Scheduled flight from Frankfurt to Oslo to Tromsoe
Overnight stay with breakfast (mid-range hotel)
Tromsoe/Norway, departure 18.00 hrs
Prelude at the edge of the Arctic Ocean
An unreachable objective for most cruise ships: the Northeast Passage. Look forward to adventure on this sea route – the exciting cruise through the ice, animal sightings in the pristine wilderness and following in the footsteps of the polar pioneers. Even Tromsoe, the “gateway to the Arctic Ocean”, is steeped in the pioneering spirit of the many historic expeditions that set out from here.
Cruising off North Cape, Skarsvag
Beginning of the Northeast Passage adventure – from Murmansk to the Bering Strait
Murmansk stands in true contrast, as the largest city north of the Arctic Circle and the headquarters of Russia’s Northern Fleet. Whether you enjoy impressions of Murmansk* or trace the legacy of the Sami in the heart of the tundra on the Kola Peninsula*, you will probably be eagerly waiting for the departure of the HANSEATIC. For it will lie stretching off into the distance before you: the Northeast Passage.
Cruise through the Barents Sea/Arctic Ocean
An adventure en route to the destination
For centuries, the Northeast Passage has fired the imagination of pioneering spirits – from the early explorations by the naval powers England and Holland in the 16th century to the first successful passage by the Swede Adolf Erik Nordenskjöld between 1878 and 1879. Your days at sea on board the HANSEATIC will be in the shadow of the golden age of Arctic explorers thanks to the exciting expert presentations and because the route intersects their moving life lines. The endeavours of Willem Barents will be brought to life as you cruise through the Barents Sea.
Novaya Zemlya , Franz Josef Land
As he circumnavigated Novaya Zemlya in 1596 on his search for the Northeast Passage, his ship became trapped in the pack ice and the crew was forced to spend the winter there. Following in his wake, the HANSEATIC will dare to call at the deep bays of this savage and primeval island. In geological terms, it is almost identical to the Urals, as it is a northern continuation of this ancient mountain range which was formed when Europe and Siberia collided. Subject to weather conditions, you can take the Zodiacs and explore on land whilst thousands of sea birds brood on the steep cliffs. The captain and crew can react flexibly, allowing you to experience intense natural spectacles. They are always seeking the most incredible experiences – and all with consideration for the ice and weather. Thanks to this, you will feel even closer to the pioneers of the Austro-Hungarian Polar Expedition. Whilst exploring the Arctic Ocean on almost the very same date 143 years ago, they happened upon new land which they named after their emperor: Franz Josef Land.
Cruise through the Kara Sea
Their first sight was today’s Cape Tegetthoff on Hall Island, whose rocky peaks may also have pointed them towards adventure. The explorers first set foot on Wilczek Island, which is now home to the grave of their engineer Otto Krisch. Hooker Island also promises intense expedition experiences. Enjoy an unforgettable visit to an abandoned Russian Arctic station from the 1930s or view the bird-inhabited cliff known as Rubini Rock up-close. Besides the imposing cliffs and basalt columns, the island is also home to the largest sea bird colony in the archipelago. Enjoy other spontaneously arranged highlights in this region, made possible by the flexibility of the HANSEATIC and the Zodiacs. Only a few people have seen these coasts.
The same goes for the almost semi-glacial islands of Severnaya Zemlya. Polar bears, Arctic foxes, Arctic hares, walruses and seals inhabit these islands. Surrounded by majestic glaciers, as your eyes scan the ice, a question arises: What challenges will the HANSEATIC face next and will it overcome them?
