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Polar Pioneer

Ship Overview

Operated by: Aurora Expeditions

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, manoeuvrability 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 offers you a far more personal and intimate experience of the destination.

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Key Facts

234 Feet / 71.60 Metres
42 Feet
10 Knots
Passenger Decks
Room Grades

Captain's Suite

SIZE:22.50m2 / 242sqftSLEEPS:2

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 Captain's Suite is available, so be sure to enquire early.

Captain's Suite

Mini Suite

SIZE:17m2 / 183sqftSLEEPS:2

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.

Mini Suite

Twin Cabin (Private Bathroom)

SIZE:12m2 / 129sqftSLEEPS:2

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.

Twin Cabin (Private Bathroom)

Twin Cabin (Shared Bathroom)

SIZE:9.80m2 / 105sqftSLEEPS:2

Twin Cabins with Shared Bathrooms are all located on Deck 3. Surprisingly spacious, 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.

Twin Cabin (Shared Bathroom)

Triple Cabin (Shared Bathroom)

SIZE:10.20m2 / 110sqftSLEEPS:3

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.

Triple Cabin (Shared Bathroom)

Professional chefs present three healthy, delicious meals daily, with morning and afternoon tea available in the dining rooms in between. All produce is sourced locally, with fresh fruit and vegetables, and freshly baked bread and pastries, served wherever possible. Aurora Expeditions is able to cater for a range of special meal requests, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, lactose free and other allergy specific requirements.


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 naturalists help you identify wildlife.

At sea, join the polar specialists for illustrated talks in preparation for shore excursions, with mandatory safety and environmental briefings. The highly experienced Russian captain and crew are among the best ice navigators in the world. Efficient stewardesses attend to rooms and serve meals, whilst the crew work mainly behind-the-scenes to help the Expedition Leader get the ship to the best locations.

Polar Pioneer boasts a fleet of Zodiacs that transport guests directly ashore to penguin rookeries, scientific stations and historic sites, and provide  a platform for photography. These small excursion crafts take you beyond the reach of giant cruisers, and the philosophy of “getting out amongst it” is put to practice.

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

From socialising in the fully-stocked lounge bar to enjoying Captain’s drinks, trivia nights and charity auctions, or escaping to the sauna for some R&R, Polar Pioneer offers some surprisingly fun entertainment options.

Polar Pioneer has communication services that are available use for an additional fee. These include satellite telephone, email and fax. Please note that these services are basic and not suitable for continuous use. There is no internet access on the vessel. 

Polar Pioneer Expeditions


Wild Scotland

From AUD $7400.00 Per Person

DURATION:11 Days/ 10 Nights REGION:Europe SHIP:Polar Pioneer

From the Hebrides in the west, to inhospitable windswept specks of land like St Kilda and Foula, and to the Orkney and Shetland islands in the north, explore the intriguing diversity of Scotland's wild islands.

In Shackleton's Footsteps

From USD $14300.00 Per Person

DURATION:18 Days/ 17 Nights REGION:Antarctica SHIP:Polar Pioneer

Retrace the footsteps of Shackleton's legendary voyage aboard the Endurance. Set foot on the continent, explore Elephant island and visit his grave in South Georgia.

Across the Arctic Circle

From AUD $7300.00 Per Person

DURATION:14 Days/ 13 Nights REGION:Arctic SHIP:Polar Pioneer

Aboard the research ship Polar Pioneer follow the Vikings way from northeast Scotland across the Arctic Circle to Norway, the land of the midnight sun.