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NCL SUN's South America Adventure - Holiday 2009 Valparaiso to Buenos Aires cruise

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Finally I took a plunge and wrote a long detailed review about our Dec 20 2009 - Jan 3 2010 cruise from Valparaiso Chile to Buenos Aires.

 

Sorry in advance if this is too long - I can't help it myself. But we had a great time. This review will be in parts.

 

So here it goes:

 

The Beginning: we are family of 3 living in Bermuda which is a small British Colony in the north Atlantic. We have travelled extensively and have been to the extreme north – Arctic Norway and Iceland several times (3 and 4 times respectively), the Far East, the Mediterranean (and Egypt), gone mobile-homing in Scotland, etc. We picked this cruise because it’s a NCL and it included Falklands which is another British Colony – in the south Atlantic.

We stayed at Marriott Santiago for a couple of night upon arrival in Chile – excellent hotel with high standards. It was right next to the very large shopping mall, and the Hop On/Off bus stop is also a very short distance away from hotel entrance. Both restaurants at Hotel (Café Med (buffet style) and Latin Grill) were excellent. We used both after deciding against dining outside the hotel both evenings mostly because we were tired and preferred to stay within the hotel. We did, though, have lunch outside the hotel the second day - in a French restaurant in the mall which was good. It was after the Hop On/Off bus tour that began and ended at the mall entrance and we decided to go to the mall to take a look. We bought some bottles of Chilean wine in the wine shop there to take on ship.

On the sailing day our driver/guide Leoncio Carrasco (booked via internet) met us promptly at 8am with his van (thank goodness as the 3 of us had too many luggage!). He took us across the wine country with a breakfast stop at a café where we had coffee and open avocado sandwiches (yummy – well, Leon got them as his usual and when we saw them, we asked for them too. There are plenty of avocado trees in Chile) and a couple of photo stops. Then it was on to Vina del Mar and then to Valparaiso. Leon took us around both places and we had lunch in La Colombina in Valpa before Leon took us to the ship terminal at about 2:45pm.

At the terminal we deposited our bags and went inside. Realized that it’s different from the other places (it’s our 4th NCL) and decided to go with the flow – took a number and sat down. When our number got called – after about 15 mins – we proceeded thru the security and boarded the shuttle to the ship. The check-in was in Four Seasons. We thought the whole embarkation process was quite painless at Valparaiso. We went directly to our cabin and dropped off our bags, looked at the Dailies and paperwork, and went to Muster Drill at 4pm. No need to carry lifejackets with us, but they gave us a demo on how to put it on.

Sail way was at 5pm but we were late departing. Possibly because they were still loading – it was a very full ship, being a 14 day holiday cruise.

Walked around, registered our DS into Teens Club, bought the soda package for DS, the wine package for us. The latter was a good idea – you choose 10 or 12 bottles off list, pay the total less 20% (but still had to pay 15% grats) and receive the 10 or 12 pink slips with name of wine on each. Each time you go to dining room or restaurant you take one pink slip and give to the bar waiter who brings the bottle to you – SO easy – never have to look in wine list, ask for a bottle, present your cruise card and sign the charge slip!. We picked out all the South American wines – Chilean and Argentinean – and drank the Chilean ones while in Chilean waters before switching to Argentinean, but unfortunately the ship ran out of all Argentinean Malbecs a few days before the end of the cruise – there were LOTS of South American families on the cruise and they dined late and drank lots of wine. It didn’t bother us (but it amused us) so we picked something else off the wine list – no big deal.

Dining: Usually we went to either specialty restaurant or Buffet as our first dinner, but since our bags hadn’t arrived in our room and we were still wearing our ‘sightseeing in warm weather’ clothes – shorts/capris, we decided to go to the secondary dining room Four Seasons for our first dinner, and it got us hooked! That we went back to Four Seasons most evenings for dinner – we just liked that type of food, choices, received excellent and pleasant service. And it was easy and relaxing. Four Seasons isn’t open for lunch so we went to Seven Seas on some sea days. It’s good there also but Four Seasons was closest to our cabin (via elevator). We dined in Garden Café only once for dinner – it was when they had Indian Curry evening. When we were at sea the ship swayed quite a bit and we couldn’t be bothered trying to walk straight and carry the plates long way back to the table! We dined in East Meets West once, had a Sushi lunch once, had Teppanyaki once and went to il Adagio once. Tried to get into Le Bistro but couldn’t get in or get reservation (too many SA families, and we couldn’t be bothered to rise at 7am to go to the desk to reserve). But we were happy with Four Seasons. We often picked 2 starters (one of them was always soup – the chilled soups were great!), an entrée and often skipped the dessert. Always had coffee at end of meal – choice of regular/decaf coffee, espresso or cappuccino.

... to be continued.

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Before I continue with the Cabin and Ship, I must state that our 3 previous cruises were on, in this order, Spirit (pre-Freestyle 2.0), Pearl and Jade. Those cabins were BA, and this cabin on Sun was BC.

Cabin: we were both pleased and disappointed! We had port side BC balcony cabin that sleeps 5 – there were 3 of us but we wanted a cabin with a Pullman bed.

