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TahoeTraveler

Live from the Scenic Eclipse to Antarctica, 8 November to 7 December

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6 hours ago, Vpilon said:

Thank you for all your posting.  I was on the Eclipse  from Cartagena to Lima. We have now booked a second cruise for South Georgia and Antarctica in a year. Can’t wait. 

This trip has been beyond amazing.  The crew has gone above and beyond in so many ways...including insuring that they do not violate any laws, regulations, or customs.  They have honestly made this trip for us.  I hear that South Georgia rivals Antarctica in so many ways, and I am, quite frankly, jealous.  We won’t be able to make that trip most likely, as we have checked off this part of the world and are headed to others that we have not previously visited.  Please do consider blogging when you do your trip...I’m sure others would appreciate your comments and photos!!!

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As we are now fully in the Drake Passage and seriously rocking and rolling our way back to Ushuaia, I will formally end this blog at this point.  Final thoughts:

 

- The Eclipse crew is beyond amazing.  

- The Discovery Team is beyond amazing...and made this cruise what it was for us.

- The Eclipse definitely has issues.  Namely, a poorly placed pool, two plunge pools behind the spa which splash all over the beautiful aft deck on Deck 6 behind Azure, and an “Observation Lounge” where you cannot see a damn thing because of the side of the bow blocking the view

- Chef Tom is absolutely amazing, but there seems to be a bit of a disconnect somewhere, as the food in Elements tends to be hit or miss. 

- There is a distinct “class system” which is definitely going to turn off many new passengers who are trying Scenic for the first time.  We know folks (with 3 Scenic cruises under their belt) who were in line for a submarine dive in Group S...amazingly enough, Group Z was called before everyone else for the final dive of the cruise.  Hm.  Too many other instances of preferential treatment being given on this ship.  I didn’t pay what I did for this cruise to be treated like a 3rd class citizen.  ‘Nuf said.

- The cabins are great, but the beds are far too soft for us.  If you’re going to take the effort to have mattresses that can raise up, please just put in “Sleep by Numbers” beds so the passengers can choose how hard or soft they want their mattress to be.  My back has never hurt so badly, and I cannot wait to get home to my harder mattress...I just hope that fixes the problem.

 

It’s late, and I’m trying to deal with the swells we now have so I will sign off.  I hope everyone has enjoyed the photos and the commentary.  It has been an absolute BLAST!!!!

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Thank you for sharing your travels and photos.  Have a safe trip home. 

 

I hope Scenic has read your comments on their new ship and will have ironed out the bugs before your next cruise with them.  

Edited by MMDown Under

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4 hours ago, TahoeTraveler said:

As we are now fully in the Drake Passage and seriously rocking and rolling our way back to Ushuaia, I will formally end this blog at this point . . . It’s late, and I’m trying to deal with the swells we now have so I will sign off.  I hope everyone has enjoyed the photos and the commentary.  It has been an absolute BLAST!!!!

 

Many thanks for all your efforts, TahoeTraveler, it's been interesting to travel vicariously with you.

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4 hours ago, TahoeTraveler said:

 

- There is a distinct “class system” which is definitely going to turn off many new passengers who are trying Scenic for the first time.  We know folks (with 3 Scenic cruises under their belt) who were in line for a submarine dive in Group S...amazingly enough, Group Z was called before everyone else for the final dive of the cruise.  Hm.  Too many other instances of preferential treatment being given on this ship.  I didn’t pay what I did for this cruise to be treated like a 3rd class citizen.  ‘Nuf said.

 

 

Thank you so much for your travel blog. I’ve loved it all and have appreciated all the time you have put into it. 

In regards to the “distinct class system”, for those that are in much higher priced cabins, the perks are what they pay for, sometimes 4 times or more than the lower cabins. You are an experienced Regent passenger and they too have the “perks” for upper cabins. As do most cruise lines. 

 

I too will do an blog when I am onboard, as I understand how much it means to future travellers and how excited they get for their upcoming cruise. Thanks again for sharing your great adventures and wonderful information.  Well done. 

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3 hours ago, czardas said:

 

Thank you so much for your travel blog. I’ve loved it all and have appreciated all the time you have put into it. 

In regards to the “distinct class system”, for those that are in much higher priced cabins, the perks are what they pay for, sometimes 4 times or more than the lower cabins. You are an experienced Regent passenger and they too have the “perks” for upper cabins. As do most cruise lines. 

