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live Island Princess 59 day Circle South America Ja 9 -Mr 7


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Welcome to my “Live From” travelogue of the fabulous Island Princess 59-day circle South America cruise. 


The last 2 winters my wife and I have spent a good part of the winter bouncing around the Caribbean doing multiple cruises on multiple Princess ships.  We were planning to do the same again this winter when I came across this voyage.  My wife needs an accessible cabin and every time last spring when I checked they were all booked.  Finally, I talked to a cruise travel agent I had used before and in a couple hours we had a cabin.


To start I’ll give a little of our personal history in order to give some perspective of where we are coming from an experience point.  We are a couple of Canadians, lifelong in Toronto, 66 and 64 years old.  Our first cruise was a 5-day Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean in 2000.  We now have 1 Carnival, 4 RCI, 1 180-day world cruise on Oceania as well as 46 Princess cruises with Princess totaling 496 days. 


My wife (Freda) will be using a wheelchair around the ship and in ports.  We recognize how very fortunate we are to be able to still have cruising as part of our lives.  For her, much of this voyage this will simply be a wonderful escape from winter weather as she will be staying on the ship in most ports.


My hope is that through this travelogue readers will get an idea of what experiencing a grand voyage is like and that you will feel that you are actually experiencing part of this special journey with us.  Hopefully for those planning a similar future adventure it will also help them.  Maybe with this report I can convey some of our impressions and take you with me to South America.  Maybe it entices you to go and experience the excitement of this journey yourself.  It's all part of the payback for all the help I've received here on Cruise Critic. 


Some of my post will be on the long side but for me it serves as a permanent record which I need considering I have a photographic memory but with the lens cap glued on. 


We get some free internet as Princess elite members, but on a long voyage (3 segments) the minutes go fast so I will start with a few post in order to get some details out of the way.

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Our previous South America voyages include Ft. Lauderdale to Buenos Aires and LA to Rio, both on the Star Princess as well as the 2016 Oceania world voyage that included Devils Island and several northern Brazil ports.


Our itinerary for this voyage is listed below.  Missing dates are sea days.

** are new ports for us and T = Tender ports (Water shuttle)

Jan 9 (Thur) Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 4pm dep

Jan 12 Cartagena, Colombia 7 – 3pm

Jan 13 Panama Canal Full Transit

Jan 15 Puntarenas, Costa Rica 7 – 7pm

Jan 18 Manta, Ecuador 5 – 7pm

Jan 21 Lima (Callao), Peru arr 5am

Jan 22 Lima (Callao), Peru dep 10:30pm

Jan 23 Pisco (General San Martin), Peru 7am – 5pm

** Jan 28 Easter Island, Chile 7am – 6pm               T

Feb 2 La Serena (Coquimbo), Chile 8 – 6pm

Feb 3 Santiago (San Antonio), Chile 8 – 6pm

** Feb 5 Puerto Montt, Chile 7 – 5pm             T

** Feb 7 Amalia Glacier, Chile (Scenic Cruising) 7am – 8am

Feb 8 Punta Arenas, Chile – 6 – 7pm                      T

Feb 9 Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego), Argentina  Noon - 8pm

Feb 10 Cape Horn (Scenic Cruising) 8 – 9am

Feb 11 Falkland Islands (Stanley) 8 – 6:30pm                     T

** Feb 13 Puerto Madryn, Argentina 7 – 5pm

Feb 15 Buenos Aires, Argentina arr 3pm

Feb 16 Buenos Aires, Argentina dep 6pm

Feb 17 Montevideo, Uruguay 8 – 7pm

** Feb 20 Ilhabela, Brazil 7 – 6pm              T

Feb 21 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil arr 7am

Feb 22 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil dep 10pm

** Feb 23 Armacao dos Buzios, Brazil 7 – 5pm       T

Feb 25 Salvador, Brazil 7 – 5pm

Feb 29 Devil's Island (Isle Royale), French Guiana (Scenic Cruising) 3pm – 5pm 

Mar 2 Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago 8 – 5pm

Mar 3 Barbados 7 – 4pm

Mar 4 Antigua 9 – 5pm

Mar 7 Ft. Lauderdale, Florida arr 7am


For Feb 15 we were originally due to dock at 8am but that was changed to 3pm for the meaningless ‘operational’ reason and later to 5pm so basically a day in B/A lost.


For each port I will post an intro, general info post about the port and then a separate post about how the day went.

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This cruise has a very active roll call (about 2,800 post) with around half the group doing the full round trip with the others doing 1 or 2 segments.  A lot of private tours have been organized – many were already full by the time we booked the cruise.  Besides the tours, r/c members have also organized various card games, dominoes and Mah Jong for sea days and a number of the single travellers have organized their own M&G dinner.  Members of the roll call have a great range of experience including many that are very well travelled having done multiple similar trips to this.  The chance to go to Easter Island seems to have been a big draw for many passengers taking this voyage.


We love going to the top 40 most travelled events on Princess, but they are getting harder to make the cut.  Two years ago, we did 7 winter cruises – 56 days and made the cut on all but the last one, last year we did 7 winter cruises for a total of 69 days and only made the cut on 2, despite the extra days sailed.  My gut tells me that despite Island Princess being a smaller ship, we will have trouble hitting the top 100 for this voyage.  I’m guessing the top 40 cut off will be around 700 days – I’ll find out in a few days.

