Greetings from Santiago, Chile!
I'm writing a little forward before Brandin's blog post. We originally wrote this post yesterday (January 9th) under the assumption that we would be leaving the Santiago airport to our respective homes, but . . . we were foolish and decided to take our chances flying standby for the small reasons of getting a little extra legroom and luggage.
It seemed like a fantastic idea until the flight filled up and we were booted out of the terminal, standing defeated amongst our four-month pile of luggage. We're thankful that my parents are always willing to pick up the phone, that there were other standby passengers at the ready with snacks to share and that we got to sleep the night in a hotel. Now, continue reading for a recap of the last leg of our cruising adventure! (and cross your fingers that we get home tomorrow)
Today Craig and I left the Zaandam after nearly four months of cruising with over 300 performances on the ship. We hate to admit that we didn’t turn back as the bus drove us out of the San Antonio towards the Santiago airport. Four months has been an incredibly long time to perform six nights a week and we are looking forward to taking some time off. This last cruise itinerary was particularly taxing — within the first few days of the cruise I came down with the flu, which forced me to stay isolated in our cabin for a couple of days.
During this time we began the seven day Antarctica scenic cruising portion of the trip. Luckily I recovered before we arrived at the frozen continent, where we traversed massive icebergs and witnessed a variety of wildlife including penguins, orca whales, and humpback whales. We had four full days of cruising in Antarctica and were fortunate to have calm and sunny weather much of the time. To me, Antarctica didn’t seem like the foreign, frigidly cold place I always imagined it to be (although, we only visited the peninsula during summertime). Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t spend too much time outside (particularly while still recovering from being sick) but I recall worse temperatures back home in Wisconsin.
After Antarctica, we made one last round of trips to our past ports including Ushuaia, Argentina and up through the Chilean ports of Punta Arenas, Puerto Chacabuco and Castro.
We were so anxious to finish the contract and return to real life, every new day we were eagerly making a check next to the date on our schedules to help us visualize how we were getting closer to the end. Throughout this 22-day itinerary, Craig and I met many guests from around the world, although I can’t keep up with all of the people who we would like to visit in various places including Greece, Sydney, Tel-Aviv, Las Vegas, Melbourne, and more! But cruising has been a great way to establish networks around the world, no matter how small they may seem.
On the second to last night, I performed with the mainstage cast one final time for their show Classique. My involvement in this was not communicated to me before the contract began and there was some additional miscommunication, but over the course of the contract, I came to enjoy working with the singers and dancers from the RWS company on the Zaandam. It was the one moment each itinerary that I felt I was living some sort of Lindsay Stirling stage show dream (although I am not a fan of Stirling, I will say there is a certain powerful energy to being on stage performing next to a cast rather than other string players). I can't complain too much about the "additional" things I had to do on the ship, which also included performing for the BBC Planet Earth movie live on the ship one night per itinerary. I think all of this has been a good lesson in adaptability: while I imagined I would only be performing with Craig, I also ended up working with a 10 - piece cast and the showband for Planet Earth.
As always, we are grateful to have had this last-minute opportunity to sail down through the Americas and eat our way around South America. We look forward to performing on the middle third of the Grand World Voyage starting back in Chile on February 6th and ending in Singapore on March 25th.
Until next time,
Next Stop: Burlington, Wisconsin / / Ames, Iowa
Brandin & Craig