5 Santiago (Valparaiso) Singles Cruise Reviews

The main idea of my post is that I strongly recommend you to refrain from taking Viking Cruises. I was dreaming of a round-the-world cruise and decided to a 3-month journey with Viking Cruises. It turned out into a total ... Read More
The main idea of my post is that I strongly recommend you to refrain from taking Viking Cruises. I was dreaming of a round-the-world cruise and decided to a 3-month journey with Viking Cruises. It turned out into a total disappointment. Beautiful website descriptions and vivid manager speeches have nothing to do with reality. I have huge experience in sea journeys and have traveled with almost all well-known companies, thus I have a lot to compare with. Personnel qualification level is very low and does not correspond with the one declared by the company. The crew is occasionally rude and careless. Throughout the whole journey I felt discriminated against basing on age and nationality. From my personal observations, the company focuses its services on aged clients but there is nothing to learn this information from and managers will not inform you about that. The quality and variety of meals is very poor: the menu barely differs from day to day and it’s not tasty at all. Meal courses are mean and thrifty, quality of service is very very low. Here’s an example, we were given an apple (a single one) and were constantly stared at, harassing us and signaling us to leave. Here’s my story: My acquaintance with company started with my personal manager almost ignoring me shortly after I purchased the voyage. Later on, he totally disappeared. It turned out occasionally that he quit the company and forgot to hand over me to another manager. It was almost impossible to verify the status of my special requests before the start of the journey. And that’s what they call and individual approach to every client. The first day on board ended up with room service team breaking all the buttons on my new suit, which was quite expensive and purchased exactly for the trip. My friend faced the same situation. The only thing offered to us as compensation was to attach black buttons used for the crew uniform. As soon as we boarded, we informed guest service about food allergy. Despite this, kitchen crew ignored this information and served dishes with products we are allergic to during 2 months of our journey. Guest service never intervened and helped us, we were able to fix the situation only after a huge argument. Soon after leaving South America, the entire ship was left without internet. Guest service managers made up various excuses: something broke down, no signal and many else. The connection was restored only at French Polynesia islands. This information was published in daily bulletin along with new excuses for the situation. Be aware that cafe waiters are very tardy and lazy. You may spend an hour or two waiting for your order to be cooked. The guest service explained the situation in a way that cruise focuses on elderly customers and thus everything is done slowly on purpose for the convenience of aged people. That is a real problem, instead of making the crew work faster the guest service justifies their lack of action. Moreover, the waiters behave themselves very unfriendly. Another serious problem faced throughout the whole journey - dirty dishes and cutlery, in all of the ship’s restaurants and room service as well. Dirty spots and leftovers from previous clients were noticed on a daily basis. Waiters never reacted to this situation! After contacting officers, the only answer received from them was an explanation of the factors that may lead to these leftovers not being completely washed off. This is not the information that I am willing to receive as a guest. I require proper service, not the explanation why the dishes are dirty. Sanitary conditions were a very serious issue, so keep this in mind while booking a cruise. Be extremely careful while ordering chicken eggs during trips on Viking ships. It was a common issue to receive dirty eggs for breakfast while ordering room service. There were several occasions when eggs were messed up in something black or had feathers stick to it and something else, supposedly feces. Multiple complaints to guest service ended up in nothing, Ana, the manager, set it off and stated that she doesn’t know whose fault it was. Fish dishes were of low quality, the fish itself was literally old and tough, absolutely impossible to eat. It felt like fish was frozen several times killing all the taste and flavor. I faced certain problems with Australian visa. Officer pretended he was helping me. I was made to pay for new visa with no guarantees for success, and I felt that Officer wanted me and my friend leave the ship. We got lucky that my friend found a way to solve the problem and Officer had nothing to say against us. Discrimination was also present during this journey. Me and my friend felt being discriminated against every time we went for dinner. Waiters were extremely friendly and gallant with Americans and blatantly ignored other guests. Furthermore, we faced negligent attitude as we were the youngest on board. Discrimination against nationality and age is present and it is unacceptable for international company! Shame on Viking company. The entire crew of Viking’s ship turned our journey into a nightmare with constant problems arising due to their actions