Thursday January 4, 2018
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Today we board our flight to Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. As we cross the International Date-Line in the Pacific Ocean getting there, we will actually arrive on the same date that we depart Australia. After clearing Customs we will be transferred to our hotel, with free time to relax and enjoy getting used to being somewhere different!
Friday January 5, 2018
Interestingly, Buenos Aires has been dubbed the “Paris of South America.” One writer described it as having “seductive charm.” On our tour of this fascinating, South American city, we travel down 9 de Julio Avenue – said to be the widest avenue in the world, passing some of the city’s important buildings – the famous Colon Opera House, the Obelisk, commemorating the founding of the city in 1536 to get to Plaza de Mayo, Government House, the Metropolitan Cathedral, with the mausoleum of General Jose de San Martin – one of Argentina’s greatest independence heroes and political leaders. From there, we head into La Boca, intriguingly, a “typically Italian” quarter where Argentina’s first Italian immigrants settled. These days it’s known for its colourful houses, tango-dancing and its soccer team. We continue our tour to the city’s port area and onto Palermo Chico a “cool” residential district, a favourite haunt with plenty of cafés, bars, restaurants galleries, shops and artisan markets. Nearby Palermo is another trendy barrio, “almost devoid of history.” Our tour ends in the elegant Recoleta district and a visit to the tomb of “Evita” – the infamous late Eva Peron. Suggest the relatively unusual experience of a genuine Italian trattoria meal somewhere in the Palermo area. Palermo, by the way, is also the name of the island province of Sicily!
Saturday January 6, 2018
Today George will take us on a visit to a ranch on the Pampas, South America’s fertile grassland plains – to experience some of the heritage of this country, including an authentic Argentinean BBQ – arguably a BBQ like no other in the world. We also see a group of Gauchos (legendary Argentinean cowboys) show their prowess at throwing bolas (balls connected by strong cord used to catch cattle)and, lassoing. Originally, gauchos roamed most of Argentina and also much of Brazil and Uruguay. There’s an entire genre of dances, folktales, songs and even words exclusive to the gaucho culture. Late, we will be transferred to the port to board the MS Zaandam. We don’t depart until the following evening, making it possible to go ashore to explore the exuberant night life of enthralling Buenos Aires.
Sunday January 7, 2018
A free day to enjoy, relax and shop in the city. This evening, join George at our welcome drinks to celebrate the start of our fabulous adventure to Antarctica.
Monday January 8, 2018
Today, we arrive in Montevideo the capital of Uruguay often referred to as the “Switzerland of South America.” Geographically, Lonely Planet cleverly described this small country as “wedged like a grape between Brazil’s gargantuan thumb and Argentina’s long forefinger.” We have a sightseeing tour of the city with its blend of traditional and European architecture. We will visit the Old Town of Ciudad Vieja, the city’s cultural heart.
Tuesday January 9, 2018
This morning enjoy the facilities of the ship. In the afternoon, join George for a free-ranging discussion about his colourful life in the media.
Wednesday January 10, 2018
Puerto Madryn, Argentina
Today we tie up at Puerto Madryn in mind-boggling region of Patagonia, the province of Chubut to be precise. Taking in both Argentina and Chile, at ‘the south of the world’, Patagonia is one of those places that has the lot – immense natural beauty, vast plains, forests, lakes, snow-capped mountains, fertile valleys, ocean shores and glaciers! We will visit nearby Peninsula Valdés, a wildlife sanctuary for birds and marine species, including rheas, oystercatchers, flamingos, egrets, whales, sea elephants, sea lions and many other species of wildlife. In addition, Puerto Madryn itself has an interesting history. Long after Spanish explorers landed, this area, surprisingly, was settled by Welsh colonists.
Thursday January 11, 2018
A day at sea to enjoy the facilities of the ship. In the afternoon, we join George for a discussion about the Falkland Islands – or the Malvinas as the Argentinians still prefer to call them. George tells us he actually covered the Falklands War from the Argentinian view of that curious geo-political crisis that involved a military-naval skirmish with Margaret Thatcher’s forces.
Friday January 12, 2018
Stanley, Falkland Islands
Today, we arrive in Stanley, the capital of an archipelago of more than 700 islands that make up the Falklands, located off the east coast of South America. This quaint seaside town is dotted with colourfully painted houses, small shops and restaurants and a truly unique scenic landscape. On our sightseeing tour we will see the traditional British charm that is preserved in this overseas territory of the United Kingdom. We will see Stanley House, the only brick house in town and Government House, the home of the islands’ governor and beautiful flower gardens. We also take in some sights from the nasty 10-week Falklands conflict in 1982.
Saturday January 13, 2018
Today we have a day at sea to enjoy the facilities of the ship.
Sunday January 14, 2018
After 10 absorbing days of travel and on-board relaxing, we’re in the Antarctic, starting with Antarctic Sound, a body of water about 50kms long and anything from 11 to 19kms wide. Cruise ships have been visiting this part of Antarctica for more than 10 years, The Sound separates the Joinville Island group from the northeast end of the Antarctic Peninsula. Any idea why these amazing Antarctic bodies of water happen to be called “sounds”?
Monday January 15, 2018
Waking again to snow on the railings, we begin to pass one iceberg then another. Onboard, over these few days viewing the Antarctic region, expert lectures are on offer for those who prefer staying indoors. Or, despite the potentially icy winds, you may find it hard to resist the lure of remaining outdoors all day to absorb the beauty of this area.
Tuesday January 16, 2018
The Danco Coast, Antarctica
A highlight of the trip! The mainland of Antarctica. View the spectacular Antarctic scenery of icebergs and ice-covered mountains rising out of the ocean. The Danco Coast is the portion of the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula between Cape Sterneck and Cape Renard. This coast was first explored in 1898 by a Belgian expedition who named it after Emile Danco, who died during the expedition. History is easier to comprehend as we witness this rugged geography.
Wednesday January 17, 2018
The Palmer Archipelago, Antarctica
Today, we see the first islands in Antarctica. The scenery is spectacular! We cruise through the Palmer Archipelago, also known as Antarctic Archipelago, a group of islands off the north-western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. It extends from Tower Island in the north to Anvers Island in the south and is separated by the Gerlache and Bismarck Straits.
Thursday January 18, 2018
This afternoon join George for a discussion about the Antarctic section of our cruise – how it met with your expectations? What thoughts did it stir? What will be your lasting recollections of this unique part of our excursion to the bottom of planet Earth? Disappointments? Photographs? Penquins? experiences still ahead of us!
Friday January 19, 2018
Cape Horn, Argentina
We continue our journey through Drake Passage, then around the bottom of South America, past the tip of the continent. This deep waterway connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and traversing the full 600kms is regarded as “what it’s like to cross the world’s roughest seas”! But, don’t worry, we won’t be making that bit of the journey! That said, Cape Horn – the southernmost tip of South America – remains a maritime legend. Sailing around this remote point has always been regarded as one of the most challenging nautical routes on the planet with big seas and unpredictable conditions.
Saturday January 20, 2018
This morning we arrive in Ushuaia, for all the obvious reasons known as the “City on the bottom of the World”. Located on the island of Tierra del Fuego (“Land of Fire”) it’s a breathtaking landscape, known for its plains surrounded by snow-capped mountains. After disembarking, we take a sightseeing tour of the city and the surrounding Tierra del Fuego National Park to marvel at its endless nature and ever-changing geography. George, pretty much a peripatetic professional traveller for 40 years, tells us that since he was kid he’s had a bucket-list that includes this amazing place nick-named “The End of the World”! We cruise through Cockburn Channel – not named after Kirsty, George’s partner – a strait in the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago on the extreme southern tip of South America, partly in Chile and partly in Argentina. We then enter Beagle Channel (with its tell-tale Charles Darwin connections) about 240 kilometres long and at its narrowest point only about 5 kilometres wide. It extends east to Darwin Sound and Cook Bay in the west. Glacier Alley is literally embedded in the Darwin Range on the north-west arm of the Beagle Channel. From a lookout at Pia Glacier, we have a spectacular view of the entire glacier tongue, stretching from high in the mountains all the way to the sea. Prepare to hear thunderous noises caused by large masses of ice cracking and dropping into the bay. Weather permitting, we will sail past glaciers such as Italia, Holanda, Alemania, Francia and Romanche, among others.
Sunday January 21, 2018
Punta Arenas, Chile
Early next morning, we arrive back in Chile at Punta Arenas, its most southerly city with a deep sheep farming history, as it is surrounded by Patagonian grazing plains. On our tour we explore the town lined by the impressive townhouses of the sheep barons and the tree-lined Plaza de Armas Square and La Cruz Hill. Back on board, we cruise through the Straits of Magellan, a 580km strait named for the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, who famously discovered a way to circumnavigate the globe. We’ll retrace Magellan’s route as we make the only natural crossing available between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans – with the notable alternative, of course, being the mechanised Panama Canal, far to the north of South America, indeed, in Central America!
