Quark Expeditions has set many firsts for expedition travel by passenger vessel. Here are a few of them:


  • Quark Expeditions launches as a polar adventure specialist.
  • Quark Expeditions conducts its first voyage to the North Pole.
  • Quark Expeditions conducts the first-ever tourism transit of the Northeast Passage >, the historic route along the Arctic coast of Europe and Asia.
  • Quark offers the most comprehensive series of Antarctic voyages by chartering a fleet of oceanographic research vessels.


  • Quark Expeditions deploys the icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov to the Far Side of Antarctica, a sector never before accessible to expedition travel.
  • Quark Expeditions offers the first visits for non-scientific adventurers to Emperor Penguin rookeries.


  • Using helicopters carried aboard Kapitan Khlebnikov, Quark Expeditions passengers fly to McMurdo Dry Valleys, in the Ross Sea Sector of Antarctica, a first for expedition travel.
  • Quark Expeditions makes the first-ever attempt to circumnavigate Greenland, though difficult ice thwarts the attempt with only a quarter of the expedition remaining.
  • Quark Expeditions retraces the legendary voyage of Endurance, the first time the voyage was completed with commercial passengers.


  • Quark crosses 80°N to Nares Strait, the narrow, ice-choked waterway between Ellesmere Island and Greenland, making visits to new archaeological, historical sites on both sides of the Strait possible.


  • Quark Expeditions begins a circumnavigation of Antarctica, the first ever passenger voyage of its kind.


  • At 21:44 hours (GMT), January 24, 1997, Quark Expeditions icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov returns to 60°S, 50° 45’W, after 60 days at sea, having successfully completed the first-ever circumnavigation of Antarctica with commercial passengers.


  • Quark Expeditions’ icebreaker Kapitan Dranitsyn circumnavigated the Arctic Ocean.


  • Lynne Cox, the world’s premier cold-water open-water swimmer, partners with Quark Expeditions for her first Antarctic one-mile swim. Cox was the first swimmer in history to accomplish such a feat.
  • Adventurers aboard the icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov are the first commercial travelers to witness a total eclipse of the sun > in the isolation of Antarctica’s Davis Sea.


  • Quark Expeditions confirms the location of the most northerly Emperor Penguin rookery in the world, near Snow Hill Island > in the Weddell Sea.


  • Quark Expeditions breaks Roald Amundsen’s record, set nearly a century ago, by reaching the farthest south latitude of any surface vessel in the Bay of Whales, Ross Sea.


  • Quark Expeditions operates the maiden voyage to the North Pole of the world’s largest and most sophisticated icebreaker, 50 Years of Victory.