Day 1: Helsinki, Finland
Our North Pole tour begins just six degrees south of the Arctic Circle in Finland's capital of Helsinki, a sophisticated city with lively nightlife, green spaces and a breathtaking harbor. We encourage you to arrive early to explore the city before you settle down for the night in our centrally located hotel, which is included in the price of your expedition.
Day 2: Embarkation Day
Your flight is included from Helsinki to Murmansk, Russia, the home port of the Russian nuclear icebreaker fleet. En route to Murmansk we cross the Arctic Circle. Our ship, 50 Years of Victory,
is a massive vessel, making her maiden voyage to the North Pole in 2008. Tugboats and high tide assist the ship in leaving the dock. Ashore, a band plays a Russian march as Victory
heads out to sea, fitting pomp for one of the most powerful ships afloat.
Days 3 – 7: Northbound on the Arctic Ocean
You'll stay plenty busy as our ship forges north toward the goal of this expedition—the very top of the world. A complement of onboard experts present various lectures and slideshows in the saloon: listen to our polar historian recount tales of the hubris and foolhardiness of those who sought to claim the title of "first to reach the pole." Our marine biologist offers an illustrated presentation on the role of the Arctic Ocean in this far-northern ecosystem. The ship's ornithologist accompanies us topside to identify birds on the wing. And our Expedition Leader—head of the ship's staff—may deploy the onboard helicopter for an aerial view of 50 Years of Victory
Day 8: North Pole
Our Expedition Leader in consultation with the ship's captain will consult charts and weather reports, adjusting the daily program to take advantage of local conditions. If they are optimal, we should reach the North Pole some time on the eighth day of the expedition. It's a stunning feeling to know we have reached the top of the world, circling the marker that identifies our location at 90 degrees north latitude and joining the small contingent of expedition travelers who have ever stood on this spot.
Day 9: Southbound
As 50 Years of Victory
turns to sail southward, the members of the Expedition Team prepare you for shore landings in Franz Josef Land, with informative presentations covering the wildlife, geology and history of the archipelago.
Day 10-12: Franz Josef Land / Arctic Ocean
This part of the Arctic Ocean is so remote that Franz Josef Land was not discovered until after Antarctica was. It is the most northerly archipelago in Eurasia and lies entirely within the Arctic Circle. Here we'll visit historic places like Cape Flora on Northbrook Island, where we'll see buildings and ruins from three ill-fated Arctic expeditions. We may see walrus and polar bears on these islands, which we explore on Zodiac voyages and helicopter flightseeing excursions.
Day 11-12: At Sea
We'll spend two days cruising southbound, during which you may enjoy varied presentations and activities aboard.
Day 13: Disembark in Murmansk
Returning to Russia's most northerly city, the time has come to bid farewell to our ship, the indomitable 50 Years of Victory
. Once ashore, you are transferred to the airport for our charter flight to Helsinki, Finland, where you'll enjoy one final night with the new-found friends who have joined you on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Day 14: Helsinki, Finland
After breakfast, our expedition comes to an end. We encourage you to spend some extra time exploring the Baltic region on your own; Helsinki, Tallinn (Estonia's capital) and St. Petersburg are all within easy reach. If you wish assistance with extending your stay, our Adventure Specialists are always happy to help.
Note: This itinerary should serve as a guideline only; the actual stops are determined by weather, wildlife activity and a host of other factors, in order to provide the best possible experience. This flexibility is what makes traveling on our nimble expedition ships so much more rewarding than on a cruise ship with a locked-in voyage plan.