Franz Josef Land - Sailing North of 80° to the Russian Arctic

Remote Franz Josef Land has always been a magnet for hardy adventurers. Now you too can set foot where great explorers like Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen once overwintered. Watch for polar bears wandering in their natural habitat and almost feel the pull of the magnetic North Pole just a few hundred miles away.

  • Explore wild and rarely-visited Franz Josef Land, the world´s northernmost archipelago, in the footsteps of great explorers
  • Watch for walrus and polar bears as we sail north of the 80th parallel
  • Experience the exotic Arctic Russian city of Murmansk
  • Take the opportunity to visit North Cape
Early Booking Savings

Save up to 25% on this itinerary! 

Book this offer online or by contacting one of our Personal Expedition Advisors at 8665520371. You may also Request a Quote by clicking the link below.  

Please note, all prices displayed are inclusive of 25% savings. See offer details.


Cruise Itinerary

Hurtigruten offers unique expedition cruises to some of the purest and most remote waters of the world. As with all expeditions, nature prevails. Safety is always our top priority. We continuously evaluate our cruises to adapt to unexpected weather, ice and sea conditions, and exciting nature opportunities. That’s why we call it an expedition.

Departure September 12 & September 26, 2020

Departs from Tromsø, Norway

Tromsø and Beyond

We begin our adventure in Tromsø, the starting point for many polar expeditions and trapping adventures. After the first night onboard MS Spitsbergen, we visit Sørøya, a beautiful island close to Hammerfest.

Into Russia

We call on the exotic Russian city of Murmansk, a strategically important port and the world’s largest metropolis north of the Arctic Circle. 

Remote Franz Josef Land

We will spend five days exploring the world´s northernmost archipelago. This is expedition sailing at its most authentic, as we discover rare beauty in the footsteps of great polar explorers like Fridtjof Nansen. Our route and landing sites are highly dependent on the elements, and our experienced captain will take advantage of present conditions to explore.  

We sail well above the 80th parallel, to within 600 nautical miles of the geographic North Pole. Explore rarely-visited historical sites, scout for seals, seabirds and the Arctic fox, and watch for walrus on lonely beaches. Polar bears in the area number some 3,000, so there’s an excellent chance we’ll see these magnificent predators. We then sail back to Murmansk. 

Return to Norway

The North Cape has been a prized destination for centuries. Join an excursion to the top, 1,000 ft above the Arctic Ocean. 

Day 1: Tromsø

Takeoff Point for Explorers


Our cruise begins in Tromsø. Spend some time exploring this Arctic city before embarking on MS Spitsbergen. Ride the Fjellheisen cable car to enjoy breathtaking views of the city and fjords. For inspiration, visit the Polar Museum to learn more about early Arctic exploration history.

Day 2: Sørøya

Hike Near the Top of the World

Half Day

Sørøya ‒ the fourth-largest island in Norway ‒ has abundant wilderness and few inhabitants. We will step ashore to visit one of the roadless fishing settlements or, if weather permits, go hiking in the relatively easy terrain for some fantastic vistas. 

Day 3: Murmansk

Into Russia

Half Day

Welcome to Russia! Murmansk is a young city, founded in 1916, and the largest metropolis north of the Arctic Circle.  The origins of Murmansk grew from the need for a northern, ice-free sea port, and the maritime industry still dominates today.  We will make a short stop here before heading farther north.

Day 4-5: At sea
Ice floes viewed from deck
Ice floes viewed from deck Photo: Andrea Klaussner Photo

Heading North!

Our expedition team will prepare you for our landings ahead with a series of lectures and a chance to learn about the history and wildlife of Franz Josef Land. Watch for the first ice floes as we sail steadily north. Take the chance to enjoy the ship and relax in the Panorama Lounge.

Day 6-10: Franz Josef Land

Amazing Islands with Fascinating History

Fridtjof Nansen first arrived in Franz Josef Land to winter over in September 1895. Cape Flora has some of the most beautiful tundra in Franz Josef Land and thousands of sea birds nest on its cliffs. This is an area with many Brünnichs guillemots and Black-legged kittiwakes.

