United States Of America
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?”
What was your most memorable moment?
Seeing our first iceberg, before seeing land, was quite memorable, as was seeing the amount and size of the glaciers. Also, seeing the number and diversity of wildlife, in such a harsh climate, was not only memorable but encouraging as to the adaptability of nature.
Which of the following best describes your adventure?
On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend or colleague?
10 out of 10
Tell us about the wildlife
Stepping onto our first landing site with thousands of penguins, within sight, and some walking right next to you, was a favorite encounter. Also, while taking a Zodiac tour of ice flows, a Hump Back Whale cruised next to us, for several minutes, before diving and "Fluking" his tale. I was able to take video of that encounter. I believe I got all the photos that I was hoping for, somewhere in the 2,000 pictures, that I took.
Tell us about Zodiac excursions
The Zodiac excursions were great, especially with the Expedition Specialists commenting on the wildlife and geography. We always felt safe. The Humpback Whale experience was the most memorable.
Tell us about the expedition team
The Expedition Team was fantastic! Having Specialists available to comment and discuss wildlife and geology matters, made the trip more than just seeing those things, it allow us to understand about them and give us a better appreciation for what we were viewing.
Tell us about the Hebridean Sky
The Hebridean Sky was an excellent ship. Very clean and comfortable. The ship crew was great, very polite, professional and helpful. The dining staff was very attentive. The quality and diversity of menu was excellent. All of the public areas were clean and comfortable.
The entire trip was great, except that there was a large group of Chinese cruisers, who were rude and discourteous, failing to yield in narrow stairways, cutting in front of other cruisers waiting for services, loudly dominating public areas. The Chinese cruisers also included around 10 children, ages 10 to 13 approximately, who were wild, running into and through other cruisers, taking over the library, at times, as there meeting place, and leaving food and drink throughout the public areas, without concern for other cruisers who were trying to also use the space. I never observed any adult supervision or discipline, it was as if the Chinese adults didn't care what the kids did, while they were on the ship. While I believe that everyone should experience Antarctica, when you pay a premium price to do so on a small ship, everyone needs to respect other cruisers rights to enjoy the ship and experience. If you bring kids, make sure they respect other cruisers and when they don't, take action to correct their behavior.
Do you have any tips or advice for other people planning a trip to Antarctica?
I would say that everyone should experience Antarctica but if someone is hesitant to go to Antarctica because of the cold, you can definitely control the cold through lodging and clothing choices, so don't let that be the deciding factor. It is not the most comfortable trip, especially with the Drake Passage, so chose the Hebridean Sky and enjoy a degree of luxury which compensates for the trip discomforts.
Has your experience changed your perspective in any way?
I wouldn't say my perspective has changed, I always thought that Antarctica was a special place, but the trip reinforced the need to slow human induced climate change, so Antarctica remains special.
Do you have any recommendations for Swoop, or feedback about the team?
I thought that Swoop did a great job in helping us choose a cruise and prepare us for the cruise. My only recommendations concern some digital glitches that created some problems and concerns. The first glitch concerned difficulty in making the deposit payment with my credit card. After multiple attempts and contacting my credit card company, I was finally able to make the deposit by telephone to a Swoop representative. While this may seem trivial, when you are first starting to deal and trust a company to take an expensive trip to a remote area, it is a bit unsettling. The second glitch concerned the ship operator’s forms that I was not able to access on my computer, until several attempts with Saffrons help. Another recommendation concerns the final payment options. While I understand that the use of credit cards increases your cost, justifying a surcharge fee, I believe the alternative of wiring money, which involves sending money to a foreign bank with a fee, is not a very good one. Several times, when I was at my bank, I was questioned how well I knew your company and trusted that it was not some type of scam. They cautioned me that once the wire was sent, I had no protection. Although I had previously contacted the ship’s operator to confirm your representation and reliability, other people may not trust sending a wire transfer and not proceed with the payment. I believe you should investigate other payment alternatives that would offer protection or at least less of a scam concern, in this day of endless internet scams. Having said that, I would heartily recommend your company to anyone. Thank you for helping check off another Bucket List destination.