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South America and Antarctica Cruise - December 2, 2019 to January 6, 2020

We've now finished our 25th cruise, to South America and Antarctica.   We had originally picked a cruise around Cape Horn in South America (from Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles), but when Patty found this one that actually visited the Antarctic Peninsula for 4 days, it was an easy choice to pick this one.  Patty arranged all of the logistics for the trip, which was a huge undertaking.  The trip had us boarding the Coral Princess in Ft. Lauderdale on Monday December 2, and disembarking in San Antonio, Chile, on January 5, a total of 34 days onboard.   (See the itinerary for details).  The daily log is shown below.  It is long because this was a long trip, but it reflects things that I wanted to remember or thought were important.   There are also a few pictures at the very end you may find interesting, scroll all the way to the bottom to see them.   Send me an email at gsuther@gmail.com if you have comments.

Sunday - December 1
Since the cruise left from Ft. Lauderdale, we couldn’t think of any better method for getting there than to rent a car, turn it in at the FLL airport, and Uber to the cruise terminal.  I picked up Patty after lunch, dropped her off at the rental car area at PIE and returned home.  Patty was not far behind and we loaded up the car and got on the road around 2:30.  After a rest stop about halfway, we arrived at the Courtyard Inn around 6:30.  A little dinner and some TV finished the evening.

Monday - December 2
We left the hotel around 10:30, dropped our bags at the terminal, got gas for the car, and turned it in by 11:40.  Next up was an Uber back to the terminal, check in for the cruise, security checks, and getting to our cabin, which we accomplished by around 12:50.  Later we had to complete the muster drill, unpack, and get ready for dinner.  The ship started moving away from the berth around 5:00, and we’re on our way.  Sunset today was at 5:28 (as we move south, sunset will get later).   Our normal dinner time is 7:30 and we’ll be assisted by Michael and Karl.   Bogdan is our assistant head waiter.  The show tonight was a comedian, he had some funny stuff but a lot of ship humor that we’ve heard before.  The ship showed several Christmas trees and the crew were still putting up decorations after the show.

Tuesday - December 3
Today was the first of two sea days before our first port.  We both went to a port talk on St. Kitts at 10:00.  Then I found some breakfast and Patty went to an Arts & Crafts demonstration.  Later we both went to a shopping talk and a casino demonstration and Patty had some lunch.  Much of the afternoon was spent reading.  After a normal dinner, the show tonight featured a vocalist, Donnie Ray Evins, who sang a tribute to Nat King Cole rather well.

Wednesday - December 4
This was the second sea day before St. Kitts, so it was a relaxed morning.  Patty went to a Meet & Greet with other cruisers from Cruise Critic.  We watched some of the impeachment hearings in the House while also reading.  Sunset today was 5:45.   It is a formal night, so more time is required to get ready, then the Captain’s Welcome Party and Champagne Waterfall were at 6:45 followed by dinner and the production show “Encore”.

Thursday - December 5
We’re anchored off St. Kitts this morning, which is a tender port, so we got ready early expecting a wait for a tender seat.  When we got to the meeting spot there was no line, so we were off the ship around 8:15 and in town shortly thereafter.  After walking through the shopping section of town, we found the meeting place for Annie’s Tours and waited some time for our group to be called.  We got going around 9:30 for our drive around the island in intermittent rain.  With stops for photos, we arrived back in town around 3:15 and proceeded to the tender dock and back to the ship.   Normal dinner tonight followed by the second show by Donnie Ray Evins, this time with songs by other artists.

Friday - December 6
This morning found us docked at Fort-De-France in Martinique.  We had no tour scheduled for today, so it was another relaxed morning.  After breakfast we set off to town around 11:30.  Finding not much interesting in town, we returned to the ship and had burgers for lunch and did some reading in the afternoon.   Another normal dinner, but there was no show tonight because of a deck party up near the pool.  During our walk through town, we did find a beautiful church with a big steeple that you’ll have to watch the movie to see, and Patty found a sampler pack of six different Martinique produced rums which she bought and smuggled back on the ship.   Also, it was my birthday, so the wait staff sang to me and delivered a small chocolate cake after dinner.

