We booked our own one way fare to Buenos Aires. The cruise critic boards were very useful in navigating our way through EZE airport and getting a taxi to our hotel. We stayed at the Dazzler Tower Maipu for 5 nights pre cruise. We used the hop on hop off bus to orient ourselves on the city. We took two walking tours with a guide that proved most helpful with things to do and see after the tour was over. The weather was very good with just a little dampness our first day. By the end of 5 days were were comfortable walking just about anywhere. The hotel clerks gave us great advice about where to walk and what to see. We went to a really small tango dinner show that offered tango lessons before the show. The beef dinner was exceptional and included wine. We wound up buying some Inca Rose jewelry. The meals kept getting better and better. We somehow did not gain any weight. It must have been always taking the stairs and signing up for the walking tours and hikes. We had no problems checking in for the ship. We spent the night on the ship and made one final trip back to where we stayed and got a haircut and bought some shoes and a belt and some wine. We got together with the cruise critic folks on our first sea day. There were close to 100 of us. We had met 5 couples pre cruise in Florida last September and reunited with them. We met the cruise critic folks that were in charge of excursions in 3 of the ports. We had a mid ship ocean view cabin on deck 2 and never felt much motion. This was the first part of a back to back cruise. I will write a separate review for the last half.
We had our days filled with activities on the sea days. There was Elite Michael's lounge 8 AM to 10 AM and happy hour 4 to 6 in the Observation lounge. We took excursions in all the ports. Our table mates were from England and we wound up getting along very well. They seemed to enjoy our American humor.
Our first port was Montevideo. We joined a couple from Hawaii and the wife's sister for an all day tour with guide. The weather was perfect and we got to see all the sights we hoped to see. We had a nice lunch in the heart of town. We had another tour with the five of us the next day in Punta Del Este. There was a little confusion by the tour guide about where the tenders would land. We had the same guide and driver as Montevideo. It was another perfect weather day and a full day of sightseeing. In Puerto Madryn we used a ships tour to visit a couple hundred thousand penguins. We felt we got our moneys worth except for the bagged lunch. It was a little larger group than I like but it was well organized. In Ushuaia we used the large cruise critic group of 12. Large relative to 5. We had a most enjoyable day and got to see a lot in a short amount of time. This was the nicest port we visited. It was a photo op for my wife with the sunrise and snow capped peaks in the distance. Even the locals said it was not like the normal wind and wet they see. In Punta Arenas, Chile we used a ships tour. It was only half a day but we did see a lot of sights in a short amount of time. In Puerto Mott we used a ships tour that was a nice uphill hike with a spectacular view. We then stopped for cake and coffee at a small ski area and enjoyed the fresh air. It is hard to describe just how unpolluted the air is there. It is so pure that some organisms thrive there that cannot thrive in polluted air. Our last port was Valpariso, Chile. We opted to do a tour that was half a day rather than the all day tour that went to Santiago. There was way too much time on the bus to get to and from Santiago. It was another spectacular weather day and we had lots of photo stops along the ocean front with luxury homes, casino, hotels etc. Some of our new friends got off to continue sightseeing on land before flying home and others were going right to the Santiago airport to fly home. There were over 200 of us that stayed on for the next 14 day cruise through the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale.