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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?”

Karen's Trip:

Svalbard Explorer

Karen's Trip Date:

18th Aug - 28th Aug 2022

Karen's Ship:

M/S Quest

What was your most memorable moment?

It is very hard to choose one moment of the many amazing experiences that we had. I think the greatest highlight in terms of wildlife encounters was having two young polar bear siblings (around ages 1 year 8 months or 2 years 8 months) swim to our zodiacs and spend time looking at us with great curiosity (and we hope not hunger!). We were able to enjoy being near them for a long time. They then climbed back up the bank to find their mom and later we saw them play fighting with one another. It was so lovely to see them in their own environment and looking well fed. We had a lovely encounter with walrus swimming toward us on the shore, again with great curiosity. We had many other amazing wildlife encounters with whales, walrus, foxes, ivory gulls , guillemots, dolphins, and lots of ICE BEARS! Mark turned 61 on the trip and we drank champagne with our lovely "zodiac gang" (mainly from Sweden), who sang their traditional birthday song to him at Diabasodden.

Which of the following best describes your adventure?

Life changing

On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend or colleague?

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

10 out of 10

On a scale of 0 to 10, how would you rate your trip: Svalbard Explorer?

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

8 out of 10

Were Swoop right to recommend PolarQuest?


Tell us about the wildlife

BEARS BEARS BEARS. Need I say more? also by the way amazing whales and walrus.

Tell us about Zodiac excursions

Always safe, mostly amazing except we are not so into cultural remains, always fun. Best one was our bear encounter in Martinodden.

Tell us about the expedition team

THE BEST TEAM EVER. Special shout out to Zet our zodiac guide, Martin the Trip Leader, Piet the photgrapher, Johan the guide.

Tell us about the M/S Quest

PERFECT . we loved our cabin, it was cozy and had everything we needed. The food was what you would get in a fantastic restaurant. Would choose this ship again in a minute.

Do you have any recommendations for Swoop, or feedback about the team?

The one thing that was a little ( and I mean a little) off putting was that our particular group was quite segregated by language and a kind of funny dynamic that developed on the boat. There were two full zodiacs of Dutch guests who were totally lovely but who had their own two guides, and therefore we never interacted with them on the zodiacs. There were 15 Israeli guests with their own guide, and their English (for some) was not as strong. They had their own lectures in Hebrew which dominated the small lounge until a few of us had to ask Martin to have the lectures in English or use another space. This created a weird dynamic and as an American Jew, I fear a bit of anti-Israeli sentiment among the European guests. We personally became honorary Swedes :) and joined their boat. The Swedish guide guided in English but also could converse nicely with the Swedish guests.

Would you consider another trip to the Arctic with Swoop?


Would you be interested in travelling to Antarctica with Swoop?


Would you be interested in travelling to Patagonia with Swoop?


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

GO! Choose your trip on a small ship so that everyone can enjoy the zodiac cruises. Don't fly Lufthansa ever (that is for another conversation). Ask about the make up of the guests that usually go on a trip. Ours was diverse, mainly Dutch and Israelis. We love to meet people from all over the world.

Has your experience changed your perspective in any way?

We were worried we would think, "ah, this is beautiful, but it's not Antarctica". I am happy to say WE DID NOT THINK THIS! We loved the landscapes and beauty of Svalbard and only missed the big ice just enough to ask, WHERE SHOULD WE GO IN GREENLAND NEXT YEAR?

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