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34 Australis South America Cruise Reviews

My wife and I have done only two previous cruises, on HAL to Mexico and Alaska, and they whet my appetite for more, preferably on something a little smaller. After our experience with Australis, my concern now is that no other cruise ... Read More
My wife and I have done only two previous cruises, on HAL to Mexico and Alaska, and they whet my appetite for more, preferably on something a little smaller. After our experience with Australis, my concern now is that no other cruise could possibly measure up. This was the cruise of a lifetime. We were aboard Ventus Australis for four nights, from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas, the last week of March. Ship capacity is said to be 210 passengers, but there were only about 160 aboard our late season cruise. The ship felt very spacious; only at the last night’s captain’s toast (in the largest lounge) did anywhere on the ship feel at all crowded. The passengers averaged middle age, and were largely well-travelled and interesting people. At the first night dinner we were told that the 160 of us represented 19 nationalities, and as each nation was named, its citizens received a warm and welcoming applause from the rest of the crowd. I’m tempted to make a political statement right now, but I’ll refrain. Our group of six made a number of friends, especially a couple from San Francisco, a couple from Santiago, a family from Malaysia and three young solo travelers from Australia, Austria and Belgium who met a few days earlier in Ushuaia and decided to take a cruise together. As a lifetime sailor, disembarking on the small island that is Cape Horn was a thrill. And the weather was appropriately cold, windy and rainy. But on the whole, our weather was quite good. There were two shore excursions a day (except the morning we disembarked when there was one), all by way of Zodiac rafts. We were told exactly how to get on and off the rafts, and the guides were quick to point out when any of us got it wrong. That might seem a bit regimented, but the end result was a very efficient and safe transfer of all concerned from ship to land and back. We never had to step in the water, so hiking boots were sufficient, but waterproof ones were nice due to rain, wet grasses and some mud. Our stateroom felt spacious as staterooms go, in part due to the floor to ceiling window through which we could watch some of the world’s most spectacular scenery pass by. Almost all the staterooms are identical, except that those on Deck 2 had more normal size windows. For my money, the larger window was worth the money. But when we signed up there was nothing available on Deck 3, and we paid a second premium to be on Deck 4, which would not have been worth the extra fare had something been available on Deck 3. The only passenger space on Deck 1 was the dining room, and the only indoor space on Deck 5 was the lounge forward, largest of the three lounges, and the small gift shop. There was ample outdoor space to take in the spectacular scenery--most of Deck 5, the roof of the Deck 5 lounge, narrow walkways ahead of the lounges on Decks 3 and 5, and aft on all decks. The Deck 5 lounge (forward; excursion meeting place for English speakers) had a bar in the afternoons and evenings, the Deck 4 lounge (aft; excursion meeting place for Spanish speakers) had early morning coffee and snacks, and while the Deck 3 lounge (forward) had no food or beverage service, it was a wonderfully quiet space to read a book, play a game, or watch the passing scenery. With the exception mentioned above, none ever felt crowded. All food and beverages (including alcohol) were included; the only way to spend money on the ship was in the gift shop. Be aware, there is no elevator, which appeared challenging for a handful of passengers. Unfortunately the ship is just not friendly for the mobility impaired. The food was very good and plentiful, as was the wine (very easy to drink more than you might have intended). Meals were all at a set time and an assigned table. Our group of six had our own table, but solo couples were randomly assigned table mates. Everyone I talked to enjoyed the new friends they shared their meals with. Dinners usually included a choice of only two entrees, but we were never disappointed with what we chose. Back to the shore excursions-- all involved some short walks or short hikes, usually with several choices. With the exception of Cape Horn and Magdalena Island (penguins), on our route they all involved spectacular views of glaciers, some very much up close and personal. The most difficult hikes (which were optional) were steep and probably would be properly categorized as “strenuous” but for the short length (nor more than 3.5 miles round trip). The solitude ashore was amazing; in fact the only humans we saw not on our ship were when we passed the sister ship going the other way in the Beagle Channel middle of the third day. The excursion guides were fantastic -- friendly, very good English speakers, and well educated about the history, geography, flora