We (Married couple in our 30's, no kids) choose this cruise because of the itinerary, because of Antarctica. Because we really wanted to see penguins in the region where they belong. And this was the only affordable way to do it.
It was our first cruise ever. We know now that cruising is not our favorite way to travel, and I'm sure we will wait at least another 30-40 years before we ever book a cruise again, but the nature, the surroundings; Patagonia, Falkland islands, Antarctica, that made it worth it!
We took the public bus from our hostel to the cruise port. Public transportation is very easy in Buenos Aires, just get a Sube card (at a subway station), and you can use the bus, subway and trains. One card can be used by more then one person. We used public transportation a lot there. It's cheap and easy.
Embarkation went well. We were early but were allowed to go on the ship at that time. No long lines, no problems.
The ship was okay. It's not new and you can see what parts of the ship are recently upgraded, and what parts not. In our cabin, the bathroom and tv were in need of replacement. But it was clean. Spacious enough. Friendly staff.
We ate only in the lido buffet, which was fine, but not really good or special. Most food is very fat (much oil is used) and unhealthy. I am actually a vegan, but that was very, very hard during this cruise.
The entertainment was not really meant for our age. Soms things were fun, but most entertainment was for older people. There were some events for the holidays, like Santa's arrival and the lighting of the Christmas tree. The new years party was the most boring and strange party we ever went to in our lives. Not really a party at all. For holiday festivities I would not recommend this cruise. We did like the band the Runaround kids.
We stayed in Buenos Aires a few days before the cruise. There is enough to do and see there. We took our time to visit the different parts of the city and took a train to the tigre delta, before we went on the cruise.
The first port was Montevideo. We walked on our own trough Montevideo, a city we liked more then Buenos Aires. In the next ports we did a few shore excursions trough HAL, they were all good. Groups were not too big. We did see a lot of nature and animals, which for us was the reason we booked the tour. Peninsula Valdes & San Lorenzo, to see the Magellanic penguins. We also booked the Rockhopper penguins at the Falklands and a wildlife cruise trough the beagle channel at Ushuaia.
The ports in Chile were not that interesting, but it was nice to get off the ship and walk around the towns. In Punta Arenas the free bus to the city center is a long wait, they are not arranged by HAL but by the city itself. Only 2 buses for the ship. We walked around in the city center and went to the cemetery there.
In Puerto Chacabucco we walked around to see the dogs in town, there are a lot of dogs there. Not much else to do tough.
We did skip Puerto Montt on this cruise, because of bad weather.
We arrived in San Antonio a day earlier because of that. We went to the fish market there to see the sea lions, but it's very smelly and there are a lot of sea gulls (that sh*t on you). We did self embarkation, we took our own bags of the ship. That was very fast and easy. After the cruise we took a public (pullman) bus to Santiago, to continue our travels trough Chile over land. The bus had an extra stop at the cruise terminal, so it was easy to find.
Although the bathroom and tv could use replacement, it was a very good cabin. The promenade deck is easy to acces, but you are not directly next to the doors, so you don't have noise from slamming doors. The promenade deck is a nice place to spot all the animals en nature, and you can acces the bow of the ship from this deck. Sometimes you could hear some music from the theater above, but not so loud we could not sleep trough it. We were happy with our choice of cabin. It's partially obstructed view, but its not that bad. You can actually still see a lot.
It's a nice city. We stayed here for a while before the cruise and took our time to see the different parts of the city. Get a sube card for public transportation (you get it at a subway station). You can use it for bus, train and subway and you only need one card even if you are with more then one person. We used it to get to the different parts of the city by bus and subway, and we took a train to the tigre delta.
The city center is an easy walk from the ship, it's a nice city, we liked it more then Buenos Aires. We just walked around, did some sight-seeing and shopping.
You will be picked up in a van, then you go to a farm where you will step into landrovers. Its a bumpy but fun ride for about an hour, offroad. Then you arrive at the penguin colony, just with a small group. You can sit on benches there and watch the penguins. It's very beautifull, the penguins are very active and loud. There is a small shack where you can get tea and coffee and go to the toilet. You have about 2 hours with the penguins, and then you will be picked up again for the ride back. Rockhopper penguins are my favorite penguins, and we had really nice weather. So for us this was a perfect excursion.View All 12 Rockhopper Penguin Colony Reviews
We were in Ushuaia on januari 1st. So we decided to book a tour for a part of the day, so we would have something to do in case everything was closed. It was a nice tour. Not very exciting. It was not to crowded on the catamaran. We got close to the birds and sea lions, and close to the lighthouse at the end of the world.View All undefined undefined Reviews
The bus from the port to the city center has not enough capacity for the amount of tourists. The city is nice, but not really special. We went to the bank to get money, to the viewing point and we went to the cemetery. We walked back over the beach and boulevard on our way back to the busstop.