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Novaya Zemlya

Arctic Icebreaker Expedition: Epic Northeast Passage

Example 25 Day Cruise aboard Kapitan Khlebnikov (QU)
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Join the crew of the mighty Kapitan Khlebnikov on this remarkable 25-journey through the Arctic. On the fabled Northeast Passage, travelers will encounter thick pack ice, unique geological formations and the fascinating cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Arctic. On-board helicopters and the Khlebnikov’s sheer icebreaking force combine to take you to some of the most magnificent regions of the world others dare not sail.
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Anchorage, Alaska

  • 1 Dinner
Begin this unforgettable journey in Anchorage, a unique urban environment in the heart of great wilderness. Spend the day taking in the glorious scenery – populous wildlife, spectacular mountain vistas, fascinating culture and icy blue glaciers await your discovery. Plan to arrive and make your way to the hotel in time for the pre-departure briefing at about 6pm.

Day 2: Embarkation Day

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the morning, take a charter flight from Anchorage to Anadyr, which crosses the International Date Line. Travelers are transferred to the magnificent Kapitan Khlebnikov after clearing Russian customs, where the excitement of boarding the renowned Russian icebreaker begins as the ship sails northward through the Bering Strait.

Day 3-4: Chukotka Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
When the ship reaches Russia’s Far East – the Chukotka Peninsula – guests will be treated to cultural presentations on the indigenous people of the Russian Arctic. Then you may have the opportunity to visit the tiny village of Uelen, known for its talented carvers who work in walrus ivory. At Cape Dezhnev, the most easterly point of the Asian continent, building architecture is distinctively Russian.

You’ll cruise in Zodiacs to Puffin Island where two species of the comical bird cohabit. On the shores of Ittygran Island, the ribs of whales, planted in the tundra by people long ago, still stand on lowland known as “whalebone alley.” The final shore landing is a visit to Chaplino, where locals dressed in traditional attire will demonstrate their skills as reindeer wrestlers and ropers.

Day 5: Bering Strait

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Bering Strait connects the Pacific Ocean to the Chukchi Sea – a portion of the Arctic Ocean. Sailing north. Here, the ship will cross the Arctic Circle entering the land of the midnight sun. In this region, daylight is continuous for 37 days!

Day 6-7: Wrangel Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Crossing the Delon Strait, you may start to see thick pack ice. The Expedition Leader will ask the Captain to deploy the helicopter to enjoy an aerial view of the Khlebnikov crushing ice up to a yard (one meter) thick. Landings are planned on Wrangel Island, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its diverse flora and habitat for migratory birds. Don’t be surprised to see copious musk oxen, who thrive there.

Day 8-10: East Siberian Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, the ship makes its way through the pack ice of the East Siberian Sea to the New Siberian Islands. Enroute, pass by Medvezh’i Island, known as “bear” island, and enjoy countless scenic views along the way.

Day 11-13: New Siberian Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Ancient camping grounds will be explored on these remote islands. If conditions permit, travelers will see the northernmost point of the European continent. Be on the lookout for polar bears, often spotted in the archipelago.

Day 14-17: Severnaya Zemlya

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Landings on these least accessible islands of the Arctic will be one of the highlights of this circumnavigation. The archipelago thwarted many attempts to sail around the Arctic Ocean until the development of engine-driven surface vessels. Zodiacs and helicopters will be deployed during our exploration.

There are two indigenous peoples in the Russian Arctic who depend on reindeer to exist – the Chukchi and the Tundra Nenets. The Chukchi people live on the Chukotka Peninsula. The Tundra Nenets live in the region from the Taymyr Peninsula to the White Sea, east of Severnaya Zemlya. We will attempt to visit a camp of these nomadic peoples, who move from place to place following their herds.

Day 18-20: Novaya Zemlya

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Meaning “new land”, the Novaya Zemlya is an arctic archipelago consisting of two main islands and a number of smaller ones located off the coast of northeastern Europe. Of interest here is the longest-operating scientific station in the Russian Arctic. Be on the lookout for arctic fox, polar bear and lemming as well as a variety of birds.

Day 21-22: Franz Josef Land

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Well above the Arctic Circle, only 10 degrees from the North Pole, lie the most northerly islands in Eurasia – Franz Josef Land. They are the habitat of polar bear and walrus. The crew plans on stopping on Cape Flora, where the remains of three historic expeditions are found. If conditions permit, take a Zodiac cruise along the base of towering cliffs where seabirds nest. We expect to use the helicopter for aerial sightseeing, and for transfers to otherwise inaccessible landing sites.

Day 23-24: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cruise through the scenic waters of the Arctic, a wonderland of glaciated landscapes and icescapes.

Day 25: Depart Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway

  • 1 Breakfast
In the morning, arrive in Longyearbyen and disembark. Say goodbye to the Expedition Team before transferring to the airport for your homeward bound flight, or spend time discovering the unique sights and sounds of Longyearbyen. If you plan to fly out today, be sure to book flights anytime after 12 noon.

Photo Gallery

Novaya Zemlya Anadyr Franz Josef Land Novaya Zemlya Wrangel Island



Kapitan Khlebnikov (QU)

Dates & Prices

Per person starting at
Triple Cabin-Kapitan Khlebnikov
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135 sq. ft. Cabins include twin bunk beds and a convertible sofa, writing desk, chair, bookshelves, storage box, telephone, and porthole or window.
Twin Cabin - Kapitan Khlebnikov
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135 sq. ft. Cabins include one twin bed and a convertible sofa, writing desk, chair, bookshelves, 2 wardrobes, storage box, telephone, and porthole or window.
Suite-Kapitan Khlebnikov
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193 sq. ft. Cabin includes separate living area, TV/VCR, refrigerator, convertible sofa, double bed, 2 desks, 2 chairs, bookshelves, storage box, telephone, 2 wardrobes, and picture window.
Corner Suite - Kapitan Khlebnikov
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Corner Suite
285 sq. ft. Cabin includes separate living area, TV/VCR, refrigerator, convertible sofa, double bed, 2 desks, 2 chairs, bookshelves, storage box, telephone, 2 wardrobes, and picture window.


- Request the Twin or Triple 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.
- Single supplement of 1.7 times the twin rate for travelers who want to guarantee single room.

*A group charter flight must be booked with your expedition.

Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. Our actual icebreaker program will vary according to ice and weather conditions, unexpected opportunities and wildlife sightings. The captain and expedition leader will determine our exact route based on reconnaissance flights and ice reports. The ice conditions in the Arctic vary dramatically from season to season – and no specific itinerary can be guaranteed in advance. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a polar expedition.


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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
Jack Charney

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