Mike & Jane (Fontana)

United Kingdom



Customer Rating On return from their adventure we ask customers: “On a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the highest, how likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend or colleague?”

Mike & Jane (Fontana)'s Trip Date:

21st Jan - 15th Feb 2017

Overall, how was your trip?

The whole experience was fantastic, from beginning to end (apart from BA flight home which you did not book!). Mixture of elements to meet both our interests: wildlife (Jane), photography (Mike), landscape (both) and history (both). Highlights included walking amongst the animals (particularly on South Georgia), doing the Shackleton Walk (SG), kayaking amongst icebergs and the privilege of being there - all this was helped by weather which Hayley had never experienced in 15 years of working in the area. Expedition staff were outstanding in enthusiasm/ knowledge/ mixing with clients and we will nominate leader Hayley for the Wanderlust Guide Award 2017. Good mix of people with similar interests meant conversations over many meals were always interesting. The ship was very well run with great crew and high quality catering (too good for our waistlines).

In one sentence, what did you think of Antarctica? Did it live up to your expectations?

Fabulous - more than met our expectations.

Would you visit again?


How was the service that Swoop provided?

We found your assistance most valuable - the voyage you recommended certainly met our aspirations, especially your view that S Georgia was almost better than Antarctica (we may not have made this decision ourselves). We appreciated the time you spent sorting us out and arranging all the extras in Buenos Aires and Ushuaia. From what we heard of other ships, we were on the right one - the cabin and hotel services were perfect. Somethings that were particularly valuable was the ability to walk all around the ship on deck 4 and the open bridge policy.

How likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend?

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

10 out of 10

How were your experiences on the zodiac excursions and shore landings?

The weather was 'unique' and so we were able to carry out all but one of the landings on the trip - unknown by the expedition staff. Very well organised and you could see the care that went into ensuring our safety at all times, and the preparation of landing sites to protect the wildlife while still maximising our opportunities to view it. Where we could not land or there was too little space on shore for all visitors at once, we were taken on zodiac cruises. It was great to be able to do a decent walk at several sites, including on the Falklands and South Georgia - on the latter, 50 people made the 6 mile Shackleton Crossing from Fortuna Bay to Stromness (a record!) accompanied by staff member Seb dressed in Shackleton era clothing.

​How would you describe {vessel.title} if talking to somebody potentially interested in going to Antarctica, and what tips would you pass​ on?

A great little ship - the right size for allowing all to get onshore at once and to allow passengers to mix socially. Great mix of lectures and talks although this meant we had no time to relax! We would recommend this trip to anyone with an interest in wildlife, photography, history, etc and a yen for adventure - we have already done so (do we get a referral fee?). Recommendations for boat operator: - relay lectures to headphones for those not well enough to sit inside due to seasickness - mention the fact that each cabin has 5 USB charging points - we need not have brought so many different chargers - less scratchy badge lanyards so the ship operator can be advertised in the long term - the present ones irritate sensitive skin - the ship operator's jackets could be on a rental basis as they are heavy to bring back and most people on these trips will have lots of waterproof jackets anyway - the operator's souvenir items are very expensive and the glass plate marking our voyage is a waste - too heavy to carry back (if anything, a flag might be better!) - the ship operator's luggage labels are a good idea but those supplied are too small and fiddly so will not be used - loss of an advert opportunity!

You chose to do {category.title} on this voyage. How was that experience?

We assume this is supposed to be about kayaking. If so, it was excellent - the kayaks were so much quieter than the zodiacs so you felt closer to nature. We opted out of a couple of opportunities to kayak as there were particularly interesting shore excursions (eg Grytviken). Highlights were pushing through the ice while circumnavigating Cuverville Island and poking our noses into the Southern Ocean swells at Deception Island. We felt well supervised at all times even though we weren't particularly experienced - the few sessions in a local swimming pool and a day on a glassy Scottish Sea beforehand had been useful (and should be recommended to potential participants).

If Swoop arranged some of your travel before/after your voyage. How did we do?

Everything worked as planned, including all the documents arriving as expected. Excellent accommodation in both locations. We would recommend the Canal Fun 'Turquoise Lagoon' day walk in Ushuaia if people arrive a day early - an opportunity to stretch your legs for the last time. If you are walking or unsteady, it is worth taking your own walking poles - also useful in Antarctica once they have been throughly cleaned.

Do you have any tips or advice for other people planning a trip to Antarctica?

Go for it. And include South Georgia at least. Do the trip clockwise so that it just gets better as you go on and you have an opportunity to prepare for the 'wilder' experiences - the other way, the Falklands might be an anticlimax.

Anything else? Tell us anything you’d like to share that we forgot to ask! It’s ok to leave this empty too :-)

We'd like to thank Alex for using his expert knowledge and time while working with us to understand our aspirations and so help us choose the perfect holiday. PS spell-checking would be useful.

12 people found this review helpful

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