We wanted to travel around Cape Horn, something I thought I would probably never get to do. Had been looking at various cruises with this itinerary for quite sometime and they seem to fill up quick or had a pretty steep price/person. Then we saw this cruise offered at a rather reasonable rate and jumped on it. Holland America is not my first choice of cruise line but have cruised them prior and would cruise not exclude Holland in the future.
Arrival in Santiago airport a little bit confusing but we made it and you can purchase Chilean pesos in the airport, no problem.
Hotel prior to cruise: stayed in Santiago at the Hotel Plaza San Francisco, excellent hotel in the center of Santiago. You can arrange tours of Santiago right at the hotel and the tour will pick you up at the hotel. The service and food are great, very friendly and they speak English.
Transportation from airport to hotel and then from hotel to cruise terminal in San Antonio was previously arranged through Viator, no problems.
Ship: The ship is an older ship but in good condition. It is easy to navigate and there are approximately 1400 passengers and you have plenty of space, you don't feel like you are in a sardine can, which is quite nice. The crew is friendly and helpful, Capt. was excellent! Always kept you apprised of various weather conditions, ports, etc. We were in cabin 3322 and the cabins on Holland are usually a little larger than on other cruise lines. One problem encountered with this cabin is that you are right next to an exit door on the Lower Promenade deck and there is a large wooden door to the deck outside. This large heavy door would slam shut, and I mean slam shut, every time anyone used it, so if you were sleeping, it very definitely jarred you. Would not select this cabin again for this reason only.
The ship has a lot of relaxation areas and is quite comfortable. The entertainment was great, and Holland does a nice job with their shore excursions.
Dining Room: We were travelling with friends, and we had a nice table in the Dining Room right next to the upper railing. The problem with this was to gain access to the seats at our table for four. There was a large support post behind the seat closest to the railing and the other side of the table the chairs were abutting the chairs at the table behind. So on both sides of the table to access the seats we had to pull the chair closest to the aisle out into the aisle and let the person get in to their chair closest to the railing and then push the chair back for the next person to get in to sit at the table. The service was not so good and to top it off, our food was delivered not hot, and did not taste good at all. It was in fact, the worst meal I have ever had at sea! We decided after that that we would not eat in the Dining room the remainder of the cruise.
The cruise itinerary was good, we were able to get into all the ports: San Antonio, Chile;
Puerto Montt, Chile; Punta Arenas, Chile; Ushuaia, Argentina; Falkland Islands; Montevideo, Uruguay; and Buenos Aires, Agentina overnight. There are times when the weather will not permit entry into the ports as the winds are significant in this part of the world and the weather changes very quickly. Do expect seas when travelling this cruise also, so be prepared.
One thing I enjoyed very much was the Shore Excursion talks given by Kevin on board the ship. He kind of tells you like it is. He talks about both private tours and ship sponsored tours. He was very informative. Shore Excursions seem to be a little high priced on Holland, so we took a private one in Puerto Montt. In Punta Arenas we did the Tycoons of Patagonia, but we did not get to see the mansion as stated in the tour and our bus broke down, probably the reason we did not get to the mansion, so the shore excursions desk gave us back a partial refund on our tour. In Ushuaia we did the Beagle Channel Wildlife and enjoyed it very much. We had a beautiful day and got to see the Lighthouse at the end of the world. Falkland Islands we did the Bluff Cove Penguin Rookery. You can only get to this place if you book through the cruise ship, good tour. But,very, very windy. In fact most of South America is quite windy. Our next port of call was in Montevideo and we did not book anything here we just toured on our own, turned out fine. Next is Buenos Aires and we wanted to see the Colon Theatre, and our excursion through the cruise line was cancelled, so we took a taxi on our own (approx. $10 US and cab driver takes US $$) and went to the Theatre and took the tour. The tour was about $20/person you can pay with credit card) What a beautiful Theatre, very well worth the trip. Our next day we departed the ship and took their Buenos Aires Highlights and Tango Show with Airport Transfer. Since our flight was not until the evening this worked our just great and it was a good tour.
The Buenos Aires Airport is a little bit confusing as there are insufficient signs as to where to go to your particular airline, had to ask, finally found what we needed.
Most of the ports we visited would take American dollars, but if you don't have the correct change they will give you change in their currency. The ship will also exchange pesos/dollars for you, just not in larger amounts.
The Casino on the ship is small, I mean small, really small, smallest I have seen and not a large variety of one armed bandits to play.
Disembarkation off the ship worked well with no problems.
This cabin is located on the Lower Promenade which is a deck where people can walk around the deck and are right outside your window. The windows are tinted and if you keep the lights off or pull the drapes you will be fine. There is a door that is located right next to this cabin and it is a very large wooden door which slams shut every time someone enters/exits and it really shakes and jars the cabin. If you are asleep when this happens, you will undoubtedly feel and hear it well. I would not select this cabin again only for that reason. The cabin stewards are very good and keep your cabin well.
Had an excellent day, weather was beautiful, saw penguins, sea lions, birds and whales.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Have to get there via 4x4, part of the way and the Bluff Cove Rookery has lots of Penguins and the Sea Cabbage Cafe located on the coast has some lovely ladies that make wonderful scones and Diddly Dee Jam for the scones for you to enjoy. Very interesting. It was quite windy the day we visited but very happy to be able to see it all.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Enjoyed walking around the city. It was very nice.