Saturday - December 7
Our next port is way south in Salvador, Brazil, which is six sea days away.  Today was the first of those sea days.  We started with an enrichment lecture about James Cook, an English ship captain who mapped a lot of western Canada and many Pacific islands.   He visited New Zealand, Tahiti and Hawaii before being killed by Hawaiians in 1779.   We had lunch in the dining room instead of the cafeteria and went to a wine tasting in the afternoon.  Even though our ship had not yet been upgraded to the newer entertainment system, we were able to watch several football games on TV, including the Big XII Championship between Oklahoma and Baylor, the SEC Championship between Georgia and LSU, and the Big 10 Championship between Ohio State and Wisconsin.   We took time out for a normal dinner.

Sunday - December 8
Our second sea day meant a leisurely day of reading and TV.  Lunch in the dining room again, and there was some rain in the afternoon, so we stayed off our balcony for that time.  We had another normal dinner.

Monday - December 9
Today is our third sea day, and started with an enrichment lecture about Cape Horn, including a history of ocean exploration, and then we watched a video about the Amazon River, and went to lunch in the dining room.  Following that, we hiked all the way to the aft end of the ship to the Universe Lounge to pick up tickets for a Planetarium Show.  Yep, somehow the cruise had obtained a portable planetarium, which they set up in a light-sealed tent on the stage, into which they allowed 20 passengers at a time to view a presentation.   Our time was 2:20, when we were ushered into the tent, told to lay on the floor to see the sky projected on the ceiling above, and watched the show.  We saw closeup looks of the sun and all of the planets as we flew through our solar system.  It was pretty cool and lasted 15 minutes.  We went back to our cabin after that for reading and more impeachment TV before another normal dinner and the comedy of "Noodles" Levenstein.

Tuesday - December 10
This is our fourth sea day, starting with Patty going to the gym, and an enrichment lecture about the ancient cultures of South America.  We crossed the equator on our way south at 11:04, feeling just a little bump where the North Atlantic Ocean changes to the South Atlantic Ocean, followed by a Monte Cristo sandwich in the dining room for lunch and another wine tasting at 2:00.  As part of the cruise’s bid to get passengers to buy stuff, there were events at the various shops from time to time where “charms” were given away(see picture below).  Today there were two such events, one at the duty-free store for a rum tasting at 5:30 and the second at the EFFY store for Jack Daniels tasting at 7:00.  We also tried to watch the equator crossing ceremony, but there were too many people already around the pool so we couldn’t see much, so Patty went back to the gym and I read my book.  The cruise presents “production shows” periodically with a theme, costumes, singing and dancing.  Tonight's entertainment was the production show “On the Bayou”, which we had seen previously, and we got to see it twice, before and after dinner.  We enjoy the presentation and the music.

Wednesday - December 11
It’s a good thing that we enjoy sea days, this is our fifth in a row.  Today’s agenda included a port talk about Salvador, Brazil, an enrichment lecture about life in the oceans, lunch in the dining room, a little shopping, a trip to the laundry room, getting ready for the Captain’s Circle Party (for frequent Princess cruisers) and attending the party, watching the sunset from our balcony, seeing the first land in five days (Natal, Brazil 13 miles away), a little TV and reading, dinner, and the show, a trumpet entertainer.  I offer a big “Thank You” to Patty for picking a cabin on the starboard side of the ship, meaning we were facing the west for the first three-quarters of the cruise, giving us sunsets every day.

Thursday - December 12
Our sixth sea day included a destination presentation called “Fire and Ice” about the Pacific Ring of Fire and the glaciers in South America and Antarctica, another wine tasting, lots of reading, the second “Noodles” comedy show at 6:30, dinner, watching and listening to Sammy Goldstein, a piano entertainer, in Crooner’s Bar.  We finished up the day with more impeachment TV.

Friday - December 13
We docked in Salvador, Brazil, around 7:00.  After breakfast we left the ship around 10:15 to see the town.  Like other towns we have visited, this one was built on the side of a hill, so there is a lower level around the port, and an upper level with shops and entertainment places.  There are two ways, other than walking uphill, to get from the lower level to the upper level – a very large public elevator and a funicular railway.  We chose the funicular, rode to the top, and took some pictures and video while walking around the area.  Being close to the equator, it was very hot, so we didn’t stay very long, and made our way back to the funicular for the return to the lower level and walked back to the ship and lunch in the cafeteria.  You’ll have to watch the movie to see what we saw while there.  We got ready for dinner, saw a new comedy show before dinner, a went up to the pool deck for a Mardi Gras party, which didn’t impress us, so we returned to our cabin for the night.

