Laurie Di Vincenzo has worked with Quark Expeditions for 12 years and this year will take up the role of first Expedition Leader on the company’s ground-breaking new vessel Ultramarine.
Anyone who’s already fulfilled their dream of a polar voyage to the Arctic or the Antarctic can—and undoubtedly will— enthusiastically recount a list of memorable experiences that will feed the desires of those who are contemplating such a journey: the moment they see their first perfectly sculpted iceberg; the sound of their paddle slapping the ocean surface on their first kayak excursion in the polar regions; or that split-second when they look up while on a guided hike and glance a small herd of reindeer cantering across the tundra; or the instant they stand on the deck of the ship and catch sight of a majestic polar bear sauntering along the ice edge; or that heart-in-your-mouth sensation prompted by the vision of a whale breaching the cool blue waters in a fjord.
These are the take-home snapshots that fill the memory cards on our cameras. These unforgettable moments are made possible by a team working (quite often) behind-the-scenes, coordinating, facilitating, ensuring the operation runs smoothly. It’s the expedition team who ensures you go home with memory cards full of images—and memories to last a lifetime.
When Quark Expeditions’ technologically advanced ship Ultramarine sets sail on her inaugural polar voyage this year, it will also mark the maiden voyage of the expedition team on this particular vessel, which is equipped with two twin-engine helicopters, a fleet of 20 quick-deploy Zodiacs, and the largest portfolio of off-ship adventure options in the polar industry. The team’s main priority is to ensure each and every guest has the opportunity to fulfill every polar adventure on their bucket list. Leading this team would be a daunting task to many, but it’s one that Laurie di Vincenzo—as the first-ever Expedition Leader on Ultramarine—is ready and eager to embrace.
Laurie is a long-standing member of the Quark Expeditions Field Team, having worked in both polar regions for many years, across most vessels in the Quark fleet, and successfully filling a variety of increasingly senior roles over a career that spans 100 voyages in the Arctic and Antarctic.
Being asked to take on the Expedition Leader role on Ultramarine seems daunting to those of us outside the Expedition Team. What does this role mean to you?
It’s an honor to be asked to lead on Ultramarine, Quark Expeditions’ first purpose-built vessel—and the first they’ve owned. A project of this nature requires incredible investment, not just in terms of finances, but in terms of the work and effort by a passionate team who have taken this build from a dream and a concept to the purpose-built expedition vessel it is today. When Ultramarine is launched this year, 30 years after Quark Expeditions’ inaugural voyage—to the North Pole—this vessel will encapsulate decades of knowledge and experience that our team has gained working on a variety of ships in the most diverse fleet in the polar industry. All that first-hand knowledge, combined with innovative new developments, means that Ultramarine will be an incredible platform to explore the polar regions, and I couldn’t be more excited about working with the team on board to ensure that this vessel lives up to its potential.
What aspects of the Expedition Leader role on Ultramarine are you most excited about?
Working as an expedition leader in the polar regions demands flexibility and adaptability, and working on different vessels always brings those elements to the fore. I’ve worked on six different vessels over my nine years with Quark Expeditions, and I’ve always loved the challenge of working on a ship that’s new to our fleet. There is so much to learn and adapt to during an inaugural season, and while an incredible amount of work has already been done in the planning of Ultramarine, it’s not until the team gets on board the ship that we’ll really be able to bring it to life.
If you had to sum up—in one sentence—the best experiences on Ultramarine, what would you say?
There will be helicopters, highly efficient Zodiac operations, state-of-the-art educational facilities, and an impressive waste management system to reduce our carbon footprint. Describing the adventures and amenities of Ultramarine is one sentence? Now that’s a challenge!
What’s your ultimate wish for travelers who book on Ultramarine?
My greatest wish for our guests? I, along with my expedition team, want our guests to have the most immersive polar adventure possible—one that takes them deeper into the polar regions than previously possible. I want them to return home with memories of a lifetime! And I’ll do everything I can to make that happen.
Check out the upcoming departure dates for Ultramarine’s inaugural season.
For more Interviews click here.