This combination of our popular Arctic itineraries (Spitsbergen Odyssey and Jewels of the Arctic) will allow you to experience the best of the European Arctic over 24-days. Starting on Spitsbergen, you’ll explore its coastline of calving glaciers, towering bird cliffs and pack ice and spot walruses, reindeer and even polar bears! After crossing the Greenland Sea, our ship will follow East Greenland’s coastline filled with the largest fjord system in the world, calving icebergs, friendly native communities and untouched tundra-covered valleys, before reaching its finishing point, Iceland.
All of our expeditions and itineraries offer fantastic photography experiences, however on selected expeditions we offer specialised photography workshops with our expert photography guides - 17 August 2019.
17th August - light blue line on the map
27th July & 25th July - dark blue
27th July 2018 voyage SOLD OUT
• Explore Spitsbergen’s stunning northwest coast
• Aim for 80° North alert for polar bears!
• Zodiac cruise beneath buzzing seabird high cliffs
• Explore North East Greenland National Park
• Scoresby Sund, the world’s largest fjord system
• Inuit communities share their Arctic lifestyle
Enjoy a tour of Longyearbyen upon arrival, before boarding Polar Pioneer and setting sail along breathtaking Isfjorden, featuring dramatic bird cliffs, sweeping glaciers and gorgeous mountain ranges.
Awake as our ship sails along Spitsbergen’s west coast and its outstanding aqua-blue ice cliffs. The nutrient-rich Gulf Stream provides us with relatively mild temperatures, a delight for Atlantic puffins and Brünnich’s guillemots that have settled on these cliffs. Embark on a thrilling tundra hike, keep an eye out for reindeer and Arctic fox and gaze at the majestic glaciers from our Zodiacs. We also attempt to explore the remains of the 350-year-old Dutch whaling settlement.
As we continue our adventure along Spitsbergen’s northwest coast in to the Arctic Ocean, whales, pack ice and maybe even polar bears keep us on alert. As Polar Pioneer continues and turns south into Woodfjorden, we search for ringed, bearded and harp seals and keep an eye out for fascinating walrus haul outs on the beaches. With almost 24-hour daylight, enjoy tundra walks and take the time to observe at the microflora. Depending on ice conditions, we may cross latitude 80° North – a cause for celebration.
Air and sea temperatures start lowering due to the frigid Arctic currents around Spitsbergen’s northeast, creating a landscape eroded by severe frost. Even at summer time, there’s a chance pack ice could bar our way, but our Russian crew and expedition team ensure we reach the highlights of the European Arctic. We’ll attempt to sail through the narrow Hinlopen Strait, where we’ll Zodiac cruise along the busy bird cliffs of Alkefjellt as well as walk along the east coast's polar desert, filled with stunted glaciers and exposed fossil fields.
Ice conditions and weather changes dictate our expedition plans. We may be able to reach South Cape and head north toward Hornsund and Bellsund, two magnificent deep fjords boasting superb glaciers and wildlife. In case ice stops us, we’ll change our itinerary and spend more time exploring the jewels of Spitsbergen’s north and west coasts.
A midnight cruise of Isfjorden returns us to Longyearbyen, where you’ll enjoy a day dog sledding around Spitsbergen interior before setting off again this afternoon on the next leg of our Arctic adventure.
As we head back north, we enjoy the last moments in Spitsbergen. We cruise past calving glaciers and land ashore to learn about the area’s rich history and observe Spitsbergen’s fascinating wildlife.
Note: as this expedition is a combination of two itineraries, these days may stop at some places already visited on the voyage’s first leg.
As Polar Pioneer sails across the Greenland Sea, we search for fin whales, pack ice and sea birds. Our expert naturalists and guest lecturers provide us with great interpretation of the Arctic’s flora and fauna as well as early explorers’ epic adventures through illustrated talks.
