February, 2006, and to escape winter for awhile, we chose a South America Cruise package for 3 weeks.  We booked our cruise and stay vacation with BCAA and were met at the airport check-in counter by our hosts, Lydia and Douglas Moore. They later hosted a Hospitality Desk at our hotels and onboard the Regal Princess, our ship. Various incidents on our trip would, at times, tax their good nature!  Our BCAA group was some 75 members with couples coming from the Greater Vancouver area, Fraser Valley, Salt Spring and Vancouver Island as well as Kamloops, Kelowna and Vernon – yes, there were 4 of us from Vernon!

 

The Web Sites I have provided are to enhance the attractions we enjoyed and provide more background for you … enjoy!

 

Our journey to South America began early Wednesday, February 8 th as our American Airlines flight departed Vancouver at 7:15 a.m. so our arrival at the airport was some 2.5 hours earlier!

 

Arrival in Dallas, TX was 1:25 p.m. and we then had a very long wait of 6 hours for our connecting flight to Buenos Aires.  The long wait in Dallas did allow for us to meet others from our group, share our previous travel experiences and speculate on what was to come.  The flight to Buenos Aires was 10.5 hours in duration and our airplane was not without problems.  We experienced apparent electrical problems in that banks of lights could not be turned off for the longest time that would have provided darkness for those who wished to and could sleep.  As well, we had no onboard television during this flight.  Upon arrival in Buenos Aires on Thursday morning we cleared customs easily and boarded modern tour buses that delivered us to our hotel.  Following hotel registration we then had lunch, a nap, and a stroll in and around our hotel, all the time enjoying 24 C [75 F] temperatures and sunshine!  During this initial walk we soon saw what a huge city Buenos Aires is … people everywhere!

 

Thursday evening we enjoyed a BCAA hosted dinner with drinks included.  The meal was excellent, especially the steak, so large and thick it covered the entire plate!

 

Friday, February 10 – Buenos Aires

 

Awoke to glorious sunshine that later translated to a high of 27 C [81 F] and saw Richard exchange his slacks for short pants.  Following breakfast at the hotel we began a 4 hour escorted bus and walking tour of Buenos Aires that took us to the rich and poor areas, elite shopping districts and the old port area.  City is very clean and has numerous parks and green spaces throughout.  The tour included visits to Mayo Square, Government House, Metropolitan Cathedral, Cabildo, La Boca, San Telmo and Recoleta districts, 9 Julio Ave. and Palermo Parks.  Of course we visited the cemetery where Eva Peron is buried.  Back at the hotel following lunch we again walked the downtown area for some 3 hours enjoying all the sights and sounds of this glorious city.

 

That evening we were picked up and taken to what was again billed as an included dinner and drinks and Tango Show.  Drinks this evening, however, meant only wine!  Those of you who know Richard know he does not drink wine.  He was allowed no beer unless he paid for it and he did not, instead drinking only water all evening.  Richard planned to pursue this further with BCAA once back in Canada.  Once again a most excellent meal was enjoyed followed by a live Tango Show that included live musicians and both male and female singers.  The performance was some 1.5 hours long and all of us deemed it a most excellent presentation.  We exited the restaurant by different means than when we arrived.  Our dinner tables were on a raised platform off the main floor and as we left, Anita stepped off the narrow walkway and fell.  Thank goodness she was not injured, nor did she suffer any after effects, save for some bruising!

 

Back at our hotel, one male member of our group had his wallet lifted in the elevator on his way to his room!  He apparently took out his wallet to retrieve his room key while in the elevator and lost same when the individual bumped into him while exiting the elevator.  He lost only the cash and his Visa card as later someone returned all other credit cards to the hotel having found them some 4 blocks away!  The local police took no action here.

 

Tomorrow our cruise begins!

