Kay & David

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?”

Kay & David's Trip Date:

25th Jan - 13th Feb 2017

Overall, how was your trip?

Too many highlights too pick out one in particular, but South Georgia is a must do. Landscapes were simply awesome. The wildlife was much more plentiful than I imagined, also unafraid and curious. We were literally amongst them and not simply viewing from a distance. The passengers on board our expedition (don't like the word 'cruise'!) were about 70% English which did surprise us. Maybe 20% American and the remainder were European/Chinese/Brazilian. Average age was early sixties but all pretty fit, game, and in it for the adventure, so pretty like minded. My grandchildren will hear of the apparent isolation (other cruise ships were out of sight!) teeming wildlife and magnificent scenery. Our biggest surprise was the amazing weather, we did not use our thermals at all. The only big blow we had was behind us and helped us on the way to the Falklands. We had rain on our last day in the Antarctic peninsula which was also the day of the polar plunge! I was also pleasantly surprised by the standard of the catering, I was not expecting it to be so good. Only complaint is that there was too much of it.

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

Absolutely lived up to expectations. I kept expecting David Attenborough and a film crew to pop up any second.

Would you visit again?


How was the service that Swoop provided?

Definetly pleased with booking with a Polar specialist. The advice and information received was spot on. Swoop advised the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula on Hebridean Sky and we had a great cabin. The service prior to departure was good and any hiccups were sorted i.e.internal Argentinian flight changes requiring itinerary adjustments.

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

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

Firstly the expedition leader, Hayley on our trip was superb. Informative, concise and fair, well organised and constantly cheerful and passionate about our trip. Also the expedition staff were excellent. All spoke excellent English and were passionate about their own areas of expertise. They were unfailingly polite and attentive to passenger queries and needs. We had at least 2 landings every day, when we were not making passage. The landings were efficiently organised and became a slick operation very quickly among the passengers. There was just one occasion where we appeared to have very limited access to the assembled wildlife (felt like we were in a sweetie shop but were not allowed any sweets) but that was because there was so many numbers of penguins, elephant seals, fur seals that it was difficult to find a way through! I really could not believe the variety and numbers of penguins, seals, albatross and birds, and whale sightings. It actually seems a little surreal looking back on it - did we really get up close and personal to all that? As for the scenery, the icebergs and glaciers literally took your breath away and we were so blessed with the amazing weather.

​How would you describe {vessel.title} if talking to somebody potentially interested in going to Antarctica, and what tips would you pass​ on?

Hebridean Sky from the outside is not the prettiest of cruise ships but the difference for me was that it was an expedition ship not a cruise ship! We have never cruised before (apart from our own boat) and if you only do one cruise in your life, this is the one to do. She is absolutely practical, all the communal passenger areas were well furnished and the cabins that I saw were all good and equipped to the levels you would expect according to price. Being comparatively small she was able to get into anchorages that others couldn't and having a relatively small number of passenger, everybody on board was able to go ashore on landings. I thought we'd be bored on the passages but there was plenty to do if you wanted: lectures on our destinations, lectures on the wildlife you'd see and of course lots of eating! It also gave you a chance to edit some photos (over 1500 in my case!). Personally, we'd have preferred a more laid back approach to the single sitting mealtimes. It felt a little rigid in the timings on occasion. I would recommend this trip to anyone who wanted a bit of an adventure whilst still being very well looked after, who loves wildlife and natural history.

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

All the logistics worked out perfectly. I have not had a trip where the hassle factor has been so minimal! Our accommodation in BA was adequate but at the rear the outlook was of a large building site. The La Roco tango show was brilliant but the dinner could have been better! The hotel in Ushuaii was very chic, very stylish but the dinners were very bad! Cavas Wine lodge was a great chill out place. Food, wine, activities and guides were all good and the local bird life was something I didn't expect, even spotted a Glittery-Bellied EmeraldHummingBird - it's not every day you see one of those! However, it was let down by a lack of general maintenance in and around our lodges. The cushions for the loungers and sun beds looked grubby and you had to use your bathroom towels to actually sit or lie on them. The patio areas were cracked and tiles were missing from the plunge pool, we also had to ask for this to be cleaned.

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

Don't bother packing any sketch books or art materials, you won't have time to do anything! Do have plenty of memory storage for your camera. Do not drop your expensive iPhone down a penguin nest on your first landing, for it never to be seen again. Do not bother buying anything from duty free on your way out, plenty of wine flows with dinner and it's a pleasure to be served by Mr Onille Obrian Bollinger the Trinidadian barman in the bar.

Anything else? Tell us anything you’d like to share that we forgot to ask! It’s ok to leave this empty too :-)

Think I've covered far more than I was expecting to!

12 people found this review helpful

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