Recap: Antarctica and South America

I hope you didn’t think that I’d forgotten about you – after all, it’s been almost 2 weeks since my last blog entry. The truth is: after being away for 3 weeks, it took me awhile to return to normal (whatever that is) life.

So I hope you didn’t miss me too much (actually, I hope you missed me and my posts a lot), but now it’s time for TheCulturedTraveler to get off his – ahem – backside and get to work.

Therefore, I thought that today’s post should be a “highlights” replay. After all, I’d have to say that we had an amazing time on this latest adventure. If you were following me throughout Buenos Aires and aboard Crystal Symphony, you’ll most likely be familiar with what you’re about to see. But what the heck, right? 

Enjoy!!

Luggage for 3 Weeks
It took this much baggage to get us from “here” to “there”.

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The fabulous Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt Hotel

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2nd favorite meal in Buenos Aires, and a 5-minute walk from the hotel

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Quiz: What song did Evita sing from this balcony?

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Favorite and most elegant meal in Buenos Aires

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Seeing Buenos Aires with Pedro, one of the best tour guides ever

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Visiting La Boca (in the rain)

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Teatro Colon: one of the world’s most beautiful opera houses

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Crystal Symphony in port as seen from the Park Hyatt Hotel 

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Repacked and ready to embark Symphony

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AAC CPA on deck for the 1st sunset

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Gorgeous sky 1st evening at sea

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Breakfast al fresco 1st full day at sea

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Family Negronis on the 1st formal night

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Formal Shoes

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The Virginia Gentlemen – Bar none, best entertainment on the voyage

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Invited to have a cocktail with the Captain in his quarters

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The beauty of Tierra del Fuego National Park

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AAC CPA at the end of Route 3 – 11,090 miles from Canada – the lowest piece of land in the world

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More yummy food on Crystal Symphony

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First look at Antarctica from our balcony

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AAC CPA appreciates the view

Antarctica - Penguins & Seals
Penguins and sea lions (photo courtesy of Nancy Shafran)

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A delegation from Palmer Station arrives for a visit

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More sea lions just hanging around

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Cruising around Antarctica at about 8:30 PM

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And about 3 hours later! It’s still light out!!

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AAC CPA welcomes you to the Falkland Islands (and its lovely weather)

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But we enjoyed another amazing sunset at sea

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And AAC CPA conjured up a full moon for your viewing pleasure

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Back by popular demand: The Virginia Gentlemen entertain in the Crystal Cove

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Welcome to Puerto Madryn

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This product is sold in the local market

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Late night at sea: full moon on a deserted Promenade Deck

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And another gorgeous day at sea as seen from our balcony

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Approaching Montevideo, Uruguay

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A private field trip to Juanicó

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Lunch Table
Enjoying a private lunch at the vineyard

Wine Tasting
The wines we tasted at lunch

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Disembarking Symphony for the last time (those smiles are FAKE)

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AAC CPA back at the Park Hyatt for 9 hours before the flight home

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AAC CPA hunkers down for the 10+ hour flight home

Postlude:

All-in-all, we had a fabulous trip. Visiting Buenos Aires for the first time was a total delight. As a dear friend of ours’ puts it: “BA is beautiful – a bit shabby but, like some aging countess, still elegant”. So true. We learned that Argentina is a country that, in all things, is in a perpetual pendulum swing. We had the benefit of an outstanding tour guide, enjoyed several memorable meals, accompanied by some amazing Argentine wines (let’s hear it for the Malbec!), and just marveled as we walked through the city.

Then we had the great pleasure of returning to Crystal Symphony for 2 weeks. Having sailed on Crystal many times, it’s like returning home. The Crystal fleet is elegant, beautiful and has a crew that has but one goal in mind: to insure that you have the best time imaginable. 

The days we spent in Antarctica were so memorable for the things we saw and which are hard to capture on camera. You’ll just have to take my word for it: you must see it for yourself.

Finally – and I know I’ve said it before – we live to travel and we travel to live. It’s a truism that we must get outside of our shells (and, sometimes, our comfort zones) and go exploring. Whether it’s on land, sea or air, there is so much to see out there and we diminish ourselves if we don’t take the opportunity to visit new places, whether it’s the town next door, the state across the border, the other coast, or another continent. 

Give in to your own personal wanderlust and go a-traveling!

PS. Here’s how we know we’re back in NYC and the vacation is over:

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Another Day in Antarctica

I am here to tell you that it never gets boring. If you even think you might become a bit ho-hum about sailing around Antarctica, just wait 5 minutes and see another marvel.

This morning, we woke up to find ourselves near Deception Island. If penguins are your thing, this is the place. There are literally hundreds of thousands of them running all over, scrambling down to the shore (a/k/a “Penguin Highway”) to find food, then back up into the hills. It’s fascinating.

We’re now en route to Elephant Island, which will be our last stop here before, once again, sailing through the dreaded Drake Passage on our way to our next port, the Falkland Islands.

Here are more images from the past 24 hours:

And oh, did I mention that we had visitors yesterday from Palmer Station, who came aboard to tell about what they do here?

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Here they are, arriving on the port side

BTW, they played to a packed house and they were extremely interesting as well as entertaining.

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Look at this amazing photo of seals and penguins! (photo courtesy of Nancy Shafran)

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Can you believe these penguins? (photo courtesy of Nancy Shafran)

Iceberg Under Water
Another iceberg – note that you can see it underwater as well

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AAC CPA on deck at cocktail time – it’s now about 8:00 PM

Evening Front of Ship
Same time, from the bow of the ship

Evening Back of Ship
And from the stern

Evening on Promenade
And along the deserted Promenade Deck

Iceberg Sunset
Is that a fabulous sight or what? Still 8:00 PM yesterday evening

AAC Evening Cocktail
And, immediately after, cocktails in the Palm Court

Sunset - 1130 PM
Sunset in Antarctica – at 11:45 PM

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Earlier this morning – Deception Island from a distance

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Another view of Deception Island, closer up

Penguins
Those spots are penguins – wish I had a telescopic lens for my iPhone!

The last photo today is for our sailing buddy, Jim Brochu, who has entertained aboard the Crystal ships many times. Every day at sea, one of the activities is “Team Trivia”. The following question gave a sly wink to Jim, as #4 is a show that Jim wrote and performed for a season in New York and later performed on Symphony back in 2012. (7% of the respondents voted for “Zero Hour”!!) 

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That’s all for now, folks! 

 

 

Breaking News: Antarctica!

Greetings from the bottom of the world! For some unknown reason, we have the best Internet service since we boarded the ship last Wednesday. I’ve decided to strike while the iron is HOT, and am posting a few pictures from our first 5 hours in Antarctica. The photos probably don’t do justice to what I’m seeing in front of me at the front of Crystal Symphony’s Palm Court. I’m here with a couple of hundred other passengers taking in the sights. Wish you were here to share them with us!

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AAC CPA at about 6:15 this morning – icebergs in the distance

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Lido Deck - 0745
Lido Deck totally cleared of everything

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Humpback whale sighting

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AAC CPA with mainland Antarctica behind him

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Mainland Antarctica

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THIS ONE
Taken from the top of the ship on Deck 12

Pretty amazing, right?

More to follow, as our Internet connection allows!