We are new to cruising, but not to travel. Have lived in Asia, spent a month in New Zealand & about 15 vacation trips to Europe. We took an Alaskan inside passage cruise about 15 years ago that was positive & last Oct. a Greek Isle cruise on Oceania Rivera that went well. We normally do all the prep ourselves(half the fun of travel), rent a car & stay mostly in the country side in B&B's.
My cousin & his wife ask us to join them for a S American adventure on Seabourn. They had recommended a travel agent for our Greek Isle cruise & it was not a positive experience. Her first recommend was to take the cruise line transfer from airport to ship in Venice for $230. I investigated & found that the trip was only 10 miles, all overland & booked a bus transfer for $30. We did not take any ship excursions & were pleased with private arrangements with independent of travel agent.
My cousin was using the same travel agent for the upcoming trip & we agreed, but with the intent of making our on arrangements. We booked on American Airlines because they were $750 pp cheaper than the non-stop from Atlanta to Buenos Aires on Delta. We stopped in Miami & flew LAN Argentina to BA. LAN was very satisfactory.
The travel agent recommended 3 hotels & we selected Intersur Recoleta. The hotel arranged for our transfer from airport to hotel & total for room & transfer was $196. Hotel was quite,comfortable & convenient to sights & port. We arrived at 7 AM on Sat. & boarded the ship at 1 PM Sun, so sight seeing limited. We decided against one of the many tango dinner clubs & went to a neighbor hood restaurant, Trevor, that was excellent. We went to San Telmo area for Sunday market at Plaza Dorrago & also saw improv tango. After talking with folks on ship, would recommend your flight inbound stop at Rio for a couple days, then fly to Iguazu Falls for couple days. Two days in Buenos Aires is plenty.
The embarkation at port was a mad house, but Seabourn handled superbly. The taxi from hotel to port was 80 pesco, $15. The stateroom was excellent, quite, good beds, walk in closet & excellent room service. We went on the veranda daily to check weather or scenery, but never just sat there.
The ship docked at Montevideo at 7 AM & we took shuttle bus in & walked around the old town. Rambla walk may have been nice, but limited time prevented that. Not overly impressed.
Two days at sea & then anchored off Port Stanley, Thur. Tender ride about 30 minutes. Previous ships that week were unable to tender, because of winds & high seas.
We got a private tour(Nyree Heathman, email@example.com, $180 pp)to Volunteer Point to see the King Penquins for half the cruise excursion price. Every one travels in Land Rovers, two couples per truck. It is an uncomfortable 2 hour ride, most over peat bog, but the king's are worth it.
Fri.,we got great weather for our swing around the Horn & at 8 PM at 55 degrees S Lat., we had plenty of sun.
We anchored at Ushuaia, the southern most city in world. One of our cruise critic buddies had paid for a 8 person bus tour(Pira Tours) to Haberton Ranch & a Megallanic penquin rookery. It was about 5 1/2 hour tour, with scenic ride in & out.
Sun. was a trip into Chile's Glacier Alley & good weather permitted us to sail right up to Garibaldi Glacier, one of the highlights of the cruise. It is in Darwin Nat. Park, Terra del Fuego, Patagonia. Saw seals & a whale.
Mon. we anchored at Punta Arenas & Vertuoso travel agency provided a tour of Otway Bay & more megallanic penquins. We were about penquined out.
Tue. sailing thru Chilean fjords & Amalia Glacier, with some impressive calving.
Thur. we docked at Puerto Chacabuco & took a tour with enPatagonia Tours($95 pp, firstname.lastname@example.org) with about 18 other cruise critic mates. The best excursion of the trip & stop at campo or country house was high light. BBQ lamb, dancing & good look at farm life in that area. Mark from Wyoming was excellent guide.
Fri. anchored at Castro & we took taxi to municipal park for weekend market. So, so. Not much else to see.
Sat. at Puerto Montt we shared another private tour($68 pp, guide Don Manuel) with 10 cruise critic mates. Weather with light rain prevented us from seeing or visiting volcano's. Restaurant at Llanquihue Lake was very good & stop at Puerto Varas worth effort.
Sun. cruise day & shoreline reminded us of Tuscany, with green farms & tall cypress trees.
Mon. 8 AM dock at Valparaiso. We considered a private tour, but decided on cruise excursion($199 pp)to winery & ranch & drop off at Santiago airport at 6 PM for at 9:50 PM departure. Good tour.
Santiago airport & Amer. Air. check in was hectic.
We were disappointed with food on Seabourn. I have never sent a meal back in my life & sent two back on this cruise. Under cooked seafood. Oceania's food far better. Dining room service was slow, because of under staffing.
Entertainment was very good, as were briefing's. Probably will not sail Seabourn again, but highly recommend cruising the area & itinerary.