Trip Reviews: Falklands - South Georgia - Antarctic Peninsula

"It was the most marvellously amazing experience.  "Holiday" is just not the right word and comes nowhere near describing the multi-sensory voyage.  I saw 7 kinds of penguin (king, gentoo, macaroni, magellan, adelie, chinstrap and rockhopper), 5 kinds of seal (fur, elephant, leopard, Weddell and crabeater), humpback whales and an iceberg 26 kilometres long.   It has its own reference number -  B09F - and broke off from an even larger iceberg (the size of Trinidad...) in 1987.  It spends its time gently drifting clockwise around Antarctica in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.  Blimey.

The staff were skilled, experienced and friendly. I always felt safe in their hands.  I also really enjoyed the various presentations that were given during the trip.  They were well structured, informative and enjoyable.

All in all, I can honestly say it well exceeded my hopes and expectations.  It was the last "bucket list" trip that I wanted to do.  Whilst there are plenty of other places in the world that I would like to visit, and hope to do so, I just had to go to Antarctica.

Thanks so much again for all that you both did towards arranging a truly memorable Trip.   I will indeed be back in touch if I decide to visit the Polar regions in the future."

Amanda Arnold

''I could say a lot about this fantastic trip ! Firstly the expedition staff were an amazing bunch of people with varied interests and knowledge covering all aspects of what you see in Antarctica. They drove us about in the Zodiacs to view wildlife, icebergs, interesting geology and tell us about it all too. Additionally there were lectures most days on a variety of topics so there was always something to be doing or learning. The Expedition Leader and Captain worked well together to avoid dodgy weather and find good locations to explore. Although the plan was fluid there was something to visit most days (some sea-only-days being inevitable on this voyage). The crew looked after us very well - a superb galley staff provided three meals a day with various choices for each - no chance of going hungry on this ship! And if you had a special request the galley will accommodate - which I thought very special. Our cabin was very comfortable and spacious with a large window to view the passing scenery - although the ship does have a lot of outside deck space all round the ship.''

David Thorne

"I had the most amazing time, exceeding all expectations.  I really don't know where to start!

Calm seas, even the Drakes Passage.  Everything about the ship was great The staff were amazing,  Food was good although far too much!  The lectures were fascinating.

But of course my highlight was the penguins.  I cannot put into words that first landing on Salisbury Plain - the huge number of penguins and fur seals, the noise, the smell - it brought a tear to my eye I was so overwhelmed.  After the first trip, I just tended to sit myself down and watch, I was in heaven.
We saw whales (Blue whales - amazing, Southern Right, Minke, Fin and lots of humpback performing for us).  On the Falklands we saw albatross and rock hopper penguins nesting.  We went to Prion Island where there were Wandering albatross nesting right by the boardwalk.  We actually saw a leopard seal catch and kill a penguin, which was incredible to watch .
A huge thank you to Aqua-Firma for everything you did to make my trip so wonderful; I will remember it forever!"

Hilary Backwell

"You did a great job!

Ushuaia hotel - great position with views of harbour and our 6th floor apartment had a huge terrace looking over harbour. The rooms were huge, well-appointed and the staff friendly and helpful. Great position to walk from in town.

The trip was exactly as expected. The Ship is very smart but the people and crew were 'normal' no 'cruise' in sight (ha ha).....we would recommend this ship again. The rear access to the zodiacs was easier than the egress down the side of the ship we have experienced before.

We were  provided with excellent staff, the 'experts' were excellent at delivering informative evidence based talks in a way all could understand and gain knowledge from and did it in a funny way. We had our adventure and they made that exciting because they were excited.

We were able to visit Elephant Island which amazed everyone (some staff had tried 27 times to do so). South Georgia was impressive and we made 7 landings, and a couple of zodiac cruises in fjords usually out of bounds because of the weather.

The information Aqua Firma provided was detailed, on. Your service was highly valued especially as we were distracted with home issues.

We have recommended you to others and will use your services in the future. We are considering Greenland next time.

So well done everyone.

Much appreciated"

Jenny Willis

"We had an amazing time, the ship was great, food was good, the sea was relatively calm and the weather was mostly good too. We got to see and experience everything we had hoped to and so much more.

