Heritage Expeditions Completes Two 2017 Northern Sea Route Passages Across Russia, With One Voyage In Each Direction

Akademik ShokalskyNew Zealand-based Heritage Expeditions has just completed its inaugural Northern Sea Route (or Northeast Passage) expeditions between Anadyr and Murmansk and is now preparing for its 2017/18 Southern Ocean and Antarctic expeditions.

This was the first time that an expedition company has succeeded in a double transit of the Northern Sea Route. This was due in large part to changing ice conditions in the Arctic. But while they may be changing, ice conditions are still very unpredictable as Heritage discovered, with significantly more ice on the eastbound expedition than expected due to seasonally low temperatures.

Northern Sea RouteThe success of these voyages is due to some very careful planning and timing. These expeditions were three years in the planning and application process and Heritage expressed its gratefulness to its Russian partner for their part in securing all necessary permits at this timewhen permitting is increasingly complex.    

Heritage Expeditions’ 48-berth Akademik Shokalskiy, under Captain Igor, was the perfect vessel for this. His team was outstanding and worked tirelessly to ensure the success and safety of the vessel and her expeditioners. Navigating through ice and the shallow waters of the Northern Sea Route take both courage and knowledge.

Polar Bear
Each expedition (west and eastbound) visited over twenty Arctic islands, and made more than thirty landings, plus numerous zodiac cruises. The end result was a huge catalogue of highlights, (and thousands of photos) far too many to list here. The trip logs and wildlife lists from each expedition tell the story.

Heritage Expeditions will be monitoring trends in sea and ice conditions in the region before announcing our next Northern Sea Route Expeditions. Meanwhile, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’s 164-berth Bremen will be making the next eastbound passage from Tromnso to Nome between August 11 and September 7, 2018.

If you would like more information please contact The Cruise People Ltd in London on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or email PassageEnquiry@aol.com.

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The Northwest Passage: Yet Another Cruise Ship For 2017

The Cruise Examiner for 2nd May 2016

Seven Seas Navigator

The Seven Seas Navigator is a cruise ship that was built on an ice-strengthened hull

The fabled Northwest Passage took three years to cross when Raould Amundsen first traversed it from east to west in his Gjoa in 1903-06 and Henry Larsen of the RCMP made it the other way in the St Roch in 1940-42. A century later, however, large passenger ships such as the 43,524-ton residence ship The World and the 68,870-ton cruise ship Crystal Serenity are threatening to turn it into a tourist playground. Last week came news that yet another cruise ship, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 28,550-ton Seven Seas Navigator, would join the Crystal Serenity in making the passage in 2017. While Crystal sail from Seward to New York, Regent will be sailing from Seward to Montreal.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                           (See previous columns)

Thirty Years Of Northwest Passage Cruises – TUI Cruises Places Options For Two More Ships – New Ship Names For Royal Caribbean

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 22nd September 2014... ..

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Lindblad Explorer

Lindblad Explorer transited the Northwest Passage in 1984

northwest_passageThis month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the first full transit of Canada’s Northwest Passage by a commercial passenger vessel, with the Lindblad Explorer arriving in Yokohama on September 29, 1984. The 43-day voyage had departed St John’s, Newfoundland, on August 20. But things are now accelerating in the Northwest Passage. Last year saw the first commercial cargo, 73,000 tons of coal, move from Vancouver to Finland in the Nordic Orion, and this year the first westbound cargo, 25,000 tons of nickel concentrate, moving from Quebec to China in Fednav’s Nunavik. In 2015, Abercrombie & Kent will become the seventh company operating expedition ships through the Northwest Passage by chartering Ponant’s Le Boréal, and in 2016 Crystal Cruises plans to carry 900 passengers from Seward, Alaska, through the Northwest Passage to New York in the 68,870-ton Crystal Serenity.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                                 (See previous columns)

Crystal “Discovers” The Northwest Passage – More Breakaway Plus Orders – Shipping Activity By Royal Caribbean Shareholders

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 21st July 2014..

 

Crystal Serenity in the iceLast week Crystal Cruises surprised the market with the news that it would send its 68,870-ton Crystal Serenity through the Northwest Passage in 2016. Last year the Danish cargo ship Nordic Orion ran from Vancouver across the Canadian Arctic with a cargo of coal for Pori, Finland, and this and other recent activity seem to have emboldened Crystal to try it for themselves. This is despite the fact that there have been times in the past when Ice Class ships have had to abandon their efforts and return from whence they came. Elsewhere, Norwegian Cruise Line has ordered two more Breakaway Plus class ships while there has been some more activity around Royal Caribbean’s shipping shareholders.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                         (See previous columns)

Three Ships To Tackle Canada’s Full Northwest Passage in 2013

The first commercial passenger ship to transit Canada’s famed Northwest Passage was Lindblad Expeditions’  2,398-ton 104-berth Lindblad Explorer, which made the passage in 1984. Arctic conditions can vary from year to year but the only problem she encountered was off the coast of northern Alaska, where fog and ice forced her to backtrack for ten hours, then sail closer inshore to escape the permanent polar ice shelf.

Since then, a small number of expedition cruise ships have made the full transit, and from time to time, one of them has had to turn back because of ice conditions. In recent years, other ships have introduced partial transits of the easternmost end of the passage that make only part of the full passage and then return east.

In the summer of 2010, both of Hapag-Lloyd’s expedition ships, the Bremen and Hanseatic, transitted the full Northwest Passage, with one ship traveling in each direction. While the Bremen traveled from Nome, Alaska, to Reykjavik, Iceland, the Hanseatic sailed in the opposite direction, from Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, to Nome. During their cruises, the two made a rendezvous in the High Arctic near Cambridge Bay.

The route Hapag-Lloyd’s MS Hanseatic will take in 2012

In 2011, the Bremen made the passage from Kangerlussuaq to Nome while the Hanseatic made only a partial transit of the Northwest Passage on a cruise that began in Kangerlussuaq and ended in Reykjavik and followed the traces of Franklin and Amundsen. In 2012, the Hanseatic will make a full 25-day transit leaving Nome August 14 for Reykjavik.

In 2013, however, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises plan a two-ship transit again, with one ship sailing in each direction. But now comes word from Compagnie du Ponant that it too plans to send a ship across the Northwest Passage in 2013 after it takes delivery of its third Le Boréal class ship from Fincantieri.

Based on initial plans, the 10,900-ton Ice-classed ship, provisionally named Le Soléal, is due to make her 10-night maiden voyage from Venice to Lisbon on July 2. From Lisbon, details that have yet to be confirmed call for an 11-night cruise to Reykjavik, a 7-night round-Iceland cruise, and a 13-night cruise from Reykjavik to Kangerlussuaq, another 13-night cruise round trip from Kangerlussuaq and then an attempt at the Northwest Passage.

Le Soléal‘s Northwest Passage voyage is due to set off from Kangerlussuaq on August 25 for a 21-night transit, to arrive at Anadyr in Russia’s Far East on September 15. If all goes according to plan, the Northwest Passage transit would be followed by cruises in the Russian Far East, two cruises via Japan to Hong Kong and three 10-night cruises between Hong Kong and Singapore.

For further details on itineraries and how to book please contact The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.