Siberia (including Cape Chelyuskin , New Siberian Islands , Medvezhy Islands ), cruising through the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea/Arctic Ocean
Russia’s untamed spirit
Along the Siberian coast, the HANSEATIC can take full advantage of its status as a small expedition ship with the highest ice class for passenger ships. Only in this way can it manage to pass through the eye of the needle in the Northeast Passage: Cape Chelyuskin, located between Bolshevik Island and the mainland, is known for frequently being blocked by ice. The course thereafter will be determined by the weather and ice. The New Siberian Islands offer lots of possibilities for Zodiac explorations and for spotting numerous rare seabirds, snow grouse, reindeer and lemmings. In 1893, the researcher Fridtjof Nansen allowed his ship to freeze in order to reach the geographic North Pole by using the natural ice drifts of the Arctic Ocean. These little-researched islands give exciting insights into the “adolescence” of polar exploration.
The Medvezhy Islands in the East Siberian Sea are famous as a polar bear nursery. They are a frozen habitat where the kings of the Arctic bring their cubs into the world. But an even more impressive conservation area for polar bears lies before you, as well as the secrets of a legendary island.
Chukchi Sea (including Wrangel Island, Kolyuchin Island)
An animal paradise far from the familiar
The cracking ice will cause excitement to grow on board: Will the ship manage to traverse the often thick belt of drifting ice around Wrangel Island? Here you can uncover the most beautiful aspects of nature on a grand scale. On rides and landings with the Zodiacs, you can really experience this raw natural beauty. Numerous species of birds nest on steep cliffs, and long tundra hikes will give you the chance to observe polar bears and reindeer in the vast, silent landscape.
Chukchi Peninsula/Bering Strait (including Cape Dezhnev, Lorino , Provideniya)
Kolyuchin Island on the edge of the Chukchi Peninsula also offers overwhelming animal observation possibilities. The Zodiacs can take you to large cliffs teeming with thousands of thick-billed murres, black guillemots, kittiwakes, horned puffins and glaucous gulls. With a little luck, you will see lots of walruses gathering on the cliffs. The Chukchi Peninsula is a natural paradise for whales, seabirds, walruses and seals – whereas on Cape Dezhnev, the most north-easterly point of the Eurasian landmass, Russian history speaks for itself. A walk will lead you to a monument to the pioneer Semyon Dezhnyov, the first to traverse the cape in 1648. In Lorino, you can gain fascinating insights into the everyday life and nomadic traditions of the Chukchi people who survive by hunting and breeding reindeer. Fascinating encounters also await you on seldom-visited Provideniya, located in the extreme east of Russia, when you go ashore with the experts and visit the small museum.
It will be time to celebrate when the HANSEATIC sets sail for Alaska, as you have successfully traversed the Northeast Passage. On crossing the International Date Line, you can turn back the clock to rave about your many unforgettable expedition moments.
Crossing the International Date Line (day counts twice)
Nome/Alaska/USA, arrival 16.00 hrs
Overnight stay with breakfast
Charter flight to Vancouver
Overnight stay with breakfast
Scheduled flight from Vancouver to Germany
Arrival in Germany
The following programmes can be booked.
Please note that our pre- and post-cruise programmes are conducted in German.
For individual programmes kindly consult your travel agent.
Following programmes we offer in German:
Important note on this expedition:
This expedition is one of the most difficult cruises to plan, organise and sail in our range of expeditions. This cruise adventure was carefully planned based on average ice and weather data and closely coordinated with the local Russian authorities. All our experience and careful preparation notwithstanding, the actual itinerary therefore depends on the local conditions. Besides ice and weather, these include decisions taken by the Russian authorities, who reserve the right to issue the necessary authorisations only shortly prior to departure and, if necessary, to withhold them entirely. We will, of course, do everything in our power to ensure that this cruise can take place as advertised, but wish to take this early opportunity to inform you of these unusual circumstances and to raise your awareness as to the expeditionary nature of this cruise. Should the authorities, weather or ice have a significant impact on the route, we plan to sail through the Northwest Passage instead. If this should happen, we will inform you as quickly as possible. We wish you an unforgettable time on a truly legendary expedition on board the HANSEATIC!
After studying historical ethnology, Dr Gudrun Bucher focused her academic work on Siberia and the North Pacific. She specialises in the material culture of the peoples of Kamchatka, Chukotka and Alaska. She regularly accompanies tours to the Arctic and Antarctic.