Cruise to the top of the world – the North Pole – aboard a special icebreaker ship
Your icebreaker ship, 50 Years of Victory, will take you to a part of the world more commonly associated with fairy tales and folklore—the North Pole. Crushing through multi-year pack ice, the journey can take as long as a week, which only helps to heighten the level of excitement. Celebrate with champagne upon your arrival and soar above the entire Earth on an optional hot air balloon ride.
Join us on this amazing voyage to 90°N aboard 50 Years of Victory.
Note: Weather and other mitigating factors may result in changes to our itinerary and alteration to certain shore excursions. this is particularly important with regard to the flying of the helicopters.
- Physical rating
- Min 8
- Group size
- Min 1, Max 128
Why we love this trip
Feel on Top of the World and literally stand on it – reach the pinnacle of Arctic endeavours and the Earth with an expedition to 90 degrees North
Climb aboard a ship that can go where others cannot – crush through metres of ice on the world’s largest, most-powerful nuclear icebreaker, ‘50 Years of Victory’
Float high above the Pole on a unique, optional sightseeing hot air balloon ride
Cruise in Zodiacs to explore remote seabird colonies, seldom-visited landing sites, and to discover historic remains from three ill-fated arctic expeditions
Discover the Arctic Circle’s wildlife and wildflowers on Franz Josef Land
Is this trip right for you?
As you’d expect, temperatures in the Arctic are very cold. A warm parka will be provided along with waterproof boots and unlimited hot drinks, but you should also bring base layers and lots of warm clothing. Please see the trip notes for further important information about what to bring.
Weather depending, you will be making regular excursions in a Zodiac boat to explore the local area and look for wildlife. It can get very cold and wet on the Zodiac, so make sure you are dressed appropriately and that you keep your camera safe and dry. Sturdy sea legs are needed as you make wet and dry landings from the boat, and on steep terrain, snow and other uneven surfaces. Some ships have a lot of stairs, so please hold on to the handrails if seas are rough.
The weather plays a pivotal part in this adventure and although there’s an itinerary in place, there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to do everything that is planned for. A level of flexibility and openness to embracing the unexpected are important in expedition travel, especially to such a remote area.
This trip takes places during the time of year that Spitsbergen enjoys 24-hour daylight. Just one of the benefits of this is that incredible wildlife can be seen at any time of the day – be prepared to be woken at any time so as to not miss out on exciting animal sightings.
Polar bears are one of the most incredible and appealing animals on the planet, but they are also powerful predators with little fear of humans. Therefore it’s necessary to be aware of the guidelines surrounding any contact with Polar bears. Follow your leader’s instructions and do not stray from your group – your leader carries equipment to protect you.
Meals IncludedThere are no meals included on this day.
Special InformationADVENTURE OPTIONS
Kayaking is available to book on all Arctic voyages. This must be booked prior to departure and incurs an additional cost. Spaces are limited. Additional trip notes and waivers will be sent when any adventure options are booked. For kayaking, previous, recent experience is essential.
North Pole and get acquainted with 50 Years of Victory, the world’s largest and most powerful icebreaker.
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 ice conditions. This means you’ll have plenty of time to get to know your shipmates, be treated to lectures and discussions by our expedition team while keeping a lookout for bird life. There are also many wonderful amenities to take advantage of onboard, such as the ship’s lap pool or basketball court.
- Breakfast (4)
- Lunch (4)
- Dinner (4)
POSSIBLE LANDING SITES IN FRANZ JOSEF LAND
World War II history, with the remains of Germany’s Schatsgräber station found here. There is also a large air landing strip and the frontier Russian station Nagurskaya, which was abandoned in 1996.
Relics from the turn of the 20th century are found along the shores of Alger Island. A number of expeditions, including the Baldwin-Ziegler expedition of 1901-02 and the Fiala-Ziegler expedition of 1903-05 set up bases here. Remains of their huts and time here are found at Camp Ziegler and West Camp Ziegler. At the center of the island is the impressive Mount Richthofen (0.25 miles, 404 m). Nearby Matilda Island also offers insights into life here more than 100 years ago.
This small island has a ridge that may provide a vantage point for viewing a walrus rookery, known to haul-out on the island. Zodiac cruising for watching walrus from a distance is also a possibility.
In 1881 Benjamin Leigh-Smith’s expedition built a hut
here, but never had the opportunity to use it as their ship wrecked off the coast. The hut is in supreme condition, and has a number of interesting inscriptions on its interior walls. An old Russian isba (wood structure) is also found here, which may even pre-date the official 1873 discovery of
Franz Josef Land.
CALM BAY, HOOKER ISLAND
Sporadically in use today, this is the site of the first ever polar station in the archipelago, built in 1929. Memorials to Georgiy Sedov’s wintering in 1913-14 are built here and the remains of a glaciologist hut can also be seen.
This is a well-known area for spotting polar bears. This is
a popular hunting ground for them as seals also frequent
CAPE FLIGLEY, RUDOLF ISLAND
The most northern point of the archipelago is marked with a copper plaque and memorial cross. This is also the most northern part of Europe, reaching further north than Spitsbergen. The island is almost entirely ice-covered and temperatures only rise above freezing for a few shorts weeks each summer.
