Find the perfect trip

Soleal cruise to Antarctica and the Weddell Sea

14/12/2019

Sunset and icebergs in the Weddell Sea. The Small Cruise Ship Collection

One extraordinary day in the Weddell Sea

All images were taken by Powell Ettinger in January 2019 - To see more images and full size versions of these images, click here.

I travelled on Ponant's Emblematic Antarctica cruise - Click here to see these cruises.

Otto Nordenskjöld, Sweden’s Ernest Shackleton, led a Swedish  expedition to Antarctica from 1901 - 1904. They sailed from Gothenburg to Antarctica in the 42 metre long steam powered wooden barque names Antarctic. They reached Snow Hill Island in the Weddell Sea where they spent 2 winters living in a small ( 6x8 metre) wooden hut. The Antarctic sunk and the crew wintered on a different island, before they were eventually all rescued by the Argentine Government.

We sailed to Snow Hill Island and back in 10 days from Ushuaia on the luxurious French registered Le Soleal. Le Soleal is almost exactly 100 metres longer than Antarctic and carries around 200 people in great comfort to Antarctica. Le Soleal is absolute proof that you don’t have to forego life’s creature comforts to visit some of the most remote corners of the earth. Le Soleal coped admirably with the 5 metre seas we experienced crossing the Drake Passage, and she is one of the faster ships that cruises in Antarctica so she spends less time crossing the Drake than many others. 

James Ross Island in the Weddell Sea. Ponant Antarctic cruise with The Small Cruise Ship CollectionDoes size matter?
Most sites in Antarctica restrict the number of passengers allowed ashore to 100 at a time, so many people who travel there will only look at ships that carry 100 passengers of fewer. There were around 200 passengers and we made as many landings as any other ship. In general most passengers were ashore for an hour at each landing, and that was enough for many passengers. If the weather isn’t great, visibility poor, and the temperature below zero, an hour was plenty for many passengers. Read the pros and cons of different size vessels in Antarctica.

The Weddell Sea
I woke up needing a wee, it's an age thing, the clock said 03.15 and as Imade my way back to my bed I glanced out of the window to see the dawn reflecting off the mountains on the Weddell Sea side of the Antarctic Peninsula. And that was it with sleep - I was entranced for the next 20 hours, sleep never even a thought. Emperor penguins (and Adelie), leopard seals, Orca and Humpback, Snow Hill Island and Nordeskjold’s historic hut Cockburn Island, vast tabular icebergs, champagne on an ice floe, a captain needing to practice his ice-breaking technique, Orca and seals hunting penguins and an extraordinary Weddell Sea Sunset. And the chairman of a very large British Institution storming the bridge in his Polar bear pyjamas, more of that later.

Very very few ships cruise the Weddell Sea, and only a small percentage of them reach the almost legendary Snow Hill Island with its Emperor Penguin Colony and the historical hut left over from Nordenskiöld 1902 Antarctic Expedition. In fact when we left Ushuaia on the luxurious Le Soleal there had been no mention of Snow Hill Island - It wasn’t on the itinerary, and hadn’t been mentioned in any of the on board briefings as we received daily as we crossed the Drake Passage and visited Neko Harbour, Paradise Bay, Wilhelmina Bay, Damoy Point (Port Lockroy), The Lemaire Channel & The Gerlache Strait. Each of these would be worth the trip on its own.

Base Brown in Paradise Bay. The Small Ship CollectionNeko Harbour, a small bay with a narrow entrance surrounded by massive glaciers and pointy mountains, and filled with ice floes, Humpback whales and penguins.

Paradise Bay, home of the Argentine Base ‘Brown’, a hotspot for Humpbacks, leopard and crabeater seals, and the site of a breeding colony of Antarctic shags.

Wilhelmina Bay. Known to some as ‘Whale-mina Bay’ due its popularity with Humpbacks. The bay is fed by several large glaciers so is ice-packed and is a great place to spot seals, and is a also a good place to see glaciers calving. We saw the largest calving anyone on board had ever seen - Remarkably spectacular, and a little worrying - Not from an immediate safety point of view, but from a global warming perspective.

Port Lockroy, site of a British base replete with post office, supermarket and thousands of penguins. You will often see expedition yachts moored here.

