Your icebreaker, 50 Years of Victory, will take you to a part of the world more commonly associated with fairy tales and folklore—the North Pole. Few have ever reached 90°N—the ultimate travel goal that has stirred the hearts and minds of explorers and adventurers alike. Departing from Murmansk, Russia, your journey to the extreme north will be just as exciting as standing at the very top of the world. Imagine being aboard the most powerful nuclear icebreaker on the planet as it crushes through thick, multiyear pack ice. Achieving the absolute zenith of polar exploration, you’ll celebrate with a champagne toast, pose for the ultimate photo op and, if conditions permit, soar high above the Earth on an optional hot air balloon ride. Take in even more spectacular sights from a thrilling helicopter tour over the icy Arctic Ocean. Then, swinging by Franz Josef Land on the way home, visit amazing historical sites, always on the lookout for the astonishing wildlife that call this fragile place home. As one of only 250 people privileged to voyage to the top of the world each year, you’ll be surrounded by dramatic, endless icescapes and the courage of those who came before you.
Possible Landings: Helsinki, Murmansk, North Pole, Apollonov Island, Bell Island, Hooker Island, Cambridge Strait, Rudolf Island, Northbrook Island, Wilczek Island, Jackson Island, Champ Island, Negri Fjord, Hooker Island, Rudolf Island, Murmansk, Helsinki
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.
FRANZ JOSEF LAND
This small island has a ridge that may provide a vantage point for viewing a walrus rookery, which is known to haul-out on the island. Zodiac cruising to watch walrus from a distance is also a possibility.
In 1881, Benjamin Leigh-Smith’s expedition built a hut here, but the crew never had the opportunity to use it, as their ship was wrecked off the coast. The hut is in supreme condition and has a number of interesting inscriptions on its interior walls. Also found here is an old Russian Isba (a wooden hut), which may even predate the official 1873 discovery of Franz Josef Land.
Calm Bay, Hooker Island
Sporadically in use today, this is the site of the archipelago’s first-ever polar station, built in 1929. Memorials to Georgiy Sedov’s wintering in 1913–14 are built here, and the remains of a glaciologist’s hut can also be seen.
Cambridge Strait is a well-known area for polar bears as they hunt for seals that frequent the area.
Cape Fligely, Rudolf Island
The most northern point of the archipelago is marked with a copper plaque and a memorial cross. This is also the northernmost part of Europe, reaching farther 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—the Jackson-Harmsworth expedition described in the book A Thousand Days in the Arctic was among them. Many buildings from the time are in ruins or have fallen into the sea, but some remain. Memorials and crosses have been erected recently in memory of the survivors and victims of those early expeditions.
Cape Heller, Wilczek Island
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 gravesite and large memorial post in honor of the one member who died here just after New Year’s in 1899.
Cape Norway, Jackson Island
Weather is always a factor in this northern part of the archipelago, which is sometimes unreachable, even for icebreakers. A variety of arctic flora is found in this area, making it particularly interesting for botanists. This is also where Fridtjof Nansen and Frederick Jackson stayed over winter 1895–96, and the remains of their stone hut can be visited.
Cape Tegetthoff, Hall Island
Impressive tall cliffs are home to large numbers of seabirds, while the ruins of the Walter Wellman 1898–99 expedition can also be 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 around parts of the island. They are up to seven feet (two meters) in diameter and have been nicknamed Devil’s Marbles.
This is a scenic and narrow waterway that lies between MacKlintok Island and Hall Island toward the southern reaches of Franz Josef Land.
Rubini Rock, Hooker Island
Rubini Rock is considered by many to be home to the most impressive bird cliffs anywhere in Franz Josef Land. The cliffs feature 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.
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 ice cap, 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.
Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your Expedition Team must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. The following landing sites are a sample of what you may experience on your expedition.
Your adventure begins with a one- night stay in Helsinki, Finland’s capital.
From Helsinki, you’ll join your fellow passengers on the charter flight 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.
Being on board 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 the ice conditions. This means you’ll have plenty of time to get to know your shipmates and be treated to lectures and discussions by your Expedition Team while looking out for birdlife. There are also many wonderful amenities on board, such as the ship’s lap pool or basketball court.
The anticipation reaches a climax as you arrive at 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 you enjoy your moment at the top! Later, everyone will celebrate with a toast and a barbecue on the ice. If the opportunity allows, you 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 (this is highly weather dependent).
On our return voyage, you can sit back and relax. As you head farther south, you may get lucky and spot polar bears hunting for seals.
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. You may also have the chance, if conditions allow, to explore remote seabird colonies while Zodiac cruising beneath towering cliffs or enjoy another breathtaking aerial sightseeing tour aboard the Victory helicopter.
Enjoy your time on deck or reminisce with your shipmates and new friends as you cross the Arctic Ocean back to Murmansk. Expedition staff will be on hand to answer any remaining questions and point out wildlife during the return journey.
