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North East Passage: The Northern Sea Route

The allure of the mysterious Northeast Passage has captivated adventurers for centuries. Its Russian-controlled waters are steeped in history and mystery, while abundant wildlife is found along the remote shores. Only a handful of passenger vessels have ever completed a transit of this waterway, but recent changes in the summer sea ice conditions mean that it is now possible for a brief time each summer. In 2017, we fulfilled our long held ambition of completing a successful Northeast Passage double transit. We are excited to once again be running this geographical odyssey from Anadyr to Murmansk in 2019. Join us as we trace the route of legendary Polar explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiold, navigate narrow fiords, search for unique wildlife, glimpse into the past and experience the warmth of Arctic hospitality in local villages.

Having been sought for centuries by European explorers who hypothesised upon its presence and economic benefits, The Great Northern Expedition of 1733-43 sponsored by Peter the Great made many significant discoveries but showed the route was not an economic trading proposition. It wasn't until 1878-1880 that Swedish explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiold completed the first ever transit proving that the route was navigable, albeit with some difficulty. In 1914-15 Boris Vil'kitskiy, with the icebreakers Taymyr and Vaygach, made the second transit of the Northern Sea Route as part of a major push by the Imperial Russian Navy to render it navigable for strategic purposes. In 1932 the Northern Sea Route Administration was established by the Soviet Union.

The vast shallow waters north of Russia, protected by the expansive sea ice that covers the region for most of the year, are a refuge for many Arctic species, Polar Bears roam throughout but there are especially large concentrations on the reserves of Wrangel Island and Franz Josef Land. During our voyage we travel through the ranges of the Pacific, Laptev and Atlantic Walrus and there is the opportunity to encounter these iconic tooth walkers in large haulouts. The triumvirate of Arctic gulls - Ivory, Sabine's and the elusive Ross's Gulls all breed on the shores of the Northeast Passage and there are good opportunities to see all three. Bowhead, Beluga and Narwhal all call these waters home and our naturalists will be keeping close watch.

Venture ashore on some of the least known and seldom visited shores on the planet, Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago was the last major group of islands on earth to be discovered, the New Siberian Islands offer a wealth of opportunities for discovery. Sailing the mythical waters of Chukchi, East Siberian, Laptev, Kara & Barents Sea this is truly a geographic odyssey.

We invite you to join us on an historic journey to discover High Arctic landscapes that few people have witnessed, enjoy wildlife and wilderness experiences that until now have been the preserve of a few High Arctic explorers and researchers.

27 July, 2020 to 22 August, 2020 Make a booking request for North East Passage: The Northern Sea Route, departing on 27 July, 2020

Prices quoted here are often dependent on currency fluctuations. Please check with (01432 507450 or info@small-cruise-ships.com) for the very latest price, which may well be cheaper than the one advertised here.

Superior £ 18405 GBP pp (+ Local Payment £385 GBP pp)
Cabins have one bunk (an upper and lower – two), wardrobe, drawers, a desk, a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.
view cabin photo
Superior Plus £ 20715 GBP pp (+ Local Payment £385 GBP pp)
Cabins have two lower berths, wardrobe, drawers, a desk and a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.
view cabin photo
Mini Suite £ 21485 GBP pp (+ Local Payment £385 GBP pp)
A small bedroom with a 3/4 bed and a single bed in the lounge, wardrobe, drawers, a desk and a private bathroom with shower. toilet and washbasin. This suite has windows.
view cabin photo
Heritage Suite £ 23025 GBP pp (+ Local Payment £385 GBP pp)
Large lounge area, separate bedroom with double bed, single bed in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe, drawers, and fridge. There is a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Large forward and side facing windows with great views.
view cabin photo
23 August, 2020 to 18 September, 2020 (reverse) Make a booking request for North East Passage: The Northern Sea Route, departing on 23 August, 2020

Prices quoted here are often dependent on currency fluctuations. Please check with (01432 507450 or info@small-cruise-ships.com) for the very latest price, which may well be cheaper than the one advertised here.

