An expedition premiere of the most extraordinary kind: precisely 135 years after the first successful Northeast Passage expedition, venture on your own great adventure. Following in the wake of famous explorers you will be part of seafaring histoy – for the HANSEATIC will open up a new exciting chapter in the Passage's history as the first non-Russian cruise ship. Enter spectacular landscapes and former Russian restricted zones which, apart from researchers and explorers, hardly anyone has set eyes on. Each region on this route is breathtaking in itself – combined on a unique expedition this makes for a phenomenal experience.
from Vancouver to Bodoe
|Cruise dates:||from 12.08.2014 to 10.09.2014 (30 days)|
| Your ship:|| MS HANSEATIC|
| Cruise number:|| HAN1414|
This cruise is operated in German. For individual programmes kindly ask our travel concierge.
The Chukchi Peninsula: elemental beauty
Isolated, vast and primitive: in Russia’s Far East, you find a sprawling explorer territory created by the wild forces of nature. The austere beauty of the Chukchi Peninsula is characterised by mighty volcanoes and diverse fauna. On numerous Zodiac rides and landings, you will come especially close to this wilderness as skuas, Arctic terns and other marine birds circle overhead Insights into the culture of the Chukchi, who still live off hunting and breeding reindeer, also determine your route along with majestic grey whales, which may cross your path. Far from the civilisation you know, unforgettable days full of expedition experiences and pioneering spirit await you.
Travelling in the footsteps of famous explorers
For hundreds of years the legendary Northeast Passage has inspired the fantasies of visionaries and the spirit of discovery in pioneers. A sea route that fills history books as well as the curriculum vitae of famous explorers. Driven by the opening up of new, safe trade routes to China, the naval powers of England and Holland began to explore the passage in the 16th century – such as Briton Sir Hugh Willoughby in 1553. Yet either the expeditions foundered in pack ice, as was the case with Willem Barents, or only partial areas were discovered, such as the Siberian coast by Vitus Bering. The entire Northeast Passage was explored only between 1878 and 1879: the Swede Adolf Erik Nordenskiold travelled from Europe along the shores of Siberia through the Bering Strait to Japan. Even today, many geographic names in the region attest to other great pioneers such as Barents sea, Barents Island and Wrangel Island. Along the HANSEATIC’s route you will cross the fascinating life lines of these explorers. In comparison to the austerities and exertions of former times, you will experience the adventure in supreme comfort and on a cruise ship of the highest ice class for passenger ships (E4). The HANSEATIC will travel through the Northeast Passage as the first non-Russian cruise ship to do so. On the cruise, the excitement of the legendary sea route is unabated: whether the local conditions require spontaneous changes to the course or the Zodiacs proceed towards otherwise barely accessible shores, the feeling of being a true pioneer continues to grow.
Wrangel Island: legendary UNESCO Natural Heritage Site
A moving moment awaits you when you reach Wrangel Island. For you belong to the small circle of explorers ever to set foot on this island. Previously it was necessary to penetrate the wild shores, which are often enclosed by a thick band of drift ice even in summer. With its ice-proofed bow, the HANSEATIC will try to break its way through – directly into adventure. To welcome you, the tundra rolls out a lush blossoming carpet, which you probably would not expect in the Arctic. The former Russian restricted zone is now a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site and sanctuary for polar bears hunting for seals. You can also observe walruses, whales and numerous species of birds. Against the panorama of the up to 1,100-metre-high mountains, with a little luck you will see musk oxen and reindeer.
Medvezie and New Siberian Islands: virtually unexplored
In the East Siberian Sea, the HANSEATIC sets course for the Medvezie Islands. An ice-covered territory of polar bears, who bring their young into the world here. Fascinating insights into the “childhood years” of polar research are granted by the New Siberian Islands. It is here that the researcher Fridtjof Nansen let his ship freeze in order to reach the geographic North Pole by means of the natural ice drift of the Arctic Ocean. Even today, the islands are virtually unexplored and uninhabited apart from the researchers at a couple of weather stations. As a result, you are greeted with the untouched Arctic tundra as a native habitat of reindeer, wolves, snow grouses and lemmings. The findings of prehistoric bones of mammoths, hippopotamuses and rhinoceroses, the islands are also a fascinating window into the history of the earth.