and fauna. The rest of the crew was also very friendly, welcoming, and helpful, and mostly English speaking among those whose job entailed interaction with passengers. And those whose English was a little weak were quick to find someone who spoke it well (if your Spanish was as pitiful as mine is). In addition to excursions ashore, we were offered tours of the bridge (day 2) and the engine room (day 3). After the bridge tour, the Captain told us we were welcome to come back any time; just knock on the door and we would be told if it wasn’t a good time for visitors. The engine room was remarkable for how clean it was; I would have felt comfortable eating a meal off the floor! And if that is how they kept the engine room, you can imagine how immaculate the rest of the ship was. This was a fantastic adventure for those who like good company, good food, the outdoors and active travel. These wanting water slides, zip lines and casinos to keep them entertained would probably do better looking elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date March 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
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
Sail Date February 2019
Journey to the end/beginning of the world. Beautiful, luxurious ship with well-fitted cabins, including comfortable beds. We expected something more rustic, but this was indeed a luxury cruise vessel. Extremely attractive, inviting bar and ... Read More
Journey to the end/beginning of the world. Beautiful, luxurious ship with well-fitted cabins, including comfortable beds. We expected something more rustic, but this was indeed a luxury cruise vessel. Extremely attractive, inviting bar and lounge areas. Coolers with filtered water on every deck, which could be used to fill stylish water flasks, given to each passenger (great souvenir). Very friendly crew. Meals were varied and excellent. Service was very attentive. Diversified, interesting lectures (e.g. local history and indigenous peoples) and films. Excursions are a highlight and were wonderful. Well-planned and organized. Leaders (like Cristobal) were well-trained and knowledgeable. Crews were extremely efficient and professional and as a result, we always felt safe. Note that feasibility of excursions is always subject to weather conditions, so you may be disappointed on any given day when excursions are cancelled due to poor weather conditions. We were lucky to have had excellent weather for most of our excursions. Unique voyage through the Beagle Channel and Glacier Alley is unforgettable. As was our visit to Cape Horn, the Lighthouse and the Memorial. Highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I was recently on a Patagonian cruise on the Stella Australis. It was exceptional in all respects. The ship was very nice, very clean and comfortable. There is no TV or WiFi, which was great and contributed to relaxation. This was an all ... Read More
I was recently on a Patagonian cruise on the Stella Australis. It was exceptional in all respects. The ship was very nice, very clean and comfortable. There is no TV or WiFi, which was great and contributed to relaxation. This was an all vegan cruise and the chef did a wonderful job and the food was very good. The dining room staff was the best I have ever encountered! The cabin stewards were also excellent. Everyone’s pleasantness and service standard was great! The true reason for the trip was the scenery, which was stunning! The expedition crew was exceptional! There was a presentation every evening and expectations for the next day were given. Shore excursions were in zodiac boats and very well organized. The crew was very knowledgeable about the area. The excursions were 1-2/ day and varied in exertion levels, but all involved some level of exertion. There is no “regular” entertainment, but the scenery was the entertainment. After an excursion, it was nice to relax, and not do anything else but look out at the beauty. I would highly recommend this cruise ship, mostly for the crew and the destination. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We spend 4 nights on the Stella Australis, taking in all the excursions we could (usually two per day). We enjoyed the trips, the Zodiac process to get to land and guide, everything. On most excursions there are 2 to 3 levels of ... Read More
We spend 4 nights on the Stella Australis, taking in all the excursions we could (usually two per day). We enjoyed the trips, the Zodiac process to get to land and guide, everything. On most excursions there are 2 to 3 levels of activity, from easy to very hard. Most people should be able to get from the boat into the Zodiac and from the Zodiac, on and off the beach. We met many interesting people during the hikes and this made the trip even better. The food is good on the ship, but do not expect 5-star dining and a huge selection of entres. The purpose of the boat is to get you to the excursions, not luxury dining The all-enclusive nature of the cruise (excursions, alcohol, food) makes everything very easy. All aspects of the cruise went well and were very organized, from the embarkation to the disembarkation. Their process for running the Zodiacs is like a machine, very fact, efficient and safe This was the highlight of a 2.5 week trip to Chile Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