Monday January 22, 20
Chilean Fjords & Canal Samiento
The goal of these 2 days of cruising is to sight the Amalia Glacier, which we’re assured is a highlight of a memorable few days of natural beauty all around us. In the central Southern Patagonian Ice Fields, the Amalia descends from the Andes Mountains and sits towering above the sea (and us). Here’s a bit of fascinating natural science – the glacier’s immense weight causes the oxygen to be pressed out of the ice, giving it a startlingly beautiful crystalline appearance. Amalia is hailed as one of three spectacular glaciers that are genuine once-ina- lifetime sights. Cruising through the Tierra del Fuego gives us a chance to witness what some observers have poetically described as these “ethereal blue glaciers of Canal Sarmiento.
Tuesday January 23, 2018
Today, we continue cruising through the Chilean Fjords stretching from the Strait of Magellan to Puerto Montt, some of the most magnificent fjords in the world. As your eyes work their way up the jagged walls of mammoth glaciers, you may also be rewarded with an Andean condor sighting. As you’re probably aware, the condor is the largest flying bird in the world! On the ocean’s surface, the Magellan penguins always put on a good show.
Wednesday January 24, 2018
Puerto Chacabuco, Chile
Along the wild western coast of Chile’s fjord land, 400kms south of Puerto Montt, Patagonian ice-sheets fall into the sea in neon blue splendour. One of the last frontiers, there are few such remote and underdeveloped places left on a battling planet than Puerto Chacabuco. On our tour, we’ll also enjoy the Rio Simpson National Reserve 37kms west of the town Coyhaique, providing us with yet another opportunity to enjoy Chile’s remote natural beauty – canyon rivers, valleys, beaches, waterfalls and forests. Getting close to the end of our South American journey, Coyhaique also has a craft market selling handmade items.
Thursday 25 January, 2018
Castro, Isla Chiloe, Chile
Today we arrive at Castro on the Isla Chiloe. Although it’s only a 30-minute ferry crossing away from mainland Chile across the Chacao Channel, verdant Isla Chiloe – is the largest in the Chiloe archipelago and we will visit some of its cluster of wooden churches with UNESCO World Heritage status. Traditional local houses on stilts are called palafitos and they dot the island’s shores. Nearby Chiloe National Park is a natural biosphere sheltering foxes, sea lions and otters.
Friday January 26, 2018
Puerto Montt, Chile
This morning we wake cruising Reloncavi Sound, a body of water located immediately south of Puerto Montt, Chile, the place where geologists tell us the “Intermediate Depression” falls into the Pacific Ocean. It’s also an ideal place to catch a glimpse of three volcanoes, Mounts Osorno, Calbuco and in the distance, Puntiagudo. Arriving in Puerto Montt, the heart of the Chilean Lakes District, we’ll tour the surrounding lake region – another unspoiled Chilean national park.
Saturday January 27, 2018
This is our last day at sea, one to relax and enjoy the facilities of our “temporary floating South American home”!
Sunday January 28, 2018
After disembarking, we will take a tour of Chile’s capital city, Santiago, including the Civic Centre, La Moneda Presidential Palace, the Plaza de Armas, the main square. We’ll head towards the Bellavista district, home to many of Santiago’s artisans, lined with galleries, open-air cafés and restaurants. The lookout on San Cristobal Hill, its tallest peak, has a wonderfully panoramic view of the city. Later, we will be transferred to the airport for our return flight to Australia.
Monday January 29, 2018
Tuesday January 30, 2018
Having crossed the International Date Line east to west we lose a day and arrive in Australia today. “What an unforgettable geographic and cultural journey!
OPTIONAL PRE-CRUISE TOUR
IGUAZU FALLS & RIO DE JANEIRO
Saturday December 30, 2017
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Today we board for flight to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As we cross the International Date-Line we will arrive in Rio de Janeiro on the same day that we depart. After clearing Customs we will be transferred to our hotel. We will have free time to relax. Rio has one of the most spectacular settings of any city in the world. This tropical cocktail in paradise can leave you punch-drunk. It is a little cheeky, but according to Brazilians, God made the world in 6 days and devoted the 7th to Rio!
Sunday December 31, 2017
Rio de Janeiro
Today will be stunningly spectacular – definitely check your camera before you leave! Visits to the world famous Impanema and Copacabana beaches will be followed by a visit to Rio’s modern Cathedral, the 17th century Saint Benedict Monastery’s Church, Sambadrome, home to the famous carnival parade and 250 year old artistic bohemian neighbourhood of Santa Tereza. Our guide will take us on a memorable visit to the thrilling Corcovado, a mountain 710 metres above sea level, with a sheer granite face topped with the prodigious Cristo Redenator statue, rising more than 130 feet and weighing more than 635 tonnes. A rack-and-pinion train will take us to the statue which in 2007 was declared one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and will provide magnificent 360 degree views. We then take the two-stage cable car, spanning 1,400 metres, to Sugar Loaf Mountain, a massive granite boulder 396 metres above the harbour for another amazing view. Tonight is New Year’s Eve and promises to be an unforgettable evening.
