The Arctic: Kathy’s Quark Expedition

Kathy Lamb has been to 120 countries and counting (on all 7 continents), and Quark Expeditions was always on her wish list. When she saw the opportunity to spend 14 days in the Arctic with Quark, she immediately signed up.

Kathy Quark
Kathy smiling in her yellow Quark parka

Where She Went

She took a 12-day Quark cruise around Norway, starting in Tromsø and finishing in Longyearbyen, where she spent 2 nights. In Longyearbyen, the northernmost city in the world, she went dog-sledding. The destination is unique for its stark wilderness and nature, as well as its remoteness, which Kathy enjoyed: “It had the ‘out in the middle of nowhere’ feeling, hard to find in today’s crowded world.”

Quark Gorgeous "Landscape"
Smooth Sailing

The Experience

Kathy explains, “This experience was special because of the remoteness of the destination, the incredible wildlife, and the unspoiled nature. […] The wildlife was my favorite thing about the trip, as we saw walruses, 6 polar bears, lots of birds, foxes – two of which made a kill while we watched – and reindeer.” Kathy’s great love of animals is one of the many reasons she loves traveling throughout Africa as well.

Quark Walruses
Walruses on ice – photo by @gsurya Ganesh Suryanarayan


Quark Fox with Bird
An arctic fox makes a kill – photo by @gsurya Ganesh Suryanarayan

Quark Expeditions was an ideal company with whom to experience the Arctic. There were a myriad of experts on board, including a biologist and a geologist. Kathy and her fellow travelers enjoyed hikes and lectures with these specialists throughout the journey. In addition to being knowledgeable, the staff was very conscientious of everyone’s safety. Kathy elaborates, “Our personal needs and safety were well attended to by the wonderful staff on board. Riding in the Zodiacs [small speedboats for exploration] could be scary for some people, but the staff was careful to make sure everyone followed a procedure that kept the passengers safe.”

Kathy Quark Biologist
Kathy with the ship’s biologist

Potential Travelers to the Arctic: Points to Consider

Physical Guidelines

Kathy highly recommends kayaking, which is available regularly throughout the journey, as is hiking. She emphasizes that not everyone was able to participate in these more rigorous activities, and that the cruise was enjoyable for passengers of all capabilities. In terms of the climate, Quark prepared them well. Every passenger receives their very own parka, which they can keep at the end of their trip. Kathy says the parkas are of fabulous quality and were perfectly suited to their environment.

Kathy Quark Parka
Hiking and keeping warm

Budgeting Guidelines

For anyone hoping to see the Arctic one day, keep in mind that both the Arctic and Antarctica can be a higher-budget journey. Kathy spoke to some travelers who paid less for their Quark experience than they might normally have because Quark offers specials at certain times of the year. Quark Expeditions has single cabins on some of their ships, which is a great option for solo travelers.

When to Go

Kathy sailed on Quark’s first 2016 sailing, which was May 31-June 11. The summer is the only time during which one can travel on such an expedition: even in June, they still needed parkas!

Kathy Quark Sled Dog
Getting nuzzled by a sled dog in Longyearbyen
Quark whale bones
Whale bones

Quark Expeditions is a preferred supplier within the Signature Travel Network, of which Kahala Travel is a member. TravelDesign International is an independent affiliate of Kahala Travel and a member of Signature Travel Network.

To learn more about Quark Expeditions, or to contact Kathy with questions, please reach out to her at and/or by phone at 619-463-8408. Unless otherwise specified, all photos in this article were taken by Kathy during her travels. Read our Travel Consultant Spotlight on Kathy for more information here.


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