This was my 5 cruise and my parents 9 cruise. The other cruise lines that I've sailed on were Regency Cruises (Regent Sea), Chandris Fantasy (Brittanis), NCL (Norwegian Dynasty), and Celebrity Cruises (Mercury). We booked this cruise through Uniworld, which means that you get tours in each of the ports of call. Gray, our tour guy through Santiago to Buenos Aires was out standing. He gave lectures on what we were going to see and made sure that we got see it all, even on some very tight schedules in some ports. Our hotels in Santiego, Bunes Aires, and Igausa Falls were the Sheraton. I would highly recommend them except the one in Buenes Aires was a zoo, because every ship and some airlines put their passengers there, though it was centraily located in a great spot. We went from Valparizo down through Chilean coast, around the horn, Falkland Islands, Monteveido, and then Buenos Aires. Our first stop was a place called Chacabucca, which is situated between Valparizo and Puerto Monte. We went inland to see beatiful water falls and hade a nice lunch in this town that was surrounded by Mountains. The Chilean Fjords are very beatiful. Some of the Glaciers come over the mountain and down towards the water. We got to go up very close the Glaciers. I didn't get that close on my cruise to Alaska on the Regent Sea. Ushuaia was a nice mountain town that is very cold that gets rain every day, but no snow. The wind is the problem, so dress very warm. We went up into this big park called Tierra Del Fuego. It was quite beatiful. There is a sign in the park that tells you the miles to Alaska. This is the southern most spot in the world. Rounding the Horn was very calm, which was just lucky. The Falklands to me were the best, since I was always interested in the war. They've got a museum on the history of the islands. You can get a book on the war and Anatartica. Punta Madryn we had to drive 3 hours with 1 hour on a dirt road to see the Penguins in a place called Punta Tomba. This is were they go to mate and then have babies and then go back to Anarctica. You go into this park that there in. You walk on paths that you walk by them in bushes or they walk on the path right by you. I got great shots, but if you do this please leave them alone, because after all you are in there envirment, so respect that. Monteviedo was ok. This is were the Argentianes go to vacation, since it is safer for them. Buenes Aires is very nice and it's safe, just be aware of your surrondings and you wont have a problem. We saw were Evita's grave was in this big cemetary. We also saw the memorial for the Falkland Islands war, which isn't discussed at all by any Argentianes. Then we went to Igaussa Falls. The Sheraton is in the park and has a view of the falls. The first day we went on a boat up close to two different falls. Then they take you into the falls and get you soaked. I was sitting in the back of the boat with a water proof wind breaker and had my camera in it with a bag with my sandels in it protecting the outside of my pocket, which saved it because I was drenched. The second day we went on a train that took us farther up to the best falls. You walk on a metal walk way for 25 minutes to see all these falls run into each other. With the rocks and water coming over it was so empressive. Though it was 95 degrees take the walk, it has to be the best in the world I think.
The Norwegian Crown is an older ship that was built in 1988 for Royal Cruise line. The draft is shawlo at 23.8, so it will be bounce around in rough weather,but the plus side is that we were able to get up close to the glaciers and go into Chaccabuca, which can only handle small ships up to this size of 34,252. The cabins our big since she was meant for long distance cruising. There is more than enoug closet space. We had cabins on the starbourd side by the bow. My parents cabin was a little bigger than mine. They both had two port holes. The food was the best I've ever had and yes even beating out the Mercury. The main dinning room had some good food. The Le Bistro (only cover charge restuarant $15) was good. The surprise is Chop Sticks, which is located at the end of the Yacht Club. The Sushi was the equivlant to what we can get at home (San Francisco). The other was the Pasta Cafe, which had out standing Pasta. The Yachtclub is the buffet and it's like all buffets on ships, ok. We didn't have too many problems getting seated in the dinning room. We usually ate at 9:00 PM. It helps if you share a table with someone and then you'll get seated faster. That's the nice thing about Freestyle cruising. We met more passengers that way, instead of just knowing our 109 Uniworld passengers. If your panicking about missing the shows don't. You can go before dinner our later in the evening. The comedian was funny, but can't remember his name. The Jean Ann Ryan company is a miss. The dancers were alright, but the woman lead singer had a high tone voice and the guy couldn't carry one tune. The best entertainer was John Maxtone Graham a ship historian. Listing to his lectures on the old days of cruising is interesting to hear. I recommend his books very highly (The Only Way to Cross, Liners to the Sun, and QM2). There is only one swimming pool. In rough water the water easily spills onto the deck. Yes, there is crowding here if lounge chairs are out, but being mostly cold on this trip we could only use it towards Monteviedo. There is also a full rap around promanade deck that shrinks up by the bow and is a little small.
The captain Emil Holthe was by far the best captain I've ever had. He first started out with Royal Viking Line. He was very funny and very friendly towards me. I also had a very nice conversation with John the security officer who had some interesting stories. As for the cruise staff, this is were the ship bombs! I'm 36 years old and I work in a customer service job. I like to talk to the crew and hear storeis about what goes on the ship. This department is under staff and it was a let down for me. The cruise director Soozy, walked right by me one night in the top of the Crown lounge (great views of the ocean) though I was sitting by myself. I didn't even get a high to me. I did try to make attempts to hang out with the Jean Ann Ryan company girls, who help fill in as cruise staff, but every attempt I made to hang out with them failed. So, I went to bed after dinner, even though I was on vacation and I saved my own money from work for a year to take this cruise.
Over all the trip was outstanding. I would highly recommend the ship. There are ficilitys for teens and kids, but being a small ship I wouldn't recommend it. The ship is more for adults, which it was built for. I think that anyone booked on this ship will have a good time, though you might just have to create your own entertainment like I did. As for Norwalk the ship had it and my dad got it and mom slightly. I didn't get it. The other ships that we saw were Infinity (which had 600 cases of Norwalk), Royal Princess, Maximum Gorky, Silver Wind, Amsterdam, and Seven Seas Mariner.