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Know Before You Go: Frequently Asked Questions

Know Before You Go

Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you are thinking of an expedition, or you've booked the trip of a lifetime with Quark Expeditions, here’s what's next! Review our FAQs below for comprehensive tips to help you prepare for the Polar Regions and how to make the most out of your voyage with the most experienced expedition team in the industry. If your specific question isn't covered below, please reach out to your Polar Travel Advisor or helpful Client Experience Team at

What should I know before booking a polar expedition?

For your personal safety—and to ensure you get the most enjoyment out of your polar adventure—please assess your mobility and medical requirements before booking. It is essential that guests have high level of mobility to get in and out of Zodiac boats, and for off-ship activities such as hiking on uneven terrain. Our destinations are remote. Apart from our basic ship infirmary, it could take up to 72 hours to reach adequate medical facilities. For more details to help you assess your mobility and medical requirements before booking your voyage, please review Health & Safety.

Please familiarize yourself with our Terms & Conditions prior to booking your expedition. There is valuable information outlining reservations, commercial terms, minor-age passengers, cancelation policies, and more. For full details, please review Expedition Terms and Conditions.

Our Protection Promise allows you to make a purchase decision that will leave you worry-free in the event your plans change down the road. Please review details for each term in our Quark Expeditions Protection Promise.

I've Booked with Quark Expeditions. What Now?

We ask every guest to complete a series of Passenger Forms. This includes information about your arrival/departure, your passport and emergency contact information, as well as your size for the Quark Expeditions Parka we give you. When you booked your voyage, you will have received an email containing a link to your unique Passenger Forms. Click on this link, and fill out your forms as soon as possible. You can access and update your forms as many times as you need. Just remember to always click "Submit" so your information is saved! You must complete all of these forms at least four months prior to your departure.

If the links to your forms are not working, please contact us at

Now that you've booked, our dedicated Client Experience Team is ready to help! By now, you should have received your Trip Brochure and Ship Book for your voyage. Please enjoy reading through these for lots of information about your trip.

If you booked through a travel agent, all communications will go to them; please speak with your travel agent if you have any questions about your trip. If you booked directly with Quark Expeditions, we will send emails to the main contact you provided in the booking.

We occasionally send emails if there are any updates, but please reach out to us at should you have any questions.

Approximately one month prior to your departure, you will receive your Final Documents via email confirming all the details about your trip.

Due to the remoteness of the regions we visit, an adequate medical facility could be up to 72 hours (or more) away, dependent on weather conditions. We do have a ship doctor on board and basic medical facilities. However, to ensure we are well prepared for the Polar Regions we ask every passenger to fill out the medical form.

If you have any food allergies or dietary requirements, this is where you can outline them so our crew can ensure we accommodate your needs.

If you have any of the medical conditions listed on the medical form, or you are on any prescription medications, you will need to fill out a second medical form that must be signed off by your physician/doctor. First, please fill in the online medical form. You will then be able to download a copy of the medical form that needs to be filled in by yourself and signed off by your physician/doctor. Please then email this signed medical form to for our medical team to review. A completed medical form is required to join your expedition. If you have any concerns about joining one of our expeditions, please speak to our team.

There's a space on the Medical Form where you can let us know about any dietary requirements and/or allergies. Please go on to your Passenger Forms to add this information.

Considering the World Health Organization having determined that COVID-19 no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, Quark Expeditions will no longer be requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination prior to boarding. We continue to recommend to our passengers that being vaccinated and up to date with boosters as they become available is an important measure in maintaining health while travelling.

At a minimum, we require all passengers to purchase medical insurance coverage of USD $50,000 per traveler. We recommend that you purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers you for both medical and trip cancellation/delay aspects of travel. The purchase of your expedition includes USD $500,000 of emergency evacuation insurance. You can get additional information about insurance, including the policies we have with our partner Trip Assure.

The Terms & Conditions for your specific trip are found in your Passenger Forms. Please note that we do have Terms & Conditions on our website but they may not be the same as the ones for your particular booking so always check your Passenger Forms first.

If you booked before September 7, 2022 you should find a link to you Book With Confidence policy in your passenger forms. If you booked September 7, 2022 and onwards, you will have our Quark Expeditions Protection Promise coverage. Please reach out to our Client Experience team via with any questions.

Email our Client Experience Team at and we'll send a copy to you right away!

