Santiago is over 100 kms from the port of San Antonio, which is now the main cruise port for Chile. It used to be Valparaiso, but the unions became too troublesome so the Chilean government moved the main port to San Antonio, where they don’t seem to have the same labour problems.
To get from our hotel to the port could have gone via public transport (bus), which takes over two hours, but we would have to take a taxi from the hotel to the bus depot in Santiago, and again in San Antonio from the bus depot to the cruise ship.
Or we could hire a minibus and driver and receive a door to door service . . . . no argument from anyone . . . . we all wanted our own transport.
After some research I found Santiago Chile Travel that specialises in private transport. I booked an eight seater mini-bus with plenty of space for all our luggage. If I could find another couple we would be able to reduce the cost per couple overall, so I advertised on Cruise Critic and an American couple (Bob & Donna) ‘bought’ the two empty seats. The big plus was that we would not be expected to pay for the bus until after we arrived in San Antonio, so if anything went wrong (sickness etc) and we had to cancel, we would not be out of pocket.
I must admit dealing with Chile Travel service was a dream – very easy to deal with and prompt in replying to my e-mails. For the record, in case anyone wishes to use them, this is their web site http://www.santiagochiletravel.com
Fortunately Bob & Donna planned to stay at our hotel, so we were able to meet before the journey to San Antonio.
Happy Hour had just started . . . . .
Once out of the city the road opened in to a highway and the driver didn’t waste any time. Foot down, and we were soon traveling at speeds of over 100 km / hour.
The first photograph of this blog shows the highway not long after we left Santiago, but as time went on the traffic thinned.
Was it because I had arranged the transport or was it because I was tall, that I had the seat next to the driver. On the other hand it could have been that nobody else wanted to be so close to the windscreen at 110 + km/ hour.
Door to door was just under 90 minutes.
We arrived at San Antonio – a real working port, with few frills for passengers,
The cruise terminal . . I think the authorities are planning a new one . .
and we could just see our cruise ship through the cranes.
Azamara Pursuit – our cruise ship.
Originally one of eight sister ships for Renaissance Cruises – but this cruise company went out of business.
The ship was launched in 2001 when she was known as R Eight. After the company went bankrupt she was seized by creditors and laid up in Marseilles in France.
She entered cruising again as Minerva II (2003 – 2007) for Swan Hellenic, a British cruise company, she was their only ship, she later became Royal Princess (2007 – 2011), Princess Cruises , and then Adonia (2011 – 2016) for P & O Cruises, and under the same name she was used by Fathom Line, and was the first ship in fifty years of a US cruise line, to sail in to Havana harbour and offer cruising holidays to the Cubans.
This lasted just over a year, after which, the Adonia was transferred back to P & O, before being sold to Azmara and becoming Azamara Pursuit.
Carnival Corporation owns all of the above cruise companies, except for Azamara.
The ‘Pursuit’ joined Azamara Cruises in March 2018, and after having her hull inspected in dry dock in the Bahamas she sailed to Harland & Wolff in Belfast, for complete refurbishment to bring her up to the same standard as her sister ships Azamara Quest & Azamara Journey, which the company already owned. Her ‘new’ maiden voyage was August 2018 from Southampton in the UK.
The Azamara brand is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and the Azamara Pursuit is the first major expansion for Azamara in ten years.
The Pursuit is 30,277 gt with a passenger capacity of about 750, although she was not full when Maureen and I sailed in her. She has a crew of 380.
San Antonio is a real working port –
I took the above picture from our balcony . . . .
One has to get ones priorities right -we’re on-board so it must be lunchtime.
What wine is it today? Certain alcoholic drinks are included in the ticket price, and the wine changes daily – both red & white – the white this day was Italian and New Zealand (chardonnay for the Italian and pinot gris for the NZ wine). I think the red was a choice between Californian or French. The changing of the wine was always something to look forward to each lunchtime.
A wide choice of food and you just wandered around and helped yourself – waiters brought the wine and any other drinks that you wanted. I did like the Sicilian white that was on offer later in the cruise.
It’s very easy & enjoyable to get used to a certain life style . . .