Fortunately our hotel, San Franciso, was able to get us a very reliable English speaking guide, Chris Whatmore (cell 56- 9783 0378) who came on Sunday at short notice to drive us around Santiago & on Monday for a wine tour and to Vina del Mar. He recommended an excellent sea food rest. and was very helpful. I would definitely use him for a tour guide again.
This was the cruise you did not want to be on. If we didn't get to see the penquins when our Pt. Stanley port was cancelled I thought that there would be mutany. The shore excursion desk & cruise staff were inexpenience and the lines waiting for tender tickets went around the lobby three times. Tender tickets should have been given quickly instead of each person going up to the desk. The atrium was blocked with lines of people and other passengers couldn't get thru.
The Star was late arriving from the previous cruise because of bad weather so we were sent emails from Princess saying not to arrive until 5 PM. There were long lines & it took quite a while for embarcation. Dinner was finally at 8:30 PM but the Star did not leave until 3:00 AM which put the passangers at a disadvantage of missing the first port, Puerto Mott. Most shore excursions were cancelled because of the short time in port & most of us did not even get to see the town. Nothing was done to compensate the passengers for these disadvantages. For good public relations with the passengers something should have been done like a free wine & cheese party or anything.
This cruise was rocky & the pools could not be used most of the cruise. Most of the activities were at the same time in the AM so there was not much to do in the afternoon. The combinations of food in the dining room & Horizon Ct. were very different & not as good as on previous cruises.
Instead of Pt. Stanley the ship made a stop at Puerto Madryn & the passagers that had a penquin tour for Stanley were given the penquin tour South of Madryn but other passangers were not able to sign up. Our friends did not get to see the penquins at all. The shore excursion desk should have allowed everyone who wanted to sign up for the penquin tour to do so. We were put in a van to drive the two plus hrs. to Puento Tombo & they should have had another bus and sold more space to the other cruise passangers to see the penquins, which was a trip highlight for most people.
Altogether, I would not recommend this trip especially in January when there is a chance of bad weather conditions. The Star needs to get it's act together.