The Lemaire Channel. Bounded by steep cliffs and often filled with icebergs, this is one of the most popular sites to visit for small cruise ships. 

The dawn light on the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula drew me out onto my balcony, but, unsurprisingly, dawn in the Antarctic requires more clothing than pyjamas and a towel robe, so I quickly retreated and dressed suitably. Back out on the balcony as we cruised steadily south past ice floes dotted with numerous penguins and occasional seals, I could see the very distinctive shape of Cockburn Island, a 1500 foot high pyramid shaped peak first discovered by James Ross, in the distance. This is a region of vast tabular icebergs, sea ice and huge ice floes with a backdrop of mountains and glaciers, and is inaccessible 95% or more of the time.  

Cockburn Island, Weddell Sea. The Small Cruise Ship Collection.Cockburn Island lies a little to the north of Snow Hill Island and provides a dramatic target for ships hoping to reach Snow Hill. As we cruised south the bergs grew bigger and more numerous, a few Humpbacks cruised past and almost every ice floe had penguins, seals and sometimes both, basking as though on a beach in Barbados. We nuzzled gently (No mean feat in a 140 metre long ship) up to the ice-pack, where 2 emperor penguins were sliding and sledging around. 99% of visitors to Antarctica visit the Antarctic Peninsula, and 97% of those just visit the western side of the peninsula, where you will see chinstrap, gentoo and adelie penguins, but no emperors. The emperor penguin can be found all around Antarctica, but visitors to the western side of the peninsula will miss out as only on the eastern side of the peninsula do you have a chance to spot this majestic bird, Snow Hill Island in the Weddell Sea being their most northerly nesting site.

Emperor penguins in the Wedell Sea. The Small Cruise Ship CollectionHaving watched the emperors and ½ dozen adelie penguins for 45 minutes, we carefully made our way first towards Cockburn Island before diverting a little southwest to Snow Hill, weaving through the ice while taking in the ever changing breathtaking scenery. Snow Hill is very rarely visited due to the ice-conditions in the Weddell Sea. It was only 1-2 days before we headed into the Weddell Sea that the captain heard that the ice conditions were favourable, so he decided to change the proposed itinerary (Antarctic itineraries are often little more than proposals) and head to the eastern side of the peninsula. Snow Hill Island, at least where we landed, was not snow covered and Nordenskjöld’s hut is perched on a rise next to a stream and with a backdrop of a cliff. The hut is currently closed for restoration, but you can stand outside and wonder at the men who spent 2 years here. 

Big boys toys!
We headed back from Snow Hill to the ship, and started navigating through the ice towards Cockburn Island. After a little while it became apparent that the ship was going round in circles - We were wondering if the ice had closed in behind us and we were about to spend 2 years living on Snow Hill before our rescue (We could have survived on wine and cheese). However it turned out that our captain will take over as captain of a Ponant’s new ice-breaker, and he was looking for a suitable patch of sea ice to practice on. After a short reconnaissance we headed into some sea ice slowly, and although Le Soleal is not an icebreaker she is rated as ice class 1C so is designed for use in light ice. We pushed slowly and steadily through the ice which provided fun for everyone on board, before breaking out into open water again. 

The captain, who is one of the most experienced small ship captains in the world (and a holder of the Legion D’Honneur for his part in the kidnap and release of a vessel by Somali Pirates) has since been to Finland to take part in an Ice-breaker course - Who knew such things existed - The very biggest toys!

On the ice floe with Cockburn Island in the background. Ponant Antarctic Cruise on Le SolealVive la Difference
Our next port of call was a large flat ice-floe. We again nuzzled up carefully to the ice, but this time the zodiacs were unloaded for a short hop onto the ice, where the crew had set up a champagne bar! So we spent an hour on the ice with the backdrop of Cockburn Island in one direction, Snow Hill Island in another and James Ross Island behind us!

The show is outside
As we headed north again in the late afternoon the ever changing views of the ice bergs, ice floes, snow clad mountains and glaciers set against the striking blue sea and sky, all the while dotted with penguins, seals &  Humpback whales made it almost impossible to head inside. The captain was repeatedly making his favourite announcement - “At ze moment ze show is outside!” - and it was. As the sun began to set we were provided with a new kind of spectacle - a deeply orange Antarctic sunset - Wow!

