New Zealand-based expedition cruise line Heritage Expeditions announced it will be operating former research vessel and world-renowned Russian icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov when company's Russian Far East Wrangel Island cruises start in 2019, with 2020 season about to go on sale.
The authentic polar-class icebreaker holds passenger ship record for the most Northwest Passage crossings and has twice circumnavigated Antarctica.
The ship (built in 1981 by Wartsila Finland) is one of the four Sorokin-class Russian icebreakers, with sisterships Akademik Ioffe, Akademik Sergey Vavilov and Kapitan Dranitsyn. The ice-reinforced vessel is powered by 24,000 horsepower diesel-electric engines making it able to break packed ice up to 2 m thick.
The recently refurbished Kapitan Khlebnikov accommodates up to 110 passengers in well-appointed and spacious staterooms and suites featuring large windows and en suite facilities. Common areas include two dining rooms, large open decks, digitally equipped theatre-style lecture room, sauna, gymnasium, heated indoor pool, fully-stocked library, lounge, bar and 4-person elevator.