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Lena River - the Queen of Siberia
ROUTE: YAKUTSK - TIKSI - YAKUTSK
This is a truly a one of a kind trip. Everything, from the grandiose natural wonders of the Lena Basin, untouched lifestyle of natives along the River, and unique food...to the opportunity to experience the Arctic first hand. During the cruise, you will be invited to take history, language, and handicraft lessons, visit the sights of the former Siberian GULAG, hike, trek, fish, swim, enjoy a bonfire, and taste the food of locals during land excursions. A series of lectures and seminars by experienced speakers will introduce you to the history of the scientific and pioneering achievements in the Yakutia-Sakha Republic. They will also share interesting facts about the natural resources, particularly the diamond deposits, as well as astonishing discoveries of Mammoth fossils, and the ecological situation of the Lena River. Daily concerts, games, cocktail parties, and reading sessions will keep your evenings busy.
DELUXE, SEMILUX, TWIN, & QUAD CABINS CAN BE BOOKED FOR SINGLE USE FOR ADDITIONAL FEES. PLEASE INQUIRE A QUOTE.
About the Ship
The Route (schematic map)
Travelers Photo Reports
These cruises are conducted by "Mikhail Svetlov" ship. The day-by-day Itinerary, educational program topics, entertainment events, and their sequence may differ from cruise to cruise. The cruise providers reserve the right to cancel the cruise if the number of passengers does not reach a minimal level. In the event of bad weather, thick fog, a storm, or any other unforeseen natural disaster, the ship crew reserves the right to change/modify the original Itinerary without notice. Travel/Evacuation Insurance is imperative.
Pre-departure. We recommend to arrive to Yakutsk city 1-2 days before the departure (Day 1). It will ease the "jet lag" and acclimatization transition, provide extra time to complete any last minute errands, check stores for local souvenirs or diamonds, tour the city and museums (Mammoth Museum, Museum of Ethnography and Archeology), and Permafrost Research Institute. Finding suitable accommodations in Yakutsk is no longer a challenge. The city offers decent variety of hotels, from 5 star deluxe to small motel types.
Day 1: Yakutsk city (first stop - Bon Voyage). You are already in Yakutsk city or arriving today. If you are arriving today, we will meet you at the airport and take you to the ship. The crew will be checking in passengers all day long, dealing with logistics, questions, transfers. Sightseeing and shopping tours are available on individual basis at extra cost (advance reservation is required). Closer to the evening, the crew will gather passengers for a safety briefing and ship introductions. At 7PM the ship departs the pier.
Day 2: Lena Pillars (Stolby) is a unique natural rock formation along the banks of the Lena River. The Pillars (Stolby) are 150-300m (490-985ft) high, formed in some of the Cambrian Period sea-basins, since 2012 part of the UN World Heritage List. Ship makes a stop here after breakfast, passengers are invited to the shore for a ceremonial traditional show, and a climb for a panoramic view (choice). Evening program today usually includes captains' reception and folk concert.
Day 3: Estuary of Buotama River in 2006 became a home (Ust-Buotama reserve) for wood bison from Canada with the goal to restore bison population in Siberia. There are also ideas to use same area for woolly mammoth resurrection. The estuary of Buotama River is a true natural resource. It is known for large meadows producing rich variety of grasses. Archeological evidence show that about 30-40 thousand years ago the place was inhabited by mammoth and bison hunters. Evening program usually includes variety of activities: Russian language lessons, handicraft workshop (embroidery, braiding, wood crafting), documentary movie, live music at the bar.
Day 4: Cruising Lena all day (Lowlands of Central Yakutia) gives tourists the scope of how big and mighty is Lena River. The width of the River here reaches 15 kilometers, depth 16-20 meters. The River Valley stretches to 40 kilometers. You sure will feel the endlessness of Siberia with uninhabited land stretched for hundreds of kilometers. The river winds a lot here, shores are filled with countless lakes, swamps, tributaries, islands. During the day we will pass Aldan River, the second largest tributary of Lena River. Day and evening time on the ship are filled with entertaining and educational programs.
Day 5: Zhigansk town (entering the Polar Circle) is our first settled place officially located within the Polar Circle boundaries. The town was founded in 1632. Most of its residents (3500) are hunters, fishermen and reindeer farmers. Shallow waters wont allow the ship to dock to the shore. Passengers will be taken to the town by a small ferry, return same way. During the tour, tourists will enjoy folk concert, meet local residents, try local food, buy souvenirs. Check with your guide schedule for evening program: cultural, educational and entertainment events.
Day 6: Kyusyur village (Polar Circle) has only 1500 residence, small, but with "big heart". After docking, tourists are invited for a walking tour around the Kyusyur village. You will enjoy the hospitality of local residents, most of which are native hunters, reindeer farmers, and skilful crafters. You will have a chance to buy original handmade crafts and souvenirs here (embroidery, braiding, clothes made of deer skin, wood and mammoth tusk crafting items). Evening program on the ship offers lectures, films, shows, music concerts.
