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Scenic cruising Antarctica 2021: HAL vs Princess, thoughts?


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13 hours ago, minnied said:

following along with this thread and i have a question - does anyone have an opinion on doing this cruise on oceania (marina in 2021).  we have cruised on celebrity, holland america, and princess(many years ago).  are holland america and/or princess especially known for this particular s.a. cruise.  my husband and i are retired, 74 and 65 respectively and active.  so far we are leaning toward the oceania cruise - a new line for us and they offer an attractive pre cruise trip to machu picchu.  i would love to hear any opinions and comparisons between doing this cruise with either holland america, princess, or oceania.

 

I didn't know that Oceania did the Antarctica "drive by" itineraries.

What is the date of this cruise?

Thanks.

 

GC

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6 hours ago, AncientWanderer said:

A couple of thoughts...

We sailed San Diego to Buenos Aires on Zaandam and enjoyed ourselves, but have elected to book on Westerdam for Antarctica, January 2021.   Zaandam was not a favorite. 

 

As far as requiring extra time in BA, I'd suggest doing research on what you would really like to accomplish there.  It's an interesting and beautiful city -- many extraordinary buildings, but with very little inside of them.  It seems that most art and valuables have been taken out of the country during various upheavals, so lengthy museum visits are not required.  One can see a lot during a two-day tour.  Whether that is enough for you, cruisemom42, I don't know.  For me, I usually leave cities with heartbreak that I want to experience more, and I didn't feel that way when leaving BA.  Although being there was almost surreal.

 

 

Thanks -- I know Westerdam and like her, and she's doing the trip in the time frame I want, so that's all to the good. 

 

As you say, I'll have to research BA.

 

Now if anyone could please consult their crystal ball and tell me if HAL will have any good promotions coming up soon. :classic_biggrin:

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Just now, cruisemom42 said:

 

Thanks -- I know Westerdam and like her, and she's doing the trip in the time frame I want, so that's all to the good. 

 

As you say, I'll have to research BA.

 

Now if anyone could please consult their crystal ball and tell me if HAL will have any good promotions coming up soon. :classic_biggrin:

 

usually Thanksgiving week, up to Cyber Monday has good promos.  In the past I believe it included prepaid grats.   That and private Mariner sale mailings have been the best promos for me.

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2 hours ago, CJcruzer said:

 

usually Thanksgiving week, up to Cyber Monday has good promos.  In the past I believe it included prepaid grats.   That and private Mariner sale mailings have been the best promos for me.

 

Excellent -- Let's see what good deal I can find to be thankful for.... :classic_wink:

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5 hours ago, GeezerCouple said:

 

I didn't know that Oceania did the Antarctica "drive by" itineraries.

What is the date of this cruise?

Thanks.

 

GC

 

5 hours ago, GeezerCouple said:

 

I didn't know that Oceania did the Antarctica "drive by" itineraries.

What is the date of this cruise?

Thanks.

 

GC

 

5 hours ago, GeezerCouple said:

 

I didn't know that Oceania did the Antarctica "drive by" itineraries.

What is the date of this cruise?

Thanks.

 

GC

i believe the cruise (lima to buenos aires) leaves on feb 14, 2021.

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26 minutes ago, minnied said:

 

i believe the cruise (lima to buenos aires) leaves on feb 14, 2021.

 

Okay... I see a cruise with Marina departing Lima on 17 Feb 2021.

 

However, this definitely does not appear to be an "Antarctic" cruise, unfortunately.

It goes around Cape Horn, but never goes much farther south than South America.

 

GC

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7 hours ago, AncientWanderer said:

 

Rkacruiser, could you share what you did in Montevideo?  I and probably others would much appreciate advice on how best to enjoy that port stop.

 

I took a comprehensive city tour through shore excursions that covered all of the main sights, I believe.  The guide was very good and her English was excellent.  As such tours usually do, there was a shopping stop at an interesting  Mall (not a huge one, though).  We were there with enough time to look around, but for me, not enough time to do any serious shopping.  I was interested in purchasing a leather item; there were 2-3 such stores that had what I wanted.  But, I didn't have enough time to do the type of comparison shopping that I usually try to do.  Thus, I made no purchase. 

 

I am interested in maritime history.  A museum is there that has artifacts/displays about the scuttling of the German battleship Graf Spee during World War II.  It's not far from the pier where the Zaandam docked, but it required a longer walking distance and time to do so to visit the museum and be sure that I made it back to the ship before sailing time.  I rather regret not having visited the museum and will do so if I find myself in this city in the future.

