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Quark Expeditions Overview
Quark Expeditions is an expedition cruise line that sails only to the Arctic and Antarctic using old Russian ice-breakers, as well as newer small cruise ships with ice-strengthened hulls. None of the line's ships carry more than 199 passengers. Think of Quark ships as providing floating basecamps for exploring the most remote regions. Ships run the gamut from extremely basic to more modern, but all sailings provide a rugged experience with lots of active options on land.
Who goes on Quark Expeditions cruise ships?
Quark attracts active adventure seekers from around the world (though all programs are delivered in English). All share a desire to discover the poles in an environment that's both exhilarating and educational. They're flexible and eagerly expect the unexpected. Passengers are evenly divided between men and women, with about 40 percent coming from North America; Australian and U.K. cruisers are also well represented. Ages, as well, are equally diverse, ranging from 25 to older than 80, with the two strongest age demographics between 35 and 44, and 55 and 64.
You will also find families onboard during school holidays.
Do I have to dress up on a Quark Expeditions cruise?
No. All sailings are informal, and you'll mostly just want to be dressed for the weather and the environment. Women and men are welcome to bring a dress shirt and slacks for the welcome and farewell cocktail parties on select sailings, but it's not required.
What are Quark Expeditions' most popular activities?
People come on Quark Expedition cruises for two reasons: to see wildlife and the dramatic scenery the poles offer, and to get off the ship and be as active as possible. Zodiac cruising and shore landings are by far the most popular activities, with the many other shore excursion offerings (hiking, research station visits, snowshoeing, kayaking, mountaineering, etc.) almost as popular.
Onboard talks led by expert naturalists and hanging out on deck for views of icebergs, polar bears, penguins and whales are the top on-ship activities.
Is everything free on Quark Expeditions?
No. Only meals, certain excursions (Zodiac cruising, hiking, snowshoeing, polar plunge), and water, coffee and tea are always included in the base fare for a Quark sailing. All cruisers also get a complimentary Quark Expeditions-branded polar parka to keep and free use of specialty boots during the voyage. Other shore excursions (kayaking, cross-country skiing, camping, etc.) cost extra.
On Antarctic sailings, soft drinks are also included, as well as wine and beer at dinner. Dinnertime wine and beer are only included in the cruise price on select Arctic sailings.
Gratuities are at passengers' discretion, though the line recommends $10 to $15 per person, per day. Laundry is available for an extra cost.