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Explore rocky beaches of the Russian Far East

Exploring the Russian Arctic - Franz Josef Land & The Kara Sea

Example 23 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Endurance
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Venture where only the most intrepid explorers have gone before, on a thrilling voyage to the Russian High Arctic and the Kara Sea, where isolated isles and ice-fringed waters harbor dazzling wildlife and intriguing histories. Experience exploration in its purest form aboard the Polar Class 5 National Geographic Endurance, charting a course from the fjord-laced coast of northern Norway to the historic port of Murmansk, Russia, to remote Arctic archipelagos including Franz Josef Land. Seek out thriving wildlife—including polar bears, whales, walruses, and seabird colonies—and experience a pristine wilderness reached by few visitors.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Oslo, Norway
Day 2 : Oslo, Norway | Tromsø | Embark
Day 3 : Norway’s Fjords
Day 4 : Murmansk, Russia
Days 5-6 : At Sea
Days 7-9 : Novaya Zemlya
Days 10-11 : Exploring the Kara Sea
Days 12-14 : Severnaya Zemlya
Days 15-18 : Franz Josef Land
Days 19-21 : At Sea
Day 22 : Tromsø, Norway/Oslo
Day 23 : Oslo | Depart

Highlights

  • Sail the icy waters of the Kara Sea, only navigable for a few months of the year
  • Set foot on the world’s northernmost archipelago, Franz Josef Land
  • Explore along the sandy shores of Ostrov Isachenko
  • Learn about indigenous culture in Murmansk

Ship

National Geographic Endurance

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

A small home in the Norwegian fjords Polar bear in the Arctic Explore rocky beaches of the Russian Far East Walruses coming ashore in the arctic Scattered houses of Tromso
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Day 1 Oslo, Norway

Oslo, and check in to our hotel upon arrival. In the afternoon, get acquainted with the charming capital on a guided tour. Walk among the city’s famed Vigeland sculptures—hundreds of life-size, expressive human figures that adorn terraced parklands. Then, delve into Norway’s history of polar exploration at the Fram Museum and climb aboard its namesake, a record-setting, wooden ship. Enjoy an evening at leisure.

Day 2 Oslo, Norway | Tromsø | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Take a charter flight to Tromsø, known as the “gateway to the Arctic” due to the numerous polar expeditions that originated here, and embark National Geographic Endurance.

Day 3 Norway’s Fjords

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Explore Norway’s spectacular northern coast, which was carved by glaciers over millions of years. Glide through sublime, steep-walled fjords, marveling at the mountainous islands and chiseled peaks that lace these shores. Watch for seabirds and marine mammals and learn about the region’s natural history from our expedition team.

Day 4 Murmansk, Russia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cross into Russian waters and venture ashore at Murmansk, the largest seaport above the Arctic Circle and the final city founded by the Russian Empire. This ice-free harbor served as a vital supply port during World War II, and today supports a thriving fishing industry. See Murmansk’s gold-domed Russian Orthodox church and pay your respects at the scenic lighthouse, built to memorialize sailors lost at sea. At the Museum of Murmansk Shipping Company, delve into the history of Arctic exploration along the Great Northern Sea Route. Then, step aboard the Soviet-era Lenin, a nuclear-powered icebreaker turned fascinating museum, and learn about indigenous culture at the Museum of Regional Studies.

Day 5-6 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Enjoy the National Geographic Endurance’s many amenities as we cross the Barents Sea and continue further north toward the Kara Sea. Soak in the ship’s infinity-style outdoor hot tubs, take in panoramic views from the rooftop observation deck, and enjoy talks from our onboard experts about the wildlife and geology that await us.

Day 7-9 Novaya Zemlya

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Spend a few days exploring the ice-draped coastlines of the Novaya Zemlya (“New Land”) archipelago, a chain of rugged islands that has yet to be thoroughly explored. Watch for Arctic wildlife as we navigate past Ice Harbor, where Dutch explorer Willem Barents was marooned for the winter of 1596 to 1597. Seals, walruses, and polar bears may be found on coastal ice floes year-round, and rich birdlife inhabits the shorelines during the summer months. Depending on weather and ice, we plan to make a number of landings on these rarely visited shores.

Day 10-11 Exploring the Kara Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
An extension of the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia, the Kara Sea is one of the coldest seas in the world, formed by glacial ice during the last ice age. Frozen for most of the year, these waters provide an important source for fish—including cod and salmon—and harbor iconic marine creatures including seals, whales, and polar bears. In keeping with the nature of a true Arctic expedition, our day-by-day itinerary will remain flexible. We’ll leverage the extensive experience of our captain and crew, as well as of our technological resources and ice-strengthened ship, to chart a course through one of the most remote regions on Earth.
 
Commune with an array of Arctic wildlife along the shores of Solitude Island, as Ostrov Uyedineniya is sometimes called. In 1993, this desert tundra became part of the Great Arctic State Nature Reserve—Russia’s largest expanse of protected land—to preserve the fragile wildlife that lives in this harsh landscape. Venture further into the reserve on Ostrov Isachenko, the largest island of the Kirov archipelago. Go for walks onshore with our naturalists, spotting birds on sandy beaches and in the fertile intertidal zone; and enjoy daily adventures by kayak or Zodiac.

