Franz Josef Land

Journey to the North Pole

14 days
from
£22,900
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Traveller ratings
5 / 5 from 1 review >
Leisurely
Learn more
Trip code: 
PNP
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Polar
Min age:
18
Max group size:
128

With only one ship capable of offering this itinerary, reaching the North Pole aboard the '50 Years of Victory' is a rewarding and rare expedition

This journey combines the raw power of the ship with the use of helicopter flights for aerial viewing. Crushing through pack ice that is metres thick, the 'Victory' can sail in conditions that would defeat any other ship. Reaching the ‘top of the world’, the experience of standing where all directions are south, is incomparable. There will be time to perform the shortest possible circumnavigation of the globe before heading south to explore the remote Franz Josef Land. With its massive flat-topped islands and steep basalt cliffs, this archipelago is a birdwatcher's paradise. This is quite simply a voyage without comparison.

Highlights

  • Circumnavigate the globe and reach 90° North - 'the top of the world'
  • Discover the remote archipelago of Franz Josef Land with its 191 islands
  • Travel aboard the world's largest and most powerful icebreaker
  • View the icy wilderness from the ship's helicopter
  • Accompanied by extremely qualified Expedition Staff

Key information

  • 11 nights on the ship, 2 nights hotel in Helsinki
  • Expedition cruising in comfortable conditions

What's included

  • All meals while on the ship
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Full complement of qualified Expedition Staff
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Mandatory tranfer package (including charter flights from Helsinki to Murmansk return) which is £1500 per person (or equivalent in booking currency) paid upon booking
Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Helsinki, overnight in hotel.

    Our journey starts in Helsinki where we spend the night at a centrally located hotel.

  • Day 2

    Charter flight to Murmansk, Russia; board ship and embark.

    From Helsinki, a charter flight will take you to Murmansk, Russia, where you’ll embark on the voyage to the North Pole and get acquainted with 50 Years of Victory, the world’s largest and most powerful icebreaker.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 3-6

    Travel north in the Arctic Ocean, with the ship breaking through the formidable pack ice.

    Watching Victory crush through the Arctic pack-ice is a sight you’ll never forget, made even more memorable by taking a helicopter flight for a thrilling aerial view of Victory and expansive Arctic Ocean.

    You can expect the days, and hours, to present variable sailing conditions this far north. The crossing from Murmansk to the North Pole can take us anywhere from 5 to 8 days.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    90° North, with time to celebrate reaching the top of the world.

    All the anticipation of the prior days reaches a climax as we reach the North Pole! Many travelers find themselves overcome with emotion, while others are in a festive and celebratory mood.Take photos, wave a flag, enjoy the moment! Later, everyone enjoys a champagne toast and a BBQ on the ice. Take a Polar Plunge into the icy waters marking the North pole. Add an exclamation to your success by rising high in a hot air balloon to commemorate this great moment (weather dependent).

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Travel south in the Arctic Ocean.

    As 50 Years of Victory makes her way back through the churning pack ice, we may spot Polar bears on the hunt with Ivory gulls following close behind - eager to dine on leftovers.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Visit Franz Josef Land; helicopters and zodiacs are used to transfer ashore for landings.

    This group of 191 islands forms the most northerly archipelago in Eurasia, and lies entirely within the Arctic Circle. Here we'll explore Cape Flora, and discover historic remains from three ill-fated Arctic expeditions.

    When conditions permit, Zodiac trips beneath towering cliffs will explore remote seabird rookeries. Onboard helicopters again provide aerial sightseeing and our Zodiacs transferyou to seldom visited landing sites.

    This part of the Arctic Ocean is so remote that Franz Josef Land was discovered after Antarctica. It is the most northerly archipelago in Eurasia and lies entirely within the Arctic Circle. We may see walrus and Polar bears on these islands, which we'lll explore on Zodiac excursions and helicopter sightseeing rides.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 10-11

    Southbound at Sea.

    During our southbound journey, as it was on our journey north, we keep a vigil for Polar bears on ice. No two Polar bear sightings or North Pole voyages are the same.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Disembark in Murmansk; charter flight to Helsinki, night in hotel.

    The return to Helsinki requires a charter flight from Murmansk and just the right tide conditions for docking the ship. Overnight in Helsinki, in a centrally located hotel.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    End Helsinki.

    Our adventure finishes after breakfast in Helsinki.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Group Information

The 50 Years of Victory can take a maximum of 128 passengers. The Exodus group forms part of the ship’s complement, enjoying the relaxed, intimate and informal atmosphere, which breaks into smaller groups to facilitate the frequent excursions. We offer these cruises in conjunction with our partner, Quark Expeditions, and Exodus participants will join an international group, not all of whom have booked through Exodus. Occasionally some of these may be younger than 18 years old, the Exodus' stated minimum age for this trip.

