FAQ

Planning

Why should I book with Swan Hellenic?

If you’re looking for a voyage you’ll never forget, you’ve come to the right place! Swan Hellenic is a well-respected brand with over 70 years of expertise exploring off-the-beaten-track destinations. A world leader in cultural expedition cruising, we offer you unrivaled service wherever our adventures take us, and you can be sure we always respect the environment and the locals we visit.

Our new fleet of boutique 5-star ships offer you a genuinely elevated travel experience. Built in the world-famous Helsinki shipyard in Finland, our ships combine cutting-edge polar ice-class technology with intimate, sophisticated interiors to make your time with us unforgettable.

Sail with Swan Hellenic and you’ll see what others don't. You’ll get to visit unique places that other ships can’t reach, have once-in-a-lifetime experiences as you explore, and make unique discoveries that change how you see the world forever.

I’ve never been on a cruise. Is this for me?

If you’re picturing a trip on a mega cruise ship, think again! Our two new ice-class ships – SH Vega and SH Diana – are a world away from other mass-market vessels. If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime trip that will stay with you forever, a voyage with Swan Hellenic is just what you need.

When you sail with us, your journey is all about your experience. You’ll explore magical places with knowledgeable experts, connect with breathtaking scenery and wildlife, and make unforgettable discoveries as you visit extraordinary, out-of-the-way destinations. Wherever your Swan Hellenic adventures take you, you can rest easy knowing you’ll be traveling in elegant, intimate surroundings, sharing your trip with under 200 other passengers, and receiving truly outstanding personal service This is achieved with a remarkable crew/passenger ratio, which is 0.8 and one of the highest in the cruise industry.

Do I need to book my own flights?

Yes, you need to book your own flights to and from the destination port. Unless otherwise stated within the itinerary details, these airfares aren’t included in the cruise fare. When you book your trip, our reservations staff will be able to advise you on the best routes, timings and hotel options for your travels.

What else is included in the cruise fare?

At Swan Hellenic, we aim to make your time with us an effortless experience, so you can make the most of your expedition cruise. With this in mind, we include the following within your cruise fare:

• Regional flights to the port of embarkation and/or disembarkation (only available for Antarctica voyages starting or ending in Ushuaia, and Arctic voyages starting and ending in Longyearbyen and Kangerlussuaq)

• Group return transfers from the airport to the cruise port (via our included accommodation where applicable)

• One-night pre-cruise accommodation with breakfast in a 4/5-star hotel or onboard

• All meals onboard

• 24-hour room service

• Coffee, tea, soft drinks, and selected alcoholic beverages, available 24 hours per day

• Lecture programs by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers

• Standard WiFi

• Onboard gratuities and port taxes

• One selected shore excursion/expedition activity per port of call (kayaking not included – however this can be pre-booked)

• in polar regions: Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka to take home and use of rubber boots for wet zodiac landings.

What is not included in the cruise fare?

We also have several optional activities you can participate in for an extra cost. These include kayaking, private tours, special arrangements, and private Zodiac tours on request and based on availability.

Additional shore excursions are also offered (excluding polar regions, where all excursions are Zodiac-based and included). At each destination/ port of call, one pre-selected shore excursion will be included free of charge. All other excursion offers will be available at additional cost.

The cruise fare does not include premium wines and spirits from the bar menu, purchases from the ship’s boutique, laundry expenses, premium WiFi packages, and spa treatments.

Also, you’ll need to purchase your own visas where required, travel insurance, flights, domestic transfers, and any hotel requirements pre- or post-cruise, unless otherwise stated within the itinerary description. You should also continuously update yourself with all vaccination requirements in the visited areas.

Will there be an additional charge if I travel alone?

Yes. The prices for cruises displayed on our website and brochures are calculated for double occupancy, with two people sharing a cabin. Solo travelers are subject to a supplementary fee known as a Single Supplement, which depends on the season travelling, for your cruise please check our website pricing. However, we recognize that some guests prefer solo travel. Therefore, we have specific departures, cruises, and destinations where the single supplement is not applied. For more information, please check our special promotions designed for solo travelers.

Are there childrens fares available?

Our children's fare (age 6-17 at the time of sailing) is valid for new bookings on all cruises and is subject to change at any time. When the child occupies a stateroom designed for a third/ fourth person occupancy (please crosscheck on our deck plan for designated staterooms) with at least two adults as full-paying guests, the additional child will be charged only 10% of the adult fare. When the child occupies a stateroom designed for two adults sharing only with one adult, no savings can be offered. Please note that for families, at least one adult needs to be booked together with the child in the staterooms due to maritime security rules. Families with two children booking 2 staterooms cannot profit from children saving fares as stateroom occupancy has to be 1 adult plus 1 child per stateroom.

