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Sail Date: March 2018
+++++Value. I Love Celebrity and the Infinity is an older ship but so comfortable for us! Let's start from the beginning: March 14th: We choose to break up our trip and fly from Fort Lauderdale to Bogota, Columbia. It was a 5 ... Read More
+++++Value. I Love Celebrity and the Infinity is an older ship but so comfortable for us! Let's start from the beginning: March 14th: We choose to break up our trip and fly from Fort Lauderdale to Bogota, Columbia. It was a 5 hour flight on Avianca Airlines (an airline we haven't traveled). The flight was great, I would definately fly with them again. We booked the Marriott Bogota Airport. It was a good choice with shuttle service to and from the airport. The rooms were nice and it had a restaurant on the premesis with good food. March 15th: We book a full day tour with Bogota Travel tours. They were great and we had a fun day in Bogota! I would recommend them! March 16th: Flight to Santiago was 6 hours and we were met at the airport by our driver. We stayed at the Santiago Marriott Hotel in an Executive room with a Mountain and City View. It was beautiful ! The sunsets were some of the best I have seen. We had Lounge access and used it for our dinner that evening. It was nice enough to have the tapa's, wine , and desert. March 17th: We had a tour the next day of Santiago and had lunch in Maipo Valley. Maipo Valley was beautiful with lots to do. They had river rafting, hiking, and a great Zip line with a beautiful waterfall! That evening we did the lounge again since we had a big lunch. We all had our St Patrick day garb on and had some fun with that as well! March 18th: We were picked up at the hotel for our transfer to the ship which was in San Antonio, Chile. On the way to the ship we stopped in Casablanca Valley for wine tasting. The wine was good, but the tasting experience was expensive. I would probably leave that out the next time. My brother bought wine at the winery to take on the ship, and later we found he could have bought the same quality of wine for half of what he paid!! We should have known better when our tour guide called it a boutique winery!! The name of the winery was Casa Marin. We boarded the ship around 2pm. The process was very smooth both for my husband and I who were Concierge and our fellow travelers my bother and sister-in-law and friends were in a balcony and they boarded just about 20 minutes after us and said the process was good. Our room was nice with a slightly bigger room and balcony then our fellow travelers. I was surprised that we had a bigger room because I thought they were the same size as the balcony rooms. We met our room steward whose name was Arthur! He was wonderful! In a Concierge cabin you get a bottle of Champagne the morning after boarding and canapé's daily. I have not been fond of some of the canapé's I have had on other voyages, so I asked Arthur if he could just have them send Cheese and crackers daily. I also asked him to send a bottle of red wine in lieu of the Champagne. No problem done!!!! He was fantastic attending cheerfully to our every need! I miss my friend Arthur as I write this review! We ate the early dinner (6pm) and enjoyed all the many meals. They are so accomodating on Celebrity. My brother who has Celiac Disease has to have a gluten free diet, and the staff and chef went our of their way to prepare his meals. We went to the Ocean View several times and the food was great there as well! We did not go to any of the specility restaurants this trip!! We figured why when the food in the main dinning room was so good!! The Martini bar was lots of fun we had cocktails there on a couple of occasions and the staff was fun! We had several sea days and they went by quickly with all the activities offered. We enjoyed 2 scavenger hunts, several trivia sessions, some afternoon shows and of course a few swims in the Thelasothearpy pool! So relaxing! March 21: Our first port of call was Arica, Chile. We had a tour with South Excursions. We saw some very interesting things such as the ex customs building and St. Marks Cathedral which were both built by Eiffel. We saw beautiful panels of Geoglyphs. We visited San Miguel de Azapa Archaeological Museum to see the Mummies of the Chinchorro culture! Who knew they date back earlier (10,000 years) than the Egypian Mummies!!! The boys were fansinated with the 9 hole golf course with the greens being black sand! It was a great day and we were glad we had a private tour with just the six of us! March 23: Pisco, Peru was our next port and we were met at the Arica pier by South American Secrets for a six hour tour. We first rode a bus with several other passengers and our six person group to the port where we boarded a boat to what they called "The Peruvian Galapagos" it was fantastic with close up encounters with lots of bird species and sea otter and penguins. It lasted a couple of hours and was a