Antarctica was AMAZING. It blew my mind away. I spent the time of my life there and I can't wait to go back!
The return to reality was very hard, but I'm hopeful I'll go back to Antarctica soon, maybe on a different route accross South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. I need to start saving money again :)
How to describe what I saw and experienced is something I’m still working on coming to terms with. You could not have made it out to be that good through email or talking to me as I would not have believed you that it could be that fantastic.
There was not one part of the trip that was not AAA plus in every way from the fantastic ship crew and staff to the expedition staff and they all know you by name within the first day on board.
As for Antarctica itself, you can’t capture what you’re seeing on a camera, you need to sit down and just absorb what your mind and your eyes are seeing. As for the penguins when you first land on the beach in the zodiac and they are 3 feet from you looking gorgeous and they are wild you suffer from information overload as your brain tries to take it all in.
I got to see snow falling for the first time - it was almost a white out. To walk on the sea ice inside the caldera from of the ship gangway was great, they played soccer on the ice.
I could go on forever about the fantastic trip I had and it was with your hard work that got me there.
We had an absolutely fabulous time on our trip. Thank you so much for your help.. The Iceland stay was great .The hotel staff were very friendly and helpful.The food in Iceland was spectacular as was the scenery.
We had 4 nights of northern lights and got some great photos.The Greenland scenery,the HUGE icebergs and the fabulous expedition staff added up to wonderful trip that we will recount for years to come.
Thanks again for your help.
The trip was amazing. The One Ocean staff was incredible. I did not know I was booked on such a historic trip. I can't believe I was so lucky to be part of burying Frank Wild's ashes next to Shakleton. Meeting Alexandra Shakleton, Angie Butler, Paul Rose, David McGonigal, Mike Wain was such a privilege.
I can't praise enough the One Ocean staff and the ship's crew. Thank you for all your pre-departure help.
I am looking at the Artic in 2013!
Our trip on the m/v Plancius thoroughly exceeded our expectations. Our room was big and comfortable (we couldn't have been happier with being beside the observation lounge, room 503). The staff was exceptional, the boat was fantastic, the food was great, and the trip was phenomenal. We met a lot of great people on board as well. We will certainly be recommending this trip to our friends.
We will pass your info along to anyone interested in any polar trips, and will be in touch if/when we consider another one.
Great trip. It was life changing. Loved the expedition leaders, the crew, the captain, the ship. Am still vibrating from the experiences. Made good friends for life. Thanks for helping me set it up. They must have had a hard time filling the ship -- there were about 10 travel agents on board who went for free, and most other passengers paid half price. No twin share available though when I got on board. I thought that was very weird. But in the quad, my roommates had a good sense of humor, so there was laughter and camaraderie. Some woman had been on board on the prior trip and held the bottom bunks for her group, so I had a top bunk. A little difficult to get in and out of in the Drake when we had 69 knot gusts and up to 45' waves in a Force 10 storm. I tied myself into the bunk and was fine. Not a pretty picture, but a grand adventure. I didn't get sick. Tell Chuck I had the electrical watch-thingie he suggested and I think it helped. Either that or I am just susceptible to the idea that it worked. :) I took 2,000 total videos and pictures. I'll be sending them all to you to see (just kidding).
The bottom line is that I had a great time.
The whole trip was over the top amazing. The crew and tour guides were all simply terrific. The food was unbelievable at every meal . The accommodations were as described and yet better still. I have not one complaint or negative comment and I am a fussy traveler. On the packing side, the only additional suggestions I would make are to take light and heavy gloves, which I did , and wore the light gloves most of the time. Also, one guy had procured boot liners and said he was wearing only one pair of socks. Amy and I wore 3 or 4 pair of smart wool and other heavy socks and still had cold feet at the end of some days, but the guy with the boot liners was fine. BTW, Ushuaia turned out to be a great little town with stuff to do and great little stores and even casinos. The whole trip was perfect and I would like to do it again one day.
