For three decades, Quark Expeditions has been offering unique and unforgettable luxury voyages to the Arctic and the Antarctic
1991 was a pivotal year for intrepid explorers Lars Wikander and Mike McDowell. Not only did they found what would become the world’s leading polar exploration company, but they also accomplished something that no one else had ever done before: they successfully led a group of commercial travellers to the North Pole. Once they got there they were awestruck by its majesty; and made it their mission to offer this unique experience to other travellers. Now, almost 30 years later, the company that they founded, Quark Expeditions, continues to lead the market in Arctic and Antarctic travel, merging luxury with adventure to take people further than they’d ever imagined possible.
“Lars and Mike realized there was a big area not being covered by the traditional travel categories that dominated the market,” says Associate Brand Manager Alex Karanikolov. “Some people might not have known you could go to these destinations; or existing tour companies might not have the infrastructure or the know-how. So it was really this very pioneering beginning, saying that anyone with the resources could journey to the North Pole.”
Quark Expeditions has grown steadily over the past three decades. It still deals exclusively in polar exploration but has expanded its expeditions to other polar destinations such as the Svalbard archipelago, Greenland, the Canadian and Russian High Arctic, the Antarctic Peninsula, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. And wherever Quark Expeditions’ would-be explorers decide to go, they are likely to see some of the world’s most stunning natural landscapes and wildlife. They get to explore in intimate groups, with plenty of off-ship activities such as sea kayaking, mountaineering and flightseeing on offer too. What’s more, after three decades of pioneering polar exploration, the company will, by 2021, have introduced an exciting new addition to its fleet.
“Our expertise and desire for innovation have culminated in the building of our own ship, Ultramarine,” says Alex. “This is a game-changing ship, purpose-built for polar expeditions. After three decades of exploring these regions, we’re focused on making every single detail of Ultramarine uncompromisingly polar, so it’s a really exciting time for us.”
The introduction of Ultramarine will enable the company to offer clients a new way to explore the polar regions and have unique experiences. It will mean complete immersion for the adventurer in the splendour of everything that polar exploration has to offer.
“There are people who work hard to earn their money and time off,” says Alex, “and then travel somewhere to rest and relax. They may look out from a beach or up a mountain at the horizon and say: ‘Wow, look how far I can see!’ But there are other people who will glance in the same direction and say: ‘How do I get there? And how can I go beyond?’ “And that spirit of exploration, that spirit of wonder, is at its most alive in the polar regions,” says Alex. “These are the last unspoiled wilderness areas left. And because of that, they offer the kind of adventure and exploration experience that keeps us hungry and keeps us wondering and keeps us wanting to explore with our passengers as much as we can.”