For the past several years, Matt has been talking
about wanting to visit Machu Picchu. Whenever we look at cruises, they
seem to stop in Lima for one night, not allowing enough time to go there,
as it usually takes 2-3 days to go inland, visit Machu Picchu and return.
When we were searching Regent cruises which start in Lima, we looked
at their pre-cruise offers and found that Machu Picchu was offered as part
of the 3 day land adventure. So it was time to start the process.
April 8, 2016
Looking ahead to end of Matt's Nursing
School Program, we decided to do another cruise. Regent released their
2018 schedule and we found a back-to-back cruise that would allow us to
start the cruise with a visit to Machu Picchu, which is on our list of
things we really want to do in our lifetime.
April 11, 2016
A call to Brenda at Travel Leaders in
South Dakota, and the gears are in motion.
April 13, 2016
Cruise is booked. We will be in cabin
1002 (see photo page).
October 19, 2016
Regent has changed the itinerary a bit.
Due to "the poor Matarani Port Infrastructure", they cancelled the
Arequipa, Peru stop on January 25th and made it a Sea Day.
November 18, 2016
Regent has decided to dry dock the
Mariner in 2018 and have cancelled the Rio de Janeiro to Miami portion of
the cruise. They are going to Barcelona for the dry dock instead. We did
not want to do that, so we cancelled that part of the cruise and will fly
to Miami for a few days, then join the Regent Explorer for a 20 day Miami
to Miami cruise.
April 28, 2017
The flights have been booked. We will be
flying from Sacramento to Los Angeles, then taking a non-stop flight (8 1/2
hours) from Los Angeles to Lima.
Once we finish the cruise in Rio de Janeiro, we will have an early
afternoon non-stop flight (9 hour) to Miami.
May 27, 2017
We made our excursion requests. We received
all of our first choices:
||Nazca Lines Overflight
||Hammerstone & Pintados Geoglyphs
||Conquimbo & La Serna
||Valparaiso Port & Heritage
||Osorno Volcano, Petrohue Falls & Puerto Varas
||Full Day Patagonia Nature In-Depth
||Magdalena Island & Penguin Reserve
||Penguin Rockery Navigation
|Punta Del Este
||Sea Wolves Island
||Tigre Delta & River Cruise
||Highlights of Buenos Aires
||City Highlights & Uruguayan Beer
|Punta Del Este
||(On our own)
||Sights of Rio Grande
||Best of Santos & Guaruja
||Schooner & Snorkeling Adventure
||Atlantic Forest By 4-Wheel Drive
||Buzios Highlights...then...Beach & Swim By Schooner
|Rio de Janeiro
||The Best of Rio
October 24, 2017
Specialty restaurant dinner reservations
and one final excursion day opened up and we got the excursion and dinner
dates we wanted. Everything is now done for this cruise! Now to finish the
Caribbean Cruise details, which will be available to take care of on
January 19, 2018 - Flight to Peru
We were picked up by Vintage Limousine
Service (in their SUV, as requested) at 10 AM and taken to the Sacramento
Airport for our flight to Los Angeles. When we arrived American Airlines
had to run my passport 3 times and got a code they ha never seen that
seemed to make me not exist. They did, however, get our bags...and
us...through. We did make a call to Brenda at Travel Leaders, who called
Regent (who our flights are booked through) and they seem to think
everything will be alright. We are hoping it is just an American Airline
The flight was an hour and a half on a small commuter plane and we were in
Los Angeles just after 3:00. We had to catch a shuttle bus between
American Airline terminals, then walk to the International terminal. Once
there, we did a money exchange to get some Peruvian Sol. We then went to
the One World lounge to wait for the 7:30 boarding time. The flight to
Peru is scheduled for 8:30 PM with a 7:50 AM expected arrival time
January 20, 2018 - Lima, Peru
The flight was very nice with dinner
served an hour and a half after departure and breakfast 2 hours before
arrival. That only left 3 hours to sleep. Not quite enough for a full day.
We arrived in Lima on time and went through customs and baggage claim
quite quickly. We were met by our Regent representative and we were
transported by van to the Country Club Lima Hotel with arrival at the
Hotel around 9. There were only 6 of us in the van, so it was quite
comfortable and our representative gave us an overview of the area while
we drove. Check-in was quick and we took advantage of early check-in, so
got our room right away. This is a very nice hotel, one of the better ones
provided by Regent. The hotel was built in 1927 and is a Cultural
Monument. It is decorated with over 300 pieces of art and colonial
furniture that is on loan from the Pedro de Osma Museum.
We had a snack at the Starbucks next to the hotel,
then went for a 10 minute walk to Huaca Huallamarca, an archaeological
site. It was one of the main settlements of the Pinazo cultural tradition
of the central Peruvian coast and its construction dates approximately
from the 1st century BC . It was abandoned in the third century of our era
and turned into a cemetery. Burials corresponding to the Lima , Huaura,
Sicán, Chincha and Ychsma cultures have been found .
In the 1950s it was rebuilt by Arturo Jiménez Borja.
Back to the hotel to repack all of our suitcases. We had to pack things
into 3 types of bags: our main bags that are staying here in Lima and
being delivered directly to the ship), a carry-on bag that goes with us to
Cusco, but gets delivered directly to the hotel and a small personal bag
of items that we will need tomorrow during our tour of Cusco.
We finished the evening by having dinner at the Delfines Hotel, right across the street from our hotel. They have a nice
glass domed dining area.
January 21, 2018 - Cusco, Peru
It was a 5:00 wake-up call and 6:00
breakfast before meeting at 7:00 for our bus ride to the airport. Once
there, we found out our flight had been cancelled and the guides went into
overdrive and got us all booked onto 3 different flights to Cusco, with
them all being within an hour of each other. We lucked out and got on the
first flight with good seats. Once in Cusco, we took small busses (ours
with 12 people), to our first stop, Sacsayhuman fortress. We went here
first as it looked like it would rain in a few hours. The fortress was the
historic capital of the Inca Empire. Sections were first built by the
Killke culture about 1100; they had occupied the area since 900. The
complex was expanded and added to by the Inca from the 13th century; they
built dry stone walls constructed of huge stones. The workers carefully
cut the boulders to fit them together tightly without mortar. The site is
at an altitude of 12,142 ft.
I should mention here that I am having no problems with the altitude, but
Matt is having a bit of a problem breathing....he won't die.
We then had lunch at a local restaurant. They happened to serve the same
exact beef dinner that I had last night. It was good here too, and their
banana dessert was very good.
After lunch it began to rain and by the time we finished our last tour, it
was a downpour.
We next stopped at the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption.
It was completed in 1654, almost a hundred years after construction began.
No photos were allowed in the Cathedral.
Finally we visited the Koricancha Temple. It was the most important temple
in the Inca Empire. The walls were once covered in sheets of gold, and its
adjacent courtyard was filled with golden statues. The walls that remain
are still the original ones.
Once our tour was finished we were taken to Hotel Monasterio which was
built in 1595, and became a seminary in 1598. It was damaged in an
earthquake in 1650. It is built on the site of an Incan palace. It became
a hotel in 1996. It has a remarkable collection of colonial artwork from
the 18th century. This includes the artwork in each of the rooms. We have
a very nice room with an outdoor courtyard and 4 pieces of artwork.
We walked around the neighborhood for a bit trying to find a few toiletry
items for Matt, with no luck. Back to the room to iron clothes for the
next 2 days, then off to the restaurant for a group dinner. It included
pumpkin soup (which we had as part of our lunch), rolled chicken with
vegetables and a warm apple and pear dessert.
We finished at 9:00 and were ready for bed after a long day....even a
longer one tomorrow.
January 22, 2018 - Machu Picchu, Peru
We awoke at 5:30 to the sound of rain,
had breakfast and got aboard our small busses at 7:30 for a ride to the
Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado train station to board the Hiram Bingham train. We could not begin the
ride in Cusco, as there are small gorges that, during this rainy season,
have the potential of dropping rocks onto the train tracks. This required
an hour and a half ride to get there.
The train ride was amazing, going along the river. Our ride included lunch
Once we arrived at the Machu Picchu station, we were then taken on a 30
minute bus ride to Machu Picchu itself.
When you first see it, it almost takes your breath away. What an amazing
site. We toured the site for just over 2 1/2 hours.
Machu Picchu is an Incan citadel set
high in the Andes Mountains in Peru, above the Urubamba River valley.
Built in the 15th century and later abandoned, it’s renowned for its
sophisticated dry-stone walls that fuse huge blocks without the use of
mortar, intriguing buildings that play on astronomical alignments and
panoramic views. Its exact former use remains a mystery. Although
known locally, it was not known to the Spanish during the colonial period
and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram
Bingham brought it to international attention in 1911.
After our tour, we went to the Belmond Sanctuary Hotel and had tea and
snacks. It was a very nice layout.
Back to the busses for the 30 minute ride back to the train station. Then
aboard the Vista Dome train to the Ollantaytambo Station, then a 2 hour
bus ride back to the hotel. We arrived back at 10:00.
I am so glad that we decided to do the 3 day pre-cruise to be able to see
Machu Picchu....a place I will never forget.
January 23, 2018 - Lima, Peru and
It was a 5:30 wake-up call, breakfast
and 8:10 bus call this morning. After the long day yesterday, it was hard
to get up and going.
