Luxury Tours: It's the middle of July, and you're bundled up in a waterproof parka and rubber boots, essential equipment in these isolated parts of the world. Surrounded by ice fields as far as you can see, you are hoping to spot the elusive narwhal, walrus, solitary polar bear, or one of many species of seals in the polar regions of the Artic; or maybe you elected to travel to Antarctica, where penguins rule the scene along with whales, seals and dolphins. Whichever destination you chose, both are equally some of the most remote and fascinating territories of the world.
Quark Expeditions is the leader in
icebreaking expeditions, making their first journey to the North Pole in 1991. No other expedition outfitter has since navigated greater areas of this expansive polar territory, and they are now the company of choice when it comes to carrying adventurous travelers and die-hard explorers to the most frigid corners of the Earth. With Quark Expeditions, there are three ways to explore the Polar Regions: with purpose-built icebreakers to carry travelers deep into southern waters; on small ice-strengthened (former) research vessels offering access to places that larger ships cannot penetrate; or if a slightly larger vessel is preferred, an expedition ship can offer the perfect balance for adventure and luxury.
Each journey varies dramatically, departing from Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Canada, or Russia. Four and five star accommodations (like the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottowa) are reserved for the discriminating traveler; however, hotels bookings can be altered for lower budgets, if necessary. Each vessel is equally unique, offering a variety of amenities: from an exercise room with sauna, heated swimming pool, a lounge and bar stocked with a varied list of wine, champagne and spirits, a library of books, a dining room, theatre style auditorium, to a clinic with a licensed doctor.
Triple and double rooms, suites and corner suites are available, with windows that boast fantastic views. Each room ranges from $7995 to $35,000 per person, dependant on the vessel, and length of itinerary.
The clean, crisp air will make you ravenous, so each ship is provided with a professional kitchen and master chef. Upon check-in, a polar parka is provided for you to keep, and rubber boots are available for rent. Dress code is relaxed, and layers are suggested. Side excursions like ice camping, sea kayaking and ice climbing can be booked in advance. Certain vessels during the summer hours offer a Polar Arts program; with an artist-in-residence, you can learn how to paint in watercolor in the Arctic; but of course, only if the temperature is above freezing!
For LxM Sherry Martin