Orca circling a small berg where a lone penguins is sheltaering. The Small Cruise Ship Collection.Polar bear pyjamas storm the bridge!
The sun inched behind a volcano shaped hill…………  (see below image)Giving the impression of a massive and perfectly formed eruption. The temperature began to plummet and most passengers headed inside - But not your intrepid reporter. I had been up by this stage for around 19 hours after only a few hours sleep, had a large lunch, a glass of champagne in the afternoon and been on my feet almost all day, but i could not pull myself away from the extraordinary sights of the sunset over the Weddell Sea. The vessel did an abrupt about turn, and the captain announced that some orca had been spotted so I was soon joined on the observation deck by many more passengers, with one notable exception. One of my fellow passengers, the chairman of a large British Institution, had already retired to bed, only to be woken by the captain announcing that once again ‘The Show is outside’. 

Having been woken from his slumbers on more than one occasion the chairman had had enough of being woken by the captain’s announcements, so he stormed along to the bridge sporting his Polar bear pyjamas (Le Soleal has an open bridge policy, you can join the captain and the officers at any time) to voice his displeasure. The captain, who 10 years previously had faced down highly armed Somali Pirates, gave a little shrug of his shoulders and carried on studying the circling orca.

The photos don’t do the situation justice - it was 23.00 hours and nearly dark. A single penguin on a small iceberg, with 3-4 orca swimming lazily in circles around. The orca didn’t give it the full ‘Attenborough’ and wash the penguin off the berg, they just swam lazily around for 20 minutes before disappearing into the gathering murk.

Weddell Sea on Ponant's Le Soleal. The Small Cruise Ship Collection

Emblematic Antarctica & Weddell Sea cruise Map. The Small Cruise Ship CollectionWhy sleep?
Just to emphasize, this article is almost all about 1 day of this cruise. From the moment when I woke at 03.15 to the moment I gave up on the orca in the gloom was around 20 hours. I had had only 3 hours sleep the previous night yet bizarrely I could not get to sleep. I kept running over the day in my mind and new things kept popping in; The bright red stripe across an ice floe where a leopard seal was chewing on a penguin; the vast tabular icebergs several miles long and 4 stories high - meaning there was probably another 12 stories beneath the surface!; The Emperor penguins sledging across the ice; Paulet Island, where the crew of the Antarctic took shelter for a winter when the vessel perished; Sitting outside for a BBQ lunch as we cruised through the Weddell Sea; Endless sea ice; huge ice shelves; vast, vast landscapes of blue and white; Silence; Swedish explorers, when men were men; And most of all, what an incredible place, and how we must protect it. 

We stopped on Deception Island, a vast flooded caldera of a non-dormant volcano that provides a perfect harbour, and Elephant Point, a haul out for elephant seals, a nesting site for giant petrels and home to gentoo and chinstrap penguins. Both sites would have been fantastic if we had visited on the way south, but after the extraordinary day in the Weddell Sea it was a bit after the lord mayors show. 

I have many memories of my cruise: the first iceberg; the first landing; the waves washing across our balcony in the Drake Passage; the food on board (The 4 kgs I put on during the trip a reflection on the fantastic food and wine available); Humpbacks feeding just yards from a towering glacier; the vast glacier calving; penguins and many more. But over arching them all, that one day in the Weddell Sea.

Weddell Sea sunset from Le Soleal. Antarctic Ponant Cruise. P Ettinger

keyboard_arrow_left

Reviews

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Southern Croatia cruise from Split

The small size of the sailing ship and the wonderful character of the crew made this a wonderful week packed with once in a lifetime views, excursions and food. I enjoyed it very much. I hope to do it again. Linda M

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Croatia cruise from Split in Luxury

We had a wonderful time and loved the ship and all the stops.  Look forward to another cruise in the area......thanks so much for your help!

Our only question was in previous documentation, it was stated beer and wine were included during lunch.  However, none of our drinks were included.

Look forward to why the discrepancy.....but simply loved everything else; ship, staff, captain, and director! Donna Z


Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Split to Dubrovnik Cruise in Comfort

Hi Susi, we travelled on Vapor on 31 Aug until the 6 Sept from Split to Dubronik. The crew were very helpful and friendly. The food was good and Stan our cruise manager was fantastic. His knowledge of the area was exceptional. We really enjoyed our cruise. The islands are amazing. I would recommend this cruise to our friends. Thanks.