Severnaya Zemlya: a rich animal kingdom virtually uninhabited by people
Only a handful of people have set eyes on this region. Except for the HANSEATIC, hardly any other cruise ship has travelled to Sewernaja Semlja. These islands, which are virtually half glaciated, are home to the entire kingdom of the Russian Arctic: polar bears, Arctic foxes, Arctic hares and walruses. The captain, crew and experts will react spontaneously and flexibly thanks to their long-standing polar experience to the ice and weather conditions. This makes for the best-possible expedition experiences from the deck or by Zodiac, which are in constant use here: large marine bird colonies breed on the steep rocky shores of the deep fjords, majestic glaciers impress with their play of colours, and the tranquil tundra invites you to explore.
Novaya Zemlya: virgin land on the double island
In 1596 when Willem Barents circumnavigated Novaya Zemlya on his search for a north-east passage, his ship came to a standstill in pack ice, and the team had to winter here. The HANSEATIC follows his footsteps to the deep bays of the rugged, primitive explorer destination. Geologically it is virtually identical to the Ural Mountains, since the islands are a northern continuation of the ancient mountain range, which unfold in a collision between Europe and Siberia. Depending on the weather, the Zodiacs will take you ashore for a deeper exploration of the tundra with typical cushion plants and vibrant, yellow polar poppies. Thousands upon thousands of marine birds breed on the steep cliffs.
Franz Josef Land: the heart of an explorer – what more could you want?
Spectacular terrain that the world first experienced in the 1870s. As the Austro-Hungarian Payer-Weyprecht expedition searched for a north-east passage through the Arctic Ocean, their ship drifted and they hit upon the shores of an undiscovered land that they named after their emperor: Franz Josef Land. More than 140 years later, you continue the exploration in a very personal way – cruising on the HANSEATIC and on numerous excursions and landings with the Zodiacs. There are good opportunities for you to see polar bears, marine birds and various marine mammals. It is an unforgettable experience when walruses suddenly appear so close to you. The captain and the expedition leader will react flexibly to the weather conditions. The clear destination is the islands, on which great discoveries await if a Zodiac landing is possible. For example, on the south-east shore of Wilczek Land, the remnants of Fort McKinley of the Wellman expedition of 1899 can still be seen. On the Champa Island, you will see a geological mystery – perfect stone spheres that measure up to three metres in diameter. There is a sensational journey through the narrow Collinson Canal, which is especially spectacular viewed from the deck. The sight of Wiener Neustadt Island, which is almost entirely covered in glaciers, will make your explorer’s heart beat even faster. Hooker Island also promises especially intense experiences. The visit to a Russian polar station from the 1930s or viewing the bird’s rock Rubini Rock up close are unforgettable. In addition to the imposing rocks and basalt columns, the largest marine bird breeding colony of the entire archipelago will certainly impress you. Look forward to other, sponaneously selected highlights of this region. It is precisely this flexibility of the HANSEATIC that makes for unique expedition moments.
Important expedition note:
This expedition through the Northeast Passage is one of the most challenging cruises in our expedition programme in terms of planning, organisation and nautically. The HANSEATIC, as the first non-Russian cruise ship, however embarks on this cruise adventure, which has been carefully planned on the basis of mean ice and weather data and coordinated in detail with the local Russian authorities. Despite all the care in the preparation the actual itinerary is heavily dependent on the local conditions. In addition to the ice and weather conditions, this also particularly includes the decisions of the Russian authorities, which reserve the right to issue the necessary approvals just before the start of the cruise and, if applicable, also to refuse these. We will of course do everything we can to ensure that this cruise runs as advertised, but wish to advise you in advance of these extraordinary circumstances and make you aware of the expedition nature of the cruise. Should the route be influenced significantly by the authorities or by the weather or ice, we intend to cruise alternatively along the Northwest Passage. We will advise you if this is the case as far in advance as possible. We wish you an unforgettable time on board the HANSEATIC on a truly legendary expedition!
= at anchor
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:
PRE-CRUISE PROGRAMME A: ROCKY MOUNTAINS
PRE-CRUISE PROGRAMME B: VANCOUVER – PEARL OF THE PACIFIC
Expedition leader in the expert team
Biologist Dr Hans Joachim Spitzenberger has
led numerous expeditions to the Arctic since 1992. As a collaborator in
various research projects and a passionate photographer, he will
sharpen your view of the animal kingdom of this remote region at the end
of the world – for lasting knowledge and incredible photo