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Cruises to Montevideo

Montevideo (Photo:Spectral-Design/Shutterstock)
Montevideo (Photo:Spectral-Design/Shutterstock)

About Montevideo

Residents of Montevideo travel to nearby Buenos Aires or Sao Paulo when they crave big-city excitement, which may suggest that there's not much going on in the Uruguayan capital of 1.4 million. But don't dismiss it yet! Montevideo, at the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Rio de la Plata, is an intriguing mix of old and new.

The 18th-century buildings in Montevideo's historical "Ciudad Vieja" (Old Town) are just steps away from Plaza Independencia (Independence Square), the bustling, modern main square -- and even that was once a citadel. (One gate's stone base has been left standing to mark the division between the old and new parts of the city.) Montevideo was founded in the 18th century by the Spanish, and over the years its citizens fought against the British, Spanish and Portuguese for independence, as well as neighboring Argentineans and Brazilians. Today, politically and economically stable, the city serves as Uruguay's major commercial center, though colonial customs -- long siestas, afternoon tea -- still exist.

Montevideo is the perfect "kick back and relax" respite from glitzier ports on South America itineraries. It may be sleepier and less cosmopolitan than metropolises in Argentina and Brazil, but Montevideo offers a broad range of possibilities for the day-tripper: monuments, restaurants, gorgeous urban plazas, beaches and a burgeoning arts and culture movement.

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14 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Puerto Madryn ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Punta del Este ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Lima

20 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
Lima
Visiting:
Pisco, Coquimbo ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Ushuaia, Cape Horn ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Punta del Este ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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17 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
San Antonio
Visiting:
Puerto Montt, Puerto Chcabuco ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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62 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
San Juan, St. Kitts ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Punta del Este ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Ushuaia, Cape Horn ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
San Antonio
Visiting:
Puerto Montt, Puerto Chcabuco ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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20 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Punta del Este ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Puerto Madryn ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
San Antonio
Visiting:
Puerto Montt, Chilean Fjords ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
San Antonio
Visiting:
Puerto Montt, Chilean Fjords ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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19 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
Santiago
Visiting:
Puerto Montt, Puerto Chcabuco ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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22 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Punta del Este ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Stanley ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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9 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
Rio de Janeiro
Visiting:
Ilhabela, Santos ...
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Cruise Line:
Azamara
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22 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
San Antonio
Visiting:
Puerto Montt, Puerto Chcabuco ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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15 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Punta del Este, Stanley ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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16 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Stanley ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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16 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
San Antonio
Visiting:
Punta Arenas, Ushuaia ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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16 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
San Antonio
Visiting:
Punta Arenas, Ushuaia ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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74 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
Santa Marta, San Blas Islands ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Montevideo

Leaving:
San Antonio
Visiting:
Puerto Montt, Puerto Chcabuco ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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Why go to Montevideo?

Pros:

Explore the small city or head off to a nearby estancia, winery or seaside resort town

Cons:

Montevideo is quieter, with fewer attractions, than other South American port cities

Bottom Line:

A nice port for taking it down a notch on an action-packed cruise

Montevideo Cruise Port Facilities?

Just across the street from the port is the Mercado del Puerto, a beautiful iron and glass port building from 1868 that has been restored with 14 restaurants and stalls and several stores selling local handicrafts. This is a terrific place to taste Uruguay's delicious grilled meats. On afternoons and weekends, there are also outdoor tables with more local arts and crafts. From the market, you can keep walking into the Old City, but motorized transportation (cabs or ship-organized shuttles) is recommended; some of the streets surrounding the market and port are not heavy on tourist traffic.

Just next to the Mercado del Puerto is the Carnaval Museum (Rambla 25 de Agosto) documenting Montevideo's 40-day celebration prior to Lent. The exhibits show the elaborate processions that fill the street. Costumes and paper mache characters are on display, and, if you're lucky, you might even catch some being constructed in the workshop next door. A guided tour is included with admission.

Good to Know?

Mosquitoes: They can be annoying and unwanted travel companions. Be sure to bring along some bug spray to put on before you venture off the ship.

Sundays: Many attractions and shopping stops (such as Mercado de los Artesanos) are closed, and the Congressional building does not run tours on Sundays.

Pickpocketing: Although it is not rampant, it does occur.

Getting Around?

If you like to walk, you can get from the port to the center of Montevideo at Independence Square in about 25 minutes. Most cruise lines run shuttles from the port to the square, and taxis are plentiful at the port. You can take them to the square or even as far as the resort town of Punta del Este, about two hours away. Taxis have meters, but it is more common to decide on a fixed price first; they are listed at the taxi stand.

Representatives of the plentiful leather factories in Montevideo send free shuttles to the port to bring travelers back to their showrooms.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The Uruguayan Peso is the official currency. For current conversion figures, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. There's an exchange bureau inside the port between Piers 1 and 2 and additional exchange bureaus and ATM's just outside the port entrance. ATM's are everywhere in Montevideo. You will find numerous exchange shops along Av. 18 de Julio and around Independence Square. U.S. dollars are accepted nearly everywhere, including in taxis. Credit cards are accepted in most restaurants and stores in the capital.

Language?

Spanish is the official language of Uruguay. The citizens of Montevideo share the same accent as their neighbors in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They speak Rioplatenese Spanish, the dialect common around the Rio de la Plata basin. Most Uruguayans don't speak English, but those working in the tourism business speak enough to get by.

Where You're Docked?

Montevideo's port is actually in a terrific location, just next to the historic center of the Ciudad Vieja at the southern tip of the city. The port is small enough that you can walk right from your ship into the heart of the old town in just a few minutes.


Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination

  • 2018 Top-Rated South America & Antarctica Destinations
  • 2017 Top-Rated South America & Antarctica Destinations
  • 2016 Top-Rated Mexican Riviera, Central & South America Destinations

Montevideo Cruise Reviews

kjones121
Sail Date: Feb 2020
Nice intro to Montevideo... Read More
Star Princess
razz101
Sail Date: Feb 2019
In Montevideo we just walked around the city. Was enjoyable... Read More
Azamara Pursuit
croninkay
Sail Date: Mar 2019
Just across the road from where the ship berths is the hop on hop off bus. This is a great way to see Montevideo and at a good price.... Read More
bevdas
Sail Date: Mar 2019
Montevideo is very easy to navigate and we felt very safe walking around there. We explored much of downtown on foot. A tour will give you the history, etc. but we got that beforehand on the ship by one of... Read More
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