Imagine standing at the top of the Earth, glass of champagne in hand – and everywhere you look is south. That is the essence of the 14-day North Pole: The Ultimate Arctic Adventure aboard 50 Years of Victory, the most powerful nuclear icebreaker in the world. Crush through multiyear ice on the Arctic Ocean, sightsee by helicopter on the lookout for walruses, seals, whales, and polar bears, or take a tethered hot-air balloon ride at 90º N, weather permitting. Possible stops at the island of Franz Josef Land will have you in awe of the flora and fauna as you visit seabird colonies and retrace the footsteps of early explorers.
Your adventure begins with a one-night stay in Helsinki, Finland’s capital.
From Helsinki, you’ll join your fellow passengers on the charter flight to Murmansk, Russia, where you’ll embark on your voyage to the North Pole and get acquainted with 50 Years of Victory, the world’s largest and most powerful icebreaker.
Being on board Victory and feeling the icebreaker as it crushes through the arctic pack ice is an experience you’ll never forget. Just as memorable is boarding the ship’s helicopter for a thrilling aerial view over the ship and the expansive Arctic Ocean.
You can expect variable sailing conditions this far north. The crossing from Murmansk to the North Pole can take us anywhere from four to six days depending on the ice conditions. This means you’ll have plenty of time to get to know your shipmates and be treated to lectures and discussions by our Expedition Team while looking out for birdlife. There are also many wonderful amenities on board, such as the ship’s lap pool or basketball court.
The anticipation reaches a climax as you arrive at the North Pole! Many travelers find themselves overcome with emotion, while others are in a festive and celebratory mood. Take photos, call your family, wave a flag— just be sure you enjoy your moment at the top! Later, everyone will celebrate with a champagne toast and a barbecue on the ice. If the opportunity allows, you have the option of taking a polar plunge into the icy waters around the North Pole. We’ll also attempt to launch passengers high above the Pole in our hot air balloon to commemorate this great moment (this is highly weather dependent).
On our return voyage you can sit back and relax. As you head farther south you may get lucky and spot polar bears hunting for seals.
This group of 191 islands forms the most northerly archipelago in Eurasia and lies entirely within the Arctic Circle. Here, you’ll explore Cape Flora and discover historic remains from three ill-fated arctic expeditions. When conditions permit, we’ll launch the Zodiacs and cruise beneath towering cliffs to explore remote seabird colonies. The 50 Years of Victory helicopter will provide aerial sightseeing, and our Zodiacs will transfer you to seldom-visited landing sites.
Enjoy your time on deck or reminisce with your shipmates and new friends as you cross the Arctic Ocean back to Murmansk. Expedition staff will be on hand to answer any remaining questions and point out wildlife during the return journey.
Returning to Russia’s most northerly city, it will be time to bid farewell to your ship, 50 Years of Victory. You’ll be transferred to the airport for your charter flight to Helsinki, Finland to enjoy one final night with your newfound friends.
After breakfast, your official Quark Expeditions journey comes to an end. We do encourage you to spend some extra time exploring Helsinki, Tallinn (the capital of Estonia) and Saint Petersburg.
Pre and post expedition hotel night in Helsinki and breakfast
Return flight from Helsinki to Murmansk
Transfer to and from ship
Transfer between the airport and hotel in Helsinki
Hotel night in Helsinki and breakfast