The Veendam is a mid sized ship that we have sailed twice. The upgrades and remodel were a success and will be appreciated. You can read the professional opinions of the ship, form a guest perspective we were impressed. The food was is restaurant quality, it is not a 5 star dining experience, but our goal was to travel first and dine to eat. You won't be disappointed, we looked forward to each nights dining.
Our cruise was a repositioning of the Veendam from New England to South America. We took this cruise with two objectives, first to sail through the Panama Canal and see the west coast of South America. This cruise is one of the few that will accomplish both. The northern half of South America is not tourist pretty, but is worth seeing. Equador is dry and poor, but has a rain forest and the port of Manta of interest. Peru coastal towns are not the highlight of the country. They are of interest, we saw Trujillo and used Patrica Valenzula through Viatour for our guide which I would highly recommend. We choose not to use Holland America tours for two reasons: our tours were less expensive and we traveled in groups of 6 or smaller. Some people from the ship chose to travel to Macha Pichu, having been there it is worth traveling on a separate trip to experience it, I would recommend Amazonia Expeditions for this adventure. We next docked at Callao, Peru which is the port to Lima. Take a Tour of the city, but make sure you include the Magic Fountains of Lima, you will really enjoy it. The cabs are just outside the port gate, they are safe just make sure you negotiate the price before you get in and include the return trip if the price is right to Miraflores. We took the free shuttle to Miraflores and went to the Marriott taxi stand to get our return trip to the ship. There are several tour companies that will meet you in Maraflores for a city tour. Now you get into the tourist pretty part of South America and the reason you brought a camera.The southern part of South America from Valparasio to Buenos Aires is the reason the Veendam travels back and forth around the cape. It is a beautiful as Europe or Alaska. The southern climates at the beginning of their summer are temperate and a great time to go. The glaciers are a numerous as Alaska and fjords are more numerous than Norway. This is not the cruise I would recommend for first timers, the water can be a little challenging but the beauty of this exotic area will make you want to come back and explore the interior of Peru, Chile, Argentina and Patagonia.
064 is located on the port side of the rear of the ship. No noticeable noise from crew activity except in the morning. At 7 am they start moving deck chairs and you might hear scrapping, but were up anyway so it did not matter. This room adjoins 060 which is convenient as we traveled with another couple. The port side of the ship receives the morning sun when traveling south. We would also recommend you request the port or rear of the ship for dining as sunsets can be quite bright and the curtains will be closed
We took both the day and night City Tour Bus. It was a mistake, I would suggest a private or small tour group that take you to the city sites and the Magic Fountains of Lima. You might also go to the San Isidro neighborhood, very upscale and beautiful. The Inka market was a fun place to shop for local crafts.
We used GV Tours it cost $100 per person. Expensive but less than the ship and we were in a private coach for 6 people. They will take you to Frutillar a German influenced town that will remind you of Europe and Lake Tahoe with snow covered volcanoes. You will enjoy the trip and the lunch they provide was superb.
We found a gem of a tour guide in Mario Miraglia at email@example.com it was $60 a person. The 4 of us got a personal trip to Tierra Del Fuego National Park and beat all the tour buses from the ship that made our tour much more fun without the crowds. Be sure and mail a post card from the most southern post office in the world. Mario also took us to a view point of the city that the buses can not get to. Give him a try, he was great!
Montevideo can be visited on foot. There will be tour guides that will meet you and tell you it is not safe to walk the city. Thank them and walk on by. The pedestrian mall offers lots to see and do and shop. Check out Juana M Restorian at Carlos Pellegrini 1535 for original designer clothing by local designers that are truly beautiful and a reasonable price.
This was our final port of call. Take a taxi off the ship, the downtown is less than a mile away and the ride is cheap if downtown is your final detestation. We stayed at the Marriott, but the Howard Johnson is half a block away and the boutique hotel Casa Calma is also highly rated. BA is well worth taking a city tour and walking the city . Take the subway back to areas you find interesting. Give yourself at least 3 days you will not be disappointed.