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Antarctic Expeditions

Advantage of Small Ships

The vessels in Quark Expeditions’ fleet accommodate anywhere from 128 to 199 passengers. We never exceed more than 200 passengers. We know we can give guests the best polar experience on a smaller ship.

Why We Operate Smaller Vessels

  • Smaller ships can take you to remote areas that large ships simply can’t reach. On some larger ships, you simply miss out.
  • Not all landings in the polar regions can accommodate large groups of travelers; smaller ships mean smaller groups, which translates into a smaller environmental footprint.
  • When itineraries must change due to weather, wind and ice conditions, smaller vessels have one up over larger ships. When expedition ships are required to alter their course, smaller ships have an advantage because there are more options for shore landings and excursions that aren’t possible for larger ships. In other words, on a larger vessel, you just miss out. Who wants that?
  • Small expedition ships can take you to remote, tiny villages and settlements, often through narrow fjords and channels. This ability to get off-the-beaten-path and avoid overcrowded shore landings means you have a much more authentic polar experience. Most indigenous settlements, for example, simply cannot accommodate huge numbers of visitors from those larger expedition vessels.
  • Smaller groups of passengers—as opposed to huge contingents of guests on larger ships—often have a lot more time at each landing site.
  • Smaller ships mean disembarkation takes much less time and cuts out the necessity of longer waiting periods for guests to go ashore and, likewise, re-board the ship after a shore excursion or landing.
  • Smaller vessels can satisfy your inner explorer—that part of you that wants to navigate fjords, hike across the tundra, kayak through ice-laden waterways.
  • Intimate and friendly: most guests who travel on a smaller vessel discover that they quickly get to know expedition crew, onboard staff and fellow passengers by name.
  • Guests have more opportunities for engagement on a smaller vessel: Having dinner with an expedition leader, a kayak guide or a wildlife expert can make the voyage even more memorable. Such opportunities for one-on-one engagement aren’t always possible on larger vessels.
  • The ship as your home: Because our expedition vessels are smaller, it’s relatively easy to get to know the layout of the vessel rather quickly. Such familiarity makes it easy for guests to truly treat the vessel as their polar base—their home away from home—throughout their expedition. Who wants to get lost on the way to dinner?

Discover Your Next Adventure

The Polar Regions are waiting to be explored. Browse all of our expeditions and departures to find your next adventure.