Our next stop was Puerto Montt, Chile. This is a very nice, quiet, small, friendly town with plenty to see during a long walk along the beach, especially the local markets. Only problem was (not really a problem since I saved money) the markets usually did not accept our left-over Argentina money, US Dollars or credit cards, but the big stores did.
Located in the lake district of Chile, Puerto Montt is a city amidst snow-covered volcanoes, lush jungle ferns, hot springs, forested hills and narrow fjords. The city's early German settlers left their mark with distinctive European-style architecture that gives this city a unique feel. Puerto Montt's close proximity to lakes and national parks makes it a great place for the active tourist. One may try fly-fishing in the Puelo River, rafting down the Petrohue River, trekking and horseback riding through the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, or climbing the Calbuco Volcano. For a more relaxing visit, spend the day at nearby Angelmo, shopping for local crafts and feasting on Puerto Montt's renowned seafood.
Founded as late as 1853 during the German colonization of southern Chile, Puerto Montt soon outgrew older neighboring cities due to its strategic position at the southern end of the Chilean Central Valley being a gateway city into Chiloé Archipelago, Llanquihue and Nahuel Huapi lakes and Western Patagonia. Puerto Montt has gained renown and grown significantly due to the rise of Chile as the second largest salmon producer of the world during the 1990s and 2000s. However, the Chilean salmon aquaculture crisis of the late 2000s resulted at least temporarily in severe unemployment and exposed weaknesses in the local economy. The city's cultural heritage mixes elements of Chilean culture with German heritage although the city has attracted a significant number of newcomers from all over Chile in the last 30 years due to employment opportunities.
I was curious to see if our ship’s health problems had hit the news and found this article, but not about our ship. Guess we aren’t the only ones getting sick:
Washington, United States: A Royal Caribbean cruise ship (we are traveling on Norwegian Cruise Line) returned to Florida after hundreds of passengers contracted a gastrointestinal illness, the media reported. During the five-night cruise, 332 cases of the illness were reported, Owen Torres, a spokesman for Royal Caribbean told CNN in a statement on Saturday. He stressed that it was a small percentage -- 5.99 per cent -- of the more than 5,000 passengers and crew onboard the ship, Independence of the Seas. "Those affected by the short-lived illness were treated by our ship's doctors with over-the-counter medication," Torres said, "and we hope all our guests feel better quickly". It is not known what caused the illness. According to reports, some passengers who were disembarking on Saturday in Port Everglades, Florida, believed the number of passengers who got sick was higher than what Royal Caribbean said. Torres, the Royal Caribbean spokesman, told CNN the company is "taking steps like intensive sanitary procedures to minimize the risk of any further issues", and that the ship will "undergo special additional cleaning procedures before it departs on its next cruise".
We just returned from a “Back to Back” briefing. B2B folks are those NOT disembarking at the final stop. This “final” stop is the beginning leg of our next two week cruise starting in Santiago, Chile, going through the Panama Canal and ending in Miami, Florida so we and the other 300 or so folks don’t need to get off. Normally, you have the option on staying on the ship while waiting for the new passengers to process in, but not in your cabin until all the cabins have been cleaned. With the health problems we’ve had, the ship is asking everyone to disembark, take a paid tour, take a free shuttle to another town or just do a “walk about” in Santiago. If they decide to stay on the ship they will be gathered together in one, big room with a movie and some food and drinks and then moved to another room when it’s time to clean that big room. The plan is to totally strip the ship and the cabins of everything and disinfect EVERYTHING. Sheets, pillow cases and drapes/curtains will all be changed out, mattresses will be turned, all drawers and cabinets will be opened and fogged, etc. We’ll be taking the free shuttle to another town for a little tourist time. No sense in hanging around a ship that is being cleaned as well as this ship will be. They’ve even hired some professional cleaning crews from town to help out.
We are really grateful for the actions the ship has taken to care for us and especially all the crew members that were forced to do “something” out of the ordinary to help out.
At least we haven’t made the international news………yet.