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10 Sea Adventurer Cruise Reviews

My wife and I chose to travel with Quark Expeditions because we had a pleasant experience on a trip to Antarctica approximately 16 years ago. The company describes itself as the leader in Polar travel. Our trip in Sept. 2017 went up the ... Read More
My wife and I chose to travel with Quark Expeditions because we had a pleasant experience on a trip to Antarctica approximately 16 years ago. The company describes itself as the leader in Polar travel. Our trip in Sept. 2017 went up the eastern coast of Baffin Island, crossed to Greenland and came south along the western coast. Our ship was the Ocean Atlantic. This ship was a substitute for the Sea Adventurer because that ship was not ready due to delays in refitting work. The Ocean Atlantic was advertised by Quark as a comfortable ship that had been refitted in 2017. It may have been refitted, but it was a long way from comfortable. The public areas of the ship had very few comfortable seats, the library was a joke, and the food was mediocre. There were no individual temperature controls in the cabins, and the air circulated throughout the ship was cold. The hot water in the bathroom sink was brown. In our first cabin, the loudspeaker did not work. We heard the same complaints from every passenger we spoke to. In addition to the discomfort of the ship, the cruise itself was badly managed. We arrived at three locations in Baffin Island around 5 p.m., at least a half day later than we should have arrived in order to have adequate time for hikes and photography. We received no plausible explanation for why we were so late. The crossing to Greenland took almost a half day longer than described in Quark's itinerary. Again, no plausible explanation was provided. Although Quark was forced to provide a substitute ship, we believe they are responsible for providing an experience commensurate with the cost of the trip and their advertising about the quality of the trip. We have written a lengthy letter to them complaining about the many shortcomings of this very expensive trip. About two weeks have elapsed with no response. Based on our experience, my wife and I would recommend that, if you are planning a trip with Quark, change your plans. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Booked this expedition via my travel agent who also came with a mixed group of Aussies (16) where we had already travelled for 10 days or so from Iguazu Falls, Buenos Aries, El Calafante and Ushuaia where we boarded the Sea Adventurer. ... Read More
Booked this expedition via my travel agent who also came with a mixed group of Aussies (16) where we had already travelled for 10 days or so from Iguazu Falls, Buenos Aries, El Calafante and Ushuaia where we boarded the Sea Adventurer. From the initial embarkation we were made to feel very welcome and part of the ship community - lotts of smiling happy faces and attentive crew and service staff. After boarding we were straight into a evacuation exercise that made us feel more at ease as we were in the hands of professionals. Throughout the voyage on the Drake Passage every endeavour was made to ensure it was as smooth as could be, even waiting a few hrs in the night, at the end of the Beagle Channel for some rough weather to pass before continuing. All our food and drink requirements were met at meal times and a good selection was always presented. Our service stafff in the lounge were extreme friendly and attentive and after a couple of days knew each of us by name and how we liked our coffee or juice and always served us with a smile and banter. Once in the Antartic peninsula - we made it inside the Antartic Circle - we boarded Zodiacs with help from the ships crew and made 2 landings each day at various points. The zodiac crews were amazing and very informative, often giving us insights of the wildlife, landscapes and iceberg formations. Over the trip we observed many species wildlife form of huge variety of birds, Adelle, Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins, Crab Eater seals, Fur seals, an elephant seal, Minke whales and many many humpback whales which was phenomenal! We disembarked in many locations along the peninsula including Port Leroy where there is a post office and care was taken not to overload it with a swarm of visitors all at once, so while some passengers went zodiacing others landed until all had made a visit. Deception Island was also a highlight and another world experience as we were actually sailed into the caldera of an ancient volcano - albeit still active. The shore was home to many fur seals and penguins and together with the wreckage of an old whaling station made for an epic backdrop and landscape. In the evenings the crew presented many talks about the wildlife, icebergs and exploration history not only of Antartica but also of Ushuaia, there were relevant movies and we began a