Quark Ultramarine

Specifications of Quark Ultramarine

Year built2020 new ship
BuilderBrodosplit Shipyard (Split, Croatia)
Building costUSD 150 million / EUR 134 million
OwnerTUI Group
OperatorQuark Expeditions
Speed16 kn / 30 kph / 18 mph
Length (LOA)128 m / 420 ft
Beam (width)22 m / 72 ft
Gross Tonnage13500 gt
Passengers200
Crew140
Decks8
Cabins102
Decks with cabins4
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Quark Ultramarine Review

Review of Quark Ultramarine

MS Ultramarine cruise ship is currently under construction at Brodosplit Shipyard (Split Croatia) and scheduled for launch in 2020-Q4. The vessel was specifically designed to navigate the ice-filled polar waters. This technologically-advanced ship has max passenger capacity 200 and is ice-classed 1A (polar class 6 / PC6 for passenger ships).

Like all Quark ships, Ultramarine is guided by crew highly-experienced in polar navigation. Ship's inaugural season is in Antarctica (winter 2020-2021). Quark Ultramarine current fleetmates include Ocean Adventurer, Ocean Diamond, Ocean Endeavour, Ocean Nova, World Explorer, plus two Russian nuclear icebreakers - 50 Years of Victory and Kapitan Khlebnikov.

History and ownership

The shipowner and operator is the polar expedition travel company Quark Expeditions - 1991-founded by Mike McDowell and Lars Wikander. The company specializes in polar cruises to ports and destinations in Antarctica (from South America) and the Arctic (Northern Europe, Iceland-Greenland, Canada) via vessels with ice-strengthened hulls. In 1998, Wikander became company's majority owner. In 2001 he became Board Chairman, with Patrick Shaw appointed as company's President and CEO. Since May 2007, Quark Expeditions is part of the UK-based TUI Travel PLC Group of Companies.

Ultramarine cruise ship (Quark Expeditions)

Shipboard facilities

Quark Expeditions' Ultramarine ship was named after the color ultramarine - deep-blue pigment originally made by grinding into a powder of Lapis lazuli (metamorphic rock / semi-precious stone). Ship's name also means "beyond the sea".

The vessel by design has spacious indoor and outdoor observation areas, bar lounge, two restaurants (Main Dining Room, Bistro with a terrace), wellness facilities. MV Ultramarine combines advanced safety systems and the latest maritime technologies providing passengers with faster disembarkation (via Zodiac boats) and Zodiac hangar with four embarkation points. These boats (20x) are quick-launching and used for coastal cruising and shoreside wilderness exploration.

The cruise ship carries 2x twin-engine helicopters parked on two helipads on Helideck. Both helicopters are twin-engine and specifically designed with exceptional viewing spaces and meeting industry's highest safety standards. The aircraft are used for private tours (flightseeing tours, heliskiing, heli-hiking, fly-transfers) and landings to polar destinations accessible only by air. The vessel has 4 lifeboats (fully enclosed tender boats) and 2 rescue boats.

Quark Ultramarine deck plan shows 2 dining venues, 4 bars, Panorama Bar Lounge (with Library), Lecture Theater (Conference Room), Polar Boutique (Shop), wellness complex (on deck 7). There are also two Ready Rooms (aka Mudroom for expedition gear storage, fitted with individual lockers and benches) and Promenade Deck (full-circling Deck 5). All wellness facilities are with floor-ceiling windows and include Spa (massage rooms, heated loungers, relaxation area with padded loungers), Yoga Room (with exercise mats, yoga balls, jump ropes), Sauna Room, Fitness Center (large gym room with free weights, treadmills, cross trainers, stationary bikes, strength training machine, resistance band wall).

Ultramarine cruise ship (Quark Expeditions)

Complimentary ashore activities include Zodiac boat tours and hiking,.As optional 9at extra cost) are offered flightseeing tours, sea kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, guided mountaineering, paddle tours, camping, cross-country skiing, helicopter tours and transfers (heli-hiking and trekking, tundra skiing, lake kayaking, overnight fjord camping, visits to Kujataa Greenland / UNESCO Site).

 

Two Lifts (passenger elevators) connect all decks except Helideck (deck 8). All decks are interconnected via stairs (forward, midship and aft) including interior and exterior staircases.

