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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I recently returned from a wonderful cruise on the Stella Australis. This was my first cruise and I must confess I absolutely loved it. It was an adventure of a lifetime being in Patagonia and relatively so close to Antarctica ! We ... Read More
I recently returned from a wonderful cruise on the Stella Australis. This was my first cruise and I must confess I absolutely loved it. It was an adventure of a lifetime being in Patagonia and relatively so close to Antarctica ! We embarked at Ushuaia (Argentina), which was a quaint little town (stopped one night prior to my departure). Very scenic and plenty of stores to stock up ahead of your cruise. Then we set off heading towards Punta Arenas, Chile, as our ultimate destination. The ship was immaculate, clean, thoroughly hygienic. I occupied a cabin on the 2nd floor and there are a total of 4 floors for cabins. It's a small cruise ship (~166 passengers) and this actually proved great since by the end of the week you pretty much knew the majority of folks on a first name basis. Average age was around 60+ and predominantly comprised of retired couples from North America i.e. University Alumni tours, along with a sprinkling of European countries such as Italy, France, Germany. I was a solo traveler, there were not too many of us, but we were certainly made to feel welcome and constantly invited to join other tours for drinks etc. Each day/night for breakfast, lunch & dinner you are seated with the same people for the entire duration. Initially, I was a tad worried about this, but I absolutely loved my table companions and we have since exchanged emails to keep in touch. Everyone was exceptionally friendly and outgoing. The cruise is structured as follows: Each day you visit a new location and conduct excursions using the Zodiac boats, for example visiting Glaciers, Cape Horn and the highlight for me Magdalena island to see the famous Magellan penguins . - they were superb! Somedays comprised of 2 excursions per day. A typical excursion was a landing via Zodiac on the beach or coastline, then split into 3 groups based on your level of fitness and interest in the local fauna and Geology. For example, I love to run long distance and hike so each day i took the most challenging hikes. They were very demanding and certainly at times quite treacherous on the slippery rocks and grass but we were always safe on account of the excellent trained staff who accompanied you on all excursions. The staff were exceptionally knowledgeable on the local wildlife and Geology and always made the trips a great deal of fun! There were also hikes that didn't require much exercise and elderly people with walking sticks and who required assistance typically took these hikes. It was wonderful to complete one of the excursions and to be greeted on the beach by one of the staff handing out whisky and hot chocolate = delicious and warm. In terms of day to day activities on the boat, it mainly comprised of relaxing and watching the world go by with a drink or two. There is a fifth floor deck bar (all inclusive alcohol and soft drinks) which was superb! Each morning on the fourth floor Sky Lounge, tea, coffee and snacks were provided around 6am for the early risers - I really appreciated this nice touch. Each evening lectures of the following day excursions were provided and this really helped give you an appreciation of where you are visiting. The food on the cruise was excellent. Varied menu, typically 3 courses (all inclusive) and so many deserts to choose from it was ridiculous :) The waiters were very friendly and often chatted at the tables during meal times. In terms of the excisions, the staff ran this process like a machine and height of efficiency. They assisted all those who needed help getting in and out of the Zodiac. One cannot stress enough, the need for waterproof clothing, gloves, woolly hat and solid hiking boots. You will definitely get muddy if you opt for the more strenuous hikes so be prepared to have a change of clothes each day. The cabins were cleaned thoroughly each day, and new towels provided as one might expect in a hotel. Water was drinkable on the ship. It was very relaxing to watch the world go by in my cabin each morning and realize we were in a new location. All in all i cannot fault this cruise I thoroughly recommend it ! Huge shout out to "Vicky" and Emmanuel - very helpful, knowledgeable and humorous guides. Oh don't forget your camera iPhone will suffice for majority of excursions but i found an SLR with Zoom lens to be extremely beneficial for Magdalena island and close up of penguins One point to note, this is NOT a cruise for young children, they will literally be bored to tears, plus the excursions and getting on and off Zodiacs could be a tad risky for them. There is no WiFi or Cell service or TV/Games for them. It's definitely not one of the Disney type cruises that they might expect. I have 3 children and they would have been very bored on this - I feel it's fair to mention, it much more applicable to Adults who wish to experience an adventure of a lifetime, learn about Patagonia, history and Geology and get away from all the pressures of work and social media nonsense etc. Enjoy! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This trip certainly changed my anti-cruising mentality. I accept that it is a small ship in a unique location but really can't fault the trip. The boat itself is very comfortable with spacious lounges and very comfortable large ... Read More
This trip certainly changed my anti-cruising mentality. I accept that it is a small ship in a unique location but really can't fault the trip. The boat itself is very comfortable with spacious lounges and very comfortable large cabins. The beds were very comfortable and the 'portholes' were in fact large viewing windows enabling you to enjoy just sitting in the cabin and watching Patagonia go by. The ensuite shower rooms were fine with no problems in the supply of hot water. The food on board was exceptional with a wide range of dishes each day reflecting Patagonian cuisine and with vegetarian options for both lunch and dinner. The all inclusive bar provided a wide range of wines, cocktails and spirits together with savoury snacks. The Sky lounge provided the welcome early morning coffee, tea, juices and a selection of biscuits and was open throughout the day. Sight seeing trips to Cape Horn (we are lucky) and the glaciers were all done by Zodiac. The expedition team oversaw all this in a highly professional and safe manner even when the inevitable Patagonian winds suddenly blew up. This was all done with smiles. knowledge and advice and I can't praise them enough. As a tip, I'd recommend taking your own travel mug along making it easier to take drinks back to the cabin as they only provide small china cups. This is a very professional outfit, with a fun loving and experienced crew who provide exemplary service. You never know, I might even go on another cruise (albeit a small ship) after experiencing this. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We got advertisment with a gym on board. There is none. The itenirary of the ship is without competition and very interesting. Going both direction makes no sense (increased proximity to land on cape horn, we did both direction, ... Read More
