Charles & Lesley

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?”

Charles & Lesley's Trip Date:

29th Aug - 19th Sep 2018

Charles & Lesley's Ship:

MS Expedition

Overall, how was your trip?

The highlight of the trip was the fjords of Greenland, especially when we explored by zodiac beyond a glacier that seemed to close off the end of one particular fjord. We were extremely lucky to see a number of polar bears, including one close to a shore we had intended to land on. Instead we were able to watch it at close quarters from the safety of our zodiac. Walruses abounded in Svalbard, we saw arctic hares and foxes, and brief glimpses of whales. The musk oxen were plentiful but distant! The landscapes were a revelation: instead of the barren wasteland we expected, there was a tapestry of late summer colour provided by Arctic willow and miniature birch, as well as bilberry and bear berry. The icebergs were truly magnificent, especially when the ship’s captain threaded the ship through them out of Scoresbysund.

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

A fascinating experience of three quite different countries, that all exceeded our expectations.

Would you visit again?


How was the service that Swoop provided?

Once again, Swoop’s service and advice were immaculate. The fact that we are returning clients says it all! We actually arranged some additional time in Oslo and Iceland before and after the trip ourselves but again Swoop’s advice and coordination were extremely useful. An excellent choice of ship too.

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?

We were impressed by the flexibility and communications of the expedition team, who worked very hard to provided variety and a full programme on board, on zodiacs and on shore. The presence of polar bears or weather led to a few late alterations to the day’s plans, but alternatives were swiftly arranged and we always felt well informed. A great team! They were always available, and full of knowledgeable insights into what we were seeing, or could expect.

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

A very comfortable ship with excellent facilities, making best use of all the space available. The Mud Room, enabling us to park our wet gear out of cabins, was particularly useful, and the comfortable lounge was plenty large enough for everyone to be there at once for briefings and lectures. The inclusion of a team musician was brilliant, for general entertainment and getting us together. The Polar Bar worked very well for this too. The one real issue we had, as did many others on board, was the presence of a 45-strong group of Chinese, far too many amongst 130 on an English-speaking expedition. Despite having an interpreter, they constantly ignored safety rules both on the ship and on land. This potentially placed other passengers at risk, especially when we were walking with armed guides at front and rear. This also made life very uncomfortable for the expedition staff too. If the rules mean anything, they must be enforced for every passenger. The Chinese attitude to other passengers was rude and overbearing, leading to at least one unpleasant confrontation.

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

Swoop arranged flights to Oslo and Svalbard which worked out just as expected. We made the other arrangements but relied on Swoop’s expertise and advice throughout - friendly and efficient, thank you!

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

Expect the unexpected and remain flexible! Trust the expedition team to do their very best to make the trip everything it can be. For anyone planning on visiting both the Arctic and the Antarctic, it might be sensible to choose the Arctic first, because nothing can surpass the wildlife opportunities of the Antarctic, not even a curious polar bear at close quarters.

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

(Actually, we already visited Antarctica and we probably won’t manage it again, more’s the pity).

12 people found this review helpful

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