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Quark Expeditions - Arctic

North Pole: The Ultimate Arctic Adventure

Embark on an Arctic adventure and see the beauty of the North Pole aboard the 50 Years of Victory

Length

14 Days

Ship category

Classic

Ship type

Mid-Sized Ship

Capacity

128 Passengers

North Pole: The Ultimate Arctic Adventure

Trip highlights

Experience the chill of a polar plunge

Photograph Polar seabirds

Discover Cape Flora

Observe polar animals in their natural habitat

The Polartours experience

Reach the North Pole!

Get unimaginable views of the polar regions from the air

Your booking contributes to our Conservation Project

Expedition Parka to take home

Live an incredible experience that few travelers have the chance to do in their lives: reach the North Pole. Travel to the top of the world where no matter which direction you look, you will be looking south. Take advantage of these two weeks of travel to experience the thrill of an Arctic dive, cross the ice floes as far as the eye can see, climb aboard a helicopter to photograph the icy ocean from the sky.

Stand at the very top of the world with this 14-day expedition cruise to the North Pole!

Your ship: 50 Years of Victory

50 Years of Victory Exterior, interior
50 years of victory deck plan
50 Years of Victory Exterior, interior

Welcome aboard the 50 Years of Victory! Twenty years in the making, 50 Years of Victory is the first Arktika-class icebreaker to have a spoon-shaped bow. Designed with a stainless-steel ice belt 18 feet (5 meters) wide, the ship breaks through ice up to 9.2 feet (2.5 meters) thick! This is the world’s largest, most powerful icebreaker.

Complete with a helicopter for shore excursions, Victory is a ship unlike any other. It has the ability to go where other ships cannot. Enjoy your time onboard by chatting over cocktails at the bar, swimming in the pool or checking out the gym, library, and sau … Read more about 50 Years of Victory

Cabins

50 years of victory victory suite
Victory Suite

Type:

Double/Matrimionial + Sofabed

Max. occupancy:

3

More about this cabin

50 years of victory mini suite
Mini Suite

Type:

Twins

Max. occupancy:

2

More about this cabin

50 years of victory twin cabin
Twin Cabin

Type:

Twins

Max. occupancy:

2

More about this cabin

50 years of victory Arctika suite
Arktika Suite

Type:

Double/Matrimionial + Sofabed

Max. occupancy:

3

More about this cabin

50 years of victory suite
Suite

Type:

Double/Matrimionial + Sofabed

Max. occupancy:

3

More about this cabin

Map

Itinerary

Keep in mind this is an expedition cruise, so your itinerary will depend greatly on the weather, amount of ice and wildlife breeding behavior.

Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki

Your Arctic adventure begins in Helsinki, renowned for its extraordinary architecture and design scene and intriguing mix of eastern and western influences. If you arrive early, explore the many museums, galleries and restaurants, relax at a Finnish sauna or wander the vibrant Design District before retiring at your included hotel.

Northeast Passage
Northeast Passage Russia
ocean Atlantic 4 arctic islands

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, a nuclear icebreaker.

Northeast Passage
Northeast Passage Russia
ocean Atlantic 4 arctic islands

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 presentations and discussions with your Expedition Team while looking out for wildlife.

North Pole the Ultimate Arctic Adventure
North Pole the Ultimate Arctic Adventure
North Pole the Ultimate Arctic Adventure

Ship and Zodiac cruising

North Pole

Ice edge and pack ice

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 of the world!

Later, everyone will celebrate with a 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 (weather dependant, extra cost).

Franz Joseph Land
Franz Joseph Land
Franz Joseph Land

Ice edge and pack ice

The remote Arctic archipelago of Franz Joseph Land has only been available for exploration since the 1990s. Following the Second World War, the Soviet Union placed great importance on Franz Joseph Land as a military asset, treating it as "an unsinkable aircraft carrier" in the Arctic ocean.

Swathed in secrecy, and only accessible to military personnel, the archipelago remained a mystery until only 30 years ago. Now, Arctic expedition cruises can visit this remote land of glaciers and rugged hills that lies only 550 miles from the North Pole.

