Author: Harvey Bennett
SOUTH AMERICA DISCOVERY - 7 Jan - 19 March, 2016 72 days away. 23 ports, with two missed out because of bad weather - Port of Spain, Trinidad, and Punta del Este, Uruguay. 23,500 miles travelled. Fantastic experience, although for some guests the first week was not a good one because of an unseasonably early storm after departing Madeira. Saga Pearl II is smallish so it got tossed around a bit The quality of staff is excellent, and lots of long service crew which says a lot about Saga employment practices. Staff and management aboard worked hard to ensure that the cruise was a memorable experience for guests - for all the right reasons - and they succeeded. The entertainment was generally of good quality and high standard, something for everyone, really. The highlights for me and the missus were: - the Panama Canal transit (one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World - meeting up with an ex-colleague in Guayaquil, Ecuador - Lima, Peru - the Chilean fjords, "glacier alley" and the Garibaldi Glacier - a lap of honour around Cape Horn on a calm and sunny morning - Buenos Aires, with a return evening performance by the Morgado Esteban Cuarteto and tango dancing, aboard. The quartet had done 3 performances on the Colombia - Peru leg. - Rio de Janeiro, the trip to Christ the Redeemer (in clear weather), and an evening performance aboard by Samba Rio. (I heard that the ship's doctor was on standby with the defibrillator.....but maybe that was a tongue-in-cheek comment from one of the female passengers because the Samba dancer outfits!) And that's just to name some of the highlights.....there was much, much more. The only downside.......stepping on the scales yesterday. The dining was excellent with really good complimentary wines at lunch and dinner. We did our own excursions as we are fit and able, and confident about doing our own thing. One memorable excursion we organised via the internet was the 'Grafreetti' in Valparaiso, conducted by a street artist. Amazing creative art! I can highly recommend Saga cruises. Of the 23 cruises we've done, this has to be the best cruise ever!