If you want the best cruise for exciting excursions, great service, excellent food - this cruise is perfect. The cruise lived up to documentaries we have seen about the ship. The ship is tidy and clean - outer windows are rinsed with ... Read More
If you want the best cruise for exciting excursions, great service, excellent food - this cruise is perfect. The cruise lived up to documentaries we have seen about the ship. The ship is tidy and clean - outer windows are rinsed with fresh water in port. Part of the total experience is the international make-up of passengers - really diverse and interesting. Everything is super organized from mealtimes, planning shore excursions, disembarking the ship to zodiacs for excursions. The dining is great. The food is varied and plentiful at each meal. The entertainment is either a pertinent movie or documentary of the history of the area, or information regarding the current state of what is on each excursion often accompanied by pictures. There is a tour of the bridge. Passengers are divided into groups according to a language they understand or other previously designated group to which they belonged. Excursion guides are extremely knowledgeable about plants, history, geography, geology, water life - many speak 3-6 languages. Suggestions are available for an off-shore port excursion such as Ushuaia. Passengers are handled with great care yet moved with a degree of expediency that is inherent with any excursion. Overall the crew are very skilled at the separate tasks performed and personable giving attention to all individuals in each group. Instructions are crystal clear. Information is superlative regarding conditions for levels of excursions where applicable - so individuals can make well informed and responsible choices. Nothing is promised that the cruise can't deliver - if weather is a factor preventing an excursion from starting, all is explained well. Safety is the first consideration as it should be. We are really impressed with the 'first class' performance of the Stella Australis. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
The Patagonian Fjords and Cape Horn had been on the bucket list for a long time. Seeing the National Geographic TV programme about the trip pointed us in the right direction and we were not disappointed. We had some concerns that doing ... Read More
The Patagonian Fjords and Cape Horn had been on the bucket list for a long time. Seeing the National Geographic TV programme about the trip pointed us in the right direction and we were not disappointed. We had some concerns that doing this straight after an amazing trip to Antarctica (see our review of Akademik Ioffe) would result in unfair comparisons and disappointments, but this did not happen. It did give some useful comparisons. Australis is purpose built for these trips with very shallow draft that allows her into places like Pia Glacier. It does mean that she rolls more than other ships her size but this is only an issue in fairly short stretches of open water, which are normally minimised with appropriate route selection. The ship has lots of comfortable lounge spaces for watching the amazing scenery pass by, but could improve how slide shows and movies are displayed as you need to be early for a decent screen view! The gym has been removed due to lack of use……. The cabin had plenty of space with the largest bathrooms we have had on a cruise ship, but effective storage space was sadly lacking. With only one small cupboard for hanging clothes you need to decide if this is wet or dry when gear gets wet. Food was good and choice was generally very good with buffet for breakfast and lunch. One disappointment was set places for dining so you had the same company at every meal – we would have preferred flexibility. Whilst wine was included with the meals, there was only ever one red and one white. The only beer on board was 4 different lagers, which is disappointing with the excellent pale ales and other options available in the area. The expeditions are well organised, although the group/language splits became rather confusing with some parties switching to which ever group was at the front of the queue each trip. The guides were very knowledgeable, but we found concentrating on commentary from non-native English speakers rather tiring at times. A very wet first day was handled well and the trips still well worth it. We appreciated the offering of 2 or 3 options for the land trips, depending on the amount and difficulty of walking you wanted to do. The Cape Horn landing was amazing and normally involves wet feet, but they handle it extremely well. You have an 80% chance of getting ashore there apparently. We watched the penguins from the zodiacs, which was a bit disappointing after the onshore experiences in Antarctica. Mauricio the expedition leader has an unequaled passion for Patagonia, its flora and fauna and his job. He knowledge lifts the whole experience to another level, so get to know him. Highlights were Cape Horn, sitting and listening to/watching Pia Glacier and the cruise down "Glacier Alley". Despite having been to Antarctica, the glacier experiences here were very different and just as impressive. In fairness we had better penguin encounters in Antarctica We would suggest the Punta Arenas to Ushuaia trip over the shorter return trip. Despite a few shortcomings we would not hesitate to recommend the trip unless you are more interested in what happens on the boat against what is outside. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
