If you’re having a hard time deciding on a warm, tropical vacation or a winter wonderland adventure, there’s no need to choose on a cruise to South America. From the balmy climes of the Amazon to the fjords of Chile and beyond, packing your bags for the 68-day Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage in 2015 is as diverse as the voyage itself. So grab your swimsuit and sweater and come along on this circumnavigation that crosses the equator and touches both hemispheres.
Prinsendam departs Jan. 3, 2015, on the 68-day itinerary that is roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. During the voyage, the ship will call at 31 ports in 11 countries, including spending seven full days cruising the Amazon River and three days of dramatic scenic cruising in Antarctica.
After passing through the Panama Canal, Prinsendam will reach South America’s Pacific coast and continue south to Manta, Ecuador. Guests can visit Quito for the day or explore Bahia de Caraquez with plantations of bananas, rice, onions and mangos, as well as a dry tropical forest and a cloud forest. For nature lovers, an overland to the Galapagos Islands is a dream. Here, see the giant tortoise, blue-footed boobies and more.
The ship then makes way to Peru with calls at Salaverry (Trujillo), General San Martin and two full nights at Callao (Lima). The two-night call allows guests to take an overland tour to Cuzco and Machu Picchu. Guest “Luckyduck” took the shore excursion and had this to say:
If you get anywhere on the Pacific side of South America, this is a must do. The tour guides were top rate and handle all questions we had and were extremely knowledgeable. The hotel in Cuzco had oxygen available if needed. I didn’t need it and had no problem with the altitude, although others may. The meals were outstanding with a good sampling of Peruvian cuisine. This trip also included tours in Lima with a museum stop with Inca artifacts. — Guest Luckyduck
Five calls throughout Chile provide an excellent glimpse into the country’s culture and history. Guests will visit Coquimbo (La Serena), Isla Robinson Crusoe, Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas and spend an overnight at Valparaiso (Santiago). Rarely visited, Isla Robinson Crusoe was originally named Juan Fernández Island, and it was here that the sailor Alexander Selkirk was marooned in 1704 and lived in solitude for over four years. This inspired Daniel Defoe to write the classic novel, Robinson Crusoe. To reflect the literary lore associated with the island, the Chilean government named the location Robinson Crusoe Island in 1966. Today the island is a World Biosphere Reserve and home to the Magellanic Penguin and Juan Fernández Firecrown, an endangered red hummingbird.
A highlight of exploring this region is scenic cruising past the Romanche and Alemania glaciers in Chile, Drake Passage, Cape Horn and Argentina’s Glacier Alley. The ship then spends three days visiting the pristine waters of Antarctica with scenic cruising around the Palmer Archipelago, Danco Coast and Antarctic Sound.
Prinsendam then begins its journey north back to the tropics up the coast of the Atlantic side of the continent. Following a call at the Falkland Islands, the ship visits Montevideo and Punta Del Este in Uruguay, and guests enjoy an overnight at Buenos Aires where there’s time to take in a live tango show or go overland to Iguazu Falls.
Brazil takes center-stage on the remainder of the voyage with 11 calls that include two overnights. The ship first visits Santos before spending the night at Rio de Janeiro. One of the most culturally rich cities in the world, guests can visit Sugarloaf, Corcovado, the famous beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, and even take in a Samba show. Next on the itinerary are calls at Ilheus, Salvador de Bahia, Maceio, Recife and Natal. Once the ship crosses the equator, the Amazon River exploration begins. Along the way, the ship calls at Santarem, Boca da Valeria, Parintins and Manaus at the heart of the river. Guests spend an overnight at Manaus, allowing the opportunity to take in a performance at the famed Teatro Amazonas Opera House.
The Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage concludes with calls at French Guiana, Barbados and St. Thomas. And for those who have less time on their hands, segments of 31 and 37 days between Fort Lauderdale and Buenos Aires are available.
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If you’re taking any South America cruise that visits these ports, the shore excursions can be pre-booked so you get the tour of your choice.