Good: the cabin was more spacious and had more storage, desk space and drawers than the other 3 and that the Pullman bed was off the WALL above the long sofa and that we were able to sit on sofa without hitting the bed above so the bed was left open for the duration of the cruise and we were able to see whole outside view. On Pearl and Jade the Pullman bed was off the CEILING and it blocked the top half of the balcony and we had to go under it to get to the balcony, and the bed had to be closed up during the day. The door to balcony on Sun open outwards and there is a latch on outside side wall to keep door open – we liked it as it was easy to open and close – easier than the sliding door on the other 3 ships. We loved the cabin.

Bad: the beds were never exchanged as part of Freestyle 2.0 and were still too hard for us – we have foam topped bed at home and the beds on Pearl and Jade were also foam-topped – we did ask for egg crate but they had limited supply and had run out of them when we asked. After 14 days on each Pearl and Jade I was looking forward to good sleeps on Sun but they never happened – I tossed and turned all night every night to relieve pressure points on lower back and hips (have slight rheumatoid arthritis) and by the time the cruise was over I was pretty tired and little cranky, and I felt very CHEATED. Also the shower in the bathroom was a 3ft diameter circle with curtain!!! A big letdown after the wonderful spacious rectangular shower cubicle with sliding door on the other 3 ships!! But the shower itself was excellent – good pressure. The hair-dryer is of the wall-mount hose kind and I hated it – it dries hair okay but it was impossible to style and I have short neck-length layered hair. I bought a good hand hair-dryer in Puerto Varnas when fortunately the coach stopped close to the town’s department store. It is a Philips 2000W dual voltage and cost me US$22 – lot cheaper than back home! Also we had issues with air-conditioning in room – unbearable at beginning and at end of cruise. We reported 3 times and each time it was fixed – for a few mins and then conked out. When reporting at reception I noticed somebody else reported his a/c problem so it was individual cabin not section.

One more good thing about the bathroom on the Sun is that the toilet had more leg room than the other ships!!

Our room stewards Gordon (Jamaican) and Frederick (St. Vincent) were excellent – kept the cabin clean and were cheerful to us whenever we met them. We tipped them well.

Ship: we liked the SUN in many ways but there were a couple or so things we disliked. The pool deck was great – 2 lovely sized pools and several hot tubs. The Sun has only 2 elevator/stair wells (as opposed to the other ships that had 3 – forward, center and aft), and we often got disorientated as to which one to use to get to wherever we needed to go and it added more to our pedometer! (we didn’t gain any weight on the cruise!). The public rooms were good and the photo gallery was in my opinion in a good location. But when the weather is bad outside there is a lack of seating indoors. We liked the décor on the SUN – nothing garish like the Pearl and Jade! The Atrium was nice and there are glass elevators – didn’t realize I missed them so much since Spirit.

But we will not sail on the Sun again until they change the beds.

Teens Club: our DS joined the Teens Club at the beginning and was able to form friendships with the other teens. Luckily for his sake, many female teens did not speak English well so he was forced to use and improve his Spanish on the cruise (he takes Spanish at school)!! Although he and others had good time together there wasn’t enough for them to do on the Sun as there were more to do on Pearl and Jade. DS says he will rather go on other ships than the Sun on our next cruise.

... to be continued.

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bluesea777, Thanks in advance for your report. Already we have learned the limitations of the wine package and bed toppings. Also its a pleasure to read your descriptions of different aspects of your cruise.. Keep it going, we will enjoy our cruise aboard the Sun soon especially benefitting from your kindness.:)

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bluesea777, Thanks in advance for your report. Already we have learned the limitations of the wine package and bed toppings. Also its a pleasure to read your descriptions of different aspects of your cruise.. Keep it going, we will enjoy our cruise aboard the Sun soon especially benefitting from your kindness.:)

 

Thank you for the kind words. Part 3 is coming up!

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Ports of Call and Excursions: we booked a NCL excursion for each of all the 7 ports of call! We read all the excursion details, picked out our choices and booked them all online before we flew out. Never looked back and by the time the cruise was over we were glad we made right choices. Rather pricey but there were advantages – first tenders, good buses, guides and meals, and also worry-free about getting back to ship in time.

Puerto Montt: took NCL’s Puerto Varas & Frutillar tour. Unfortunately it was a low clouds day and we never got clear view to see Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes across Llanquihue Lake but the tour was good. It was a nice and short one and when we were dropped off at the gate we walked west about 10 mins to Angelmo – fish market and souvenir stalls. There were many “Locals” in the fish market area – they are little restaurant stalls. We walked around looking at them before picking one – a double one #29/30. No Local restaurant names but numbers. We had excellent lunch – tried various seafood – cod, salmon, crab, mussels, locos, and other local seafood. The local people sitting near us were very friendly and helpful. A great experience. With wine and coke it cost US$40 for the 3 of us and we ate a LOT!

