The allure of the mysterious Northeast Passage has captivated adventurers for centuries. Its Russian-controlled waters are steeped in history and mystery, while abundant wildlife is found along its remote shores. Only a handful of passenger vessels have ever completed a transit of this waterway, but recent changes in the summer sea ice conditions mean that it is now possible for a brief time each summer.






Day Place Highlights
Day 0 Nome Choose to optionally begin your journey in Nome, Alaska and fly to Anadyr
Day 1 Anadyr Board the Spirit of Enderby at the Port of Anadyr
Day 2 Preobrazhnaya Bay Explore magnificent coastal cliffs home to an abundance of seabirds
Day 3 Whale Bone Alley & Gil’mimyl Hot Springs Visit the intriguing archaeological site Whale Bone Alley where the nearby waters are a reach feeding ground for whales. In the afternoon visit hot springs
Day 4 Cape Dezhnev & Uelen Village Visit Cape Dezhnev, the eastern extremity of the Eurasian continent. Enjoy a cultural performance in the village of Uelen
Day 5  Kolyuchin Island Visit Kolyuchin Island after the peak of breeding season when it is filled with large numbers of seabirds
Days 6-8 Wrangel Island Step foot in this Federal Nature Reserve and World Heritage Site of international significance. Full of wildlife and interesting tundra
Day 9 East Siberian Sea Keep a lookout for walrus and Bowhead Whales
Day 10 Ayon Island Enjoy the warm hospitality of the local people and history of this remote island
Day 11 Medvezhyi Islands Explore this archipelago
Day 12 East Siberian Sea  Sail this iconic stretch of sea
Days 13-14 Noviye Sebirskiye (New Siberian Islands) Explore through the Southern, Central and Northern main island groups
Days 15-16 Laptev Sea  Keep an eye out for Laptev Sea Walruses, found only here
Days 17-19 Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago  Explore this beautiful Archipelago, with the three largest ones heavily glaciated with deep fjords and majestic tidewater glaciers
Days 20-21 Kara Sea Considered the coldest sea in Russia, cruise here on the way to Russia
Days 22-24 Franz Josef Land This archipelago of 192 islands feature a combination of impressive marine life and land animals including the elusive Polar Bear
Days 25-26 Barents Sea Keep in search of Humpback whales and Harp Seals
Day 27 Murmansk  Disembark the Spirit of Enderby and farewell your new friends and expedition team
resized©Heritage Expeditions KOV_Brown bear with a feather_KAM_20130908

Ship Offering This Itinerary

Spirit of Enderby
Spirit of Enderby

The Spirit of Enderby is a fully ice-strengthened expedition vessel, built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research and is perfect for expedition travel. She carries just 50 passengers and was refurbished in March 2013 to provide comfortable accommodation in twin share cabins approximately half of which have private facilities. All cabins have outside windows or portholes and ample storage space. On board there is a combined bar/library lounge area and a dedicated lecture room. The cuisine is very good and is prepared by top NZ and Australian chefs.

The real focus and emphasis of every expedition is getting you into zodiacs, or ashore as often as possible for as long as possible with maximum safety and comfort. Our Expeditions are accompanied by some of the most experienced naturalists and guides, who have devoted a lifetime to field research in the areas that we visit. The ship is crewed by a very enthusiastic and experienced Russian Captain and crew.

Day 0 Nome


Choose to begin your journey from Nome, Alaska and your adventure will begin with a flight across the Bering Sea to Anadyr, the capital of Chukotka.

Day 1 Anadyr

Spirit of Enderby

Join the Spirit of Enderby this afternoon. There are excellent chances to spot Beluga Whales as we sail out of the Anadyr Estuary.

Day 2 Preobrazhnaya Bay


Crossing the Gulf of Anadyr there will be opportunities for wildlife watching. This afternoon plan to explore the magnificent coastal cliffs of Preobrazhnaya Bay by Zodiac, home to an abundance of seabirds including Brunnich’s Guillemot, Crested and Parakeet Auklets, plus Tufted and Horned Puffins.

Day 3 Whale Bone Alley & Gil’mimyl Hot Springs

Heritage Expeditions-Whale Bone Alley

Whale Bone Alley on Yttygran Island is one of the most significant and intriguing archaeological sites in the Arctic. The waters nearby remain rich feeding grounds for whales, weather permitting hop into the Zodiacs in search of Gray Whales and walrus. This afternoon plan a landing at the Gil’mimyl Hot Springs, Sandhill Cranes usually breed in the area.

Day 4 Cape Dezhnev & Uelen Village

Early this morning arrive at Cape Dezhnev, the eastern extremity of the Eurasian continent. The Bering Strait is a vitally important migratory pathway. You may spot flocks of King, Common and Spectacled Eiders passing south. In the afternoon enjoy the hospitality of the local people in the village of Uelen who are predominantly Chukchi. Your visit will include a cultural performance and visit to the famous bone-carving studio and museum.

