We asked Polar Travel Adviser Naomi to give us a list of the most commonly asked questions that Quark passengers ask. She's listed them here with her answers - thanks Naomi!
Q. Is there an age restriction?
A. Quark Expeditions welcomes passengers aged 8 years old or above on any Quark vessel. Children under the age of 16 at time of travel require a waiver signed by a parent or guardian prior to embarkation, and must meet the minimum height and weight requirements (weight of 64lbs or 29kg and 48’’ or 1.2 m. tall). Parents must be on board with children under the age of 18 at all times, therefore, participation in adventure options may be limited for the parent. If these requirements are not met upon embarkation, Quark Expeditions reserves the right to refuse boarding without compensation or refund.
Q. Can I touch a penguin? Can I bring a penguin home?
A. Unfortunately no. We ask all of our passengers to follow the IAATO guidelines http://iaato.org/visitor-guidelines
Q. Can I trek the Drake passage?
A. Unfortunately not. You can however fly the Drake see our Antarctic Express programs found here.
Q. Will I receive a parka or do I need to bring my own? Are they warm enough?
A. You do not need to bring a parka as Quark Expeditions provides one to you. When you arrive on board your parka will be given to you. If you receive the wrong size we always have a few available on board to switch.
Q. Do I need to pack boots?
A. No there is no need to pack boots as we provided boots on loan for your to use while you are on the landings. Please note that we ask you to choose a boot size while keeping in mind that you will have on sock liners, and at least one pair of wool socks. If you do happen to select the wrong size please do not worry as we do have extras available onboard.
Q. What time is disembarkation?
A. We usually disembark our ships at 8 am on our usual Antarctic & Arctic itineraries ( except the fly cruise program)
Q. Do you have shampoo and soap in the cabins and are the bathrooms equipped with hairdryers?
A. Yes, we so supply shampoo, body wash and bar soap, and have hair dryers in the cabins. If you are particular about your toiletries I would suggest that you take your own.
Q. In Antarctica, will I actually be able to step on the continent and get off the ship?
A. Yes that’s the plan! However on the rare occasion due to extreme weather and ice conditions we may not be able to do a landing – but that is why we do a few days in the region as we will keep tryin until we land on the continent.
Q. Can I bring my snowboard ?
A. Unfortunately no as it is not safe – ie. we stay on paths, follow the guidelines as per IAATO etc. http://iaato.org/guidance-for-those-organising-tourism
Q. Am I allowed to bring my dog?
A. Unfortunately you have to leave FIDO at home as it is part of the Antarctic regulation to not have dogs on the continent – see IAATO regulations and rules for operation or ask Bill for more information.
Q. Is it okay to bring a hockey stick?
A. No, again everything that gets off the ship is thoroughly examined and sterilized for pests and invasive species. See guidelines above.
Q. Can you help me rent a car for Antarctica?
A. As much as we would love to help you plan your flights, insurance, additional hotels and tours we cannot provide you with a car rental as there are no roads or rental offices in Antarctica.
Q. Why are there no Polar Bears in Antarctica?
A. The quick answer is “no” as this is not their natural environment. However here is a little tidbit I like to share with clients:
Believe it or not we can thank the Ancient Greeks for the words Arctic and Antarctica. The word Arctic comes from the ancient Greek word “ Arkitos” which means “"near the Bear, arctic, northern" and that word comes from the word ἄρκτος (arktos), meaning “bear.” Some believe that the name refers either to the constellation Ursa Major, the "Great Bear", which is prominent in the northern portion of the celestial sphere, or to the constellation Ursa Minor, the "Little Bear", which contains Polaris, the Pole Star, also known as the North Star. While others believe it refers to the presence of Polar bears. So the word “Antarctica” defined means “opposite to the Arctic", "opposite to the north" or “ no bea” as some like to say.
Got a question for one of our Polar Travel Advisers? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org