Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake — Reviews
This was the most amazing experience! The expedition crew was brilliant from Shane who was there everyday to make sure everyone gets onto land dry; Meghan with the stand up paddleboard excursion; Ruslan who happened to be our Zodiac guide for most of the excursions and Ed for sharing his Everest experience, to the rest of the crew. Everything was impeccably organised. Hope to see you all in the North Pole one day!
The trip started out well. The weather was fine. Not only is the ship quite comfortable, but the expedition team is excellent. We all enjoyed experience and learned a lot. The cabins, dinning facilities and service, lounges, etc are all satisfactory and good. Of course, our trip also had some extraordinary experiences-- due to bad weather, our return flight was delayed five days. Needless to say, the anxieties caused by the uncertainty were high during the delayed period. But the staff was top-notch and dealt with this unexpected long delay (we were told we set the weather related delay record for the Quark Antarctic expeditions). Still, all passengers were treated well. No shortage of anything. In fact, the staff team actually tried to do some extra landings during the wait. In the end, despite all the delays and disruptions, we were all able to safely get home. A major downside of this delay is the financial loss for those of us whose flights and lodging had to be cancelled, changed, or rebooked. This makes purchasing travel insurance that can cover such unforeseen problems that much important. Overall, Quark did the very good job. We would go with Quark for some other expedition trips.
We had a great experience with Quark. The accommodations on the ship were first class, the bed and pillows very comfortable, the cabin and ship was very clean, the meals were excellent. The shipboard personnel were very friendly and accommodating. The guides on the daily Zodiak expeditions were very knowledgeable and safety was of prime importance. The areas where we landed afforded us an opportunity to see five types of seals, numerous penguins and seabirds. We also saw Orca and humpback whales. My only concern was not the trip itself, it was when I called to obtain some information and indicated I would book the trip once I discussed it with my wife. I called back the woman I talked to and left a message to call me -- she never returned my call. So I booked with someone else. It seems the sales reps do not return phone calls or emails that are left when they are out of the office, this should really be addressed. I must say that when the sales rep was in the office my emails were responded to quickly and with the information requested. I would definitely highly recommend Quark to anyone anticipating a trip to Antarctica and flying the Drake is the only way to go.
Quark totally exceeded all my expectations and I wholly recommend them.
Overall, my experience exceeded my already soaring expectations. The guides were sensational, the shipboard hospitality exceptional, the pace perfect, and the onshore adventures were those of a lifetime! The weakness: wholly inadequate instructions were provided on when and where to assemble on the morning of initial departure from Santiago's airport. Vague and even misleading instructions nearly caused me to miss the entire experience; Quark's lapse on this matter initially soured me on the entire program. Very specific directions on the precise time/place to gather for the initial flight to Punta Arenas should be supplied every participant!