We have done many cruises before but this one surpassed them all. 20 nights over Christmas and New Year from Chile to Brazil via Antarctica
Our Holland America cruise set sail from VALPARAISO then called at PUERTO MOTT, PUNTA ARENAS, USHUAIA passing many glaciers en route.
We rounded the Horn (amazingly calm) and headed off through the notorious Drake Passage to spend the next few days cruising in ANTARCTICA. The ice bergs stole the show and sitting having breakfast whilst we went through ice berg alley was amazing.
There was a great naturalist on board who set up in the crows nest bar where you had a panoramic view. Walking the promenade deck got you closer to the action and once you got cold there was always a hot drink waiting inside.
We were lucky enough to dock on the FALKLAND ISLAND which is often missed as rough seas mean the ship cannot dock. Our next port of call was BUENOS AIRES where you dock right in the centre of the city. It is easy to hop on an open top bus to get a good overview.
Leaving that night was surreal as they had set up sun loungers on the top deck and a big screen showing Evita as we sailed off into the sunset.
The following morning we should have docked at MONTEVIDEO but due to rough seas on the River Plate this was not possible. Two days later we had the spectacular vision of sailing into RIO DE JANEIRO. It is everything the photographs show it to be but you still have to pinch yourself to believe you are there. The ship docks here overnight as customs formalities can take some time. This enables you to use the cruise ship as a floating hotel whilst you get out and see the sights.
The Veendam is a lovely ship, big enough to have most things you might need on board but small enough to be personal. The extra special meals and entertainment over Christmas and New Year were fantastic. This is one cruise we will never forget and would highly recommend as a taster of South America and a great chance to visit the Antarctic.
5 out of 7 people found this useful
Times cruised before: 10+ Sailed: December, 2009
Quality of Food
The food was excellent with special meals for the Christmas and New Year celebrations
Entertainment was really varied and they even flew artists in from the UK to perform some of the shows. Many times we were spoilt for choice as to what to do. Lots of on board games were organised including a mini Olympics that ran over several days enabling us to get to know many more passengers. Celeste Francis and her husband John from England made a fantastic duo with John playing the piano and Celeste singing and telling jokes.
We disliked Valparaiso as I was mugged there and my husband attacked with a knife. It seems this is not uncommon and Valparaiso is notorious for crime. We are well travelled people and I had my bag across my body and clutched under my hand so we were not easy targets. We really liked Rio de Janeiro as it lived up to all expectations and more, we were backpacking round South America and spent 10 days after the cruise in that area and a further week at the end of our trip and never ran out of things to do
No one stands out as they were all so very good at their jobs
All the staff who organised quizzes and games seemed to go out of their way to find something to suit everyone and to plan it all very well. There were so many activities we were often spoilt for choice
Spacious, comfortable and well appointed. Love having a bath in the bathroom. Only thing missing was a kettle to make drinks in the room