South America 2013


 JANUARY 15 – 31, 2013


Ginny and I are not “Big Cruise Ship” travelers. However, Bob and Ardyth are and because we hardly ever see them anymore since we moved into the City, we decided to join them on this cruise to be able to spend some time with them and also have the opportunity to sail around the “Horn”.

As it turned out, about the only time we ever saw them was at dinner occasionally, because we were all seated at the same table for the whole cruise. Bob and Ardyth’s daughter, Bonny came with them this time but she ended up being sick for most of the trip and Bob came down with the same thing and also stayed in his cabin for a lot of the cruise. He and Ardyth hardly ever go off on any of the excursions anyway, and Ginny and I were off the ship and on excursions whenever we were in port.


Jan. 15, 2013 – Start of South America Cruise on the Star Princess

- 11:35AM – Lv. SFO on AAL Flt #1112 to DFW. (12D & 12F)

-  5:05 PM - Arr. Dallas

We did! We did! We actually left and arrived on time as stated! A first in several trips. They must be buttering us up for something...

- 11:25PM (CST) LV DFW on AAL Flt #945 to Santiago (SCL) ( 25H & 25J)

We had about 4 hours before boarding so we split a burger and had a couple Harps in the Irish Pub close to our next gate.

Then we checked the board and found out that our flight to Santiago still wasn't listed on the board! We were checking it on Flight Tracker and it was on time all along, at Gate D22.  We went to D22 and it wasn't listed on the board. Finally, some American A.L. people showed up and said it was cancelled and we would go to the Night Hotel by Wyndham and there would be a plane at 7:30am tomorrow! We were given vouchers for a shuttle, room and meals for the night.

At 9:30 we got the shuttle for about a 20-minute ride to the hotel, checked in and met Bob and Ardyth and Bonny in the lobby.

We met again in the bar after getting into our rooms and I had a couple Manhattans! Met Sonia, an 85-year-old woman from Corpus Christi who sat down with us. She was taking the cruise too.


Jan. 16, 2013 - Santiago, Chile - Intercontinental Hotel

We were up at 3am, showered, and checked out of the hotel and got the 4am shuttle to the airport - never did sleep but did doze a little...

- 5:30 AM LV DFW on AAL Flt #945 to Santiago (SCL) (25H & 25J)

- 3:15 PM - Arr. Santiago.

It took an hour or so to get through Customs and Immigration after standing in line for a good half hour just to pay the "Reciprocity Fee" of $160/ea. cash! to enter Chile.

We finally got out into the Public area about 6:00 PM and found our Princess rep holding the sign. After everyone was accounted for we got on the bus and rode off into Santiago and got to the Intercontinental Hotel and checked in.

We went down to the lounge and met the Biffels in the bar and had a beer and then crashed for the night


Jan. 17, 2013 - Aboard the Star Princess

We had a buffet breakfast in a lobby restaurant and then walked over across the street to the CitiBank ATM and drew out 50,000 Chile Pesos. ($105.25 U.S.) (475 Pesos = $1.00)

13-1025 Arriving Valparaíso (FZ200-112)

Back at the hotel, we checked out and boarded the bus for the ride to the 'Star Princess'. It was docked in Valpariso, about an hour's ride from Santiago.

It was about 10:00 AM when we boarded the ship and checked in and waited in our cabin until our bags showed up. Jesado is our room keeper.

Ginny's bag showed up about 1:00pm but mine didn't until about 4pm. I didn't mind - I just rested - I was beat!

We had an early dinner (5:00 PM) in the Amalfi Room on Deck 6 Aft.  - Table 251.

Our waiter is Fabian and manager is Francisco. We sit with Bob, Ardyth and Bonny. I had a Beagle beer (local Chile beer) with my dinner.


Jan. 18, 2013 - At Sea on the South Pacific Ocean down the coast of Chile - At sea all day. Explore the ship.

We had our breakfast in the Buffet restaurant on Deck 14 and then we wandered all around the 14th Deck where the pools are and most of the bars that are open in the daytime. We met Carlo, the bartender in the Outrigger and he gave us a card to have punched every time we buy a drink. It has 30 numbers to be punched and when it's full, it goes in a raffle barrel and the winner at the end of the trip gets his bar tab reduced to zero.

