The service on this cruise was extrordinary from the moment we walk on. Our butler and housekeeping team did a great job keeping our room spotless and attending to every need. We had the butler team do our unpacking which is great! Our butler was always anxious to do things for us, and finally we had him bring us champagne and snacks one afternoon just to give him something to do.
This ship is a little bit older but still beautiful. The only area where we noticed room for improvement was the stairway carpets. We had dinner with the hotel director and she shared with us that this was a known issue as the carpets wear more quickly on the expedition ships due to the traffic with the Muck Boots. She said that the issue would be addressed at the next dry dock as well as updating a few other things.
The layout of the ship is typical for small luxury ships with the cabins in the front and the public areas on the back. Those public areas included the theater/lecture hall, which comfortably seated all guest with room to spare, and just out side the theater was the Dolce Vita lounge which featured guitar music and a singer in the evening.
Just below the lounge an theater on deck four was the Restaurant Dining room with rotating menu and full sit down service at all meals.
Deck 7 was the home of the La Terrazza restaurant with buffet food for breakfast and lunch and gourmet full service Italian in the evening. Also on Deck 7 was a well stocked library of fiction and non-fiction books. Across the hall from that is the spa, sauna and beauty salon.
The place where we hung out the most was the Panorama lounge on where we took in the views of the fjords and other scenery at night. This venue was the host location for our very competitive team trivia and piano music in the evenings. We even had karaoke there one night.
There was also a pool deck with an outdoor grill, heated pool and hot tubs. There is also a forward facing observation lounge and library with lots of expedition themed books and picture books. The design flaw of this ship is that the lounge can only be accessed by crossing an open deck where the zodiacs are stored. This area did offer sweeping view of the scenery and icebergs.
Another favorite part of this ship is the collection of polar expedition photos, particularly the photos from the Shackelton Expedition to Antarctica and the Weddle Sea.
Overall the ship was lovely and intimate, and the perfect size for expedition cruising.
The expedition team was very knowledgeable and made the explorations of the remote areas and on board lectures a lot of fun. We learned a lot about arctic flora and fuana, as well as human history in the area from archeologist Christian on board. The crew from the housekeeping staff, to butlers, to chefs, waiters, somelliers, able seamen, and crew made for a wonderful experience on board.