Saturday - December 14
Our next port is more than a day away, so we have another sea day.  This morning we attended port presentation about Rio de Janeiro before lunch in the dining room.   There was another wine tasting in mid-afternoon, then reading and getting ready for dinner.   The show tonight was a performance by a native Brazilian singer, after which we caught some of the Lightning game on internet radio.

Sunday - December 15
Today we are in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, arriving in sunlight around 8:10 AM.  We disembarked around 9:30, walked through the cruise terminal, and met our tour group outside the building.  The tour started at 10:00 and went first to Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park, which features the Christ the Redeemer statue at the top.  The last few miles to the top of the mountain are restricted to official park vans, so there was some delay getting our group up and down the mountain.  When we had all gathered up again, we were off to lunch near Ipanema Beach at Carretao Classic Grille, which is a Brazilian-style steakhouse (known in Brazil as "Churrascarias").   There was a huge buffet with salads, condiments, veggies, and breads, and also servers come to the table with knives and a skewer, on which are speared various kinds of quality cuts of meat, including local cuts of beef, pork and chicken.   We stayed about an hour here.  Next, we rode around the outside of Maracana Stadium , where a record crowd of 199,854 fans watched the World Cup match between Brazil and Uruguay in 1950.  We continued on to see the Sambadrome where the world-famous Rio Carnival Parade is held each year.  The next stop was the grand Cathedral do Sao Sebastiao (see the inside of this huge building in the movie).  We moved on to a stop at the Selaron Steps , and then our final attraction, a ride on the cable cars to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. Our return to the ship was delayed because of a problem with our bus, so Patty and I rode a cab back to the port, arriving around 7:50.  We got to dinner about 8:15 and barely made the show at 9:30 of classic Brazilian "Carnival" dancers.  It had been a very big day.

Monday - December 16
After an overnight at the dock in Rio, we had another day to explore the city.  After breakfast, we took off in search of a wine store.  We found a couple with bottles a little more expensive than we were looking for, so we walked back to the ship, arriving around 1:30.   We found out that the temperature was around 30C (86F) on the ship, maybe a few degrees more in the city.  After a nap for me and the gym for Patty, we got ready for dinner and watched our departure around 6:00.  After dinner, we went up to the top deck, with the lights off, for star gazing.

Tuesday - December 17
This is the first of two sea days before our next port, Montevideo.  We attended the destination lecture about Montevideo, then I watched the ship-produced video of the equator crossing ceremony, followed by lunch in the dining room.  Earlier in the cruise, we had discovered an error in our room account, so we checked in with Passenger Services about getting that fixed, for the fourth time.  It was later fixed by Bogdan, our assistant head waiter.  Patty went to the Crew Show at 2:00, where members of the crew show off their talents for passengers.  This was another formal night, as well as the Captain’s Farewell Party, so we left early for dinner.   The production show, “Motor City” was one we had seen before, and was pretty good, so we watched it again.  (Note: our 34-day cruise was actually a combination of an 18-day itinerary to Buenos Aires, and a 16-day itinerary on to Santiago, Chile, including Antarctica.  So this was nearly the end of the first segment, giving us the farewell party now and again at the end of the next segment.)

Wednesday - December 18
Today is the second of two sea days, and the last day for half of the passengers, so there was the expected culinary demonstration and kitchen visit in the morning.  We checked our accounts before lunch in the dining room, and found everything in order, finally.  In the afternoon, we went down to the shops for another charm, and Patty went to the gym while I continued reading.  We also watched a little impeachment TV before dinner.  And after dinner, we caught some of Sammy’s piano show, featuring show tunes and other standards.

