We just returned yesterday from what was indeed the trip of a lifetime. I cannot recommend cruising Antarctica enough; it is so spectacular that you have to see it to believe it. We were very lucky and had all clear pristine days, as you can be fogged it and see nothing. I will never forgEt Iceberg Alley, Neumeyer Channel (I might be spelling that wrong), and all the other fabulous sights in Antarctica.
Our ship's first port was Port STanley, and then we were at sea for about a week including the Antarctic cruising. We were extremely lucky and had "Drake Lake" and a very smooth trip rounding Cape Horn on our way to our next ports, Ushuaia and Punta Arenas. The fjords you see in Chile after leaving Punta ARenas are breathtaking beyond descripiton. On our way back, our last port was Montevideo, where it was raining, but we had good weather where it really counted!
The food on Star was the best I have experienced in my four Princess cruises, but I felt the ship was not well organized. The dining rooms were especially chaotic at lunchtime, and we do not buffet. Embarkation in Buenos Aires was a terrible experience for most -- very chaotic. We followed the advice of a friend who said to arrive before noon no matter what they told us, and arriving at 11:30 AM, we were onboard in 15 minutes. People who came at 1:30 or 2:00, even elite members on Princess transport, took hours to embark. Incidentally, 50 people were without their luggage until Ushuaia, which was about day 11 of a 16 day cruise.
I cannot say enough good things about the quality of the scientific lectures offered on board. The education you received about what you were to see was unbelievable. We also had the author of "Icebound" aboard, and she gave two lectures. The first was general about what life is like at the south pole, and the second was about her medical condition and rescue.
We spent four days in Buenos Aires after the cruise and got back yesterday. I came home with the cough and cold that were going around the Star, and fell asleep shortly after 7PM last night waking at 1:00AM for the day! So if I sound a bit disconnected, remember that I am in my own time warp on the moment.
I am glad to be home. We were gone 23 days, and that is a bit long for me.
If you have any qustions about the ports, the wildlife or the scenery, or anything else, I would be glad to answer them. If you are even remotely considering an Antarctic cruise, all I can say is DO IT.
Wow...that sounds like an awesome trip!!! Something my wife and I have talked about doing in the future. Problem for us is taking a cruise that long at this time. But someday we will get to it and it sure does sound like a fantatic trip!!!
Thank you for your review Ellie, it sounds fascinating. I don't know if I could endure the cold for that long, but might try it some day. Glad to know you didn't hit any icebergs either! Welcome back and I can't wait to see what your next cruise choice will be!
Ellie, welcome back, and glad to hear it was a good trip. You had some problems but you didn't let that spoil the cruise for you. The good weather and the smooth Drake passage are the best things--that was what it was all about. Get some rest and take care of that cold.
Penny, I just want to say that you do not have to endure any cold to enjoy this cruise. The indoor panoramic views from Deck 17, Stargazers, I think it was called, are awesome, and you can take pictures from there. While cruising Antarctica, there is constantly an expert on the bridge pointing out sights of interest and wildlife over the speaker system. None of the ports were very cold, except that we took a private excursion to a penguin site where you walk out about a half mile onto a point in Punta Arenas, and that was cold. But you could have a great time never taking an excursion and staying inside if that is your bag. Also, there were two captains aboard the ship; one an ice captain, and I felt very secure.
I was fascinated to read your account - we are leaving on the Star on 3/30 from Buenos Aires, going around Cape Horn and leaving the ship in Acapulco, a total of 27 days. We are going to Buenos Aires four days prior to the sailing. What can you suggest we do in Buenos Aires and what tours from the ship did you think (and hear from others) were the best? Any advice you can provide will be VERY helpful!!! Thanks
I went to Antarctica in Dec 1999. We were somewhere in Antarctica on New Year's Eve when it turned to 2000. December is their summer. The weather was about high 40's. We made a landing and people were walking around with shorts on around the penquins. I had on my military parka!