 

I too will do an blog when I am onboard, as I understand how much it means to future travellers and how excited they get for their upcoming cruise. Thanks again for sharing your great adventures and wonderful information.  Well done. 

I know I said I was signing off, but wanted to try to clarify what I meant regarding the class system, as I completely understand and agree with the concept of getting more for paying more.  We paid more for our cabin than 90% of those who joined us in Ushuaia. The crux of the problem is that Scenic sold us, and the other “original 60,” this cruise as one single cruise...not two cruises back to back.  In fact, many of us didn’t even realize we were losing some and picking up others in Ushuaia until we got on the ship.  So of course we all were not expecting to go back to the “bottom of the list” when it came to things like the helicopter and submarine.  For me, I don’t really care...we did our helo ride during the first segment and had no desire to do a submarine dive.  But for others, it was a very big deal. 

 

As for the comparison with Regent, the difference is that once you step foot on a Regent ship, you do not constantly see the difference.  The perks are given before the cruise begins, ie, being able to reserve the specialty restaurants and shore excursions a month before the “lower” cabins. Things like free laundry are transparent and in no way affect the enjoyment of the cruise for the other passengers.  Being told privately, point blank by a crew member (albeit inadvertently and then backing off quickly) that the higher cabins are given priority seating in the helo while proclaiming publicly that it is all based on weight (which it most obviously is not)  just makes It all that much more obvious.  Regent doesn’t operate that way.  Nor does Seabourne.  And because it does affect the enjoyment of the cruise for the other passengers, it actually does make a difference to some.  Again, I don’t really care, as if I cruise Scenic again, I highly doubt I will schedule a helo ride, and I have no desire to do a sub dive.  But we’ve met a couple whose ONE goal was to sub dive in Antarctica.  They were the ones in Group S who got bumped by Group Z.  And they are one of the “original 60” who assumed that because they paid for the full cruise, they would get “credit” for paying that amount and have some sort of priority for the sub in Antarctica.  

 

I totally get the concept of getting more for paying more.  I just wish it wasn’t quite so obvious.  And honestly, part of the problem has nothing to do with Scenic and everything to do with the passenger mix.  There are a lot of passengers who joined us in Ushuaia who make it very clear that they are in the upper cabins and expect to be treated as such.  But then, there are people like Peter Gruber (the owner of the Golden State Warriors, who could have bought this ship for himself if he’d have wanted to...and I don’t mean bought all the cabins; I mean bought the actual ship) who are in “lower” cabins and who don’t make a big deal about who they are or how much they’ve paid or are worth.  It comes with the territory, and you just never know what kind of fellow passengers will be cruising with you.  It’s just that the class system is more obvious when you’ve got more of the former type on board.

 

Please do write a blog when you go to Antarctica!  I will be very curious to hear the difference between a cruise late in the season versus one at the start of the season.  

Chances are, you’ll be able to go into the Antarctic Circle, which will be very exciting!  

 

And thank you for your kind words and for joining me on this amazing experience.  You are going to be so excited when  you’re experiencing it “for real.”

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Yeah, I know I said I was done, but I just had to post this.  We are now experiencing the Drake at it’s full fury.  There is a depression coming in from Chile plus we have winds from the east also pushing us.  The Captain just briefed that we’ve been experiencing 6 meter swells (18 to 20 feet), plus the winds are causing waves from the side, so we are literally rolling through the Passage. It’s getting worse and I’d estimate we’re up to 7 meters now (the Safety Officer told Mike to expect that). Our cabin is on Deck 5 and we’ve had swells rise up as high as to the ceiling of our balcony (the floor of Deck 6’s balcony).  It’s not going to get any better until we get into the eastern Strait of Magellan tomorrow night. But get this...all the glass wear at the bar is still sitting out on the bar and it’s not moving.  Even though everyone walking around is seriously moving side to side, the ship is unbelievably stable given the conditions.  Mind you, when I say “stable,” I in no way mean we’re not moving.  We are and quite dramatically.  But we have not reduced our speed and this ship is just cutting through the seas.  These stabilizers she has must be phenomenal.  The Captain is going to give a briefing on the build of the ship at 3:00 today and we will definitely attend that.


The photos don’t give it justice, but they will give you a bit of an idea of what we’re cruising through.  Taken from the men’s restroom on Deck 4 near Reception (yes, the bathrooms near Reception have windows!!). 

 

Amazing ship.