We got advertisment with a gym on board. There is none. The itenirary of the ship is without competition and very interesting. Going both direction makes no sense (increased proximity to land on cape horn, we did both direction, landing was possible only once; from Puntas Arenas down to Ushuaia is better - you see the alley of the glaciers by daylight). The vessel is new, every cabin is more or less the same with a big window and proper equipped. There is 1 (!) public toilet on board. No restrooms close to restaurant, no restrooms at the bar. You have to run some floors down or up to your room. Plan your service stops carefully. Ship is all inclusive. Drink selection limited. Coffee ok. No Wifi (!?). Zodiacs need to circle to get all the passengers on land. Crew is very varying. Some Zodiac drivers and guides are super professional and with huge knowledge, others are who knows where from. Same for the waiters, some cannot basic english (and the boat is mostly frequented by Australian, US, Canadian, UK, German). Activities are split in moderate, challenging and very challenging. Very challenging is still not sportive (target group wealthy 60+). I would not book again for this price. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We chose the Stella Australis as the culmination of a 3.5 week trip to Argentina and Chile. Cruising had never appealed to my husband but he was attracted by the fact we would be trekking in remote places and, of course, visiting Cape ... Read More
We chose the Stella Australis as the culmination of a 3.5 week trip to Argentina and Chile. Cruising had never appealed to my husband but he was attracted by the fact we would be trekking in remote places and, of course, visiting Cape Horn. He also liked the fact that it was a small ship. We departed from Punto Arenas and had a few hours to explore the place and stop for a Pisco Sour which was nice. Both embarkation and disembarkation were extremely slick. The ship is very pleasant. Being smaller than many cruise ships, you have a main dining room and three bars/lounges. The cabins are fine. We were in a standard cabin and had tried to upgrade but it wasn't possible however the beds were comfortable, the view good and the place was scrupulously clean. You are designated a table for dining at check in and you are there for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It worked out fine for us as we were with a really interesting American couple but it might not have been so great if you didn't gel with your dining companions! Being focused on trekking and the flora, fauna and geology of the area, the entertainment is really the bar plus a variety of presentations covering glaciology, indigenous people and the story of Ernest Shackleton. These were good but sometimes too long and nearly always started late as the crew fiddled with the technology. The other thing is that there was no quiet area as all of the lounge areas were being used for presentations in different languages so there was no escape apart from to your cabin. The crew and the service was exemplary. Stella Australis should be very proud. When ashore, it was really to trek and there were a variety of treks from easy to challenging. In our early 50's, we were among the younger clientele on board and the challenging treks didn't challenge us! I wouldn't go again but only because I would want to go to another destination but I have to admit that I quite enjoy the cruising concept. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
It was the ship that came with our Smithsonian tour. All the staff were friendly and eager to please. The food was fabulous and they worked hard for those with special diets. Each time when left the ship, everything was very well organized ... Read More
It was the ship that came with our Smithsonian tour. All the staff were friendly and eager to please. The food was fabulous and they worked hard for those with special diets. Each time when left the ship, everything was very well organized and departure and return were smooth and easy. The ship holds 220 people so it had an intimate feel. We had great fun with the staff and they demonstrated to us all the time how they wanted to help in any way possible. When there was wildlife to see the Captain changed the direction of the ship so we could see it as long as possible. We very much enjoyed our journey with the Stella Australus. Some crew served as tour guides and they were all highly educated to the areas history, culture, wildlife and habitat. They did a very good job. We highly recommend this ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2017
We cruised on the Australis as part of a 3 week trip to Patagonia. We did not select the ship; our travel agency did. We were very pleased. The size of the ship (100 cabins) was excellent. The staff was knowledgeable, friendly, helpful ... Read More
We cruised on the Australis as part of a 3 week trip to Patagonia. We did not select the ship; our travel agency did. We were very pleased. The size of the ship (100 cabins) was excellent. The staff was knowledgeable, friendly, helpful and seemed to enjoy what they were doing. Food was very good; having the alcohol included was great. All the excursions were well organized. We received information prior to each one about what we'd see/do and what to look for. On several of the excursions, we could choose the level of activity. The staff also was very attentive to safety. All excursions were made via 'zodiac' inflatables. We were given detailed instructions for getting into and out of the zodiacs. While somewhat pricey, we would highly recommend the Australis. The only negative aspect was on the day we boarded, our luggage had to be at their office by 10 AM but we could not board until after 5 PM. Be sure to plan some activity for the 10-5 otherwise it's an empty day and there is not alot to see/do in Ushuaia. Read Less
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