Day 5 Kolyuchin Island

Today plan to land on Kolyuchin Island, although you will be visiting after the peak of the breeding season, there should still be large numbers of Tufted and Horned Puffins, Brunnich’s and Common Guillemots and Black-legged Kittiwakes. There may also be an opportunity to Zodiac cruise around the base of the cliffs where there are excellent photographic opportunities. Humpback and Bowhead Whales have been seen in this area previously.

Days 6-8 Wrangel Island

HERITAGE EXPEDITIONS©EBell_Wrangel Island Overland -18

Wrangel Island is a Federal Nature Reserve and World Heritage Site of international significance. It is a major Polar Bear denning area and one of the few areas of the Arctic to not be glaciated during recent glacial episodes. It is sometimes referred to as a Polar Bear maternity ward on account of the large numbers of cubs born here. There are numerous other Arctic species which you will be looking for including Musk Ox, Arctic Fox, Snow Geese and the Snowy Owls which breed here annually. The diversity of tundra flora is exceptional and during walks ashore you should see the last flowers of summer.

Day 9 East Siberian Sea


This sea is defined by the Novosibirskie Islands in the west and Wrangel Island to the east, along its southern shores are three of Siberia’s major rivers, the Indigirka, Alazaya and the Kolyma. Lookout for walrus and Bowhead Whales.

Day 10 Ayon Island

Heritage Expeditions Resized©MKelly Across the Top of the World (7)

The Chukchi people that call this island home are reindeer herders and hunters. Enjoy the warm hospitality of the local people as we learn about life on this remote island.

Day 11 Medvezhyi Islands

Resized Heritage Expeidtions©ATerauds_Polar Bear RFE

Explore the little known and seldom visited Medvezhyi Islands (Bear Islands), an archipelago of five granitic islands. The islands have a sizeable population of Polar Bears which den on these shores over winter. A landing on the island of Chetyrekhstolbovoy offers the opportunity to hike to the unusual rock ‘pillows’ which the island is named after. On Pushkareva Island investigate the old lighthouse or enjoy the Arctic flowers that cover the expansive tundra.

Day 12 East Siberian Sea

Whale Spitsbergen

It was in this sea that the Jeanette, captained by George Washington De Long, became stuck fast and was crushed by ice in 1879. Wreckage from the Jeanette found in Greenland in 1884 gave Nansen the idea for the now famous 1893-96 Fram Expedition drifting across the Arctic Ocean.

Days 13-14 Noviye Sebirskiye (New Siberian Islands)


These islands, which consist of three major groups – Southern, Central (Anzhu) and Northern (De Long), mark the border between the Laptev and East Siberian Seas. Two days have been allocated for exploring this remarkable yet seldom visited archipelago, conditions permitting we hope to have the opportunity to visit each group.

Days 15-16 Laptev Sea

Heritage Expedition - Auklets

This sea is bounded by the Taymyr Peninsula, the Severnaya Islands in the west and the Novosibirskie Islands in the east. Explore the Taymyr Peninsula, Laptev Sea Walrus are only found in this area and be on the lookout for haulouts to photograph. You may also spot the lesser known Taymyr form of Herring Gull.

Days 17-19 Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago

Heritage Expeditions© 1233 KOvsyanikova-Wrangel Island Overland Traverse

The Severnaya Zemlya Islands are on the border of the Kara and Laptev Seas and are an extension of the Taymyr Peninsula. These islands were not discovered until 1914-15, with the three largest heavily glaciated with deep fiords and majestic tidewater glaciers regularly calving icebergs. The aim is to visit a colony of Ivory Gulls.

Days 20-21 Kara Sea

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Lying between Novaya Zemlaya, Franz Josef Land and the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago the Kara Sea is generally considered to be the coldest sea in Russia. Ostrov Vize is along your route to Franz Josef Land, look to make a landing on the island, conditions permitting.

Days 22-24 Franz Josef Land

This huge archipelago of 192 islands located only 10 degrees from the North Pole offers numerous locations to explore. Close to the permanent ice of the Arctic Ocean and accessible to the rich waters of the Atlantic, gifts these waters with diverse and abundant marine life. The islands have a fascinating and rich record of exploration, scientific research and habitation. Landings planned including Cape Triest on Alger Island where the famous ‘Devil’s Marbles’ (spherical geodes) dot the landscape, Cape Flora on Northbrook Island where the remains of three historic expeditions are found in close proximity and Tikhaya Bay on Hooker Island where the numbers of guillemots and kittiwakes on the columnar cliffs of Rubini Rock are unforgettable. Also plan to visit Cape Tegetthoff where a healthy population of Polar Bears lives. There are good chances to spot Beluga and Bowhead Whales and if we are fortunate we may find Narwhal.

Days 25-26 Barents Sea

The Barents Sea was named in honour of Dutch seafarer and navigator, Willem Barents, who explored this region on expeditions in 1594 and 1596. As you move southwards opportunities for spotting Humpback Whales and Harp Seals that feed in these waters increase.

Day 27 Murmansk

Murmansk, Russia

Murmansk is home to the Russia’s icebreaker fleet and featured as a strategically important port throughout the history of Russia. Disembark the ship in Murmansk where transfers to the airport or central hotels are provided.

To book this cruise contact us on 1300 784 794 or email:

We will look after all aspects your journey to the Top of the World.