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Sicily Cruise - The sights and tastes of Sicily

We had an excellent time on the cruise but felt that the courier tried to fill the days with too much and her manner and English left a lot to be admired. The ship and crew were wonderful but we did not have enough time to enjoy it all. The inter-Island transport could have been better. RR

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Alaska's Inside Passage & San Juans Cruise (Wilderness Discoverer)

We booked a 2 week cruise in Alaska through the Small Cruise Ship Collection. The Small Cruise Ship Collection we’re efficient and helpful, answering any queries promptly. The cruise itself was fantastic, everything we hoped for and more. Alison M

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Dalmatian Paradise: Split - Split (Deluxe Superior Ships)

A truly wonderful experience

We took a 7 night round trip cruise from Split on the Avangarde. It was an absolute delight. We were thoroughly looked after from the moment we arrived in the boat to the final transfer to our hotel at the end. The crew and tour manager were extremely good at what they do and showed great humor. The food was outstanding and cabins much for luxurious than I could have imagined for a small boat. There was a great balance between free time and organised excursions. I cannot recommend this cruise highly enough. Katherine A

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Southern Croatia from Split - Premium cruise

Enjoyed the cruise. Food was good considering the size of the kitchen. Seating was a bit cramped.

We were "below stairs" and again the room was basic but spacious.

Having said all this the cruise was not expensive.

We thought the port fees should have been included in the price and tipping caused a lot of discussion. . Most people found it excessive especially those countries that don't tip. Liz B

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Croatia Luxury Cruise North: from Split to Split

Great holiday

We had a lovely week on the Esperanza . The guests all got in great and Ivana was a wonderful hostess.

Positives : Guests and the amazing Dalmnation coast

Negatives: Agritourism visit was nothing special and wine was borderline awful. Most guests felt this was something of a wasted evening in the middle of nowhere.

Food on the boat in particular fruit at breakfast and salads at lunch and dinner could have been more plentiful .

But all in all ... Great !

Thank you Conor I

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Luxury Gulet Aegean cruise

Fabulous cruise, thoroughly enjoyable experience. Captain and crew were lovely.

Small Cruise Ship Collection were most helpful throughout

 

Small quibbles:

Would have liked much more sailing instead of motoring.

Would have preferred an extra day/night in Greece instead of early return to Turkey.

Cabins were hot at night (in October!)

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Luxury Gulet Aegean cruise

Stellar experience start to finish!! Thank you!

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Croatia Island Hopping Cruise from Dubrovnik

An excellent island hopping cruise experience

An excellent way to experience the interesting islands of Croatia. Travelling with 38 like-minded people made the cruise a wonderful experience. The crew were very professional and extremely hardworking. The breakfast and lunch offerings were more than ample. Having the opportunity to eat dinner on the islands at the restaurants provided us with time to mingle with the locals, walk around the amazing towns and provide incomes locally. Jen A

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Southern Croatia from Split - Premium cruise

I thoroughly enjoyed my recent Croatian cruise on board Moonlight. Everything was of a very high standard - the ship, the cabin, the crew, the destinations, the on board guide and the local guides, the meals... I can't fault anything. It was an outstanding trip and we were fortunate in having such congenial fellow passengers. Bernadine R

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Classic Norwegian Fjords (Roundtrip)

I can't thank Small Cruise Ship Collection enough for their assistance in arranging my first Hurtigruten voyage along the coast of Norway in October, 2019. Although the ship's mechanical issues saw me returning home just a few days into the voyage, Small Cruise Ship Collection helped me quickly rebook the trip, using Hurtigruten's full refund and discount offer for my future booking. I just returned from a most amazing experience in Norway, and I thank Caroline of Small Cruise Ship Collection, in particular, for such superb assistance.

