Adventure Canada has announced the itineraries and ships for its cruises and expeditions.
Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands Cruise
At the beginning of the 11-day trip, tour participants explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of colonial Quito, shop at Otavalo Market and stand on the equator. They then board the 16-passenger Queen of the Galapagos for the Galapagos Islands tour.
Zodiac excursions bring passengers to San Cristobal, South Plaza Island, Santa Fe Island, Hood (Espanola) Island, Punta Suarez, Gardner Bay, Floreana Island, Santa Cruz Island, North Seymour, Las Bachas Beach, Sullivan Bay and Bartolome Island.
Passengers watch mating dances of blue-footed boobies, snorkel with sea lion pups, penguins and sea turtles, walk between hundreds of sunning iguanas and photograph giant tortoises and flightless cormorants. Resource staff lead guided walking tours and provide onboard lectures on the history, flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands.
Senegal to Spain Cruise
Adventure Canada's two-week trip begins in the capital of Senegal, Dakar, known for its mosques, French colonial architecture and four centuries of slave trading. Following the route of migrating seabirds, the 120-passenger Clipper Adventurer cruises north to the Cape Verde Islands. The stark and rocky terrain, settled by the Portuguese, boasts verdant interior farmlands and colorful villages. Passengers visit Praia, Sao Tiago, Tarrafal and Mindelo, Sao Vicente on the route to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, in the Canary Islands.
Shore excursions bring passengers to two different volcanic landscapes in the Canary Islands, the sinuous black lava flows of Lanzarote and snowcapped Teide Volcano, Spain's highest peak and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Casablanca, Agadir and Taroudant, Morocco, guided tours bring passengers through labyrinthine alleyways to see magnificent Islamic palaces and beautiful mosques. After a day in Gibraltar, part of the United Kingdom, the cruise ends in Malaga, Spain.
Spain to Scotland Cruise
The 13-day Celtic Quest Adventure Canada cruise on the 94-passenger MS Andrea begins in Vigo, Spain. It continues to O Grove, Barbanza, and Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia, one of the seven Celtic nations. Galicia is known for its cathedrals, castles, dolmens and hill forts.
After Bilbao, the MS Andrea cruises to La Rochelle, France, Carnac, Pont Aven, Douarnarez and Locronan in Brittany, a large peninsula in Northwest France that points, like a finger, into the North Atlantic Ocean. Brittany is known for its megalithic monuments and calvaries (sculptured crucifixion scenes) in small town churchyards.
After crossing the English Channel, passengers visit Tintagel to experience King Arthur's England, and then continue to Cape Clear, Ireland, for storytelling over a pint of Guinness.
Shore excursions feature ancient settlements on the Aran Isles, the remote hermitage of Skelligs, the territory of Grace O'Malley (a woman known for piracy at Clew Bay) and Westport, with its county town ambience. On their last day in Ireland, passengers visit Giant's Causeway, with its 40,000 mysterious stone columns, and the bird cliffs of Rathlin Island. The cruise ends in Greenock/Glasgow after the ship steams up the Clyde River into the heart of Scotland.
Glasgow to Edinburgh Cruise
Adventure Canada's 11-day Celtic Quest: Scotland Slowly Cruise visits Scotland's western and northern islands for culture, heritage and natural history. Departing Glasgow/Greenock, the 94-passenger MS Andrea cruises to Islay, Jura in the Inner Hebrides, Staffa, Iona, Mingulay, Castlebay, Barra, St. Kilda, Lewis, Stornoway, Hoy, Orkney, Papa Stour, Foula, Mousa, Fair Isle, Aberdeen and Deeside. The journey ends in Edinburgh.
Passengers visit some of Europe's oldest monuments, dating back to the Stone Age, and communities once occupied by Gaelic-speaking clans and free Norse landholders. Birdwatchers observe the abundant bird population. Resource staff provide small group tutorials for photographers.
Newfoundland Circumnavigation Cruise
This 10-day Adventure Canada cruise begins in St. John's Newfoundland. Founded in 1497, it's the oldest European city in North America. Cradled in a granite harbour, St. John's is a vibrant art community with many galleries, theaters and museums. The waterfront brims with cafes and shops.
The Newfoundland Circumnavigation includes Witless Bay, Bonavista Bay, Terra Nova National Park, Fogo Island, the Northern Peninsula, L'Anse aux Meadows, Burnt Cape, Southern Labrador, Battle Harbour, Gros Morne National Park, Codroy Valley, South Shore, Avalon Peninsula, Placentia and Cape St. Mary's. Passengers attend private kitchen parties and community celebrations at remote outposts, where they experience the hospitality of Newfoundlanders.
June is an exceptional time for birding in Newfoundland. South of St. John's, passengers board Zodiacs to visit Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. The largest Atlantic puffin colony in North America has more than 260,000 nesting pairs of puffins and a dozen other species of seabirds (more than a million pairs of breeding seabirds). Newfoundland has more than 300 different species of birds, including falcons, hawks, gannets and ospreys. Birders enjoy North Atlantic's largest gatherings of American bald eagles.
Newfoundland has the world's largest population of humpback whales and twenty species of whales, dolphins and porpoises. Passengers may also spot fin, pilot, minke, orca, harbour porpoise and white-sided and white-beaked dolphins. Between mid-June and mid-July, hundreds of thousands of capelin throw themselves on the beaches.
