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RRAMBLER
April 22nd, 2009, 02:49 AM
Could someone please advise us approximately how much HAL charges for their 3-day excursion from the ship (in Peru) to Machu Picchu and back to the ship, and whether it is considered reasonable value. The HAL website simply says $$$$, and our travel agent seems unable to wrest the information out of our Australian HAL agent.

cruz chic
April 22nd, 2009, 09:53 AM
Could someone please advise us approximately how much HAL charges for their 3-day excursion from the ship (in Peru) to Machu Picchu and back to the ship, and whether it is considered reasonable value. The HAL website simply says $$$$, and our travel agent seems unable to wrest the information out of our Australian HAL agent.
Last year it was approx. $2600 double occ. or $3200 single occ. I wanted to go but that is just way to much. If you can do this at the end or beginning of a cruise and arrange it yourself I think you can do much better from what I hear. I was on a B2B cruise and there was no time allowance for delays so it wasn't an option for me.

ScottishMaid
April 22nd, 2009, 10:43 AM
$3199 standard double, $3499 standard single, $4299 superior double, $4899 superior single, for 3 days and 2 nights out of Salverry (Trujillo) and returning to Callao (Lima). From the description it seems there are just a few hours at the site.

ldog
April 22nd, 2009, 10:52 AM
It is very pricey and can be done for less on your own or with a Peruvian travel agent. The other problem is that it isn't long enough to allow yourself to acclimatize to the altitude. My step mother took a ship's tour that was only two days and spent most of the time nauseous and throwing up. There was a lineup of people to get extra oxygen in the middle of the night.

There is a very good thread in the South American ports of call section about this. Try this
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=597112

arzz
April 22nd, 2009, 02:21 PM
If you can handle the altitude Machu Pichu is a must if you are in the area. If you do it on your own pre-cruise, give yourself an extra day before you need to catch the ship as the trip depends upon many forms of complex transportation and things could happen and cause a delay. If you are not touring with the cruise line, then you are on your own. If you schedule it post-cruise no worries doing it on your own. No question you can do this trip for a lot less on your own but I would engage some sort of TA to make the arrangements as they can be complex.

The following link will take you to our description this excursion and will provide a hint to how many arrangements must be made to do this trip. We did it pre-cruise, with HAL, round trip Lima -- it was in 2007 and the prices at that time were a lot lower than those quoted in this thread. Since we were meeting the Prinsendam for a 27 day cruise we did not wish to miss the ship so we paid for the security.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=480550

Good luck on whatever you decide -- this is a site not to be missed -- again if you can handle the altitude.

the2ofus
April 22nd, 2009, 02:36 PM
My sister used either Eldertreks or Overseas Adventure Travel and found tours that were a good value. A big part of the expense is the air travel but if you are already flying to meet your ship, it makes sense to do this tour either before or after the cruise.

She says that one or two overnights at the higher altitudes to acclimate yourself are a must before you actually visit Machu Pichu. Also, only a few hours at the site will not really be enough. If you want to fully experience the site you need to be in shape to climb the steep and narrow trails.

RRAMBLER
April 22nd, 2009, 06:44 PM
Many thanks everyone for your information and comments. We are stunned by the high shore excursion prices, but also now understand from your replies that in order to be sure to really enjoy the visit to Machu Picchu we should try to spend a couple of days adjusting to the altitude before going there.

Taxguy77
April 22nd, 2009, 08:02 PM
If you are fairly young (50-65+) and in good health, the first day of your trip will be in Cusco. Cusco is actually higher than Machu Pichu. A local tour of the ruins there will give you an idea how strenous you want to be the next day at Michu Pichu. Take it easy and you can see a lot in the day there.
A must-see if you can make it.

SnorkelFool
April 22nd, 2009, 10:27 PM
I would actually recommend spending the first couple of days in the Sacred Valley to get used to the altitude vs staying in Cusco. You will be less likely to get altitude sickness as it is a bit lower altitude but still high enough to let your body adjust. It is also very convenient for picking up the train to Machu Picchu. And, it is beautiful and plenty to see and do for sure.

I would spend time in Cusco AFTER going to Machu Picchu as you will be better acclimatized to the altitude (Cusco is at 12,000ft - the highest of the three areas I have mentioned). You will have to go through Cusco to fly out anyway, so should not be a big deal to do on the end of your visit. As for Machu Picchu, I would recommend 1-1.5 days there. You don't need more than that unless you plan to do a lot of hiking.

Finally, the prices given for the ship excursion are crazy for what you would get. My husband and I spent a total of $3500pp to do a 12 day trip to Peru that included Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Cusco (all with a private guide) and 4 days in the Amazon.

gentlemancruiser
April 23rd, 2009, 08:25 AM
My husband and I spent a total of $3500pp to do a 12 day trip to Peru that included Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Cusco (all with a private guide) and 4 days in the Amazon.

What company did you use?

OleSalt
April 23rd, 2009, 11:10 AM
We booked thru a New York agency which took us from Miami/Lima/Cusco
Macchu Picchu (two days)/Quito/Galapagos (four days)/Quito and back to Miami in two weeks. Today they are advertising $ 3,799.

