Most Inspirational Moment
Being woken at 0415 one morning with the announcement that a polar bear was on the ice sheets approaching the ship. We all rushed on deck and watched the bear approach so close to the ship, looking curiously at the yellw parka-clad tourists gazing down. The bear was alongside for many minutes, allowing us all to appreciate her beauty. Despite the fatigue later that day, the early morning call was really appreciated.
Thoughts on Group Leader
There was no Exodus rep on the ship; the Expedition Leader was Ryan from Quark. He, the Captain and the Expedition team worked hard together to ensure that all the guests on board had the best opportunites to see different animals, birds and scenery. At one point we were the furthest east of all ships in the archipeligo and at another time, the furthest north - we really did feel like Explorers! Ryan managed the Expedition Team well, so that everyone contributed and we had the benefit of their combined knowledge, whilst interacting with different members of the Team on the Zodiacs, the hikes and the special paddling/kayaking activities. Ryan was an excellent and effective Expedition Leader.
Advice for Potential Travellers
Be prepared for early mornings if animals are seen as their sighting is shared over the ship's tannoy. Ensure you have waterproof trousers and a waterproof day pack for getting in & out of the Zodiacs. Layers are essential for staying warm, not not too hot!
The only issue we had was the airport to ship transfers. On arrival at the airport on Day 2, 3 buses took us into the City centre. We were told we could leave stuff on the coach, as we would later have the same bus to take us from the city (after free time, a city tour and a visit to the museum) - we didn't because we couldn't tell which bus was which! The procedure after disembarkation was even worse. There was only one coach. We left the ship in the sequence of 4 groups we were in on board, but no-one counted the number of people disembarking against the number of seats on the coach, so several of us were left standing outside waiting for the coach to return from the city after dropping off the first busload. We were all told to be in the square at 1200 to get the coach to the airport - still only one coach for 115 guests. But this time they insisted that we boarded by cabin number! It was pouring with rain, we were all trying to shelter on the verandah of a shop to stay dry and couldn't all hear the instructions being given. Why not tell us to be there at different times depending on your cabin number e.g. 1200 for cabins up to 210, 1210 for cabins 211 - 350, 1220 for cabins higher than 350??? So the last busload were waiting there for half an hour in the pouring rain. We assume this travel process happens regularly, so why was it so shambolic? This was not a good end to the holiday. Also, our bags were helpfully taken directly from the ship to the airport, but left outside unattended and in the rain!