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Buenos Aires, Argentina         http://www.geographia.com/argentina/buenosaires/Index.htm

 

Eva Peron       http://movies.uip.de/evita/eva/EvaBio.html

           

Panamericano Hotel, Buenos Aires

            http://www.southtravels.com/america/argentina/crowneplazapanamericano/

           

River Plate      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%ADo_de_la_Plata

           

Our Princess ship, Regal Princess, offered everything we could want, from a Las Vegas-style casino to a sophisticated wine and caviar bar and a charming patisserie.  The ship, 811 feet in length, carries 1,590 passengers plus a crew of 660, and has a cruise speed of 20 knots [approx. 23 mph].  She has some 12 decks all serviced by elevators.  Onboard facilities include boutiques, art auction program, Dome Casino, photography, library, medical center, 24-hour Internet service, satellite TV in staterooms, lotus spa gym and fitness areas, jogging track, 2 pools and hot tubs, numerous bars and eateries plus The Stage Door and the International Show Lounge.  For kids and teens the Youth Centre is available.

 

Delivered nightly to our stateroom was the publication, Princess Patter , a daily schedule of shipboard activities and entertainment events.  As well, an onboard Princess TV channel broadcast daily events hosted by JJ Ullrich, Cruise Director.  A short Winter Olympic recap was included as well but offered little coverage of Canadian events.

 

Evening dining offered 2 seatings – we chose 6:00 p.m. the early time.  There were 2 formal dining sittings on our cruise.  Food quality was just excellent and the soups were to die for!  Dessert offerings were scrumptious as well!!  Our stateroom was on “Caribe” Deck 9 .

 

The crew were fantastic, just excellent!!  Cannot praise them enough as they did everything to make our cruise enjoyable – we did not ‘want’ for anything.

 

Photography onboard the Regal Princess was greatly overdone … don’t know how to describe it otherwise.  Each time we left the ship they were most insistent on taking our pictures; at our evening dinner they interrupted us by asking to have our photos taken; and, almost every evening outside the dining room they had a mobile studio erected to take formal portraits.  They then pushed us to buy the pictures and they were not cheap!  Many of us provided negative comments on this when we completed our evaluations for the cruise line.

 

We enjoyed sunshine and calm seas each and every day of our cruise  … a rarity in this part of the world!

 

We chose not to purchase any escorted tours while in port, instead hiring taxis together with another couple or two for our sightseeing … much cheaper too!

 

We also used only the American dollar and our Visa for money purposes.  We did not find the need to purchase lthe local currency of the country we were visiting.

 

Saturday, February 11 – Buenos Aires

 

We awoke to another warm and sunny day as we prepared to leave our hotel, board our ship and begin our cruise.  Shortly after noon we left for the port by bus.  Our boarding procedure was most efficient and short and half an hour later we were having our first lunch onboard the Regal Princess .  During the boarding process we all had to surrender our Passports to the ship … something we both were not comfortable with doing!  Following lunch we spent the afternoon exploring our new temporary home.  Next came the mandatory fire / lifejacket drill that all passengers attended followed by our Sailaway Dinner where we met our table guests for the first time.  One couple was part of our travel group while the second and older couple came from Florida / New York, annually spending 8 months in Florida and 4 in New York.  Our cruise actually began at 6:06 p.m. as we left the pier and began our journey on River Plate!

 

Following a most scrumptious first dinner we attended the first nightly live show in the International Show Lounge … Comedy Magic with Greg Moreland and The Regal Princess Performers.

 

We then had a quiet drink in one of the many lounges followed by a stroll on the Promenade Deck before retiring for the evening.  We had to advance our clocks forward 1 hour before retiring.

 

Sunday, February 12 - Montevideo

 

While sleeping we entered the buoyed channels that mark the safe channels, dredged to a maintained depth so as to transit the shallow muddy estuary area of the River Plate.  We awoke in the port of Montevideo to sunshine and 29 C [84 F] the maximum high.  The port is one of the busiest in South America with around 1,400 ships using the port annually totaling some 38,700,000 tons of shipping.

 

Together with the couple from Florida we hired a taxi for a tour of Montevideo lasting some 3 plus hours following breakfast.  Our driver was quite fluent with English and knew his city well, providing us with factual information as we visited the 19 th century Beaux Arts buildings, beaches, parks, residential areas and historical monuments.  Old cars are aplenty here … similar to Cuba.

 

 

 

Returning to the ship for a later lunch we enjoyed the impressive 2 p.m. sailaway from Montevideo noting how very dirty and polluted the River was!  Richard stayed outside to enjoy the sunshine afterwards.  We attended our first afternoon Trivia Challenge at 5 and this became a happening for the rest of our cruise.