Wildlife was just mind blowing, 7 types of penguins, lots of sea birds, seals and whales.

We saw Fin, Sei, Southern Right, Minke, Pilot, Killer and Humpback whales as well as Hourglass and Southern Right Whale Dolphins! We also saw Fur, Crab Eater, Weddell, Elephant and Leopard Seals. Bird life around the ship was great on the way out, all sorts of Albatrosses and Petrels.

Highlights were plentiful: King Penguin colonies on South Georgia were awesome, cruising through icebergs to get to Brown Bluff was amazing and we had an amazing zodiac cruise with a Leopard Seal catching, killing and eating a Gentoo penguin followed by a couple of Humpbacks popping up inches away from us to say hello. The polar plunge was fun too! We even managed to visit a couple of pubs in Port Stanley which was entertaining.

We loved the whole trip and are so glad we made the decision to go.

Thanks to you and the team for helping us to organise it all.

Thanks again"

Gareth and Bekka Joseph

“Our trip was most enjoyable. Flights (apart from the check in problem for the flight from BA to Trelew) and hotels were fine, the hotels better than required.  The weather was mostly favourable although we missed a few landings. The ship was impressive and comfortable and the crew and staff were friendly and knowledgeable. As you will have noticed, we had the pleasure of a cabin upgrade. We had quite good success with wildlife spotting, especially birds, including penguins, as well as various seals. Whales not so much as they tend to appear only briefly, incompletely and at some distance!

Kind regards and thanks for all your efforts on our behalf.”

Chris Allan

“The voyage was beyond amazing, and this by far has been the best trip. I want to thank you for everything and in helping organize the trip.”

Rahif Ezzeddine

“We had such a good holiday and I honestly cannot fault the boat, the crew and staff, the food, and the whole package.  I think we were on the ideal kind of boat and I was so pleased not to be setting off to sea in one of those floating blocks of flats.  We thought it very well run by the crew and all the guides were very dedicated to the well fare of their passengers. 

We loved the whole experience - we were of course exceptionally lucky with the weather which was virtually perfect the whole time and even allowed us to visit Elephant Island and see the huge iceberg which broke off the Larson icecap.  There was always plenty to see on the beaches and lower areas and of  course S. Georgia is the highlight with SO much wildlife.  There were plenty of talks on a variety of subjects which we enjoyed and our cabin was ideal.  So all in all, it was a brilliant experience and we both loved it.   We were so lucky to be the only boat in S. Georgia at the time and we only saw one other ship in the whole 18 days.”

Sally & Nick Gambier

“The voyage was incredible! South Georgia was definitely a highlight but honestly every day was incredible. I was amazed by how busy the days at sea were with activities and lectures, while at the same time wanting to spend every free moment out on deck looking for whales and birds. Spending so long without internet was also surprisingly therapeutic.

In terms of wildlife we saw lots of albatross and petrol species, seven penguin species (Adelie, king, macaroni, rock hopper, Gentoo , chinstrap and Magellanic) , humpback and orca (plus some other species of whale and dolphin species), weddell, elephant, leopard, fur and crab eater seal.

The best way I have been able to describe South Georgia and Antarctica is to think of the incredible rugged landscape and glaciers of somewhere Iceland (but on steroids), the quantity of animals of the okavango delta and the lack human fear/curiosity of the Galapagos, add that all together and then make it even bigger and that starts to get close to what we saw on this trip."

Cara Hirst

“Hi Holly! I had and an amazing time! Words can hardly describe it.”

Kamilla Norrman

“We are now completely rested from our amazing trip! The Antarctic was absolutely mind-blowing-such a profusion of wildlife and beautiful landscapes.

The expedition team were superb and I’d have no hesitation in recommending them to any one-the expedition leaders were outstanding, lectures entertaining and informative, food and cabin excellent!  

We really loved Iguazu and the hotel you arranged for us next to the falls and would have loved longer there. Also Buenos Aires was lovely-we did Teatro Colon, Recoletta cemetery and La Boca stadium/area. Thank you for all your help in putting it all together!”

