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The captain will carefully navigate the powerful icebreaker to precisely 90 degrees north for a champagne toast of this momentous accomplishment. The anchor is ceremoniously dropped on a sturdy stretch of ice and you will be able to disembark onto the frozen sea. You will then be standing at the top of the world.
Welcome to the city of Murmansk on Russia’s Kola Peninsula, starting point of our adventure. Upon your arrival at Murmansk airport you are met and transferred to your hotel, which is included in the price of the voyage.
NOTE: we can arrange flights to either Helsinki and then a train to St Petersburg, or flights to St Petersburg, or Moscow and onto Murmansk. We can also organise your accommodation and day trips in St Petersburg & Moscow. We will also assist you to obtain your Russian Visa.
Today a group transfer takes you to the port where you are welcomed aboard the nuclear-powered icebreaker 50 Years of Victory. You’ll have time to explore the ship and get orientated as she slips her moorings and sail north out of Kola Bay.
Nowhere can it be more truly said that “getting there is half the fun”. As you cruise northward through the Barents Sea there is always the possibility of seeing whales. Meanwhile, you have the opportunity to learn about the unique icebreaking capabilities of the ship. You are also treated to a tour of the engine room – which given the ship’s engine is a nuclear generator – it’s no standard ‘engine room’. The North Pole is a little over 2,300 km from Murmansk.
As you make our way across the ice cap, you witness firsthand the ship’s awesome power as massive ice blocks give way under the enormous bulk of the spoon-shaped bow. The ship’s crew also take advantage of 24-hour daylight to offer you helicopter ‘flight-seeing’ 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 ice-scape.
Welcome to the geographic North Pole! After carefully navigating to 90 degrees North the 50 Years of Victory drops the anchor on a sturdy stretch of ice and you disembark onto the frozen sea at the Top of the World! Join hands with your fellow passengers and literally walk around the world during our special International Round Dance. You are also treated to a barbeque out 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 we 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 (a group of 191 islands), is part of the Russian Arctic National Park. Polar bears, walruses, beluga whales and for the very fortunate narwhal or Bowhead whales—can be spotted anytime, anywhere in and around Franz Josef Land. The cliffs and scree slopes around the islands host enormous colonies of migratory seabirds such as guillemots, little auks, and ivory gulls. Taking advantage of 24-hour daylight every opportunity for wildlife viewing is utilised for excursions via Zodiac and helicopter.
Franz Josef Land is home to some interesting geological features, such as the mysterious stone spheres on Champ Island. 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 the 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.
After your amazing time in Franz Josef Land the 50 Years of Victory crosses back south through the bountiful waters of the Barents Sea. Presentations and workshops by the expert staff 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, warm 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.museum of natural and exploration history.
After breakfast on board we say farewell to the 50 Years of Victory and Murmansk. A transfer is provided to the airport for your flight home.