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Quark Ultramarine

Quark Ultramarine cruise ship
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Cruise line
Quark Expeditions

Quark Ultramarine Review and Specifications

Specifications of Quark Ultramarine

Year built2020 new ship
BuilderBrodosplit Shipyard (Split, Croatia)
Building costUSD 150 million / EUR 134 million
OwnerQuark Expeditions
OperatorQuark Expeditions
Speed16 kn / 30 kph / 18 mph
Length (LOA)128 m / 420 ft
Gross Tonnage13000 gt
Passengers200
Decks7
Cabins103
Decks with cabins5

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 will be 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-established 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, Canada, Iceland-Greenland) 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Quark Expeditions' Ultramarine ship was named after the color ultramarine - deep-blue pigment originally made by grinding into a powder of Lapis lazuli (metamorphic rock / semi-precious stone).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".

All of the 102 passenger staterooms (in 11 cabin grades) are outside (~60% with step-out balconies), with custom-made beds, premium linens and en-suite bathrooms with heated floors. Of all staterooms, 6 are single cabins (with floor-ceiling windows).

Quark Ultramarine ship cabin

The vessel by design has spacious indoor and outdoor observation areas, bar lounges and restaurants, wellness facilities. MV Ultramarine combines advanced safety systems and the latest maritime technologies providing its passengers with faster disembarkation (via Zodiac boats) to enjoy coastal cruising and ashore wilderness exploration.

Ultramarine cruise ship (Quark Expeditions)

The cruise ship features two twin-engine helicopters parked on two helidecks. Ship's helicopters are specifically designed with exceptional viewing spaces and meeting industry's highest safety standards. Both aircraft are used for private tours and polar landings to destinations accessible only by air.

Quark Ultramarine's deck plans show 2 dining venues, 4 bars, Panorama Bar Lounge, Conference Room/Lecture Theater, Library, Boutique Shop, wellness complex (Spa, Fitness, Sauna, Treatment Rooms for massages) all of which are with floor-ceiling and wall-to-wall windows.

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 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.

Ultramarine is the only polar cruise ship to offer all off-ship adventure activities currently on offer 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.

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. 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 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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