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scubacruiserx2

The South American and Antarctic experience on the Zaandam

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We just returned from a 22 day cruise and 9 nights pre and post cruise visit to South America . 

 

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The cruise was on the HAL Zaandam from San Antonio , Chile to Buenos Aires Argentina .

 

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We took over 10,000 photos on this trip so it will take a while to cull , download , edit and upload to Photo Bucket before writing , so please be patient . It will be mostly in chronological order and will use some photos from our previous cruises to South America .

 

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So , bags packed and ready to go ?

 

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Boarding passes ?

 

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OK , lets go .

 

 

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Let me be the first to say that I have been waiting (and not so patiently) for your review! We are boarding the Zaandam on January 30th for this same itinerary! 

 

I may may just have a question or two or ten as you proceed! 

 

(And I don’t want to start out complaining, but perhaps you could choose another font? Your text is very difficult to read on mobile devices.)

 

Anxiously awaiting more!!! 😁

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16 minutes ago, AryMay said:

Let me be the first to say that I have been waiting (and not so patiently) for your review! We are boarding the Zaandam on January 30th for this same itinerary! 

 

I may may just have a question or two or ten as you proceed! 

 

(And I don’t want to start out complaining, but perhaps you could choose another font? Your text is very difficult to read on mobile devices.)

 

Anxiously awaiting more!!! 😁

 

I'm kinda old and old fashioned .  I use a desk top for writing , cameras for photos and a mobile phone to make phone calls . We did find our patience tried many times during this trip . As an example , we have TSA pre check but no pre check line was available in Miami at 0630 . We didn't mind initially since there were only 20 people ahead of us . But the line grew much longer with line cutters and large groups of special people being escorted ahead of the line . Thus it was 1 step forward and 2 steps back for about 45 minutes . The way of doing things will change a lot as you leave the US . Ask away on the questions .

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OK...here it goes.

 

1.  How was the internet service on the long stretch of sea days from Ushuaia to the Falklands? I will have cell service in the ports, but thinking about getting connected for our 7 straight sea days. I think there would be 14 days left in the cruise at that point. Do you know what it would cost to sign up for the middle tier of service for just the remaining days?

 

2.  How are tender tickets handled? Thinking in particular of Puerto Montt and the Falklands.

 

Curious to hear how this cruise compares with your previous one (which looks fantastic from your review!)

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6 minutes ago, AryMay said:

OK...here it goes.

 

1.  How was the internet service on the long stretch of sea days from Ushuaia to the Falklands? I will have cell service in the ports, but thinking about getting connected for our 7 straight sea days. I think there would be 14 days left in the cruise at that point. Do you know what it would cost to sign up for the middle tier of service for just the remaining days?

 

2.  How are tender tickets handled? Thinking in particular of Puerto Montt and the Falklands.

 

Curious to hear how this cruise compares with your previous one (which looks fantastic from your review!)

FYI  We are reviewing in chronological order. Any specific questions not addressed yet, please e-mail at  scubacruiserx2@gmail.com  (scubacruiserx2 at gmail dot com)

 1. Internet seemed surprisingly good for a ship.We had the unlimited  - 3rd level. Only top tier will support calls &  streaming etc.Time of day was important. If everyone is using the ships internet it can be painfully slow. I think somewhere around $20/day. or$ 199 for the cruise - middle tier.

Most can not make a call in the Falklands - very specific carrier. 

2. We had priority tenders and had no problem getting ashore. The  ship would announce when and where the tickets would be handed out. Sometimes the day before and some the morning of the port tendered.

 Get there early to get tickets it 1st come first served. Morning of,  your group needs to be present if you want to tender together.

Thank you. I am glad you liked the previous review. We shall see . :classic_smile: 

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Our flight was on time on a 330 Airbus

 

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And after dipping our Starboard wing over Miami we were on our way .

 

 

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The view from the seat

 

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Breakfast is served and the Carb loading has started .

 

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There is a 2 hour difference between Miami and Buenos Aires

 

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We were seated in the last row of Condor Class and we noticed that a curtain of silence was pulled next to us . This was used by the flight crew . We also noticed that after take off all of the window shades were pulled down with most of the people going to sleep after breakfast .

 

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VERY much looking forward to your review and photos.  We are scheduled for this same itinerary next January.  Is the luggage shown in the photo ALL that you took with you?  If so, I would really like to see a packing list for a long trip like this.  And why are you flying to EZE when the cruise leaves from San Antonio?

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5 minutes ago, teacherman said:

VERY much looking forward to your review and photos.  We are scheduled for this same itinerary next January.  Is the luggage shown in the photo ALL that you took with you?  If so, I would really like to see a packing list for a long trip like this.  And why are you flying to EZE when the cruise leaves from San Antonio?

 

Thanks so are we . :classic_smile:

No , it was my luggage and my wife's wheeled carry on . She had another large checked bag and a backpack which she was still packing when I took the photo . We flew to EZE because we liked having 2 day flights ( on Aerolineas ) and because we would be leaving the next morning to El Calafate from AEP near the downtown area .

 

 

 

 

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It seemed like the motto for this flight was " Sleep till you're hungry , eat until you're sleepy " . But in between we found TV like this Globe Trekker on Route 40 pictured .

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And a video clip :

 

 

We hoped to be flying to El Calafate on the following day and driving on Route 40 to El Chalten and this show was a good preview . It was then time for lunch and maybe a nap .

