polar pioneer across the arctic circle scotland norway spitbergen cruise

Across the Arctic Circle - Scotland, Norway & Spitsbergen

  • Overview
    Follow the Vikings’ way from northeast Scotland to the land of the midnight sun. Our enthusiastic historian and expert naturalist reveal the Orkney and Shetland islands, from Stone Age villages and Viking relics, to world-class distilleries and spectacular birdlife. We follow migrating whales along Norway’s dramatic coast, visit picturesque fishing villages and toast our Arctic Circle crossing. In Spitsbergen, we enter a polar wonderland, where delicate wildflowers adorn tundra and the summer sun never sets. This spectacular wilderness is the breeding ground of walruses, reindeers, various birds and polar bears.
    Duration: 14 days
    Passengers: 54 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Aberdeen, Scotland
    Disembarkation Point: Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen
    Physical rating: Soft Adventure
    Fly/Cruise: Cruise only
    Single Supplement: 0.0x - 1.7x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Aberdeen, Scotland; Embarkation Day

      Our staff welcome you aboard Polar Pioneer mid-afternoon in Aberdeen, Scotland, before we start sailing north.

    • Day 2/3 - Orkney Archipelago

      Among Orkney’s archipelago of 70 windswept islands, a treasure trove of archaeology, history and wildlife awaits. We follow the passage of time – from 5000-year-old, World Heritage-listed, Neolithic sites to Viking relics, from reminders of World War II occupation to present-day crofting communities. Imposing sea cliffs teem with seabirds, inviting our Zodiacs and kayakers to explore coastlines. At Fair Isle we visit traditional crofts to admire local knitwear and nearby colonies of fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots, gannets, shags and puffins.

    • Day 4 - Shetland Isles

      Warmed by Gulf Stream currents and near 24-hours’ daylight, the Shetland’s 100 islands are peppered with nature reserves and archaeological sites. These include the complex Stone, Bronze and Iron Age settlement of Jarlshof, the world’s best preserved broch (fortified Iron Age tower) on Mousa, and remnants of Viking conquest along the coast.

    • Day 5 - North Sea

      As we sail towards Norway, our historian and naturalist delight us with fascinating talks and inspire our birdwatching.

    • Day 6/9 - Norway Coast

      An intricate maze of islands protects Norway’s coastline. We celebrate crossing the Arctic Circle and visit special places, like Sør Gjaeslingan, once home to a busy cod-fishing fleet. Today it provides fantastic birdlife, including kittiwakes, terns and skuas that migrate here each summer. Continuing north, we pass by Torghatten, a mountain with a distinctive hole through it, and learn the fable of lost love and a troll’s arrow. Majestic scenery delights in Lofoten Islands, from romantic beaches to narrow fjords hemmed by granite walls. Share the water with orcas, the skies with puffins.

    • Day 10/13 - Bear Island & Spitsbergen

      We cross the Barents Sea, past often fog-shrouded Bear Island, favourite nesting ground for fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots and gulls. Beyond Spitsbergen’s South Cape, we explore South Spitsbergen National Park, a sanctuary for barnacle geese and eider ducks, before entering the iceberg-laden waters of Hornsund. Surrounded by polar desert on a grand scale, we search for reindeer, ringed and bearded seals and the mighty polar bear. Learn of human history dating back 400 years and if lucky, we’ll encounter the elusive beluga whale.

    • Day 14 - Spitsbergen

      We disembark in Longyearbyen, bid goodbye to expedition staff and are transferred to the airport for our onward journey.

    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.

  • Adventure Activities


    Experience sea kayaking in the humbling wilderness of Antarctica or the European Arctic is guaranteed to stir your soul. Paddle between brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes, skim past penguin rookeries or under soaring bird cliffs, or drift quietly as you watch wildlife unobtrusively, absorbing the majestic scenery.

    USD$ 850 per person

    Picturesque Scottish Isles

    Scotland’s Islands are some of the most idyllic in the world. Our voyages around the Scottish Islands navigate among the most beautiful seabird islands in the North Atlantic. Dolphins, porpoises, seals and whales may be sighted from the ship and landings allow us to see reindeer and Arctic fox.

    Sailings are timed to coincide with a profusion of wild flowers and the sea cliffs of the Scottish Islands should look like rock gardens with the pink and white of sea pinks and sea campion. In addition to their natural history we will also focus on their human history and artefacts, such as old whaling stations.

    Norway's coastline

    Norway’s profound natural beauty, is difficult to look past as one of the best coastlines in the world to explore from sea. Incredibly diverse geologically, Norway’s coastline is simply one of the most beautiful in the world, picture perfect coastal villages, incredible rock formations, a jagged coastline where fjords penetrate deeply into the country's interior, teeming wildlife and the opportunity to see the Northern Lights in all their magnificence from late August. On top of Norway’s natural beauty is of course their primeval history.