blast! From there we visited the Paracas National Reserve. We had a little discrepency in the amount of money we owed the company, but it was settled pretty quickly. I would advise e-mailing until the price is settled to your satisfaction. The tour guide apologized to me for the misunderstanding and the tour was good so I would recommend them with the stipulation noted above. March 24th: Lima Peru was our next port and we again booked a private tour, this time with Monica tours. She is the bomb!!! She drove and Natalie was our tour guide. The traffic in Lima is really incredible with cars zooming in and out! You would think there were no lanes!! Fantastic tour With a fun visit to Love Park and several museums into the night with the final hour taking us to Parque De La Reserve and the Magic Water Circuit. It was a park with 13 fountains with a light, Lazar and water show that was magical!!! I would again recommend Monica Tours if you want to do a private tour! March 27th Our next stop was Manta, Ecuador. We did this port on our own. We took the shuttle to the Market and shopped. Some of us bought a Panama hat!! March 29th Full Panama Canal transit! Very interesting. We had a person on board giving us all the details of the transit. Celebrity did a good job. It was especially fun watching Holland Americas cruise ship going through the canal to our right! We met some of the passengers in Grand Cayman a few days later and we laughed about watching each other go through the locke. March 31: Grand Cayman and our only tour booked with Celebrity was a great time. We saw Dolphins and Stingray up close and swam in the Ocean. We had a lot of Sea days, but I was not bored for a second!! Would recommend this cruise !! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
We just got off the Celebrity Infinity on her re-position cruise from South America to Fort Lauderdale. Considering she was limping on only one good engine, her support staff and Captain sure did an excellent job getting us from Chile to ... Read More
We just got off the Celebrity Infinity on her re-position cruise from South America to Fort Lauderdale. Considering she was limping on only one good engine, her support staff and Captain sure did an excellent job getting us from Chile to Florida, and through the Panama Canal, with as least an interruption to our schedule as they could manage. We didn't miss any ports of call as planned and the weather and seas were fantastic. While the boat is looking a bit long in the tooth, the staff, food (Tuscan gill included) and nightly shows made up for any shortcomings and all were all amazing. i would have given the cruise a perfect score except for the horrendous debarkation that most of us went through. Three hours in line for US customs in Fort Lauderdale. A total fiasco. However, if you were a US citizen you did get priority and were probably off in under two hours. We were not, and waited with most of the other people for over three hours and there were others behind us who probably waited even longer. What a way to end a glorious cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
Was going to South America ports we wanted to see. Production shows were some of the best we have seen in 35 cruises. The cast gives 110% every minute of the shows. You won't think it possible to move at that fast a pace for a full ... Read More
Was going to South America ports we wanted to see. Production shows were some of the best we have seen in 35 cruises. The cast gives 110% every minute of the shows. You won't think it possible to move at that fast a pace for a full hour, but they do, and they will be waiting for you at the entrance to the theater after the show to greet you. The cruise director doesn't have the staff do all the work, he will sweat with you daily out on the deck. Most involved director we have ever had. About half the guest performers were worth seeing, and with the exception of a piano player /singer with little talent and a need to talk to staff rather than preform, the music on board was great especially blind vinyl, encourage Amy to sing, and the jazz trio. Food quality ,service, and selection were poor. What a shame. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
I wanted to see Christ the Redeemer for my 75th birthday. Being in Rio for Carnival was certainly a bonus. While we were also in Buenos Aires and Uraguay, this was the focus of our 14 day cruise. The food was excellent, the passengers ... Read More
I wanted to see Christ the Redeemer for my 75th birthday. Being in Rio for Carnival was certainly a bonus. While we were also in Buenos Aires and Uraguay, this was the focus of our 14 day cruise. The food was excellent, the passengers were from a variety of countries and the entertainment was good. Our cabin with a veranda was very nice and located mid-ship. The casino and the dealers were very professional and entertaining. The Apple classes on board were excellent and I gained a plethora of new and interesting tips and programs. I visited the spa and had an amazing pedicure and manicure and a great conversation with the lady performing these services. We were able to meet and interact with a number of the crew who were informative and helpful. Our stateroom attendant did an excellent job of keeping our room neat and clean, He was there twice a day and made sure everything was "ship shape". An excellent ship cruise and staff. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