Flights, Excursions & Making the Most of Your Trip

Each of our trips is different. Please refer to your Trip Brochure under Arrival & Departure Details for information on when you need to arrive at the destination, and what time you can depart after completion of your trip with us. 

You must arrive by the time we stipulate in order to take part in any potential meetings or document checks before embarkation. The finer details of what we'll be doing on your first day/s are confirmed nearer the time in your Final Documents, but, for the moment, our guidelines in your Trip Brochure will have you covered.

We can not assist with booking flights and  recommend you speak to a travel agent if you’re unsure. Once you have booked your flights, please insert that informationon in your Passenger Forms. Our ground crew use this information to ensure we know your whereabouts, so please update this form if your airline makes any alterations.

Antarctic Express: Fly The Drake: If you are beginning and ending your trip in Punta Arenas, it is absolutely essential you arrive at the hotel by 3PM on Day 1 or you may be denied joining the expedition. There is also a chance you could miss your charter flight altogether if we have to bring that flight forward due to  incoming poor weather. This is also referenced in your Expedition Brochure and the Terms & Conditions in your Passenger Forms.

Your charter flight details are confirmed in your Final Documents which you will receive approximately one month prior to departure. If you are looking for guidlines on when to book your international flights, please refer to the Arrival & Departure Details in your Expedition Brochure for our recommendations on when to book your travel.

If your flight times change, please ensure you update them in your Passenger Forms as this document keeps our crew informed regarding your travel plans. 

Flights changes within 30 days of departure: If your flight change means you are arriving on a different day entirely or will mean you are now arriving later than our recommended arrival time, please get in touch with our Client Experience Team at As per above, always ensure you update your flight information in your Passenger Forms. 

Flight changes within 48 hours of departure: If you are delayed or your flights are changed last minute, please get in touch as soon as possible so our ground crew are made aware. You will find emergency contact information in your Final Documents. Please refer to this to find out the best way to get in touch with us and let us know. If you’re unsure or do not have access to these documents, please reach out to the Client Experience Team at or call us on one of the numbers you'll find on our contact us page. Please have your booking number ready for us.

Some of our expeditions have included transfers and these will be detailed in your Invoice and Trip Brochure. 

Please note that if you have an airport transfer included in your trip, it is only available if you arrive on Day 1 of the itinerary. Please ensure your flight information on your Passenger Forms is up to date so our ground crew know when to expect you. There will be someone with a sign in Arrivals waiting for you. Please look for them and they will direct you to our group shuttle. 

If you do not have included transfers, or you are arriving before Day 1, you will need to make your own way to the hotel. Most airports we travel in and out of have good taxi ranks in the Arrivals area, or you can often prebook a transfer online.

Your hotel will be confirmed on your invoice. If your hotel is still showing as TBA, we are still confirming the hotel  for your expedition and we will update that information nearer departure. Please check back within six months of departure and you should see your hotel has been updated and confirmed. If you require a new invoice, please contact our Client Experience Team at

We do not provide hotel vouchers for your stay. You only need to give your name, as per your booking with us, and the hotel reception will take care of you.

We provide hotel nights where necessary for your expedition, but if you'd like to extend your stay you can book directly with the hotel or through a third party. To help you to stay in the same room, please let us know if you make a hotel booking by adding it to your Passenger Forms. Under Arrival/Departure Information, there is a box where you can put your hotel information. Please confirm the hotel name, booking confirmation number, dates, and name used for the booking so we can liaise with the hotel and request you are kept in the same room. When you make the booking, please also mention you have a room booked with Quark Expeditions so the hotel can make a note of this. We do not receive individual confirmation numbers from the hotel for every passenger so we cannot provide you with a number. It is at the hotel's discretion whether they can keep you in the same room.

Quark Expeditions works with a number of travel partners who can help you with organising additional travel before or after your voyage with us. Whilst we do not arrange or run the tours ourselves we can point you in the best direction to really make this the perfect trip for you. Please reach out to the Client Experience Team if you'd like to know more.

A list of Included Activities on your voyage is in your Trip Brochure. On the following page you'll find more details of optional Adventure Options you can sign up for. These could include activities such as kayaking, camping, and helicopter excursions if you’re joining us onboard  Ultramarine. If you are interested in any of the optional Adventure Options, please contact our Client Experience Team and they can book these for you. We strongly recommend booking these as early as possible as most sell out before departure.