Are there cruise fare reductions for adults sharing a stateroom as 3./4. traveller ?

Yes. In the designated staterooms for occupancy of a third/ fourth traveller these additional guest are offered a discount of 50% of the standard per person cruise fare in this stateroom.

Are there age restrictions and rules for parents with smaller children or legal guardians?

Our Antarctic and Arctic expedition cruises and special cruises to remote areas are unsuitable for children under 8. With the express permission of the captain and the management, we allow children under the age of eight, but at least six, to take part in such expedition cruises, provided that the parents have submitted a corresponding declaration of liability.

Depending on the route, approval is limited to a maximum of 1 to 5 children under 8. For all other cruises, the minimum age for children is also 6 years, whereby the number of children per cruise is also limited.

Please note that children may not remain unaccompanied on board while parents participate in shore excursions or Zodiac tours. Full-time parental supervision is required by law and parents or legal guardians must sign the appropriate waiver. Please note that to participate in Zodiac tours, including embarkation, disembarkation or tendering in ports, children must be tall enough to sit on the inflatable sides of the Zodiac alone and understand the instructions and commands of the staff in charge.

How far in advance should I book?

We recommend booking at least six months up to one year in advance. It’s important to book as far in advance as possible in order to secure your preferred journey dates and flights.

You might also want to reserve a particular cabin category, and it’s worth bearing in mind that suites and interconnecting rooms for family or friends are always in great demand. All suites will have the ability to connect with the balcony room next door.

Do I have to pay for the trip in full when I book?

You can hold your booking free of charge for 4 working days (excluding Sundays). Your booking will be automatically cancelled after this option period if you have not confirmed your booking in written form (by e-mail) with your travel agent. You will receive then a final booking confirmation and invoice with a deposit payment of 20% of the travel fare to be transmitted within 5 working days after receiving your invoice. Full payment will be required at the time of booking only when booking is less than 120 days before departure.

Final payment rules depend on the different markets; mostly, you will be asked to make the rest payment also 120 days prior to departure; in some markets, it will be 60 days; please check your confirmation invoice.

What are the payment options for my booking?

We accept Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, American Express.

As some card providers may charge a foreign transaction fee for cards issued outside the EU, UK, and US when processing the payment, please check with your bank regarding these fees, as Swan Hellenic is not responsible for this fee and does not benefit from these fees.

Why is there a price change from website display to my booking request?

We offer a flexible pricing policy, similar to an airline if you are booking a flight. This means the price indicates the lowest price you could expect to pay for a cabin. Prices are capacity-controlled and subject to availability. Prices may change at any time before the departure date, the applicable price will be quoted at the time of booking.

To honor our guests who decide quite early in advance, we promote “Early booking Fares” from the beginning of the booking start of each season. Please ask for it.

How will my booking be confirmed?

Upon completion of your booking, you will receive a confirmation email to your email address, which you supplied to us. This also includes your booking reference number which you will need paying the deposit and the final payment.

How cold does it get in the Arctic and Antarctic?

• The Arctic The average Arctic summer hovers around 0°-10 C in June through September. In general, Arctic summers are short and cool.

• Antarctic The Antarctic Peninsula is the warmest part of the continent (summer 2019 saw one of the warmest on record, with one research station recording 17.5°C), in general temperatures between 0-+15 C are to be expected. Prepare for at least -5°C and for temperatures to feel much colder than that if there’s a wind chill. January is the warmest month to visit.

Do I need to pre-book excursions?

At each destination, a preselected shore excursion will be included in your travel fare free of charge. In destinations outside of polar regions, we offer additional shore excursions. Also, please note that some of these complimentary shore excursions may have limited places available and advance booking requirements We recommend booking ahead of your voyage to make sure you don’t miss out., More information is provided in your personal pre-trip documentation packs. Zodiac excursions do not need to be pre-booked.

Are the ships wheelchair accessible?

Yes, our ships are wheelchair accessible, with some operational requirements and prior notice requirements. Guests who use wheelchairs must bring their own, as we have only a small number of wheelchairs stored onboard for emergencies. To ensure ease of movement on the ship, wheelchairs and mobility aids must be no wider than 65cm. All mobility or medical equipment brought on board must be capable of being carried safely and must be declared before sailing. To ensure that all guests can safely evacuate during an emergency, guests requiring a wheelchair can only be accommodated in our ADA-accessible cabins.

We offer an Oceanview stateroom on Vega and an Oceanview and a Balcony stateroom on Diana. These staterooms are specifically designed to be completely ADA compliant and have a fully operable wheelchair-access wet unit.