Day 7: Tiksi Town (Polar Circle) is the most northern point of our travels. The town is located on the Arctic Ocean coast. The sun appears here only for 2-3 months in the summer, stays in the sky day and night before it disappears for a long winter again. Our ship will dock in Neelovo Bay of Laptev Sea. If weather allows, tourists will be invited for guided land excursion to see the town, local life, people. Because this is an official border of Russia, there is a passport and visa control. After the land excursion, back to the ship for a supper, entertaining program, and departure back to Yakutsk city (south).
Day 8: Cruising Lena's Delta all day (Polar Circle) is an amazing experience. Lena's Delta is one of the largest delta's in the world (32,000sq.km), and largest protected area in Russia. It protects large concentrations of birds, including swans, geese and ducks, loons, shorebirds, raptors and gulls. It is also an important fish spawning site. The delta is a massive complex of thousands of smaller rivers, channels, and smaller islands (close to 1,500). Before it "erupts" into the Arctic Ocean, it cuts through mountains of solid rock, forming a series of canyons with granite walls rising up to 400 meters. For cultural and entertaining programs please check with the guide.
Day 9: Siktyakh settlement (Polar Circle) is a tiny settlement with 300 residents. The settlement is located on high shore of the River, with great panoramic views. According to the story, the original settlement is almost 300 years old. It was founded by messengers sent by Catherine the Great to collect taxes in Siberia. After shore excursion and tour around the settlement, we will return to the ship to continue our journey. After supper, stop by the bar for an entertaining program and live music, enjoy a movie, or a late sunset on the Lena.
Day 10: Cruising Lena all day (leaving Polar Circle). Hopefully, it is a beautiful sunny day. Enjoy the sunrise, exercise, or take a walk on the upper deck. Today we will cross the
Arctic Circle Parallel one more time near Zhigansk town. Our cruise is almost over. Enjoy the cultural and entertaining program prepared for you by the ship crew. By now you probably already made few friends and established basic social routine. Enjoy your friends and mates.
Day 11: Cruising Lena all day (40 Islands). The Polar Circle is behind us and we are steaming to our final point. During the day, we will pass one of the widest portion of the Lena river at the confluences of Lena with its main tributaries, Vilyuy River and Aldan River rivers. One of the remarkable features of this area is a spot with 40 Islands or more. At times, it feels as if you are on the ocean. Have your camera ready for breathtaking panoramas and views. During the day you will be offered cultural and educational programs, entertaining program in the evening (check the schedule with guide).
Day 12: Green stop (Relax, Socialize, Bonfire). Today we will make a rest stop at a very nice, pristine corner of Lena River. Very simple schedule, walk, hike, relax on the shore, enjoy sunset, or try picking skills (mushrooms, berries) in the nearby forest. In the evening, the crew will make a symbolic bonfire to celebrate the ending of the cruise, to enjoy friends and mates, socialize, listen and sing on different languages.
Day 13: Sottintsy village (Museum sightseeing) is located 58 kilometers from Yakutsk city. It was founded by Russian Cossacks in 1632 and remains an active historical and cultural center. The ship will dock near the village. The guides will invite passengers for a land excursion around the village and to the local museum "Druzhba" with samples of early Russian and Yakut wooden architecture, history of settling the area, national clothes and costumes. After we return to the ship, take your time to finalize packing, billing, etc. Later in the evening, usually there is a goodbye supper and captain’s cocktail reception followed by an entertaining program at the bar.
Day 14: Yakutsk city (last stop --- end of the cruise). The ship arrives to Yakutsk at 05:00AM (local time). Early breakfast. Make sure everything is packed, documents especially. The cruise will provide transfers to the airport or hotel in Yakutsk. If you need help with accommodations in Yakutsk or at your next destination, or flight or train tickets arrangements, please contact Sokol Tours for assistance.
Included:Arrival and Departure Transfers in Yakutsk city;
Bedding (changed 4 times during the tour) per person;
Meals, 3 times per day (same for all classes) per menu;
Doctor on the ship (first medical aid office);
Group land excursions w/bilingual guide per program;
Entertaining program per program;
River Port taxes and fees;
Entry permit for Tiksi town visitors;
Library, Sauna & Exercise basic facility;
Fishing gear rental;
Not included:Transportation to/from Yakutsk City;
Russian Visa (Invitation and Embassy fees);
Accommodations in Yakutks (if outside of cruise dates);
Meals, Snacks, Drinks that are not included in the Menu;
Bilingual Guide (for additional excursions, custom plans);
Special tour-related note:Make sure to bring with you: first aid items, prescription medicine, insect repellent, flashlight, swim suit, sunglasses, a good windbreaker, a sweater or light jacket, umbrella, a cap/hat, warm boots, ear plugs, binoculars, a mug, mittens, and athick coat;
Bring snacks: energy bars, hot chocolate, dry fruit, coffee, candies, etc. Be prepared for smaller meal portions and limited quantity;
Carry a bilingual dictionary with you at all times (Russian+);
If personal hygiene is an issue, bring your own sleeping bags and disposable bath mats;
Custom: Trans-Siberia-BAM RR (6 stops)
Deluxe: Trans-Mongolian Express (14-16 days)
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