Cabins

The Quark ship Ultramarine staterooms (102 total) are in 11 cabin grades. All cabins are outside, ~60% of them are with step-out balconies. Of all staterooms, 6 are single cabins (category spa bathrobes) and can be booked with no-supplement single rates. Solo cabins are with a floor-ceiling window. Category Explorer Triple are triple-occupancy shared cabins (aft location on Deck 3) designed for solo passengers sharing the cabin with two other same-gender travellers or for 3-person groups. Each stateroom has 3 separate (fixed single) lower beds.

All Ultramarine cabins offer as standard (complimentary / cruise price inclusive) amenities smart HDTV (infotainment system, satellite Internet and TV programming), electronic safe box (in the closet), custom-made premium bed (Queen-size double bed convertible to two twin beds), premium bedding sets and pillows, bedside cabinets, wall-mounted reading lamps, writing desk with chair, minibar (refrigerator), slide-opening wardrobe, seating area (2 armchairs, low table, sofa / 2-seater couch), en-suite bathrooms (WC-toilet, glass shower, large mirror, heated floor, single-sink vanity with under-sink storage, plush towels, spa bathrobes), individually controlled air-conditioning, USB charging ports, 220V Europlug power outlets (2-pin European plugs).

Most staterooms are in category Balcony Suite (standard balcony cabins) with double-occupancy. Cabin balconies are furnished with low tables, luxury deckchairs and padded loungers. The only cabins without balconies are in categories Explorer Suite, Explorer Triple, and Solo Panorama.

Ship's largest and most luxurious staterooms are the Ultra Suite and the Owner Suite. Both accommodations are 3-Room suites and feature a larger bathroom, separate dining room, bedroom (with walk-in closet) and living room (lounge with L-shaped sofa and coffee table). All top-tier suites (Ultra, Owner, Penthouse, Terrace, Deluxe Balcony) have a bathtub in their bathrooms.

Inaugural cruise itineraries 2021

Quark Expeditions opened bookings for Ultramarine cruises on January 8, 2020. The ship's inaugural season includes voyages in the Canadian Arctic (including Northwest Passage), Greenland, Spitsbergen Norway. The itineraries include:

  • 2021 (May 3, 16, 21, June 7) 7-day itinerary "Spitsbergen Highlights: Expedition in Brief" (priced from USD 12,200 pp) is inclusive of Oslo Norway (airport hotel), flight to Longyearbyen Spitsbergen (embarkation), Spitsbergen Island Svalbard cruising, Longyearbyen (debarkation), group charter flight to Oslo.
  • 2021 (May 8, June 2, June 12) 10-day itinerary "Intro to Spitsbergen: Fjords, Glaciers and Wildlife of Svalbard"(from USD 15,100 pp) is inclusive of 2 domestic flights (to/from Oslo) to/from Longyearbyen (embarkation/debarkation).
  • 2021 (June 25) 15-day itinerary "Essential Greenland: Southern Coasts and Disko Bay" (from USD 8,500 pp) is inclusive of Reykjavik Iceland (arrival, overnight hotel, embarkation), East Greenland cruising (days 4-5), South Greenland cruising (days 6-7), West Greenland cruising (days 8-9-10-11-12-13), Kangerlussuaq Greenland (debarkation), flight to Reykjavik (overnight hotel).
  • 2021 (July 10, 17, 24) 9-day itinerary "Greenland Adventure: Explore by Sea, Land and Air" (from USD 17,600 pp) is inclusive of Reykjavik (embarkation), Southern Greenland cruising (days 2-3-4-5-6-7), Narsarsuaq Greenland (debarkation), flight to Reykjavik (overnight hotel).
  • 2021 (August 2) 17-day itinerary "Northwest Passage: In the Footsteps of Franklin" (from USD 32,100) is inclusive of Toronto Canada (hotel), charter flight to Kangerlussuaq Greenland (embarkation), West Greenland cruising (days 3-4), Canadian Arctic cruising (days 6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15), Resolute, Cornwallis Island, Nunavut Canada (debarkation), charter flight to Toronto (hotel overnight).
  • 2021 (August 16) 9-day itinerary "Arctic Express Canada: The Heart of the Northwest Passage" (from USD 15,300 pp) is inclusive of Toronto (hotel), charter flight to Resolute (embarkation), Canadian Arctic cruising (days 3-4-5-6-7), Resolute (debarkation), charter flight to Toronto (hotel overnight).
  • 2021 (August 22) 12-day itinerary "Canada’s Remote Arctic: Northwest Passage to Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg Islands" (from USD 22,200 pp) is inclusive of Toronto (hotel), charter flight to Resolute (embarkation), Canadian Arctic cruising (days 3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10), Resolute (debarkation), charter flight to Toronto (hotel overnight).
  • 2021 (August 31) 17-day itinerary "Northwest Passage: Epic High Arctic" (from USD 32,100 pp) is inclusive of Toronto (hotel), charter flight to Resolute (embarkation), Canadian Arctic cruising (days 3-4-5-6), Smith Sound (days 7-8, North Atlantic crossing from Ellesmere Island to Greenland), Qaanaaq Greenland (Thule), West Greenland cruising (days 11-12-13-14-15), Kangerlussuaq Greenland (debarkation), charter flight to Toronto (hotel overnight).

