Quark Expeditions Ultramarine Review: An Antarctica Explorer in Luxury Cruising Style

Quark Expeditions’ Ultramarine cruise ship stands out as a revolutionary vessel in the realm of polar exploration, offering an unparalleled combination of comfort, innovation, and adventure. With a host of cutting-edge features and amenities designed specifically for polar expeditions, Ultramarine redefines the standard for expedition cruising in the Arctic and Antarctica. One of the most distinctive features of the Ultramarine is its innovative design, which incorporates state-of-the-art technology and advanced engineering to navigate the challenging polar regions with ease and efficiency. Equipped with two twin-engine helicopters and a fleet of Zodiacs, the ship allows guests to explore remote wilderness areas that are inaccessible to larger vessels, providing unrivaled opportunities for wildlife viewing and off-the-beaten-path adventures.

In a Nutshell…

  1. Cutting-Edge Design:
    • The Ultramarine is purposefully crafted for polar exploration, featuring innovative design elements that enhance the expedition experience.
  2. Helicopter Access:
    • Equipped with two twin-engine helicopters, it allows guests to explore remote destinations accessible only by air, providing unique aerial perspectives.
  3. Zodiac Adventures:
    • With 20 quick-launching Zodiacs, the ship facilitates spontaneous off-ship adventures and intimate wildlife encounters.
  4. Spacious Suites:
    • Guests enjoy the most spacious suites in its category, ensuring comfort during their polar journey.
  5. Sustainability Features:
    • The MAGS (Micro Auto Gasification System) converts waste into energy on-site, exceeding industry standards for sustainability.
  6. Wraparound Deck:
    • generous outdoor viewing deck offers panoramic vistas of polar landscapes and wildlife encounters.
  7. Ready Rooms:
    • Efficiently designed changing rooms allow guests to quickly switch into expedition gear.
  8. Ambassador Theater:
    • High-resolution LED screens in the main theater ensure optimal viewing of Expedition Team presentations.
  9. Balena Restaurant:
    • Guests savor meals with views from every seat, complemented by direct access to the wraparound deck.

Entertainment onboard the Quark Ultramarine

The Quark Ultramarine cruise ship offers a unique and engaging entertainment experience, designed to enhance guests’ enjoyment and understanding of their journey. This review will delve into the literal aspects of the entertainment onboard, focusing on the types of activities, performances, and facilities available.

At the heart of the entertainment onboard the Ultramarine is the Lounge, a spacious and stylishly designed venue that hosts a variety of events. During the day, the lounge is a popular spot for lectures and presentations, providing guests with valuable insights into the destinations they will visit. In the evening, the lounge transforms into a vibrant entertainment venue, hosting live music performances, film screenings, and other acts.

One of the standout features of the entertainment onboard the Ultramarine is its focus on adventure and exploration. The ship offers a range of lectures and presentations, delivered by expert guides and guest speakers. These cover topics such as history, culture, wildlife, and science, providing guests with a deeper understanding of the destinations they will visit.

The ship also offers a range of activities designed to enhance guests’ exploration experience. These include photography workshops, stargazing sessions, and outdoor activities such as kayaking and hiking. The ship’s Expedition Team is always on hand to provide guidance and assistance, ensuring guests have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Live music is another key component of the entertainment onboard the Ultramarine. The ship features a range of performances, from solo artists to bands, offering a diverse mix of genres to cater to all tastes. The performances are held in various venues around the ship, including the Lounge and the Observation Deck, ensuring guests have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the music.

For those who enjoy a more low-key form of entertainment, the Ultramarine offers a range of activities designed to relax and unwind. These include movie nights, trivia quizzes, and board games, providing guests with a variety of ways to spend their evenings.

The ship also offers a range of facilities designed to enhance guests’ entertainment experience. The Observation Deck is a popular spot for guests to relax and take in the views, while the Library provides a quiet space for reading and reflection. The ship is also equipped with a small cinema, offering guests the opportunity to watch the latest movies and documentaries.