Thursday - December 19
Our next port was Montevideo, Uruguay, where we had scheduled a tour of the city at 10:30.  It was a nice tour of most of the sights of the city, and included a stop at a shopping place, where we got a couple of bottles of wine, which we smuggled back on the ship.  The Celebrity Eclipse was in town with us and left before us.  The harbor is protected by a rock breakwater, so we watched as the bigger Eclipse navigated through the rocks before we did the same thing a little later.   We had an early Comedy show at 6:30, then dinner including the Princess favorite Baked Alaska for dessert, followed by a singer show at 9:30.

Friday - December 20
We’re in Buenos Aires today, where half of the passengers will disembark, replaced by a new crowd that will have to be taught how the elevators work.  We had a city highlights tour that got underway around 10:00 that included a little rain, no rain, a stop at a cemetery, more rain, heavy traffic, more rain, a drive-by of the colonial town hall, a shopping stop, and a return to the port.  We found a little shop and bought 2 bottles of wine, which we smuggled back on board.  We were back on board around 2:45, got some lunch and then attended the muster drill for the newcomers.  The rest of the day was reading, dinner, and another comedy show.  I should explain the tour stop at the cemetary.  We went there to see the tomb of Maria Eva Duarte, better known as Eva Peron or Evita.  It is a big time tourist attraction, so we stopped there.

Saturday - December 21
Today we were scheduled to stop in Montevideo again (for the new passengers) but the wind measured around 45-55 knots, so the captain decided to skip visiting the tight harbor.   The only bad thing about this was that there were no general activities planned for the day.  This provided us a big reading day with some TV thrown in.   Around 5:00, the captain reported that we would have the same weather for the rest of today and tomorrow.  That weather was 50 knot (57 mph) winds and 5-meter (16 feet) seas.
It was pretty rough.

Sunday - December 22
Our next port is two sea days away, so for this first sea day, we have several presentations about Antarctica, the first at 9:00.  We also have a Cruise Critic Meet & Greet in the morning before lunch in the dining room.  Another presentation at 2:00 and then some reading and preparation for formal night and the Captain’s Welcome Aboard Party with the Champagne Waterfall.   After dinner we get another performance of “Motor City” featuring the music and artists from Detroit in the 1960s.

Monday - December 23
We’ve got another sea day today, with more presentations on Antarctica.  The first focused on the history of explorations around the southernmost continent and the second about whales.  We took time out before lunch to pick up another charm at the EFFY store.  After lunch, there was a guest lecture about the most ambitious exploration effort to date when it started in 1914.  Sir Ernest Shackleton attempted to land on one side of Antarctica and hike to the other side while crossing the geographic south pole, a distance of 1800 miles.  The expedition never did get properly started on land because his ship became icebound 20 miles from shore and was then crushed and sunk as the ice broke up the next spring, leaving 28 explorers to live on ice floes for months until they could escape in lifeboats.  The account of the expedition is detailed in one of the books I read named "South".  Dinner and a show ended the day.

Tuesday - December 24
Today we’re in Stanley, Falkland Islands, where we have a tour scheduled to visit some penguins.  Our Patrick Watts Tours group met at 7:30 so we could all get on the same tender to the port.  We were broken into smaller groups once on land and got going around 8:30 on our way to Bertha's Beach , arriving around 10:00.  There were penguins there (see the movie).  After an hour there, we headed back to town, passed it, and continued on to Gypsy Cove for more penguins.  On our return to town, we were dropped at a local grocery store to pick up more wine, which we successfully smuggled onboard at around 2:45.  Lunch was at the cafeteria, after which we watched a movie in our cabin, did a little more reading, and got ready for dinner in time to sing some Christmas carols in the Atrium at 7:00 (it is Christmas Eve).  After dinner the show featured an illusionist, who was pretty good.

Wednesday - December 25
We continue heading south on another sea day which included the following presentations: The Antarctica Treaty at 9:00; The Falkland Islands at 11:00; Ice Breakers at 12:30; Ocean Navigation at 1:30; Navigation Questions and Answers at 2:15.  At about 3:00, the current conditions were: temperature 46F; wind 25 knots; sea depth 4070 meters (13,350 feet); sunrise 3:55 AM; sunset 9:35 PM; latitude 56 degrees 23.49 minutes south.  We were able to complete a Facetime call to Kristie and family for a few minutes on Christmas Day.  We did some reading until dinner, after which we attended a hastily prepared show with the cruise director and the singers and dancers performing Christmas carols.  Later in our cabin, at 10:30, it was still dusk outside, and the conditions were: temp 39F, wind 19, sea depth 3990 meters, sunrise 3:37, sunset 9:48, latitude 58 degrees 3.10 minutes south, speed 14.3 knots, sky overcast.   (I found it amazing that in about 7:30 of sailing time to the south, we had moved about 1 degree 40 minutes closer to the south pole while the amount of daylight increased by 31 minutes.)

