Classified as a discovery cruise, it was everything you would expect. The strength was in the expedition staff who had a wide range of educational and experiential backgrounds. The lectures were informative and the shore excursions were numerous, varied, well organized and well executed. We happened to talk with some members of a competitive ship who left the same day that our ship left, same weather conditions, same length of time, and they were excited to have done three shore excursions. On Corinthian, we did two to three per day for a total of about 12 excursions. If you go to Antarctica to live the destination, this is the cruise line you would take.
There are 60 state rooms that were renovated about 5 years ago. They are very comfortable, spacious, well appointed and inviting. The public space for 80 to 120 passengers is well proportioned; but not a luxurious or as bountiful as the larger ships. The decor is very pleasant; but not as over the top as the major lines. It is a bit like being on someones private yacht rather than a luxury hotel.
The captain and crew were excellent planners, flexible and congenial, while possessing the ability to lead a diverse group through some difficult maneuvers with grace, safety and a great deal of success. The captain and his crew took us surprisingly close to towering icebergs, gently followed a pod of whales, squeezed through seemingly narrow passageways and gave us and our fellow passengers the experience of a life time.
These were that attributes that you would hope to find during a trip of this kind; and these are the things that entered us to the ship. There were many down sides that would seem easy enough to fix (from an outsiders point of view). The most dramatic would have to be the food.
The food was adequate and sometimes above average. Every breakfast and lunch was buffet style, although many items could be cooked to order if you chose to do so. There was little in the way of creativity in the presentation and preparation. The two main problems were that there was not enough variety and many items were overcooked and dry. Service during meal periods could not have been better.
While the expedition staff did a wonderful job during lectures, the outside, paid consultant (lecturer) was the worst! I have written to the company to specifically recommend a replacement.
There is a very poor work-out facility. Maybe it could even be classified as below poor (five pieces of stationary equipment under a plastic catering tent on the sixth deck). It needs to be fixed or just do away with it.
There is a hair salon as well as an on-board masseuse; but we did not use these services.
Cabin maintenance/cleaning is another area of concern. From our own experience as well specific comments from five other couples on the ship, cabin cleaning during the cruise was sub-standard, particularly when you consider the size of the ship and the cost of the cruise. This is an area that needs improvement.
Disembarkation was very smooth and very efficient. It was the best in the dozen or so cruises that we have experienced. Another area that can be sticky with other cruise lines is the pre-planning/communication with the parent company and folks in the office. From their literature, emails and phone calls, they were thorough, professional and prompt. With a specialized destination like Antarctica, you do not want to be unprepared. It was superb.