Seasons Magazines

Seasons Magazines

To the Ends of the Earth with Nansen Polar Expeditions

For the first time in many years, Nansen Polar Expeditions together with their partners at EYOS Expeditions have reimagined the final frontier of Polar Travel. After decades of working in the polar regions, co-founder and CEO Audun Lie Dahl and co-founder Martin Enckell offer exclusive, personalized journeys to some of the world’s most remote locations. And the best part is they take only 12 clients along with them. So instead of sharing these pristine regions with groups of 100 or even 1,000, their guests experience these “lands of the uttermost” with a small cadre of clients. Now, two ships, the luxurious yacht MV Nansen Explorer and her adventurous down-to-earth foil, MV Villa, are both voyaging to the polar regions in the quest for adventure, each with their own style. These sisters deliver a charismatic experience to the ends of the earth in comfort, and are stacked with professionals faithful to the quest for adventure. This is authentic expedition travel. Throw away the itinerary, as your captain will still be determining where you’ll go each day as it all depends on the weather and where the wildlife gathers. You may not know exactly what you’ll see, but you’ll know it’s going to be packed with adventure. Voyages with Nansen Polar Expeditions are the highlight of even the most seasoned traveler’s bucket list. Both Nansen Explorer and Villa have class 1A/1B ice rating for sailing into the pack ice; their reinforced hulls allow the ships to go into seas where ice usually stops many other typical cruise ships.



For those seeking a unique adventure, Nansen Explorer provides access to Antarctica with book-by-the-cabin departures. There’s also the option of chartering the full vessel for a potentially bougie family vacation, educational travel group, high-end photo tours, corporate incentive travel, scientific support team transport or a film crew working on the next big nature documentary. Although some may view this place as “just a bunch of ice,” this ice is served up in a beautiful landscape of baby blue glaciers and wildlife in astronomical proportions. The truth is, Antarctica has an allure that draws even the most experienced traveler into a lifelong fascination. It’s where mammals the size of school buses lurk beneath the surface of a steel blue ocean. Aquamarine icebergs speckled with penguins sail by, like barges the size of city blocks. It’s not unusual for newcomers to find their eyes filling with tears at the advent of their first iceberg sighting. Bedazzled ice-choked fjords and assortments of beautiful isles have attracted the brave, bored or adventurous since the late 1800s. Here the seas teem with an array of wildlife’s “greatest hits”: penguins, seals and whales.



Expedition Leaders guide their guests ashore to see these stunning locations. Islands along the Palmer Peninsula are populated by penguins of three species: Chinstraps, Adelies and Gentoos. Nansen Polar Expeditions utilizes hardy inflatable Zodiac boats for sightseeing and deft transport to shore. Carrying six to each boat with plenty of room to spare, guests get up close and personal with nature and immerse themselves in the strange wilderness of this final frontier.



South Georgia Island is another popular, even more remote destination that finds its way into first place on any expeditioner’s check list. Sequestered away in sub- Antarctic latitudes, this island is a narrow strip of razor-sharp peaks
crowned with impressive glaciers. Visitors can’t get enough of this sublime and rugged island. It is a realm of incredible biodiversity where king penguins, not found on the Antarctic Peninsula, breed in the hundreds of thousands along the dark beaches that line the protected bays. Fur seals and 2-3-ton elephant seals, once hunted to near extinction, have returned with a biological vengeance in the millions, breeding and thriving along the rich coastline.



Nansen Polar Expeditions is a Norwegian company based on the island of Smøla; during late fall, they go back to “home court” and take visitors to polar Norway throughout the late fall and winter months. No one forgets the first time they see the Norwegian northern lights, especially from the open decks of MV Villa. Expeditions aboard MV Villa navigate the fjords where the Lyngen Alps display sharp cliffs and icy shores. These fairytale landscapes, with heavens aglow, bring out the Viking spirits and thoughts of trolls hiding behind bends and bridges in the waterway. In November, orcas and humpback whales come to feed on herring that spawn in this region. Passengers witness an extraordinary natural phenomenon of arguably the largest feeding frenzy in the Northern Hemisphere— seasoned fishermen often call this a “boil.” During December through February, a unique part of this expedition is visiting the Igloo Hotel at Sorrisniva, made entirely of ice and decorated with life-sized, hand- sculpted ice carvings. The experience of sleeping in this castle made of ice seems like a childhood dream realized.



Both MV Villa and the Nansen Explorer visit Svalbard during the summer months. Adventure-seeking travelers can experience polar bears in their natural habitat as they hunt on the sea ice or laze away on shore with their young. Beautiful seabird colonies encrust high cliffs humming with puffins, auks, guillemots and terns. Often the expedition sees large walrus haul-outs on shore. Sometimes these curious long-tusked creatures swim toward the Zodiacs with mischievous or even possibly amorous intentions. Svalbard has a variety of landscapes depending on where the expedition goes within the archipelago. In some places, impressive blue glaciers crumble into the sea with the resounding thunder of a cannon, providing a stark contrast to peaceful hikes ashore during the summer months among the wildflowers.


Finally every year in the month of April, the Nansen Explorer embarks upon a spectacular heli-skiing adventure in the back-country of Greenland, operated by exclusive marketing and management partners for Nansen Explorer at EYOS Expeditions. This year, Bode Miller led avid skiers to the polar ice caps of Greenland, where their journey of “gnarly powder seshes” began. After being dropped in by helicopter, the group cut through the powder for miles as they skied directly down to the sea. Ready for adventure? Become one of the 12 most intrepid in some of the wildest places on our planet. Come Aboard!


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