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Quark Expeditions was founded in 1991 by Lars Wikander and Mike McDowell, specializing in expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic aboard purpose-built expedition vessels. In 1998, Lars Wikander became the majority owner of the company.
Three years later Lars became Chairman of the Board, when Patrick Shaw joined the company as President and Chief Executive Officer. On May 1, 2007, Quark Expeditions became part of the UK-based TUI Travel PLC Group of Companies. Hans Lagerweij is the current President and CEO of Quark Expeditions.
Quark's Arctic fleet includes the polar-class icebreaker: the nuclear-powered 50 Years of Victory. purpose-built to navigate the frozen waters of the Russian Arctic. The icebreaker is equipped with helicopters and Zodiacs, enabling travel to remote locations that other vessels in the Arctic cannot, including the North Pole.
Quark has the largest and most diverse fleet of passenger vessels in the Antarctic, including the Sea Spirit, an all-suite ship, and the Ocean Diamond offering the first carbon neutral voyages in polar travel history.
The fleet enables Quark to operate the widest variety of polar itineraries of any other adventure company in the world, and the greatest number of departures to Antarctica.
Quark Firsts
The company was the first to transit the Northeast Passage with commercial passengers; the first to take travelers to the “far side” of Antarctica and the first to circumnavigate the Antarctic continent with guests, twice.
In 2006 In the Bay of Whales, Ross Sea, Quark Expeditions broke Roald Amundsen’s record, set nearly a century ago, by reaching the farthest south latitude of any surface vessel.
In 2012 the company completed the first-ever passenger hot air balloon ride on an expedition to the North Pole.
Beginning with its 2012/13 Antarctic season, Quark will offset the emissions of the ship the Ocean Diamond, thereby offering the first carbon neutral voyages in polar travel history.
In October 2006 and 2007, Quark was named a recipient of National Geographic Traveler’s “50 Tours of a Lifetime” for their “Emperor Penguin Safari” and the “Far Side” respectively. In the March 2006 edition, Outside Magazine named the “Emperor Penguin Safari” as one of the New Trips of a Lifetime.

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