Embarkation went smoothly and in no time we were on board with Champagne in hand and our first trip to the buffet. Things went smoothly and although our luggage took quite a while arriving, we were on vacation so what.
To ease the pain let me skip to things already covered by other cruisers.
The Captain and cruise director. Exactly what you have read but they both disembarked in Buenas Aires for a 4 month vacation so there is hope in that area.
The Buffet: What can be said. Bad food, same everyday except one Mexican night and one Japanese night. Not enough room for cold weather sailing. One thing quite a few of the cruisers we were on with discussed that I have not seen noted is the inconsideration of fellow passengers. We noted many people utilizing the tables in the buffet to play cards, games, read books and just chatter. There were at least 7 other venues for this type of activity instead of utilizing a table in a very confined and busy venue. People trying to eat their meal while it was still hot often had to carry it to other floors or even eat outside in inclement weather when other passengers idled away time at convenient tables.
We were really blessed by the weather. 3 1/2 days of rain, 3 of these at sea. The rounding of the horn was cold but calm and strange. We rounded the horn on the starboard side when we should have been on port because we were sailing from Chile to Argentina. Everyone commented on it. We then went around, came past it again from the back and continued on our way. Another time when the Captain offered no explanation.
We did not see the Falkland Islands. We were denied access because of Gastro Intestinal problems on board. Many people were really disappointed.
Port Madryn. A note on the excursion to the Punta Toomba Penguin Rookery. The excursion tells you it is 3 hours each way on bumpy roads and you only have 1 hour there. The buses were modern and comfortable and only a small stretch is on unpaved road and that is hard pebbles. The 3 hours includes a break where you can use the restrooms and purchase drinks and snacks. It really is slightly less on the time. We only had 1 hour at the rookery but that was because the steps to disembark were very steep and it took hours for everyone to get off the ship. You had to hold onto 1 railing with both hands and short of shimmy down. We would have had more time otherwise but even having said that it was worth it because of the vast number of penguins and the closeness to the Penguins. Given that many ships do not get into the Falklands, if you would like to see Penguins this is a must see.
Beagle Channel: I opened my eyes at 5:30 and it was snowing. How utterly marvelous. Snow capped mountains, cruising past glaciers and snow.
This is a marvelous itinerary. The Andes in Chile, Patagonia, Gauchos, Glaciers, rounding the horn and many relaxing days at sea. NCL needs to either update this ship or put a better equipped ship on this itinerary.