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.