Val Chiswell

United Kingdom



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?”

Val Chiswell's Trip Date:

1st Dec - 18th Dec 2017

Overall, how was your trip?

I have only answered No above because there are still several places on my bucket list that I need to get to while I am still able to travel long distances, including the Arctic! There was no one single highlight, there were many and the whole trip was a highlight in my advancing years. The landscapes and wildlife unique and I felt privileged to be able to see it all. The people on the trip from young to older were all very friendly, and good company, with several nationalities, but we all got on and quickly gelled, all having one common purpose. What have I told my grandchildren? A lot for kids to take in but they will always have my photos! Hopefully one day they will have the ability and the desire to go too. Surprises? The colour of the snow and the icebergs and the overall impression of all shades of blue. And the delicious chocolate cake I was presented with on my birthday!

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

Absolutely and more, awesome, fantastic, amazing, and like being on another planet.

Would you visit again?


How was the service that Swoop provided?

Yes I am pleased to have booked with a polar specialist, I have spoken to one or two other people who went with a Cruise Company, and it didn't sound half as interesting or exciting. I was very satisfied with the ship's operator, the ship was absolutely right and my cabin was excellent. Your service prior to the voyage was excellent, you answered my queries promptly, nothing was too much trouble and I felt well taken care of.

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

You chose a/an experience. How was that experience?

I have now travelled to all 7 continents and my experiences extend over some 50 years. I didn't just go to notch number 7 under my belt, I have always wanted to travel to the Antarctic (my husband was also a great traveller but was not interested in going on such a trip) so for me this was the trip of a lifetime. I absolutely made the right choice and luckily I am at stage in my life where I can afford to travel but in comfort, Business Class, and pay extra for a comfortable cabin with my own facilities. I would recommend the experience to anyone, but they have got to have to want it, otherwise it will not have the same effect and I appreciate that it isn't cheap.

If Swoop arranged some of your travel before/after your voyage. How did we do?

Swoop made excellent arrangements for me; the accommodation recommended in both Buenos Aires and Santiago was good; all travel docs received in good time in case of queries; the arrangements you have with the tour operators on the ground is clearly good and reliable; I had a very good tour of Buenos Aires and I would recommend that. The only difficulty I had was that I was told to be ready for being picked up for the Tango Show between 7 and 7.30pm. It turned out to be 8pm and we didn't get to the Show with all the other pickups until 9pm. I eventually got back to the hotel at 1am and I had to be up at 6am for pick up to go to the Domestic Airport for a 9am flight to Ushuaia, so I was somewhat jaded for the rest of that day.

How were your experiences on the zodiac excursions and shore landings?

I was prepared for the Zodiac landings as I had been to the Galapagos Islands 4 years ago. (However, we were not dressed up in waterproofs and big rubber boots!) But they were fine and everyone was helped in and out, even the younger ones. Just being surrounded by penguins, seals, birds, icebergs etc. all amazing and enjoyable. The expedition staff could not have been more helpful, friendly and accommodating. That contributed to the overall experience. They were knowledgeable and keen to show us as much as possible, always bearing our safety in mind.

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

Do make sure that you pick a company which provides a service more like an expedition than a pleasure cruise. I gather some people go and never get off the ship having no opportunity to do so. Do listen to the advice about clothing, layering etc. Also choose a company that provides the waterproof jackets/trousers and boots. I've recently met someone who is having to take her own waterproof trousers?? If you are going that far then choose a company that will let you explore the whole environment and not just admire the scenery!

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