We took our small busses to the airport and after waiting for an hour
found out that our flight had been delayed 45 minutes. I guess that is not
bad for LATAM (Latin American Airlines).
We arrived back in Lima just after 12:00 and onto our large busses heading
to the ship. There were 5 large busses all arriving at the same time with
our larger carry-ons spread amongst the busses. Of course, even though we
were the 2nd bus to arrive, our bags were on the 5th bus. We grabbed our
bags and really had no wait to get on the ship. As soon as we were in the
doorway of the ship, Paul Reynolds (our Cruise Director who I have known
since my very first Regent cruise) was there to greet me.
We proceeded to the theater to check in and get our room key and drop off
our bags in our rooms. Our large bags were already there.
Up to the pool deck for a quick lunch, then back to to the room at 2:30 to
unpack and meet our butler Hari.
By the time we were unpacked, it was time for the 5:15 muster drill.
Back to the room to quickly shower and get ready for dinner, which Paul
has invited us to, so we can get caught up. We had a wonderful time.
We ate in Compass Rose and I had the New Zealand lamb. Of course their
"salt sticks" are what I live for. They are like a bread version of a
small croissant with salt on top.
We checked out the boutique, where he needed to pick up a few items, then
off to the casino for a few minutes to see what they had to offer and to
play a few slot games.
January 24, 2018 - Pisco, Peru
The day began at 6:30 in preparation for
our 8:15 meeting for our tour: NAZCA LINES OVERFLIGHT. It is described
Soar over the mysterious Nazca lines on this enthralling, limited
From the pier it's a 30-minute drive to the Pisco Airport where you will
board your small aircraft that has been selected specifically for optimum
viewing. Once you are ready to go, you will ascend into the skies for a
truly unforgettable flight.
The full impact of the famous Nazca Lines can only be appreciated from the
air. Believed to have been scratched on the surface of the dry Peruvian
Coastal Plain between 500 BC and 500 AD, they remain one of the greatest
enigmas in the field of archaeology. These remarkable drawings that have
been cut into the stony desert floor resemble geometric figures and
various forms, such as a dog, monkey, spider, birds and a tree. Designated
by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, the lines show an understanding of
sophisticated mathematics and surveying techniques, leading many to
question their origin. Theories range from pre-Inca irrigation systems to
pleas from the ancient Peruvians to the gods above to help with their
farming, and even extra-terrestrial intervention. No one knows for sure so
you will have to come to your own conclusion!
Your flight lasts for approximately 100-minutes before touching back down
at the Pisco airport. After a short comfort break at the airport, you'll
re-board your coach and transfer back to the pier.
The tour is exactly as described. We were split into groups of 10 and once
we arrived at the new Pisco Airport (not even open yet, but a very nice
airport terminal), we were weighed and given seat assignments on the
Cessna. It was a 12 seater with one seat on each side of the plane, so
everyone got a window seat. Matt and I got seats on the same side of the
plane, so our photos were pretty much the same. The flight was very smooth, until it came to viewing the lines.
They tilted the plane 45 degrees for one side to see, then turned very
sharply and then tilted for the other side to see. Good thing they
recommended not to have breakfast before the flight.
We were back to port at 12:30 and looked at the vendor stalls set up next
to the ship.
Back onboard, we had lunch in La Veranda and went back to the room. All of
the clothes we sent out for washing and/or pressing was back. That was a
less than 24 hour turn-around. We are not used to getting our clothes back
until 5 or 6 PM.
While Matt was editing his photos for Facebook, I went out to the pool
deck to lay out for an hour. I think I fell asleep out there during that
The butler showed up with the canapés. Tonight's plates were a classic
cheese platter for me and jumbo prawns for Matt.
The ship left port at 5:00, which gave me just enough time to get ready
for the "Block Party". Matt decided not to attend. I like this Regent event. Everyone grabs a wine
glass from their room and goes out into the hallway to meet your
Afterwards, we went to dinner in Compass Rose (the main dining room), and
on to the casino before calling it an early evening.
January 25, 2018 - Sea Day
Finally a day to relax! We got up at
7:30 and went up to La Veranda to have breakfast. From there, we walked
around the upper deck a bit, then
Right before her 10:00 lecture, we went to the theater to say hello to
Terry Breen. She gives lectures for Regent on South America and Alaska. We
have traveled with her twice before, on the Alaska cruise and the Amazon
Matt got some Gorilla Glue from our Butler to fix both my casual belt and
the elastic band that holds my shoe buckle in place (we found out that the
ship is not allowed to sell Super Glue or gum).
At 10:00, I went to the Cruise Critic (an online message board) Meet and
Greet. Cruise Critic and Regent have worked together to put together these
meetings. Only a few of the people who had signed up to be there attended,
but Regent was represented by the Hotel Manager, Cruise Director,
Assistant Cruise Director, Purser, Food and Beverage Manager,
Executive Concierge and Social Director. At least we got to spend some
time talking with them.
I rejoined Matt at 11:00 for Bingo. We got close, but no win.
Lunch followed on the pool deck. Although they put together a South
American BBQ deck side, we opted to get our food from La Veranda and eat
After lunch, I made my way back to the pool deck for some sun, while Matt
got caught up with Facebook and sent his new pair of dress pants out to be
hemmed. Later, he watched a movie while I did some computer work.
As we finished, the doorbell rang and it was time for the canapés. Today's
selection was prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe.
6:00 brought the "Captain's Reception" in the theater. Our Captain is Alvo
Palm from Estonia. I screwed up big time! The problem? I was watching the ship's little clock
in our cabin and after we got down to the theater, we realized the stewardess
did not change the clock one hour ahead last night (as they always do), so
we were an hour late to arrive. All day I had been watching my wristwatch
for time, which has been right.
We were invited to join William Gomez, the Executive Concierge for dinner
in Compass Rose at 7:30, then a visit to the casino and back to the cabin
where we once again, put our clocks ahead one hour. I will be SURE that
the room clock is correct!
Actually, at dinner we mentioned our room clock was not changed. Neither
were the clocks of the other guests at the table. William made a quick
call on the phone to housekeeping to make sure that every steward and
stewardess knew to change them.
January 26, 2018 - Iquique, Chile
Up at 6:45 with breakfast in the room
and then off for our 8:15 tour,
HUMBERSTONE & PINTADOS GEOGLYPHS:
The nearby countryside may seem uninhabitable, but you will discover
otherwise by visiting a former desert mining town and seeing massive
geoglyphs carved by the indigenous people.
Depart from the pier and drive due east into the “pampas” of the Atacama
Desert, one of the driest environs on earth. In the 1830s, the natural
fertilizer nitrate began to be heavily mined here, fueling an economical
boom in Iquique that lasted more than 100 years.
The town of Humberstone was established in this sun-scorched landscape in
1862, drawing thousands of workers until the price of nitrate plummeted. A
ghost town since the factories closed around 1960, Humberstone presents a
fascinating look into a once-thriving desert mining town. Among the
attractions you will see are the workers’ housing, a large movie theater,
general store and even a swimming pool.
Next, it’s on to the surprising and amazing Pintados geoglyphs. Created as
much as 1,500 years ago, they are among the world’s largest displays of
aboriginal art and adorn many of the desert hills. Some of the figures are
geometric, others depict humans and animals, and still others are
abstract. Their exact purpose remains a mystery, but makes for a great
topic of discussion as you drive back to the pier.
along the Pan-American Highway, you will drive through the nearby town of
Pozo Almonte and the Tamarugal Forest, an unexpected sight in this harsh
environment. A stop will be made here to enjoy a box lunch.
It still amazes me how these geoglyphs have lasted all these years (no
rain to wash them away or erode them, although our guide did mention that
a University came to the mountains to brush them off gently to bring back
the contrast of the figures.
While we are in Chile, we must carry a Chilean Affidavit (one sheet of
paper) with us whenever off the ship.
We were back on the ship at 2:30, and after I made a quick run to the pool
deck for an iced tea. We then edited photos and relaxed before dinner.
Tonight's canapés were: Crab Claws for
Matt and the "Vegetarian Temptation" for me.
They will start repeating very soon.
We chose Sette Mari at La Veranda for dinner (the Italian style restaurant),
stopped by the casino for our usual nightly visit and went to the production show "Tuxedo"
(sorry, not so good).
January 27, 2018 - Sea Day
We got up at 7:30. At this point, we
have traveled 950 miles. We decided to have a slower breakfast, so we went
to Compass Rose. Afterwards, we attended a lecture by Terry Breen on "Skywatchers
of Ancient America".
The noontime message from the Captain included an announcement that
several passengers have been struck with gastro problems. We have been
reminded to wash our hands more, etc. We have not seen a lot of changes
onboard yet, but the crew is doing more cleaning.
We played Bingo and I won the first game ($100) and Matt won the last
($150), so that worked out nicely.
Lunch was in La Veranda and we saw a few large schools of fish (tuna or
small dolphins?) near the ship.
After lunch, Matt decided to take a nap and I went down to see how "Name
That Tune" was played. I ended up joining a team of 3 others and we came
in first. Most of the music was pre-70's, but I was able help with quite a
few. They were not the original versions, but more of a karaoke type and
there were 15 songs total. The one we missed was calling "Around the
World", "Around the World in 80 Days". Oh well...14 out of 15 is not bad.
