Going around Cape Horn on the Ryndam from Valparaisio, Chili to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in November this year. Looking for tips on what to do in ports and which of the HAL shore excursions would be worth our while. If you did things on your own, also interested in what is safe/unsafe and any non-ship affilitated tour companies or car hires you could recommend.
Returned today from Ryndam Rio to Valpariso. Outstanding trip. Loved the ship and its warmth, great food, and great service. We did some of the ship's shore excursions, but did more on our own with taxi cabs at far less cost and ended up seeing the same things or more. City tours are better handled by the cabs at your own pace. We found the busses difficult in terms of always lining up to get on and off, some people fighting for position, sometimes poor tour guides and language problems, and definitely more expensive. My advice is to go through the shore excursion book (hint: if you don't have one yet, go to Holland America's web site under the cruise dates and destinations, and go to ports of call, and click on shore excursions for a complete explanation and cost by port). Select the activities that interest you and hire a taxi when you get there.
We took the ship's shore excursions in Ushuaia (Trekking) and in Punta Arenas (the Penguin Colony) and loved both. Could have done the penguins for much less by taxi, but it is a long drive. Did all of Rio on our own for much less - the same cab took us to the beaches and to Sugar Loaf and Corcovado and waited for us each place. We even arranged our own overnight / 2day trip to Iguazu Falls, and with airfare, hotel, meals, taxi spent less than the ship charged for the one day trip. If you want specific information about any of the ports or excursions, please e-mail me.