An unforgettable South American Christmas cruise

Pantagonia

Pantagonia

Argentina

Argentina

This Christmas season, why not leave the snow and cold behind to enjoy sunny and warm South America? Royal Caribbean International’s Splendour of the Seas stops at three separate South American nations during a weeklong holiday cruise. This once in a lifetime cruise’s departure point is Santos, Latin America’s largest seaport.

Santos is situated south of Brazil’s biggest metropolitan area, Sao Paulo, but this bustling Paulista Coast port contains plenty of its own tourist attractions. The main beach of Santos contains the world’s biggest beachfront garden as well as a tourist information centre with helpful English speaking staff. Other Santos attractions include a football memorial and coffee museum.

After setting sail from Santos late in the evening, passengers have an entire day to enjoy the stunning Atlantic Ocean views and fun attractions aboard the Splendour of The Seas. The ship’s modern fitness centre offers yoga, aerobics, and kickboxing classes. Passengers can also stay in shape by playing a round of miniature golf, jogging along the upper deck track, or even scaling the ship’s rock climbing wall.

The following morning, the Splendour of the Seas arrives at the ‘jewel of Uruguay,’ the glitzy beach resort of Punta del Este. South America’s most affluent residents have long loved to party, shop, and relax on this long sandy beach strip at Uruguay’s southernmost tip.

December marks the beginning of Punta del Este’s busy summer holiday season, but the resort’s atmosphere nonetheless remains relatively laid-back during the holiday season. It is not uncommon for Punta del Este regulars to dance and party the night away until dawn, sleep in until noon the next morning, and dine at an elegant restaurant late at night.

The Splendour of the Seas then sails west along the Rio del la Plata to another famously lively South American city, Buenos Aires. Argentina’s national capital often feels more like a European city than any of its South American counterparts. The December weather in Buenos Aires, however, is far warmer and sunnier than any European capital.

Nine traffic lanes travel across Nueve de Julio Avenue, which is not only the widest of Buenos Aires’ many broad streets, but also claims to be the world’s widest thoroughfare. Tango, Argentina’s most famous dance, was born in the colourful Buenos Aires neighbourhood of La Boca and Plaza Dorrego. The Sydney Opera House is the only Southern Hemisphere theatre which exceeds the size of the Teatro Col√≥n.

The Splendour of the Seas then returns to Uruguay and its national capital, Montevideo. Montevideo may not be quite as large or as visibly vibrant as Buenos Aires, but Uruguay’s largest city nonetheless boasts its own string of beautiful beaches and historic landmarks. The knitted sweaters and leather goods sold at the Mercado de los Artesanos are ideal Christmas gifts for friends and family who must spend the holidays in colder climates.

Passengers can also people-watch at the Rambla waterfront, chow down on paella or juicy steaks at Mercado del Puerto, or tour the historic Ciudad Vieja district during their Montevideo stay. The Plaza Independencia and Legislative Palace are two more noteworthy Montevideo historic landmarks. This unforgettable cruise concludes with two more days at sea aboard the Splendour of the Seas prior to docking one last time at Santos.

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