We chose this cruise for the itinerary- leaving from the Santiago area (port of San Antonio) and cruising around Cape Horn to the Falkland Islands, ending in Buenos Aires. Originally we had booked a similar cruise with Celebrity but realized that HAL went to the Falklands and switched for that reason. We booked 18 months in advance because we wanted a Vista Suite (with balcony) mid-ship, facing land (the port side in this case).
The ports and general enjoyment of a cruise around Cape Horn is very dependent on the weather as we heard from the Captain and crew, who let us know that the previous cruise which went in the reverse did not had very good luck and missed three ports. Our weather was spectacular for the most part, even in Ushuaia, where they never see sun. We even made it to the Falklands, a long tender which was calm heading in during the morning but a bit rough coming back in the afternoon after penguin watching when the wind picked up.
The ship took us through the Darwin Channel, Beagle Strait and Straits of Magellan, each early in the morning where we had close up views of glaciers and the sunrise. The balcony was worth the extra cost just for these amazing days as we didn't need to fight the crowd on deck for a good view.
We took the local bus to Puerto Varas and wandered around (and ran into people who took shore excursions). Total cost to us was about $5.50 US .
We got lucky here and had a gorgeous warm, sunny day. The port expert told us it is very rare to see the sun for more than about five minutes. We walked around the port area which had a lovely park, then explored the town. Lots of shopping opportunities, and we met some nice people prepping for an Antarctic cruise which leave from the port.
Montevideo is very easy to navigate and we felt very safe walking around there. We explored much of downtown on foot. A tour will give you the history, etc. but we got that beforehand on the ship by one of enrichment talks. Free wifi in the port building!
We explored the Plaza San Martin, Galleria Pacifica Mall, Artisan Market, and Puerto Madero Docklands on our own by foot. We learned that Buenos Aires is a tricky city in which to be a pedestrian. The area along the port and docklands was under construction as they added an bellow ground road, so there were temporary sidewalks, overhead walkways, and broken streets. Many city sidewalks where we walked were uneven or broken, requiring caution. And some streets are huge, nine lanes wide in each direction in one case, so it may take three traffic lights to get across. Still, it was a great way to get a feel for the city as opposed to sitting on a bus in the horrible traffic.