Top Australis Ships
Cruising to one of the world's most remote wilderness regions -- South America's Patagonia -- doesn't mean giving up your creature comforts. The all-inclusive line's yacht-like ship Stella Australis has three lounges, comfortably furnished with armchairs and cocktail tables and large windows for taking in the breathtaking scenery. Meals (buffet for breakfast and lunch, table service at dinner) are casual, as is typical of expedition cruises, and they offer menus combining international and local recipes. There is also an open bar where passengers meet and mingle over a few drinks and swap tales of the day's shore excursions. Cabins, for an expedition ship, are spacious, measuring 161 to 220 square feet. Each is handsomely decorated in nautical colors and has a picture window and a private bathroom with a shower.
Daily Zodiac rides (included) are offered to take everyone ashore for such excursions as seeing a colony of Magellan penguins, visiting Cape Horn National Park or hiking near a glacier or into a rugged rain forest. During Zodiac trips through the fjords, there's a chance of spotting southern elephant seals sometimes or dolphins at other times. A multilingual expedition team leads the tours when they're not giving educational talks back onboard.
English and Spanish are the official cruise languages. Tours in French, German, Portuguese or Italian, are offered when there's a group of at least 15.
Passengers are typically well-traveled and curious about wildlife and geology. Women and men choose Australis in equal numbers, and they tend to be North and South Americans of Boomer age. More importantly, they have the desire, time and money to fly to the southern tip of South America for this unique cruise.