Quark Expeditions has suspended its entire 2020 Arctic season due to the ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions, announced the company on its website yesterday.
Arctic and North Pole departures from 1MAY, 2020 through to 19SEP, 2020 will no longer operate.
Quark says passengers currently booked on an Arctic and/or North Pole 2020 voyage will be contacted directly by the operator or their travel agent with rebooking details.
All departures after 30SEP, 2020 remain on schedule and will depart as planned, the company says.
"Ensuring guest safety—in addition to delivering an unforgettable polar experience—has been part of our DNA since Quark Expeditions’ inaugural voyage to the North Pole in 1991. Our commitment to guest satisfaction has never wavered in the last 30 years. In fact, it’s our top priority right now as we navigate these challenging times. We empathize with all of our guests whose polar expedition plans have been disrupted by the coronavirus crisis," Quark wrote.
Quark Expeditions says it is working closely with the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators and the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators to develop and implement the strategies necessary to keep its guests safe, including screening strategies (for guests and crew), enhanced ship-and gear-cleaning policies, equipment and behaviour modifications.
It says health and safety updates will be posted on itswebsite.
Quark, a privately held company, expressed confidence that it has sufficient means to weather the travel downturn.
"On our part, Quark Expeditions’ solid financial position as a member of Travelopia and the backing of our owners KKR, the world’s third-largest private equity company, will allow us to weather this storm along with you," it said.
New Flexible Booking Policy
Quark is offering a new flexible risk-free booking policy in light of the situation. The following applies for new and existing bookings on voyages departing for Antarctica between 1NOV, 2020 through 31MAR, 2021:
Free Rebook up to 48 hours prior to your voyage
Receive 120% Lifetime Future Travel Refund Credit (FTRC) for voyages where full payment was received by Quark Expeditions.
Receive 100% Lifetime FTRC for deposits or other partial payments received by Quark Expeditions at time of cancellation
The FTRC has no expiry date, is fully transferable and is combinable with all other Quark Expeditions in-market offers.
Standard Expedition Terms & Conditions will apply for new and existing bookings for voyages departing 31MAR, 2021 onwards.
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.