Jon & Katie Fox
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?”
Overall, how was your trip?
The highlight for us was the day we went through the Lemaire Channel, visited Pleneau Bay and Port Charcot, did the polar plunge, and had a deck BBQ dinner. It was an amazing day. The landscape and wildlife were incredible. Conceptualizing the sheer quantity of ice surrounding you is breath taking. And the penguins were always funny to watch. The guides were incredible and beyond knowledgable. Their passion is contagious and it was clear they love their job. Fellow passengers and other ship crew were also extremely friendly and interesting. One unfortunate surprise was the final payment process. The payment processor was through a different company and country than any of the previous payments, so getting approval from one's card issuer was unnecessarily challenging for many passengers. This could've been prevented by communicating the information prior to departing Punta Arenas. Our most magical moment was at the Port Charcot hike where scenery was truly amazing and looked like a painting.
In one sentence, what did you think of Antarctica? Did it live up to your expectations?
Antarctica was the most amazing place we've ever been (and we've been a lot of places), exceeded our expectations, and was truly awe inspiring!
Would you visit again?
How was the service that Swoop provided?
We are so pleased we booked with a polar specialist and Swoop in particular. Loli was fantastic! She answered all of our questions thoroughly and was always ready for more (and boy were there more!). She was extremely helpful in picking our trip, ship, and cabin. Her experience made us feel at ease as we prepared for one of our biggest adventures. We seemed more prepared and informed than most other guests on our ship. Our only suggestions would be that you clearly segment which emails require action and which are purely informative. They looked extremely similar and we missed a few important items in the beginning. It was also a little unclear what specific onboard additional purchases there were and how much they cost. There was some confusion about how much laundry would be and when and where drinks were included initially.
How likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend?
10 out of 10
You chose a/an 66 Degrees South Fly Cruise experience. How was that experience?
The 66 Degrees South Fly Cruise exceeded my expectations. It was definitely the right choice for us because flying allowed us to make the most efficient use of our time to get to Antartica, and the duration maximized our time while we were down there. We would absolutely recommend this option to others. We wished the operator had notified us during the welcome events in Punta Arenas to pre-approve with the card issuer for a charge from a company in Austria (which was unexpected) for the onboard transaction to settle our bill at the end of the voyage. We were not impressed by the welcome group in Punta Arenas. There were several questions we had for them that they either couldn't answer or answered incorrectly. Fortunately, we had Loli, our polar specialist, who could help us out. The expedition packet at the end of the voyage was much appreciated, but thinner than expected.
If Swoop arranged some of your travel before/after your voyage. How did we do?
Swoop did not arrange our travel, but they were very helpful with our questions in order for us to make our own.
How were your experiences on the zodiac excursions and shore landings?
It was all unbelievable. This was clearly the best part of our trip and fully exceeded our expectations. The penguins were hilarious. The seals were crotchety. The whales were playful and plentiful. The ice ... there aren't words to describe how awesome it was. The expedition staff really made the trip for us. From getting off the plane we felt a huge shift from the way we felt initially in Punta Arenas and we knew we were in good hands. We loved that they were always readily approachable and open for conversations about the environment, the wildlife, and the science of Antartica. Hadley, our expedition leader, picked great spots for all of our excursions. The staff really made us feel special.
Do you have any tips or advice for other people planning a trip to Antarctica?
For other US travelers, plan what gear you want to buy ahead of time and then try to make your final purchases during the Black Friday deals to get better prices. Take advantage of your polar specialists' expertise. They're called specialists for a reason!
Anything else? Tell us anything you’d like to share that we forgot to ask! It’s ok to leave this empty too :-)
Captain Barrios was funny, friendly, and clearly skilled. We really appreciated his open bridge policy, which we heard is becoming less common. The Swoop buff was a nice gift.
If you received our guide to Santiago before you travelled, what did you think of it? For instance (but not limited to):
We received the guide, but had previously been to Santiago so we didn't spend any time there or use the information.
Has your experience changed your perspective in any way?
We feel like we're part of a super special club that has seen the bottom of the world! This trip finished out all 7 continents for us and crossed-off a big bucket list item for us. Antartica, with its required gear and pre-planning, was such a big step for us that it makes us us more interested in cold weather environments for smaller trips that wouldn't have made sense before. Even though it's a huge and difficult place to get to, Antartica has inspired us to go back for another visit!
Is there anything you would recommend we change to make trips like yours more environmentally sustainable?
Everyone already did a great job with this.