When going to Greenland for the first time, seeing ice is often an awe-inspiring moment. Even in summer time, bays and inlets can still be frozen. However our experienced Captain and team of expedition experts know alternative options to keep us busy with exploration! In Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord, we enjoy walks across the tundra as we visit old trapper’s huts and observe musk ox, Arctic fox and eider ducks; we spend some time admiring the stunning hanging gardens of Kap Humboldt; Kong Oskar Fjord provides gorgeous glacier-carved mountains as a delightful backdrop.
We reach Scoresby Sund, the world’s largest fjord. The huge Greenland icecap continuously sweeps down gigantic glaciers, making it the birth place for some of the world’s largest icebergs! Our Zodiacs take us through an incredible maze of icebergs, as we head to the shores for some exciting tundra hikes, and a visit to Ittoqqortoormiit, one of the rare villages of the East Greenland coast.
Keep watch for musk ox and narwhals as we sail along the breathtaking mountains of the Blosseville Coast, before our attempt to cruise through Rømer Fjord.
We continue on with our Arctic adventure and cruise across Denmark Strait on our way to Iceland. We take time to reflect on our various experiences, gaze at northern fulmars and black-backed gulls, and spot dolphins and whales from the ship’s bow.
Polar Pioneer docks in Iceland early this morning; after breakfast, there is a group transfer to downtown Reykjavik or the airport to carry one with your further travel arrangements.
Please remember that the above itinerary is merely a guide. All of our itineraries are at the mercy of weather conditions and not all landings are guaranteed. Our itineraries are flexible and will change voyage to voyage, allowing the best chance to make the most of surprising wildlife displays and unexpected opportunities.
Cabin Numbers: 300, 301 Deck: Deck 3 Cabin Features: Two lower bunk beds and one upper bunk bed Outside porthole Wash basin Lounge and desk Cupboard with hanging space Air-conditioning control Shared bathroom facilities on same deck Outside deck accessed via Deck 4 Cabin Size: 10.2 m2
Cabin Numbers: 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313 Deck: Deck 3 Cabin Features: Two lower bunk beds Outside porthole Wash basin Lounge and desk Cupboard with hanging space Air-conditioning control Shared bathroom facilities on same deck Outside decks accessible via Deck 3 and 4 Cabin Size: 9.8 m2
Cabin Numbers: 400, 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 407, 408, 504, 505, 506, 507 Deck: Deck 4 & Deck 5 Cabin Features Private en-suite Two lower bunk beds (Note: #402 and #403 have an upper and lower bunk and a couch) Side-facing window Desk and chair Cupboard with hanging space Air-conditioning control Outside deck access to main deck (Deck 4 cabins only) Outside deck access to upper deck (Deck 5 cabins only) Cabin Size: 12 m2 Bathroom Size: 1.9 m2
Cabin Numbers: 502, 503 Deck: Deck 5 Cabin Features Private en suite Double bed in separate room Side-facing windows Separate lounge area Desk and chair Cupboard with hanging space TV, DVD player and mini fridge Air-conditioning control Outside deck access from Deck 5 Cabin Size: 16.8 m2 Bathroom Size: 1.92 m2
Cabin Number: 501 Deck: Deck 5 Cabin Features Private en-suite Double bed in separate room Forward- and side-facing windows Separate lounge area Desk and table area TV, DVD player and mini fridge Air-conditioning control Outside deck access from Deck 5 Cabin Size: 22.5 m2 Bathroom Size: 1.92 m2
Total Cabin: 423cm x 241cm = 10.2 sqm
Two lower bunks and one upper bunk, a desk, a small washbasin, ample storage and hanging space and portholes. Showers and toilets are very close by and are shared with other Main Deck cabins.
Total Cabin: 400cm x 245cm = 9.8 sq m
Two lower bunks, a desk, small washbasin, ample storage and hanging space, a couch and a porthole. Showers and toilets are very close by and are shared with other Main Deck cabins.
