Sandy & Tim

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?”

Sandy & Tim's Trip Date:

1st Jan - 25th Jan 2017

Sandy & Tim's Ship:

Polar Pioneer

Overall, how was your trip?

The highlight was kayaking amongst whales and through brash ice. Landscapes and wildlife were spectacular. The ship operator's team were passionate and well informed. They were keen to give us the best experience possible. Most of the passengers were equally enthusiastic. Grandchildren - appreciate how important it is to protect our beautiful world. Kayaking was more challenging than we expected and gave us some thrilling experiences.

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

Antarctica was a very special experience. It exceeded our expectations primarily because the kayaking experience was outstanding.

Would you visit again?


How was the service that Swoop provided?

Yes Very satisfied. Yes. Good. Sent paperwork without being reminded. The trek from Santiago was a little disappointing. It was a long dusty hot slog to an uninspiring destination.

How likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend?

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

8 out of 10

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

Best moments - Prion Island, being so close albatross nests. Enjoyed walking amongst so much wildlife in natural surroundings, with very few people around. Wildlife and icebergs lived up to expectations, although being unable to land on Salisbury Plain was a minor disappointment. Expedition staff were excellent - passionate, well informed, enthusiastic and caring.

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

The ship was a bit "tired". Seating in the cabin was inadequate. Seating in the lecture room was cramped - insufficient legroom. The bar was overcrowded when briefing all passengers. The cabin needed more hooks to hang kayaking kit. The experience of Polar Pioneer compensated for the drawbacks. We were happy we went. None of our friends would do this trip! It was a genuine adventure and too hardcore for many. Reduce the temperature of the hot water from the tap and shower - it was very dangerous.

You chose to do {category.title} on this voyage. How was that experience?

Kayaking exceeded our expectations. We loved it! The highlights were seeing humpback whales at close quarters and paddling through bash ice. Yes. The guide was brilliant. Occasionally we thought he was being too ambitious but, on reflection, he had assessed our capabilities correctly.

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

Logistics worked. Dayroom in Buenos Aires was needed. Hotel in Ushuaia was good. Day trek and kayak from Ushuaia was good. Trek from Santiago was disappointing. Tours for tips was excellent in Santiago. Pickup at Santiago on 21/1 was late. Arrived at Su Merced at midnight after long flights with snacks only - we were hungry and the hotel had no food. It was a good hotel, but we needed the facilities of a bigger one. Travel vouchers were not required. Baggage allowance on LAN flight was relaxed.

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

Seasickness medication was vital - and we were lucky with sea conditions.

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

We were impressed with the dedication of the ship operator's team to upholding biosecurity measures. The remains of the whaling stations were fascinating (and gruesome). Retracing some of Shackleton's journey added to our understanding of his huge achievement. We enjoyed the trek to Stromness Bay.

18 people found this review helpful

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