1. The staff didn't seem to prioritise our seeing and experiencing as much as possible. We felt that we were treated like sheep rather than sentient clients who had spent a lot of money for a unique and remote experience. While we understand that the places we travel to are highly regulated to preserve their existence, it seemed that the staff were performing a rote exercise in getting us somewhere and aborting or shortening any visits when conditions were not near perfect. We did not trust that the staff had our interests and maximizing our time with wildlife and on land as a priority.
As an example, we were supposed to have 4 days in Antarctica. Instead, we had less than 2.5. En route to Antarctica from South Georgia, we were told that there was a unique surprise opportunity to stop in the South Orkneys, a place none of the staff had ever been. We spent a day at Laurie Island (perhaps not coincidentally, the expedition leader's name was Laurie). This was described to us as a bonus or extra, but that evening, we were informed we still had a day at sea to reach Antarctica, so it meant our time there would be shortened by a day. We didn't have any input into this decision, which meant that we missed out on must-see highlights of Antarctica, like the Lemaire Channel or Port Lockroy. We will have to go back to experience Antarctica.
Moreover, our final day in Antarctica was shortened to finish by 11am due to an impending storm in the Drake Passage. We were told avoiding the storm would lengthen our route and this was a necessary change. We were thus surprised when we reached the entrance of the Beagle channel (just over 5 hours from Ushuaia) nearly 24 hours before we were due in Ushuaia. The ship slowed noticeably from the typical speed of 13 knots to 3-4 knots, as we would be well ahead of time to meet the pilot who would navigate us through the channel. That evening, we circled the port of Ushuaia all night. It seems that we missed our day in Antarctica for no discernible reason.