Day 1 Tromsø – Embarkation
Our voyage begins in Tromsø. Spend some time exploring before embarking on MS Spitsbergen. Take the Fjellheisen Cable Car to the top of the Fløyfjellet and enjoy breathtaking views of the city and fjords. For inspiration, you should visit the Polar Museum to learn more about early exploration history.
Day 2 Sørøya
Sørøya ‒ the fourth-largest island in Norway ‒ has a great deal of wilderness and few inhabitants. We will step ashore to visit one of the roadless fishing settlements or if weather permits, do some hiking in this relatively easy terrain to get some fantastic views.
Day 3 Murmansk
Welcome to Russia! Murmansk is a young city, founded in 1916 and is the largest city found north of the Arctic Circle. The origins of Murmansk lie in the need for a northern sea port and it is the marine industry that still dominates today. We will make a short stop here before we head north.
Day 4-5 At sea
Our Expedition Team will prepare you for our landings ahead with a series of lectures and a chance to learn about the history and wildlife of Franz Josef Land. Keep a lookout for the first ice floes as we sail ever further north. Take the chance to enjoy the ship and relax in the Panorama Lounge.
Day 6-10 Franz Josef Land
Fridtjof Nansen first arrived in Franz Josef Land to overwinter in September 1895. Cape Flora earns its name from the fertilization provided by thousands of sea birds that nest on the cliffs. This is an area with many Brünnichs guillemots and Black-legged kittiwakes.
At Bell Island, we find the remains of the oldest building on Franz Josef Land, left by a British expedition in 1880. In Tikhaya Buchta, a team of meteorologists from the Russian Sedov station had to survive from the beginning of the Second World War until 1945 all by themselves.
It is likely that the Pomors or Norwegian sealers knew of Franz Josef Land, but the first recorded landing amongst the 192 islands making up the archipelago was made in 1873 from the sailing vessel Admiral Tegetthoff. They found wide beaches, steep cliffs with nesting sea birds attended by arctic foxes, polar bears and walrus. We hope to find much of the same. The exact sequence and choice of our landings will be decided by the captain to take advantage of the ice and weather conditions as we find them.
Day 11-12 At sea
Willem Barents was an explorer searching for the Northeast Passage. For the next two days we will cross the sea named after him. As we sail over the sea, it is a chance to relax after all our activities, to enjoy the whirlpools on deck, take part in one of the talks from the Expedition Team and get to know your fellow explorers.
Day 13 Murmansk
We return to Murmansk to explore the city. Overlooking the port is a huge memorial to Russian soldiers. Beyond is the Saviour on the Waters church – part of a memorial complex dedicated to the memory of Murmansk’s seamen. Just below is part of the ill-fated submarine Kursk.
Day 14 Skarsvåg
Skarsvåg claims to be the world’s northernmost fishing village. Join the optional excursion to the North Cape and feel what it’s like to stand at the end of the Earth. At the plateau, you can learn more about the North Cape and see a panoramic film that takes you through the four seasons in this breathtaking scenery.
Day 15 Tromsø – Disembarkation
Every great explorer’s voyage comes to an end. It may seem as if the time flew by all too quickly. We have travelled where few others go, to the very top of the globe, just a few hundred miles from the Geographical North Pole.