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.

Ship Features

  • Ice-strengthened hull
  • Triple, twin & suite cabins
  • Spacious viewing platforms & decks
  • Fleet of inflatable Zodiacs
  • Lounge bar & two dining rooms
  • Dedicated presentation room
  • Sauna
  • Basic medical clinic
  • English-speaking doctor
  • Daily cabin cleaning service
  • Satellite phone & email access
  • Gumboots provided for landings
  • Laundry service available

Ship Specifications

  • Passengers: 54
  • Staff: 10-12
  • Crew: 23
  • Cabins: 26
  • Decks: 6
  • Refurbished: 2000
  • Length: 71.6m
  • Beam: 12.8 metres
  • Draft: 4.5m
  • Cruising Speed: 10 knots
  • Gross tonnage: 1753
  • Registry: Russian
  • Voltage: 220v. European round, two pin plug
Extras on your trip

Your Expedition Jacket

Each passenger aboard our Antarctic and Arctic expeditions will receive an expedition jacket when you board the ship. Designed exclusively for Aurora Expeditions, the 2-in-1 jacket offers sophisticated expedition-styling…

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Accommodation

On board you will find a range of accommodation types, including triple and twin cabins as well as larger suites, all featuring outside facing portholes or windows and ample storage space for your gear. Cabins have either shared or private bathroom facilities, whilst suites offer en-suite bathrooms and lounge areas. See below for detailed cabin information and deck plan.

Captain's Suite

Private Bathroom

Polar Pioneer's most deluxe cabin, the Captain's Suite features a separate sleeping area and lounge room, a private en-suite and large windows for optimal viewing opportunities from your own cabin. Only one cabin available, so be sure to enquire early.

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Mini Suite

Private Bathroom

Only two Mini Suites offer a more spacious cabin with a separate sleeping and sitting area as well as a private en-suite and large windows to enjoy the views from the comfort of your own cabin. Perfect if you're after a bit more space and comfort.

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Twin Private Cabin

Private Bathroom

Twin Cabins with private bathrooms are located across two deck levels, both with easy access to outside decks. Each cabin accommodates two people and offers the convenience of private bathroom facilities.  

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Twin Private Economy Cabin

Private Bathroom

NEW to 2018/19, Twin Private Economy Cabins offer a budget-conscious option, with a lower and upper bunk option, and easy access to the main decks. Each cabin accommodates two people and offers the convenience of private bathroom facilities. Only two available!

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Twin Public Cabin

Shared Bathroom

Twin Cabins with shared bathrooms are all located on Deck 3. Each cabin comfortably sleeps two people and are only a short distance from the ship’s public bathroom facilities. Outside decks are accessible from this deck.

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Triple Cabin

Shared Bathroom

Polar Pioneer features only two Triple Cabins with shared bathrooms. Perfect for friends or families, or for solo travellers who are happy to share their space with fellow passengers. Bathrooms are located close by on the same deck.

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ship deck

Ship Life

Dining

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.

Observation Decks

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.

Getting Ashore

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.

Medical Clinic

A basic medical clinic is managed by our English-speaking Ship’s Doctor, who is available at all times to assist with bouts of seasickness and other unexpected emergencies.


Onboard Entertainment

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, the connection cannot always be guaranteed. 

Save up to $3,000 pp!

Save up to $3,000 per person on Antarctica & the Arctic

NEW Polar Deals Out Now!

Save up to $3,000 per person on selected 2018/19 Antarctica or 2019 Arctic expeditions! Conditions apply. 

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Upcoming Expeditions

Showing: All 2018 2019
  • Christmas in Antarctica

    12/13 DAYS from US$9,100 pp

    Celebrate Christmas Antarctica-style! Experience the best of the peninsula's wildlife and landscapes, with some time for onboard celebrations!

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  • Wild Scotland

    11 DAYS from AU$7,500 per person

    Join us on one of our wildest adventures: walk in the Vikings’ footsteps, explore fantastic sea caves, land on World-heritage listed St Kilda and observe the world’s largest seabird colonies!

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  • Svalbard Odyssey

    11 DAYS from AU$7,200 per person

    Circumnavigate Spitsbergen and experience a world filled with deep shimmering fjords, polar deserts, old whaling settlements and magnificent wildlife, including the mighty polar bear.

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  • Jewels of the Arctic

    14 DAYS from AU$8,900 per person

    Halfway between Spitsbergen and Iceland, East Greenland’s coastline invites you to explore its breathtaking environment made of the world’s largest icebergs, welcoming Inuit communities and diverse fauna and flora.

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  • Across the Arctic Circle - Scotland, Norway & Spitsbergen

    14 DAYS from AU$7,300 per person

    Sail from Scotland’s rugged northern coast up to Norway’s picturesque coastline, before crossing the Arctic Circle and reach the wildlife oasis of Spitsbergen, home to the mighty polar bear!

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  • THE ULTIMATE ADVENTURE!

    Expedition - Arctic Complete - Spitsbergen, Greenland & Iceland

    Arctic Complete - Spitsbergen, Greenland & Iceland

    24 DAYS from AU$14,490 per person

    Combine two exciting Arctic itineraries into one 24-day adventure! From the wildlife oasis of Spitsbergen to Greenland’s iceberg fantasia, make your Arctic expedition complete (and save!).

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  • Spirit of Antarctica

    11/12 DAYS from US$9,700 pp FLY/SAIL

    Get ready for an classic Antarctic adventure, jam-packed with pristine icy landscapes, busy wildlife and many daily excursions and activities!

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  • New Year in Antarctica

    11 DAYS from US$9,700 pp SAIL/FLY

    Skip the crowds and ring in the New Year in Antarctica! Make new resolutions as you journey onboard Polar Pioneer through the magical Antarctic Peninsula.

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  • South Georgia & Antarctic Odyssey

    18/20/21 DAYS from US$15,600 pp

    Throughout long summer days, discover wildlife-rich South Georgia, step foot on the magnificent Antarctic Peninsula and retrace Ernest Shackleton's epic journey from Elephant Island.

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  • Across the Antarctic Circle

    11/12/13 DAYS from US$9,100 pp FLY/SAIL

    Celebrate crossing latitude 66° 33' South in the wake of hallowed explorers and experience a world of powerful whales, shimmering mountain ranges and mesmerising icebergs.

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  • In Shackleton’s Footsteps

    18 DAYS from US$14,600 pp

    Late summer offers the best chance to chart a course through the Weddell Sea’s shifting pack ice and vast tabular bergs, where Shackleton’s ship Endurance was trapped and crushed.

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  • Antarctic Explorer

    11/12 DAYS from US$9,700 pp FLY/SAIL

    Spend more time exploring the Antarctic Peninsula with FLY/SAIL itineraries, including a new FLY/FLY voyage that skips the Drake completely!

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  • In-Depth South Georgia & Antarctica

    18 DAYS from US$14,600 pp

    Taking in Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands, you truly immerse yourself in this spectacular part of the world.

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  • Northern Svalbard Explorer

    11 DAYS from AU$7,200 per person

    Autumn offers us a chance to explore northern Svalbard, where reindeer feast on Arctic berries, walrus haul out on pack ice, and the polar bear reigns supreme.

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