Puerto Chacabuco: you need to take a tour at this port, otherwise there is nothing to do. We took NCL’s Patagonian Nature in Depth tour. It turned out to be DH’s favourite one even though it was a cold and very wet day. We were taken by bus to Aiken del Sur Park Information Center which is the starting point of the 1.5 km walking trail. We were split into 4 or 5 groups according to language (there were 2 coaches from ship) and our guide was Tim a Brazillian who spoke excellent English and is a real expert in nature. Heavy duty rain ponchos were available to people who needed them to keep dry (but our Lands End fleece-lined hooded rain parkas were sufficient). The walk took about 2 hours – thru a real rain forest and it involves several commentary stops (about 15 in total) and one bathroom stop. You have to be really interested in nature. Different vegetation, birds, species here not found in other places. At the end of the trail a Patagonian lamb BBQ lunch awaited us at the quincho with all the Pisco Sours and Chilean wines you can drink. Very good meal. There was some folkloric dancing there so we got taste of Chile.

Xmas Day Magellan Strait cruising: the sun came out but it was windy and cold. We went to the Observation Lounge to sit thru the passage. Delightful scenery and we saw one whale.

Punta Arenas: we were supposed to dock but had to anchor/tender because Silversea’s Silver Cloud had the dibs to the dock and also she docked there for 2 days. We took the NCL’s Visit to Olga Teresa Estancia tour and it turned out to be a great experience. A long bus ride there and back but we caught up on lost sleep since the scenery was quite flat and almost barren. At the estancia we were welcomed with coffee and homemade cookies. Then we were taken on walks around the ranch – and watched the demonstrations of the rounding up of the sheep, cows, and sheep shearing. Then it’s back to the estancia for the Pisco Sours and BBQ lamb with Chilean wines! The sun was out that day and it was pleasant to dine outdoors. We were only one coach and occupied only a few tables and the smaller than usual party made things easy. Very nice day. We slept on the way back to the ship! Got off at the gate and we did some shopping before reboarding the ship.

Tip: best shopping is here in Punta Arenas if you don’t have time to shop in Santiago or Vaplaraiso.

Beagle Channel Glaciers: we got up at about 7:15 am just in time to see the first of the several glaciers that we saw during the next hour and a half. Beautiful.

 

Ushuaia: Our favourite port of call – unique city – neat and colourful – set at the base of Tierra del Fuego mountains – beautiful setting. And a bustling place. We took NCL’s Ushuaia in Depth tour. The weather was good to us this day. The bus took us northward along the Pan American Highway through the Fuegian Andes mountains, valleys and forests – very scenic drive. We stopped first for lunch (it was lunchtime since the ship docked at noon) – Patagonian lamb BBQ with Argentinean Malbec wine and it was accompanied by a Tango dance show by a couple – a real taste of Argentina! We didn’t have to wait until we reached Buenos Aires, so we were delighted to see the show. The excellent lunch ended with lovely thick black sweet Argentinean coffee that DH and I enjoyed (had to ask for a refill!). After lunch the bus continues thru more beautiful scenery to Garibaldi Pass where we had sweeping scenery of Lake Escondido. After several minutes photo stop we headed back to Ushuaia the same way, thus devouring the beautiful scenery once more. There was a pit stop on the return at some ski lodge – very nice setting. Back in Ushuaia we were taken to the Prison museum which was interesting. Then we were taken west of the port to some little airport (with private small planes) – a VERY scenic photo stop. Then we got dropped off on a shopping street where we bought some souvenirs before walking back to the ship.

 

Rounding the Cape Horn: in calm waters but we almost MISSED seeing THE Cape Horn monument, thanks to CD Jill Tasker’s blunder! We had the port side cabin and naturally we thought we’d see the whole thing – the islands and the Horn itself. When we got up at 7:30 am we looked out – nothing but rain – no land. Turned on TV and Jill was already underway with her commentary! Looked out again and saw some land and all seemed strange to us – looked at map – nothing matched. Then Jill mentioned that the monument is now in sight and we looked at each other *****, threw on clothes and raced up to Promenade deck and there it is – on the STARBOARD side! Jill DID NOT MENTION WHICH SIDE OF THE SHIP!! What actually happened was that the SUN went south along the left hand side of the islands (going south), entered in between the Herschel (starboard) and Deceit (port side) islands to get to the Isle Hornos on starboard to see the monument and then sailed away from it toward the Falklands. In true reality we did not REALLY ROUND the Cape Horn – we just passed by it. A bit disappointing but we opened the bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate and then went back to bed!

 

At 11am there was the Rounding Cape Horn ceremony on Sun deck where Captain and First Officer poured water over our heads. The photos of the 3 of us getting wet were the only one we bought on the ship – twin sets with one embossed within the certificate saying that you rounded the Horn. $12.99 per set – good price for a change!!

 

The rest of the day was in very calm seas and bright sunny weather all the way to Falklands.

 

... to be continued.

Edited by bluesea777

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Port Stanley, Falkland Islands: oh boy, the long awaited time has arrived! Ship was anchoring when we finally got out of bed at 7:15am – we had room service breakfast. Calm seas and bright sunshine. Star Princess came about an hour later and anchored next to us but they had a little longer tender ride than we did! We took the NCL’s The Lagoon Bluff tour (which turned out to be my favourite). Pricy but well worth it. The Lagoon Bluff tours can be purchased only on ships – not privately at all. Our tour was at 9 but as people got to the Stardust lounge early they were immediately given number sticker and proceeded to tender straightaway as NCL Sun had preference over Star Princess (because Star wasn’t due to leave for another 2 hours or so) and the mini buses had arrived early and were already underway. Only 16 people per mini bus and there were 2 or 3 and they ran all day ferrying people from tender docks to the 4x4 jeeps meeting point. While we were waiting for our mini bus to return there were a lot of people in the area waiting for the tours, etc (early start) I spied the Star Princess photo area so for giggles I got in and had my photos taken with the Princess’s mascot!! I had the NCL number sticker on – wonder if the people on the Star noticed it??!!

