Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Mylisa

BUENOS AIRES TO SANTIAGO DE CHILE Thoughts Please

Recommended Posts

We are looking at this 16 day trip on the Marina.  Has anyone done this itinerary?  If so, we would be interested in your thoughts.  Including what side of the ship our cabin should be on, what tours did you like, private or ship and any other information you can share with us.  Also, did anyone use Oceania’s air and upgrade to business class.  If you did what airline did they put you on and how was it.  We’re flying out of Atlanta.  We’re looking at maybe taking the air credit and arranging our own flights.  Thanks in advance.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We did this itinerary but it was in January 2002 on NCL -- we'd been booked on Renaissance for a far east cruise, but when Renaissance went belly-up (and Oceania did not yet exist) we took an offer for an NCL cruise.

 

Because we booked really late we did ship's tours.  We were concerned about taking a taxi two hours away and maybe having a flat tire!  On that itinerary we generally had a two sail from one port to the other, and didn't want to risk missing the ship. I haven't looked at the Oceania itinerary which may be different.

 

If we were doing this cruise NOW, and with plenty of advance notice, we'd probably opt for private tours ... because that's what we usually do.  Since oLife tours came into play we have done them, but only to the limit that they are "free".  (And they really are not "free".)  But we prefer private tours when possible because (a) they are cheaper and (b) they are smaller groups.

 

As to air fare, we usually do our own.  Very occasionally O has a special offer for business or PE, but in general we've found we do much better by booking our own.  That doesn't mean you shouldn't ask O what they would charge!

 

I have no opinion about which side of the ship is better.  We've never found that really matters much ... others may well disagree!

 

I DO recommend going in a few days early to Buenos Aires and spending another few days on the Santiago end.  We spent one day in Valparaiso and then went to Santiago for another 3 days.  Time well spent!  If you use O's air fare, then you will need to pay the deviation fee.

 

Mura

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would  say if you want BUS  class  book your own

Unless Oceania  has a special for BUS seats  it will be more costly  though them

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We did Buenos Aires to Miami 3 years ago and it is one of our favorite cruises.  I preferred the starboard side as it is the side more toward land on this trip,  but actually both sides have interesting views.  We used the air deviation with O and it was okay.  There were delays because of the holidays, bad weather in the US, and a brief luggage handlers strike in BA.  The usual joys of air travel!  It was a holiday cruise so the ship was beautifully decorated.

 

We usually do the ships tours and really enjoyed the Falkland Islands to see the penguins.  Also had an excellent tour at Tierra del Fuego national park.  We were in a small van with only 10 people or so.   Be prepared for cold windy weather.  Cruising the Chilean fijords is beautiful.  As you are finishing at Santiago, I won't tell you about all the other great tours after that point.

Enjoy the cruise.  There are many beautiful sights in Patagonia, ncluding the glaciers.

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have not been to Easter Island before, Santiago is the perfect departure point for a short (4 day/3 night) visit to EI. EI is frequently missed on cruises and this way you’ll be sure to visit it and have plenty of time to enjoy it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have done this itinerary on Insignia in 2010...

I do not think there was an advantage to one side of the ship.   The trip can encounter rough seas.  We had such through the straights, and I think 50% of the crew were down with malaise...  So mid ship cabin would be a preference.

 

Oceania tends to use AA and DL.  We were on Delta down and AA back from MIA.  Oceania flew us up to ATL to catch the flight down.  This was the first and only time using Oceania air.   The connection times were short and even with an air deviation at 270 days before the routing was poor.  O could/would not get us an economical flight down. 

 

Return flights leave late -- around 9/10pm.  So my suggestion would be to do a private tour (we did a wine tour from Valpariso to Santiago) and a 6pm airport drop-off.

 

We did mostly private tours -- exception being the Puerto Arenas, which was Oceania.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

We just did this itinerary on NCL in reverse, Santiago to BA (just returned Thursday.) There was a definite advantage to being on the port side for Glacier Alley.  In the BA to Santiago direction, it would probably be starboard.  The best views of Cape Horn were starboard (ship does a loop de loop by it... not around it.). To be absolutely certain, I would do a search on the SA port board on CC and look for anything written by BudgetQueen as to best side. She was on our cruise and has done this itinerary 13 times. She might not be help for excursions because she does many ports DIY with rental cars and busses, but you can get an idea where she heads in each port.

