Join along as we take you through a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the Yenisey Expedition by Vodohod Russian River Cruises. Truly a one-of-a-kind cruise in the majestic wilderness of Siberia’s Yenisey River. This is no ordinary cruise as you get the chance to dive into untouched lands and sail unshared waters. Set sail for an adventure along the largest river to flow into the Arctic Ocean. Venture into the very heart of Russia where you experience 3 different climate zones during the trip, the Polar Region, nature reserves protected by UNESCO, settlements of pioneers of the indigenous people of the far North, historical monuments, and abandoned construction sites of the Gulag. The list goes on. This expedition is unlike any other, there is so much to do and so much to learn!
This experience is something you can never envision to be so powerful and culturally revealing. Not only is this trip exclusive and luxurious, but also eye opening as you are given the opportunity to experience sparsely populated areas off the beaten path and wildlife you only read about. Best of all is the chance to be exposed to cultures that differ so much from our own.
So how are you able to experience such a foreign land in ultra comfort and luxury? The Maxim Gorky ship and top-notch service are a big factor. The Maxim Gorky is as comfortable as it is elegant. Comprising 4 decks and originally built in Austria in the 1970s, this vessel’s interior is completely rebuilt and influenced by the rugged Siberian landscape. It is a combination of luxury and comfort, large windows line the interior of all the walls in the ship where you get to gaze at the untouched wilderness. You can spend most of your mornings sitting with a house-made cup of Siberian herbal tea viewing the foreign land through your window. Each stateroom is river-facing, equipped with everything you need to make your own little home. The facilities are what made this trip even more enjoyable.
After a long day, you are able to stop by the wine library, enjoy a refreshing glass of wine then head to a restaurant where you’ll be offered authored cuisine by the head chef with a twist of local Siberian taste. Before sleep check the spa and sauna to wind down. To get your days started you can hit the gym which is situated on the sun deck and explore the ship, or start your day with a group classes workout. Even stop by the lecture room to listen to one of the fascinating stories on Siberian culture and history! Now as amazing as this 5-star ship is, the real beauty and amazement lie in the expedition itself. There are a couple of different choices in terms of the length of the trip you want to embark on but the best way to approach this expedition is with 12 day Yenisey Expedition Cruise. This journey consists of 12 amazing stops along the great Yenisey River.
The expedition is officially underway once you land at Norilsk airport located above the Polar Circle of Russia. You are greeted by a professional team upon landing where you are swiftly and immediately transferred to the jaw-dropping vessel known as Maxim Gorky. Share some conversations with the ship’s crew, with your favourite beverage in the hand, and the fun starts right away. On the first day, you got to experience the 1000 deers with the local Nenets family in Tyyakha, a real chum (shelter similar to a yurt), and a massive bonfire. The crew wastes no time, participating in educational lections as you devour the cuisine of indigenous nations of Russia’s North. A must is to bring your camera as the food is exquisite and a selfie with some deer is always a great story.
On the second day, Dudinka town awaits you! As the day starts you progressively become more acquainted with the everyday life, ethnic cuisine, traditions, and customs of the ethnic groups inhabiting Taimyr. One of the best experiences of Dudinka is the Taimyr museum of local history and traditional ethnic market where you have the chance to experience a fascinating folk art exhibition, listen to ethnic music and dance, see traditions and try the local food of Northern tribes of Russia. It’s also a great chance to buy hand-made local souvenirs. However, by far the most captivating experience is the privilege of seeing Zhenya, a well-preserved wooly mammoth that is actually named after an 11-year-old boy who had discovered it!
However, the best part is to explore the sweeping landscape of Plateau Putorana which is given UNESCO World Heritage Status for its unique nature and its outstanding universal value. A private helicopter tour will take you to one of the most breathtaking landscapes of Russia. Here are bottomless canyons, magnificent mountains, and thousands of lakes. By falling from cliffs, rivers form the highest waterfalls in the country. A truly unique experience!
On the next day, the Polar town of Igarka awaits you. The day is filled with a bus tour to the only one in the world Museum of Permafrost where you find yourself in a polar kingdom known as the eternal ice zone. Yes, it is cold but yes, it is just as enthralling. The museum is actually located in permafrost souls at a depth of 7-10m. As you travel into the eternal zone you find yourself at the foot of a 50,000-year-old phenomenon, Ice Mountain!