Fantastic tours, fantastic guides.

Look up smart tours with only one "t" in the middle

SnorkelFool
April 23rd, 2009, 12:10 PM
What company did you use?

I found a private guide (http://www.yurechavez.blogspot.com/) online and worked with him to plan the non-amazon portion of the trip. We chose to book our own hotels rather than using his hotel recommendations...I wanted to stay at Ninos Hotel in Cusco and K'uychi Rumi in the Sacred Valley (I recommend both). Having a private guide really allowed us to see a lot more than we would have otherwise and gave us a lot of flexibility.

For the Amazon, we went with Manu Expeditions (http://www.manuexpeditions.com/manu-wildlife-center-macaw-lick.htm). It was fabulous.

We booked our own air travel as well.

J_M_F
April 23rd, 2009, 02:53 PM
My wife and I decided not to take the HAL tour because it was way too expensive and the time is way too short. A year after our HAL cruise we again went to Peru, this time to cruise the upper Amazon river with Jungle Expeditions. We then went to Machu Picchu after the Amazon. To get to Machu Picchu you fly into Cusquo (or Cusco or Qosquo, but never Cuzco) in the early morning when temperatures are low. Cusquo is at about 11000 feet. You spend a night there and take a 6 AM train to Agua Caliente at the foot of Muchu Picchu. As I recall, Agua Caliente is at about 6000 feet and Machu Picchu is at 8500 feet, so if you can handle Cusquo you can handle Machu Piccu. You take a bus from Agua Caliente to Machu Picchu, arriving about 10 AM. Most people spend a few hours there, eat lunch, and take the 3 PM train back to Cusquo. This is way too short a time. We spent the night in Agua Caliente and therefore had much more time at the ruines. There is almost nobody there in the afternoon so you can really explore.
Most people spend one more night in Cusquo and fly out in the morning. Our total cost for the Machu Picchu portion of the trip was much cheaper that the HAL tour, even staying in 5 star hotels!
If taking the ship's tour of Machu Picchu was your only chance of seeing it and if you can afford it, go. It is a fantastic experience. Otherwise do it as part of another trip to Peru or as a pre or post cruise tour. It is cheaper that way and you have more time.
One note of caution. There are little black flies at Machu Picchu and Agua Caliente that leave blood blisters when they bite that itch for weeks. Take along 35% DEET and wear light weight long sleave shirts, pants, and a hat, preferrably sprayed with Pyrethrum.

Taxguy77
April 23rd, 2009, 09:03 PM
We booked thru a New York agency which took us from Miami/Lima/Cusco
Macchu Picchu (two days)/Quito/Galapagos (four days)/Quito and back to Miami in two weeks. Today they are advertising $ 3,799.

Fantastic tours, fantastic guides.

Look up smart tours with only one "t" in the middle

Took one trip with them....HORRIBLE guides!:eek:
We throw away their junkmail, but folks we went with have been with them before and after. The trip was great and less expensive than we had been planning on our own, just our luck at the so-called guides. Glad you had a good time.

Taxguy77
April 23rd, 2009, 09:21 PM
I would actually recommend spending the first couple of days in the Sacred Valley to get used to the altitude vs staying in Cusco. You will be less likely to get altitude sickness as it is a bit lower altitude but still high enough to let your body adjust. It is also very convenient for picking up the train to Machu Picchu. And, it is beautiful and plenty to see and do for sure.

I would spend time in Cusco AFTER going to Machu Picchu as you will be better acclimatized to the altitude (Cusco is at 12,000ft - the highest of the three areas I have mentioned). You will have to go through Cusco to fly out anyway, so should not be a big deal to do on the end of your visit. As for Machu Picchu, I would recommend 1-1.5 days there. You don't need more than that unless you plan to do a lot of hiking.

Finally, the prices given for the ship excursion are crazy for what you would get. My husband and I spent a total of $3500pp to do a 12 day trip to Peru that included Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Cusco (all with a private guide) and 4 days in the Amazon.

Your recomendations sound better than mine. I was there in 1953 and things have changed!! At that time, 'Hotel Tourista' was the only hotel if you had any money or were white. They turned on the water heater after guests left for the train and was turned off shortly before you came back, forget a shower!:( I was there in the U.S. summer, so it was winter there). Met a girl from UC and went to a movie, it was too cold to stay for the 2nd feature!:eek:
Never heard about 'Sacred Valley' and my wife is from Peru!:confused: Sounds like a better itinerary than I took, or DW has taken with our DD, SIL and grandkids.

Chelly
April 23rd, 2009, 09:22 PM
I took land trip last August to Machu Picchu through a reputable agency with excellent guides. I don't recommend trying to see MP as part of a ship's tour. You will not have enough time to acclimate to the altitude. You will most likely experience altitude sickness, which is very unpleasant. MP is a physically demanding trip. But what a thrill!!!

wander
April 24th, 2009, 12:01 AM
I agree that the ship's tour is really too short, HOWEVER, IF you really want to see MP and do not honestly think you will be back, go for it.