Next up on the itinerary was dinner in Prime 7, the steakhouse. We
followed that with our casino visit, then a movie in the room.
We did notice that the casino has removed the automatic dealer machines
and that the gym was closed.
January 28, 2018 - Coquimbo, Chile
Up at 7:30 with breakfast in the cabin
and an 8:45 meeting time for our 3 hour excursion:
COQUIMBO AND LA SERENA
you drive through downtown Coquimbo, you will pass the Plaza de Armas or
main square, where you will see a mix of colonial and modern architecture.
Continue on to La Herradura. During a brief stop at this seaside resort,
your guide will regale you with legends of pirates and corsairs.
Proceeding along the coast, you will see the old lighthouse, symbol of La
Serena. Then make your way down the lovely tree-lined Francisco de Aguirre
Your next stop is at La Recova Market, where you will have some free time
to browse among handicrafts, pottery, papaya products, semi-precious
stones and alpaca wool handicrafts. Your next stop is La Serena University
and afterwards, you'll enjoy a panoramic view of the city and Coquimbo Bay
before returning to the pier.
was a very short and nice overview tour of the 2 cities. Although there
was a bit of haze for our first stops, it did clear as we went along. We
could not take any photos from the bus as they had not cleaned the windows
and there were large water/dirt streaks on all of them.
At the La Recova Market, we saw a man outside the market selling his
paintings, which he does on several layers of glass and framed. After
visiting the market itself, we went back out and found out that he only
wanted $10 for his works. We chose one of the "Third Millennium Cross" on
the Coquimbo hill that we see outside our cabin.
We got back to the ship at 12:15 and had lunch in La Veranda. Because of
the norovirus outbreak, they are now serving us from the buffet. They are
also leaving all of the public bathroom doors open. They also have crew
members stationed at the hand sanitizer stands as you enter the ship and
at the restaurants to make sure everyone is using them.
Matt watched a few movies in the afternoon while I went up and laid out at
the pool deck, listening to Toni Tennille's autobiography on Audible.
Dinner this evening was in Compass Rose. They did not hand us the regular
menu books, but rather just the paper insert. Also, no salt or pepper
After dinner, we went to the casino, then off to bed.
January 29, 2018 - Santiago de Chile
(San Antonio), Chile
We got to sleep in until 8:30 this
morning as our tour meeting time was not until 10:30. Our tour:
VALPARAISO PORT HERITAGE ROUTE
requires an hour and a half bus ride to and from Valparaiso.
into the fascinating history of Valparaiso by visiting its most
significant landmarks, riding one of the city’s iconic funiculars, and
browsing two museums.
After departing from the pier, you will begin an enlightening and quite
comprehensive tour of Valparaiso, a colonial city with a well-preserved
historical quarter full of late 19th-century architecture. This reverence
for the past has earned the quarter a UNESCO World Heritage Site
designation. Starting off at the old customs building, you will make your
way around the historic quarter in a trolley bus and then stop at the main
square, Plaza Sotomayor. While pausing in Plaza Sotomayor, you will truly
be in the city’s historical heart.
From there, you will ride the funicular El Peral up to Yugoslavo
promenade. There are more than a dozen funiculars throughout Valparaiso,
and this one has been operating since 1901. Upon reaching the promenade,
you will browse the Baburizza Museum, a former Art Nouveau mansion that
now houses an impressive collection of Chilean landscape paintings.
You will enjoy a different view of the Chilean landscape from the
Yugoslavo lookout, which presents a sweeping panorama of Valparaiso. After
riding the funicular back down, you will once again board one of the
heritage trolleys that have been crisscrossing the city since the 1940s.
As you will discover during this excursion, riding a trolley is a great
way to experience daily life in Valparaiso.
Your final stop will be Villa Victoria, a house that one of the wealthiest
women in Valparaiso owned in the 19th century. Now a museum with period
furnishings and costumed guides, it is a wonderful setting for a snack and
tour before you return to the pier.
Everything went smoothly until we got to Villa Victoria. We had walked a
good 10 blocks to get there and once we did, the door was locked. Our
guide rang the bell, made several phone calls and kept ringing the
doorbell. It took a good 10 minutes for the owner to get to the door. Once
she did, she was very mad. She told us another group was in the house
right now and that we had to wait, and she tried to slam the door. Our
guide talked to her, but she still closed the door. A bit later the
husband came to the door and let us in. He explained that they could only
handle one group at a time and was very apologetic. His wife came into the
room and the husband had a chat with his wife and she all of a sudden
quieted down and tried to smile. After the snack, the husband, wife and
one of their children gave us a tour/presentation that was about 20
We arrived back at the ship at 5:30, just in time to get ready for dinner.
Tonight, we had dinner with Paul Reynolds (Cruise Director) and John
Lidbury (Asst. Cruise Director). Another great evening of food and
We followed that with our usual visit to the casino, then off to bed.
January 30, 2018 - At Sea
A needed sea day!
Up at 8:00 with breakfast in La Veranda followed by getting photos and
logs up to date.
We played Bingo at noon followed by lunch in La Veranda and a round of
Back to the cabin to watch a movie, but we napped instead.
It has really cooled down outside. We have a steady 32 mph wind and high
of 53. No laying out by the pool or balcony time today!
As we continue down the coast of South America, we are noticing that our
satellite service (internet/TV) is starting to go in and out. Not
sure how further South we will get before we lose it completely. We have
already been told that when we go through the fjords (Feb. 2 &3) we will
almost surely lose it.
The seas have been a bit rough the last 2 days. Almost decided not go
dinner and Matt's pants were a bit late getting back from the laundry, but
we did make it to Signatures, the French inspired restaurant. The waiters
and waitresses were having a bit of a problem walking with the dishes with
the ship rocking, but they did fine.
After dinner, we visited the casino for a bit and actually came out with a
few extra dollars.
It was back to the room to watch a bit of TV and get to bed as we have a
long excursion tomorrow.
January 31, 2018 - Puerto Montt, Chile
I got up at 7:00, Matt at 7:45 with
breakfast in the room before our 9:00 meeting time for our 7 1/2 hour
PETROHUE FALLS & PUERTO VARAS
tour begins with a scenic drive to Chile's famous Lake District en route
to Petrohue Falls, with panoramic views of Lake Llanquihue and valley of
Ensenada. Admire the magnificent view of the snow-capped Osorno Volcano
before pausing at the waterfalls of Petrohue.
After visiting these wonderful falls, formed by the descent of the
Petrohue River through the volcanic rock deposited there centuries ago,
your drive continues on to the majestic Osorno volcano, which reaches
8,700 feet above the sea level. You will reach the area called La Burbuja,
or "The Bubble", located at approximately 4,000 feet above sea level. This
place is the starting point for those who come to ski on the hillsides of
the volcano, and for those who dare climb it. Enjoy free time to walk
around looking for the best vistas that will allow you a magnificent view
over the whole Petrohue Valley.
Afterwards, travel to the resort community of Puerto Varas, located on the
shores of Lake Llanquihue. Here, you'll be treated to lunch and then have
time to browse the small handicraft market before returning to the ship.
ship is anchored today, so we had to take the tenders ashore. The waves
were a bit rough and the wind a bit strong, so tendering went VERY slow.
We did not get to our tender until 10:00, with our tour beginning at
The bus ride to Petrohue Falls was an hour and a half, with a 30 minute
visit/walk to the falls. It was really just one fall and not that large,
but with the Osorno Volcano in the background, the scenery was
Off to the volcano (another 45 minute ride). We did walk around and
followed a trail that let uphill at a pretty good grade. There were some
flying beetles that seemed to like Matt. One did bite him, but no
reaction. The bus ride down the hill was painful. The bus driver never let
his foot off the brake and you could walk faster than he was going. An
hour and fifteen minutes later, we arrived at hotel for lunch. It was
salmon, so I just had the potatoes.
After the shopping stop, we went back to the tender area and had to wait a
bit for a tender to arrive. The waves were still pretty high as we boarded
the ship at 5:15.
I must say, however, that the day was gorgeous! Our guide said that it
rains in this area some 300 days a year and we had one of the few crystal
Once we were back in our cabin, we decided to work on the photos and just
have dinner via room service. After dinner, Matt watched a movie while I
went to the casino.
One thing to note about Chile: there are a LOT of dogs just roaming the
streets. As we have been told, most are owned by people, but they let them
roam during the day. The ones that are stray are not looked upon as pets,
but just as animals. They are fed, some have been given a piece of
cardboard to sleep on, so there really is no worries for them. The
government supposedly gives the strays rabies shots and do some spay and
February 1, 2018 - Puerto Chacabuco, Chile
Up at 8:00 with breakfast in La Veranda.
Much calmer seas overnight, and we were protected with little islands of
the Aysén Fjord as
we were arriving in Puerto Chacabuco. The
fjord is 43 miles long.
Puerto Chacabuco is situated by the shores at the head of this fjord.
Terry Breen gave a commentary on the area as we were arriving.
We dropped anchor at 10:15. Holland America's Zaandam ship is anchored
here today too. It will be following our course for the next 5 days,
visiting the next 2 ports with us.
