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We booked air fare and transfers with Princess to simplify our process. The embarkation in LA process was good up until boarding the ship. It took 2.5 hours to board. Standing on cement for my wife was difficult as she had hip surgery 10 months ago. I would have liked some hydration stands especially if the weather got warmer. The disembarkation from ship to airport was great. However, the airport in Buenos Aires was painful 3.5 hours of lineups, suitcase drop-off, security, immigration, and boarding. The ship was clean and had lots of sanitizing stations. As seniors ,we chose the early seating as it fit our schedule better and we like sit down meals. It also enabled us to catch the early perfrmances in the Princess Theater. Our normal routine was to have breakfast in the Horizon Court (buffet), then go to the International Cafe for soup, salad, and/or sandwhich for lunch. We did try the speciality reastaurant, the Crown Grill. For activities we played duplicate bridge, played trivia, and enjoyed the Spa We did Princess and private tours at the Ports. CABO SAN LUCA - MEXICO Our Princess tour Salsa and Salsa got canceled. We took the tender to the port and caught the elevator up to the 2nd floor and enjoyed a couple of beers from the Wizzle Restaurant. This got us away from the street hustle and noise. PUNTA ARENAS - COSTA RICA We booked a private tour through Alvaro of Odyssey Tours. It was called 10 in 1 adventures. It was very good. Two of our favorites were watching the guides feed chicken to the crocodiles and watching the sunset at the top of a restaurant sipping an Imperial beer (local Costa Rican beer) CALLAO – PERU (LIMA) Lima is supposed to be a gastronomic delight with two of the top 10 restaurants in the world. We bought 3 pairs of alpaca socks (best socks for those that have cold feet) This is a two day stopover. We took a Princess excursion one day to the President’s square and the Indian Market. There are 11 million people that live in Metro – Lima It was nice to get out of the bus considering it was bumper to bumper traffic (30 minutes at each stop). We canceled our private tour because we were worried about our safety. We were told that taxis have no regulations so the drivers may not be taxi drivers. SAN MARTIN – PERU (PARACAS) We booked a private tour through Rocio of Bahia Tours. We were picked up at the Port of San Martin by a taxi. The driver took us to the boat center. We then boarded a slipper (an open passenger speed boat) and began by going to see the Candelabra – a huge figure in the sand. Next we continued to Ballestas Islas (Peru’s answer to the Galapagos). The colonies of birds, such as, Humboldt penguins, comorrants, terns and the sea lions were phenomenal. When we got back to shore the same taxi driver had our English speaking guide who took us on a tour of Paracas National Park. Part of which is going through a desert which doesn’t get any rain. Then we did a pisco tasting. COQUIMBO – CHILE (La Serena) We took a private tour through Mayorista tours. The Pisco in Vicuna – Cabel distillery (was great) . We stopped for 15 minutes at the La Serena market and stopped for 15 minutes at the Lighthouse monument SAN ANTONIO - CHILE We booked the City Drive tour through Princess. As the Chilean kids were on summer vacation we were in an area of their vacation homes and we were also on the Poet’s Route. We saw the second largest swimming pool in the world PUERTO MONTT – CHILE We booked a private tour through Puerto Montt excursions via Denis Putrov. His email is www.puertomontt-excursiones.com/en Some of the highlights were travelling alongside Lake Llanquihue, seeing the Osorno volcano, enjoying the beauty of Esmerelda Lake (Chile’s Lake Louise), enjoying some Chilean sweets in Cassis restaurant in Puerto Varas, and visting the Angelmo fish market. It was a great private tour. AMALIA GLACIER, We were fortunate enough to see it as most days it is fogged in PUNTARENAS – CHILE We arrived on Christmas Day and walked up to the main square as we had canceled our Princess excursion to Magdelena Island. (Falkland Islands is a better place to see penguins) We did stop in a souvenir shop. Chilean Peso is the best money, although USD are nice, USHUAIA – ARGENTINA Here we realized how close we were to Antarctica. We took the $10 USD double decker bus ride. It lasts 1 hour and the first one leaves at 1:15 PM. We enjoyed it. CAPE HORN Another treat as we did not have rough seas as we rounded into the Atlantic Ocean. The desolate island with no trees and cool temperatures (even in summer" time") STANLEY – FALKLAND ISLANDS We got lucky. We connected with the game warden or caretaker of Volunteer Point Sanctuary. Derek Pettersson knew the shortcuts so we got to the site first so we were able to walk among the penguins without stressing them too much. The sanctuary had King, Gentoo, and Magellan penguins His tour included a lunch. His email is drp@horizon.co.fk . The roads are only for “4 x 4 ing”. Your body will be bounced around. PUERTO MADRYN-ARGENTINA We walked the streets along the beachfront. First we walked 4 blocks to the turismo information where they said the best thing to do is to go 17 km down the road. Then, we went to the adjacent 2 story mall and walked 3 blocks west to the town square. We stopped in at a supermarket on the way MONTEVIDEO- URUGUAY We went on the Princess city tour knowing that the city streets would be empty on Jan 1. Our tour guide said some of the inhabitants partied until 7 am. Don’t know about currency although we did use USD to get a fridge magnet. We drove by their 80000 people soccer stadium BUENOS AIRES -ARGENTINA If you have extra days before boarding in Buenos Aires, we enjoyed the Princess excursion City Drive (saw Eva Peron’s Mausoleum) and Tango Show at La Ventana and a Princes excursion to Tigre Delta. The Opera House is supposed to phenomenal. As soccer season had not started a Boca Junior or River Platte game would be fun The traffic around the terminal is slow because a freeway is being constructed. Also when you get to the terminal you will be shuttled to the ship. Many guests stayed longer by going to the Sofitel Hotel. Argentina Peso is the best currency in Argentina,

