Belinda Cochrane

Region: Arctic

Destinations: Svalbard

Ship: m/v Plancius

The polar bear experience.... I travelled together with my partner and mother-in-law, the latter of whom is mad about bears (all sorts of bears). Highlights - emphasis on safety, good advice preparing for landings, seeing one "good" polar bear (who came close to investigate the ship) and other interesting wildlife. The cabins were comfortable and larger than I expected. The food was of high standard throughout (although I'm not that fond of barbeques). The multi-national and highly educated staff were all approachable and provided excellent presentations on topics for which they were expert. It was also good to have some "story telling" about experiences in the Arctic/Spitzbergen specifically. More please! Criticisms: we learnt about this tour and booked this through an external company and did not have much information about the tour in order to fill out the pre trip paperwork requirements. (In particular - the physical expectation/requirements in order to go out on the zodiac trips. This was especially relevant to my mother-in-law, who is not physically agile these days). Also, very last minute to issue tickets. We had already arrived in Svalbard!! NB tipping only in USD, Euro

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