Erika

Australia

Customer
Rating

9

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?”

Erika's Trip Date:

6th Mar - 28th Mar 2017

Erika's Ship:

Plancius

Overall, how was your trip?

The whole of Antarctica is the highlight without a doubt. All the senses are overwhelmed and truly a special and spiritual experience. Landscapes were spectacular from the glorious sunny days and magnificent mountains, glaciers, and icebergs. Equally spectacular was watching the weather close in and clouds descend down the mountains. Of course a highlight for me was to dive there and especially within the Antarctic Circle, dive and iceberg and dive with penguins and seals. Saw more penguins, whales and seals than I expected and the ability to land and get up close and personal with them was fantastic. The crew on Plancius were fantastic, very knowledgeable, exceptionally professional and very accommodating. I met some great and very interesting people among both divers and passengers. Surprises included the quality of the service, expedition staff on Plancius, and restaurant quality meals!

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

It was spectacular and the experience was mind blowing.

Would you visit again?

Yes

How was the service that Swoop provided?

The service from Swoop, including Alex and Aimee was great. Fantastic advice from Alex re the selection of the voyage and expeditions and coordinating all the dive requirements. Using a polar specialist with an understanding of diving was a good decision and much better than the recommendations from Australia dive travel agents. Only suggestion, more related to the ship's operator...is whether the manuals / guides could be provided more in advance or at least point customers to the their website links.

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

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

9 out of 10

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

Zodiac cruises and landings were great. The ability to land and spend a decent amount of time ashore among the wildlife and scenery was fantastic and provided time to absorb the experience. The expedition staff aboard Plancius and dive teams aboard both Plancius and Ortelius did their utmost to maximise the experience even when the weather was against us. Expedition staff on Plancius were much more professional and knowledgeable than Ortelius on these trips and were able to answer all questions of passengers about wildlife, history, treaties, etc; and provided very detailed briefings of the sites, safe embarking / disembarking on the zodiacs, wildlife and site protection. One of the highlights was the seals on icebergs and the number of whales who approached the zodiacs.

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

Both ships surpassed expectations in cleanliness and comfort. Plancius however was much more luxurious and appeared to have more living room with common areas, such as the observation deck and dining room and large windows all around. Plancius also runs silent engines. Cabin on Plancius was beautiful. Ortelius cabin was dated and more noisy, and very limited storage space for a quadruple cabin. The twin on Plancius had double the storage room for a twin. Noting that deck 3 is about to be refitted which may improve it. I would rate Plancius as Excellent for all categories below, but good for most aboard Ortelius. Re recommendations - depends on what people want - Ortelius has its advantages with being able to go further south and less movement in swell. I would still prefer to go with Plancius from now on.

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

Diving was the main additional activity. The dive teams on both expeditions were excellent...very knowledgeable, great briefings and communications, safety and risk assessments, and ability to read the conditions and brief accordingly. Diving is risky in such an extreme and remote location...the standards were set high which was great. I would definitely recommend diving with the ship's operator. I would caution them from large number of divers (over 20) to ensure safety (particularly noting non-English speaking passengers), provide good advice and assistance, and ensure divers gain the full experience of Antarctica, not just the diving. Very impressed by the dive team professionalism and operations. Diving an iceberg, with penguins and seals, and being one of the few in the world to dive within the Antarctic Circle were all big highlights; as well as simply the experience.

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

Take time to absorb it all. Don't be in a rush to do everything on Basecamp expedition, rather find time to sit with and watch the wildlife, listen in silence to the sounds, and look at the scenery. Don't live behind the camera. Live out on deck of the ship as much as you can...that is where you get the special times - watching penguins porpoise, seals lull about on icebergs, watch the weather and views change constantly with the weather. Divers- be prepared to dive in very cold water...follow the advice of the ship's operator re requirements. Suggest dry gloves or mits (not 5-fingered gloves). Practice diving in full Antarctic dive kit before going - allowing for weight, being able to undo clips and claps with thick gloves, and be fit.

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

Phenomenal experience and very hard to put words to it. For anyone who has always wanted to go to Antarctica...do it!!!!!

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