Circumnavigate S. America|
There are two excellent opportunities to sail all the way around South America this coming spring. Carnival and Royal Caribbean each have a mega-ship that they need to re-locate to the west coast. Under normal circumstances a cruise like this is only available on premium or even luxury lines sailing a world cruise. To have a chance to completely circumnavigate the entire continent of South America, from Ft. Lauderdale to San Francisco, at bargain rates on new ships is truly rare.
The entire trip takes over 40 days. The voyage on the 110,000-ton Carnival Splendor (inaugurated 2007) begins January 31 and arrives March 21; total cost only $3197 per person, minimum category stateroom. That's less that $80/day including transportation, all meals, entertainment, etc.
On the way you see some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean; Dominica and Barbados, before crossing the equator. Next comes the northeast coast of Brazil including Fortaleza, Recife and Salvador.
Then come the major cities of South America; Rio de Janeiro, an overnight stay in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and visit Montevideo, Uruguay. There is a stop at Port Madryn, Argentina before you make the 530-mile trip through the Strait of Magellan, one of the most dramatic oceanic passageways in the world. Next comes the spot that stopped Captain Bligh and the Bounty, after trying for several weeks to round Cape Horn he changed his mind and headed around South Africa instead, opting to take the long way to Tahiti rather than risking his ship.
Next you get a day of cruising the Chilean Fjords. Yes, this part of South America so close to the Antarctic Circle that there are deep fjords with calving glaciers, the drama of Alaska with the beauty of Norway. This destination has been named the favorite of luxury cruise lines like Silversea year after year. You then stop in Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world on the island of Tierra Del Fuego.
Next you visit Puerto Montt, Santiago and Arica, Chile. Next is Lima, Peru; then Quito Ecuador. You cross the equator again and sail until you reach Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, Los Angeles and end in San Francisco.
For $4800 per person you can have an ocean view room. Or, since the cruise is actually broken up into three segments, you could move to a balcony for part of the trip (they are sold out on the first leg already). A lot of dedicated cruisers are already talking about this trip, it is a retirees' dream voyage.
Your other South America circumnavigation mega-ship option is the permanent relocation of Mariner of the Seas to the West Coast by Royal Caribbean. For about $3300 per person, you can leave earlier and take 46 days to sail from Port Canaveral to Los Angeles. The departure date is January 4, 2009 - start packing!
On the way to the continent you see St Martin, St Kitts and Barbados before you reach Salvador, Brazil. You spend the night in Rio de Janeiro, although you do arrive at 3:00 p.m. Next you see Montevideo, Uruguay and then proceed to Buenos Aires, where you also spend the night.
You cruise around Cape Horn and land the next day in Ushuaia, next comes the Strait of Magellan followed by the Chilean Fjords. You spend a long day in Valparaiso, Chile and then cruise to Arica followed by Lima. Last come Puerto Caldera, Ecuador, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas.
Naturally, both of these cruise also include plenty of days at sea. The good thing is that these are big ships with plenty of activities. Keep in mind that the Royal Caribbean Voyage is in the peak of summer down there, which is an advantage when going to the extreme southerly destinations. The Carnival route will have you in the Chilean Fjords in early April which is getting firmly in the autumn season.
Another advantage of the Royal Caribbean cruise is that balcony cabins are still available for the each of the three separate itineraries required. Just to be clear, both itineraries are actually three separate cruises of 15, 10 and 15 days (Carnival), or 15, 15, and 16 days (Royal Caribbean).
As mentioned, the Mariner of the Seas cruise base rate is $3300 per person, inside cabin but if you want to have a balcony for the entire voyage the cost is $6350 apiece. At $138/day for a balcony cabin, that is a great bargain for the trip of a lifetime.
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