We put a deposit down on this cruise in January 2020 to depart in February 2021. I immediately started booking excursions. So excited!
A pandemic later and we are now allowed to take this cruise in 2023. South America has had a hard time normalizing from the pandemic so only those fully vaccinated with at least one booster shot can take this cruise. We will also have to take an antigen test 3 days before embarkation. We will use the Emed kit and its online medical observation as we have before.
I’m still excited for this cruise. The itinerary has been on my bucket list for many years because of Antarctica. Even though we will not land in Antarctica, we will spend 4 days cruising through the Antarctica Sound. I hope it will be as amazing as the photos I’ve seen.
I’m also hoping to see an abundance of wildlife, especially penguins. If an excursion listed any chance of seeing penguins, I signed us up. Why so many penguin excursions? I’ve read that depending on the weather, some of the ports may be missed. I am hedging my bets that I get to at least one of the ports that has penguins. If we get to all of the ports, so much the better.
There are several breeds of penguins that can be found in this region. I think I have a good chance of seeing Gentoo and Rockhoppers. Not sure about the others. Just hoping.
Packing will be a challenge again. It is summertime in South America and will be hot and humid in Chile and Argentina. But of course, it will be cold in the Antarctica Sound. We will be layering up and bringing our raingear – much like we did for the Voyage of the Vikings cruise – and hope for the best.
We will be sailing on the Holland America (HAL) Oosterdam. It is part of the Vista class and holds a little over 1900 passengers. We have never sailed that particular ship, but we have sailed all of its sister ships – Noordam, Westerdam, and Zuiderdam – so I am familiar with its size and layout. It is a nice mid-size class of ship.
So, barring bad weather or a positive COVID test, next stop – Santiago, Chile!
*penguin photos provided by Google