It’s time to hike in Yermakovo! Day 4 consists of a 9 kilometers hike through the Siberian taiga where you have the chance to experience the daunting remains of the northernmost railway. This construction took the lives of more than 300,000 people, hence the nickname “Dead Road”. There’s an unsettling aura as you look amongst the terrifying ruins of Stalin’s reign in this Northern Gulag.
On the same day, you’ll be crossing the Polar circle and will be offered a cool tradition of ice-cold Yenisey’s water pouring to be officially announced as the Polar Explorer. Very fun and must-try activity!
While sailing down the great river of Yenisey, on the fifth day you find yourself in Turukhansk. Find yourself fully immersed in the central village of the largest region of the Krasnoyarsk area. It’s hard to believe that it is possible to live in such a place where the frosts reach as low as -60 celsius and, in the summer, the air temperature rises to +35 celsius with lots of insects in the air. No matter how severe, it is truly an incredible experience. The natural beauty and Museum of Regional Studies of Turukhansk are a wonderful addition to the day. We also recommend taking an additional boat tour to observe incredible local nature.
On the next day, you’ll have a unique opportunity to meet and experience the culture of a disappearing tribe of Ket people, there are only 1300 of them left in the world. This Northern tribe has a unique Chaman culture and shares genetics with native American Indians. Be welcomed by their chums, try tasty fish soup or delicious homemade pies with local berries sitting next to a bonfire while listening to ancient legends of Ket’s. The island is really beautiful and worth seeing, also it’s a great opportunity to test your fishing skills as it’s a perfect place for that.
On the next day, you find yourself in Bakhta, a small village among the Taiga, home to hunters and fishermen. You can only set foot on this land via boat or helicopter. The village has a population of about 300 but stands strong. Bakhta became quite famous after the documentary Happy People, where you can see the simple but at the same time amazing life of villagers during 4 seasons of the year. It’s a great chance to try local black caviar and a rich selection of local fish that the river Yenisey is famous for.
On the eighth day, you have the opportunity to explore the village Yartsevo. Here take the opportunity to set off on a walking tour that you simply cannot find on Google maps. Meet with locals who live in such a different world than you are accustomed to which made for one of the more eye-opening experiences. This is one of the many things which makes this expedition so special, you are not just doing sightseeing, you are truly experiencing everything. It is quite interesting seeing how this small village operates, where there’re no connecting roads with civilization.
On the next day, you arrive at Yeniseisk, where merchant houses and monasteries line the narrow streets of the old city. The most fascinating part about Yeniseisk is how the city has retained its original appearance to this day. This town was one of the first Russian settlements on the Yenisey and was an outpost in the development of Yenisey’s Siberia. This is a true piece of history that will immediately grasp all of your attention and thoughts. During this walking tour, you get acquainted with the daily lives of local people and the rich culture that has kept the town running for centuries. There is an abundance of museums such as the Planer Museum which is actually listed in the Guinness Book of World Records!
Galanino here we come, as you disembark from the Maxim Gorky you will be welcomed by the best traditions of Siberian Cossacks’ hospitality. Life quickly changes as you experience the everyday life of the Cossacks and sit amongst your peers as you listen to old Cossack songs that have been around for centuries. You will want your video camera for this one! There’s also an amazing traditional fair where you can find unique gifts from Siberia for your loved ones.
The last day of exploration of a truly unforgettable expedition starts in Krasnoyarsk. This city is dynamic and a central part of Siberian history. It is home to old merchant houses, the largest factories and plants, and some of the best ski resorts in the world. It is a city of culture, history, and beauty. The Krasnoyarsk Pillars are a must-see when in Krasnoyarsk! It is a world-famous National Park known for its dramatic rock formations and impressive 47,219 hectares area.
Krasnoyarsk Dam is just as impressive as beautiful. This 124-meter high concrete gravity dam was finished in 1972 and for many years was the biggest dam in the world giving inspiration to many leading dams, including USA and Japan.
Sadly the trip has come to an end. You get to enjoy a traditional Russian breakfast on board with blinis and herbal Siberian tea and scroll through your pictures and take time to sit in thought about everything you had just experienced in Siberia. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. What makes this expedition so special is the fact you are not just fully immersing yourself once or twice but consistently throughout the trip. It not only expands your horizons but also sparks a lust for more amazing trips in Russia. This amazing country has so much to explore!
We strongly recommend making the expedition bookings in advance, as it’s quite limited and under high demand always, especially taking into consideration that the situation in Russia will come down soon. The Yenisey Expedition Cruise is worth to be added to your bucket list! BOOK HERE
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