New cruise excursion: North Pole balloon ride

Posted By on July 28, 2012

As if traveling to the North Pole on an icebreaker wasn’t exotic enough, an expedition cruise company that offers such trips has begun giving passengers a chance to ride a hot air balloon over the destination.

Quark Expeditions says the $295 per person balloon excursion was successfully offered for the first time earlier this month to passengers aboard its 128-passenger icebreaker, 50 Years of Victory, after the vessel arrived near the North Pole, and it will be offered again on coming North Pole trips.

Quark says the July 2 balloon outing marked the first time a passenger hot air balloon adventure had taken place on an expedition to the North Pole. More than 50 passengers took part in the excursion, the company says.

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Quark notes that the balloon experience took place just south of the North Pole at coordinates 86° 48′ N 47° 21′ E, as wind and ice conditions made it impossible to do it directly over the pole. The balloon, which was tethered, took one hour to set up and four passengers were taken up at a time for a short period.

Quark is the long-time leader in polar expeditions for tourists, which remain relatively rare and expensive. The company will offer two icebreaker voyages to the North Pole in 2013 (departing June 20 and July 1) that start at $23,995 per person. Several more trips already are on the schedule for 2014, 2015 and 2016.


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