Around 11AM, after wandering around some of the top decks – this boat is HUGE - we sat down to rest in the Explorer Lounge and there was a Trivia Round being played. We played along but didn't turn in our answers. Ginny got all of the ones right that we answered!

The Formal Dinner is at 5PM tonight!

The men were all in jackets, shirts and ties and ladies in fancy getups. Some men in tuxes - me in my blue blazer and 50 year-old blue tie with the horseshoes...

After dinner, Ginny and I went to the Wheelhouse Bar and I had a Manhattan. Then we went to the Explorer Lounge and I had another Manhattan while Ginny played "Name That Beatles Song". They played little snippets of 20 songs and Ginny was only able to name 4 correctly and 1 almost. I only recognized one that I could name!


Jan. 19, 2013 - Puerto Montt, Chile - The Vails are coming!! It was 95° today!

We went up to deck 14 and the buffet place for a very early breakfast – 6:30AM!

We arrived in Puerto Montt, Chile at 7:00 AM -

(This is the hottest day that our guide, Theresa can ever remember!)

At 8:00 AM, we assembled in the Princess Theater for our excursion to Lake Esmeralda, Petrohue River and Puerto Varas.

13-1115 Osorno Volcano (FZ200-214)

Then we boarded a tender to shore and got on our assigned bus and rode about an hour to our cruise in a large cat on Lake Esmeralda, rode the bus to Petrohue River where the temp had risen to 95° and then walked quite a ways in to the white water cascades and waterfalls. We had great views of Osorno Volcano from both Lake Esmeralda and Petrohue River. Then back to the bus and rode into Puerto Varas for lunch at the Hotel Cabana Del Lago. After lunch, which included Pisco Sours and Kunstmann beer, we wandered around the shops and then back to the bus to Puerto Montt and got the tender back to the ship. It was around 4PM when we arrived back at the ship.

We met Sonia (the woman we met in the lounge of the hotel in Santiago) after dinner and she said that if we wanted it, we could pick up some beer from her in her cabin (A433). She didn’t want it. Well, we couldn’t turn her down, could we?


Jan. 20, 2013 - At Sea

Breakfast in the buffet again, on Deck 14, but not so early this morning.

At 1:00 PM, we went down to the Explorers Lounge and got good seats for Ginny's Spanish class and where the NFL Championships will be on the movie screen later. Her class was from 3:15 - 3:45pm and then after the Spanish class, we sat and played a Trivia game (didn't do too good). Then the 49er's – Atlanta Falcon game came on at 5:30pm (Niners won 28 - 24!) and the Ravens - Patriots at 8:30pm (Ravens won 28 - 13). I sat there all day and evening - Ginny left after the ‘9er's game. I got back to the room at 12:15am!


Jan. 21, 2013 - At Sea - Amalia Glacier

13-1223 Amalia Icefield (FZ200-330)

Arrive Amalia Glacier - 5:30 AM to 6:30 AM - (Scenic Cruising).

Ginny got some beautiful photos of the glacier and small icebergs in the nearby waters.

After breakfast, we went down to Deck 5 and checked out the Internet/library and found the little 24-hour cafe where we can get coffee to go. Then we went to the Vista Lounge at 11:30 for Ginny's Spanish class.

We spent the afternoon wandering around the ship – Did I mention that this place is HUGE?


Jan. 22, 2013 - Punta Arenas, Chile

13-1330 Magellanic Penguins (FZ200-365)

In the morning, Ginny went on the Excursion to Otway Sound Penguin Colony

I went to shore on a tender from the ship on Deck 4 and met Ginny in front of the Terminal at 2:45pm. Ginny bought her lapis lazuli and silver earrings in the shop inside the terminal while we were waiting for the bus that took us on the excursion to City Drive & the Museum.


Jan. 23, 2013 - Ushuaia (Tierra Del Fuego), Argentina

13-1447 Tierra Del Fuego NP (Z200-538)

At 6:20 AM the ship entered Darwin Glacier Alleyway with more glaciers and we arrive at Ushuaia about noon.

We both went on the Southern Most Railway & Ensenada Bay excursion.

Then we went on the Beagle Channel wildlife cruise excursion.

