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Chilean Fjords, Ushaia, Antarctica - Must Choose Soon


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Greetings.  You are all more experienced cruisers than I am.  Husband and I are trying to decide between cruise options for a Winter 2024 cruise that includes the southernmost ports of South America with or without Antarctica.  Based on the itinerary we have drilled down to either 20 days on Oceania/Marina including Antarctica from Feb-Mar or 15 nights in January on Azamara/Quest excluding Antarctica.  We prefer ships that carry fewer than 2,000 passengers.  We prefer to DIY shore excursions.    We are familiar with the Marina and the "old" Oceania.  Know nothing about Azamara first-hand or about the "newer" Oceania.  

So basically asking two questions:  What would we be missing if we excluded Antarctica since neither cruise actually permits setting foot on land.  How different would the onboard experience of Azamara be compared to Oceania? 

Thanks very much in advance!

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I have cruised twice on O post COVID; its still a great experience. Although I must say that folks on the Oceania forum are getting frustrated w O’s new policy of shortening the time the ships are in port.

 I don’t understand the fascination with cruising/drive-by off coast of Antartica. An expedition cruise that lands onshore could appeal to some (not me). Having said that, am booked on Regent Voyager in February that includes 3 days cruising off Antartica. Regent is fabulous, but you’re paying for the included shore excursions. So, if you prefer DIY, that’s not the best fit for you.

Enjoy your cruise!

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