Summary : Take a trip to the top of the world where South is all around you. You’ll have the ultimate experience aboard a powerful nuclear-powered Russian icebreaker. Encounter rookeries of Arctic birds, walruses, and seals. Keep an eye out for polar bear, too, on this trip of a lifetime!
Please keep in mind that this is a unique expedition to a remote and very little explored part of the globe. Our sample itinerary should therefore be considered as a guide only, as it is heavily dependent on both weather and ice conditions.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Photography
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Following your arrival into Murmansk, receive a group transfer to your included hotel.
Take a group transfer from your hotel to board the 50 Years of Victory. Depart on one of the most powerful nuclear-powered Russian icebreakers in the world and start your journey north out of Kola Bay.
Nowhere can it be more truly said that “getting there is half the fun”. As you cruise northward through the Barents Sea keep an eye out for whales. Meanwhile, you have the opportunity to learn about the unique icebreaking capabilities of the ship. You are also treated to a tour of the engine room.
As you make your way across the ice cap, you witness firsthand the ship’s awesome power as massive ice blocks give way under the enormous bulk of the spoon-shaped bow. The sensation of being on deck at this time is surreal and unforgettable.
Take advantage of 24-hour daylight to offer helicopter flightseeing tours. From the air you can observe the ship crushing a path through the ice. You also have a unique vantage point from which to witness the stunning beauty of this vast polar icescape.
Welcome to the geographic North Pole! After carefully navigating to 90 degrees North, ceremoniously drop the anchor on a sturdy stretch of ice and disembark onto the frozen sea.
Now is the time to experiencing the long-anticipated thrill of standing at the top of the world. Join hands with your fellow passengers and literally walk around the world during a special International Round Dance. You are also treated to a barbecue meal on the ice. You may even have the chance to take a plunge into the icy water!
After your memorable time at the North Pole, turn around and head south. But the adventure is not over yet. The High Arctic archipelago of Franz Josef Land is still to come!
The Franz Josef Land archipelago, part of the Russian Arctic National Park since 2012, is a nature sanctuary. Polar bears and other quintessential High Arctic wildlife such as walruses and some rare whale species may be spotted. Scree slopes and cliffs around the islands host enormous nesting colonies of migratory seabirds such as guillemots, dovekies, and ivory gulls. Take advantage of 24-hour daylight to exploit every opportunity for wildlife viewing and excursions via Zodiac and helicopter.
Franz Josef Land is home to some interesting geological features, such as the mysterious stone balls on Champ Island. Collectors of geographical extremes may take note that Cape Fligely on Rudolf Island is the northernmost point of land in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Franz Josef Land also offers visitors the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of famous polar explorers at well-preserved historical sites. The journals of explorers such as Julius von Payer, Benjamin Leigh Smith, Frederick George Jackson, and Fridtjof Nansen come alive at Cape Norway, Cape Flora, Eira Harbour, and Cape Tegetthoff. Memorials, monuments, crosses, and the remains of dwellings are testimony to incredible historical events that are further illuminated by onboard expert lecturers.
Tikhaya Bukhta is currently a Russian Arctic National Park ranger station occupying Soviet-era research buildings and was also a major base for polar expeditions. Nearby, the fascinating columnar basalt cliffs of Rubini Rock are home to thousands of nesting seabirds.
After your amazing time in Franz Josef Land, cross back south through the bountiful waters of the Barents Sea. Presentations and workshops by the expert staff ensure that these days at sea are not idly spent. You may also take advantage of onboard facilities and amenities such as a polar library, volleyball court, gym, two saunas, warm seawater pool, gift shop, and massage treatments. Seabird viewing and whale sightings can be enjoyed from panoramic open decks as well as exterior stateroom windows.
After breakfast disembark the ship and take a group transfer to the airport.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions—and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
Bilingual Departure: English/German
7/19/2018: Research Geophysicist Don Perovich
7/30/2018: Astronaut Scott Parazynski & Planetary Scientist Meena Wadhwa
One night pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Murmansk, Russia, with breakfast; transfer from airport to the hotel in Murmansk one day prior to embarkation; transfer from hotel to the port in Murmansk on embarkation day; transfers from the port to the airport in Murmansk upon disembarkation; shipboard breakfasts, lunches and dinners; coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock; Zodiac cruising; digital voyage log; rubber boots on loan for duration of the cruise; expedition parka – yours to keep; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges; group helicopter flightseeing (weather permitting); shipboard luggage handling; Emergency Evacuation Insurance to a maximum benefit of 100,000 Euros (approx. $124,000) per person (included only for those 85 years of age and younger)*. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; passport and visa expenses; state arrival and departure taxes (if levied); any beverages that are not in the complimentary selection; meals ashore unless otherwise specified; single supplement for Murmansk hotel if applicable; baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance; excess baggage charges; laundry, bar and other personal charges; phone and internet charges; gratuity for ship’s crew; fuel surcharge may apply.