Monthly Archives: March 2014

The only word to describe it, is…. Awesome!

To all At Antarctica Bound

Le Boreal 18 feb 2013

Superlatives abound – a truly amazing experience especially as we ‘bagged’ our 7th continent on a brilliant sunny day with blue skies and no wind.  What a team – from the captain to the chambermaid everyone worked together to ensure our experience was second to none.  The expedition team were extremely knowledgeable and loved their work. If something interesting was spotted from the bridge the microphone would be lifted and this information shared with all passengers. ‘Awesome’ is a word used by today’s young people but this is the only word which could describe our experience.  Thanks to all for making it such a memorable experience.

The Boreal is a beautiful ship – very intimate – not all cabins have balconies although the blurb in the brochures says they do!  The ones without balconies on deck 3 are larger

Thanks to your team @AB for arranging accommodation and transfers

Comments    Dazzzler suites were fine – good location unfortunately there is building work going on on both sides of the building – no long lies!  Excellent English spoken by reception staff – nothing was a trouble to them

Transfers – not always when stated – obviously people cannot be at the hotel exactly at the time stated but after quarter of an hour has passed beyond the expected time, I get twitchy!  The time on the pick up schedule was different from ours so that caused a bit of concern

Charter flight by Ponant would have been good – we had to go 1st class (Air Argentine) to get luggage allowance – hardly first class!!!!  No alcohol and a ‘bun’ to eat!!!!!!!!

Tango evening was good and to be recommended.

Other trips we did were Graffiti tour, Argentine Experience and a sightseeing tour (all arranged through Opodo)  all to be recommended.  Also yellow hop on hop off bus available in BA – I had searched the Internet to no avail looking for one – expected the traditional red one but……………..

Best exchange rate was on the street!!!

Beware of organised gangs working the underground – husband had his wallet stolen –

Feel free to use my review if you wish

Thanks again and hopefully Lynn P will get my credit card problem solved

Regards

Ann & John MacLeod

Penguins, Orcas, Humpbacks, Seals and (of course) Icebergs

Hi Lynn / Steven

 

We had an absolutely amazing time.  I can’t speak highly enough of the Quark Expedition team – their knowledge, enthusiasm and engagement with the group were exceptional.  I would recommend them to anyone thinking of going. The brilliant weather, the fact that we landed and/or zodiac cruised 5 times below the Circle as well as landing in the usual “tourist” sites made this a really special trip. Plus we had penguins, orcas, humpbacks and more penguins and leopard seals, one of which punctured a zodiac with a friendly nip. Oh, icebergs too of course and endless beautiful scenery.

 

I will sort through my photos “soon” and if I have any worthy of sharing, I will forward them.  Quark gave us a DVD which has all the best photos from the group plus a highlights reel which should encourage anyone to give it a go.  I don’t know if they would let you use or see the highlights – but you could ask them.

 

I am sorely tempted to book another trip right now – but will wait until my rational head returns before doing anything.  As a tip for future travellers, I’d suggest staying a couple of nights in Ushuaia. Quark booked us into Los Cauquenes which was a far better hotel than I was expecting. Weather permitting, there are several excursions around Ushuaia. You won’t see the Magellan penguins in the Beagle Channel on the main trip because the ships leave late and arrive early in the day, so if penguins are your thing, take the penguin island trip or the channel cruise. The concierge at Los Cauquenes organised a driver and guide to take the 2 of us into the National Park for a 4 hour tour / picnic which we really enjoyed (don’t bother with the train – you will see more on foot). The hotel offers several other “experiences” which I assume are just as good. We thought our picnic would be a sandwich in a paper bag – but in fact we were sent a menu the day before (3 choices of main and dessert) and it was served on a table and chairs with hot coffee by the driver in a location of our choice in the park.

 

 

Regards

 

Marie

Perfect! Despite bronchitis

Dear Lynn,

You must think that I am extremely rude not emailing you before now and telling you about our cruise.