Now the minibus took us through the town and on the unpaved main road out in the country (barren) thru the minefields. There were warning triangular road signs indicating mine fields and wired fences with read/yellow signs hanging off the wires. Our driver was Jason Lewis, aka jasonflk (though I didn’t know or thought to ask at the time) and he was very good at telling us about the place. He dropped us off at the 4x4 meeting point and we transferred to the four 4x4s – 4 people to each. Our driver was Paul and he is a Falklandian-born. He was good at telling stories. DH asked him questions about living in Falklands and Paul was happy to answer and talk. In 1982 when Argentina realized the British were on their way to the islands and that they (Argentina) had to leave, they placed mines all over certain places before they retreated. Since the mines were of plastic kind you can see what problems they (FI) have in locating them to remove/blow up without killing. And Argentina refused to give maps showing locations of the mines they placed. Paul told of a story about a cow that strayed into the mine field … it got killed and they called in the bomb squad who carefully crossed thru to reach and pull out the carcass so they could have a BBQ. He said it tasted so good even though they had to spit out the shrapnel between bites.

The 4x4 drive was great fun and a scream! It was like a roller coaster in slow-motion with all the curves, bumps etc! And we all had good yoga/tai chi exercises without even trying! There were thousands of gentoo penguins and chicks there – on grassy/bog land and on beach – the sand was white. I had fun watching, taking photos and movies – those cute things were so photogenic. There were several King penguins amongst them. There is Sea Cabbage café there – make sure to have tea/coffee there with all those lovely home baked goodies including scones toppled with diddleberries and cream (included in tour price). I did not keep track of time but I think we had an hour at Bluff before Paul returned to take us back to Jason’s minibus. We got back to Stanley after noon and went for lunch and a walk but had to return to ship early when it turned cold and raining. We would have liked more time there – the ship left at 4pm which was too early!!!

We were told that on ship days the islanders go out their way, no matter which day of the week, and help each other to cater for the pax from ships – the people get out of their regular jobs to help out with tours, driving, help in gift/souvenir shops, etc. We were made very welcome.

Puerto Madryn: warmer but windy. We took NCL’s Great Patagonian Adventure tour. It was a very early start 6:45am. Long ride (about 1.5 – 2 hours) to reach our destination but we napped – it was as barren as Punta Arenas. First stop was Punta Norte where we saw hundreds of sea elephants and sea lions on beach (we were on cliff) – very good. Then it was to Estancia San Lorenzo where we were transferred to smaller buses to go to Golfo San Matias where a very large colony of Magellan penguins live. It was an unique experience (different from Lagoon Bluff) because whilst you needed to stick to marked trail (1 km) the penguins (smaller than Gentoo) walk all over the place including on the trail and you have close encounters with them. One time DS sat and one came over and sniffed and bit him! The trail led us to the beach (we stopped on cliff top) and there were thousands more on the beach. Then it was back to the Estancia San Lorenzo for lamb BBQ lunch (our 4th one!) – still another great meal with Argentinean wine. Then it was back on bus back to the ship – another nap. We also saw sheep, guanacos, rheas and other sea birds. Great tour.

... to be continued.

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Bluesea777-

 

I was on the Sun last Feb. I did very different excursions or just explored on my own, with my mom and cousin and her friend in some of the ports, so I am really enjoying hearing about yours. It sounds fabulous so far. I really thought the scenery was magnificent.

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Bluesea777-

 

I was on the Sun last Feb. I did very different excursions or just explored on my own, with my mom and cousin and her friend in some of the ports, so I am really enjoying hearing about yours. It sounds fabulous so far. I really thought the scenery was magnificent.

 

Yes, we thought the scenery great, however, we had already been spoilt by Norway scenery during our Summer 2003 Hurtigruten cruise. But we still enjoyed the SA cruise.

 

Many people have reported asking for and being given egg-crate foam pads for their beds. Did you ask for this?

 

Yeppers, we did - a couple or so days later (after hoping I'd get used to it) but it was too late - they had limited supply and there were none left.

 

Thank you for this detailed account.......we leave this week..........lots of really good information.

 

Susan

 

Have a good and troublefree flight over to Santiago, and ENJOY the cruise!

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Montevideo: hot day so we shed the woolies and went into shorts/capris and short sleeves and sandals. Some people didn’t and they sweated! We had room service breakfast on the balcony and saw the sailing into the harbor. We took NCL’s City Sights & Lunch at Winery tour. Bus took us thru old town and important sights before driving along the Rio de la Plata where there are numerous beaches. Then it was to the Bouza Winery where we had a tour and lunch (BBQ – more lamb, but they had chicken, beef and sausages thrown in). We had 5 different wines to taste and bought 2 bottles of wine and a bottle of grappa to take home. Very good tour. We were dropped off at gates and we went off to do a little shopping before returning to ship.

