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Luisa OSPINA

Age: 36

Occupation:manager

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Dream

Sailing Date: 2007-12-21

Itinerary: South America

With my sister, we took the decision to take the risk and experience our first cruise. The freestyle and the price were the drivers for choose NCL. We arrive Santiago and spent one day in this beatiful city, is very recomended the Pueblito de los Franciscanos that have handcraft of high quality. We also took a drive tour that took us to Valparaiso (Chile) enjoying first the wine from a traditional wineyard in the road. The check in and embarkation was truly easy and our "risky experience" was becoming very exciting. The disembarkation in the ports that require boats, as in Buenos Aires, took a lot of time and was desorganized. In Buenos Aires, it was a disaster try to catch a Taxi, and took us at least one hour in a middle of a very disorganized queue. The port authorities were not prepared to receive 7 ships and more than 25,000 passengers at the same time
Only three menu restaurants were available, so in the peak hour (remember the freestyle that allow you to get the restaurant "whenever you want") were crowded and some times is not possible to fit to the schedule. The other cafeterias are open 24 all around but the food are always the same. The chocoholic buffet was changed suddenly to another day (the last one). From my point of view the variety of dishes is too short for a 14 days cruise, at the end you are tired of the same menu. We enjoyed the paella at the poolside.
The inside stateroom is comfortable, twin beds, very clean and very well served by a very service oriented staff in fact we enjoyed the towel animals "origami" they left every morning. The TV channels are very limited and the movies were the same all over the cruise (again, 14 days you need more variety).
This cruise is becoming very attractive for the Latin-Americans and in those opportunity were almost 50% of the guests, mainly Brazilians so they complained a lot about the absence of Portuguese speaking staff. Regarding the young guests (mainly Brazilians) did not have a variety of activities. We enjoyed the variety of shows every night. As the guest population is changing as Lati-Americans, we do not have the culture of some kind of plays offered in the daily schedule. We spent New Year's at sea crossing the Horn Cape (something better than that? I guess not) and the different parties all along the ship were very fun. Every afternoon, we saw the older, American's dancing all the classicals as foxtrot: something beatiful to learn!
Puerto Mont: A small town, please book a shore excursion, we did not and waste time. Puerto Chacabuco: you could take a bus from a walking distance in the port exit, enjoy the view that are something stuning. Then you arrive in 15 min to Puerto Aysen, and you could spent your afternoon in this lovely town. Punta Arenas: we decided to stay at city, good choice but you could book a shore excursion to see the lovely penguins! Buy chocolats, is the speciality there and are delicious. Is amazing to see this very complete and full city been the most Chilean Austral city. How the supplies, food, people get there? has to be very hard! At this time you are getting the Magellan Strait, please wake up early and enjoy the crossing by the International Glaciers: We were speachless, is something....difficult to share. Ushuaia: Just exiting the port you could find an excursion, we did it and went to the Parque Natural Tierra del Fuego and the End of World Train Station. We also ssaw "the end of the world" in this beautiful natural reserve. The rabbits and cormoranes are sourounding you shameless! You could also come back to the city and walk around the main street were you could find exclusive and expensive stores. At this time we start to ascent the South America continent again! and the next port is Falkland Islands the English Island overseas! even they drive to the left! A lovely town, full of flowers easy to walk around. You could book a shore excursion to see the penguins but in this port the disembarkation is by boats so is risky to spend a lot of time. The island is still having mines as a result of the wer against Argentina, so the excursion is limited by safety. we have a day at sea but was very fruitful because we could make out dozens of whales at the distance in their migration routes; just divine!!! The next port Madryn in Argentina: what a Patagonian experience. A suggestion, take your excursion just disembarking, there are many very well organized and serious agencies and let them drive you to Peninsula Valdes: Finally we saw the penguins!!! but also sea lions and the patagonian fauna. The best patagonian lamb sholud be enjoyed there. Far the best excursion we have. Montevideo: Rent a car and spent your day at Punta del Este, beatiful beaches, beatiful people and cheap shopping. With sadness we spent the last night with all the friends we gather during the cruise and finally get Buenos Aires, our last port. As I said here, the experience of trying to get a taxi was a disaster but always Buenos Aires has her magic!
Generally speaking was our most enjoyed vacations we ever have, not only by the first cruising experience but also for the impressive landscapes, the close contact with the fauna and the richness culture. In fact we are currently planning our next vacations and guess what? Yes another NCL cruise for the Mediterranean Sea!

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