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Advice on S. American cruising


suzyed

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I know this is a very broad topic, but we have never cruised S. America. Can any experienced cruisers give us advice on what are the "not to be missed" ports? Favorite cruiseline for S. America, etc etc. Any and all info would be appreciated!

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The itinerary that I enjoy goes between Valparaiso, Chile and Buenos Aires. Spend a few days pre or post cruise in Buenos Aires. It is a beautiful city and very european.

 

We enjoy many of the ports of call along the way. Most itineraries between these two areas have similar stops.

 

If you can find one that includes the Falkland Islands that is an added plus. This is a tender port and because of winds the ships are not always able to run tender service but when they do it's one of the great opportunities to view penguins. Also, another beautiful area for that is at your stop in Punta Arenas, Chile. Other nice stops include Ushuaia and Puerto Madryn and Puerto Montt just to name a few. Montevideo is located right near Buenos Aires and is also a nice stop as well.

 

Keith

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We've done two South American cruises on HAL - you can find them broken up into shorter cruises. Our first trip was from Lima (visited Machu Picchu and Cusco first on our own) to Florida. It was a great trip.

 

Our second was from Santiago to Buenos Aires (forgive the spelling). I think it was 14 days. When we arrived in Buenos Aires, we flew into Iguazu to see the falls - it was so wonderful!!! We found a great company who took care of us (6 in all) from airport to cruise ship (we spent a night in Valporiso and they did the transfers for us to the ship).

 

Our guides in Iguazu were fantastic as was Patty in Buenos Aires.

 

Here is the site for the tour company - discoveriguazufalls.com. There you can find links to their other sites. We enjoyed them so much, we are planning another land based trip with them.

 

Denise

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We did BA to Valparaiso in Feb. on the Infinity. A most enjoyable cruise. The highlight though was our pre-cruise visit to Iguazu Falls. Don't miss it. You can see lots of photos and see the tours we took in our review on our website www.thepreismans.com

 

We did it on the Celebrity Millenium (Infinity was in dry dock) in 2006 with a pre-cruise visit to Iguazu Falls on our own and enjoyed it. We did stop in the Falklands but Celebrity might not go there anymore.

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Wow, it is a broad topic. Like asking about places not to be missed if you cruise somewhere in, say, North America. Have you looked at sample itineraries that look intereting to you? The around-the-Horn cruises mentioned above are scenic and would take you, even if only briefly, to several interesting cities. We took a Princess cruise form Buenos Aires to Valparaiso (I think they start in Rio now, but have fewer stops long the way than they did before). You would get a taste of several interesting places, including Rio and Buenos Aires and, if you get off the ship in Valpariaiso, Santiago. There's obviously a lot you would miss (e.g, Amazon, Patagonia), but you would see a lot and could do some gret pre- or post-cruise touring.

 

If you have the time and like to read, I'd seriously suggest geting a guide book to South America (e.g., Lonely Planet) and see what places interest you most and then see if you can find cruises that can in as many of the places as possible (taking into consideration what touring you could do before or after the cruise).

 

You could also find other cruises, for example, Florida to Brazil (or the reverse direction, or both ways), perhaps including a trip up the Amazon to Manaus. I know Princess had a repositioning cruise from Rio to Ft. Lauderdale last year (no Amazon excursion). When we took the cruise to Valparaiso, it was the last cruise of the year, so rather than returning to B.A., continued on up to the U.S. with stops in Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, etc. And, of course, there are Panama Canal cruises. Lots of choices! Get reading!

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We did the BA to Santiago cruise as part of a three leg cruise that continued to Seattle on the Star Princess. We also sailed from Fort Lauderdale to Manaus, Brazil (1200 miles up the Amazon) and back to Fort Lauderdale on the Pacific Princess. In 2013, we are booked on the Grand Princess for a b2b2b from Fort Lauderdale, around the Horn and up the west coast of the Americas to San Francisco.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Santiago is a place you rarely hear about, but we enjoyed it immensely. We also were very comfortable in Montevideo.

 

Suzyed, in order to tell you what not to miss, please let us know what you like. If you like hiking and nature, then you should not miss the Patagonian ports. If you prefer urban pursuits, then you would be happier with a cruise further north. (on the west coast: Valparaiso, Lima and Quito; on the east coast: Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Rio). South America has SO much, that it would help if we could narrow things down a bit.

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We sailed from Buenos Aires to Santiago, Chilie in March of 2006. We were on the Regal Princess. We did a pre-cruise in Buenos Aires and a post cruise that took us to Lima, Cuzco and Machu Picchu. This is the best cruise we've ever taken and we've done 24!!! If you decide to go to Peru read "Turn Right at Machu Picchu". This was just published in July. Its excellent!!!! It's a must read for anyone going to Peru or anyone who is interested in Incan history.

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If you are going to South America I would highly recommend that you consider a cruise that also includes Antarctica. We flew into Santiago, Chile during the early part of January for a couple of days sightseeing prior to departing from Valparaiso (the port for Santiago) on the Holland America Rotterdam and sailed to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Our itinerary included calls in Puerto Montt, Chile; Punta Arenas, Chile; Ushuaia, Argentina; Port Stanley, Falkland Islands; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Montevideo, Uruguay. Scenic cruising in Chile and Argentina included: Darwin Channel, Sarmiento Canal, Strait of Magellan, and the Beagle Channel.

