1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Quark Expeditions
  4. Quark Expeditions Cruise Reviews
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
I recently completed an Antarctic adventure by Quark Expeditions aboard the Ocean Endeavor. Our trip to Antarctica was unforgettable; it truly is the last slightly untouched, unspoiled, except for the effects of global warming, place in ... Read More
I recently completed an Antarctic adventure by Quark Expeditions aboard the Ocean Endeavor. Our trip to Antarctica was unforgettable; it truly is the last slightly untouched, unspoiled, except for the effects of global warming, place in the world. We booked our trip through a specialty agency specializing in adventure trips and they were able to answer a lot of questions to insure this was the correct trip. I had numerous questions about my physical ability to do the trip, as I am not 30 something years old. They answered my questions to the point that I was reasonable assured that I could physically “do” the trip and enjoy it. For me at least, this is a very (insanely?) expensive trip. However, Antarctica has been one place that I have wanted to see for 30 plus years and realized if I did not go now, I would never see and experience it. The basic itinerary: 1. Travel from home to Buenos Aires, Argentina – This was independent portion of trip or not included in trip fees. 2. Tour Buenos Aires (Expedition Trips/Quark Expeditions). 3. Travel by charter flight (Expedition Trips/Quark Expeditions) from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, Argentina. 4. Tour Tierra del Fuego National Park (Expedition Trips/Quark Expeditions). 5. Board Ocean Endeavour (Quark Expeditions). Leave evening day 1. 6. Crossing The (Dreaded) Drake Passage (2 days). The Drake can be rough, this was a calm passage. Day 2 7. Crossing The (Dreaded) Drake Passage (2 days) and 1st zodiac outing at Shetland Islands. Day 3 8. Antarctic Sound – 2nd and 3rd zodiac outing and kayaking (Yes, I opted for kayaking and extra $). Day 4 9. Explore Mikkelsen Harbor and Hughes Bay, Cape Herschel – 3rd and 4th zodiac outing and kayaking. Day 5 10. Explore Wilhelmina Bay and Cuvervulle Island in the Errera Channel – 5th and 6th zodiac outing and kayaking. Day 6 11. Explore Useful Island and Gerlache Strait – 7th zodiac outing and kayaking, 8th zodiac and kayaking replaced by following packs of Orcas. Day 7 12. Crossing The (Dreaded) Drake Passage (2 days). The Drake can be rough, the return was reasonable calm passage. Day 8 & 9 13. Arrive in Ushuaia return flight to Buenos Aires and return (independent portion of trip or not included) to home. Day 10 The food was great, but one sort of expects this on a ship. Meal times were announced and everyone ate in the dining room. Breakfast was hot and cold buffet, lots of choices, plus made to order eggs. Lunch was buffet again, but the menu of items would change. Dinner included choice of soup, salad, entrée and dessert. Dinner generally consisted of 3 choices available – fish, red meat, and pasta or veggie option. For dinner, the wine stewards offered choice of a white or red. Chef could also adjust for dietary needs. One service the dietary staff did that was helpful, when going through the buffet, especially crossing the Drake when the ship would rock some, is to carry your food to a table, they had their “sea-legs”, some of us did not. I looked forward to meal times, not only for the great food and new items to try, but also with such an international shipmate listing, who you would be dining with including Adventure Team staff this generated lots of lively conversation ranging from where you live, occupation, what you did and saw today to where to next. The entire ships’ crew was very experienced and it was obvious that client satisfaction and safety is first priority. The ship’s crew were divided along three main divisions, Ship’s Captain and Engineering staff to operate the ship, Hospitality included Galley staff, housekeeping, laundry and administrative, and Expedition Team an incredible group of dedicated Antarctic and Artic professional with and incredible collections of backgrounds and abilities. The Expedition Team members were readily accessible between excursions and many gave presentations during the two days crossing the Drake and after dinner. All the presentations were well prepared and interesting. I had studied for this trip, so some was a timely review of information I had previously been exposed to, however, the enthusiasm of the presenter kept it interesting and at each presentation, I did receive additional new information. I also noticed that many of the Expedition Team attended their teammate’s presentation. During excursions or on deck the Team members were very knowledgeable about subjects out of their main