M/V polar pioneer
Vessel details

Polar Pioneer

The MV Polar Pioneer was built in Finland in 1982. The ship was originally an ice-strengthened research vessel with ice class 1A, which is perfect for navigation in polar regions with heavy sea ice.

The Polar Pioneer is one of 10 Akademik Shuleykin-class Russian ships built in the mid 1980s in Finland for the Soviet Union’s oceanographic research purposes. About half of these vessels ended up as chartered polar expedition ships.

Today, only three are still in operation, with Polar Pioneer being the only one operating in the Atlantic, Arctic and Antarctic regions.


Since Polar Alca Maritime purchased the vessel in 2021, numerous upgrades has been made in order to meet higher standards of safety, seakeeping, improved internet connectivity and overall comfort on-board. 

On top of a change of classification society and flagstate, all passenger cabins and common areas such as the bar lounge and messrooms have been refitted with upgraded interior. 

Together with a new Scandinavian management style, Polar Pioneer was reborn and brought back to her natural home, the Polar regions in 2022.

Ice-strengthened hull & fleet of Zodiacs

The vessel is certified with Ice class equivalent to 1A which enables her to cruise through ice infested waters safely. Together with a low draft, this enables Polar Pioneer and her passengers to travel with next to no navigational restrictions through the ice.

Spot something spectacular? Polar Pioneer is equipped with inflatable Zodiacs to enable shore landings and are always ready to be launched into the water on a moments notice for a close-up nature experience. 

The tough and durable 7 meter Zodiacs take up to 12 passengers to cruise around with a guide at the helm.

Recreational areas

Lounge and bar

Cozy area to enjoy a drink, edit your photos from the day’s expedition and hang out with your fellow passengers and staff.

Scandinavian-inspired cusine with two messrooms

Large galley and two chefs on board will never let any passengers go hungry.

Spacious viewing platforms

Enjoy the astonishing views from the comfort of the 360 observation deck on top of the bridge or snap some photos from around the deck.

Sauna and gym

Enjoy a yoga session or workout in the gym on board or even better, heat yourself up in the sauna after an ice-cold Polar Plunge

Open ship

Feel free to wander about the ship at all times, all areas are available for passengers. 

Have a morning coffee with the Second Mate at the bridge before heading down to one of the messrooms for breakfast.

Enjoy lunch with the guides and exchange stories or head out to deck and chat with the deck crew. 

Before and after comparison of bar area
Polar pioneer's current location