Antarctic cruises Antarctic Vessels & Reviews Reviews

Sandra’s Luxury Antarctic Cruise

Sandra returned in December from a 10 day Luxury Cruise in Antarctica aboard the Silver Explorer. Here she tells us about her experiences on the trip and in booking with Swoop Antarctica & our partners…Pt Lockroy

What was your experience of Swoop Antarctica?

When I first started my search for a cruise to Antarctica, I started looking for small ships and was a bit overwhelmed with options.  I fairly quickly came across Swoop Antarctica and contacted them.  I told Luke what I was looking for (a small, luxurious ship, with an itinerary that showed me the highlights of Antarctica in around 10 days), and having explored various options for me, he put me in contact with the best operator to suit my preferences.

Luke fully described the details of the trip and gave me his candid opinion of the chosen cruise operator. It turned out that this was indeed an excellent choice, and I booked this with him.  He quickly reserved a cabin of my choice and facilitated all the paperwork etc.

Swoop made all my arrangements and dealt with the cruise operator on my behalf in a very professional manner.  I am very pleased with the service Swoop offered and in fact I am working with them again to book another cruise to the Arctic this time.When the cruise company were offering some deals later on he was able to get the deal for me even though I had booked much earlier in the year—he was also able to get me the single supplement removed—this reduced the cost significantly.

The one thing I wish I had done before starting the cruise was to contact Swoop for more advice on what to take. I packed things I did not need and I know if I had taken time to talk with the Swoop folks sooner I would have done a better job. Bottom line for future clients of Swoop for cruises to Antarctica is to discuss with them clothing and packing needs—Swoop has the experience and they will be able to provide the advice you need.


What did you think of the vessel you travelled on?

Fantastic! The ship was great- very comfortable. My cabin was great also- it was on the 5th level with a balcony and French doors (I used them often even in Antarctica!!).

The staff were all very friendly, and provided a very personal service, getting to know your names very quickly. The mix of passengers was good too with lots of interesting folks from many different countries.

How did you find the staff and service on board?

The team were very well prepared for rough seas (crossing the Drake passage can be very rough) with a doctor on board offering advice and seas sickness pills. I am a good sailor so did not need to take advantage of service—in fact I enjoyed sleeping on rough seas —it was like a being in a rocking cradle!

The zodiac excursions were extremely well organised and implemented. Champagne and good wines flowed freely as one needed, and the restaurant staff were first class. With an executive chef on board what more can one say about the food—outstanding!

How did you find the itinerary?

The itinerary was great with many opportunities to go ashore in zodiacs (at least 8 trips) and mingle with the wildlife. The captain of the ship was highly experienced in Antarctic waters and took us through some incredible channels and around massive icebergs. At Port Lockroy he was able to manoeuvre the ship into sea ice and park it there so that we had sea ice on both sides of ship- it was strong enough that we could walk on it.

in sea ice

The itinerary is always subject to change given that weather is very changeable.  For my cruise this meant we had to leave the area half day early and head back to port as there was a massive and strong storm predicted to hit the Drake Passage and we would have been in trouble if we did not get ahead of it.  This was clearly a good move as the cruise back over passage was not too bad—we heard that a couple of ships had to wait it out around the Antarctica Peninsula.  We got back into port one day early and a field trip to the Tierra del Fuego National Park was organised for us.

What was the highlight of your trip?

How can one not thoroughly enjoy the penguins—when I was there it was mating season with many penguins sitting on their eggs and going through a variety of courting rituals and other activities—they are fascinating and very funny to watch.


Of course the other highlight is the magnificent scenery. We were very fortunate in that the day we sailed through the Gerlache Strait to Port Lockroy the sun was shining to the port side and I took advantage of my balcony to enjoy the warm rays of sunshine while viewing these massive table icebergs. After a visit to the “Penguin Postoffice “ (term coined in the BBC documentary of the station), we later transited the Lemaire Channel at sunset—the ship slowly passed through this narrow channel and the sky was clear and the water so calm that it mirrored the surrounding peaks and at the same time the sky was changing from blue to gold—it was an absolutely spectacular sunset!!Lemaire Channel

Do you have any tips for other people planning a trip?

I think it would be good to read some classic books of explorers—like Shackelton’s expedition —the book is Endurance.

Did you manage to visit anywhere else on your trip?

No I did not as have been to Argentina before. I am glad I did not bother to go to Ushuaia ahead of trip—we had several hours there and it is small!!

Deception Island

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Luke Errington

Swoop founder & MD

Luke founded Swoop Antarctica in 2010, following a career in strategy consultancy and digital marketing.

At home in Bristol he's a dad of three, and a keen trail runner and adventure racer.