 

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We couldn't sleep in the day and were walking around a little when we noticed that the flight crew was sharing some Mate which they offered to us .

 

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And before we knew it , we were closing in on Buenos Aries .

 

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We had a good flight to Buenos Aires and were ready to be admitted into Argentina . Upon entering we were photographed and had to use a thumbprint . We also had to have our bags X-rayed . We had hoped to exchange some dollars for pesos or use the ATM for pesos for dinner and a taxi. Well,things did not go as planned - Taxi ride, check-in and go out to dinner.  Our pre-booked taxi was nowhere to be found and we waited an hour before getting another taxi. In the meantime we tried to use the ATM - it was Sunday and the ATMs do not really work on Sunday.  We did find the National Bank and exchanged USD for AR Pesos.  We had the Airport Information try to reach our taxi company Taxi Premium, no answer, so we got  a taxi willing to take someone. We agreed on a price and then in the car told us that we also had to pay for tolls. Because of the hour wait we are now stuck in a massive traffic jam. A local soccer team had just won. Lucky us. Bumper to bumper, honking horns, yelling waving flags  and probably 8 lanes across. It took over an hour to get downtown - our driver even drove on the shoulder.

Once near our hotel, we see roads blocked off - yup, they were not letting cars into our hotel area because of the celebration of the win. Driver says our pesos are no good and wanted US dollars. Ok fine ( later we found out this is a scam. Carry a small amount in a pocket, do not show wallet with money and if they say it is not good, you say that is all you have or will they take credit card? etc. Usually they will take your pesos and definitely USD, but know the exchange).  Our driver tried to get close to the hotel and we have to schlep uphill with our luggage 3 blocks. Finally, we made  it to the Amerian Park Hotel Buenos Aires, checked-in and had half an hour before the restaurant stops serving food - after 22.00 it continues as a bar.

 

The Amerian Hotel

 

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We had hoped to eat here but it was closed when we arrived at the hotel across the street .

 

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The room with a view

 

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Eggs for breakfast ?

 

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Tomorrow : The flight to El Calafate 

 

 

Edited by scubacruiserx2

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After breakfast we took a walk before boarding the plane .

 

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Bags checked and ready to go .

 

 

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An 11:30  3 hour flight

 

 

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A ham and cheese again and Mate tea bag , a pattern was developing

 

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Beautiful lakes ,

 

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snow capped mountains and Lenticular clouds . This is why we came here .

 

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Before boarding our flight a new wrinkle had been added . Instead of walking down a ramp into the plane you walked down 2 flights of stairs to board a bus for a ride to the plane . You boarded the plane by a ramp and the free for all for luggage space began . It seem like everybody wanted to put their bags in the front of the plane , but not where they sit . 

 

Coming in for a landing

 

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Finding our luggage was easy but once again , we had to pass it through an X-Ray machine . At our rent a car place we were told that our car had been wrecked by the wind flipping it into a tree . We were also cautioned to park facing into the wind to avoid having the doors ripped off . Welcome to Patagonia !

 

The crosswind was about 50 mph from the left ( West ) . Shots from the car with my pocket camera

 

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Guanaco alert

 

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Horses 

 

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Sheep

 

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And our hotel room 

 

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More later but I'm looking forward to pulling out my good cameras !

 

 

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Some shots from our Canons

 

The turn to Route 40

 

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A Rhea beside the road

 

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The clouds shadow on the hills

 

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IMG_7013_zpsqwliuuzo.jpg

 

More horses

 

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An Estancia and our first sighting of Mt. Fitz Roy in the center

 

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A shrine at the top of a hill

 

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Getting closer

 

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2 hours ago, California Dreamer said:

Beautiful pictures! Can't wait to see more:)

 

Thank you , here's another one entering El Chalten . The peaks were backlit and we were hoping for better light in the morning .

 

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We stayed in El Chalten which is a hiking area , but with bad knees we will not do much hiking . We stayed at Los Cerros in the CH. Darwin room . We had a shower and a large tub which has a window overlooking the bedroom with a selfie reflection .

 

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In the common area was a basic breakfast

 

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Love the tub with a view.  Ha ha.  Bad knees...hmm.  Me too so interested to hear how easy/difficult some of the walking was.  

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Some views from our hotel before dinner

 

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We had dinner at La Taperia which was very good . I didn't bring my camera so no food photos . This photo is from Google Maps .

 

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At bed time the wind almost sounded like a hurricane . But it died over night and the sun was out so we jumped in the car for a ride , retracing our steps .

 

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1 hour ago, TayanaLorna said:

Love the tub with a view.  Ha ha.  Bad knees...hmm.  Me too so interested to hear how easy/difficult some of the walking was.  

 

At this point I had my wife driving and I could take photos thru the open window . As we encountered wildlife , or a scenic stop I or we would jump out and sometimes walk on uneven places . After a while the knees started swelling so elevate , ice and OTC pain reliever .

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We began heading Southeast on Route 23 taking photos .

 

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We saw this road sign for some islands far out to sea .

 

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There has been a dispute there between Argentina and the U.K. Malvinas is the Argentinian name and the Falkland Islands is the British one .

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falkland_Islands

 

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Mirador al Chalten

 

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We turned off on a gravel road to the Puerto Bahia Tunel and saw this Guannaco

 

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