The Stella Australis cruise was breathtaking. I boarded from Ushuaia, saw Cape Horn, Eagle Glacier and Magdalena Island (which I refer to as Penguin island) before arriving in Punta Arenas. By far my favorite part was seeing the ... Read More
The Stella Australis cruise was breathtaking. I boarded from Ushuaia, saw Cape Horn, Eagle Glacier and Magdalena Island (which I refer to as Penguin island) before arriving in Punta Arenas. By far my favorite part was seeing the hundreds (maybe thousands!) of penguins on Magdalena Island. They don't have fear of people, so we were advised to yield to them as groups of penguins pass along the walking trail. I had never seen a glacier before, so that was another highlight of the trip. The brilliant blue and turquoise color that radiates from the crevices of the glaciers is pretty remarkable. You can't catch it completely on camera. All the sights from the cruise were beautiful, the background information provided for the day trips was comprehensive, and the staff was extremely welcoming. In particular, if you sail with Felipe, Lorena or Carlos, you are lucky! The climate is unpredictable, so pack prepared for sun, rain, wind and cold all in the same day. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This four night cruise from Punta Arenas, Chile, to Ushuaia, Argentina, on the Stella Australis was a wonderful experience. My husband and I are passionate independent travellers, so we had some trepidation about going on a cruise. ... Read More
This four night cruise from Punta Arenas, Chile, to Ushuaia, Argentina, on the Stella Australis was a wonderful experience. My husband and I are passionate independent travellers, so we had some trepidation about going on a cruise. However, we loved every aspect of this expedition. We had an AAA cabin, and it was immaculately clean, comfortable, spacious and well designed. There were 140 passengers on board. The ship is very well maintained and it has several lounges for various purposes: briefings, relaxing, attending talks, socialising, etc. All meals are served in the Darwin Lounge, with buffet breakfasts and lunches, and a three course evening meal with limited choices (usually three mains with one being vegetarian). The food was surprisingly good, and there were always fresh salads available at the lunch buffet for those who prefer a lighter meal. There is an open bar and the waiters and bartenders were always generous in the provision of drinks and snacks. There is also one lounge where self-serve coffee, tea, juice and biscuits or pastries are available from very early to late every day. As others have mentioned, you're assigned a table for all meals (based on nationality/language) and so you have the same dining companions throughout. This could be a problem if you were incompatible, but our dining companions were lovely and great fun so it worked out well. Each day excursions in zodiacs were offered graded by degree of difficulty. Briefings were always provided in advance and in several languages, as required by the variety of guests. We found the excursions to be generally excellent, and very well organised. The crew are very safety and environmentally conscious, and they go to great lengths to ensure that every participant has a safe and enjoyable experience. We were extremely impressed by the crew/staff in general. Stella Australis has inculcated a commitment to service among its staff that is outstanding. It was obvious that all of the staff were determined to ensure that every passenger had a wonderful experience, and nothing was too much trouble. Some passengers had severe mobility or other restrictions, but they were never left out. In addition to being expert at their various jobs, we found all the staff we came into contact with to be courteous, helpful, warm and friendly. We would happily consider doing another (different) Australis cruise. The experience has broken our "no cruise" pledge, although we would only consider this type of cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We chose this to enhance our experience of South America and because it was an expedition boat. We have only been on small expedition boats carrying 40 passengers one in the Galapagos and the True North in the Kimberley Australia. For this ... Read More
