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Ocean Cruise, S. America and Antarctica advices

artloversplusartloversplus 8590 replies250 threads Senior Member
edited September 17 in Parent Cafe
It looks like many more experienced travelers here, so I need some advice.

We are on the verge of booking an Ocean Cruise traveling from Florida to Chile. Ports of call including the Caribbeans, ABC countries, Uraguay and Antarctica. Unfortunately, the Antarctica portion of the cruise is only cruising, with no opportunity to take a tender to land on the continent.

Questions:
1. Anyone had the experience in Antarctica Cruising? Is it worth it? Now, the Antarctica Expedition would cost five times more.
2. Do I need to carry local currency for ABC countries and Uraguay? I have both Capital One and Charles Schwarb credit and debit cards which do not have a foreign transaction charge, am I ok with those?
3. Any recommendations on sightseeing in Argentina, Brazil, Uraguay, and Falkland Island? I have been to Santiago, Chile for a month, 15 years ago, so we are flying back the day disembark. Ports of calls are mostly in larger cities.
4. Do I have to carry heavy clothing for Antarctica around Christmas.
edited September 17
20 replies
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Replies to: Ocean Cruise, S. America and Antarctica advices

  • thumper1thumper1 75156 replies3299 threads Senior Member
    edited September 17
    I can’t answer most of your questions but I can answer this one.
    Do I have to carry heavy clothing for Antarctica around Christmas.

    Yes, you will need warm clothes if you plan to go outside while near Antarctica...at any time of the year.

    Here you go...

    https://weatherspark.com/m/144751/12/Average-Weather-in-December-in-McMurdo-Station-Antarctica
    edited September 17
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  • stradmomstradmom 5038 replies50 threads Senior Member
    It sounds amazing - I attended a local lecture where someone shared their photos from an Antarctica cruise. For me personally, though, I'd hold out for one where I actually got to set foot on the continent.
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  • artloversplusartloversplus 8590 replies250 threads Senior Member
    @stradmom
    That was in my bucket list, I dreamed to carry special gears to climb the hills in Antarctica and ski down to meet the penguins. I don't think I am capable to do so, a dream is always a dream.
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  • college_querycollege_query 4326 replies323 threads Senior Member
    My mother recently passed away at age 90. My parents traveled extensively, and also lived in several countries. The only continent they had never been to was Antarctica, so they went. They had to purchase a lot of specialized warm clothing, especially since they have mostly lived in very hot climates.
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  • thumper1thumper1 75156 replies3299 threads Senior Member
    edited September 17
    @artloversplus

    Travel on Antarctica is very limited and regulated. You can’t just hop off a boat and do whatever you want to do. Simply put...it’s too dangerous.

    Relatives who went had a fabulous time. Trip was fully escorted and planned. Believe me, climbing hills and skiing down some hill to meet penguins was not permitted.
    edited September 17
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  • boudersbouders 2469 replies172 threads Senior Member
    edited September 17
    1. I did one of these cruises about 5 years ago at Christmas. It was fabulous. We travelled from Rio de Janeiro to Santiago on HAL.

    2. In Uruguay and Argentina, you can use Brazilian reals. I took cash for all the South American countries. I did not use debit or credit at all. ATMs in some locations are notorious for skimming. The Rio airport is especially bad as I recall.

    3. Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Falkland Island: For Falkland Islands, I highly recommend going to Volunteer Point. We went with Estancia Excursions who met us right at the docks. Although pricey, it was half the price that the cruise line charged and the cruise line sold out in about 48 hours after posting the excursion on their website. I also recommend visiting Iguazu/Iguassu Falls. We visited from the Brazilian side since we were starting the cruise in Rio. We flew in a few days early and flew directly to Iguazu. I know very little Portuguese, but we were able to get by. Argentina seemed to have a better selection of hotels though. I did get tummy troubles from our hotel's buffet.

    4. No, you don't need winter gear. On one of the days we were cruising by Antarctica, I was on my balcony in bare feet. If you are on deck for a long period of time, you might want a winter jacket. Dd went swimming in the ship's pool (and got a sunburn, dang ozone hole). Of course, we're Canadian, but it was above the freezing point. The Falklands was probably the chilliest. We wore long underwear under our clothes and a light jacket. I didn't spend a lot of time on deck though. People who did, for the scenery through the fjords and through Antarctica wore heavy jackets.

    Unsolicited advice: See a travel medicine specialist before you go. We did get additional shots and a just-in-case prescription antibiotics for tummy troubles. I did have to use the prescription.

    One of my favorite parts of our cruise on HAL was the lectures that were given by a bird specialist and 2 former Antarctic researchers.
    edited September 17
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  • artloversplusartloversplus 8590 replies250 threads Senior Member
    @bouders

    I did look at the HAL cruise as well, but we decided on Princess sailing from Florida, so we will miss staying in Rio and Iguazu. I will try to get to Iguazu from the Chile side if that is practical, otherwise, it will be part of another trip to the Amazons.

