10 Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego) Senior Cruise Reviews

I recently returned from a wonderful cruise on the Stella Australis. This was my first cruise and I must confess I absolutely loved it. It was an adventure of a lifetime being in Patagonia and relatively so close to Antarctica ! We ... Read More
I recently returned from a wonderful cruise on the Stella Australis. This was my first cruise and I must confess I absolutely loved it. It was an adventure of a lifetime being in Patagonia and relatively so close to Antarctica ! We embarked at Ushuaia (Argentina), which was a quaint little town (stopped one night prior to my departure). Very scenic and plenty of stores to stock up ahead of your cruise. Then we set off heading towards Punta Arenas, Chile, as our ultimate destination. The ship was immaculate, clean, thoroughly hygienic. I occupied a cabin on the 2nd floor and there are a total of 4 floors for cabins. It's a small cruise ship (~166 passengers) and this actually proved great since by the end of the week you pretty much knew the majority of folks on a first name basis. Average age was around 60+ and predominantly comprised of retired couples from North America i.e. University Alumni tours, along with a sprinkling of European countries such as Italy, France, Germany. I was a solo traveler, there were not too many of us, but we were certainly made to feel welcome and constantly invited to join other tours for drinks etc. Each day/night for breakfast, lunch & dinner you are seated with the same people for the entire duration. Initially, I was a tad worried about this, but I absolutely loved my table companions and we have since exchanged emails to keep in touch. Everyone was exceptionally friendly and outgoing. The cruise is structured as follows: Each day you visit a new location and conduct excursions using the Zodiac boats, for example visiting Glaciers, Cape Horn and the highlight for me Magdalena island to see the famous Magellan penguins . - they were superb! Somedays comprised of 2 excursions per day. A typical excursion was a landing via Zodiac on the beach or coastline, then split into 3 groups based on your level of fitness and interest in the local fauna and Geology. For example, I love to run long distance and hike so each day i took the most challenging hikes. They were very demanding and certainly at times quite treacherous on the slippery rocks and grass but we were always safe on account of the excellent trained staff who accompanied you on all excursions. The staff were exceptionally knowledgeable on the local wildlife and Geology and always made the trips a great deal of fun! There were also hikes that didn't require much exercise and elderly people with walking sticks and who required assistance typically took these hikes. It was wonderful to complete one of the excursions and to be greeted on the beach by one of the staff handing out whisky and hot chocolate = delicious and warm. In terms of day to day activities on the boat, it mainly comprised of relaxing and watching the world go by with a drink or two. There is a fifth floor deck bar (all inclusive alcohol and soft drinks) which was superb! Each morning on the fourth floor Sky Lounge, tea, coffee and snacks were provided around 6am for the early risers - I really appreciated this nice touch. Each evening lectures of the following day excursions were provided and this really helped give you an appreciation of where you are visiting. The food on the cruise was excellent. Varied menu, typically 3 courses (all inclusive) and so many deserts to choose from it was ridiculous :) The waiters were very friendly and often chatted at the tables during meal times. In terms of the excisions, the staff ran this process like a machine and height of efficiency. They assisted all those who needed help getting in and out of the Zodiac. One cannot stress enough, the need for waterproof clothing, gloves, woolly hat and solid hiking boots. You will definitely get muddy if you opt for the more strenuous hikes so be prepared to have a change of clothes each day. The cabins were cleaned thoroughly each day, and new towels provided as one might expect in a hotel. Water was drinkable on the ship. It was very relaxing to watch the world go by in my cabin each morning and realize we were in a new location. All in all i cannot fault this cruise I thoroughly recommend it ! Huge shout out to "Vicky" and Emmanuel - very helpful, knowledgeable and humorous guides. Oh don't forget your camera iPhone will suffice for majority of excursions but i found an SLR with Zoom lens to be extremely beneficial for Magdalena island and close up of penguins One point to note, this is NOT a cruise for young children, they will literally be bored to tears, plus the excursions and getting on and off Zodiacs could be a tad risky for them. There is no WiFi or Cell service or TV/Games for them. It's definitely not one of the Disney type cruises that they might expect. I have 3 children and they would have been very bored on this - I feel it's fair to mention, it much more applicable to Adults who wish to experience an adventure of a lifetime, learn about Patagonia, history and Geology and get away from all the pressures of work and social media nonsense etc. Enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This trip certainly changed my anti-cruising mentality. I accept that it is a small ship in a unique location but really can't fault the trip. The boat itself is very comfortable with spacious lounges and very comfortable large ... Read More
