Quark Expeditions

Quark Expeditions is an expedition travel company. The company offers Polar Region expeditions aboard purpose-built expedition ships and icebreakers and land-based trips.

Quark Expeditions
HeadquartersSeattle, United States
Key people
Andrew White, CEO
  • Polar Expeditions
  • Polar Cruises
  • Adventure Travel
  • North Pole Travel
  • Passenger Transportation


Quark Expeditions was founded in 1991 by Lars Wikander and Mike McDowell, specializing in expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic aboard purpose-built expedition vessels. In 1998, Lars Wikander became the majority owner of the company. Three years later, Lars became Chairman of the Board, when Patrick Shaw joined the company as President and CEO.

On May 2007, the company became part of the UK-based TUI Travel PLC Group of Companies; subsequently in 2016, it became part of Travelopia, a division comprising some brands from the former TUI Specialist Group.

The company has mounted an expedition involving internet personalities and YouTube creators including Ben Brown, Tim Kellner and Tom Scott led by retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield on an Arctic expedition.[1]

The company's summer 2019 program in the Arctic will include sailings to Greenland, Canada's High Arctic, the Northwest Passage and the North Pole.[2]

Polar Fleet & Land Expeditions

Quark travel offers both cruise and land-based expeditions. The company has the largest and most diverse fleet of passenger vessels in the Antarctic. Expeditions are held on the following ships:


  • 50 Years of Victory
  • Kapitan Khlebnikov

Ice-strengthened small expedition ships

  • Ocean Diamond
  • Ocean Endeavour
  • Ocean Nova
  • Sea Adventurer, Sea Adventurer 2017, and Ocean Adventurer
  • Hans Hansson
  • UltraMarine

Sustainability & Charitable Initiatives

Quark Expeditions is a long-time, active member of IAATO and AECO, and promotes various sustainability initiatives. In 2012, Ocean Diamond made a carbon-neutral voyage to Antarctica.[3]


Quark has received several industry awards, including some from Travel Weekly and National Geographic.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10]


  1. Bishop, Jordan (2016-10-26). "This 7-Minute Video Will Make You Drop Everything And Visit The Arctic". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-11-10.
  2. "Quark Expeditions Announces Arctic Program for Summer 2019". Cruise Industry News. 2018-02-04. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  3. "Quark Expeditions Offers First Carbon Neutral Voyages in Polar Travel History". Adventure Travel News. 2012-04-19. Archived from the original on 2012-05-11.
  4. "World's Leading Polar Expedition Operator 2013". World Travel Awards.
  5. "WTM London 2014 - Amadeus & WTM Travel Experience Awards Winners". Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  6. "Travel Weekly Magellan Awards". travelweeklyawards.com.
  7. "50 best trips for 2013". Wanderlust.
  8. "Best Tours in Europe -- National Geographic". Travel. 20 April 2010.
  9. "Travel". nationalgeographic.com.
  10. "The Wanderlist". Outside Online. 1 March 2006.
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