Quark Expeditions, a leader in cruises to the Arctic and Antarctica (and celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2011), has just chartered its first luxury vessel, Sea Spirit, for at least three Antarctic voyages. The ship has a ratio of 94 crew to 120 guests, and offers up amenities such as a hot tub, library, game room, gym, elevator, multi-purpose presentation room with state-of-the-art equipment, and satellite telephone access in every cabin. There are six 350-square-foot suites, in addition to 57 cabins, all with exterior views and lounge areas. Plus, the Owner’s Suite, the largest on the ship, has a living room, game room and meeting area, hot tub, and sliding glass doors leading to a private sun deck. “Sea Spirit takes our quality to a new standard, without sacrificing our exceptional reputation for polar adventure,” said Hans Lagerweij, Quark president.
The Sea Spirit had its inaugural 20-day voyage to Antarctica, “Explorer’s Quest,” in December with an itinerary that included the wildlife paradise of South Georgia, the remote Falkland Islands, the Antarctic Peninsula, and the South Shetland Islands. Quark, which has the largest and most diverse fleet of passenger vessels in the Antarctic, also operates the widest variety of polar itineraries and the greatest number of departures to Antarctica. It was the first to transit the Northeast Passage with commercial passengers, first to take travelers to the “far side” of Antarctica, and first to circumnavigate the Antarctic continent with guests, twice. The next Sea Spirit voyage is a 10-day “Antarctic Explorer” cruise for travelers seeking highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands. Passengers can choose from several optional adventure activities: sea-kayaking, camping, cross-country skiing, and mountaineering. During the Antarctic adventure cruises, Quark’s experienced Expedition Team will give presentations about wildlife, ice, and the history of the seventh continent. February 14–February 24, 2011. The trip starts at $5,990 per person to $12,490 per person for the Owner’s Suite. (416.645.8243, www.quarkexpeditions.com)