Sunday, January 22, 2017

Diary of South America Voyage

Journey to Southern South America 

Having cruised for 30+ years, our cruise selections are driven primarily by destination and secondly by cruise ship. We love exploring new destinations from our bucket list as well as revisiting some of our favorites. Exploring new ships, including older ships we've never sailed on before, is also quite enjoyable. Of course, we love to share with our readers so that they can discover the world that awaits them.

Quest to see Penguins 

Those of you who have followed me here or on Twitter, know that I love Penguins. That's what this trip is all about - having the opportunity to see multitudes of penguins in their natural surroundings.

This trip wasn't only about penguins. We arrived in Santiago, Chile on January 18, 2017.  For the next 14 days, we explored South America including the countries of Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and the Falkland Islands.  We saw Amalia Glacier, Glacier Alley, Fjords, Cape Horn and many other magnificent sites along the way.

Having sailed the seas for more than 30 years, it's hard to narrow the list down to one trip as the "best", but this trip certainly is among the top contenders.

Come along with us as we provide a day by day diary of our voyage to South America - Cape Horn.

14 Day South America - Cape Horn

Port Blog Posts Photo Albums
Jan 17
Chicago - Santiago, Chile
Beginning Adventure to Chile
Flying to Santiago Chile
Jan 18
Transfer: Airport To Ship Santiago (Valparaiso) Check In 1:00pm-5:00pm
Crown Princess Embarkation
Crown Princess Welcome Dinner

Oh Happy Days
Transfer to Valparaiso
Crown Princess Embarkation
Welcome Dinner
Jan 19 At Sea Chocolate Journeys
Jan 20 Puerto Montt, Chile
Tender Required
3 Must See Sites in Puerto Montt Puerto Montt
Puerto Varas
German Settlers Museum
Jan 21 At Sea
Jan 22 Amalia Glacier 
Scenic Cruising
Cruising Amalia Glacier
Jan 23 Punta Arenas, Chile
Tender Required
Penguins of Punta Arenas
Punta Arenas City Tour
Punta Arenas Penguins
Patagonia Institute
Salesian Museum
City Cemetery
La Cruz Hill
Plaza Munoz Gamero
Jan 24 Ushuaia, ArgentinaCruising Glacier Alley
Beagle Channel Wildlife Cruise
Jan 25 Cape Horn
Scenic Cruising
Cruising Around Cape Horn
Jan 26 Falkland Islands (Stanley)
Tender Required
Penguins of Falkland IslandsBluff Cove Rookery
Jan 27 At SeaExperience The Salty Dog
Jan 28 Puerto Madryn, Argentina
Tender Required
Penguins at Punta TomboPunta Tombo
Jan 29 At Sea
Jan 30 Montevideo. Uruguay3 Prominent Sites of Montevideo
Montevideo Pier and Markets
Jan 31 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Feb 1 Buenos Aires, Argentina
Transfer: Ship To Airport
Feb 2 Travel
Buenos Aires - Chicago

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Carnival Vista Atrium

Visual Paradise
Carnival Vista 

Upon embarking the ship for our conference, the first thing that caught our attention was the beautiful Carnival Vista Atrium.   This giant, multi-deck-high centerpiece with its LED screens and changing visuals create an atmosphere of paradise.

With the addition of the Christmas tree, complete with mailbox to Santa, the atrium was quite a festive gathering point during the cruise.  One morning the Cruise Director hosted a synchronized Christmas song performance in the atrium.

These are just of few of the many images captured throughout the cruise.  We'd look forward to seeing what the atrium would be displaying on the LED screens.   View the following photo album for more images: Vista Atrium

Click on the image to the left for more Blog posts and photos from the 2016 National Conference cruise on Carnival Vista.


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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Pre-Conference Hotel

Sheraton Miami Airport Hotel 
& Executive Meeting Center

The 2016 National Conference for Cruises Inc., CruiseOne, and Dream Vacations was held on board the new Carnival Vista which sailed out of Miami, Florida to the Southern Caribbean. Prior to the cruise, agents and franchise owners assembled at Sheraton Miami Airport for a pre-conference reception.

Arriving from Chicago

We departed Chicago on a 6 AM flight to Miami.  Since the conference was in December, you never know what the weather will be like in Chicago, so that factored into our selection of the early departure flight.

