Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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  • 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 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 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.
  • Reviewed March 2014
    David Scott

    Antarctic circle quest

    One of the best experiences of my life. Icebergs, whales, seals, penguins, historic huts and awe inspiring (in the true sense of that overused term) scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were inspiring moments every day: spotting the first iceberg on the horizon, whales surfacing next to the zodiacs and boat, being served hot chocolate on a zodiac in the middle of an ice choked bay, stepping inside the time capsule of a historic hut, crossing the circle. I could come up with many more.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The experts on board really contributed to the pleasure of the voyage. They gave illuminating and interesting lectures during the sea days and then worked hard to ensure that excursions were a memorable experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A good quality down jacket will keep you comfortable when standing on deck while wildlife watching. Also a pair of binoculars is essential. They don't have to be expensive.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is not a cheap trip, but it never will be. It was a life changing experience as much as a holiday. Everything about Antarctica is as spectacular as it looks on TV or in books and was worth every penny. Go !
  • Reviewed February 2014
    Anonymous

    ANTARCTIC CIRCLE QUEST

    The trip delivered everything promised - and more.   The scenery and wildlife were as hoped for and the Zodiacs got us to the right places.   The programme of talks on passage days and in the evenings were excellent.   The ship (Ioffe) was better than I expected - comfortable, quiet, well maintained, and with a helpful crew.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It would be unfair to pick a single moment from so many!   Whale watching from the Zodiacs?   Sailing up the Lemaire Channel?   Observing life in a penguin rookery?  Visiting the huts of earlier explorers?   The variety of sizes, shapes, and colours of the icebergs?    Entering the harbour at Deception?

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chad was very effective at running the programme, which of necessity had to be flexible, and keeping us informed.   He was well supported by his helpers including a number of knowledgeable and approachable experts on the polar regions and their wildlife.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You will need warm clothing - obvious, but you may be sitting for three hours in a Zodiac with temperatures around freezing and in a chilling wind.   Walks ashore are less of a problem.The waterproof clothing and boots supplied on loan on the Ioffe were of good quality, there is no need to bring your own.    Take some coloured clips to identify your boots amongst the 90 other pairs!This is a very photogenic trip.   Takes lots of memory, particularly if you intend shooting movie clips of whales and penguins.The Ioffe rolls very little because it has effective stabilisers but if you are prone to seasickness it would be wise take medication for the Drake Passage. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I hesitated before booking because of the cost.   I don't regret it now - it was the right itinerary and the right size and style of ship for me.If you are a cautious take a spare camera and maybe a portable hard drive for downloading your camera.   It would be a shame to have a camera problem and no record of the trip!