15 days

The North Pole - 50 Years of Victory 2015

The North Pole - 50 Years of Victory 2015

Circumnavigate the North Pole

Helicopter sightseeing in the Arctic

The Arctic Fox

Explore the harsh, pristine paradise of Franz Josef Land

Hot Air Ballooning at the North Pole

Murmansk to the Pole

Trip rating
  • 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.


    Adventure Options


    If reaching the North Pole isn’t a big enough thrill, be one of only a few people in the world to soar above the sea-ice in a hot air balloon, with a sweeping 360° view to all points south. Rising as high as 30 meters, your birds-eye view of the ship and Arctic tundra will be something you’ll remember forever. Exclusive to Quark Expeditions, this option brings you a whole new perspective on the North Pole!

    This option can only be booked during your voyage and is highly weather dependant. For more information about Adventure Options, including physical requirements and cost of each please contact Peregrine.






    Visitors to the North Pole usually number in the mere hundreds each year. Soak up the icy surroundings knowing that even polar bears and harp seals are rare visitors to this extremity of the earth.



    Some 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 (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, which are known to haul-out on the island. Zodiac cruising for watching walrus from a distance is also a possibility here.



    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.



    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 are also found here.



    This is a well-known area for spotting polar bears. This is

    a popular hunting ground for them as seals also frequent

    the area.



    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 here for a few shorts weeks each summer.



    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 both the survivors and victims of those early expeditions.



    Of interesting note here is a Norwegian hut from the 1930’s, which was used for walrus hunting.



    Historically significant markers can be found here, including the remains of a stone hut that was 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.



    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 be visited.



    Impressive tall cliffs are home to large numbers of seabirds here, while the ruins of the Walter Wellman 1898-99 expedition are also found here. 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 sighting here, giving a bit of color to an often bleak landscape. Of particular interest though are the mysteriously perfectly-rounded rocks that are scattered on parts of the island. They are up to 2m in diameter and have been nicknamed ‘Devil’s Marbles.’



    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 here and the island is still subject to military restrictions.



    The Fiala-Ziegler expedition of 1903-05 left behind a large depot here, named Kane Lodge. It is one of the more impressive depots from this, and other, expeditions that can be 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.



    Considered by many to be home to the most impressive birds cliffs anywhere in Franz Josef Land. The cliffs here are home to a bounty of seabirds and because of deep waters ships are able to get right up close to the edge of the cliffs for great views. Most of the shores here are dominated by glacier fronts, with a large part of the island 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.



    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 Joseph 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 here, 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.


    Why we love it


    Day 1 - Helsinki, Finland

    Your adventure begins with one-night in magical Helsinki, Finland's capital. Staying up to the wee hours is easy in here, as daylight fades to twilight for only a few hours during summer.

    Day 2 - Embarkation in Murmansk, Russia

    From Helsinki, you’ll join your fellow passengers on the charter flight that will take you 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.

    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 3–7 - Northbound in the Arctic Ocean

    Being onboard 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 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 | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 8 - The North Pole - 90° North

    All the anticipation reaches a climax as you reach 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 to enjoy your moment at the top! Later, everyone will celebrate with a champagne toast and a BBQ on the ice. If the opportunity allows, you also 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 (highly weather dependent).

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 9 - Southbound in the Arctic Ocean

    On our return voyage you can sit back and relax. As you head further south, you may get lucky and spot polar bears hunting for seals.

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 10-11 - 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 allow you to explore remote seabird colonies. The 50 Years of Victory helicopter again will provide aerial sightseeing and our Zodiacs will be used to transfer you to seldom-visited landing sites.

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 12-13 - Southbound at Sea

    Enjoy your time out on deck or reminisce with your shipmates and new friends as you cross the Arctic Ocean back to Murmansk.

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 14 - 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.

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 15 - Helsinki

    After breakfast at your centrally located hotel, you are free to leave for home or extend your stay. Helsinki, Tallinn (capital of Estonia) and St Petersburg are all fascinating cities, just waiting to be explored. Our Reservations Team are happy to help you arrange your extended stay.