Our ships have two lifts, serving every passenger deck apart from the Stargazing top deck, which is, therefore, more difficult to access, as are the Aft Marina and Swan’s Nest forward observation platform. Also, we don’t have special equipment to access the swimming pool, jacuzzi, or sauna. Otherwise, the ship is entirely at your disposal.

Many of the expeditions ashore in remote places are by Zodiac. Boarding these boats and returning aboard can present challenges for wheelchair users, as can navigating uneven terrain. These challenges are by no means always insurmountable, though, and our highly experienced crew is trained to provide reliable advice and assistance. They will make every effort to ensure wheelchair-using guests enjoy a memorable experience at each destination. Our general guidance, however, is to recommend wheelchair users travel with a companion for their ease and enjoyment.

If you prefer to remain aboard, our panoramic interiors and ample open decks ensure an immersive, intimate experience of your inspiring surroundings.

Antarctica cruises

Where is Antarctica – and how do I get there?

Antarctica is the southernmost of the world’s seven continents and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. The Antarctic Peninsula is the closest point to land and can be reached in two days from the tip of South America.

To visit Antarctica, you’ll need to fly to Argentina, or Chile, and then take an onward flight to Ushuaia, located at the very tip of South America. Today your Swan Hellenic ship will depart from Ushuaia, and some cruises start in Buenos Aires. We consider also departures from Puerto Williams. Please check your detailed itinerary.

When is the best time to visit Antarctica?

The best time is during the southern hemisphere’s spring and summer (November to March). Weather can never be guaranteed, but visiting this time of year means you’ll probably see plenty of sunshine. The continent is at its warmest between mid-December and mid-January.

From November to mid-January, you can expect to see more sea ice and dramatic icebergs. This is also the mating season for seabirds and mammals, including breeding fur seals. Bear in mind that in early spring, proposed stops may have to be rescheduled if they remain ice-bound or if a sudden drop in temperature overnight causes ice to re-freeze.

End of January to March, the chances of seeing whales – including humpback, orca, and minke – are greater. Penguin chicks and seal pups are in abundance at this time of year, too. As the Austral summer progresses, you will experience almost 24-hour daylight.

Do you offer kayak excursions in Antarctica?

Yes! Our kayak excursions are a wonderful way to experience the polar regions from water level. Kayaking in the world’s last great wildernesses is a unique opportunity that few people experience. You’ll be able to observe scenery, coastlines, ice formations and polar wildlife from the comfort – and almost complete silence – of your kayak.

Conditions permitting, your Expedition Leader and Kayak Guide will ensure you’ll be kayaking as often as possible throughout your Antarctic voyage.

While some kayak excursions are designed to allow you to disembark and explore on land, most of your kayak adventures will focus on connecting with your icy surroundings from the water level.

Duration: 1.5 to 3 hours

Are my Expedition itineraries final and can changes be expected during the cruise?

As almost all Antarctica and Arctic cruises are designed as expedition-type cruises, we need to understand that flexibility is one of the main characteristics that best describe the planning, itinerary, and execution of such a voyage. Any itinerary given is only a broad idea, the realization of which depends on several factors that neither Swan Hellenic nor the captain or the expedition team can predict in advance. Weather conditions such as ice conditions, drift, wave height, wind direction, and visibility can not only have a significant influence on the planned Zodiac tours but can also change the itineraries in such a way that ad hoc rescheduling may be necessary. In this respect, we ask for your understanding that the pre-planned routes are not guaranteed and that the actual route may deviate at any time. Furthermore, medical emergencies or official restrictions on visiting individual landing points can also influence the route at any time. Rest assured, however, that your captain and the expedition team are very familiar with such conditions and, therefore, always have a solution or alternative at hand to offer you a fantastic polar adventure. Of course, this also applies to other cruising areas that are just as remote as the polar regions in the same way.

I’ve been to the Arctic, would I enjoy Antarctica?

If you enjoy immersing yourself in pristine, off-grid wilderness and seeing extraordinary wildlife in its natural habitat, then there’s no reason you won’t enjoy both the Arctic and Antarctica. The two destinations share several characteristics and our itineraries to these places emphasize scientific appreciation and historical understanding. The wildlife is surprisingly different in both places – you’ll only see penguins in the Antarctic, not the Arctic.

However, extreme temperatures aren’t for everyone, and the journey to Antarctica (around two days in total, passing the well-known Drake passage each way) needs to be considered. Also, life on board will follow similar patterns, combining informative and engaging talks, expert-led excursions, fine dining, and relaxation time.

Arctic cruises

How do I get to The Arctic?

Depending on which destination your expedition ship leaves from (Tromso, Svalbard, Kangerlussuaq, or Reykyavik), you should easily book flights to the main departure point.

Note that flights to and from your ship are not included in your cruise fare unless otherwise specified. (View the 'What’s included' section at the end of each itinerary).