Judith Gear

“The whole trip was fantastic.  We were incredibly lucky with the weather – having a calm Drakes Passage crossing and getting to South Georgia a day early.  We also managed 7 landings and 6 zodiac cruises.  I don’t think there was any highlight as it was all amazing.  The things I really wanted to see were the king penguins and elephant seals and we saw load of those!  We also saw quite a few whales when at sea, which was a bonus, including a blue whale quite close to the boat!   We also saw loads of adelie, gentoo and chinstrap penguins, weddell seals and leopard seals. We also saw loads of seabirds.  

The ship and staff were excellent, the talks were engaging and I learnt a lot.
I was very pleased I chose Aqua Firma, as the other company who had offered me the same trip, got some very bad reviews from people who used them. 

Thanks very much.”

Louise Hilton

“Twas a fantastic trip!!   Just didn't stop delivering.....  mild seas (for me, at least) meant we did most of intended landings.

Wildlife (land and sea), scenery, history - we got the lot!  Highlight for me was totally unexpected - a blue whale almost within touching distance, alongside 4 fin whales!!!   Definitely a once in a lifetime moment!”

Kevin Noble-Gresty

"It was for some time that I had wanted to visit Antarctica and the southern half of the world. I had not realised that a journey to these Latitudes was possible, until I started to make enquiries.

The thought of a visit to see the Penguins, seals and the huge Icebergs of the Southern Ocean was getting more and more possible.  My call to Aqua-Firma was met by an enthusiastic response, by people who were prepared to help.  My concerns of how to get there was soon explained away by their confidence in arranging flights through South America to the embarkation point in Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands.

The Staff at Aqua-Firma were always ready to offer advice of any request concerning the adventure. Advice concerning suitable clothing for above and below the Arctic Peninsular was easily given, clearly from professionals and experienced people at their work.  The arrangements made, and the advice given by the staff were clear and looked after my every need.  Linking Flights and taxis to and from airports were all expertly arranged, even in foreign countries as Chile,  nothing was overlooked.  From boarding the expertly chosen vessel, where again the expedition and accommodation staff were superb, offering advice, talks on history and wildlife - our care were second to none.

I cannot find sufficient words to do justice to the experience of the Antarctic adventure. Suffice is to say it is a journey that everyone should experience, and arranged by Aqua-Firma."

Huw Francis

"We had a fantastic trip, everything worked out exactly as planned. All our transfers were on time and we were never kept waiting. We liked all 3 hotels you arranged for us. The hotel in Buenos Aires was in such a good location for walking round the city centre for the brief time we were there. The hotel in Ushuaia was quite quirky and it was lovely to wake in the morning, look out of the window and see our ship at the dock. The hotel in Iguazu was a lovely place to return to after the crowds at Iguazu falls. We ate the hotel both evenings we were there and had lovely meals. The animal sounds at dusk were incredibly loud.  Iguazu was very busy especially after the quiet and solitude of Antarctica, but the falls are amazing. I enjoyed the Brazilian side where you get to see the scale of the falls. It also seemed quieter on the Brazilian side.

It lived up to all our expectations and provided exactly what we hoped for. The expedition crew on board were excellent and very knowledgeable, as were the hotel staff and crew. Going at Christmas meant we got to see lots of penguin chicks and young seals so definitely a good time to go. South Georgia was definitely the highlight for me. We were lucky with the weather and managed to do all our landings including a 5.30am one on Christmas Day to see the macaroni penguins. The wildlife was amazing, especially the King penguin rookeries. Being able to visit Grytviken to understand the history was also an important part of the trip for me. We had a good presentation from staff of the South Georgia Heritage Trust about the rat eradication programme.

I've now just started looking through my 1500 photos to select a small number to show to colleagues and family."

Lindsey & George Lucas

"What a trip!

I have so many wonderful memories, it is difficult to summarise. The combination of the stunningly vast wilderness of Antarctica, the glacial icebergs and the beautiful King Penguins stand out, however so many other things will live in my memory.  The awesome albatross, the majestic leopard seal, the beautiful humpback whale, the cheeky macaroni penguin, ice camping in minus 20, the fascinating and educational daily lectures, the zodiacs. The magnificent team, led by Alex, full of fascinating specialists who not only knew their subjects but worked incredibly hard. The same is true of the ships crew, including the excellent Jay and Joel in the bar, they all worked very hard.

