Summary : Take a trip to the top of the world where "South" is all around you. Embark a powerful nuclear-powered Russian icebreaker for the ultimate Arctic adventure. Enjoy helicopter rides off the ship, encounter rookeries of Arctic birds, walruses, and seals, and scout for polar bear on the trip of a lifetime!
Please keep in mind that this is a unique expedition to a remote and rarely explored part of the globe. Our sample itinerary should therefore be considered as a guide only, as it is heavily dependent on weather and ice conditions.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Photography
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Following your arrival into Murmansk, receive a group transfer to your included hotel.
Take a group transfer from your hotel to board the 50 Years of Victory. Depart on one of the most powerful nuclear-powered Russian icebreakers in the world and start your journey north out of Kola Bay.
Nowhere can it be more truly said that “getting there is half the fun.” Keep an eye out for whales as you cruise northward through the Barents Sea. Meanwhile, you'll have the opportunities to learn about the unique icebreaking capabilities of the ship and take a tour of the engine room.
As you make your way across the ice cap, witness the ship’s awesome power firsthand as massive ice blocks give way under the enormous bulk of the spoon-shaped bow. The sensation of being on deck at this time is surreal and unforgettable.
Take advantage of 24-hour daylight to offer helicopter 'flightseeing' tours. From the air you can observe the ship crushing a path through the ice. You also have a unique vantage point from which to witness the stunning beauty of this vast polar icescape.
Welcome to the geographic North Pole! After carefully navigating to 90 degrees North, ceremoniously drop the anchor on a sturdy stretch of ice and disembark onto the frozen sea.
Now is the time to experiencing the long-anticipated thrill of standing at the top of the world. Join hands with your fellow passengers and literally walk around the world during a special International Round Dance. You are also treated to a barbecue meal on the ice. You may even have the chance to take a plunge into the icy water!
After your memorable time at the North Pole, turn around and head south. But the adventure is not over yet. The High Arctic archipelago of Franz Josef Land is still to come.
The Franz Josef Land archipelago, part of the Russian Arctic National Park since 2012, is a nature sanctuary. Polar bears and other quintessential High Arctic wildlife such as walruses and some rare whale species may be spotted. Scree slopes and cliffs around the islands host enormous nesting colonies of migratory seabirds such as guillemots, dovekies, and ivory gulls. Take advantage of 24-hour daylight to exploit every opportunity for wildlife viewing and excursions via Zodiac and helicopter.
Franz Josef Land is home to some interesting geological features, such as the mysterious stone balls on Champ Island. Collectors of geographical extremes may take note that Cape Fligely on Rudolf Island is the northernmost point of land in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Franz Josef Land also offers visitors the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of famous polar explorers at well-preserved historical sites. The journals of explorers such as Julius von Payer, Benjamin Leigh Smith, Frederick George Jackson, and Fridtjof Nansen come alive at Cape Norway, Cape Flora, Eira Harbour, and Cape Tegetthoff. Memorials, monuments, crosses, and the remains of dwellings are testimony to incredible historical events that are further illuminated by onboard expert lecturers.
Tikhaya Bukhta is currently a Russian Arctic National Park ranger station occupying Soviet-era research buildings and was also a major base for polar expeditions. Nearby, the fascinating columnar basalt cliffs of Rubini Rock are home to thousands of nesting seabirds.
Head south through the bountiful waters of the Barents Sea. Presentations and workshops ensure that these days at sea are not idly spent. You may also take advantage of onboard facilities and amenities such as a polar library, volleyball court, gym, two saunas, seawater pool, gift shop, and massage treatments. Seabird viewing and whale sightings can be enjoyed from panoramic open decks as well as exterior stateroom windows.
After breakfast disembark the ship and take a group transfer to the airport.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions—and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Bilingual Departure: English/German
Guests 84-years-old and younger are covered by a medical insurance policy to a maximum benefit of €100,000 EUROS (approx. $109,450 USD) per person. This policy includes emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance from remote regions. Insurance is only in effect on board the ship and outside the port of Murmansk. Guests 85 and older are required to purchase their own insurance policy with coverage not less than €100,000 EUROS per person. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage, and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.
Helipcopter Sightseeing: Included
An onboard helicopter allows passengers to be more than just spectators. Time, weather, and/or ice conditions permitting, experience breathtaking helicopter rides over the icebreaker as it plows its way through the ice, offering amazing opportunities for photos on a unique adventure!
Photography Program: Included
Learn and practice your photography skills alongside an experienced professional. An expert photographer will be available to answer your questions and give advice, both in the form of onboard lectures and workshops on shore. Explore the key elements of photography in a fun and relaxed setting with plenty of opportunities for questions and feedback. Learn how to see light in a new way and experiment with the techniques of composition and framing.
One pre-voyage hotel night in Murmansk, Russia, with breakfast; transfer airport/hotel on the day prior to embarkation; transfer hotel/Port of Murmansk on embarkation day; transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation; shipboard accommodations with housekeeping; helicopter flightseeing (weather permitting); shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac; shore landings included in daily program; program of lectures and informal discussions by experienced Expedition Team and guest lecturers; professional Expedition Leadership; shipboard luggage handling; digital voyage log; gear to keep (complimentary wind- and water-resistant parka); gear on loan (rubber boots); all meals onboard the ship; coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock; medical insurance policy to a maximum benefit of €100,000 EUROS per person (approx. $109,450 USD; includes emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance; included only for those 84 years of age and younger); gratuities to the expedition team and hotel staff (2021 departures); miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program. Inclusions subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers airport/hotel if arriving prior to Day 1 of the program; single supplement for Murmansk hotel if applicable; passport and visa expenses (Russian visa required); state arrival and departure taxes (if levied); helicopter flying time in excess of that offered for the group; meals ashore unless otherwise specified; any beverages that are not in the complimentary selection; excess baggage charges on international and local flights; laundry, bar, and other personal charges; telecommunication services; luggage and cancellation insurance (strongly recommended by shipping company); emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance to a maximum benefit of €100,000 EUROS per person (approx. $109,450 USD; for those 85 years of age and older); fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos: © Poseidon Expeditions