Summary : Discover the Franz Josef Land archipelago, a group of remote Arctic islands that are home to the majestic polar bear, fascinating geological formations, and artifacts from historic expeditions. Depart from Norway and enjoy the sight of Svalbard's beautiful glaciers and labyrinthine expanses of sea ice. Journey across the Barents Sea to the Russian High Arctic and walk in the footsteps of famous polar explorers at well-preserved historical sites. Watch for whales, reindeer, Arctic fox, walrus, and several bird species. Along the way, participate in an included photography program, attend informative lectures, or opt to kayak along rugged coastlines in remote waters.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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$9,795 to $24,595
Welcome to Longyearbyen, the Arctic adventure capital of the Norwegian territory of Svalbard and the starting point of your expedition. Your hotel for the night has been arranged by you and is included in the price of the voyage.
An included group transfer will take you to the ship for embarkation. Once on board, explore and get comfortable in your home away from home for the extraordinary adventure to come. The long days of summer sunlight illuminate your surroundings as you sail into a true wilderness where wildlife abounds. The scenery as you sail through Isfjorden on your first evening is spectacular and there is already the possibility of marine mammal encounters.
From Isfjorden, the ship will cross the Barents Sea to Franz Josef Land. Presentations and workshops by expert staff prepare you for what lies ahead.
In these far northern latitudes, it is possible to encounter sea ice even in summer. Along the way, keep an eye out for sightings of marine mammals such as the elusive bowhead whale, various Arctic seal species, and the majestic polar bear.
This is expedition cruising at its most authentic. As such, the route and exploration opportunities in Franz Josef Land are heavily dependent on weather and sea ice. Your experienced captain and expedition leader decide the best route and continually adjust plans as opportunities warrant in this wild and remote corner of the Arctic.
The 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—can be spotted anytime, anywhere, in and around Franz Josef Land. Scree slopes and cliffs around the islands host enormous nesting colonies of seabirds such as guillemots, dovekies, and kittiwakes. Take advantage of the 24-hour daylight for increased wildlife viewing.
Franz Josef Land is dominated by glaciation, which covers 85% of the archipelago. Immense tidewater glaciers and glittering icebergs provide a stunning backdrop to your voyage. Franz Josef Land is also home to some interesting geological features, such as the mysterious stone spheres on Champ Island. Those interested in 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 Harbor, and Cape Tegetthoff. Memorials, monuments, crosses, and the remains of dwellings are testimony to incredible historical events that are further illuminated by your onboard lecturers.
Tikhaya Bukhta is currently a 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.
Please Note: This expedition's primary focus is the exploration of the Russian archipelago of Franz Josef Land. However, the number of days spent there depends on ice conditions. The daily program is subject to change at the discretion of the captain and expedition leader.
Following your week of exploration in Franz Josef Land, cross back through the bountiful waters of the Barents Sea and then along the coastal islands of the Svalbard Archipelago. Enjoy Arctic landscapes and wildlife sightings from panoramic open decks. Bountiful inshore and offshore waters are home to walrus and a wide variety of whales. The crossing also gives your expedition team the opportunity to offer a final presentation or two in the Oceanus Lounge. If weather and timing permit, explore by Zodiac to have a closer look at wildlife as you head back to Longyearbyen.
After breakfast, say farewell and disembark the vessel. A transfer to the airport or town center will be provided.
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. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Bilingual Departure: English/German
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must carry valid evacuation and repatriation insurance that includes medical and evacuation coverage at a minimum coverage of $150,000 for 2019 departures and $200,000 for 2020 departures. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for Arctic trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage, and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Space is limited. Sign up at the time of booking to secure your spot. Weather permitting, join an unscripted kayaking adventure, exploring rugged coastlines and remote waterways that few people have ever paddled. Participants must be at least 18 years old, in good health with appropriate physical fitness, and have previous kayaking experience. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
An expert photographer will be on hand to answer questions and give advice, both in the form of on-board lectures and workshops on shore. Explore the key elements of photography in a fun and relaxed setting, with plenty of opportunities for questions and feedback. Learn how to see light in a new way and experiment with the techniques of composition and framing.
One night pre-voyage hotel in Longyearbyen; group transfer airport/hotel on day prior to embarkation; group transfer to ship on embarkation day; group transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation; shipboard accommodations; welcome and farewell cocktail on ship; scheduled landings/excursions; photography program; welcome and farewell cocktails; digital voyage log; gear to keep (wind- and water-resistant parka); gear on loan (rubber boots); all meals onboard the ship; 24-hour coffee/tea station; port fees; pre-departure materials. Inclusions subject to change without notice.
Airfare; visa and passport fees; emergency evacuation insurance to a minimum benefit of $150,000 in 2019 or $200,000 in 2020 (mandatory); luggage and trip cancellation insurance (highly recommended); soft drinks and alcoholic beverages other than those mentioned as included; kayaking; personal expenses such as laundry and telecommunications charges (telephone, faxes, and internet); staff gratuities; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Poseidon Expeditions