3 Santiago (Valparaiso) Gay & Lesbian Cruise Reviews

Hi Folks, Well, I don't really know where to start, but let's start from the beginning! March 14th to April 1st - Santiago to Los Angeles... 17 days. We flew to Santiago 4 days before the cruise. The time in Santiago was ... Read More
Hi Folks, Well, I don't really know where to start, but let's start from the beginning! March 14th to April 1st - Santiago to Los Angeles... 17 days. We flew to Santiago 4 days before the cruise. The time in Santiago was good and we stayed at the Marriott. As normal tourists, being in a new city for the first time, we took the "Hop-on Hop-Off" bus tour, to get our bearings. Santiago was nice and we enjoyed our time there. The port of Valparaiso, is about a 1.5 - 2 hour drive from the city. We took an UBER Black SUV, as we had so much luggage. Initially, the driver could not find the cruise terminal, as he drove towards the visible ship. He stopped and asked a friendly guy where the drop-off point was. We were there in about 5 minutes. A porter met us and whisked our 9 pieces of luggage off to the ship. You have to take about a 2 km bus ride from check-in to the gangway. All went well. Check-in was a breeze and the terminal was virtually empty at around 1500h local. The building looks very dilapidated from the outside, but inside it is good. We went through the normal terminal security screening, and then, to our surprise, we subject to another security screening upon embarkation. No worries; it all went well and smoothly. The greeting on board was warm and friendly. As we had previously sailed on the Star Princess, we knew exactly where our cabin was. D205 was a mini-suite, and was in very good shape. Our room steward was very good... never travel without a balcony, especially when the cruise has a lot of sea days. I caught up on my reading. As for the ship itself, it is showing its age a bit, but was in overall good condition. We ate in the Main Dining Room for 15 out of the 17 days. The food and service were very good! We went to the Crown Grill and Sabatini's on two other nights, and I would not recommend either of them, as the service was slow, and the food was not what one would expect for a $25 cover fee, per person, over the menu offered in the MDR's. The bar staff was excellent! We did purchase the All-Inclusive-Beverage-Package, and there was no more signing of tabs; that is a very welcome addition to Princess. I am not sure if this has been expanded to all ships yet. As another aside, we had 2 nights in Lima, so we decided to stay at the Hilton Miraflores, instead of on board. We had a good time there, but the traffic in Lima is the worst I have seen in my travels; including Bangkok! I partook of the Spanish-at-Sea classes with Alan, an Assistant Cruise Director. I learned more than I thought I would, and used, with some success, my newly acquired linguistic skills, in other Spanish ports. We took two excursions, booked through the ship. The first was in Pisco... I didn't do my research, but we literally arrived in a desert. It was beautiful, and the tour was excellent! The second excursion was to the top of Mombacho volcano. It was billed as a 4WD tour, and that was correct. It was about 1.5 hours each way on a bus, to get to the base and back. Then we were herded into two large vehicles that each held about 24 passengers. The climb was steep (and a bit scary at times). The actual tour of Mombacho, was actually a very gruelling 1.5 km hike. If you don't like steps, down and up, this is not a tour for you, but there was a 75-year-old man in our group who did it unflinchingly! Princess should have posted a better description of this particular tour. Just to go back a bit, after we dropped some passengers off in Pisco, for their land tour of Machu Picchu, we heard 2 days later, in Lima, that there was an aircraft accident. Princess took very good care of the affected passengers, and forwarded them to Manta, Ecuador, for an unscheduled pick-up. All went well, except for a few who did not book with Princess. We settled in and enjoyed the entertainment on board. Princess has come a long way in this area. Kudos to the Cruise Director. We did not get off the ship in Cabo San Lucas, due to the short port time, and a tender operation. The next day, there was a USCG helicopter evacuation, for a sick crew member, on our way to Los Angeles. It went off without a hitch, and the crew seemed very well-trained. Lots of people were trying to get pictures of the operation, but, unfortunately, all passengers were confined inside during the helo-op. I really have to say that Princess really surpassed my expectations, and I would not hesitate to cruise with them many more times. I hope this VERY LONG review helps! Cheers! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our 1 cruise on a Crystal ship and we had heard only good things about Crystal Cruises, but there were also some negative items we did not appreciate at all. First to the good things: nice ship, good size (below 1'000 ... Read More