After gathering our luggage from baggage claim, we waited for the hotel shuttle for the short ride to the hotel.  We checked in upon arrival, but our room wasn't quite ready so we took a seat in the lobby to wait until we could get into our room.  We waited about an hour and then headed up to our room to drop off our baggage.

Our Room

The Sheraton is undergoing renovation of their rooms, and we were one of the first to experience the new design.  Amenities included a microwave, small refrigerator, coffee pot, electrical outlets with USB ports, and a flat screen TV.

While we were only spending one night at the hotel, with the new changes, this hotel would be quite enjoyable for an extended stay.

The Rickenbacker

By now, it was time for lunch, so we headed back to the lobby and checked out the menu at The Rickenbacker.

We decided to have something light for lunch. The french onion soup was amazing as was the quesadilla.

The pre-conference cocktail reception was planned for the patio outside the Rickenbacker but unfortunately there were storms in the area that evening and the party was moved inside to the ballroom.

Following the reception several of us decided to grab some food.    We didn't really want to go out in the rain, so once again we stayed in the hotel.
We selected flatbread pizza and a chicken sandwich.

Click on the image to the left for more Blog posts and photos from the 2016 National Conference cruise on Carnival Vista.


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Coastal Kitchen Trondheim

Breakfast & Lunch Buffets

As we continue to look at 2016 in review, we are featuring our Hurtigruten Norway Coastal Voyage.  This was the main highlight of the year, seeing Northern Lights in the winter skies of Norway along with many charming villages.  Food was outstanding during our voyage so we'll also be sure to report on each day's meals as well.  Be sure to bookmark our diary page so that you can follow the entire trip.

We arrived in Trondheim at 6 AM but our excursion wasn't until 8:40 AM so we had plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast.  Today's feature included pancakes and eggs with bacon among other fresh selections.

The evening's menu was always on the table at breakfast time so that you could see what regional favorites would be featured.

For lunch, we included a small salad, sandwich, and of course one of the desert choices.  These pictures are just a sampling of the many options available each day.

Almost every meal included potatoes which we loved to top off with the gravy of the day.
Additional photos can be found on our Norway Shutterfly page

Norway's Coastal Kitchen

Note:  we will be adding to this album as we continue our journey.

Click on the image to the right for more Blog posts about this trip.

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Where have you explored? 

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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Stay Park and Fly

Chicago to Miami

Our 2016 National Conference was held on Carnival Vista which sailed from Miami.  The cruise actually began on Saturday December 3rd, but we had a pre-conference reception at Sheraton Miami Airport the night before.

We booked an early flight (6 AM) to Miami so that we'd take advantage of cheap airfare and also get to the hotel in time for the evening event.

That meant we'd need to get to O'Hare airport around 4:30 AM at the latest.   We booked the Hampton Inn O'Hare for the night before because they offered a hotel package which included transfers to the airport and parking for the duration of our cruise.

Friday morning, we got up early and gathered our luggage. After checking out we boarded the shuttle bus, which was waiting, for the short ride to O'Hare Airport.

The airport was decorated for the holiday season.  As you can see in this picture, the airport is pretty deserted at this time of morning.   It didn't take long to get checked in and through security.  

One thing to keep in mind if you have an early flight like we did is that most concession stands at the airport don't open until 5:30 or 6:00 AM.  Therefore, we had brought some food for breakfast from home.

Staying at a hotel close to the airport prior to departure is a good way to avoid the stress of rushing to the airport early in the morning.

Love That New Ship Smell - Meet Carnival Vista

CARNIVAL VISTA - DEC. 3-11, 2016

This year's National Conference was held onbord the first revenue sailing of Carnival Vista from its homeport of Miami, Florida. Ports visited were Aruba, Curacao, Dominican Republic, and Turks & Caicos. There were more than 900 people in our group.

This post serves as an anchor for our mini-series of posts about the conference and the new ship. Please come back often for updates.

The images above highlights our first 24 hours in Miami. We flew from Chicago to Miami, where we had a pre-cruise conference reception at Sheraton Miami Airport Hotel. The next morning we transferred by shuttle bus to the pier, where we got our first glimpse of Carnival Vista.

View Itineraries          Click to Learn More about Carnival Vista

Topic Blog Posts Photo Albums
1 Conference Pre-Conference Hotel Sheraton Miami
Port Miami
2 Ship Carnival Vista Atrium Vista Atrium
Cabin 6331
Cloud9 Spa
3 Dining

4 Ports

5 Entertainment

6 Travel Stay Park and Fly