or inaction, and nobody except us tried to solve those issues. Financial issues are not properly solved by the personnel. As the journey started, I was told that residuals on my on board account will be refunded at the end of the cruise. The day before the journey ends, I was told that residual funds will be sent to my credit card. Two weeks later I discovered the fact that residual money will be sent to me in check via mail services. This is a total incompetence of the crew and purposely misleading. I’d also like to pay your attention to the uniqueness of cruises declared by Viking company. Small ships used for Viking’s voyages should be able to visit unique ports as it’s claimed by the company. This is a trickery. During our 3-month trip the ship often made stops far from main city ports forcing the passengers to spend 50-60 minutes each way to reach the cities. There were several occasions when the stops were made in absolutely uninteresting and empty ports. The way Viking company contacts its clients after the trip requires special description. All my inquiries are being ignored and none of my e-mails were replied. Official complaint took very long time to be replied and in the end the only thing Mr Cohen could offer me was a 250$ refund for the spoilt 3 months or discount voucher for further cruise. This sounds like mocking rather than serious approach to problem management. I encourage all readers and those who traveled with Viking to write reviews and leave comments on things thaw went wrong during your trip! Currently, the company services are just overvalued and its ratings are absolutely unreasonable! I urge all those who suffered from the actions of the Viking company to unite! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This ship seemed to have been refurbished but could not find anything about this new refurbishment. We have sailed on this ship before some years ago but nothing new could be found that attracts attention.Very disappointed with the ... Read More
This ship seemed to have been refurbished but could not find anything about this new refurbishment. We have sailed on this ship before some years ago but nothing new could be found that attracts attention.Very disappointed with the entertainment, food and the on board activities. The only good thing was that we enjoyed, was the cruise ports and the glorious weather. The ship itinerary was good and we made our own way to the ports. Before we went, my daughter had arranged with people sailing on the ship,through Roll Call on Cruise Critic for meeting and greeting as well as private excursions. Our stateroom steward was extremely polite and efficient. The rest of the crew in the bars and staff restaurants were equally good but seemed stressed due to long hours on their feet. I hope the NCL improve their staff by providing them with training in customers service. They seem to be more interested in their own welfare than that of the customers needs. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We loved the cruise. After 5 nights in Santiago, we took turbus for $8 each to Valporaiso for 3 nights before our embarkation. ( hotels were Galerias and Cirilo Armstrong respectively. Wonderful stays) Embarkation was easy, but ... Read More
We loved the cruise. After 5 nights in Santiago, we took turbus for $8 each to Valporaiso for 3 nights before our embarkation. ( hotels were Galerias and Cirilo Armstrong respectively. Wonderful stays) Embarkation was easy, but involves going to the passenger terminal a few miles from the ship. Then once you are checked in, Princess transports you to the ship which is docked at the container port. We were able to enter cabin immediately upon hoarding. Lunch at horizon court and then got to know the ship. Princess Star is very well maintained and beautiful. We had a balcony cabin aft port side on deck 10, caribe. Extra large balcony with 2 chairs that recline with footrests and a table. We enjoyed the balcony to the fullest, even when the weather turned cooler as we went farther south. We just put on our jackets and brought out our coffees our cocktails/ wine. The entertainment was fabulous. Both cultural events and historical lectures were held almost everyday. Tango lessons, tango orchestras, line dancing south of the border style, port lectures, historical/cultural lectures, you name it, these activities abounded. And we went to almost all. The movie entertainment was top notch. Under the stars got chilly a few nights, but blankets were brought out. And movies were also shown in the Vista Lounge. Dancing music was throughout the ship at several venues everyday. We love the Piazza. And the International Cafe. That brings me to food. Delicious!!! We had anytime and were able to get a table for 2 every night. Loved it. Great wait staff throughout. Great choices on the menus. We also used room service frequently for coffee, juice in morning on our balcony. Excursions were enriching and lots of fun. We chose Princess for every stop except Stanley, and Montevideo In Stanley we took the public bus to gypsy cove for $20 each to see a few penguins. In Montevideo we walked the ciudad vieja on our own and had lunch in Puerto Mercado/great grilled steaks. Beautiful beach and we even saw a few emperor penguins. We felt that value wise, Princess delivered a great excursion at every stop. Punto Arenas had to be skipped because of the weather. We disembarked easily, feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and culturally enriched. We remained In Buenos Aires for a week more in a condo I found on flip key. Great place, "Hollywood condo." Then went to Colonia in Uruguay for 3 nights on buquebus. Stayed at Poada Don Antonio and loved every minute. Ended trip with 5 days back in Montevideo at My Suites Boutique hotel in Pocitos. Great little hotel We loved our whole trip and the Princess Star cruise made it all the better. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