Returning to Russia’s most northerly city, you’ll have time to bid farewell to 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.
After breakfast, your official Quark Expeditions® journey comes to an end. We do encourage you to spend time exploring Helsinki, and its surrounding areas.
Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your Expedition Team must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed. By the same token, wildlife encounters as described are expected but not guaranteed. Your Expedition Team will use their considerable experience to seek out wildlife in known habitats, but the presence of any particular species of bird or marine wildlife is not a guarantee.
|Date||Departure||Twin||Mini Suite||Suite||Victory Suite||Arktika Suite|
|Jun 12 - 25, 2019||Helsinki||29.995||32.795||40.995||44.995||45.095|
|Jun 23 - Jul 6, 2019||Helsinki||29.995||32.795||40.995||44.995||45.095|
Mandatory Transfer Package $1,995
|Date||Departure||Twin||Mini Suite||Suite||Victory Suite||Arktika Suite|
|Jun 17 - Jun 30, 2020||Helsinki||30.995||35.995||41.595||44.095||45.095|
|Jun 28 - Jul 11, 2020||Helsinki||30.995||35.995||41.595||44.095||45.095|
Mandatory Transfer Package $1,995
On-board helicopters offer thrilling aerial sightseeing opportunities high above your ship and the expansive ocean waters.
Led by experienced staff, exploring on foot is the best way to appreciate the landscape and shorelines of Franz Josef Land. Normally hiking groups are split out into different experience levels to allow passengers of a variety of fitness and experience levels to participate.
Daily chats with on-board experts—our guides, scientists and other special guests—let passengers rub shoulders with historians, botanists, ornithologists, zoologists, geologists and more.
This rite of passage, experienced just once per expedition, sees you safely jumping into icy ocean waters under the watchful eye of our staff—and just about every single camera lens on board!
Zodiacs are the workhorses of polar expeditions, safely transporting guests to remote shorelines and shallow inlets—places the ships can’t reach. Hopping in and out of them is super-easy.
Documenting your voyage so you can take the memories home is both rewarding and constructive. Plus, it is next to impossible to take a bad picture of the Polar Regions.
Walking poles are provided at each landing for your convenience. This equipment is available at no cost.
Hot Air Ballooning
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-degree view of all points south. Rising as high as 98 feet (30 meters), you’ll experience a bird’s-eye view of the ship and arctic ice—something you’ll remember forever. Exclusive to Quark Expeditions®, this option brings you a whole new perspective of the North Pole! This option can only be booked during your voyage and is highly weather dependent
If there is one constant at sea, it is that you’ll enjoy delicious meals daily. While meal times may change due to landings and wildlife encounters, you’ll always be served three meals a day. Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated by letting us know prior to your expedition.
Breakfasts and lunches are normally served buffet-style, while dinners are served plated. À la carte meals are made at the time of your order, allowing our chefs to prepare each dish to your individual needs, ensuring you receive top-quality meals during the course of your expedition.
Soft drinks, juices and water are available at all times, and beer and wine are served with dinner, all included in the cost of your package. Spirits, premium wines and champagne are available at an extra cost, which can be billed to your shipboard account. The well-stocked bar is open to enjoy with your fellow shipmates in the late morning, afternoon and evening.
Weather is very variable; temperatures may hover around the freezing mark and winds can be strong. The continuous daylight warms sheltered areas so that you may sometimes find it warm enough for t-shirts. However, you may encounter snow squalls, fog and white-outs during an expedition and should be ready for any conditions.
For Shore Landings
For on Board
Behind the scenes and on the front lines, we are nothing without the dedication, knowledge, energy and passion of our staff. By consistently attracting the most talented people in the polar travel industry, we can keep doing what we do, season after season, to the poles and back and back again. This is where we shine.
Our Expeditions Leaders and staff bring diverse polar expertise in subjects as varied as polar history, marine biology, glaciology and photography. Their knowledge will greatly enhance your immersion into the polar environment and further enhance your connection to the Arctic. With over 25 years of experience bringing passengers to remote polar regions, we know how to handle the unexpected to guarantee the safety of all passengers. Ensuring this hard earned experience is not lost, our new expedition staff receive comprehensive training in our newly developed Quark Academy, which provides real-world polar expedition training prior to any staff member’s first voyage.
Join the select few who have tripped to the North Pole on this polar-class, nuclear-powered icebreaker. Authentic in the true sense of the word, the 50 Years of Victory is one of the most powerful icebreakers in the world, a pure workhorse, keeping shipping routes free of ice the rest of the year. Creature comforts are many. All cabins have exterior views, private facilities, TVs and DVD players. There’s a gym, a basketball court, two saunas and a small plunge pool, not to mention a polar library and a fully stocked bar. The on-board helicopter offers up absolutely mind-blowing aerial sightseeing.
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