Quark Expeditions

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
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 an expedition travel company. The company offers Polar Region expeditions aboard purpose-built expedition ships and icebreakers and on land-based trips.


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.

Quark Expeditions summer 2019 program in the Arctic will include sailings to Greenland, Canada’s High Arctic, the Northwest Passage and the North Pole. The company will offer various themed cruises and exciting excursions.[3]

Polar Fleet & Land Expeditions[edit]

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:


50 Years of Victory

Kapitan Khlebnikov


Island Sky

Ocean Diamond

Ocean Endeavour

Ocean Nova

Sea Adventurer, Sea Adventurer 2017, Ocean Adventurer

Hans Hansson


Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Barneo Ice Camp

Sustainability & Charitable Initiatives[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

November 2012 First CarbonNeutral® voyages to Antarctica aboard Ocean Diamond[4]

November 2013 First floating Hot Docs film festival on board Sea Spirit[5]

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

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™: World’s Leading Specialist Cruise Line


· World Travel Awards™: 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[6]
  • Amadeus and World Travel Market Travel Experience Awards: Blow the Budget[7]
  • Travel Weekly’s Magellan Award: Eco-Friendly Cruise Ship for the Carbon Neutral program aboard all of the Ocean Diamond’s Antarctic voyages[8]
  • Travel Weekly’s Magellan Award: Tour Operator Advertising/Marketing Campaign[9]
  • 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[10]


  • Travel Weekly’s Magellan Award: Tour Operator Promotional Marketing Video[11]


  • National Geographic Traveler (U.S.) 50 Tours of a Lifetime: Three Arctic Islands: Iceland, Greenland, Spitsbergen voyage[12]

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.[13]

In the March 2006 edition, Outside Magazine named the “Emperor Penguin Safari” as one of the New Trips of a Lifetime.[14]


External links[edit]