Do you offer kayak excursions in the Arctic?

Yes! Our kayak excursions are an excellent way to experience the polar regions from the water level. Kayaking in the world’s last great wildernesses is a unique opportunity that few people experience. You’ll be able to observe scenery, coastlines, ice formations, and polar wildlife from the comfort – and almost complete silence – of your kayak.

Conditions permitting, your Expedition Leader and Kayak Guide will ensure you kayak as often as possible throughout your Arctic voyage. Under normal conditions, at least one kayak session per cruise per guest will be available. If other guests who haven’t participated in kayak sessions yet don't opt-in, more kayak options will likely be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

While some kayak excursions are designed to allow you to disembark and explore on land, most of your kayak adventures will focus on connecting with your icy surroundings from the water level.

Duration: 1.5 to 3 hours

I’ve been to Antarctica, would I enjoy The Arctic?

If you enjoy immersing yourself in pristine, off-grid wilderness and seeing extraordinary wildlife in its natural habitat, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy both the Arctic and Antarctica. The two destinations share several characteristics, and our itineraries to these places emphasize scientific appreciation and historical understanding. The wildlife is surprisingly different in both places – you’ll only see polar bears in the Arctic, not Antarctica.

Life on board will follow similar patterns, combining informative and engaging talks, expert-led excursions, fine dining, and relaxation time.

Flights to the Arctic are usually shorter. Remember that long nights of midnight sun will affect your body clock.

Before you go

Who will my fellow travelers be?

Many of our guests are well-traveled, curious, and eager to learn about the places they visit. Our passengers care about the environment, too, which is why our expert wildlife guides always travel ashore with them. In this more intimate cruising environment, where like-minded people are seeking genuine destination immersion, good relationships, and new friendships are easily formed.

Due to the small-group touring philosophy, there will also be opportunities to meet fellow passengers on your trips ashore and in the evening at the daily/evening recap.

What do I need to pack? Do I need formal clothing?

Our expedition cruises are mainly concerned with what happens outside the ship, so dress codes are very relaxed, and there are no formalities at mealtimes.

At breakfast and lunch, you’ll wear the clothes you'll be wearing outside (minus the outer gear). Once you’ve changed out of your expedition gear in the evening, you’ll probably want to put on something casual and comfortable. It’s always worth having an extra layer if you want to rush out on deck if something interesting has been spotted.

During the day around the ship, you’ll want casual trousers, jeans or smart sportswear, long-sleeve tops, thin jumpers, and a body warmer and/or other layers. It will be warm and comfortable inside.

Evening is casual, too – perhaps pack a couple of casual shirts and skirts/dresses. Keep footwear to a minimum. On board, a pair of lightweight trainers or similar (useful when trying on gear for size) will suffice, while slippers can be worn in your cabin. You will be provided with Swan Hellenic Expeditions parkas and rubber muck boots for shore excursions in Antarctica and the High Arctic.

How much luggage allowance will I have?

The international allowance (and the number of checked bags) will depend on your airline and class of travel. So when you book international flights to your departure port, check that airline’s allowance. Some only permit 15kg per person. It’s usually possible to buy an extra 5 kilograms or a bag, but be sure to do this online for both the outward and return flights before you travel, and keep a copy of the confirmation number and/or email.

Please be aware that charter flights included in your cruise package are always economy class with a limited baggage allowance of 20kg. International business class passengers with 2 pieces of a 32 kg allowance or one piece of up to 40kg will have to pay for any luggage excess over 20kg.

Will I get seasick?

Our 5-star expedition ships combine elegant Scandinavian design with the latest cruising technology. They feature a PC5 ice-strengthened hull and extra-large stabilizers, ensuring a smooth journey for all passengers.

Not everyone experiences motion sickness, but if you know you are prone to it or are unsure, we recommend visiting your doctor for advice on the best preventative medicine for you (which you will need to take before boarding). A knowledgeable pharmacist can also offer guidance over the counter but check for any conflicts with existing medication. Regular cruisers use various methods, including tablets, patches, and PSI/acupressure bands, but effectiveness can vary from person to person. If you require medical assistance onboard, our doctor can provide advice.

Remember that the Drake Passage can be rough for our Antarctica voyages. Our itineraries are developed to give Captains flexibility in choosing the best weather window for the crossing.

However You may be lucky but if you do become unwell, remember: it is important to keep hydrated and to eat little, and often (dry toast, biscuits or crackers are good). Please don't look at the waves or other moving objects. Don’t use electronic devices, watch the TV or attempt to read. And avoid alcohol, and fatty or spicy foods.

Are vaccinations required?