We chose this to enhance our experience of South America and because it was an expedition boat. We have only been on small expedition boats carrying 40 passengers one in the Galapagos and the True North in the Kimberley Australia. For this reason we were worried that the Stella Australis was too large at 200 passengers. We need not have worried because the whole experience was brilliant. The cabins were a decent size, the food was good, the waiting staff and the guides were excellent and the daily expeditions were most enjoyable.There were also some interesting presentations on board including an amazing film about Shackleton. We saw some very interesting wildlife including whales. The ship was well constructed and it coped well with heavy seas. We were also very lucky to be able to disembark at Cape Horn even though it was a little stormy which was a real bonus. We would certainly recommend the Stella Australis for those wanting an expedition experience in comfortable surroundings Read Less
Sail Date March 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
Sail Date February 2017
We thought it would be a great way to see Cape Horn and go around the Straits of Magellan. The cabin was comfortable, the lunches and dinners were really good. Breakfast was just okay. The staff there were very friendly and helpful. ... Read More
We thought it would be a great way to see Cape Horn and go around the Straits of Magellan. The cabin was comfortable, the lunches and dinners were really good. Breakfast was just okay. The staff there were very friendly and helpful. We loved the people helping with all the excursions, especially Felipe cause he was very friendly and he even remembered our names. The excursions were really good, but the some of the documentaries and films before the excursion were sort of boring. Embarkment and Disembarkment were really easy. The ship was very clean, but there was really no entertainment or activities in the evening except for the films. We had fun with the Trivia Sheets. I would definitely recommend this cruise but I wouldn't take it again since I already have done it. I don't know if I would take children because I think they would be bored. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This cruise was an amazing experience getting up close to glaciers, fjords, Cape Horn, and deserted islands. The views were spectacular from cabin, deck or lounge and mooring off and going ashore by zodiac made the experience quite and ... Read More
This cruise was an amazing experience getting up close to glaciers, fjords, Cape Horn, and deserted islands. The views were spectacular from cabin, deck or lounge and mooring off and going ashore by zodiac made the experience quite and adventure to enjoy the sights on shore by foot. The ship was comfortable, staff helpful and friendly, meals good and pre-excursion presentations interesting making the trips ashore more meaningful. Access throughout the ship was a challenge for those less able as stairs were the only way from cabin to dining room and steep outside steps the only access to the zodiacs. We would have appreciated a better embarking procedure where you didn't have to queue at a local travel agency with your bags and to be processed then have all day to walk and wander until you could board. The expedition cruise was very pricey but as it's a one off it was worth it for such a unique experience and we will be recommending it to others who are able and could afford it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This Cruise was part of a longer tour of Patagonia. The ship is great. Three lounges in addition to the dining room, and an open bar all the time. Very pleasant and comfortable. The stars of this cruise are the expedition staff. We went ... Read More
This Cruise was part of a longer tour of Patagonia. The ship is great. Three lounges in addition to the dining room, and an open bar all the time. Very pleasant and comfortable. The stars of this cruise are the expedition staff. We went ashore on zodiacs five times. They prepared us well with lectures beforehand, were extremely safety conscious in transferring mostly older clients, and were extremely knowledgeable about the natural history and environment. But this cruise would have been wonderful even if one stayed aboard. Breakfast and lunch were buffets with themes, and we could always find something we liked. There were two dinner choices plus a vegetarian choice. This wasn't always great. Service was attentive and quick. There is so much to see we were glad to get away from the table. There are no formal nights, no shows (there are relevant lectures). It's sightseeing, history, and science in a place most will never visit Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
To see Cape Horn, Tierra Del Fuego, the glaciers and wildlife. The cruise staff were very attentive and friendly and the Expedition staff were extremely knowledgeable. The expedition group were also full of fun which made the trip very ... Read More