The itinerary on Celebrity Infinity was excellent: Buenos Aires to Ushuaia to Cape Horn to Antarctica to Port Stanley, Falkland’s, to Puerto Madryn to Montevideo and back to Buenos Aires. The only issue with it was the first [boring] 3 ... Read More
The itinerary on Celebrity Infinity was excellent: Buenos Aires to Ushuaia to Cape Horn to Antarctica to Port Stanley, Falkland’s, to Puerto Madryn to Montevideo and back to Buenos Aires. The only issue with it was the first [boring] 3 days at sea, but we skipped them by flying to Ushuaia directly. (Yet, Celebrity, of course, not only issues no refund for those 3 days, but charges a fee to allow you to embark in a different port. The funny part of that was a call from them on the day of the departure with a question of why we are not on the ship. Despite the fee charged, they did not bother to communicate our embarkation exclusion to the vessel!) There's more. Unfortunately, a week before sailing, Celebrity sent an email that they have a problem with the ship’s propulsion system, as such they won’t have sufficient speed and will have to cancel our visit to Puerto Madryn. It was very bad news, but at least they promised to refund one day as an excuse; not a fair exchange of course but something. (Later on the ship, during our Inside Access Tour, we of course asked in the mechanical room what the problem they have with the propulsion system, but the crew politely did not give an answer.) The worst part came later. They suddenly cancelled Port Stanley as well. This time it was “for safety reasons”, saying that the weather is too bad there, that it’s a strong wind of 55-80 kph and getting to the shores is not possible. Alas, there is a big problem with this statement. First of all, the crew already knew and many people told us two days before that we won’t go to Port Stanley; that's before there was any reliable weather information. Also, our sailing through Drake Passage was extremely smooth. We were really lucky with the weather! Then at 5 AM on the morning we were supposed to sail to Port Stanley I checked the weather there and it was …sunny with 50 kph wind indeed but also CALMING to 25 kph during the day. Nonetheless, “for our safety” we did not go there. Of course, people attacked all officers with tons of questions. The main one being why not visit Puerto Madryn or another port in Argentina instead. We got no answer. I also had an opportunity to ask the captain personally on the real reason for skipping Stanley. The answer was, “I’m the captain, I know better.” So, it looks like Celebrity Infinity either has a big technical problem with the vessel (and then it’s a real safety issue!) or saves money on port fees, etc., maximizing their profits. Either way, my advice is to never use this company. They have no respect for their customers, easily ruining vacations for 2000+ people. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I wanted to see South America and I had been pleased with previous Celebrity cruises. I did not expect total mayhem. Anytime dining meant waiting 1/2 to 1 1/2 hours to be seated because they were reserving too many unoccupied tables for ... Read More
I wanted to see South America and I had been pleased with previous Celebrity cruises. I did not expect total mayhem. Anytime dining meant waiting 1/2 to 1 1/2 hours to be seated because they were reserving too many unoccupied tables for large families. Children running on stage during performances. When we boarded, there was an error. Over the next 3 days, I had to be at the main desk 4 times. Because of the long lines and the many errors for other passengers, this meant over 3 hours of my vacation time wasted to correct the original error otherwise I would not have been able to get on and off the ship. They never fully corrected the benefits that I was due to my having been on 4 previous Celebrity cruises. In order to get a table, we had to eat at 6:30. The person seating us had a hard time finding our table because everything had been rearranged to accommodate the large families. Some of the waitstaff were so flustered that it was difficult for them to get the proper food to our table. When it finally came to us, it was not always cooked properly. The sushi restaurant ran out of items on the third day of the cruise. This specialty restaurant was overtaxed and the food was no better than your corner home town restaurant. I wonder how they justify charging extra for this. The tours would come back at the same time. If you were not an Aqua or Suite or Concierge class passenger and the ship was tendered, you would have to wait over an hour in line to get back on board. The cruise staff was flustered because many of the parents did not care to supervise their children and they were scared to upset the parents. Activities were missed because of bad communication. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
