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Packing for The Arctic can seem daunting so we here's a list of what we consider essentials.
Russian High Arctic
Longyearbyen & Franz Josef Land
Best for: Off the beaten track, Wildlife, Spectacular scenery
Part of the Russian Arctic National Franz Josef Land is one of the wildest and most remote areas of the Arctic and home to bountiful wildlife. Fewer cruise companies sail in these waters but there are some departures available later in the season, generally lasting between 14 and 15 days.
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This itinerary sees you fly to Longyearbyen, Svalbard's capital and check into your hotel for one night. The next day, your adventure begins as you set sail across the Barents Sea to Franz Josef Land, an archipelago of uninhabited islands, just 900 kilometres from the North Pole. The 192 islands that make up this wild archipelago are locked beneath the ice for much of the year, home to polar bears and vast colonies of sea birds that nest on the rugged cliffs. Walruses haul out on the sea ice, whilst bowhead and beluga whales make the icy waters their home. This is the "off-the-beaten-track Arctic" and well worthy of its legendary reputation.
Day 1 : Fly to Longyearbyen
Fly to Longyearbyen via Oslo.
Day 1 - 2 : Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen
Stay at Radisson Blu Polar Hotel for 1 night
Upon arrival, you are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in Longyearbyen, referred to as Longyear by locals and visitors alike. The remainder of your day is at leisure. Depending on the arrival time of your flight, you may choose to explore this remote town, wandering around its shops, cafes and restaurants and paying a visit to the Svalbard Museum.
Day 2 - 3 : Embarkation in Longyearbyen
Stay at M/V Sea Spirit - Arctic Cruise for 1 night
Today, meet your crew and fellow passengers as you board the ship and settle into your cabin. Set sail into Isfjorden, scanning the waters for marine life. The long summer days illuminate your passage as you head away from civilisation and into the wilds of the High Arctic.
Days 3 - 5 : Crossing the Barents Sea
Over the next two days, you’ll cross the icy waters of the Barents Sea, charting a direct course to the remote Franz Josef Land. Onboard Arctic specialists will lead informative lectures and presentations, education you and your fellow passengers about what lies ahead. Scan the waters as you make your way through the sea ice, looking out for Arctic seal species, the rare bowhead whale and even the iconic polar bear.
Days 5 - 12 : Franz Josef Land
With a backdrop of dramatic glaciers, scree slopes and turquoise sea ice, Franz Josef Land is an awe-inspiring sight to behold. After a necessary stop at the Russian polar station Nagurskoye in Cambridge Bay, you’ll spend the next week exploring the waterways and islands of this fascinating Arctic landscape. Taking advantage of the ‘land of the midnight sun’, you’ll explore the many islands that are home to thousands of nesting seabirds and explore the edge of the ice where polar bears stalk the resident seal and walrus populations. Heading further inland, you can follow in the footsteps of many famous polar explorers as you come across memorials, monuments, crosses and the remains of dwellings that hark back to the days of Benjamin Leigh Smith and Frederick George Jackson. Marvel at the mysterious stone spheres on Champ Island and discover Tikhaya Bukhta, currently a Russian ranger station but once a major base for polar expeditions. Due to the dynamic nature of the weather and sea conditions in the Russian High Arctic, your experienced captain and expedition leader will tweak and adjust your itinerary to ensure you have the most enriching and unforgettable experience in Franz Josef Land.
Days 12 - 14 : Return to Svalbard
As your adventure in the Russian High Arctic comes to a close, your captain will set a course back to Longyearbyen across the Barents Sea, past the rugged islands of the Svalbard Archipelago. Keep watch for whales and walruses from the observation decks and enjoy your last few days in the company of Arctic experts as you learn more about this captivating corner of the world.
Day 14 : Disembark & fly home
Arriving back in Longyearbyen, farewell your expedition team and fellow passengers as you disembark and begin your onward journey. Transfer back to the airport in time for your flight home.
When to go
Cruises depart for Svalbard, Greenland and the Russian High Arctic during the northern hemisphere's summer, when explorers enjoy 24 hour days and favourable conditions. Travel in June and July and you'll admire spectacular frozen sculptures and seas of pack ice. From late July to August, the wildlife is most active and whale watching trips to the west coast of Greenland and voyages to the Russian High Arctic begin. In late August and September, sail through magnificent fjord scenery and catch the aurora borealis as the nights descend. Whether you travel early on in mid June or in September as the season draws to a close, you have good chances of spotting the iconic polar bear.
Call us on (646) 757-1485 or Enquire now
From $8930 per person
Price is subject to seasons and availability and is based on an entry level cabin category.
Ask our specialists for prices excluding flights from the UK. This price is as a guide only. The actual price is influenced by fluctuations in exchange rate, time of year, travel class of flights and the use of private versus shared excursions. Single supplements are likely to apply.