Well, we had a fantastic holiday and the cruise was really excellent. The only major setback was that I had managed to catch a bug on a short trip to Geneva before we departed for Argentina and started the the cruise with a stinking cold and cough. This, of course, morphed into bronchitis and I had two trips to the ship’s doctor. but this didn’t stop us having a good time.

The ship was perfect. Just over 200 passengers, spotlessly clean, excellent food and not too much of it and the wine wasn’t bad except that the red was undrinkable in my opinion. The cruise was very much orientated on the wildlife aspect which, although we realised that at the time, was a little too overbearing at times. For instance, do i wish to be woken up in the night to get up and see a couple of whales! No!  It was a shame that we didn’t visit Port Stanley in the Falklands as the small British contingent would have liked that. Incidentally, we were surprised how few British there were on board just three couples and one family of four.

We knew it was a French ship and over half the passengers were French. No problem for me as I speak the language but not good for non-speakers. The commentary in English was always less than half that in French and I ended up by having to translate. The staff were excellent all of them knowing our likes and dislikes in no time.

Sandy ended up as being very much the Captain’s favourite so we were lucky to dine with him twice and get to know him on other occasions.

One major problem was the embarkation and disembarkation procedure. We solved the embarkation as we were staying in a hotel prior to boarding but disembarkation was a shambles. The port of Ushuaia need to be consulted on this in order to arrive at a positive solution. On getting our luggage from the ship to outside the port entrance I told Sandy that if I didn’t get a heart attack after everything that I had to push and carry then I never shall!

Finally, thank you to you and everybody we spoke to for all your help and assistance.

Best wishes,

Ian

Antarctica – tick that item off the bucket list!
Dear Steven, Tina and Lynn,
Thank you for your email welcoming Caryll and I back home. We arrived back last evening after staying a couple of nights in Buenos Aires en route.
Regarding L’Austral, we cannot offer enough praise to all staff. Both the ship’s crew and the expedition leaders worked exceptionally hard to ensure as much time as possible could be given either ashore, zodiac cruising and lectures on board.
The weather was kind to us throughout the 16 days and extra visits were crammed in, including at The Falkland Islands, South Georgia, The South Orkneys (Monroe Island) and the Antarctic Peninsular. We were able to go as far south through The Lemaire Channel and Pleneau (both zodiac cruising and landing on Pleneau Island. (Port Charcot was planned but was still iced in, so Pleneau was a good alternative).
The best way to describe the entire experience:
1. Antarctica Bound – A top rate service. Whenever queries were raised, they were dealt with efficiently and with a quick response. We would not hesitate to recommend you to others and to use you again if the opportunity arose.
2. L’Austral – Well above the average. Forever helpful and smiling faces from all crew members and expedition leaders. An extremely high level of safety, especially in embarking / disembarking zodiacs and shore landings. Excellent dining and service. A clean and well run ship. Absolutely no problems.
3. Ushuaia transfers and LAN Flights Buenos Aires to Ushuaia and return – Transfers well organised and efficient. LAN flights…. well what do you expect on a charter flight. It is worth noting that the aircraft used was an Airbus 320. This aircraft has rather small overhead lockers in the cabin and hence the need to stress the importance of keeping hand baggage within the 8 kgs limit. We had no problems but others did. Even those with rolled up red parkas had difficulties !!!
For Caryll, Antarctica was on her holiday ‘hit list’, so she has ticked that box.
For me, I spent 2 summers in the 1970’s working in Antarctica and just knew I had to go back. I am now very satisfied and can close that door.
We haven’t had time to analyse the best parts of the holiday nor to look at out best photos, so that will have to wait for another day.
What next for us……….. we would very much like to go northwards during a forthcoming winter to see The Northern Lights but not necessarily on a cruise. Iceland seems to appeal. So please keep us informed on your best offers.
Once again, thank you very much for the support you gave us and the help to make it such a memorable holiday.
Best regards
JohnCope