This depends on where you travel, so please check with your doctor. Where vaccinations are legally required for entry of your embarkation, disembarkation country or for any port of call of your itinerary, we will inform you with your booking confirmation about the required vaccinations. For the time being, no vaccinations are required for visiting the Arctic or Antarctic, and at the same time, yellow fever is necessary in most African countries. However, it is recommended that you have all your up-to-date vaccinations, such as tetanus and flu. As health recommendations may change quickly. you should consult your local practitioner for last advice.

Should I buy a camera?

If you’re not sure about spending money on a new camera, bear in mind that many camera outlets will also rent them. Look into hiring equipment before you leave home. For more about photography on board, visit our blog section.

Why do I need a “Fit for Travel” qualification for expedition cruises to Antarctica, other remote areas?

In remote regions like the Antarctic, the Arctic, and other similar destinations, our expedition cruises operate where sophisticated medical assistance from shore is limited or nonexistent. While the likelihood of a medical emergency is minimal, preparation is essential. In the rare event of such a situation, our ship doctors must be equipped with vital information to provide prompt assistance. It is important to note that our expedition cruises are designed for guests in reasonably good health, prioritizing their safety and that of their fellow travelers.

As a tour operator and shipping company, we are proud members of both IAATO and AECO associations of Antarctica and Artic Tour Operator. This entails adhering to specific safety regulations and guidelines for travel to remote and unique areas. This commitment extends to ensuring that all travelers are willing to undergo the necessary health checks to certify their essential fitness for participation in such expeditions.

Therefore, travelers are required to be evaluated as "Fit to Travel" before embarkation. This evaluation is essential for transmitting travel documents and granting permission to board the vessel.

We have partnered with VIKAND Medical Services to simplify this process, leveraging their extensive expertise in cruise-related medical services. Please note that to participate in expedition cruises to remote areas such as Antarctica and the Arctic and specially marked cruises in other areas, it is necessary to obtain "Fit for Travel" confirmation from our medical service provider VIKAND and a corresponding positive decision. Without this confirmation, participation in the advertised expedition cruises is not possible.

Can I fly drones?

The use of passenger-operated drones is not permitted during your voyage. This is for general safety and the protection of vulnerable wildlife and other guests’ personal security. Therefore, you cannot fly drones onboard. The flying of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is prohibited or strictly regulated in several countries we sail to, so you will be personally responsible and liable to comply with all local rules while ashore. We recommend leaving your drone at home and participating in a sharing deal with our expert videographer onboard to receive some drone -footage from your cruise.

Are visa required?

Depending on your cruise itinerary, we will inform you with your booking about legally required visas based on your nationality or residency. As visa requirements may change on short notice, you will be asked to crosscheck with your embassy in the related countries in the short term. For some ports of call, special entry visas for cruise ship passengers are issued under different rules than for air passengers. If we can accommodate you with an ad-hoc Visa for a short-term visit, we will also let you know with your booking confirmation. The cost for all visas will be at your own expense. You must apply in due time to arrange your visa for a smooth travel according to all entry requirements. You will be responsible for showing up with all visas to embark for your cruise (exempt: ad hoc visa organized by the vessel during your cruise).

What currency do I need?

On board

The on-board currency is the USD. Onboard spending will be added to your final bill. It is worth taking a debit/credit card in case of any problems paying your bill. Remember to tell your bank before traveling to avoid having your card refused.

Antarctica

There is no official currency as Antarctica does not belong to one country. It is governed by the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) signed by various nations. The Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the South Sandwich Islands are British Overseas Territories and, as such, use GBP.

Arctic

Destinations on our Arctic cruises include Norway, Greenland (Denmark), Canada, and Alaska. Check your itinerary for which destinations are covered. In most cases, you will only need currency at the beginning and end of your journey, as well as souvenirs, as most other expenses will be covered on your voyage.

Life Onboard

What is the food like onboard? Do you cater to all dietary requirements?

We pride ourselves on offering you an extraordinary culinary experience. We combine international trends—sometimes with a local accent—with healthy, energy-packed ingredients and plenty of protein for the explorer in you. Our menus please the most discerning palates, showcasing healthy, fresh, local ingredients and serving special dietary requirements.

Breakfast includes a wide range of hot, cold, and cooked-to-order items. Expect daily chef 'specials' and eggs cooked to order. As well as plenty of fruit, nuts, sprinkling seeds, and fresh juices, there will be homemade bread, granola and other cereals, salmon and cooked meats and cheeses, yogurt, and porridge/oatmeal.

Lunch might consist of a salad bar, soup, and other starter items, followed by pasta, fish, meat, and veggie options and a variety of hot and cold desserts. There will always be a cheese board, along with coffee and tea. House wines and beer are served with lunch or dinner.

Dinner is served a la carte. Expect the finest dishes – creative, healthy, and with service to match. Enjoy our choice of fine wines, served throughout the meal.

