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  #1  
Old November 22nd, 2013, 03:49 PM
mom0f3 mom0f3 is offline
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Default RSSC vs. Oceania for Lima to Buenas Aires

We have enjoyed two previous RSSC cruises on Voyager, and are now considering a South American cruise from Lima to Buenas Aires in February or March 2015. We are unsure whether to book on Oceania (Regatta) or Reagent (Mariner). Both go to essentially the same ports. Oceania sails in February, and Reagent in March, and given that much of the cruise goes to cold weather ports, I'd think Oceania's dates might have an advantage there, right? Or would February have more of a chance of rainy weather than March? We've enjoyed the Regent excursions okay, but wonder with the ports in this segment whether they would be best served by taking the included Regent cruises or just booking our own, perhaps with others from Roll Call? It looks like many of the ports are in not very "touristy" places, and I'm wondering if it is possible or desirable to book tours on our own in these places. Also, it looks like veranda staterooms are quite a bit larger on Oceania than ocean view, but I'm wondering if we'd even use the veranda on this trip, if it's likely to be cold--we didn't use our balcony on an Alaska trip. On the other hand, if the staterooms are small, it might be a bit cramped over 20 days. Is it worth the upgrade (or even upgrading to concierge?) Finally, both lines seem to offer a similar pre-cruise tour to Machu Pichu. Has anyone taken this and, if so, what was their experience? Thanks so much for any advice!
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  #2  
Old November 22nd, 2013, 04:24 PM
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Travelcat2 Travelcat2 is online now
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If you were thinking about going on Oceania's Marina or Riviera, my recommendation could be for either of those ships. However, since it is the Regatta - which isn't going in for refurbishment until June, 2014, I think you should go on the Mariner (even though it is also right before refurbishment for her as well). The veranda suites on the Regatta are only 218 sq. ft. which, IMO, is pretty small.

While I feel that Oceania has some great excursions, the cost is approximately twice that of Regent Choice excursions. Setting up excursions on Roll Call with other passengers is always a great idea and saves money.

On top of the cost of excursions you need to consider the cost of alcohol. If the cruise you are considering includes internet and gratuities, that would be a savings.

While we have sailed in that part of the world, our cruise ended in Lima so I can't give any port recommendations.
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Total nights: Regent = 226 / Silversea = 36 / Oceania = 12
Sailings per ship: Voyager (9), Mariner (3), Navigator (3), PG (1), Silver Spirit (1), Silver Whisper (1), Silver Shadow (1), Oceania Riviera (1)

Itineraries Sailed: Alaska (2 sailings) / Baltics / Barcelona – Dubai / Cape Town – Rio / E. & W. Caribbean (3 sailings) / Ft. Lauderdale – Lima / Istanbul-Venice / London-Monte Carlo / Miami – Barcelona / Mumbai – Bali / New York-Southampton / Singapore to Sydney / Tahiti / Venice-Rome / Vancouver-Tokyo

Upcoming cruises: Stockholm to Copenhagen - 28 nights - Voyager / Miami to Miami - 14 nights - Riviera / Rio to Barcelona - 18 nights - Mariner / Cape Town to Cape Town - 15 nights - Mariner / Explorer - 2016
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  #3  
Old November 23rd, 2013, 01:15 AM
Catpow Catpow is offline
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WARNING: a longer post than I had intended

We sailed this leg as part of the Circle South America - albeit starting about two weeks earlier - this year. I cannot comment on Oceania, but there are many similarities - and a few differences - with the 2015 itinerary to the one we sailed.

One thing to note, for a few of these ports along the west coast of Chile, the tourism infrastructure is quite small. These ports are remote - really remote. And you are thanked for visiting by guides who don't get to do many tours. We were constantly delighted by their welcome and enthusiasm - but unlike a larger port, organising a private tour might be a bit tricky as there are few qualified to do tours and, given the quality of the tours we were on, it would probably be unnecessary. The exception was for the golf fanatics who fulfilled their fantasy to play at the world's most southerly golf course on Tierra del Fuego. Actually when you arrive at Ushuaia you rejoin the mainstream tourist path which is slightly disappointing.

We only did three Regent Choice tours (Arequipa, Patagonia Nature in Depth and Tierra del Fuego), with only the 'Train at the End of the World' a disappointment - it was just a bit dinky for us. All three were virtually all day tours which is why I guess they were not included. And the trip to Arequipa was not for the faint hearted. The other included tours were great and included meals, catamarans, walks, little covered boats, chairlifts (at a small cost) and penguins. The buses to get to the destinations were never crowded and it does give you a great opportunity to meet your fellow passengers.

We were scheduled for the Falklands as well but plans changed at the last minute due to issues between Britain and Argentina, so regardless which cruise line you choose, this may happen again. Also this tender port can be a bit difficult to land at so just keep this in mind.

