©John Weller courtesy Quark ExpeditionsStunning vistas of ice and snow and rare wildlife highlight Quark Expeditions’ fifteen-day journey to the North Pole in July 2009

A century has passed since the first men claimed to have reached the North Pole. The validity of the claims of Americans Robert Peary and Matthew Henson continue to generate controversy. There is one incontrovertible truth, Quark Expeditions, leading innovators and operators of expedition cruises to Polar Regions, will once again journey to the top of the world with 128 intrepid travelers. From July 9 to July 23rd, the icebreaker, 50 Years of Victory, the world’s largest and most sophisticated nuclear-powered icebreaker, will crush its way through Arctic pack ice to the “North Pole.” Travelers will be accompanied by an Quark Expedition’s outstanding team of lecturers and naturalists.

The 15-day voyage begins in Helsinki, Finland. After an overnight stay, guests transfer to the airport for the flight to Murmansk where they will board Victory and journey to the top of the world. Depending on ice conditions, Victory will take between four and six days to reach the North Pole.

Lectures and presentations on the region’s unique wildlife, geology, and glaciology provide ample background to the stunning views from the ship’s navigation bridge. Surging through densely packed ice at speeds of up to 21 knots, Victory’s first trip to the North Pole took place in 2008. The 75,000 horsepower Victory broke all surface crossing records, proving to be the ultimate expedition vessel. As Victory speeds toward the Pole, expedition members may board helicopters for unique views of the ship and landscape, or even enjoy an invigorating walk on the sea ice. Arrival at the Pole is celebrated in grand style with a barbecue on the ice, plenty of time for exploring—and even a quick plunge into the Arctic Ocean.

On the southward journey through Franz Josef Land, Russia, stunning views of glaciers, icebergs, polar bears and walruses await. Discovered in 1873, much of this vast land remains unexplored, and reconnaissance flights over the area will offer exceptional opportunities for photography and visits to hard to reach historic sites of early exploration.

Staffed by an experienced Russian and European crew of 150, expedition members will feel very much a part of the team – making visits to the ship’s Bridge for an up close look at Victory’s officers and crew in action. As comfortable as it is powerful, accommodations on Victory include private cabins and suites with color television, a large dining room serving international cuisine, viewing decks, library, heated indoor pool, sauna and gymnasium.

Rates for Quark Expeditions’ “North Pole” begin at $22,690.00 per person, double occupancy, including all meals aboard ship, shore excursions and activities on the voyage, program of lectures, hotel accommodations in Helsinki in a shared twin room for two nights (1 pre-expedition and 1 post-expedition), and all hotel, airport, and ship transfers.

For more information, call Quark Expeditions at 800-356-5699 or visit www.quarkexpeditions.com.

About Quark Expeditions
Since 1991, Quark Expeditions has established a tradition of firsts in polar expedition travel. The company was the first to transit the Northeast Passage with commercial passengers; the first to take travelers to the “far side” of Antarctica and the first to circumnavigate the Antarctic continent with guests, twice. Quark is also recognized for its diverse passenger fleet; the largest in Antarctica – including the only polar-class icebreaker operating as an expedition ship there. The fleet enables Quark to operate the widest variety of polar itineraries of any other adventure company in the world, and the greatest number of departures to Antarctica. In October 2006 and 2007, Quark was named a recipient of National Geographic Traveler’s “50 Tours of a Lifetime” for their “Emperor Penguin Safari” and the “Far Side” respectively. In the March 2006 edition, Outside magazine named the “Emperor Penguin Safari” as one of the New Trips of a Lifetime.


Source: Werner Public Relations, Inc.

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".