We decided to have lunch in Compass Rose, where they were serving items
from each of the ship's restaurants plus a few items from "Pacific Rim",
the Asian Fusion restaurant on the Explorer. We both had the Chinese BBQ
Pork Ribs which were very good.
A bit of ice cream out at the pool deck followed, then we went back to our
cabin to relax before our excursion.
Our tour began at 3:25, where we met at
the pier instead of the theater, so we had to tender over a bit early. They
did not have their act together and sent us in and out of the onshore
visitors center before they got around to giving us our tickets.
Our tour today:
DAY PATAGONIA NATURE IN DEPTH
wild and beautiful Aysén District of Chile that lies south of Chiloé and
Puerto Montt, is your destination today. This exceptional tour allows you
a glimpse of the glorious landscape that makes up this wet and windy
region that is part of the Chilean Patagonia.
From the pier, it's a brief 15-minute drive through some magnificent
scenery to the recently inaugurated Aikén del Sur Private Park. A sense of
wonder, adventure and connection with the virgin forests of Patagonia, are
but a few of the emotions you'll experience on this expedition. You will
be awe-struck by the placid, transparent blue waters of Riesco Lake which
covers nearly nine square miles, a 72-foot cascading waterfall and the
indigenous perennial forests, flora and fauna of the park.
Upon arrival, you will first visit the information center, where an
informative introduction to the area is provided. Tutorial stations will
tell the bio-geographical history of the region through three nature
trails that are uniquely paved, railed and bridged, each containing a
wealth of scenic sights and places to rest along the way. Spectacular
views of nearby lakes, rivers, hills and mountains can be seen from the
strategically placed viewing locations and the singing of the
autochthonous birds provides a relaxing natural concert of sound. The
River Trail takes you just over a mile into the deep nature of the
Patagonia, traveling through prairies and the humid forest that
characterizes this part of the world. At the end of the trail, you'll find
yourself at the impressive Old Man's Beard waterfall. After a stop for
photos, you'll return to the information center via the Waterfall Trail.
Re-boarding your transportation, you'll head to the quincho, where a
delicious typical Patagonian barbeque lunch will be served. Following this
relaxing respite, you'll be returned to the pier where your tour
tour was very nice, although we had a guide that liked to stop and talk
about every tree and shrub. I would have liked to walk the trail on our
own and stop and see things of interest to us. The BBQ was good, although
Matt's lamb was mostly bone. The vegetables served family style were
refrigerator cold, but overall the meal was good.
We were back on the ship at 8:45 and when we got to the room, there were
roses, a premium bottle of champagne and a large box of chocolates on the
table, without a note. I called Hari, our Butler, to make sure it was for
us. He told me that it was a gift from the ship commemorating my turning
Titanium on this cruise.
We set sail at 9:00 with 2 sea days ahead. They once again told us that
internet will be iffy.
February 2, 2018 - At Sea
The rocking seas awoke me at 3:00 as we
popped out of the fjord and headed back into the Pacific Ocean. It kept up
all morning (I got up at 7:45).
Although there are a lot of activities going on today, there was no Bingo
or "Name That Tune" competitions scheduled, so we did not have a lot to
We went back to being protected on each side as we entered the Fallos
Canal at around 11:00.
We had lunch at La Veranda. It was "soup and stew" day.
The sun came just after lunch, so I went out on our balcony and fell
asleep for an hour. Matt, meanwhile, watched a movie.
I took a walk around the ship a few times during the day, just to get out
of the cabin.
We came out of the canal late afternoon and started rocking a bit again.
We had dinner in Compass Rose followed by time in the casino, then we went
to watch the production show "What the World Needs Now", the music of Burt
Bacharach. They held the opening of the show for an extra 5 minutes as we
were going back into protected waters and the ship calmed.
Off to bed right after the show as we have to be up early in the morning
to see the Skua glacier.
February 3, 2018 - At Sea
I got up at 6:30 as we were to arrive at
the Skua glacier at 7:30, and found that we were already there. Terry
Breen started her commentary at 7:00. So, we had made our way through the
Amalia Sound to the glacier. We got within a mile of the glacier, which is
as close as you can get as there is an ice bar that reaches out from the
end of the glacier into the bay underwater. The glacier is about 300 feet
deep and 75-100 feet wide, and a mile and a half long. Every now and then,
you hear what sounds like distant shotgun shots. We heard this in Alaska
too, as the glacier ice moves. There is not the calving here that takes
place in Alaska, as this glacier moves so slow.
We then went to breakfast in La Veranda, then back to the cabin until the
11:00 Bingo games. We did not win. Lunch followed and then Matt watched a
few movies while I went to the casino and played "Name That Tune" (we came
At 4:15, we were getting near the wreck of the SS Santa Leonor. The
ship was built as transport for the U.S. Navy and
configured for 575 crew and 1740 passengers. Her military career took
place in the Pacific carrying troops and wounded. In 1966 she was
purchased by the Grace Line renamed Santa Leono. At the time of the
accident she was traveling from Rio de Janeiro to Vancouver (Canada),
under the command of Captain Donald Johnson and governed by the Chilean
pilot Ernest Ruiz Muñoz. She hit a reef at SW of Isabel Island, then
drifted to Adelaide island where she laid on the starboard side. Shipwreck
attributed to a navigational error.
After looking at the menu for Compass Rose, we decided to choose Sette
A quick visit to the casino followed before heading to bed, as we have a 6:15 AM
At 10:30 we entered the Strait of Magellan.
February 4, 2018 - Punta Arenas, Chile
Up at 4:45 with Matt having breakfast in
the room...me passing as we were told we might have rough seas for our
6:15 tour: MAGDALENA ISLAND & PENGUIN RESERVE.
Zip through the Strait of Magellan to an island nature preserve teeming
with penguins and then cruise around another island inhabited by various
other indigenous creatures.
After departing from the pier, you will drive up the spectacularly
beautiful coast along the Strait of Magellan, a passageway named for
Ferdinand Magellan, who navigated the strait in 1520 while
circumnavigating the world. In time, you will board a covered speedboat
and head to Magdalena Island, a barren, rock-strewn nature preserve that’s
home to one of the largest colonies of Magellanic penguins in Chile.
Approximately 150,000 penguins live on the island, and you will have the
opportunity to walk among them. It’s an extraordinary experience.
Magellenic penguins are highly social and monogamous for life. The ones
looking for mates typically bray loudly like donkeys.
You can expect to see the penguins tottering about, tending to their
young, interacting with each other, and hunting small fish in the strait.
A group of penguins floating in the ocean is called a raft; a group on
land is sometimes called a waddle because of their awkward walk.
Next, you will cruise toward Marta Island. Wildlife here is protected and
coming ashore is prohibited, but the sights are extraordinary. The shores
are covered with Magellenic penguins, cormorants, sea lions, Arctic terns
and other species. Your boat will cruise close enough for you to easily
see them in their natural habitat, completely undisturbed.
Following the circumnavigation of Marta Island, you will return to the
pier in Punta Arenas.
It was a 45 minute bus ride to get to the speedboat, and another 50
minutes in the speedboat to reach Magdalena Island...but it was well worth
Being able to walk amongst the penguins (on a roped path) was amazing!
After taking some 45 photos, I put the camera away and just took it all
When we got back to the ship (at noon), we decided to cancel tomorrow's
excursion which was a boat ride around a penguin rookery. We know it would
not match today.
We had lunch in La Veranda and then went back out to the terminal to see
what they had for sale.
It was then back to the cabin to work through all of the photos and for me
to take a short nap.
We had dinner in Compass Rose followed by some time in the casino.
As it is Super Bowl Sunday, the ship is showing the game in the theater
and on a TV channel in the cabin. The pre-game started at 8:00 PM ship
time. I watched a bit of the game in our cabin.
We noticed that outside, we were passing several glaciers. Tomorrow
morning, we are to pass through "glacier alley".
February 5, 2018 - Ushuaia, Argentina
This morning started at 6:30 with Terry
Breen giving us a "Sunrise Scenic Sailing" commentary on the Avenue of the
Glaciers. It was a bit cool and the ship was causing a breeze, so I had to
bundle up a bit to take photos from the upper deck, but Terry mentioned
that today was the clearest that she has seen in her 30 years of cruising
The mountains and glaciers were beautiful.
At 8:00, we went down to Compass Rose to have a leisurely breakfast. The
ordering machine got jammed, so it took us over an hour for breakfast.
Back to the cabin to relax before an 11:30 lunch, during which time the
ship docked in Ushuaia. This is "The End of the World", the southern-most
city on the globe.
Shortly after, the ship was cleared and we decided to go out on our own
and walk the main street (shopping area) of the city. We started out
wearing our heavier windbreaker jackets and as we continued, the sun came
out and the jackets came off. We spent about 2 hours looking around, then
returned to the ship to process the photos of the day.
Matt took an afternoon nap while I watched TV (not a lot of channels to
choose from here).
Dinner tonight was in La Veranda as they were having a special Italian
buffet...we've had better.
The ship left port at 8:00 with a sea day ahead of us as we head to the
Falkland Islands with hopes that we will be able to go ashore. We
understand it is really a 50-50 shot due to winds and/or waves.
A bit of casino action followed at 8:30...per usual.