While still home to a fully-operational and quite active military base (Russia's northernmost), the archipelago is also a haven for wildlife and is a designated marine mammal sanctuary. Species readily encountered here include harp seals, walrus, and bearded seals. A particular highlight is the critically endangered bowhead whale, for which Franz Joseph Land is an important habitat. If you are lucky, you may also see a Narwhal, that is scarce in Svalbard. In contrast, there are no reindeer here. As with Svalbard, Franz Joseph land is a good place to look for Polar Bears.

Most of the cruise ships that head up to the North Pole pass through Franz Joseph Land.

Franz Joseph Land
Franz Joseph Land
Franz Joseph Land

Jackson Island

Victoria Island

Rudolf Island

Hall Island

Cheysa Island

Alger Island

Northbrook Island

Apollonov & Stolichkiy Islands

Hooker Island

Wilczek Island

Champ Island

Hvidtenland

The remote Arctic archipelago of Franz Joseph Land has only been available for exploration since the 1990s. Following the Second World War, the Soviet Union placed great importance on Franz Joseph Land as a military asset, treating it as "an unsinkable aircraft carrier" in the Arctic ocean.

Swathed in secrecy, and only accessible to military personnel, the archipelago remained a mystery until only 30 years ago. Now, Arctic expedition cruises can visit this remote land of glaciers and rugged hills that lies only 550 miles from the North Pole.

While still home to a fully-operational and quite active military base (Russia's northernmost), the archipelago is also a haven for wildlife and is a designated marine mammal sanctuary. Species readily encountered here include harp seals, walrus, and bearded seals. A particular highlight is the critically endangered bowhead whale, for which Franz Joseph Land is an important habitat. If you are lucky, you may also see a Narwhal, that is scarce in Svalbard. In contrast, there are no reindeer here. As with Svalbard, Franz Joseph land is a good place to look for Polar Bears.

Most of the cruise ships that head up to the North Pole pass through Franz Joseph Land.

Northeast Passage
Northeast Passage Russia
ocean Atlantic 4 arctic islands

The Northeast Passage is the name given to the little-used maritime polar shipping route between the Bering Sea in the North Pacific and Northern Europe via the Russian Arctic coast.

First successfully navigated in 1878, the route is not frequently used by commercial vessels due to the sea ice that makes the route unusable for much of the year. It's precisely the difficulty of traversing the Northeast Passage that makes it such a wonderful destination for adventure cruises.

From the remote and still mainly unexplored polar desert of Severnaya Zemlya ("Northern Land") - an archipelago discovered in 1913 and only finally mapped in 1930 - to the remote tundra plains of Chukotka, and the largest city north of the Arctic Circle, Murmansk, the Northeast Passage offers an unlimited variety of landscape and wildlife.

The NE passage is a vast area to explore that can be divided into the different sea regions and island groups on route. Furthermore, the species encountered will vary along the route according to their distribution. If sea conditions allow, landings by Zodiac will bring you to encounters with polar bears and walruses, and from your ship, you will see bowhead whales, beluga, and narwhals, as well as large concentrations of many species of seabirds.

For the birdwatchers some of the potential highlights include the Ross's Gull and the Steller's Eider.

Northeast Passage
Northeast Passage Russia
ocean Atlantic 4 arctic islands

Returning to Russia’s most northerly city, you’ll have time to bid farewell to the 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.

Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki

After breakfast, your journey comes to an end. We do encourage you to spend time exploring Helsinki, and its surrounding areas.

Info

Single Cabin Supplement

When booking online, you can choose the option to "Upgrade to single occupancy". This will guarantee you the whole cabin to yourself, for an additional fee. If you don't select this option, then another traveler of the same sex might be placed into the same cabin with you.

What's included

Leadership throughout your voyage by our experienced Expedition Leaders, including shore landings and other activities

All Zodiac transfers and cruising as per the daily program

All shore landings as per the daily program

Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping

All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage (Please inform us of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals.)

