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FRANZ JOSEF LAND and RUSSIAN HIGH ARCTIC

from $13,395

DATES (2020):  August 01 | August 13

DURATION: 14 Days     

EMBARKATION: Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen)

DISEMBARKATION: Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen)

SHIP: M/V Sea Spirit

 

All about the FRANZ JOSEF LAND and RUSSIAN HIGH ARCTIC.

Rarely visited today yet significant in the history of polar exploration, Franz Josef Land is worthy of its legendary reputation.

This extraordinary expedition to Franz Josef Land is as unique and authentic as the place itself. Starting in Longyearbyen in the Norwegian territory of Svalbard, we cross the icy, wildlife-rich Barents Sea to the Russian High Arctic. In Franz Josef Land we discover unparalleled landscapes, wildlife, and history in one of the wildest and most remote corners of the Arctic.

 

HIGH ARCTIC WILDERNESS

Franz Josef Land, part of the Russian Arctic National Park, is a nature sanctuary. Polar bears, walrus, endangered bowhead whales, and other Arctic wildlife can be spotted anywhere, anytime in and around the archipelago. Svalbard is a similarly protected wilderness where we find flowering tundra and tidewater glaciers.Steep cliffs and scree slopes in both island groups accommodate enormous colonies of nesting seabirds such as dovekies, guillemots, and rare ivory gulls. 24-hour daylight allows us to exploit every opportunity for wildlife viewing in this unique polar ecosystem.

 

HISTORY OF POLAR EXPLORATION

In Franz Josef Land we encounter a stark and enigmatic landscape steeped in the drama and heroism of early polar exploration. At places like Bell Island, Cape Flora, and Cape Tegetthoff we have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Fridtjof Nansen, Frederick George Jackson, Julius von Payer, and other polar explorers.

At Tikhaya Bukhta we find the ruins of a Soviet-era research facility that was also a major base for polar expeditions. Across the archipelago there are monuments, memorials, crosses, and the remains of makeshift dwellings, all testimony to incredible historical events.

 

SPITSBERGEN, SVALBARD

On this voyage we also experience stunning scenery and abundant wildlife in Spitsbergen, Svalbard’s largest island. This classic Arctic destination is home to reindeer, Arctic fox, millions of seabirds, numerous marine mammal species, and a high concentration of polar bears.

In this multifaceted landscape of glaciated mountains and coastal plains we also find historical sites and the Arctic research community of Ny Ålesund, complete with gift shop, post office, and museum.

 

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • Arrival transfer to your hotel
  • Overnight accommodation in Longyearbyen before cruise
  • Group transfer to the ship on day of embarkation;
  • Shipboard accommodation;
  • All meals on board throughout the voyage;
  • Tea and coffee station 24 hours daily;
  • All scheduled landings/excursions (subject to weather conditions);
  • Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader & Expedition Team;
  • Rubber boots for shore landings for the time of the cruise;
  • Welcome and Farewell cocktails;
  • All port fees;
  • Group transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation;
  • Pre-departure materials;
  • Digital Voyage Log.

Whats not included in this tour.Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
  • Airfare;
  • Visa and passport fees. For this trip Russian visa is required. See your country’s Russian consulate or embassy for details;
  • Travel insurance;
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages other than those for special events and celebrations;
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and telecommunication charges;
  • Emergency Evacuation Insurance to a minimum benefit of USD 150,000;
  • Staff gratuities.

  1. Day 1 Arrive Longyearbyen, Svalbard

    Welcome to Longyearbyen, the Arctic adventure capital of the Norwegian territory of Svalbard and starting point of our expedition. After arriving via scheduled commercial flight, you are free to explore this small but fascinating settlement. Be sure to see the excellent Svalbard Museum and enjoy the shops, cafes and restaurants in the town center. Your hotel for the night has been arranged by us and is included in the price of the voyage.