Buenos Aires: this is something we do NOT want to repeat!! Bottom line: we did not reach to our very nice and air-conditioned hotel room with foam-topped beds until 4:00pm!!! The NCL disembarkation was good – painless – but once we were outside NCL’s jurisdiction it was all utter chaos and I blame it all on BA for not making the place better organized and removing the congestion! There was lots of open spaces and they should removed the wire fences to give more room for the buses, taxis etc to come to the terminal. There was a long long queue for the taxis for us passengers. Yes, the taxis were plentiful but there was hardly any room for the traffic to flow freely – bottleneck going into terminal and bottleneck in terminal area and more bottleneck leaving terminal area. So unlike Miami. We were in queue for 2 hours. When we finally reached Marriott Plaza, the lobby was small and so jam-packed! 2 ships in port and the place was chock full of check-outs and check-ins. Another hour and a half in queue. Reached the desk at 1:50 and checked-in and then were told the room isn’t available till 3pm. Went to one of hotel’s restaurants for lunch and then went back to lobby. Not ready yet. Went out for a little walk along Florida. Bought water and coke. Finally the room was ready at 4pm.

No fault of Marriott – it’s just that we picked a bad day. When the room was ready we gave the concierge the luggage ticket, there was a knock on the door 2 mins after we arrived in room – so quick. Then when we called down to ask for the rollaway bed and extra towels for DS, a knock appeared within 5 mins. That is good service (in other places (except Santiago Marriott) it takes 20-30 mins).

Didn’t do much in BA – went on the Hop-On/Off bus (stop outside the hotel) the next day and went for some shopping. Then we napped and refreshed for the long journey home that night. We bought the hotel room for 2 nights and used it 1.5 days. BA was so hot so we were thankful to still have the room to shower and refresh before heading to the airport.

... to be continued.

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Casino: Forgot to include this in Part 2, so here it goes …

Sun Club casino is a nice place. I played BJ mostly. But be warned that the casino is closed for several days during the cruise – from the time we entered the Chilean waters to go to Puerto Montt until the time we sailed away from Cape Horn!! Total 6 nights the casino is closed! No big deal for me as I got to attend some shows.

The staff in Sun Casino are superb – pleasant, friendly, very good. I had a favourite bar waiter there – he often appear whenever we appeared – at both Stardust (shows) and at Sun Casino and always remembered our liqueur choices. He’s from St. Lucia. We tipped him well – on Xmas Day and at end of cruise.

Conclusion: an excellent cruise for us – the good points greatly outweighed the bad.

We do not get upset or get fussy. If we saw something we didn’t like or feel uncomfy we go somewhere else or do something else. Like when we decided to go to Garden Café for breakfast or lunch and found too many people or didn’t find any free tables there we opted to leave there and go elsewhere. We did not feel that we HAD to do this or that.

We went on this cruise for the itinerary and price and we got what we wanted and paid for. Nickelling and Diming … what’s that? We paid what we wanted to. And the liqueur prices were reasonable as compared to back home. We bought lots of stuff for the ladies at the $10 store (got 10% off as a Latitude member so it’s actually a $9 store for us) … the ladies were thrilled with the stuff including the watches … remember to remove the Made In China stickers first, and put the stuff in a shopping bag from one of the ports of call! I broke my sunglasses early in cruise and was able to buy a fabulous pair of $9 sunglasses there as replacement.

Only port we’d have liked to spend more time was Stanley.

We loved the long days during the cruise and it was really strange dining while it was still very light outside.

If you have any Q’s do not hesitate to ask!

Edited by bluesea777

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If you have any Q’s do not hesitate to ask!

 

Can you describe the route the ship took down the coast of Chile to Pta Arenas and onto Ushuaia and the Horn. We will be going the other direction starting Jan 31st.

 

How many laundry by the bag specials did they have and was it possible to do more than one bag on the special day?

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Can you describe the route the ship took down the coast of Chile to Pta Arenas and onto Ushuaia and the Horn. We will be going the other direction starting Jan 31st.

 

How many laundry by the bag specials did they have and was it possible to do more than one bag on the special day?

 

After Valparaiso it was Pacific Ocean for the night, full day and another night until we got into the Chilean fjords to Puerto Montt. Then it was still in the fjords to Puerto Chacabucco.

 

After that it was back into the Pacific Ocean for the night. Then back into the fjords for a bit and then back out into the ocean once again. The day before Puerto Arenas we got out of ocean into the Magellan Strait and stayed on course to Punta Arenas. Then it's southward (overnight) to the Magdalena Channel and west along Cockburn Channel until we reach the Antarctic ocean - sailed there for a bit until it's time to enter the fjords again to reach the Beagle Channel that led us to Ushuaia.

 

You need to look at maps to follow what I am talking about.

 

As for the laundry special - twice during the cruise: first on the Wed/Thurs during the first week and second on Tues/Wed during the second week. $24.95 per bag. Make sure not to mix whites with darks in same bag!!

 

One bag was sufficient for the 3 of us ( now a real expert on stuff so much carefully into the bag without ripping the bag!), so don't know if more than one bag is allowed per cabin - won't hurt if you ask.

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After Valparaiso it was Pacific Ocean for the night, full day and another night until we got into the Chilean fjords to Puerto Montt. Then it was still in the fjords to Puerto Chacabucco.