 

By the dinner hour the Regal Princess cleared the River Plate en route to Puerto Madryn.

 

 

 

Tonight’s dress was formal and dinner was preceded by “The Captain’s Welcome Party” in the Atrium, Decks 5, 6, and 7 to meet Captain Hamish Reid and his Officers.  At dinner only 4 of us remained at our table – the other BCAA couple had asked to be relocated … their loss!  We enjoyed just another excellent meal followed by yet another fabulous desert!

 

Piano Man, starring lead singers, Rebecca Bowman & Joe Sackenheim with The Regal Princess Dancers was presented in the International Show Lounge.  After the show we visited the Adagio Lounge to enjoy the Piano Man, Eric Stone and his music before calling it a day.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Montevideo

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.rau.edu.uy/uruguay/generalidades/mvd.htm&prev=/search%3Fq%3DMontevideo%26hl%3Den%26lr%3Dlang_en

 

Monday, February 13 – At Sea

 

Our first day at sea … overnight, south westerly courses were set as we continued to parallel the coastline.  Early morning overcast skies soon gave way to partly cloudy, then clear skies and 22 C [73 F] was the 11 a.m. temperature and the sea was calm.  We spent the day exercising, reading and relaxing.  At various times we checked out some of the numerous daytime activities offered onboard, interspersed with visits to the Dome Casino and boutiques onboard.  One never has to be without anything to do!

 

This evening in the International Show Lounge, pre-show dancing with the live Regal Princess Showband, a nightly event, featured many couples on the dance floor including Ernest & Thelma [from our table] who rarely missed an opportunity to dance.  Tonight’s live presentation, “Musical Variety Showtime” starred Claire Gobin and featured the Regal Princess Showband.

 

A visit to the Adagio Lounge and the piano music of Eric Stone brought our first sea day to a pleasant close.  Before retiring clocks were turned back 1 hour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, February 14 – Puerto Madryn

 

By 6 a.m. our ship was at dock in Puerto Madryn, Argentina located on the far western shores of the Gulf of Nuevo.  The city is situated about halfway between Buenos Aires and Cape Horn.  The city has 50,000 residents and was founded in 1865 by Parry Madryn, a Welsh immigrant, and is the gateway to Agentine Patagonia.  Ashore, and in command of a taxi once again, Punta Loma was our chosen destination.  The ride there was on a dusty gravel road and the landscape very barren, similar to parts of Mexico.  At Punta Loma we saw numerous sealiions and cormorants.  Returning to the ship lunch was enjoyed then Richard enjoyed the sun at pool side while Anita read on the Promenade Deck.  Today the sunshine continued with 31 C [88 F] temperatures.

 

Sailaway from Puerto Madryn  was at 5 p.m. headed for the Falkland Island!

 

Beni Mason, TV Comedy Star, was the live attraction in the International Show Lounge.  Today being Valentine’s Day at 10:15 p.m. our Cruise Director, JJ Ullrich, hosted “Newlywed … Not So Newlywed … Game Show” .  We did not attend but did sit in at the Adagio Lounge where pianist Eric Stone presented a “Tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber” .  He played to a full house that evening!

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Puerto Madryn            http://www.welcomeargentina.com/puertomadryn/index_i.html

 

Punta Loma                 http://www.welcomeargentina.com/paseos/puntaloma/index_i.html

 

Wednesday, February 15 – At Sea

 

Calm seas, clear skies and sunshine was the order of the day.  Temperatures are cooling off as we near Cape Horn as 19 C [66 F] was the maximum today.  We kept ourselves busy exercising, reading and paricipating in some of the daytime activities offered.  Afternoon Trivia continues to be one of our favorites.

 

Our BCAA representatives, Lydia & Douglas Moore, hosted a cocktail party for us prior to dinner this evening.  Held in the Stage Door Lounge, we were honoured to have Captain Hamish Reid take the time to join us.

 

Following dinner the live show in the International Show Lounge was “Country Roads” , a musical tribute, starring Rebecca Bowman & Joe Sackenheim with the Regal Princess Dancers.  Enjoying the piano, we once again adjourned to the Adagio Lounge to enjoy Eric Stone before retiring.

 

Thursday, February 16 – Stanley, Falkland Islands

 

We awoke in the port of Stanley again with clear skies but cooler, 10 C [50 F] and rising to 13 C [55 F] for the days high.

