Arctic 25: Rethink your bucket list

By Helen Hayes 5 October 2023
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You’ve been on safari in Africa, ‘done’ Europe, and cabbed it in the Manhattan traffic. For your next big adventure, go big … go to the Arctic.

The Arctic is a vast, frozen wilderness at the top of the world, and has always held a certain mystique. Its pristine landscapes, abundant wildlife, and the ethereal glow of the Northern Lights make it a destination that beckons adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike. It is off-the-charts exhilarating, and Quark Expeditions can take you there.

Fourth of July Glacier, Svalbard. Image credit: Acacia Johnson

Quark Expeditions was one of the pioneers in polar exploration, with cofounders Lars Wikander and Mike McDowell taking the first group of commercial travellers to the North Pole in 1991. It was a very big deal… the first tourism transit of the Northeast Passage – and since then the company has steered a course at the forefront of polar exploration. They were first to undertake the first non-scientific visit to Emperor penguin rookeries, and sailed their first circumnavigation of the Arctic in 1999.

In season

Quark Expeditions has launched its new season for its outstanding Arctic expeditions – Arctic 2025 – and will redefine your bucket-list aspirations with remarkable expeditions to Greenland, the Canadian Arctic and Svalbard. All three regions are spectacular and offer different experiences that will inspire and delight.

Baffin Island in the Norwest Passage, Canadian High Artic. Image credit: Acacia Johnson

Guests can choose from four new itineraries in Greenland and Svalbard, along with old favourite itineraries. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a first-time explorer, Quark’s Arctic trips cater to a wide range of interests and comfort levels.

In Greenland, see sights like Prins Christian Sund, with its stunning array of fjords and channels, Northeast Greenland National Park, with exotic wildlife such as musk oxen, polar bears, Arctic fox, and, near the coastal regions, walruses and assorted whales, the tiny island of Uummannaq, where local Inuit still follow a traditional lifestyle, and Tasermiut Fjord, known for its polar bears.

Canada’s High Arctic territory is massive, with myriad mountains, glaciers, tundra, rugged shorelines, towering granite cliffs, and bodies of water. Highlights include the Inuit town of Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, the remote hamlet of Pond Inlet with its fjords, glaciers, and icebergs near the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage, and the Inuit hamlet of Pangnirtung, just 50 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle is known for its traditional Inuit hand-woven tapestries and lithographic prints.

In Svalbard, you’ll have a best opportunity at spotting the most iconic of Arctic residents, the polar bear.

Make sure to take a visit to Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Norwegian archipelago. It is known as the ‘land of the midnight sun’ and as the ‘wildlife capital of the Arctic’, and is home to Longyearbyen, the world’s northernmost city and the jumping off point for the Norwegian Arctic.

A polar bear in Svalbard. Image credit: Acacia Johnson

Ultra cool

Quark Expeditions has the largest fleet of polar-class vessels in the industry, each carrying less than 200 passengers, including Ocean Adventurer and the spectacular Ultramarine, the newest ship in the fleet, which has two twin-engine Airbus H145 helicopters that are designed to fly deeper into the Polar Regions than any other helicopters in its class.

The newest ship in the Quark Expeditions fleet, the Ultramarine. Image credit: Quark Expeditions

These helicopters mean the Quark Expedition Team – the most experienced team in the industry – can take you to places where few humans have ever walked. A mind-blowing thought and an experience that will live long in your memory. Imagine the range of off-ship adventures that are exclusive to Quark Expeditions that you could go on, including alpine heli-trekking, mountain biking, alpine kayaking, heli-landing, heli-hiking, and ice sheet landings. Ultramarine has an internal Zodiac hangar so its 20 vessels can be deployed quickly, allowing for more spontaneous off-ship adventures and more intimate wildlife engagement. After all, Quark Expeditions has the widest array of off-ship activities in the Arctic, such as kayaking and camping.

Camping in Tasermiut, Greenland. Image credit: Aningaaq R Carlsen

When you venture into the untouched wilds of the Arctic, you need a great team around you and at Quark Expeditions, the elite guides are trained at the highly respected Quark Academy, which goes above and beyond every standard there is for safety and preparedness in the Polar Regions and interact directly with world-class polar experts.

A Svalbard reindeer in Akehornet. Image credit: Acacia Johnson

Quark Expeditions has earned its reputation as a leader in Arctic exploration by offering safe, educational, and environmentally responsible trips to this remote and enchanting region. Whether you’re drawn to the Northern Lights, the abundant wildlife, or the thrill of venturing way off the beaten track, Quark Expeditions has an Arctic adventure that will leave you with lifelong memories.

Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, guests will not only witness the Arctic’s natural wonders but also become a steward of this fragile ecosystem, contributing to its preservation for generations to come.

Book your place on an Arctic 25 itinerary with Quark Expeditions early – by October 31– and receive a US$1,000 Early Booking Bonus.

This article is brought to you by Quark Expeditions.