Day 1 Helsinki, Finland
Your journey begins in Helsinki, renowned for its extraordinary architecture and intriguing mix of eastern and western influences. Explore museums, galleries and restaurants, relax at a Finnish sauna or wander the vibrant Design District before retiring at your hotel.
Day 2 Murmansk, Russia | Embark
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
After having your breakfast, head to the airport and board the private charter flight to Murmansk, Russia. Once aboard, get acquainted with the ship and crew and settle in for your voyage north.
Day 3-4 At Sea
- 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Spend two days sailing through the Barents Sea. Learn about the storied history and politics of the region, its fascinating wildlife, geology, ecology and climate, and the incredible sights before exploring them yourselves. Watch out for seabirds, such as kittiwakes, skuas and fulmars soaring above your ship. Whale and seal sightings are also possible in this biologically diverse sea.
Day 5-7 Exploring Novaya Zemlya
- 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
During these three days, explore the largest of the Eurasian Arctic archipelagoes, the rarely visited Novaya Zemlya. This seemingly long, narrow island actually consists of two main islands, Severny (northern) and Yuzhny (southern), separated by the imposing Matochkin Strait. Explore Inostrantseva Bay that provides breathtaking panoramic views of the pristine Arctic wilderness. You can also cruise by Zodiac along the face of the glacier, at a safe distance, possibly witnessing the wonders of calving ice. Encounters with Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres) are likely, owing to a small colony in the coastal cliffs.
To the northwest side of Severny Island are the Oransky Islands. Wildlife abounds here, with a variety of animal and plant life to be discovered, Walrus have been sighted here on many previous expeditions. Coming across a walrus haul-out is unforgettable. These giant pinnipeds of the Arctic create a raucous as each walrus vies for a choice spot of coastline. Encounters with whales and seabirds are possible, as well as polar bears, a genetically distinct subpopulation here.
A significant site in polar exploration, Novaya Zemlya also offers a number of opportunities for you to trace the footsteps of famous explorers and reflect on the region’s history.
Day 8 At Sea
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Bid farewell to Novaya Zemlya as you cruise farther north to Franz Josef Land. There are several activities to keep you engaged while at sea. Attend presentations by your Expedition Team, relax in the polar library or simply spend some time on deck, admiring the sea.
Day 9-12 Exploring Franz Josef Island
- 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
This remote group of 191 islands, many covered in ice, forms the most northerly archipelago in Eurasia and lies entirely within the Arctic Circle. A nature reserve, it is part of the Russian Arctic National Park. Weather and ice conditions will shape your exploration, but you can hope to explore historical sites, remote seabird colonies and walrus haul-out at some notable destinations, such as Cape Flora, Cape Norway, Bell Island and Tikhaya Bukta. Polar bear encounters are also possible.
On Jackson Island, Cape Norway is where Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen wintered from 1895 to 1896. The conditions were astonishingly difficult, but they survived until the summer and continued their journey south. The remains of their small hut are still here today, along with a memorial marking the event.
Exploring Tikhaya Bukta (Calm Bay), the site of an abandoned weather station on Hooker Island, will feel like stepping back in time. There is plenty to discover as you wander the ruins, immersed in Russian polar history, and you may even be able to send a postcard from the post office!
The Stolichky and Appolonov Islands offer plentiful walrus encounters, as the lumbering giants can be found hauled out here. If ice and weather are in our favor, we’ll explore the area by Zodiac, at a safe distance, to view these pinnipeds of the Arctic in their natural habitat.
Day 13-14 At Sea
- 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
As your Arctic expedition winds down you have a couple of days to sail through this wildlife-rich sea, where whales of various species are often seen. Take in a presentation, reminisce about your incredible journey with your shipmates, relax in the lounge while swapping stories and photos or enjoy the solitude of the sea.
Day 15 Murmansk | Disembark | Fly to Helsinki
Returning to Russia’s most northerly city, say your goodbyes to the Expedition Team and crew before catching the group charter flight back to Helsinki, where you will have one more night in this exquisite city.
Day 16 Helsinki, Finland
After breakfast, spend time exploring more of the Finnish capital or catch your homeward-bound flight.