Most dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan, and diabetic, will be catered for, as well as gluten-free options. Please make explicit any special requests when booking as we cannot guarantee options will be available once the cruise departs.

Find out more about Maris here, our series of unmissable culinary expedition cruises featuring world-famous chefs from the gourmet organization JRE-Jeunes Restaurateurs du Europe

Where are meals served?

Your breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in the Swan Restaurant. The Club Lounge offers small breakfast, lighter dishes, and snacks throughout the day from 6:00 am until 6 pm. Cookies and tea are available at night.

Expedition passengers are generally outgoing and friendly and like to mingle with fellow passengers. In the evening, our maître d’ can accommodate any special requests.

Room service is also available when you're in the mood for some quiet time.

Will there be an open bar / self service or manned bar?

Our ships have a very well stocked bar with a selection of soft drinks, wines and beers included within your cruise fare. A selection of premium beers, wine and spirits are available at an additional cost.

What are the staterooms like?

Your stateroom is a cozy home away from home, where sophisticated design and intuitive technology blend with the natural world to create modern 5-star comfort. This is a place to relax, recharge, and admire the ever-changing scenery. Each stateroom has a welcome bottle of Champagne, snacks, and a well-stocked minibar. There’s also an Illy espresso coffee machine, tea facilities, smart HDTV, free Wi-Fi, a personal safe, and a pair of Nikon Prostaff 3S 10x42 binoculars to help you watch out for wildlife. 

We know how important comfort is when you’re relaxing in your room. So expect superb beds, minimum noise and vibration, and interconnecting suite and balcony rooms for families and groups. Each cabin stateroom features individually controlled air-conditioning and has fluffy bathrobes and bedroom slippers for each guest, a hairdryer, and a selection of high-quality towels. There are also high-quality Lajatica toiletries to transform your ensuite into a personal spa, including hand soap, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion.

The stylish and contemporary Scandi-design decor is on par with the best of the world’s boutique hotels. Softwood fittings, earthy tones and textures, and thoughtful lighting, including a cozy electric fireplace, make the rooms a welcoming retreat. All have wardrobes, a desk, and comfy seating areas, and our luxurious ensuite bathrooms feature large sinks, glass-enclosed rain showers, and plenty of storage space.

Will I have a balcony?

Our Suites and Balcony cabins have a balcony with chairs and a small table. Depending on your cabin category balconies range from 6 to 12 sqm.

What is there to do on board?

There are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself on our ships. Enjoy our wide selection of literature in your ship’s stylish library or relax in one of our spacious viewing areas – our forward-facing Swan’s Nest observation platform has extraordinary 270-degree views! Work out in our state-of-the-art gym, enjoy a massage or the thermal suite, or try some yoga or stretching classes. Or maybe kick back in the elegant bar area, or your luxurious stateroom.

Attend one of our fascinating lectures, led by the foremost experts in their field, and learn about the environment, flora, fauna, geology, climate, and history of your visiting places.

Our expedition lab offers a space where our expedition team can meet and interact with guests, assisting with their photography equipment and sharing valuable advice and technical tips. Private assistance is also available at an additional cost to help you capture and preserve your memorable encounter.

What is WiFi like on board?

Our ships are equipped with the latest, cutting-edge satellite internet technology. Our secure and robust Wi-Fi is available complimentary for the convenience of all guests for messaging and visiting selected news websites. Details as follows:

SILVER CONNECT Complimentary

Only text messaging to WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, WeChat as well as access to some news websites. No voice, emails, VPNs or streaming content, real-time or deferred.

Data limit: Unlimited

Service speed: Up to 1 mbs

GOLD CONNECT USD 25/device/day

Internet surfing and sharing pictures via social networks. Excluding audio/video streaming, real-time or deferred.

Data limit: Unlimited

Service speed: Up to 2 mbs

PLATINUM CONNECT USD 37/device/day

Faster surfing and the streaming of playlists and videos.

Data limit: Unlimited

Service speed: Up to 7 mbs

Is there a doctor on board?

If you have any health problems, there is a modern ship's emergency room on board our ships under the supervision of an experienced ship's doctor and an assisting nurse. This service is offered by our medical services partner VIKAND. Please note the consultation hours posted on board.

How clean is the ship?

All three of the ships in our fleet comply with the industry's strictest public Health and hygiene standards. This covers all activities on board, including food handling and processing.

We go to great lengths to ensure cleanliness and sanitation onboard. The air distributed on board is disinfected by the latest generation of advanced oxidation UV cells, offering maximum protection against viruses and bacteria.

There are plenty of hand sanitizer stations around the ship, and you will be encouraged to sanitize your hands before and after going ashore and before mealtimes. To protect the environment, we also adhere to strict biosecurity rules. You will be asked to walk through a cleaning solution on leaving and re-boarding the ship.