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Cruise from Dubrovnik to Split in Luxury

Wonderful experience

We cruised on the MS Diamond in September from Dubrovnik to Split and it was 7 days of swimming, laughter and relaxing unlike any other cruise we have taken. The cruise director Paul, Bruno and Ivan the two bartenders and waiters were wonderful, always smiling and couldn’t do enough for you. The rest of the small crew were also wonderful. Our cruise had a total of 38 passengers and everyone was friendly and we all enjoyed each other’s company. The Diamond was very comfortable with areas to just relax and the swimming everyday in small coves in the clearest water we have ever experienced and that’s says a lot as we live in Hawaii. I have thought of our cruise everyday since our return and would love to do it again Roger F

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Split to Dubrovnik in comfort

We thoroughly enjoyed the trip, all the ports and the food. The cabins were very average. Rene U

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


The Island Of Simi & The Hisaronu Gulf

Great crew, fantastic food and the MV Myra was a very good layout. Would highly recommend. Brian D

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Gokova Gulf Luxury Gulet Cruise

Just a quick email to say a very big thank you from Bruce & myself for the wonderful week we had on board MS Nikola. I knew it would be special, but had no idea just how special! The gulet is superb, the crew were out of this world, the weather was perfect, & the company just brilliant… there is no way we could have improved on any aspect of our trip whatsoever. I didn’t know that Bruce had mentioned it was our honeymoon; the crew went above & beyond in terms of making it memorable for us, as did the other 3 couples on the gulet! Although the week at sea fell into the middle of our honeymoon (as we were in Kos & Bodrum either side of the cruise, & both of those were special too), it was by far the highlight of it… neither of us wanted our time on board to end. Having read some of the comments in the gulet’s guest book, we could see just how special it is; and the current crew (capt Ramazan, chef Tekin & 1st mate Hassan) are deservedly well-loved by all.

I’d also like to say a really big thank you too to Small Cruise Ships for letting us join the Nikola, because of course we shouldn’t have been on it at all, having booked to join the Myra. She was alongside us in port so we had chance to see her also; another beautiful gulet indeed. But we both quickly realised that we’d been incredibly lucky to be swapped onto the Nikola… it’s a truly fantastic itinerary & there really wasn’t a minute we didn’t enjoy. (…possibly with the exception of me dropping my mobile phone – or rather the special photos on it – onto the Eastern Aegean seabed! Ramazan was amazing, and gave us some lovely photos of us he’d taken, which of course more than made up for the loss )

I also hope this is useful from a feedback point of view; do let me know if you’d like me to write something more articulately! We decided there & then in Bodrum we’d start saving on our return, because without any doubt whatsoever we wish to sail with the Nikola & crew again next year, wherever she’s going…

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Wonders of Croatia: Dubrovnik - Split (Deluxe Superior Ships)

The Ave Maria was a pretty boat.  Three separate outdoor conversation areas were nice to relax in.  The cabins were nice and roomy. The cruise director Stan was very friendly and informative throughout the day and on the excursions on shore. 

The server and bartender were nice, but not the most friendly.  I am sure they get tired of new people each week. Food was good.  Just one comment - more fresh vegetables with meals would be great. 

Overall, the week was very enjoyable. Linda M

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Split to Dubrovnik in comfort

The cruise from Dubrovnik to Split on the boat Vapor was excellent in every way; the cabin was comfortable and clean. The crew were very helpful, courteous and efficient. The islands we visited were interesting and well-chosen and our tour director was really excellent; he had a delightful combination of knowledge and humor. I would happily do it all again. Sue Z

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Southern Croatia cruise from Split

The cruise on Pape Prvi from Split

The cruise on Pape Prvi from Split - Dubrovnik and back was wonderful experience: family owed boat with great food, friendly hosts, clean; well informed and nice guide from Katarina tours; great choices of places to dock (and see), good balance between history, culture and nature. The sunny and warm weather was a surprise plus, also the group consisted of very pleasant people (not a single "professional" complainer). Dream vacation! Daniela P

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Southern Croatia from Split - Premium cruise

We really enjoyed the cruise, thanks!

Hazel


Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Northern Croatia Cruise

Hello, I have returned from a small cruise ship holiday  in Croatia. Not the one my friend  I planned but due to cancellation we were put on another boat going to the southern islands, but still had our three days extra seeing lakes etc.

Everything went to plan hotels, boat, transport connections etc were all there for us . We also had an added extra  on a transfer by taxi from Split to Zagreb on our last we shared a taxi with 'Katarina' and her family.  What an unexpected pleasure.

