The North Pole
The Vessel cruising trough the pack ice
Polar bear encounter in the pack ice
Hike on the pack iceJohn Weller
Walruses on a ice floeSam Crimmin
The vessel visit a bildcliffJohn Weller
The vessel cruising trough the pack iceDale Woods
The North Pole 2018
Few places have stirred the hearts and minds of explorers more than the North Pole. At the turn of the last century, voyages of discovery and adventure by sled, balloon, airship and ship set off for the top of the world – and failed. It was not until 1926 that the pole was seen for the first time and not until 1948 that anyone actually stood there. And that is precisely what we hope to do on this historic voyage. Our aim is to stand at 90° North. It is the opportunity of a lifetime – so join us on an extraordinary voyage to the North Pole.
We sail on one of the world’s most powerful icebreakers, the 50 Years of Victory. Heading north from Murmansk, we cross the Barents Sea and break into the dense Arctic pack ice. Very few vessels have the power to negotiate such challenging ice conditions, yet we push northwards at speeds of up to 21 knots.
Our journey takes us through an ever-changing panorama of wind-polished ice up to three meters thick, narrow channels of dark green water and aquamarine pools scattered across the frozen sea. We will be able to enjoy the immense polar landscapes from the bridge or deck of the ship and from our expertly-piloted helicopter. And along the way, in this stunning setting of ice and snow, we expect to encounter a variety of Arctic wildlife such as polar bears, walrus and ivory gulls.
From the geographic North Pole – we will be among very few people ever to have been there – we head south to the wild and wonderful world of dense pack ice, towering volcanic mountains, icebergs and glaciers of Franz Josef Land. Then it is back across the Barents Sea to Murmansk, where our amazing journey comes to an end.
Please note: This expedition will be arranged in cooperation with Quark Expeditions.
Day 1: Helsinki, Finland
A day of leisure with time to explore the charming capital of Finland before meeting fellow travelers at Hilton Helsinki Hotel. The hotel is connected by walkway to the airport terminal.
Day 2: Murmansk, Russia
This morning it is time to leave for Murmansk. This will be done with our charter flight. Surrounded by birch and spruce forest, Murmansk is almost halfway between Moscow and the North Pole. We transfer to the port to embark the world’s largest and most powerful newclear icebreaker, 50 Years of Victory.
Day 3-6: Barents Sea
We set the course for the North Pole. Please note that sailing conditions on the Arctic Ocean are changeable, so the crossing from Murmansk to the North Pole can take anywhere from 5 to 8 days.
Watching Victory crush through the Arctic ice pack is a sight you`ll never forget. Join our naturalists and other experts in the lecture room for presentations on the wildlife, geology, history and other aspects of the Arctic. There will also be briefings on the proper use of the helicopter and conservation guidelines for visiting this remote corner of the world. In between, do not miss the opportunity to watch for abundant Arctic seabirds and whales as we sail north.
We enter the polar ice pack and continue north through a wonderful kaleidoscope of ice, snow and water. It is impossible not to marvel as the 50 years of Victory surges forward through thick ice, leaving huge blocks in its wake. Our resident experts continue their outstanding slide-illustrated presentations on all aspects of the Far North and we keep watch for a wealth of Arctic wildlife along the way. The ship’s open bridge policy enables us to watch navigation and icebreaking operations around the clock. Ice reconnaissance flights, together with ice charts received via satellite, help our experienced captain and officers guide the 50 years of Victory steadily northwards. There will even be opportunities to board the helicopter for fantastic aerial views of our ship crashing its way towards the pole – and to land briefly on the ice. We also plan to stop the ship temporarily, put down the gangway, and invite everyone down for an invigorating walkabout.
Day 7: The North Pole
Depending on the ice conditions en route, we hope to arrive at our ultimate destination on day 7. The approach itself is incredibly exciting and the ship buzzes with anticipation as we confidently work our way towards our ultimate goal – 90° North. Then comes the moment we have all been waiting for – we stand on the top of the world and wander out onto the ice to explore this other-worldly white and blue landscape that stretches for hundreds of kilometres in every direction. It is hard to believe that this is the place so many explorers have struggled and risked their lives to reach and there will be time for quiet contemplation as we consider their heroic efforts. Like all the best expeditions, we also find time for festivities and – for those who dare – a plunge into the Arctic Ocean!