What is your policy on sustainability, and what about the company’s environmental credentials?

Our ships have been designed and built according to the latest sustainable practices. To reduce our environmental impact, we use dynamic positioning technology, which allows our ships to remain in locations without dropping anchor .

Compared with 15-20-year-old vessels, thanks to cutting-edge hydrodynamics and new engine technology, our ship's average consumption is 15%-30% lower, reducing the carbon footprint. In addition, our engines are of the latest generation with respect to CO2 and NOX quality of air emission. They are also fitted with SCRs (Selective catalytic reduction units) and urea injection where required to minimize NOX emissions. On board, we are reducing the use of paper and single-use plastics. Guests can use their complimentary refillable bottles to reduce the amount of plastic bottled water used.

Swan Hellenic staff also follow strict guidelines to limit our footprint in the destinations we visit. We are constantly reviewing our sustainability policy and looking at ways to leave a positive impact wherever we take our guests.

What wildlife can I expect to see on our expeditions?

From penguins, seals and whales, to walruses, polar bears and Arctic foxes, you’re sure to see plenty of wildlife on your Swan Hellenic voyage. For more about what wildlife you’ll see, check out our blog.

How to move around the ship – watch out for safety alerts!

When walking on board the ship while at sea, please adjust your steps to the actual ship movements and decide if you can manage your way individually. Please use handrails all the time to be prepared for unexpected ship moves. Especially when using outer decks and our Swans Nest, please observe the signs for warnings of wet and slippery decks to avoid falls and personal injuries and be careful all the times. Be aware when opening or closing the doors toward the outer deck as these are potentially dangerous in windy conditions.

Please adhere to the signs and announcements when it is not advised to go outside. While walking inside, hold on to railings but not to door frames to avoid injury. If you unexpectedly cannot manage your steps, wait for someone that can help and assist you.

How physically active do I need to be?

Our ships are very well designed, with side and aft marina embarkation, which allows everyone to safely and easily board our Zodiac boats. Good mobility is essential, particularly for getting on and off the Zodiacs ashore. We have made the ride to shore as stable as possible by using superior quality non-rigid keel Zodiacs, which make it possible to land in the most exciting locations.

For less mobile guests who cannot get ashore, we can offer from time-to time sightseeing zodiac cruises in the destination and sail around the ice, icebergs, reefs, etc., with our specially designed hard keel Zodiacs. Please ask our expedition team for such options (not always available)

There are walking sticks available on board for guests' use.

There will always be guided walks of various difficulties, so you can choose what suits you best. Those wishing to partake in more active excursions, such as kayaking, will need prior experience.

How do we ‘land’ ashore?

Each Zodiac boat nudges up to a 'beach' or an island. Expedition guides and crew will hold the Zodiac stable while passengers slide their legs over the side and wiggle toward the front of the boat before stepping out. This may mean stepping into the water, but there will be someone to help you, and your muck boots will prevent you from getting wet.

Do you have rest days from excursions?

Most guests will want to partake in at least one excursion per day, but if you wish to sit some excursions out there’s plenty to do on the ship. Many of our voyages also have sea days, when we do not land. Visit the library, get to know your fellow guests, attend the photography lab or one of our lectures, watch a film in your room, or enjoy the amazing views!

Can i smoke onboard?

Smoking is permitted in designated outdoor areas on Deck 8 aft portside and on Deck 7 Observation Lounge's starboard side. It is not permitted in any indoor area or on balconies.

Embarkation security routine and opening your onboard account

For maritime security reasons, you will be issued a cruise card upon arrival on board as part of the check-in procedure in accordance with ISPS regulations. The card is a control system on the gangway for leaving and re-entering the ship. Your cruise card will also function as the key card for your stateroom and is your personal payment method on board our ships. Your cruise card will be activated during the embarkation routine. You must have a Visa, American Express, or MasterCard to secure a deposit.

Debit cards can only be used to pay for the final invoice, but not to activate the onboard account.

As there are no money exchange services or facilities for cash withdrawals on board, please organize yourself for cash before embarkation or during your stay at the applicable port of call.

On which Swan Hellenic Cruises ships is there a SPA area?

You will find our "SWAN SPA" on board our three new expedition ships. This includes a hairdressing salon and a barber. Please refer to our daily program for opening hours.

Additionally, we offer a hot sauna and a relaxing outdoor jacuzzi.

Is there a charge for the sauna?

The use of the sauna and large outdoor jacuzzi on our luxury ships is free of charge. You will find your personal bathrobe in your stateroom/suite.

Can I book SPA or Hair dresser appointments in advance?