Thursday - December 26
This is the first of four days cruising around the Antarctic Peninsula and Islands.   Our first contact with land was at Elephant Island at about 11:20 AM.  The day had started at 9:00 with a presentation about exploring the south pole followed by a presentation about turtles at 10:00.  Back in our cabin with the big glass doors to our balcony keeping us warm, we could clearly see the world passing by (see picture below).   Conditions at 11:00 AM were: temp 37F, wind 20 knots, latitude 61 degrees 1.4 minutes south, longitude 54 degrees 46.8 minutes west.  We continued around the island until around 3:00 PM, when we headed further south toward Hope Bay.  In our cabin, we were reading and napping until dinner and a comedy show.  Upon returning to our cabin around 10:30 PM, we saw our first big iceberg off our side of the ship.  Conditions at this time: temp 32F, wind 19 knots, sunrise 2:41 AM, sunset 10:54 PM, sea depth 100 meters, latitude 62 degrees 55.1 minutes south, longitude 57 degrees 2.6 minutes west.  Our speed was 10.8 knots through the water, and the sun was still up.  At this point, the sun was below the horizon for less than 4 hours and the sky never really got dark.

Friday - December 27
We’re in our second day of Antarctica cruising.  The captain is on the intercom saying that we cannot go into the Antarctic Sound because ice is blocking the path, so we looked at some icebergs and continued to next destination.  At 9:20 there might be a path to the sound between bergs.  That path did not open up, so we went back to our previous course.  At 11:15, we sailed up to a huge tabular iceberg, turned one way then the other so both sides of ship could see it, then sailed down the length of it before continuing on course.  The captain’s log indicated that this berg was 2800 meters long and 1850 meters wide, that’s about 1.7 miles by 1.1 miles.  The movie shows what it looked like.  Lunch is in the dining room today, then back to our balcony.  Conditions at 2:15: temp 36F, wind 31 knots, sunrise 2:33 AM, sunset 11:03 PM, latitude 62 degrees 18.7 minutes south, longitude 58 degrees 14.6 minutes west, speed 13.6 knots.  At 3:00 we’re heading into Admiralty Bay, where we stayed for almost two hours.  The views were fantastic.  Next, we started a southwest course to our next destination, so we did some reading, went to dinner, and stopped at Crooner’s to see Sammy, who was not so good tonight.  We tried the TV, but we are too far south for any reception at all.

Saturday - December 28
We awake on this third day in Antarctica as we enter the Gerlach Strait, which separates the Antarctic Peninsula from Anvers Island.  Conditions this morning: temp 43F, wind 19 knots, sunrise 2:23 AM, sunset 12:03 AM, latitude 64 degrees 49.7 minutes south, longitude 63 degrees 11.5 minutes west.  It is almost sensory overload with all the scenery and icebergs here.  A little later we saw whales.  At about 10:36 AM, we reached 64 degrees 58 minutes south, our closest point to the geographic south pole.   We turned northwest and entered the Neumaier Channel, which brought us closer to land than anywhere else.  Around 4:00 we altered course toward Charlotte Bay, which had lots of whales, maybe a dozen, for our viewing pleasure before dinner.  At 11:00 PM the conditions were: temp 34F, wind 13 knots, latitude 63 degrees 59 minutes south, longitude 61 degrees 43 minutes west, and we were in fog.

