Feel like a pioneering adventurer and embark on a journey along the River Lena, one of the longest rivers in the world.
Aboard the M/S Mikhail Svetlov from Yakutsk discover remarkable rock formations and uninhabited areas and take in the changing landscape of Siberia before reaching the Arctic Circle, where small settlements are home to reindeer breeders and the summer sun never sets.
Arrive in Yakutsk and transfer to the river port and board the M/S Mikhail Svetlov. We recommend asking the crew to arrange a taxi into Yakutsk, the capital of the Russian Republic of Yakutia (Sakha). A city of approximately 300,000 people, Yakutsk is a major seaport on the Lena River. The population of Yakutsk is 30 percent native Yakut, however, the ratio of native to non-native or "white" Russian, increases as one travels away from the city and encounters a nomadic culture oriented to reindeer herding on the vast tundra. First established in 1632 by Cossack explorers, in 1932 this city became a place of exile for three generations of Russian revolutionaries and intellectuals, including Decembrists and Bolsheviks. Because of its remote location and extremely hard climatic conditions, it was known as the "prison without bars." Visit the impressive collection of historical artefacts at the Museum of Local Lore, including one of the world’s only complete woolly mammoth skeletons. (L,D)
The geological formations known as the Lena Pillars have fascinated travellers to Yakutia since the 17th century. About 140 km upriver from Yakutsk, the rock of the cliffs alongside the river has been eroded away into delicate shapes of reddish-brown colours. The sheer columns are made of Kimberly limestone, with the surrounding softer rock being eroded over the millennium. Today the stone rocks resemble towering creatures, pillars and columns, reaching over 150 metres high. The Lena Pillars extend along the river for about 80km. For those interested, instructions for ascending the Lena Pillars will occur prior to arrival at the National Natural Park. Following a salutatory ceremony, climbing to the apex will commence (for the climb, athletic clothing and sturdy foot-wear are a necessity). A Captain's cocktail will follow, along with entertainment in the music salon. (B,L,D)
Cruise to Zhigansk, the first settlement beyond the Polar Circle, established as a fort in 1632 the same time as Yakutsk. The name of “Zhigansk” comes from the Tungus language and means “an inhabitant of lower lands” and the population of 3,000 is mainly concerned with hunting, fishing and cattle breeding. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of the town, where it is possible to buy fur boots made from reindeer. (B,L,D)
Visit Kyusyur, a small settlement in the north of the Arctic Circle. With a population of less than 1,500 the men here are engaged in reindeer husbandry and hunting and the women make beautiful traditional clothes decorated with fur and beads. (B,L,D)
The ship arrives at the town of Tiksi, the most northerly destination of the tour. Here, the sun appears day and night over the summer months until it disappears for a long winter. The name of Tiksi is translated from the Yakut language as a “place of meeting, mooring place” and Tiksi appeared on the map in the middle of 1930s. Navigable time period here is extremely short only 2.5 months. During 9-10 months the Laptev sea is frozen and ice can reach up to 2 metres or more. Embark on a tour of this Soviet town surrounded by Arctic tundra, and visit the Regional Museum. (B,L,D)
Today reach the small village of Stepanovka with around 300 inhabitants, located on picturesque high bank of the Lena River not far from the mouth of the Siktyakh River. The village was established by Catherine II messengers come there for collection of Yasak (fur tribute exacted from the indigenous peoples of Siberia by Russian authorities). Wooden Orthodox church of that period is preserved in the village. Spend the afternoon with the fishing families living on the Siktyakh River - visit a fisherman's house and learn about how he lives here in remote Siberian and taste delicious fish soup. (B,L,D)
Spend the day cruising in the Polar Circle. During the winter solstice (December 21-22) northward of the Polar Circle the sun does not rise at all and during the summer solstice (June 21-22) the sun does not set. During the trip the ship will cross the Polar Circle in the Zhigansky district. (B,L,D)
In the afternoon the ship reaches the village of Sottintsy. Here enjoy an excursion to the architecturally unique open-air museum “Druzhba” (“Friendship”). It is located at the original “Lensk stockaded town” founded by Russian Cossacks. The Museum is an excellent example of ancient wooden architecture in traditional Russian and Yakutian styles collected from various locations in the area. Here, see wooden home utensils, national Yakutian clothes and monuments to Russian Orthodoxy. Stunning landscapes and unique historical findings make the museum visit both informative and interesting. (B,L,D)
Single cabins are available - please contact us for prices. We can also book triple and quadruple cabins on this Russian cruise - please contact us for reduced prices.
The M/S Mikhail Svetlov is a three deck passenger motor ship which was built in Austria. It has modern navigation equipment, good maneuverability and is designed to explore interior waterways. The boat is fitted with modern furniture and equipment. Each room has a radio, shower and toilet. There is a restaurant with 82 seats, a bar with 50 seats and a conference hall. The length of the ship is 90 m, a width 15 m, draft 1.6 m. Cruising speed is 21.5 km/h.
I am home safe and sound after a wonderful cruise. It was magnificent visiting an area that I knew little about. I learnt so much about the area of the Sakha republic and the people and their life, customs and beliefs. The voyage is highly recommended and I loved and enjoyed every moment. Thank you so much for your due care and for efficiently taking care of my arrangements. I am extremely satisfied.