Thanks for all your help,
The trip exceeded my expectations significantly. On my own the trip might have been in black and white. The expedition staff fleshed out the color. The ship was more like a home than a holiday house. I am sure that there are other boats and other expedition companies, but once you have been to this level, why would you look around for something better?
Although I did not expect to go ashore at Elephant Island, when the morning broke clear and sunny, hopes shot up. Owing to a big swell the boats could not be launched and even if they had, the shore break would have had to have been dealt with. That probably was my only disappointment but it was safety related.
I am already thinking of something for the future, possibly the Arctic and I would use you again for that booking.
The Antartica trip was SPECTACULAR and the Ushuiai crew was AWESOME!! The Drake passage treated us so well especially on the way back to Ushuaia that the ship crew jokingly told us we should not have gotten our Antartica certificate because we did not experience a true Drake passage!!! (Thanks to God for that!!).
I have referred somebody to you, her name is Karen and her boyfriend (I don't remember his name), and they also live in Miami. Also, if I win the lottery I will contact you to go to Alaska in Summer. I would love to quit working and keep traveling!!! (LOL)
It was great to get to know you. Your presence undoubtedly made a memorable experience more enjoyable. I must say that this trip was most pleasant and quite exciting. The Ocean Nova had a superb crew.
I will definitely keep you in mind for my next polar adventure (perhaps in a few years time). I shall also refer to you any of my colleagues or relatives who would express an interest in visiting the Arctic or Antarctic.
My heartfelt and sincere thanks to you and Lynn for your helpful advice and kind assistance!
Very best regards,
Words can't even begin to describe the great time I had aboard Akademik Ioffe. It was AWESOME! The sights and wildlife were simply breathtaking. The entire crew (Chad, Maggie, Sarah, Liz, Nate, Rose & Andreas who made sure that our throats didn't go dry, Boris and the Russian crew) went above and beyond to make sure we had a great time. Super super set of people! I am already missing them! I left the ship after making new friends both from the crew and fellow passengers.
Thanks for making all the arrangements for me and patiently answering my numerous questions. There is no way I could've done this trip without your help.
Once again thanks.
We ended up having a fabulous time! The staff on the One Ocean ship were wonderful and very knowledgeable and we think we lucked out with the new ship.
We want to thank you for all the work you did in getting us the new tour so we could experience Antarctica! We truly appreciate all your trouble and work to get us booked with One Ocean. It was a marvelous experience.
We aren’t planning our next trip yet, but we will keep you in mind when we get ready for the Arctic Circle. J We keep pushing the Antarctic trip to our friends, but so far they all think we are crazy. Perhaps they will change their minds when they see our pictures.
Thanks again and Happy New Year!
Our experience exceeded all expectations. The scenery was awe inspiring. The penguins were endlessly amusing and photogenic. The seals were plentiful and whales were sighted on several occasions. The ship's crew and the expedition staff were terrific. The ship itself was spotlessly clean, well organized and everything worked. We thank you for your unbiased assistance in helping us choose a ship and dealing with our many questions. I will certainly recommend Polar Cruises if anyone expresses interest in a voyage of their own.
All the best.
We had an amazing time on the trip! We could not be more happy with the customer service provided by both Polar Cruises and One Ocean Expedition. The staff & crew on the ship were wonderful! Thank you so much for all of your help. We will definitely refer any friends to Polar Cruises when booking!
"The trip was AMAZING!!! I think we actually lucked out getting on the ship...you're right, it was worth it. The ship was great and the expedition staff were a lot of fun. I wouldn't have changed a thing. Thank you so much for doing all that you did. I want to go back in a big way, but I'm not sure I could do the Drake Passage again haha.
I passed your company's name along to some court staff that I work with often. Maybe you'll hear from them. They were pretty awed by the pictures I took."
