2024 South America group teeshirt
2024 South America group teeshirt
click to enlarge

A Diary & Photos for our 2024 Cruise - South America!

Below is some information on where the 2024 Spirit of the West Cruise is going. We hope you enjoy the diary as we head to South America. See the map below (or scroll down). We will sail on Princess Cruise's "Sapphire Princess" - below is a photo showing what she looks like.

See the map below (or scroll down).
Go to the Itinerary below (or scroll down).

2024 South America group teeshirt
2024 South America group teeshirt
click to enlarge

Princess Cruise's Sapphire Princess We will sail on Princess Cruise's Sapphire Princess

Princess Cruise's "Sapphire Princess"

Diary for February 1st to February 21st, 2024

All photos will enlarge if you click on them

February 1st

We are on our way! Enlarge to read the whole text between Karen and Mark

The luxury liner, Penticton to YVR, landing lights through cockpit window

Ah finally we're happy! At the Fog and Suds across the road from our hotel

Our favourite place to stay ... they "Give a Duck"! (for our hot tub) :-)

February 3rd and 4th

In Buenos Aires & Jim had made a reservation at Estilo Campo - it was awesome! Great beef!

One city tour stop was Floralis Generica a wind damaged aluminum flower sculpture that opens

Kathy taking a pic of/for Perry and Jutte Olechowski at the Floralis Generica.

In town the second floor balconies were nicely decorated with flowers and/or characters

February 4th

Kathy met this guy on a street corner in Buenos Aires and stopped him to chat

See the different characters on the second floor balconies

We stopped here for a quick glass of wine and a beer (split both to try)

Apparently they have more hours in a day here then we do at home .... ?

February 4th & 5th

Back at the hotel we found the roof top pool and Kathy found the water fall

The roof top view of Buenos Aires ... 3.1 million people in 200 square miles

Our table at the dinner show at Tango Porteno ... great meal, great show!

A horseback tug-of-war game that was originally played with a duck! Ooch!!

February 5th

Our first horseback ride was part of our group tour at Estancia El Ombu

Our Gaucho took my camera and went ahead and took pictures of our group for us

Julieta, the media rep for the ranch, got this photo and an interview with Mark for their social media

Mark got an interview for Hugh and the Spirit of the West with Santiago, the ranch representative

The ranch had music, dancing, and lunch for us after Santiago told us about their operation!

Then they called up the brave ones to join in and learn the local dance moves

A Gaucho then did a demonstration for everyone with his horse that was amazing!

They referred to it as "horse whispering" an American term that they picked up

February 5th & 6th

Anyone that wanted a picture with the Gaucho and his horse could do so

Back at the ship our wine bar tender tried Mark's hat on while he suggested a good wine

Waiting to be picked up, we had to send a photo/location to the company as the driver was at the wrong place

45 minutes late but worth it as the place was very nice, as was the staff

February 6th

The place is a polo farm and hotel that also does horse rides and is called Caballos a la Par

Everything about the place was neat and tidy and the horses were in good shape

Kathy getting her stirrups adjusted by Agustina our guide for the ride

Kathy's horse was called "Chimanga" which is a type of bird in Argentina

Their saddles were quite different with a double bar tree more like a pack saddle

Kathy says she has no idea what they were saying or doing in this photo that looks posed

Kathy got a photo of Mark on Pampa (bald) and Agustina on Conejita through her horse's ears

These bright green parakeet like birds were everywhere!

Agustina took this photo of the two of us back at the barns. Note the shelters

Not sure if I can get parts for this old girl ... it's a Fiat something-or-other

Back in the main lobby where we were served a nice lunch and much needed water!

The table was set and ready for us when we got back from the ride

February 6th & 7th

The steak was huge, the potatoes smuthered in butter, an awesome desert and good wine

Another included group city tour, this time in Montevideo, Uruguay

The detail and accuracy of each monument was amazing, and many, throughout the city

These are a few of the many vendor tables in one of the squares

February 7th

This is a plan for the building of the city Montevideo in 1748

Click on the picture to see the size of these church doors behind Kathy

The age of the city makes us think everything we have is new!!

