strewn waters of Ilulissat Icefjord are an astounding environment. Travellers adventurous enough to delve into the area, find themselves among ice dating back to the Quaternary glaciation some 2.6 thousand years ago. Of course, on an expedition as immersive as ours, we are fortunate enough to be part of that minority.
We find ourselves amid the World Heritage-listed sea mouth repository for one of the world’s most reproductive glaciers, Jakobshavn.
Marking the entrance to the Upernavik Fjord, Tugtutok is an old Inuit settlement. Take the opportunity to explore the turf houses and gain an understanding of ancient Thule culture. With an economy orientated around hunting, Thule settlements often consisted of houses built from whale bone or skins.
A beacon of rocky outcrop, the Thumb of Kullorsuaq imposes our vision as we approach the town. With an entrance via Zodiac, we are greeted by wide-eyed locals. In these regions, icebergs are so common place that they may seem indistinguishable. However, to locals, identifying differences such as a flat surface and instability gives individual characteristics and meaning to each floe.
Powered by tales, including that of a meteorite that exploded providing residents iron with which to fashion traditional crafts and tools, the island of Savissivik is afforded a surreal charm. Explore the remote locale on your own schedule.
Clinging to the shores of Baffin Island, Pond Inlet is widely considered guard of the entranceway to the Northwest Passage. Once ashore, we set off in search of artefacts left by prehistoric ancestors of the Inuit - the Thule. During a remarkable migration, these resilient people travelled by foot, sled and umiaq from the Bering Strait in order to reach the shores of Canada.
Alighting on Beechey Island, we discover the graves of men who dared to sail with Sir John Franklin as he set out to discover the Northwest Passage in 1845.
Surprisingly, Fury Beach did not earn its name from the unforgiving bites of Arctic wind. It was christened so because it’s the final resting place of the HMS Fury, abandoned after irreparable ice damage.
Uncover the ethereal beauty of desolation. A vast, white desert, Fort Ross was once established by the Hudson’s Bay Trading Company for eleven short years before it was decided that the barren land was best reserved for contemplation rather than commerce.
We become fully aware of our time at sea and away from civilisation. Upon disembarking at the tiny Inuit hamlet of Gjoa Haven, we are met by locals who are believed to be direct descendants of the explorer who first conquered the Northwest Passage. It’s a rare pleasure to engage with them today as we learn about their town’s fascinating history.
You might like to spend today on deck – the Arctic air invigorating as we identify birds and other sea creatures.
Keen to stretch our legs after a day spent at sea, perhaps embark on a hike where we are afforded views of Distant Early Warning stations from during the Cold War.
Known in Inuktitut as Ulukhaktok, we don’t blame you for finding the English name of this hamlet a little easier to pronounce. Holman was so named after the explorer who led the failed rescue mission of John Franklin in 1853.
Due to their reliance on copper and use of the metal in the manufacturing of weaponry and tools, the residents of Minto, descendants of Thule, have gained the title Copper Inuit. Visit their territory, now known for the herds of nomadic caribou who pass through in search of food.
If you were looking for the ultimate escape - this is it. Reaching the heart of the Northwest Passage, we could hardly be further from reality. Brave the elements out on deck and you may be rewarded with encounters of a lazy whale or tubby walrus. Perhaps we’ll even be lucky enough to spy a seldom-seem polar bear family.
On a day spent at sea, perhaps relax in the panoramic cocktail bar and observe the shifting surrounds of glaciers.
It is believed that the former whaling station island of Herschel was named after the scientist John Herschel, a friend of John Franklin who was the first European to set eyes on the land. Admire the afterglow of light and shadow as they play beautiful tricks over ice.
The northernmost point of Alaska, Point Barrow, places us amid archaeological sites that date human habitats back to the beginning of the Post-classical era in AD600.
Catch a lecture on board, or enjoy some personal time.
In the middle of the Bering Strait, the Diomede Islands, though separated by a mere three kilometres of water, are dictated by a 21-hour time difference due to the International Date Line passing between. Of course, we won’t strain you with the confusion of time differences during our visit. Staying firmly on the United States’ island, Little Diomede, we gain an intimate insight into a humble community of just over 100 residents.
The self-proclaimed walrus capital of the world is home to much more than just the toothy creatures. Today we hope to see whales and seals as they break fins through the icy depths - a patient mind is all that we require. And a camera, of course.
Board a direct chartered flight from Nome to Seattle where bright lights of the famous city are a welcome close to our expedition. Transfer to the Four Seasons Hotel where we assimilate among the luxurious surrounds.
An exclusive tour this morning unlocks the hidden charms of Pike Place Market before its gates open to the general public. Enjoy tastings of locally sourced produce including crab cakes, smoked salmon and pastries.
Historic sites of Pioneer Square and the International District are revealed among others later this morning. After touring the city, indulge in a Your World activity:
An appropriately memorable end to our evening, we watch the sun set from the Space Needle before enjoying a Farewell Dinner at Canlis Restaurant.
This morning, the aircraft enthusiasts among us delight over a tour of the Boeing Factory. Afterwards, savour a final lunch at a local restaurant before boarding our American Airlines flight to Los Angeles where we connect with a Qantas flight to Australia.
Having travelled so far from home, we spend a day in the skies. We hope to see you again.
Welcome to your homes away from home. Each one has a certain something that sets it apart from every other residence at its location. Whether for its history, cultural significance or natural setting, we’ve selected only the very best.
An ideal introduction to our decadent exploration, we enjoy two evenings among Parisian splendour. With a restaurant overseen by the world renowned French chef, Alain Ducasse, a spa featuring Swiss anti-aging specialties and bathrooms decorated in Italian marble, Le Meurice showcases the finest aspects of European culture. Take a moment to relax before embarking across the frosty waters of the Arctic. There’s hardly a better way to begin our journey than by settling into a leather armchair and sampling specialty cocktails.
Balancing between the worlds of adventure and luxury, our schedule plays with the idea of exploration from nine to five, and relaxation from five to nine. With a variety of Zodiac expeditions to remote shores, our cruise aboard Le Soléal is a voyager’s dream. Of course, we understand that the best adventures aren’t all about non-stop discovery, and we’re also afforded time to relax in the spa or on your private balcony.
Located in the downtown city centre of Seattle, we could not have found a more stark contrast to the quiet towns just traversed. After weeks aboard Le Soléal, it’s a pleasure to stay so near the city’s finest attractions at the renowned Four Seasons Hotel. Among airy vistas and ash wood decor of our Prime Bay-View Rooms, we’ll appreciate the hotel’s modern influence. Perhaps spend your personal time at the fitness centre or spa, or alternatively sample the authentic Pacific Northwest cuisine at the Art Restaurant and Lounge.
Fares are based on a Deluxe Stateroom on board Le Soléal. Per Person, Twin Share.
Fares are in Australian dollars and include Emirates flights from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to Paris via Dubai; American Airlines flight from Seattle to Los Angeles; and Qantas flight from Los Angeles to Australia. Prices from other cities available on request.
Land Only Guests join the tour in Paris for dinner on Day 2 and depart Seattle after lunch on Day 28.
Cruise Upgrades add per person, twin share
Prestige Stateroom (Deck 4). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$2,950
Prestige Stateroom (Deck 5). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$4,300
Solo supplements are available on application – please contact our Tour Sales Consultants for details.
This journey is reserved for a group of just 20 guests.