Once in a lifetime cruise, once in a lifetime price

By Valerie Rains
October 3, 2012
Courtesy Cruceros Australis

Not to sound like a broken record, but Chile's can't-miss travel opportunities just keep on coming. The latest deal to catch our eye is a $690 three-night sail through Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego—the type of trip that generally qualifies as a major splurge—on Cruceros Australis's new 100-cabin Stella Australis vessel. (Let's call this, then, a minor splurge.)

The trip departs from southern Chile's Punta Arenas and winds through the Strait of Magellan, Ainsworth Bay, and Alakaluf Fjord (among others), passing glaciers, waterfalls, and—if you're lucky—elephant seals en route to Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world. And while the relatively roomy cabins, starting around 178 square feet, have generously sized floor-to-ceiling windows for taking in all that dramatic scenery, the cruise also includes glacier-trekking excursions and guided wildlife-watching outings on tiny inflatable Zodiac boats, so you can really get the full frozen-ends-of-the-earth effect. The rate covers an external cabin and all meals and drinks on the 4-day trip—including local Chilean and Argentine wine—and is only available for this particular April 2 departure. (The lowest normal rate for a 4-day itinerary with Cruceros is $840, making this almost a 20% savings.)

Still too steep for your vacation fund? Then enter our World's Best Cruiser contest! Send evidence of your cruising expertise (packing strategies, photo galleries, a collection of souvenir seashells from tropical ports of call—the wackier the better) to by March 15. The winner will receive a free cruise!!

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Ask Trip Coach: River cruising

For a charming, laid-back, no-hassles tour of Europe, river cruising is hard to beat. If you've ever had questions about this elegant mode of travel, send them in to us now. River cruising, while growing rapidly in popularity, is new to a lot of travelers—and that's why we're devoting an upcoming Trip Coach column to the topic. You might be wondering: What are the most scenic rivers? What are the most interesting and fun riverside villages and towns to explore? Besides Europe, where are river cruises offered? What are the differences between Avalon Waterways, Viking River Cruises, Uniworld, and other companies operating river cruises? How different is river cruising from the big-ship ocean cruise experience? And of course, how do you get the best price on a cabin? Send in your questions about river cruising, and we'll do our best to clue readers in on everything they need to know about the experience in an upcoming issue of Budget Travel.


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