February 6, 2018 - At Sea
We entered into the Atlantic Ocean (from
the Beagle Channel) at around midnight and the ship started to rock again.
As it is a sea day, we got up at 8:30 and went to breakfast in La Veranda.
11:00 brought another set of Bingo games. It is quite popular on this
cruise, which is nice, as the winning amounts are around $100 - $150 per
game. I won the 2nd game and had to split with another person, so I ended
up with $63.
At noon, the Captain stated that we will NOT be going to the Falkland
Islands. Instead, tomorrow will be a sea day followed by a new port,
Puerto Madryn, Argentina on Thursday.
They came out with new excursion sheets for that day, but none of them
interested us, so we will probably just go into the city and look around.
Our code red has been lifted, but we remain in the code red mode until
After our lunch in La Veranda, Matt watched a few movies while I went to
the casino and finally won a bit of our money back.
I returned to the cabin to rest until our dinner in Compass Rose with Paul
Reynolds, then off to the casino.
February 7, 2018 - At Sea
I got up at 7:30 and had
breakfast (a muffin and orange juice) at the pool deck while Matt slept
in. The sun has come back out, so it was quite nice to sit at the table
and watch the waves.
We watched part of "My Fair Lady", which was on the Classic Movie Channel
on the TV and then went to play Bingo.
Lunch was in La Veranda. We added to it a bit with the "Tex-Mex" buffet on
the pool deck.
After lunch, I went out to get some tanning time in by the pool while
catching up on the "Tech Guy" podcasts on my ipod. Matt, meanwhile,
watched movies in the room. I also went to the casino for a bit.
We had dinner in Compass Rose,
Two nights ago I asked the head chef why they did not serve any cakes.
Whenever something says "cake" on the ship, it seems to be a mousse with a
bit of sponge cake in the middle. He said he understood what I meant and
if I wanted a "proper cake" to let him know. Last night at dinner, I asked
him for a German Chocolate Cake for tonight. What did we get? Chocolate
lava cakes. NOT what we asked for. Will have to mention that to the head
chef tomorrow night. He makes his way around every restaurant every night.
We went to the casino where Matt did very well on the slot machine.
Back to the room by 10:00.
February 8, 2018 - Puerto Madryn,
This port is a replacement for the loss
of Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands.
I got up at 7:30 and got Matt up at 8:30 and we had breakfast in La
Veranda. As most of the passengers had already gone ashore, there were
very few in the dining room.
We walked the pier (quite long) into town at 9:45 and looked at several
stores. Nothing of interest, so we were back on the ship by 11:00, at
which time I went out to tan and Matt finished watching a movie.
We had lunch at La Veranda outside on the back deck. Halfway through the
meal the wind came up and started blowing everything off everyone's
tables. We finished quickly and then went back to the room to edit photos.
I then went back outside, while Matt stayed in the room. The clouds
started coming over mid-afternoon, so I came back to the room.
Tonight's dinner was in Compass Rose, followed by the usual casino visit,
where we did just fine.
February 9, 2018 - At Sea
Got up at 7:30 to watch the opening of
the Olympic Games. Regent is showing the channel "Sports 24", a British
channel for the duration of the Olympics.
Meanwhile, over on the "Mariner Today" channel, Paul, John and the Social
Director are doing their daily show...talking about the events on the ship
for today. I have once again made it into the conversation. When they get
to talking about the Bingo game time for today they state that "Bingo
Bill" is disappointed that he has not won lately.
I got a haircut at 10:00, with Bingo following at 11:00. Matt won the last
game, but had to split it with one other person.
After Bingo, it was lunch in La Veranda, then I went up to the pool deck
to tan while Matt watched a movie.
We met up at 3:30 to go to Terry Breen's lecture on "Too Much HGTV". It
was about her buying an apartment in Montevideo (where we will be in 2
days) and all the problems she went through trying to fix it up. What a
Back to the room for a bit, then at 5:45, I went to the "Krew Kapers/Farewell
show" before dinner. Most of the passengers will leave the ship in 4 days
when we are in Buenos Aires, and this is the last sea day, so the show is
tonight...a bit earlier than on other cruises.
I joined Matt for dinner in the Compass Rose. As we were eating our
appetizers, the chef came by and said that he had a true cake made for us
and that he had tasted it. It came at the end of the meal and was quite
close to a real German Chocolate Cake...so all is well.
We went to the casino after, then back to the room.
February 10, 2018 - Punta Del Este,
We dropped anchor at 8:00, at which time
we woke up. We originally had a tour here, but since it was just seeing
sea lions from a small boat and an hour going to the island and an hour
back without getting off the boat, we cancelled and went ashore on our own
for the morning. The tender ride over took about 15 minutes. We walked to
the lighthouse and over to the main shopping street. It started getting
quite warm. The high was in the mid-70's and the humidity was around 48
percent. We were ashore for
about an hour and half before heading back to the ship by noon in time for
lunch at La Veranda.
We relaxed on the ship for the afternoon with Matt watching a movie and me
going to the pool deck to listen to some podcasts.
Dinner was in Compass Rose followed by time at the casino.
A nice relaxing day. We return to this port next week.
February 11, 2018 - Montevideo,
We got up at 6:45 for our 8:15 tour:
Montevideo's monuments, parks and gardens are yours to discover during
this scenic orientation tour of the city.
Depart the pier for the drive through the Old Town. Along the way, you
will pass by such historic sites as Constitution Square, the Cathedral,
Colonial Town Hall and the Solis Theatre. Additional sites to be seen
include Independence Square, which features a monument dedicated to the
national hero, General José Gervasio Artigas. Facing the square you will
find the former Government House, now the Museum of the Presidents. Your
drive will continue past 18 de Julio, the main commercial street lined
with shops, cafés and office buildings, en route to a photo stop at the
Congress Palace; a luxurious building that is beloved by Uruguayans. It
was constructed between 1908 and 1925 in 52 shades of local marble and 12
types of wood.
Next, you will drive by the Prado neighborhood, one of the city's oldest
parks and a famous sculpture called The Stagecoach, or La Diligencia. You
will also see a monument dedicated to the last Charruas Indians, along
with the Rose Garden and Prado Hotel. Your drive will continue past Batlle
y Ordoñez Park, the Obelisk, Covered Wagon monument, or La Carreta, and
Centenary Stadium. From here, you will proceed through the residential
area of Carrasco before making a brief stop at Plaza Virgilio. Here, you
will see the Fallen Soldiers of the Navy monument, and take in splendid
views and photo opportunities of the city.
Following your visit, you will re-board your coach for the return drive to
the ship via the coastal beaches.
began to rain just as we were getting off the ship, so all of our stops
were quick and done with rain coming down. It was not until we were done
with the last stop that the rain let up. It was still a nice overview of
The tour ended at 11:15 and we went back to our cabin to work on photos
until La Veranda opened at noon.
We then went ashore to check out the local market area, just a block from
where the ship was docked. Although major stores were closed (Sunday), the
tourist spots and the large restaurant center were open.
Back to the ship to rest, before the Seven Seas Society gathering.
Everyone on this cruise qualifies as a member as it is 21 days long. There
were 513 returning guests. Of that... there were 205 Gold members (75-199
nights on Regent), 68 Platinum (200 - 399), 18 Titanium (400 - 999), 2
Diamond (1,000 - 1,999) and 2 Commodore (over 2,000 nights). I was the
only new Titanium member and was called to the stage to receive my pin.
After the pin ceremony, a local group took to the stage and presented a
Tango show before dinner.
After dinner, we visited the casino and a quick peek at the Beatles party
in the Atrium.
February 12, 2018 - Buenos Aires,
Brazil - Day 1
This is the first of 3 days in Buenos
Aires. The "change-over" day is tomorrow, where many of the passengers
will be leaving and a new bunch getting aboard. On this first portion of
the cruise, we have sailed 5,453 miles.
I got up at 7:15, Matt at 7:45 with breakfast in the cabin before our 9:00
DELTA & RIVER CRUISE
Cruise through the labyrinthine canals of the Tigre River delta, admiring
the unspoiled natural beauty and unexpected British-style homes that dot
After departing from the pier, you will settle in for a leisurely drive
through some of the most characteristic neighborhoods in Buenos Aires.
Along the way, you will pass stately mansions, soaring high-rises and
waterfront homes before arriving at San Isidro Cathedral.
While pausing for exterior photos, you will notice its distinct neo-Gothic
architecture, most notably its clock tower, which rises more than 225 feet
into the air.
Considered one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Argentina, it has been
declared a National Historic Site. If there is time for an interior visit,
you will see the cathedral’s cross-shaped design even more clearly.
Continuing north, you will soon arrive at the Tigre River, which is named
for the “tigres” or jaguars that once roamed here. The river delta is one
of the world’s largest and is laced with canals that form a network of
As you cruise through the green wonderland, you will notice that many of
the riverside homes have a British flair. There are mock Tudors, Victorian
mansions and even British-style gardens that reflect England’s influence
and ties with Buenos Aires.
The Tigre River delta is still a popular weekend getaway for affluent
locals, and you will understand why after taking in the natural beauty up
close on a river cruise. Afterwards, you will retrace your route back to
the pier in Buenos Aires.
get to the tour, we had to pile into shuttle busses to get to the front
gate of the port. They packed us in pretty tight. We then went to our
large busses used for the tour.
