Penguins up close.

Princess Cruises to South America

Lighthouse on a rocky outcropping in Beagle Channel.
The Lighthouse at the End of the World. Photo: Diamond Cruise & Travel.

As we sailed aboard a catamaran in the Beagle Channel between the sheer rock and stunning glaciers of Tierra del Fuego with Argentina on one side and Chile on the other, I spied the legendary landmark I’d only read about – the famed lighthouse at the end of the world — right there, in front of us. Sea lions meandered just yards away and many colonies of black and white cormorant birds dotted the sky, resembling penguins from a distance, as if penguins really could fly.

Cormorants on the shore.
Cormorants on Beagle Channel. Photo: Diamond Cruise & Travel.

“Can this get any better?” I wondered. Oh yes – it can. The next day we sailed around Cape Horn, the southernmost point in South America connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Centuries of sailors’ lore suggested we’d be in for rough seas, but not on this cruise – just lovely, calm waters overlooking striking mountains, jagged islands and some of the most picturesque scenery that can be witnessed from a cruise ship.

Sea lions resting on a rock.
Sea Lions at Beagle Channel. Photo: Diamond Cruise & Travel.

We had sailed on more than 150 cruises and freely advise people planning a cruise for the first time or help with cruise vacation planning – but we’d never sailed this far south around the southern tip of South America. When we discovered this cruise on Princess Cruises, it seemed the perfect itinerary. Days before docking at Ushuaia at Tierra del Fuego, the Emerald Princess itinerary took us from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Santiago, Chile, with tours of Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Puerto Madryn, Puerto Montt and the Falkland Islands.

Once we’d sailed around Cape Horn into the Pacific Ocean, we docked in Punta Arenas, the natural penguin habitat. Like many vacationers, we had seen penguins in Sea World, watched the March of the Penguins movie and enjoyed Burgess Meredith as the Penguin in Batman. But on this cruise, we were so close that you could reach out and shake their wings – if they were so inclined.

Penguins up close.
Penguins Bluff Cove, Faulkland Islands. Photo: Diamond Cruise & Travel.

The cruise destination list followed with an enjoyable day sailing through the Chilean Fjords to Amalia Glacier and then on to Puerto Montt and extensive tours of the city of Valparaiso and the capital city of Santiago.

After sailing on virtually every Caribbean cruise vacation itinerary available, and on nearly every transatlantic and European cruise itinerary, we found this new experience in the Southern Hemisphere rejuvenating. We also look forward to visiting many other countries below the equator.

As word of this region has traveled, several other cruise lines including Celebrity, Regent, Crystal, Oceania and Seabourn Cruise Line have added similar itineraries. For guidance in selecting the ideal cruise ship and tours for your vacation, call me at 800-547-9829 or travel@cruisediamond.com.

Cruise ship docked.
The Emerald Princess. Photo: Diamond Cruise & Travel.