Scheduled flight from Germany to Seattle
Overnight stay with breakfast
Scheduled flight to Anchorage
Journey to Seward/Alaska/USA
Seward/Alaska/USA, departure 19.00 hrs
Relaxation at sea
Alaska Peninsula (cruising off Kak Island, Chignik** )
There are still pages to be filled in the history book of the far north – it’s up to you to continue the story. Add your own chapter to the chronicle of a waterway that has been both a legend and a daring feat for centuries, and remains so today. As legendary pioneers made history here, you will continue the adventure on the HANSEATIC spirit. A route that very few ships can master: the Northwest Passage is around 5,800 km (3,604 mi.) long and passes through places that have often never been captured on film and remain shrouded in myths and vague ideas. Despite all this, the passage is a focus for the world. Global warming could open the icy gates to the natural resources of the Arctic. Countries around the world are eyeing the huge gas and oil reserves or elements such as lithium. An ice-free passage would also make shipping transport between the continents significantly shorter. Virtually no other routes bring together the past, present and future of exploration better than this one. Paint your own picture on this epoch-making cruise, where the journey matters more than the destination.
In 1906, Roald Amundsen navigated the entire Northwest Passage for the first time. Now you can tackle this pioneering feat on board the HANSEATIC spirit – in the opposite direction. The first chapters of your adventurous weeks start on the impressive coast of the Alaska Peninsula. As you cruise off Kak Island, the cliffs teeming with birds will stir up your anticipation of what lies ahead. Chignik means “strong wind” in the Alutiiq language. Gain insights into life in this small fishing town, which has around 80 residents.
Aleutian Islands (Popof Island** , Unalaska Island)
The volcanic island chain of the Aleutian Islands stretches into the Pacific like a great arc. Here you’ll visit Popof Island, where bison roam the land and bald eagles rule the skies. Your gaze will instinctively be drawn upwards when you hear their call above Unalaska Island. The settlers in Dutch Harbor looked to the heavens for different reasons, as can be seen from the oldest Russian Orthodox church in North America with its white towers topped with onion domes.
Saint Paul Island/Pribilof Islands**
Relaxation at sea
Cruising in the Bering Sea
Relaxation at sea
Cruising through the Chukchi Sea and the Beaufort Sea
Adventure in the Northwest Passage – from the Beaufort Sea to Lancaster Sound (including Herschel Island/ Canada, Smoking Hills, Victoria Island, Jenny Lind Island, cruising in the Victoria Strait, cruising in Peel Sound, Prince of Wales Island, Beechey Island, Devon Island)
The adventure of the Northwest Passage: to this day, fascinating legends surround this famous waterway. The manoeuvrable HANSEATIC spirit is perfect for navigating safely through these regions, which are extremely challenging to sail. Enjoy an exceptionally up-close experience of the fascinating Arctic with the highest ice class for passenger ships and the experienced expedition crew. Although the route is carefully planned, the weather and ice often determine the actual course, with the captain and the team adjusting the details each day. To start your adventures, the rarely visited Herschel Island sets the scene. If the local conditions permit, you can explore the former whaling station. With a little luck, rough-legged buzzards will herald your arrival and the timid Arctic fox might even make an appearance. Franklin Bay is enveloped by the history of Franklin the explorer and the phenomenon of the Smoking Hills. The smoky effect is caused by layers of rocks within the hills that contain pyrite and have ignited themselves. A Zodiac ride offers unique perspectives of this mystical spectacle. On Victoria Island, named after the British queen, you might have the chance to see mighty musk oxen weighing up to 400 kg (882 lb). Will you perhaps even see polar bears here? Look forward to amazing insights into the way of life and history of the Inuit. For centuries, the area around Cambridge Bay was the summer meeting point for the “Copper Eskimo” families – named after their copper tools. The wreck of Roald Amundsen’s research ship Maud bore silent witness to his bravery from its resting place in the ice here for around 90 years before being taken back to Norway in 2018. A great voice echoes on Jenny Lind Island, which owes its name to a Swedish opera singer from the 19th century lovingly known as the “nightingale”. The island will indeed provide opportunities for birdwatching, and you may find yourself surprised by four-legged residents such as Arctic hares, Arctic foxes and caribou.