You can also check prices and availability of the Adventure Options on our Dates & Rates page. Then you can filter our voyages until you find yours. There is a little lag between our website and booking system, but the availability is generally up to date so if you see there is a spot available on the Adventure Option you wish to book, please call or email us right away so we can book it for you!

Our Sea Kayak Program is a voyage-length program aimed to take a small group of experienced kayakers out as many times as possible during their voyage. The Paddling Excursion, on the other hand, is a one-off kayaking experience on sit-on-top inflatable kayaks that are suitable for any experience level—even if you're a complete beginner. Both offer the amazing experience of being on the water, in the pristine polar environment, in a kayak with a small group. 

To read more about our Kayaking, including what it’s like, what experience you need, and what equipment is provided, please check out the following two pages:

If you would like to read more about our Paddling Excursion, including what equipment is provided, please check out the below:

Absolutely! Thank you for choosing Quark Expeditions to celebrate your special occasion. Please let your Polar Travel Advisor know, or contact our Client Experience Team so we can add a note to your booking. We cannot make guarantees of what will be possible onboard, due to the unpredictable nature of polar travel. However, our onboard Guest Services team  will always do their best to organise a little something. If you have any special request, please let us know and we will see what we can do.

Yes, we can host a ceremony on board! But first, it's important to understand that a wedding on our ship will not be a legally binding marriage. If that’s acceptable to you, then please let your Polar Travel Advisor or our Client Experience Team know of your interest and we will check if it’s possible on your particular voyage. You must let us know you'd like a marriage ceremony on one of our ships at least 30 days in advance of your expedition. Because of the nature of polar travel, we will not be able to confirm a specific date, time or place (for your ceremony or exchange of vows) before departure. We will be working with the weather, sea ice, and planned and opportunistic expedition activities so any details will be determined by our Expedition Leader and Captain nearer the time. Our team will do their best to arrange something special. It would be our honor!

We will always do our best to accommodate our guests' wishes but we cannot guarantee requests such as a specific cabin number. Please let your Polar Travel Advisor or the Client Experience Team know of your particular request (and why) so we can determine how best to proceed. Our crew tries to avoid moving people around for a number of operational reasons, but we will always try our utmost to arrive at a suitable solution once we know of your request.

It's Almost Time! Packing & Getting Ready for the Polar Regions

We will email your Final Documents confirming all details about your expedition approximately one month prior to departure. We will only send these documents if your booking is paid in full and all your Passenger Forms are complete. Please check your latest invoice to see you've made full payment. We will always send an email with your latest invoice after a payment is made. You can check your Passenger Forms by clicking on the link we sent to you and ensuring everything is marked as Complete. If there is anything Incomplete or Pending, and you're unsure what you need to do, please get in touch with the Client Experience team. If both of these things are complete, you're all set to go.

Weather conditions are variable, with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark. The continuous daylight warms sheltered areas so that you may find temperatures warm enough for t-shirts. However, you may encounter snow squalls, fog and white-outs, during an expedition. Always pack for all eventualities. Generally speaking, our ships run warm so you may find you're comfortable in just t-shirts or shirts onboard.

Packing is the exciting bit for many of us. You will find a handy packing list towards the end of your Trip Brochure. You will have received a copy of this when you first booked. We also have two excellent videos, which you can check out here:

We require all passengers to wear waterproof pants when on our Zodiacs. There is always the chance you'll get wet and the conditions can be freezing. Rain pants are a great option as they are affordable, fully waterproof, and can be worn over the top of any pants you bring with you. Alternatively, bring waterproof ski pants if you already have them. Please ensure the pants you bring are fully waterproof—and not water resistant—to ensure you stay dry and comfortable.

Every passenger that travels with us receives a complimentary Quark Expeditions Parka which is theirs to keep. We'll also lend you a pair of waterproof, insulated muck boots for the duration of your voyage. You can select your sizes for both items on your Passenger Forms. 

Your Quark Expeditions Parka is a 2-in-1 outer, waterproof jacket with an inner puffer jacket that can be removed and worn on its own. The Parka is incredibly warm as it's designed specifically for the Polar Regions. 
Our boots are Muck boots or similar brand, and are comfortable to wear on our excursions. We recommend wearing a couple of pairs of socks with them for added warmth and comfort.

If you are taking part in one of our optional water-based adventure options, all additional equipment such as dry suits, dry bags, flotation devices etc. are provided and you do not need to bring anything extra.