 

We did a combination of ship excursions and DIY.  In Montevideo, we walked around on our own. It was very easy.  The port has a marked trail from the ship into the city, where you are greeted by local Tourist Information people handing out maps of walking tours. LIkewise, we just walked around Punta Arenas after taking the ship shuttle into the city. Those two ports worked as a DIY for those that don’t mind walking a few miles. One of major sites in Puerto Arenas is the cemetery which is a bit of a hike.  Puerto Arenas is not a tender port but is one port that is iffy if winds are high. A couple ships did miss it this past season.

 

In Usahaia, we had planned to just hire a port taxi to Tierra Del Fuego National Park.  However, upon exiting the port we were met with a crowd of taxi vendors and it was quite a zoo.  We did luck out though....there was one guy standing with a sign at a better price than the taxi hawkers, which also included the National Park entry fee.  It turned out to be small van tour, but since the vendor could only find one other couple, it ended up semi private.  He spoke perfect English and it was a great tour. I do have his card. We did speak with another couple who had did a combo Beagle Channel and Park tour who said they were disappointed in the Park after the cruise portion. But, given the time in port, their time in the Park would have been much less in depth. 

 

For the other ports, we did ship excursions. On NCL, they give a shore excursion credit per port for those in suites, so many times the price of tours compared favorably with private. 

 

Our ship missed Falklands due to high seas. We entered the territorial waters and those with binoculars could see penguins if they knew where to look (BudgetQueen). For that port, I do know that she always takes a private tour to Volunteer Point to see the King Penguins. We had Bluff Cove scheduled.  It is an easier trek and also has some Kings (but not as many).  Bluff Cove contracts with the cruise companies, so it is only offered as a ship excursion. One person on our roll call had done this excursion in the past and had sent me pictures and they had looked wonderful, so we opted for this excursion instead of Volunteer Point due to my husband’s back issues. We are so sorry we missed it.

 

In Puerto Madryn we took a ship excursion to Punta Tombo, because of the credit and distance involved (two hour there and back). We were on the first bus, so it really didn’t make a difference private or ship, it wasn’t crowded when we got there.  Our guide was very good. I chose Punta Tombo because the ships always seem to make this port and it would be assured Penguin viewing.  I did talk to those that had done the Valdez Peninsula and my sense was the Penguin viewing was at a distance, whereas in Tombo you walk on a path in the rookery itself and frequently have to give way to Penguins on the walkway. 

 

For our other two Chilean ports we did ship excursions.  Both were ok, but weather was not on our side....we were constantly fighting rain. In Puerto Montt we took a ship excursion to Puerto Varas and Fruitillar. We did walk to the PuertoMontt fish market after and had lunch and enjoyed that.  In Chacabuco, we took a short ship excursion of the surrounding area which is quite beautiful. My thought there was that we had a great forward facing suite, so we would spend time on our balcony enjoying the fjord after the tour...however, the skies opened to a downpour.  I guess I was just as glad we weren’t on a longer tour in the rain.

 

For our transfer from Santiago to San Antonio we used a company from Valparaiso.  Their prices were far better than anything that others on our roll call were finding for transfer only.  I can give you the name if you are interested.  This was a straight transfer but they also do tours. 

 

If you take taxis taxis during your stays in BA or Santiago be careful. I had a Santiago taxi driver switch two 20,000 CLP notes for counterfeits plus overcharge us about 10,000 CLP with a fast meter, so what should have been a $15 ride ended up being $75. The concierge at the Ritz Carlton in Santiago said this was common. Take Radio taxis in BA, which are considered to be generally honest.  The hotels use them and monitor which cab they are putting you in so that if there is an issue they can deal with it. One day in BA we hired a hotel (Park Towers) car for the day.  It was only $25 an hour.  Another ship suite passenger staying at our hotel used them for their entire stay in BA. 

 

 

Edited by buggins0402

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

It's a fantastic itinerary. We liked it so much that we will be sailing it again this year, starting December 19, as part of a Grand Voyage to Miami.

 

As mentioned earlier, definitely do you own business class reservations. Shopping around will save you a bundle rather than using Oceania.

 

You didn't ask for hotel suggestions in Buenos Aires but Hotel Madero is a beautiful property with excellent food and located in a safe and walkable location.

Edited by Rob the Cruiser

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree starboard is great for Glacier Alley.  We went through at 10 pm, but it was light enough to get great pics.  I popped in and out of stateroom as it was very cold!

 

We flew on economy United from PHX to Houston then direct to BA.  As we were living in AZ at the time, that route made more sense, but I continue to dislike United!  We've experienced more than enough issues with them...delays, lost luggage, etc.  Now, I always get Premium Economy, especially on overseas flights.