  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • 1 night pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Helsinki, Finland, with breakfast
    • 1 night post-expedition hotel accommodation in Helsinki, Finland, with breakfast
    • Day 2 group transfer from Helsinki hotel to airport
    • Day 2 group transfer from Murmansk airport to ship
    • Shipboard accommodation with housekeeping
    • Shipboard breakfasts, lunches and dinners
    • Shore landings included in daily program
    • Group helicopter transfers and sightseeing flights included in the daily program
    • Professional Expedition Leadership
    • All Zodiac excursions and transfers
    • Formal and informal educational presentations by the Expedition Team
    • Photographic Journal on DVD, documenting the voyage
    • The loan of a pair of waterproof boots for the duration of the voyage
    • A waterproof expedition parka to keep
    • A selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
    • Hair dryer and bathrobes in each cabin
    • Day 13 group transfer from the ship to the Murmansk airport
    • Day 13 group transfer from Helsinki airport to the hotel
    • Comprehensive pre-departure package including Quark’s Arctic Reader and map
    • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
    • All shipboard luggage handling
    • Emergency Evacuation Insurance to a maximum benefit of US$100,000 per person
    • All Zodiac excursions and transfers included in the daily program

    Not Included

    • Government arrival and departure taxes.
    • All airfares
    • Visa and passport fees, airport departure taxes
    • Any pre-voyage or post-voyage hotel accommodation
    • Laundry, postage, telephone calls, drinks, medical expenses
    • Travel insurance, emergency evacuation charges
    • Gratuities to staff and crew
    • For some specified departures, the purchase of arrival transfer packages and charter or domestic flights in conjunction with the expedition is mandatory.
    • The applicable per-person cost is indicated on the Dates and Rates summary.
    • Any meals ashore with the exception of breakfast at the host hotel before embarkation, when applicable.
    • Excess baggage charges.
    • Optional Ballooning at the North Pole

    Safety Information

    Safety is paramount. Onboard you will be asked to participate in the obligatory lifeboat drill. We will also conduct important briefings on landing procedures and zodiac operations.

  • Our Ships

    50 Years of Victory

    50 Years of Victory

    Carrying the highest ice class rating possible, Victory can crush ice up to 3 meters (10 feet) thick, and is the world's largest and most sophisticated nuclear-powered icebreaker.

    Onboard you hardly feel a thing. Absolutely unforgettable is the sound of mammoth slabs of ice colliding with the hull! An onboard helicopter extends the vessels ability to reach ice-locked, remote Arctic islands en route from the North Pole.

    Please note: Arktika Suites 46 and 48 have obstructed views from their windows

  • From our Blog

    Tips for photographing the Arctic

    In so many ways The Arctic is overwhelming.  It is simply huge in scale, and in many cases travellers into the region can be made feel like they are little ants in a world of snow, ice, and water. It is also such a foreign place to most, as very few people live in a world anything close to resembling...

    Read on...

    Put yourself in this picture

    We posted this image on Facebook recently, and invited our fans to play our new game, Picture Yourself With Peregrine. We also asked if they could picture themselves in the Arctic.

    Here's a few of the responses from those who have been, and those who are still dreaming of their...

    Read on...

    Penguins & polar bears: Same same but different

    They both love to swim, they both love to eat fish and they both thrive in some of the harshest climates in the world. But the penguin and the polar bear are destined never to meet.

    Living at opposite ends of the world, penguins and polar bears have made very different homes for themselves. And...

    Read on...

    Making the best better - the greatest Antarctic adventures

    A voyage south to explore Antarctica’s frozen wastes truly deserves the overused ‘holiday of a lifetime’ description. From the graceful hulks of vast blue-ice tabular icebergs to the wildlife encounters, to the light itself, Antarctica is a life-altering destination, capable of...

    Read on...

    Our Antarctic 'Big Five'

    Notching up sightings of the 'Big Five' is in the back of every African safari-goer’s mind. So, in the interests of fairness, below is our equivalent list for another wildlife wonderland – Antarctica. Whether you’re taking in the sub-Antarctic Islands, Antarctic Peninsula or to...

    Read on...

Select a trip date below

Trip Start Dates
Trip Duration
Guaranteed Departure Start Date
Trip Selected:
Discount price:

*Please note: To receive the discounted price for this departure, please enter the Promo Code at Step 4 of the booking form.

No Code available
View all departures

Trip at a glance

Trip Code PPPN15
Start City: Helsinki
End City: Helsinki
Style: Polar

Contact an expert

855-832-4859We'll call you

Simply enter your details and we'll call you back within the next business day.