series of "Drake Talks" whereby passengers were invited to give a talk about anything - which was a lot of fun. In the end the passengers and crew developed a strong bond and it was somewhat sad in disembarking in Ushuaia. Though the ship was a little tired and in need of some renovation which it is undertaking in the coming months, overall it was a very exciting and once in a life time experience - if I was to return it would be with this ship the "Sea Adventurer" soon to be the "Ocean Adventure" and hopefully the same crew - thanks again guys for the experience and your attentiveness and friendship - you all are a credit to Quark. Cheers Eddie Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We were happy to arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile from Houston one day before embarkation. It had been a long trip and we able to rest up before the BIG adventure began. Next day we met with the amazing expedition leaders (all of whom are ... Read More
We were happy to arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile from Houston one day before embarkation. It had been a long trip and we able to rest up before the BIG adventure began. Next day we met with the amazing expedition leaders (all of whom are serious scientists) and got the news of a midnight (!) departure for King George Island. The weather was closing in and Quark sent us ahead rather than try to delay departure. We had chosen to fly over the Drake Passage in order to save time AND to avoid what is likely the roughest body of water in the world. We arrived to King George Island (via Antarctic Air) at dawn where we boarded the ship and went straight to bed! By lunch we were hungry and ready to see everything, which we did. The expedition staff was wonderful and we learned so much in the ten rides and landings via zodiac (rubber boat used to explore Antarctica). We learned by closely observing thousands of penguins (three different kinds), sea lions and whales galore. The staff would recap the day every evening, giving scientific explanations along the way. We neither saw another ship nor any debris or trash anywhere in Antarctica. There are no commercial establishments except for tiny shops near a few research stations, which we were unable to see.The air was absolutely pure and they served glacier water for us to drink. We stayed healthy the entire trip. The ship is not at all fancy and a bit dated, but it is due for major renovation in 2017. I am not sure we will ever stop thinking and talking about this trip of a lifetime. Do all you can to see Antarctica - you will never be the same!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We took this cruise which was labeled Greenland, and Arctic Canada. The hope was to see wildlife in the Arctic area , local villages and the local environment. The trip overall was average and had its high and low points. The ship, the ... Read More
We took this cruise which was labeled Greenland, and Arctic Canada. The hope was to see wildlife in the Arctic area , local villages and the local environment. The trip overall was average and had its high and low points. The ship, the Sea Adventurer is showing some age and is due for some overall over the next year. Functionally it is on the slow side at 12 knots and does not have stabilizers which can make a different in rough seas. The voyage over the Davis strait was rough for some passengers. Cabins are average and functional and bathrooms are fine. Dining room was overall average with good breakfast, average lunch and average supper. Soups were not very good , too watery. Variety was on the good to excellent side. Service in Dining room was very good. The Expedition crew was very good and lectures overall were good with a few weak ones- whale presentation in particular. Presentations on Polar bears very good. Expedition crew was efficient and knowledgeable. We had hoped to see a variety of wildlife and our experience was somewhat disappointing. We did see humpback whales, and seals in the water. On the surprising side we saw 5 polar bears including 2 cubs. No other marine life. Think the time of the year was not the best for wildlife. Visit to Greenland was ok, highlight was the glacier at IIulissat, but visit to Sisimiut was nice but no real scenery. Traveled across the Davis Strait and visited two small villages and one was not very great and the other was. One village was organized in showing tourists around and the other was clueless. Overall an average trip and would I do it again- probably not but if I did then earlier in summer. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We were on a trip from Lisbon to Amsterdam. This is a unique itinerary for this ship which was on its way from the Antarctic to the Arctic. The tour manager was Zegrahm who, as usual, did an excellent job. We had previously been on this ... Read More
