Chilean Fjords, Antarctica and Falklands - Great Explorers and Wildlife
Thursday, December 26, 2019 – Sunday, January 12, 2019
Ship: MS Roald Amundsen
General Comments: All transfers with guides, on buses or vans were well administered. Hostesses at the pre and post hotel the Intercontinental in Santiago de Chile were very helpful and virtually there early morning to late evening. My husband, who left his hearing aids in our room actually got them back. They were waiting for him on our return with his name in giant letters. You could not have asked for any better organization. An additional guard for luggage security was present. In most cases the luggage was transferred with the passengers. Water, coffee and tea with snacks was available as well as an early morning breakfast on the day we had our flights to Punta Arenas.
Pre and Post Hotel: The Intercontinental Santiago de Chile was excellent. Breakfasts which were included were substantial and of good quality. Omelets were an option if you wanted one. The hotel bar food and drinks were very good, especially the pizza with everything on it and the vodka martini’s.
Flights: On American, non stop Dallas to Santiago de Chile operated without issues. However, it would be our opinion that offering a cocktail to premium economy passengers and then serving them dinner before they could even drink that cocktail needs to be changed. Being an ex stewardess, unless things have changed, the head stewardess determines how the flight will be worked. In this instance if you wanted a glass of wine with dinner, well that was not going to happen.
Latam Charter Flights: Flights were without issue. The food was horrible. Half a loaf of bread with no mayo or mustard. I ended up cutting mine in thirds and putting all of the meat and cheese on the sandwich on that third. We were given a container of jelly, butter, crackers and unripened fruit. Ugh!
Ship: MS Roald Amundsen, a hybrid ship, I believe the first of it’s kind. I was fascinated with what our ship could do. No anchors, the captain just told the computer to stay there and it did. Propellers that have the ability to go 360 degrees so the ship can back up, turn left or right or whatever the captain desires. An incredible vessel. Battery and diesel powered. Each night the expedition team would tell us what plan “A” would be for the next day. Mind you they had plans’ A, B, C and D if we needed them. Lucky us we did plan “A” everyday and had beautiful, sunny days and around 30 degrees of summer weather. The expedition team gave us talks on explorers, whaling, penguins, whales, icebergs. We all came back so much smarter. Every morning the expedition team would scout out the site for that days landing, also having enough emergency supplies on hand in case we had to spend the night on shore due to some freak weather event. We would go ashore in zodiacs that held 14 people and the ship was divided into teams. No more than 100 people on Antarctica at a time so we would start going ashore at 10 or 11 and that would continue until 4 or 5pm with people coming and going. When we returned to the ship our special Muc boots would be washed by brushes we stepped into and then we would step into an anti-bacterial wash for the bottoms. Hurtigruten is extremely careful not to impact Antarctica in any way. When we arrived on board if you had new clothes all was good, if you were wearing previously worn items they had to be taken to a special area where all the seams, pockets and hiding places would be vacuumed, no hitchhiking bacteria on Antarctica. You could also kayak, spend the night on Antarctica and do the polar plunge if you were so inclined.
Let me first say this ship is worthy a five star rating, unfortunately food on board for the most part deserves a three star rating. I hope they will work to improve the restaurant venues. In spite of the restaurant foods, I would highly recommend this ship and sailing to all my friends. The chef prepared a hot soup every day and all of these were delicious. We also were treated to a pasta dish of the day which was also yummy. The cold sea foods were plentiful and of good quality. If you wanted to have smoked salmon three times a day you could, and my husband usually did. The Lindstrom was promoted as their best restaurant but in my opinion the food was uninspired in preparation and presentation. Their most interesting offering being a starter called Smoked Shrimp which when opened smoke came forth. Very clever. This kitchen would benefit from serving aged beef in it's steak offerings. The best dish was a duck breast which would have been better with a seared exterior and keeping a medium rare interior still pink. The Aune was the main dining restaurant and was fair except with casserole prepared dishes that were allowed to dry out to the elements and so become rather unappetizing. The Fredheim was where one could get a hamburger if you just had to have one. Of course, you could not have fries or potato chips but instead were offered a baked potato with your burger. Bizarre to say the least. I am a graduate of Cordon Bleu Paris with a Grand Diplome, it is my opinion that the Lindstrom would benefit from either smaller plates for the main course or adding more to the presentation so the whole doesn't appear as not enough food on the plate. Enough about food.
This Hybrid ship and it's crew gave us 110% every day. You need to put this trip on your to do list.
Category XY Arctic Superior with an extra large balcony because it was a handicap cabin. 205 sq feet. Queen bed, mini bar, tea and coffee kettle. water, . Shower only Desk and one chair, stool, down bedding. I thought there was wasted space that could have contained more storage. We were not handicapped but did have this cabin. Black out curtains. Balcony two deck chairs and a table.
Nine landing and exploration on the Antarctica peninsula, also the Falklands.