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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Embarkation from Resolute Bay was a bit of a melee as our Arctic clothing, needed to wear between the airport and the KK Icebreaker, was delivered to the airport in bulk packages. Passengers had to remember what sizes of jackets / boots ... Read More
Embarkation from Resolute Bay was a bit of a melee as our Arctic clothing, needed to wear between the airport and the KK Icebreaker, was delivered to the airport in bulk packages. Passengers had to remember what sizes of jackets / boots they requested and join a free-for-all to try to retrieve the same. Not everyone got what they ordered. The shore trips, lecturers, food, etc. were reasonable for a costly expedition voyage. We had interesting shore trips via zodiac or helicopter to Beechey Island (site of some Franklin Expedition graves, Radstock Bay (Thule settlement remains), Banks Island, Sachs Harbour, Smoking Hills and a fly over the ice pack. Lecturers were experts in the fields of Arctic history, marine life, birds, geology, ice and climate. "Filler" movies were not so great. Meals included meat, fish and vegetarian choices plus red & / or white wines. They were well prepared and served by capable staff. Seating was casual. However during the last 4 days there were 2 issues that belie Quark's website claims of being the "Leader in Polar Expeditions" known for "Sweating the Details". First we missed our planned visit to Herschel Island due to Quark's lack of an agreement with Parks Canada. Second we spent 30 +/- hours ship bound in the harbor at Providenya, Russia while Quark sorted out documentation requirements to "import" the helicopters and Zodiacs that they "exported" when the voyage originally left Russia. These issues should have been avoided by a more rigorous approach to "sweating the details" and having mitigation approaches in place that would avoid issues leading to such passenger dissatisfaction. Overall these latter days on the trip left a bad taste in our mouths. Given the high cost of the "Ultimate Northwest Passage" trip the issues noted above bring into question the value for money of the Quark offering. As noted by 2 other critical reviews on this website from passengers who were on various legs of the same trip my wife and I are not alone with our perspectives. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Cruise: Svalbard to Eastern Greenland, West Greenland coast, Canadian Arctic, Northwest Passage (duration about 2 months), corner suite (most expensive cabin on Khleb). We had been on the Khleb before for 3 voyages: Northeast Passage, ... Read More
Cruise: Svalbard to Eastern Greenland, West Greenland coast, Canadian Arctic, Northwest Passage (duration about 2 months), corner suite (most expensive cabin on Khleb). We had been on the Khleb before for 3 voyages: Northeast Passage, Snowhill and Antarctic semi-cricumnavigation; first trip 2008. The icebreaker was said to have been refurbished in the meantime, however, all that FESCO did was paint the sinks blueish, put new carpets over the old ones, put new curtains in and a flat Samsung TV. The windows were as rusty as ever, difficult to open and close without leakages, the TV had HDMI and USB ports which were only accessible if you took the TV out of its hinges, and there was no DVD player as promised, it was installed later on. The heating knob was jammed, so the temp. was difficult to adjust. Service in the restaurant is done by Russian staff who don't understand anything but the 3 titles of the menu options, and they clear away your plates as soon as you've finished, even if you go for a soe cheese, the wine glass and knife has been taken off the table. The menus were repeated on the 3 legs as well as the lectures, the hikes of varying quality, some of the Quark guides were far too fast for the medium slow group. There was an ex-astronaut and about 10 youngster on one leg, so-called talented young people, they lacked manners and the ex-astronaut took himself rather important and got special treatment with us passengers paying for the free riders...Again, like someone else mentioned in his critique about being held up in Murmansk, we were held up in Providenya for 2 days without a plausible reason. All in all, I think that the ship is a heap of rust, not up to standards (and I don't mean Boreal), the Russians should be trained adequately, Quark should see to it that they don't just lease the icebreaker and that's it, but should ensure a far better quality, the myth of Khleb has certainly gone down the drain. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Two days delay at the departure , 4 days "lost" because have to go 36 hours in Murmansk for Russian territory check-out (at least what have been said to pax ) Quark staff does best as he can do onboard - Many intesrestind ... Read More
Two days delay at the departure , 4 days "lost" because have to go 36 hours in Murmansk for Russian territory check-out (at least what have been said to pax ) Quark staff does best as he can do onboard - Many intesrestind landings on shore by zodiacs or even twice by helicopter -Russian Mi6) Some good and even excellent -2or3-expedition staff -with very professional lectures during sea days - Have really two days of icebreaking thick ice on Laptev sea , and 2 nice days with interesting landings and hélico flight at Franz-Josef land . Restaurant staff was extremely kind and helpful with good service - Food & dining very correct , little bit basic but allways tasty - (Austrian catering company) As 92 pax onboard , nobody is doing such a kind of "expedition" for food, beverage, or night entertainments and dances - Really great experiences with polar bears sightseeing , with walruses on few of the most remote and limited access - and controlled - islands in the world (i.a: Russian arctics islands : Vilkitsky, Bolshevik, Belkovsky,Wrangel ,Novaya Zemlya, Franz-Josef land ) with landings and hélicopters flights - Only an icebreaker can bring us to these parts of the world (Russian North East passage/route on half world circumnavigation -) This was a unique "Icebreaker-expedition" voyage in Russain arctic , permitted only this year , and with no other expecting for next years ! Read Less
Kapitan Khlebnikov Ratings
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