    NOTE: One hotel night in Longyearbyen prior to cruise is included. If you would prefer additional night(s) we will be happy to arrange this for you. You may also add pre- or post-cruise tour programs in Norway.

  2. Day 2 Embarkation in Longyearbyen, Svalbard

    In the afternoon we welcome you aboard the expedition ship M/V Sea Spirit; transfer from the hotel is included. Explore the ship and get comfortable in your home-away-from-home for the extraordinary adventure to come. The long days of summer sunlight illuminate our surroundings as we slip our moorings and sail into a true wilderness where wildlife abounds. The scenery as we sail through Isfjorden on our first evening is spectacular and there is already the possibility of marine mammal encounters.

     

  3. Days 3-4 Crossing the Barents Sea

    From Isfjorden we proceed straight to Franz Josef Land across the Barents Sea. Presentations and workshops by our expert staff prepare us for what lies ahead.In these far northern latitudes, it is possible to encounter sea ice even in summer. Along the way, we’ll remain vigilant for sightings of ice-dependent marine mammals such as the elusive bowhead whale, various Arctic seal species, and the majestic polar bear.

     This is expedition cruising at its most authentic. As such, our route and exploration opportunities in Franz Josef Land are heavily dependent on weather and sea ice. Our experienced captain and expedition leader decide our best route and continually adjust plans as opportunities warrant in this wild and remote corner of the Arctic.

    Between obligatory initial and final calls at the Russian polar station Nagurskoye in Cambridge Bay we are free to explore the many waterways and islands of this unique Arctic wilderness.

  4. Days 5-11 Exploration of Franz Josef Land

    The archipelago, part of the Russian Arctic National Park since 2012, is a nature sanctuary. Polar bears and other quintessential High Arctic wildlife—such as walruses and some rare whale species—can be spotted anytime, anywhere in and around Franz Josef Land. Scree slopes and cliffs around the islands host enormous nesting colonies of seabirds such as guillemots, dovekies, and kittiwakes. We’ll take advantage of the 24-hour daylight to exploit every opportunity for wildlife viewing.

    Franz Josef Land is dominated by glaciation, which covers 85% of the archipelago. Immense tidewater glaciers and glittering icebergs provide a stunning backdrop to our voyage. Franz Josef Land is also home to some interesting geological features, such as the mysterious stone spheres on Champ Island. Collectors of geographical extremes may take note that Cape Fligely on Rudolf Island is the northernmost point of land in the Eastern Hemisphere.

    Franz Josef Land also offers visitors the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of famous polar explorers at well-preserved historical sites. The journals of explorers such as Julius von Payer, Benjamin Leigh Smith, Frederick George Jackson, and Fridtjof Nansen come alive at Cape Norway, Cape Flora, Eira Harbour, and Cape Tegetthoff. Memorials, monuments, crosses and the remains of dwellings are testimony to incredible historical events that are further illuminated by our expert lecturers.

    Tikhaya Bukhta is currently a Russian Arctic National Park ranger station occupying Soviet-era research buildings and was also a major base for polar expeditions. Nearby the fascinating columnar basalt cliffs of Rubini Rock are home to thousands of nesting seabirds.

     Our primary focus during this expedition is the exploration of the Russian archipelago of Franz Josef Land. However, the number of days spent there depends on ice conditions. Final daily programs are subject to change and the decision of the captain and expedition leader.

  5. Day 12-13 Back to Svalbard

    Following our week of exploration in Franz Josef Land, we cross back through the bountiful waters of the Barents Sea and then along the coastal islands of the Svalbard Archipelago. From panoramic open decks, enjoy Arctic landscapes and wildlife sightings. Bountiful inshore and offshore waters are home to walrus and a wide variety of whales.

    The crossing also gives our expedition team the opportunity to offer a final presentation or two in the Oceanus Lounge.

     

  6. Day 14 Disembark in Longyearbyen

    After breakfast we say farewell in the town of Longyearbyen, where we started our expedition. We provide a transfer to the airport, or to the town center if you plan to spend more time here. As you look back on your wonderful experience, you may already be looking forward to your next incredible adventure to the ice!

