I was in a party of four people in their early-mid sixties. We all have a lot of travel miles behind us, both on land and on cruise ships.We decided to take this trip for the itinerary and historic value.My wife and I stayed for two days in Santiago at Hotel Ismael 312 in the Bellas Artes barrio. It was a perfect choice of location and hotel.We then took the drive to Valparaiso for one night and stayed at the Hotel Ibis .My reviews for these locations can be found on Tripadvisor.
The Crown Princess is an easy ship to navigate. There are plenty of lounging areas and bars.The swimming pools were open most of the time, except when the sear were too high for the pools to be safe. It was fun trying to body-surf in a pool when the waves and motion got a good swell going in the pools.
Because of the hiking and walking on our port stops, we tended to go to bed early,without using the lounges at night. There really isn't much available to do if you have a later dinner. . As always, the Princess wait staff was excellent. The food was very good at night. The Horizon Court was our go-to breakfast and lunch stop. It would be nice if Princess had more enclosed dining at this venue as on sea days it was mostly too crowded for us to eat indoors.
The ports were fantastic for their beauty and historic value.
Our cabin was TERRIBLE for two barely seniors
DO NOT get stuck with this room. This is the second time Princess has stuck us in a room with beds hanging on the walls next to our beds. We constantly bumped our heads at night.We had been given an offer to change our cruise to a different one by Princess, but we wanted this one. We were given an "upgrade" to this room and when we complained after check-in we received a form letter from "corporate" basically telling us "Too Bad". If it is an upgrade to be given a room with barely room to get in and out of bed, this may very well be a game-changer if we continue to sail Princess.
We stayed at Hotel Ismael 312 in Santiago, which was a perfect location. We walked around the neighborhood and found delicious food at great prices. The drinks were especially cheap for the amount of liquor added.Try Jose Ramon 277 for a fun time.We walked to the city center and the Old Market. Some of the stores reminded us of being in Mexico. The market is mostly concentrated on fish restaurants.
We took MyWayChile from Santiago to Valparaiso-Great service...Stayed at Ibis Hotel for it's price and proximity to the port. We went on a walking tour with Tours4Tips. Not advised if you have any walking or back problems.Review in other website
We walked into the Old Town to look around From the plaza we rented a taxi and drove to Zona Austral to check out the shopping. It is a collection of warehouses dedicated to duty free goods...Don't waste your valuable shore time here. The next stop was the cemetery, which had interesting trees and burial plots. Another taxi ride to the hill above the town to see the cross that sits above the port. This is a good view of the town and sea. Quick aside: Taxis are really cheap in this port, and the people in Chile were fantastically polite and gracious.
One our favorite ports.We took a taxi to Maritial Glacier and went on a hike towards it. We didn't get all the way there. The chairlift was closed this day so instead we extended our time with our taxi driver and drove to Tierra del Fuego National Park. It was a dusty ride once inside the park as all tour buses seem to use this dirt road at the same time.The stop at the end of the road was cold and beautiful We got our "End of the World" stamp and headed to another lake in the park We all rested for awhile enjoying snacks and a "Beagle" beer. My must-do activity came next with a stop at "The worlds southest golf course". There I hit a bucket of balls so that i can brag to all my golf-loving friends of my venture
We took the shuttle to Gypsy Cove and were able to see some penguins hanging around on the beach.We continued for quite awhile along the trail until it was too windy and cold . We hung back where the penguins were and sat and watched for a long time. The docent there are excellent at what they do. They showed everyone the burrows where the young penguins were currently being observed. Back on the shuttle and into town. We went for gin,beer and fish and chips at the Globe Tavern right at the port. The Angilcan Church was next, then a stop at a great grocery/supply store to fill up on things we needed on board
We split from our friends for the day and my wife and I walked into the Old Town of Montevideo.We really liked the vibe of this city and it's people. We went wine tasting at Essancia Uruguay and bought some tannat wine to bring home with us. We walked through the Mercado at the port, but were too hungry and satiated to stop at any restaurants.
The four of us rented a taxi for our tour. We went straight to Frutillar and walked around. The lake is pretty, with the volcano teasing us all day behind the clouds. We went to the German Museum, which has beautiful gardens.
On our way back around the lake our driver spotted a small craft beer maker and we stopped for an impromptu "Colonia" beer on the store's deck. By now Osorno Volcano poked out to show it's face and we continued along the peaceful lake
Visited La Boca, Recoleta and Palermo Hollywood in the three days we stayed here. We stayed at Hotel Boca in San Telmo. We used taxis to get around the longer distances and walked for miles just sight-seeing and enjoying the cafe society life of this city. We caught a tango show at Buenas Aires' oldest bar on our last night with our friends. Great ending to a great trip with our good friend and travel companions...Eveyone: Do this trip if you can.....