  • Inclusions
    Inclusions / Exclusions

    Included in your Expedition

    - Port taxes & entry fees
    - Professional produced voyage log
    - Free use of rubber expedition boots
    - Expedition jacket
    - All shore excursions and lectures during the voyage
    - All shipboard accommodation and meals
    - Transfers where stated in the itinerary
    - Group sightseeing tour in Longyearbyen on arrival

    Not included in your Expedition

    - Travel insurance (mandatory)
    - Pre & post cruise transfers and hotel
    - All items of a personal nature
    - International and internal flights that are not specified
    - Optional excursions and activities.
  • Map
  • Gallery
  • Vessel


    The legendary MV Polar Pioneer is a strong, capable veteran expedition ship loved by guests and expedition leaders for her capability in ice and her small size with a proven track record exploring the remote polar regions over the last 19 seasons.

    Her new Scandinavian owners are currently doing an extensive refit upgrading her to today’s standards and she will be ready for the 2022 Arctic season. 

    She benefits from taking just 48 guests on an authentic expedition adventure free from the crowds of larger vessels. All guests can fit in the Zodiacs at the same time ensuring there is no waiting to go ashore and all guests can explore at the same time.

    The MV Polar Pioneer was built in Finland in 1982, and the ship was originally an ice-strengthened research vessel with ice class 1A Super, which is perfect for navigation in polar regions with heavy sea ice.

    She can transit open water crossings with ease and comfort due to the integrated dynamic water ballast system, which guarantees a great reduction of rolling in heavy seas. Her ingenious stability system works marvellously also during the zodiac’s loading/unloading operations or while sitting at anchor. As a result, the Polar Pioneer is one of the most stable vessels currently in operations in the Polar regions.


     Why We Love Polar Pioneer

    • True polar expedition vessel – tough design with highest ice-class capable of exploring in ice (something most ships can’t do)
    • Smallest group size in Antarctica and South Georgia
    • Access landing sites larger ships cannot reach
    • Room for all guests in Zodiacs – No waiting time to go ashore
    • Takes just 48 guests – Intimate experience with the natural environment
      Sauna – Warm up after a day in the cold
    • Newly refurbished vessel – Enjoy comfortable cabins, bar, and saloon
    • Open Bridge – Enjoy the views from the best place on board
    • Authentic Expedition Experience – Only possible on a small ship
    Features & Facilities
    • Basic accommodation
    • Lounge bar
    • Spacious viewing platforms and decks
    • Presentation room
    • Sauna
    Key Facts
    Luxury star rating: 3
    Guests #: 52
    Crew #: 20
    Ice Class: 1A
    Speed: 14
    Refurbished: 2000
    Technical Specs
    Year built: 1982
    Length: 71m
    Width: 13
    Draft: 4
    Tonnage: 1753
    Registry: Cyprus
    Elec Outlets: 220V / 2 Round Pin
Check Voyage Dates, Pricing and Availability
All available dates
Ready to book your expedition?

We understand that the trip of a lifetime takes planning, so we make the financial commitments easy to manage.

  • Confirm your booking today with just USD$ 1,000 per passenger.
  • Pay your 25% deposit 5 day later.
  • Final payment due 120 days prior to departure.
polar pioneer triple cabin


02 Jul 2019 - 15 Jul 2019
Triple public cabin, 2 x lower buns and 1 x upper bunk and shared facilities.
USD$ 4,964pp
USD$ 4,964pp
polar pioneer twin public cabin

Twin Public

02 Jul 2019 - 15 Jul 2019
Twin cabin with 2 x lower bunks, shared facilities & a porthole.
USD$ 5,984pp
USD$ 4,828pp
Book now btn
Book Now
polar pioneer twin private cabin

Twin Private Economy

02 Jul 2019 - 15 Jul 2019
Twin cabin, with 1 x upper and 1 lower bunk, private facilities and window.
USD$ 6,936pp
USD$ 6,936pp
Book now btn
Book Now
polar pioneer twin private cabin

Twin Private Economy

02 Jul 2019 - 15 Jul 2019
Twin cabin, with 1 x upper and 1 lower bunk, private facilities and window.
USD$ 6,936pp
USD$ 6,936pp
polar pioneer twin private cabin

Twin Private

02 Jul 2019 - 15 Jul 2019
Twin cabin, with 2 x lower bunks, private facilities and window.
USD$ 7,208pp
USD$ 5,848pp
polar pioneer mini suite


02 Jul 2019 - 15 Jul 2019
Suite cabin with double bed, separate sitting room and private facilities.
USD$ 7,956pp
USD$ 7,956pp
polar pioneer captains suite

Owner's Suite

02 Jul 2019 - 15 Jul 2019
Suite cabin with double bed, separate sitting room and private facilities.
USD$ 9,044pp
USD$ 9,044pp