Gauchos, Patagonian Penguins & Snow-Capped Volcanoes Await Cunard Adventurers on 2006 Cape Horn and Chilean Fjords Voyage

12-day Voyage on Queen Mary 2 Traces Path of Legendary Explorers

VALENCIA, Calif., July 13 /PRNewswire/ — Queen Mary 2′s anticipated 2006 Path of Magellan Historic Passage itineraries will offer adventurers an eclectic taste of South America as the ship rounds Cape Horn for the first time and becomes the largest ocean liner in history to do so. The 12-day Cape Horn and Chilean Fjords cruise sailing from Rio de Janeiro on January 27, 2006 and arriving in Valparaiso on February 8, is the second segment of the famous ship’s 36 or 38 day South American maiden voyages, sailing around the bottom of the world and to the magnificently picturesque regions of Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile. The eastbound reverse itinerary embarks from Valparaiso on March 22 and arrives in Rio on April 3. Guests will follow in the intrepid footsteps of such explorers as Columbus, who in 1492 set sail in search of a western route to the Orient and discovered a “new world,” and Ferdinand Magellan who forged his own way through these territories in 1520 and named the Straits of Magellan after himself.

“In the Cunard tradition, these liner voyages offer a fascinating glimpse into the early exploration of some of history’s greatest adventurers, while guests revel in a luxurious shipboard experience recalling the bygone era of glamorous ocean travel,” says Jan Swartz, senior vice president of customer service and sales for Cunard Line. “Our guests will enjoy 21st century Cunard signature comforts while sailing through some of the most rugged and storied landscapes in the world.”

The four-part itinerary begins in Rio de Janeiro. After a day cruising the Atlantic Ocean, guests will arrive in scenic Montevideo, Uruguay, where a myriad of shore adventures await during this overnight stop. Visitors will enjoy such sites as the charm of the old city, the last Spanish-built military bastion in Uruguay, and the impressive Legislative Palace. Other Montevideo excursions include a leisurely tour through the city’s parks, plazas, museums, monuments and the Rambla (or waterfront), passing many of the region’s beautiful beaches. Beyond the reach of the urban center lies the famed countryside and the seaside resort of Piriapolis. Other land offerings include the Essence of Uruguay, where guests visit a 200 year-old estancia for a taste of gaucho life, folk music and dances, culminating in a traditional gaucho barbeque lunch.

Another two days at sea brings the ship around Cape Horn and the next port of call, Ushuaia, Argentina. The beauty of Tierra Del Fuego’s rugged mountains can be experienced in a scenic drive to Lago Escondido, “Hidden Lake,” or via a narrow-gauge train, “the southernmost railway in the world,” where the locomotive retraces the route used by inmates of the island’s penal colonies (the last one closed in 1947). For thrill-seekers with a more extreme appetite for up-close wildlife and adventure, a two-hour trek in the Mayor Natural Reserve to a “Lenga” forest may appeal, as well as drive to the “End of the World” through Tierra del Fuego National Park, bringing visitors to the end of the world’s longest stretch of road — the Pan American Highway.

Just around the other side of Cape Horn, Queen Mary 2 stops in Punta Arenas, Chile, where the beauty and wonder of Patagonia await, amid a wide variety of culture, history, and breathtaking landscapes. Excursions include a visit to Fort Bulnes, the first Chilean settlement in Patagonia founded in 1842 and inhabited by only 21 colonists. The re-creation of this hilltop fort, with sweeping views of the Straits of Magellan, offers a glimpse into those challenging pioneer days. Outdoors enthusiasts will delight in visiting the site of a remote colony of Magellanic penguins on Otway Bay, while others will enjoy a tour of Estancia Fitz Roy, a living museum dedicated to Chile’s hearty baqueanos, the sheep ranchers who settled Patagonia.

Cruising through the dramatic Chilean fjords would be enough to take anyone’s breath away, but two more ports seek to further impress even the most seasoned travelers. Next stop: Puerto Montt, Chile, where visitors travel past the region’s blue-green rivers and majestic lakes to view the snow-capped volcanoes of Chile’s Lake District, culminating in a tour of the famed “German Villages.” Lake Esmeralda, the Petrohue River and Puerto Varas provide unforgettable backdrops to this richly landscaped region. Boasting a colorful mixture of culture and architecture, a stop in Valparaiso (Santiago), Chile affords visitors an opportunity to experience local arts and crafts at the city’s Mercado Central and Paseo Ahumada, along with the grandeur of colonial Santiago. The city is hailed as the tourist capital of Chile with its winding streets, rolling hills and picturesque coastline, and excursions include an authentic Chilean rodeo, a visit to the famed Concha y Toro winery and the resort town of Vina del Mar.

Fares for the 12-day Cape Horn and Chilean Fjords segment begin at $2,999 per person, double occupancy.

Cunard Line’s 2006 Path of Magellan South American Liner Voyages feature two 38-day (36 days if embarking in Ft. Lauderdale) eastbound and westbound “South American Odysseys,” bringing guests around Cape Horn via the Drake Passage, Beagle Channel and the Straits of Magellan, calling on 15 ports in 12 countries in total. The 38-day westbound voyage departs New York on January 15 and the 36-day voyage departs Ft. Lauderdale on January 17. The eastbound journey reverses the itinerary, beginning March 8 in Los Angeles and concludes in Ft. Lauderdale on April 13 and in New York on April 15.

Queen Mary 2 is the largest (151,400 tons), longest (1,132 feet), tallest (236 feet), widest (135 feet) and most expensive ($800 million) passenger vessel ever built. There are 1,310 suites and staterooms available in degrees of style and comfort ranging from pampered elegance to almost unimaginable luxury in the ship’s famed Grill-level accommodations. Queen Mary 2 brings together like-minded travellers who relish the Cunard hallmarks of impeccable White Star Service, fine dining, sophisticated adventure and the legacy of historic voyages and transatlantic travel.

For more information about Cunard or Queen Mary 2′s 2006 Path of Magellan South America itineraries, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to www.cunard.com.

Cunard Line has operated the most famous ocean liners in the world since 1840. Cunard vessels have a classic British heritage and include the legendary Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2. Queen Victoria joins the fleet in 2007.

Cunard Line is a proud member of World’s Leading Cruise Lines. The exclusive alliance also includes Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises, Windstar Cruises and The Yachts of Seabourn. Sharing a passion to please each guest, and a commitment to quality and value, member lines appeal to a wide range of lifestyles and budgets. Together they offer exciting and enriching cruise vacations to the world’s most desirable destinations.

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