We had previously cancelled 2 cruises to South America, and I am glad that we did, because we found this one going to S America and Antarctica. We gained much information and ideas from those who had previously done this trip so I hope we can also provide the same for others who are considering this cruise. I will TRY to be brief.
PRE-CRUISE: We flew to Santiago for a 3 day visit prior to embarkation. We booked our air tickets through Holland America's Flight Ease and were very satisfied with the price compared to booking on our own. If we travel this far, then we are going to see as much as possible. There had been much rioting in Santiago and some people actually cancelled the cruise out of fear for their safety. We had no problems at all. We stayed at the Doubletree by Hilton-Vitacura and HIGHLY RECOMMEND this hotel. It is in a very nice area and within 5 minute walk to much shopping and restaurants. We had the hotel arrange a private guide for a 4 hour tour of the city and also used UBER, on our own, to visit the Vina Cousino Macul for a wonderful winery tour. Easy to do on our own. We enjoyed our time in Santiago.
EMBARKATION: We had made arrangements with others on our roll call to use Stamp's Tours for a tour of Valparaiso and a winery visit during our transfer to San Antonio for embarkation. Although there was a little nervousness on our part since we were at several different hotels, it all worked out well and we reached the ship about 3 hours before scheduled departure. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Stamp's Tours.