Ensure you do include The Falklands and South Georgia, they are both fascinating and stunning in their own right. Limit your time in Ushuaia, it has limited appeal for more than a couple of days. If you suffer from sea sickness then be prepared for this, although we did have a doctor on board for those who did suffer. As it was my friend and I both decided to 'get our sea legs' and took no drugs, and it worked out well.

The food on the ship was incredible, 4 meals a day if you wanted it, and way better than I would have thought. Fresh fruit, salads etc etc. Thank god for the gym, which I used every (yes really) day. Funny running on the treadmill in heavy seas. Gym was in reality open 24 hours a day."

Nick Russen

"The weather was unusually good which meant that all but two landings were possible. The penguin colonies of South Georgia were spectacular and provided plenty of photo opportunities. There were many different birds that I haven't seen before, including several species of albatross, petrels, skuas and fur, weddell, elephant and crabeater seals and we had good opportunity to watch whales (mainly humpback and fin; commerson's dolphin). The organisation of the ship was very good and meals were always well prepared - I don't think we had the same meal twice on the voyage. The ground staff were very knowledgeable and covered a wide range of subjects - wildlife, history, geology, photography. The trip is definitely good value."

Peter Gill

"The trip was spectacular – everything we were hoping for and more!  We had tremendous weather – we were able to make all 8 landings/excursions in South Georgia, and of the 18 planned excursions, we only missed 2 due to weather (swell and ice). 

Here are some of my highlights:

- Our first encounter with thousands upon thousands of breeding King penguins at Salisbury Plain
- All the seals – it’s hard to pick a favorite between the Elephant, Fur, Crabeater, Weddell or Leopard seal

- Seeing the spot on Elephant island where Shackleton’s men spent 5 months.  This was a bonus spot, since we couldn’t stop at the South Orkney islands
- Unexpectedly enjoyable Stanley – so full of character and personality… and the sunshine made it even more special
- The terrific museum director at Grytviken, who vividly recalled the whaling days and made it all come alive

- Spotting countless whales breaching and fluting in Charlotte Bay at the Peninsula
- Spotted 6 of the 8 possible penguin species (Magellanic, Gentoo, King, Macaroni, Chinstrap, Adelie)
- Spotted 3 whale species (Fin, Minke, Humpback) and multiple times saw Commerson’s dolphins play around the stern in the Falklands
- The staff of the ship was outstanding – the expedition team was first class, end we enjoyed their insights, knowledge, lectures and personalities tremendously. The one standout was Victoria Salem – our historian.  I’d go as far as to say I’d book another voyage based purely on her presence
- The food!!!! Starting with breakfast, lunch, 4 PM baked goods, dinner…. All spectacular.  And the hospitality staff went out of their way to make Christmas and New Year’s truly special.

As you can see, our superlative experience was heavily influenced by the incredible staff on board.  Antarctica will always be awe inspiring, and spotting wildlife is always dependent on the luck of the draw – and no crew can control that.  But when it comes to the things that are under their control, this crew excelled.

It was the trip of a lifetime, and I wouldn’t hesitate recommending Aqua-Firma to anyone. In fact, if I ever go back (or go to the Artic), I will look no further than booking again with Aqua-Firma."  

Coetzee Pretorius

What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
"South Georgia is an amazing place. The beaches were packed with tens of thousands of penguins and they weren't afraid to come right up to us.  The scenery in Antarctica is beautiful.  There were so many highlights - penguin chicks, baby fur seals, spectacular icebergs, stunning scenery, whale watching, a polar plunge, and so much more!"

What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
"Don't forget to pack sunscreen and take twice as many SD cards as you think you will need!"

Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
"The holiday definitely raises environmental awareness through a series of informative presentations about wildlife, conservation and global warming.  The expedition staff were experts in all areas and advised how to reduce the environmental impact via methods such as decontamination of boots, kit etc between shore visits."

Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
"Fantastic - it's more than a holiday and is so different to anything else I have ever done. Book it now!"

Rebecca Allcock

"The trip was most enjoyable.

No matter how large the penguin colonies were, there was always enough to enjoy.

We had some excellent sightings of Humpback whales and Leopard seals which was for me the high point of the trip."

Harry Burema

"Really, the whole trip could not have been better!  I gather you can go three weeks and only make one landing and we did so many ...

