Ships
Eastern Russia & Wrangel Island
Eastern Russia & Wrangel Island
02/08/22 to 20/08/22
Dates
02/08/22 to 20/08/22
Ship
Vega 1
Duration
19 Days
Guests
2 Guest
Price From
£ 25,450.00
Per Cabin
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Trip Details

Cruising on the edge of the ice spotting polar bears or seals is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Our boutique ice-class ship takes us to the edge of the pack ice past far- flung Russian islands at the top of the world. Off-limits for years, we step ashore onto land where once mammoth and sabre-toothed tigers roamed. Frozen seas and boggy tundra provide a backdrop where hundreds of polar bears and walruses, puffins, snow geese and rare spoon-billed sandpiper flourish in one of the world’s least frequented areas. Here, in remote lands we get to meet Siberian Yupik who share their traditions with us.

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Trip Highlights

Cruising on the edge of the ice spotting polar bears or seals is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Our boutique ice-class ship takes us to the edge of the pack ice past far- flung Russian islands at the top of the world. Off-limits for years, we step ashore onto land where once mammoth and sabre-toothed tigers roamed. Frozen seas and boggy tundra provide a backdrop where hundreds of polar bears and walruses, puffins, snow geese and rare spoon-billed sandpiper flourish in one of the world’s least frequented areas. Here, in remote lands we get to meet Siberian Yupik who share their traditions with us.

Learn more about the permafrost and its prehistoric finds from our onboard experts
Get up close to the world’s largest polar bear denning ground and largest breeding rookery of Pacific walrus in Wrangel Island
Meet Siberian Yupik and learn about their traditions passed down the generations
Identify hundreds of birds from puffins and snow geese to rare spoon-billed sandpipers
Gaze out across the frozen pack ice and spot seals or polar bears resting on ice floes
Itinerary Map
Itinerary
Day 1, Nome

Nome is the most famous gold rush town in Alaska (the town’s welcome sign is marked on the state’s largest gold pan). This wind-swept tundra landscape is a haven for wildflowers. Hardy muskoxen forage, bear and caribou roam, and the mountain streams provide a freshwater habitat for spawning wild Alaskan salmon. Excursions include mushing, panning for gold on the beaches and trips to the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.

Day 2, Provideniya

The gateway to the Russian Far East, this former Soviet military port on Komsomolskaya Bay is at the southern limit of the Arctic ice pack. The town has a small museum charting the history of whaling and fishing and the displacement of the indigenous Siberian Yupik that caused irreversible cultural change. From seal fishing to their renowned dancing, we learn more about Yupik culture on a visit to a settlement at Novoye Chaplino overlooking a picturesque fjord.

Day 3, Cape Dezhnev & Uelen Village

The easternmost point of Russia, here on a clear day, you can see Alaska. It is a good hike up the headland where you will reach a lighthouse and a monument to the Russian explorer Semyon Dezhnev, who rounded the Cape in 1648. Further up the coast is Naukan, an abandoned Yupik village, and Uelen, the only still-inhabited village on the cape. Home to Siberian Yupik Eskimos, Uelen is the closest Russian settlement to the US.

Day 4, Kolyuchin Bay & Kolyuchin Island

Conservationists will guide you over soft tundra and point out rare lichens, mosses and wildflowers where scurrying ground squirrels hunt for food. Kolyuchin also has some of the Arctic’s most spectacular bird cliffs, with puffins, guillemots and gulls, and a photogenic walrus haul-out. Off the north coast of the Chukotka Peninsula, this small island was once an important centre for research into polar bears and walruses, one of a number dotted across the Arctic.

Day 5, At Sea

As you cruise to your next port of call, spend the day at sea savouring the ship’s facilities and learning about your destination’s many facets from the knowledgeable onboard experts. Listen to an enriching talk, indulge in a relaxing treatment at the spa, work out in the well-equipped gym, enjoy some down- time in your cabin, share travel reminiscences with newly found friends: the options are numerous.

Day 6, Ayon Island

This mostly low-lying tundra island lies off the coast of the Chukotka peninsula on the west of the Bering strait and is part of the Northern Sea Route, or Northeast passage. Ayon Island’s indigenous Chukchi population are reindeer herders. Many live in Ayon Village, a coastal settlement where we are guaranteed a warm welcome especially at the small museum set up by children. On the outskirts of the village is a Neolithic settlement we can explore.

Day 7, Medvezhyi Islands

Also known as Bear Islands - on account of the polar bears that have taken up residence on this isolated archipelago - this far-flung island group is located above Russia, in the inhospitable East Siberian Sea. The arctic flora draws naturalists for wildflowers - buttercups, yellow poppies and rockfoil - lichens and mosses on the hammocky tundra. Natural rock pillars stand sentinel on Chetyrbok Stolbovoy (Four Spires Island), where you can go ashore and hike to see an abandoned weather station.

Day 8, At Sea

As you cruise to your next port of call, spend the day at sea savouring the ship’s facilities and learning about your destination’s many facets from the knowledgeable onboard experts. Listen to an enriching talk, indulge in a relaxing treatment at the spa, work out in the well-equipped gym, enjoy some down- time in your cabin, share travel reminiscences with newly found friends: the options are numerous.

Day 9, Dmitriy Laptev Strait & Lyakhovsky Island

Separating the Siberian mainland from the Lyakhovsky Islands, part of the New Siberian Islands, the Dmitry Laptev Strait is named after Russian Arctic explorer Dmitry Yakovlevich Laptev, who was one of the first Russians to live among the indigenous Yupik in the area. It is an area where the sea generally stays below freezing for nine months of the year, but the permafrost is thawing at an incredible rate and cliffs are collapsing into the sea. Prehistoric bones, mammoth tusks, sabre-toothed tiger and other megafauna fossils have all been found on these islands - well-preserved by the permafrost - with some plant material believed to be up to 130 thousand years old. The current flora consists primarily of low-lying grasses, sedges, lichens and mosses. Lyakhovsky Islands are the southernmost group of the New Siberian Islands of which Great Lyakovsky Island has a weather station that was mentioned in Jules Vernes’ novels.

