Get Up Close and Personal With Penguins on the 413-Foot World Explorer

In the spirit of winter and activities in the cold, I've decided to bring to light a ship that specializes in offering guests a view of one of the coldest places on Earth, Antarctica.
World Explorer 17 photos
Photo: Quark Expeditions
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Folks, if you've ever wanted to take a trip to the ends of the Earth, there's good news. Before you is a ship known as World Explorer. It's a 126 m (413 ft) behemoth that has made a name for itself because of its ability to travel through Antarctica.

Now, World Explorer isn't just some rogue ghost ship floating around the world; it's operated by Quark Expeditions. If you've never heard of this crew, this article should help you realize that a trip to Antarctica isn't that far away; you too can ride this sea monster and see hidden corners of this globe.

Quark is a crew with history going back to 1991, when cofounders Lars Wikander and Mike McDowell carried out their first commercial trip to the North Pole. Since then, this team has amassed several ships in their arsenal, and one of the largest is the World Explorer we'll be looking at today. If you haven't had a chance to view the image gallery, now's the time; it'll help you create a better picture of what's going on with this one.

Simply put, this thing is massive! Not only is it 413 ft long, but it also features a breadth (beam) of 19 m (62.3 m). With a draft of 4.7 m (15.3 ft), you know for sure this ship won't be getting too close to coastlines. However, as large as this ship may be, it can still reach a top speed of 16 knots (18.4 mph). Two Rolls-Royce hybrid diesel/electric motors achieve this thanks to their with 9,000 kW of power. That's 12,236 HP!

World Explorer
Photo: Quark Expeditions
This ship is spread out over numerous decks, but for guests only six are accessible. Those six decks are home to multiple spaces, activities, and features aimed at offering people an experience they won't forget.

Out of the six accessible decks, two of them will be housing for all 172 guests. Yes, 172 lucky people can take a trip on Explorer. Since there are an array of different rooms aimed at different pockets and lifestyles, if you happen to sign up for such an expedition, you'll be able to choose from large owner's suites made to make you feel like you own the place, to more compact superior suites. But no matter which room you choose, all have a view of the world around them.

As for activities, two decks are dedicated to that. One of the more appealing spaces is the forward-facing observation area with a wraparound view. If you're tired of seeing the frozen landscape around, no problem, you can just hit up the souvenir shop, expand your horizons in the library, relax in a spa, or hamster around in the fitness center.

There's also a heated outdoor pool, two hot tubs, a theater-style auditorium, and more lounging areas. Several dining areas and restaurants are available too, not to mention bar and wine service. If you feel the need to burn off the alcohol, try the outdoor track nestled on the highest deck for a stunning workout.

World Explorer Observation Deck
Photo: Quark Expeditions
Now, you won't just be floating around the Antarctic Peninsula on this ship. Depending on the sort of expedition package you choose, you'll be able to break away from the ship on rafts and get up close and personal to coastlines, frozen architecture, and even penguins.

There are options to do things like paddle-boarding, sea kayaking, trekking excursions where you're dropped off by a helicopter, and even camping; what more can you ask for? Maybe some s'mores; yeah, that should tie things up nicely.

In the end, an expedition aboard World Explorer sounds like the perfect gift I'd love to offer my parents someday (I know you're reading this Mom and Dad). There's just a bit more elbow grease I need to apply before I can afford an all-inclusive trip for both.

With prices ranging anywhere from 7,000 USD (6,145 EUR at current exchange rates) to over 17,000 USD (14,925 EUR) per person, it's definitely a target that's achievable in this lifetime. Looks like I got a new bucket list item; World Explorer, and an expedition to see some penguins.

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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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