Very impressed by the expedition staff.   Good variety of informative lectures, worked hard to get us ashore, always ready to answer questions.   Involved us in 'citizen science' if we wanted to take part.   Also impressed that the bridge worked as part of the team to get us our wildlife sightings and landings."

Gillian Crofton

"The trip was truly amazing - exceeded all my expectations!  We were exceptionally lucky with weather - all landings possible in South Georgia, best day the guides had seen in Antarctica, and a following wind blowing us from the Falklands to South Georgia (so we arrived early!) and back up the Drake Passage (so not unduly rough).

We saw rock hoppers, gentoo, Magellanic, king, chinstrap and Adelie, visiting colonies for all but Adelie.  They are endlessly fascinating creatures - and infinitely photographable!  We saw a southern right whale breaching off the South Orkneys.  We also had a dozen or so crabeater seals playing around the ship at anchor in Antarctica for about half an hour - behaving like dolphins.
All staff were very friendly and helpful.  The bridge was a good place to watch for whales/seabirds.  
Thanks for your help and advice.

Wendy English

"I wanted to thank you and the rest of the Aqua Firma team for organising such a wonderful trip for me to Patagonia and Antarctica - and at such short notice.

Being a regular commuter on Southern Rail, I am not used to all my connections working out every time and on time. And there were a lot to make: over thirty destinations in five weeks - each one unmissable and unmissed!

Could you consider taking over the running of the rail network in the new year?

Patagonia is a natural starting point for the Antarctic as you can see how ice has forged (and still forges) this landscape, its flora, fauna and people. It's a beautiful, remote and wild place and hints that the further south you intend to travel, the more beautiful, remote and wild it shall be; and so by the time you board ship bound for the Antarctic, it is with a sense of excitement, but also slight trepidation - how much remote and wild can it get, for it surely will?

The Spirit of Shackleton Expedition  was perfect for me as it combined the history of the heroic age of polar exploration with stunning wildlife. We were blessed with surprisingly clement  weather throughout the expedition so fears of seasickness were replaced by an onboard epidemic of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out): even on days spent at sea there was so much to see and do (lectures, briefings, on board science and documentaries only to be regularly interrupted over the tannoy by announcements such as "Blue whale off starboard bow!" which would precipitate a mass mutiny to the deck.

The amount of wildlife in the Antarctic was a revelation for me. I expected to see here and there penguins, whales and albatrosses etc. But not in the draw dropping numbers we encountered. Indeed our only cancelled shore landings were not due to adverse weather, but because the zodiacs were not able to find a few square feet of beach which wasn't covered with wildlife. Island hopping from one stunning bay to another, it becomes hard to take it all in. Every landing and every cruise offered a sight you'd never seen before or sometimes even imagined existed. Indeed, soon, thousands of miles from anything that can be remotely described as civilisation, in your own self contained vessel arriving and stepping off into new unusual worlds, one felt rather like one was travelling through space. The sublimely forbidding landscape and the need to 'suit up' in strange garb in order to explore it, only accentuated the feeling that you were a spaceman exploring new alien worlds. Indeed, a trip to Antarctica maybe the closest most of us will get to space travel.

The Falklands and South Georgia are not to be missed either. For me, South Georgia was the highlight of my trip - with its abandoned whaling stations set amongst towering glaciers and mountains, it has a haunting beauty of its own. I suppose it's triply haunted: by the whalers themselves, the whales that once died there in devastating numbers and by Shackleton and his own expedition. And yet, there is now life there, in astounding numbers. Sitting in lightly drifting snow on a tussock of grass at Gold Harbour, surrounded by thousands of baying seals, curious penguins and Albatrosses swooping like low flying cutlasses it was if nature had conspired to jointly set a stage for you as of to say 'here, look, this is how the world was always meant to be'. That was a magic moment of pure joy for me.

The whole expedition ran like clockwork with very professional staff and crew. Yet it is an expedition, not a tour - on a daily basis an intention is announced by the expedition staff, but if that doesn't work out for some reason (high seas, territorial fur seals etc.) there is always a plan B and C (we once got to plan G - and that was Gold Harbour!). Accommodation on board is very comfortable and the great quality of food a welcome surprise (five course dinners every night!).

