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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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59 Reviews

  • Wonderful adventure

    This was a marvellous trip and a great way of seeing two wonderful areas of the Arctic. In Spitsbergen we saw polar bears and arctic foxes and sailed through the ice to reach 80 degrees north. In Greenland we saw musk oxen and puffins and the most amazing icebergs. We also visited an Inuit community and had the occasional whale sighting. The ship was great - the Ocean Adventurer. The cabin was comfortable and the food was really good. The operator was first class. We had a great tour leader and a full range of specialist guides, i.e. geologist, ornithologist, photographer, marine biologist etc. They were professional and great fun. the other guests were good company. We had four days around Spitzbergen and four days around Greenland so we were able to get a sense of both rather than concentrating on just one. So polar bears AND icebergs! You don't actually get to see Iceland as part of the tour but you do disembark in Akureyri in north Iceland. We asked Exodus to change our flight back to the UK so we could arrange seven days there. We then drove from Akureyri to Keflavic along the Icelandic ring road seeing the major sights. The waterfalls are truly amazing. Greenland is actually icy and Iceland is green. So we had polar bears, icebergs and waterfalls in a three-week trip. Note: to get to Spitzbergen you fly via Oslo. Exodus brought forward our flight and booked us into a hotel for two nights so we had a short city break as well. There are some great museums in Oslo (Munch, Viking Long Ship and the Fram Museum of Arctic Exploration) and this was a great start to our Arctic journey of a lifetime.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    To see a polar bear jumping and swimming from ice-flow to ice-flow.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The expedition and ship staff were all first class. The operator was very professional and we be very happy to travel again with them.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    See above - the trip covers Spitzbergen and Greenland - you need to make additional arrangements to see Iceland otherwise you just fly from Akureyri to Keflavic for the flight home..

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We'd already been to Antarctica. We found the artic different. No penguins of course but we had polar bears, arctic foxes, musk oxen and puffins - and visiting the Inuit village.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Isabel Draper

    Nothing like it

    Such a privilege, travelling on a nuclear-powered Russian icebreaker which spends most of the year keeping the northern Russian seaways clear for cargo ships: a brilliant job was due to convert it temporarily for tourists. The dour Heroes of the Motherland were retained to crew the vessel which made it all the more atmospheric, but they couldn’t compete for character with the polar bears, especially the one who was so co-operative for photos despite us having distracted him from his kill. The only downside was that we weren’t warned how hot the boat is: future travellers need to take some light clothing for indoors.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The crunching and shuddering as the boat tackled the ice.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant, and obviously well-regarded by the rest of the team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    See above re light clothing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Neither the Russians nor the Finns can make tea.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Vickie Lush

    Everything and more

    If Antarctica has been on your ‘ to do list’ GO!,, Amazing time had by all, my only negative would be that I did not book to go onto South Georgia and The Falklands due to the time factor. I now have to select photos for my album going to be a long process.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is very hard to pinpoint one part of the expedition but I particularly enjoyed the kayaking you have a chance to get up close and personal with the whales, seals and penguins.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Solan was inspirational as were most of his associates on the ship each having their own personality and knowledge to share.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    To prepare well, plenty of layers there is absolutely no need to be cold if you take layers. Crossing The Drake requires medication in my opinion but if yours fails the Doctor is on hand and is extremely supportive.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Food was amazing with plenty of variety and if there was nothing you liked you could order almost anything the kitchen and excellent service too.
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Susan Jackson

    Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia

    18 day trip with Quark Expeditions on the Ocean Diamond from Uschuaia to the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula with landings by Zodiac in remote bays where we experienced close encounters with the wildlife, especially penguins and seals and whales swimming alongside the boats. The scenery was stunning especially sailing close to the icebergs. We were superbly looked after on the ship and the cabins and public areas were warm and welcoming and the staff couldn't have been more helpful. The food was excellent and plentiful and they catered well for my gluten free requirements as I am Coeliac. The expedition staff were knowledgeable as we had experts on penguins, ornithology, geology, whales, history, microbiology and photography. Praise goes to the captain as a mega storm was forecast as we were in the Falklands and we had to alter the itinerary to avoid it and though we hit some rough seas we missed the hurricane in the Falklands where the next 3 ships after us were stuck in the harbour there for 3 days. Ecology was a big concern and we had to have our clothing, rucksacks examined before each trip ashore to check there were no seeds and have them vacuumed, and boots and trousers were hosed down after each trip ashore then we walked through disinfectant.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many, landing on a beach to be welcomed by King Penguins and 55 thousand more up the hillside as far as you could see and then they approach you without fear, Minke whales coming under and beside the Zodiacs, Humbacks spouting and fluking and the glorious colours and shapes of the icebergs.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent, very knowledgeable and concerned for our health safety at all times, though it was mostly a combined effort of the expedition team working together.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do take some sea sickness pills, though the doctor on board always came to the public areas and gave them out if anyone wanted them and I was not aware of anyone suffering with sea sickness as a result. The cabins were rather creaky and noisy at times, so light sleepers might consider ear plugs.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A fantastic trip, expensive, but worth every penny and everyone we spoke to was full of praise for all aspects of the trip.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Robert Atkinson

    The most stunning trip of my life

    Its been a long held dream of mine to go to the Antarctic and the trip I booked via Exodus far exceeded my expectations. Amazing scenery, captivating and exciting wildlife, a plethora of facts, figures and general education from the on board experts and I can claim a world first to boot from my holiday to the Antarctic and below the polar circle.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The landscapes and wildlife. The scenery is breathtaking, from the continent itself to the many islands and icebergs floating away from the land mass and glaciers. I have never seen anywhere quite so remote and in many ways barren, yet at the same time rich in life and activity. And you will never get over the amazing shapes of the ice along with the vivid blues you see in the glaciers and icebergs. Quite sensational. The penguins are of course the stars, but the frequency of whale sightings and fluking along with seals and many type of birds including the mighty albatross just make the experience even more rewarding.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The tour leader is in effect an Expedition Leader fronting a large team of professional from a range of countries. Ours was wonderful. An enormous personality and with the best sense of humour coupled with safety and huge amounts of professional integrity. The people in the expedition team were sensational. They come from a mix of backgrounds, however all have skills in subjects ranging from glaciology to water sports instructor, polar researcher to the armed forces, historian to nature and much more. Not only do you get the chance to attend lectures and learn from them on a really diverse range of topics, but they also accompany the trips off the ship and interact with you during meals and drinks as well as on time when you are cruising. They have both professionally and also personally empowering stories to tell and they really enhanced my trip in a way I did not think possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you want to do any of the activities then book them up as soon as you make your reservation. Spaces are limited and I was unable to camp on the ice or take part in kayaking. Don't worry about being cold. Its not actually as cold as you imagine and the ship is fantastically warm and homely. The jacket and boots they supply you with are excellent. Concentrate on buying good quality thermals in layers along wit6h waterproof trousers and gloves and a warm fleece or wool hat. Edit your photos as you go along and always be ready to shoot stuff. The onboard team will help you with this as they have photographers ready to help with your trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was in the first group of paddleboarders believed to have ever paddleboarded south of the Antractic Circle. Not only had I never done it before, but we got to claim a world first. Finally don't delay going any longer. It may not be a cheap trip, however it is so amazing and experience that you will not regret the time and expense in going.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Jane Taylor

    Antarctica via Buenos Aires

    An amazing and unique experience would highly recommend it's worth every penny

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many highlights but getting to see penguins, seals and whales at close quarters was unforgettable

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The expedition leader and all the staff in the team were really helpful, knowledgeable and friendly

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Spend time in Argentina before or after your trip. I wish I had tagged a few extra days on to do hhis
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Line Bisgaard

    Above all expectations!

