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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S.S. Maria Theresa Introduced By Uniworld – The Return Of The Kapitan Khlebnikov & A Complete Arctic Circumnavigation In 2016

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 6th April 2015

S.S. Maria TheresaLast week saw the opulent new 443-foot 150-berth river cruiser S.S. Maria Theresa (see portrait of her namesake in the main stairwell above), sailing on her maiden voyage through the waterways and canals of the Benelux to Antwerp before entering service between Amsterdam and Budapest for the summer. We have a look at some aspects of this vessel and her owners, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises of Los Angeles. Meanwhile, in another part of the world, Quark Expeditions has announced that the 102-berth expedition icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov will be returning to revenue passenger service in 2016, with a 75-day complete circumnavigation of the Arctic Ocean that can also be booked as four separate itineraries.

FOR THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                                                                            (See previous columns)

How Costa Loss Led to a Global CLIA – Ponant to Transit Northwest Passage – Norwegian Breakaway’s Waterfront – Viking Ocean Cruises – Mega-Ships In Australia – And Other Stories From 2012

          THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com

          by Kevin Griffin

     The Cruise Examiner for 31st December 2012

Voyager of the Seas at Circular Quay

Royal Caribbean International’s 3,114-berth Voyager of the Seas at Sydney’s Circular Quay.

The usual year-end cruise summary lists the newest ships and their latest features. But we bring you a slightly quirkier recap for the year 2012. Two of the most interesting results this year stem from the loss of the Costa Concordia in January. That tragedy has been well covered elsewhere, but the two results are: a German chief executive now heads up Costa Crociere, and CLIA has gone global. Other news for 2012 sees a new contender for the Northwest Passage, new concepts from Norwegian Cruise Line with the Waterfront on its latest ships and the end of Classic International Cruises. Holland America Line has abandoned Bermuda in favour of Canada, Seabourn goes to Antarctica and the mega-ships have arrived in Australia, while the Chinese cruise market conrinues to grow. We have also seen the beginning of a move back towards human scale cruise ships with Viking Ocean Cruises’ plans for up to six 48,000-ton cruise ships that will accommodate fewer than 1,000 passengers. Finally, in a surprise annoucement, STX France has nabbed the order for a third Oasis class ship for Royal Caribbean, with an option for a fourth. Happy New Year to All!

THIS WEEK’S STORY                                                       (See previous columns)