Being excited about my first cruise, I don't know if the embarkment process was short/average/long. Didn't seem long to me. I was one of those people who thought 'I can't be cooped up with that many people', especially for 14 days. But I never fell cramped, crowded or overwhelmed....a little sea sick once though. Our room was snug for 3 people, but we spent so little time there it was okay. The price and location was just to tempting not go! Very few children, I saw about six.
Our little tug boats did an amazing job of getting us out of port around those huge cargo ships and off we went! The welcome board poolside barbeque with music was fun, with plenty of seating inside and out. The excitement was contagious.
First stop was Montevideo, Uruguay: take the Leather Company free ride to the center plaza. After browsing/buying at the store, the plaza outside has many sightseeing areas -monuments,only piece of the old city wall, classic hotels and opera house. Make sure you stop buy the street craft fair, many items are affordable, esp. the jewelry, pottery and chocolates. It was a short time, but plenty to do.
The next day at sea, we started the South American lecture series (that prepared us for further ports), joined Trivia, origami, Spanish Class with Hector and Dance classes. We collected initials on a game card and at the end of the cruise, NCL gifts were handed out. (I got a nice NCLcoffee mug) The nightly entertainment shows were very good. We saw magicians, flutist, singers, dancers, musical shows, something for everyone. Argentine tango group Pampas Diablos were intense and "I want to dance like that!!" I have to mention singers Elvy Rose, Amber Strings and Aaron Shaw because they were very good, too.
We ate at the buffets, Seven Seas and Four Seasons, all complimentary. The amount and variety of food was overwhelming and totally delicious! It included prime rib the first night , then turkeys, hams, pork, fish, chocolate night, Lobster specials, Norwegian night, stir frys, Indian....and the desserts! But there were also sandwiches, salads and burgers and really good breakfasts.
The Punta Tombo Penguin Rookery was amazing with these little penguins waddling next to, in front of or feeding their young so close to us. The coastline and hills were full.
We also saw the rabbit-like mara, rhea and guanaco. Beautiful area that tourists need to respect.
Day 6 brought in a storm, so we could not tender to Stanley, Falkland Islands. But this did give us more time cruising the Cape Horn area. The mountains are fabulous down here. The winds were whipping and we bundled up to go outside for photos...many photos! The sea was fairly calm for that area and sunny. We went from east to west and west to east, our captain did a great job of manuvering the ship so all could enjoy no matter where you were on the ship. Hot chocolate stations were waiting when you can back inside.
Ushuaia - Prison train and Tierra del Fuego was day 8. I was surprised how many people live down there.Plenty to do and see in town. Great chocolate and Beagle beer shop in the middle of town. The Prison train was interesting and informative as we passed the tree cemetary and mountans.A short ride by bus brought us to the Beagle Channel. I just had to put my hand in those icey waters! There was a certain kind of excitement standing there, at the end of the world.
Punta Arenas we met up with friends and spent the whole day at their cattle ranch. This was very special for us and won't be forgotten.
The Straits of Magellan and Chilean fjords were breathhtaking. Find a good seat, have a drink - have plenty of battery time and space on your camera cards!
Puerto Chacabuco, Day 12 - Best of Nature, Flavors & Traditions. We walked through a pristine Patagonian rainforest, seeing unusual plants (some as big as me), continual birds singing, came upon a huge waterfall and saw 2 large ringed kingfishers. Then a short hike up a hill to the most delicious fire-roasted lamb meal. While we werre eating there were traditiional danciing, music, wines and the wonderful pisco sours!
The next day was the Best of Puerto Montt. Our excusion brought us through the countryside to a German style city and craft market. Nice, quality items there. This is where you can see one of the volcanos across the lake. On to Criadero Los Alerces Ranch with side-ways running champion horses. We were welcomed by the owner and his family, horse trainers and breeder, and Chile's junior champion tradition dancers with live music. There was a rodeo showing their horses and then a wonderful beef steak meal with local wines. Another excellent excursion. And down near the port there are rows of craft market booths. Some gimmicky stuff, but others very nice handmade local items. Take the time to look around.
Our last day at sea was filled with activites. There was a special Sun Crew Talent Show that surprised the audience. Many of these young people have hidden talents: singing, music instruments, traditional dancing and then the Entertainment Crew "fountains" skit.....hysterical, loved it!! Hectar is a ham...good job!
That night, I watched from the above deck seating as the kitchen staff starting to build a huge gingerbread house/ship/playground scene on a long table. The next morning, at disembarkment, we were routed by this display. Made you smile and not so sad to be getting off the ship.
My first cruise. From 80+ degree days to 30 degree snow showers. Cities, penguins, mountains, ranches, rainforest. Music, games, shows,and I can't forget the adorable towel animals Yasmin made for us! What a wonderful adventure! Well worth the money,thank you.
Small and cozy, but kept very clean by Yasmin. Very friendly girl and made cute towel animals.