We have been to MP two times, once with a cruise ship shore ex and once on a 3 week trip through Peru in a 10 person group. As someone said, the Sacred Valley is ever so scenic and interesting. Of course, I prefer MP, but the Sacred Valley is great in its own right. It is also a great way to help yourself get used to the altitude. While it is actually higher than MP, it is relatively flat and easier walking.

On the cruise ship tour, of about 50 people, only one was seriously affected by altitude sickness, and he was 3 months post Open Heart Surgery - crazy to be there! The rest of us did fine by following our guides instructions of drinking their tea and staying flat on our backs in bed for 2 hours. Then we were off full steam ahead. Spent that afternoon seeing environs of the city and then off to the MP train the next morning. The ship put us in one of the two highest rated hotels in Cusco. Loved it.

Of course our time in Cusco and MP with the land tour was much more restful. However, we waited about 8 years for that. For many the second chance never comes. We were fortunate.

We were on two tours that included stops in India with optional overnight trips to the Taj Mahal. Both times we decided the tours were too expensive and that we would wait for a trip just to India. Well, we have not been able to do that trip since. Wish we had done one from the ship when we could have. Just my thoughts.

arzz
April 24th, 2009, 10:53 AM
In defense of the HAL pre cruise tour which we took in February of '07.

First, the price was half (or possibly less than half) of what they are charging today. We are, as suggested by the previous poster, not sure that we will ever get back so seeing both Machu Pichu pre-cruise, and Iguazu Falls post cruise were considered musts by us. (We arranged the Iguazu excursion on our own, stayed three times as long as HAL's excursion at the falls in a falls view hotel room and spent less money than we would have if we had taken the HAL in and out one day tour -- but that is another story and it was post cruise so if we goofed we did not endanger our long, expensive voyage).

Our Machu Pichu tour was locally operated by "Lima Tours" who were booked through some agent in Santiago, Chile (we know this as they did forget to pick us up at the airport and we had to find them to be sure that we were properly booked and to pick up our detailed itinerary) -- missing us at the airport was the only thing that went wrong on this tour. We had one night in Lima (with full day tours of Lima and dinner), Day 2 we flew to Cusco and had afternoon tours there, Day 3 we got up at dawn and went to Machu Pichu then returned to Cusco (about a 16 hour day), Day 4 we were flown back to Lima and toured some more, Day 5 we were transfered to the Prinsendam. We were treated royally the whole time, we stayed at an exquisite hotel in Cusco (though there was no hot water at 4 am when we left for our MP trip -- glad I showered the night before) and virtually all of our meals were provided on this tour though we did not know that before we left home. It was a seamless, elegant trip -- everything was handled and we had no stress at all -- we just had to go along -- and we did have fantastic guides everywhere.

Whatever you decide, Machu Pichu is not to be missed as long as you can withstand the altitude. Oddly, the altitude did not bother me at first, but began to become an issue as the days progressed so arriving early to acclimate would not have worked well for me. In any case it was not a serious issue and did not limit me from doing anything --fortunately I was not one of those who end up in oxygen or worse.

Beachnut53
April 24th, 2009, 11:31 AM
We travelled Peru by land for a month in 2007 and visited both the Sacred Valley and MP as well as all other major archeological sites. We "treated" ourselves by staying overnight the Santuary Lodge on MP site - which allowed us more time to tour when crowds caught the 3PM bus back. The hotel is 5 star and I would strongly recommend it you have the time/budget and want a treat. Food was outstanding (included in your room price) and if we got tired we could rest in our room. We travelled in September and did not encounter any biting insects in MP or Agua Caliente.

One caution - Peru is known for strikes and disruptions - after we left the locals placed rocks on the train tracks - effectively cancelling the trains and some were "trapped" in Agua Caiente for two days. If you have a "short time" - the HAL tour while expensive may be the best option. Like other posters I would recommend that you consider a trip - pre or post cruise and take your time - it is a wonderful country and ours was a "trip of a lifetime." We had wonderful guides and drivers and felt safe at all times.

Retired Mike
April 24th, 2009, 12:38 PM
My two cents: We were on the Prinsendam South America in Jan '08. Could not get the ship's excursion as it was full so we booked a separate trip to Mucchu Picchu. We did it thru General Tours. Got off the ship in Guayaquil, flew to Lima, spent the night in Lima at the Marriott (5 star), next morning flew to Cuzco (HAL's spelling), stayed at the Monasterio (5 stars), had two tours, next morning took the Hiram Bingham train to Mucchu Picchu, stayed at the Sanctuary (5 stars), tour of MP, next morning hiked up to the Sun Gate, returned that night to Cuzco on the Hiram Bingham, stayed at the Monasterio and the next day flew back to Lima and boarded the ship. So,5 days/4 nights, all first class and we had someone with us the entire time, from the time we got up in the morning until we went to bed, except on the planes and the trains. Cost was $6450 for two. An incredible excursion to an incredible trip.