Day 12-14 Severnaya Zemlya

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Make the most of 24 hours of daylight, joining our naturalists on deck to spot beluga whales and other marine mammals in the shallow coastal waters surrounding the archipelago of Severnaya Zemlya. Separated from the Siberian mainland by the Vil’kitskogo Strait, this chain of islands is roughly the size of Indiana and remains one of the planet’s most recently charted territories—only known since 1913 when an ocean expedition discovered this vast expanse of Arctic tundra. Depending on ice and weather, we will schedule a variety of hikes and Zodiac cruises to best explore the area. Continue navigating these waters as we journey east and pass Cape Chelyuskin, the most northerly point of the Eurasian continent.

Day 15-18 Franz Josef Land

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Experience the grandeur of life at the top of the planet amid the dramatic scenery of the world’s northernmost archipelago, Franz Josef Land. For much of the year, vast ice sheets cover the surface of these uninhabited islands, located some 550 miles from the North Pole. Learn about the 2013 expedition to the archipelago led by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala as part of the Pristine Seas project, which resulted in the first deep-sea footage of the rare Greenland shark. Set out by Zodiac and kayak to experience dramatic icescapes and seldom-seen coastlines, and search for wildlife on the shores or in the sky. Venture ashore with our National Geographic photographer and naturalists to explore this untouched wilderness where fresh discoveries await each day.

Day 19-21 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
As we sail back to Norway, reflect on our adventures while scanning the water for marine life and enjoying life onboard. Take a yoga class, unwind with a massage in the wellness center, and curl up next to the fireplace in the library. Share images with our National Geographic-Lindblad certified photography instructor, and marvel at footage captured by the ship’s underwater camera. Our voyage culminates with a farewell dinner on board.

Day 22 Tromsø, Norway/Oslo

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Arrive in Tromsø and disembark your ship. Enjoy a tour of the city before taking a charter flight back to Oslo. Check in to your hotel near Oslo airport and spend the evening at your leisure. 

Day 23 Oslo | Depart

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to catch your flight home. 
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National Geographic Endurance

Oslo - Hotels

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Per person starting at
$26,680
Cabin
Select a Date
Category 1
Located on the Fore Deck. 183 square ft room with two large windows, Alcove seating, Relax chair, private bathroom, tv, Wi-Fi and hair dryers
Cabin
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Category 2
Located on the Fore Deck. 205 square ft. room with two large windows, Alcove seating, Relax chair, private bathroom, tv, Wi-Fi and hair dryers.
Cabin
Select a Date
Category 3
Located on the Main Deck. 205 square ft. suite with balcony, sofa, private bathroom, tv, Wi-Fi and hair dryers
Cabin
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Category 4
Located on the Lounge Deck. 205 square ft. suite with balcony, sofa, private bathroom, tv, Wi-Fi and hair dryers
Cabin
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Category 5
Located on the Bridge Deck. 205 square ft. suite with balcony, sofa, private bathroom, tv, Wi-Fi and hair dryers
Cabin
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Category 6
Located on the Bridge Deck. 344 square ft suite with large balcony, sofa bed, private bathroom, tv, Wi-Fi and hair dryers
Cabin
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Category 7
Located on the Bridge Deck. 430 square ft. suite with large balcony, sofa bed, bathtub, walk-in closet, private bathroom, tv, Wi-Fi and hair dryers
Cabin
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Category A Solo
Located on the Main Deck. 140 square ft. suite with balcony, sofa, private bathroom, tv, Wi-Fi and hair dryers
Cabin
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Category B Solo
Located on the Lounge Deck. 140 square ft. suite with balcony, sofa, private bathroom, tv, Wi-Fi and hair dryers

Notes

INCLUDED
Aboard ship
  • All meals and non-alcoholic beverages*
  • Cappuccinos, lattes & filtered water
  • 24-hour coffee, tea & soda on demand 
  • Hors d’oeuvres & snacks during Recap
  • Fitness center or exercise equipment, depending on the ship
  • Fully stocked library, and other gracious public spaces
  • The guidance and company of our expedition staff
  • The services of a physician on certain ships/destinations
Ashore
  • Meals on land, as indicated in the itinerary
  • Sightseeing & entrance fees
  • Special access permits, park fees, port taxes
  • Transfers to and from group flights
  • The expertise of our expedition staff
Activities
  • All excursions
  • Zodiac & kayak explorations
  • Snorkeling, including wetsuits, masks, fins & snorkel where relevant
  • Presentations and guest speakers in the lounge
EXCLUDED
Airfare
  • International and internal airfare
Pre- and post-expedition
  • Additional hotel nights
  • Private transfers
  • Travel Protection Plan
  • Passport, visa, and immigration fees
  • Expedition extensions
  • Gratuities
Aboard ship
  • Alcoholic beverages 
  • Spa treatments
  • Gratuities 
  • Laundry
  • Gift shop items and any other items of personal nature
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This was my first experience with Adventure Life - and I couldn't have been more pleased with the trip. The guides and local staff in both Buenos Aires and Uruguay were terrific - extremely helpful and accommodating. I really enjoyed meeting the friendly staff in Buenos Aires in person (I left my bags with them for the afternoon).
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