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

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  • Reviewed December 2018
    Neil Erridge

    South Georgia in depth

    A trip you will spend wondering how on earth you're going to describe or put into words what you've just seen. Nothing will do it justice - you have to be there.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Looking away from a basking leopard seal on hearing an almighty boom to see a hanging glacier "calve" thousands of tons of ice down the cliff face opposite.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    All the One Ocean staff manage to strike the right balance of professionalism and care without being intrusive or overbearing - no mean feat given the very wide range of ages and abilities being catered for. The Russian crew on board were equally superb - virtually invisible but ensuring every need was met or problem solved . These people know their stuff.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you ever see a criticism of this trip it will be from a) a competitor b) a habitual malcontent.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Worth it.
  • 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 December 2017
    Christopher & Alison Bruce

    Absolutely incredible

    Such an amazing expedition. Paul Goldstein moves heaven and earth to ensure that the most is gained from the trip and no time is wasted. We cannot recommend this experience highly enough, and would do it all again in a flash.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sheer majesty of the place and the overwhelming abundance of the wildlife. Being able to get so close to penguins and seals who have no fear of humans is a real privilege.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Inspirational and a human Duracell Bunny!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book well in advance and as soon as possible. You won't be disappointed!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Antarctica with Paul and Chris

    This is a once in a lifetime experience that you will want to repeat.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Everyday you launched into zodiacs and approached the shore inspirations moments started.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Be prepared for a hard time keeping up with his energy and enthusiasm. With Chris Packham they make a great team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you want a nice cosy cruise this is not for you!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Needs a warming notice. Ice and cold can get under your skin. You will want to return.
  • Antarctica with Paul and Chris

    This is a once in a lifetime experience that you will want to repeat.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Everyday you launched into zodiacs and approached the shore inspirations moments started.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Be prepared for a hard time keeping up with his energy and enthusiasm. With Chris Packham they make a great team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you want a nice cosy cruise this is not for you!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Needs a warming notice. Ice and cold can get under your skin. You will want to return.
  • 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.
  • Reviewed December 2013
    Anonymous

    ANTARCTICA, FALKLANDS & SOUTH GEORGIA

    This was a trip that I had wanted to do for many years, especially visiting the Falkland Islands as that is the first piece of history I can really remember growing up.  Several of my friends had also visited the area and said "it was an absolute must!".  For me it is also a "once in a life time" trip although I would consider returning to the Falkland Islands as I would like to see the battle fields and more of the Islands.......but we shall see!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were three really great moments on the trip for me.  The first was on the Falkland Islands, when we were at Port Stanley and we had done a brief guided walk around the town before being given free time - it was suggested by the Expedition Leader that the Globe Pub was a great place to visit as they serve good beer and fresh fish and chips!  Unfortunately the chef was not working so there was no food available but as far as I was concerned we did better than that - there was a Falklands War veteran there, from 3 Paras who spent nearly 45 mins chatting with 3 of us.  He was very emotional and he showed us on the map on the wall how they had done their manovers during the war.Secondly was visiting Sailsbury Plain on South Georgia where there were 250,000 King penguins, fluffy brown chicks and adults as well as many fur seals.  It is very difficult to re describe seeing so many en-mass and with the noise and smell they produce!  It was great and if you stood or sat still they would come very close and did not appear to be at all bothered by lots of people walking around in red clothing!Thirdly was our last zodiac ride in Fournier Bay on the Antartic Peninsular - the sea was flat calm for most of our time around the Peninsular (thankfully!) but as we sailed in to the circular Fournier bay, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, the glaciers and mountains were bright white and we had great reflections in the water. We dropped anchor before getting in the zodiacs. It was so calm and we had a bit of a speedy ride (for fun) before looking for wildlife on the icebergs.  We were not disappointed and to me it was just how I had imagned Antarctica to be like. We found 3 penguins sitting on top of an iceberg which made for great photos, seals lazing in the sun on the icebergs and then about 24 penguins waiting to dive in to the water which they duely did!  It was then ended by a celebratory champagne farewell on the boat as we set sail and even the whales did a "swim by!"