    from start till end this trip was amazing! Everything went smoothly, from the pre-tour info, to information at the hotel and the logistics of the domestic flights and checking in on the boat. It felt very safe, especially for a woman travelling alone. The crew on board was excellent! I loved the way every guide had his own ‘field of expertise’ which covered everything you wanted to know (and things you didn’t know you wanted to know ;-)). The Staff was extremely helpful, happy, smiling and overall serviceminded. It was a pleasure! Overall the program on board made sure that you almost didn’t have an idle moment, which for me was amazing! And the logistics of getting nearly 200 passengers into zodiacs 10 at the time, went so incredible easy, they crew are really professional and know how to make your experience the best possible. I can highly recommend this trip to anyone who wants to explore the magic of Antarctica.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Antarctica itself surprised in more ways than one – I was expecting rough weather through the Drake passage, but instead we had calm seas and smooth sailing, so we reached Antarctica half a day early, and had our first zodiac trip before sceduled! The amazing weather stayed with us for the rest of the trip, so amazing blue skies and sun every day was really a treat! The wildlife was every were! Once we reached the continent, every time we looked out, we had penguins on almost every iceberg floating by the ship or a whale showing off in the water close by. And the landings on Antarctica itself, with seals lying around and thousands of penguins all around you, just doing what penguins do was so serene and magical. We even had an afternoon where around 50 Orcas were gathering and swimming around the boat for almost 3 hours, so we could just observe. In the zodiacs we got to experience icebergs calving, get close up with leopard seals floating by on an iceflake, and even had some curious humpback whales, so close to the zodiac that we could almost touch them. Not to mention the beautifull icebergs and surroundings that would take your breath away for sure!
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Kathleen Ramsey

    Antarctic Circle Quest

    An awe-inspiring experience which exceeded all our expectations. The scenery is truly stunning, as were the encounters with wildlife. Life aboard the Academik Ioffe was very comfortable, the food was good and experts were on hand to help us with all aspects of the trip. After the first spectacular day of expeditions, we wondered how the rest of the trip could even begin to match the early promise, but each day brought new experiences and excitements.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is difficult to pick out a single experience. Cruising in zodiacs amongst icebergs and below glacial cliffs, watching penguins porpoising in the sea or making their way up and down snow slopes or across rocky terrain to the rookeries, observing penguin behaviour in those rookeries, experiencing humpback whales surfacing next to our zodiacs, whale/bird/seal/penguin/dolphin-spotting from the deck of the ship, descending directly onto fast ice from the ship after an impressive parallel parking manoeuvre, watching the sun setting (just) across the ice-filled bays......

    What did you think of your group leader?

    David McGonigal was an excellent leader. He was very experienced, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and affable, and amended the programme to make sure that we got the very best experience each day depending on the ice and weather conditions. In addition there were several other experts on board, all of whom shared their knowledge of the environment, fauna and history generously and enthusiastically.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We had good weather most of the time, with temperatures around freezing, but it can get very cold on the outer decks of the ship, especially if you can't drag yourself away from viewing the wildlife and spectacular scenery, and when sitting still on the zodiac excursions for two or three hours at a time. We took heat pads for hands and feet, but didn't need to use them. Sunglasses/goggles and sunscreen are essential. We were provided with good quality binoculars and outer weatherproof garments and boots. Closed toe shoes must be worn in all public areas of the boat; a pair of clogs or similar would have been useful.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was an expensive trip, but was a fantastic experience,
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Nancy West

    Trip of a lifetime!

    An amazing experience: history in the Falklands; huge penguin colonies in South Georgia and beautiful ice and whales in Antarctica. I had high expectations before the trip but they were exceeded in every area. An unforgettable experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Close encounters with whales; the sound of ice calving from glaciers and ice bergs popping; BBQ on deck surrounded by the beauty of Antarctica.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It's warm on the ship - take some t-shirts and cooler clothes and maybe something a little dressier for dinner on the last night.
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Janet Osbourne

    Antarctica, Falklands & South Georgia

    It was the most wonderful experience and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Sheer excitement.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There was more than one inspirational moment and I couldn't choose between standing amongst thousands and thousands of penguins and/or seals, or the sheer beauty of the Antarctica's ice bergs floating by.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The expedition leader of this cruise - as well as his crew - was absolutely fantastic, knowledgeable, helpful, and I couldn't imagine having a better leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just relax and enjoy and see a part of the world you have never seen before.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was the most unique experience of all my travels. Simply unforgettable and worth every single penny. A trip of a lifetime.