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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?”

Mary's Trip Date:

26th Dec - 8th Jan 2020

Mary's Ship:


What was your most memorable moment?

Watching penguins hop up and down on the rocks, also moving through the snow on their bellies using their flippers.

Which of the following best describes your adventure?

Great holiday

On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend or colleague?

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

8 out of 10

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

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

9 out of 10

Tell us about the wildlife

It was fun seeing literally thousands of penguins of three different types. We also saw a variety of seals, seabirds and many humpback whales. We were able to get close to penguins and several other animals so we got many great photos. Our expedition guides pointed out wildlife and helped us understand what we were seeing.

Tell us about Zodiac excursions

Going out in the Zodiacs was a great part of the whole experience. I loved seeing so many shapes and sizes of icebergs, as well as many seals and other wildlife. The expedition crew shared a lot of good information during the Zodiac rides. One day our afternoon Zodiac ride was canceled because of rough seas, but other than that we were able to go out twice a day while in Antarctica. We followed the Zodiac drivers' rules, and I always felt we were safe.

Tell us about the expedition team

Martin Berg was our expedition team leader, and he did a good job of briefing us each day about the upcoming excursion plans. When plans changed, he let us know, and we understood what was going on. The whole expedition team was friendly and competent, but I was especially impressed with Martin and his assistant team leader, Sara Jenner. I especially enjoyed her lecture on penguins. Besides being excellent zodiac drivers, the expedition team members were extremely well educated and knowledgeable about the wildlife, geology, glaciers and everything related to Antarctica. I attended many excellent lectures during the trip.

Tell us about the Hondius

The Hondius is a new ship, and I thought it was an excellent experience being on board. Our cabin was modern and larger than I had expected. The 5th deck lounge was great for lectures and had huge windows for viewing scenery and wildlife without going outside. The captain welcomed us to visit the bridge and view wildlife from there as well. We had 21 different nationalities represented among the passengers, and the food was abundant and varied (with something for every international taste, I think). My husband is on a low-sodium diet, and the maitre d' was every accommodating, making sure he received low-sodium versions of the food he chose each day. This was above and beyond what we had expected.

Tell us about {area.title}

My husband and I have traveled many places, but there is no other place like Antarctica. The snow-covered mountains, the sea ice and icebergs are so beautiful. The highlights for me were seeing many sizes and shapes of icebergs and watching the penguins and their interesting behaviors. I think many people wonder before they go to Antarctica if they will see penguins. The answer is a big YES!! So many of them you won't believe it. And doing so many different things. And yes, you will get close enough to get great photos.

Something Else?

Do you have to be physically fit to go to Antarctica? My husband and I are in our 60s and not really what I would call physically fit, although we exercise at home. We did all the zodiac excursions that were offered and all the shore excursions except for one (a trail that zigzagged up a mountain). You do have to be able to get in and out of the zodiacs, but once you're on land you can choose how far you want to walk. Walking on rocks was challenging for us at times, and we didn't walk as far as some others, but we saw the same wildlife and enjoyed ourselves (along with a few rest breaks).

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

If you have balance issues, I recommend you get fold-up walking sticks to bring on the trip. Also, try to find out ahead of time the temperatures to expect for the time of year and area of Antarctica you are visiting. We experienced temperatures around 35 degrees Fahrenheit, and we had coats and pants that were heavier than we needed, making it more difficult to move around. My other observation is that a trip to Antarctica involves much more travel time than excursion time. Our total trip was 14 days, but the time in Antarctica was just four days. The rest of the time was getting there and getting back.

Do you have any recommendations for Swoop, or feedback about the team?

Perhaps Swoop would want to tailor its clothing suggestions based on the area of Antarctica and the month of the person's trip. I thought the suggestions we were given were for clothing much warmer than what we needed for the Antarctic peninsula in January. Also, we weren't told ahead of time that the ship had appropriate waterproof coats for sale. The other clothing issue was about the waterproof pants. My pants had narrow lower legs and wouldn't fit over the boots. Perhaps it could be mentioned that the waterproof pants need to have wider legs.

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