Your adventure begins with a one-night stay in Helsinki, Finland’s capital.
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.
On the North Pole Departure of June 23, 2019, our photography experts will be available to help you with your camera, as well as your photography, both on and off the ship. In addition to hands on help, guests can expect photography workshops.
Regardless of your skill level, Sue, Cindy, and the onboard team of expert photographers, will be able to assist photography enthusiasts, whether just starting out, or trying to go pro.
Sue Flood is a professional wildlife and travel photographer. Sue has been working in the Polar Regions since 1998, although her work increasingly takes her to warmer climates to thaw out.
Sue was an assistant producer on the award-winning BBC series The Blue Planet and also worked on Planet Earth and the Disney nature movie Earth. Her adventures on more than 30 trips to the Arctic and Antarctic have taken her from camping at -40°C, working on Russian icebreakers on trips to the North Pole and living with Inuit hunters on the floe edge, to diving with leopard seals in the Antarctic.
Cindy Miller Hopkins is a full-time travel and wildlife photographer with thousands of publications to her credit. Her images can be seen on the pages of text books, travel brochures, calendars, and other consumer products, as well as U.S. and international magazines and newspapers.
Her freelance, workshop, teaching and assignment career has taken her to all seven continents and over 140 countries. Some of her recent clients include National Geographic Traveler, Wells Fargo Bank, American Express, Microsoft, AAA & Frommer’s travel guides, BING homepage images, most major cruise lines and TV’s Food Network. She has an image on permanent display at Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. She is a long time member of American Society of Picture Professionals and current Board Member, and Past President, of the North American Nature Photography Association Foundation.
Day 1 - Helsinki, Finland
Your adventure begins with a one-night stay in Helsinki, Finland’s capital.
Day 2 - Embarkation Day in Murmansk
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.
Day 3/6 - Northbound in the Arctic Ocean
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.
Day 7 - 90° North
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).
Day 8 - Southbound in the Arctic Ocean
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.
Day 9/10 - Franz Josef Land and the Arctic Ocean
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.
Day 11/12 - Southbound at Sea
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.
Day 13 - Disembarkation in Murmansk
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.
Day 14 - Helsinki, Finland
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.
IMPORTANT: Russian visas are required for tourists from most countries. This voyage requires double-entry Russian visas. See your country’s Russian consulate or embassy for details.
Please consider that our voyages are expeditionary in nature. This means, that there are no concrete itineraries, your captain and expedition leader will utilise their vast experience to chart the best course for your expedition depending on the climatic and environmental conditions. Mentioned highlights and wildlife cannot be guaranteed.
Experience the North Pole in a way few will ever experience – soaring above the Arctic in a hot air balloon! When weather permits, we'll take you up for a breathtaking bird's eye view of 90° North. Don't forget your camera!
Includes pre and post accommodation in Helsinki and charter flights.
Imagine standing on the only spot on the planet and no matter which direction you step it will always be Southward. From the North Pole, all directions are south. Its latitude is 90 degrees north, and all lines of longitude meet there (as well as at the South Pole, on the opposite end of the Earth). Polaris, the current North Star, sits almost motionless in the sky above the pole, making it an excellent fixed point to use in celestial navigation in the Northern Hemisphere.
When it comes to expedition vessels, there is none more serious than the 50 Years of Victory, she is the world’s largest, most powerful nuclear ice-breaker and the only nuclear powered tourist vessel in operation! With a spoon-shaped bow, her powerful engines, she is capable of breaking ice 2.5 metres thick, there is very little that is going to stop this vessel!
Imagine flying at the top of the world. This unique expedition travels with helicopters and a hot air balloon. Of course, we are subject to the weather conditions at the Pole, there is a very good chance you will enjoy helicopter sightseeing at the North Pole. For those, with a true sense of adventure Hot Balloon tours can be booked at an additional cost.
As the Arctic pack ice sweeps across the North Pole it engulfs the coast of Franz Josef Land. Breeding home to one of the world’s greatest concentrations of polar bears and walruses, these isolated islands remain locked in ice for ten months of the year. Franz Josef Land remains a geographical mystery even in the new millennium.
Comfortable expedition boots and a high quality expedition parka, specifically designed for the polar regions.
Pre and post-cruise transfers are provided in Helsinki, as well as 1 night pre-cruise accommodation.
Select beer, wine and sof drinks are included in the cost of your North Pole expedition
Group helicopter excursions are included in the North Pole expedition and make for an incredible experience over the High Arctic.
EXPEDITION VESSEL: 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, capable of breaking through ice up to 2.5 meters (9.2 feet) thick! This is the world’s largest, most-powerful nuclear icebreaker. Complete with a helicopter for shore excursions, Victory is a ship unlike any other, with the ability to go where other ships cannot.
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