We are booked on Mercury, march 17th Rio to Valperaiso. Has anyone done their own excursions and perhaps can give me some info. We usually don't take the tour excusions. Thanks Ed Zelniker ports include Rio, Buenas Aries, santiago etc.
Ed... a great great itinerary. First, you should be sure to spend time in Rio... if that is your departure or end point... it is magnificent (my favorite city in the World). If it is just a stop, you should be sure to take the ship's tour... there is too much to see and Rio is quite a large and spread out City. Either way, you're in for a treat!
BA is fascinating. It is almost a European city in many respects. Here too I recommend a panoramic city tour from the ship in the morning, then go off on your own in the pm. If you like beef, you should be sure to have lunch at one of BA's great steak restaurants... they are wonderful. If you stop in Montevideo Uruguay, be sure to visit some of the leather shops... super buys on great leather items.
Ushuaia is remote and interesting. A tour will probably be best there.
You'll be sailing through some of the most scenic areas on earth, particularly the Chilean Fjords. Don't miss a minute of it.
Again, I don't know which way you are going, but I assume you are starting or ending in Valparaiso... the port city for Santiago, Chile. Santiago is a delightful city, surrounded by the Andes mountains. The people are very friendly and it is overall a lovely place to visit. It your tour ends in Valparaiso, your flight back to the U.S. will not leave till very late in the evening. Be sure to take the tour that Celeb offers for the afternoon. Otherwise, you'll have a very boring day waiting for your flight. If you got your air from Celeb, they will provide a day room at a local hotel for you.
With the exception of Rio, BA & Santiago, the cities in the southern half of South American have less tourist infrastructure than you will find elsewhere, so, as a general rule you are better off with the ships tours.
You are in for a great cruise experience in an exciting part of the world on a great vessel. Let us know how it all goes when you return.
I just noticed that you are going From Rio to Valparaiso. Try if you can to do a few days pre-cruise in Rio. Best hotel... the Sheraton (the only hotel in Rio directly on the beach and a bit out of the hubub in Copacabana). Also, do try to take the afternoon tour in Santiago... while waiting for your flight, unless you are staying there too.
Thank you for your suggestions. We'll be doing Rio to Valparaiso on Mercury departing 1/6/02. We have purchased a 2-day Rio pre-cruise stay, at the Sheraton. We just got word from Celebrity that our Tierra Major trekking shore excursion in Puerto Montt, Chile has been cancelled, due to the weather conditions there. We decided that due to the short time in the ports, and the limited options, the Celebrity excursions were our best options. We have already purchased most of our shore excursions on the Celebrity web site. Tickets for the excursions are to be delivered to our cabin on the day of embarkation.
We're looking forward to an exotic voyage.
All the advice you have received is good, in my opinion. The Chilean
Fjords are spectacular and probably the least publicized area in the
world. Except for the large cities, you will be well advised to take the
tours arranged by the ship. Ushaia, PuertoMott, Point Arena etc. are
all very small and have extremely limited tour options. You are really
in for a treat. ENJOY The South Atlantic and the South Pacitif can be
a little rough, so don't forget your Bonine--and some warm clothes.
We did South America last January on the Mercury and loved it! In Ushuaia we hired a taxi on our own (he spoke about 10 words of English and I spoke about 10 words of Spanish,so it worked out!). Actually, there were 6 of us and we split up into 2 cabs and one of "us" did speak Spanish, so he negotiated the deal. They gave us a great tour of the city, and then at the end we wandered around on our own. We had a "terrific summer day" for down there...50's and partly sunny. Be prepared for wind, damp & chill. We had one particularly rough day at sea, but we loved every minute of it. If you do get sick, the medical facility has some great stuff (so I'm told) to cure you. Have a blast!