Visas

Finland

No visa required for UK passport holders visiting Finland.

Russia

All nationalities require a visa for Russia. These requirements will vary depending on your nationality. For British nationals visa applications must now be made in person at a visa processing centre, located in London and Edinburgh. At the time of application, fingerprints will be taken. We will be providing a new type of service to assist with the application process; however we will no longer be able to submit the application on your behalf. It is your responsibility to arrange a visa prior to travel, but we will provide you with more information after booking to help and advice with this. The cost of the visa is currently GBP108.40. For more information please go to http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/travelink/Russia.pdf

Please note: The visa application takes approximently 5 working days. You can arrange for your passport to be posted back to you or returned to the visa processing centre to collect it in person. 

 

Arctic

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Finland

There are no specific health risks.

Russia

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Yellow Fever.

Arctic

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All meals while on the ship included.

Typical Meals

The ships galley offers good quality service and cuisine throughout, with excellent chefs preparing international menus including vegetarian dishes, accompanied by a wide variety of drinks from around the world on sale.

Breakfast: Buffet style – unlimited tea and coffee, a selection of fruit juices, hot options including bacon and eggs or omelettes, a selection of bread and toast and jam/honey/marmalade, fruit and cereal.

Lunch: Three course set meal or buffet, or the occasional BBQ.

Dinner: Three or four courses with a starter of soup and/or salad, a choice of mains with at least one vegetarian option and a dessert, with tea and coffee.

Is this trip for you?

Travelling Conditions

The voyages are designed to be as flexible as possible, taking advantage of circumstances and events as they occur, as well as passengers’ wishes and particular interests wherever possible. The atmosphere on board is relaxed and friendly with expedition staff, including naturalists and Polar experts, on hand and the opportunity to mingle with people from all over the world. The ship is kept warm, clean and comfortable with a wet / mud room in which to hang gear and store boots ready for the next adventure.

On the Zodiac cruises you are sitting still for most of the time with the potential for some sea spray and a cold headwind - if you are not dressed appropriately you will get cold. On the shore excursions, the majority of landings are ‘wet’ which means that the Zodiacs beach and you are helped to slide into the ankle deep shore break before walking up onto dry land (wellington boots are issued to all passengers). There are, of course, no paths, so be prepared for slippery, rough terrain and sometimes fairly deep snow. Back on board the cosy ship after each adventure, you can have a sauna and/or a hot shower and then relax with a tea, coffee, hot chocolate or something stronger from the bar.

Optional activities

Hot Air Ballooning option

Clients can sign up for tethered hot air ballooning flights during the voyage. Flights will be carried out using a basket that can carry three guests plus the pilot. The basket has a door that makes access very easy. We aim to deliver these flights right at the North Pole; however, weather conditions will dictate the exact location. Each flight will be around 15 minutes in duration. There are only 50 places available for each voyage.

Here are some reasons why you may want to join one of the flights:

Be one of only 150 people to see the North Pole from a hot air balloon in 2017

See the top of the world from the top of the world

Photography opportunity and bragging rights

A certificate is provided as a memento

Very competitive price, just about the same cost as a balloon flight elsewhere in the world.

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

50 Years of Victory

The Journey to the North Pole is offered on the 50 Years of Victory, which is our Ice Breaker. Please visit the Polar Fleet page (www.exodus.co.uk/polar-holidays/polar-fleet) for Ship Information and Deck Plans.

The Icebreaker

The 50 Years of Victory is an actual icebreaker – an enormously powerful ship, carrying the highest ice rating in the world, and equipped with helicopters for aerial sightseeing. Some of our most extraordinary journeys are only made accessible on very grown up Polar-Class icebreakers.

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed July 2016
    Meena Agrawal

    Journey to the North Pole

    Great trip! Our first sighting of a polar bear was amazing. Watching the icebreaker ship going through the dense pack ice was awesome. Standing and spending several hours on the North Pole was a wonderful experience made more special as we reached the North Pole on the day of the summer solstice. We stayed overnight at the Pole on the icebreaker and spent several hours the following day on the north pole. Once in a life time experience!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Approaching and standing on the North Pole was an amazing experience.!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our Quark expedition leader was very good but all members of the expedition team were very good and worked extremely well as a team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read about the trip and tripnotes before you go . Having 24 hours of daylight can be difficult for some travellers though it didn't bother me at all. Some of the excursions eg zodiac cruises and helicopter flights (and optional hot air balloon flights at the Pole ) may be cancelled at short notice if the weather conditions and visibility are poor.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Enjoy the trip! It is expensive but it is a once in a life time trip!

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Polar Ships: For information regarding ship specifications, visit thePolar Fleetpage.

 

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Call us on 0208 772 3936