MS Diamant with UCLA to Antarctica

Jun 26th, 2008, 07:16 AM
  #1  
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MS Diamant with UCLA to Antarctica

Has anyone heard of this ship or done this cruise with alumni of UCLA? It is a 9 nt cruise from Ushaia RT and the ship has 113 cabins. TIA
moremiles is offline  
Jun 26th, 2008, 08:25 AM
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There are pros and cons about the size of ship you select when visiting Antarctica. My selection was based on the limit of 100 people who can go ashore at a time. When you have more than that it is a very lengthly procedure in order to allow everyone an opportunity to go ashore and not a whole lot of time to spend ashore either. I was on a ship with 100 passengers and it is still time consuming waiting to board the zodiacs while they make multiple trips but you are not rushed. Your selection would depend on how much shore time you wish. Check out www.expeditiontrips.com for a variety of ships.
Louise is offline  
Jun 26th, 2008, 10:43 AM
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True that only 100 are allowed ashore at any given time. I'd ask if they restrict bookings to 100 on the Antarctic sailings (some ships do that).

Also, keep in mind that of the total number of voyage days, approx 1.5-2 days (each way) will be used up crossing the Drake passage, so you'll have a lot fewer days actually in the Peninsula region and neighboring islands.

As Louise noted above, we made our selection based on the 100/landing limit and went on the 48 pax Molchanov. It was great - it took no more than 20-30 minutes at most to get everyone off the ship at each landing site.
eenusa is offline  
Jun 26th, 2008, 11:20 AM
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Thanks for the info-I'll relay this to my friend to help make our decision.
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Jun 27th, 2008, 04:03 AM
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I did an extensive review of our small ship voyage. If your friend is interested, it can be found at: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...1&tid=34977014. Also, photos at http://eenusa.smugmug.com/Antarctica.
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Jun 28th, 2008, 08:01 AM
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Thanks and I will make sure she sees your report and wonderful photos!
moremiles is offline  
Jun 28th, 2008, 04:30 PM
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We recently took a cruise in Europe on one of Le Diamant's sister ships and the food and service were great. We also took a tour of another of its sister ships, and now we plan to take a cruise on it.
The company that owns and manages the three ships is Compagnie des Îles du Ponant, based in France. If Le Diamant is as nice as the ships on which we sailed and visited, you will really like it.
By the way, one of Le Diamant's sister ships was the one that was captured by pirates off Somalia in April. The company managed to get it back in a matter of weeks, which is amazing.
mscarls is offline  
Jun 28th, 2008, 05:10 PM
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It seems the ship itself gets very good reviews and the only drawback to the cruise is that only 100ppl are allowed onshore at one time and the ship holds 196 so there may be some wait time-also, it's a 9day cruise so maybe not as many landings as the more expensive cruises to Antarctica.
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Jun 30th, 2008, 09:16 AM
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The Diamant used to sail under the name Song of Flower with the RSSC line, and was sold in 2003. It was, while the Song of Flower, my favorite cruise ship. That being said, it is NOT purpose-built for Antarctic cruising, nor has it been retrofitted to address the particular issues involved in cruising in that kind of area. I would not cruise Antarctica on it.
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Jun 30th, 2008, 07:29 PM
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Do you think it's more dangerous a ship to sail on than others or just more limited? TIA
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Jul 1st, 2008, 04:06 AM
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Any ship that is not ice strengthened would carry a higher risk sailing in Antarctic waters. This was one of our considerations when we decided to sail on Prof Molchanov.
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Jul 1st, 2008, 05:30 AM
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I just received a newsletter from Zegrahm today and it mentions that the ship has a 1D ice-classification. I have no idea what this means except for the fact it evidently has some strengthening of the hull.
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Jul 1st, 2008, 09:21 AM
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Different rating organizations have different standards, though most are pretty similar. The Swedish rating system only goes to 1C before it gets to a rating of II, which is pretty much inappropriate for icy conditions. The ratings are:

1A Super extremely difficult ice-conditions
1A difficult ice-conditions
1B moderately difficult ice-conditions
1C easy ice-conditions
II very easy ice-conditions


FWIW, my TA, who is also a Song of Flower fan, says that she'd never put a client on Diamant for Antarctica because of safety concerns and the limitations re where it can go and what it can do.
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Jul 1st, 2008, 02:57 PM
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I'm curious about the 100 pax at one time rule. I've found at least three ships on Antarctic itineraries that state they carry 110 pax. Do they actually fill to capacity? And if so, do they count on 10 people wanting to stay on board? Or do 10 people have to sit out the landings until 10 return? Or do staff members count as part of the 100 and even more pax have to sit out? Thanks
Nutella is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 04:52 AM
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I don't have first hand experience since we never considered a ship that was over the 100 limit, but I read somewhere that one of the ships that did carry 110 staggered the zodiacs by 15-20 minutes ... I guess the assumption being that by the time the last group got off, some of those in the earlier groups would be back on the ship. That assumption would have failed on our sailing (luckily with only 47 pax we did not have to worry about it) ... everyone stayed on land as long as they could ... after all, that's what we paid the big bucks for.

Hopefully, someone with first hand experience will comment.
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 11:15 AM
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Nutella? We worship at your shrine usually with bananas.
I've been told the 100 pax "rule" is a loose suggestion. If a ship carries enough zodiacs and drivers everybody will be off within 10 minutes, no waiting around. More little people can fit on a zodiac than big people...it's quite variable... So if you need specifics talk directly with someone who has sailed the itinerary and ship of interest.
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Jul 4th, 2008, 09:34 AM
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I was on a ship with many years of Antarctica experience and a "guest" count of 110. We were divided into three groups. You could pretty much figure if you were in the last group that you needn't be in line for 1/2 an hour or more after the first group was called. The ship was full but there were a lot of lecturers and leaders on board who occupied some of the "guest" facilities.
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Jul 8th, 2008, 03:38 PM
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Thanks for the input. Weighing all the factors that go into choosing a particular ship/itinerary, I've decided that 109 co-adventurers are okay!
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Jul 8th, 2008, 04:09 PM
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Crys, I'd be interested in your TA if you'd like to share. Thanks
moremiles is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 05:22 PM
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Sure. I use Ngaire or Susan at Brown and Keene http://www.brownandkeenetravel.com/

Ngaire is the one who made the comments re Diamant
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