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Best ship for South American cruise?

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I am considering a South American cruise in early 2003. I want to go around the tip of South America - Brazil or Argentina to Chile. I prefer smaller ships and do not need a lot of glitz. I do want excellent food and service. I would like good accomodations (not thread bare) and maybe a balcony. My last cruise (Sept 21, 2002)was on Radisson Diamond from Rome to Istanbul, which was very nice, but not sure it was worth the extra money except for small ship atmosphere and excellent service. I have sailed on Princess twice and thought food and service both excellent. However those trips were 6 and 8 years ago. Have heard that Princess is going downhill. Is Royal Princess as bad as I have heard on message board? Cruised RCCL once to Baltic in very nice large balcony cabin. Ship was too big. Food was good and shore excursion were great. Service was not too good, especially for the price paid for the cruise.
Sailed Norwegian to Southern Carribean and it was fine for that type cruise, but I prefer something nicer. Haven't tried Celebrity or Crystal. I am looking for price/performance - Don't necessarily want the cheapest, but don't want to pay for most expensive either!! Good Luck! mThanks for any opinion/advice/recommendation.

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