This trip certainly changed my anti-cruising mentality. I accept that it is a small ship in a unique location but really can't fault the trip. The boat itself is very comfortable with spacious lounges and very comfortable large cabins. The beds were very comfortable and the 'portholes' were in fact large viewing windows enabling you to enjoy just sitting in the cabin and watching Patagonia go by. The ensuite shower rooms were fine with no problems in the supply of hot water. The food on board was exceptional with a wide range of dishes each day reflecting Patagonian cuisine and with vegetarian options for both lunch and dinner. The all inclusive bar provided a wide range of wines, cocktails and spirits together with savoury snacks. The Sky lounge provided the welcome early morning coffee, tea, juices and a selection of biscuits and was open throughout the day. Sight seeing trips to Cape Horn (we are lucky) and the glaciers were all done by Zodiac. The expedition team oversaw all this in a highly professional and safe manner even when the inevitable Patagonian winds suddenly blew up. This was all done with smiles. knowledge and advice and I can't praise them enough. As a tip, I'd recommend taking your own travel mug along making it easier to take drinks back to the cabin as they only provide small china cups. This is a very professional outfit, with a fun loving and experienced crew who provide exemplary service. You never know, I might even go on another cruise (albeit a small ship) after experiencing this. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Having already done a Hurtigruten Norway expedition hiking cruise (and loved it) I didn't hesitate to travel with Hurtigruten again when it came to going to Antarctica. I knew they would offer a more authentic experience, which is ... Read More
Having already done a Hurtigruten Norway expedition hiking cruise (and loved it) I didn't hesitate to travel with Hurtigruten again when it came to going to Antarctica. I knew they would offer a more authentic experience, which is what I wanted. From start to finish it was an awesome voyage. It began with a one-night stay in Buenos Aires in a very well and centrally located hotel. Then the next morning we flew to Ushuaia - known as the southernmost city in the world. The transfers from the hotel to the airport were smooth and in Ushuaia we were given an included free tour and then had free time before we boarded the ship, which I really enjoyed/appreciated. Midnatsol was much smarter than the ship I sailed on in Norway. Although Midnatsol is an expedition ship, it has an atrium with an elevator like the bigger liners - the Hurtigruten ship I sailed on in Norway wasn't comparable. My cabin was fine - it was a polar outside for two people. It was perfectly comfortable/functional - it is NOT posh - The first two days were spent at sea, crossing the infamous Drake Passage - the sea which separates south America from Antarctica. I'm not going to lie. There's a reason this sea is infamous. It can get choppy. Items were literally flying off the shelves onto me as I lay in bed! So if you suffer from sea sickness be sure to take with pills/bands etc - although there were pills available (and very effective too) to buy on board, and they were inexpensive too. But the expedition lectures were a great distraction and extremely enriching. I learned so much - about wildlife, geology, explorers, penguins, climate change, whales/whaling etc. Fascinating. And then as we got closer to Antarctica there were albatrosses and whales to spot from on deck - and even the occasional penguin - just awesome. During those two days everyone gets some boots to wear outside in Antarctica (compulsory as they clean them once you get back so that no germs are being taken onto the 7th continent) and picks up a red expedition jacket you get to keep - I really liked mine. You can see me wearing it in the video links below. It's waterproof and windproof and I wore my other jacket undernearth it. There are only 6 days where you actually get out on land and regulations dictate that only 100 people are allowed on land at a time, which means you have to take turns (the ship carries 500 passengers) and you're only on land for about 2 hours at a time. But then you can enjoy the scenery from on the ship - the two hot tubs on top deck are a great vantage point! And also you might be on land in the morning and then cruising in the zodiac boats (which are small inflatable crafts used to take you from Midnatsol to land) around icebergs for the afternoon. I must mention that itineraries are loose and weather dependent. The expedition team always has a plan A and if the weather (wind and ice are the biggest culprits) prevent that from happeneing they move onto plan B and so on.... This is where we stopped/ what we saw on our sailing: Day 1: Deception Island - a volcanic island - great hikes, a couple of penguins, remnants of old whaling station - scene for attempting the polar plunge challenge - Day 2: Cuverville Island - home to penguin colonies (Gentoo penguins) - just amazing. I the afternoon we went zodiac cruising around amazing icebergs. And ethere were lots of whales Day 3: Ice floe landing (this is a flat iceberg which we got out onto to walk on whilst it was drifting) Day 4. Damoy Point - excellent hikes - great penguins - some people went snow shoeing (an optional excursion)...views over Port Lockroy, home to the British post office which is open for 3 months a year. Day 5. Orne Harbour on the mainland - an awesome (and tricky) hike to the summit brought us to a Chinstrap penguin colony Day 6 - kayaking (this was an optional excursion) in Wilhelmina Bay - and it was amazing - paddling past icebergs, underneath glaciers and oars whacking into floating lumps of ice. Plus we passed a shipwreck of an old whaling ship. We also did some amazing cruising throught the Lemaire Channel and Neumayer channel - both stunning with huge cliffs. And we sailed the most far south the ship has ever sailed to a huge ice sheet which stopped us in our tracks. The light was amazing every day in Antarctica and even in November there really wasn't any proper night time. Food on Midnatsol was also excellent. It's mainly buffets due to the itinerary, but with a couple of waiter-served three-course dinners. Because they can't pick up supplies en route, the food does, naturally, become a