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Prior to this voyage we have been on 13 different Princess ships.  This is our first time on the Island Princess.  We have done a 10-day partial Panama Canal cruise on the Island Princess’s sister ship, the Coral Princess.  Much about the two ships is very similar but as many readers know, the Island had major renovations adding over 200 passenger load that has not gone over very well with critics.  We are in an accessible cabin down on deck 5.  I will post later on my thoughts on the impact of the changes.


We are currently at a Ft. L hotel for the night.  Good did not cruise today.  Our flight was about 1.5 hours late and we spent close to that again waiting to get a wheelchair taxi at the Ft. L airport. We would have been close for boarding but now don’t have to worry about that tomorrow.

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Glad you started a thread to follow our cruise! I started a thread for the 2019 Oceania 180 day world cruise and it was very active. I did get a chuckle that this thread title says it's a 59 day cruise...guess we added an extra day!🤣


I'm definitely not a Princess MTP (114 days on 10 cruises), but I've done 199 days on Oceania in just 5 cruises! 


This itinerary sparked my interest over a year ago but I didn't book until last April. I'm happy to get out of winter for a second year in a row!


I arrived in Ft. Lauderdale today too. My hotel room is literally right across the road from where the Island will be docked in the morning! Will be fun to wake up, sit on the balcony and watch it arrive.


I might not write long posts but will make some contribution to this thread...and add pics too. Look forward to meeting you and your wife tomorrow!

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Looking forward to following your adventures. Lucky you - you get to cruise the full journey with Matt O as cruise director. He is, hands down, the best (in my opinion). I usually only book sailings that he is on these days!


Have an amazing trip!

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1 hour ago, ceilidh1 said:

Looking forward to following your adventures. Lucky you - you get to cruise the full journey with Matt O as cruise director. He is, hands down, the best (in my opinion). I usually only book sailings that he is on these days!


Have an amazing trip!


What does he do to make those sailings so good?

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13 hours ago, Go-Bucks! said:


What does he do to make those sailings so good?

I find his mix of high energy, enthusiasm, and personality make cruising with him so much fun. I go to events I normally wouldn't have an interest in, simply because they are led by him. He is a natural entertainer and his love for his job is obvious. I'm sure there are some that don't enjoy the energy, but he has a huge following - he even has a "fan club" started by past guests on FB!

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14 hours ago, Go-Bucks! said:


What does he do to make those sailings so good?

He is personally involved in a lot of activities.  His exuberance is contagious with the rest of his crew of Asst. Cruise Directors, and he has a lot of fun things to do.  He just makes anything he is involved in that much more interesting and amusing.  I love my Matt O and hope in my future cruises he might again be on one.  I miss him!



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18 hours ago, Waynetor said:

For Feb 15 we were originally due to dock at 8am but that was changed to 3pm for the meaningless ‘operational’ reason and later to 5pm so basically a day in B/A lost.

When we did the 60-night tour around S.A. back in two winters ago, we also lost a full day in B.A. as the ship had to leave the next morning at 7am.  I am wondering if this port does this a lot?


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Thanks for the comments.


Day 1 Thursday Jan 9 Boarding and sail-away

It is a verily quiet day in port today – the only other ship was the Celebrity Equinox.  By the time we are just getting comfortably settled in, it will be back in Ft. Lauderdale.  A little Celebrity trivia - The letter “X” on Celebrity Cruises ships funnels is the Greek letter “Chi” and stands for Chandris, the group who founded Celebrity Cruises in 1988.


Just like yesterday, getting a wheelchair taxi in Ft. Lauderdale is hard.  We reserved one for 10am.  At 10:15 called and was told it would be at hotel 10 minutes tops.   It showed up at 10:55.  I wanted to make a stop on the way and the driver refused.  Yesterday at home we asked for a 6:30 am pickup and the driver was there exactly at 6:30 which is the usually response at home.


Boarding –   We arrived at port a bit after 11 and like everyone arriving then had a quick check-in and onto the ship. Cabins were not ready until 12:30.  When we were greeted as we boarded the ship, one of the crew asked us “how we were doing?”, I replied we were living the dream” which sums up how fortunate I feel to be here for this voyage.


Cabin – For an accessible cabin, the washroom is quite good but the space between the bed and wall is very tight on one side and impossible on the other side.  I turned my dresser sideways and moved the bed a couple inches and now my wife’s chair just fits between the bed and wall.


We got our luggage by 1:30 just as we returned from lunch in the dinning room.  We were supposed to sail at 4 but then the captain announced that due to the length of the cruise that any passengers are doing, there is a lot more luggage than normal it was taking longer to load all the luggage on to the ship.  It was about 5pm by the time we left port.  One of our dinner mates had not received their luggage by dinner time.  The prior captain message said everyone would get luggage by 7:30.  I wonder what it will be like when we return to Florida. 


I will end each days post with a thought or quote of the day -

Today’s thought of the day - One of the gladdest moments of human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of habit, the leaden weight of routine, the cloak of many cares and the slavery of home, man feels once more happy - Richard Burton 1821-1890

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