Polar Pioneer, and her sister ship the Spirit of Enderby, were built in Finland in 1985 as ice-strengthened research ships. For many years they plied the treacherous waters of the USSR's northern coast. Then in 2000 they were refurbished in St Petersburg to provide comfortable accommodation for 50-54 passengers.
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 our most 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.
- Maximum of 54 passengers, the smallest expedition ships
- Traditional polar expedition vessels
Staff and crew: 25
Dimensions: 71m x13m
Speed: 10 knots
Ice Class: 1A