Franz Joseph Land in the Russian Arctic

Expedition cruise to Franz Joseph Land in the Russian Arctic – July 19 to August 2, 2019

Voyage and expedition cruise to Franz Joseph Land Expedition cruise on board the vessel Sea Spirit

Size of the group: 100 expeditioners maximum

Duration: 14 nights/15 days

The ship in details…

Expedition cruise basics…

Found deep in the Russian Arctic, explore Franz Josef Land to find polar bears, whales, seals, walruses, and more surrounded by icy scenery. The archipelago was completely unknown to humanity until 1870, and since then has been obscured from the common traveler by veils of ice and politics. Travel when ice retreats enough to allow passage, taking advantage of this season’s window and a newly open political climate to explore the recently declared Russian Arctic National Park. Discover a dynamic environment of shifting sea ice and glaciated islands that create the perfect habitat for seals, polar bears, walrus, sea cliff breeding bird colonies, and the possible rare and elusive bowhead whale. The high Arctic is a polar desert, beautiful and stark, sometimes profoundly inhospitable, sometimes bountiful by turns. This exploratory voyage will take you from Longyearbyen on the west coast of Svalbard, east to Franz Josef Land, and back. Journey into waters where polar adventure and opportunity await!


PROGRAM AND ITINERARY:

About the program and itinerary…

Day 1: Longyearbyen
Arrive in Longyearbyen, Svalbard and night at the hotel.

Day 2: Longyearbyen
Free morning in Longyearbyen before boarding the Sea Spirit in the afternoon.

Days 3 and 4: sail to Franz Josef Land
Enjoy a lecture series about Franz Josef Land and the high Arctic environments you are travelling through. North of the Arctic Circle you travel through 24 hours of daylight, a wonderful novelty allowing the possibility of wildlife sightings at any hour. By afternoon of your second day you will be approaching the remote Franz Josef Land archipelago. Before you can land, your initial call is to the Russian polar station Nagurskoye in Cambridge Bay for customs and passport control.

Days 5 to 12: Franz Josef Land
Sailing into the waters of Franz Josef Land finds us in a rarified space. Curtained behind ice and political lines for most of human history, almost no compelling place on the planet has received less travelers. Yet you can expect to find iconic arctic wildlife including polar bears, walruses, bowhead whales, and enormous nesting colonies of seabirds. You will sail, Zodiac cruise, and hike around stunning, stark scenery filled with glowing glaciers and illuminated icebergs.
Zodiacs make the ideal platform for exploring cliff-nesting seabird colonies where you find large numbers of thick-billed murres (Brünnich’s guillemots) and black-legged kittiwakes flanked by black guillemots, dovekies, fulmars, and ivory gulls. The timing is perfect for the semi-annual event of every arctic sea cliff bird colony, when young guillemots leap seaward, attempting to evade glaucous gulls on their maiden glides into the sea.
Human exploration of the arctic was not friendly to wildlife. Svalbard was discovered in the 1600’s and immediately set upon by sealers and whalers. Walruses were eradicated and bowhead whales were hunted until they were extremely rare. But what the sealers and whalers did not know was that healthy populations were sheltered 300mi to the east, hidden for another 300 years in Franz Josef Land. Fortunately for us, these refuge populations are where today’s wildlife is now healthiest, repopulating waters that were hunted out. Around Franz Josef Land you can Zodiac cruise near important walrus haul-outs where large numbers of calves are born, and you can reasonably hope to find the elusive bowhead (Greenland) whale.

Days 13 and 14: sail back to Svalbard
Before you depart Franz Josef Land, you’ll have your final call at the Russian polar station Nagurskoye in Cambridge Bay. Sail westward to Svalbard.

Day 15: Longyearbyen
Disembark the Sea Spirit in Longyearbyen in the morning to catch your flights homeward.

Map of the itinerary of the voyage and expedition cruise to Franz Joseph Land


PRICES (per person):

– Triple: triple occupancy, one king-sized or two twin-sized beds plus one twin-sized sofa bed, picture window (on ocean deck 3) => 9990 $USD
– Main deck: double occupancy, one king-sized or two twin-sized beds, two portholes (on main deck 2) => 13550 $USD
– Classic: double occupancy, one king-sized or two twin-sized beds, picture window (on ocean deck 3) => 14550 $USD
– Superior: double occupancy, one king-sized or two twin-sized beds, picture window (on club deck 4) => 14950 $USD
– Deluxe: double occupancy, one king-sized or two twin-sized beds, private balcony (on sports deck 5) => 16850 $USD
– Premium: double occupancy, one king-sized or two twin-sized beds, private balcony (on sun deck 6) => 18550 $USD
– Owner’s: double occupancy, one king-sized bed plus sofa bed, private deck, living room, game/meeting area, jetted bathtub, (on sun deck 6) => 23950 $USD

Included: All leaders, transport, park entry fees, landing fees, and permits for all activities unless described as optional / Accommodations for the nights of July 19 through August 1 / Meals from breakfast on July 20 through breakfast on August 2, except meals listed in Not Included section / Transfers from hotel to ship on July 20 and ship to hotel/airport on August 2 / Thirteen nights on board the Sea Spirit / Service taxes and port charges / Coffee and tea throughout the voyage / Trip Materials – information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, etc. / Rubber boots on loan for duration of tour.

Not included: All airfare, airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees / Passport and visa fees / Lunch on July 20 / Gratuities / Emergency medical and evacuation insurance / Trip cancellation insurance / Items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, medical costs or hospitalization, room service, alcoholic and other beverages, items not on the regular menu, etc.

The ship in details…


OUR OPINION ON THIS VOYAGE:

Very few people get the opportunity to see and explore the remote archipelago of Franz Joseph Land in the Russian Arctic. On this journey starting in Svalbard, it will be your chance to do so with ship cruises, landings and zodiac cruises in order to visit places such as old stations, bird cliffs, walruses haul out, wildlife hot spots, interesting and unique geology, etc. 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
☞ Interest of this trip: wildlife (birds, whales, seals, polar bears, foxes…), flora, historical sites and history, landscapes, geology…