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South American itinerary recommendations


mackfam
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Just starting to do research for a possible South American cruise for winter 2025. Currently looking at the Sapphire Princess or HAL Oosterdam both of which seem to have similar itineraries going from Buenos Aries to Santiago or vice versa. I realize that there are probably great options available on the more exclusive premium lines but sticking with the mainstream lines for price reasons.

 

Looking for any recommendations regarding ship, direction of travel, best month, must see ports. We are an active couple who will be in our early 60’s at the time of travel. We enjoy outdoorsy type activities such as hiking and biking, as well as cultural type excursions. We have cruised on all the mainstream cruise lines and realize that HAL often attracts an older demographic. 

 

 

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Last fall we were on Oosterdam's 31-day inaugural South American cruise and we did a review of our experiences.

 

Although it does not answer some of your questions (direction of travel, best month, etc.) it may give you some ideas of what the port tours are like.

 

The San Antonio (Santiago) to Buenos Aries portion of the cruise starts at Post #84.

 

 

 

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18 hours ago, mackfam said:

 

Looking for any recommendations regarding ship, direction of travel, best month, must see ports. 

 

 

We did the Oosterdam last January. We are slightly younger than you and had a great time on HAL.

My suggestion is to start in Chile and go east. You start with some Chilean fjords, then glaciers, then the Cape, and culminating in Antarctica. If you go the other way, you start with Antarctica and I think the other places won't be as impressive after that .

 

My favorite excursion was to Volunteer Point on the Falkland Islands to see the king penguins (We used Estancia Excursions). Ships only make that port 50% of the times so we also saw magellanic penguins out of Puerto Madryn (used Santir Travel).

 

I'd also recommend a few days in Santiago and Buenos Aires on either end. Try to fit in Iguazu Falls .

 

Enjoy!

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On 9/24/2023 at 3:13 PM, mackfam said:

Just starting to do research for a possible South American cruise for winter 2025. Currently looking at the Sapphire Princess or HAL Oosterdam both of which seem to have similar itineraries going from Buenos Aries to Santiago or vice versa. I realize that there are probably great options available on the more exclusive premium lines but sticking with the mainstream lines for price reasons.

 

Looking for any recommendations regarding ship, direction of travel, best month, must see ports. We are an active couple who will be in our early 60’s at the time of travel. We enjoy outdoorsy type activities such as hiking and biking, as well as cultural type excursions. We have cruised on all the mainstream cruise lines and realize that HAL often attracts an older demographic. 

 

 

We went around the horn on the Celebrity Eclipse from San Antonio to Buenos Aires in January 2019. We actually flew into Santiago Chile, and then flew over to Easter Island for three days of touring with Eastern Island Travel prior to the cruise. That was an exceptional bucket list pre-cruise adventure! 

 
We arranged independent tours in most ports with folks on our cruise critic rollcall. 
 
Since it was before Covid, some of these vendors might not be in business now, so you would have to check TripAdvisor and their websites, but here’s who we used: 
Santiago to San Antonio- i SA Van transport.
Puerto Montt- Puerto Montt Excursiones.
Punta Arenas – DIY with taxi to Nao Victoria Museum, and walking.
Ushuaia – Tierra Turismo for Tierra del Fuego National Park trek. Then DIY walk to the End of World prison and the Maritime Museum.
Puerto Madryn- Sentir Patagonia for Punto Tombo penguin colony.
Punta del Este – we were scheduled with Bike Tours Uruguay for the peninsula tour, but our stop was canceled due to weather. However, we have re-booked with her for December.
Montevideo – Uruguias.
Buenos Aires – BA Bikes for north tour in the morning, and south tour in the afternoon.
The day of disembarkation, we took the ship’s Tigre and Delta River Cruise tour with the drop off at EZE.
 
All the tours were wonderful. We were glad we went in January. It was cold and rainy (raincoat & layers) in Ushuaia, but nice weather (mostly T shirts and capris/shorts, with light jackets just in case) everywhere else. And we were glad that we went counter clockwise, so we could visit Easter Island while we were fresh.
Hope this is helpful. Good luck, and Enjoy!
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We've sailed both from LA to Chile and also Buenos Aires to Santiago.  While we enjoyed both itineraries, the Buenos Aires to Chile route was by far the most spectacular in terms of scenery and wildlife(penguins). Ushuaia  was especially scenic, as well, of course Cape Horn.

 

We were lucky enough to be able to land in the Falklands and the King Penguins at Volunteer Point were wonderful, albeit a very (very) rough ride to get there.  

 

We're actually doing the LA to Santiago route again in December.

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 10/1/2023 at 3:49 PM, Arkansas cruisers said:

We went around the horn on the Celebrity Eclipse from San Antonio to Buenos Aires in January 2019. We actually flew into Santiago Chile, and then flew over to Easter Island for three days of touring with Eastern Island Travel prior to the cruise. That was an exceptional bucket list pre-cruise adventure! 

 
We arranged independent tours in most ports with folks on our cruise critic rollcall. 
 
Since it was before Covid, some of these vendors might not be in business now, so you would have to check TripAdvisor and their websites, but here’s who we used: 
Santiago to San Antonio- i SA Van transport.
Puerto Montt- Puerto Montt Excursiones.
Punta Arenas – DIY with taxi to Nao Victoria Museum, and walking.
Ushuaia – Tierra Turismo for Tierra del Fuego National Park trek. Then DIY walk to the End of World prison and the Maritime Museum.
Puerto Madryn- Sentir Patagonia for Punto Tombo penguin colony.
Punta del Este – we were scheduled with Bike Tours Uruguay for the peninsula tour, but our stop was canceled due to weather. However, we have re-booked with her for December.
Montevideo – Uruguias.
Buenos Aires – BA Bikes for north tour in the morning, and south tour in the afternoon.
The day of disembarkation, we took the ship’s Tigre and Delta River Cruise tour with the drop off at EZE.
 
All the tours were wonderful. We were glad we went in January. It was cold and rainy (raincoat & layers) in Ushuaia, but nice weather (mostly T shirts and capris/shorts, with light jackets just in case) everywhere else. And we were glad that we went counter clockwise, so we could visit Easter Island while we were fresh.
Hope this is helpful. Good luck, and Enjoy!

Thank you! This is great information!

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