The service onboard the Ultramarine is exceptional, with the crew going above and beyond to ensure guests have an enjoyable experience. They are friendly, attentive, and always willing to assist, whether it’s helping guests find a seat in the Lounge or providing recommendations on what to see and do in each destination.

The Ultramarine’s itineraries are another unique aspect of the ship. The ship sails to some of the world’s most remote and fascinating destinations, including Antarctica, the Arctic, and the Northwest Passage. Each itinerary is carefully planned to offer guests a mix of scenic cruising and shore excursions, providing them with a unique and unforgettable experience.

  1. Informative Lectures:
    • The expedition staff, including experts in various fields (geology, history, cetaceans, birds, etc.), deliver informative lectures in the Ambassador Theater. These presentations cover key species, landforms, and the fascinating history of the polar regions.
  2. Interactive Entertainment:
    • In the Observation Lounge with Library and Bar, guests can participate in interactive singing and dancing sessions. Themes range from Sea Shanties to Name that Tune Bingo, adding a whimsical touch to the evenings.
  3. Enrichment Sessions:
    • Naturalists provide onboard enrichment in the Ambassador Theater, sharing their expertise and insights with guests.
    • The Panorama Lounge offers a socializing space with panoramic views, perfect for mingling and enjoying the scenery.
  4. Marina and Watersports:
    • The ship features an onboard marina, allowing easy access to Zodiac tenders and watersports equipment. This facilitates off-ship adventures and wildlife encounters.
  5. No Traditional Evening Shows:
    • Quark Expeditions focuses on activities rather than traditional cruise ship entertainment. The ship’s design emphasizes adventure options, from heli-hiking to alpine kayaking to Zodiac cruises.

Cabins and Room Comfort on the Quark Ultramarine

The Quark Ultramarine cruise ship offers a variety of staterooms and cabins designed to accommodate passengers during their polar exploration voyages. The ship’s deck plans outline the layout of the accommodations, including details on the various staterooms and their amenities.

The Ultramarine features a range of cabin categories, including Explorer Triple cabins, Balcony Suites, Deluxe Balcony Suites, Penthouse Suites, and Ultra Suites. Each category offers unique features and amenities to suit the preferences of different travelers, from solo explorers to those seeking spacious and luxurious accommodations.

Located on Deck 3, the Explorer Triple cabins are approximately 285 sq. ft. (26.5 m2) in size, making them suitable for solo travelers or groups of three. These cabins feature three separate single beds, with amenities provided for each guest. The cabins also include a sitting area, picture window, desk, refrigerator, TV, and a private bathroom with a shower and heated floors, offering comfortable and functional living spaces for passengers.

Deck 4 offers Balcony Suites and Deluxe Balcony Suites, both featuring either one double bed or two single beds, along with private balconies for guests to enjoy the scenic views. The Balcony Suites come with a 52 sq. ft. (4.8 sq. m) balcony, while the larger Deluxe Balcony Suites offer a 70 sq. ft. (6.5 sq. m) balcony, along with additional amenities such as a refrigerator, safe, and a bathroom with a shower and heated floors. Some Balcony Suites also offer interconnecting rooms, providing flexibility for families or groups traveling together.

The Penthouse Suites, located on Deck 7, provide approximately 369 sq. ft. (34.3 m2) of indoor living space and a 67 sq. ft. (6.2 m2) balcony, offering unobstructed polar views. These suites feature one double bed or two single beds, a sitting area with a sofa bed, a private balcony, a desk, a refrigerator, a TV, and a private bathroom with a shower, bathtub, and heated floors. Premium amenities and services, including upgraded bedding and in-suite dining during scheduled meals, enhance the luxurious experience for guests staying in these suites.

In summary, the staterooms and cabins on the Quark Ultramarine cruise ship are thoughtfully designed to offer a range of comfortable and well-appointed accommodations, ensuring that passengers can enjoy a memorable and rewarding polar exploration experience.

