Pauline Phillips and Alan Dowdell

We travelled on the Antarpply Classic Antarctica Dec 18 - 28 2007. What did you think of the accommodation and food aboard the ship?

For some reason we were upgraded from a shared bunk cabin on the lower decks to a very nice cabin with two beds in the new bit added on at the rear of the boat, with TWO windows and private facilities - we didn't know why we had been upgraded and didn't unpack for ages in case they realised their mistake and moved us! We were also treated to two three-course meals every day and a large breakfast, also nibbles at 5pm, tea & coffee was available all day. The evening meals were mostly good but not too varied for vegetarians; the breakfasts and teatime nibbles were very good and the champagne on Xmas Eve also good! How would you rate the boat staff and local guides helpfulness, organisational skills and knowledge?

The trip leader, Monika Schillat, was excellent, well-informed and approachable. Their organisational skills were very good and the operation to load/unload the boats and transfers to land was slick. They kept a keen and strict eye on the passengers on land because of the wildlife. The service staff were all very nice and helpful. What were the major highlights of the cruise and what was your main reason for choosing this trip? Reason for going: My partner wanted to have stood on all 7 continents and Antarctica was the final one, so I said twist my arm... And then you guys came up with this one!

Highlights: Unbelievably stunning scenery of course....(take lots of photo recording material and batteries, and video head cleaner!); loads of cute penguins, on nests with eggs (we missed the chicks by days - January is the time for chicks), whales, seals and albatrosses, skuas and lots of other bird life; bum-sliding down steep snowslopes, great fun; zodiac cruising through icebergs and icefloes with seals sunbathing on them; sending a postcard from the antarctic continent; seeing one of the most amazing places on earth. There were several impromptu trips added to the itinerary. The crossing of the Drake Passage going was so calm we had time for an extra landing and later an extra zodiac trip round the icebergs. The ship was also hoping to enter the Weddell Sea but as it was still frozen (a 'Shackleton Summer') we couldn't do this. The whole trip was very well documented on a brilliant cd, with detailed descriptions of all the landings in a log and a photo sequence of each spot (including a video clip of being stuck in the ice!), which was handed out to everyone at the end along with a certificate to commemorate landing on the Antartctic Continent. This was much appreciated