Beer and wine during dinner; and coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock

Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled

A photographic journal documenting the expedition

A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions

An official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep

Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin

All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program

All luggage handling aboard the ship

Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person

Russian invitation letter for visa application provided after final payment

What's not included

Mandatory Transfer Package of $1,995 USD (your polar Travel specialist will provide you with all the information about this package)

International airfare

Arrival and departure transfers in Helsinki

Passport and visa expenses

Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above

Meals ashore unless otherwise specified

Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended

Excess-baggage fees on international flights

Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other gear not mentioned

Laundry, bar and other personal charges unless specified

Phone and Internet charges (connectivity may vary by location)

Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew

Hot air ballooning at the North Pole

FAQ

When it comes to traveling to Antarctica, one of the first questions that often arises is, "Can I fly to Antarctica?". The answer is: Yes, you can. Most trips start in Patagonia (Ushuaia and Punta Arenas) and cross the Drake Passage by ship, but there are also trips that use planes to cross that infamous sea passage. Here are the Pros and Cons for each method:

Flying to Antarctica:

  • Pros: Flying to Antarctica is the quickest way to reach the continent. It offers convenience and is often the choice for those with very limited time.

  • Cons: There are limited commercial flights to Antarctica, and these are primarily reserved for research and expedition purposes. Tourist accessibility is limited, and it can be costly. Also, as not many trips include flights, you'll be limiting your choice a lot if you decide to only look for such trips.

Crossing the Drake Passage by ship:

  • Pros: If you choose to cross the Drake Passage by ship, you embark on an incredible adventure. This journey is not just a means of transportation; it's an expedition in itself. The crossing takes 1.5 - 2 days, which are filled with scientific lectures that prepare you for the experience. You'll witness diverse wildlife, including penguins and whales, as your anticipation starts building up. To us, the crossing is a quintessential experience of a true Antarctic explorer.

  • Cons: Crossing the Drake Passage takes some time, and the seas can be rough. It's not the quickest way to reach the continent, and you need to allocate more time for your expedition.

In conclusion, when it comes to traveling to Antarctica, you have these two choices. Flying offers efficiency and direct access, perfect for specific purposes. Crossing the Drake Passage by ship provides an unmatched adventure and connection with Antarctica's unique environment. Consider what truly matters to you, and you'll find the Antarctic transportation choice that suits your goals and spirit of exploration.

All cruises in the polar regions operate to itineraries that are more-or-less fixed. We say "more or less", because wildlife (breeding, seasonality) and weather always play an important role in routing. Most cruises will offer a range of land-based and water-based activities that you will enjoy at various points in your cruise, including:

  • Land excursions (including hiking trails, visitor centers, time relaxing on beaches, observing animals, etc.)
  • Bird Watching
  • Snorkeling (from ship or beaches)
  • Dinghy rides
  • Kayaking
  • Diving (on ships with diving itineraries)
  • Naturalist presentations. These usually take place every evening - on board the bigger ships also with help of projectors, microscopes etc.

All boats carry English speaking, scientifically trained guides. They will lead you on your excursions, allowing you to learn as much as possible about the unique wildlife and habitats of the Polar Regions.

Choosing the right ship for a cruise to Antarctica or the Arctic seems difficult, but it doesn't have to be. Our fleet is over 30 vessels, we are sure that there is the perfect one for you. Please, follow these simple steps, and you will be able to find your ideal ship:

  • Determine your budget and desired level of comfort: Are you looking for luxury or more budget-friendly options? On our website you can set the price range.
  • Consider ship size: Large ships offer more amenities and facilities, but they can also feel crowded and impersonal. Smaller ships offer a more personal experience, but may not have as many amenities.
  • Look at the cabins: Although you probably won’t spend much time in your cabin, look at the photos and read the descriptions to make sure you're happy with the one you choose.
  • Consider the activities on board: Are you interested in kayaking, camping, diving or a photography workshop? Or maybe you want to take part in a Citizen Science Program? These activities can enhance your overall experience. See what our ships have to offer.
  • Read customer reviews: Learn about other travelers' experiences by reading reviews.
  • Ask your Polar Specialist: Feel free to contact your Polar Specialist. They are happy to share their knowledge and are always ready to help.