PRE-CRUISE: I elected to stay in Santiago for 3 days prior to the cruise. I chose a 4 star hotel that gave me a very reasonable rate and a large room. On the down side it was not too close to restaurants. I found the people of Chile ... Read More
PRE-CRUISE: I elected to stay in Santiago for 3 days prior to the cruise. I chose a 4 star hotel that gave me a very reasonable rate and a large room. On the down side it was not too close to restaurants. I found the people of Chile very accommodating, although it would have been easier for me if I spoke a little Spanish. Most places I went shopping accepted USD or credit cards. Before I left I printed out the most current exchange rates from OANDA.COM. The little cheat sheets came in very handy. On the last day we did a tour that transferred us to Vina del Mar and Valparaiso. After touring those towns we went to the pier for checkin. CHECKIN: Arriving in a small group at the passenger ship terminal had its advantages. While the large buses were trying to get organized, we gathered our bags, tipped our driver and headed inside. First thing we found out was some additional forms that we had to fill out before we could check in. They did have priority checkin for D/D+ members, so I had virtually no wait. They did take my passport upon boarding and gave me a receipt and advised me that I should have some photo ID to replace it when I get off the ship. THE SHIP: I have said many times that the Radiance class ships are the best class ships in the fleet. The Colony Club is absolutely beautiful and a great place to relax on sea days. Unfortunately on a cold weather cruise, the Solarium, as big as it is, is just not big enough. On the warm weather days of our cruise, there was plenty of room because everyone was around the outside pool and hot tubs. Some may not consider this a complaint, but I enjoy being rocked to sleep at night and did not feel any movement even when we rounded the Horn. THE FOOD: Generally I only ate a late breakfast and Main Seating dinner. I had my breakfast in the Windjammer. I found out the when you are traveling with people from South America, they also like to eat late in the morning, so the buffet was packed at 10:30. The food was varied and good, although it is hard for me to pass up the oatmeal. Almost every night I had dinner in the dining room with a group of people who were on our thread from Cruise Critic (quire bt chance). One night a couple of decided to do the Mystery Dinner Theatre which is served in Portofino's; really enjoyed the story and had a great time. Another night the whole table went to Chops Grille. All in all the food in the dining room was pretty good and if we asked for anything they would get it for us. Head Waiter was excellent and waiter and asst waiter were even better. Don't know if got treated the way we got treated because we were all D or D+ members at the table. ENTERTAINMENT: To be honest I can't remember the names of all the performers during the cruise, and I was not about to take notes. First of all the production numbers by the cruise staff were their usual excellent selves. We had a couple who did the Tango we were amazing to watch and another gentleman who sang tango music. There was a pair of aerobic performers who work with those curtains, they were very impressive and performed a second time because they went over so well. We had a Beatles cover group. A comedian who played the piano; was actually very good at it, but made you laugh. There was a Motown group that sang songs of many of the groups of Motown. A violinist and like I said and can't remember everything, but I was entertained every night. PORTS: I am going to be the person who says nothing about ports. I cruise to cruise. I did get off in all ports and did take some tours. I saw the penguins in Porto Tombo, I woke up at 5:30 AM to make sure I saw Cape Horn when we rounded the Cape, Punta de Este was probably the prettiest, I got one of my biggest thrills in Ushuaia when I was able to take a ski lift to the base of a glacier Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
Who should Go? This is not a Caribbean party cruise or a European cultural cruise. If you enjoyed an Alaskan cruise and want to experience a similar landscape in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the cruise for you. I have now seen the ... Read More
Who should Go? This is not a Caribbean party cruise or a European cultural cruise. If you enjoyed an Alaskan cruise and want to experience a similar landscape in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the cruise for you. I have now seen the Alaskan, Norwegian, New Zealand and Chilean Fjords and I enjoyed each one for different reasons. Our cruise straddled the Christmas-New Year's holiday, so there was a good mix of young and old since there were many extended families on board. NCL did a good job on the Christmas and New Year's Eve activities. Keep in mind most of the ports require tendering and the ocean this far South can be rough. There were significant delays tendering in Punta Arenas, Ushuaia and the Falkland Islands due to inclement weather. I spoke with people on Celebrity and they had similar issues. The cruise lines work very hard to make this a safe process, so patience is required. One note: Chile requires a $132/person visa for US citizens when arriving at the airport. Argentina has an $18/person departure tax. If you cruise from Buenos Aires to Santiago, I believe you don't pay either one and save $150/person. Probably not an issue unless you have a family of four and pay $600 in visa/taxes. Ship The Norwegian Sun was adequate for this type of cruise. A medium size of about 2000 passengers, it does not have a lot of the outdoor and sport amenities found on the Caribbean mega-ships, all of which would be useless given the cold and windy conditions experienced during most of the cruise. NCL uses a Free-style dining system and unlike some previous NCL cruises, we had no problems with waiting or slow service because we ate between 6pm and 7:30pm. The food was good in the standard restaurants and excellent in the specialty restaurants. The on-board entertainment was better than normal; maybe because it was a holiday cruise. We had an Oceanview room, which was fine. If you get a Balcony room, try to get it on the Port side if traveling from Valpo to Buenos Aires and Starboard the other way. NCL arranged several interesting lectures on the regions we visited. Embarkation I recommend staying in Vina Del Mar or Buenos Aires the night before your cruise. Both are excellent places to spend some time and eliminate the stress of rushing to the ship. In Valparaiso, where we started the cruise, the embarkation was slowed by the transfer bus availability from the immigration building to the ship. The actual cruise check-in was completed aboard the ship and went very fast. I think the delay was due to the number of buses available and checking in at the peak time. We waited about 1 hour in a comfortable lounge area with a bar and some small gift shops for the transfer buses. Ports/Shore Excursions I usually pick my cruises based on the port of calls, so I will spend more time on this portion. I normally like to do independent shore excursions but this cruise stops at ports that have limited independent options. I always recommend using a cruise line shore excursion if you don't want to worry about travel logistics and getting back to the ship on time. Also, the shore excursion people get off on the first tenders, which made a big difference on this cruise. Independent tour operators, restaurants and shops took US dollars at every port and city we visited. It is best to have smaller denomination bills for obvious reasons. Santiago/Valparaiso/Vina del mar- We arrived three days before the cruise started to see Santiago, Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. We stayed in Santiago one night at a great little hotel called Hotel Orly and toured Santiago on our own. Most of the sights are in a compact area that is pedestrian friendly and safe during the day. We took a full day tour with Think About Chile tour company to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. It worked out good because they picked us up in Santiago and dropped us off at our hotel in Vina del Mar and kept our luggage safe during the tour. We stopped at the Bellavista winery on the way to Valpo and then had a tour of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. It was $96/person but lower if you have more people. It takes about 2 hours from Santiago to Valpo without any stops. Puerto Montt- We booked a tour through GV Tours (Gail and Veronica) for $75/person. They use a nice mini-bus, which was full of people from our cruise ship. The tour hits the highlights of the Puerto Montt lake district area including Lake Llanquihue, Puerto Varas, Fruitillar, Petrohue falls, and Lake Esmeralda. The tour also included an excellent salmon lunch and a stop at a small farm. The tour lasted 8 hours and they claim they never missed a ship departure time. On a clear day Mt Osorno dominates the landscape. I highly recommend getting away from the Puerto Montt town and touring the lake district. There are several independent tour operators waiting at the port. I saw a short 2-hour tour of the lake district for $15/person. Puerto Chacabuco- Take a cruise line shore excursion if you ship stops here. There are no reliable independent options and nothing close to the port. We took a bus tour through the Rio Simpson valley, which was basically a 3-hour roundtrip bus ride to a National Reserve where we took a 30-minute hike. It is beautiful scenery but it rained most of the trip. The highlight of this stop was cursing through the Fjords that surround Puerto Chacabuco. The Andes drop right into the water here and the rainfall makes it very green and lush. The sun came out later in the day and we had a great sail through the steep Fjords. Sunset was about 10:30pm. Cruising the Chilean Fjords- We spent two days cruising in and out of the Chilean Fjords. The water was calm and scenery beautiful. A lot of waterfalls, islands and glacier capped mountains but surprising little visible marine life. Day time highs were around 50 F but windy. Punta Arenas- We opted to take an expensive cruise line shore excursion to Torre Del Paine. The trip was great. We saw a lot Guanaco's, rheas and condors. The lakes are an amazing milky-blue color and the famous Torre "horns" made a brief appearance. The weather is very unpredictable and changed by the minute, and it is always windy. This was on my list of "must see" places in the World, so I paid the steep $1100 for this one-day excursion. I don't believe all the cruise lines offer this trip, but ours was sold out before the cruise started so book early. The most popular day excursion at this port was the penguin trips. Ushuaia- Sailing the Beagle channel before Ushuaia was very scenic and this is the best chance to see glaciers up close. Six glaciers come down to meet the Beagle Channel. We passed these glaciers in the morning before arriving in Ushuaia. I believe you see these during the evening if traveling from Buenos Aires to Valpo. We hired a taxi with another couple in Ushuaia and went to see a glacier near Ushuaia and then Tierra del Fuego. The cost is $110 per taxi and 4 people can squeeze into a taxi. The trip was about 3-4 hours. Tierra del Fuego is beautiful and worth the trip. Ushuaia also has a nice downtown area for shopping and souvenirs. There are several independent land and boat tour operators waiting at the port. Rounding Cape Horn- This was a highlight for many passengers on the cruise. After a rough first two days at sea, we were concerned about the conditions around this infamous area considered to be the most dangerous in the World. Well, it was like a swimming pool. Our cruise director said it was the most calm NCL had seen in two years. We circled the Cape Horn Island and saw the lighthouse and Memorial. It is my understanding this part of the cruise is usually cancelled due to rough seas. Falkland Islands- We took an NCL shore excursion to the Lagoon Bluffs to see penguins. I think this is the best spot on the cruise to see penguins because of the variety, population and scenic backdrop. We saw Gentoo, Rock-hopper (cool eyebrows) and the famous King penguins (smaller cousins to the movie-star Emperor penguins). All the other stops on the cruise only see Magellan penguins. The tour is via 4-wheel drive vehicles and part of the ride is very rough. The Lagoon Bluffs is a beautiful beach and cove area where thousands of penguin come to breed. We saw a lot of baby penguins like the movie. Great photos. It had sun, rain, sleet and hail all in the one hour we were at Lagoon Bluff. It was fun to watch the penguins when it hailed. It was like a free massage for them. There is a small cabin that serves tea, coffee and pastries, which is included in the tour. Port Stanley is small but nice and scenic town. It is fun to go to the pubs and talk to the locals. The three we went to were Deano's, Victory and Globe taverns. Victory is popular with the British soldiers stationed in the Falkland's and they have some great stories. Puerto Madryn- Yes, our first port where we actually docked since Valpo. We had a late start since it was New Year's day and we stayed up till 3am the night before. We teamed up with eight other people on our cruise and took an independent tour to the Peninsula Valdez for $50/person. There are tour operators waiting outside the dock area to book independent tours. It was a long two-hour ride through the barren Peninsula Valdez to reach an area with Magellan penguins and huge elephant seals. A beautiful coastline on a very sunny and warm day. We also stopped at a small national park museum. We also saw a lot of Guanacos along the way but mainly in the distant. Many other passengers went to the Punto Tomba, probably the best place for penguins outside of the Falkland islands. Montevideo- Civilization again and we docked. Although there are several interesting shore excursions, I recommend walking around the old town and downtown area of this city. The port is less than 10 minutes walk to the old town and stop by the Port Mercado to see the grilled meat restaurants. We hit all the major sights in three hours, had a grilled steak lunch at a restaurant Hillary Clinton ate at, and went to the beach for a few cocktails at a cafe. There are excellent antique markets on the weekend. I bought an antique Kodak Brownie camera for $15. Buenos Aires/disembarkation- We were scheduled to fly out of Buenos Aires that evening, so we decided to take an NCL shore excursion, which kept our bags during the tour and dropped us at the airport afterward. In fact, we never touched our bags after leaving them outside our cabin the night before until arriving at the airport. We took the Best of Buenos Aires Tour, which included a three-hour tour of the city and then a visit to a Gaucho Estancia. I had been to Buenos Aires before and I recommend staying at least two days to see the sights and experience this great city. The Estancia was nice with folk dancing, music, Gaucho horsemanship, horseback and wagon rides, and a huge grilled meat lunch. It is a nine-hour tour getting to the airport around 5:30pm. The cruise met all my expectations. I will mention a few complaints from other fellow passengers: 1) Some had limited time on shore due to tendering delays, 2) The food was not as good as some past cruises, 3) shore excursions were pricey, 4) there should be more activities during days at sea. Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date December 2008

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