At the end of the trip, you become conscious that when you eventually get home, people are inevitably going to ask a cripplingly simple question of you 'so how was your trip to Antarctica?', to which there is no adequate answer. So now I'm back, I borrow from Cherry Gerard who said in his account of Scott's last expedition "an expedition to Antarctica is the worst way in the world to have the best time of your life".

Thank you again for your helping to make this dream trip come true for me. And thank you do the neck warmer which was a bit of godsend."

Josh Levene

What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

“Being in the Antarctic Peninsula itself with its icebergs, pack ice, and general vastness and peace.”

What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
“Be ready for the sea days. Everyone had focused on the land days. There are actually 7 sea days on this trip. I would say, don't bring your own walking boots. The boots provided by the trip are excellent. They are long, totally waterproof, comfortable and with a very good grip. They are far better suited to the conditions than any pair of walking boots. also, because of bio security, you have to immerse them in disinfectant before and after every time onshore. Ordinary walking boots would let in the disinfectant.”

Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
“The holiday certainly supported an awareness of environmental impact and conservation. It raised awareness of the issues of climate change and the impact on Antarctica. The lectures always covered conservation and environmental impact. The recycling policy onboard supported this.”

Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
“This trip was excellent. I can't speak highly enough of the expedition staff and the Russian crew. They got us to destinations where we could get on land or on zodiac trips in all weathers and conditions. The staff were flexible and knowledgeable so that we managed landings or trips even in some challenging weather conditions. The boat was small enough so that loading and unloading was fast. I wonder what the new, posher, bigger Antarctic boat will be like. More comfortable I expect, but whether it will be the same small, intimate experience, I wonder.”

Barbara Shore

What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
“I went to the Falkland, South Georgia and Antarctica. It was all amazing!!!”

What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
“As with all travel - go with an open mind and an open agenda. Live for the moment. Push yourself in all directions. Expect and embrace the unexpected.”

Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
“There were not so many local people where we went. But direct environmental impact an conservation is crucial. The expedition team was superb at adhering to all environmental/ecological conventions in place. Observation of bio-security measures was second to none. And there was a superb level of education that left me feeling that my doubts about tourism in Antarctica were unfounded as the potential benefits of having individuals visit will hopefully far outweigh any negative impact they might make.”

Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
“An incredible experience facilitated by a very experienced and professional organisation. Only positives from my end.”

Russell Waterman

What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
"The sheer breath-taking beauty of Antarctica ,the massive tabular bergs and the incredible wildlife and the penguins in all varieties were definitely the highlight-amazing birds endlessly entertaining to watch yet incredible survivors in such extreme conditions. We were also lucky enough to  see breaching humpbacked whales, 4 types of seal and numerous other birdlife and marine life at close quarters. It is a wildlife enthusiasts and photographers heaven.

The additional highlights for me were to have been able to follow the route 0f the   Irish explorers Shackleton and Crean and by camping out for a night-part spent in a snow hole and part in a tent I really appreciated the harsh conditions which they endured but for me thankfully only for one night. Also by visiting the old whaling station on South Georgia and Shackletons grave and trekking part of the Shackleton route down to it I felt a sense of history-which was also keenly felt when we managed to get so close via zodiac to the  place that the men left behind had camped on in Elephant Island. Finally swimming in the Antarctic was a first (surprisingly not much colder than a dip off our southern shores here in Ireland) and also being held on shore for a couple of hours because the pack ice had blocked our return to the ship all added to the sense of adventure and power of nature which this incredible place  throws up daily. This trip will forever stay in my heart-and Antarctica truly is a gem which i feel incredibly fortunate to have had the chance to visit."

What tips would you give other travelers booking this holiday?
"Read about  the history and the wildlife in advance and bring a really good camera but more importantly a good pair of binoculars - mine were hopeless. Also the jacket you are given is incredibly warm - I hardly used my down jacket-except for the camping."

Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
"It certainly supported conservation because we were reminded daily to leave no trace and a lot of the money raised on board supported different conservation programmes like the rat eradication programme in South Georgia and also one of the museums.Money was also given to a Phillipino project since most of the crew were from the Phillipines."

Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
"Incredible. I would go again tomorrow if I got the chance. It is expensive and I felt really guilty about that initially but it really is only the fortunate few who can go there and every single hour of overtime which i did for the previous 18 months to pay for it was money and time well spent. From the booking of the trip through Aqua-Firma who were so easy to deal with-to the staff on the trip i could not speak highly enough of my experience."

