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Setting sail from Longyearbyen
This is the world's northernmost city and the base for tourism in Svalbard. A bit quirky, as you would expect from somewhere that spends four months of the year in near darkness, Longyearbyen doesn't take long to explore. Its brightly coloured wooden houses are built on stilts, as the ground in Svalbard is permafrost. When you enter a building, you are normally asked to remove your shoes, and leave your gun at the door. Gun carrying is more or less essential for the locals, as with 3,000 local hungry polar bears, it is said that you never know when you might need protection. That said, we visited safely without a gun!
At the so called heart of the city, Huset has long been the centre for culture and community. Go there for great food and to sample one of the largest wine cellars in Europe!
Murmansk is the largest city north of the Arctic Circle, of key strategic importance due to the fact that the port is kept ice-free by the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream. The city was heavily damaged during World War II but never captured, and while the Soviet architecture is not pretty, the surrounding countryside is well worth exploring.
Russia: Franz Josef Land
Franz Josef Land is a remote and seldom visited archipelago in the high Arctic, only discovered in the 19th century. Uninhabited except for Russian military personnel, these icy and mountainous islands are a great place to spot polar bears, walrus, Arctic foxes and Beluga whales.
Russia: Novaya Zemlya
The Russian Arctic archipelago of Novaya Zemlya consists of two large islands, Severny and Yuzhny, and a host of smaller islands. Formerly a Soviet nuclear test site, the archipelago is home to wildlife including polar bears, reindeer, walrus, puffins and seals.
Russia: Severnaya Zemlya
Severnaya Zemlya is so remote and inhospitable that this was the last significant archipelago on earth to be explored, only mapped in the 1930s. Situated off the north coast of Siberia in the Russian Arctic, the islands are shaped by glaciers and populated mainly by birds, lemmings and wolves.
Russia: New Siberian Islands
Russia: Wrangel Island
Wrangel Island was one of the last refuges of the wooly mammoth, and is still home to an amazing variety of Arctic wildlife, including polar bears, walruses, reindeer, lemmings and musk oxen. There is also the possibility of spotting gray, bowhead and beluga whales around the coast.
Russia: Cape Dezhnev
Cape Dezhnev is the easternmost point on the Eurasian landmass, named after the 17th-century Russian explorer Semyon Dezhnev, the first European to sail through the Bering Strait. There is only one inhabited settlement on the Cape, the village of Uelen, and whales and seals are a common sight in the surrounding seas.
Arriving in Anadyr
Way out in Russia's remote northeast sits the city of Anadyr, capital of the Chukotka autonomous region. Life here isn't as gloomy as you might think - buildings are painted in bright colours to keep spirits up during the harsh winter months, and the city enjoyed significant investment under the governorship of Roman Abramovich, the famous oligarch who now owns Chelsea Football Club. There are some interesting exhibits in the Chukotka Museum, including carvings made from walrus ivory and mammoth tusk, while beyond the city limits lies the bleak expanse of the tundra.
Your home from home
Sleek and stylish, Le Boréal, Le Soléal, L'Austral and Le Lyrial are wonderful small ships that blend luxury and intimacy with a discreet elegance and tasteful décor.
What we love
These chic sisters are amongst the most stylish ships at sea, with muted natural tones, minimalist interiors and playful splashes of colour. The accommodation is flexible, with the option to combine staterooms and create expansive suites, while the restaurants deliver the sort of outstanding gastronomic experience that you would expect from a French flag cruise line.
|Style||Refined with a wonderful mix of a modern super yacht and nautical tradition, all with a French flair.|
Tailor-make your trip
Where to stay in Longyearbyen
There’s really not much choice! Go for the Radisson Blu.
Travel out of Longyearbyen by snow scooter or dog sled to take a look at the amazing scenery and hunt for wildlife.