A quick snapshot of western Latin America & Argentina

Star Princess Cruise Review by mathduck

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2018
  • Destination: South America
  • Cabin Type: Interior
We booked air fare and transfers with Princess to simplify our process.

The embarkation in LA process was good up until boarding the ship. It took 2.5 hours to board. Standing on cement for my wife was difficult as she had hip surgery 10 months ago. I would have liked some hydration stands especially if the weather got warmer.

The disembarkation from ship to airport was great. However, the airport in Buenos Aires was painful 3.5 hours of lineups, suitcase drop-off, security, immigration, and boarding.

The ship was clean and had lots of sanitizing stations. As seniors ,we chose the early seating as it fit our schedule better and we like sit down meals. It also enabled us to catch the early perfrmances in the Princess Theater. Our normal routine was to have breakfast in the Horizon Court (buffet), then go to the International Cafe for soup, salad, and/or sandwhich for lunch. We did try the speciality reastaurant, the Crown Grill.

For activities we played duplicate bridge, played trivia, and enjoyed the Spa

We did Princess and private tours at the Ports.

CABO SAN LUCA - MEXICO

Our Princess tour Salsa and Salsa got canceled. We took the tender to the port and caught the elevator up to the 2nd floor and enjoyed a couple of beers from the Wizzle Restaurant. This got us away from the street hustle and noise.

PUNTA ARENAS - COSTA RICA

We booked a private tour through Alvaro of Odyssey Tours. It was called 10 in 1 adventures. It was very good. Two of our favorites were watching the guides feed chicken to the crocodiles and watching the sunset at the top of a restaurant sipping an Imperial beer (local Costa Rican beer)

CALLAO – PERU (LIMA)

Lima is supposed to be a gastronomic delight with two of the top 10 restaurants in the world. We bought 3 pairs of alpaca socks (best socks for those that have cold feet)

This is a two day stopover. We took a Princess excursion one day to the President’s square and the Indian Market. There are 11 million people that live in Metro – Lima It was nice to get out of the bus considering it was bumper to bumper traffic (30 minutes at each stop).

We canceled our private tour because we were worried about our safety. We were told that taxis have no regulations so the drivers may not be taxi drivers.

SAN MARTIN – PERU (PARACAS)

We booked a private tour through Rocio of Bahia Tours. We were picked up at the Port of San Martin by a taxi. The driver took us to the boat center. We then boarded a slipper (an open passenger speed boat) and began by going to see the Candelabra – a huge figure in the sand. Next we continued to Ballestas Islas (Peru’s answer to the Galapagos). The colonies of birds, such as, Humboldt penguins, comorrants, terns and the sea lions were phenomenal. When we got back to shore the same taxi driver had our English speaking guide who took us on a tour of Paracas National Park. Part of which is going through a desert which doesn’t get any rain. Then we did a pisco tasting.

COQUIMBO – CHILE (La Serena)

We took a private tour through Mayorista tours. The Pisco in Vicuna – Cabel distillery (was great) . We stopped for 15 minutes at the La Serena market and stopped for 15 minutes at the Lighthouse monument

SAN ANTONIO - CHILE

We booked the City Drive tour through Princess. As the Chilean kids were on summer vacation we were in an area of their vacation homes and we were also on the Poet’s Route. We saw the second largest swimming pool in the world

PUERTO MONTT – CHILE

We booked a private tour through Puerto Montt excursions via Denis Putrov. His email is www.puertomontt-excursiones.com/en

Some of the highlights were travelling alongside Lake Llanquihue, seeing the Osorno volcano, enjoying the beauty of Esmerelda Lake (Chile’s Lake Louise), enjoying some Chilean sweets in Cassis restaurant in Puerto Varas, and visting the Angelmo fish market. It was a great private tour.