Main Deck £ 16865 GBP pp (+ Local Payment £385 GBP pp)
Cabins have two lower berths, wardrobe, drawers, a desk, washbasin. The nearby showers and toilets are shared with other Main deck cabins.
view cabin photo
Superior £ 18405 GBP pp (+ Local Payment £385 GBP pp)
Cabins have one bunk (an upper and lower – two), wardrobe, drawers, a desk, a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.
view cabin photo
Superior Plus £ 20715 GBP pp (+ Local Payment £385 GBP pp)
Cabins have two lower berths, wardrobe, drawers, a desk and a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.
view cabin photo
Mini Suite £ 21485 GBP pp (+ Local Payment £385 GBP pp)
A small bedroom with a 3/4 bed and a single bed in the lounge, wardrobe, drawers, a desk and a private bathroom with shower. toilet and washbasin. This suite has windows.
view cabin photo
Heritage Suite £ 23025 GBP pp (+ Local Payment £385 GBP pp)
Large lounge area, separate bedroom with double bed, single bed in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe, drawers, and fridge. There is a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Large forward and side facing windows with great views.
view cabin photo

North East Passage: The Northern Sea Route itinerary:

show reverse itinerary
Day 0: Nome
For those departing from Nome, Alaska, your adventure begins with a flight across the Bering Sea to Anadyr, the capital of Chukotka.
Day 1: Anadyr
Join the Akademik Shokalskiy this afternoon. This evening there are excellent chances to spot Beluga Whales as we sail out of the Anadyr Estuary.
Day 2: Preobrazhnaya Bay
Crossing the Gulf of Anadyr there will be opportunities for wildlife watching. This afternoon we plan to explore the magnificent coastal cliffs of Preobrazhnaya Bay by Zodiac, home to an abundance of seabirds including Brunnich’s Guillemot, Crested and Parakeet Auklets plus Tufted and Horned Puffins.
Day 3: Whale Bone Alley and Gil’mimyl Hot Springs
Whale Bone Alley on Yttygran Island is one of the most significant and intriguing archaeological sites in the Arctic. The waters nearby remain rich feeding grounds for whales, weather permitting we will look to take the Zodiacs in search of Gray Whales and walrus. This afternoon we plan a landing at the Gil’mimyl Hot Springs, Sandhill Cranes usually breed in the area.
Day 4: Cape Dezhnev and Uelen Village
Early this morning we will arrive at Cape Dezhnev, the eastern extremity of the Eurasian continent. The Bering Strait is a vitally important migratory pathway, we may see flocks of King, Common and Spectacled Eiders passing south. In the afternoon enjoy the hospitality of the local people in the village of Uelen who are predominantly Chukchi. Our visit will include a cultural performance and visit to the famous bone-carving studio and museum.
Day 5: Kolyuchin Island
Today we plan to land on Kolyuchin Island, although we will be visiting after the peak of the breeding season, there should still be large numbers of Tufted and Horned Puffins, Brunnich’s and Common Guillemots and Black-legged Kittiwakes. There may also be an opportunity to Zodiac cruise around the base of the cliffs where there are excellent photographic opportunities. Humpback and Bowhead Whales have been seen in this area previously.
Days 6 to 8: Wrangel Island
Wrangel Island is a Federal Nature Reserve and World Heritage Site of international significance. It is a major Polar Bear denning area and one of the few areas of the Arctic to not be glaciated during recent glacial episodes. It is sometimes referred to as a Polar Bear maternity ward on account of the large numbers of cubs born here. There are numerous other Arctic species which we will be looking for including Musk Ox, Arctic Fox, Snow Geese and the Snowy Owls which breed here annually. The diversity of tundra flora is exceptional and during walks ashore we should see the last flowers of summer.
Day 9: East Siberian Sea
This sea is defined by the Novosibirskie Islands in the west and Wrangel Island to the east, along its southern shores are three of Siberia’s major rivers, the Indigirka, Alazaya and the Kolyma. We will lookout for walrus and Bowhead Whales.
Day 10: Ayon Island
The Chukchi people that call this island home are reindeer herders and hunters. We will enjoy the warm hospitality of the local people as we learn about life on this remote island.
Day 11: Medvezhyi Islands