Monday January 1, 2018
Rio de Janeiro
Today will be a free day for some sightseeing and shopping
Tuesday January 2, 2018
Iguazu Falls, Argentina
This morning we arrive at the Iguazu National Park, (Brazil side) on the border of Argentina and Brazil and coach across to the Argentina side where we will spend the next two days exploring one of nature’s great wonders of the world. Upon arrival we are transferred to our hotel. Be prepared to get wet as our guide takes us on a tour of the falls. We will probably see some of the 2,000 species of butterflies that inhabit the park as we take the new Eco electric train around the top of the falls to see the Devil’s Throat, a u-shaped cliff, 150 metres wide and 700 metres long, where the fall of water is impressive for its staggering strength and power. We experience the Gran Aventura consisting of a fantastic open wagon trip through the jungle that finishes with an exciting boat ride up to the falls. Today will be a wonderful opportunity to view the extensive range of wild flowers, orchids and bromeliads within the park. Legend has it that a god intended to marry a beautiful aborigine called Naipu, who then fled in a canoe with her mortal lover. The angry god then sliced the river in two, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall.
Wednesday January 3, 2018
We travel by coach across the border to Brazil today. Our guide takes us on an exhilarating walking tour on the Brazilian side of the Iguazu Falls, where many observation decks provide breathtaking panoramic views. Our tour will conclude on a platform literally within a hands reach of the falls, whilst an adjacent elevator can take us up to a viewing tower, undoubtedly one of the greatest natural phenomena on our planet. Eleanor Roosevelt allegedly said that they make Niagara Falls look like a “leaky faucet”. The pounding of nearly 300 waterfalls with heights averaging 70 meters is deafening – remember to bring the ear-plugs! Remainder of the day is at leisure.
Thursday January 4, 2018
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Today we have free time to walk around the Falls area or relax in the hotel when we depart Iguazu for Buenos Aires, known as the “Paris of South America” to join the main tour group. Before arriving at the airport we drive through the town of Iguazu to visit the point where we get a wonderful view across the Iguazu River and see three countries Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
OPTIONAL POST-CRUISE TOUR
CUSCO AND MACHU PICCHU - lost city of the Incas
Sunday January 28, 2018
This morning we are transferred to the airport for our flights to Cusco, Peru. On arrival into Cusco, often referred to as the ‘Archaeological Capital of the Americas’ the group will be transferred to our hotel and the rest of the day will be free to relax and acclimatize to the altitude.
Monday January 29, 2018
Sacred Valley, Peru
Today we take a tour to the Sacred Valley of the Incas outside Cusco. We visit the ancient town of Pisac and see its colourful Indian market and the great Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo, an elegant and intricate granite complex of temples, baths and impressive military installations before we return to Cusco.
Tuesday January 30, 2018
Today we have a sightseeing tour of the historic city of Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incas. You will see the enormous monolith blocks of stone out of which the city has been constructed. We will visit the centre of the city, the Plaza de Armas, known in Inca times as Huancaypata, once the centre of the Empire. We see the cathedral that was built on the Palace of Inca Viracocha. We see the Santo Domingo Church that was once the Temple of the Sun, the most important and magnificent religious complex under the Incas. The walls, which mainly still exist, were covered with gold. We will also see the ancient monolithic fortress of Sacasayhuaman, where one of the last battles between the Incas and Spanish took place.
Wednesday January 31, 2018
Machu Picchu, Peru
Today we visit the famed UNESCO World Heritage lost city of Machu Picchu. Discovered by the archeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911, this spectacular ancient city is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. You will be in the presence of one of the most powerful and mysterious places on earth. We have a guided tour of the site and see the Temple of the Three Windows, the Sacred Plaza and the Astronomical Observatory. The highlight of the trip! Later in the afternoon we return to Cusco by train.
Thursday February 1, 2018
We have a free morning before transferring to the airport for our flight to Lima. On arrival we will be transferred to our hotel.
Friday February 2, 2018
The morning is free for some independent sightseeing before we are transferred to the airport for our return flight to Australia.
Saturday February 3, 2018
Sunday February 4, 2018
Having crossed the International Date Line east to west we lose one day and we arrive into Australia today and the tour package concludes.