As the ship cruises in Victoria Strait, the dramatic scenery will reflect the moving history of this area. For a long time, the lost ships of the Franklin expedition, which tried and failed to find the Northwest Passage in 1845, were thought to be at the entrance to the strait. One of them, the Terror, was discovered in 2016 in Terror Bay, around 100 km (62 mi.) further south than expected. Find out about the fate and the unflinching courage of those who braved the forces of nature back then with your experts on board. The conditions will decide whether your adventure continues by cruising in Peel Sound – the ice sets the pace as the HANSEATIC spirit manoeuvres safely through the island labyrinth to its next destinations. Very few ships are capable of this feat, which requires first-class equipment and an experienced crew. Zodiac rides and landings are possible throughout the habitat of whales, seals and polar bears. For example, Prince of Wales Island invites you to hike through the untouched nature. Follow in the footsteps of past explorers on Beechey Island. A walk to the graves of members of the Franklin expedition will bring its historic significance to the fore. The world’s largest uninhabited island, Devon Island, welcomes you with its vast wilderness. An abandoned station of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police reinforces the impression of remote silence. As the ship then sets sail from Lancaster Sound for Greenland, you’ll have completed the feat and be among the few people who can say they have conquered the Northwest Passage.
Relaxation at sea
West coast of Greenland (Uummannaq, Ilulissat, Disko Bay, Sisimiut)
The final chapter in your adventure takes you along the west coast of Greenland. Small but perfectly formed, Uummannaq nestles at the foot of a spectacular heart-shaped mountain. The splendid Jakobshavn Glacier near Ilulissat is the “birthplace” of around 10 % of Greenland’s icebergs. Marvel at the glistening ice masses that gather here with a hike to the ice fjord. This is followed by an amazing natural spectacle: in the glittering splendour of Disko Bay, mighty icebergs drift majestically through the water – an event that you can watch unfold around you from the deck and in a Zodiac. Sisimiut provides an atmospheric end to your expedition, with its houses dotted across several hills. Enter the museum-like old town through a gate made of whale jawbones. A discovery tour with your experts will trace the history of whaling here. Almost an entire month filled with milestones of seafaring history lies behind you now – the experiences of a lifetime and wonderful memories will stay with you for years to come.
Kangerlussuaq/Greenland, arrival 6.00 hrs
Charter flight from Kangerlussuaq to Germany*
* Approximately six months before departure, you will be informed at which German airport the charter flight will land.
** The ship’s tender boats will be used (instead of Zodiacs) due to official regulations.
Important note on this expedition: This expedition is a very demanding cruise to organise and sail. All of our experience and careful preparation notwithstanding, the actual itinerary depends on official approvals and rules, as well as the weather and ice conditions, which may make it necessary to change the itinerary. The natural experiences and animal sightings described are possibilities and are not guaranteed. We will do everything in our power to ensure that this cruise takes place as advertised, but wish to inform you of the flexibility this requires. The captain will decide on the best possible alternative depending on local conditions.
---- The ice conditions determine the course here (see map).
The following programmes can be booked.
Please note that our pre- and post-cruise programmes are conducted in German and are charged additionally to the travel package. The prices and conditions for these programmes can be found on the German travel details page and are charged additionally to the travel package. For individual programmes kindly consult your travel agent.
The following programmes are offered in German:
Our popular pre- and post-cruise programmes include a broad spectrum of excursions and are usually accompanied by experienced Hapag-Lloyd Cruises tour guides. Recommended for guests who like to share their experiences with a group of like-minded travellers. Explore specially selected highlights of your holiday destination and enjoy the convenience of group travel – we will take care of the transfers, excursions and overnight stays.