January 7: This afternoon, we gather at the Salt Lake Airport (or other gateway cities) for our flight to Dallas/Fort Worth. In the evening, we’ll board our flight from Dallas to San Antonio (Santiago) Chile. Those joining us from other cities will meet us in Dallas and fly with us to Chile.
January 8: Welcome to Santiago de Chile! Our flight arrives in the morning hours today and it will be important that we stay awake. A local guide and luxury coach will meet us to show us around as there are many interesting things to see in this important South American capitol. We’ll then have a nice welcome dinner together this evening.
January 9: This morning we’ll drive out to the port town of Vina del Mar where we’ll take in the beautiful scenery and give you time for lunch along the waterfront. It’s a charming area. We’ll then transfer to the pier where we’ll board Holland America’s Zaandam to begin our memorable cruise. The Zaandam is a 781-foot-long ship with about 1,400 passengers. This is significantly smaller than most cruise ships, the largest ship sailing today is 1188 feet long and carries 6,680 passengers. Holland America is famous for unmatched service, excellent cuisine and creative itineraries with stops at more ports. It will be our floating resort for 22 days. We sail out of San Antonio tonight enjoying a delicious dinner. The Zaandam has naturalists on board who will be speaking during the four days in Antarctica. Besides the naturalists, the Zaandam has a couple of unique free programs on board that are worth mentioning:
Transform Your Travel Experience: Discover the connections that unite us across borders and cultures. Explorations Central™ (EXC™) is immersive onboard programing designed to make your journey more engaging, vivid and meaningful. From EXC Talks,™ to EXC Encounters™ to a chat with your EXC Guide™, you’ll feel the spirit of a region come to life.
America's Test Kitchen
Holland America Line guests can experience America’s Test Kitchen’s enticing array of live onboard cooking shows and hands-on workshops.
NOTE: We recommend that you see Santiago and Vina del Mar. However, if you choose NOT to see these areas, you can depart the USA on January 8 and go straight to the ship on January 9).
January 10: At sea today along the west coast of Chile as we become familiar with our ship and enjoy the scenery.
January 11: Today we spend all day in Puerto Montt, Chile. At each of the ports, you can do your own thing, chose an excursion offered by the ship or join us on our private Webb Tours excursion. Puerto Montt is a port city in southern Chile’s Lake District, known as a gateway to the Andes mountains, beautiful lakes and the Patagonian fjords. Our excursion today will focus on the NATURE in this area including snow-capped volcanoes, stunning green landscapes and beautiful lakes and waterfalls.
January 12: Today dawns in Castro, Ilsa Chiloe, Chile. Castro is a city on Chiloé Island in Chile's Lake District. Colorful wooden stilt houses line the waterfront. On Plaza de Armas, the yellow, early-20th-century San Francisco Church has 2 steeples and a distinctive wooden interior. Nearby, woven baskets are sold at the craft fair. The Museum of Modern Art Chiloé displays works by Chilean artists. To the west, Chiloé National Park is home to sea lions and other treasures in the area.
January 13: Today you wake up in Puerto Chacabuco, Chile! Puerto Chacabuco is a town in Patagonia, southern Chile, known as a jumping-off point for the Aysén fjords. To the northeast is Lake Los Palos, with views of snowy mountains. The forested Simpson River National Reserve, home to cougars, is in the southeast. The nearby town of Coyhaique has a craft market selling handmade items. We’ll enjoy some of the variety in the area today.
January 14: An at Sea Day - - Enjoy a relaxing day cruising the Chilean Fjords. Much like the Norwegian coastline, the west coast of Chile is sliced by dramatic inlets, or fjords, lined with rugged mountains and glacier-covered valleys. This spectacular stretch of coastline starts roughly halfway down the long spine of Chile and extends south to the very end of the continent, at Tierra del Fuego. It's a distance of some 1,500 kilometers (930 miles), as the crow flies. Travel here, however, is never in a straight line—instead ships follow meandering paths along the many fjords and channels. The area is known for its desolate beauty and the stunning scenery of this windswept, dramatic land and its unusual animal residents. It’s one of the highlights of the cruise.
January 15: At Sea cruising the Amalia or Brujo Glacier and then following the Canal Sarmiento.
Amalia or Bruno Glacier: Ice and weather determine where the boat will sail. That’s what it all comes down to as ships make their way through this part of the world. On Chile’s coast along the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, ice buildup and weather conditions heavily dictate which routes ships can take. Snug in a parka, and from the comfort of your ship deck, you marvel at the different appearances of the glaciers, from fields pocked with lumps of ice to smooth watery rivulets, all in hues of blue too numerous to describe. But any time of the day, you’re guaranteed a backdrop of snowcapped peaks while you observe small Peale’s dolphins and sea lions as well as terns, albatrosses and other seabirds going about their daily business around you
Canal Sarmiento: One of the main channels in Patagonia, the Sarmiento Channel runs in a north-south direction, starting at the Guía Narrows and finishing at the southern edge of Victoria Pass, where it joins the Smyth Channel. In many places, massive glaciers run down to the sea. All kinds of marine animals, including Magellanic penguins, southern elephant seals, dolphins and orcas, can be seen along these shores.
January 16: An action-packed day: Cruising the Strait of Magellan, docking for 12 hours in Punta Arenas and cruising both the Cockburn Channel and the Beagle Channel.
Strait of Magellan: Before the Panama Canal, there was the Strait of Magellan. This cinematic channel linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans cuts between the mainland tip of South America and Tierra del Fuego island. It was the passage of choice for seafaring transport between these two oceans until the Panama Canal shortened the distance by thousands of miles in 1914. Impressive glacial and mountainous scenery, the colonies of Magellanic penguins, pods of humpback whales and schools of Commerson’s and Peale’s dolphins—all surely as equally agog with the presence of man in this Patagonian paradise. With photogenic Punta Arenas as its main port, the Strait of Magellan is a bucket-list voyage for intrepid adventurers the world over.