We want to thank you all for a wonderful holiday even though at the beginning it seemed doomed.

We shall be back

Regards Margaret B 


Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Cruise from Dubrovnik to Split in Luxury

We stayed on in Split for three nights which partly explains this belated reply. We would do it again which really says it all. In fact we are interested, not now but maybe in twelve months time, in a similar cruise if it was between Venice and Split. The northern half of the Croatian coast. We think we were lucky to have one of the best cabins (4) and we wouldn’t want any less comfort than that. 

We liked the Diamond very much.The small but hard working crew were terrific.  Our timing was good as the vast crowds around Dubrovnik and Split in July and August had eased and the weather was hot but not too hot. Most of our fellow guests were Canadian who are friendly and good mannered. We didn’t think the food was very good apart from breakfast. We longed for a salad bowl. Despite the advertisement that there was a fresh water fountain on the boat they were rather mean in handing out half litre because titles which we thought was penny pinching. 

The concept of the 499 ton boat really appeals to us. We wouldn’t take a cruise on the ordinary leviathan. We loved Croatia and think we saw the best of it. We had a splendid holiday.

Robin

Thank you for your feedback Robin. The Water cooler should have been in operation, and water is free on these cruises in Croatia from 2020 onwards. Powell Ettinger, The Small Cruise Ship Collection


Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Cruise from Split to Dubrovnik in luxury

Yes, we did enjoy our Croatian cruise.  The boat manager did a wonderful job, despite her youth!  She often had to re-arrange our programme because of the Captain having received instructions about where we could moor and the impact of the weather.  We had one very wet and rough day (when my friend was sea-sick!) but most of the weather was fine, with a gentle breeze to avoid getting too hot.  Dubrovnik was a great disappointment for me, being over-run with tourists, even so late in the season.  I would think it would be better to have a guided walk in the afternoon, rather than the morning, when there were so many others that it was difficult to keep with your own group.  Unfortunately, the walls were beyond our ability, but we had a taxi up to the mountains where the cable-car started, stopping at various viewing points, and then back via the new bridge to our boat.  I could recommend that.  We had spare time on the last day, owing to our late flight, and the cruise manager suggested we took the boat to Lokrum, a nearby island, and this gave us great views of the walls, etc.  The island is kept for wild-life, and we had to share our sandwiches with the peacocks!  Going out we did not see anything of Split, as the programme had been changed, and the guided walk in Split happened before we arrived at 7 p.m. instead of the next morning.  

The end of the cruise was not good for us, but in no way the fault of the cruise firm.  My friend lost her handbag when we got to the airport and she thought she had left it in the taxi, but it could not be found so the official at the airport found us accommodation for the night, and next morning the handbag was found on the boat, and returned to us, and then we had to pay for another flight back to the U.K. It was all a nightmare for us, but we must say the Croatians were very helpful and took great care of us. 

Going back to the boat cruise, we would have much preferred evening meals instead of the dinner at lunch time. We only had two, one the day we arrived, and then the captain's dinner.  In the evening we did not want another dinner, and were rather at a loss to find something to do, as it was getting dark by 7.30 p.m.  There is no menu for meals, but when I saw the size of the galley, I was not surprised, and the chef did well to prepare nearly 40 meals for us, plus more for the crew.  All the crew were pleasant and helpful, especially getting us on and off the boat safely.  We thought the wine and drinks were VERY expensive, so did not drink much on the boat, and the allowance of 1/2 a litre of water per day was not very generous if it is very hot.  Then tax was added to the bill as well.  We thought they were expecting very large tips, and we had to reduce them to a more reasonable level.  We were also stung very high charges when using the ATM in Gruz port and at the airport, which I have never experienced before in other countries.  However, we still enjoyed the experience.  And Vicky was very helpful when we made the booking.

Margaret H
Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Luxury Gulet Aegean cruise

Our cruise with your company was wonderful....the boat was spotless at all times.  Some one has taking their time to ensure the boat is well maintained. The staff was incredible, thoughtful,  courteous, helpful, but above all the service was beyond expectations.

One problem, I can never cruise in a large ship again!!!! I would only be disappointed by the quality of food  and experience.

great experience..thank you very much.

