Antarctica, Day 1: Santiago to Ushuaia

December 20, 2019

Paul Kay

We’re traveling Antarctica on Silversea Cruises. Today, we traveled from Santiago, Chile, to Ushuaia, Argentina, boarded our ship, and then headed for Antarctica. Here’s how our tip has gone so far.

Another long day in South America started at five o’clock in the morning. We stayed at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Santiago, Chile. We had room service for dinner last night and arose to have a buffet breakfast with our shipmates in a cavernous ballroom.

We had to check out and be ready with our carry-ons in the lobby by 7:15. Our checked luggage had to be outside our room the night before between nine o’clock and midnight. Silversea picks up the luggage and takes it to the air terminal.

Silversea staff helped us find our bus. At the airport they led us to passport control. Silversea booked a charter flight for us to Ushuaia with LATAM Airlines, which runs regular flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia but not from Santiago. We received our boarding passes the night before, so we didn’t have to go to the Latam desk.

View from the Plane, Ushuaia, Argentina

 Ushuaia just before landing

Some passengers missed the bus and straggled in late delaying takeoff. But I think everyone made it. The flight to Ushuaia took three and a half hours in uncomfortable coach seats. You can’t upgrade. It’s a small price to pay to get to the port and on to Antarctica!

Upon arrival in Ushuaia, we went through immigration again since we now were in Argentina. We picked up our luggage at the carousel, and then gave it and our carry-ons to Silversea staff who loaded it into buses.

Beagle Channel and Ships, Ushuaia, Argentina, Antarctica

 Our ride awaits

On another bus we drove along the coastline and took in our first glimpse of the Beagle Channel. We saw a number of docked cruise ships.

Mountains and Glaciers, Ushuaia, Argentina, Antarctica

 Mountains and glaciers

But the bus driver took us into the mountains (with glaciers) to a restaurant for a late lunch around 3:30 PM. After lunch we drove to the ship and boarded at 5:15 PM.

Madeline and Paul at Muster Station, Silversea Cruises, Ushuaia, Argentina, Antarctica

 We're passing muster!

Lifeboat, Silversea Cruises, Ushuaia, Argentina, Antarctica

 Just in case

There was a mandatory muster meeting at 6:15 to learn about safety, our life preservers, how to find our lifeboat and other safety precautions.

We attended another meeting at seven o’clock where the ship’s staff were introduced.

We pushed back our dinner reservation at La Terrazza, the Italian restaurant on board, to attend the staff introduction ceremony. Dinner was a la carte. The service and quality of food was superb.

Congratulations Balloons, Silversea Cruises, Ushuaia, Argentina, Antarctica

 Silversea helped us celebrate our seventh continent

We got back to our room and found our butler left us a surprise. Apparently, Silversea read what I’ve written about traveling to our seventh continent as a couple. They prepared balloons and a special dessert as a congratulations!

Congratulations Note, Silversea Cruises, Ushuaia, Argentina, Antarctica

Such a sweet sentiment

Their special note congratulating us on our occasion was a nice touch.

Congratulations Dessert Table, Silversea Cruises, Ushuaia, Argentina, Antarctica

 Such a sweet spread

Our butler had a special cake made for the occasion. The cake, white tablecloth, plates and cutlery made for a beautiful presentation—and a wonderful sentiment!

As our ship crossed the Drake Passage, we felt the gentle rolling of the ship underneath us. We have lots to do tomorrow at sea. After another long day of travel, we got into bed tired but excited. The waves rocked us to sleep.

That's it for Day 1 of our trip to Antarctica. More tomorrow!

Tips: You can learn how we planned our trip by reading Planning Our Antarctica Trip. Learn what we read to prepare at Reading Antarctica. And you can find out what we packed at Packing for Cruising Antarctica on Silversea.

Read More

Searching for Shackleton in the Undiscovered Continent of Antarctica
Planning Our Antarctica Trip
Cruising Antarctica 101
Reading: Antarctica
Packing for Cruising Antarctica on Silversea
Antarctica, Day 0: Dallas to Santiago

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