North Pole tourist cruises are rescheduled to 2021

The coronavirus pandemic made this year's sailings impossible, Poseidon Expeditions said.

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - June 12, 2020
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Tourists pose for photos at the North Pole during a previous voyage. (Poseidon Expeditions via The Independent Barents Observer)

The three tourist voyages to the North Pole scheduled for July and August on Russia’s powerful nuclear icebreaker 50 let Pobedy (“50 Years of Victory”) will not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tour operator, Poseidon Expeditions, is now reaching out to travel partners and guests with reservations for the tours from Murmansk to the North Pole offering re-bookings.

“National travel bans and border restrictions related to COVID-19 have continued to shed uncertainty on our ability to operate scheduled Arctic cruises during this 2020 summer season. This has affected all areas of operation, and has necessitated that we now postpone and reschedule all the departures in the Arctic through the end of September 2020 to the following 2021 Arctic season,” Poseidon Expeditions writes in the update.

“For the North Pole, the situation is currently dictated by a travel ban issued by the Russian Federation affecting foreigners wishing to visit Russian territory,” spokesperson Steve Wellmeier wrote in an email to the Barents Observer.

Wellmeier is optimistic about the 2021 summer season, saying 90 percent of the passengers with reservations for the 2020 season are OK with moving the bookings to next year.

Dates for next year’s two-week-long voyages are set to July 10, July 21 and August 1.

By June 11, a total of 3,760 COVID-19 infections have been detected in the Murmansk region, of which 1,120 are currently being treated, according to regional authorities.

With a daily increase of more than 8,000 cases, Russia’s total registration of people infected by the virus passed 500,000 on Thursday, according to the official data.