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  #1 (permalink)  
Old December 4th, 2001, 03:45 PM
MJ Rubinstein
Posts: n/a
Default Ryndam 11/14

Just back from our cruise. Both rested and exhausted. Will try to give you all a summary of the main points:

1- Every port was worth seeing. No two were the same. Definitely an overall worthwhile cruise for this reason.

2- This cruise was like a Senior Class Trip. And I mean senior. Almost everyone was over 70. Many were impressively active but it was definitely an older crowd. By 11pm 80% of the people on the ship were asleep each night.

3- The food was ok but not impressive. There were even a few things we sent back. The positive aspect of this is that we didn't gain weight.

4- Shore excursions were overpriced. Some -- like the Trekking in Ushuaia and the Buenos Aires Highlights, I would do again. Others, like the 8 hour tour of Rio that only went to two places, I would never... The tango show was good but the dinner that went with it wasn't worth the $$. Most of the ports on this tour can be seen independently with just a bit of thought and planning. If anyone is interested in more details, please e-mail me.

5- Ship-- The cabins were very nice, more spacious and comfortable than we'd had on RC. Public rooms were less glitzy than we'd have liked but functional. The pool had to be closed during rough seas but was good otherwise. Entertainment was better than RC but varied. The Piano Lounge was a highlight for us.

6- Jewelry Salesmen -- Three jewelers in Rio had reps on the ship who spent 15 days softenining us up to buy. A marketing educational experience if nothing else.

7- Port and Enrichment lectures-- These were very useful. Recommended.

If anyone has other questions on this cruise, please let us know.

--Leo and Myra Rubinstein
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old December 4th, 2001, 11:32 PM
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 91
Default Re: Ryndam 11/14

I'm glad you have a good trip. I'll be on the Mercury for a month in January-February from Valparaiso up to Rio for Carnaval. If you don't mind, I have several questions for you...

Did you see the penquins, and in what port did you see them?

What do you recommend doing in Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas, and Puerto Madyrn (assuming you visited these ports)? We're already signed up for the Buenos Aires highlights the day we disembark the ship.

Did you spend any time in Santiago, and, if so, what did you do there?

Does Rio feel as 'unsafe' as we've been led to believe? Would you do an independent tour there?

How was the weather around the Cape?

Thanks so much for this up-to-date information!!!!
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old December 5th, 2001, 01:06 PM
KLD KLD is offline
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First Mate
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 302
Default Re: Ryndam 11/14

Was also on this trip. A few other pointers:

-We were not prepared for the $61 (USA) cash payment per person (for USA citizens) we had to make at the Santiago airport prior to clearing customs. A head's up to all. The fee for Canadians and other countries is lower.

-We used private tours throughout the trip and saved a lot of money compared to HAL prices, plus because we were nearly always on small vans with small groups we saw a lot more with less crowds. We used South Star Tours (www.southstartours.com) to arrange these trips in all ports. This includes a cheaper but overnight trip to Iguassu Falls (we did not go, but some other people in our group did). In Puerto Montt I would definately recommend on the the trips to Puerto Varas and to the falls at Petrohue. We also used a private tour company here (Eureka Tours). I don't have the URL handy right now, but can get it if anyone wants it.

-In the Falklands did not take a tour, but did take the local $10 shuttle (purchase tickets at the pier) to see the penquin colony at Gypsy Bay and felt this was sufficient. Others saw a lot of penquins on the catamaran trip in Ushuaia.

-I am used to big cities in the USA (LA, Chicago, NYC) and felt no more unsafe in Rio or Buenos Aires than in any other large city. We careful, just as you should be anywhere. Don't advertise that you are a rich American (minimal jewelry, no flag shirts, etc.). Keep your wallet concealed or your hand on it at all times on the street. Don't fall for the local trick of having someone squirt mustard on your clothes and they have a "helpful bystander" help you clean up while they pick your pocket.

-In Ushuaia the museum is closed 12-3PM, so plan around this if you plan to visit. Most tourist shops were open. Hilling with poor pavement, so was a challenge with a wheelchair.

-We went on a city tour in Rio via van. Must better than bus as we could drive up to Cocovado instead of taking the cogwheel tram, and also had a tour of Tujica Forest which cannot accomodate buses. We also had a day tour to Petropolis which I would recommend to anyone interested in history (and it was cooler there than Rio).
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old December 5th, 2001, 03:21 PM
Myra Rubinstein
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Ryndam 11/14

We saw less than a dozen penguins on the Penguin Colony shore excursion in Punta Arenas. I had anticipated being able to walk right up to them and they were in a roped off area. I was a little disappointed. My husband was more disappointed. We also saw some penguins from the ship going through the Straits of Magellan.

In Puerto Montt we took the Petrohue Falls shore excursion. It was nice, but based on our later experiences visiting ports on our own, I might prefer to spend the time exploring Puerto Montt on our own if we had it to do again.

In Punta Arenas we saw the penguins in the morning and then explored on our own in the afternoon including a museum housed in an old mansion that was very worthwhile.

In Santiago we explored on our own as well, the highlight being the Pre-Columbian Art Museum which has an excellent collection extremely well displayed (a world class curator designed the exhibits, in my opinion). By the way, other worthwhile museums included the brand new modern art museum in Buenos Aires (only opened in October) and the Gaucho and Money museum in Rio (I think it was Rio, it's all starting to run together).

We were warned about safety in every city we went to. None felt any more (or less) safe than New York. We spent most of our time walking around on our own in the last three ports (Montevideo, Buenos Aires and Rio) and never felt unsafe or threatened.

The weather at the cape was 45 degrees and windy, not as bad as we had anticipated. We really lucked out for good weather and I hope you do too.

Please write if you think of any more questions.

--Myra and Leo
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old December 7th, 2001, 08:47 PM
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 91
Default Re: Ryndam 11/14

KLD and Myra-

Thanks so very much for your wonderful responses. I am going to review them in more detail, and may have more questions before we leave in mid-January, so please check back here periodically.

Again, many thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed your cruises!
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old January 11th, 2002, 04:46 PM
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 51
Default Re: Ryndam 11/14

Dear Myra & Leo,
The Gaucho & Money Museum was in Montevideo. It was excellent and housed in a beautiful turn of the century doctor's residence.I understand how these places run together, we are just back from 34days on the Ryndam -San Diego to Rio.

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