Iceberg Alley is located between the east coast of Labrador and Newfoundland's south shore. Passengers see icebergs along the Newfoundland coast, between March and July. Icebergs here can weigh up to 1 million tonnes or larger. Icebergs can run aground and slowly melt, providing fresh water to a micro-ecosystem of plankton, fish and birds.
Arctic Cruise - Kangerlussuaq, Greenland to Resolute, Nunavut
The Explorers & Adventurers Adventure Canada Cruise begins in Greenland, continues north along the west coast, then crosses over to Ellesmere Island and the mouth of the Northwest Passage. Arctic cruises in 2009 highlight the 10th anniversary of the creation of Nunavut, Canada's newest territory.
The 120-passenger Clipper Adventurer stops at Sisimiut, Ilulissat, Karrat Fjord, Melville Bay, Kap York, Qannaq, Carey Bay, Smith Sound, Cape Norton, Nunavut, Cobourg, Grise Fjord, Croker Bay, Dundas Harbour, Cresswell Bay, Prince Leopold, Beechey Island and Resolute Bay.
2009 is the 100 year anniversary of Sir Robert Peary and his team, who claimed that they reached the geographic North Pole after 23 years and eight attempts. His declaration was and still is disputed today. On the 12-day journey, which follows his footsteps, passengers learn about the hardship, determination and competition that drove Peary and other explorers. Experts in history and ornithology accompany the Arctic cruise.
Northwest Passage Cruise
Adventure Canada's 14-day Resolute to Resolute cruise, on the 120-passenger Clipper Adventurer, stops at Beechey Island, Prince Leopold Island, Fort Ross, Bellot Strait, King William Island, Cambridge Bay, Bathurst Inlet, Johansen Bay, Coppermine River, Bernard Harbour, Clifton Point, Albert Island, Banks Island, Prince of Wales Strait, Winter Harbour, Melville Island, Nilson Griffiths Point and Stefansson Island.
The quest to establish the Northwest Passage motivated much of the European exploration of both coasts of North America. The English called the hypothetical route the Northwest Passage, while the Spanish called it the Strait of Anian.
Passengers see straits, islands and peninsulas named after the men who charted this route: Franklin Strait, M'Clintock Channel, Gjoa Haven and Kent Peninsula. Discussions with resource staff look at the changes and options for commerce in the north and their potential impact on the fragile ecosystem.
Resolute, Nunavut to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
This 12-day High Arctic Adventure Canada cruise travels through Peel and Lancaster Sounds, home to beluga whales and other marine mammals. It stops at Beechey Island, Radstock Bay, Dundas Harbour, Croker Bay, Buchan Gulf and the Inuit communities of Pond Inlet and Clyde River. Before leaving Baffin Island, the 120-passenger Clipper Adventurer visits Cape Graham Moore for birding and Isabella Bay for observing bowhead whales.
After crossing Davis Strait to Greenland, passengers visit the town of Ilulissat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On Zodiacs, they cruise among the towering icebergs, calved from the massive Greenland icecap. The Clipper Adventurer also visits Itilleq before disembarking at Kangerlussuaq.
Kangerlussuaq, Greenland to Kuujjuak, Quebec Cruise
Adventure Canada's 11-day Heart of the Arctic cruise features the culture and arts of the Inuit of Greenland, Nunavut and Nunavik. The 120-passenger Clipper Adventurer cruises up Kangerlussuaq Fiord, the longest in West Greenland.
Passengers visit Itilleq and Ilulissat, before crossing Davis Strait to Pangnirtung, Lady Franklin Island, Kimmirut and Cape Dorset in Nunavut and Kangiqsujuak, Nunavik, Akpatok, Kanggirsuk and Kuujjuaq. In many of the hamlets, passengers take part in demonstrations and meet community leaders and artists.
Kuujjuaq, Quebec to Halifax, Nova Scotia Cruise
On Adventure Canada's 13-day Labrador and Canadian East Coast cruise, the 120-passenger Clipper Adventurer travels south along the coast of Labrador, where the Torngat Mountains meet the Atlantic Ocean. Additional stops include Hebron, Hopedale, Battle Harbour, Red Bay, L'Anse Amour, Woody Point, Grand Bruit and St. Pierre.
Guided expedition stops and Zodiac cruises give passengers time for wildlife viewing, tundra hikes and photography. Passengers visit Nunatsiavut, home of the Labrador Inuit, and tour natural and cultural sites. Farther south, passengers learn about the Basque, merchant and Maritime Archaic histories through the Strait to Belle Isle. After following the south shore of Newfoundland, the Clipper Adventurer stops at Cape Breton and cruises down the east coast of Nova Scotia to Halifax.
West Coast of South America Cruise
Aboard the 120-passenger Clipper Adventurer, passengers cruise along the coastlines of Ecuador, Peru and Chile. Starting at Guayaquil, the adventure expedition ship follows Humboldt Current, stopping at Lobos de Tierra, Lobos de Afuera, Islas Hormigas de Afuera, Paracas, Arica, Chile, Lauca National Park, Iquique, Antofagasta, Calama, San Pedro de Atacama, Isla Pan de Azucar, Pajaros Islands, Coquimbo, La Serena, Isla Mocha and Valdivia. Adventure Canada's 17-day cruise ends in Puerto Montt.
On shore excursions, passengers explore the Atacama Desert, fly over the Nazca Lines, hike and look for wildlife and seabird nesting sites.
Adventure Canada: www.adventurecanada.com