    We will have 5 days cruising in Antarctica, what can you see over there.

    Thanks for the medical tip and the tip in the Falkland Island.
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  • artloversplusartloversplus 8590 replies250 threads Senior Member
    @thumper1
    I do understand you can not land Antarctica any day of the year. That is why I called Princess Cruise to find out if a landing is on the agenda and they say no. That is how I know the difference between the "Expedition" and "Cruising".

    In our ski circle, there is an "expedition cruise" that specifically takes you to the continent and guides you to climb the hills in Antarctica and ski down. It is on my bucket list for a long time but I don't think I will be capable to do that now due to my physical conditions.
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  • jym626jym626 55778 replies2904 threads Senior Member
    https://www.powderhounds.com/Other/Ski-Antarctica.aspx. I love to ski but that sure would be COLD!
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 39032 replies469 threads Senior Member
  • doschicosdoschicos 21372 replies222 threads Senior Member
    @bouders

    I will try to get to Iguazu from the Chile side if that is practical, otherwise, it will be part of another trip to the Amazons.


    Chile is quite far from Iguaza.
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  • thumper1thumper1 75156 replies3299 threads Senior Member
    As noted by @bouders if you plan to spend any extended time outdoors on the deck watching the scenery, you will need warm clothes. Don’t forget gloves or mittens, a hat, maybe a scarf, and warm socks and shoes. Even at just above freezing, it’s going to feel cold very quickly if you are not suitably dressed.

    30-40 degrees F might feel warm to a Canadian, but i doubt that will feel warm to someone from a warmer CA area.

    But @artloversplus IIRC, you ski....so if that is the case, you have the right clothes!
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 38709 replies2123 threads Super Moderator
    A running friend of mine did the marathon in Antarctica! She wants to race on every continent.
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  • artloversplusartloversplus 8590 replies250 threads Senior Member
    edited September 18
    @thumper1

    Yes, I do have the right gear for cold. I had experienced 40 below wind chill at Stowe, VT and stayed alive in a blizzard on an open lift at Snowmass, CO., 12,000 feet up. :)

    Traveled and skied on all continents, except the two arctics. For 30 years, I have never took a vacation in the summer. That is why Antarctica is on my bucket list, another one is to heli-skiing at Denali National Park, Alaska.
    edited September 18
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  • inthegardeninthegarden 1189 replies24 threads Senior Member
    Iguazu Falls borders Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.
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  • boudersbouders 2469 replies172 threads Senior Member
    @artloversplus In our cruising past the continent, I saw icebergs and penguins on the icebergs - playing just like you see in videos. I also saw one of the research stations. Researchers from the station were supposed to board the ship and give a talk. Alas, the captain decided that the ocean was not favorable for the little boat to go and get the researchers. Other people saw whales and various birds. The physical appearance of the continent was wonderful by itself. We also went through the Chilean fjords. I was kind of sceneried-out by that point. We also went around Cape Horn. Just to see the continent was awe-inspiring.

    Other thoughts: The ocean between Antarctica and South America is known for very rough seas - the Drake Shake. Take lots of seasickness medicine or preventative of your choice. At Christmas, the sun will be up for almost 24 hours. We had difficulty sleeping around Antarctica. The curtains in the cabin didn't help much. A sleep mask would have been very helpful.
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  • artloversplusartloversplus 8590 replies250 threads Senior Member
    edited September 19
    I know, I know, Iguazu is 1400 miles from Santiago, less than 3 hours flight, it is not too bad, the round trip flight is about $500, local Iguazu 4 days tour is around $500 as well, doable if we want to.
    @bouders Thanks for your tip on seasickness. Well, I was on HAL last winter in Australia, Christmas eve, they have to drain the swimming pools to prevent the water wash on to the deck, that was how rough the sea was. I was jumping up and down. dancing, running and eating, while my friends could not leave their cabins. I was pretty much tested for seasick proof.

    edited September 19
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  • artloversplusartloversplus 8590 replies250 threads Senior Member
    http://estancia-excursions.com/tour/volunteer-point/

    I see why Volunteer Point is important, it was the King Penguins!
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  • artloversplusartloversplus 8590 replies250 threads Senior Member
    edited September 23
    "I'd hold out for one where I actually got to set foot on the continent. "

    Actually, I found out there is a ship sponsored expedition from a Port of Call. You will take a flight from Chile to Antarctica Chilian colony and visit whatever you wish.

    The only thing is the 11-hour expedition will cost almost $3,600 EACH PERSON...... The good thing is that meals and snacks are INCLUDED. :)

    In addition, I found out ALL the outside or ship sponsored tours to Volunteer Points are booked. We have to take the lessor of Eval, Sand Point. Hope that is good.
    edited September 23
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  • shellfellshellfell 3362 replies11 threads Senior Member
    I have friends who took a 3 week cruise where they actually set foot in Antarctica and were feet away from penguins. Their photos/videos were incredible. The trip cost alot (think 10's of 1000s), but they think it was the best trip they ever took.
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