Quark Expeditions
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Quark Expeditions
Quark Expeditions
Founded 1991
Headquarters Seattle, United States
Key people
Andrew White, CEO
  • Polar Expeditions
  • Polar Cruises
  • Adventure Travel
  • North Pole Travel
  • Passenger Transportation
Parent Travelopia
Website www.quarkexpeditions.com

Quark Expeditions is the leader in Arctic and Antarctic expedition travel. The adventure travel company offers Polar Region expeditions aboard purpose-built small expedition ships and icebreakers carrying fewer than 200 passengers, and on unique land-based adventures. Each polar expedition ship features ice-strengthened hulls for superior navigation in ice-packed polar waters, and Zodiacs (inflatable landing craft) for safe, comfortable transfers ship to shore, allowing passengers to reach some of the world's most remote places. Expedition team members are experts in various disciplines including polar history, biology, geology, photography, ornithology, glaciology and more. Additionally, many expeditions feature renowned special guests and speakers. Adventure activities are offered on each expedition.


Quark Expeditions was founded in 1991 by Lars Wikander and Mike McDowell, specializing in expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic aboard purpose-built expedition vessels. In 1998, Lars Wikander became the majority owner of the company. Three years later Lars became Chairman of the Board, when Patrick Shaw joined the company as President and Chief Executive Officer.

On May 2007, Quark Expeditions became part of the UK-based TUI Travel PLC Group of Companies.

On June 2015, Quark Expeditions celebrated its 25th anniversary.

On May 2016, Quark Expeditions became part of Travelopia, a division comprising select brands from the former TUI Specialist Group.

Andrew White is the current President and CEO of Quark Expeditions.

The company have recently been featured in popular culture with an expedition involving internet personalities and YouTube creators including Ben Brown and Tim Kellner led by retired Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield on an arctic expedition.[1][2]

On July 2017, the company will host The North Pole Summit, a 14-day sailing event featuring 7 renowned guest speakers from the worlds of science, exploration, conservation, politics, and education.

Polar Fleet & Land Expeditions

Quark Expeditions ship - "Sea Adventurer", weighs anchor to depart from Griffin Inlet, Beechey Island, Nunavut in the Canadian High Arctic.

Quark travel products are offered as cruise, fly/cruise, or land-based adventures. The company has the largest and most diverse fleet of passenger vessels in the Antarctic. The fleet enables Quark to operate the widest variety of polar itineraries of any other adventure company in the world, and the greatest number of departures to Antarctica. Expeditions are offered on:


o 50 Years of Victory

o Kapitan Khlebnikov


o Island Sky

o Ocean Diamond

o Ocean Endeavour

o Ocean Nova

o Sea Adventurer, Sea Adventurer 2017, Ocean Adventurer

o Hans Hansson


o Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

o Barneo Ice Camp

Sustainability & Charitable Initiatives

Quark Expeditions is a long-time, active member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), and promotes various sustainability initiatives. Charitable initiatives include support of the following charities:

· The Nature Conservancy

· Penguin Lifelines

· Polar Bears International

· Clean Up Svalbard

· Underwater Bait Setter

· The South Georgia Heritage Trust

Commitment to Safety

Quark Expeditions adheres to the following safety standards, training and equipment protocols:

· British Standard BS 8848 accredited, externally recognizing Quark's health & safety management system

· One of the highest staff to passenger ratios in the industry - 1:9.5

· Two onboard doctors, one of whom is directly hired for international, wilderness and expedition medical experience

· Expedition staff certified in CPR & life-saving skills, have passed IAATO Field Staff Assessment and in internal training and accreditation

· Lifeboat and life-raft capacity exceeds industry requirements

· Does not use vessels with open lifeboats

· Provides immersion suits

Quark Firsts

August 1991 First-ever tourism transit of the Northeast Passage, the historic route across the Russian Arctic

November 1992 First non-scientific visits to emperor penguin rookeries

November 1997 First circumnavigation of Antarctica for commercial passengers

July 1999 First circumnavigation of the Arctic Ocean

2004 First to confirm most northerly emperor penguin rookery near Snow Hill in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica

June 2008 First maiden voyage on icebreaker 50 Years of Victory to the North Pole

April 2011 Three Arctic Islands trip voted one of National Geographic Traveler's 50 Tours of a Lifetime

November 2012 First CarbonNeutral® voyages to Antarctica aboard Ocean Diamond[3]

February 2013 First to host Jonathan Shackleton (Ernest Shackleton's cousin) and Falcon Scott (Robert Falcon Scott's grandson) as they walk and camp on 7th continent

November 2013 First floating Hot Docs film festival on board Sea Spirit[4]

April 2014 First land-based expedition at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

July 2014 First Antarctic Express: Fly South, Cruise the Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falklands voyage launched

August 2014 First health-and wellness-focused adventure ship in Antarctica, Endeavour, launched

December 2014 First day-excursion to secluded Beechey Island

December 2014 First polar passenger landing at remote Saunders Island, South Sandwich Islands

June 2016 First all-inclusive vessel in Antarctica, Island Sky small expedition ship

July 2016 First 360° VR Video of Antarctica, the Virtual Reality Antarctic



· Travel Weekly's Gold Magellan Award: Best Small Cruise Line

· Travel Weekly's Gold Magellan Award: Best Itinerary, Greenland Fly/Cruises

· Travel Weekly's Gold Magellan Award: Best Promotional Video, Antarctica 360° VR Experience

· Travel + Leisure Annual Awards: Best Small-Ship Ocean Cruise Lines

· Fodor's Travel Guides Award: World's Best Cruises for Arctic Icebreaker Expedition Ultimate Northwest Passage voyage


· Travel Weekly's Gold Magellan Award: Best Small Cruise Line

· Travel Weekly's Silver Magellan Award: Best Cruise Blog

· World Travel Awards(TM): World's Leading Specialist Cruise Line


· World Travel Awards(TM): World's Leading Specialist Cruise Line

· W3 Awards Best in Show Travel Industry

· Davey Silver Award for Travel & Tourism


  • World Travel Awards: World's Leading Polar Expedition Operator[5]
  • Amadeus and World Travel Market Travel Experience Awards: Blow the Budget[6]
  • Travel Weekly's Magellan Award: Eco-Friendly Cruise Ship for the Carbon Neutral program aboard all of the Ocean Diamond's Antarctic voyages[7]
  • Travel Weekly's Magellan Award: Tour Operator Advertising/Marketing Campaign[8]
  • Travel Weekly's Magellan Award: Tour Operator Promotional Marketing Video
  • Wanderlust's 50 Best Trips of 2013: Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica via Buenos Aires: Explorers and Kings voyage[9]


  • Travel Weekly's Magellan Award: Tour Operator Promotional Marketing Video[10]


  • National Geographic Traveler (U.S.) 50 Tours of a Lifetime: Three Arctic Islands: Iceland, Greenland, Spitsbergen voyage[11]

In October 2006 and 2007, Quark was named a recipient of National Geographic Traveler's "50 Tours of a Lifetime" for their "Emperor Penguin Safari" and the "Far Side" respectively.[12]

In the March 2006 edition, Outside Magazine named the "Emperor Penguin Safari" as one of the New Trips of a Lifetime.[13]


External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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