2018 South America Cruise Log


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:

Pisco Nazca Lines Overflight
Iquique Hammerstone & Pintados Geoglyphs
Conquimbo Conquimbo & La Serna
San Antonio Valparaiso Port & Heritage
Puerto Mott Osorno Volcano, Petrohue Falls & Puerto Varas
Puerto Chacabuco Full Day Patagonia Nature In-Depth
Punta Arenas Magdalena Island & Penguin Reserve
Ushuaia Penguin Rockery Navigation
Port Stanley Walk Stanely
Punta Del Este Sea Wolves Island
Montevideo Montevideo Panorama
Buenos Aires Tigre Delta & River Cruise
Buenos Aires Highlights of Buenos Aires
Montevideo City Highlights & Uruguayan Beer
Punta Del Este (On our own)
Rio Grande Sights of Rio Grande
Sao Paulo Best of Santos & Guaruja
Ilha Grande Schooner & Snorkeling Adventure
Parati Atlantic Forest By 4-Wheel Drive
Buzios 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 December 1.

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 thing.
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 tomorrow morning.

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.
e 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 and drinks.
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 Embarkation

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 here:
Soar over the mysterious Nazca lines on this enthralling, limited participation tour.
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 time.
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 neighbors.
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 River cruise.
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 outside.
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.
Coming back 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.
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

As 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 Avenue.

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.

This 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 shakers.
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

This tour requires an hour and a half bus ride to and from Valparaiso.

Delve 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 minutes long.
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 conversation.
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 slot play.
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 excursion: PETROHUE FALLS & PUERTO VARAS

Your 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.

The 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 10:30.
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 spectacular.
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 clear days.
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 neutering.

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:

The 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 concludes.

The 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 do.
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 in 2nd).
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 Mari.
A quick visit to the casino followed before heading to bed, as we have a 6:15 AM excursion tomorrow.
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 it!
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 in.
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 this area.
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 tomorrow morning.
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, Argentina

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 fun story!
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, Uruguay

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, Uruguay

We got up at 6:45 for our 8:15 tour: MONTEVIDEO PANORAMA

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.

It 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 city.
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 tour:

Cruise through the labyrinthine canals of the Tigre River delta, admiring the unspoiled natural beauty and unexpected British-style homes that dot the shoreline.
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 forested islands.
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.

To 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 to tan.
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

Enjoy an enlightening overview of Buenos Aires by visiting landmarks ranging from its most politically important square to its most characteristic neighborhoods.
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.

hen, 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 Buenos Aires.

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, Uruguay

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: CITY 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 market.
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 Parliament.
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 1919.
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 pier.

While 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 night.
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, Uruguay

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 t-shirt.
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

Begin 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 century.

This was 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 minute 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: BLUMENAU HERITAGE

Begin 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 design.
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 Blumenau.
Next, your drive will proceed to the Bavarian Biergarten Pavilion, site of Blumenau's annual Oktoberfest which is the second largest outside of Germany.
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.

It 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 back.
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 AND GUARUJA

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 creatures.
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, Brazil

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:

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 pier.

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 the casino.

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 lasting
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 swimming.
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.

The 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 impressive.
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 La Veranda.
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 HIGHLIGHTS:

See the marquee attractions of Buzios in air-conditioned comfort on this enlightening driving tour through the downtown and along the most scenic beaches.
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 waves.
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 pier.

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 week.
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: THE BEST OF RIO

This 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 Botanical Gardens.

The 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 to Miami.
We arrived in Miami at 7:30 and got through Global Entry without a line. Bags collected and taxi to Fountainbleau Hotel.