We were supposed to go to Puerto Rico over Christmas and New Years but after Hurricane Irma, we needed to change our plans. I have been on many Celebrity Cruises and I wanted to go to Patagonia. After looking at the Itinerary,I felt this ... Read More
We were supposed to go to Puerto Rico over Christmas and New Years but after Hurricane Irma, we needed to change our plans. I have been on many Celebrity Cruises and I wanted to go to Patagonia. After looking at the Itinerary,I felt this was a good option. The reviews of this boat were mediocre and that was completely accurate. The ship should have been drydocked a LONG time ago and upgraded. It had no pizazz, no life to it. The carpeting was brown and yellow and that pretty much describes the boat. It was like a Howard Johnson's. Old and Boring. I cant understand why Celebrity didnt fix this boat up! I didnt mind that there were some area with paint chips or the cabinets had some loose hinges. But the carpeting was BROWN! Embarkation and disembarkation were long but I could deal with that. We chose flexible dining and that was a big mistake!! Everyone came down to eat between 8:00 and 9:00 so there was often a long wait to get into dinner. The food was OK. bottom line is everything on the boat was OK. Nothing was great. There was no WOW factor. I would never ever go on this boat again. I am not sure I will go on Celebrity again Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We selected this cruise because we had never been to any South American countries and wanted the positive experiences and appreciations that travel to new destinations can provide. The cruise offered a nice balance of port calls vs sea ... Read More
We selected this cruise because we had never been to any South American countries and wanted the positive experiences and appreciations that travel to new destinations can provide. The cruise offered a nice balance of port calls vs sea days, although the only minus was that two port calls were to Montivedeo and Ushuaia on public holidays and both were “closed” (except for tourist shops). Perhaps with planning, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day could have been ‘at sea’ so we could have experienced the two port calls when fully working. Not a big issue though. Embarkation: We were in Concierge class and embarkation was a quick and smooth experience. I am in constant awe how Celebrity turns the ship around so quickly, although note that the staff have very long days on embarkation day. Cabin: We had a GREAT cabin steward ever - Richard. Our veranda cabin was kept spotless. He didn't bother us when the do not disturb sign was on but managed to clean it when we were out. He was professional, courteous and very efficient. Activities: There was plenty of activities for all tastes and ages- enough to keep busy. I enjoyed the lectures but some were way too early - 9 am! It would have been cool to have the lecture on the night sky up on the rooftop terrace in the evening. We participated in a few activities, We did the watercolour painting workshop with Ronnie - a bit too rushed but I enjoyed it. We used the gym every day - very nice but crowded. . Well equipped and everyone using it was very considerate. Carlo was a great gym director and was generous with his advice and help. Dining: We had select dining although needs to pre-book an evening dining time due to the high demand and late dining habits of the Latino guests 1800 of the 2100 or so guest total. The food and service was generally fine although on a 15 night passage, the Trellis menu was becoming tired and at times repetitive. But hats off to the staff who turned around such a large clientele night after night. hit or miss. We dined at Tuscan Grill on New Year’s Eve - attentive service, flavoursome food - just too much of it. Our waiter did a great job managing all of us. Of the Trellis staff, the standouts were Ali on, Shinde, Schubert, Asep. All are fantastic people, friendly without being obsequious, professional and genuinely nice. They made dining in the Trellis a “ look forward to” experience. Al Bacio. Without doubt, Cafe Al Bacio was our favourite place. From the 0700 hrs first coffee and Berlina’s ( in our PJs! - no one cared!!!) throughout the day and night. The staff made this experience the best and our heartfelt thanks to Daniela, Chitra, Lucky, Melissa and the baristas. Also Taz across the way in the Gelatoria/ Cocktail bar. All these fantastic Ambassadors should be praised the the Celebrity Board of Directors as great ambassadors of the company. Down