The Drake Passage Is All Over TikTok Right Now, Here's Why
The viral Ultimate World Cruise just successfully traversed the notorious body of water.
Not too long ago, cruisetok—the TikTok corner that focuses on cruises—was a little worried.
The TikTok-famous nine-month cruise, which is Royal Caribbean’s Ultimate World Cruise, set sail from Miami on December 10 and was about to make its way through the infamous Drake Passage as it headed over to Argentina. So far, nothing to worry about—unless you have heard of the Drake Passage before.
"Stretching from the southernmost tip of South America to the South Shetland Islands just north of the Antarctic Peninsula, this stretch of water is about 500 miles and it takes around 48 hours to cross," explains one TikTok about the Drake Passage. "This is where the Atlantic, Pacific, and Southern seas all meet, resulting and what can be some of the choppiest waters in the world."
Hence the worried Cruisetok. "If you've seen any videos in the last two days or so, we all know that they had some weather mishaps—I think deck 12 got flooded," said a TikToker at the time in a video about the cruise. "I saw a video of one of the rooms getting flooded and that wasn't even a really, really bad storm and it started flooding."
As USA Today noted, the cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas did, indeed, encounter rough weather and experience some flooding while it was traveling from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Montevideo, Uruguay earlier on its trip. A set of elevators and six rooms were reportedly impacted by the minor flooding, which has already been dealt with.
The same TikToker then proceeded to say that, as someone who worked on a cruise ship, they’d never want to go through that passage, considering its bad reputation and how rough its waters can get. They then begged passengers of the Ultimate World Cruise to take seasick medication, claiming that the passage might get really rough in the near future.
The Drake Passage can, indeed, be formidable, as was experienced by another cruise line recently. A viral video showed an Atlas World Voyager luxury cruise ship battling hurricane-speed winds whipping up massive waves while traversing the Drake, as Inside Edition reported.
However, while it is true that the Drake often sees pretty wild times, it is also true that safety is always paramount when it comes to cruise ships. For starters, as a small-ship cruise line, dubbed Polar Latitudes, explained on TikTok earlier this year, the Drake Passage isn’t always terrible to cross. "You could get a Drake Lake, which is perfectly calm," they explain in a video. "When it's rough, we call it the Drake Shake."
Caution aside, we are happy to report that our beloved Ultimate World Cruise has successfully gone through the Drake Passage (it has, in fact, now reached Antarctica!) without major incident—but it didn't met the Drake Lake, either.
"It's been a little crazy today," said passenger Marc Sebastian in a viral TikTok showing the cruise going through the Drake from their point of view. "Nothing too bad, but it's been a little intense." The video then proceeds to show massive waves crushing into the window, while the sea is definitely more Shake-y than Lake-y.
Other passengers, however, perceived the experience as much worse. In another TikTok, one of them claims they couldn't really walk anywhere, as the rough waters of the passage forced them to hold on tight to handles and anything they could find just to find their way to the bathroom. "I'm really not seasick," Adita says. "I just can't walk anywhere."
The unsettling sense of fear that rough waters create, however, is probably the worst part for some passengers. "It also sounds awful when those big waves hit," Adita says in the video. "It sounds like it's smacking the ship apart."
But the Drake Passage isn't only infamous because of its rough waters—the wind can be a problem too. "These winds are unlike anything I've stood in and I've stood in multiple Hurricane-force winds," says one TikTok user, Little Rat Brain, in a viral video showing them trying to walk on the ship's deck during the Drake crossing. In the video, no other passenger is (obviously) on the deck, and the video poster is seen struggling to walk against the wind force. It was also very cold during the crossing—to the point that, in the same video, at one point hail starts to fall. For the safety of passengers, though, the cruise then proceeded to close Deck 5 through Deck 13 due to bad weather for all the duration of the Drake Passage, according to the video poster.
In the event of a so-called Drake Shake, there are tips passengers can follow to stay safe. First of all, the doctor on board can always help out—and it’s not even a guarantee that you’ll get sea sick. "Don't assume that you're going to get seasick," says the Polar Latitudes TikTok. "Not everyone does! Don't psych yourself out before you make the trip and don't believe everything you hear—try to enjoy the moment."
They also add, in relation to their ships, that they are well equipped, ice-strengthened, and have "stabilizers to assist in rough conditions," so there is no need to worry too much about safety. And as it always goes, make sure to listen for instructions and don’t go on the deck when it isn’t advised to do so. Other than that, try to enjoy it—the Drake Passage might be scary, but it is also a marvelous, humbling sight to behold.