Today we will explore the little known and seldom visited Medvezhyi Islands (Bear Islands), an archipelago of five granitic islands. The islands have a sizeable population of Polar Bears which den on these shores over winter. A landing on the island of Chetyrekhstolbovoy offers the opportunity to hike to the unusual rock ‘pillows’ which the island is named after. On Pushkareva Island investigate the old lighthouse or enjoy the Arctic flowers that cover the expansive tundra during the brief summer.
Day 12: East Siberian Sea
It was in this sea that the Jeanette, captained by George Washington De Long, became stuck fast and was crushed by ice in 1879. Wreckage from the Jeanette found in Greenland in 1884 gave Nansen the idea for the now famous 1893-96 Fram Expedition drifting across the Arctic Ocean.
Days 13 to 15: Noviye Sebirskiye (New Siberian Islands)
These islands, which consist of three major groups – Southern, Central (Anzhu) and Northern (De Long), mark the border between the Laptev and East Siberian Seas. We have allowed three days for exploring this remarkable yet seldom visited archipelago, conditions permitting we hope to have the opportunity to visit all three island groups, each with their own unique geology and landscapes.
Days 16 to 17: Laptev Sea
This sea is bounded by the Taymyr Peninsula, the Severnaya Islands in the west and the Novosibirskie Islands in the east. We will explore the Taymyr Peninsula, Laptev Sea Walrus are only found in this area and we will be on the lookout for haulouts to photograph this unique and quite isolated population of walrus. There is Musk Ox resident in this area and we may spot the poorly known Taymyr form of Herring Gull.
Days 18 to 20: Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago
The Severnaya Zemlya Islands are on the border of the Kara and Laptev Seas and are an extension of the Taymyr Peninsula. These islands were not discovered until 1914-15 when Russian explorer Vilkitski charted them. The three largest islands are heavily glaciated with deep fiords and majestic tidewater glaciers that are regularly calving icebergs. We look for an opportunity to visit a colony of Ivory Gulls.
Days 21 to 22: Kara Sea
Lying between Novaya Zemlaya, Franz Josef Land and the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago the Kara Sea is generally considered to be the coldest sea in Russia. Ostrov Vize is along our route to Franz Josef Land, we will look to make a landing on the island, conditions permitting.
Days 23 to 25: Franz Josef Land
This huge archipelago of 192 islands located only 10 degrees from the North Pole offers numerous locations for us to explore. Its position close to the permanent ice of the Arctic Ocean yet accessible to the rich waters of the Atlantic gifts these waters an unusual diversity and abundance of marine life. The islands have a fascinating and rich record of exploration, scientific research and habitation. Landings planned including Cape Triest on Alger Island where the famous ‘Devil’s Marbles’ (spherical geodes) dot the landscape, Cape Flora on Northbrook Island where the remains of three historic expeditions are found in close proximity and Tikhaya Bay on Hooker Island where the numbers of guillemots and kittiwakes on the remarkable columnar cliffs of Rubini Rock are unforgettable. We also plan to include a visit to Cape Tegetthoff. There is a very healthy population of Polar Bears living amongst the archipelago and we will be keeping a close lookout for them. There are good chances to spot Beluga and Bowhead Whales and if we are fortunate we may find Narwhal.
Days 26 to 27: Barents Sea
The Barents Sea was named in honour of Dutch seafarer and navigator, Willem Barents, who explored this region on expeditions in 1594 and 1596. As we move southwards opportunities for spotting Humpback Whales and Harp Seals that feed in these waters increase.
Day 28: Murmansk
Murmansk is home to the Russia’s icebreaker fleet and featured as a strategically important port throughout the history of Russia. We disembark the ship in Murmansk, transfers to the airport or central hotels are provided.
Please Note:
These expeditions are subject to approval from various Russian Federal and Regional Authorities and may have to change depending on these approvals. Permits have been lodged for all the sites mentioned in the itinerary, depending on approvals these may have to be amended or substituted. We will endeavour to keep participants fully informed of any changes in the itinerary as and when they occur.

