Things to consider

Choosing the right ship to travel aboard is a key decision when planning your South Georgia adventure. To help you get started, here are a few key tips on what to consider:

  • Stability is key in a ship to South Georgia - the Southern Ocean is nothing if not unpredictable
  • Check the size of the expedition team onboard. The depth and breadth of their knowledge is pivotal to maximising your experience
  • While larger ships can offer better stability and amenities, smaller ship with fewer guests are more personal and spend more time on land
  • On these longer voyages, for those who like a little privacy, it’s worth considering the upgrade options for a little extra space

Swoop Says

South Georgia Ships

Hebridean Sky & Island Sky (114 passengers)

With state of the art retractable fins that reduce roll by up to 80%, these opulent sister ships provide a smooth and therefore more enjoyable journey on the two-day stretch to South Georgia.

The vessels' spacious cabins, outstanding service and top of the range catering provide luxury and elegance at an affordable price.

PL_3_PL_RTD_Hebridean Sky

RCGS Resolute (146 passengers)

With a modern stabilising unit and carrying one of the highest ice class ratings (Lloyds A1s), the RCGS Resolute is bound to offer a more comfortable ride through the Southern Ocean than many of its counterparts.

Large observation lounges and the choice of two dining rooms with panoramic views coupled with a large expedition staff mean that you'll never be short for things to see and learn while onboard.

RCGS-Resolute-edit

Akademic Ioffe & Vavilov (96 passengers)

With their remarkable stability and exceptional maneuverability, these sister ships are a real class act and ideal for exploring South Georgia's spectacular landing sites.

Capped at 96 passengers, the generous outer deck space means you won't be vying for space to spot wildlife. These ships offer the additional benefits of a large and experienced expedition staff, and even loan you all the outer layers you will need for the trip. 

Vavilov in Sunshine

M/V Plancius (116 passengers)

Originally an oceanographic research vessel, the M/V Plancius has been rebuilt with a diesel-electric propulsion system that greatly reduces noise and vibrations. If you're a light sleeper, you'll really feel the benefits during those nights at sea.

The large windows of the observation deck provide stunning panoramic views, perfect for spotting wildlife whilst keeping warm.

OCE_3_Joerg-Ehrlich_RTD_Plancius-in-Antarctica-e2

M/V Ortelius (116 passengers)

Built with a broad and heavy design, the M/V Ortelius has the highest ice-class rating (equivalent to 1A), making it one of the safest and most stable polar vessels, perfect for the long days at sea on the way to South Georgia. 

With an abundance of outdoor space and a roomy bridge, you'll have no trouble finding a spot to watch the wildlife and scenery go by.  

s mv-ortelius 1

Greg Mortimer (120 passengers)

The first expedition ship to pioneer the groundbreaking X-BOW technology, it will pierce waves making for a smoother overall voyage and a more stable run.

Boasting a panoramic observation deck with floor to ceiling windows and spacious outer decks, you’ll never miss out on the action wherever you are on the ship.

Exterior-Greg-Mortimer

Trips on these selected ships

Other South Georgia ships

  • Ocean Adventurer
  • World Explorer
  • Ocean Endeavor
  • MS Expedition
  • Polar Pioneer
  • Ocean Diamond
  • The Ushuaia
  • Sea Spirit
  • Le Boreal, Le Lyrial, Le Soléal, L'Austral
Swo_5_John-Newby_ALL_SG South Georgia Polar Pioneer

Plan your trip

South Georgia Ships: FAQs

  • Is a ship’s ice class rating important for S. Georgia?

    This only becomes relevant in heavy ice, which South Georgia doesn’t experience during the visitor season. A ship’s stability and comfort level is more relevant. Tips on choosing the right ship.

  • Which are the most stable ships?

    This is one of our favourite questions, particularly for anyone going to South Georgia due to the higher number of sea days. We favour the Akademik Sergey Vavilov & Akademik Ioffe which are renowned for their excellent stability, and those ships with state-of-the-art retractable stabilising systems, including Hebridean Sky, Island Sky and Greg Mortimer.


    It’s also worth noting that larger ships like Ocean Endeavour naturally benefit from having better stability as a result of their higher gross tonnage.

  • How many landings?

    The expedition team will aim for two ‘off ship’ excursions a day while in South Georgia, of which a few will be zodiac cruises, but the majority actual landings. However, it’s important to note that the weather will be a significant influence.

  • How do we get ashore?

    Rubber ‘zodiac’ boats which carry up to 10-12 people comfortably and piloted by a member of the expedition team or crew are the modus operandi for all off ship excursions.

  • What’s the average time spent ashore?

    It can vary widely depending on the weather, the landing site itself and the expedition leader. Typically landings are 2 - 4 hours in duration, ensuring that everyone has plenty of time.

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