 

Another great tour we did was in Montevideo.  We went out into the countryside to a beautiful winery and had a lovely tasting with great food.  Toured around town a bit then rode on a restored steam train. Very cool seeing the city from the tracks.

 

Our Falkland Islands tour was Bluff Cove and was great fun.  They drove us out over the rough countryside to the rookery  It was a very bumpy ride and if you have back issues, don't do it!  Picture  4 wheel drive vehicles getting stuck in mud ruts! We saw lots of King, Gentoo, and other penguins with babies.  After we were done with walking around, went to a little cafe right down the hill by the beach for tea and pastries.  It was heated with a peat fire and very cozy.  The rain managed to hold off until we were returning to town.  Be prepared for cold, windy weather. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just book this cruise yesterday (actually 2 legs, Rio to BA to Santiago)  I got quoted $5998 pp to upgrade to business.  Checked prices before I called them, and American Airlines business CLT to MIA to Rio and return from Santiago is listed at $4063 pp.  Needless to say, I took the O Life with air credit.  I'll book the business air on my own,

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I should add that I agree with Mura, add time in both Santiago and Buenos Aires.  I was using points for some hotels and airlines, so our time in each city was driven by the dates that I found low mile business class air. In BA, we had 4 nights and I easily could have spent 3 more days there. We had 5 nights and  4 full days in Santiago...we did a wine tour one of the days. We could have gotten by with just 4 nights there, but on point redemption we had a free night and it worked with the timing of frequent flyer point availability at lowest redemption terms. 

 

We flew paid air first class to Panama City on Delta and stayed a few nights there. Then we flew business class with United points on Copa.  The seat on Copa was like domestic first in the US, which was fine for a six hour daylight flight.  Service was excellent. On the return from BA, we flew United business to Newark on points. Flight was fine, but the seat configuration was such that the window seat did not had aisle access when in aisle seat was in lie flat mode. 

Edited by buggins0402

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have also booked this cruise so thank you everyone for your input here - lots of great info!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, buggins0402 said:

In Usahaia, we had planned to just hire a port taxi to Tierra Del Fuego National Park.  However, upon exiting the port we were met with a crowd of taxi vendors and it was quite a zoo.  We did luck out though....there was one guy standing with a sign at a better price than the taxi hawkers, which also included the National Park entry fee.  It turned out to be small van tour, but since the vendor could only find one other couple, it ended up semi private.  He spoke perfect English and it was a great tour. I do have his card.

 

6 hours ago, buggins0402 said:

For our transfer from Santiago to San Antonio we used a company from Valparaiso.  Their prices were far better than anything that others on our roll call were finding for transfer only.  I can give you the name if you are interested.  This was a straight transfer but they also do tours. 

 

I'd appreciate the contact details please buggins0402 -  my email is hilarysubs at gmail.com.

 

many thanks,  Hilary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We did our cruise nearly 20 years ago but for the transfer from Valpo to our Santiago hotel we actually used the public bus.  This was at the suggestion of our guide in Valparaiso.  The cost then was all of $5pp.  It was a very comfortable bus and we watching "Home Alone" (albeit in Spanish) on the TV monitor.  The trip ended at a public bus station in Santiago and from there we took a cab to our hotel.  I don't recall the fare but it was a short ride and our driver was honest.  (Honesty may have been more prevalent in 2002, but maybe not!)

 

It's an option.  I don't know if I would do this today given that it's no longer so easy for us to handle our luggage with such a transfer.

 

Mura

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, HilsTas said:

 

 

I'd appreciate the contact details please buggins0402 -  my email is hilarysubs at gmail.com.

 

many thanks,  Hilary

Will send tomorrow and I will try to figure out how to include the pictures of Bluff Cove that my shipmate sent from her previous cruise.  Look for an email from 0402 at the end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/10/2019 at 10:03 AM, buggins0402 said:

 

In Usahaia, we had planned to just hire a port taxi to Tierra Del Fuego National Park.  However, upon exiting the port we were met with a crowd of taxi vendors and it was quite a zoo.  We did luck out though....there was one guy standing with a sign at a better price than the taxi hawkers, which also included the National Park entry fee.  It turned out to be small van tour, but since the vendor could only find one other couple, it ended up semi private.  He spoke perfect English and it was a great tour. I do have his card. 

 

For our transfer from Santiago to San Antonio we used a company from Valparaiso.  Their prices were far better than anything that others on our roll call were finding for transfer only.  I can give you the name if you are interested.  This was a straight transfer but they also do tours.”