This was our 1 cruise on a Crystal ship and we had heard only good things about Crystal Cruises, but there were also some negative items we did not appreciate at all. First to the good things: nice ship, good size (below 1'000 PAX), never crowded, excellent food in all restaurants, excellent service and staff. Perfectly organised boarding in Valparaiso and de-boarding in Buenos Aires. Well organised excursions (but VERY expensive but that's the same on other cruise lines). Some of the excursions did not fulfill the expectations, but most of them did. Negative things: Small cabin (everything we needed was there, but we would have appreciated a bit more space in the room as well on the veranda), considering the price paid. Lido Restaurant openings: We would expect that this (morning self service restaurant) would also be open EVERY evening for a light (self-service or service) dinner (why not a steak restaurant) or a place for a 'sightseeing dinner' (nice large windows, ideal for a dinner in places such as the inside passages on the Chilean side, the Magellan Passage, the Beagle Street or the Cape Horn as well as during the evenings in Antarctica or between Puerto Madryn and B. Aires with sunset around 10 pm or regions with warm climate (but unfortunately the Lido was only open on 3 evenings); The other item which disturbed us a lot, was the frequent closure (or closed bar service) at the PALM COURT (the nicest place on board above the bridge with large windows to the front and the sides and a splendid view). We instantly fell in love with this place, but many times when we wanted to go for a drink before dinner (were on late seating), we were refused entry because of some Bridge club happenings or just because the Bar was not attended). Even at times when the Bar should have been open (as per the daily Reflection), the Bar was unattended). I reported this fact, got an excuse from the Hotel manager, but nothing changed. This is, for a deluxe cruise line as Crystal pretends to be, totally unacceptable, since the remaining 3 Bars (one next to the lobby and two very dark and noisy ones, were not at all our taste). What we did is get a bottle of wine and install ourselves on the terrace of the closed Lido Cafe or on our veranda (weather permitting). We were also quite unhappy, with the opening hours of the various food places (everything closed at 6pm !! except the for the dining room and the 2 restaurants). There was no place open to get some finger food after 6 pm, something we have not seen on any other cruise line. Final remark: Crystal Cruises are expensive, provide excellent food and service, have well trained staff. As 1st time cruisers we felt sometimes a bit neglected compared to the C.C. society members. We would have expected to be personally informed about the future Crystal cruise society benefits (there was plenty of time on a 19 day cruise for an information session on a sea day with all 1st timers). So yes we liked some of it, but it was not enough to convince us to book again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
This was our second NCL cruise both of which were to South America. Since we were in one of the AD Suites, our embarkation and debarkation processes went very smoothly. Our suite was very nice. It faced forward and was on the Starboard ... Read More
This was our second NCL cruise both of which were to South America. Since we were in one of the AD Suites, our embarkation and debarkation processes went very smoothly. Our suite was very nice. It faced forward and was on the Starboard side. The movement was more than if in a mid-ship cabin but we expected that and were not disappointed. The Concierge and the Butler were great and went out their way to help us. I highly recommend that you spend the extra to get a cabin where the concierge and butler services are offered. It is worth it. The food was mediocre at best. We don't cruise for the food and had heard the Norwegian Sun was not known for excellence in the food category so it was not a big disappointment. However, I would have enjoyed the trip more had the food been a bit higher quality. We had several meals in the Four Seasons, but preferred the specialty restaurants particularly Pacific Heights. Il Adagio was also very good. Because of booking an AD Suite, we were able to enjoy the Concierge Lounge (Il Adagio) for breakfast and lunch. This is a very nice way to enjoy a quiet, relaxed meal during the day. We decided to do the Behind The Scenes tour that is offered onboard (at the price of $55 per person). It was okay but not worth it. The group was too big and it was hard to hear the tour guide particularly in the kitchen prep areas. There are no microphones, and coupled with the noise in the kitchen area (which is expected) one could not hear what was being explained unless you were right in front of the guide. The rest of the tour went better, particularly seeing the bridge and meeting the captain. Again, I wouldn't repeat the tour on another cruise. We met some very interesting people during the 14 days and we got to see a lot of very unusual and interesting sights on our shore excursions. The trip is rustic and many of the trips included rough roads. Weather ranges from very hot to very cold so bring clothes accordingly. One big disappointment (not the fault of the ship) was we couldn't get off to go to the Falklands. The weather was so bad. The Falklands is a tender port and the day we arrived, the winds were gusting to 60 mps which made it impossible to take tenders into town. We heard that this was not uncommon. One man said he had tried twice and had never yet made it to shore. Another person said they had tried four times and never made it. Maybe NCL should consider skipping the Falklands and extending the stay at Montevideo or some other of the other ports. By the way Montevideo is great as is Buenos Aires. Overall it was a great trip. We are glad that we went and saw parts of the world we never thought we would see. Now it's on to other parts of the world! Happy Cruising to All! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010

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