At Bell Island, we find the remains of the oldest building on Franz Josef Land, left by a British expedition in 1880. At Tikhaya Buchta, a team of meteorologists from the Russian Sedov station had to survive by themselves from the beginning of the Second World War until 1945.

It is likely that the Pomors or Norwegian seal hunters knew of Franz Josef Land, but the first recorded landing on one of the archipelago´s 192 islands was made in 1873, from the sailing vessel Admiral Tegetthoff.  They found wide beaches, steep cliffs with nesting sea birds, Arctic foxes, polar bears and walrus.  We hope to find much of the same.  The exact sequence and selection of our landings will be decided by the captain and based on the ice and weather conditions at the time.

Day 11-12: At sea
John Chardine of Hurtigruten´s Expedition Team
John Chardine of Hurtigruten´s Expedition Team Photo: Andrea Klaussner Photo

The Barents Sea

Willem Barents was a 16th century explorer searching for the Northeast Passage. For the next two days, we cross the sea named after him. While sailing, you can relax and enjoy the whirlpools on deck, join one of the talks by the expedition team, or get to know your fellow explorers.

Day 13: Murmansk

History Day

Full Day

We return to Murmansk to explore the city. Overlooking the port is a huge memorial to Russian soldiers. Beyond is the Church of the Savior on Waters – part of a memorial complex dedicated to the memory of Murmansk's seamen. Nearby is part of the ill-fated submarine, Kursk.

Day 14: Skarsvåg

The Northernmost Point in Europe

Half Day

Skarsvåg claims to be the world's northernmost fishing village. Join an optional excursion to the North Cape and feel what it’s like to stand at the end of the Earth. Atop the plateau, learn more about the North Cape and see a panoramic film that takes you through the region’s four seasons.

Day 15: Tromsø

End of the Expedition

Docked - Disembarkation

Every great exploration cruise comes to an end. It may seem as if time flew by all too quickly. We have traveled where few others go, to the very top of the globe, just a few hundred miles from the geographic North Pole. 

Arrival September 26 & October 10, 2020

Location Tromsø, Norway
What's Included


  • Hurtigruten expedition cruise in the cabin grade of your choice


  • rich program of included activities on all voyages designed to immerse you in the destinations you visit, including onshore exploration with the expedition team  
  • Professional English-speaking expedition team - an international handpicked team of highly educated experts in various academic fields with profound knowledge of the region we sail in  
  • Complimentary wind- and water-resistant jacket   
  • Loan of boots, trekking poles, and equipment needed for optional and included activities  


  • In-depth lectures on science, history, biology, geography, geology or culture that provide context to your voyage and help you understand the destinations you will experience  
  • Explorer Science program, with educational and Citizen Science activities that let you learn about the sights you’ll see while contributing to research
  • Introductory photo lecture, including camera adjustments and tips and tricks
  • Photos and film/video footage from the voyage shared in the Expedition Logbook
  • Casual opportunities to engage with the expedition team and other guests, including a welcome event, daily gatherings to recap the day and prepare for the day to come
  • Opportunities to dine and interact with the expedition team and officers  
  • Destination-focused onboard library  
  • Port presentations providing destination insight
  • farewell event  


  • All meals including beverages (beer and wine, sodas and mineral water in all ship restaurants) 
  • Coffee and tea included throughout the day
  • Early riser and afternoon treat offered in addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner 
  • Gym, outdoor hot tubs and sauna with windows
  • Free Wi-fi onboard for all guests. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
  • No gratuities expected   


  • International flights 
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners  
  • Optional small-group adventures with our expedition team such as kayaking (availability contingent on weather conditions and safety)  
  • Travel protection plan 
  •  Luggage handling 


Life On Board

Your ship: MS Spitsbergen

Reconstructed in 2016, MS Spitsbergen features comfortable, modern public areas and cabins. The ship's smaller size make her ideal for exploring polar waters.

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