Side. Like most long duration activities, there are likely to be downsides. For us, it was the large number of Latino teens and children who were rude, obnoxious and behaved in a self entitled manner ( where actually none existed). They would be demanding and ungrateful to staff, queue jump, be pushy and intolerant. Worst, they often roamed and partied in the corridors up to 0400 hrs each night being thoroughly noisey and totally inconsiderate of sleeping guests. Complaints to them and Celebrity fell on deaf ears. There was no evidence that their parents had any influence on these miscreants and actuall, we experienced some parents who led by example. They should be thoroughly ashamed, but I guess that’s their culture and breeding. WARNING. I recommend that future guests avoid the South American cruises when Latin school holidays are on. Final Thoughts: You will encounter glitches when travelling, but if you don't make the best of it, then you will ruin your vacation. Putting the down-side of Latino boorish behaviour to the side, on balance the cruise was everything we hoped for. Our experiences in South America were rich and rewarding and the cruise enabled a wide spectrum of opportunities.. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
The itinerary and entertainment was great. Everything else was awful...condition of Ship and cabin, food, service. The Infinity is not being kept up. Do not go on any Celebrity Ship that is not newer! We had a horrible time. Nothing was ... Read More
The itinerary and entertainment was great. Everything else was awful...condition of Ship and cabin, food, service. The Infinity is not being kept up. Do not go on any Celebrity Ship that is not newer! We had a horrible time. Nothing was kept up and no one cared. The crew were not properly trained. The phone service did not work. So much was dirty. There was norovirus for months and months. There were floods and constant wet floors and the ceiling was leaking. So many of the Officers were so snooty. I'm not sure I will do on Celebrity again, but if I do, it will be on a new Ship. They made promises that were not kept. The loungers at the poo, were uncomfortable. We really did not like a thing about the Cruise Ship itself exceoy a few of the crew. I would stay far far away from this Ship or any Millenium class ships from Celebrity. Oh, the HVAC system did not work properly the entire time! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Oh my gosh! I have seen some bad things on cruise ships, but this is the worse ever. The food was awful, unless you paid in the pay restaurants and then okay. The paint is peeling off everywhere, they are not taking care of this old ship. ... Read More
Oh my gosh! I have seen some bad things on cruise ships, but this is the worse ever. The food was awful, unless you paid in the pay restaurants and then okay. The paint is peeling off everywhere, they are not taking care of this old ship. There were plumbing leaks everywhere and we had a flood in our cabin. They could not get the heat and air working correctly in our room. The responsiveness of the staff to problems was erratic. The phones were not working properly and we missed several wake up calls. The Asst. Guest Relations Mgr. was just awful. The great part of the cruise was Alejandro the Cruise Director. We would not ever ever go on an older Celebrity ship again, nothing ten years or older, Celebrity is not keeping up their older ships. What was scary was how many leaks and how much water was stained everywhere. Oh and the buffet tables and floors were very sloppily cleaned...disgusting! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2017
The worse part of this Ship is how old it is and how they do not maintain it. Our HVAV (heating and cooling) malfunctioned constantly throughout the lengthy cruises we were on. There were broken pipes and leaks in multiple public areas, ... Read More
The worse part of this Ship is how old it is and how they do not maintain it. Our HVAV (heating and cooling) malfunctioned constantly throughout the lengthy cruises we were on. There were broken pipes and leaks in multiple public areas, including a flood in our room. The floor Supervisor actually told us this is almost a daily/nightly occurance.The phone systems did not work properly, and we were told that they will not be fixed, due to the age of the Ship. We missed multiple wake up calls, and we eventually begged them for a person to call from what I jokingly refer to as "Guest Relations", and we missed four in a row, and thus missed what we were to do that day. Room service was atrocious and we were bothered on multiple occasions when the do not disturb sign was up, early in the morning, with orders that were not even ours. The room and bathroom was so dirty; we have pictures that would curl you your toes. We brought up at least two safety issues, that were not addressed, and the Officers actually blamed it on the Passengers. The food was not good at all. Friendly-ness about the Ship was very inconsistent. There is so much more I could say, but will end with just STAY AWAY!!!!! Photos coming later. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We chose this for the itinerary. It was wonderful and we had arranged all private tours with the exception of the trip to see the Condors. The ship's first tour was late and since we were the last tour to the farm, we did not see ... Read More
