A 29 day cruise - 2 cruises back to back was a great idea. I like repositioning cruises as a rule and this fit the bill. After a very long over night flight trip to Santiago we were met at the airport and whisked out of town on a bus to Valparaiso. After a 2 hour ride where we saw a little of the country side we needed to spend 2 to 3 hours at a hotel on the beach in Valparaiso before it was ship boarding time. This was where some people had their boarding taked care of. We had not followed most to a room for drinks etc. but chose to wait in the lobby where we could watch the local scenery.We were not told about the pre boarding. Embarkation was a mad house but we had expedited boarding passes so it was not too painful once we got into the building. Our stateroom was very nice and the steward, Lowell, couldn't have been better. It would be good if more comfortable balcony furniture could have been swapped out for the fancier wood stuff we had. The lounges were like trick chairs that folded up if I sat in the wrong place. Not good!
Generally the food was adequate but not great. The best part was the bread, rolls, breakfast sweet breads, desserts and soups. Proteins except for sea food could have been improved. Great shrimp and scallops were sauted or deep fried and always delicious. There were many salad choices and fresh fruit. Too bad they ran out of a lot of the fruit with about 5 days to go. It was nice to have soft serve ice cream near the pool and popcorn at movie under the stars time.
Princess Theater entertainment was the biggest disappointment. Other Princess cruises have had great stage productions. We are not big gamblers or bar sitters so we depend on the big theaters for evening entertainment. So with a lack of that we spent many evenings in our room with so-so- TV and a book. It was nice to have a local samba group come on board in Rio. More of that type would be nice.The theater was packed and we really enjoyed the show.
The ports of call were alright except that several were on Sundays when nothing was open. South America takes Sundays off. The stops in Punta Areanas (Sunday) and Ushuaia were interesting. Also it would have been good if the captain could have scheduled the rounding of Cape Horn after 8am when more people would have been up. 6:30 was too early for me.
The Falkland Islands gave us a chance to see penguins in their natural habitat. It was a great, if very bumpy, ride over a farm field. Cold and windy but the owners were in short sleeves as it was the end of summer for them.
It was then on to Buenos Aries, Montevideo (Sunday), Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Fortaleza, Barbados, Antigua, St. Thomas. I probably could have left the ship at Rio and not missed much.
We found the ship to be exceptionally clean and well staffed. Crew were very courteous and helpful. My husband always enjoys the computers at sea classes. But the art auction was not wonderful this time. Too much very high end work. The shops are pretty repetitious but I'm used to that.
Disembarkation seemed to be very organized in Ft. Lauderdale until my bag was no where to be found. Someone had taken my bag as it looked similar to his. There must be some way for staff to check bags while people are waiting in line at customs. However the staff were able to find mine at the airport and had it waiting for me when we got of the bus.
All in all we had a good time and will absolutely sail with Princess again.