We were on a trip from Lisbon to Amsterdam. This is a unique itinerary for this ship which was on its way from the Antarctic to the Arctic. The tour manager was Zegrahm who, as usual, did an excellent job. We had previously been on this ship when it was the Clipper Adventurer on a trip to the Antarctic Because it isn't otherwise covered, I'm starting this review with Internet access (Wi-Fi). Wi-Fi on this ship is very, very expensive. The price was $1.00 PER MEGABYTE, purchased in advance in 20 megabyte packages with a discount over 60 megabytes. Notwithstanding this prohibitively high cost, the ships Wi-Fi seemed to be set to run through megabytes at an accelerated rate. Downloading a single Wall St. Journal to a kindle used 5MB, several times the actual size. Email was equally overweighted. Actual internet browsing was prohibitively expensive. The party line from the IT officer was that material was being downloaded in the background. Within a few days, our cruise director (whose staff was paying the same price for access) announced that we would be refunded what we paid to date for Wi-Fi but there was no guaranty it would improve in the future. Perhaps when management sees no income from what is clearly a profit center rather than a convenience to passengers, they will revise their internet policy. Meanwhile, if you require reasonably priced access to the internet from the ship (assuming few stops where it is available on shore) you should probably pass on the Sea Adventurer. Dining room service was attentive. The food was average at best, starting poor, improving during the trip and declining toward the end. Our sense was that they were on a very tight budget that prevented purchase of quality ingredients. Given these constraints, the kitchen staff did well with what they had. Ports, excursions, etc. were programed by Zegrahm and were independent of the ship. Note that the ship had a mechanical breakdown that forced us to stay in a port for an extra day and miss one stop. Fortunately, Mike Messick, our ever resourceful expedition leader, arranged an excellent shore excursion for the extra day in port. As per other reviews, all but the superior cabins are small with fixed bunk beds. There is sufficient storage space. The bottom deck and part of the next deck have single port holes. While the bottom deck offers the most stability in rough seas, based on our previous Antarctic trip, they may seal that port hole in ice conditions, thus turning these cabins into essentially inside cabins. Note that bottom deck often had very strong fuel fumes in the passageways that frequently permeated the cabins. Cabin service was good. In summary, the Sea Adventurer and its both management need work. The ship is getting old and somewhat shabby. Because it carries zodiacs and is ice hardened, some may still consider it suitable for the Arctic - Antarctic areas but for all of the reasons in this review, we would not take it again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
After 6 National Geographic/Lindblad trips, we made a change and went with Zegrahm Expeditions. What a huge difference after only one trip, we will never go back. We are heading to the Pantanal in Brazil with them in just a few weeks for ... Read More
After 6 National Geographic/Lindblad trips, we made a change and went with Zegrahm Expeditions. What a huge difference after only one trip, we will never go back. We are heading to the Pantanal in Brazil with them in just a few weeks for our second trip. Far better organization on the ship and the food was better. Even lobster, shrimp and tuna - you won't see any of that on a Lindblad ship. Organized expeditions searching for wildlife, much more adventurous Zodiac trips, diving, snorkeling and they paid extra for us to have a daytime crossing of the Panama canal. We even got to keep our snorkeling equipment. This trip was hard to beat and a huge improvement over National Geographic trips. Financially, the trip cost was a lot less, beer and wine with lunch & dinner was included. We did 7 dives which were all included, all gratuities were also included, and I got to fish off the back of the boat. You get $80.00 each to buy some free clothes (Columbia) before your trip and $50.00 to buy maps and books of the places you will see during your trip. Most expedition ships take you to the same places, you will not miss a thing. We even went into the Darien Gap area near Columbia where the native Indians still live a subsistence lifestyle. You also receive a very professionally done DVD of your trip for free vs. $75 with National Geographic. The National Geographic "Costa Rica" trip goes to 2 countries. The Zegrahm Expedition trip went to Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, Honduras and Belize. We did dives in all of them for free vs. $100.00 per dive with National Geographic. The Zegrahm trip was much less expensive than the National Geographic trip considering the initial trip cost plus expenses averaged out per day. The National Geographic