 

After that it was back into the Pacific Ocean for the night. Then back into the fjords for a bit and then back out into the ocean once again. The day before Puerto Arenas we got out of ocean into the Magellan Strait and stayed on course to Punta Arenas. Then it's southward (overnight) to the Magdalena Channel and west along Cockburn Channel until we reach the Antarctic ocean - sailed there for a bit until it's time to enter the fjords again to reach the Beagle Channel that led us to Ushuaia.

 

 

Thank you for the directions, the Cockburn channel didn't show on my map so I Googled and found this

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ab/Chile.estrechodemagallanes.png

 

 

It's a nice detailed chart of the area.

 

Thanks again for the best description of the route I have seen!

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Thank you for the directions, the Cockburn channel didn't show on my map so I Googled and found this

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ab/Chile.estrechodemagallanes.png

 

 

It's a nice detailed chart of the area.

 

Thanks again for the best description of the route I have seen!

 

The map is great - and it DOES show Cockburn - west (to the left) of Madgelana.

 

We entered Bahia Desolata to enter Beagle Channel via the left hand side of Isle O'Brien (remember we were going from Valpa to BA).

 

I am a real map buff like you!

 

Hope you understand what I was talking about the Cape Horn islands, but the google map isn't marking the island next to on the left of Deceit as Herschel, and there is a narrow passage between these 2 isles where Sun sails thru.

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The map is great - and it DOES show Cockburn - west (to the left) of Madgelana.

 

We entered Bahia Desolata to enter Beagle Channel via the left hand side of Isle O'Brien (remember we were going from Valpa to BA).

 

I am a real map buff like you!

 

Hope you understand what I was talking about the Cape Horn islands, but the google map isn't marking the island next to on the left of Deceit as Herschel, and there is a narrow passage between these 2 isles where Sun sails thru.

 

I have found a really good map of the channels and fjords. This is a repeat of what I just posted in thge 31 Jan 2010 Sun Roll Call Forum. I'm puttng it here because I think it is of general interest for anyone going around the horn.

 

I mention two maps, the first one I mention is by far the best from a marine viewpoint. It clearly shows the route between Deceit and Hershel, it's even marked as a ship route.

I just got the following map from Amazon for $9.95. I'm sure it's available from other sources too.

 

Patagonian & Fuegian Channels Map: Chilean Fjords Cruise Chart - Cape Horn, Ushuaia, Magellan Strait (Map)

~ Sergio Zagier (Author)

It's printed on heavy, slick paper stock, 27" x 38" open and folds down to about 5"x10"

 

Covers the Argentina Coast from about 100 miles North of the Straight of Magellan south and the Chilean Coast up to about 120 miles north of Puerto Chacabuco.. Latitude and Longitude are maked on the edges of the main map at 10 minute intervals and finer intervals on the detailed inset maps.

 

The Beagle Channel are shown in good detail in insets that total 30 inches in length.

 

I plan to use the map along with a hand held GPS that doesn't have built in detailed maps of the area to track where we are while I'm on deck gawking at the scenery.

=======================

I also found another reasonably good map that doesn't show the fjords and channels in as much detail but shows the land of Patagonia better. Also from Amazon but for $12.95.

South American Explorer: Visitor's Map of Southern Chile and Argentina Including the Chilean Fjords [FOLDED MAP] (Map)

~ Nigel Sitwell (Author)

I would say the fjord and channel detail is adequate, but not nearly as good as the first map I mentioned. This map has lat and long markings but only at 5 degree intervals. It also clearly shows lighthouse locations and the more detailed map above doesn't.

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From your description of the bathroom, I wonder if it was one of the accessible ones (8018, 8019, 8218, 8219). I've been trying to find out what those look like.

 

Thanks!

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Casino: Forgot to include this in Part 2, so here it goes …

Sun Club casino is a nice place. I played BJ mostly. But be warned that the casino is closed for several days during the cruise – from the time we entered the Chilean waters to go to Puerto Montt until the time we sailed away from Cape Horn!! Total 6 nights the casino is closed! No big deal for me as I got to attend some shows.

The staff in Sun Casino are superb – pleasant, friendly, very good. I had a favourite bar waiter there – he often appear whenever we appeared – at both Stardust (shows) and at Sun Casino and always remembered our liqueur choices. He’s from St. Lucia. We tipped him well – on Xmas Day and at end of cruise.

Conclusion: an excellent cruise for us – the good points greatly outweighed the bad.

We do not get upset or get fussy. If we saw something we didn’t like or feel uncomfy we go somewhere else or do something else. Like when we decided to go to Garden Café for breakfast or lunch and found too many people or didn’t find any free tables there we opted to leave there and go elsewhere. We did not feel that we HAD to do this or that.

We went on this cruise for the itinerary and price and we got what we wanted and paid for. Nickelling and Diming … what’s that? We paid what we wanted to. And the liqueur prices were reasonable as compared to back home. We bought lots of stuff for the ladies at the $10 store (got 10% off as a Latitude member so it’s actually a $9 store for us) … the ladies were thrilled with the stuff including the watches … remember to remove the Made In China stickers first, and put the stuff in a shopping bag from one of the ports of call! I broke my sunglasses early in cruise and was able to buy a fabulous pair of $9 sunglasses there as replacement.

