Anticipating our first ocean cruise

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Photo taken from ‘Cruise Critic’ website

Valparaiso (Chile) to Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Ports of call: Valparaiso – Puerto Montt – Puerto Chacabuco – Chilean Fjords – Strait of Magellan – Punta Arenas – Glacier cruise through Beagle Channel – Ushuaia – Cape Horn – Stanley (Falkland Islands) – Puerto Madryn – Montevideo – Buenos Aires

2016 has been a phenomenal year for us as we’ve seen so many once-in-a-lifetime places in over 30 countries. Like many people our usual method of covering long distances has been by plane, train, bus and car. We reviewed options for reaching the tip of South America and hit on the idea of a cruise! Upon closer examination we found to our delight that the all-in cost of a 14 night cruise with transport, accommodation and food included was not too different from our usual two week expenditure.

Other than Laura’s week long River Nile cruise in 2005 neither of us have experienced an ocean cruise so this was something that quickly perked up our interest. Before we knew it we had booked our first ever cruise.

Being cruise ‘newbies’ we are unsure of what to expect. We’ve been living out of a small suitcase between us and a small backpack each so we don’t exactly have a glittering array of evening wear and matching shoes lined up. Fortunately the small print of the Norwegian Cruise Lines website clearly states that ship dress is ‘casual’. Splendid! Although we’re guessing an invitation to the captains table for dinner will probably not be on the agenda…

We’ve spent many an hour queuing at various border crossings… will this mean that our eight hours in each port would really mean four while we queue to disembark and have our passports stamped and re-stamped? Or because we’ll be jostling with a stampede of Bermuda-short wearing tourists on a mini crusade to reach the port first…

Will the ship contain rows of sweet little old ladies sitting in their deck chairs with a G&T? Or well-to-do upper class folk, all spruced up with a fluffy white designer poodle tucked under their arm whilst looking down on us poor third class ‘riff raff’ from the lower decks… Or would there be others, like us who are less interested in pomp and ceremony and keen to take in and absorb the wild and spectacular landscapes of Patagonia?

Perhaps it will be all hi-de-hi with announcements telling us to be ready by 8 pm for bingo  in the ballroom otherwise the red coats will come knocking on our door… do they really actually play bingo on cruise ships?

We’ve already caught onto the idea that while the outline cost of the cruise was fairly reasonable, passengers can be ‘stitched up’ with the extras…  this is the shockingly expensive cost of Internet access:

100 min $75

250 min $125

unlimited $350 (2 weeks)

The above is per cabin and for one device only. And being a ship, the wifi will be slow… you are not allowed to use bandwidth hungry applications such as FaceTime or Skype (which probably wouldn’t work anyway…)

So we will be pretty much ‘off-line’ for a couple of weeks…

But after months of checking in and out of over 100 accommodations; lugging our stuff on and off buses and planes and most days trying to establish where would be a decent yet affordable place to eat, we are very excited about the prospect of a change of pace and a new experience…

 

***Update*** Following completion of our cruise experience, our cruise review has now been published…

 

 

 

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