Helen Connolly

"I had a great/fantastic journey - like a dream! We were very! lucky with the weather and the number of landings we did, particuarly South Georgia. The staff were great very, experienced and able to take fast and creative decisions if we were not able to "follow" the itinerary.

I would do the journey again definitely so thanks a lot for helping me out with this:-))))"

Anne Lise Borsheim

"The voyage was outstanding and the ship brilliant. Antarctica was unbelievable experience. South Georgia was also fantastic with its history and wildlife and wild terrain. We did the Shackleton hike (well part of). Falklands was also different and it was great stopping at Stanley before completing expedition to two great Westerly Islands."

Jane & Peter Edsall

"We had a terrific time. I would like to give special praise to Monika who stood out of all our guides. She did an excellent job and briefings were both interesting and humorous.

We were very happy with our accommodation and the ship. The Russian crew worked extremely hard and were most pleasant, cheerful and helpful; not always under easy conditions. The lectures on board were very good and we most certainly had a lot of expertise available to us. The log provided at the end of our cruise, detailing each day’s events and sightings, was excellent and very much appreciated.

Boat handling and support for getting on and off the zodiacs was very good. Excellent zodiac rides amongst the icebergs with enjoyable landings, whale sightings etc."

David and Jennifer Gascoyne

"We had a marvellous trip and a great experience, lucky us! Lucky too with the weather: a lot of sunshine and most of the time clear views of humpbacks, penguins, albatrosses, seals and beautiful icebergs.
We want to thank you for your service and help"

Jan de Groot & Hans Oord


“I had a wonderful experience.

So main highlights for me:

Friendly, professional team of experts with so much knowledge about their subjects--great informative lectures during sea crossings and always on hand to answer questions.

Opportunities to take part in Citizen Science experiments--( I went out in a zodiac with others to check on phytoplankton ). We also surveyed numbers of sea birds and types of cloud and cloud cover.

Lots of wildlife--orcas, humpbacks, fin whales; lots of seals--Weddell, leopard and fur and elephant--; and of course penguins of every kind (except emperor); petrels (giant, snow  and cape), prions, pipits, blue-eyed shags, skuas, snowy sheath-bills and albatross--both wandering and black-browed, including their nests and chicks.... and much, much more! Apparently, the sighting of so much wildlife in 1 voyage was quite unusual so we felt quite privileged.

Lovely, friendly group of passengers with a good sense of humour. The youngest was 19; the eldest was 81 years old.

The food was excellent and Indonesian crew very professional, including the Captain.
Zodiac cruising among the ice-bergs of all shapes and sizes and the scenery; and opportunities for 2 landings a day in Antarctica and South Georgia if the swell permitted. If the swell was too great in one area, then the Captain was happy to steer to another calmer bay close by or we cruised in the zodiacs rather than land, so plenty of photo opportunities at all times. People who went kayaking and camping also seemed very positive about their experiences.

All in all, I have run out of adjectives to describe the voyage; many commented that it had exceeded all their expectations So again, many thanks to you and the whole team for helping make this trip possible.”


“The trip itself exceeded all our expectations - and they were pretty high! Woody the expedition leader was a giant amongst men. A truly exceptional leader, keeping everyone's spirits up as well as dealing with the logistics, his own team and the ship's crew.

The scenery was stunning, the wildlife exceptional, the guides superb and the ship and crew fantastic. Special shout out to the chef and team - how they kept turning out such exceptional food, choice and fresh fruit and salad right up to the last day was terrific. And nothing was too much trouble - when I asked if it would be possible to have a baked potato for a change, I had it for lunch the next day - complete with bacon and cheese!

Thank you so much for giving us the holiday of a lifetime.”

Avril MacDonald



South Georgia


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  • Goldharbour Bay Elephant Seal Amanda Arnold.JPG
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  • Salisbury Plain King Peguins and Fur seals Amanda Arnold.jpg
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  • Bleaker Island rockhopper penguins Amanda Arnold.JPG
  • Stromness Harbour Fur Seals Amanda Arnold.JPG
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  • Kissing-Albatross-Gareth-Joseph.jpg
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