The tour was done in reverse with us going on the River Cruise first. It
was a very nice cruise. The homes on the islands (some very modest) are
all built on the banks of the islands, as the center of the islands flood.
There are no roads on the islands. Every homeowner has their own boat and
dock. If you don't want to go into town via your boat, you hang a plastic
bag on your dock and the traveling store will stop by. There is no
drinking water on the islands, so you must buy that from the market. They
do have electricity.
The tour ended at 1:15 and we had lunch on the pool deck.
Afterwards, Matt went to work on his photos and I went up on to the pool
We had dinner in Compass Rose and then watched a movie in our cabin.
February 13, 2018 - Buenos Aires,
Brazil - Day 2
We got up at 7:30 to have breakfast at
8:30 as they stop service at 9:00 when everyone ending their cruise here
is expected to be off the ship.
We went down to the promenade and looked at all of our upcoming excursions
and did a change of one of them. At noon we went to the Destinations desk
to make the change (before everyone coming aboard started lining up).
We then went to lunch at La Veranda before it filled up. New passengers
eat there and then have to wait until 2:30 for their rooms to be ready, so
we wanted to beat the crowd.
Back to the room where Matt watched a movie while I printed out the new
excursion information (and got an ice cream).
I went out to the pool deck once the rooms were cleared and everyone went
down to their cabins.
Boat drill was at 5:00. Yes, even continuing passengers have to go through
the process again.
We had dinner in Compass Rose, then came back to the room, as there is
really not much happening on the ship tonight.
February 14, 2018 - Buenos Aires,
Brazil - Day 3
Everyone up at 7:30 with breakfast in
the room before our 9:00 tour:
HIGHLIGHTS OF BUENOS AIRES
an enlightening overview of Buenos Aires by visiting landmarks ranging
from its most politically important square to its most characteristic
After departing from the pier, you will soon arrive at Plaza de Mayo,
arguably the most famous square in Argentina. Its name refers to the
revolution that began nearby in May 1810 and led to Argentina’s
independence from Spain.
Some of the surrounding buildings are just as celebrated. President Juan
Peron and his wife Eva, more affectionately known as Evita, delivered
numerous speeches from the balcony of Casa Rosado, the executive mansion.
You will also see the glorious Metropolitan Cathedral, which is adorned
with frescoes and elaborate artwork.
Then, it’s on to
the neighborhood La Boca to view El Caminito, a street that is an open-air
museum of sorts full of brightly colored buildings. Some claim the tango
originated here around 1870, and tango dancers are often seen performing
impromptu in the streets.
While La Boca is a working class neighborhood, Barrio Norte is the most
affluent. That becomes immediately apparent as you drive through it on the
way to Recoleta Cemetery, the final resting place for Argentina’s wealthy
and powerful. It holds thousands of grandiose mausoleums containing the
remains of generals, sports figures and most famously Evita.
Later, on the way back to the pier, you will drive through leafy Palermo,
the city’s largest neighborhood. Depending on the route, you may pass the
zoo and botanical garden, while enjoying a candid look at daily life in
We did this tour all out of order with our first stop at the Recoleta
Cemetery. We saw Eva Peron's mausoleum, plus many others. They are all
privately owned, but can be sold to newer families who can remodel them
any way they want. They sell them because the taxes and maintenance costs
get too high.
It was then on to La Boca, which was an interesting neighborhood to walk.
One of the characters that we saw in a lot of stores was Mafalda (see
photo page). She was used in World War 2 for commentaries on the War and
home life and is still seen in the papers here.
We arrived back at the ship at 1:00 and had lunch in La Veranda. After,
Matt worked on photos and I went out to the pool deck.
6:00 brought the "Block Party", which I went out into the hall for.
It only lasted about 15 minutes as there were only 7 people from our
section of the ship participating. Matt
stayed back and got ready for dinner.
We met Paul Reynolds at 7:15 for dinner in Compass Rose. Dinner with Paul
is always a kick. We are looking forward to our true "hosted dinner" with
Paul and Hotel Manager Franck on Friday. We also found out that tomorrow
night is the Deck BBQ, which is always a nice event.
We went to the casino and there are 7 slot machines out of order and
the brand new casino manager either doesn't care or doesn't want to fix
them, so I ended up walking out after playing a round of 6 card poker.
February 15, 2018 - Montevideo,
Back to this port for a second visit. I
got Matt up at 7:00 and we had breakfast in the room. I decided not to go
on today's tour, as it covered most of what we saw last visit. Matt went
as it had a visit to a market. The tour:
HIGHLIGHTS & URUGUAYAN BEER TASTING
Admire the marquee attractions in downtown Montevideo, which include
architectural gems, a lush municipal park and a 100-year-old farmer’s
After departing from the pier, you will enjoy a leisurely drive through
Montevideo, a capital city so vibrant and cosmopolitan that nearly half of
Uruguay’s population calls it home. As you pass the picturesque waterfront
and continue through affluent neighborhoods, you will pause for photos at
many of the city’s most recognized landmarks.
Among the highlights is the Legislative Palace, a glorious neo-classical
building constructed nearly 100 years ago with more than 50 types of
marble. It is considered to be among the world’s most beautiful Houses of
You will also spend time in Batlle Park, a lovely urban greenscape named
for Jose Batlle y Ordonez, Uruguay’s president from 1911-1915. Here, you
will see Centenario Stadium, site of the first World Cup soccer
championship, and “La Carreta,” a bronze sculpture that depicts the area’s
19th-century oxcart drivers, which local artist Joe Belloni unveiled in
Then, it’s on to MAM, the city’s sprawling farmer’s market. It presents an
alluring mix of sights and sounds, colors and aromas, and merchandise of
every imaginable type. Besides the expected fresh fruits and vegetables,
you may come upon gift shops selling handicrafts, live entertainment and
gourmet restaurants. Of course many of the goods are produced locally;
including the complimentary Uruguayan beer you will be served. Following
approximately 75-minutes of free time at the market, you’ll rejoin your
coach and transfer back to the pier. Afterwards, you will return to the
Matt was on the tour, I went up to the pool deck for an hour of tanning
time, then relaxed on our balcony. Once Matt returned, we went up to La
Veranda for lunch.
Matt mentioned that there were quite a few "chatters" on the bus which was
quite disrupting for him. Made me even more glad that I was not on that
tour. It would have driven me crazy.
We had 2 other ships with us in port. The "Princess Island" in front of
us, and another ship that I can not see the name of, right behind us.
Makes for a bit more crowded area near the port.
I went back out to the pool deck for a bit until they started to clear
the deck for the Pool Deck BBQ Under the Stars which began at 6:00. We
watched the end of a documentary on Steven Spielberg that we began last
As usual, they put out quite a spread. A section for breads, salads,
Mexican Food, cheeses, BBQ, seafood and deserts.
We had dinner, then went back to our cabin for the evening.
February 16, 2018 - Punta Del Este,
We are once again back in Punta Del Este
(here on Saturday, the 10th). It is a clear day with a high of 80 degrees.
Once again I decided to stay aboard the ship while Matt went out. This is
the anchored port with the long tender ride to the city. Matt went looking
for "La Mano", which we were fairly close to last time, but it was not on
the map that we had, or we would have walked there.
The Celebrity Infinity is anchored near us, so the city was a little
busier than last time.
I went out to the pool deck to get some sun.
Matt got back in time for lunch, which we had in La Veranda before resting
in the room.
I did play one of the "games" with the other passengers. A ball-rolling
game where I came in first place. Trying to get to 25 points for a
Our dinner tonight was with Franck Galzy (General Manager), Paul Reynolds
(Cruise Director) and another couple that we have been on cruises with
before. We had such a great time that another dinner is being planned for
the 6 of us on the 21st.
We then went down for the Captain's Reception just to have our photo taken
with him...a tradition that I started in 2006.
Back to the casino where the 7 machines were still down. Franck is going
to look into that.
The boutique was jammed as we have been told that starting tomorrow
(Brazil), everything will be taxed 25%. It will remain that way for us for
the rest of the cruise.
We move our clocks forward one hour tonight for just one day. They go back
tomorrow night as Brazil goes off daylight savings time.
February 17, 2018 - Rio Grande, Brazil
We are in our first Brazilian port.
First, we have been told not to expect to see too much at this port of
call. The main part of town is about a 25 minute drive away. We are docked
in commercial port. There is no cruise port here. Second, the excursions
were delayed about 45 minutes (they told us about it last night), as the
customs officers in Brazil like to take their time clearing the ship.
We got up at 8:30 and I just had a glass of orange juice from the pool
deck, as there was an early lunch at 11:00 for those of us who went out on
the 12:00 tour: SIGHTS
OF RIO GRANDE
with a scenic drive through the downtown area of Rio Grande, past the
heart of the city, where the majority of the most elegant and historical
buildings are located. Established in 1737 by the Portuguese, Rio Grande
is the only seaport of the Brazilian State and the most important trading
center due to its strategic location.
Your first stop is a visit to Alfandega, the Customs House, a neo-classic
style building built by the Emperor Dom Peter II in 1879. Stroll to the
oldest Cathedral of the State, Cathedral Sao Pedro, constructed in Baroque
style and erected by the Portuguese in 1775. Continue on to the Museum of
Sacred Art at the Chapel of the St. Francisco, which holds several
important pieces, some from the legacy left by the Jesuits and some from a
private collection acquired by the Government.