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One more note since there has been some concern about the table that the crew set up on the sea ice several days ago.  There was no food whatsoever taken onto the ice.  It was strictly hot chocolate and liquors to mix in with it if desired.  My understanding is that the Captain got very clear guidance and permission to do this before the table ever went out (which most likely explains why it showed up halfway through the ice walk).  Also, it was not on land at all...island or continent.  It was on sea ice, upon which it is perfectly fine to take liquids (not food, but again, no food was taken out).  Cruise ships do this all the time (darn...and I had thought that the Eclipse crew had done something totally out of the ordinary!!!  Doesn’t matter...we passengers all appreciated it tremendously). I just did some research, because I was concerned after all the comments that we had in some way violated the very strict rules...and we did not.  Whatsoever.  So the Eclipse is all good for you future Antarctica passengers to continue on those journeys!!!

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14 hours ago, TahoeTraveler said:

This trip has been beyond amazing.  The crew has gone above and beyond in so many ways...including insuring that they do not violate any laws, regulations, or customs.  They have honestly made this trip for us.  I hear that South Georgia rivals Antarctica in so many ways, and I am, quite frankly, jealous.  We won’t be able to make that trip most likely, as we have checked off this part of the world and are headed to others that we have not previously visited.  Please do consider blogging when you do your trip...I’m sure others would appreciate your comments and photos!!!

Yes I will. The crew -the discovery team- the ship was the reason why we selected Eclipse to do it with.  I know some people are all bent about the ‘ the pool’. Yes it’s odd but honestly whatever. I have done very high end ships but have never felt that what they did was so personal and truly sincere   I actually had tears in my eyes when I was saying my goodbyes and trust me - that’s not me.  Thanks again 

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10 hours ago, TahoeTraveler said:

I know I said I was signing off, but wanted to try to clarify what I meant regarding the class system, as I completely understand and agree with the concept of getting more for paying more.  We paid more for our cabin than 90% of those who joined us in Ushuaia. The crux of the problem is that Scenic sold us, and the other “original 60,” this cruise as one single cruise...not two cruises back to back.  In fact, many of us didn’t even realize we were losing some and picking up others in Ushuaia until we got on the ship.  So of course we all were not expecting to go back to the “bottom of the list” when it came to things like the helicopter and submarine.  For me, I don’t really care...we did our helo ride during the first segment and had no desire to do a submarine dive.  But for others, it was a very big deal. 

 

As for the comparison with Regent, the difference is that once you step foot on a Regent ship, you do not constantly see the difference.  The perks are given before the cruise begins, ie, being able to reserve the specialty restaurants and shore excursions a month before the “lower” cabins. Things like free laundry are transparent and in no way affect the enjoyment of the cruise for the other passengers.  Being told privately, point blank by a crew member (albeit inadvertently and then backing off quickly) that the higher cabins are given priority seating in the helo while proclaiming publicly that it is all based on weight (which it most obviously is not)  just makes It all that much more obvious.  Regent doesn’t operate that way.  Nor does Seabourne.  And because it does affect the enjoyment of the cruise for the other passengers, it actually does make a difference to some.  Again, I don’t really care, as if I cruise Scenic again, I highly doubt I will schedule a helo ride, and I have no desire to do a sub dive.  But we’ve met a couple whose ONE goal was to sub dive in Antarctica.  They were the ones in Group S who got bumped by Group Z.  And they are one of the “original 60” who assumed that because they paid for the full cruise, they would get “credit” for paying that amount and have some sort of priority for the sub in Antarctica.  

 

I totally get the concept of getting more for paying more.  I just wish it wasn’t quite so obvious.  And honestly, part of the problem has nothing to do with Scenic and everything to do with the passenger mix.  There are a lot of passengers who joined us in Ushuaia who make it very clear that they are in the upper cabins and expect to be treated as such.  But then, there are people like Peter Gruber (the owner of the Golden State Warriors, who could have bought this ship for himself if he’d have wanted to...and I don’t mean bought all the cabins; I mean bought the actual ship) who are in “lower” cabins and who don’t make a big deal about who they are or how much they’ve paid or are worth.  It comes with the territory, and you just never know what kind of fellow passengers will be cruising with you.  It’s just that the class system is more obvious when you’ve got more of the former type on board.

 

Please do write a blog when you go to Antarctica!  I will be very curious to hear the difference between a cruise late in the season versus one at the start of the season.  

