The World, the first and only private residential community at sea, made maritime history during its recent voyage to the Russian Arctic region. The ground-breaking, 28-day Bering Sea Expedition provided Residents and Guests with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore remote communities and cultures, observe rare wildlife in a natural environment and sail aboard the first ship to do so in decades, all during the brief Arctic summer. The Expedition was unlike any other, astounding even the long-time Residents who have sailed since The World’s 2002 maiden voyage. For those that took advantage of The World’s rental program, The Bering Sea Expedition proved to be a one of a kind, premier vacation experience.

Successfully landing in Lorino Village The World is the first ship of its size to ever visit a this community in the Chukotka region. Locals embraced Residents and Guests, welcoming them with native performances and entertainment. The vessel continued its historic voyage when it traversed the Bering Strait, which separates the easternmost point of Russia from Alaska, just a few days later.

One of the Expedition’s most memorable moments occurred when navigating the Bering Strait, a channel separating the United States and Russia. Due to standard cabotage laws, the ship could not cross back into U.S. waters, requiring the Captain to keep the 43,524-ton vessel on the Russian side, even at the Strait’s narrowest point – an infamous, two-mile-wide passage separating Little Diomede and Big Diomede Islands. “Hundreds of thousands of birds swooped past us as we came up the channel,” said Resident, Alison Holland. “We were only a few cable lengths from the Russian shore as we were not cleared to re-enter U.S. waters and thus had to hug the Russian side.” Divided not only by an international border but The International Dateline, The World is the first foreign-flagged ship to sail between the Islands on the Russian side since World War II.

The vessel continued to make history as it approached Wrangel Island, renowned for its incredible wildlife. An incredible 104 polar bears were spotted during The World’s 10-day stay – more than most ships see in an entire summer. Residents and Guests enjoyed a memorable polar bear encounter from the bridge and bow when an inquisitive mother and cub polar approached the ship to greet them. There have been only four vessels carrying private travelers to visit Wrangel Island in Russia’s vast history and The World is the first foreign-flagged ship to do so since 1924.

Following Wrangel Island, The World continued to sail 70 miles until reaching the ice cap’s edge, which extends all the way to the North Pole. Once anchored, the captain lowered the retractable marina so that Residents and Guests could partake in the “Polar Plunge,” a courageous dive often attempted by North Pole travelers. 35 adventurous souls participated in the daring excursion, plunging into 0.7 °C (33.3 °F) waters and quickly jumping out.

Such once-in-a-lifetime opportunities can only be experienced aboard The World as regular ports of call and upcoming Expeditions include major metropolitan cities, rural villages, UNESCO World Heritage sites and more. When sailing aboard The World, all meals, select alcoholic beverages, gratuities and port charges are included. Guests who avail of the ship’s exceptional rental program are invited to customize their own sails. The ship also offers a regular selection of Expeditions as well as Stay a Six Nights and Get the Seventh Free program where travelers can receive one night free for every six booked until December 22, 2010. To save even more, each additional week spent on the ship will result in one more complimentary night and there is no limit on the length of stay or number of complimentary nights.

In November 2009, the ship will visit Papua New Guinea where voyagers will dive rainbow reefs, trek volcanoes and visit the rainforest and desert savannah marsupials (23 nights/$18,500 per person). In September 2010, Residents and Guests will sail from Reykjavik, Iceland to Quebec, Canada a Greenland Expedition that will explore the globe’s largest island, its rich Nordic and Paleo-Eskimo history, abundant wildlife and stunning scenery. Two unforgettable Antarctica Expeditions will end the year, affording travelers the opportunity to visit the coldest, driest, highest and windiest of the seven continents. Penguins and seals will float alongside The World on sculpted icebergs as vacationers access the land via kayaks and Zodiacs. The first 10-night sail, from December 23, 2010 – January 2, 2011 will start from $19,500 per person. The second, 18-night voyage, from January 3 – 21, 2011, will begin at $35,100 per person.