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Ocean Diamond's ice class is 1D

Milpitas, California
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Ocean Diamond's ice class is 1D

Looks like ice class of the Ocean Diamond is just 1D. Wouldn't it mean that it cannot visit many places of interest in Antarctica ? A friend of mine recently saled on another ship, and that one was 1A (or 1B according to other descriptions).

Melbourne, Australia
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1. Re: Ocean Diamond's ice class is 1D

There is a brief description on Quarks site as the the various ratings

www.quarkexpeditions.com/why-quark/our-ships

and this wiki gives a bit more of a breakdown

…wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish-Swedish_ice_class

Exactly what "places of interest" where you referring to ?

Milpitas, California
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2. Re: Ocean Diamond's ice class is 1D

Well, I was assuming that, if other companies are using ships with higher classes (1A and 1B), then these ships probably can visit places that Ocean Diamond can't ?

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: Ocean Diamond's ice class is 1D

It depends on many things.

Each company and each ship has booked/reserved specific landing spots and time slots generally over a year in advance.

Then the ice conditions, sea conditions and time of year come into play.

As you have not mentioned specific locations I cant really guess as to which ones you are considering. Are you talking about landing zones that are in the OD's intended itinerary - or ones that are not ?

Beach City, TX
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4. Re: Ocean Diamond's ice class is 1D

The OP is raising basically the same issue that I raised in my post a week ago when I asked "How does a ship's ice rating affect your Antarctic experience?". Now, as has been pointed out, many factors come into play in determining whether a given ship visits a given location at a given time. Certainly there is a "theoretical" itinerary, which often gets more or less thrown out the window due to changing weather and ice conditions. And the more ships that are operating in a particular area, the less likely it is that individual ships are going to be able to change around their itineraries too much to allow for a particular landing being missed due to bad weather.

However, the issue that is being discussed regarding ice rating is extremely important, and I don't think enough attention is being paid to the issue, particularly as companies like Quark add more luxurious ships with ice rating 1D and remove older, more spartan ships with ice rating 1A. People who expect the same expedition experience on a 1D-rated ship as reported by previous posts on 1A-rated ships, while getting to enjoy more luxury on the newer ships, could be in for a big surprise, because there is no way that a ship with an ice rating of 1D is going to be capable of navigating the same ice conditions that a ship with an ice rating of 1A can do.

If you check the Swedish-Finnish ice classes, you will see that they usually only talk about ice class 1A through 1C. They have a separate Class II, which Lloyds Register ice class 1D is equivalent to, and Class II has none of the special ice strengthening in the hulls that the ships of ice class 1A, 1B, and 1C possess to varying degrees. None of this is explained on Quark's site or any other expedition company's site, because this might call into question their marketing strategy of putting luxury ahead of ice class in their newer vessels. As is usually the case, it is up to the "buyer" to become as educated as they can about all the factors that can affect their experience, particularly when many couples will spend more money on some of the lengthier expeditions than they would spend on a fairly luxurious new car!!

In a separate trip report on the Sea Spirit's expedition to the Falklands, South Georgia, and Antarctica, I reported that the overall trip was spectacular, and I was really pleased, but I did observe that we missed almost all the typical landing spots that are usually visited on the Antarctic Peninsula, reportedly due to ice conditions. Instead, we spent 3/4 of the alloted Antarctica time in the South Shetland Islands. Was this due to our ice rating of 1D? Don't know how much a factor that was, but it was not positive. So hopefully you and others will continue to comment on your experiences, and perhaps one can draw some conclusions over time as to how big an issue this is, and we can therefore all become better informed, which is after all the purpose of forums such as this one.

Beach City, TX
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5. Re: Ocean Diamond's ice class is 1D

The above post was somehow duplicated. I edited it out. Sorry!

Edited: 14 January 2013, 22:36
Milpitas, California
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6. Re: Ocean Diamond's ice class is 1D

May be folks who recently cruised on one of the Quark's 1D ships (Ocean Diamond, Sea Spirit) could tell us where exactly they were landing.

Stanley, Falkland...
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7. Re: Ocean Diamond's ice class is 1D

As reported on several scientific sites, the Antarctic ice has been far more widespread recently than in the past, due to climate change increasing the windspeed, and spreading the ice. So less ice in the Arctic, more in the Antarctic

Beach City, TX
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8. Re: Ocean Diamond's ice class is 1D

Re ice reports of increased Antarctic ice this year, I've seen some of the same reports, and we experienced some of that on our passage from South Georgia to Elephant Island December 22-24. We had to pass far north of the South Orkneys due to heavy ice.