Chances are, you’ll be able to go into the Antarctic Circle, which will be very exciting!  

 

And thank you for your kind words and for joining me on this amazing experience.  You are going to be so excited when  you’re experiencing it “for real.”

Thank you for explaining what you meant by the class system.  Like many Australians, I dislike any forms of obvious discrimination, which is possibly why I dislike tipping so much.  We did a cruise to Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica on Hurtigruten's Fram and there were no signs of discrimination.  Passengers, who wanted to do extra paid activities, put their names on a list, after boarding, on the understanding that not everyone would be able to partake in the activity.  

BTW Passengers who book the lower cabins centre are the experienced smart travellers (ready for anything the infamous Drake may offer).

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8 hours ago, Vpilon said:

Yes I will. The crew -the discovery team- the ship was the reason why we selected Eclipse to do it with.  I know some people are all bent about the ‘ the pool’. Yes it’s odd but honestly whatever. I have done very high end ships but have never felt that what they did was so personal and truly sincere   I actually had tears in my eyes when I was saying my goodbyes and trust me - that’s not me.  Thanks again 

I’ve already begun the tears...last night when the inimitable Grace performed her last show (her opera show, which is amazing).  She and I both were in tears when we said our goodbyes (although she’s still on board, obviously...it just seemed so final, especially since her last number was “Time to Say Goodbye”).  I do this with every cruise though, not just with this one.  The service on Regent is every bit as personal as this has been, and Mike and I tend to “adopt” so many of the crew members (sadly, most of them are bartenders, but there you have it!!!).  As for the pool...I personally think it is a ridiculous design, but it’s not like we didn’t enjoy our cruise because of it.  We just stopped going to the Yacht Club to eat.  Certainly not ideal, but not a deal breaker either.  There is more than enough food on this ship elsewhere!!!!

 

The Eclipse has been first class all the way around.  You will be so happy you have chosen her for your voyage.

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2 hours ago, MMDown Under said:

Thank you for explaining what you meant by the class system.  Like many Australians, I dislike any forms of obvious discrimination, which is possibly why I dislike tipping so much.  We did a cruise to Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica on Hurtigruten's Fram and there were no signs of discrimination.  Passengers, who wanted to do extra paid activities, put their names on a list, after boarding, on the understanding that not everyone would be able to partake in the activity.  

BTW Passengers who book the lower cabins centre are the experienced smart travellers (ready for anything the infamous Drake may offer).

Haha, yep, we booked Steerage, also known as Deck 5, for that greater stability.  Truthfully, we LOVE Deck 5.  We can walk straight back to Azure (our favorite aft location by far) as well as Lumiere. We can walk straight forward to the Observation Lounge (which should really be a bar, but that is a completely different story).  We can walk one deck down to Reception and the Lounge and Theater, as well as Elements and Koko’s.  And it’s only two decks up to the Yacht Club (which is my personal least favorite dining venue on the ship).  It’s just a bonus that Deck 5 also happens to be the cheapest deck to book.  If that means we miss out on the Chef’s Table, oh well.  I’m pretty sure we’ll get over it!!!

 

The Drake is still ugly.  I don’t normally suffer from sea sickness and today I had to ask one of my Aussie friends for a tablet (not sure what they are, but it is something that works great but is not available in the States for whatever reason).  I haven’t had to do that, ever.  And supposedly the seas are “moderate” right now.  Lord have mercy, I’d hate to see them in the “rough” state!!!!

 

We don’t like tipping either unless the circumstances genuinely call for it.  Which is why we contributed to the Crew Fund.  We are apparently going to be docking in Ushuaia tomorrow night, and they have a plan to have a crew party to celebrate the successful completion of the maiden Antarctica voyage on the Eclipse.  I’m so proud to know that we had a small part in that, as we have been told our contribution is helping to fund that party.   Those crew members so deserve something nice.

 

I know I’ve said it before, but this cruise has been simply amazing!!!!

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14 minutes ago, TahoeTraveler said:

Haha, yep, we booked Steerage, also known as Deck 5, for that greater stability.  Truthfully, we LOVE Deck 5.  We can walk straight back to Azure (our favorite aft location by far) as well as Lumiere. We can walk straight forward to the Observation Lounge (which should really be a bar, but that is a completely different story).  We can walk one deck down to Reception and the Lounge and Theater, as well as Elements and Koko’s.  And it’s only two decks up to the Yacht Club (which is my personal least favorite dining venue on the ship).  It’s just a bonus that Deck 5 also happens to be the cheapest deck to book.  If that means we miss out on the Chef’s Table, oh well.  I’m pretty sure we’ll get over it!!!