trip for the same number of days would have been over $14,000 more than what we paid on Zegrahm. The Zegrahm trip was fun, exciting and very adventurous. We had 75 people on board, but we never felt crowded and there were 3 - 4 different options to pick everyday for adventures. We had full days of seeing and doing things from the minute we arrived. They seemed to know what it takes to keep people from getting down and complaining. It was one of the happiest groups of people we have ever traveled with. We loved it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Like many others, this was a trip of a lifetime. Unfortunately I think we chose the wrong company to provide that experience. There were many positives about the trip (the team leader, Hadleigh, made every effort to provide us with as many ... Read More
Like many others, this was a trip of a lifetime. Unfortunately I think we chose the wrong company to provide that experience. There were many positives about the trip (the team leader, Hadleigh, made every effort to provide us with as many landings as possible. The other members of the team were very intelligent and shared so much information with us and I cannot short the shore excursions and wildlife that we were fortunate to see.) Where this trip fell short was the ship and the response from Quark with regards the ship condition and failed itinerary. One of the engines was out of commission for several days which ultimately meant that we were not able to go to South Georgia Island- and that was the reason we selected this trip, not to spend two and a half days in the Drake (a little bonus we were trying to avoid by flying over it in the first place). We could have saved a lot of money by booking a shorter, less expensive trip. Also, our room was above the engine compartment and we had more than our share of diesel fumes in the room, along with the repair noises that seemed to mostly occur at night. The room itself was comfortable and well laid out, just a little old and tired. We later learned that the ship was going to be refurbished after this particular trip. Another concern was the water on the ship. It came out of the taps brown. I don't mean a little, it was so disconcerting that I did not feel safe drinking it. I was told that the water was tested daily by the ship's doctor and was completely safe to drink. Yeah, no thanks. The food on the trip was not up to the price we were charged. I'm not being overly picky. I have been on a river rafting trip that had better food. At one point we were told that the ship had missed its delivery and we were essentially eating food that was on board from a trip that had been canceled previously. I was later told by Richard (sales rep at Quark) that food was delivered while we were at sea. Clam chowder, split pea, vegetable, whatever flavor that was the soup of the day- it all tasted the same, just varied in color. We finally quit ordering it as it was a joke. There were very limited fresh fruits or vegetables on board. While some of that can be expected due to the area we were in and difficulties supplying, I did not want to see another carrot any time soon. The only thing we looked forward to was the bread. It seemed to be made fresh daily. We also had a few VIPs on board and noticed a difference in the meals they were served and treatment they received. Really? Everyone on the ship should have been a VIP, not just a former CEO/employee and his family or a travel blog couple who were essentially on board complimentarily. On our final day, we received a letter in our rooms saying that in recognition of the issues that were present on the trip, Quark would offer a 40% discount on a future Quark trip within the coming year. So Quark knew there was an issue, knew it had unhappy customers, and this is the best it will do. I inquired about a refund and was told no, the discount was it. In fairness, they did extend the discount offer past one year, but this is not a company I would do business with again, nor do I want to go back to Antarctica or to the Arctic in the near future. And it was too late to dispute with my VISA company as the 90 days dispute period was passed. Clever. It's unfortunate that this was our experience as there were many positive events but they are all colored by 1) not fulfilling the itinerary due to mechanical issues and 2) poor customer service by headquarters. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was my second trip with quark expedition! The expedition leader, hadleigh measham and his expedition staff, where nothing less than, outstanding! What was really great, every evening we had meetings, talking about what we did, ... Read More
