Homeport of Russia's nuclear-powered icebreakers, Murmansk enjoys a unique location halfway between Moscow and the North Pole, and 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle. As the main city of the Kola Peninsula, its origins began as a tiny settlement and Arctic trading post. In 1916, under pressure from the British to establish a support port, Murmansk was founded. Thanks to a current of the Gulf Stream, the port is ice-free year-round.
The permanent Russian population periodically experiences additions from temporary residents that are lured to the city by high pay for work in fish processing plants and ship repair installations.
With "Polar Night" lasting all of December and most of January, when nonstop darkness lies over the city, life takes on a glum outlook. There are few exciting events, except for the Festival of the North, when the Sami people come to town to compete in traditional games. This annual celebration has been in existence since 1934.
The city is situated on three levels that consist of the port, the center and the surrounding heights, which are dominated by housing blocks. Lenin Prospekt, the main thoroughfare, is bisected by a huge stadium. Murmansk boasts a few small museums, but outside of the city stretches only the endless tundra.
Please Note: The tourism infrastructure in this port is limited. Guests are therefore encouraged to participate in the organized excursions.
The ship is scheduled to dock at the Sea Terminal. Distance to the town center is a little over 1 mile. Taxis are only permitted at the main gate to the port. It may be difficult finding English-speaking drivers. There is no guarantee that drivers speak English.
Souvenir items can be found in shops along Lenin Prospekt. For additional shopping you may want to check the department stores "Wave" and "Eldorado." The Museum of Local History also features a nice gift shop. Normal shopping hours are from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The local currency is the ruble.
The main fare found on most menus is fish, especially cod. Seasonally, reindeer meat is offered. You may want to try severyanka, tasty local chowder. There is no lack of restaurants catering to a wide range of tastes.
St. Nicholas Church
Named for the patron saint of sailors, the church is the Kola Peninsula's central cathedral and the religious administrative center.
Anatoly Bredov Statue
The statue of this local hero of the Great Patriotic War stands on Lenin Prospekt in front of the stadium. When Anatoly Bredov found himself surrounded by Nazi troops, he detonated a grenade, killing several fascists with him.
Private arrangements may not be available in this port due to a lack of English-speaking guides.
Reminder: No Russian visa is required for guests planning to participate in the ship's organized excursions. However, for guests wishing to go ashore independently, it is necessary to obtain their own visa prior to the cruise.