 

I found Montevideo to be a more pleasant and attractive city than Buenos Aires.

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33 minutes ago, minnied said:

 

 

i believe the cruise (lima to buenos aires) leaves on feb 14, 2021.

Unfortunately, Oceania doesn’t do Antarctica. But Azamara, Ponant, Silversea, Seaborn, Celebrity, Princess and Holland America do. If you could find out who the Captain is for the 2020 or the 2021 cruise on the Seaborn Quest and can afford it. I would do Seaborn. Captain Roberts was a Captain on the Prinsendam and he did Antarctica quite a few times. He is the only Captain that was able to take us through the  Lemaire Channel. He was transferred to the Seaborn Quest. And very knowledgeable about sailing in Antarctic water which definitely is a plus.

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19 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

I found Montevideo to be a more pleasant and attractive city than Buenos Aires.

I agree. Although I have enjoyed my visits to Buenos Aires, I felt more relaxed in Montevideo. 

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Skip both HAL and Princess and take Seabourn instead.  You can actually walk on land and get close to penguins.  They take care of you and make sure you are always safe.  It is totally worth it and an extraordinary experience, totally different than the drive-by on HAL.

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1 hour ago, tv24 said:

Skip both HAL and Princess and take Seabourn instead.  You can actually walk on land and get close to penguins.  They take care of you and make sure you are always safe.  It is totally worth it and an extraordinary experience, totally different than the drive-by on HAL.

 

I am looking at January and February of 2021. The only Seabourn cruise I see that is not an unreasonable number of days for a working person seems to have a comparable itinerary to HAL (21 days BA to Santiago, 6 days cruising Antarctica vs 4 on HAL but no scheduled stops, some of the other ports are also same).

 

Price difference? For a solo cruiser I'm looking at $27,998 on Seabourn. On HAL?  $6838.

 

And that's without landings, so far as I can tell. 

 

Sorry, but to me that is just not worth it for an item that isn't all that high on my bucket list.

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We are having a similar dilemma.

 

I think we might wait to see what happens after final payment for dates we are interested in. I love Coral Princess but the Westerdam itinerary has more Chilean Fjords. 20 vs 16 days...I hear ya. 16 is better for us but you never know if you will ever get back...

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7 hours ago, RuthC said:

I agree. Although I have enjoyed my visits to Buenos Aires, I felt more relaxed in Montevideo. 

When we stayed in Buenos Aires, we stayed in the Puerto Madero area. It is the safest part of BA due to the Coast Guard patrolling the area. We took tours from the hotel: City tour, a Delta tour and a tour to a rancho. But if one hasn’t been to Iguazu Falls, I would finitely make plans to see them while in the area. The airport is a short taxi ride from the port. If you want to see both sides, you do need a Brazilian visa. But you would still have a wonderful time if you did two days just on the Argentine side.

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7 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

I am looking at January and February of 2021. The only Seabourn cruise I see that is not an unreasonable number of days for a working person seems to have a comparable itinerary to HAL (21 days BA to Santiago, 6 days cruising Antarctica vs 4 on HAL but no scheduled stops, some of the other ports are also same).

 

Price difference? For a solo cruiser I'm looking at $27,998 on Seabourn. On HAL?  $6838.

 

And that's without landings, so far as I can tell. 

 

Sorry, but to me that is just not worth it for an item that isn't all that high on my bucket list.

There are stops, just no ports.  There are no ports in Antarctica.  The only people who live there are scientists. The Seabourn Quest docks off shore and they use zodiac boats to ferry passengers to land where we walk on groomed trails in the snow to get up close to the penguins.  The zodiacs also take you on a water tour where you get up close to seals on ice bergs and fairly close to whales.

 

Yes, Seabourn is extremely expensive for solo travelers.  I absolutely acknowledge that.

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5 hours ago, tv24 said:

There are stops, just no ports.  There are no ports in Antarctica.  The only people who live there are scientists. The Seabourn Quest docks off shore and they use zodiac boats to ferry passengers to land where we walk on groomed trails in the snow to get up close to the penguins.  The zodiacs also take you on a water tour where you get up close to seals on ice bergs and fairly close to whales.

 

Yes, Seabourn is extremely expensive for solo travelers.  I absolutely acknowledge that.

 

Thanks for the clarification. The website I originally looked at only said "scenic cruising" -- I had to go to the Seabourn site to see that there are landings.

 

While I agree that a "drive-by" is not the most ideal, I understand that expedition-style ships will still be able to go after 2021. For me, Antarctica is truly not a strong "must see"; however, I don't want to miss the chance to at least "see" it and cruising around the Horn sounds like an adventure I want to have. 

 

I truly could not justify the cost for one person unless it was the absolute be-all and end-all of bucket list items for me. It isn't. Nature and scenery, while nice, will always take a backseat for me to ancient civilizations and ancient history. 

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On 11/3/2019 at 7:46 PM, cruisemom42 said:

 

 

It's true that it may happen on any ship, but I read these forums and reviews regularly and I am convinced that problems are reported more frequently on the older ships.  I like to minimize my chances of encountering things like plumbing or A/C issues. 

 

With all due respect, I think your concerns are not well founded.  After all, it is the Amsterdam, the sister ship of the Maasdam that does the WC's and the Grand Asia, which we took last winter.  That ship was in excellent condition, and we had no problems with it.  Also, if it is of any interest, the Zaandam still has a full library (I think that they do, anyway) and the Crows Nest, both facilities which we very much enjoy.  I would much, much rather sail on a R Class than on any of the later designs.

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5 minutes ago, Tampa Girl said:

 

With all due respect, I think your concerns are not well founded.  After all, it is the Amsterdam, the sister ship of the Maasdam that does the WC's and the Grand Asia, which we took last winter.  That ship was in excellent condition, and we had no problems with it.  Also, if it is of any interest, the Zaandam still has a full library (I think that they do, anyway) and the Crows Nest, both facilities which we very much enjoy.  I would much, much rather sail on a R Class than on any of the later designs.

 

That may be true, but it is enough of a concern to worry me.  I fully understand that a large percentage of passengers may not be affected by these problems on any given cruise. It is not enough to allay my own fears based on a significant number of trip reports and reviews that mention problems with some regularity.

 

It's really not worth arguing the point. The Westerdam is doing the route at the time that I am looking to go, the Zaandam is not.

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  • 2 hours ago, Tampa Girl said:
    •  
    • With all due respect, I think your concerns are not well founded.  After all, it is the Amsterdam, the sister ship of the Maasdam that does the WC's and the Grand Asia, which we took last winter.  That ship was in excellent condition, and we had no problems with it.  Also, if it is of any interest, the Zaandam still has a full library (I think that they do, anyway) and the Crows Nest, both facilities which we very much enjoy.  I would much, much rather sail on a R Class than on any of the later designs.

 

Some quotes/examples from recent Zaandam reviews:

 

  • Two nights from the end of the cruise a pipe burst on our deck and 6 or 7 rooms not far from us were flooded. We heard others on another deck were also affected. They had to move the people on our deck at 4 am. They woke us up with all of the noises but at least we were dry. We had a fire alarm go off on one of the first nights of the cruise at 2 am and it ended up being a steam leak in the galley but alarms and speakers going off so wrecked up that night's sleep. The worst thing was that the ship started having propulsion problems before Quebec City which slowed us down so we were several hours late getting into that port. They worked on the problem while we were ashore and acted as if it was fixed but by dinner that night it was clear we were not going anywhere. They finally told us at 10pm we were not going to Montreal on the ship and were to be bused in the morning.

 

  • On our first night, at 1:15 AM the ship’s emergency fire alarm blared loudly: “FIRE! Passengers remain in your cabins and await further instructions!”, which was given in that official loudspeaker voice we all heard at the mandatory lifeboats drill before we set sail. My wife and I could visualize all of the passengers and crew sitting bolt upright in their beds (like we did) waiting for the next announcement. Then there was a second announcement calling for the fire crew to report to a coded location. In another few minutes the captain came over the loudspeakers to announce the fire emergency was over. He said an unoccupied smoke-filled incinerator area had a detector that set off an alarm which was relayed to the ship’s bridge. The dispatched fire team discovered there was a fire in one of the incinerator’s “silos” (whatever that is), and the automatic steam fire extinguishers had quickly dealt with the problem. The captain apologized for the early morning “inconvenience”, said the crew had properly responded to the situation as they’d been trained, and then he said everyone could go back to sleep. 

 

  • One day of rain and water was leaking through the ceilings into the Lido dining and through a light fitting outside the toilets and Crowes Nest bar.

