Svalbard: Soviet Frontier Arctic Cruise

  • Start Date: October 11, 2020
  • End Date: October 16, 2020
  • Price: €1995
  • Duration: 5 nights, 6 days
  • Description
  • Itinerary

Join YPT on a bespoke tour in the northern reaches of the world on a cruise around Svalbard visiting Russian settlements and abandoned coal mining outposts turned ghost towns!

It’s not that usual we are this excited about something more than 18 months from now, but this tour has got our tastebuds tingling. Not only will we be on an arctic cruise on the very cool s/v Noorderlicht in one of the most inspiring natural environments of the planet, but we’ll be ticking off most YPT boxes on this trip.

We kick off in the main town of Longyearbyen where we’ll get a feel for the kind of people who live amongst reindeer and polar bears, before heading on a cruise and stopping at Barentsburg, an old Russian mining settlement still populated by about 500 people. Here even though we’re still officially in Norway we’ll see the northernmost statue of Lenin in the world and grab a drink at the northernmost brewery! We then head to an arctic ghost town – the abandoned settlement of Pyramiden, built by the USSR, which is still completely intact with Soviet style architecture and a monument to Lenin!

There are only 18 places on the ship and we expect this to sell out quickly, return Pioneer discounts apply as per usual so get in touch to book your place.

Sunday 11th October – Arrival

  • Arrival into Longyearbyen which has flights from Oslo or Tromso
  • Longyearbyen is the main town in Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago, and the northernmost settlement in the world.
  • Meet at 6pm at our hotel for dinner and pre-tour meeting where you can get to know your fellow travelers and YPT guide
  • Relax at Barentz Pub, the world’s northernmost bar. Fortunately being tax-free, a pint in Svalbard is way cheaper than the Norwegian mainland!
  • Overnight in Longyearbyen Coal Miners’ Cabins

Monday 12th October – Longyearbyen and the Beginning of the Voyage

  • After breakfast head out to explore Svalbard, we may bump into reindeer but it’s not advisable to leave the town centre without a rifle because of polar bears!
  • Head first to the Svalbard Museum which delves deep into the human history and rich natural history of the archipelago
  • Lunch in Longyearbyen
  • Visit the northernmost church in the world, Svalbard Church
  • In the late afternoon we make sure we have all our provisions for the voyage
  • Early evening departure on the s/v Noorderlicht from Isfjorden
  • Look out for whales or just take in the scenery as dusk approaches
  • Dinner and overnight on the ship

Tuesday 13th October – Barentsburg

  • Breakfast on the ship
  • We’ll be scanning the waters for whales and other creatures but also taking in the atmosphere in this remote part of the world
  • Lunch on the ship
  • If there’s time then we’ll visit Colesbukta, a former Russian coal mining settlement long since abandoned
  • TRIP HIGHLIGHT – we arrive in Barentsburg, the only Russian settlement in Spitsbergen still inhabited with a population of about 500 people, almost all of Russian or Ukrainian descent
  • Explore this old mining town and meet its very friendly Russian locals, we’ll even head to the Russian consulate – the northernmost diplomatic mission of any kind in the world
  • Visit the Barentsburg Pomor Museum, a Soviet era museum from the 1960s. The museum mainly deals with the Pomors – Russian settlers from the Novgorod region – but has great sections on the Second World War and Soviet Era as well as local history. Barentsuburg is named after the Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz, who discovered Svalbarg in 1596, though the Russians claim it was Pomors who got there first.
  • Get your kit off and swim in the heated seawater swimming pool
  • Spot the Communist Star and Slogan “Peace to the World” on the hillside above Barentsburg
  • This may be officially Norway still, but we’re still YPT and so we pay our respects to the statue of Lenin! Never will you see a statue of Lenin looking out over a fjord with the colourful Scandinavian style houses in the background.
  • Grab a couple of drinks at the northernmost brewery in the world, the Red Bear
  • Back aboard our ship for dinner and overnight

Wednesday 14th October – Nordenskiöld and Pyramiden

  • Breakfast on the ship
  • Visit the glacier of Nordenskiöld, you most probably have never seen as much Arctic ice in one place, and the way the world is going, you may never do so again
  • Lunch on the ship
  • TRIP HIGHLIGHT – In the afternoon we arrive in Pyramiden, a former coal mining Soviet settlement which is now completely deserted but hauntingly complete – this former Swedish settlement was sold to the USSR in 1927 and abandoned in 1998
  • We explore the abandoned settlement showing how the resident coal miners lived – it is predicted that because of the climate the buildings will remain largely as they are for another 500 years!
  • See the world’s northernmost monument to Lenin!
  • Check out the Pyramiden Monument, the old coal-fired power plant and Siberian style wooden barracks
  • Get back on board the ship for dinner and overnight

Thursday 15th October – Longyearbyen

  • Breakfast on the ship
  • Arrival back into Longyearbyen and transfer to our accommodation
  • After lunch we head out to the North Pole Expedition Museum
  • Visit the Svalbard Gallery and artists workshops
  • Dinner at Mary Anne’s Polarrigg where you can sample Arctic-Thai fusion including a whale stir-fry
  • Finish our tour with a Svalbard pub crawl, no wandering off into polar bear territory though!
  • Overnight in Longyearbyen

Friday 16th October – End of tour

  • End of tour with YPT able to arrange extra activities like hiking or snow mobile expeditions for those who want more of a taste of Svalbard or airport transfer and onward transport

Tour Highlights

  • Cruise around Svalbarg in the stunning Arctic environment on the s/v Noorderlicht
  • See the northernmost statue of Lenin and grab a pint at the northernmost brewery in the world in the Russian settlement of Barentsburg
  • Explore the ghost town of Soviet era coal mining settlement Pyramiden

Inclusions and Exclusions

Tour price inclusion:

  • Accommodation in twin share in Longyearbyen and on board our ship in twin cabins
  • All transport to complete the tour
  • Breakfast in Longyearbyen and all meals on the ship
  • Full ship crew and YPT guide

Tour price exclusion:

  • Transport to and from Longyearbyen
  • Visa fees if applicable (Svalbard is generally visa free though)
  • Lunches and dinners in Longyearbyen
  • All entrance fees
  • Single Supplement in Longyearbyen, not available on ship (€100)
  • Drinks and personal spending
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