area of expertise and enjoyed sharing. All staff demonstrated a genuine concern for Antarctic wildlife and sustainability. Every staff member I had contact with was the type of person you would want to have in your organization. The pre-trip information was excellent as to what to bring and not bring. We were able to pack the proper clothing to stay warm and comfortable whether on deck, in the zodiacs or kayaks. The key is to dress in layers and make sure your base layer is comfortable and wicking. The ship store also has a good selection of layering items if you forgot something, or feel you need additional, plus their prices were reasonable. I bought a pair of waterproof pants that I neglected to obtain ahead of the trip. Everyone was a little anxious about cross the Drake Passage as the Drake is known to have 6 to15 foot rolling swells, if you are lucky, as the Drake can be either a Shake or a Lake. It takes about two days to cross in either direction. December and January are better times to go as unless the ship sails into a storm you will avoid the 30 ft. waves. If you are susceptible to motion sickness (I am!) visit your Doctor and inquire about the “patch”, transderm scopolamine, if it is right for you and follow directions explicitly. It worked great for me on this trip. The ship’s Doctor, Dr. Wayne Jonas, was excellent and always available to discuss your situation and gave solid medical advice. You should also try to board ship well rested. Eat only moderately the day before and avoid greasy foods and excessive amounts of alcohol. Once on board pack your gear away immediately, storing it so it won’t become dislodged or need organization later when the seas aren’t so calm. It’s a good practice to avoid overheating both in your cabin, eating or anywhere else as this can bring on motion sickness. Reading in bed is another activity you might wish to avoid. It is rather obvious this type of trip may not be for everyone, example; my wife did not want to go and does not want to go even after seeing all the photos I took and listening to my inexhaustible tales of exploit. My daughter who accompanied me would like a return trip. As I stated at the beginning, for me at least, this is a very (insanely?) expensive trip. However, with 198 passengers and crew and staff of 130 to 150 and experiencing how things are done, I can understand the cost. Activity level can be somewhat high if you decide to do as many kayaking excursions as possible, or do the climbing, skiing options, and climbing to the top of the snow/ice covered island for the better view. But many guests did just the zodiacs and on landings, walked along the shore, or picked a good spot to sit and watch the parade of penguins. I am the traveler that even thought I had a wonderful time and experience somewhere, I tend to cross it of the list as having been there and there are so many new places to experience. Antarctica is different; it was so much more than I expected, and there are so many additional sites to explore that I would truly enjoy a return and with the Quark Expeditions Team. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Two days delay at the departure , 4 days "lost" because have to go 36 hours in Murmansk for Russian territory check-out (at least what have been said to pax ) Quark staff does best as he can do onboard - Many intesrestind ... Read More
Two days delay at the departure , 4 days "lost" because have to go 36 hours in Murmansk for Russian territory check-out (at least what have been said to pax ) Quark staff does best as he can do onboard - Many intesrestind landings on shore by zodiacs or even twice by helicopter -Russian Mi6) Some good and even excellent -2or3-expedition staff -with very professional lectures during sea days - Have really two days of icebreaking thick ice on Laptev sea , and 2 nice days with interesting landings and hélico flight at Franz-Josef land . Restaurant staff was extremely kind and helpful with good service - Food & dining very correct , little bit basic but allways tasty - (Austrian catering company) As 92 pax onboard , nobody is doing such a kind of "expedition" for food, beverage, or night entertainments and dances - Really great experiences with polar bears sightseeing , with walruses on few of the most remote and limited access - and controlled - islands in the world (i.a: Russian arctics islands : Vilkitsky, Bolshevik, Belkovsky,Wrangel ,Novaya Zemlya, Franz-Josef land ) with landings and hélicopters flights - Only an icebreaker can bring us to these parts of the world (Russian North East passage/route on half world circumnavigation -) This was a unique "Icebreaker-expedition" voyage in Russain arctic , permitted only this year , and with no other expecting for next years ! Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise