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SA & Around Cape Horn vs SA & Chilean Fjords

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We are exploring these two itineraries after reading the many positive reviews on Sailing South America. These two have similarities in the ports but also some big differences. The Cape map shows what appears to be an inner Fjords Chilean passage and Puerto Chacabuco, vs Amalia Glacier. We have not sailed in South America before,  and would really appreciate some thoughts about these two itineraries. Any input and advice would be appreciated. Thank you! 

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For the readers who don't want to look it up, one cruise is 18 days (8 sea days) and the other is 22 (10 sea days).

 

The longer cruise has an overnight in the Falklands and the stop in Puerto Chacabuco but it also has two more sea days than the shorter cruise. There is only one sailing in November 18, 2019. It may be too early to see penguin chicks; they may not have started hatching. Unless it is an error, this itinerary sails from Falklands to Ushuaia and retraces the Beagle Channel east to see Cape Horn (not a port of call and always weather dependent) and then heads west again, into the Beagle, past Ushuaia and on to Punta Arenas. Does not make sense to me. If they did  Cape Horn to Ushuaia, they could put in at least one other port (if there is another port). 

 

I think that you will find that no matter which itinerary you choose that you will sail through the fjords and not in the open sea because it is sheltered (like Midnight Sun does even though the red lines on the itinerary page show you way out to sea). And, what you see on this portion of the cruise is really dependent on the weather (we had rain, clouds and fog).

 

Amalia Glacier is not a port of call, just scenic cruising.  On either itinerary, you will see glaciers as you transit the Beagle Channel between Ushuaia and the Pacific Ocean. 

image.png.e4d69383d9a1b7de2c080ed96b8306dd.png

 

Here is where you have to ask questions. You want to cruise this section of the Channel in daylight hours so that you can see glaciers; they come right to the waters edge. Which direction do you have to cruise to sail this portion in daylight?

 

I like that both itineraries include an overnight in Valparaiso. Because of other commitments we went from our ship to the airport and had no time to explore the area. I regret it (but we had done a whole week Buenos Aires prior to sailing, so I can't complain too loudly). If we ever manage to get back in this direction I would do north-bound out of Santiago.

 

Also think about flights. Think 12-14 hours in an air plane. Also look at the flight prices Viking is offering -- especial compare 2019 sail date to 2020 sail date air prices.

 

 

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I think believe the longer itinerary with only one sailing is a segment of the Viking Sun World Cruise whuch commences August 31, 2019.  The reason the ship sails from the Falklands to Ushuaia without rounding the Cape Horn islands is because it will probably be dark out.  They then go back out to round Cape Horn (scenic cruising) and then back up the Beagle Channel to Punta Arenas.  I don't have the time the ship is leaving Ushuaia but assume it would be daytime to see Cape Horn in which case it should be daylight also to cruise Glacier Alley.

 

I am sailing the shorter itinerary on the Jupiter.  It is a dedicated itinerary back and forth between Valparaiso and Buenas Aires.  We do not stop in Puerto Chacabuco.  There are two days scenic cruising the Chilean fjords including Amalia Glacier before Punta Arenas when the ship travels from Valparaiso.  Cruising through Glacier Alley in the Beagle Channel will be in the early morning as arrival to Ushuaia is 11 am.  In the opposite direction from BA, departure from Ushuaia is 4 pm i believe which means cruising through Glacier Alley would be early evening.  Although it will not be midnight sun, sunrise will be very early and sunset very late.

 

On both itineraries the ship cruises the Chilean fjords staying in protected waters when they can.  Although it says "around Cape Horn" the ships do not round the Horn like sailing ships of old, its merely a scenic cruising event, weather permitting, where the ship circumnavigates las Islas de Cabo Horno.

 

One can easily go to Google Maps to get an idea where the ports are located and get an idea of where the ship will navigate.  

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Posted (edited)

Thank you both very much for all these details and points to consider. We will not be looking to do this until 2021. I hadn’t thought of the direction affecting the scenic cruise times - I guess I would have thought that any cruise line would schedule their itinerary around this so really good to know.  I suppose that cruise lines  may not have much leeway so I am glad that you pointed this out.   I also was remiss in seeing that there was only one sailing on the 22 day, so I own that one!  I clearly have quite a bit of homework to do!  

The picture is beautiful. Thank you for sharing Peregrina. 

Edited by Vineyard View

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47 minutes ago, Vineyard View said:

The picture is beautiful

 

Something to look forward to. 🤩

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I looked up the 22 day SA cruise itinerary and I would have done that one in a heartbeat if it was offered as a dedicated itinerary with a choice of dates throughout the Southern hemisphere summer months.  But, alas, it is only offered once and as a segment to a longer cruise.  I like the 2 days in Falkland, more days cruising the Chilean Fjords and added port.

 

Vineyard View have fun with your planning.  By 2021 there will be lots of info from Viking voyagers who have taken either cruise.

 

Peregrina when did you do this cruise?  Were you on the Viking Sun WC that went around SA?

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1 hour ago, TayanaLorna said:

Peregrina when did you do this cruise?  Were you on the Viking Sun WC that went around SA?

 

10 years ago.

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Tayana I look forward to hearing about your travels on your upcoming SA cruise!

I do notice that a lot of cruise lines tend to sail these routes in December, and I would assume that is based on better weather. Would January make a big difference from a sea/weather/sailing aspect?  

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58 minutes ago, Vineyard View said:

Would January make a big difference from a sea/weather/sailing aspect?  

 

Shouldn't. It is like the difference between December and January here, except it is summer down there. And of course, you are asking about weather, which is always unpredictable.

 

Also, read up on penguin viewing and timing and when the babies hatch, etc. -- especially if seeing the penguins is high on your must-see list

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Thanks Peregrina. That is pretty much how I was thinking. We tend to stay home for the holidays with the grandkids while some are still young. 

We have had the pleasure of watching  penguins in New Zealand and Africa - so incredibly fun to watch!  Cannot imagine not wanting to, so thank you for that tip! We did not get a chance to see the chicks before. I would thoroughly enjoy that experience. ☺️

 

I wonder if Viking will be expanding into Antarctica on their SA trips?  That has been on my quasi bucket list, but from what I have read, that is an entirely different ballgame so to speak. Not only the weather, clothing/shoe requirements and logistics, but transportation from the ship. But who knows as additional Viking ships float out. 

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Antarctica is on my bucket-list but because of vertigo DH can't even do Disneyland/World, so this may very well remain an unrealized dream. The Drake Sea can be a very rough crossing.

 

 

More reasons to book this trip, because just seeing pictures is not the same as seeing them up-close and personal!!

Punta Tombo first week of January:

 

image.png.b01d1a691bbc38ff1c0e9cea6d7f06b8.pngimage.png.22a8dc40e63dee09757a741b83b9abdb.png

 

Brooding King Penguins at Volunteer Point, FI. To keep them from predators, eggs and hatchlings are hidden under the parent.

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Posted (edited)

Those pictures are just awesome. What a great experience and memories. Thanks for sharing!  Seeing this opportunity makes it even that much more attractive. 

 

Drake Sea is the area of concern for sure with Antarctica. I have read that is not uncommon for being really rough. I travel with ginger, Bonnine, Hylands Motion Sickness, and a green apple in the stateroom. That combination usually makes it bearable in rough seas which we have been in, but isn’t a guarantee!

I have experienced vertigo in the past and it is just beyond awful. I don’t wish that on anyone so I can certainly empathize with your DH. 😓

Edited by Vineyard View

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14 hours ago, Vineyard View said:

Tayana I look forward to hearing about your travels on your upcoming SA cruise!

I do notice that a lot of cruise lines tend to sail these routes in December, and I would assume that is based on better weather. Would January make a big difference from a sea/weather/sailing aspect?  

We travel on the Jupiter from end of January to almost mid February.  Chose January-February because i read the temperatures would be the warmest, the rainfall less and the seas the calmest.  I watched the weather in each of the ports during the same time frame earlier this year and the temps ranged from a high 95-99 in Buenos Aires and Puerto Madryn to 45-55 in Ushuaia and the Falkland Islands.  Valparaiso was usually 60-75 whereas Santiago being more inland was 85.  Near the Amalia  Glacier it could be near freezing.  Add the wind and all bets are off as to how cold it might feel.  I imagine December is not much difference.   Patrick Watts in the Falklands told me that the penguin chicks would be hatched by end of December so activity should be good at any of the penguin locations on the cruise in January and February.

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13 hours ago, Vineyard View said:

Thanks Peregrina. That is pretty much how I was thinking. We tend to stay home for the holidays with the grandkids while some are still young. 

We have had the pleasure of watching  penguins in New Zealand and Africa - so incredibly fun to watch!  Cannot imagine not wanting to, so thank you for that tip! We did not get a chance to see the chicks before. I would thoroughly enjoy that experience. ☺️

 

I wonder if Viking will be expanding into Antarctica on their SA trips?  That has been on my quasi bucket list, but from what I have read, that is an entirely different ballgame so to speak. Not only the weather, clothing/shoe requirements and logistics, but transportation from the ship. But who knows as additional Viking ships float out. 

Yes, wouldnt Antarctica be wonderful.  I too wonder if Viking will add that.  Before i booked our Viking SA cruise i looked at cruises to there.  The only ships that had permits to actually land were small expedition cruises.  I worried about being on a small ship in the Drake Passage and, when i learned that going ashore was in a Zodiac, i said no way.  Why go to Antarctica if you dont go ashore?  Then i followed the scubacruiserx2 thread of their cruise there on the Holland America Zaandam.  They did not go ashore but oh their pictures were wonderful and they saw an amazing array of wildlife.  I imagine what it would be like on an all inclusive Viking ship with all the big windows.