It was an amazing trip - and not just because the ship didn't sink this time...:-) We can't say enough great things about the ship and it's staff. We were extremely lucky to have Aidan Dooley onboard who has portrayed Tom Crean for several years in a one-man show and he performed the show complete with props and costumes over 2 nights. He also wore his authentic outerwear on the Shackleton hike. Plus, having Ian Tamblyn onboard was also a unique experience - what a great singer-songwriter! The weather was near-perfect - only a couple of days of rainy weather in South Georgia but we made quite a few more landings than on our last trip and they were always much longer - 4 hours plus! The food was excellent, the cabin was really good. We spent quite a bit of time on the bridge as the Captain was really good about having passengers up there. Plus he drove zodiacs a few times, did some polar swims, and plays the blues harmonica!!
Again, thank you to you, Lynn, and Chuck for all of your help, patience with all of our questions, and your knowledge. We felt really confident going into the trip knowing that you knew so much about the ship and it's history.
We had a few emails waiting for us when we got home about whether it was our ship that had trouble in the Drake Passage!
Thanks for the info. I’ll keep you in mind for possible referrals.
And yes, the trip was truly spectacular and everything that I had hoped for. The staff was enthusiastic and bubbling, the ship was excellent and the new friends were wonderful. I’m still going through the pics and I’ll have some good ones I think. I’m not really a great photographer –I take snapshots, but that’s OK for me. We did get a DVD of a collection of other peoples photos, so I can use them when I want to show off really good shots !!
And the arctic is a possibility in the future – but no immediate plans for now.
Marilyn and I will probably plan another escapade – but no plans or targets yet.
Thanks for your help in making this trip come true for me.
It was nice meeting you (in-person) and thanks for all your help! This trip was definitely a once in a lifetime experience; absolutely amazing!
We will definitely be referring the trip to friends and polarcruises for the ones that are interested in the future.
Sorry for the delay in providing feedback on the Around Spitzbergen expedition. Firstly, it was a really wonderful trip which we both enjoyed very much. The guides and crew were really excellent, in particular the expedition leader Valeska and her team were very good at planning all the landing and the various walks. They were also very good when one of the guests had an accident on the walks and managed the situation well - including taking care of the other guests and stretchering the injured person back to the boat. We also enjoyed the lectures they provided in the evening. One feedback is to perhaps postpone the first night's lecture to the second night, simply because some of the guests may be jet-lagged or sleep deprived after travelling to Longyearbyen (as in my case travelling 24 hours to get there) and was a shame to miss it.
Second, I would also say that the captain and his team did a really excellent job in maneuvering the boat in the pack ice as well as following the feeding humpback whales we saw. Lastly, the hotel head, Arnold, his team led by Glenn were very friendly and lively, providing many humourous moments for all of us. We did look forward to their daily announcements.
The only other feedback for modification I have (which may be specific to our trip) is to perhaps a slightly adapted programme for birdwatchers vs non-birdwatchers. There were 2 birding groups on the trip and for the non-birdwatchers, one zodiac ride & landing seemed a little protracted. Perhaps it may be possible to offer a shorter time with the birds for the non-bridwatchers? Appreciate it is difficult to please everyone.
Altogether, a very smooth and enjoyable trip.
Hope the above is useful to you. I also appreciate the great service and information provided by Polar Cruises and will be happy to make recommendations in the future. Thank you very much!
The trip to Antarctic was a TRIP OF A LIFETIME. I had an amazing adventure, and One Ocean does a top notch job. Enclosed are two pix of some of your other clients booked on the same sailing.... I'm on the far right.
I've already talked up the trip to many people, and will of course, encourage them to book through Polar Cruises. One suggested for feedback is that there was very little communication when I got to BA about the transfer to the trip etc. I didn't know if I was on my own to get to the airport or if there was going to be arranged transportation. The hotel in BA was not helpful with information. That evening I arrived I FINALLY got some communication (at 9PM an envelope was slid under my door - when we were going to be picked up at 2:30AM for the transfer the next day) delivered to me. I would suggest that Polar Cruises provide this information AHEAD of time to those that get the pre-package trip hotel/flight combo. I know other people that were part of that transfer, were also in the dark.
