Wow, a 48 day cruise from Los Angeles around South America, through the Caribbean, ending up in New York City!
It seemed too good to be true.
We were on a 5 star floating hotel, stopping off at numerous exotic locations along the way. With fantastic food, all our travel, luxury accommodation, entertainment, great facilities, an amazing staff and 3000+ like-minded travellers, it was brilliant!
When we left Australia we had only intended to take the first leg of the cruise, from Los Angeles to Santiago, Chile. We were then going to ‘do’ South America before working our way through Central America, the Carribean and on to the USA.
But hey, plans change.
The day before we boarded the cruise ship, the Carnival Splendor, we were in our hotel in LA checking out other cruise deals on the internet. The very ship we were cruising on was offering last minute special deals for the 2nd and 3rd legs, from Santiago around the ‘cape’ to Buenos Aires, Argentina and then from Buenos Aires to New York!
So, being the flexible travellers that we are, we decided we would take advantage of this situation. We booked the THIRD leg from our hotel room to create PLAN B, which was to travel overland from Santiago, across the Andes and then re-join the ship in Buenos Aires. Then, during the 1st leg and after lots of persuasion from other travellers, we upgraded to PLAN C, which was to do all three legs.
Here are some of the highlights.
- We stopped in 11 countries along the way: USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Barbados and Antigua.
- There were some great poker games on the trip, casino and private.
- We crossed the Equator going down and coming up.
- We met some fantastic people from all over the world.
- The weather was excellent.
- The hotel director invited us to a flash party with others who had ‘caught his eye’ during the trip.
- Seeing the fijords and the glaciers at the southern tip of the world was amazing
- And the food….double serves of lobster for example.
- We saw hundreds of penguins.
- Rounding Cape Horn was trouble free.
- We had our first taste of the beautiful Carribean and its sparkling turquoise waters.
Meanwhile, while all this was happening, we enjoyed the shows on board, all the ports of call and all the little dramas happening on board the ship.
A few amusing incidents from on board:
- One couple was several days into the trip when they discovered that the ship was NOT returning to LA.
- People who earned enough points in the casino were awarded free alcoholic drinks all the way to New York. Some of those people were already on full drinks packages.
- One guy (perhaps a few cents short in the dollar) was travelling on his dad’s credit card. With no bill to be issued until the end of the first leg in Santiago, he was happily spending up on drinks, gambling and even a painting at auction.
- Another young lad, travelling with his mother on his mother’s card, was ‘rescued’ from the poker table in the casino by his mother a couple of times, much to his embarrassment.
- One woman allegedly switched off one of the gambling machines, hoping to avoid her losses.
- Another woman was considered missing after not returning to her cabin all day and wasn’t aware of it until she saw her photo on an ‘amber alert’ missing poster.
- A woman on the ‘free drinks package’ threw up in a flowerpot in one of the fancy restaurants on the ship. She and her companions then asked to shift tables because the one they were at stank!
- One female traveller, whose husband doesn’t like long cruises, was left at home with 48 frozen dinners to tide him over.
- When we rounded Cape Horn the ship was on such a lean that the swimming pool emptied and there was temporary flooding.