Day 8: Heading South
Mission accomplished, we begin our adventurous journey south. Our exact route will depend on local conditions. This is another opportunity to enjoy the power of our icebreaker and the spectacular and ever-changing scenery. We look out for Arctic wildlife and, in particular, our chances of encountering polar bears on the return journey are good. Join our naturalists and other experts in the lecture room for more presentations on the wildlife, geology, history and other aspects of this magnificent wilderness – and take the opportunity to visit the ship’s control center and engine room.
Day 9-10: Franz Josef Land, Russia
We enter a remote world of dense pack ice, towering volcanic mountains, icebergs and glaciers at Franz Josef Land. The most northerly point in Russia, this archipelago of 191 islands stretches 375 kilometers (233 miles) from west to east and 234 kilometers (145 miles) from north to south. Undiscovered until 1873, it is still relatively unexplored. Here you’ll explore Cape Flora, and discover historic remains from three ill-fated Arctic expeditions. When conditions permit, Zodiac trips beneath towering cliffs will explore remote seabird rookeries.
It is the most northerly archipelago in Eurasia and lies entirely within the Arctic Circle. Here you’ll visit historic places like Cape Flora on Northbrook Island, home to buildings and ruins from three ill-fated Arctic expeditions. We may see walrus and polar bears on these islands, which you’ll explore on Zodiac excursions.
Day 11 – 12: Southbound at Sea
Crossing the Arctic Ocean back to Murmansk. Followed by curious Arctic seabirds!
Day 13: Murmansk, Russia
This morning we arrive in Murmansk and it is time to head back to Helsinki. This will be done with our charter flight. Our final night is spent at a centrally located hotel.
Day 14: Helsinki, Finland
After breakfast this morning at our hotel, we continue home independently.
Note: please read this itinerary as a guide only. Our exact program will vary to take best advantage of local weather and ice conditions and opportunities to experience wildlife. Our goal is to reach the North Pole. Therefore all landings on Franz Josef Land depending on what day we arrive at the North Pole.
The ship 50 Years of Victory
Juan Carlos Espinoza
Juan Carlos Espinoza
This is the largest, most sophisticated, and powerful icebreaker ever constructed. Twenty years in the making, 50 Years of Victory is the first Arktika-class icebreaker to have a spoon-shaped bow. Boosting efficiency is the all-new digital automated control system. The ship, designed with a stainless steel ice belt hull 5 meters (18 feet) wide, breaks through ice up to 3 meters (10 feet) thick. It is driven by 2 nuclear reactors that produce 75 000 horsepower. In open water, top speed can be as much as 21 knots.
50 Years of Victory provides ample public space: featuring an aft Saloon and forward lounge, in addition to a bar and library. The aft Saloon converts from a presentation room during the day to a place to dance and socialize in the evening. For relaxing, there is an indoor pool and two saunas. The gym has windows. While you exercise you won’t miss a moment of passing scenery. A shop and massage services provide other diversions. The vessel has five cabin categories, all with facilities en suite and a window that opens to an ocean view: • Both the spacious Arktika Suites and the large Vicotry Suite have a bathtub • The Suites offer a choice of bathtub or shower • Mini Suites features a separate sitting area • All Standard Twin Cabins have a lower berth plus a sofa bed.
Cabins & prices
|Cabin category||Price per person|
|Twin cabin||2018||USD 28 695|
|Mini Suite||2018||USD 32 795|
|Suite||2018||USD 40 995|
|The Victory Suite||2018||USD 44 095|
|Arktika suit||2018||USD 45 095|
Mandatory Transfer Package (Cost USD 1,895 per person and includes pre and post expedition hotel night in Helsinki and breakfast, return flight from Helsinki to Murmansk, transfer to and from ship, transfer from airport to hotel in Helsinki).
Price includes: 11 nights on board 50 Years of Victory, all meals on board the ship, complimentary wine, beer, liquor and soft drinks at the bar and with meals, all shore excursions and activities by Zodiacs and helicopters, landing fees and port taxes, an experienced Expedition Leader and a team of knowledgeable naturalist guides, comprehensive pre-deparure package, an extensive lecture program, special expedition parka to keep and loan of a pair of waterproof boots, photographical journal on DVD, transfers and baggage handling between hotels, airports and ship for those travelling on group flights, Emergency Evacuation Insurance to a maximum benefit of $100,000 per person.
Not included: Airfare to and from your hometown, Mandatory Transfer Package (read more above), airport tax and arrival/departure taxes, travel insurance, passport and visa expenses, the customary gratuity to the ship’s crew, excess baggage charges, supplement for single hotel accommodations, meals ashore, other than the breakfasts included with the hotel accommodation, helicopter flying time in excess of that offered for the group.