It is a pity in neither 2014 or 2015 they are not sailing round Cape Horn - it was a real highlight - with both the passengers and crew excited about the event. I asked Captain Stan over dinner why they were not sailing around Cape Horn in 2014 and his reply (with his Gallic charm) was he just sails where he is told to.

Another highlight was having the expert commentary throughout the cruise of Terry Breen, though whether she'll be on board in 2015 I guess only she would know. If it was an early start there was Gluhwein and Hot Chocolate on tap in the lounges or you could hang off your balcony and soak in the splendour. As OUR cruise was > 21 days everyone was at least a Silver Seven Seas member and the ship was rewarded with a chunk of a fjord after donating a large box of fruit and some batteries to the coastguard/weather/research station near a major fjord. This went on display at the Member's Cocktail Party and added to the overall sense of adventure amongst the passengers. I can't imagine Oceania's non inclusive policy could quite match that.

But Oceania does go to the charming city of Montevideo, whereas Regent does not.

Regardless of your decision - and I don't think the few days difference in departure will make much difference to the weather - it will be very cold regardless - I recommend a port cabin. Almost everything seemed to happen on the left hand side - fortunately we had banked on that.

Feel free to ask more questions or I could send you a link to our blog which outlines in more depth (and with photos) the excursions and scenery of this fascinating part of the world.
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  #4  
Old November 23rd, 2013, 02:20 PM
mom0f3 mom0f3 is offline
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Thanks so much Travelcat and Catpow for the helpful information. Catpow, I'd love it if you could link to your blog of your trip. Sue
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  #5  
Old November 24th, 2013, 10:35 PM
Catpow Catpow is offline
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Mum of 3 - Can you email me at jampac@live(dot)com(dot)au and I'll send you the link. It's not a private blog as such, but I'd just like to say a few things about it to you that might not be of interest for general CC readers.

Thanks
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  #6  
Old November 27th, 2013, 02:20 AM
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hondorner hondorner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom0f3 View Post
...Also, it looks like veranda staterooms are quite a bit larger on Oceania than ocean view...
Ocean View cabins and standard Veranda cabins on Oceania ships are essentially the same size, 242 sf on Riviera and Marina (plus 40 sf for the veranda on non- ocean view cabins), with the veranda cabins at 173 sf (plus 43 sf for the balcony) and 165 sf for the ocean view on Regatta, Nautica and Insignia. While there is technically a difference of 8 sf on the latter ships, I've sailed in both categories and couldn't begin to tell you where the difference lies.

After several cruises on both classes of Oceania ships, we've decided that we don't use the balconies enough to justify the extra cost, and are now booking -- or trying to book -- the ocean view categories exclusively. I say "trying to book" because they are very popular, and especially on Marina and Riviera there are only 20 of them on either ship. I find that we have to book on the very first morning that reservations open to get one of them. We are in a C1 Ocean View on Insignia for the "Around the World in 180 Days" World Cruise in 2015.
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  #7  
Old November 29th, 2013, 10:59 AM
Hambagahle Hambagahle is offline
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I think you will find the weather varies quite a lot as you travel between Lima and BA... Southern Hemisphere so of course it gets cooler as you go south. But February/March is late summer down there. We did this cruise on the Mariner some time ago. It was hot just about all the way down to Valparaiso and after. But when we got into Patagonia it was cooler and really quite cool (10-15° C) in Puntearenas and Ushuaïa. Then as we came back north to BA it got warmer and warmer and was really nice once we got into the Plata estuary (two days' sailing up that river just to get to BA!!)

I would go for the balcony suite. We saw a lot of "wildlife" on the cruise... albatross, flying fish, dolphins etc even when we were far out at sea. And somehow sitting on the balcony with a drink in hand watching all this was incredible! As for the ports - Antofagasta was a dump. No other word for it. Valparaiso was lovely. The tiny ports in the Fjords were so small they weren't really ports... Puntearenas and Ushuïa were very interesting. Penguins in the first (or from it, more correctly) and a national park and really great boat ride at the second. We went to Cusco from Lima and spent 4 days in BA at the end and just loved that city.

It isn't a cruise I would like to do again. But it was an excellent and interesting one.
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Hambagahle has sailed on:

1952 Union Castle Line (Southampton/Port Elizabeth); 1963 Cunard Line (New York/Southampton); 1969, 1971 Italian Line (New York/Cannes & New York/Venice); 2002 Hurtigruten (Bergen/Kirkenes); 2005 Viking River Cruises - Danube; 2007 Deilmann River cruises - Elbe; and

REGENT --
Mariner - 2004 Alaska; 2005 Panama Canal; 2008 Lima to Buenos Aires; 2010 Mediterranean, 2012 Trans-Atlantic
Voyager - 2006 Baltic; 2006 Trans-Atlantic
Navigator - 2009 Trans-Atlantic; 2011 Eastern Caribbean

OCEANIA --
Riviera - 2013 Western Caribbean
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