We got back to the ship early and there wasn't a soul in the big main pool ...

February 7th & 8th & 9th

We got in a great swim and a little sun with a pool-side drink before HH

Ernie Israelson in our cabin for a Spirit of the West radio show interview

Our cabin stewart, Nilo, left this puppy that we found on our bed

The start of another private group tour, this one in Puerto Madryn

February 9th

We're thinking it wasn't serviced properly & a bearing got too hot

Another type of tractor advertised here, a Valtra (I can get parts for them)

A typical community here. They seem to pop up in the middle of nowhere

Valarie, our guide, showed us how to make mate in a mate cup

We started to see Penguins from the boardwalk right away at Punta Tombo

There were lots of wild Guanacos around the penguins, too

You didn't have to look very far to see Megellanic Penguins

Here you see a Guanaco and a Megellanic Penguin. Pretty cool tour!

They spent a lot of time grooming each other as they were molting

This is just the start of the walk in and there were Penguins everywhere

It was very picturesque as we got to the end of the boardwalk where ...

... we watched the penguins walking in and out of the ocean and swimming

February 9th, 10, and 11th

On the beach they were also wading in and out and swimming

Pictures don't do it justice but 100s of Penguins dotted the shoreline

Three of our favourite guys on the ship: the two sommeliers and the wine bar guy, Redouane (RedWine)

Port Stanley, Falkland Islands and the Land Rovers to take us to Volunteer Point & the King Penguins

February 11th

Jim had booked just about every available Land Rover for our private group tour (15 of them)

We couldn't believe the huge flat prairies of peat, and all dotted with sheep

Kathy with our Land Rover at the first stop, the foot wash stop

Every person going to visit the King Penguins walked through the foot bath

Here's Kathy walking through the foot bath with the guard watching to make sure!

Our first glimpse of the huge number of King Penguins in the distance

Kathy and I walked to the beach first. A few are close but lots in the background

Then we walked back to the big group and Kathy posed with a small group on the way

Most of them had finished molting but this guy was still working on it

You are not allowed to touch them but they seem totally unconcerned

It was truly amazing ... a sea of king Penguins all sitting on eggs or babies!

Here's a baby that was just starting to get out and about

Absolutely incredible and indescribable. Pics don't do justice

Here you can see two of last year's babies out and about

These two love birds were quite content to cuddle and love peck each other

In the wind shelter ... Kathy describing Penguin talk? Something anyway!

Kathy chatting with Kurt, our driver and guide as we get ready to return

Kathy doing the foot bath on the way out ... yup both ways

More sheep in the background and apparently that's where we're headed

It was quite the windy bumpy trip through the peat meadows

Hope everyone has their seat belts fastened !!

This is the sheep farm that we're headed too. Nice neat place

In the barns Kathy checks out the wool quality with the sheep shearer

Then we got a full explanation and a sheep shearing demonstration

As he finishes the sheep ends up in front of the exit shoot and gone!

Kathy holds up the clean side of the fleese to see how white it is

This is the fleece press to make it fit into one tote like bag

The tote like bags hold about 200 pounds of fleece

February 11th & 12th

The Falkland Islands are owned and governed by the UK so they drive on the wrong side of the road

Jim and Karen arranged a private group galley tour for us that went great

Karen, Jim, Kathy and our whole group in the galley with Mario and Antonio

An interview for the S of the W radio show with Judy and Gary Burgemeister

February 12th

A sea day. I had sushi and Kathy had a pizza - both were great

Kathy working ... when the Internet is good enough

Our cabin stewart made us a monkey hanging from the curtain

One of our favorite wines on the ship ... one of many

One of our favorite wines on the ship ... one of many

One of our favorite wines on the ship ... one of many

One of our favorite wines on the ship ... one of many

One of our favorite wines on the ship ... one of many

One of our favorite wines on the ship ... one of many

One of our favorite wines on the ship ... one of many

Jim and Karen with us in Sabatini's Italian specialty restaurant

Everything was soooo good ... even the deserts!

