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Franz Josef Land scenery

High Arctic Odyssey: Remote Russian Archipelagos

Example 22 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Adventurer (Sea Adventurer)
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Explore the most enigmatic and extreme regions of the Russian High Arctic through this 22-day expedition with Ocean Adventurer. Discover breathtaking ice-draped coastlines that are rarely visited by even the most intrepid adventurers. From the heavily glaciated Novaya Zemlya and Franz Josef Land to the isolated islands of the icy Kara Sea, this exclusive itinerary was designed to spend more time exploring these pristine places, increasing your chances of encountering unique wildlife and visiting some favorite far-flung destinations steeped in polar history. If weather and ice conditions allow, you may even explore Severnaya Zemlya, the last major territorial discovery on the planet.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Helsinki, Finland
Day 2 : Murmansk | Embark
Days 3-4 : At Sea
Days 5-7 : Exploring Novaya Zemlya
Days 8-13 : Exploring the Kara Sea & Severnaya Zemlya
Day 14 : At Sea
Days 15-18 : Exploring Franz Josef Island
Days 19-20 : At Sea
Day 21 : Murmansk | Disembark | Fly to Helsinki
Day 22 : Depart Helsinki, Finland

Highlights

  • Visit significant sites at Franz Josef Land and learn about the region’s storied history
  • Explore glaciated Novaya Zemlya, where the earliest Arctic explorers overwintered
  • Experience a true expedition as you explore a rarely visited region
  • Discover rarely visited islands of the icy Kara Sea

Ship

Ocean Adventurer (Sea Adventurer)

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Franz Josef Land scenery A view of Helsinki, the largest city in Finland. Polar bear in the Arctic Helsinki Cathedral illuminated at dusk overlooking Senate Square Mysterious natural round stones of Franz Josef Land Walrus in the Arctic

Day 1 Helsinki, Finland

Arrive in Helsinki, known for its extraordinary architecture and design scene and intriguing mix of eastern and western influences. Explore the museums, galleries and restaurants, relax at a Finnish sauna or wander the vibrant Design District before retiring at your included hotel.

Day 2 Murmansk | Embark

  • Ship
  • 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

  • Ship
  • 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 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

  • Ship
  • 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 east 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 8-13 Exploring the Kara Sea & Severnaya Zemlya

  • Ship
  • 6 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners
Cruise further east exploring the Kara Sea. Know as the "ice cellar" of the Arctic, Kara Sea is often encumbered by trapped ice floes. There are several sites and small archipelagoes along the Siberian coast to explore, tracing the path of polar explorers searching for the Northeast Passage. The areas to explore are determined considering the weather and ice conditions but some areas you can visit include Russky Island, Troynoy Island and Cape Chelyuskin.

Both Russky Island and Troynoy Island are part of the Great Arctic State Nature Reserve, the largest reserve in Eurasia. Russky Island is the site of a former polar station, established, in part, to monitor navigation along the Northern Sea Route, the Russian section of the Northeast Passage.

Troynoy Island is the largest of the Izvesti Tsik Islands, about 90 miles (150 km) off the coast of the Taymyr Peninsula. The island is uninhabited, except for the researchers at the weather station. Home to an ivory gull colony, the island is also frequented by polar bears.

At the tip of the Taymyr Peninsula is Cape Chelyuskin, the northernmost point of the Russian and Eurasian mainland and the site of another active research station. 

Dependent on ice and weather conditions, an exploration of Severnaya Zemlya embodies the true spirit of adventure. Dominated by glaciers and polar desert, the archipelago was not discovered until 1913 and remained virtually unexplored till 1930–32, the last major undiscovered territory on earth. Amongst many possible destinations, visit a number of glaciers, including the Vavilov Ice Cap and those at Marat Fjord. If conditions are favorable, cruise the Red Army Strait, flanked by the massive Academy of Sciences Glacier (which also runs along the eastern shore of Zhuravlev Bay) and the smaller Rusanov Glacier. As one of the very few people to ever explore this remote area in depth have your camera ready to capture these amazing sights.        

Day 14 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
There are several activities to keep you engaged while at sea. Attend dynamic presentations by your Expedition Team, relax in the polar library or simply spend some time on deck, admiring the sea and searching for wildlife.

Day 15-18 Exploring Franz Josef Island

  • Ship
  • 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!

Another possible landing site, if time and weather permit, is Cape Tegetthoff on Hall Island, visit the Barents memorial. The scenery here is spectacular, and possibly view polar bears and Atlantic walrus.

Day 19-20 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
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 journey with your shipmates, relax in the lounge while swapping stories and photos or enjoy the solitude of the sea. Expedition staff can answer any questions and spot wildlife.

Day 21 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.

