Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cruisin' Around - Some random cruise pics!

We realize that "cruising" goes against the rules of independent travel. It takes out some of the spirit of adventure. It's easy, organized and a little more structured than some of us prefer. You don't have to worry about cold showers, the discotheque next door blaring Whitney Houston's "I will always love you" over and over until 2 in the morning or getting stuck with the dorm room above the Chinese restaurant which happens to smell like you are sleeping in a vat of fried oil (not that we have ever had to :-)). You don't have to worry about how many times the kitchen has used the same bucket of dishwater to "clean" with, fight the cats and dogs off of your meal, and you will certainly never order french toast for breakfast and get "fish" toast. It feels a little like cheating. The experience is vastly different and we both agree that you miss a little of the local feel when traveling by cruise ship.

I do, however, write this to point out their value to the budget minded as well. To have been able to see the Falkland Islands would have been the cost of the cruise in just flights alone. Getting to Antarctica in any other form would have been 4 times the cost. Even the cost of buses and flights to Ushuaia would have been time consuming and expensive. The cruise allowed us to go to all these places and stay close to our budget. Throw in the fact that it allowed us to take a break and have a "vacation" from our admittedly extended vacation, to travel in comfort, be entertained and eat well while doing so, they are certainly worth a look for all types of travelers.

We had 7 days at sea on this cruise (not including Antarctica, Cape Horn & the Beagle Channel). Here are some of the things we did:

  • Attended the cruise critic get togethers and tried on crazy penguin hats in anticipation of spotting penguins!

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  • Gambled the night away! Jason won bingo once winning $250 (minus $80 to play) and $150 in the casino (down to $40) so $200 to the good! As usual, Tracy lost $10 and called it quits.

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  • Saw beautiful sunsets!

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  • Attended lectures on ice breaking, wildlife and Antarctic living conditions!
  • Celebrated a birthday (Ady's 29th)!

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  • Danced the night away in the discotheque!

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  • Kicked butt playing and winning games like Jenga, Guitar Hero & a scavenger hunt (complete with celebratory champagne)!

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  • Viewed pricey works of art and considered adding to our collection of "prints"!

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  • Ate way too much (our favorites were lobster & crab)! We're paying for it now with our expanded waist lines...

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  • Attended fun musical shows, tango classes & Gaucho performances!

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  • And finally, made new friends!
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After enjoying our last few days at sea we arrived safely in Valparaiso, Chile on March 2nd. We transferred over to Vina del Mar and began getting used to the "norms" of independent travel once again! We're currently debating taking another cruise across the must be something in the free water.

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