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Explorer Feb 1-17 Buenos Aires to Santiago Live


RachelG
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1 hour ago, UUNetBill said:

Maybe if Regent included 'Free' bungee jumping on board...and gave everyone a squeegee before they went...

 

Just thinking out loud here...

I was in my office eating pretzels when I read this and started laughing so loud that four people came into my office to make sure I was alright because they weren't sure whether I was laughing, crying or choking.

 

gnomie :classic_smile:

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Laughing too about the bungee jumping and squeegee.  I understand they can only wash a lot of the windows when the ship isn’t moving, but they definitely need to be washed more often.

 

i also like the skull and crossbones idea for difficult excursions!

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February 14, 2019–Puerto Montt Chile

 

Happy Valentines Day!

 

Usually what has been waking me up in the morning, besides my Internal clock, is the sunlight filtering through the edges of the curtains.  This morning, I woke up and felt like it should be at least past 7 am, but there was no light.  I got up anyway.  Looking outside, it was completely overcast and foggy plus distinctly cooler than yesterday.

 

Puerto Montt is a tender port.  When we arrived, I could just see the outline of the city through the fog.  Anchored next to us was a huge NCL ship.  They had scheduled tours with a total of 400 passengers to leave all at the same time.  In a tender port!  No way that could happen.  They need to hire me for logistics.  After waiting about 30 minutes, We took a short tender ride in.  The port building was nice, but closeup the area surrounding the port looked pretty dilapidated.

 

Our tour today was a long one—Petrohue Falls, Osorno Volcano, and Puerto Varas.

The bus was comfortable and modern with good air conditioning, but the world’s most conservative driver.  Our guide Felipe was good, didn’t talk too much but gave good information and was very responsive to questions.  He spoke excellent English.

 

We took off and were soon out of town headed to Puerto Varas which is a very upscale resort sort of place on a huge and beautiful lake, but I suspect the people who work in Puerto Montt and have money live here.  It is only 20 minutes away.  I could live there.  It is really very nice.  It was pretty amazing, but as soon as we passed through Puerto Varas, the clouds immediately cleared, and it was bright and sunny—and warm.

 

We drove through town and on to the Petrohue Falls.  These are not large as far as vertical height, but the amount of water shooting through a narrow cut in the rock is quite amazing.  It was pretty crowded at the falls, with lots of Chilean families out.  We only had 40 minutes to explore and I wish we had had twice that.

 

Then on to the volcano.  We drove up and up through very dense forest then out on a more arid area.  Eventually we were near the peak of the snow capped volcano.  George and I took off, hiking up and up on the ash covered paths.  We only had 40 minutes, so we had to be fast, but we got pretty far up and got good pics.

 

We then drove to Puerto Varas which is on a huge beautiful lake.  It is clearly a popular vacation spot, with stores for every upscale outfitter that I can think of.  It was 4 pm and we had not had lunch.  I was really hungry as I had not eaten breakfast as “lunch” was included, but 4 o’clock is ridiculous.  We went to a hotel.  Lunch was served—soup then either salmon or chicken.  Then salmon and chicken were plain,but good.  But really, lunch at 4:15??  This should have been better planned. It would have been better to do Puerto Varas first, with lunch at noon, then the waterfalls and volcanos.  Someone need to think about this stuff.

 

After “lunch”, we had free time. We walked around the very cute town and got some ice cream which was delicious.  Then back to the ship.  We were onboard by 6:30.  George worked out while I did office stuff.  Then we had salad for dinner in LaVeranda as lunch was so late.

 

The entertainment was a guitarist.  I went for the sake of scientific observation.  Guitar music is not my thing.  He is clearly very talented, but I confirmed—it is not my thing.