little repetitive, but the chef was extremely inventive and I have no complaints whatsoever. Some people went camping for the night on the continent. This was also an expensive optional extra and whilst I didn't do it (it cost $500) I was jealous afterwards of those who did. They camped under canvass in a remote spot (the ship left them there) and with lots of penguins and no civilsation around them. They didn't sleep (it was too cold apparently!) but what an experience - something to say you've done. There was also some entertainement on board - a few shows - a crew talent show / a crew fashion show/a quiz and some screeenings of films about Shackleton and some David Attenbourough nature documentaries. the crew was amazing too. I don't have a bad word to say. After the voyage we flew from Ushuaia to Santiago, Chile for an overnight in another very nice, well-located hotel.... It's a long journey to get to Antarctica, but it was well broken up and helped build the anticipation. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I wanted to make sure i was on the best possible ship for comfort food and experience. From meeting at the airport and flight to Ushiuia to the short sightseeing to the wonderful lunch in a fabulous hotel above the town to the smooth ... Read More
I wanted to make sure i was on the best possible ship for comfort food and experience. From meeting at the airport and flight to Ushiuia to the short sightseeing to the wonderful lunch in a fabulous hotel above the town to the smooth transition to Explorer.nothing was missing. muck room was small but worked Fabulous and stylish jacket and puffer given on first day. Food continued to be good though not fantastic always there was something to satisfy. as soon as the zodiac transfers started I realised how well run this ship is we had at least 5 people getting us on the zodiac and 4 at the arrival end to help get us off. always someones hand to help especially for a novice snow walker. always a smiling face even when we were late to the zodiac to get on from the muck room because we forgot one piece of layering/gloves or camera. the wait staff were exceptional addressing us by name from the first night-amazing!! our ever smiling cabin man and butler always there to help and keep the cabin spotless. lots of rough weather on way to and from sandwich islands and across Drake.but to be expected being at the end of the world. I could not fault the well run cruise and wonder if the other ships doing Antarctica are as well run. Disembarcation was smooth and transfer to airport easy cabin 410 Vista suite Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We got advertisment with a gym on board. There is none. The itenirary of the ship is without competition and very interesting. Going both direction makes no sense (increased proximity to land on cape horn, we did both direction, ... Read More
We got advertisment with a gym on board. There is none. The itenirary of the ship is without competition and very interesting. Going both direction makes no sense (increased proximity to land on cape horn, we did both direction, landing was possible only once; from Puntas Arenas down to Ushuaia is better - you see the alley of the glaciers by daylight). The vessel is new, every cabin is more or less the same with a big window and proper equipped. There is 1 (!) public toilet on board. No restrooms close to restaurant, no restrooms at the bar. You have to run some floors down or up to your room. Plan your service stops carefully. Ship is all inclusive. Drink selection limited. Coffee ok. No Wifi (!?). Zodiacs need to circle to get all the passengers on land. Crew is very varying. Some Zodiac drivers and guides are super professional and with huge knowledge, others are who knows where from. Same for the waiters, some cannot basic english (and the boat is mostly frequented by Australian, US, Canadian, UK, German). Activities are split in moderate, challenging and very challenging. Very challenging is still not sportive (target group wealthy 60+). I would not book again for this price. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Always wanted to go to Antarctica and to see Cape Horn. The charter flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia gave us the chance to spend time in the vibrant capital of Argentina as a bonus. Le Boreal was a fantastic ship; Goldilocks size, ... Read More
Always wanted to go to Antarctica and to see Cape Horn. The charter flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia gave us the chance to spend time in the vibrant capital of Argentina as a bonus. Le Boreal was a fantastic ship; Goldilocks size, luxurious and attentively crewed. Dining choices included the full service restaurant as well as a more casual grill. Live entertainment in the theatre was relaxing and fun and the same venue held briefings and information sessions during the day. Zodiak excursions were well planned and superbly executed by highly trained staff. The spectacular coastal scenery was complemented by lots of sea-ice and great icebergs, as well as penguins, orcas and humpback whales up close and personal. We appreciated the great care taken to preserve the pristine environment when shore excursions occurred, and the opportunity to visit a shore based research station occupied throughout the year. I feel every person on board disembarked both entertained and better informed about one of the world's great wilderness areas. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
It was the ship that came with our Smithsonian tour. All the staff were friendly and eager to please. The food was fabulous and they worked hard for those with special diets. Each time when left the ship, everything was very well organized ... Read More