 

These islands have two names, depending upon where you are:  Falkland Islands or Islas Malvinas.  The islands are a British protectorate, and Britain, for whom the islands are the Falkland, confirmed that sovereignty in 1982 by fighting and winning a short but bitter war over them.  Argentina, for whom the islands are the Islas Malvinas, lost that short, bitter war, but every Argentine nevertheless believes that the islands rightfully belong to Argentina.

 

Our ship anchored in Stanley Harbor and a continuous tender service operated throughout the day, the tender ride being some two miles.  Apparently we were very lucky to have calm seas, no wind or rain today as yesterday it rained and was not at all nice.  Numerous stories were heard of previous visits of ships not being able to tender before our arrival.

 

Our hired taxi first gave us a tour of Stanley then we were off to Gypsy Cove to see penguins for the first time.  Our driver and guide was from Russia having come to Stanley to visit his sister, married to a Brit.  He remained and had been there for 2 years.

 

One sees that the islands are very scenic on the drive to Gypsy Cove and we saw numerous remains of the 1982 war.  Signs aplenty warned us of the existence of possible land mines and many ship remains lay in the bays.  A most enjoyable walk from the parking lot to Gypsy Cove allowed us to see wildlife and, for the first time for us, penguins.  Species here include gentoo, rockhopper, king and jackass penguins --- we didn’t ask which species we saw.

 

The sheep farming industry is well known on the islands as most of them are nearly flat or gently rolling.  Our short time ashore did not allow us time to view these farms.

 

We left Stanley at 4:17 p.m. and set sail for the Cape Horn.

 

Dinner this evening was Italian and all at our table were impressed with the menu selections.

 

For the second time, but with a different show, “Comedy Magic Showtime” starring Greg Moreland was the feature presentation in the International Show Lounge.  We next visited the Dome Casino.  If our visits to the Casino depict anything, one can only assume they lost money on our cruise as just 1 of 7 tables usually were active and the slots begged for customers!  As usual we stopped in at the Adagio Lounge for a late drink and to hear Eric Stone before retiring.

 

We found both the International Show Lounge and Dome Casino to be too cold for comfort each time we visited.  Suggestions we made to staff for less air conditioning went unheeded.  Richard caught a cold Thursday evening.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Stanley, Falkland Islands       

http://www.search.com/reference/Stanley,_Falkland_Islands

 

Friday, February 17 – At Sea / Cape Horn

 

Overnight Regal Princess slowly made her journey south once more setting South Westerly courses.  As we crossed the eastern entrances to the Drake Passage where two of the worlds oceans meet we sailed for Cape Horn.

 

Sky was broken overcast, cooler and still calm seas prevailed.  Morning temperature was 11 C [52 F] later rising to 13 C [55 F] for the high.  Around 11 a.m. the wind picked up considerably so as to create white caps on the sea.  Being indoors one hears the whistle of the winds on the outer decks.

 

By 5:30 p.m. we arrive at Cape Horn, the southernmost point of South America.  Its rocky terrain rises to a height of 424 m [1,391 ft] and makes a very formidable landmark for those navigating these waters.  We chose to view Cape Horn from Deck 14 -- the lounge area in the Dome Casino.

 

Dinner this evening had a surprise in store for us.  We again had a third couple join our table having come from the second seating which they did not like.  They remained with us for the balance of our cruise.

 

Tonight, “C’est Magnifique” , starring Rebecca Bowman & Joe Sackenheim with the Regal Princess Dancers played in the International Show Lounge.  In the Adagio Lounge afterwards, pianist Eric Stone’s “Tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber … An Encore” was again played to a full house.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Cape Horn      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Horn

 

                        http://vt.essortment.com/capehorn_ramn.htm

 

 

Saturday, February 18 – Ushuaia

 

We steered North Easterly, entered Beagle Canal cruised some 100 nautical miles in the canal and reached Ushuaia in the early morning hours.  Scheduled for departure at 2 p.m. our stay here was brief.

 

Weather conditions today gave us a mixture of sun and cloud with 14 C [57 F] the maximum temperature.  With the wind off the ocean it appeared somewhat cooler.