  1. Explorer Triple Cabin:
    • Max passengers: 3
    • Cabin size: 285 ft² / 27 m²
    • Location (on decks): Deck 3 (aft)
    • Type: Explorer Triple Stateroom (oceanview cabin)
    • Description: Designed for solo passengers sharing the cabin with two other same-gender travelers or for 3-person groups. Each stateroom has 3 separate (fixed single) lower beds.
  2. Solo Panorama Cabin:
    • Max passengers: 1
    • Cabin size: 130 ft² / 12 m²
    • Location (on decks): Deck 6
    • Type: Solo Panorama Stateroom (single-occupancy cabin)
    • Description: These cabins are designed for solo travelers and feature a floor-to-ceiling window.
  3. Balcony Suite:
    • Max passengers: 2
    • Cabin size: 225 ft² / 21 m²
    • Balcony size: 50 ft² / 5 m²
    • Location (on decks): Decks 4 and 6
    • Description: Standard balcony cabins with double occupancy. The balconies are furnished with low tables, luxury deck chairs, and padded loungers.
  4. Deluxe Balcony Suite:
    • Max passengers: 2
    • Cabin size: 300 ft² / 28 m²
    • Balcony size: 70 ft² / 6 m²
    • Location (on decks): Decks 4 and 6
    • Description: Spacious balcony suites with comfortable amenities.
  5. Terrace Suite:
    • Max passengers: 2
    • Cabin size: 350 ft² / 33 m²
    • Balcony size: 100 ft² / 9 m²
    • Location (on decks): Deck 6
    • Description: Suites with a larger balcony area for relaxation.
  6. Penthouse Suite:
    • Max passengers: 2
    • Cabin size: 370 ft² / 34 m²
    • Balcony size: 65 ft² / 6 m²
    • Location (on decks): Deck 7
    • Description: Luxurious suites with additional space and amenities.
  7. Owner Suite:
    • Max passengers: 2
    • Cabin size: 445 ft² / 41 m²
    • Balcony size: 45 ft² / 4 m²
    • Location (on decks): Deck 6
    • Description: Exquisite suites for a premium experience.
  8. Ultra Suite:
    • Max passengers: 2
    • Cabin size: 565 ft² / 52 m²
    • Balcony size: 45 ft² / 4 m²
    • Location (on decks): Deck 6
    • Description: The ultimate suite with spacious interiors and a private balcony.

Food and dining Experience on the Quark Ultramarine

The dining experience aboard the Quark Ultramarine cruise ship is a culinary adventure that celebrates the flavors of the polar regions. With a focus on quality, variety, and sustainability, the ship’s dining venues offer guests a unique gastronomic journey that complements the overall expedition experience.

At the heart of the Ultramarine’s dining offerings is a culinary program that draws inspiration from the pristine landscapes and rich biodiversity of the polar regions. The ship’s chefs craft menus that showcase local and seasonal ingredients, with an emphasis on fresh seafood, hearty grains, and indigenous flavors. Guests can savor dishes that reflect the unique culinary traditions of the Arctic and Antarctic, creating a dining experience that is both delicious and culturally immersive.

The Ultramarine’s main dining venue, The Dining Room, serves as the focal point for onboard meals. Here, guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a warm and inviting atmosphere. The menu features a mix of international cuisine and regional specialties, with options to suit a variety of dietary preferences. From comforting soups and stews to elegant seafood dishes and decadent desserts, The Dining Room offers a diverse selection of dishes that cater to every palate.

For those seeking a more relaxed dining experience, the Ultramarine features The Bistro, a casual eatery that offers light bites and snacks throughout the day. Guests can stop by for freshly baked pastries in the morning, gourmet sandwiches at lunchtime, or artisanal cheeses and charcuterie in the evening. The Bistro provides a laid-back setting for guests to enjoy a quick meal or indulge in a leisurely snack while taking in panoramic views of the polar landscapes.