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Rumor ....... that Viking was going to build an Expedition type ship for Antarctica and Galapagos. but I have not seen anything about that lately.

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We looked at Antarctica a few years ago and saw that the expedition ships do the landings. We almost booked HAL as we have had good experience with them in the past, but ended up going in a different direction. It’s still on my radar to do sometime but a SA itinerary might be what actually happens.  The penguin chicks can’t help but be adorable - their parents are so entertaining and wonderful to observe. Good to know you should be able to partake. Those temperature ranges will make for interesting packing!  

 

Deec I remember seeing some chatter about an expedition ship a while back. That could be interesting - it would bring a solid new option in that limited field. Galapagos is also on my radar 😃

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Galapagos was a Fantastic trip...we did it 2005 with Celebrity's (new then) Expedition...Great time...fantastic naturalists.  We were with 4 other couples and I often say it was overnight camp for adults....!

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On 8/14/2019 at 2:46 PM, Vineyard View said:

Tayana I look forward to hearing about your travels on your upcoming SA cruise!

I do notice that a lot of cruise lines tend to sail these routes in December, and I would assume that is based on better weather. Would January make a big difference from a sea/weather/sailing aspect?  

 

On 8/15/2019 at 5:37 AM, TayanaLorna said:

Chose January-February because i read the temperatures would be the warmest, the rainfall less and the seas the calmest.    Patrick Watts in the Falklands told me that the penguin chicks would be hatched by end of December so activity should be good at any of the penguin locations on the cruise in January and February.

 

We are on the Dec 21st Santiago to Buenos Aires Jupiter Cruise - and with Patrick Watts on Dec 31st in the Falklands.  I will be sure to post updates during the cruise to let you all know how things go -weather-wise and more!!

We (fortunately or unfortuantely) had to take this Dec 21 cruise due to family timing - we'll at least see how the Christmas and New Years are on Viking I suppose.

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Thank you CCWinelover! I will look forward to reading your review! I did read that there were penguin chicks available to observe in recent years in December in the Falklands, so it’s certainly possible! 

 

I also read that if you are going on an Antarctica journey, that the new rules take affect at the end of 2021 where cruise ships must meet build and size requirements to sail in this part of our world. This means that some of the current sailings on other lines will no longer be available, and basically only expedition type/size ships will be allowed. So if Viking is going to expand into that geography they will likely need to build the design/size used in Galapagos such as Deec mentioned.  

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12 hours ago, CCWineLover said:

 

 

We are on the Dec 21st Santiago to Buenos Aires Jupiter Cruise - and with Patrick Watts on Dec 31st in the Falklands.  I will be sure to post updates during the cruise to let you all know how things go -weather-wise and more!!

We (fortunately or unfortuantely) had to take this Dec 21 cruise due to family timing - we'll at least see how the Christmas and New Years are on Viking I suppose.

 

CCWineLover: we are booked for Volunteer Point with Patrick on the same sailing. I’m hoping this gives us extra time to photograph.

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What date do your excursions come up for viewing on MVJ?  The date for the 1-24-20 sailing is Oct. 6.  Yours must be at least a month prior...like soon.

 

When i first booked Patrick Watts, i had a date typo in my email of Jan. 2 instead of Feb. 2.  Based on the earlier date, he said penguins chicks will be born.  So how cool will that be for you all to see newborns and still nesting parents.  By Feburary, we will probably see food begging chicks and busy parents fishing.

 

CCWineLover will you use this Roll Call to do your trip review or start another thread.  I was thinking of starting a new thread under Viking Ocean to review the trip.  It might be more accessible to future Viking travelers of this itinerary.  I just need to learn how to put photos on here.

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Can't wait to read your first hand experiences!

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1 hour ago, TayanaLorna said:

CCWineLover will you use this Roll Call to do your trip review or start another thread. 

 

IMHO, start a new thread in this forum. Don't bury it here or on the roll call for your sailing.

 

Also, if you are posting from the ship, title it "Live from..." and encourage members of your roll call to post there was well.

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3 hours ago, deec said:

Can't wait to read your first hand experiences!

 

Hi deec -

I plan to do what I did on our last Jupiter cruise in Apr/May - posting a separate thread under Viking Ocean - something like Live Updates from Dec 21 Jupiter SA cruise or something.   That will make it easy for people to find and for those who follow us on the same itineraries.

Look forward to meeting you finally on our Midnight Sun cruise in June!

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We are looking forward to that cruise.  Starting to think about our time in England before.  I have not been to Oxford so may go in that direction for a few days.  Or to Wales???

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