February 12th & 13th

and if you couldn't decide you tried the sampler dessert

Tonight we came home to a penguin waiting for us on our bed

From our cabin as we pull into Ushuaia, Argentina

Pretty country and amazing and unexpected mountains!

February 13th

Hard to see in the photo but these rocks are green as green

Kathy taking pictures in the park that was our first bus stop

Note the bottom line of this sign at our last stop

We are at the World's end and have the picture to prove it !!

Still pretty country and way out in nowhere is the hotel in the distance

Kathy in the line (almost over now) to the girls bathroom in the hotel

A glacier fed lake was a stop on our return to the ship

Here a couple of horses graze at the river side ... so peaceful

February 13th & 14th

We watched the Norwegian Sun pull away from beside us in Punta Arenas

Kathy got these glacier photos through the dirty window in the wine bar

they are still amazing, even through dirty windows

As we loaded into our private water shuttle we wondered how much weight this dock would hold

February 14th

Boarding our private group boat was a little scary on the little yellow board

But once onboard it was pretty nice and quite comfy

Twin Cat C18 600 HP engines moved us along at about 18 knots (21 MPH)

This cute little penguin was all ready for rough seas

our guide waited for the penguin before taking this photo of us

The weather wasn't the best but Magdelena Island was still a cool place

The light house behind Kathy was built here in 1902

We stopped and waited to give these penguins the right of way

Back on the boat we all warmed up with cookies and hot chocolate :-)

Then Mark got to drive the boat as we headed back to Punta Arenas

Had to take this picture as we thought the bathroom signs were totally cute!

Back on the ship some of the dinner buns were pink & heart shaped

February 14th & 15th

Mark leads the group get-together calling people up to tell whatever

Here Mark is interviewing Darrel and Marg Hinkey for Hugh & S of the W

Looking back as we enter the fjord heading for Amalia Glacier

The first group photo was taken at the back pool

Our group photo for 2024 !!

February 15th

Then a second photo was taken with the Amalia Glacier as a backdrop

A massive glacier and the captain pointed the stern to the glacier for us

John, the ship photographer, sets everything up for our group photo

Back in the room we found this on one of the pillows

February 16th & 17th

Jim lowered himself to use a Canon camera and took this for us

Our two buses up on the lava bed flats at Mount Osorno

The road up the mountain was quite something but our drivers were great

The ski resort at Mount Osorno where we stopped

February 17th

Lava rock in the foreground overlooking Lake Llanquihue

The crumbled lava rock of the parking lot where we were walking

Here we're at Petrohue Falls with Mt Osorno in the background

Another shot of the Mt Osorno volcano from the bus as we head back

One of the bright blue pools as we walk into Petrohue Falls

Kathy posing in front of another super blue pool in the river

The falls with what we think was a mountain in Argentina

A fish in the pond at the river edge was about 16" long

Kathy with her new toque at Vincente Perez Rosales National Park

Kathy in my hat at Las Tranqueras Restaurant for a great salmon feed

A quite decent Chillean Vino Tinto that they served us with lunch

One of our two buses leaving the restauarnt to head back

Kathy said: "Mark doing what he does best" ... chatting ...

Puerto Vagas a town where we were dropped off to walk around

The fire truck was just leaving the scene the day after

Mount Osorno. In the middle of the pic you can see the flat where we were

Walking along the beach front in Puerto Vagas we stopped for pictures ...

... beside some of the metal art along the walkway at the end of the day

Kathy thought this might beat Air Canada to get back to Canada ??

