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Home > Member Reviews > ewlj's Port Reviews of Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Stanley, Ushuaia, Punta Arenas

ewlj's Port Reviews of Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Stanley, Ushuaia, Punta Arenas
Star Princess cruise in December 2009
Star Princess
Member Name: ewlj
Cruise Date: December 2009
Embarkation: Rio de Janeiro
Destination: South America
Member Review: ewlj's Star Princess Review
Rio de Janeiro
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+

Rio is a pretty fabulous city!

We stayed in Ipanema at the 'Best Western Sol Ipanema'. I was very pleased with our hotel selection as it had a *fabulous* view of the beach and was very close to shops and restaurants. The staff was also very helpful when we were dealing with lost luggage. I had read that it's slightly safer in Ipanema vs. Copacabana as it's more of a locals beach. Indeed, all the crime we heard about from other passengers was in Copacabana. Of course we may have just been lucky, but we did wander around the streets and beach without any problems.

We took a day tour on Grayline of Corcovado, Sugarloaf and city streets which included an excellent lunch in Ipanema.

I recommend a visit to the hippi fair/market on Sunday.

The beaches get packed and are lined with bright umbrellas and juice bars along the boardwalk. We expected everyone to be 'perfect', but this definitely was not the case!

Make sure to try the Brazilian drink Caprihina!

The weather was warm enough to go on the beach and we wore shorts, T-shirts and flip flops.

Embarkation in Rio took a long time (we were there 3.5 hours), but this was mostly due to the fact the ship was late arriving that day due to weather. I wasn't bothered by it, but many passengers were.

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Port Rating: 2.0 out of 5+

It's hard to give Montevideo a fair shake as were were there Christmas day and it was pretty dead, but if Princess took this off the itinerary, nobody would miss much.

We did a city highlights tour which included the soccer stadium, a few statues, a government building and a drive around city streets. It was pretty dull and the city is pretty run down. Others that visited a winery in a nearby town seemed to have a better time. Some shops did open up and we bought a souvenir spoon.

There was a great internet/phone establishment on the dock which we used to call the USA and UK.

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Buenos Aires
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+

We definitely could have spent another day in B.A. We did an excursion where we made brief stops at La Boca, the Recoleta Cemetery, drove city streets and a lengthy lunch/tango show. It was pouring with rain in La Boca and it was so early that it hadn't gotten going yet which was a shame, but the lunch/tango show was *excellent*. The food was great and there was plenty of wine!

There are some shops at the cruise terminal, but a lot of passengers went to Florida St. and did some serious shopping.

Some passengers ended their cruise in B.A. and some boarded for the first time.

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Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+

In Stanley, we did an independent tour which took us to Volunteer point by 4x4 vehicle to see penguins. The journey was 2 hours each way over bumpy terrain. By doing such a long tour, we didn't have much time to see the town. (Barely and hour). If you want to see penguins here, I recommend a shorter tour to perhaps Bluff Cove that allows more time to also see the town. We did see a lot of penguins and we got very close to them, however there wasn't a guided tour or lecture about them. On the journey, we were able to ask our driver lots of questions about the Falklands. We had quite a bit of rain on the journey, but fortunately it was bright weather when we got to Volunteer Point. The lunch included was adequate, but far from gourmet and I noticed some people throwing it away.

The town is quaint and very British. The souvenirs are good quality. I would have liked to have more time to go in the pub and to see the war memorial and museum.

We wore gloves and a parka here and encountered rain.

Note: This port is tendered.

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Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
USHUAIA - END OF THE WORLD This was the most attractive port to view from the ship as it had a backdrop of snowy mountains and colorful little buildings/rooves. We did the excursion to the end of the Pan american Highway and Tierra del Fuego National Park which was enjoyable. We then had plenty of time to walk the town, go in shops, an internet cafe and take photos. Don't forget to take your photo by the sign 'Fin del Mundo'. (End of the World).

We wore gloves and a parka here.

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Punta Arenas
Port Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
It was New Year's Day when we visited Punta Arenas, so there wasn't that much going on, but enough to keep us entertained for a day. Here we opted to do our own thing as I couldn't decide on an excursion. If we hadn't already seen penguins in the Falklands, we would probably have done a penguin excursion here. If you're opting for a paid excursion of the city, I would honestly save your money and walk it if you're fit enough. We walked into the town, which took about 10 minutes where we found a square with a statue of Magellan and several street vendors selling touristy items and woolens. There was also some pan pipe music being played which added atmosphere.

We then toured the Maggiorino Borgatello museum which was quite large and took probably an hour and a half. A tour group came in while we were there and probably spent 15 minutes tops. It wasn't the most exciting museum in the world, but it gave us a greater appreciation for the region and passed the time.

We also walked around the Punta Arenas cemetery which had huge mausoleums and beautiful trees.

We walked the streets and up to a cross on a hill which overlooked the entire port and city. There were vendors there and my husband purchased an alpaca sweater for US$20. We then walked by the waterfront where there was a huge modern hotel/casino and back to the ship via shops at the terminal.

Note: This port is tendered.

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