North East Passage: The Northern Sea Route reverse itinerary:

show main itinerary
These expeditions are subject to approval from various Russian Federal and Regional Authorities and may have to change depending on these approvals. Permits have been lodged for all the sites mentioned in the itinerary, depending on approvals these may have to be amended or substituted. We will endeavour to keep participants fully informed of any changes in the itinerary as and when they occur.
Murmansk is home to the Russia’s icebreaker fleet and featured as a strategically important port throughout the history of Russia. We disembark the ship in Murmansk, transfers to the airport or central hotels are provided.
The Barents Sea was named in honour of Dutch seafarer and navigator, Willem Barents, who explored this region on expeditions in 1594 and 1596. As we move southwards opportunities for spotting Humpback Whales and Harp Seals that feed in these waters increase.
This huge archipelago of 192 islands located only 10 degrees from the North Pole offers numerous locations for us to explore. Its position close to the permanent ice of the Arctic Ocean yet accessible to the rich waters of the Atlantic gifts these waters an unusual diversity and abundance of marine life. The islands have a fascinating and rich record of exploration, scientific research and habitation. Landings planned including Cape Triest on Alger Island where the famous ‘Devil’s Marbles’ (spherical geodes) dot the landscape, Cape Flora on Northbrook Island where the remains of three historic expeditions are found in close proximity and Tikhaya Bay on Hooker Island where the numbers of guillemots and kittiwakes on the remarkable columnar cliffs of Rubini Rock are unforgettable. We also plan to include a visit to Cape Tegetthoff. There is a very healthy population of Polar Bears living amongst the archipelago and we will be keeping a close lookout for them. There are good chances to spot Beluga and Bowhead Whales and if we are fortunate we may find Narwhal.
Lying between Novaya Zemlaya, Franz Josef Land and the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago the Kara Sea is generally considered to be the coldest sea in Russia. Ostrov Vize is along our route to Franz Josef Land, we will look to make a landing on the island, conditions permitting.
The Severnaya Zemlya Islands are on the border of the Kara and Laptev Seas and are an extension of the Taymyr Peninsula. These islands were not discovered until 1914-15 when Russian explorer Vilkitski charted them. The three largest islands are heavily glaciated with deep fiords and majestic tidewater glaciers that are regularly calving icebergs. We look for an opportunity to visit a colony of Ivory Gulls.
This sea is bounded by the Taymyr Peninsula, the Severnaya Islands in the west and the Novosibirskie Islands in the east. We will explore the Taymyr Peninsula, Laptev Sea Walrus are only found in this area and we will be on the lookout for haulouts to photograph this unique and quite isolated population of walrus. There is Musk Ox resident in this area and we may spot the poorly known Taymyr form of Herring Gull.
These islands, which consist of three major groups – Southern, Central (Anzhu) and Northern (De Long), mark the border between the Laptev and East Siberian Seas. We have allowed three days for exploring this remarkable yet seldom visited archipelago, conditions permitting we hope to have the opportunity to visit all three island groups, each with their own unique geology and landscapes.
It was in this sea that the Jeanette, captained by George Washington De Long, became stuck fast and was crushed by ice in 1879. Wreckage from the Jeanette found in Greenland in 1884 gave Nansen the idea for the now famous 1893-96 Fram Expedition drifting across the Arctic Ocean.
Today we will explore the little known and seldom visited Medvezhyi Islands (Bear Islands), an archipelago of five granitic islands. The islands have a sizeable population of Polar Bears which den on these shores over winter. A landing on the island of Chetyrekhstolbovoy offers the opportunity to hike to the unusual rock ‘pillows’ which the island is named after. On Pushkareva Island investigate the old lighthouse or enjoy the Arctic flowers that cover the expansive tundra during the brief summer.
The Chukchi people that call this island home are reindeer herders and hunters. We will enjoy the warm hospitality of the local people as we learn about life on this remote island.
This sea is defined by the Novosibirskie Islands in the west and Wrangel Island to the east, along its southern shores are three of Siberia’s major rivers, the Indigirka, Alazaya and the Kolyma. We will lookout for walrus and Bowhead Whales.
Wrangel Island is a Federal Nature Reserve and World Heritage Site of international significance. It is a major Polar Bear denning area and one of the few areas of the Arctic to not be glaciated during recent glacial episodes. It is sometimes referred to as a Polar Bear maternity ward on account of the large numbers of cubs born here. There are numerous other Arctic species which we will be looking for including Musk Ox, Arctic Fox, Snow Geese and the Snowy Owls which breed here annually. The diversity of tundra flora is exceptional and during walks ashore we should see the last flowers of summer.
Today we plan to land on Kolyuchin Island, although we will be visiting after the peak of the breeding season, there should still be large numbers of Tufted and Horned Puffins, Brunnich’s and Common Guillemots and Black-legged Kittiwakes. There may also be an opportunity to Zodiac cruise around the base of the cliffs where there are excellent photographic opportunities. Humpback and Bowhead Whales have been seen in this area previously.
Early this morning we will arrive at Cape Dezhnev, the eastern extremity of the Eurasian continent. The Bering Strait is a vitally important migratory pathway, we may see flocks of King, Common and Spectacled Eiders passing south. In the afternoon enjoy the hospitality of the local people in the village of Uelen who are predominantly Chukchi. Our visit will include a cultural performance and visit to the famous bone-carving studio and museum.
Whale Bone Alley on Yttygran Island is one of the most significant and intriguing archaeological sites in the Arctic. The waters nearby remain rich feeding grounds for whales, weather permitting we will look to take the Zodiacs in search of Gray Whales and walrus. This afternoon we plan a landing at the Gil’mimyl Hot Springs, Sandhill Cranes usually breed in the area.
Crossing the Gulf of Anadyr there will be opportunities for wildlife watching. This afternoon we plan to explore the magnificent coastal cliffs of Preobrazhnaya Bay by Zodiac, home to an abundance of seabirds including Brunnich’s Guillemot, Crested and Parakeet Auklets plus Tufted and Horned Puffins.
Join the Akademik Shokalskiy this afternoon. This evening there are excellent chances to spot Beluga Whales as we sail out of the Anadyr Estuary.
For those departing from Nome, Alaska, your adventure begins with a flight across the Bering Sea to Anadyr, the capital of Chukotka.
* = Indicative
Map for North East Passage: The Northern Sea Route
Spirit of Enderby/Shokalskiy, the ship servicing North East Passage: The Northern Sea Route

Spirit of Enderby/Shokalskiy

Vessel Type: Expedition

Length: 72 metres

Passenger Capacity: 50

Built / refurbished: 1984 / 2004

The Spirit of Enderby is a fully ice-strengthened expedition vessel, built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research and is perfect for Expedition Travel.

She carries just 50 passengers and was refurbished in November 2004 to provide comfortable accommodation in twin share cabins approximately half of which have private facilities. All cabins have outside windows or portholes and ample storage space.

On board there is a combined bar/library lounge area and a dedicated lecture room. The cuisine is excellent and is prepared by top NZ and Australian chefs.

The real focus and emphasis of every expedition is getting you ashore as often as possible for as long as possible with maximum safety and comfort. Our Expeditions are accompanied by some of the most experienced naturalists and guides, who have devoted a lifetime to field research in the areas that we visit. The ship is crewed by a very enthusiastic and most experienced Russian Captain and crew.

The name Spirit of Enderby honours the work and the vision of the Enderby Brothers of London. The Enderby Captains were at the forefront of Antarctic exploration for almost 40 years in the early 1800’s. It also celebrates Enderby Island, arguably the greatest Subantarctic Island in the world.

a) our fleet of RIB’s, (rigid inflatable boats) sometimes referred to as zodiacs. These extremely safe and stable craft will land you at some of the most amazing places.

Some departures are on the SHOKALSKIY - the sister ship to the SPIRIT OF ENDERBY

 

 


Cabin layout for Spirit of Enderby/Shokalskiy
• Discover Cape Dezhnev, the eastern extremity of the Eurasian continent

• Land on Kolyuchin Island, although we will be visiting after the peak of the breeding season, there should still be large numbers of Tufted and Horned Puffins, Brunnich’s and Common Guillemots and Black-legged Kittiwakes

• Explore Ayon Island. The Chukchi people that call this island home are reindeer herders and hunters. We will enjoy the warm hospitality of the local people as we learn about life on this remote island

• Explore the little known and seldom visited Medvezhyi Islands (Bear Islands), an archipelago of five granitic islands

• Visit Murmansk. It is home to the Russia’s icebreaker fleet and featured as a strategically important port throughout the history of Russia
Enquire now about North East Passage: The Northern Sea Route

Travel on the Spirit of Enderby/Shokalskiy

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