Paula and Tom

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Alaska's Glacier Bay & Island Adventure (Alaskan Dream)

 

We selected this trip as we wanted a “small boat cruise” around Alaska’s Inside Passage. Not all 20 cabins were occupied and there were only 33 passengers in total – just us from UK, 7 Australians and 4 Kiwis with the rest from US (so all English-speaking). Perhaps the style of trip meant that all seemed of a similar outlook and the group got on well together.

Alaskan Dream seem to be an environmentally-aware company with a good local reputation and are very welcome in the communities they visit. The small size of the boat means that they can access areas and ports unavailable to larger ships. The crew are generally long-serving with the company, competent and approachable. This particular voyage had an on-board naturalist/guide from the start, with a second joining part way through. There is at least one “off boat” opportunity every day.

Cabins are compact but comfortable with ample storage space. We were in the lowest grade; the next one up seemed to have no more amenities, just slightly bigger (although they are on the same level as public spaces). The “shoilet” takes some practice but is actually extremely practical and functional (better than facilities in other boats of a similar size that we have experienced). Rain gear (jackets, trousers and boots) are available for use. Meals were, without exception, excellent; hot drinks and water were always available.

The itinerary is flexible so we were able to take advantage of an unexpected permit to stay in Glacier Bay for an extra day. It also meant that potential wildlife sightings could be pursued and this was done on several occasions. There is also various interactions with each local community that we visited.

We would unreservedly recommend this trip but be warned that it is not a “cruise” – evening entertainment is limited to some short wildlife talks. But if your priorities are exciting wildlife and stunning scenery with an insight into local culture, you should seriously consider this.

Anne H

 

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Split to Dubrovnik Cruise in Comfort

The cruise from Dubrovnik to Split on Vapor was excellent in every way; the cabin was comfortable and clean. The crew were very helpful, courteous and efficient. The islands we visited were interesting and well-chosen and our tour director was really excellent; he had a delightful combination of knowledge and humor. I would happily do it all again. Susan

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Southern Croatia cruise from Split

My wife and I enjoyed the Croatian Cruise on board the Meridijan 100%.   The crew could not have been better and the food was perfect.  We will go on other trips in other places.  Thank you.  Larry snd Sun S

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Luxury Croatia Cruise Split to Dubrovnik to Split

It was a fantastic holiday I was travelling alone, but it didn't feel like that once I arrived the crew were great our meals were delicious there wasn't anything you could fault. Travelling on board a ship this size you meet and make friends easier and have a great time together.also you get to see of this beautiful country while having a great time. Tina L

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Luxury Gulet Aegean cruise

This was our second trip that we booked with The Small Cruise Ship Company. We love both the Croatia Cruise and the Turkey/Greece Cruise. I would highly recommend this company! Diane B

Cruise rating


Ship rating


Country rating


Southern Croatia from Split - Premium cruise

A week in paradise on a luxury small ship. We were upgraded to a fabulous ship called Black Swan on a similar circuit from Split to Split in Croatia. The boat was amazing with everything you could wish for on board. The crew of 8 were very professional but at the same time friendly and chatty. The captain and his wife owned the boat and were also friendly with us all. The captains dinner was excellent with 2 live musicians.

We saw beautiful totally unspoilt islands,small fishing villages, ancient palaces and visited towns full of interesting history, all with a guide and "whisper" ear phones so we could all hear perfectly. We had plenty of free time in ports where we could go sightseeing, shopping or find a nice restaurant or bar. Our guide even arranged for us to do an exclusive 4 x 4 safari buggy tour in Dubrovnik that was not on this boats schedule but on our original one.

The food was really excellent, the boat kept immaculately clean at all times.

I particularly enjoyed the opportunity for swim stops or a tender ride to a deserted beach, even though it was October and late season. Something you do not get to do on a huge impersonal cruise ship!

At night in port the boats always raft up next to one another and its fun to go from boat to boat checking out what they all look like. We were not disturbed by this at all and the gaps between the various boats were not a problem to us, but could be to a disabled person.

I would recommend this type of holiday to anyone.... its so relaxing compared to a huge cruise ship and with only 36 people on board the guide makes sure from the very first evening that we all get to talk to one another and great friendships were formed. Our travelling companions nationalities were Americans, New Zealanders and Australians and we were the only 2 from Europe which we loved.

 

keyboard_arrow_right