Luxury Hotels

Simply Sunday – think South Pole

Look ahead. 5th January 2022 is the centenary of the death of Arctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton CVO OBE FRGS FRSGS, one of the principal figures in what is known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. Book now, as others are already doing, for Quark Expeditions’ Celebrating Shackleton: Journey from Antarctica to South Georgia,  22nd December 2021 to 10th January 2022. The trip starts, and ends, in Buenos Aires.

Ernest Shackleton, born in Ireland in 1874, was schooled at Dulwich College, south of London (where Girlahead’s father taught, obviously much much later). He succumbed to a heart attack 5th January 1922 at Grytviken, South Georgia, leaving a widow and five children, and gigantic debt. There will be two relevant historians aboard throughout: Tim Jarvis re-enacted Shackleton’s expeditions and subsequently wrote Chasing Shackleton, and Dr Ross MacPhee, a curator at Washington DC’s American Museum of Natural History, which hosted The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition exhibition (he is also author of Race to The End: Amundsen, Scott, and the Attainment of the South Pole).

And look at THIS.You will be travelling with two, nine-seat helicopters from Luxaviation and you, like all 199 passengers on this unique journey, will have at least one complimentary chopper expedition. How about THAT, asks Girlahead?

This journey is on Quark’s brand-new Ultramarine ship, currently being built in Croatia. It has 102 suites, from 22sq m single cabins up to 53sq m (1.5 bathrooms, separate dining room and so on). The ship has a dedicated storage room for the parkas and boots that Quark provides – switch ski-in/ski-out to zodiac-in/zodiac-out. No need, therefore, to pack Polar gear.  You do not need black tie, either, but many like to dress up for the first and last nights onboard. There is a 24/7 gym and full spa, and onboard laundry but hold your breath and do not expect a launderette.

Quark Expeditions is, as part of UK-based Travelopia, owned by KKR, and headquartered in Seattle WA. Average customer age is 55-70, though lowering the whole time: top business is American, followed by Asia (especially US-based Chinese), and Australia and UK.  But, says Quark’s Man in Toronto, David Tangay, he was talking to remarkably-youthful Quarkaholic of 99 a couple of days ago…

(Ultramarine obviously has the very latest in onboard communications and, so relevant right now, air circulation and other wellness necessities. Talking of which, says Girlahead, listen to Mike Batt, Chairman of Internova, partnering with Forbes Travel Guide in verification for wellness-safe travel, below)