David

United Kingdom

Customer
Rating

10

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?”

David's Trip Date:

17th Dec - 28th Dec 2016

David's Ship:

Plancius

Overall, how was your trip?

A gentoo penguin chick pecking a seal and watching the seal react. We spent ages watching it.

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

Yes

Would you visit again?

Yes

How was the service that Swoop provided?

Excellent.

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?

Professionally handled; the passengers were well trained in safety by the crew. Staff well informed.

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

Dutch boat, professionally run. Catering excellent. Crew exemplary.

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

Electricity. Plancius a Dutch boat, uses 2 pin European plugs. Chile uses 2 pin plugs. Argetnina uses Australian type plugs. So you need adaptors that can cope with this/ Layer clothing. Waterproof outer. Ski jackets a waste of time, use lots of thin layers. Drake passage rough, be prepared to be seasick however hardened you think you are. Polar plunge is only for the strongest constitutions. I took long lenses but used (digital) 12 - 50mm the most. Panorama-ready camera useful. Use a dry bag for the Zodiacs - 'Overboard' brand excellent. Amsterdam to Buenos Aires direct a very good alternative to London, especially for non-London people, KLM has direct flights from many UK city airports, even Inverness! Taking a 30 day break worked well, including Patagonia and the Antarctic in one trip. Not possible for all, I appreciate. I spent one day in Ushuaia. For local visits, two or three days would have been more productive. Don't just enter and leave. The local tourist office in Ushuaia has free wifi and an excellent selection of local trips to chose from. Wait until there to book. There are kiosks by the harbour entrance / opposite the touist office that give a lot of choice. I preferred the smaller local people to the larger operators. A great boat ride around the bay. Don't bother with stop-overs in Buenos Aires, no real interest unless you are a tango fan (I am not!) You could visit El Calafate on the way out to get a 'glacier-lite' experience, as a taster. The estancia out of town 'El Galpon' was great relaxation. The town itself is mundane. Read up on Darwin, Fitzroy and the Beagle voyages before to go to get context - their charts of Tierra del Fuego were used as the best navigation aids for decades, from 1830. In the part of Ushuaia there is the most southernly American post office - send a card. There are ink-stamps in the boat and at the post office. Some put those in their passport, others did them as souvenirs in notebooks. Read a bit about Shakleton, Chalcot, Amundsen, Scott to give context. Know a bit about the history of whaling. If you go to Punt Arenas, make sure you take a taxi to visit the full size copies of the Beagle and the Magellan ship Victoria, not in many tour books but fascinating. Read the ignobel prize paper from 2005 on penguin pooh. The warm insulated wellies on the ship were wonderful - you don't need anything else on land unless you are a dedicated mountaineer. The Naval Museum in Ushuaia excellent. Double decker bus city tour! On your arrival in Ushuaia go straight to the Martial Glacier, stretch your legs and have a cup of tea at the tea-rooms at the base there. Buy your posstcards in Ushuaia before getting on the boat - much cheaper! Staying in town (Alto Andino) much better than out of town hotels; very good view from the breakfast floor; can walk everywhere important easily. For the Patagonia leg, the Stella Australis boat was very comfortable. Less energetic than the Plancius! Torres del Paine wonderful. There was no mid-way between fast trekking with no opportunity to look at the views or the plants, and easy dawdling. Something in the middle as a choice would have worked for us better.

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

I haven't structured these thoughts particularly well, hopefully they are of some use. 12,000 photos and no opportunity to edit them yet, so beware.

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