Steve, hi there
I went on the Polar Pioneer in Nov 2012 to Antarctica with Aurora Expeditions .
The route was Falklands => South Georgia => Antarctica => Ushuaia
I flew down to the Falklands from Santiago, Chile on LAN airlines.
On that tour, we only spent a few hours in Port Stanley before boarding the ship, it did not really give a great deal of time to explore the Falkland islands , so if you want to explore, arriving a few days ahead of time definitely helps
The Polar Pioneer compared to other expedition ships is quite small, it accommodates around 50 passengers and then another 20 or so which make up the ship's crew and Aurora staff, whilst not a luxury ship, it is very comfortable and clean .
I was in a twin share cabin which was quite ok for two people. There are two large dining rooms and a very comfortable bar/lounge area that are available for use 24 hours in case you get tried of the cabin.
The dining service and food onboard is quite good , with the chef catering for all types of diets/food requirements .
Snacks, fruit , tea , coffee and juices are available 24hrs in the dining area.
Unfortunately for me, what was supposed to be an adventure of a life time turned out to be an absolute nightmare due to the rude and highly unprofessional attitude of two staff members - The Tour leader - Don and the kayaking instructor - Al .
The extent of this terribly rude attitude from both very disrespectful men completely ruined my tour, and as this happened at the very start of the tour and I was stuck on the ship for the remaining weeks in a very uncomfortable atmosphere .
Suffice to say , I could not get off the ship fast enough when it docked in Ushuaia, Argentina.
After an official compliant , Aurora Expeditions did apologies for the action of their staff, but that will never erase the terrible experience I suffered.
The other staff members and the ships crew were very friendly and professional.
I "may" one day use Aurora Expeditions again , but one thing is for sure , I will NEVER go on another Aurora Expedition's tour if either Don or Al are part of the expedition staff. I would suggest you make inquiries on the staff members on your tour.
Good luck steve, Antarctica is magically !
Edited: 11:25 am, September 15, 2013