NEW YORK --
Looking for the big chill this summer? An Arctic vacation, with its
snow, 24-hour daylight and polar bears (sorry, no penguins), might
be the ticket.
But the ticket is
hefty: Many of the operators that sell these ends-of-the-earth
adventure tours are on the pricey side. Its also hard to get to the
ends of the earth, and by the time you reach them, you usually
spend two weeks there.
Cruise North is
hoping to change that. This new entrant into the adventure market
is wholly owned by Makivik, an Inuit native corporation based in
Prices start at
$2,490 per person for a seven-day air/sea package. The first cruise
launches July 10.
Canadian Arctic cruises, and theres a difference: The ship doesnt
actually cross the Arctic circle on its cruises (although
itineraries that would do that are on their radar for 2006). But
because the company is Inuit-owned, the ice-class ship, the
Ushuaia, has access to tribal lands that other cruise lines dont
Cruise North gets Inuit
people involved in the delivery of the product, Dugald Wells, the
lines president said in an interview. Its a neat thing. Its a
benefit to the Inuit. And its a real upside to the
passengers see pretty much the same thing in terms of landscape,
wildlife and culture as folks venturing farther north, he
Cruises start in
Kuujjuaq, at the northern limit of Canadas Boreal Forest. The
package includes a two-hour flight from Montreal to Kuujjuaq on
First Air, also owned by the Inuit.
Most of the
cruises curl around the Hudson Strait or sailing up to Pangnirtung,
just shy of the Arctic Circle.
expect to spot walrus, whales, seals and musk ox. Weather will
likely be a balmy 50 degrees, but passengers will see
The line is
chartering the Ushuaia for its short season (which ends in
September). The ship is already suited up for adventures like
Arctic scuba diving. The drawback: Unless you book a suite, youll
share your bathroom with the passengers next door.
information, call (866) CNE-3220 or visit www.cruisenorthexpeditions.com. The site has sections
on Inuit history and culture.
reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].