Get on board for the ultimate North Pole adventure. Nothing compares to experiencing the untamed grandeur of the Arctic quite like seeing its majestic landscapes unfold from the deck of a state-of-the-art nuclear icebreaker. Imagine endless expanses of ice under the polar midnight sun. Pristine waters teeming with marine life. Prowling polar bears in the tundra. This is Mother Nature at her breathtaking best.
From Murmansk, Russia, you’ll embark the icebreaker 50 Years of Victory for a roundtrip voyage to the earth’s geographic North Pole. Our mighty vessel will plough its way through the frozen Arctic Ocean on a cruise that literally circumnavigates the globe in a matter of days. In addition to the exhilaration of cruising to the very apex of the earth, passengers will have the extraordinary privilege to land, via helicopter, on the scarcely visited Russian Arctic archipelago of Franz Josef Land, a remote wilderness home to an incredible abundance of wildlife.
NORTH POLE CRUISE HIGHLIGHTS:
- After 7 days of cruising from Murmansk, we’ll arrive at the geographic North Pole, the place where all meridians meet and the only direction is south. To celebrate our successful mission to the top of the world, we’ll ceremoniously drop anchor and disembark on a sturdy stretch of ice for the ‘International Round Dance’ – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to literally walk around the world!
- Franz Josef Land: Weather permitting, we’ll spend two days exploring this uninhabited archipelago, one most pristine Arctic habitats on earth. Made up of192 islands, glaciers cover 85% of the land, carving out a spectacular terrain of steep valleys, caves and pinnacles
This extraordinary Franz Josef Land cruise is as unique and authentic as the place itself. Franz Josef Land, part of the Russian Arctic National Park, is a nature sanctuary. Starting in Longyearbyen in the Norwegian territory of Svalbard, the Sea Spirit cruise ship crosses the icy, wildlife-rich Barents Sea to the Russian High Arctic. This remote wilderness is home to a variety of wildlife, including polar bears. In the surrounding icy waters, it is possible to spot seals, walruses, and the elusive bowhead whale. The archipelago also hosts an abundance of nesting Arctic seabirds such as the rare ivory gull.
Franz Josef Land and Svalbard Cruise Trip Highlights:
- Upon our arrival in Franz Josef Land, we’ll spend a week exploring this uninhabited archipelago. We’ll navigate the shallow waters of the isles by Zodiac and make as many on-shore landings as possible. Made up of 192 islands, glaciers cover 85% of the land, carving out a spectacular terrain of steep valleys, caves and pinnacles
- Our mission during our time in Franz Josef Land is to observe (sometimes at an extremely close range) the iconic Arctic animal species that call the islands home, including polar bears, walruses, beluga whales and narwhals
Long before the Golden Ring gained fame as one of Russia’s best multi-day tourist circuits, the small collection of cities northeast of Moscow and played a vital role in shaping the country’s history. Its oldest settlements can be traced back to at least the 10th century. Our Golden Ring Russia tour will unfold the fascinating, deep-rooted history of the region and take you back to a simpler time of picturesque farms and villages, wooden houses and onion-domed cathedrals, all set against the enchanting backdrop of the Russian countryside.
Golden Ring Russia Tour Highlights
- The village of Suzdal appears like a scene from a Russian storybook and has inspired artists and writers for centuries. Wander wide-eyed through quiet laneways and cobblestone plazas, passing horse-drawn buggies and medieval churches.
- Yaroslavl was the first Christian city on the Volga River. Many of Russia’s greatest craftsmen, stonemasons, painters and sculptors came together to create this city of magnificent churches and monuments, dating back to the 12th century.
- Rostov is the oldest town in the Golden Ring and the most architecturally impressive, rich in elegantly restored monuments dating from the 12th to the 17th century.
- Sergiev Posad is one of the most important spiritual centres of the Orthodox Church, sometimes referred to as the ‘Russian Vatican’ for its magnificent white churches with their signature blue and gold cupolas.
The Reindeer Herder’s Festival is a one-day holiday, celebrated annually in the Salekhard and Aksarka, the two major towns within the Yamal-Nenets region in the Russian Arctic. In 2019, the festival will take place on 30th March (Saturday) in Salekhard and 6th April (Saturday) in Aksarka village. For the nomadic Nenets people, a festival day is a major event, which offers a chance to meet with friends and compete in contests of physical skill and a variety of other competitions. It has also become an event in which the Nenets are able to share with the world a fascinating slice of their unique culture, which has remained relatively unchanged through the centuries. On this tour you not only will witness the Reindeer Herders’ Festival in Yamal but also will stay with a Nenet family far from the city, giving you an amazing opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the nomadic way of life.
- Salekhard (population 43,000) is the only city in the world located right at the Polar Circle. Despite its remoteness, it harbours a great deal of wealth as the city at the centre of one of the world’s richest oil and gas regions
- Reindeer Herder’s Festival Day: On the day of the festival, thousands of Nenets and Khanty descend on Salekhard. The day is a massive celebration, a huge social event for the usually isolated nomads and an incredible spectacle, with reindeer sleigh races, reindeer wrangling, wrestling competitions, a beauty contest for the women in their finest traditional dress
Cruise to Wrangel Island, an area 140km off the northeast coast of Siberia, separated from northern Alaska by the Chukchi Sea. For 10 frozen months of the year, this lonely wilderness is completely cut off from the outside world. Reaching Wrangel and braving its polar climate is not for the faint of heart. Only the most dedicated nature lovers make the journey – but the rewards are without parallel. There is simply no better destination than to meet the wild denizens of the Arctic up-close, virtually undisturbed by human interference, and in numbers that will simply astound you.
Wrangel Island Arctic Expedition Cruise HIGHLIGHTS:
- Whale Bone Alley is the name given to a beach on Yttygran Island in the Bering Sea. Landing on the beach, you’ll take in the haunting atmosphere of this ancient site, where gigantic whalebones appear to sprout out of the ground, stretching along the coast for nearly half a kilometre
- Uelen, the most northeasterly village in Russia, home to a predominantly Chukchi population. The village is one of the foremost centres for Chukchi and Inuit art. On our visit, we’ll be entertained by local folklore and a visit to the bone-carving workshops
On this mesmerising and romantic Moscow to St Petersburg river cruise, you’ll take in the sights, sounds and history of Russia’s heartland from the comfort of a stunning 5-star modern cruise vessel. After three days of touring the must-see sights of Moscow, we’ll sail through the Moscow Canal which connects the city to the majestic Volga River, the longest river in Europe. Heading north, you’ll experience the contrast between life in a heaving megacity and the languid pace of the gorgeous Russian countryside. Traversing the Volga with port calls in the timeless townships of Russia’s ancient Golden Ring, our Russian river cruise finishes in the glittering far northern metropolis of St Petersburg, one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
Moscow to St Petersburg Volga river cruise highlights:
- Highlights of Moscow: Enjoy guided excursions to the most lauded landmarks of the Russian capital. Walk the Red Square, enter the halls of the imposing Kremlin and marvel at the works of the Russian masters at the Tretyakov Gallery
- Uglich: One of the most magnificent towns to behold from the Volga, with its brightly painted Kremlin standing proudly along the waters’ edge, Uglich is home to the Church of St Dmitry, where the last heir of Ivan the Terrible met his mysterious demise
- Yaroslavl is one of the oldest and most celebrated cities of Russia’s Golden Ring. Admire the incredible artistry of the Spassky Monastery and take part in a costumed reception at the Governer’s House