Poseidon Expeditions Announces a First in Expedition Cruising to Franz Josef Land
Poseidon Expeditions announced that its expedition ship Sea Spirit today received the first-ever permit to cruise into the territorial waters of Franz Josef Land without initially calling at a mainland Russian port.
The unprecedented voyage began July 3 in Longyearbyen, Svalbard and headed into the Russian High Arctic a few days later, safely navigating its way northeast through seasonal sea ice. The authorization was granted today, July 8, marking the first occasion in history that a non-Russian, foreign-flag vessel entered Franz Josef Land territorial waters without first stopping in a large port such as Murmansk or Arkhangelsk.
The current voyage, with 106 passengers and invited guests aboard, is scheduled to make stops on Alexandra Land, Northbrook Island, Hooker Island, Rudolf Island, Champ Island and other historic or wildlife-significant areas of the uninhabited polar archipelago, sea ice permitting.
The region consists of nearly 200 islands, with much of the terrain covered with glaciers. The archipelago served as a jumping-off point for notable attempts to reach the North Pole during the Heroic Era of polar exploration in the decades of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Nikolay Saveliev, president of Poseidon Expeditions, was both pleased and excited to personally be aboard for the occasion. “A lot of behind-the-scenes effort by many employees and shipboard staff went into this achievement. Speaking as both a company official and as a passenger, I truly appreciate the hard work that everyone put forward to make this happen, all designed to give our guests a truly unique polar expeditionary experience that was previously unattainable. We also commend the Russian authorities for their cooperation in making the incredible polar landscape of Franz Josef Land more readily accessible to visitors.”
Sea Spirit was built in 1991 as the Renaissance V, then sailed for a decade in Alaska and worldwide as the popular Spirit of Oceanus. She underwent technical improvements for polar cruising in 2010, and has been providing expedition cruises in both the Arctic and Antarctic environments under her current name the past five years.
Sea Spirit offers all-suite accommodations, a restaurant that can accommodate all passengers in one seating, library, the comfortable multi-purpose presentation Oceanus Lounge for educational programming and entertainment, and outdoor deck space to enjoy the passing scenery. Activities are directed by a team of experienced polar guides and educators, and include Zodiac excursions, hiking ashore and optional kayaking on some itineraries, along with informative presentations aboard.
The ship’s staff-to-passenger ratio of 1:10 is one of the best in the business.
Poseidon Expeditions takes safe and environmentally responsible polar travel seriously, and is a member of the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) and the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). It also actively supports the efforts of Polar Bears International and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
With offices in the US, UK, Germany, Russia, China and Japan, Poseidon Expeditions is a leading provider of polar expeditions in the cruise industry. In addition to offering polar cruises aboard the Sea Spirit, the company provides guests with the unique opportunity to travel to the North Pole aboard the 50 Years of Victory, the largest and most modern nuclear-powered icebreaker in the world. Poseidon begins it summer 2015 program of North Pole expedition voyages this week in Murmansk, Russia.