 

  • Negatives were, the air conditioning was leaking inside the main wardrobes, condensation water was leaking down onto our clothing leaving many clothes wet and stained with a yellow color. Twice the hotel management were called, on both occasions clothing was taken away for cleaning. The hotel and cabin staff were very helpful, but wet and damaged clothing should never happen.
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Yeah...we had a wet floor in our stateroom while onboard Zaandam.  Water leaked from the base of the toilet where the toilet meets the floor.  Oddly, it overflowed from the bathroom into the stateroom.  Our stateroom attendant said there used to be floor drains, but they were tiled over during the refurbishment.  

 

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21 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

I am looking at January and February of 2021. The only Seabourn cruise I see that is not an unreasonable number of days for a working person seems to have a comparable itinerary to HAL (21 days BA to Santiago, 6 days cruising Antarctica vs 4 on HAL but no scheduled stops, some of the other ports are also same).

 

Price difference? For a solo cruiser I'm looking at $27,998 on Seabourn. On HAL?  $6838.

 

And that's without landings, so far as I can tell. 

 

Sorry, but to me that is just not worth it for an item that isn't all that high on my bucket list.

 

Just to clarify, Seabourn does not charge for landings or zodiac rides in Antarctica.  That is included in your fare.  They also provide Antarctica parkas, puffy jackets which can be worn under the parka, waterproof backpacks which are helpful on the zodiac rides, and a woolen cap with a penguin on it.  A friend advised us to book a guarantee price verandah suite since you wouldn't have a problem with most any cabin assigned.  That might save you several thousand dollars.  Keep an eye on pricing, too.  We noted a drop around 5 to 7 months out.  

 

That cruise (which included South Georgia Island) was the best cruise ever.

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I have booked the January 3, 2021 less16 day cruise because it is the ony one I can really  afford HAL maye but  the shorter duration is a plus  me.To  eposter who said this cruise has fewer Antarctic days, that is not true.What we are missing are the days in Chile/the Chilean fjords and I am not paying $3000  more for

part of the itinerary  that I can easily do some other time and for a reasonable fare.  am paying $5500 vs $8600 on HAL. 20 day for an inside stateroom

A no brainer for those of us on a tight budget. Look at the itinerary and Coral Princess  has the same 4 days as the other cruise on HAL

Edited by wearesiamese
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7 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

While I agree that a "drive-by" is not the most ideal, I understand that expedition-style ships will still be able to go after 2021. For me, Antarctica is truly not a strong "must see"; however, I don't want to miss the chance to at least "see" it and cruising around the Horn sounds like an adventure I want to have. 

 

Your thinking mostly agrees with what I thought before my Antarctic cruise.  Cruising around the Horn and "visiting" Antarctica, even if just on a cruise ship, was something that I wanted to do, but it was not a travel priority.  A cruise that provided zodiac landings on the Continent would be wonderful, if my budget as well as my physical condition would allow it.  My physical condition now (as well as when I booked the Zaandam cruise), boarding and getting off a zodiac safely as well as  walking on even a "groomed trail in the snow",  was unwise.  

 

My cruise provided 3.5 days of cruising along the Continent's seas.  It provided an interesting and different--not unpleasant, however--sailing around the Horn.  Wildlife observed in Antarctic waters were plentiful.  Penguins?  The tours offered in the Falkland Islands offered more penguins to see along with those that I saw in Antarctica.  

 

The cultural and natural history programs and narration provided during my cruise could not have been better, I don't think.  

 

I know this has been a "once in a lifetime" experience for me.  I'm very glad I did it.

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9 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

Thanks for the clarification. The website I originally looked at only said "scenic cruising" -- I had to go to the Seabourn site to see that there are landings.

 

While I agree that a "drive-by" is not the most ideal, I understand that expedition-style ships will still be able to go after 2021. For me, Antarctica is truly not a strong "must see"; however, I don't want to miss the chance to at least "see" it and cruising around the Horn sounds like an adventure I want to have. 

 

I truly could not justify the cost for one person unless it was the absolute be-all and end-all of bucket list items for me. It isn't. Nature and scenery, while nice, will always take a backseat for me to ancient civilizations and ancient history. 

 

Some very candid CC'er who had done Antarctica both ways -- drive-by and landing --- made the comment that there were pros and cons to each.  Apparently when doing the landings, the ship has to remain in one place for really long periods, because each passenger is entitled to his or her "turn."  There is an upside to being able to move about and see more. 

 

That post always stuck in my mind.  

Given your stated priorities, cruisemom42, you'll probably be quite satisfied with the drive-by, as I know I will.  Nobody can do it all.

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