An adventure with Quark Expeditions is quite unlike most other vacations. Let's face it, there are a lot of unknowns in polar travel, even if you've done it before.
That's why we want you to know that our Polar Travel Advisers (PTAs) are the best in the business. Whatever questions you may have as our guests, they have the answers.
Meet Caren Rapp, Quark Expeditions PTA
Caren is a newcomer to Quark. She's been with us for two months, but she's not new to the world of travel, including polar travel. Not only is she a certified travel counselor, she's also lived in or visited all seven continents!
“I am fortunate enough to have seen many beautiful and interesting places,” says the native of South Africa, “but the most special place I have ever been to was Antarctica.
Caren has worked in the travel industry for many years since moving to Canada. First she lived and worked in Edmonton, and later she relocated to Toronto, where she was introduced to the world of polar expeditions.
An Experienced Arctic Traveler
“I joined a company that specialized in small group adventure travel, including polar expeditions, for people over the age of 50,” she says. “I was there for almost 14 years, but when I was offered the opportunity to join Quark, I jumped at it.
“Polar travel is very special and I love being a part of it.”
“I have sailed through part of the Northwest Passage between Greenland and Beechey Island, and from Greenland down the coast of Labrador to St. John's, Newfoundland,” Caren says, adding it's been a tremendous education which she enjoys sharing with Quark's guests.
Caren's Polar Travel FAQ
She hears many similar questions from guests, such as what clothing to take on a polar expedition. “In a nutshell, packing tips are much the same for both Polar Regions - the answer is casual comfortable clothing and dress in layers. Waterproof pants are important, as are a few pairs of gloves, warm hat and scarf.”
Travelers often wonder if they need a visa or special shots, and the answer is no if your destination is Antarctica. That's mostly also true for the Arctic unless your trip includes a stop in Russia, then a visa is required.
Can special diet requests be accommodated? “Apart from kosher, yes,” Caren says. “Our chefs are versatile and make sure everyone eats well.”
And people also want to know – how difficult are shore landings? “One has a lot of flexibility in just how much or little you do on shore,” she says. “If you cannot be too active, staying near the landing site can be just as rewarding as moving around.
“On shore in the Antarctic, you can observe the wildlife and enjoy the sounds of the ice calving off the glaciers, hear the barking of the seals and the calls of the penguins, and just take in the pure serenity of Antarctica. In the Arctic, you can also choose to explore as much or as little as you choose. Zodiacs are constantly returning to the ship, so if you want to go back early, you can.”
Book Your Polar Adventure With Quark
It's this kind of variety that Caren enjoys about traveling, and about her job as a Quark PTA. But that's not all.
“I love the Polar Regions of the world because they are so unspoiled and pristine,” she says. “They have not been spoiled by overwhelming tourism, and I believe visiting these areas is a privilege.
“I feel excited every time someone books a trip to visit these areas. It allows me to revisit them in my mind, so I love what I do.”
Why not get started on creating your own memories of a special polar adventure? Caren and the rest of our PTAs are waiting to hear from you – get in touch with us today!