We chose this for the itinerary. It was wonderful and we had arranged all private tours with the exception of the trip to see the Condors. The ship's first tour was late and since we were the last tour to the farm, we did not see the video or the naturalist's briefing though he did ride on the bus from the farm to the cliffs (5 minutes). The ship's port stops were latered nearly every port and Ushuaia was to leave at 2:30 but we left around 3:45. All aborad was 2:00 pm which all of the private tours adhered to, however for some reason we were always late leaving. Don't miss the penguins at Puerto Madryn- it was the highlight of the trip for us. Uruguay was much more interesting than anticipated and our private winery tours were great- Pizzorno in Montevideo is not to be missed! We arranged them through Excellence Tourismo and they were excellent as described. We had 2 excursions booked through Shorex excursions and I would never do business with Jamie again. He says 50% deposit with balance in cash day of and then billed all of our paypal accounts ahead of the tour for the second 1/2. there are no friends in case of illness. Since most of us missed at least one port due to illness- this made his tours very expensive. he said he would refund our "park fees" since they did not pay them day of, but 2 weeks later- no refunds have appeared. This was the second trip on Infinity for us in 18 months. The first was through the Panama Canal. We always book aqua class and eat in Blu- the Panama Canal trip was the best food ever in Blu. This trip- the worst food ever. The descriptions would often say one thing and come out another- excuses- we ran out of arugula, the ship is out of lettuce, etc. Also the grill and hamburgers were AWFUL- frequently cold and the meat tasted like something other than hamburger- we used to be addicted to the grill on the solstice class ships- don't know what has happened. On to the illness part. I will NEVER sail on this ship again. The scrub down procedure delayed embarkation which was a nightmare- they stopped calling numbers- there was no provision for elite or suite guests to board first like usual and we got onboard right before muster. We then encountered no books in the library "for sanitization purposes," salt and peppers confiscated from the buffet- eventually replaced with "bowls of salt and pepper that you had to wait in line for....with a community spoon." it was ridiculous. Most everyone we met was sick at some point during the cruise- everyone was coughing by the end....not sure what can be done about airborne illnesses but this is my second time leaving this ship sick. On the canal cruise, I contracted Dengue fever- not diagnosed correctly on the ship- only after returning home. The ship labels everything norovirus- not sure that was what we all had on this trip but I know I am done with Infinity. The most disgusting thing was pools of soapy liquid floating all over the counters in the public areas, restrooms and on end tables in the wine bar. I hope this is not a Celebrity wide phenomenon. The food has really gone downhill. I always felt that Blu was really worth the extra money and the food on the buffet was great but frequently after all day touring the only thing available was pasta or pizza. Fruit was difficult to find other than at breakfast. It would be nice to have fruit and cheeses available during the day for late lunches after tours. we were on Azamara between these 2 cruises- no illnesses- no nasty squirting you with hand sanitizer all the time and the food was much better. If this trip is the way of the future for Celebrity- we might be changing lines. There really is no reason to be elite or higher now- it doesn't do much for you with all of the packages. Finally- the thing that really finished me off was getting to the terminal to pick up my luggage only to find the largest piece missing. Celebrity was really no where around and the terminal agents told me the ship frequently makes mistakes and send luggage to the airport and to not worry- they will find it and get it to my hotel (we were staying in Valipraiso). the terminal agent was very nice and reassured me it would be delivered. It held up our private tour by 45 minutes while i had to file a claim. Again, no Celebrity agent except for one who shrugged her shoulders and said, "you can file a claim in the terminal." When we finally arrived for checkin at our hotel, the hotel clerk informed me they had called form the terminal and told him that I had to present myself to the checkin desk to retrieve my luggage. Are you kidding me????so $20 later in taxi fare- I claimed my bag and asked what happened that I was responsible to pick it up, "i wasn't here this morning." Believe me, I am writing to Celebrity about this- so much for Elite status..... There were basically 3 good things about this cruise: 1) the itinerary, 2)the staff of Blu were outstanding- they even apologized for food several times.....3)Alejandro the cruise director simply the best on all of our >20 Celebrity cruises anywhere. Oh, the shows were really good that we saw, however we only saw about 1/2 of them The final night was superb! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