Reservations can be made only on board. Please come by for a consultation on the first day of your cruise to arrange an appointment.

What language is spoken on board?

On our ships, the primary “official” language spoken on board is English. Due to our international staff, many crew members speak Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, French, or Russian. Lectures are generally held in English language. Depending on the actual nationality split of each cruise, we provide technical support for online streamed translation for guests of other native languages. Please ask our Expedition team for support.

Please bring suitable earplugs for your mobile phone, as translated lectures are undertaken using a dedicated application on your mobile phone.

Also, our Expedition team is international and multilingual. Therefore, we try to organize “foreign languages zodiacs” – but we cannot guarantee that.

Can I store my suitcases in the stateroom?

Normal-sized suitcases can easily be stored below the bedframe.

Is there a laundry service onboard?

Our all-new ships have a laundry, dry-cleaning, and ironing service for a small fee.

For your convenience, we also have a “self-service” area on deck 4 with a Laundromat and dryer and an ironing station at no charge.

How do I settle my on-board account?

For the sake of simplicity, we have opted for cashless payment transactions on board our ships. The currency on board is the USD. We accept MasterCard, American Express, and Visa credit cards.

Invoices for drinks and tobacco products in the lounges and bars, as well as for laundry, boutique, shore excursions, photo service, telecommunications, Spa, and hospital, can simply be signed off during the voyage and debited to your onboard account.

You can check your current account balance at any time via the guest portal or at reception. Settle the total bill at the guest reception at the end of your trip. You can also pay in cash using USD. Private cheques cannot be accepted.

What about tipping or gratuities onboard?

Your travel fare already includes the tip and daily service fees.

Therefore, it's not common practice or expected to tip for services rendered onboard our Ships. Many of our guests wish to give special thanks to different parts of our service crew on board. It is always at your sole discretion to honor the service provided by the crew in the bars, restaurants, and staterooms, as well as for the expedition team members. Tipping can be handled, therefore, very individually. But for our guests' convenience, you may contact our guest reception and debit the amount to your onboard account. Monies collected from onboard accounts will be divided equally among all crew members after the cruise. Officers and the Expedition Team are not included in this breakdown.

Can I get medication in the on-board hospital?

Aside of the fact, that a basic supply of medication is available on board, we kindly ask our guests to carry sufficient quantities of the necessary medication with them as the storage is predominantly for acute illness in ordination hours.

Am I allowed to take certain prescriptive medication with me?

If you require and are carrying a particular medication, you will need proof in English from your doctor that you need this medication. Some countries have import restrictions for certain medications and do not allow you to take medicines that are not approved in the country if you do not have such a form with you. Your family doctor will be happy to advise you. As a shipping company, we must strictly prohibit any cannabis- and cannabis-containing medication, even if it is medically indicated and prescripted. In many countries, the import of cannabis is still prosecuted, so that import, possession and use can not only lead to penalties for the guest concerned, but the entire ship can also be placed under arrest.

How do I pay the bill from the on-board hospital?

Treatment on the ship is equivalent to a visit to a doctor abroad (flag state regulations apply). National residents' health fee guidelines and health insurance do not apply on board. We recommend that you take out private travel health insurance. Payment is made to your onboard account; billing by EU or international insurance card is not possible at all.

Is it true that I need to decontaminate my boots before and after each landing in the Arctic/Antarctica?

Yes, that's correct. The Arctic and Antarctica are two of the world’s most pristine natural environments, so we follow strict industry guidelines created to protect them. Seeds, microorganisms, and insects can hitchhike on footwear, so decontaminating our boots before and after each landing helps minimize the risk of non-native species being introduced.

How close do we get to wildlife?

According to official safety guidelines, our passengers will always be briefed on minimum distances.

Official guidelines require we keep a minimum of five meters away from wildlife. However, penguins (in Antarctica) are curious creatures unafraid of humans, so this may not always go to plan!

For Antarctica:

5 meters is the general minimum rule whilst on land but varies for some species, especially if breeding. If wildlife approaches you, this is fine if you remain quiet, but in this climate of HPAI, it is best to back away. There are also other rules for whales/zodiacs/ships (see link for the detail).

iaato.org

For the Arctic:

The rules vary depending on the country. Minimum standard for Polar bears is 200 metres and Walrus 300 metres. Again it is about minimum disturbance and monitoring the behaviour.

aeco.no

Outside polar regions, it will all come down to environmental legislation for each country, but the essence is the same – no more than minor or transitory impact on wildlife.

While among wildlife, we recommend you walk slowly and keep noise to a minimum. If wildlife changes its behavior, stop moving or slowly put more distance between you. Animals are particularly sensitive to disturbance when they are breeding (including nesting) or molting. Your guides will keep a watchful eye at all times, but do keep your own distance.