Next, your guide will take you to the Praca Tamandare, where you will view
several art sculptures. Then visit the Oceanographic Museum and view its
collection of rare and unusual species of invertebrates, fish and
mollusks. As you make your way back to the pier, view the Molhes da Barra,
a rock and cement defense constructed at the beginning of the 20th
a 3 hour excursion. As I mentioned, we were warned ahead of time that this was a "port
city" and not a "destination city". With that said, our guide tried her
best to show us their best sites. By the time we got to the end and a 30
visit to a park, the passengers were ready to start a mutiny. Many of us
just stayed on the bus while the others walked the mostly dusty area.
We were back on the ship at 3:00 and I went to play a game of bowling
(first place) while Matt started to process the photos he took.
I then went up to the pool deck for a half hour and then back to the room
to resize the photos for his Facebook posting.
Dinner tonight was in Prime 7. The ship departed at 7:20 (scheduled for
8:00). The casino was
closed as we were not in international waters.
I went down to the Mariner Lounge at 10:30 to play "Name That Tune" with a
new batch of partners. We came in 2nd place.
February 18, 2018 - Sea Day
Ahhhh....sea day! The only sea day on
this portion of the cruise.
We got up at 7:30 and had breakfast in La Veranda. I tried Eggs Benedict
for the first time...and probably last. Not my favorite breakfast item.
I went up to the pool deck at 9:30 (a lot of chair hogging going on up
there) and laid out for an hour before going back to the cabin, getting
Matt and going to play Bingo. We did not win.
Lunch followed. They had an "Indian Buffet" at the pool deck which we
by-passed and went into La Veranda to eat.
We went to the casino to find...surprise, surprise...that all of the
"broken" slot machines were now working. I think Franck made a visit and
the machines were miraculously fixed.
Back to the room, where the sun was now on our balcony. I went out there
for an hour while Matt completed the movie that he started in the morning.
At 3:00, we went to the Mariner Lounge to play "Name that Tune" and our
team came in 2nd.
Another half hour on the balcony for me, then it was time to get ready for
the "Seven Seas Society Cocktail Party". There are 364 repeat
cruisers on this leg. 219 Silver, 83 Gold, 25 Platinum, 9 Titanium, 2
Diamond and 2 Commodore.
Matt did not go to the party and met me
afterwards for our dinner in Signatures.
We followed that with time in the casino. They closed the casino at 9:00
as we were getting closer to shore and out of international waters.
February 19, 2018 - Porto Belo, Brazil
Up at 6:30 and breakfast in the room per
usual on tour days. We are anchored today, so will have to tender to the
port for today's 7 hour tour:
with a scenic drive through fertile, lush farmland to the town of Blumenau
for an up-close look into the unique ambience and significance of German
culture common throughout the region.
German heritage has played a significant role in Southern Brazil's history
since the 1850s. Upon arrival at the outskirts of Blumenau, visit the
Colonial Family Museum for a glimpse into the travails of the city's first
early settlers. Learn about Blumenau's founder, Dr. Otto Blumenau, whose
task it was to prepare the settling of the German immigrants along the
banks of the Itajaí-Açu River, and admire the museum's traditional alpine
Although early Blumenau was initially intended to develop as a farming
community, the arrival of craftsmen introduced textile production,
metallurgy and crystal manufacturing into the economy. Today, Brazil is
known for its quartz-rich crystal that is produced from the sand of Minas
Gerais State, that become delicate works of art at the crystal factory of
Next, your drive will proceed to the Bavarian Biergarten Pavilion, site of
Blumenau's annual Oktoberfest which is the second largest outside of
Following your visit, your lunch will be served at Plaza Hering hotel.
Afterwards, you will have free time in downtown Blumenau before making the
return drive to the pier in Porto Belo.
took 15 minutes to tender over to Porto Belo, then an hour and a half via bus to to arrive in Blumenau.
The beer museum and homes we visited were not that exciting, but the town
itself was quite cute. The itinerary
changed a bit after we signed up for it months ago. There was now a buffet
lunch at the Park Blumenau Restaurant instead of at a hotel. The buffet
was fine, but the hour and a half for shopping in the tiny little complex
was way too long. Our guide, although nice, liked to hear herself talk.
The nice part was that we were on a bus that only had seats in the upper
deck and we got the front seat (upper windshield). Made for great
sightseeing in the 3 hours total that we were on the bus.
Even though it was cloudy (with a bit of rain while we were on the bus),
it was still quite warm with a temp. of 80 degrees and 85% humidity.
We were back on the ship shortly after 4:00 after the bus and tender ride
We worked on photos, then Matt decided that he did not want to get dressed
up for dinner, so we had dinner in our room.
Matt called Regent in Miami to get the excursion list for our November
cruise. We have to make our reservations on March 6th while on the ship
during the Caribbean portion of our vacation.
I went to the casino after dinner, before calling it a night, as we have another
long excursion tomorrow.
February 20, 2018 - Santos, Brazil
We were up at 7:00 with breakfast in the
room and ready to go for our 8:15, 8 hour long tour: THE BEST OF SANTOS
For the ultimate insight into Santos and its surroundings, join this
excursion to attractions as diverse as an orchidarium, coffee museum and
aquarium, followed by time for shopping.
Depart from the pier for a scenic drive through historic Santos, which was
founded in 1543, en route to the shady realm of the city's botanical
gardens. Strolling beneath towering trees, you'll probably see an array of
tropical birds such as macaws and toucans. Still, the highlight is the
orchidarium, a remarkable collection of more than 100 exotic species of
all shapes and colors.
Then, it's on to the Coffee Museum via Gonzaga Beach, a gorgeous stretch
of sand often compared to the French Riviera. Housed in a former palace to
assert the importance of coffee to Brazil's economy, the museum presents
the storied history of coffee production in a most fascinating way. It's a
fine prelude to your luncheon of Brazilian barbecue at an authentic
churrascaria or steakhouse.
Following lunch, you'll drive to the coastal city of Guaruja to explore
its Acqua Mundo, the largest aquarium in South America. Perched on the
beach, it's filled with mini-lakes and tanks for penguins, caimans and
even albino snakes. Watch for divers as they hand-feed some of the
Finally, you'll enjoy an hour or so of free time to shop at nearby La
Plage mall, known for its high-end stores and unusual merchandise. Or if
you'd prefer, you can stroll the adjoining beach before it's time to
rejoin your coach for the return drive to the pier in Santos.
We started at the Coffee Museum when it opened at 9:00. It was a beautiful
building and we learned a lot about the history of the importance of
coffee in this area.
Then off to the orchidarium. Nothing was in in bloom as it is summer, but
we did see a lot of their animals.
Lunch was not that exciting. They did offer rice, french fries, beef,
chicken and sausages. The beef and chicken were very dry.
The aquarium was not that exciting and you could see it all in 10 minutes.
The final stop, the mall, had nothing of interest and that one hour stop
was not worth the time.
We got back to the ship at 5:30 and had to hurry to make it to the "Top
Tier Event", which was cocktails, some finger food and entertainment. It
was a half hour long, then off to dinner, back to the room to post photos,
then to the show " Broadway In Concert" before going to bed.
Just a long day!
February 21, 2018 - Ilha Grande,
I got Matt up at 7:45 so that he can do
today's excursion, as I wanted a "sea day" after the 2 long excursions on
Monday and Tuesday and did not feel like doing a 3 hour walk today.
The ship dropped anchor just before 9:00.
Matt's tour today was:
HISTORICAL & CULTURAL
Explore on foot the Portuguese-founded island of Ilha Grande, a
bio-diverse wonderland that was once notorious as a pirate refuge, leper
colony and Alcatraz-style prison.
Departing from the pier on foot, you will soon be immersed in Ilha Grande
State Park, a biological reserve established in 1971. Along the way, a
guide will discuss the park’s flora and fauna, which includes colorful
parrots, exotic hummingbirds and stout capybaras, the world’s largest
rodent. Because the entire island is protected environmentally, it boasts
one of South America’s most diverse ecosystems. Unfortunately, many of the
animals are endangered.
After pausing at the lovely San Sebastian church, you learn about Ihla
Grande’s infamous past as an entry point for African slaves. Later, the
island supported a leper colony and a political prison. The prison, known
as the “devil’s cauldron,” is now in ruins. The guardhouse still stands
though, and you will have the opportunity to take a photo there.
Another photo opportunity awaits you at Black Beach, a beautiful stretch
of sand that is black because it contains so much dark quartz. You will
also have a bit of free time to stroll along the shore of Preta Beach
before following a trail to Ilha Grande’s old aqueduct, a beautiful
structure partially covered with tropical vines. If you desire, you might
then take a refreshing dip in a nearby lake before walking back to the
While Matt was on tour, I cleaned up our cabin a bit, played "Top Toss"
and lost, then went to lay out by the pool.
When Matt returned, we went to lunch in La Veranda, then back to the cabin
to work on his photos of the day.
It was 86 degrees with 74% humidity and it rained a bit right around noon.
We spent the afternoon in the cabin, although I did go out on our balcony
for a bit, but it was a bit too humid to stay out too long.
