Follow the Vikings’ way from northeast Scotland to the land of the midnight sun. Our enthusiastic historian and expert naturalist reveal the Orkney and Shetland islands, from Stone Age villages and Viking relics, to world class distilleries and spectacular birdlife. We follow migrating whales along Norway’s dramatic coast, visit picturesque fishing villages and toast our Arctic Circle crossing. In Spitsbergen, we enter a polar wonderland, where delicate wildflowers adorn tundra and the summer sun never sets. This spectacular wilderness is the breeding ground of walruses, reindeers, various birds and polar bears.
• Visit Stone Age villages in the Orkney Islands
• Follow humpbacks migration to Norwegian coast
• Lofoten Islands’s majestic fjords and soaring granite walls
• Spot puffins, guillemots, fulmars and eagles
• Toast your crossing of the Arctic Circle
• Reindeer and ringed seals in Spitsbergen
Welcomed aboard Polar Pioneer mid-afternoon in Aberdeen, we set sail north.
Among Orkney’s archipelago of 70 windswept islands, a treasure trove of archaeology, history and wildlife awaits. We follow the passage of time – from 5000-year-old, World Heritagelisted, Neolithic sites to Viking relics, from reminders of World War II occupation to present-day crofting communities. Imposing sea cliffs teem with seabirds, inviting our Zodiacs and kayakers to explore coastlines. At Fair Isle we visit traditional crofts to admire local knitwear and nearby colonies of fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots, gannets, shags and puffins.
Warmed by Gulf Stream currents and near 24-hours’ daylight, the Shetland’s 100 islands are peppered with nature reserves and archaeological sites. These include the complex Stone, Bronze and Iron Age settlement of Jarlshof, the world’s best preserved broch (fortified Iron Age tower) on Mousa, and remnants of Viking conquest along the coast.
As we sail towards Norway, our historian and naturalist delight us with fascinating talks and inspire our birdwatching.
An intricate maze of islands protects Norway’s coastline. We celebrate crossing the Arctic Circle and visit special places, like Sør Gjaeslingan, once home to a busy cod-fishing fleet. Today it provides fantastic birdlife, including kittiwakes, terns and skuas that migrate here each summer. Continuing north, we pass by Torghatten, a mountain with a distinctive hole through it, and learn the fable of lost love and a troll’s arrow. Majestic scenery delights in Lofoten Islands, from romantic beaches to narrow fjords hemmed by granite walls. Share the water with orcas, the skies with puffins.
We cross the Barents Sea, past often fog-shrouded Bear Island, favourite nesting ground for fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots and gulls. Beyond Spitsbergen’s South Cape, we explore South Spitsbergen National Park, a sanctuary for barnacle geese and eider ducks, before entering the iceberg-laden waters of Hornsund. Surrounded by polar desert on a grand scale, we search for reindeer, ringed and bearded seals and the mighty polar bear. Learn of human history dating back 400 years and if lucky, we’ll encounter the elusive beluga whale.
We disembark in Longyearbyen, bid goodbye to expedition staff and are transferred to the airport for our onward journey.
Please note that 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
Vessel Type: Expedition
Length: 71 metres
Passenger Capacity: 50
Built / refurbished: 1985 / 2000
Polar Pioneer was built in Finland in 1985 as an ice-strengthened research ship, and for many years she plied the treacherous waters of the USSR's northern coast. In 2000 she was refurbished in St Petersburg to provide comfortable accommodation for 54 passengers.
A combined bar/lounge/library area (stocked with a good collection of polar books) was also created by simple internal restructuring.
This class of vessel has a fine reputation for polar expedition cruising, due to its strength, manoeuvrability and small number of cabins. All cabins have outside portholes plus ample storage space. The Russian captain and crew are among the most experienced ice-navigators in the world and their enthusiasm is legendary.
The spacious bridge is always open to us and the decks are ideal for viewing. The chefs are European, and the dining room is attended by Russian stewardesses.
Polar Pioneer is not a luxury vessel as such, but this is a popular ship for travel to the Polar regions. The accommodation is simple yet comfortable, and the meals are wholesome and uncomplicated. A small fleet of inflatable Zodiacs with outboard motors enable us to travel from ship to shore.
Book Two Arctic Voyages Back to Back aboard Polar Pioneer and Save 15%
See more of the European Arctic for less!
From Oban to Longyearbyen - 24 days or From Longyearbyen to Longyearbyen - 26 days.
Aboard Polar Pioneer.
13 or 23 June 2017.
Saving: USD$2 052 - USD$3 660
Discounted Rates (combined itinerary): USD$11 628 - USD$20 740
Standard Rates (combined itinerary): USD$13 680 - USD$24 400
Special Offer: BOOK TWO 2017 ARCTIC VOYAGES BACK TO BACK AND SAVE 15%!
SAVE 15%: Combine Wild Scotland with Across the Arctic Circle and save over $2,130 per person! SAVE 15%: Combine Across the Arctic Circle with Spitsbergen Odyssey and save over $2,000 per person! TERMS & CONDITIONS: Savings based on Triple Cabin category. Offer valid only when combining Across the Arctic Circle with Wild Scotland or Spitsbergen Odyssey; When combining Across the Arctic Circle with Wild Scotland, Wild Scotland will be your first departure, followed by Across the Arctic Circle; when combining Across the Arctic Circle with Spitsbergen Odyssey, Across the Arctic Circle will be your first departure, followed by Spitsbergen Odyssey. Both voyages must be booked at the same time for the discount to be valid. Offer is subject to availability and not combinable with any other promotions. Other terms and conditions may apply.