Day 22 Depart Helsinki, Finland

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast, spend time exploring more of the Finnish capital or catch your homeward-bound flight.

Ocean Adventurer (Sea Adventurer)

Helsinki

Deals

Complimentary Transfer Package
Arctic Savings - Book before January 15, 2020 and receive free 1 night’s pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Helsinki, round trip group charter air from Helsinki to Murmansk, airport to ship transfers and 1 night’s post-expedition hotel accommodation in Helsinki. Select departures only. Valid for cabin types - Superior, Deluxe, Suite and Owner's Suite. For new bookings after October 1, 2019. Contact us for details.
Applies to Jul 22, 2020 departure

Per person starting at
$15,495
Cabin, Ocean Adventurer
Select a Date
Triple
Averaging 128 sq. ft. (12 sq. m) and equipped with two lower berths and one upper berth. Located on the Main Deck, it has private facilities, and a porthole with exterior views.
Cabin, Ocean Adventurer
Select a Date
Lower Deck Twin
Averaging 133 sq. ft. (12 sq. m) and equipped with two lower berths. Located on the Lower Deck, it has private facilities, and a porthole with exterior views.
Cabin, Ocean Adventurer
Select a Date
Main Deck Twin with Porthole
Averaging 118 sq. ft. (11 sq. m) and equipped with two lower berths. Located on the Main Deck, it has private facilities, and a porthole with exterior views.
Cabin, Ocean Adventurer
Select a Date
Main Deck Twin with Window
Averaging 139 sq. ft. (13 sq. m) and equipped with two lower berths. Located on the Main Deck, it has private facilities, and two windows with exterior views.
Cabin, Ocean Adventurer
Select a Date
Superior
Averaging 142 sq. ft. (13 sq. m) and equipped with two lower berths. Located on the Upper Deck, it has private facilities, and windows with exterior views.
Cabin, Ocean Adventurer
Select a Date
Deluxe
Averaging 160 sq. ft. (15 sq. m) and equipped with two lower berths. Located on the Upper and Captain’s Decks, it has private facilities, and windows with exterior views.
Cabin, Ocean Adventurer
Select a Date
Suite
Averaging 215 sq. ft. (20 sq. m) and equipped with two lower berths. Located on the Captain’s Deck, it has windows with exterior views and private facilities. Cabin 403 has a bathtub; other Suites have shower stalls.
Cabin, Ocean Adventurer
Select a Date
Owner's Suite
Averaging 290 sq. ft. (27 sq. m) and equipped with two lower berths. Located on the Bridge Deck, it has private facilities, and windows with exterior views.

Notes

- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy. Request the Twin Share Program where you are matched with a cabin mate of the same gender. Even if a cabin mate is not found for you, no single supplement will be charged.

- Standard Cabins are available for single occupancy at 1.7 times the double occupancy rate. The supplement for a Premium Cabin is 2 times the shared rate.

Insurance: Emergency medical evacuation coverage for a maximum benefit of US$500,000 per person is included. Travelers should have a minimum US$50,000 (or equivalent) of emergency medical coverage prior to embarkation. It is recommended that you and all members of your party have comprehensive travel insurance covering trip cancellation, trip delay (interruption or after departure coverage), baggage, and repatriation. Contact us for details.

*MANDATORY TRANSFER PACKAGE INCLUDES:
• One night’s pre- and post-expedition hotel accommodation in Helsinki
• Round-trip flights from Helsinki to Murmansk
• Transfers to and from the ship in Murmansk
• Transfers between the airport and hotel in Helsinki in conjunction with the charter flight

This fare includes:

• Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
• All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board
• Beer and house wine during dinner
• All shore landings per the daily program
• Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader
• All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
• Formal and informal presentations by your Expedition Team and special guests as scheduled
• Photographic journal documenting the expedition
• Waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings
• Official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep
• Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
• Complimentary reusable water bottle
• Hair dryer and bathrobe in every cabin
• Comprehensive onboard materials, including a map and an informative Arctic Reader
• All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
• All luggage handling aboard the ship
• Emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum benefit of US$500,000 per person
• Russian invitation letter for visa application provided after final payment

This fare does not include:

• Mandatory Transfer Package*
• International airfare
• Arrival and departure transfers in Helsinki
• Passport and visa expenses
• Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above
• Meals ashore unless otherwise specified
• Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended
• Excess-baggage fees on international flights
• Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other gear not mentioned
• Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified
• Phone and Internet charges
• Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew
• Additional overnight accommodation
• Optional kayaking activities

Important Reminder: Russian visas are required for tourists from most countries. See your country’s Russian consulate or embassy for details. A measure of flexibility is something everyone must bring to a polar expedition.
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
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