written by Matt McMillan
I recently travelled to the Arctic on a cruise starting in Spitsbergen (Svalbard), before exploring the North-east Greenland coast and completing the trip in Iceland. It was an excellent experience filled with awe inspiring scenery, incredible wildlife and to top things off, the amazing Northern Lights. Some of my photos can be found on our Facebook page here and you can view our extensive range of Antarctica cruises.
Here is my review of the vessel I travelled on, the MV Plancius which I found to be an exceptional option for expedition cruising.
The first thing that impressed me about the Plancius was the bar and restaurant areas which were both spacious, modern and most importantly have large panoramic windows. I can’t stress the importance of this in expedition cruising as there is nothing better than relaxing in the warmth of a heated bar and watching the scenery unfold around you. On ocean crossings being able to see the horizon is also important in reducing the effects of sea sickness and despite some rough seas during our journey, most people suffered very minimal problems.
Another thing which was apparent was the low noise emitted by the engine which was a pleasant surprise as other vessels I’ve traveled with in Antarctica and the Galapagos were extremely noisy.
An excellent aspect of this vessel is the gangway area which allows for the loading and unloading of zodiac boats, 2 at a time. This ensures that all passengers can be on shore in a short amount of time.
Staff and operations
All staff were friendly and efficient. Guides were knowledgeable and covered a variety of expertise including geology, history, flora and fauna. All spoke English and some spoke German, Spanish and Danish.
I stayed in a quad share cabin on level 2 which has a porthole window and a private bathroom (like all cabins on this ship). We only had 3 people in the cabin which was a little cramped but still comfortable. The twin porthole cabins are located on level 3 and offer extra space and 2 lower berths. They are worth paying a little extra for in my opinion. The superior cabins are very spacious and comfortable.
There are tv’s in each room and rooms are cleaned every day.
Food and drinks
Meals consisted of a buffet breakfast, buffet lunch and a la carte dinner where you had a choice of 3 options, 1 being vegetarian. Any dietary requirement can be accommodated and overall I found the quality of food to be excellent, considering the number of people being catered for. It was impossible to go hungry and plenty of snacks were included in addition to the meals.
Tea, coffee and tap water are included at all times and soft drink, beer, wine and spirits were all available for purchase at reasonable costs. For example a beer or glass of wine costs around AU$5.