What was your best wildlife moment?
Definitely the first polar bear sighting! It took a few days on the ice before we saw one so the suspense was building. To finally see one was fantastic. The captain slowed the ship down and manoeuvred in the ice so we all had a great view of the bear to take lots of photos. My top tip for polar bear spotting is look for dirty ice, it may just be a polar bear!
What was the main highlight of the trip?
Reaching the North Pole of course! Everyone that was on the ship gathered around the North Pole post and had a VERY short walk around the world. We then had plenty of time to wander around the ice and absorb the fact that we were literally standing on top of the world! To finish it off we had a fantastic BBQ lunch on the ice.
What was it like onboard a nuclear-powered icebreaker?
I couldn't believe how huge the ship was when I first saw it! It was overwhelming walking up the gangway. We really got to see how powerful the 50 Years of Victory is when it started smoothly ploughing through the thick ice. We also had the opportunity to go on an engine room tour which gave us great insight.
Being welcomed to the North Pole by 'Captain Neptune' and his friends! As there is no formal immigration when you arrive at the North Pole some of the expedition staff dressed up as sea creatures to welcome us. There was a great celebration on the deck with champagne, music and dancing. Definitely beats any other immigration process!
How many helicopter trips did you do?
I went on about seven helicopter trips. We took the helicopter to and from each of the landings and also had the opportunity for a few joy flights. The helicopter experience gives you a fantastic view of the ship breaking through the ice, it's absolutely spectacular! The expedition staff really makes it their priority to ensure that everyone gets every opportunity to go on the helicopter as many times as possible.
What was Franz Josef like?
We arrived at Franz Josef via helicopter and had plenty of time to walk around and view this fascinating area. There were some beautiful little wildflowers on the island too which I didn't expect to see. It's such a remote and stunning landscape.
Did you take the plunge into the water?
I did take the polar plunge. I knew that I would probably never get the opportunity to do this again so I just went for it. It was a huge thrill! The shot of vodka after the dip definitely helps warm you up.