When we sailed away from Antarctica in January 2010, aboard a Princess ship, it was with sadness that we would not be returning. However, while searching for a Canaries cruise in 2015, we came across a South America cruise, which sparked the idea of visiting Antarctica once more. HAL provided the perfect itinerary for 2018, but just before we booked, offers too good to miss saw us join the 2017 sailing instead.
This was our first cruise with HAL and we were very pleasantly impressed with the whole cruise. The only criticism would be the rather confusing and chaotic Life Boat drill, which involves a three-stage warning and then assembly at your designated life boat on deck, rather then the more comfortable gathering in a theatre or similar space. Luckily the weather was kind!
After that, everything ran smoothly on board. We had chosen a port-side Vista "suite" on deck 6 at the stern, because this allowed easy access to the sheltered stern decks for better viewing of the scenery and which also provided a quick way up to deck 8 for the open deck and the Lido area. Port also was the best side for the views on this cruise from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires. The outer door leading to this rear deck was extremely difficult to open, worryingly as it was an emergency exit. We did ask for it to be made easier, but nothing was done.
The cabin was spacious, once we had shifted a table and armchair out of the way. It was no different from a standard balcony room but suite gratuities were charged. (These can be adjusted two days before departure.) The bed was very comprtable with an embarrassment of pillows, there was ample storage and the rather dated bathroom contained a tiny jacuzzi bath. Bath robes were provided.The balcony had a lounger, which we did not want but which had to stay and one chair. We asked for and received a second chair. Towel creatures appeared every night and towards the end of the cruise, the LIdo turned into a towel animal extravanganza.