Only port we’d have liked to spend more time was Stanley.

We loved the long days during the cruise and it was really strange dining while it was still very light outside.

If you have any Q’s do not hesitate to ask!

Thank- You for the very informative story. I was just looking today on our next cruise and the Sun crouise around S. America or the Dawn which travels from S. America thru the Panama canal to Miami. I think you heled me deceide. 2 questions

1) Is American currency pretty much accepted or would euros be better

2) My wife or I don't speak any language other than English will we have any problems.

Thanks for your help

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After Valparaiso it was Pacific Ocean for the night, full day and another night until we got into the Chilean fjords to Puerto Montt. Then it was still in the fjords to Puerto Chacabucco.

 

After that it was back into the Pacific Ocean for the night. Then back into the fjords for a bit and then back out into the ocean once again. The day before Puerto Arenas we got out of ocean into the Magellan Strait and stayed on course to Punta Arenas. Then it's southward (overnight) to the Magdalena Channel and west along Cockburn Channel until we reach the Antarctic ocean - sailed there for a bit until it's time to enter the fjords again to reach the Beagle Channel that led us to Ushuaia.

 

You need to look at maps to follow what I am talking about.

 

As for the laundry special - twice during the cruise: first on the Wed/Thurs during the first week and second on Tues/Wed during the second week. $24.95 per bag. Make sure not to mix whites with darks in same bag!!

 

One bag was sufficient for the 3 of us ( now a real expert on stuff so much carefully into the bag without ripping the bag!), so don't know if more than one bag is allowed per cabin - won't hurt if you ask.

 

Thank you for the informative details on this itinerary. I'm booked on the same direction mid March.

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From your description of the bathroom, I wonder if it was one of the accessible ones (8018, 8019, 8218, 8219). I've been trying to find out what those look like.

 

Thanks!

 

No, we were in 8032 - a normal cat BC cabin.

 

The SUN was built before the Jewel class ships.

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Thank- You for the very informative story. I was just looking today on our next cruise and the Sun crouise around S. America or the Dawn which travels from S. America thru the Panama canal to Miami.

No, it's still the SUN. She will travel from Valparaiso to Miami via Panama on April 11th.

I think you heled me deceide. 2 questions

1) Is American currency pretty much accepted or would euros be better Yes. Although we had some local currency, the US$ was also accepted.

2) My wife or I don't speak any language other than English will we have any problems.

Neither did we! :D however our teen son was forced to improve his Spanish skills in the teens club where there were several SA girls who took fancy to him! :D

Thanks for your help

You are very welcome - glad you enjoyed my review.

Another thing: if you haven't booked, you'd better do so now. It's NCL's last season with South America. :(

 

Enjoy!

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Thank you for the informative details on this itinerary. I'm booked on the same direction mid March.

 

Hope you will enjoy as much as we did! We ignored the bad points like bad weather, rough seas, people complaining, facre in Garden Cafe, etc, and relied on good points.

 

We have been on 3 other NCL ships (and 4 cruises) and have come to learn quite a bit from each cruise, and as a result we enjoyed our SA cruise very much.

 

ENJOY!!

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Thanks for your fantastic description of every aspect of this cruise. I found it to be quite informative, and like Linda's, makes me even more excited to be sailing on February 28. I am looking forward to the great photo ops as DH is a very good photographer. By the way we have some wonderful photos of Bermuda as we have sailed there via the NCL Majesty every September for the past 4 years. What a great island you live on!

 

Nikki

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We were with you in the lobby of the Marriott on Jan.3. We were trying to check out and spent a long time in the wrong line before we discovered it was the check in line. No sign or explanation anywhere in a very small lobby. Hotel is wonderful however.

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I enjoyed your tour descriptions!

 

If the ship was scheduled to dock at a certain time, how much after docking time did disembarkation start? Did you notice if the time posted for the ship's departure at a tender port was the actual time of departure or if it was when tenders stopped running?

 

We like to buy local crafts (handknit sweater in a market in Estonia, for example). What things caught your eye?

 

Thanks!

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We were with you in the lobby of the Marriott on Jan.3. We were trying to check out and spent a long time in the wrong line before we discovered it was the check in line. No sign or explanation anywhere in a very small lobby. Hotel is wonderful however.

 

Giggle :D

 

Yes, the lobby was small but the hotel in general was wonderful - it celebrated 100 years in 2009.

 

Have you been to Marriott in Santiago? It has a WOW factor and we enjoyed the stay there - about one of the best we've stayed in .. so far. I have Marriott Elite card and try to stay in Marriott hotels wherever we go.

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Thanks for your fantastic description of every aspect of this cruise. I found it to be quite informative, and like Linda's, makes me even more excited to be sailing on February 28. I am looking forward to the great photo ops as DH is a very good photographer. By the way we have some wonderful photos of Bermuda as we have sailed there via the NCL Majesty every September for the past 4 years. What a great island you live on!

 

Nikki

 

:D Are you coming back soon?

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I enjoyed your tour descriptions!

 

If the ship was scheduled to dock at a certain time, how much after docking time did disembarkation start? Did you notice if the time posted for the ship's departure at a tender port was the actual time of departure or if it was when tenders stopped running?

