Quark Expeditions Enjoys High Quality Internet Access On Polar Cruise Itineraries Using Marlink Hybrid Solutions

Marlink, the smart digital solutions company, has successfully provided high throughput hybrid network solutions for Quark Expeditions’ MV Ultramarine since the start of the 2021 Arctic season.

After the first full year of successful operations Quark Expeditions found that guests and staff on Ultramarine have enjoyed continuous high-quality connectivity despite the high latitudes and harsh operational environment.

Quark Expeditions has operated a fleet of chartered vessels and icebreakers taking guests on unforgettable experiences for more than thirty years. Ultramarine is Quark’s first fully owned newbuild and is the newest ship in their fleet, designed to go beyond the familiar in polar exploration and answer passenger requests to discover new places.

Quark Expeditions
Quark Expeditions found that guests and staff on Ultramarine have enjoyed continuous high-quality connectivity despite the high latitudes and harsh operational environment. Image: Michell Sole/Quark Expeditions

Ultramarine began its first full season of operations in October 2021. The 199-guest vessel is equipped with two twin-engine helicopters, 20 quick-launching Zodiacs, spacious suites, wellness amenities and numerous outdoor wildlife viewing spaces.

Marlink has provided a seamless hybrid bespoke solution, including dual C-/Ku- Band and Ka-band VSAT with dual L-band back-up over LEO and GEO constellations and 4G/LTE connectivity with global roaming, to maximize passengers experience onboard. Marlink will further extend connectivity options on Ultramarine in spring 2023 when the vessel will trial the new Starlink LEO service, bringing faster throughput, lower latency services in a combination with guaranteed VSAT bandwidth to meet crew and passenger needs and extend access to more cloud-based applications.

Traffic is managed using software-defined routing (SD-WAN) which automatically selects the most efficient connection channel for data transmission, streamlining and securing the process for passengers, crew and business communications alike. To enable passengers and crew to share their experiences with friends and family, Marlink has provided an Internet Café solution from a third party to manage Internet access, billing and security.

“Quark Expeditions is focused on creating unforgettable experiences for our guests, using small vessels to visit places that bigger ships cannot go and so making our itineraries unique,” says David Blancard, Head of Information Technology, Quark Expeditions. “For this, we rely on partners like Marlink who can provide reliable and innovative solutions that keep our customers connected and enable our ships to operate safely and sustainably in remote and delicate environments.”

“Marlink is the leader in leveraging our technology and know-how to enable seamless, reliable connectivity in remote regions. Our experience in managing and providing hybrid network solutions in the expedition cruise sector was a key factor for Quark Expeditions,” says Tore Morten Olsen, President Maritime, Marlink. “Applying cutting edge technologies like SD-WAN and in future helping them adopt next generation LEO services, means we can support providing the best possible experience to their customers.”

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