South America
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In April of 2003, Marie and Fritz took a cruise on the Holland America Line's M/S Ryndam. The cruise went from Valparaiso, Chile north along the western coast of South America and ended in San Diego.

We had a lot of trouble getting there and joined the ship at its first port of call. We fulfilled a life-long dream and stood in Machu Picchu. The rest of the cruise was pleasant, but the side trip to the lost city of the Incas was our whole reason for going.

The Cruise

Actually we first booked a cruise on Celebrity lines that went from Valparaiso, through the Panama Canal, and on to New York. When we tried to add on the Machu Picchu shore excursion they told our agent that with us, they only had eighteen people interested in going, and they had to have twenty, so they were canceling the excursion. We quickly cancelled our booking.

We then found that Holland-America's Ryndam was going from Valparaiso to San Diego and they assured us that they would do Machu Picchu with only five people and that they had never had to cancel the excursion. This was a positioning cruise moving the ship from South American waters up to the Pacific Northwest for the summer season of Alaska cruises. As a result we had many days with no ports of call at all, and the ship was only half full. Service was excellent on board, and the food was very good. It fulfilled all of our expectations for a moderately-priced cruise. For more about the ship click here.

The ship called at the following ports:

  • Valparaiso, Chile. This is the port for Santiago. We never saw it due to our delays.
  • Coquimbo, Chile. This is where we joined the ship.
  • Arrica, Chile, just south of the Peruvian border. We started our Machu Picchu excursion from here.
  • General San Martin, Peru. We never saw it, we were in Cuzco.
  • Callao (pronounced Caiyao), Peru; The port city or Lima. We rejoined the cruise here.
  • Guayaquil, Ecuador; A large, bustling city. They have cleaned it up recently and we were reminded of Shanghai.
  • Puntarenas, Costa Rica; the major port for this small, beautiful country.
  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; a playground.
  • San Diego, California where we get off and fly home.


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Copyright 2003 F. W. Schneider, all rights reserved