All said, it was an amazing experience and I am so happy to have had the experience to visit the continent. I'm now a proud member of the seven continents club.
Happy New Year!
By evening, we were aboard our ship and sailing down the Beagle Channel.
The soaring albatrosses that followed the ship were to be constant companions along our journey.
We were expecting large penguin rookeries and beautiful seabirds. We knew we would see icebergs and glaciers. What we did not realize is how these elements come together to create immensely powerful scenes bursting with life. We loved the convoluted geology of places like Brown Bluff and Bailey Head and how the wildlife adapted to it. The uniqueness of the landscape at each landing amazed us. The light also surprised us with its beauty, constantly changing during the long austral days. The sunsets, beams of light glowing off distant icebergs, the occasional blue raft covered with penguins, the sunrises. We were always the last lingerers on the outer decks, as well as the first ashore and the last to board the ship during shore excursions!
We were extremely fortunate with the weather. We know we had more than our fair share of clear blue skies. Even the dreaded Drake Passage turned into a glassy lake! We made every landing, although our stay at Salisbury Plains was cut short by fierce Katabatic winds. We met Tim and Pauline in Grytviken and members of the British Antarctic Survey team at King Edward Point. It was inspiring to share conversation, a joke, and a beer with all of them.
The staff on the ship was great. Everyone was enthusiastic, dedicated, and fun to hang out with. We were by far the youngest passengers aboard the ship, and we had a lot more in common with the staff. From knocking on our door at 1am to let us know about the rising full moon to sharing a wealth of information and a lot of laughs, the staff contributed enormously to our experience. We are quite certain that we'll be organizing a trip together with at least one staff member in the near future.
One aspect of the expedition leadership that we greatly appreciated was the sincere and personal commitment to education, conservation, and environmental stewardship. We are certainly not the only passengers who will continue to follow and support conservation issues in Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falklands.
In closing, thank you very much for helping us to make this trip happen. You provided us with helpful logistical information and a great cabin. We will certainly recommend Polar Cruises to anyone who is interested in traveling these locations. As for ourselves, we are already ready to return to the Ice!
"Superb. One of the best vacations ever. And now I have visited all seven continents, woo-HOO! And you forgot to tell us that the penguins are card-carrying members of SAG, those little devils -- talk about begging to have their pictures taken!"
"No doubt this was the best, most interesting trip we have been on. Better than the Galapagos in that Antarctica is so remote. The staff was the big difference."
The trip surpassed all our wildest expectations.
Each day was better than the one before. Just when you thought it couldn't get any better--it would!
The ship was comfortable. The crew and expedition staff were great. The food was fabulous. I still can't figure out how they kept the fruit and lettuce so fresh for 19 days! We did hit some rough seas here and there (although the Drake wasn't as bad as I had imagined!). Not many passengers seemed to be immobilized by mal de mer, however. I think between what the ship doctor had and the remedies that people brought, the seasickness was minimized. But please continue to be honest with folks signing up for the trip, that it is a legitimate concern. It helped us go prepared. The clothing recommendations that you give are perfect. Layers, layers, layers and Gore-Tex outer layer. Our LL Bean wellies were perfect, even for all the hiking and trekking we did onshore. South Georgia is a hidden gem (in spite of the nasty overcast, windy, rainy weather!). We really enjoyed our stops there. Then amazingly, the fates were with us and we stopped at Elephant Island. Some folks even landed on Pt. Wild before the tide rose too high for the rest of us to land--but we had a great zodiac ride and got a good look. Great chinstrap penguin rookery there.
Deception Island was totally fascinating. John did the polar dip, I was just too tired to dress and undress and re-dress yet again, to lay in a lava hole with warm water! (OK, I was a weenie!).