 

The Drake is still ugly.  I don’t normally suffer from sea sickness and today I had to ask one of my Aussie friends for a tablet (not sure what they are, but it is something that works great but is not available in the States for whatever reason).  I haven’t had to do that, ever.  And supposedly the seas are “moderate” right now.  Lord have mercy, I’d hate to see them in the “rough” state!!!!

 

We don’t like tipping either unless the circumstances genuinely call for it.  Which is why we contributed to the Crew Fund.  We are apparently going to be docking in Ushuaia tomorrow night, and they have a plan to have a crew party to celebrate the successful completion of the maiden Antarctica voyage on the Eclipse.  I’m so proud to know that we had a small part in that, as we have been told our contribution is helping to fund that party.   Those crew members so deserve something nice.

 

I know I’ve said it before, but this cruise has been simply amazing!!!!

Sound like you had the best deck on the ship for smoother seas!  If you don't normally suffer from sea sickness, you might find your ship is sailing through conflicting currents (feels like a washing machine).  When I researched Antarctica, I discovered there are often conflicting currents there (up and down, side to side).  I was very surprised when I got seasick crossing the Bay of Biscay, as I knew I didn't get sea sick.  The Bay of Biscay had conflicting currents, which I hadn't experienced before.  Our roughest seas were from South Georgia to Antarctica, not the Drake.  

I agree the Crew Fund is a good idea for sharing your appreciation.  Sounds like you had a wonderful cruise.  

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16 hours ago, MMDown Under said:

Sound like you had the best deck on the ship for smoother seas!  If you don't normally suffer from sea sickness, you might find your ship is sailing through conflicting currents (feels like a washing machine).  When I researched Antarctica, I discovered there are often conflicting currents there (up and down, side to side).  I was very surprised when I got seasick crossing the Bay of Biscay, as I knew I didn't get sea sick.  The Bay of Biscay had conflicting currents, which I hadn't experienced before.  Our roughest seas were from South Georgia to Antarctica, not the Drake.  

I agree the Crew Fund is a good idea for sharing your appreciation.  Sounds like you had a wonderful cruise.  

That sure is what it sounded like.  I was fairly ill for a while there; luckily, I had a good night’s sleep and am back to normal today.  Well, as normal as one can be packing up and damn near crying while doing it.  We disembark tomorrow at 7am.  I will admit to being just slightly heartbroken.  

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I have had some time to reread my posts, and realize that I need to correct or at least update some.

 

First, that rather disconcerting feeling I had regarding hearing the words, “No” or “Not possible” has vanished as the 29 days on the ship has passed.  I really do believe growing pains were involved when we first joined the ship, and the crew wasn’t really clear about what could and could not (or should and should not) be done on the ship. Now, just about any request is honored, from just about any location.  I still cannot get that French wine anywhere but Lumiere.  But Mike and I just had pizza delivered to the Lounge Bar, where we are sitting, from Azure.  So yeah, just about anything IS possible. Quite the advancement/improvement over when we first got on board.  

 

Sadly, the plunge pools behind the spa were refilled once the new Captain joined the ship in Ushuaia and the back deck behind Azure has been unusable since then.  Because we were in the cold of Antarctica, it wasn’t that big a deal.  But I so wish they’d come up with a solution for that situation.  Honestly, there is no point in having that absolutely beautiful deck behind Azure when it just gets flooded with the water from the plunge pools above. And it is beautiful.  Especially in good weather.

 

The Eclipse most definitely CAN handle a full cruise to Antarctica with her holding tanks. The requirement to dump in the Pacific on our first leg was because the ship could not be dumped in Valparaiso or Punta Arenas, due to the unrest in Chile. This ship is beyond amazing.  We watched the Captain’s presentation yesterday afternoon regarding the ship’s build and her capabilities and all I can say is “WOW!”  The level of detail put into this ship is beyond belief.  And the technology????  There literally is NOTHING like her in the world.  