Sunday - December 29
This is our final day in Antarctica, and today we pass Deception Island.  Morning conditions: temp 32F, wind 31 knots, sunrise 2:58 AM, sunset 11:08 PM.  The weather is terrible around the island with wind gusts up to 50 knots, rain, and passing snow showers.  We approached the east side of the island to within 2 miles, turned south for the starboard side of the ship, and then turned north for the port side.  We left the island behind at about 10:30 AM and headed into the Drake Passage.  We attended an enrichment lecture at 2:00 about the early Antarctica explorers, followed by reading and preparation for the Captain’s Circle Party at 6:45, then dinner and the show featuring singer Sean O’Shay.  Back in our cabin, we found that we were far enough north for the TV to work again, so we caught some of the Sunday Night Football game.   Conditions at 11:30 PM: temp 39F, wind 23 knots, sunrise 3:56 AM, sunset 10:50 PM.   Seas were reported to be 5 meters as we were moving at 17.5 knots.

Monday - December 30
Today we are transiting the Drake Passage all day, and it is rough all day.  We attend presentations at 9:00, 10:00 and 11:00 before lunch and another presentation at 1:00, and wine tasting at 2:00.  After some reading, we reach Cape Horn at about 5:30.  Current weather conditions are: temp 50F, wind 38 knots, sunrise 4:43 AM, sunset 10:15 PM.   The Captain gave us a good view, passing as close as 3 miles from the Horn.   We have a normal dinner and show for the evening.   One thing of note – today we sailed in three different oceans, starting out in the Southern Ocean, spending most of the day in the Pacific Ocean, and finishing in the Atlantic Ocean.  From our dinner table, seas seem to be in the 10 to 15-foot range.

Tuesday - December 31
We’re at our next port today in Ushuaia, Argentina.  The morning temperature was about 48F with a 6-knot wind.  We have a tour of the Beagle Channel this morning at 9:30, so we disembark around 8:30 for the walk to the tourist area and the ticket booth.  We board the catamaran around 9:10 for a 3-hour tour, where we see lots of sea lions and cormorants (which look like penguins but can fly) around Bird Island.   On the way back to the ship, there is a little shopping, then lunch in the cafeteria, before an afternoon of reading and getting ready for the next formal night.  We finish up the day with dinner and a comedy show.

Wednesday - January 1
Our final port is Punta Arenas, Chile, which is a tender port.  We had previously elected to not do an excursion today, and this morning we chose to not even go into town, so we had breakfast and settled in to reading until football starts (this is New Year’s Day, after all).  We watch Michigan play Alabama, which takes all afternoon, before a normal dinner and the circus juggler show.

Thursday - January 2
We have three final sea days before the end of the cruise, and this is the first.   We attend presentations at 9:00 and 10:00 and then lunch at 12:00 in the dining room before watching the movie “90 South” in the theatre at 1:00.  Then there is another new charm at 3:30 and reading before dinner and the Ric Steel show.

Friday - January 3
This is our second sea day.  There are more presentations at 9:00 and 10:00 before collecting another charm and lunch.  At 1:00 there was a showing of the film “South”, which was shot by one of the members of the 1914 Shackleton expedition.  At 2:00 we listened to a presentation by one of the "ice pilots" on our ship about our encounter with Antarctica, and then reading before the Captain’s Farewell Party and the final formal dinner.  We chose to hang out at Crooner’s for our entertainment tonight.

Saturday - January 4
This is our final sea day and packing day.  We had lunch in the dining room before packing all afternoon.  We’re back in the Pacific Ocean where seas are running about 5 meters, so it is “hold on to something” while moving around.   One thing to mention is a big thanks to Patty for selecting our particular table for dinner.  It is a table for 2, within a foot of a window for light and to see what is happening outside, and it is not close to anyone else.  It is a great place to spend a couple of hours each day(see picture below).  We end the cruise with a fine meal and another Ric Steel show.  This is also the final Baked Alaska and Parade and farewell to our servers and assistant head waiter.  Sunrise and sunset times are back to normal at 6:36 AM and 9:14 PM.

Sunday - January 5
We’re up at around 6:30 for our 7:45 disembarkation in San Antonio, Chile.   Temperature this morning is 57F.  We get through the terminal, collect our bags, and are waiting for our tour by about 8:20.  We finally find our guide about 8:45, but it was another hour before we were on the bus.   Our planned excursion is a tour north along the coast, with a few stops, and then onward east along the countryside to reach Santiago.   The first bus stop was at Isla Negra, and then we went to lunch, arriving about 12:00 at Kaleuche restaurant.   Back on the bus after lunch, on our way to Emiliana Organic Vineyards for wine tasting.   We left the vineyard about 5:00, got caught at a weigh station and had to pay a fine for being overweight, and arrived at the airport at about 6:20, where some of our group got off.  Then there were about 10 stops at different hotels in Santiago where others were staying before we got to our hotel about 8:30, the last stop on the list.   We ordered room service for dinner and watched TV that night.

