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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?”
Andrew's Trip:Immense Discovery: Falklands, South Georgia & the Peninsula
Andrew's Trip Date:
12th Mar - 7th Apr 2022
Andrew's Ship:Greg Mortimer
What was your most memorable moment?
Immense colonies of king penguins on South Georgian Island.
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?
9 out of 10
On a scale of 0 to 10, how would you rate your trip: Immense Discovery: Falklands, South Georgia & the Peninsula?
9 out of 10
Tell us about the wildlife
Frequent up close encounters with multiple penguin species, fur seals, elephant seals, leopard seals, marine birds - my favorite part of the trip. We only say a few humpback whales in the distance. It's hard not to get some great wildlife photos even using an iPhone due to the proximity of the wildlife.
Tell us about Zodiac excursions
The Zodiacs were an integral part of the trip and allowed us to see things you would never see on the main ship. I felt safe cruising in the Zodiacs but we did have a few anxious moments getting on and particularly off the Zodiacs in high wind or 3-4 foot swells. The crew were extremely helpful and I am not aware of any passenger injuries. Out most memorable Zodiac cruise was a predawn visit to the largest king penguin colony on South Georgia Island with the sun just coming up to illuminate an incredible scene. I was disappointed we could not make a land visit to Lockroy or Stanley on the Falkland Islands due to Covid restrictions. This was partially offset by a visit to the old abandoned whaling station of Gritvykin which has a small but well done museum containing wildlife exhibits and Shackleton memorabilia, plus the Shackleton burial site a few hundred yards away.
Tell us about the expedition team
The senior expedition team members were all exceptional - friendly, conscientious, very knowledgeable in their areas of expertise, great lectures. I enjoyed the lectures on polar history, krill, and sea ice the most because of my ignorance in these areas. Unfortunately, because of Covid precautions the crew ate in an area separate from the guests depriving us of an opportunity to get to know them better and hear what I am sure would have been many colorful anecdotes. One expects senior staff to be first rate, but we were particularly impressed by the uniform helpfulness and cheerfulness of the support staff - kitchen help, servers, bartenders, room attendants. They seemed to genuinely enjoy their job, and by the end of our 23 day cruise we came to consider many of them as friends rather than employees. The on board service was equal or superior to anything I have experienced in a major U.S hotel.
Tell us about the Greg Mortimer
The Greg Mortimer is a beautiful ship perfectly suited to small expedition cruising. I can't comment on some of the ship's technical features such as the X-bow design, but there was impressive attention to the little details that make a difference on a long trip - plenty of cabin space to store your stuff, instant hot water for showers with good water pressure, mudroom to keep your wet gear, charming well stocked library, excellent bar with all the usual libations and a good wine selection, first rate audiovisual equipment for lectures. I would not consider the food to be "gourmet" but it was more than adequate with numerous and diverse choices for every meal and 4 entree options for every dinner that were almost never repeated. I would have no reservations about selecting the Greg Mortimer for another cruise.
Tell us about Ushuaia
We departed from Punta Arenas rather than Ushuaia, again due to Covid. Nothing of interest in PA except maybe the historic Shackleton bar. I would have much preferred starting the trip in PA rather than Santiago, thereby avoiding the hassle of an extra hotel check in, baggage hauling, shuttle transfer, etc.
Do you have any tips or advice for other people planning a trip to Antarctica?
1.) Unless you have time or financial constraints, don't miss South Georgia Island particularly if you are a wildlife enthusiast. 2.) A cruise that goes below the Antarctic Circle isn't worth the extra time and expense unless bragging rights are very important to you. 3.) Don't consider a ship that doesn't offer frequent Zodiac trips unless you are physically unable or unwilling to participate. You will miss an awful lot. 4.) Due to Covid, the paper work required to enter and exit Chile/Argentina is a major burden and there will be some restrictions on your cruise activities as well. Not what Swoop wants to hear I'm sure, but unless it's imperative you visit Antarctica in 2022-23 I would wait awhile before booking to see when this hysteria will end.
Has your experience changed your perspective in any way?
Just reaffirmed my goal to se as much of the world as possible while I still can.
Do you have any recommendations for Swoop, or feedback about the team?
Very satisfied with the Swoop experience and would not hesitate to use them again.
Was there anything else Swoop could have done for you to help you prepare for your trip?
As mentioned above, more accurate info on where to obtain Covid testing in Santiago and Punta Arenas would have been helpful but I'm sure this is a fluid situation.
Would you consider another trip to Antarctica with Swoop?
Would you be interested in travelling to Patagonia with Swoop?
Would you be interested in travelling to The Arctic with Swoop?