 

One thing that I must correct is my post regarding how the Eclipse handles the limit of passengers in Antarctica.  I originally could not fathom how the crew could keep track of how many people they have on shore, and assumed, incorrectly, that they did not strictly enforce the 100 passenger limit.  I could not have been more wrong.  As we spent more time in Antarctica, we were able to see the incredible communication between the crew on shore and the crew on board to monitor the number of passengers on shore to ensure that the 100 limit was never exceeded.  And it never was. In fact, now that we’ve completed our entire cruise, I can say that the crew on this ship has gone above and beyond to make sure that we not only meet, but exceed the IAATO guidelines and rules.  It has been simply amazing to see the level of coordination required to “legally” complete an Antarctic journey...and the Eclipse crew and staff has done it beautifully.  Those poor people must be exhausted.  And now they get to do it all over again...several times before the season is over.  

 

Even though Scenic advertises that the luggage limit in Argentina is strictly 50 pounds, we have talked to passengers who simply demanded that Aerolineas accept their heavier bags, for a fee, when they flew down to Ushuaia from Buenos Aires.  We won’t know for sure until we get to the airport tomorrow, as we simply brought a third bag which we know we will have to pay for.  But it will be interesting to see how they handle this charter flight of 198 passengers with all their baggage.  It will be more interesting to see how they have prioritized the seats when they hand out the boarding passes when we get there.  Because it is a charter flight, we have absolutely no say in our seats, nor can we apparently use Mike’s status on the Sky Team to get a reduced price on the extra luggage. Not a biggie, as we had already planned to pay full price for the extra luggage.  Just hope they don’t assign us both middle seats!!!

 

It has been amazing. Can’t say that enough.

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I created an account purely to say thank you for this amazing fly-on-the-wall review!

 

I'm tossing up going in 2021 - but it's looking like you actually only had really limited time on the continent?  Whereas I know many other ships will do their best to get you off the boat twice a day if they can.

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4 hours ago, k_sheep said:

I created an account purely to say thank you for this amazing fly-on-the-wall review!

 

I'm tossing up going in 2021 - but it's looking like you actually only had really limited time on the continent?  Whereas I know many other ships will do their best to get you off the boat twice a day if they can.

You are too kind!  Truth be told, I really enjoy doing a travel blog, especially if it can help fellow travelers.

 

As for continental landings, we had three, which is quite good.  However, we also had several landings on Antarctic islands, such as Livingston Island, Astrolabe Island and Paradise Bay.  It was, honestly, exhausting, especially after having already been on the ship for 20 days!  They do have the days split into two, with a landing or zodiac cruise in the morning, and another in the afternoon.  The preference is, of course, for a landing, but sometimes the conditions just don’t allow for it (for example, if the landing area is too covered with sea ice to be safe to approach in a zodiac).  Trust me...those guys will get you off the boat twice a day if it is humanly possible!

 

The only reason I distinguished “continental” landings is because Mike and I were determined to actually step foot on the continent. Most people agree that the Antarctic islands are part of Antarctica, but some purists such as we are feel that unless you step foot onto the mainland, you haven’t stepped foot on the continent.  Probably a silly sentiment, but we wanted to do it all on this trip.  And we pretty much did!

 

I’m sorry I made you question your decision to book this cruise.  It is WELL worth it, and I can promise you that the Eclipse does it first class all the way and that the Discovery Team will almost perform miracles to get you to places you never dreamed of (a walk on the sea ice anyone????).  I can’t imagine having gone to Antarctica on any other ship.  

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7 hours ago, TahoeTraveler said:

Truth be told, I really enjoy doing a travel blog, especially if it can help fellow travelers.

 

 

 

Indeed you did help me, again thank you. One last question, how did you go with luggage limits on the charter flight ?

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8 minutes ago, czardas said:

 

Indeed you did help me, again thank you. One last question, how did you go with luggage limits on the charter flight ?

