Northeast Passage and Russian Arctic Coast
Daring sea passage linking the North Pacific to Europe
Information about Northeast Passage
The Northeast Passage is the name given to the little-used maritime polar shipping route between the Bering Sea in the North Pacific and Northern Europe via the Russian Arctic coast.
First successfully navigated in 1878, the route is not frequently used by commercial vessels due to the sea ice that makes the route unusable for much of the year. It's precisely the difficulty of traversing the Northeast Passage that makes it such a wonderful destination for adventure cruises.
From the remote and still mainly unexplored polar desert of Severnaya Zemlya ("Northern Land") - an archipelago discovered in 1913 and only finally mapped in 1930 - to the remote tundra plains of Chukotka, and the largest city north of the Arctic Circle, Murmansk, the Northeast Passage offers an unlimited variety of landscape and wildlife.
The NE passage is a vast area to explore that can be divided into the different sea regions and island groups on route. Furthermore, the species encountered will vary along the route according to their distribution. If sea conditions allow, landings by Zodiac will bring you to encounters with polar bears and walruses, and from your ship, you will see bowhead whales, beluga, and narwhals, as well as large concentrations of many species of seabirds.
For the birdwatchers some of the potential highlights include the Ross's Gull and the Steller's Eider.
Interesting facts about Northeast Passage
Our expert guide says: 'The vast Russian Arctic is a fascinating place to explore, both for its wildlife and because of its human history. As well as superb animal encounters, such as the huge numbers of Walrus on Wrangel Island (and the largest concentrations of Polar Bears in the Arctic), there is the chance to meet groups like the Chukchi, a nomadic people that have now settled in Eastern Siberia, is a fantastic experience.'