In addition: We work with responsible partners who provide a great experience for their passengers. All of our providers are committed to sustainability and to preserving the beauty of the polar regions. You don’t need to worry about the impact of your cruise, because we’ve already taken care of it.

We love to help people find their dream vacation to the Arctic and Antarctic. Whether you give us a call, contact us via email, or use our website inquiry form, one of our Polar travel experts will be more than happy to answer any questions, recommend ships and itineraries, and walk you through the whole process!

Step 1: Find your perfect trip. If you have already started looking for Polar Cruises, you will have quickly noticed that the sheer amount of options can be quite overwhelming. To help you navigate the countless departures and itineraries that our fleet offers, we have put together a great filter page for Antarctic and Arctic Expedition Cruises. Use this page to filter all trips by price, date, ship category, and even destinations you wish to visit. We update all dates, prices, and availabilities daily, and are proud to host what is doubtlessly the world's most complete collection of information.

Step 2: Found something you love? We'll hold your spaces, free of charge! If you find a cruise you like, you can either inquire directly with us or make an unbinding booking online. We will then reach out to the shipowners to put a hold on your spaces for a limited time, free of charge. Once we have confirmed your block with the ship, we will send you a written confirmation of your reservation and include full payment details in an invoice. Typically, we are able to hold unpaid reservations for up to 1 week*. This gives us time to clarify all your remaining questions, and also ensures that no other passengers can book your spaces, while we continue our conversation.

Step 3: Confirm your booking. In order to confirm your booking, we ask for a deposit payment. You can pay via bank transfer or credit card. Keep in mind, that we can only hold your spaces for a limited amount of time. If we don't receive your payment after this time, we can no longer guarantee that the places will be available or that the price won't increase. To prevent disappointment, we will automatically cancel your reservation if we don't receive your deposit by the due date stated on your booking reservation.

Step 4: Booking confirmation & Payment. As soon as we have received your deposit and a completed passenger information form, we will be pleased to send your booking confirmation and updated invoice, along with your trip itinerary, important information, and other great tips for your cruise.

Step 5: Final payment. In your initial invoice, we will define a final payment date by when you need to pay us the remaining amount of your trip. Once we have received your final payment we'll send you your cruise documents and voucher. As your trip approaches, we make sure to pass along all necessary information, so you feel super prepared and stress-free.

*For last-minute bookings, we might not be able to hold your spaces for so long. We will also require the full payment of your cruise upon booking.

An expedition cruise to Antarctica or the Arctic is a big deal! Most people plan for this type of trip at least 8 months in advance. This means the earlier you book, the better chance you'll have to reserve your prefered cabins. Early bird discounts are also popular and a great way to get 10-30% off your cruise.

Most expedition cruises offer optional activities like camping and kayaking, but the spaces are limited. A cruise with 120 passengers can have only 10-15 spaces for kayaking. These are reserved on a first come first served basis. The earlier you book, the higher your chance of grabbing a spot.

Even though last minute deals do occur, keep in mind that the airline prices will be much higher if you purchase them last minute. You may save a few hundred on your cruise, but you may end up paying the most for airfare.

If you are prone to motion sickness then here are a few hints to help you.

Firstly, book a cabin in the middle of the ship. The middle of the ship will move less, both in roll and in pitch. Secondly, chose a larger ship. Bigger vessels typically are more stable, and some of them are even equipped with "stabilizers", fins under water that remove the rolling in the swells. Thirdly, take medical advice on anti-seasickness medication. Some traditional remedies are said to be very effective, such as taking ginger or using commercially-available acupressure wristbands.

Watch this informative video about life onboard an expedition ship and seasickness from our expert guide and Polartours Brand Ambassador, Kevin.

Life Onboard & Seasickness
North Pole: The Ultimate Arctic Adventure
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