Sea Spirit

Introducing the Sea Spirit, formerly the Spirit of Oceanus – Sailing in grand style with all the amenities of a luxury hotel.
Providing spacious suites for accommodation of 116 passengers the Sea Spirit at the same time features maneuverability and friendly atmosphere of small ships. The vessel has an ice-strengthened hull, a fleet of Zodiacs, and a set of retractable fin stabilizers for smoother sailing.

Explore the Polar Regions in style and comfort aboard the all-suite Sea Spirit. Providing spacious suites and social areas for 116 guests the Sea Spirit at the same time features maneuverability and friendly atmosphere of small ships.

Public areas include: Reception, Restaurant, Bar, Outdoor Bistro, Club Lounge, Library, Presentation Lounge, Infirmary, Gym, Bridge.

We have open Bridge policy. Talk to the Captain and officers. Watch landscapes from this special angle of view. Fix your location at a map of your expedition.

Fast Facts

  • Dare Launched/Rebuilt: 1992/2006
  • Length: 297 ft
  • Beam: 50 ft
  • Draft: 13.5 ft
  • Tonnage: 4954 t
  • Cruise Speed: 12 knots
  • Total Staff: 72
  • Passenger Capacity: 116
  • Registry: Bahamas

Onboard Amenities

Restaurant
The Restaurant on board the Sea Spirit offers open-seating dining, which means there are no assigned tables. Contemporary, international cuisine is created by our talented chefs.

Bar
After a day of explorations passengers may relax at a Bar staffed by a professional bartender. With a wide variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and engaging conversation, the bar on board this small luxury ship welcomes guests to mix and mingle.

Presentation Lounge
The Presentation Lounge with state-of-the-art equipment is where all lectures, briefings and social gatherings take place. Attend informative lectures, recaps and briefings, and enjoy views outside.

Club Lounge
Club Lounge provides great opportunities for socializing and observing fantastic landscapes passing by. This comfortable seating area also offers a 24-hour self-service coffee and tea bar.

Library
The Library is a quiet cozy place for reading and relaxation. It has an extensive selection of polar books and DVDs, magazines, reference materials and newspapers.

Gym
Well-equipped Gym allows travelers not to break away from regular sports for the time of a trip. The Gym is open daily and offers stationary bikes, several treadmills, and some multi-functional training machines.

Reception
Should you have a question or require any service be sure to visit the Reception area. Our experts can provide invaluable information to help you get the most out of your cruise.

DECK PLANS and CABINS

All accommodations are air-conditioned and fitted with TV, telephone, hairdryers, mini-fridge, central music, and public address system and safe boxes. The fully equipped bathrooms are finished with marble.

CABINS

OWNER’S SUITE: Ocean view suite boasting sweeping views, interior entrance, a private terrace, a complimentary minibar (restocked daily), one queen bed and one sofa bed, sitting area, in-room safe, (Deck 6)

PREMIUM SUITE: Ocean view stateroom with direct access to their private balcony. Added amenities include: two twin or one queen bed, armoire, minibar, evening canapés, complimentary laundry service, and the services of a dedicated butler, fresh fruit upon arrival (Deck 6)

DELUXE SUITE: Ocean view stateroom with direct access to their private balcony, two twin or one queen bed (Deck 5)

SUPERIOR SUITE:Ocean view stateroom  with large pictures window(s), sweeping views, two twin or one queen bed (Deck 4)

CLASSIC SUITE: Ocean view stateroom with large pictures window(s), two twin or one queen bed (Deck 3)

MAIN DECK SUITE: Large ocean view stateroom with portholes, two twin or one queen bed (Deck 2)

TRIPLE CLASSIC SUITE: Ocean view stateroom with large pictures window(s), Three twin beds, or one Queen and one twin. (Deck 3).