 

 

Yes I would love the information above.  Thank you so much.  Mylisa53@gmail.com

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/10/2019 at 10:03 AM, buggins0402 said:

We just did this itinerary on NCL in reverse, Santiago to BA (just returned Thursday.) There was a definite advantage to being on the port side for Glacier Alley.  In the BA to Santiago direction, it would probably be starboard.  The best views of Cape Horn were starboard (ship does a loop de loop by it... not around it.). To be absolutely certain, I would do a search on the SA port board on CC and look for anything written by BudgetQueen as to best side. She was on our cruise and has done this itinerary 13 times. She might not be help for excursions because she does many ports DIY with rental cars and busses, but you can get an idea where she heads in each port.

 

We did a combination of ship excursions and DIY.  In Montevideo, we walked around on our own. It was very easy.  The port has a marked trail from the ship into the city, where you are greeted by local Tourist Information people handing out maps of walking tours. LIkewise, we just walked around Punta Arenas after taking the ship shuttle into the city. Those two ports worked as a DIY for those that don’t mind walking a few miles. One of major sites in Puerto Arenas is the cemetery which is a bit of a hike.  Puerto Arenas is not a tender port but is one port that is iffy if winds are high. A couple ships did miss it this past season.

 

In Usahaia, we had planned to just hire a port taxi to Tierra Del Fuego National Park.  However, upon exiting the port we were met with a crowd of taxi vendors and it was quite a zoo.  We did luck out though....there was one guy standing with a sign at a better price than the taxi hawkers, which also included the National Park entry fee.  It turned out to be small van tour, but since the vendor could only find one other couple, it ended up semi private.  He spoke perfect English and it was a great tour. I do have his card. We did speak with another couple who had did a combo Beagle Channel and Park tour who said they were disappointed in the Park after the cruise portion. But, given the time in port, their time in the Park would have been much less in depth. 

 

For the other ports, we did ship excursions. On NCL, they give a shore excursion credit per port for those in suites, so many times the price of tours compared favorably with private. 

 

Our ship missed Falklands due to high seas. We entered the territorial waters and those with binoculars could see penguins if they knew where to look (BudgetQueen). For that port, I do know that she always takes a private tour to Volunteer Point to see the King Penguins. We had Bluff Cove scheduled.  It is an easier trek and also has some Kings (but not as many).  Bluff Cove contracts with the cruise companies, so it is only offered as a ship excursion. One person on our roll call had done this excursion in the past and had sent me pictures and they had looked wonderful, so we opted for this excursion instead of Volunteer Point due to my husband’s back issues. We are so sorry we missed it.

 

In Puerto Madryn we took a ship excursion to Punta Tombo, because of the credit and distance involved (two hour there and back). We were on the first bus, so it really didn’t make a difference private or ship, it wasn’t crowded when we got there.  Our guide was very good. I chose Punta Tombo because the ships always seem to make this port and it would be assured Penguin viewing.  I did talk to those that had done the Valdez Peninsula and my sense was the Penguin viewing was at a distance, whereas in Tombo you walk on a path in the rookery itself and frequently have to give way to Penguins on the walkway. 

 

For our other two Chilean ports we did ship excursions.  Both were ok, but weather was not on our side....we were constantly fighting rain. In Puerto Montt we took a ship excursion to Puerto Varas and Fruitillar. We did walk to the PuertoMontt fish market after and had lunch and enjoyed that.  In Chacabuco, we took a short ship excursion of the surrounding area which is quite beautiful. My thought there was that we had a great forward facing suite, so we would spend time on our balcony enjoying the fjord after the tour...however, the skies opened to a downpour.  I guess I was just as glad we weren’t on a longer tour in the rain.

 

For our transfer from Santiago to San Antonio we used a company from Valparaiso.  Their prices were far better than anything that others on our roll call were finding for transfer only.  I can give you the name if you are interested.  This was a straight transfer but they also do tours. 

 

If you take taxis taxis during your stays in BA or Santiago be careful. I had a Santiago taxi driver switch two 20,000 CLP notes for counterfeits plus overcharge us about 10,000 CLP with a fast meter, so what should have been a $15 ride ended up being $75. The concierge at the Ritz Carlton in Santiago said this was common. Take Radio taxis in BA, which are considered to be generally honest.  The hotels use them and monitor which cab they are putting you in so that if there is an issue they can deal with it. One day in BA we hired a hotel (Park Towers) car for the day.  It was only $25 an hour.  Another ship suite passenger staying at our hotel used them for their entire stay in BA. 

 

 

Bugging, Can you please send me the contact info of the guide in Usahaia and the company you used from Valparaiso for transfer to the airport?  Did you use a transfer company from BA to the ship as well?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Mylisa said:

Bugging, Can you please send me the contact info of the guide in Usahaia and the company you used from Valparaiso for transfer to the airport?  Did you use a transfer company from BA to the ship as well?

We used Perro Tour, https://perrotour.com/.  We did the reverse itinerary (Santiago to BA) so they picked us up from the hotel and delevered us to the port.  From the ship to port in BA we used a hotel car.  I had difficulty arranging this, as Marriott group hotels has made it difficult to find hotel contacts.  The concierge on our ship made the arrangements. If you are staying in a hotel in BA, you could probably do it a bit cheaper with a radio cab.  Our hotel car was not that expensive (we were in Retiro)...only $25 and we were staying in a 5*, but a honest taxi would probably been only $15 at most. However, after our Santiago experience, I felt better getting our start in BA with a hotel car, given the disembarkation mess. 

 

I will send a copy of the email I sent to the other poster. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are currently on the Sirena doing the Buenos Aires to Lima route. The Atlantic side of the trip had rocky seas but the captain was able to get us into all ports and we had a smooth ride around Cape Horn. Normally we are independent travelers and would go off on our own or book a private tour but I found the tour books very unhelpful and didn’t want to get involved with Internet searching so we payed for the Unlimited Package and booked as many tours in each port as possible. The tour to Sea Wolf Island at Punta del Este was cancelled because of high seas. We weren’t expecting anything back for the cancelled tour and were pleasantly surprised that Oceania issued us a refund. The package also gives you a significant discount on the higher priced tours—we booked the Bluff Cove tour to see the penguins. The female King penguins were taking care of their chicks. It was lots of fun.

 

We have a starboard cabin but have only taken advantage of the balcony on the Pacific side of South America—it was just too cold and windy to be outside for long periods of time. Make sure you have winter and summer clothes, the temperatures started in the 80s (in Buenos Aires), dropped down into the 30s as you headed south, and then back into the 70s and 80s as you head north. It has been a wonderful cruise and would highly recommend it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/12/2019 at 5:55 PM, buggins0402 said:

We used Perro Tour, https://perrotour.com/.  We did the reverse itinerary (Santiago to BA) so they picked us up from the hotel and delevered us to the port.  From the ship to port in BA we used a hotel car.  I had difficulty arranging this, as Marriott group hotels has made it difficult to find hotel contacts.  The concierge on our ship made the arrangements. If you are staying in a hotel in BA, you could probably do it a bit cheaper with a radio cab.  Our hotel car was not that expensive (we were in Retiro)...only $25 and we were staying in a 5*, but a honest taxi would probably been only $15 at most. However, after our Santiago experience, I felt better getting our start in BA with a hotel car, given the disembarkation mess. 

 

I will send a copy of the email I sent to the other poster. 

 

Also interested in Ushuaia guide so please forward email to me, too @ mertziek at yahoo dot com.  TIA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/11/2019 at 1:27 AM, Rob the Cruiser said:

It's a fantastic itinerary. We liked it so much that we will be sailing it again this year, starting December 19, as part of a Grand Voyage to Miami.

 

As mentioned earlier, definitely do you own business class reservations. Shopping around will save you a bundle rather than using Oceania.

 

You didn't ask for hotel suggestions in Buenos Aires but Hotel Madero is a beautiful property with excellent food and located in a safe and walkable location.

 

Hi Rob the Cruiser

Many thanks for the suggestion of the Hotel Madero - it looks lovely and I have booked it.  (I like that it is so open to the waterfront as well.)

Any similar gems in Santiago?

 

See you aboard!

cheers, hilary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Hilary,

 

You're welcome. 

 

No suggestions for lodging in Santiago. Sorry.

 

...but wait! Stay on board to Miami!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great suggestion Rob the cruiser.  That's what we did and saw many interesting ports!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Rob the Cruiser said:

Hi Hilary,

 

You're welcome. 

 

No suggestions for lodging in Santiago. Sorry.

 

...but wait! Stay on board to Miami!

 

Great idea thank you so much!    That ticks all the boxes!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We stayed at a nice apartment-hotel but I won't recommend it since we stayed there in January 2002 ...

 

Try googling accommodations in  Santiago, or Trip Advisor.  There are plenty of sites although of course you won't have a personal recommendation from someone who has actually stayed there.  I think it's already been mentioned to check the port information board here as well.

 

Mura

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Awards
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...