Sail the Northwest Passage – for real

Sail the Northwest Passage – for real

The Northwest Passage is a sea lane between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America. For centuries, such a trade route to Asia was sought.

A northern route was discovered in 1850 by the Irish explorer Robert McClure. Scotsman John Rae explored a more southerly area in 1854 through which Norwegian Roald Amundsen made the first complete passage in 1903–1906 (yes, it took 3 years since they would be frozen in the ice all winter). The passage was known for its many disastrous expeditions. Despite the incredible feat, nearly year-round ice pack made this traversal impractical.

In recent years, however, artic sea ice has been receding. In 2013, a Chinese shipping line successful made passage by the 73,500 ton Nordic Orion. The company expressed interest in continuing the route more frequently as winter sea ice recedes.

But it’s not just big companies, you can now take one of these trips yourself – if you have the money. In just the last few years, tour companies are starting to make regular trips through the Northwest passage. Costs range from around $10,000 – $50,000.

Read about what to expect on such a voyage here.

Tour companies now offering cruises through the Northwest Passage:

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