Yes, all our vessels have a laundry service. You will find a pricing list and bags in your cabin. Every morning our hotel staff will collect any laundry and return it within 24-48 hours.

We generally recommend soft-sided luggage as it's easier to transport and store. There is plenty of storage space in our cabins for unpacking your things, but not all hard-shelled suitcases will fit under the beds/in our wardrobes, so we recommend other baggage solutions if you have them. For your carry-on, please consider a backpack or something you are comfortable carrying; you will need to take these on and off the ship as well as potentially walk around with them before and after your voyage so consider what is comfortable for you.

Most of the hotels we work with have some sort of luggage storage room that they can offer, subject to availability. However if you need a secure, guaranteed storage place for excess baggage you're bringing on your trip, we would recommend checking out the storage facilities/lockers in the airport. Most airports offer this service. Quark Expeditions does not have its own storage facilities that we can offer to our guests.

If you have charter flights with us as part of your expedition, weight allowance will be noted on your invoice once we have them confirmed. We do not allow for excess baggage so please ensure you keep your checked and carry-on within the limits. For dimensions, you are welcome to bring any sized bag that you can take on a regular commerical flight.

If you are passionate about photography, we understand how important it is to ensure you bring the right gear on a trip like this. If you have a camera, please bring spare SD cards, as well as some spare batteries, and potentially a hard drive or laptop to back up your photographs. If you're considering which lenses to bring, we suggest you bring a couple of lenses to give you the perfect balance for all situations; one well suited to landscape photography and one for wildlife close-ups such as a telephoto. We do not recommend bringing a tripod unless you are planning to do a lot of video recording. Drones are not allowed on any of our vessels.

You will find the appropriate plug type and electrical current details in your Ship Book. Please contact the Client Experience Team at if you do not have a copy. Your Ship Book also includes lots of other useful information about the amentities onboard your ship.

Antarctica: the Notorious Drake Passage
Everyone reacts differently to the rough water that can sometimes be encountered in the Drake Passage. We ask that all our guests consult their personal physician and carry with them recommended preventative medication. We will also have a doctor onboard just in case. Equally, please do not be disappointed should you experience a smooth crossing. Not all Drake Passage crossings are rough.

The Arctic: The Strait Goods
If your expedition sails through the Bering or Denmark Straits, then you should anticipate some rough seas. That said, of the two Polar Regions, smooth sailing is most frequently experienced in the Arctic.

Yes, all our vessels have WiFi onboard. Please note that we travel to some of the most remote parts of the world. As we utilize satellite equipment for our connection, it is possible that occasional degradation or outages of services may occur. Personal communication services are not always guaranteed throughout your voyage. Please refer to your Ship Book for specific WiFi details of your ship. We encourage passengers to disconnect from digital life and reconnect with the natural world. 
If you are concerned about staying in touch with friends and family while onboard, you can also find Emergency Contact Information for the ship on your Final Document that you’ll receive approximately one month prior to departure. You can leave these details with your friends and family for peace of mind.

Yes. For all vessels the bridge will be open for passengers to visit on a controlled basis. Time of access and passenger numbers will be coordinated by the captain/bridge officers/Expedition Leader and facilitated when conditions are suitable.

We accept Visa and Mastercard onboard as well as USD cash.   Please advise your bank ahead of your upcoming trip so that your card is not blocked. It can be difficult to contact your bank once onboard. Charges will originate from the USA. We recommend registering your card at reception within the first three days of your voyage to ensure there are no issues later in your voyage.  For gratuities we understand this is a very personal subject and whatever amount you give is at your own discretion. 

Both the Arctic and Antarctica are protected areas, and the Quark Expeditions team does everything possible to protect the pristie Polar Regions we visit.  When preparing for your trip, please consider packing only what is essential and to avoid single-use items. We kindly ask that you try to take home with you as much as possible  so there is less waste left behind. While there are waste facilities in these regions, they are limited. 
Please also be aware of the risks of introducing a non-native species into these sensitive areas. Please clean and examine thoroughly all your clothing to remove any dirt or organic matter; check your shoes, inside pockets, fleece, mesh inserts and Velcro.

If you would like to know more, we  recommend checking out IAATO’s website for Antarctica, and AECO’s website for the Arctic.  

You can also review our Polar Promise sustainability strategy for more details on how we preserve the Polar Regions.