CAPE FLORA, NORTHBROOK ISLAND
More than half a dozen expeditions passed through here in the late 19th and early 20th centuries - among them was the ‘1000 Days in the Arctic’ expedition of Jackson-Harmsworth. Many buildings from the time are in ruins or have fallen into the sea, but some remain. Memorials and crosses have been erected in more recent years in memory of the survivors and victims of those early expeditions.
CAPE FORBE, GRANT LAND
Of interesting note is a Norwegian hut from the 1930’s, which was used for walrus hunting.
CAPE HELLER, WILCZEK LAND
Historically significant markers can be found here, including the remains of a stone hut used by two men from the 1898-99 Walter Wellman expedition. There is a grave site and large memorial post in honor of the one member who died here just after New Year’s in 1899.
CAPE NORWAY, JACKSON ISLAND
Sometimes unreachable, even to icebreakers, weather is always a factor at this northern part of the archipelago. A variety of arctic flora is found in this area, making it particularly interesting for botanists. This is also the location where Fridtjof Nansen and Frederick Jackson stayed during the 1895-96 winter and the remains of their stone hut can
CAPE TEGETTHOF, HALL ISLAND
Impressive tall cliffs are home to large numbers of seabirds, while the ruins of the Walter Wellman 1898-99 expedition are also found. With a diverse landscape the island is great for exploring on foot, provided that polar bears aren’t in the vicinity.
Wildflowers of the tundra are a common sight, giving a bit of color to an often bleak landscape. Of particular interest are the mysteriously perfectly-rounded rocks scattered on parts of the island. They are up to 2m in diameter and have been nicknamed ‘Devil’s Marbles.’
GRAHAM BELL ISLAND
One of two islands in the archipelago named after Alexander Graham Bell. Cape Kohlsaat on the eastern edge of the island is the most eastern point of the archipelago. Until 1995 there was a large military base in use and the island is still subject to military restrictions.
The Fiala-Ziegler expedition of 1903-05 left behind a large depot, named Kane Lodge. It is one of the more impressive depots from this, and other expeditions found in the archipelago.
For 40 years the geophysical observatory known as Krenkel operated here, complete with a launching ramp for sending rockets into the upper atmosphere. The station re-opened in 2004 with much smaller operations, thus a large part remains unused. Research and modern-life in the Arctic are portrayed well here, with a great sampling of abandoned items, including aircraft. The island also has a natural attraction, featuring a scenic ice dome and interesting basalt formations.
This is a scenic and narrow waterway that lies between MacKlintok Island and Hall Island towards the southern reaches of Franz Josef Land.
RUBINI ROCK, HOOKER ISLAND
Considered by many to be home to the most impressive bird cliffs anywhere in Franz Josef Land. The cliffs are home to a bounty of seabirds and because of deep waters, ships are able to get up close to the edge of the cliffs for great views. Most of the shores are dominated by glacier fronts, while a large part of the island is ice-covered.
A number of narrow channels and varying landscapes are found near Salisbury Island, which is close to Champ, Ziegler and Wiener-Neustadt Islands. This makes it an ideal place for helicopter exploration and scenic flights. It is relatively difficult to land along the coast of the archipelago’s sixth largest island, so admire from afar.
TEPLITZ BAY, RUDOLF ISLAND
With a long history of arctic exploration this bay was first explored during Julius Payer’s 1874 expedition. Once a base for long-distance arctic flights, the bay is also home to an abandoned polar station. Ships have sunk in these icy waters; a wrecked aircraft lies on the icecap and monuments and graves pay homage to the early explorers who died here. For wildlife, both narwhal and beluga whales have been seen in these waters.
The westernmost island of the archipelago, this very small island is actually geographically closer to Svalbard than Franz Josef Land. The icecap here reaches almost 100m thick and is an impressive sight from a distance. Walrus, polar bears and ivory gulls are most commonly spotted, with the island being a large breeding ground for the gulls.
The Austro-Hungarian Tegetthof expedition left their mark here after being trapped in ice in 1872. Sites include a grave of one of their team members, located high up on a ridge. The island is half ice-covered and is among the most southerly islands of the archipelago.
- Breakfast (2)
- Lunch (2)
- Dinner (2)
- Breakfast (2)
- Lunch (2)
- Dinner (2)
Meals13 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 11 dinners
TransportExpedition cruise ship, plane, Zodiac
AccommodationExpedition Voyage, Quality hotel
Your 50 Years of Victory ship
On this itinerary, you'll be travelling aboard the 50 Years of Victory.
Arctic and Antarctic bookings have an increased deposit requirement of 20% of the full voyage cost (before any discount). The balance is due 120 days before departure.
If a booking is cancelled 120 days or more before departure - the cancellation fee is the full loss of the deposit paid.
If a booking is cancelled between 119 days and departure - the cancellation fee is 100% of the total price of the voyage.
Other fees may apply for air tickets and other arrangements booked in conjunction with a Polar voyage.
Hot Air Ballooning is an optional extra offered on North Pole itineraries. This is highly weather dependent. It is necessary to book this in advance, but it is paid for on board the ship in US dollars.
Your voyage is operated by our sister company, Quark Expeditions. All accommodation and transfer arrangements as listed in the itinerary are also operated by Quark Expeditions or their local representatives.