Last updated: 05:00 PM ET, Fri April 29 2016

Quark Expeditions to Attempt Historic Arctic Circumnavigation

Tour Operator | Quark Expeditions | Monica Poling | April 29, 2016

Quark Expeditions to Attempt Historic Arctic Circumnavigation

PHOTO: Kapitan Khlebnikov. (Photo courtesy of Quark Expeditions)

In this day and age of ultra-advanced technology, there are very few places left on earth that remain inaccessible to the general public. As the world becomes smaller, and its people more adventurous, some of the most remote, desolate regions in the world now support thriving tourism infrastructure.

Even journeys to Antarctica and the Arctic are starting to feel commonplace, so it’s no wonder that some people feel they need to turn to outer space to experience something that is truly new. Still, there are experiences on earth that have yet to be conquered.

This summer, Quark Expeditions, a leader in polar expedition travel sets out on one such adventure when it attempts an historic crossing of the Kennedy Channel separating Greenland and Canada. The expedition takes place on the legendary icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov as it attempts to traverse a channel that to date has only ever been crossed by submarine. If successful, this will be the first time a passenger vessel has completed the crossing.

The sailing is part of Quark’s epic 75-day Arctic Circumnavigation voyage which commences in July from Anchorage, Alaska and returns there on Sept. 23.

For passenger convenience, the excursion has been separated into four separate itineraries, which can be taken separately. If combined however, the itinerary will take passengers on a once-in-a-lifetime full circle around the top of the world.

The attempt to cross the Kennedy Channel will take place during the 21-day Extreme Greenland expedition, the second of the four itineraries. On Aug. 7, 2016, the crew will attempt to landing at remote Cape Morris Jesup, Greenland’s northern-most point. From there, navigator will use two helicopters, which sail with the vessel, to scout the northern coast. If sea and ice conditions are favorable, If successful, Khlebnikov may make a landmark journey over the northern tip of Greenland and passengers including top scientists, marine biologists, field staff and adventure travelers will make history while experiencing the Arctic in a way no one ever has.

“We’re thrilled our Extreme Greenland expedition passengers have this rare opportunity to be a part of polar exploration history,” said Andrew White, president of Quark Expeditions. “Our Arctic Circumnavigation voyage is only offered for 2016, making the experience even more exciting and meaningful for the few travelers who make this epic journey.”

The Soviet icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov has crossed the Northwest Passage more than any other passenger vessel on the planet. It tied Roald Amundsen's record for reaching 78° South in 1996 and was also the first ship to circumnavigate Antarctica with passengers on board. To this day, it is the only passenger vessel that has circumnavigated Antarctica twice. Refurbished in 1990 and again in 2015, Khlebnikov has 51 outside cabins and suites, all featuring large windows. Quark passengers also have access to a dining room, lounge, heated plunge pool, sauna, auditorium and Polar Boutique during their voyage.

Epic Northeast Passage; The first leg of the voyage sails from Anchorage, Alaska to Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway through the fabled Northeast Passage. Travelers will see some of the world’s most unique geological formations, the culture of the indigenous peoples of the Russian Arctic and they’ll witness the Khlebnikov’s legendary icebreaking skills. Departs July 10; sold out.

Extreme Greenland: The region may be nearly isolated, but herds of musk oxen make their home here. Shore landings will provide excellent hiking and photographic opportunities. Witness the splendor of “iceberg alley” from up close as the shop navigates past massive icebergs. Meet the residents of Ittoqqortoormiit, the most northerly community in East Greenland, and experience their local culture. Sailing south to Tasiilaq, you will undoubtedly spend time in the bar, exchanging impressions of this awesome wilderness with fellow travelers. Departs from Aug. 4; from U$ 23,495.

Best of the Canadian Arctic: Canada’s northern-most shores remain a relatively lesser known region within the Arctic. During the excursion you’ll meet some Canada’s northernmost residents. Incidentally, if you’re just taking circumnavigating the Arctic as a way to pass time until you can fly into outer space, this is the journey to book. The special onboard guest is of the nation’s most famous residents, Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield.

Of this Best of the Canadian Arctic voyage, Hadfield has said, “To go to the edge of our understanding, at the frontier of where technology can take us onboard a ship with the capabilities of this icebreaker, with a group of people that have trained together, is almost like a space expedition of its own.”

The journey departs Aug. 22 and starts from U$ 19,795.

Ultimate Northwest Passage: Only the most powerful icebreakers can complete the journey through these ice-choked waters. Here you’ll enjoy visits to Canadian Inuit and Russian Yupik and Chuckchi communities. Get your camera ready and be prepared to encounter plenty of Arctic wildlife, including whales, seals, polar bears, and sea birds. Departs Sept 6; from U$ 20,695.

Through July 31, 2016, travelers can save 20 percent on select icebreaker voyages, including the Best of the Canadian High Arctic, Extreme Greenland and the Ultimate Northwest Passage. For more information, call 888.892.0073 or contact your travel agent.

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