We had the best weather in Antarctica--sunny and warmer temps! We even saw an Emperor penguin (all by itself!). That was totally unexpected, as we knew we were out of their range. And we had a wedding. An Australian couple married by the Russian ship captain on Antarctica! (Probably not legal, but we had a lot of fun celebrating!). Even the Gentoo penguins seemed enthralled by the festivities! Fabulous barbeque on the back deck in Paradise Harbor (which lived up to its name!).
There really weren't any disappointments. Your advice and literature that you sent was incredibly helpful. Thanks again for all your assistance and patience with our questions.
It really was a trip of a lifetime.
Thanks for the note. We had an incredible voyage, from start to end. It was well coordinated, informative and truly eye-popping; an adventure of a lifetime. The weather turned out great, even though we heard just before we left that the weather for the immediate preceding two months had been awful. We only had one slightly rough day on our return crossing the Drake Passage. We saw many types of seals, penguins, whales, and birds (all of which I am sure you are well aware). We had a great experience with killer whales who put on quite a show swimming all around the ship. The area had received an inordinate amount of snow recently, resulting in a couple of landing changes, but all went smoothly. The recent snow made the White Continent even more white. Spectacular! We climbed snowy peaks, slid down (on our back and butts) self-made 1500 ft snow-toboggan runs, and swam in the ice-cold Southern Ocean followed by a dip in the ash of the caldera of an active volcano.
I had high expectations before I left and the experience exceeded those expectations.
Your recommendation to have dinner at Kaupe was an excellent one, as my daughter and I had one of the best meals I’ve ever had (and that is a high compliment coming from someone who has eaten at some of the best places in the world, including New York). Thanks again for all your help. We may return in the near future (north or south) and if we do, we will call on you. I will certainly recommend you to others.
Hope you had a great holiday season (we did).
WOW what a trip on the Silver Explorer!
The expedition team was incredible and beyond our expectations. Didn't think any group could beat our past experience, but learned several trained together or under someone on one of the other teams. They are all incredible and now understand the workings of expedition teams much better.
The food, wine, music, all the staffs and especially our Butler and Suite Attendant were beyond expectations and certainly added to the great memories. The Expedition Suite was incredible and I truly think the best on the ship. We really lucked out in that opportunity and choice. Could certainly spoil us for the future!!! The best was being given complimentary laundry for the trip! I could have stayed aboard forever!
Saw one of the greatest polar bears just sleeping on the hillside. Stretched and turned over, just as great as the one on shore eating a - they thought - reindeer carcass. The walrus herd, the whales, the great landscapes, flowers, birds, ice formations - all wonderful to see and experience.
We met Susie and Joe from Colorado, who had booked with you by chance. They were a fun couple, although Joe was sick for most of the trip) and so glad they found you to work with. We also told several about the North Pole trip and we hope some will truly investigate it and contact you.
Thank you for helping make this all happen. Keep us in mind if anything comes up similar to the Northwest Passage trip again or if some sale is available that you think we might be interested in. We have this Arctic gear!!
Good to talk with you this morning. Thank you, Sharon, Lynn, and Polar Cruises for making our trip on the Adventurer just perfect. Thanks to your effective communication, we were able to switch from the Orlova to the Adventurer when it looked like the Orlova might not sail. It was a wise choice so thanks for strongly suggesting it. With the Orlova not sailing, your work to get us one of the last cabins available on the Adventurer meant we were able to have a better experience at the same price. (Note: there was at least one couple who arrived in Ushuaia, Argentina who did not know that the Orlova was not sailing. They unfortunately had booked with another tour operator.)
(I misspoke when I said the Ushuaia ship this morning. It was the Orlova in the bay when we left.)
I can't wait to start to painting penguins, whales, scenery, etc from the trip. When I get some paintings done, I'll let you know.
Thank you so much!!!