On the 27th of july 1991, Quark Expeditions undertook a voyage aboard the Sovetskiy Soyuz, a nuclear powered icebreaker built in 1989. The voyage was started at Murmansk in the Sovjet Union, sailing via the North Pole, Wrangel Islands and the Chukotka Paninsula to the port of Provideniya. From here, the second voyage started. The first voyage from Quark Expeditions is recognized as the first navigation of the Northeast Passage made for tourism purposes. The icebreaker sailed with around 100 passengers and her voyage was the start of what is now the largest operator of expeditioncruiseships to the Antarctic and Arctic. In 1997, the company again had a first when they undertook the first commercial voyage that circumnavigated Antarctica. Since 2007, the company is a part of the TUI Travel Group from the UK.
Today, the fleet of Quark Expeditions is made up of seven small ships, neither carri-ing more then 189 passengers. Among the ships is the worlds largest nuclear-powered icebreaker, the 50 Years Of Victory that was built in 2007 and made her first voyage in june of 2008. Furthermore, several of the former Renaissance Cruises ships of the Renaissance Class are part of the fleet.
Another ship now sailing for Quark Expeditions is placed elsewhere at castlesoftheseas.nl
Ocean Diamond (2012-now) is placed as Le Diamant under Ponant.
Bookings can be made through Quark Expeditions