 

We like to buy local crafts (handknit sweater in a market in Estonia, for example). What things caught your eye?

 

Thanks!

 

We went on NCL tour in every port, and we had to be at the Stardust Lounge at the time stated on the tour tickets. The time was around the time the ship docked or anchored and we were often on one of the first tenders.

 

There are 2 gangways and we were often escorted to the one that is allocated for NCL tours.

 

They post "Be back aboard by" times at the gangway but we were always back on ship early so don't really know. However we did see later tenders returning to ship after it's supposed departure time.

 

As for shopping - each port has good shopping - in different ways. Punta Arenas has better shopping than the other 2 Chilean ports so it's the place to shop if you don't have time to shop in Santiago or Valpa. As for Argentina, Ushuaia has great shopping.

 

You'll enjoy yourself in each port - you'll have time to shop in each port. We did, except for Puerto Chacabucco and Puerto Madryn (no time).

 

You asked about things that caught my eye - well people have different tastes - there is bound to be a few things that will catch your eye.

Edited by bluesea777

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I enjoyed the shopping on this cruise. I did not get to shop in Santiago and Valparaiso, due to having to fly in the day of the cruise, which I hated and DO NOT recommend.

 

Puerto Montt- walked around and did some looking but no buying.

 

Puerto Chacabucco - no shopping here, just "nature" stuff.

 

Punta Arenas - my mom enjoyed the shopping. I did the Antarctic Landing which took the entire block of time. Wouldn't have traded it with even the best shopping.

 

Falklands - we found a neat little wool shop and other quaint shops. Enjoyed the British cafe for tea and biscuits.

 

Ushuaia - walked about and shopped. Got some nice leather goods and scarves.

 

Puerto Madryn - found a nice shopping center with interesting books.

 

Montevideo - loved it. Bought some very nice handbags and gifts. But my favorite Mecca was an art gallery where I went crazy. I bought a painting which I had shipped home by FedEx. I also bought a silver ring, and a fewer smaller art objects. I have started wanting to buy at least one or two things on a cruise that I can display in my home. I want some things that will last and will remind me of my cruise to lands far away.

 

Buenos Aires also had wonderful leather goods.

 

I bought gifts for family members and plenty for myself. The reason is when will I make it back to faraway South America.? When I go on a Caribbean or U.S. Cruise I just send loved ones postcards, or just take t-shirts back to the kiddos.

 

But the shopping on this cruise was wonderful. I'm glad I went last year before the economy got worse and my 401k tanked, I might have held back. Egads.

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Montevideo: hot day so we shed the woolies and went into shorts/capris and short sleeves and sandals. Some people didn’t and they sweated! We had room service breakfast on the balcony and saw the sailing into the harbor. We took NCL’s City Sights & Lunch at Winery tour. Bus took us thru old town and important sights before driving along the Rio de la Plata where there are numerous beaches. Then it was to the Bouza Winery where we had a tour and lunch (BBQ – more lamb, but they had chicken, beef and sausages thrown in). We had 5 different wines to taste and bought 2 bottles of wine and a bottle of grappa to take home. Very good tour. We were dropped off at gates and we went off to do a little shopping before returning to ship.

 

 

Tonight we opened the bottle of Uruguayan Grappa and drank a shot glass of it. Different from the Italian grappa but very very nice. We ended having a second glass!

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Bluesea-

 

That sounds like a lovely way to re-visit your cruise. All I made it home with, with regards to wine, was a few nifty corks.

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BlueSea777 & DMH15 - Thanks for info.

 

Donna, one of our threesome is doing Antarctica next month. What an amazing opportunity!

 

Did you find handbags, etc. in the market area near the ship in Montevideo? We are doing a private winery tour but will have some looking-around time before sailing.

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BlueSea777 & DMH15 - Thanks for info.

 

Donna, one of our threesome is doing Antarctica next month. What an amazing opportunity!

 

Did you find handbags, etc. in the market area near the ship in Montevideo? We are doing a private winery tour but will have some looking-around time before sailing.

 

 

Katesowner

 

Yes, there are several places in walking distance to the ship where you can find great handbags. I bought one that I adore, brown white and black cowhide with suede trim. I saw some similar in Fort Worth, Tx double the price.

 

You might be able to walk to the gallery too. I'll try and find the business card.

 

I hope your friend's excursion to Antarctica is a go. I was told it's 50/50 or less chance. Both cruises before and after didn't get to go. It was a great day.

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Katesowner-

 

Also, in the Montevideo market area they have these open grills with the best meat and yummy cheese. Goes great with their red wine. The place is crowded, lots of barstools around the grills. We loved it!

 

Also, did the NCL tour in Buenos Aires from ship to estancia to airport. It was great. Is your cruise ending in BA or starting? Ours ended there.

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Thanks for the detailed information. I am also from BERMUDA as well and I am planning on taking the Norwegian Sun in August to visit Northern Europe.

 

I will definitely make it a point to ask for the egg craters when I first arrive on board.

 

How were the rooms on the SUN from the website it was last refurbished in 2004?

 

Leticia

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Bluesea, I know this is a very old post but we are doing this cruise in Jan 2017 and really enjoyed your review. thank again.:D

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