At 8:15 PM – We departed Ushuaia (Tierra Del Fuego), Argentina


Jan. 24, 2013 - At Sea - Around the Horn at Cape Horn

8:00:00 AM to 9:00:00 AM Arrive Cape Horn (Scenic Cruising).

Ginny got some nice photos of the “Horn” and surrounding area.


Jan. 25, 2013 – Falkland Islands - Excursions to King Penguin Colony and Stanley City drive & Britannia House Museum.



 (The ship’s too big to dock and would have to be anchored out. Tenders would have to be lowered and passengers would have to be ferried back and forth – the waters were just to rough to take any chances – so – Ginny’s Number One Priority on the cruise was to see and photograph the King Penguins! She was very disappointed – to say the least!!!)


Jan. 26, 2013 - At Sea

- 6:15 AM to 8:30 AM - Ginny took the dirty clothes to the laundry room. I got her a large vanilla bean latte and a large black coffee for me from the cafe down on Deck 5.

- 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM– Live entertainment –“Quando, Quando, Quando” – The Leah Quartet in the Wheelhouse…


Jan. 27, 2013 - Puerto Madryn, Argentina

- 7:30 AM to 4:00:00 PM - Ginny’s excursion to Punta Tombo

13-1635 Punta Tombo Pano 1 (753-754)

7:45 AM to 11:45 AM - My excursion to Paleontology Museum & Punta Loma

- 5:00 PM - Depart Puerto Madryn, Argentina


Jan. 28, 2013 - At Sea to Montevideo, Uruguay

(Clocks had to be set ahead one hour for Uruguay time.)

- 2:00 PM to 2:30 PM - We both went to the Joe May lecture in the theater about Montevideo and Buenos Aires.


Jan. 29, 2013 - Montevideo, Uruguay

We arrive Montevideo, Uruguay at 8AM

At 8:45 AM, we both depart on the excursion to Punta Del Este & Ralli Museum

We had lunch at Lo de Tere in Punta del Este. I had a Zillertal (local beer).

We arrived back at the ship at 4PM from our excursion to Punta Del Este & Ralli Museum

At 5PM, we departed Montevideo, Uruguay

(We set the clocks back one hour tonight for Buenos Aires time tomorrow.)


Jan. 30, 2013 - Buenos Aires, Argentina - Debark Ship

Our 5:15 AM arrival in Buenos Aires was delayed – a cargo ship was in our dock.

After finally getting docked, we disembarked at 11:15AM and boarded the bus to go on the Countryside & Estancia tour.

(We changed to this excursion when we found out that the River Cruise tour ended at the airport at 1:00pm and we'd be stuck out there for 10 hours.)

On the bus, we went a little bit around the city and then to Evita Peron's grave in the Recoleta Cemetery for a photo stop.

13-1970 La Mimosa Estancia (Z200-1-053)

Continuing on our tour, we arrived at La Mimosa Estancia around 12:30PM where we had lunch – I had a Quilmes (local) beer for lunch - and we were entertainment by the local rancheros. There were 4 dancers, 2 men and 2 women in traditional dress, dancing Flamenco style.

After the dancing inside, we went outside to an arena where Gauchos and their horses put on a show exhibiting their ridership abilities.

At 4:15 PM we left La Mimosa Estancia on the bus to the airport.

-10:25PM (Local Time) - DEP Buenos Aires (EZE) on AAL Flt#996 to DFW. (23H & 23J)


Jan. 31, 2013 – HOME!

- 6:05AM (CST) - ARR DFW.

- 8:40AM (CST) - DEP DFW on AAL Flt #2297 to SFO. (31A & 31C).

- 10:30AM (PST) - Arr. SFO

-5:00 PM - We went to O'Reilly's for a burger and two Harps each!!


Not one of our “Best Trips Ever”!

We ended up being at sea for 8 of the 13 days aboard the Star Princess! – BORING!!

The ship is HUGE and could wear a person out just trying to get from end to end on the same deck! Fortunately there were elevators to get from one of the 14 decks to another…

And the worst part of all for Ginny was not being able to get to the King Penguin Colony on the Falkland Islands when the excursions were cancelled because of the weather!

(And – we never did see much of Bob and Ardyth and Bonny – they didn’t go on any of our excursions, if any at all - and Bonny came down with flu-like symptoms early on and then Bob and then Ardyth got the same thing, too.)

© Virginia E. Vail 2012