 

Ushuaia, a former whaling station and Argentine prison colony, is the furthest south in Argentina.  Today, no tours due to our limited time in port.  Instead we had a pleasant walk about downtown and were awed by the scenery – snow-capped mountains plummeting to the icy waters of the Beagle Channel.

 

Our 2 p.m. sailaway was as enjoyable as were previous ones.  We remained in the Beagle Channel for some 6 plus hours.  Scenery here was reminiscent of our own Inside Passage on BC’s west coast.  By 5:30 p.m. we were encountering glaciers on low mountains descending into the sea.  These became higher as we journeyed on and reminded us of our own Rogers Pass drive to Calgary, Alberta.  An hour later temperatures dropped somewhat and we experienced our first truly overcast sky and by 10 p.m. a slight rain shower occurred.

 

We attended our one and only show in the International Show Lounge that evening that was a bust!  Not many passengers enjoyed stand-up ventriloquist, Dan Horn.  Our evening ended with a visit to the Adagio Lounge.

 

While sleeping in the early hours of Sunday morning we encountered some rougher waters but neither Anita or Richard knew about it until our Captain told us during his morning broadcast.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Ushuaia           http://www.interpatagonia.com/ushuaia/index_i.html

 

Sunday, February 19 – Punta Arenas

 

During the night Regal Princess, under the directions of one of the local Chilean pilots who embarked the vessel yesterday, altered towards the North and entered the Magellan Straits in the early morning.  The town of Punta Arenas is the port of entry for vessels wishing to use the Magellan Straits to reach a Chilean port requiring them to call there before proceeding any further inland.  The city is also the gateway to Chilean Patagonia, a maze of fjords, rivers, steppes and mountains to the north.

A mixture of sun and cloud greeted us as we left the ship for our time ashore.  Cooler, with 11 C [52 F] the maximum temperature.  Our taxi today drove us to a penguin colonly some 65 km  [40 miles] north of the city.  After walking approximately 20 minutes we saw them up close and personal … marching in formation close to our pathway or posing as a group!  These were Magellan penguins.

 

Penguins live 25 – 30 years and always come back to the place they were born for the mating season.  They usually have 1 or 2 offsprings.  Males and females take turns to watch and feed the little ones.  They swim for food every 8 hours.  Couples are always the same and they come back to the colony only for the reproduction season.

 

Our journey to the penguin colony saw us pass numerous cattle and sheep ranches and we observed some emus close to the colony.  Returning to the city our taxi gave us a guided tour of Punta Arenas, a port, in our opinion, old and run down.  The Plaza de Armas, lined with trees and spring-blooming gardens, is dominated by a bronze statue of Magellan perched precariously on a galleon cannon.

 

Our taxi driver and guide spoke the least English of all we had so far … still we made do and had a most enjoyable 4 hours ashore in Punta Arenas!

 

During his sailaway update, the Captain provided warming of possible rough seas between the early morning hours of 4 – 8 a.m. Monday.

 

Dinner preceded the performance, “Shake, Rattle & Roll”, starring Rebecca Bowman & Joe Sackenheim with the Regal Princess Dancers in the International Show Lounge.  We followed this by visiting the Stage Door Lounge for the “50’s And 60’s Sock Hop Party” that closed out our Sunday evening.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Punta Arenas              http://www.interpatagonia.com/puntaarenas/index_i.html

 

 

 

Monday, February 20 – At Sea / Amalia Glacier

 

We did have some minor turbulence in the early morning hours … nothing that bothered either of us.  The morning sky was partly cloudy with sunny periods and 13 C [55 F] later became the high.  We were able to retrieve our passports today.

 

Whales were sighted on the port side during breakfast creating excitement for some.

 

As the morning progressed the scenery within the fjords was spectacular and the seas remained calm.  During his noon update the Captain again thanked us passengers for the continued sunshine and calm waters.

 

Our itinerary had us visiting the Pio XI Glacier but heavy ice floes near the Glacier made viewing difficult.  Instead, at 1:30 p.m., in brilliant sunshine, no wind and at the end of an inlet we came upon Amalia Glacier.  Many opportunities for photos of the massive ice formation at sea level and smaller chunks of ice floating in and around the ship.

The Internet has been down now for 2 days as has satellite TV coverage, meaning no Winter Olympic updates.  Complaints and grumblings were heard from many passengers with no Internet service.