In keeping with Quark Expeditions’ commitment to environmental stewardship, the Ultramarine places a strong emphasis on sustainability in its culinary operations. The ship’s chefs prioritize locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, supporting small-scale producers and reducing the carbon footprint associated with food sourcing. By incorporating sustainable practices into its dining program, the Ultramarine ensures that guests can enjoy their meals with a clear conscience, knowing that their culinary experience aligns with principles of responsible travel.

Complementing the diverse dining options are the ship’s beverage selection and specialty drinks. Guests can choose from a range of wines, beers, spirits, and non-alcoholic beverages to accompany their meals. Additionally, the Ultramarine offers specialty cocktails inspired by polar themes and ingredients, providing guests with an opportunity to sample unique libations that reflect the spirit of expedition travel.In conclusion, the food and dining experience aboard the Quark Ultramarine cruise ship is a culinary journey that celebrates the flavors of the polar regions while prioritizing quality, sustainability, and cultural immersion. From polar-inspired cuisine in The Dining Room to casual bites at The Bistro, guests can expect a diverse and memorable gastronomic adventure that enhances their expedition experience. With a focus on locally sourced ingredients, environmentally conscious practices, and creative beverage offerings, the Ultramarine ensures that every meal is an opportunity to savor the unique tastes of the polar wilderness in style and comfort.

  1. Balena Restaurant:
    • Main Dining Room: The Balena Restaurant, located on Deck 5, serves as the primary dining venue. Here, guests can enjoy their meals with breathtaking views through the floor-to-ceiling windows. The restaurant features both large communal tables and smaller ones suitable for couples and families.
    • Cuisine: Expect a rotating menu with multi-course dinners, including soups, salads, mains, and desserts. If you have favorite comfort foods, they are likely available on the “always available” menu, which includes items like burgers, steaks, and salads.
    • Breakfast and Lunch: Breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style, with fresh pop-up stations offering options like stir-fry and pasta.
  2. Bistro 487:
    • Mixed Indoor and Al Fresco Dining: Bistro 487, located on Deck 7, provides a unique dining experience under the polar skies. Guests can choose between indoor and al fresco seating.
    • Culinary Variety: While details about specific offerings are not provided, Bistro 487 likely offers a diverse culinary selection to tantalize your taste buds.
  3. Special Dietary Options:
    • Vegetarian, Heart Healthy, and Gluten-Free: Quark Expeditions caters to various dietary preferences. Vegetarian, heart-healthy, and gluten-free options are available to ensure everyone enjoys their meals.
  4. Table Sizes:
    • Tables in both restaurants accommodate seating from two to ten guests, allowing you to choose the level of familiarity during your dining experience.

Destinations and Itineraries of the Quark Ultramarine

The Quark Ultramarine embarks on thrilling voyages to some of the most remote and awe-inspiring regions on our planet. Here are the destinations it typically explores:

  1. Antarctica:
    • The icy wonderland of Antarctica beckons adventurers aboard the Ultramarine. Sail through pristine waters, witness towering icebergs, and encounter penguins, seals, and whales. Explore the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands, and beyond.
  2. Arctic:
    • The Arctic, with its rugged landscapes and unique wildlife, is another favored destination. The Ultramarine navigates the Arctic Circle, visiting places like Svalbard, Greenland, and the Canadian Arctic. Witness polar bears, Arctic foxes, and stunning fjords.
  3. Iceland:
    • The land of fire and ice, Iceland, offers a blend of geothermal wonders, glaciers, and volcanic landscapes. Sail along Iceland’s dramatic coastlines, explore geysers, and soak in hot springs.
  4. Argentina:
    • The Ultramarine occasionally sets sail from Argentina, embarking on expeditions to the southernmost reaches of South America. From Buenos Aires, it ventures to the wild landscapes of Patagonia and beyond.

