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Polar Quest: Sailing Without Itinerary

The Quest (Photo: Christian Engelke)

“We have some great trips lined up this summer onboard the Quest. Among other things, we have a collaboration with Doug Alan, a nature cameraman who has worked with the BBC. He will be onboard holding lectures and speaking about his experiences in the Arctic and other areas,” said CEO of Polar Quest Marie Lannborn Barker, according to 2021 Expedition Market Report by Cruise Industry News.

“We find that a lot of people are interested in traveling with those who can share stories from other expeditions and experiences, share their knowledge,” she added.

The Scandinavian expedition cruise line Polar Quest operates four ships: three 12-passenger vessels – the Stockholm, the Sjoveien, and the Balto – and the 53-guest Polar Quest. While another ship, the 12-passenger Virgo, is being added to the Svalbard program. The 1992-built Quest mainly operates in Svalbard.

“There is no itinerary. We have all of Svalbard in front of our feet as we get onboard the vessel,” said Lannborn Barker. “Key is the expedition leader and the team onboard: the captain and the crew. They make plans based on circumstances like weather, wildlife sightings, and to optimize an itinerary, to stay away from the big vessels, to offer an exclusive experience.”

The cruise line has also sailed the Quest in Northern Norway.

“We've done trips between Tromsø up to Alta and into Finnmark, the Sami country, to Kautokeino. For Kautokeino, we had to take a bus, but great nature experience there too. I anticipate that we will run these trips again,” Lannborn Barker noted.

“There’s a big interest in Northern Lights, whales and Sami culture. And Northern Norway is very beautiful and great to experience in wintertime,” she added.

Lannborn Barker said that sustainability is crucial for Polar Quest and has been an interest of the cruise line’s guests.

“I think that's where the Quest stands out is that she consumes very, very little fuel per passenger,” she said.

“We’ve done a lot of work on sustainability; it has been the core of what we've been doing since the start over 20 years ago. We have also launched a sustainability framework, where you can see exactly what our ships consume and how much that is per passenger, compared to other vessels,” she added.

Lannborn Barker also said that Polar Quest is collaborating on a joint venture with the Swedish Ship the Götheborg that will sail to China in 2022.

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