After company's first-ever back-to-back Northern Sea Route transit in 2017, the small cruise line Heritage Expeditions announced it will be returning to the Northeast Passage in the Russian Arctic in summer 2020.
Just a handful of expedition ships have ever transited the Northern Sea Route since it's covered by ice for most of the year. Recent changes in summer sea ice conditions now mean that it is possible to navigate these waters for a brief time during August-September, allowing others to make history by visiting the wilderness region which has, until today, been the preserve of a few researchers and explorers.
Stops along the way include Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago, the last main group of islands on earth to be discovered as recently as 1914-1915.
A maximum of 48 passengers will sail on Akademik Shokalskiy, an ice-strengthened former Russian research ship, which was constructed in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research and was the vessel that completed the double transit of Heritage Expeditions in 2017.