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About Quark


In 1991, Lars Wikander and Mike McDowell were two adventurers hankering to visit the North Pole. At the time, it was one of the few places they had never been. Once there, they were awestruck by the beauty and majesty of one of the last unspoiled places on earth.

Since that pioneering North Pole voyage in 1991, we’ve taken thousands of curious travelers to corners of the world that earlier generations could only dream of visiting. Along the way, we’ve achieved an unprecedented series of firsts in polar exploration and have led the way in polar expeditions, making the Arctic and Antarctica accessible to travelers from 50 countries around the world.

Today, we still carry the spirit of the great explorers while sharing our passion for regions whose environmental purity transcends political boundaries and whose beauty defies description. Polar travel is all we do, and we’re passionate about ensuring every one of our passengers has the experience of a lifetime.

Quark Polar Firsts

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

November 1992
Quark offers first non-scientific visits to emperor penguin rookeries

November 1996
First circumnavigation of Antarctica for commercial passengers on Kapitan Khlebnikov

November 1997
First circumnavigation of Antarctica for commercial passengers completed

July 1999
First circumnavigation of the Arctic Ocean

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

June 2008
Quark offers maiden voyage on nuclear 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
Quark launches first-ever CarbonNeutral® voyages to Antarctica aboard Ocean Diamond

February 2013
Quark hosts Jonathan Shackleton (Ernest Shackleton’s cousin) and Falcon Scott (Robert Falcon Scott’s grandson) as they walk (and camp) on 7th Continent together

November 2013
Quark teams with Hot Docs to offer the first-ever floating polar film festival onboard the Sea Spirit

April 2014
Quark introduces Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, its first land-based arctic adventure

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

December 2014
Quark introduces In Franklin’s Footsteps – day excursion to secluded Beechey Island

December 2014
Quark makes polar history landing at remote Saunders Island, South Sandwich Islands

January  2015 – Quark Wins the World Travel Awards™: World’s Leading Specialty Cruise Line

February 2015
Quark introduces North Pole Express: Barneo Fly-In Ice Camp – an epic expedition on floating research station with North Pole inclusion