Nuclear-power icebreaker offers first passenger cruise to North PoleMar 24, 2008 12:00 AM
Twenty years in the making, Victory, the largest Arktika-class vessel ever built, has a spoon-shaped bow, and an all-new automated digital control system. A stainless steel ice belt 18 feet wide enables crushing through ice up to 9.2 feet thick. Two nuclear reactors produce 75,000 horsepower for a top speed of 21.4 knots in open water. Victory is equipped with a helicopter for aerial sightseeing and shore transfers.
Commissioned in 2007 as a working vessel, Victory has been newly outfitted as an expedition ship with ample public space: Aft Saloon, Forward Lounge, a bar and polar library. The Aft Saloon converts from a day-time presentation room to a place to socialize in the evening. A shop, gym, indoor pool, two saunas and massage services provide other diversions. There are 64 cabins in five categories, all with facilities en suite and a window that opens to an ocean view.
Only 128 people will be able to claim that they stood on top of the world during Victory's maiden voyage to the North Pole. Compare that to the number of people who can say they were there when the Red Sox won the World Series or Italy won the World Cup! This rare opportunity for travelers can never be repeated. The maiden voyage runs from June 23 to July 8, 2008. The 16-day voyage starts at US$22,900 per person for a Standard Twin cabin.
In addition to a champagne celebration on the ice at 90 degrees N, the expedition will include shore landings in Franz Josef Land. The archipelago is the most northerly land mass in Eurasia. The islands are a known habitat of polar bear, walrus and vast colonies of seabirds.
Quark Expeditions will operate two other expeditions to the North Pole aboard Victory in 2008: July 6 - 21 and July 19 - August 4. The July 19 - August 14 departure is 17 days in duration to accommodate a viewing of a total solar eclipse. Cabins for all three voyages can be booked through Quark Expeditions by calling 1-800-356-5699 or +1-203-656-0499. More information about the vessel can be found at www.quarkexpeditions.com/our-fleet/50-years.
About Quark Expeditions
Since 1991, Quark Expeditions has maintained a tradition of firsts: as the first to transit the Northeast Passage with commercial passengers; the first to take travelers to the 'far side' of Antarctica; and the first to circumnavigate Antarctica with guests. The largest and most diverse fleet in polar expedition industry enables Quark to offer the widest variety of polar itineraries of any other adventure company in the world, and the greatest number of departures to Antarctica. In October 2006 and 2007, Quark received National Geographic Traveler's "50 Tours of a Lifetime" designation for two of their expeditions.