Edited by RachelG
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In the first set of pics, the Mt Fuji looking snow topped volcano is Osorno.  The other picture is taken from Osorno looking across at the other nearby volcano, Llaima, which is still very active and most recently erupted in 2009.  It is still puffing off steam, which you can see.  In 2009, it covered the entire area with several feet of ash.  Fortunately they were able to evacuate everyone in time, and no human life was lost.  There is still a lot of ash everywhere.  My black walking shoes looked greybythe end of the day.

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Today is a sea day sailing from Puerto Montt to San Antonio (Santiago) for disembarkation. We are completely enclosed by fog and the ships horn is

getting lots of use. Nothing scenic, but Bill could pick up some extra cash cleaning windows. A  good cruise for 16 days about to be over.

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February 15, 2019–at sea 

 

Enroute to San Antonio Chile, the port for Santiago.  It was distinctly warmer today.  Bright and sunny all morning, but then we encountered a lot of haze which soon morphed into dense fog.  Fog horns were sounding.  The sea was calm.  I spent an hour up on deck walking, got some work done, and started packing as we will disembark tomorrow night.  

 

Lunch was a seafood extravaganza, and that is no exaggeration.  Crab legs, huge shrimp, mussels, paella, sushi.  Plus I discovered the pizza, which was the best thin crust pizza I have had on a ship.  Good thing I only discovered it today.  George had a big pile of crab legs.  

 

We came in 3rd in Trivia.  At least we are consistent.  

 

Crew Capers was at 6 pm.  They did great as usual. I am always so impressed by the talent of the most unlikely of the crew.

 

We had dinner in Chartreuse.  It was delicious, but the best part was with talking with Alexi, who is an assistant waiter from Honduras.  We told him about our visits to Honduras, and he told us about his dreams.  We shared that George grew up extremely poor in Arkansas in what was really a shack.  Due to hard work, he is now a very prominent and successful attorney and head of a large law firm as well as owner of a large ranch.  Alexi was so grateful for the encouragement.  I think Alexi will be successful as he has a good work ethic.

 

The show was another performance by Jenene Caramielo, who is a great vocalist.  She was just awesome.  Great show.

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On 2/14/2019 at 6:38 PM, UUNetBill said:

That's been a pet peeve of mine since I started cruising with Regent in 2009.  I can't even count the number of people who have gotten in over their heads on excursions and somehow try to make it a problem with DS.  Of course, DS is between a rock and a hard place because - God forbid! - they tell someone they don't appear to be physically capable of taking an excursion.

 

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

 

It might become necessary to put the physical requirements in BOLD FONTS at the top of each tour description and have people sign detailed waivers for all three-walker tours - or maybe add a fourth category with a  ☠️ icon just so there's no question.  I know that won't fix the problem but it might shut some of these people up...

Totally agree - detailed waivers plus promise of "no early return possible" might help.    That said - a thing I hate is when something that is not in the tour description gets put into the tour with no advance notice to participants.  We did a lovely rainforest walk in Chile (wasn't raining though).  Excellent guide.  At the end of which the tour description said we would go back to the ship.  Instead it was announced that there would be a "folklore show" for 30 mns.  I happen to loathe these sorts of things and said so to the guide.  Happily she then made arrangements to have us taken back to the port.  I didn't ask for that but she sensed I did not want to sit through what ended up being an hour of "guitar plunking" time!   

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9 hours ago, Hambagahle said:

Totally agree - detailed waivers plus promise of "no early return possible" might help.    That said - a thing I hate is when something that is not in the tour description gets put into the tour with no advance notice to participants.  We did a lovely rainforest walk in Chile (wasn't raining though).  Excellent guide.  At the end of which the tour description said we would go back to the ship.  Instead it was announced that there would be a "folklore show" for 30 mns.  I happen to loathe these sorts of things and said so to the guide.  Happily she then made arrangements to have us taken back to the port.  I didn't ask for that but she sensed I did not want to sit through what ended up being an hour of "guitar plunking" time!   