 

All of the ports were fascinating, but I would say that Buenos Aires and Rio were two of my favorites. Our time spent cruising in Antarctica was the experience of a lifetime. We spent three days cruising in some of the most beautiful scenery that I’ve ever seen. The entire cruise was fabulist.

 

Click on the link at the bottom of this message for information on viewing my youtube travel video of South America and Antarctica.

 

We did private tours in all of the ports, so if you need help with tour companies I'll be glad to give some recommendations. I hope this helps.

 

Ron

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We cruised Santiago, Chile to FLL (a B2B cruise). The Falklands was a highlight (Patrick Watt's tour to Volunteer Point) Also enjoyed the city tour of Buenos Aires (try to spend time in the La Boca district) Corcovado and Sugarloaf are a must in Rio.

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If you are going to South America I would highly recommend that you consider a cruise that also includes Antarctica. We flew into Santiago, Chile during the early part of January for a couple of days sightseeing prior to departing from Valparaiso (the port for Santiago) on the Holland America Rotterdam and sailed to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Our itinerary included calls in Puerto Montt, Chile; Punta Arenas, Chile; Ushuaia, Argentina; Port Stanley, Falkland Islands; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Montevideo, Uruguay. Scenic cruising in Chile and Argentina included: Darwin Channel, Sarmiento Canal, Strait of Magellan, and the Beagle Channel.

 

All of the ports were fascinating, but I would say that Buenos Aires and Rio were two of my favorites. Our time spent cruising in Antarctica was the experience of a lifetime. We spent three days cruising in some of the most beautiful scenery that I’ve ever seen. The entire cruise was fabulist.

 

Click on the link at the bottom of this message for information on viewing my youtube travel video of South America and Antarctica.

 

We did private tours in all of the ports, so if you need help with tour companies I'll be glad to give some recommendations. I hope this helps.

 

Ron

 

Hello Ron,

Can we please have information for the tour companies you used in Ushuaia & Punta Arenas. Thanks's for any information you can give us.

 

Betty:)

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We sailed the Regal Princess from Buenos Aires to Santiago, Chile. We did a pre-cruise tour in Buenos Aires. It was wonderful. At the end of the cruise we took a ship's tour to Machu Picchu. DO NOT MISS MACHU PICCHU. This was the best of 24 cruises that we've taken. Start reading now about all the ports and the countries. They are all unique. I just finished reading "Turn Right at Machu Picchu". This book is amazing. A must read for anyone going to Peru. I'm going to enjoy seeing "Raiders of the Lost Ark". I haven't seen the movie in 20 years but the book puts a whole new light on Indiana Jones aka Hiram Bingham.

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Hi Betty:

 

After reviewing my information on our South America/Antarctica cruise, I realized Punta Arenas and Ushuaia were the only ports we did not use a private guide. Wet took the Holland America sponsored shore excursions instead, however, I would not do this again as both ports are easy to do on your own.

 

The major attraction in Punta Arenas http://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=476 is the Otway Bay Penguin Reserve, where each year from November to March, Magellan penguins come to nest in burrows they dig in the sandy shoreline. The Penguin Reserve is located about 60 miles northwest of Punta Arenas and can be reached by taxi from the pier where your ship docks. You do not need an escorted tour of the reserve. At the reserve, you'll follow marked trails for approximately one mile one way across grassland to the penguin rookery by the seashore. A wooden partition with a special viewing spot separates the beach from the grassy area and the burrows. Signage along the path tells you all about the habits of the nesting Penguins. Taxis are also available for hire by the hour, but make sure you negotiate the price before you embark on your trip. The taxi fare is around $60 round trip plus you can negotiate the amount of time you want to spend at the reserve. We paid $81 per person for the Holland America tour to Otway Bay.

 

Ships dock at the commercial pier, Mardones/Bahia Catalina, which is a 20 minute taxi ride away from the downtown area of Punta Arenas. Metered taxis are readily available pier side and the cost will run about $10 US or you can negotiate a stop in town at part of your trip to Otway Bay. Stores are scattered along all the main streets in the downtown area with the bulk of them located on Magallanes, a street that runs adjacent to the Plaza Munoz Gamero in the center of town. On port days, weather permitting, the locals display their wares at a craft fair in the Plaza. There is not really much to see in the city and stalls along the highway in front of the pier sell some of the same items you’ll find in the Plaza.

 

In Ushuaia http://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=174, we took the Holland America tour to Tierra del Fuego National Park and a cruise on the Beagle Channel at a cost of $126 per person. The portion of the tour that went to Tierra del Fuego Park was a complete waste. There really wasn’t much to see. The boat tour of Beagle Channel to watch to sea lions playing on the rocks was the most interesting part of the tour. At the very end of the pier where the cruise ships dock is a visitor's center with maps and info about the area. In the same area, to the right of the dock's end, are several booths for tourist activities and excursions, including boat trips to on the Beagle Channel. Reps from the various companies will stand outside the ticket booths trying to drum up business. It is worth taking a few minutes to listen to the various offers before you buy. The center of town is a short walk along the pier to the Coastal Avenue (Maipu) and just a block from the main shopping street, San Martin.

 

I hope this helps.

 

Ron

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