This just makes ice rating that much more important for Antarctic conditions this year. I noticed that Linblad's Nat Geo Explorer has daily expedition reports on their website, and we were three days behind them when we landed at Brown Bluff. We never went further south along the peninsula, due to ice further south, but they went all the way to the Lemaire Channel. They are ice class 1A. Our ship is ice class 1D. Did ice conditions change dramatically over those three days such that Explorer would have been unable to proceed at that later time? Perhaps. But it's a data point suggesting that ice rating may matter a lot more than the glossed-over treatment it gets on some company webpages, particularly for the Antarctic this year.

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9. Re: Ocean Diamond's ice class is 1D

plsflgd and chasrob9945

I have to wonder if the reason you are not getting the answers you want - is the way you are wording the question.

Let me put it this way (and this is purely my opinion): When I read your questions it gives me the impression that you both believe these companies and their ships just sail around the region looking for the best possible entry points and landing zones. And when one region or landing zone is unaccessible - they can just sail on to another random spot.

This is seriously not the case.

The landing zones and time slots are prepared for and permits obtained several years in advance. There is utterly nothing random.

Each itinerary is prepared for the specific ship and its capabilities. Each itinerary clearly states the regions and landing zones that specific voyage will be making attempts to enter and land at. No captain or EL can say "Oh we missed the last 3 spots due to ice or weather so lets head for some other random area and try landing there". They dont have permits or time slots booked for those alternatives.

Hence why I initially asked which places of interest the OP was asking about. Its no point asking "if my ships rating is this can it land near Snow Hill?" - if they are considering an itinerary that makes utterly no mention of Snow Hill.

Re <<<<<<Did ice conditions change dramatically over those three days such that Explorer would have been unable to proceed at that later time?>>>>>>

You have been down there so I have to assume you are aware of how insanely rapidly the ice conditions change. 3 days is a lifetime down there. I personally have been in a situation way down on Riiser-Larsen where we literally had hours notice to head north before we were blocked in permenantly by 800 sq mile of pack ice that had been blown southwards by a huge storm in the Drake (same storm the Clelia was busy getting damaged in).

On another trip I have been in a situation in East Antarctica where we got through to several locations yet a mere days later the scientific ice breakers behind us were blocked in and unable to get to the stations.

So yes - its all rapidly changeable, but my main comments relate to how I have been interpreting the queries in this thread. If I am interpreting them wrong - then sorry - but its the written word on the internet so it can only be read the way the reader interprets it.

My other point would be - the CEO's of Quark and all other expedition companies - are clearly named on their websites. Its very simple to contact them at any time during your trip planning to ask them the questions directly if its going to make a difference about who you travel with and what ship you choose.

But - an addendum !! You as the passenger are never ever going to have a say in the end result of the voyage !! (And believe me I have travelled with people who genuinely think they have some kind of magical power over weather and ice conditions).

Edited: 15 January 2013, 10:19
Beach City, TX
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10. Re: Ocean Diamond's ice class is 1D

Hi, Perth,

Sorry if I gave the impression that I think these ships can just sail around and pick the best spots for landings, because I absolutely know that is not the case. We were told by our EL that they put in for landing spots about a year in advance, and in the busy areas "negotiate" for final spots. But it is all theoretical because, as we all agree, the weather and ice determine whether you can even reach a particular spot, as well as whether you can land there. And we were never told until the night before what our target landings for the next day were going to be, much less what the original planned itinerary was for the region in which we were sailing. (I understand the last minute need to evaluate weather and ice, but maybe, since the actual landing plans are negotiated a year in advance, that info could be made available on the company website with the usual caveat that these are not guarantees.)

So I don't know how to get any info on what the planned landing itinerary actually is for a particular voyage. The general statements that describe the itineraries on company websites usually just tell you, for instance, that you'll be exploring the South Shetland Islands and the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula for four days. So, yes, that would definitely exclude Snow HIll, but I would have no clue as to whether, for example, Paradise Harbour or Lemaire Channel is in the plans or not.

So I should just be succinct in saying that you have a greater chance of not making the ship's planned itinerary on a 1D-rated ship than on a 1A-rated ship when considering how ice conditions can mess up the plans that were put in place a year before.