This was my second trip with quark expedition! The expedition leader, hadleigh measham and his expedition staff, where nothing less than, outstanding! What was really great, every evening we had meetings, talking about what we did, and where we were that day! and after hadleigh informed us about the next days programm, in words and on tv. Especially, on tv in the cabins was the full programm for the next day, i took a video of that, and now i know where we were each day and what we did.! All the zodiac landings and cruises, again, safe and outstanding. Chasing orkas, minkie, humpback whales so much fun. Wandering about all the 5 differents species of penguins, and all the seals, it is very hard to describe! One can see all this on tv or in photos, b u t nothing can compare with seeing all this animals in their own envirement! And talking about the icebergs, ice floats, different shades of colors and shapes, and sizes, and one see's only 1/3 of the ice, the rest is under water. Cruising around all this ice, and walking on some of it, i have a hard time to explain the ffeling, just thinking about, makes me want to go back! I went on all zodiac landings and cruisings. Kayaking, i am scared of the water, so i did not do that. and again, at no time did i n o t feel safe! Going down from the ship to the zodiacs the ships crew was the best to help every one to be safe! A n d, the polar plunch, i only stuck my legs in the water. The hotel in punta arenas, dreams hotel, was great. especally the front desk clerk "cintia. Since delta never delivered my suitcase, cintia, tried very hard to get in contact with delta, but delta did not listen! But i did get my bag back, a week after i got home! The sea adventure ship was fun to be on, the cabin perfect, comfortable, and clean. My cabin steward, mark, was nice, and anytime he saw me, he called my by my name! I was amazed how every one remembered the names of the travlers! The dining room crew: o u t s t a n d i n g !!! The food tasty, plentiful, and the deserts soooooo goooood!!!!! And the anytime i felt totally safe on the sea adventure. Sailing north to the falkland islands, luckily the weather/wind/water was nice to us. many times, we were called to go on deck to see whales, dolphins, birds folowing or diving or flying around the ship. The final embarkation of the sea adventure ship for the falkland islands, was very sad! And only because it was the beginning of the end of this trip. The falkland islands, i did very much enjoy seeing so much of it. And learning a little of the history about this islands. And than we left the falklands on a flight to punta arenas and on to santiago. Where we staid at the airport hollyday inn, all went well, the hotel was great especially in walking distance to the airport! And going sight seeing in santiago, on he doppeldecker tourist bus, was fun! And lunch, and the pisco sour's more fun! There are nothing but positive words, for the expedition crew, the ships crew, at anytime every and all made me feel very welcome. This was my second trip with quark expedition to he antarctic, my first was in 2009 on the academik shokaslkiy, from ushiaia. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
A Zegrahm cruise on a vintage Quark ship, which they use routinely. We selected Zegrahm for the itinerary. Unfortunately we missed the entire west coast of Antarctica, barely made it to the Peninsula, because the ship wasn't in full ... Read More
A Zegrahm cruise on a vintage Quark ship, which they use routinely. We selected Zegrahm for the itinerary. Unfortunately we missed the entire west coast of Antarctica, barely made it to the Peninsula, because the ship wasn't in full working order. A propeller was seriously malfunctioning which Zegrahm knew before we departed. Hence we missed 4 days of the itinerary, arrived late at many landings so light was very poor for photography, landed on Deception Island in total darkness. Because so9 many clients were unhappy with all the time at sea, Zegrahm finally offered a weak compensation package, which still required considerable haggling. Their offer was largely dependent on future bookings, in other words Zegrahm making more money. A good deal for Zegrahm, not for the clients. After considerable discussion, they finally offered 10% cash on a very expensive, once in a lifetime trip. In addition, the ship is in dire need of interior renovation, grimy, seats falling out of the lounge banquette. We recommend Natl. Geographic - new ships, faster, with more time on the ground. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
First note that this was NOT with Quark Expeditions but with Zegrahm Expeditions, which leased the same ship. Thus this is NOT A REVIEW OF QUARK! Just the ship and itinerary as done by Zegrahm. Zegrahm is however owned by the same parent ... Read More
