Steve & Tina

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?”

Steve & Tina's Trip Date:

6th Jul - 20th Jul 2018

Steve & Tina's Ship:

Polar Pioneer

Overall, how was your trip?

We loved the trip! Wonderful to be back aboard the Polar Pioneer for one of the last voyages as it approaches retirement, and really lovely to spend time with friends and staff we’d met on the previous trip. We consciously tried to avoid the comparison with S Georgia and Antarctica, as we knew it would be a very different experience, and so appreciated Svalbard and the Arctic ice cap for what they offered - amazing landscapes of tundra, mountains, glaciers and ice, and of course the Arctic wildlife. Close-up views of a blue whale on the first evening as we left Longyearbyen was a great start. Fantastic too have sailed beyond 82N into the ice cap; the furthest north our leader Christian had been on this ship, but also a little sobering in the implications for the receding ice.

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

A place of beautiful ice, stunning mountains, desolate tundra and all the Arctic wildlife we’d hoped for.

Would you visit again?


How was the service that Swoop provided?

Faultless service as always, in our experience. We knew the ship and even the cabin beforehand, but great to have Swoop’s help in setting it up and talking us through the options for the choice of voyage and extras. All worked well with no hitches.

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 guided excursions?

Zodiac cruises were great fun. Some amazing wildlife sights with the seabird colonies probably the most dramatic. Getting up close to the glaciers was another highlight. Landings for shore excursions gave us a close-up view of the bleak tundra and the plant life. The Aurora staff were excellent - knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

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

The Polar Pioneer is a lovely ship for the expedition we wanted to do. Our second time on board so we knew what to expect; cosy social areas, great viewing from the decks or the bridge, good food. We’re sad that the ship is being “retired” by Aurora!

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

Travel arrangements were reasonably straightforward for this trip. We arranged flights and accommodation ourselves other than a two-night extension in Oslo which was provided by Aurora. All admin queries, form-filling etc were efficiently mediated by Swoop, as always.

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

Go soon; the ice is receding.

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

“Yes” to Antarctica and Patagonia for the previous questions although we’ve visited both in previous trips. It was a little sobering/depressing to hear how from the experienced expedition staff how quickly the ice is receding, and the impact it has on the wildlife. We were also sad to learn, very soon after our return, of an incident involving a ship similar to our own in which a polar bear encounter resulted in the death of the bear and injuries to a guide (this happened at a location we’d visited but had been unable to land because a lone bear had been sighted - perhaps the very same bear). That made me wonder whether tourists such as ourselves might all be to some extent held responsible for such an outcome; although I appreciate that responsibly managed tourism can have benefits too. Sorry - just wanted to set that down as an observation. Last point, which I should probably have made in a previous section but somehow missed, is that we found the history elements of the trip really enlightening too; lots of whaling and polar exploration interest, most of which we were unaware of, and has given us some post-expedition reading to catch up on.

9 people found this review helpful

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