MS Veendam: We arrived 2 days earlier on Nov 4th, had a very nice tour of Santiago under the able guidance of Hector Medina. On 6th morning our tour guide Leonardo picked up at our Apartment which we rented through Hector. Leo drove to the port and he took some off beaten roads while driving to Valparaiso. We saw local flora and Fauna, stopped at the Emelina Vine yards an organic wine producer. After the tour of Vino Delmar and Valparaiso we were dropped off at the port. After dropped our luggage we went to the check in line. We had a priority check in; with in 10 minutes we were on the bus to our ship. This is a smaller ship (1800 passengers) and is representative of HALs ships. They kept our passports the whole time which made me a little uncomfortable, but they claimed it eliminated the need to have everyone process through Chilean and Argentinian customs each time we pulled into a port.
The ship was tastefully decorated and did not appear to be worn. This was definitely not a young people's cruise. Most of the passengers appeared to be retired and in their late 60's, some older. Our room was on the deck 6 near the atrium and view was excellent. I am a vegetarian the choice of my food was not worth mentioning here. The entertainment was geared toward a mature crowd. The singers were very good. The Gaucho couple seemed almost as old as some of the passengers. The Cruise Director was Carolos very personable, approachable and enthusiastic.
The weather was nice in Santiago in mid 80s, In Puerto Mont it was raining cold and windy in Puente Arenas. We packed for both warm and colder temperatures. As we went further south the Sun set was at 10 PM. Crossing the Magellan Straight Beagle Chanel was very smooth, crossing Drake's passage around Cape Horn was rough windy and 20 to 25 ft. waves. At Port Stanley, Falkland Island it was windy but bearable.
Up on embarkation we were advised the ship had a code Red sanitation code. We were not allowed to serve ourselves even in Lido and there was a big line for everything from drinking water to all the food and deserts. It was a chaotic situation. Eventually we decided to have breakfast at our state room every morning to avoid standing in line. We chose to eat most of our main meals in the primary dining room in the more formal setting and had Canadian couple from Winnipeg was our table mates. We did eat one night the free Italian restaurant where the food was excellent. I don't drink coffee; my wife said it was not very good. They have a cafÃ© where you can buy real coffee. I purchased Internet plan on the ship $ 100 for 250 minutes. It took us15- 20 minutes to login and send one or 2 emails, a big waste of money.
Overall the cruise was Ok not an exceptional cruise.