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Boris Wise was our main Expedition leader - helped by a further 18 members of staff and about 45 crew.  Every one was excellent and nothing was too much trouble for any of them.  The whole trip was run in a very professional and slick way and a time schedule but nothing ever felt rushed.Safety was paramount at all times from getting on and off the zodiacs to being advised not to go out side as the decks were covered in ice.  All the staff had radios so if for example you needed the doctor any one would just call for him.We also had an American professional photographer on board who gave talks and helped people with any camera issues, 2 excellent bird and wildlife spotters, 2 people who had worked / been involved with Antarctica and South Georgia for many years, a British professional wildlife artist as well as 2 kayak guides, zodiac drivers who all have good knowledge, massage and yoga professionals and excellent "hotel managers"Exodus as such does not provide a specific leader for their own clients on this trip (which is not a problem) as there are all the staff members as above. The boat was filled with various groups from places throughout the world and one of the larger groups did bring a fairly vocal agent with them!  You just have to learn to turn a deaf ear to them!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just book it....it may be costly but it is worth it!I also did the option of going to the Iguassu falls (I believe Patigonia extensions are also available which is worth visiting too) which I did for 3 days before the start of the trip which I found to be very good as it meant I had caught up with any time changes. It also meant that I was also in Argentina and closer to Ushuaia - Areolinas Argentina sometimes delay and cancel flights at very short notice. Make sure you get to Ushuaia at least one day before leaving with the ship - there is plenty to do there and it is better to be early than miss the boat.We had very changable weather and discovered fairly early on that the wet skin tousers were not completely water proof - easy solution was just to wear a thin pair of water proofs under neath which also gave an extra layer of warmth (so pack your own just to be on the safe side).Take plenty of layers as you will definately need them - as the guide said on several occassions "put on all the clothes you have!"   On a couple of times I had 8 layers on my top and 5 on my bottom half and I was very glad I did. If you think you may be going to feel sea sick, book a cabin on deck 3 as it is the most stable area of the boat in rough seas..........None of the cabin doors lock - this is for health and safety reasons (if some one was ill / had an accident it would be very difficult to gain access).  However this was not a problem and infact many of the staff members left their doors wide open with all their belongings on show.  There was a safe available on request.The power supply was 2 round pin plugs but worth taking a double adapter or multi plug so you can do lots of charging at the same time as the cold weather uses up your batteries and you will also take lots of photos / videos.The Shackleton walk is worth getting up at 530am for - it is medium to hard but walking poles are provided.  Steep ascent to start and end but worth it for the views.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Sergy Vavilov ship was excellent - the bar / social area on deck 6 has 3 sides of really big windows, open access to the deck and stairs up to deck 7 as well nearby.  It is kept warm, the seats are very comfortable, there is free tea, coffee, hot chocolate and home made biscuits readily available!Food throughout the whole trip was superb - lots to choose from at breakfast and 3 - 4 courses at lunch and supper including freshly made bread and soup (providing it did not get spilt in the rough seas).  There were 2-3 choices for a main plus a pudding as wellPlenty of hot water readily available for showers with containers of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel all provided along with towels and dressing gowns.Despite taking anti-sea sick tablets etc at times I did not feel particularily well - the staff made a point on checking cabins to make sure people were OK etc or if they needed any thing.  The days at sea are filled as a number of talks are given in the presentation room (deck 1) or in the bar (deck 6).  Unfortunately due to not feeling 100% I did not go to many of the talks as they were in the most rocky / unstable part of the boat - we had particularily rough days with force 10 gales and 60' waves! Open access to the Bridge and watching the Captain and the Officers work was really interesting, especially watching them turn the boat in tight circles just so we could all watch whales for longer!The satellite phone worked well and not expensive - US$30 for 60 minutes of talking when ever you wanted to. Don't spend the whole time behind your camera - sit and enjoy watching the penguins etc.  They are great characters.  Take a few videos as unfortunately no photos are going to do the areas justice and the shear scale of numbers and sizes of things.Be prepared for all weather conditions - 4 seasons in one day and don't be disappointed if you can not get landings.  We had very rough seas but we got 2 out of 3 for the Falklands,  4 out of 6 for South Georgia and 9 on the Peninsular.  If you don't get off the boat it is for a good reason and safety comes first as the ship needs to drop anchor and we have to walk down a metal staircase on to the zodiac boats and this can not be done if there is a big swell in the sea.  Thankfully the Drakes Passage and Cape Horn were virtually flat calm (which I was very relieved about)Have fun and just take it all in..............
  • Reviewed December 2013
    Anonymous

    ANTARCTICA, FALKLANDS & SOUTH GEORGIA

    A real trip of a lifetime, although it was booked as such, I would love to be able to go again one day perhaps at a different time of the season. It far exceeded our expectations on every level.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having seen spectacular scenery and amazing encounters with wildlife, the last zodiac cruise we did in Fournier bay was completely surreal. Blue skies, flat calm and glass like sea, with icebergs and bergy bits all around, seals, penguins and other birds, and humpbacks to finish off with. It was like being on another planet, which in a way it is.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    All of the staff, especially the on-board experts were excellent and for the whole trip there was never any doubt that they were doing their utmost to make sure we had the best experience possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do ensure you get to Ushuaia at least a day (24hrs) before the ship departs. Peferably longer if possible. It will avoid the stress of relying on unpredicable airline schedules and adverse weather, making sure you get to the ship in good time for embarkation.Good thermal layers are essential. Pay heed to all the advice given about clothing. Practical, warm and waterproof.Waterproof bags are essential for any camera equipment. Dry bags are OK as long as the camera is padded inside it, as bags tend to get wet and bumped around in the zodiacs.All the showers on board have shower gel, moisturiser, shampoo, and conditioner dispensers. So save weight and leave your own stuff at home.There is a limited library on board (mostly reference books), so we were glad we took electronic readers (Kindle) as they save a lot of space and weight if you are an avid reader, especially on 'sea days'.Sunglasses (UV and polaroid), sunscreen and lip salve protection are essential. The ozone layer is at it's thinnest in this part of the planet.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Try and find out who the on-board experts are likely to be. These people made the trip so much more informative and interesting with the talks and presentations they did.There was a world renowned photographer, an Antarctic scientist with years of experience, a bird expert, an Antarctic naturalist with politcal experience and a published wildlife artist. Great people to listen to and fun to be with.The One Ocean staff members were also expert in their own filelds which included kayaking, zodiac driving, massage, yoga, as well as their own extensive knowledge of the wildlife and Antarctic conditions.The Russian crew were very professional and when not too busy, the bridge officers explained all the ship's functions and navigation. Having an 'open bridge' (except when distractions would not be welcome) made the long sea passages interesting and a good place to spot wildlife from.Safety of passengers was always paramount. Great lengths were taken to ensure everyone got ashore and back with no mishaps.The galley staff did an amazing job of providing a varied menu. Even in storm force winds there was a 3 course lunch/dinner available, with only the soup course not being practical to serve! Fresh 'home' baked pastries for afternoon tea every day too, so don't expect to lose any weight.
  • Reviewed February 2013
    Anonymous

    ANTARCTICA, FALKLANDS & SOUTH GEORGIA

    THE trip of a lifetime, itinery exceeded expectations AND so did the weather!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A true expedition  cruise aboard the excellent Vavilov (better than sister ship Ioffe because of its panoramic lounge)Highlights wereThe weather... and the changing lightStanding amongst 150.000 King penguins on South Georgia plus the Macaronis, Adeles Chinstraps and MagellenicsThe squadrons of Albatross and other birds surrounding the shipThe awesome vastness and remoteness of AntarticaSeeing  Orca  Humpbacks Dolphins and standing amongst fur seals and Elephant seals  and their pupsThe glaciers  icebergs growlers and pack ice The desolate remains of old whaling stations ... a poignant reminder of our past and a photographers delight    

    What did you think of your group leader?

    No exodus leader as such, Aaron the ships leader(A ONE Ocean director) was enthusiastic charming and authorative and  his team of photographers, lecturers and wildlife experts were very informative, food was plentiful if a little too American eg sweetcorn with salmon and sweet cherry soup! The pastry chef was AWESOME!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a travel mug to wander about the decks with your coffee/hot chocolate, towels and shampoo and conditioner are provided, as is a bathrobe. Rooms have decent fridge and tea making facilities . There are duty free shops in Ushaia to buy booze and one person bought 2 cases of wine on board!Take loads of camera memory! A laptop too to edit photos on the sea days.Take layers ..weather very changeable. "2  pairs of gloves a good idea and high factor sunscreen due to Ozone hole and good quality sunglasses.I took a monopod and would take  a tripod again and even invest in  a GOPro for some awsome time lapse photos of penguin colonies . The binoculars for hire were good quality Bushells as was the dripak for rib tranfers to shore which can be very wet.. so some sort of camera protection is essential. The wetskins clothing and thermal boots were good quality.Keep your fingers crossed as the internal flights have low baggage allowances ... my camera gear alone weighed 15kg but fortunately my carry on was not weighed although another traveller was caught.My Hotties hand warmers were excellent and would take again.Capture pictures of you fellow travellers in their bright red outfits... they provide interest and scale to photos and look great 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Spend a day or two in Buenos Aires and avoid Madrid Transfer (bad experience 2 yrs ago to Patagonia with Aerolineas Argentinas...awful plane , staff , food and delays) or Iberia and go DIRECT to BA with British Airways from Heathrow.Ushaia is a strange place ... like a ski resort. Plenty of clothes shops and restaurants. A hike to glacier(taxi to start of walk)  trip to prison  plus light lunch were all achieved and worthwhile before meeting in hotel Albatross (good spa) for late pm ships departure.... Only complaint of whole trip which I have emailed ONEOCEAN about was disembarcation morning..this was shambolic and as soon as you had stepped off the gangplank at 08.30 they really didnt want to know... we were driven 1/4 mile from the ship into a carpark where the driver disappeared without any instructions leaving  everyone on the coach. After 20 mins,  a search party with a spanish interpreter found him and it transpired  that we were all to sit on the coach until our transfer to the airport (which has no facilities of note) . We had a 18.00 flight and this was TOTALLY unreasonable ie  an unnecessary 8 hr wait ... we took our baggage off the coach and together with some South Africans hired a minibus and driver and had a lovely 5 hrs in the Tierra del Fuego national park which was beautiful before he dropped us at the Airport.  Those who had gone direct to the airport were very envious and fed up.Although Exodus advised a late PM flight on day of departure ( in case the ship was delayed arriving in Ushaia) , on talking to the ONEOCEAN boss Aaron they have only been late once in over 100 trips and this was  a delay of over a day...  so a late flight wouldnt have helped. Aerolineas however are unreliable and change /cancel flights regularly. So definately advise arriving early for ships  departure from Ushaia especially as they had an unplanned national strike on the day of our arrival and at least 15 passengers were affected . 
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