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Ultramarine Review

Quark Expeditions Ultramarine (Photo: Quark Expeditions)
Quark Expeditions Ultramarine (Photo: Quark Expeditions)
Ultramarine
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About

Passengers 199
Crew 140
Passenger to Crew 1.42:1
Launched 2020
Shore Excursions 0
Aaron Saunders
Cruise Critic Contributor

Ultramarine Overview

Debuting in the winter 2020, Quark’s new Ultramarine is a rugged, tough yet thoroughly modern expedition cruise ship designed from the ground up for polar cruises in the Arctic and Antarctic.

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Equipped with an ice rating of 1A+ and Polar Class 6 certification, the 199-passenger Ultramarine also introduced a brand-new livery for Quark: a sleek two-toned gray and white hull accented with a vibrant yellow oversized “Q” on the ship’s superstructure.

This is the first newbuild for Quark, a company with decades of polar expedition experience. In the past, Quark has primarily chartered vessels from other companies, including the legendary Russian icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov and the nuclear-powered 50 Years of Victory.  

In Ultramarine, Quark has found the answer to the newest crop of expedition vessels. Unlike most other expedition companies, however, Quark has constructed a ship that’s a bulldog of a vessel: an angular design meant to take on the best that waters like the Drake Passage can throw at it. The vessel has even been designed to operate for 70 days straight if need be.

Expedition toys are all the rage these days, and Ultramarine will sport two onboard helicopters for sightseeing (included in the fare, no less); a fleet of inflatable Zodiac rafts; and options for sea kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, cross-country skiing, mountaineering, camping ashore, and hiking.

Dining

Ultramarine has two separate dining areas: the main Restaurant on Deck 5 forward, and a smaller Bistro on the port side of Deck 7. While the Restaurant will serve up breakfast, lunch and dinner, the Bistro will offer lighter fare throughout the day.

The Restaurant offers impressive 180-degree views overlooking the ship’s bow and is located adjacent to the ship’s outdoor wraparound Promenade Deck – meaning wildlife sightings are just a quick hop away. All guests can be seated here at a single time, and the Restaurant even offers its own dedicated Wine Bar.

Cabins

Ultramarine will sport nine different accommodation categories, ranging from staterooms designed for solo travelers to spacious suites.

Six 132-square foot Solo Panorama staterooms on Deck 6 have been set aside for solo cruisers. They feature a single bed, floor-to-ceiling window, desk, refrigerator, TV, and a private bathroom with shower and heated floors.

Windowed suites on Deck 3, known as Explorer Triples or Explorer Suites, offer 285 square feet of living space and come in triple occupancy or double occupancy. Solo guests can book these rooms and be paired with other travelers of the same gender, or travel as a group of three or two.

Balcony Suites range in size from 226 to 350 square feet and include full step-out balconies with a variety of amenities depending on cabin category and grade.

Full suites – Penthouse, Owner’s and Ultra – measure 369 to 563 square feet and all include increased living space, elaborate bathrooms with heated flooring, step-out balconies, and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Top Deck Attractions

The ship’s upper deck spaces are primarily reserved for the onboard helicopters and zodiac rafts, but ample open deck space exists forward and aft on the ship’s top deck. Additional open deck space can be found on Decks 7 and 5. Quark’s Ultramarine does not have a pool or hot tubs, but does feature a spa and sauna.

Entertainment

Onboard entertainment is primarily derived from informative lectures, daily briefings, and other expedition-related events. The forward-facing Panorama Lounge offers fantastic views (entertainment in itself in the polar regions) and an adjacent library.

Itineraries

Ultramarine will offer polar expedition cruises when it debuts for Quark in Antarctica during the Winter of 2020-2021.