It was the ship that came with our Smithsonian tour. All the staff were friendly and eager to please. The food was fabulous and they worked hard for those with special diets. Each time when left the ship, everything was very well organized and departure and return were smooth and easy. The ship holds 220 people so it had an intimate feel. We had great fun with the staff and they demonstrated to us all the time how they wanted to help in any way possible. When there was wildlife to see the Captain changed the direction of the ship so we could see it as long as possible. We very much enjoyed our journey with the Stella Australus. Some crew served as tour guides and they were all highly educated to the areas history, culture, wildlife and habitat. They did a very good job. We highly recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We cruised on the Australis as part of a 3 week trip to Patagonia. We did not select the ship; our travel agency did. We were very pleased. The size of the ship (100 cabins) was excellent. The staff was knowledgeable, friendly, helpful ... Read More
We cruised on the Australis as part of a 3 week trip to Patagonia. We did not select the ship; our travel agency did. We were very pleased. The size of the ship (100 cabins) was excellent. The staff was knowledgeable, friendly, helpful and seemed to enjoy what they were doing. Food was very good; having the alcohol included was great. All the excursions were well organized. We received information prior to each one about what we'd see/do and what to look for. On several of the excursions, we could choose the level of activity. The staff also was very attentive to safety. All excursions were made via 'zodiac' inflatables. We were given detailed instructions for getting into and out of the zodiacs. While somewhat pricey, we would highly recommend the Australis. The only negative aspect was on the day we boarded, our luggage had to be at their office by 10 AM but we could not board until after 5 PM. Be sure to plan some activity for the 10-5 otherwise it's an empty day and there is not alot to see/do in Ushuaia. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was a trip we had been planning for some time and our expectations were very high. the transfer flight to Ushaia was fine and boarding was a quick as possible onsidering all the passengers arrived at once. Our Expedition Suite was ... Read More
This was a trip we had been planning for some time and our expectations were very high. the transfer flight to Ushaia was fine and boarding was a quick as possible onsidering all the passengers arrived at once. Our Expedition Suite was lovely and spacious and iimmaculate. On this expedition we had a dream run, not only because of the weather which was fantastic, but the crew and the expedition team who were superb. Robin the expedition leader ran the expedition side of the ship extaordinarily well. He and his team ensured we saw everything possible, cared for our well being on land and in the zodiacs and there was always someone from the team around us imparting information on the wild life, flora and the geology of the region. We really cannot praise them enough, they ensured we saw and did more than we ever anticipated - thanks for getting us onto Elephant Island, quite a feat. We saw everything from blue whales down to the tiny seal pups and thousands of penguins, it was just amazing. The ships crew coped so well with the weird hours we ate at some days, very early risings and were instantly ensuring we were happy, warm and fed. Our Cabin crew Rom and Ith were the best we have ever had in our long relationship with cruising. Perhaps the only grizzle we could have was with the dining room. the breakfast buffet was often cold and there seem to be a shortage of wait staff who were not well run by the Maitre D. They were willing and charming but somewhat over worked. The perfect culmination of the trip was the showing of the trip video on our last night. Richard Sidey the photographer had done a brilliant job and was treated to a standing ovation, it seems everyone bought a copy. As this trip was so very special it is impossible to really tell anyone how good it was, but the video shows it all and the photography is outstanding. My advice to potential Antarctic cruisers - if you do nothing else in your life do this cruise which includes the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula, it is truly wondrous. do it with Silver Explorer, they do it so very well. This expedition exceeded our expectations totally and we look on it as probably the most special experience of our lives. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
The biggest decision to make in regard to going to Antarctica on an 'expedition' ship is how much time you wish to spend 'off the boat', and what style you want to experience while on-board. Le Boreal is still probably ... Read More
The biggest decision to make in regard to going to Antarctica on an 'expedition' ship is how much time you wish to spend 'off the boat', and what style you want to experience while on-board. Le Boreal is still probably the most stylish way to explore the peninsula, but because it carries 200 passengers, you will spend less time roaming about in the zodiacs than on a smaller ship with less than 100 passengers (by regulation, only 100 individuals are allowed onshore at one time). Le Boreal does have it's failings though (as other reviewers have indicated), and when it comes up against all the other ships sailing other parts of the world, it would have some issues matching up. But in Antarctica, it will not be wanting for passengers... as only a small number of ships tour there, and more and more people are visiting each year. The staff will get better at being more professional, and the ship will work on eliminating some of the shakedown style problems. Bottom line, if you want to visit in style, and being restricted to only 3-4 hours a day off the ship is not an issue, than you will probably not do better than going on the Le Boreal... other parts of the world are another matter. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010

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