Monday - January 6
This would be our only day in Santiago, so we bought tickets on the Hop-On Hop-Off bus and toured the town.  We stopped at an outdoor cafe for a quick Pisco-sour and a Heineken.   We wanted to go to the top of the mountain, where we were told we could see fantastic views of the entire city.  Unfortunately, both the funicular and the cable car were closed on this Monday.   But there is a really tall building in town, so we hopped off and found the entrance to the elevators, but the next tour to the top would be too late for us.   We did spy a Hard Rock Restaurant, where Patty got a souvenir shotglass.   Then we got back on the HOHO and rode back to the hotel to retrieve our bags and get an Uber to the airport.  Flight check-in and bag check was easy, and the agent suggested we go to the Sky Lounge to wait, so we did.   We were onboard by 9:15, took off about 9:55, and landed in Atlanta just about 5:00 AM the next morning.

Tuesday - January 7
After landing in Atlanta at about 5:00 AM, the pilot informed us we would be waiting on a taxiway until customs got to work at 5:15 before we could get off the plane.   Our actual flight time from Santiago to Atlanta had been just about 9 hours.   Customs and immigration back into the USA was easy, as was bag retrieval and re-checking, and we rode the underground train from airside F to airside A with lots of time to spare.  We were back in Tampa around 8:45 AM, got our bags and headed home.
The round trip to Antarctica and back took almost 38 days.

General Stuff
There was a lot of reading going on during this trip.  My reading list included these books:

Two Years Before the Mast (Richard Henry Dana, Jr.) - a memoir by the American author Richard Dana, published in 1840, having been written after a two-year sea voyage from Boston to California and back to Boston on a merchant ship starting in 1834.

South (Ernest Shackleton) – a historical account describing the second expedition to Antarctica led by Shackleton, the
Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914 to 1917.

Origin (Dan Brown) – a novel by the author of Da Vinci Code, in which Harvard professor Robert Langdon follows a perilous trail to discover a breathtaking secret that has remained buried, until now.

The Guardians (John Grisham) - a legal novel about a very small firm that fights wrongful convictions and takes on clients forgotten by the system.

The President Is Missing (James Patterson, Bill Clinton) – a political novel that confronts a threat so huge that it jeopardizes not just Pennsylvania Avenue and Wall Street, but all of America.  Uncertainty and fear grip the nation.  There are whispers of cyberterror and espionage and a traitor in the Cabinet.  Even the President himself becomes a suspect, and then he disappears from public view.

The Great Alone (Kristin Hannah) – a novel that follows a family that had chosen to live off the grid in the harsh and unforgiving wilderness of Alaska.

Also, there are some pictures of interest below the link for the movie.  Scroll down to see them.
One of the pictures is a map of our route near Antarctica.

And finally, here is the official ship log for the Antarctica portion of the cruise.

The Movie
I came home with around 3 hours of video.  It took some time, but I have finished compiling what I think are the best parts of the cruise into this one hour movie.   Click the small right-facing arrow in the lower left to start it playing.  I think it is best viewed full-screen.  You can make it fill your screen by clicking the icon with 4 arrows pointing outward just to the left of the word "vimeo" on the lower right.   There is sound in the movie, so make sure your speakers are plugged in and turned on.  Enjoy.




This is a picture of the charms and bracelet given away by the cruise. a sunset picture


This is a picture of the view through our balcony doors while we're enjoying a room service lunch. a sunset picture


This is a picture of the dining table we enjoyed for 34 days. a sunset picture


This is a picture of the tracking data I recorded while we are near Antarctica.   We enter from the top-right, proceed down toward Hope Bay, then to Admiralty Bay, then to the Gerlache Strait and Neumaier Channel, then up to Deception Island, and off to Cape Horn. a sunset picture