The Polar Pioneer was built in 1982 in Finland as an ice-strengthened research ship, and for many years she plied the treacherous waters of the Russia’s northern coast. In 2000 she was refurbished in St Petersburg and converted to a passenger ship for expeditions to Antarctica and the Arctic. The ship is ideally suited to cruising in Polar regions due to her size, strength and manoeuvrability, enabling her to sail closer in to landing sites than other vessels. The captain and crew are Russian and are highly experienced ice-navigators.
The ship carries only 54 passengers in various styles of cabin ranging from triple and twin cabins with either shared or private bathrooms to larger suites with en-suite facilities and lounge areas. All cabins have outside facing windows or portholes. The ship features a lounge with bar, small but well stocked library, two dining rooms, lecture and presentation room, sauna, medical clinic and spacious viewing platforms and observation decks. The ship carries a small fleet of inflatable Zodiacs with outboard motors used for shore landings.
Although the Polar Pioneer is not a luxury vessel, it is our most popular ship for travel to Antarctica. The accommodation is simple yet comfortable and the meals wholesome and uncomplicated.
Why we like it
"The smallest of all the expedition vessels exploring the Antarctic Peninsula. The Polar Pioneer and its highly experienced expedition team offer an intimate approach to experience some of the world’s most remote regions. Very much an expedition vessel, cabins on board are not luxurious, but comfortable and homely."