I have just completed the Christmas / New Year 20 day South America and Antarctica cruise aboard the Zaandam with my wife and two daughters ages 10 and 14. What a trip!!
Firstly on board the Zaandam:- Excellent, friendly and attentive service.
Special mention to Imbuh and Tatang (our Cabin Staff).
Christina our Cruise Director was the absolute professional. Friendly and approachable.
Jeremy our Show Host was a tonne of fun and a really likeable guy.
Entertainment - Varied with some real hits and in my eyes only a couple of misses. The Tango Show at the end of our cruise was amazing.Latest release movies and some well chosen classics in the Cinema.
Food - High quality. We didn't feel the need to go to any of the other restaurants as the Main Dining Room and Lido were great. The on deck BBQs were also yummy.
Weather and seas - Lots of sun including 3 ripping days in Antarctica. Cape Horn and Drake passage were like a lake. Basically for the whole trip you wouldn't know we were on a ship. We got a bit of rain in Ushuia, Punta Del Este and The Falklands but got more than our fair share of great weather too.
Ports - Varied and I will review some of them.
Tips - Even though we had great weather, if you want to spend some time on deck (and you will), then you will need lots of layers. Apart from a wool hat and a hood on our wind proof jackets we found a neck roll that you could pull over your face really necessary. Sunnies, sunscreen, thermals and windproof pants also helped. I was surprised at the number of people ill equipped. Some could not last a minute outside because of the cold.
- Have multiple photographic options. Our Canon SLR died in Ushuia but thankfully we had an I-Pad and waterproof camera too. Not the same but better than nothing.
- Aim to arrive in South America by around the 10th / 11th December to avoid the ridiculous air fare prices after this time. We self organised Machu Picchu and Iguassu Falls before the cruise with the money we saved.
We saw lots of wildlife and the team of Experts and Naturalists on board were fantastic.
Their presentations were very interesting.
Interestingly our ship went everywhere that the National Geographic and Quark Expedition ships went. The only difference appeared to be that they could launch their zodiacs for a one or two hour trip onto Antarctica land where we would just have the ship slowly rotating. We still saw lots of penguins on icebergs, seals, whales, heaps of birds and plenty of icebergs.
In conclusion, it was a fantastic itinerary with magnificent scenery and interesting ports.
Back of the ship portside. Quiet with a clear view out the window.