My wife and I chose this cruise since it fit in well with our schedule and compared to other South American cruises it visited the Falkland Islands and spent more time in the Chilean Fjords than some other ships. It was only our second "ocean" cruise (our last one was with Holland America in Alaska in 2010)
Prior to the cruise we arranged with our travel director to visit Iguazu falls. Given the uncertainties of domestic Argentinian flights it was good that we had some leeway in Buenos Aires before embarkation.
Embarkation was relatively painless with the main delay being the queue for passport processing. Passports were held by the ship until redistributed on the first cruising day through Chile. We had a balcony stateroom 0257 which was clean and well presented. Rooms were relatively well soundproofed.
We chose to eat most of our meals in the Seven Seas main dining room as a more relaxed option to the "zoo" of the Garden Cafe. We had a part of our package 4 meal Ultimate Dining Package as well as the Ultimate Beverage Package. We chose to have two meals each in Le Bistro and Cagneys which were very good, although if we hadn't had the package I don't think the extra cost would have been good value. It was evident that the best meat is chosen for use in the 12th floor specialty restaurants and the fatty and poorer steaks and cuts are sent downstairs to the Main dining Rooms. The Seven Seas managed to fit in well with the Freestyle Dining Option once one learnt to avoid the post showtime surge.
The Ultimate Beverage Package was good to have. Although we never had more than 3 drinks a day it saved a lot compared to the high cost otherwise. It meant that most drinks were included and in the one case where we chose a $17.50 glass of wine the UBP covered $15 and only the $2.50 + 50c gratuity was added to our account.
We did a mixture of NCL and other provider onshore excursions. In Montevideo the best option which we took was to join a tour that met the ship near the gangway without any prior booking. For $20 USD the three hour tour did most of what the much more expensive NCL tour covered. Doing non NCL tours at ports where the ship berthed at a wharf or jetty and gangways could be used wasn't too difficult (Puerto Madryn, Ushauia ) However at ports where tenders were used (Stanley, Puerto Chacabuco and Puerto Monte) Norwegian would make sure that their tours got the priority on tenders to shore.
We had relatively moderate sea and weather conditions to round Cape Horn but the weather deteriorated once we left Ushauia through the Beagle Channel. When we got to Punta Arenas there were 40 to 45 knot winds pushing the ship away from the wharf and after some time the Captain made the call that it was not safe to remain in port and elected to leave once crew and provisions had been exchanged / loaded. Shore excursions were cancelled and we set sail about 11am. The extra time cruising was used to travel with less haste during the rough weather once we left the Strait of Magellan.
We're not into the American entertainment culture and didn't go to many of the shows during the evening. From talking with other guests, and from the few shows we did attend it would be fair to say that the entertainment was a weakness of the cruise. In the Stardust theatre upstairs many of the seats had a partially obstructed view of the stage on account of the pillars and seating layout (including tall seat backs relative to the slope of the floor).
The ship layout does not have much public space for seating and relaxing if the weather is cold or wet. We were glad we had a balcony stateroom with room to sit and read or view the scenery. Tip if you're going for the scenery choose a stateroom on the side of the ship that faces the land (eg from Buenos Aires to San Antonio choose the Starboard side).
Disembarkation at San Antonio was not too arduous. Unless one uses the Self disembarkation option and carry off your suitcases, those not partaking of an NCL transfer or tour could not disembark until 9am (if early enough to obtain lime baggage tags). This caused some uncertainties for those participating in other tours. We had booked on a SEG Santiago day tour which had on our documentation as showing at 9am. Talking to the other tour participants during the day it became apparent that some had self disembarked prior to 8am thinking their tour would not wait for them while others of us assumed that the tour would wait for those booked provided they attempted to be in the first groups to disembark after 9am.
In summary I would say it was a well run cruise using an older ship. We enjoyed it for the scenery and the destinations en route rather than for the cruise activities and cruising itself.
Pleasant and clean cabin located on the Norway deck. Not too far from the aft staircase but far enough to be away from the noise around the stairs. Standard bathroom and amenities.
Tour bus was waiting for walk ons after leaving ships gangway. For $20 it was a cheaper option to pre booked tours and covered the same ground. It was also useful for free wi fi on the coach. Option to leave tour in the city and walk through old town to shipView All 62 City Tour Reviews
Very good and descriptive tour but rather expensive for what it included and duration.View All 37 Gentoo Penguins in Bluff Cove Reviews
Very good small group tour which included a lakeside walk. This tour group managed to keep ahead of the pack of cruise line tour coaches for most of the trip.View All 93 Tierra del Fuego National Park Reviews
Very good tour including lake cruise, Petrohue falls and then return to Puerto Varas for lunch and time in town. Petrohue falls very busy at first but able to get once photos once the crowds had returned to the souvenir stalls. Included lunch was very goodView All 36 Petrohue Falls Reviews
Very good tour including lake cruise, Petrohue falls and then return to Puerto Varas for lunch and time in town. Petrohue falls very busy at first but able to get once photos once the crowds had returned to the souvenir stalls. Included lunch was very goodView All 21 Puerto Varas Reviews
Port call cancelled due to gale force winds making it unsafe for cruise ship to stay in port.