We finished the evening with the most wonderful spaghetti dinner and
conversation in General Manager Franck's cabin, then a bit of winning in
February 22, 2018 - Paraty, Brazil
I was up at 6:30, Matt at 7:00 in
preparation of our 3 1/2 hour tour:
ATLANTIC FOREST BY 4-WHEEL DRIVE
Discover the peaceful splendor of nature as you tour the Serra da Bocaina
and view the cascading water falls and luxuriant green landscape of this
Atlantic Forest. From the Paraty pier, a short walk brings you to the
parking area where your 4-wheel drive adventure commences. During your
drive through this impressive forest, you will have direct contact with
its wonderful natural attractions which include the beauty of Paraty's
flora and one of the biggest trees found in the region, named Jequitibá.
You might also see plants such as Brazilian bamboo and Bromeliads, along
with many other varieties native to the area.
Your first stop will be at the exhibition of the former Gold trail where
you will become acquainted with the history of the Gold trail. From here,
your experienced guide will lead you on a hike up to the Tobogã waterfall,
which is well-known by local residents who make use of a slippery rock
here to take an adrenaline charged slide down into the waters below. Your
hike will then continue on to the Tarzã waterfall, a favorite spot for
Following your hike in the forest, you'll re-join your jeep for a drive to
Engenho D'ouro, a privately owned distillery that produces cachaça, a
typical Brazilian rum made out of sugar cane. During your visit you will
have the opportunity to taste a variety of cachaça and observe the
artesian process that is used to produce the rum.
Your final stop is at the Bromeliads exhibitions park which houses more
than 300 species of beautiful plants. After a relaxing visit at the park,
you will be transferred back to the pier where you can choose to take the
tender back to the ship or explore on your own the quaint streets and
shops of Paraty.
tender ride from the ship to the city of Paraty was 40 minutes LONG! Once
there, we loaded into 4X4 (7 to a vehicle...6 in back, 1 with driver) and
we were off to the falls, distillery (cachaca tasting and sales) and
gardens (which was more of a sales garden). Not my favorite tour. Just not
a lot to see and more time spent a places with things for sale.
However, I must say there were 2 guys at the Tobaga Waterfall that were a
bit crazy. The falls come down over very slick and smooth rocks. They
"surf" down the rocks on their feet into the pool of water at the end. Not
something I would try. One of them even skipped a rope of vine on the way
down and then jumped over the back of another person. It was pretty
Then it was time to head back to the ship. We had a 20 minute wait inside the tender before the 40
minute ride back to the ship.
It was hot and HUMID!! Everyone was getting edgy and worn out.
We were back on the ship at 2:20 and made it just in time to get lunch in
I went out on our balcony for sun and Matt went to the salon to get his
hair trimmed before we worked on photos.
5:00 was the time to get our passports back from the ship, then at
6:00, it was the Captain's Farewell party and "Krew Kapers".
Right before the "Splish Splash" number (performed in bathrobes), Paul
announced, "with apologies to cabin 1002, we will be sure to return your
bathrobes". It was a nice little nod to us.
This was followed by dinner in Compass Rose, then gambling. Matt went to
the "Blazing Boots" production show while I stayed in the casino.
February 23, 2018 - Buzios, Brazil
We got up at 8. I decided that I was not
going to go out on tour today. Matt did the 2 hour tour: BUZIOS
See the marquee attractions of Buzios in air-conditioned comfort on
this enlightening driving tour through the downtown and along the most
Depart from the pier and begin a leisurely drive through Buzios, an
exuberant city beautifully situated on a beach-blessed peninsula. Once a
small fishing village, Buzios gained instant international fame after
Brigitte Bardot vacationed there in the 1960s. Her visit was so
influential that the townspeople erected a statue of the French actress
sitting on a suitcase gazing out to sea. Thanks to Bardot, Buzios soon
became known as the St.-Tropez of Brazil, an appropriate nickname because
of the wonderful beaches.
You will pause at several of the most picturesque beaches for photos, and
depending on the conditions you may see windsurfers cutting across the
There is truly a beach to suit everyone, as there are several sheltered
beaches to the north and livelier ones elsewhere.
Still, the most vibrant area of Buzios is its main thoroughfare,
cobblestoned Rua das Pedras, which follows the shoreline. You will enjoy
free time here for clothes shopping in the boutiques, browsing the art
galleries, having your photo taken at the Bardot statue, or enjoying a
snack in one of the seaside cafés. Of course, seafood is abundant,
especially dishes featuring fresh-caught shrimp.
Following your free time, you will rejoin your minibus and return to the
I started the process of packing by
taking all of the "1002" tags out of our clothes that the laundry department
puts in them. Don't want our clothes going to cabin 1002 on the Explorer next
Matt returned right around 1:00, at which time it began to rain.
We went to La Veranda for lunch, then back to the room to work on Matt's
photos and to watch a movie together.
We had dinner in Compass Rose, followed by a short visit to the "Beatles
Night" in the Mariner Lounge followed by a last visit to the casino.
February 24, 2018 - Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
I got up at 6:30 to listen to Terry
Breen's commentary as we entered the port of Rio. It was a bit overcast as
we came in, so we could not see the top of the mountains, but it did clear
up as we got right into the port area itself. Matt got up at 7:30. We had
breakfast in our cabin before our 9:15, 7 1/2 hour tour:
BEST OF RIO
full day tour combines the best of Rio's spectacular landmark attractions
- Sugar loaf Mountain and Corcovado, and includes a traditional
Churrascaria lunch at one of Rio's finest barbecue restaurants. Truly
Cidade Maravilhosa or Marvelous City!
Begin with a scenic drive to Sugarloaf Mountain, where upon arrival,
you’ll board a cable car for a short ride up to Urca Hill, with its lovely
gardens and views of the city below. Those who wish to venture to the top
of Sugarloaf Mountain can take another cable car to the summit at 1,300
feet above the sea. The views from the top are extraordinary.
Next, you’ll make your way to the cool confines of the Tijuca Forest, a
quiet green sanctuary away from the noise of the city. Comprising an area
of 47 square miles, this once dense tropical forest was largely cut down
in the 19th century to accommodate coffee plantations. A project of
reforestation was initiated in the late 1800s with the planting of more
than 100,000 trees. Today, the park is a favorite spot to get away from
the city's hustle and bustle. At Cosme Velho you will leave the coach and
board the cog railway for the ride up to Corcovado, also known as
Hunchback Mountain. As the train makes its way up the mountain, you will
be riding through dense vegetation glimpsing now and again spectacular
views of Rio. The 120-foot-high statue of Christ the Redeemer was
completed in 1931 and stands at the top of the mountain with arms out
stretched in welcome. To reach the top of the 120-foot-high statue, you
will take an elevator and an escalator. Following your visit, you’ll be
treated to a traditional Brazilian Churrascaria lunch at a local
restaurant. The aroma as you enter the restaurant will be sure to get your
taste buds going. You’ll have your choice of tender barbecued meats from
the huge grills and the salads and accompaniments are equally tasty (the
meal is not suitable for vegetarians; however, the restaurant will be
happy to provide a salad plate).
Later, on your return drive to the ship, you’ll drive through some of
Rio’s finest residential areas and pass the Rodrigo de Preitas Lagoon and
excursion was LONG with long lines to get onto the various modes of
transportataion. We were supposed to be back at the ship at 5:00, but did
not get back until 6:30.
It was then time to turn in our "Regent Points" (I had 25) to get one of
their T-Shirts that I like wearing at home.
We decided to have dinner in our room and then it was time to finish packing and
getting our bags out the door for the 11:00PM bag pick-up.
This portion of our cruise (Buenos Aires to Rio) was 3,324 nautical miles.
We are scheduled to leave the ship at 8:45 in the morning with a private
van to the airport and our 1:00 flight from Rio to Miami.
We will be staying in Miami Beach at the Fountainbleau Hotel (made famous
in the Jerry Lewis film, "The Bellboy"), before boarding the Regent
Explorer for a 20 day cruise of the Caribbean.
You can follow that cruise on this page beginning March 1st.
February 25, 2018 - Flight to Miami
We got up at 6:30 and ordered breakfast
in the room. We finished last minute packing and had to be out of the room
at 8:00. It was down to the theater to wait for our "group" (we're the
only one in the group) to be called. It was scheduled for 8:50, but was
not called until 9:10 because of the slowness of the transfer busses from
the ship to the port terminal.
Once we got our bags, we had to push and shove to walk out of the
terminal. An MSC ship (large) was disembarking at the same time and there
were tons of people.
Once outside we found our guide, who took us to a private van and to the
airport. She was very nice and made sure we got to the right line at LATAM.
So glad we did not have to wait for the Regent bus to get us to the
airport. Titanium level has its' perks.
Nobody in the LATAM Business Class line, so we breezed through that. Then
came the "TSA" check. Nobody in line there either, so right on through.
Then to Brazil Immigration to get our passports checked. Nobody in that
line either, so right on through that too.
We then went to the LATAM Business Lounge and with their fast wi-fi, we
updated our phones and computers.
Boarding time for the plane was 12:25 and we were off on our 8 hour flight
We arrived in Miami at 7:30 and got through Global Entry without a line.
Bags collected and taxi to Fountainbleau Hotel.