To see Cape Horn, Tierra Del Fuego, the glaciers and wildlife. The cruise staff were very attentive and friendly and the Expedition staff were extremely knowledgeable. The expedition group were also full of fun which made the trip very enjoyable. They had extensive knowledge of local history, local flora and fauna and were able to answer all the questions thrown at them. The only negative was the lounge for the presentations - it was difficult to get a seat and to see the screen in some places in the room. The guided excursions were very good and again very knowledgeable guides. The ship's sailing was extremely smooth. I would heartily recommend this trip and it is suitable for couples, older families, seniors. The food was varied and very well cooked - in particular the Pastry Chefs excelled. The ship was very clean and well kept. Again a very good trip and one our best vacations. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
The main reason for selecting this cruise was for the destinations including a visit to Cape Horn. We had previously seen some of these areas but wanted the small ship experience to see more of the spectacular scenery. We were not ... Read More
The main reason for selecting this cruise was for the destinations including a visit to Cape Horn. We had previously seen some of these areas but wanted the small ship experience to see more of the spectacular scenery. We were not disappointed. It was brilliant. Our stops were all excellent and very different in every way. Pia Glacier was a highlight especially the zodiac ride through the ice flows. That was a fine experience. Ushuaia was the only city visited and has plenty to offer. it is one of the most stunning places we have ever ventured to. All of the guides and the zodiac operators were excellent. Our only disappointment was the food. The selection at breakfast was very ordinary and most anything that was hot was left on the buffet and quickly got cold. The lunches were much the same and not enjoyable. The dinners were very poor. We had to order our main at lunchtime, with the entrée and dessert just what you got - no choice. The mains were bland and when they arrived at the table they were lukewarm. There were no cloches to keep in the heat and with so many served at one time in this format, it was always going to be unappetising. The staff everywhere on the ship were excellent and always happy to accommodate any request. We would recommend the trip to anybody who would love to visit these destinations. It is worth the few things that were poor to see such magnificence and pristine areas. Read Less
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
Sail Date February 2017
We were touring Chile and Argentina including Tierra del Fuego and wanted to visit Cape Horn as well as all the remote channels and fjords interconnecting with the Beagle Channel and Strait of Magellen, not possible to do with a large or ... Read More
We were touring Chile and Argentina including Tierra del Fuego and wanted to visit Cape Horn as well as all the remote channels and fjords interconnecting with the Beagle Channel and Strait of Magellen, not possible to do with a large or medium size cruise ship. There were ~150 people on our Stella Australis cruise, we had generous sized births, and the crew provided spectacular food, beverage and tour guide service. The captain deviated from our route just so we could watch Minke whales, and we made at least one and sometimes two zodiac landings a day, accompanied by on board tour guides, to visit spectacular sites including landing and ascent of Cabo Hornus, stoping and hiking on a fjord island where FitzRoy and Darwin interacted with indigenous natives, and viewing up close massive glaciers by water and by foot, not to leave out the fascinating and amusing walk we took among Magellenic penguins. This was a wonderful and all-to-brief cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
The service was great, the cabins and beds were comfortable. The itinerary was fantastic. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. The food was good and they were good about meeting food sensitivities. The excursions onto Cape ... Read More
The service was great, the cabins and beds were comfortable. The itinerary was fantastic. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. The food was good and they were good about meeting food sensitivities. The excursions onto Cape Horn and the other islands were mostly great, in spite of some bad weather. There were one or two guides who weren't the best when we were at Wulaia Bay. Also the instructions leading up to that excursion were confusing since their slide show beforehand had some mistakes. But, all in all, we were happy with the excursions. It was amazing how they moved so many people so efficiently when we did disembark on the islands. We also felt that the safety standards were very good. The store had things that were helpful, such as rain pants, which we had forgotten to bring. One thing that we would have liked better is if we had been able to eat with people with whom we chose to eat. They often had tables of just 4 people and you were expected to sit with them for every meal. We did find another table of 4 near to us and we joined the tables and that was better. It would have been nice, though, to meet other people at mealtimes. We did get a chance to explore Ushuaia before the cruise and were able to get a tour of Tiera del Fuego National Park. We would recommend doing this if you have time. We would definitely recommend Stella Australis to others. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This cruise was at the end of a two week trip to Chile. It was a great way to see the fjords and glaciers of Tierra del Fuego. Each day there were excursions off the ship by zodiac to either hike or view wildlife. The staff on board ... Read More