Unique Features of the Quark Ultramarine:

  1. Helicopters:
    • Equipped with two twin-engine helicopters, the Ultramarine allows passengers to explore destinations accessible only by air. Enjoy breathtaking aerial views of polar regions and discover new horizons.
  2. Zodiac Adventures:
    • The ship’s four embarkation points (starboard, port, and stern) facilitate swift and safe Zodiac deployment. Guests can embark on spontaneous off-ship adventures and engage with wildlife intimately.
  3. Sustainability Innovations:
    • The Micro Auto Gasification System (MAGS) converts waste into energy on-site, minimizing environmental impact. The Ultramarine exceeds industry standards in sustainability.
  4. Water-Level Zodiac Hangar:
    • An internal Zodiac hangar ensures quick deployment, allowing guests to disembark in half the time compared to other vessels.
  5. Wraparound Deck:
    • The Deck 5 wraparound deck provides ample outdoor viewing opportunities. Take in polar landscapes and wildlife encounters from every angle.
  6. Ready Rooms:
    • Efficiently designed ready rooms allow guests to change in and out of expedition gear swiftly.
  7. Ambassador Theater:
    • A state-of-the-art LED screen wall in the main theater ensures high-definition viewing of Expedition Team presentations.
  8. Balena Restaurant:
    • Enjoy dining with views from every seat in the Balena Restaurant, where tables accommodate 2 to 10 guests.


Ultramarine’s spacious and luxurious accommodations set it apart from other expedition ships in its class. With a range of stylish cabins and suites, including spacious balconied suites with private outdoor space, guests can relax and unwind in comfort after a day of exploration. Each cabin is elegantly appointed with modern amenities and thoughtful touches, ensuring a comfortable and restful stay throughout the voyage.

The ship’s innovative design extends to its onboard amenities and facilities, which are carefully curated to enhance the polar expedition experience. From the panoramic observation lounge and outdoor observation decks to the wellness center and heated outdoor swimming pool, Ultramarine offers a range of spaces for guests to relax, socialize, and take in the breathtaking scenery of the polar regions.

One of the most unique features of Ultramarine is its two twin-engine helicopters, which provide guests with unparalleled access to remote wilderness areas and iconic landmarks in the Arctic and Antarctica. Whether soaring over towering icebergs or landing on secluded islands, helicopter excursions offer an exhilarating way to experience the polar regions from a unique perspective.

In addition to helicopter excursions, Ultramarine also offers a fleet of Zodiacs for up-close exploration of ice formations, wildlife habitats, and historical sites. Led by experienced expedition guides, Zodiac cruises allow guests to navigate narrow channels and shallow waters, providing intimate encounters with seals, penguins, whales, and other Arctic and Antarctic wildlife.

Ultramarine’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship sets it apart as a leader in responsible expedition cruising. The ship is equipped with state-of-the-art environmental technologies, including advanced waste management systems and low-emission engines, to minimize its impact on the delicate polar ecosystems.

Furthermore, Ultramarine offers a range of educational programs and enrichment activities designed to deepen guests’ understanding of the polar regions and foster a greater appreciation for their natural beauty and ecological significance. From onboard lectures and presentations by leading polar experts to hands-on workshops and guided shore excursions, guests have the opportunity to learn about the unique geology, wildlife, and history of the Arctic and Antarctica in an engaging and immersive way.

In conclusion, Quark Expeditions’ Ultramarine cruise ship is a true pioneer in polar exploration, offering an unparalleled blend of luxury, adventure, and environmental sustainability. With its innovative design, state-of-the-art amenities, and commitment to responsible travel, Ultramarine provides guests with an unforgettable expedition experience in some of the most remote and pristine wilderness areas on Earth.

– Reviewed by Contributing Author Silvester Thomson

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N.B. – The information on this review has been compiled by contributing author and Cruise Expert Silvester Thomson for thedigitalglobetrotter.com and is provided “as is” for the convenience of online readers. The Sources come from personal opinions, online research on official and unofficial websites, and in some cases with the help of AI generated content. It should not be taken as fact, as it can be mistaken or altered by future ship modifications from the cruise line done after review. Thedigitalglobetrotter.com does not and cannot verify all information and should not be taken as granted fact. All readers must take measures to find reliable facts by their travel agent or from the official page of the cruise line to verify any doubts.

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