Start of our cruise!

Trip Start Jun 10, 2012
Trip End Aug 17, 2013

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

After Peru, we took a 20-day cruise to Antarctica! Before our cruise, we stayed in Santiago, Chile for just a couple days. Then we left on January 10th for the cruise. This time traveling, we all had normal suitcases (instead of backpacks). They are a lot easier to roll around. Our backpacks were really heavy. I was super excited to get on the cruise. I had never met anyone else who had gone to Antarctica before. I thought there would be some people my age, but as we were getting on the ship, a worker said "wow, you're the only kids I've seen so far!" I just thought, "What?" No kids?!" Then I realized that everyone else in line was...well, gray haired and wrinkly. I calmed down because the reason of the cruise wasn't really to have fun, but to learn and see Antarctica. After getting on, we were asked to come to the front desk. It was something about an incident in our room and they were drying out the carpets. They kept apologizing, and put us in a room across the hall for the night. We realized that the room wasn't even the one we booked in the first place. We booked an ocean view room with a window, but we got upgraded to a suite with a deck (which is a value of about $18,000 more than we payed)! We were fine with waiting for them to dry it out. While at the front desk, we met a scientist. His name is Dave Bresnahan. He had researched in Antarctica for 40 years, and started off as a diver at 19 years old. He did a few informational presentations throughout the cruise. On the first day, we explored the ship. I found out there were actually kids activities, and two clubs - Club HAL for Soph, and The Loft for me. There were supposed to be a total of 15 kids on the ship, including 4 13-year olds. I was one of them, and only met one other. His name was Lance, and his sister Katelyn was 16. She and I hung out sometimes. Nobody really went to The Loft (we did a couple times to play guitar hero), but Soph did Club HAL activities every day. Throughout the cruise, we stopped at 6 ports: Castro, Chile; Puerto Chachabuco, Chile; Punta Arenas, Chile; Puerto Madryn, Argentina; Montevideo, Uruguay; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. We missed 2 other stops (both of which we had an exursion on) because of weather issues. The cruise was super fancy. The food was amazing. They served fancy breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining room every day (except for port days). We usually only went to the dinners though. There were around 6 formal nights on the cruise, but we only went to 3. The others we just didn't feel like dressing up for. Not only did we get upgraded to a suite, we got everything the suite came with, including a coupon booklet and a free dinner at the Pinnacle Grill (which was probably the best meal I've ever had). There were tons of activities for everyone on the whole ship, too. We made sure to go to a lot of the presentations. There were around 3 or 4 every day. There was also crafts, dance lessons, cooking shows, bingo (of course), yoga, and lots of other activities. The captain was really cautious about not letting us get sick. The first 48 hours, no one was allowed to touch the food. There were several handwashing stations in the buffet. You just stuck your hands in them and they would wash them! Despite these things though, my mom and Soph got sick towards the middle of the cruise. We took Soph to the cruise medical center, and she actually had strep throat. She was confined to the room for at least 24 hours, so I brought her food from the buffet. When me and my mom were eating, we met a nice worker named Gun (pronounced "Goon"). He kept trying to get food for Soph but we insisted that we could bring her stuff ourselves. After that, every time he saw me he would say "Hey, Jess!" I don't even know how he knew my name, because I'm pretty sure I didn't tell him. When Soph was finally out of the room and we were in the buffet, Gun saw us and immediately brought over soup and veggies for Soph, saying they would be good things to help her heal. He also brought dessert for her too. He was really nice. Pretty much all of the staff was from Indonesia. They were all super funny and nice. I think people from Indonesia seem to be happier, and everyone I talk to say they definitely agree. That is probably one reason they were hired to work on the ship. There was an Indonesia night, where the staff made their traditional food and decorated the buffet with colorful cloths strung along the tables and fringed umbrellas. On all the nights in the dining room, we got to know tons of nice people. We sat with new people every night. Then there were also people we didn't know coming up to us and saying "Oh! You're the three traveling girls. I heard about you from ...." I soon recognized tons of the people I passed on the ship. Every single meal I had I loved. I didn't go a day without eating seafood. I had lobster, crab, caviar, escargot (if you count snail as seafood. Its probably my favorite though, yum!), scallops, shrimp, clams, tuna, salmon and smoked salmon, cod, and trout. Near the last day, (like most cruises) there was a dessert extravaganza. That included (white and milk) chocolate eiffel towers, a chocolate fountain, chocolate cake, etc. It was really good.
Our entire cruise was amazing and I enjoyed every bit of it! I still can't believe I traveled to ANTARCTICA. I can now say I've been to every continent!

All the details of Antarctica and the ports are in seperate entries.
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