 

Morry Coleman, billed “The Worlds Fastest Banjo Player’, appeared in the International Show Lounge following another excellent dinner.  The audience was appreciative of his talent.  At 10:15 p.m. there was a second show as many of the talented Crew  presented song, dance and skits for our pleasure.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Amalia Glacier             http://www.globalquesttravel.com/skorpios3/pio_glacier.html

 

Tuesday, February 21 – At Sea

 

We awoke to glorious sunshine and clears skies as we embarked on our second day at sea.  During the night we again entered open waters and continued to enjoy calm seas.  Today’s high of 17 C [63 F] was much more agreeable to all and more people ventured to the outer decks to enjoy the fine weather.  Spent  a relaxing day, exercising on the outer decks, reading and perusing the onboard boutiques.

 

Dress was formal this evening and during dinner the food and beverage staff were recognized by our Cruise Director.  The live presentation in the International Show Lounge paid tribute to the music of Rogers and Hammerstein … a big hit with the audience!  A quiet drink in the Adagio Lounge listening to pianist Eric Stone closed out this evening.

 

Wednesday, February 22 – Puerto Montt

 

Thunder and lightening prevailed at 7:00 a.m. at anchor off Puerto Montt, gateway to Chile’s magnificent Lake District.  Breakfast completed, the sun shining again, we boarded the ship’s launches to take us ashore for our adventures ashore.  This time we met a third couple, she fluent in Spanish having been a Spanish teacher, and the six of us hired a van.  Our female driver was fluent in both languages, having spend two years studying in England, but more comfortable speaking Spanish so our ex-teacher ended up being our interpreter.

 

The German village, Frutillar on the west side of Lake Llanquihue was our first stop after a half hour drive on a modern, divided motorway.  The village of Frutillar has some  5,000 inhabitants and has preserved the urbanistic style imposed by German colonists who arrived 142 years ago to settle in the area and developed economic activities such as hotels, gastronomy, nautics, sports fishing, and other recreational and tradional events offered for the enjoyment of visitors.  A charming place where we took many photos!

 

Lake Llanquihue is Chile’s largest lake with an area of about 330 square miles, 22 miles long and 25 miles wide with depths of 5,000 feet.  We journeyed along the shores  for awhile as we left Frutillar bound for Petrohue Falls.  The countryside was scenic and we next stopped at a farm for up close and personal photos of llamas, emus and even a baby puma!  Arriving at the Falls there was not much to write home about as, to us, they were only average compared to what we had at home.

Returning to the ship we were driven through or by residential areas of both poor and middle class residents of Puerto Montt.  All of us missed lunch today and it didn’t hurt us one bit!  Afternoon temperature rose to 22 C [72 F] for the high.

 

Dinner this evening was followed by “Variety Showtime” starring Gaucho Del Plata in the International Show Lounge.  Listening to favorite piano tunes by Eric Stone closed out our evening.  Returning to our stateroom we found our disembarkation instructions.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Puerto Montt               http://www.interpatagonia.com/puertomontt/index_i.html

 

Frutillar                        http://www.interpatagonia.com/frutillar/index_i.html

 

Petrohue Falls             http://www.travelsouth-america.com/Petrohue-Falls.html

 

Thursday, February 23 – At Sea    

 

Our last day at sea before our scheduled departure from the ship set for 9:15 a.m. on Friday.  Sunshine remains with us, 17 C [63 F] at breakfast and rising to 22 C [72 F] by noon – a great day to enjoy the outer decks!  Today around the pool there is live music and easy to listen to. 

 

This is packing day.  Need I say more?

 

At dinner, after the main course at desert time, the lights went off and the window curtains closed to allow for the traditional “Parade of the Black Alaska”, all aflame, and carried throughout the dining hall by all assistant waiters.  We then indulged ourselves once more with calories galore!

 

Our final performance in the International Show Lounge was “Farewell Showtime”, starring vocalist Joe Sackenheim.  We began our fond good-byes to newly made friends.  Our time in the Adagio Lounge that evening was brief as we had to be up early Friday morning. 