Well, here’s where it gets interesting.  Aerolineas Airlines had told us point blank on the phone that no bags over 50 pounds (23 kilo) would be allowed. So, we carefully weighed our bags and realized that we would have to just carry a third bag and pay the extra baggage fee. Our two big bags were just at 23k, so they were fine.  But when we went to pay for the third bag, they waived the charge because Mike is an Elite Plus member with the Sky Team (Delta, Korean Air, Air France, Aerolineas and several others).  I honestly don’t know if they would have charged us for that bag if Mike hadn’t had status, because we talked to several other people who had large carryons that the airline allowed them to check in, without paying for (even though they already had two bags).  It seems that, because Scenic had literally bought up all the seats on the flight (it wasn’t technically a “chartered” flight, because it is a regularly scheduled flight...but Scenic owned all the seats on it that day), they were very lax on the luggage requirements.  However, on future cruises, who knows?  I wish I could be of more help, but honestly, it was the biggest goat rope I’ve been through in a very long time.  The luggage arrived at the airport well after we did, even though we had to have it outside our suites by 9:30pm the night before, the line to get checked in was horrendous because everyone was there at the same time (I think the original plan was to stagger us all, but because the luggage was delayed, we all ended up trying to check in at the same time) and trying to get the luggage at Buenos Aires and onto the bus to the hotel was simply painful. It was just a terrible way to end such a wonderful cruise (it really did seem as if once we stepped foot off the ship, that was it, and we were on our own, even with the transfers).  I think it is a learning curve, and will improve dramatically with future cruises.  But as far as luggage allowances?  I think you can probably work just about anything out as long as you’re not trying to check in a bag weighing 70 pounds.  We just opted to take a third bag, just to be safe (because we knew we could add a third bag for a fee). 

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Thanks for the reply!  Oh I didn't think about the 'other' landings, I was more worried about only leaving the boat 3 times in 6 days!  No that sounds way better, you haven't put me off at all!

 

Now I have to choose cabin!  I can get 717 (or several around that), 528 or 533 all at a similar price. I know deck 7 is meant to be a step up in the brackets, but I very much like your reasons for staying on deck 5, and they look like they will be far enough from the theatre not to cause issues.

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Also did you fly home straight after the charter flight, or opted to stay the night?

 

scenic say not to book an onward flight  until after 8pm, which we did at 11:45pm, only to notice yesterday that our trip personaliser shows that our charter flight gets in at 10;10am. What on earth do we do for 12 hours? We won’t be able to check in for our onward flight so early. I’m thinking that we have no choice but to stay at an airport hotel for 10 hours. If I’d know I would of come home the following day. 

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15 hours ago, k_sheep said:

Thanks for the reply!  Oh I didn't think about the 'other' landings, I was more worried about only leaving the boat 3 times in 6 days!  No that sounds way better, you haven't put me off at all!

 

Now I have to choose cabin!  I can get 717 (or several around that), 528 or 533 all at a similar price. I know deck 7 is meant to be a step up in the brackets, but I very much like your reasons for staying on deck 5, and they look like they will be far enough from the theatre not to cause issues.

Personally, I'd go with 528. It's on the port (left) side, and for whatever reason, I always choose port if available.  528 is very close to the elevators and stairs, so it's an easy walk to anything on the ship (and it's as close to Azure and Lumiere as you can get). It is also more mid-ship (less movement) and is not anywhere near the theater (it is over the Reception area) so you won't have any issues with noise from the theater.

 

There were a lot of folks on our cruise commenting about how great Deck 5 was...and several of them were staying on other decks, including Deck 7. I think as the word starts to get around about how Deck 5 is every bit as good as any other deck, and in some ways preferable (motion and convenience to amenities), it is going to start becoming more difficult to get into. For us "regular" folks, that is. Those who want a spa suite or for whatever reason want the "prestige" of being on a higher deck will obviously never book Deck 5. But on our cruise at least, Deck 5 had a really fun group of people to hang out with!!!

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7 hours ago, czardas said:

Also did you fly home straight after the charter flight, or opted to stay the night?

 

scenic say not to book an onward flight  until after 8pm, which we did at 11:45pm, only to notice yesterday that our trip personaliser shows that our charter flight gets in at 10;10am. What on earth do we do for 12 hours? We won’t be able to check in for our onward flight so early. I’m thinking that we have no choice but to stay at an airport hotel for 10 hours. If I’d know I would of come home the following day. 

Good Lord, if you land in BA at 10:10am, that means you have to be flying out of Ushuaia around 7:00am (it's about a 3 hour flight).  Meaning, you have to be off the ship by 5:30am!!!  Obviously the plan is to dock the night before, as we did.  Anyway, to answer your question, they did offer a city tour of Buenos Aires for anyone with a flight after 8:00pm. However, I know of at least two people who booked a room at the airport Holiday Inn because they had such a late flight (I believe it might have been the late one you are booked on) and just wanted to rest up before the ordeal.  To be on the safe side though, I'd definitely ask Scenic the question regarding the city tour, as it might not always be offered, especially if there were any hiccups with doing it with our cruise and they decide it's just not worth dealing with.

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