It was our first time in South America and our 18th cruise with Celebrity. We decided to stay a few days in Buenos Aires prior to embarkation. We settled on Hotel Etoile in Recoleta facing the cemetery. It was an excellent value for the price ( less than $100 a night). Large bedrooms, good breakfast buffet, indoor-outdoor pool, nice staff. We love to walk and felt we were walking distance from most attractions ( except La Boca).
Do not miss teatro Colon which has a nice guided tour, Plaza De Mayo, La Boca, Calle Florida, Avenida de Mayo, La Americana empanada restaurant, the cemetery etc.. Nice city and we felt very safe.
The embarkation was awful, the port is just not equipped properly but as soon as we got on the ship we felt as if we had come home.
The Cruise Director Alejandro is exceptional, funny and interesting. Most of the shows were excellent and we enjoyed the Tango lessons with the Pampa Devils and their show as well. The food at the Main Dining Room has improved and the service everywhere was flawless. More care however should be given to hand sanitizing at the entrance of the restaurants.
On the day that we were still in Buenos Aires we took a celebrity excursion to a hacienda with gauchos and lunch. It was a beautiful day at La Mimosa and it gave us a chance to see the surroundings of the city.
In Uruguay , the two next ports were Montevideo and Punta Del Este. When you exit the ship you are given a walking tour map of he area which is adequate and interesting, an excellent initiative.
Next port was Puerto Madryn : we went with the Sentir Patagonia tour company and had a guide-driver for 4 people to Valdez Peninsula where we saw the Magellan penguins and the seals very close and in beautiful surroundings. It was an expensive day but well worth the money. Our driver, max, kept us happy and was knowledgeable.
We then went around Cape Horn on a sunny and quite calm day, beautiful and I was expecting worse conditions.
Next port was Ushuiaia, the most beautiful and scenic town. In the morning we visited the old jail ( Presidio) then walked to the other end to the Panoramic view of the City. In the afternoon we did the Celebrity Tour of Tierra del Fuego, nice but overpriced. ( $100-4 hours). A taxi would have been better , it is not pleasant to take pictures through the bus windows !!
Unfortunately we had foggy weather for the fjords. Our next stop Punta Arenas was okay but difficult for the tenders. We did manage a walk through town, the shopping was very good even if the town did not have much to offer. In Puerto Montt we did an excursion with the Dennis Purtov agency and went to the Vincent Morales park to see falls and a beautiful lake and volcanoes. We also stopped in Puerto Varas a touristy town. It was a wonderful day and a good value.
In the end we arrived in Valparaiso and took a Celebrity tour to the airport in Santiago. we were assured in writing that our luggage would be in a secured place at the airport while we had a tour of both cities, Vina del Mar and a great lunch at a winery ( El Cuadro). The excursion was great but when we arrived at the airport our luggage was on a sidewalk outside the terminal and our friends had been robbed of valuables. It finished a great cruise on a sour note unfortunately !