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Whalebones sprinkle the Russian Arctic coast

Wrangel Island: Across the Top of the World

Example 15 Day Cruise aboard Akademik Shokalskiy
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This unique 15-day expedition that crosses the Arctic Circle includes an exclusive overland experience of exploring the interior of Wrangel Island and the nearby Herald Island by six-wheel Tundra vehicle. The High Arctic environment that few people experience is now accessible on this 3 day- 2 night extension. Travel by special tundra buggy, camp in field huts and enjoy wildlife encounters and photographic opportunities that professionals dream about. It is a journey only made possible in recent years by the thawing in the politics of the region and the retreat of summer pack ice in the Chukchi Sea. The very small distance between Russia and the USA along this border area was known as the Ice Curtain, behind which then and now lies one of the last great undiscovered wilderness areas in the world. 

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Anadyr | Embark
Day 2 : Anadyrskiy Bay
Day 3 : Yttygran, Nuneangan, and Arakamchechen Islands
Day 4 : Cape Dezhnev | Uelen Village
Day 5 : Kolyuchin Islands
Days 6-10 : Wrangel and Herald Islands
Day 11 : North Siberian Coast
Day 12 : Kolyuchin Inlet
Day 13 : Bering Strait & Chukotka Coast
Day 14 : At Sea
Day 15 : Anadyr | Disembark


  • Journey through the narrow Bering Strait
  • Observe polar bears, Pacific walrus, musk ox, and more on Wrangel Island
  • Listen to enthralling stories of human history, survival, and culture
  • Visit massive bird cliffs on Herald Island
  • Encounter over 400 plant species and a range of geological formations
  • Learn about the High Arctic via guided walks, Zodiac cruises, & lectures


Akademik Shokalskiy

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Whalebones sprinkle the Russian Arctic coast Polar bear in the Arctic Whalewatching off the Chukotka Peninsula These Brunnichs Gullimots have made their home in the Russian Far East Walking through vast arctic landscapes.

Day 1 Anadyr | Embark

Explore Anadyr, the administrative center of the Chukotka region and get to know your fellow voyagers and crew upon embarkation on the Akademik Shokalskiy.

Day 2 Anadyrskiy Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Weighing anchor early, you are invited to join the expedition staff and crew on the bridge for introductory briefings as you sail toward the Bering Strait, through the Anadyr Estuary famed for its beluga whales. Late this afternoon, Zodiac cruise some spectacular bird cliffs in Preobrazheniya Bay.

Day 3 Yttygran, Nuneangan, and Arakamchechen Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Yttygran Island is home to the monumental ancient aboriginal site known as Whale Bone Alley, where the ship makes a landing and where whale bones stretch along the beach for nearly half a kilometer. On lookout for gray whales, cruise by Nuneangan and Arakamchechen Islands where seabirds nest and walrus can be found.

Day 4 Cape Dezhnev | Uelen Village

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sea conditions permitting, land at Cape Dezhnev early this morning. The north-easternmost point of the Eurasian continent, it is sometimes possible to see the coast of America from this remote and lonely outpost. A few nautical miles to the west of Cape Dezhnev, visit Uelen Village, the most northeastern village in Russia. The population is predominantly Chukchi and the village is one of the largest centers for traditional Chukchi and Inuit art in the world. Be entertained by villagers and visit the bone-carving workshop during your visit.

Day 5 Kolyuchin Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This small island was once an important Russian Polar Research Station and one of a number dotted across the Arctic. Near the derelict buildings are some of the most spectacular bird cliffs in the Arctic where puffins, guillemots and gulls can be observed and photographed up close.

Day 6-10 Wrangel and Herald Islands

  • Ship
  • 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners
Ice and weather conditions permitting, spend the next few days on Wrangel Island and potentially on the nearby Herald Island. There are many landings that can be made to search out wildlife, wildflowers, and Arctic landscapes. Polar bears are high on the list of animals to see and with a little patience, be rewarded with a number of encounters. Musk oxen and reindeer were introduced to the island, though reindeer numbers are low. Have a chance to visit Dragi Harbour where the survivors of the Karluk, which was crushed by ice in 1914, scrambled ashore and lived until they were rescued. Wrangel Island is a Russian Federal Nature Reserve of international significance and importance particularly as it is a major polar bear denning area. Also, each summer, thousands of birds migrate here to breed, including snow geese, snowy owls, skuas, Arctic terns, and Ross’s, Sabine, and ivory gulls.

Day 11 North Siberian Coast

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Bounded by narrow sand ridges with numerous lagoons and inlets, this area offers plenty of places to land and explore the extensive coastline. Looking for walrus, whales, and other wildlife, come across Chukchi villages whose residents scratch out a living in an unforgiving climate, hunting seals and whales just as their ancestors did.

Day 12 Kolyuchin Inlet

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
So huge that it is visible from satellite photos, this inlet contains vast numbers of waterfowl and migratory waders. Visit the Belaka spit near the inlet’s mouth and find a wild, desolate landscape that is strangely beautiful; its dunes and tidal areas are home to the mighty emperor goose and extremely rare spoon-billed sandpiper. Gray whales frequent the area and you may be fortunate to spot them feeding only a stone’s throw from shore.

Day 13 Bering Strait & Chukotka Coast

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In this early morning, pass the Diomede Islands, sometimes called Tomorrow Island and Yesterday Isle because they straddle the International Date Line. Here, Russia and America are separated by only 2.3 nautical miles of ocean. Remain in Russian territory as you cruise south past the islands. Later this afternoon, make an expedition landing on the Chukotka coast, your last chance to enjoy the wildlife and tundra landscape.

Day 14 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Relax in the ship’s bar or library as you sail across Anadyrskiy Bay, before bidding farewell to your fellow voyagers and staff over a dinner and expedition recap tonight.

Day 15 Anadyr | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Your adventure ends after breakfast with disembarkation back at the port where you can enjoy a complimentary transfer to the airport or your hotel.

Akademik Shokalskiy

Per person starting at
Twin Cabin
Select a Date
Main Deck
Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private washbasin. Nearby shower and toilet facilities are shared with other Main Deck cabins. These cabins have a porthole.
Superior Room
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One bunk (one upper and one lower berth), writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.
Twin Private Cabin
Select a Date
Superior Plus
Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.
Superior Cabin
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Mini Suite
Separate bedroom with a double bed and a sofa in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Mini Suites have windows.
Select a Date
Heritage Suite
Large lounge area, separate bedroom with double bed and a sofa in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Large forward and side facing windows allow great views.


- Single clients are matched with a sharer of the same sex in a twin-share cabin. Payment of a single supplement guarantees a single cabin. The single supplement is 1.8 times the price of the voyage with the exception of the suites which are double the single rate.
-Emergency medical evacuation coverage for a minimum of US$100,000 per person required. Contact us for details on arranging travel insurance.

Cruise fare includes:
  • Pre/Post cruise transfers
  • All on board ship accommodations and meals
  • All expedition shore excursions
Cruise fare does not include:
  • Government landing fees
  • All items of a personal nature: laundry, drinks, and gratuities
  • International/domestic flights
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance
Private Charter Flight Option:
  • Optional private charter flight Nome to Anadyr to Nome $2,000 pp
Payment & Cancellation Policies
Travel Agents
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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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