Zoomed in to where we were on the mountain in the photo above

February 19th

The ship docked in San Antonio and the bus took us to Santiago

they have giant horses in Chile! This is in a food (restaurant) court

Kathy saw the word pasta so decided that this was our lunch stop

Jim, Karen, and us is a cool, not so little, outdoor seating area

We shared salads, salmon, assorted meatballs, prawns, & cheese plate

Our guide described the water as chock-oh-late milk colour

Kathy's happy ... a castle! On San Cristobal hill in the Metropolitan Park

58 of us got on the rail / cable car to climb the San Cristobal hill

An amazing view of Santiago. See the cable car tracks where we ascended in the bottom left

Another almost 200 stairs to the Virgin Mary, an amphitheater and a chapel. Click to see Kathy on the steps

Look at these poor little guys having to hold up this massive concrete beam all day and night!

This picture from the bus window was specially taken for Mike ... Marilyn Munroe even in Chile!

The Hotel Marriott Santiago our last night in South America. Octopus!

And Don Maximiano wine!

We're wondering which cabinet we should take home ...

On the plane now ... pretty good for Air Canada!

Back in Vancouver we had to take a shuttle to "South Terminal"

The ticket agent told us about a pub within walking distance

Our view out the window at the Flying Beaver Pub

and the dessert that followed our nachos appy :-)

Pacific Coastal Air didn't have any room between seats - note the seat tray

Four duty free bottles of pretty good Chilean wine back at home

Four new Accent Inn ducks to add to the hot tub

A reminder of the good wines we drank on the cruise ship :-)

We have announced the 2025 cruise destination! We'll be back to the basics
in February on the Majestic Princess! See the 2025 cruise page here.

For more photos see Hugh's website diary page at: www.Hugh-McLennan.com.

Our Itinerary!         Top of Page

The 2024 Spirit of the West Cruise.




Itinerary (times are tentative)

Day 1

Feb 1st


Fly to Vancouver and overnight

Day 2

Feb 2nd


Fly from Canada

Day 3

Feb 3rd

arrive Buenos Aires.

Transfer to hotel. Day/evening at leisure

Day 4

Feb 4th

Buenos Aires, Argentina

1/2 day city tour. Afternoon at leisure. Dinner at Tango and show at Porteno

Day 5

Feb 5th

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Private Tour Estancia El Ombu (350 cattle & 70 horses). Hotel then board ship.

Day 6

Feb 6th

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Horse ride at Caballos a La Par. Welcome reception 5:00 and sail 6:00 pm

Day 7

Feb 7th

Montevideo, Uruguay

7:00 AM - 6:00 PM. Private tour 9:00 AM. Pool side get-together 9:00 PM.

Day 8

Feb 8th

At Sea


Day 9

Feb 9th

Puerto Madryn, Argentina

8:00 AM - 6:00 PM. Private tour 8:30 AM. Pool side get-together 9:00 PM.

Day 10

Feb 10th

At Sea


Day 11

Feb 11th

Falkland Islands (Stanley)

8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Tender to Private King Penguin tour.

Day 12

Feb 12th

Cape Horn (cruising)

At sea cruising Cape Horn

Day 13

Feb 13th

Ushuala, Argentina

7:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Private tour 8:00 AM.

Day 14

Feb 14th

Punta Arenas, Chile

8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Private tour 9:45 AM.

Day 15

Feb 15th

Amalia Glacier, Chile (cruising)

4:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Day 16

Feb 16th

At Sea


Day 17

Feb 17th

Puerto Montt, Chile

7:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Private tour with lunch 8:00 AM.

Day 18

Feb 18th

At Sea


Day 19

Feb 19th

Santiago, Chile

5:00 AM. 9:00 AM private transfers to Santiago.

Day 20

Feb 20th

Santiago, Chile

Return flight to Vancouver overnight

Day 21

Feb 21st

Vancouver BC

Fly Home

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Here is a map - showing the South America cruise stops. Click to enlarge.

2023 hosts, Mark and Kathy McMillan
2024 hosts, Mark and Kathy McMillan
click to enlarge

2024 South America
2024 Cruise - South America
click to enlarge

Mark and Kathy on Holiday!
Mark and Kathy on Holiday!
click to enlarge

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