Cruise shipping along the Northern Sea Route and to Antarctica will be available to passengers starting from 2021, Russian cruise company Vodohod announced. According to company's representative Igor Yasinsky, Vodohod has big plans for 2020 and currently develops an expedition itinerary along Yenisei River onboard the large riverboat MS Maxim Gorky (1974-built, passenger capacity 160).
Yasinsky added that voyages along Russia's Northern Sea Route and around Franz Josef Land would be served from 2021 during the summer months. After that, the Gorky ship would go to Antarctica, and from 2022 it would work there together with a couple of new expedition ships, being built at a Finnish shipyard, each able to accommodate 150 people.
Russia’s Franz Josef Land in the Arctic is expected to become a major tourist alternative to Spitsbergen (Svalbard Norway).
The Northern Sea Route is the shortest passage connecting Russia's European part with the Far East regions. The Arctic waterway passes through several seas of the Arctic Ocean, including Chukchi, Barents, East Siberian, Kara, Laptev, and partially (through Bering Sea) includes the Pacific Ocean.
According to Vodohod’s press service, the company was finalizing formalities for the rent of an icebreaking vessel and continued working on the cruise programs. The voyages range in length between 7-17 days. Vodohod also plans to use "light helicopters to make tours more exciting.”