AMALIA GLACIER,

We were fortunate enough to see it as most days it is fogged in

PUNTARENAS – CHILE

We arrived on Christmas Day and walked up to the main square as we had canceled our Princess excursion to Magdelena Island. (Falkland Islands is a better place to see penguins) We did stop in a souvenir shop.

Chilean Peso is the best money, although USD are nice,

USHUAIA – ARGENTINA

Here we realized how close we were to Antarctica. We took the $10 USD double decker bus ride. It lasts 1 hour and the first one leaves at 1:15 PM. We enjoyed it.

CAPE HORN

Another treat as we did not have rough seas as we rounded into the Atlantic Ocean. The desolate island with no trees and cool temperatures (even in summer" time")

STANLEY – FALKLAND ISLANDS

We got lucky. We connected with the game warden or caretaker of Volunteer Point Sanctuary. Derek Pettersson knew the shortcuts so we got to the site first so we were able to walk among the penguins without stressing them too much. The sanctuary had King, Gentoo, and Magellan penguins

His tour included a lunch. His email is drp@horizon.co.fk . The roads are only for “4 x 4 ing”. Your body will be bounced around.

PUERTO MADRYN-ARGENTINA

We walked the streets along the beachfront. First we walked 4 blocks to the turismo information where they said the best thing to do is to go 17 km down the road. Then, we went to the adjacent 2 story mall and walked 3 blocks west to the town square. We stopped in at a supermarket on the way

MONTEVIDEO- URUGUAY

We went on the Princess city tour knowing that the city streets would be empty on Jan 1. Our tour guide said some of the inhabitants partied until 7 am. Don’t know about currency although we did use USD to get a fridge magnet. We drove by their 80000 people soccer stadium

BUENOS AIRES -ARGENTINA

If you have extra days before boarding in Buenos Aires, we enjoyed the Princess excursion City Drive (saw Eva Peron’s Mausoleum) and Tango Show at La Ventana and a Princes excursion to Tigre Delta. The Opera House is supposed to phenomenal. As soccer season had not started a Boca Junior or River Platte game would be fun

The traffic around the terminal is slow because a freeway is being constructed. Also when you get to the terminal you will be shuttled to the ship. Many guests stayed longer by going to the Sofitel Hotel.

Argentina Peso is the best currency in Argentina,
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin IE B511
This time we went to an interior cabin. With no natural light, we got up when we felt like it
Aloha Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Recoleta Cemetery
    Our bus driver, Luciano, had to deal with slow traffic around the cruise as a new freeway is being designed (3 years to complete). He drove us through many park areas and it seemed they all had historic monuments with statues.

    Our guide Lucrecia gave us some information about Eva Peron who ruled with her husband Juan Peron in the form of dictatorship. After she died her husband got displaced. When the new dictator got into power their place was burned to the ground.

    When you see Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Don't cry for me Argentina" you will get the sense of Eva Peron's love for her people before her death at the young age of 32. So the people have a monument of her on the place that was burned to the ground

    When Juan Peron got back into power, he wanted to build a special mausoleum for her. But his current wife said no. So Eva Peron is buried in her family plot, Descartes, in the Recoleta cemetery.
    View All 16 Recoleta Cemetery Reviews
  • Tango Show
    Argentina is known for tango, wine, and beef. We felt we were blessed when our tour stopped at La Ventana. The meal was fantastic. The baby 386 g steak was about 1 “ thick and cooked to perfection. The Malbec and Chardonnay flowed freely. Then we were entertained with tango dancing and singing.
    View All 18 Tango Show Reviews
  • Tigre Delta
    Buenos Aires has 48 neighborhoods. We drove along Liberator Avenue for 21 km into the San Isidro to visit one of its cathedral (St Isidore is the patron saint of farmers and Madrid). The magnificent stone structure was completed in 1896 compared to the adobe hut of 1706 founded by Spanish captain Domingo de Acassuso. In the same plaza there is a statue of Bartolome Mitre who is credited with unifying Argentina.

    Our last stop was in Tigre. It is the starting point for the Parana Delta. So we boarded a passenger boat and traveled its many interlocking rivers. We first went by rowing clubs and marinas. It reminded of a Louisiana swamp but the houses and mansions are closer. Each house usually has a pier. The houses are on stilts to prevent rising water damage. Children attend school from 10 - 2.