Quark cruise deals

Quark Expeditions cruise deals are inclusive of:

  • 1-night pre-cruise hotel stay, group transfers (airport-hotel on the day prior departure, and hotel-ship on embarkation day)
  • onboard accommodation (daily housekeeping service)
  • all onboard meals (breakfasts, lunches, dinners) - know that the ship's galley/kitchen can't prepare kosher meals
  • all Zodiac landings (daily, weather permitting) and Zodiac transfers and cruising (daily)
  • media presentations by Expedition Team members and special guest lecturers
  • waterproof expedition boots (onshore landings)
  • complimentary Quark Expeditions logoed parka
  • lifejackets and immersion suits
  • complimentary coffee, tea and cocoa (24 / 7)
  • hairdryer and bathrobe (in all cabins)
  • pre-departure materials (including maps)
  • all service taxes and port fees
  • all onboard luggage handling
  • emergency evacuation (medevac) insurance to a max benefit USD 100,000 pp
  • Fly-cruise deals are inclusive of complimentary house wines (by the glass), beers and spirits on the ship, also of all gratuities (staff and crew) and all domestic flights (prior to embarkation).
  • Shipboard laundry and Ironing services are available at additional cost.
  • Ship-to-shore communications are via Inmarsat Capsat Fleet 77 (satellite phone and Internet) and cost extra.

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Vessel's construction officially started with the steel-cutting ceremony on January 29, 2019. The special event was attended by Andrew White (Quark Expeditions' President). Vessel's keel-laying ceremony at Brodosplit Shipyard (in Split Croatia) was held on August 2, 2019. During the ceremony, to the keel was also welded a specially-minted coin for good luck.

With its superstructure completed, the ship was launched (floated out from drydock) on May 16, 2020.

 

The Marshall Islands-flagged MV Ultramarine is the only polar-class cruise ship (ice-classed 1A / PC6) to offer all off-ship adventure activities currently offered by Quark Expeditions. These options include paddling, stand-up paddleboarding, sea kayaking, mountaineering, hiking, cross-country skiing, and (for the first time) - helicopter flightseeing tours, heli-skiing, heli-hiking. Ship's draft is only 5 m (16 ft) which allows safe near-shore navigation in scenic coastal destinations and inland waterways.

Ultramarine cruise ship (Quark Expeditions)

The cruise vessel has a fleet of 20x quick-deploy Zodiacs - large-capacity, motorized high-speed boats used for coastal cruising and landings in remote areas. The Zodiacs are positioned close to the waterline, which allows to be quickly deployed from both sides of the ship (aft) and from the stern. Zodiac boarding operations are facilitated at 4 embarkation/assembly points accessible from 2 rooms. Cruise passengers can get off the ship in less than 20 min (half industry's average boarding time) for off-ship sea and land travel adventures.

Ship's operational range is 70 days. This is accomplished by implementing optimized onboard fuel-water-provisioning-waste-handling systems. In keeping with cruise company's Polar Promise (sustainability strategy), Quark Ultramarine's technical features minimize vessel's environmental footprint to an extent unseen for a ship of this size (length 128 m, GT 13,000 tons). Among these environmentally-friendly innovative maritime technologies is the Dynamic Positioning (DP) - a computer-controlled system that automatically maintains the ship's position by using its own thrusters (propulsion units). This eliminates the need to anchor in areas with sensitive seabeds.

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