Day 10, At Sea

As you cruise to your next port of call, spend the day at sea savouring the ship’s facilities and learning about your destination’s many facets from the knowledgeable onboard experts. Listen to an enriching talk, indulge in a relaxing treatment at the spa, work out in the well-equipped gym, enjoy some down- time in your cabin, share travel reminiscences with newly found friends: the options are numerous.

Day 11, Ice Edge Cruising

Forging through these icy Arctic conditions can be a challenge for less-sturdy vessels. Head out on deck as our polar class ship breaks through the pack ice and keep an eye out for specks of polar bears, walrus and seals among the ice floes in the distance. Listen to the ice cracking and groaning while around you is just stillness. Sadly, changing weather conditions means the ice is receding, so store this sight in your memories.

Day 12, Expedition De Long Islands

Five islands make up the uninhabited De Long archipelago. Zhokhov Island is renowned for its preserved mammoth remains found in the boggy tundra. On Bennett Island, plumes escaping from the melting permafrost are sometimes visible in space. Thought to be methane escaping, they remain scientifically unexplained. As global warming affects permafrosts, cliffs here are falling into the sea. Shore landings get you close to tundra wildflowers, with possible sightings of arctic fox, lemming and plenty of seabirds.

Day 13, At Sea

As you cruise to your next port of call, spend the day at sea savouring the ship’s facilities and learning about your destination’s many facets from the knowledgeable onboard experts. Listen to an enriching talk, indulge in a relaxing treatment at the spa, work out in the well-equipped gym, enjoy some down- time in your cabin, share travel reminiscences with newly found friends: the options are numerous.

Day 14, Ushakova Cape, Wrangel Island

Breaching grey and beluga whales, ringed seals and bearded seals swim close to the shore. Inaccessible for much of the year, changing weather conditions mean that in recent years the island is becoming ice-free earlier and earlier, and the occasional finback whale from Mexico has been spotted here. Tundra covers much of this huge island with coastal plains and central mountains creating a rich ecosystem with the highest level of biodiversity in the high Arctic.

Day 15, Cape Florens & Cape Blossom, Wrangel Island

Named for the colourful flora and wildflowers on the mossy tundra, such as yellow arctic poppies, Cape Florens helped give the island its unique status as the northernmost World Heritage Site. It is also one of the places we might get to spot foraging Siberian brown and northern collared lemmings (often hunted down by snowy owls), alongside Wrangel’s other inland fauna species - arctic foxes, wolverines, muskoxen and reindeer.

Day 16, Krasin Bay & Cape Waring, Wrangel Island

Observe the only permanent colony of nesting snow geese in Asia as you hike across the tundra to the Mammoth River. Twitchers might glimpse other tundra- loving birds including spoon-billed sandpipers, peregrine falcons, arctic tern, gulls and skuas who feed on this ancient, protected natural reserve. Nearby are the relics of a 3,400-year-old Paleo-Eskimo camp. At Devils Creek, the 180° meridian passes through, although the International Date Line lies to the east of the island.

Day 17, At Sea

As you cruise to your next port of call, spend the day at sea savouring the ship’s facilities and learning about your destination’s many facets from the knowledgeable onboard experts. Listen to an enriching talk, indulge in a relaxing treatment at the spa, work out in the well-equipped gym, enjoy some down- time in your cabin, share travel reminiscences with newly found friends: the options are numerous.

Day 18, Provideniya

The gateway to the Russian Far East, this former Soviet military port on Komsomolskaya Bay is at the southern limit of the Arctic ice pack. The town has a small museum charting the history of whaling and fishing and the displacement of the indigenous Siberian Yupik that caused irreversible cultural change. From seal fishing to their renowned dancing, we learn more about Yupik culture on a visit to a settlement at Novoye Chaplino overlooking a picturesque fjord.

Day 19, Nome, Alaska

Nome is the most famous gold rush town in Alaska (the town’s welcome sign is marked on the state’s largest gold pan). This wind-swept tundra landscape is a haven for wildflowers. Hardy muskoxen forage, bear and caribou roam, and the mountain streams provide a freshwater habitat for spawning wild Alaskan salmon. Excursions include mushing, panning for gold on the beaches and trips to the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.

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Rates Include
One night pre-cruise hotel accommodation with breakfast
Transfer from the airport to the hotel on the day prior to embarkation
Transfer from the hotel to the port for embarkation
Transfer from the port to the airport on return
Onboard accommodation
All meals onboard including room service 24 hours a day
Coffee, tea, soft drinks & select alcoholic beverages 24 hours a day
Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
Shore excursion programme led by our expert expedition team
Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka
Use of rubber boots for shore landings
Basic WIFI inclusion (Premium WIFI available)
Onboard gratuities & port taxes
*Itineraries & prices are subject to change*
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Cabins
Number of Guests
Oceanview
19 m2 Sleeps 2
Oceanview cabins features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
Price From
£ 12725
Balcony
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room, a luxurious ensuite bathroom and your own private 6 sq.m. balcony.
Price From
£ 16375
Suite
44 m2 Sleeps 2
Our Suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom and a 12 sq.m. private balcony.
Price From
£ 18975
Premium Suite
49 m2 Sleeps 2
Our grandest suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom, spacious walk in wardrobe and a 12 sq.m private balcony.
Price From
£ 23425
Itinerary Map