    Groceries come by boat. Landowners usually put out a flag for grocery boat to stop. Most houses have propane. A significant landowner made a "crystal house" which is encased in glass and is now a museum.
    View All 19 Tigre Delta Reviews
  • Cabo San Lucas
    Although the Tekila Bar and Senor Frogs enticed us, we settled on Wizzle’s Bar as one of our tablemates suggested it.

    As alcohol on the ship is at least double the shore price, Alberta had 2 Corona Light and I had 3 XXX beer (all with lime). We also sampled Damiana. Besides enjoying the scenery of the inner harbor from the second floor, we enjoyed tasting a nacho platter. We watched the pirate ship enter the marina via the inner harbor.

    With the high cost of internet, it has free Wifi
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  • City Tour
    As the Star Princess is berthed in a commercial container port, access is limited. Luckily the tour buses for Princess depart by the ship so 41 of us boarded the same bus. Our driver's name was Junior and the 76 year old guide's name was Hernando.

    Hernando said that when he arrived from the mountains in 1952 the population of Lima was 1 million and now it is 11 million. Similarly Callao in 1952 was separate from Lima and now with urban sprawl they are joined and that is why 43 municipalities (each with a separate mayor) form the Lima conglomerate.

    When driving it seems like one continuous city with traffic and lights every 4 blocks. As our tour was City Drive and Indian Market we only had two stops. The first stop was the square in front of the presidential palace. We were too early for the changing of the guards.We bought a selection of Manu Picchu postcards.

    The next stop was the Indian Market. Our mission was to get your Mom some alpaca socks because at night she sometimes has cold feet. We found that the further away from the center of the market the cheaper the socks. We bought 3 pairs. My wife also bought a pair of alpaca slippers.

    The bus travelled on the edge of the cliffs overlooking the ocean and "Love Pair" statute. We saw them surfing on the ocean. Then we drove to the Avenue Costamera along the bottom of the cliffs and got a closer look at the ocean. This allowed us to miss a lot of bumper to bumper driving to get back to Callao. However, we had to wait about 1/2 hour at the checkpoint getting into the container port as one security guard checked that each passenger on each bus had their room key. 8 buses arrived at the same time. We did watch a toddler take a bucket bath on the street while waiting.

    We also checked out the wares of about 12 kiosks before going onboard.
    View All 26 City Tour Reviews
  • City Tour
    We were happy with our driver Jose and guide Carolina.

    Normally the streets are bustling but according to Carolina New Years revelers party until 7 am so the streets are dead on January 1st.

    As we approached Plaza Zahala, our first stop. The streets were still littered with some paper from calendars that are thrown from the windows in the business district and then washed away. It is part of their traditions. The statue in the middle of the square represents the liberation of Uruguay form Brazil and separates the old town from the new town. The Canadian embassy faces the square. The architecture of the different buildings is vibrant and mostly French.

    Our next stop was the Plaza Independencia along the Avenue 18 de Julio. Their legislative building has a statue on each of the 4 corners. We saw Science and Labor.

    We passed by their soccer stadium which holds 80 000 people before arriving at our next stop. It was the El Gaucho monument. Your Mom bought a fridge magnet at one of the kiosks.

    When we traveled along the Rambia Sur along the beach we noticed that many families were enjoying their day on the beach. Lots of beach umbrellas were in the sand and lawn chairs were under them. It is their summer.
    View All 41 City Tour Reviews
  • Puerto Montt
    Our private tour through Puerto Montt excursion required us to get the first tender.

    With our tour guide Gloria and driver Victoria we headed out of the port terminal at 8:00 am. At our first pee stop along Lake Llanquihue, the second largest lake in Chile we were able to pictures of Llamas.

    We stopped a couple of times alongside the Petrohue River for photo opportunities, especially of the Volcano Osorno - the Fujiyama of South America. Then we stopped at Esmerelda Lake & Chile's Lake Louise. We took a few more pictures and watched two eagles go into a tree close to us. We also saw two other active volcanoes -- Tronador & Puntiagudo

    One of the tours actually took the tram up the side of the Osorno volcano and saw ice craters as this was one of the few days you could see anything (Your Mom really wanted to do that). We each paid $6 to see the Petrohue Falls. They were nothing special.

