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?
Going ashore and seeing all of the amazing wildlife in their natural habitat and the raw beauty of the Antarctic
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?
1 out of 10
How was your experience getting to and from Chile/Argentina?
Except for all of the testing required, getting to Argentina was pretty easy. Luckily, since we took our home testing kits with us, it was very easy to test to come back home too as the US changed all of their requirements for reentry while we were away. The DDJJ is a pain, but it was very doable on a cell phone. We're avid travelers and highly technologically adept so we know what we're doing. We had to help others though.
How was your experience travelling through Chile/Argentina?
Traveling through Argentina was excellent. Ushuaia is an amazing little city. The activities I found and all of the research I did on my own really paid off. Likewise, Buenos Aires was fantastic! We even tested on our own at a Buenos Aires lab to get a PCR test and go to Colonia del Sacramento for the day on day. That was annoying with all of the paperwork and testing that needed to be done, but it wasn't impossible. Wearing masks indoors everywhere and while on tours was also something we are very used to, so it was no issue. Given the low numbers of covid in both cities, we actually found it to be better/safer to run around there than it has been on our return home.
How did it feel to be one of the first travellers to visit Antarctica after the pandemic?
The animals seemed very curious to see us there, but not entirely weirded out since we weren't the first of the first to return. I actually considered this a plus. I'm not into being a "first" or early adopter for anything. Too many unknowns.
Tell us about the expedition team
While it was obvious they were all highly qualified and had a wealth of knowledge and skills (especially Gerard), it felt as though they were largely catering to the 40 passengers of the ship from Virgin Galactic and put their preferences over the rest of us. There was a lot of separation and I personally had a VERY negative experience with one of the team members on the last night when they decided to blast music under my cabin and when I went down to ask the volume be turned down because I could hear the music THROUGH ear plugs it was so loud and couldn't sleep already at close to 2am, the expedition team member responsible for the party tried to lie to me about being able to turn the volume down before I convinced him just to lower it. The entire experience left a VERY SOUR taste in my mouth about Albatross. Not to mention, after that, after being told numerous times at our debarkation meeting and afterwards that we'd be dropped off in town where we'd originally picked up the bus to go to the port, we were all unceremoniously kicked off the bus immediately outside the port at a corner and forced to drag our luggage up the hills to our accommodations. It was the final kick in the ass as if to say "we're done with you, you no longer matter."
Tell us about the wildlife
The wildlife was incredible!
Do you have any tips or advice for other people planning a trip to Antarctica?
Don't undercut your time. plan for possibly longer in case you don't make the landings you're expecting. We spent waaaayyyyy too many days at sea, likely because of the eclipse (that we never even saw - irony! but never even really cared much about to begin with) and possibly because someone on the ship got covid. But we only ended up with 9 possibilities to land and we didn't even get to do all of these so it felt like very little time actually on land/off the ship. We also didn't get to kayak, snowshoe or camp OR POLAR PLUNGE! Which were all things I'd been looking forward to once the ship advertised and help special lectures on at the beginning of the voyage. Definitely go to South Georgia! That is where all the wildlife is for the most part. But, make sure your ship has a few days allocated to the peninsula proper. There's just no reason to go all that way and not step on the continent, which we almost did not. Understand how everything is dependent on the weather and there is no real itinerary and everything changes very quickly and communication can be lacking
Has your experience changed your perspective in any way?
I have much more appreciation for the region and its significance to the world's ecosystem.
Do you have any recommendations for Swoop, or feedback about the team?
Prepare your clients better!!! Maybe it was covid (which is not a valid excuse at a $35k pricetag), but after we booked the ship, there was absolutely no prep as to what to expect on this trip. Swoop was an awesome resource for choosing which ship to book with and Swoop's packing list was also extremely helpful as to what kinds of clothing to bring. But, everything else - the lectures, the landings, the itinerary, what to expect, difference of an expedition, just how bad the sea can get (we were out chasing a cyclone for awhile), and I cannot stress this enough THE FACT THAT WE WERE ON A MAIDEN VOYAGE was never mentioned. It's as if once we had the ship chosen, all of the follow through ended. VERY DISSAPOINTING! and we were not the only travelers with Swoop on our ship who felt this way either...
How helpful was the information we shared with you, in your Adventure Planner, before your trip? Such as ‘Getting to Antarctica’ and ‘What to wear in Antarctica’. Was there anything missing?
Was there anything else Swoop could have done for you to help you prepare for your trip?
Plenty!! we needed more preparation of what to expect while onboard. the lectures, the landings, the zodiacs, everything! we were woefully underprepared for what to expect on this trip