This cruise was at the end of a two week trip to Chile. It was a great way to see the fjords and glaciers of Tierra del Fuego. Each day there were excursions off the ship by zodiac to either hike or view wildlife. The staff on board were knowledgeable and friendly. Each evening there was an educational program or movie to prepare us for the next day. The staff handled the multi-lingual guests in a very efficient manner. We were assigned a table for all of our meals, which could have been a problem, but we ended up with wonderful table mates whom we really enjoyed. The only two "downsides" were that we, as non-drinkers, felt like we were subsidizing all the free drinking on board, and we are also vegetarians/pescatarians and those menu options were somewhat uninspired. Two highlights were watching calving at Pia Glacier and exploring Cape Horn. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
2 outstanding excursions a day, in gorgeous sites with very competent and helpfull staff. We could not dream of a better cruise to discover Tierra del Fuego glaciers, fauna and hike an hour on Cape Horn. We spent 4 hrs in Punta Arenas ... Read More
2 outstanding excursions a day, in gorgeous sites with very competent and helpfull staff. We could not dream of a better cruise to discover Tierra del Fuego glaciers, fauna and hike an hour on Cape Horn. We spent 4 hrs in Punta Arenas and we not thrilled by the downtown. Plaza de Armas is fun. Embarkation was not fun at all. We had to board buses to reach the ship. 20 minutes for just 100 meters. Bus was absolutely full, we were packed like sardinas...and waited and waited. The first minutes with Australis were terrible and give a very bad first impresseion. Once on board, everything was perfect. Staff was very competent and gave great information on suurounding nature and upcoming excursions. First time we visited the bridge and the engine room during the cruise. The captain showed several times and had kind words with everybody. Also 200 guests only makes a big difference, developping a better sense of community. We will strongly recommend Autralis cruises to our parents and friends who want to discover this part of the world Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
The Magellan Strait, Cape Horn, Tierra del Fuego is an area of the world I've dreamed of visiting for many years. The ships' crew, the ship facilities,the zodiac land tours, the quality of the food and the small size of the ... Read More
The Magellan Strait, Cape Horn, Tierra del Fuego is an area of the world I've dreamed of visiting for many years. The ships' crew, the ship facilities,the zodiac land tours, the quality of the food and the small size of the ship all contributed to an extremely memorable holiday. My numerical rating for this cruise is 100%. I cannot think of one thing the crew could do better to improve the quality of this experience. Weather is a factor that cannot be guaranteed, but on this cruise we had fantastic weather that multiplied the experience to a great degree. I highly recommend this cruise to anyone who loves the outdoors and enjoys hiking in superb mountain and glacial areas. I do recommend a traveler not delay this adventure until the later years of life as good physical condition allows one to fully view and enjoy the magnificence of this isolated area. Go now! Not later! Read Less
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
Sail Date January 2017
Very well organized trip, with a staff which clearly made the difference and stood out of the crowd. Very appreciated our trips to glaciers, forests and Cape Horn, We left from Punta Arenas travelled through National Parks till finally ... Read More
Very well organized trip, with a staff which clearly made the difference and stood out of the crowd. Very appreciated our trips to glaciers, forests and Cape Horn, We left from Punta Arenas travelled through National Parks till finally reaching after 4 days Cape Horn, and from there reached Ushuaia and went back to Punta Arenas. The crew took very good care of everything and for all the wishes and desires they had an open ear, especially I remember the kitchen. When first asking for vegetarian food they achieved to improve their meals day by day, which was greatly appreciated by my wife and me. Also, safety standards were kept up very high, and lot of emphasis was put on safety instructions, so you always felt at ease. Thank youf or such an amazing trip and I can just but reommend to book a trip wit Stella Australis, you will not regret* Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
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