    We stopped at the Verde Laguana. It was a green pool of water. I took a picture of a big rainbow trout near the water's surface

    On the way back we stopped in Puerto Varas which was settled by the Germans. Besides Bavarian shapes they had colorful homes. We stopped at their downtown square for a 40 minute walk-around. Our guide said she takes her Mom and 8 year old son to the Cassis restaurant for their ice cream. When we walked inside two of the assistant cruise directors, Gabi and Veronika, were just paying their bill. We ordered carmello flan ice cream and a cake with a 7 minute meringue icing (looked like toasted marshmallows). The freshness and taste were outstanding.

    Our last stop was the fish market (Angelmo Market) in Puerto Montt. It was also a vegetable market. We watched a vendor feed salmon leftovers to the sea lions.
    View All 11,895 Puerto Montt Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Punta Arenas
    We walked 4 blocks east along the Avenue beside the ocean in Puntarenas Chile. Then We walked 4 blocks east along the Avenue beside the ocean in Puntarenas Chile. Then we headed North along Monsenor Jose Fagneno Street before stopping in a souvenir shop that was open. Most stores are closed on Christmas Day. We bought a penguin fridge magnet.

    We continued walking uphill to Plaza Munoz Gamero where there is a monument honoring Ferdinard Magellan. I started looking for a toque as it is only 7C or 45F.

    Then we headed back to the Port of Entry. We took a couple of maritime clock pictures at the entrance. Once inside the port terminal we tried contacting more family to wish them a Merry Christmas because of the free Wi-Fi.
    View All 150 Punta Arenas Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera)
    We had to walk the full length of the dock and find our tour company Odyssey Tours. As the air conditioning on our Mercedes Benz 15 passenger van was not working properly and the day was hot and humid we were not happy campers.

    Our tour guide Ronald Leon and driver Bennin made our 10 in 1 adventure experience a delight. Our first stop was to see the howler monkeys in the trees. We then drove up a mountain that overlooked the bays near Punta Arenas. On the way down we stopped at an area that was staged as "Old Village" with housing and an outdoor church that was 200 years prior. Our guide took us to an area were wild macaws were in the trees before going to lunch. We enjoyed a tasty lunch at Vista Mar while watching a 20 minute tropical shower. We then walked under the highway through 6 foot concrete sewer connectors to the ocean. We walked through the dark volcanic sand down to the ocean.

    One of the highlights of this tour was the crocodile tour at Pura Vida. Close to where we loaded we saw our first crocodile. It was a juvenile. Our next stop was in the middle of the river where one of the tour guides got out on a sand bar and started slapping the water. This attracted a larger crocodile whom he enticed with chicken. Going further down the river the same performance with the second largest crocodile, but the other guide on the boat maneuvered the tail of the crocodile for people to touch. When we headed back we saw the largest crocodile swimming in the river.

    The bus drove the group of us to look for souvenirs. But they were expensive. The group of us decided to not to go back to the ocean again so we went to "look-out" point where watched the sunset from a restaurant. It was such a shame as we had to sample the local cold Imperial beer with parched throats. My wife and I also shared a calamari dish with rice.
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  • Stanley
    When we got to shore we were met by Derek Pettersson, our private tour guide and owner of Horizon tours. At his suggestion all the members of our four person group went to the bathroom . The 4 x 4 ride is bumpy and over peat bogs

    On the way to Volunteer Point, Derek showed us remnants of Argentinian helicopters shot down during their war versus the UK in 1982. Derek and his wife Trudy are the wardens at Volunteer Point and regulate the number of people who can view the King, Gentoo, and Magellan penguins. They also ensure that the penguins are not disturbed too much by tourists.

    The 80 km trip took 1 h 50 min over peat bogs and through sheep ranches.
    Luckily Derek has his own path to Volunteer Point and knew the groups stopped for a toilet break at Johnson Farm. Thus we could walk amongst the penguins without disturbing them by walking slow. By the time 55 jeeps with tourists arrived, the Magellan penguins had retreated inside their dens and the Gentoo and King Penguins stayed within their circle of white rocks.

    We had a bag lunch before returning to Port Stanley. Derek showed us the fields that Tanzanians were still combing to ensure that the land mines the Argentinians left behind in 1982 were removed. He also took us on a quick city tour before dropping us off the catch our tender.
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  • Ushuaia
    Ushuaia's temperature does not vary that much 3 C during June (their winter) and 15 C during December (their summer). It reminded us of Canmore and Banff with the mountains in the back and their narrow city streets. Their ski hill is 24 km away. The town is located on the West side of the Andes which are higher than the Rockies.

    We headed off the ship down the pier to the double decker buses. We paid $10 USD and were the first ones on the bus. We went to the upper deck, got the best seats in the house, and waited until 1:15 for the first one hour tour.
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