 

Friday, February 24 – Valparaiso  / Santiago

 

We awoke in port at Valparaiso to sunny skies one more time.  Following breakfast we waited some 2 hours before receiving clearance to leave the ship.  Half an hour later we had retrieved our luggage, cleared Customs and boarded our buses that would transport us to our hotel in Santiago.  By now the sunshine had disappeared only to be replaced by fog.  Leaving the terminal and climbing out of Valparaiso we again encountered glorious sunshine for our 115 km [72 mile] journey.  Temperatures were 30 C [86 F] that afternoon.  The motorway to Santiago was 6 lanes and the passing scenery most enjoyable … farmland, vineyards, rolling hills and mountains.  We drove through 3 long tunnels along the way.

 

For a second time we had to surrender our passports, this time on our bus to our Tour Guide.  They were needed for hotel registration and returned to us with our room keys.

 

After settling into our hotel room, four of us took a hotel taxi to a nearby Mall [equivalent to Vancouver’s Metrotown] to window shop.

 

That evening 6 of us met to have a relaxing dinner at our hotel.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Valparaiso                   http://valparaisoch.ags.myareaguide.com/

 

Santiago                      http://www.geographia.com/chile/santiago/cris04.htm

 

Hotel Kennedy            http://www.hotelkennedy.cl/reservar_ing/reservas/intro.html

 

Saturday, February 25 – Santiago

 

Again the day offered us clear skies, sunshine and 29 C [ 84 F] maximum temperatures.  Following breakfast we had a city tour lasting some 4 hours.  The tour was primarily of the old city of Santiago where history has been preserved.  We had walkabouts in the Presidential Square, the Main Square where we witnessed the changing of the guard, and finally at Blue Stone Designs … you guessed it, a tourist trap! 

 

The shop featured items made from Lapislazuli, the Chilean national stone.  It is a semiprecious rock formed by lazurite that give the intense blue pigment with golden dots of pyrites and calcite.  It has been the favorite stone of pharaohs, kings and nigromants, that believed in its supernatural power, bringing health, richness and skill to their lives.

 

Anita weakened and purchased a ring and two bracelets!

 

The tour then moved on to the more affluent residential and commercial districts before returning us to our hotel.  The city has many parks and green spaces and is exceedingly clean!

 

Afterwards, four of us went for a long walk and enjoyed a late lunch before returning to the hotel.

 

That evening, prior to dinner and drinks at the Camino Real Restaurant, we enjoyed a drive to San Cristobal Hills, high above the city to enjoy spectacular views of Santiago below.  Our dinner was most tasteful and a pleasant way to end a busy day.

 

Sunday, February 26 – Farewell to Santiago

 

Our last day in Santiago provided us with more sunshine and 26 C [79 F] temperatures.  We certainly were fortunate to have enjoyed sunshine each and every day of our holiday!  Scheduled today was a winery tour which we did not participate in.  Instead Anita and others journey to a Market for more shopping while Richard stayed behind to enjoy a lengthy walk near the hotel.

 

Late check out from the hotel was 6:30 p.m. with us then leaving for the airport for our scheduled 11:40 p.m. departure out of Santiago.

 

Arrival in Dallas, TX was 6:30 a.m. on Monday, February 27 and after clearing Customs a 4 hour wait for our connecting flight back to Vancouver. 

 

Touched down in Vancouver at 1:00 p.m. local time and after clearing Customs we were met by our daughter-in-law and grandson, leaving the airport once and for all at 2:00 p.m.

 

Log of the Cruise

 

Included hereunder are some interesting facts surrounding our cruise as provided by officers of the Regal Princess .

 

1. Cruise Summary

 

Total distances (berth to berth0 between Ports of Call in nautical miles:

 

[1 nautical mile is equal to 1.15 status miles0

 

Buenos Aires to Montevideo                           125 Nautical Miles

Montevideo to Puerto Madryn                        702 Nautical Miles

Puerto Madryn to Stanley                               631 Nautical Miles

Stanley to Cape Horn                                     426 Nautical Miles

Cape Horn to Ushuaia                                    135 Nautical Miles

Ushuaia to Punta Arenas                                283 Nautical Miles

Punta Arena to Amalia Glacier                        359 Nautical Miles

Amalia Glacier to Puerto Montt                       690 Nautical Miles

Puerto Montt to Valparaiso                             631 Nautical Miles

 

Total Distance Covered                              4,613 Nautical Miles