The Best South America Cruises For 2016
It's a new year for cruising and along with a slew of new ships, there are numerous exciting destinations to tick off your 2016 to-do list, particularly in South America. It is one of the least encountered destinations for Australian travellers, and these South American cruises offer immersive experiences across the continent. Here are our favourite on-the-horizon cruises for 2016.
In Darwin’s Footsteps
A cruise is the only way to open up the windswept, isolated archipelago of Tierra del Fuego – which Chile and Argentina share – and its impressive mountain-top and water-side glaciers, sub-Antarctic forests and densely wooded labyrinth of narrow channels. For the coming season, Australis is offering a Darwin-themed cruise that combines a visit to remote Wulaia Bay, where Darwin and Captain Robert FitzRoy had their famous encounters with Fuegian Indians, with a landing on Cape Horn (weather permitting). Australis is also offering whale-watching cruises this season.
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Robinson Crusoe’s Remote Island
In some countries a coastal sojourn can make you feel as if you might be missing inland wonders (or you have to take planes or bus rides to see them). Not so Chile – which is long and thin and looks out to the sea. The 6,437-kilometre-long Chilean seaboard runs the whole gamut of topographies, from the world’s driest desert at Atacama in the north to the lush, wine-growing lands of the central region.
A Swan Hellenic cruise aboard the elegant, 350-passenger Minerva takes in the isolated Robinson Crusoe island, where stranded navigator Alexander Selkirk survived for four years and four months, and whose story inspired Daniel Defoe’s novel. The only other way to get here is on a small plane with a hair-raising landing at the clifftop airport.
Antarctica is the ultimate once-in-a-lifetime trip. The whales, penguins, elephant seals and sea lions amaze, the ice sculptures startle and the historic sites move most passengers – forced as they are to compare their ice-proofed vessels and cutting-edge gear with the sailing boats and loose mittens of the pioneers. The voyage from South America to Antarctica typically involves traversing the wide Drake Passage, where the Atlantic, Pacific and Southern oceans converge to create a current-crossed, wind-lashed maelstrom of frothing silliness – even big ships bob about like dinghies and very few passengers make breakfast.
Because not everyone has a lot of time to spare or wants to cross the Drake Passage twice, Quark Expeditions is offering a new Antarctic Express 10-day cruise on the 117-passenger Sea Adventurer to the Antarctic Peninsula – closest point to South America – which makes the return journey by plane. The ship reaches the peninsula from Ushuaia in Argentina in two days via the Beagle Channel and Drake Passage, while the flight back to Punta Arenas in Chile takes just three hours.
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This article was written by Chris Moss from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.