Punta Arenas is a city near the tip of Chile's southernmost Patagonia region. Located on the Strait of Magellan, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, it's often used as base for excursions to the surrounding wilderness and Antarctica. The Plaza Muñoz Gamero has a memorial to explorer Ferdinand Magellan, and the Museo Nao Victoria features a replica of one of his galleons.
Cockburn Channel: The channel is part of the route that connects the Strait of Magellan to the Beagle Channel, while along both sides of the waterway is one of the crown jewels of Chile’s network of parks: Alberto de Agostini National Park. The coastline here is rich in fjords and glaciers. The Pia Fjord is especially beautiful, as dozens of waterfalls cascade down the slopes into its waters. If you watch long enough, you may see huge chunks of ice calve off Pia Glacier and fall into the sea.
Beagle Channel/Glacier Alley: As alleys go, this one is mighty long. Glacier Alley—or, as it’s more elegantly known, Avenue of the Glaciers—stretches along a good portion of the celebrated 240-kilometer-long (150-mile-long) Beagle Channel in the vast territory of Tierra del Fuego. You will be treated to one stunning glacier after another, each flowing down from massive mountain ranges and peaks. Along with all these natural wonders, a visit to Glacier Alley comes with opportunities to see penguin rookeries, humpback whales and seals.
January 17: Today we spend the morning cruising Glacier Alley before arriving in Ushuaia, Argentina in the early afternoon. Ushuaia is a resort town in Argentina. It's located on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, the southernmost tip of South America, nicknamed the “End of the World.” The windswept town, perched on a steep hill, is surrounded by the Martial Mountains and the Beagle Channel. It's the gateway to Antarctica cruises by smaller boats.
January 18 &19: Today we set sail for Antarctica. Two days at Sea. We round Cape Horn and follow the Drake Passage.
Cape Horn and Drake Passage: Thanks to its location—on one of the southernmost points in South America—Cape Horn has played a major role in navigational history. The Strait of Magellan to the north was discovered first, but that route’s narrow width was challenging to navigate. Cape Horn, discovered by the Dutch in 1615, became the primary route for trade ships traveling from Europe or the east side of the Americas to the American West Coast. Cape Horn marks the entrance to the Drake Passage, where the Atlantic and Pacific oceans meet. Until the Panama Canal opened in 1914, this was one of the planet’s major shipping routes. Strong winds, currents, waves and icebergs made the passage fairly treacherous in the days of sailing ships. Even today, “rounding the Horn” remains a challenge for the many yacht races that pass through its icy waters.
January 20, 21, 22, & 23: This is what we came for: Antarctica! We spend four days at Sea sailing through Antarctica.
After a day and a half crossing the Drake Passage, which separates South America from Antarctica, your Holland America ship will arrive at the White Continent. You’ll begin your Antarctic Expedition sailing through the bays and islands of the Palmer Archipelago, off the northern tip of the long Antarctic Peninsula, which reaches out toward South America. Encircled in a landscape of snow and ice in every direction, your ship will slowly navigate the iceberg-dotted waters. The surroundings are hauntingly quiet as well, an aspect of the continent that comes as a surprise to many first-time visitors. Along the way, the ship's naturalists will point out the birds—terns, petrels, and gulls—found on the coast and on small islets at stops like Dallmann Bay. As you pass dark, rocky Cuverville Island, you’ll see some of the 6,500 pairs of gentoo penguins that make their home there, the largest known colony in the world. Continuing on to Paradise Harbor, you'll have a chance to observe not only gentoo and chinstrap penguins but possibly humans as well: Both Argentina and Chile have manned research stations here.
January 24: A day at Sea as we head North to the Falkland Islands. Not much to see, but a great day to enjoy all of the amenities on the boat.
January 25: Today we are docked in Stanley, Falkland Islands.
The Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) are a remote South Atlantic archipelago. With rugged terrain and cliff-lined coasts, its hundreds of islands and islets are home to sheep farms and abundant birdlife. The capital, Stanley, sits on East Falkland, the largest island. The town's Falkland Islands Museum has themed galleries devoted to maritime exploration, natural history, the 1982 Falklands War and other subjects.
January 26: Another relaxing day at sea as we head North to Argentina.
January 27: Today, you wake up in Puerto Madryn, Argentina.
Puerto Madryn is an Argentine city on the coast of northern Patagonia. Its sandy beaches and restaurant-lined promenade face Golfo Nuevo bay, where southern right whales breed from May to December. Ecocentro is a clifftop museum with exhibits on Patagonian nature, and a lighthouse-style tower for ocean views. Across the bay, rocky Valdes Peninsula is home to penguins and elephant seals, which are preyed on by orcas.
January 28: The last day at Sea. We are sailing along the east coast of Argentina.
January 29: Today, we arrive in Montevideo, Uruguay
Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital, is a major city along Montevideo Bay. It revolves around the Plaza de la Independencia, once home to a Spanish citadel. This plaza leads to Ciudad Vieja (the old town), with art deco buildings, colonial homes and landmarks including the towering Palacio Salvo and neoclassical performance hall Solís Theatre. Mercado del Puerto is an old port market filled with many steakhouses.
January 30-31: Today, we arrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We spend the night of the 30th on the boat and debark on the 31st.
Buenos Aires is Argentina’s big, cosmopolitan capital city. Its center is the Plaza de Mayo, lined with stately 19th-century buildings including Casa Rosada, the iconic, balconied presidential palace. Other major attractions include Teatro Colón, a grand 1908 opera house with nearly 2,500 seats, and the modern MALBA museum, displaying Latin American art.