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Franz Josef Land & Novaya Zemlya

Example 19 Day Cruise aboard MV Villa
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Franz Josef Land is a place shrouded in mystery and grace. Being rarely visited, the serene archipelago has untamed wildlife and gripping scenery that is just waiting to be explored.

We have many options: we may explore the Arctic plains by foot or explore further using our Zodiacs cruising the shorelines. Besides the unique wildlife and scenery, Franz Josef Land is also home to many remnants of the brave polar explorers and whalers of the past.

This is an exclusive place of history, beauty, and charm.
KirkenesMurmansk, Russia
  • Sail through the Barents Sea and encounter marine animals
  • Discover the world’s northernmost Orthodox church
  • Enjoy stunning hikes and see huge glaciers
  • Explore the heart of the archipelago for great wildlife encounters
Places Visited
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Kirkenes, Norway | Embark

Embark MV Villa in the afternoon and meet your expedition team and crew at the dock. After you are settled in your cabin, we will conduct the mandatory safety briefing before your adventure begins with sailing for Murmansk.

Day 2: Murmansk, Russia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A technical stop to conduct clearance into Russia and to pick up our Russian rangers before we sail out from Murmansk heading for the Barents sea.

Day 3-5: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
As we sail northeast towards the archipelago crossing the Barents Sea we hope to encounter marine mammals and sea birds. Many hours will be spent on deck. Lectures and briefings will be held on board by Liv and your expedition team.

Day 6-9: Franz Josef Land

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
With 192 islands located in the Arctic Ocean, Barents Sea and the Kara Sea we might start our exploration of Franz Josef Land archipelago by sailing pass Alexandra land, where the Nagurskaya station is based and the world’s northernmost Orthodox church is placed. As we travel further, we head for the heart of the archipelago our chances for finding great wildlife encounters increase now.

Day 10-11: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
We leave the Islands of Franz Josef Land behind us to set course for Novaya Zemlya. We’ll spend time on deck searching for wildlife and you will have time to go through your images or just relax on board.

Day 12-14: Novaya Zemlya

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
The island separates the Barents Sea from the Kara sea and is home to Lemmings, Arctic fox, seals, walrus, and occasionally polar bears. A rich bird life abounds in summer. Novaya Zemlya has been known since at least medieval times, though it was not explored until the 18th and 19th centuries. We aim to explore by foot and by Zodiacs. The island offers stunning hikes, huge glaciers and history from the early explorers.

Day 15-17: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
We will leave the shores of Novaya Zemlya and set course for Murmansk. Still a chance for wildlife as we plan to spend time on deck.

Day 18: Murmansk, Russia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A technical stop to clear out of Russia before we set sail for Kirkenes.

Day 19: Kirkenes, Norway | Disembark

Enjoy a final breakfast together as we arrive to Kirkenes, our final destination where we bid you farewell for disembarkation.


MV Villa

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79.6ft2. 2 Bed (bunk beds) with sink in cabin
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94.7ft2. 2 Bed (bunk beds) with sink in cabin
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78.5ft2. 2 Bed (bunk beds) with sink in cabin
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80.7ft2. 2 Bed (bunk beds) with sink in cabin
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62.4ft2 Bathroom: 19.3ft2 2 Bed (bunk beds) with private shower & toilet
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129.2ft2 + 53.8ft2 Bathroom: 17.2ft2. 4 beds in two rooms (bunk beds+ 2 single beds), Sofa and private shower & toilet


  • Expedition activities (Zodiac cruises, shore landings, hikes)
  • Professional guides with lectures and hands-on, in-field tutorials
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner (welcome day is dinner only; final day is breakfast only)
  • Welcome cocktail; wine with the farewell dinner
  • Laundry facilities
  • Daily cabin housekeeping and turn-down service
  • Travel to and from starting point in Kirkenes, Norway
  • Taxes, levies, insurance, VISA fee, immigration duties or other travel services (where applicable)
  • Personal items such as expedition clothing
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Crew gratuities



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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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