Well, what an awesome trip. Antarctica certainly exceeded anything that I had hoped for. Whales, penguins, seals, more penguins, ice bergs, glaciers, stunning scenery. The permanent crew were just so professional, uncomplaining, friendly and forever helpful and our guides clearly have a passion for what they do and the ability to make every little mundane task feel exciting. Words really cannot express what it was like and, to quote from another's blog, if you really want to know you will have to go see for your self. My only disappointment of the trip was the lack of hands-on sail handling - yes, we took the help, stood as look outs, hauled on lines, were instructed as to how to climb the masts and go out on the yards safely but, understandably, we were not permitted to go aloft in the strong winds to help with the sails. And in Antarctic waters we sailed hardly at all with currents, winds, bergs and schedules meaning the engine was used most of the time. If you want to see, hear, smell and experience Antarctica then aboard Europa is really the only way; if you want to be more actively involved in the sailing then an ocean crossing might be the better experience.