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High Arctic Odyssey

Enjoy a true Arctic adventure to the ice-draped Russian Arctic on this epic expedition cruise, to visit the historic sites of remote Franz Josef Land and search for iconic wildlife including polar bears and walrus

Cruise Only
19 nights

Expedition Holiday
Polar bear. Photo credit: David Merron
High Arctic. Photo credit: Johanna Carlo
High Arctic. Photo credit: Johanna Carlo
Franz Josef Land. Photo credit: Samantha Crimming
Zodiac cruising. Photo credit: Acacia Johnson

Call us now on 01756 706500 to secure your cabin!


Explore the most enigmatic and isolated regions of the Russian High Arctic; in the spirit of a true arctic explorer, discover breathtaking icy coastlines that are rarely visited by even the most intrepid adventurers.

From the heavily glaciated Novaya Zemlya and Franz Josef Land to the remote islands of the Kara Sea, this unique itinerary allows you to spend more time exploring these pristine places. Search for Arctic wildlife and visit far-flung destinations steeped in polar history. If weather and ice conditions allow, explore Severnaya Zemlya, the last major territorial discovery on the planet. The Arctic has been inspiring explorers for centuries, and this unforgettable expedition cruise offers the chance for you to discover why.

Q105 Operated by Quark Expeditions


High Arctic Odyssey to Remote Russian Archipelagos Itinerary

Day 1 - Murmansk (Russia)

Embark your ship in Murmansk. The last city founded by the Russian Empire, Murmansk has long been an important ice-free naval and commercial shipping port.

Day 2-3 - At sea

Sail through the Barents Sea, named for the great Dutch explorer Willem Barents, who led two expeditions to Novaya Zemlya in the 1590s. The Expedition Team will teach you about the history and politics of the region, as well as its fascinating wildlife, geology, ecology and climate. Look out for the seabirds, such as kittiwakes, skuas and fulmars, soaring above your ship, and perhaps you will spot whales and seals.

Day 4-6 - Novaya Zemlya

Rarely-visited Novaya Zemlya consists of two main islands, Severny and Yuzhny, separated by the imposing Matochkin Strait. These islands are pure arctic beauty at its best with immense extinct volcanoes, jagged ice cliffs and the most isolated mountain range in the Barents Sea. Each expedition will be unique, depending on weather and ice conditions, but a few landing sites we attempt to visit include Inostrantseva Bay, the Oransky Islands, Cape Zhelaniya, Cape Spory Navalok and Russkaya Gavan. With one of the most picturesque glaciers in the entire archipelago, Inostrantseva Bay provides breathtaking panoramic views of pristine arctic wilderness. There may be the chance to explore ashore, or Zodiac cruise along the face of the glacier, possibly witnessing the wonders of calving ice. You are likely to see Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres) as there is a small colony in the coastal cliffs. On the Oransky Islands wildlife abounds, including walrus, whales and polar bears.

Day 7-12 - Kara Sea - Severnaya Zemlya

The Kara Sea is known as the ice cellar of the Arctic, as it is often encumbered by trapped ice floes. Depending on ice conditions, there are several sites and small archipelagos along the Siberian coast to explore, following in the footsteps of historic polar explorers searching for the Northeast Passage. Some areas we hope to visit include Russky Island, Troynoy Island and Cape Chelyuskin. Russky Island is the site of a former polar station and Troynoy Island is home to a weather station and is often frequented by polar bears. At the tip of the Taymyr Peninsula is Cape Chelyuskin, the northernmost point of the Russian and Eurasian mainland, where there may be the chance to land ashore. An exploration of Severnaya Zemlya embodies the true spirit of adventure. We hope to visit a number of glaciers, including the Vavilov Ice Cap and those at Marat Fjord, and we may cruise the Red Army Strait, flanked by the massive Academy of Sciences Glacier and the smaller Rusanov Glacier.

Day 13 - At sea

Enjoy the ship's facilities on a day at sea. Attend lectures by your Expedition Team, relax in the polar library or search for wildlife from the top deck.

Day 14-17 - Franz Josef Land

This remote group of 191 islands, many covered in ice, forms the most northerly archipelago in Eurasia and lies entirely within the Arctic Circle. Our exploration of the region is determined by weather and ice conditions, but we will attempt to explore historic sites, isolated seabird colonies and walrus rookeries such as Cape Flora, Cape Norway, Bell Island and Tikhaya Bukta. Polar bear encounters are also possible. On Jackson Island, Cape Norway is where Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen wintered from 1895 to 1896. The remains of their stone hut are still here today, with a memorial marking the event. Explore Tikhaya Bukta, the site of an abandoned weather station on Hooker Island, where there may be the chance to send a postcard from the post office. Another possible landing site, if time and weather permit, is Cape Tegetthoff on Hall Island, where we hope to visit the Barents memorial. The scenery here is spectacular, and we may be fortunate to view polar bears and Atlantic walrus.

Day 18-19 - At sea

Sail through this wildlife-rich sea, where whales of various species are often seen. Expedition staff will be available to answer any questions and spot wildlife.

Day 20 - Murmansk

Disembark ship in Murmansk.

When travelling in extremely remote regions the expedition staff will allow the sea, ice and weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage.

Price Includes

  • 19-night full board cruise
  • Wine and beer with dinner during the cruise
  • Soft drinks during bar opening hours during the cruise
  • Complimentary coffee, tea and water at all times during the cruise
  • Zodiac landings and shore landings, walks and hikes
  • Lectures by the Expedition Team
  • Port charges and taxes
  • Quark Parka to keep
  • Loan of waterproof knee-high boots
  • Port charges and taxes

Price Does Not Include

  • International flights – we can arrange these for you
  • Overseas transfers
  • Optional excursions such as paddling and kayaking
  • Gratuities

Additional Information

  • We recommend that you take Quark's transfer package for £1600pp which includes:
  • One night pre-cruise airport hotel in Helsinki
  • Charter flight from Helsinki to Murmansk on embarkation day
  • Charter flight from Murmansk to Helsinki
  • One night post-cruise airport hotel in Helsinki

Please contact us for the latest dates and prices

Call us now on 01756 706500

Map for High Arctic Odyssey