We booked this cruise on Radiance of the Seas less than a month before the departure date. I found a price for 2 single balcony rooms that we simply couldn't refuse. We booked rooms 9254 and 9654 which were basically across the hall from each other but on opposite sides of the ship. They both had huge balconies (about 70 sq ft) and there was certainly room for more furniture in addition to the 2 chairs and table that we had. The rooms were over 200 sq ft with lots of closet space, shelves and drawers. We brought a lot of clothes, shoes etc. and still had storage space to spare. Suitcases stored easily under the "comfortable" bed and the bathroom was roomy with a large vanity/sink area. In addition, we had a full size sofa and vanity table with chair. The lighting was excellent. There was a mini-bar refrigerator and satellite TV with CNN/Fox News/TNT/TMC just to name a few. I really can't think of anything that I didn't like about the room! However, I saved the best for last, Dui, my cabin attendant was WONDERFUL! Towel animals every evening-ice twice a day and everything was kept spotlessly clean. Thank-you again, Dui.
We decided to request late embarkation to board the ship in Buenos Aires, Argentina rather than Santos, Brazil. I wanted to spend some extra time in BA and we received permission from RCCL after a phone call request. We flew into BA on March 14 and caught a cab to the Buenos Aires Hilton. Really a nice Hotel!! We arrived early and received early check-in after a wonderful buffet breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Freshened up, shopped at the various craft markets around town and spent a lot of time at the Cemetery.
Boarded the ship around noon on March 16. It couldn't have been easier. We found our rooms, left our carry-on and headed back into BA for the remainder of the afternoon. More fun shopping!
We had booked the Main Seating (6:30 PM) and met our table "mates" for the first time. We were all Americans (table for 6) and had a great time catching up and comparing "notes" about the cruise so far.
First port stop for us was Montevideo, Uruguay. We got a cab and went to a local crafts store/market in town. Bought some nice wind chimes and stained glass items. We had arranged for our cab driver to return and pick us up so we went back to the shopping area within walking distance of the ship. Shopped a bit more and returned to the ship to get ready for dinner.
Next stop was Punta Del Este. What a beautiful ocean front city!! We tendered over about 11 AM, after a wonderful breakfast in the Windjammer Cafe. We walked to the shopping area, which was a few blocks away, went to the Farmica and got a few needed items then walked along the beach front. The weather was beautiful!!
March 19 was a relaxing day at sea or not. Anyway, we spent some serious time in the gym which was well equipped with all types of exercise machines. They also had various exercise classes, but they were scheduled a little to early for us. The spa treatments were varied and I enjoyed several facials and massages during the cruise. Look for the "specials". The last full day of cruising, many of the spa treatments were 1/2 price!
Puerto Madryn, Argentina-We booked the Punta Tombo Penguin Rockery Tour thru RCCL. This tour was really a high-light of the trip! It was a long drive, but the van ride was comfortable and air-conditioned. The reserve was extremely well kept and the thousands of penguins were incredible to see. You could "get up close and personal" as they were within "touching distance". I wouldn't recommend trying to touch one, as I sat next to a penguin for a photo, he/she snapped at me. Otherwise, the sea view, the landscape and the vast amount of penguins were all something I will never forget.
Ushuaia, Argentina(World's End)-Everyone wanted a T-shirt! Found the best T-shirts at the prison museum just a short walk into town. We did a self-tour of the prison and learned a lot about the life and times of some of the prison's most famous residents.
Punta Arenas,ChileWe took a RCCL tour called Trekking the Megallanes Forest. I don't like heights or cold strong winds so I really didn't enjoy this 3 mile up hill hike! I would not recommend this tour to anyone-especially anyone out of shape or over 55. If you must go, buy warm gloves from the ship gift shop and take a warm coat with a hood!
Puerto Montt, Chile-Great cheap shopping just minutes from the tender drop off. We had our picture taken with a llama dressed up in a cap. Cute!! Bought some beautiful watercolors, rugs and lapis stone jewelry. We had wine and wonderful seafood at a local restaurant. Louie, our waiter, was great. Also, made friends with 2 of the local policemen and their dog.
Valparaiso, Chile-Disembarkation was easy. We left the ship at 10AM after a good breakfast in the Cascades Dining Room. Took a RCCL tour called Costal Cities, Valleys & Historical Santiago which ended with drop off at the airport. Got to see a lot of the wine country between Valparaiso and Santiago which included a great lunch stop with Chilean dancers. Wonderful cruise Wonderful trip!!!