The other thing I hate is “shopping opportunities “ disguised as bathroom stops.  If I want to go shopping, I would book a shopping tour.  I generally try to avoid those though.  Once,  in Italy, we made a bathroom stop only 30 minutes after we got off the ship.  I am pretty sure the place was owned by some relative of the guide.

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January 16, 2019–San Antonio, Chile

 

Lots of motion during the night, more than we have had the whole trip.  We awoke to a chilly overcast day at a large industrial looking port next to the huge NCL ship.  We were on tour today, while it was turnover day for the NCL ship.  So the terminal building was total chaos.  We were thrown into the same line as the disembarking passengers so go through security, but fortunately it moved pretty quickly.  There were Regent representatives stationed to direct us to our buses.

 

When I had been making tour reservations online, the tour I wanted was full, so I signed for another one.  Once onboard, I waitlisted the one we wanted.  We were still waitlisted his morning, but cleared at the last minute.  The only problem was that our other tour was an extra cost tour, and we were past the cancellation time, so we ended up paying for that tour too.  

 

The tour we wanted and ended up with was a really good one.  We drove through the shabby town out into pretty dry looking hilly countryside to a winery which was very nice.  We had a tour of the vineyard and cellars then a tasting.  The wine was actually quite delicious, and we bought some, as well as a few other things in the shop.

 

We then went to a horse ranch where we saw a Chilean horse show and ate lunch—Pisco sours, huge meat and cheese empanadas, roast beef, mashed potatoes, salad.  It was a major amount of food and good too.  George wanted to ride the horses of course.  He convinced the owner that he knew what he was doing.  Wearing his work ranch boots and cowboy hat probably helped a little, so he got his horse fix.  I was freezing the whole time as the weather forecast had been for temperatures in the 70s, and i had dressed accordingly, with everything else being packed already.  It was much cooler and a little windy plus stayed very overcast.

 

Back to the ship, the new NCL passengers were arriving, so it was the same chaos in reverse.  Boy, am I glad I am not on that ship.  It holds something like 2000 passengers but looks about the same size as Explorer.

 

Our driver was picking us up at 5:30 so I had just enough time to play a last trivia game.  We came in 2 nd, then I quickly went down to redeem my points.  No black ball caps left, so George got 4 shirts.  

 

Our driver was ready and waiting for us.  Even with no traffic, it took 1 1/2 hours to get to the airport, so anyone doing this in the future needs to plan accordingly.  Priority check in with American was quick as was customs and security, so we are now sitting in a very old school but comfortable admiral’s club. 

 

I will post a few final thoughts in a few days when I get caught up at work, but thanks for coming along with me.  Travelcat will now take over.

 

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9 hours ago, RachelG said:

The other thing I hate is “shopping opportunities “ disguised as bathroom stops.  If I want to go shopping, I would book a shopping tour.  I generally try to avoid those though.  Once,  in Italy, we made a bathroom stop only 30 minutes after we got off the ship.  I am pretty sure the place was owned by some relative of the guide.

Totally agree!  A long time ago (1970 I think) we took a ship's tour of Naples.  Half of the tour was spent at a cameo factory - and although it is interesting to see cameos made wasting time there because the guide hoped we would buy things was silly.  From then on whenever a tour has a shopping stop we call it "the cameo factory"!!

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1 hour ago, Hambagahle said:

would be lovely to meet you two on a cruise some day

 

Likewise.  I've so enjoyed being with you on a familiar itinerary with many of the same excursions as we've enjoyed too.  Thank you for taking us along, if only from the comfort of home.

 

Wishing you safe travel home with, hopefully, no surprises - here's to the next trip!

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Rachel... I want to take this opportunity to thank you for this engaging and informative blog. We’ve never met, but your experiences kept me enthralled these past few weeks. Next February my wife and I (with friends) will be sailing almost the same itinerary, Buenas Aires to Lima. Having never been to South America, your thread has become a travel guide for us. Again...many thanks, and travel safely!!

 

BTW... I’m also a physician, so I especially enjoyed your medical references...

 

 

 

 

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