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?”
Marc's Trip Date:
24th Nov - 10th Dec 2017
Marc's Ship:Hebridean Sky
Overall, how was your trip?
Absolutely no glitches and lots of pleasant surprises including aircraft carrier sized icebergs, Zodiac trips through ice fields, climbing the volcano on Deception Island, and up-close-and-personal with penguins, seals, and humpback whales. The fellow-travelers were very pleasant, mostly highly accomplished, and very interesting--a far cry from what one encounters on cruise ships and escorted tours. As for the grandchildren, I'll show some pictures and when they get a little older make sure they get to Antarctica. The continent is ineffable: words fail.
In one sentence, what did you think of Antarctica? Did it live up to your expectations?
Don't need a sentence. One word will do: awesome!
Would you visit again?
How was the service that Swoop provided?
We booked with Swoop because it was evident in the first phone call that Swoop (specifically John) knew far more about Antarctic travel than an agent recommended by friends who had traveled on a Hrutigruten ship. The Hebridean Sky was a perfect fit for us. Service before the voyage was excellent. There was a glitch on dates that ended up costing us more money than we had expected to pay, but John worked efficiently to resolve the problem. And after the first landing I said, "The trip has now paid for itself; anything else is a bonus." And the bonuses were many. As for doing things differently, somebody didn't proofread carefully enough but it was your office that picked up the problem when I sent flight information for dates different from what you had booked.
How likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend?
10 out of 10
You chose a/an experience. How was that experience?
Expectations exceeded. Choice was correct. I would recommend this trip to just about any of our friends who might be capable of making the trip, i.e. excluding those prone to seasickness, with mobility problems, or with anxieties about distance and availability of an emergency room. I think the only prerequisites for enjoying this trip are curiosity and realistic expectations about shipboard life, i.e. understanding that it is an expedition, not a cruise.
If Swoop arranged some of your travel before/after your voyage. How did we do?
Logistics fine. Accommodations fine (especially the Arakur and its infinity pool!) All documents were received timely although I had to call because I misunderstood how to reach them on the website. Unfortunately, I can't reconstruct why I had an issue.
How were your experiences on the zodiac excursions and shore landings?
Zodiac excursions/landing made the trip. There was a fleeting moment of anxiety on the first landing when the Zodiac had to push its way through floating ice, but I quickly developed confidence in the boat and the drivers. We had been to the Galapagos previously and enjoyed the blase wildlife there, but I was still surprised that neither penguins nor seals paid the least attention to us. Expedition staff were all extremely well prepared and safety conscious.
Do you have any tips or advice for other people planning a trip to Antarctica?
Book through people who have been there repeatedly; Swoop was an excellent choice. The backgrounds of the expedition team were an unexpected bonus as we did not investigate the educational aspects before booking. But all trips can't possibly be this good and on any future trips we would check the subjects of lectures and backgrounds of the presenters before booking.