First note that this was NOT with Quark Expeditions but with Zegrahm Expeditions, which leased the same ship. Thus this is NOT A REVIEW OF QUARK! Just the ship and itinerary as done by Zegrahm. Zegrahm is however owned by the same parent company as Quark. There is no entry for Zegrahm above. This was an all-included cruise, including beer and wine at lunch and dinner and the numerous parties. All I paid for was a couple of mixed drinks and laundry. Also, we did a circumnavigation of South Georgia with a couple of stops in the Falkland Islands. The debarkation was at Ushuaia. First the clientele: old and rich but almost all very fit says it all. I think this goes with circumnavigations of South Georgia without also visiting Antarctica too. Next the ship. It has cabins holding a total of 110 non-crew (i.e. includes customers and the naturalists and Zodiac drivers.) Our trip had, as best I could tell, 78 paying customers, many singles, as they had a big sale "no single supplement". I thought it was just lovely, if a bit old and obviously Yugoslavian (which it was). In fact, it is charmingly nautical, not at all like the land-bound Las Vegas (which I had just got back from.) The price included a flight from Santiago to Stanley (scheduled) and a chartered trip to Buenos Aires, on which the Quark clientele for the next trip had arrived. Both went flawlessly. There were no hotels. I arrived four days early in Santiago and went on a pre-paid custom trip of hiking in the Andes and in lowland hills (astoundingly beautiful waterfall surrounded by palm trees), plus a day tour of Valpariso. This pre-trip was arranged by Zegrahm. Don't cut the stop in Santiago too close ... two speakers (including checked luggage!) made it with only 12 minutes to spare, and two passengers never got their luggage. Take at least an extra day. We did lots of landings on South Georgia, in some cases three landings or landings plus Zodiac drives in one day. With only 78 passengers there is no wait to go ashore, its all over in a few minutes. We did the "usual" long list of places for such a long cruise and saw the usual list of penguins and seals. I'm not going to list them. In fact, we saw just about every animal or bid one expects on land there, including every single truly rare bird species. The scenery was awesome, but not more so, or less so, than the Antarctic Peninsula. We did however notice that there were very few birds or whales around the ship on "at sea" days. I previously went to Antarctica on a similar size ship (G Adventures "Expedition") which had the same "feel". It also had the same food. Not just same food quality, it was essentially identical, down to the delicious raspberry flaky pastries for breakfast. I thought the food was just fine: an attempt at modestly fancy for dinner, buffet otherwise, which was not actually really fancy, but was good. It was clearly aimed at Americans. It was all you could eat, including multiple entrees for dinner. Oh yes, they had infinite cookies 24 hours a day in the lounge, crunchy sugar/butter things some with chocolate chips; the average person was eating say 6 of these a day. They had a 4 pm tea with savory tidbits and seriously caloric sweets plus snacks just before dinner. The talks were excellent. We had a much longer and more varied list of talkers compared to my previous cruise, no better, just more of them. On the way back we got hit with high winds, slowing us to 5 knots and bouncing a lot at times. The ship held up nicely and I at least was never in danger of getting seasick. There were huge waves hitting the bow; they had covered up the windows in the forward-facing lounge with heavy metal plates, and they were needed. Because of this we lost a couple of landings on the Falklands. I should add that one of the few complaints I heard while on board was that "the windows in the lounge and dining room need to be bigger" which is true for the lounge ... but then one risks damage like happened last year to that fancier ship. (Our piano stayed put, but one leg showed signs of distress.) This cruise was at the right time for people who wanted a lot of walking time on land. The seals were plentiful but avoidable. A couple of people, myself included, despite being very careful, got in the way of charging fur seals, but had no difficulty getting to safety. Reports are that a week later the seal situation had become intolerable for landings in most places. We did do several long (up to three hours plus) hikes, some over seriously tussock-grass impeded terrain or quite steep snow. Nobody had a mishap. I very strongly recommend bringing instep crampons or other ice walking aids! Overall: its awesome. But remember, if you do this plus an Antarctic Peninsula trip as two separate ones, you will absolutely rate whichever one is first as "just a little better", barring disaster on one of course. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Sea Adventurer Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.3
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.1
Public Rooms 3.0 3.4
Fitness Recreation 2.0 2.7
Family 1.0 2.7
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.2
Enrichment 4.0 4.3
Service 3.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.1
Rates 4.0 N/A

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