Cabin Numbers: 402, 403 Deck: Deck 4 Cabin Features Private en-suite Upper and lower bunk and a couch Side-facing window Desk and chair Cupboard with hanging space Air-conditioning control Outside deck access to main deck Cabin Size: 12 m2 Bathroom Size: 1.9 m2
Cabin Numbers: 400, 401, 404, 405, 406, 408, 504, 505, 506, 507 Deck: Deck 4 & Deck 5 Cabin Features Private en-suite Two lower bunk beds (Note: #402 and #403 have an upper and lower bunk and a couch) Side-facing window Desk and chair Cupboard with hanging space Air-conditioning control Outside deck access to main deck (Deck 4 cabins only) Outside deck access to upper deck (Deck 5 cabins only) Cabin Size: 12 m2 Bathroom Size: 1.9 m2
Living Room/Bedroom/Bathroom – 453cm x 370cm = 16.8 sqm
Bathroom – 120cm x160cm = 1.92 sqm
Double bed in a separate room, foldout couch that can be used as a single bed, TV, video player, windows, desk, table area, fridge, and private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin.
Living Room/Bedroom – 450cm x 500cm = 22.5 sqm
Bathroom – 120cm x160cm = 1.92 sqm
Double bed in separate room, plus foldout couch that can be used as a single bed, forward and port windows, lounge and table area, fridge, TV, video player, and private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin.
Vessel Type: Expedition
Length: 71 metres
Passenger Capacity: 50
Built / refurbished: 1985 / 2000
Polar Pioneer is one of the most popular style of vessels currently used in Antarctica and the Arctic. Originally built as an ice-strengthened research vessel in Finland in 1982, she was refurbished in 2000 and converted into a passenger ship for expeditions to the polar regions. Polar Pioneer’s excellent reputation for polar expedition cruising is due to her strength, maneuverability and size. She is small and nimble, which means she can sail up close to landing sites and venture where other, larger ships can’t. Carrying just 54 passengers, she allows us to offer you a far more personal and intimate experience of the destination we are visiting.
Our professional chefs present three healthy, delicious meals daily, with morning and afternoon tea available in the dining rooms in between. All of our produce is sourced locally, with fresh fruit and vegetables, and freshly baked bread and pastries, served wherever possible. We are able to cater for a range of special meal requests, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, lactose free and other allergy specific requirements – please ensure you list this on your personal details form.
Our spacious observation decks provide a congenial place to watch for wildlife or follow the ship’s progress on nautical charts. Rug up for unparalleled scenery from the outer decks or flying bridge, where our naturalists help you identify wildlife.
Learning and Lectures
At sea, join our polar specialists as they entertain and inform us with illustrated talks, and prepare us for making shore visits with mandatory safety and environmental briefings.
Captain and Crew
Our highly experienced Russian captain and crew are among the best ice navigators in the world. Our efficient stewardesses attend to rooms and serve our meals, whilst the crew work mainly behind-the-scenes to help our expedition leader get the ship to where we want to go.
Polar Pioneer boasts a fleet of Zodiacs that transport us ashore to penguin rookeries, scientific stations and historic sites, and provide us with a platform for photography. Our small excursion crafts take us beyond the reach of giant cruisers, and our philosophy of “getting out amongst it” is put to practice.
A basic medical clinic is managed by our English-speaking Ship’s Doctor, who is available at all times to assist with bouts of sea sickness and other unexpected emergencies.
From socialising in our fully-stocked lounge bar to enjoying Captain’s drinks, trivia nights and charity auctions, or escaping to the sauna for some R&R; our small ship offers some fun entertainment options for when we’re not out and about.
Technology and Connectivity
Polar Pioneer has communication services that are available for an additional fee. These include satellite telephone, email and fax. Please note that these services are basic and not suitable for continuous use. Internet access is available on board for an additional cost. Please note that due to the remote nature of our expeditions, connection cannot always be guaranteed.