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South America Cruise on the Silver Whisper

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Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires tango dancers

Tango dancers in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires (c) Linda Garrison
Buenos Aires is a great city, and anyone traveling to South America for a cruise should plan to spend at least a few days in this fascinating city on the Rio Plata. Our Silver Whisper cruise was embarking from Buenos Aires, so we flew overnight on the non-stop from Atlanta. Ten hours after taking off, we were landing in Buenos Aires.

I had stayed in the downtown area on my two previous trips to Buenos Aires. This time, I decided to try the Palermo district, which is known for its parks, good shopping, cafes, and bars. The Duque Hotel was our base for the overnight stay, and it was a good selection. It's a renovated old home, with only about 10 rooms. The staff were exceptional, and although our room wasn't ready when we arrived at about 10:30 in the morning, they invited us to enjoy breakfast while we were waiting. (Check in was 3 pm). We had a pastry and coffee/tea outdoors in the small courtyard that had nice seating, a small pool, and a hammock, soaking up the fresh air for about an hour. Before we knew it, our room was ready, so we got settled in. The room was large, with very high ceilings and two large windows that overlooked the street below.

The hotel staff told me where an ATM was, so we went looking for some pesos to use for our taxis and incidentals. Unfortunately, the ATM was out of funds, so we returned to the hotel to get some change before going out again. The hotel staff quickly exchanged my money, giving me a rate not much different than I expected from the ATM. We wandered the streets, checking out the many street vendors and small shops along the way. We had a leisurely late lunch/early dinner at a sidewalk cafe, enjoying the breeze and the fascinating people out for a Saturday afternoon stroll. As expected, we even saw two couples tango dancing near one of the busy squares. It's one the things I love about Buenos Aires.

Back at the hotel in the early evening, we got ready for our tango show at Senor Tango. I had booked our tickets with Ricardo DeFrantur, a travel agent/tour operator I had used on my two previous trips to Buenos Aires. He's scheduled a number of tours for me, including a city tour, a day on an Argentine ranch, and an overnight trip to Iguazu Falls.

We took a taxi to the show, which cost me 60 pesos or about $15. I thought this was a good price for two of us to take a 40-minute ride all the way through downtown. When I booked the hotel, I didn't think about it being so far away from the district where the tango shows are. If we had stayed at a downtown hotel, we could have had a free shuttle to the show. Oh well, we liked our location very much, but it's something to keep in mind.

I had been to the Senor Tango show before, so this time we didn't book a dinner show, since we knew we wouldn't be too hungry on our first night in South America. So, we didn't have to be at the theater until 9:30, and the show started at 10 pm, lasting until almost 12:30 am. Great show for anyone who loves tango dancing and Spanish music. Although the program had changed since we had seen it several years ago, "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" was still the finale. And, it still made my spine tingle. We were back at the hotel by about 1:15 (100 pesos for return trip or $25), and in bed before 2 am.

Sunday morning, the streets around the Hotel Duque were very quiet, even though we had slept in. We took an hour's walk, and checked out of the hotel at noon and taxied to the cruise port. (50 pesos or about $12.50)

There was a huge line about two blocks long for people boarding the MSC Opera. Fortunately, we were able to skirt this line and go in a different door to board the Silver Whisper. We were on the ship a little after 1pm, and went straight to lunch since our suite wasn't ready. It was so nice to have a great buffet with no lines and easy-to-find outdoor seating. I had a huge salad, followed by sushi, and then ice cream for dessert. Mom had roast pork, veggies, and a hot dessert. We both enjoyed a celebratory glass of wine.

We got into the suite about 2 pm, and were delighted to see how nice it was. Suite number 801/803 is actually a grand suite at the very front of the ship (801), along with the adjoining "regular" veranda suite (803). We had 2.5 baths, separate bedrooms, separate sitting rooms, two walk-in closets, and two of everything else. The balcony furniture was very nice, and our butler and cabin stewardess were friendly and very anxious to please. I think I could live in this suite full time.

We unpacked and settled into the cabin. Mom and I took a short nap, still recovering from our long flight and the late night at the Tango show. We roused in time for the 6 pm lifeboat drill, followed by getting cleaned up for drinks/dinner. We went to The Bar for a cocktail, followed by dinner at 8 pm. (open seating between 7 and 9:30 each night) We ate with a couple from Tucson, and another couple from the UK. Nice dinner. Love the small portions and multiple courses that Silversea dishes out. Mom and I both had appetizer, salad or soup, sorbet, and then the mahi mahi for the main course. We split a meringue topped with a berry compote for dessert.

The show was an introduction to the upcoming entertainment, so we stopped in to see what was up. The small troupe of six young singers looked very promising. The bed sure felt good after our two busy days in Buenos Aires. The Silver Whisper had sailed for Montevideo during dinner, and we continued down the Rio Plata during the night.

South America Ports of Call on the Silver Whisper

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