I have done this cruise with Celebrity before and this second time around was a bit disappointing. However, embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, the Cabin was clean, dining room service and menu good (our cabin staff and dining ... Read More
I have done this cruise with Celebrity before and this second time around was a bit disappointing. However, embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, the Cabin was clean, dining room service and menu good (our cabin staff and dining room waiters were excellent) . The free dining is not desirable, should be able to accommodate passengers' request of their choice of sitting. Buffet menu needs to improve with more variety, presentation and how the staff serve the food. Needs full implementation of regulations and monitoring such as smoking, dress code, hygiene behavior of fellow passengers and noise from children. Better organized tender service. Consider full commentary over the PA system when we cruise through the fjords and scenic areas, more info available (e.g. local transport, cost, map etc) prior to each port call. The evening show were excellent though other activities were not, consider better coordination with schedules so announcements from the Captain and cruise director do not clash with the event (e.g. the cinema continue to paly throughout the Captain's speech which could easily be put on pause and start again). I should praise and thank the medical staff, who were all very efficient dealing with my daughter's emergency evacuation for an appendicitis operation at Puerto Madryn, also the assistance from Michelle, while the local agent was not at all helpful. My overall impression is the standard has lowered, expecially compared to my last cruise on the Solstise in NZ. That said, I would certainly cruise with Celebrity again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2016
We usually try to go on a new itinerary each time as such we decided to go on this cruise around Cape Horn. Transfer to Valparaiso and boarding was a breeze. As the passengers not from the US markets do not get the luggage tags with glue, ... Read More
We usually try to go on a new itinerary each time as such we decided to go on this cruise around Cape Horn. Transfer to Valparaiso and boarding was a breeze. As the passengers not from the US markets do not get the luggage tags with glue, only print the ones you staple together, one of the tags got off the suit case after we dropped it off and it was a real hassle to get this suite case delivered. Otherwise the boarding and first day was without problems. Our cabin, 9160 is a concierge class facing aft with a large balcony, nice. Joel, our stateroom attendant was great. We like this cabin, only issue this time was a smell from the bathroom that they were not able to fix during this cruise. This is the third Millenium class ship we were on, and this time the Infinity looked a bit worse for the wear. We saw rust stains, worn paint and more wear and tear than we have seen on the previous trips on Millenium and Constellation. We tried the bars all good, MDG - Trellis great food and wonderful serving staff, thanks to Jorge, Heston Chris and Lobo, Tuscan Grille again very good, and La Bachio with a great team of servers, Phyo, Bianca and Jenisa. In Oceanview cafe they started to serve us due to problems with Norovirus, that affected the variety and the speed but given the circumstances I suppose this could not be helped. One area that was hit and miss was the Guest Relations counter, some very good people Robie from the Netherlands, the documentation people, Josue and his colleagues to mention some. Others were bordering on rude, not very good at handling complaints and customers. We found also on this trip they had a difficulty to deliver voice mails or notes on the door when they needed our attention. Delaying our departure for one thing. The Gym and the Sauna; fitness crew were very good, the gym and lockers - Sauna as well. The entertainment we found to be good, off course choosing the shows we thought looked interesting. Live music on board was good. There were enough activities to keep us entertained. We really enjoyed the shore excursion we went on, in Puerto Madryn so see Sealions and Penguins, and we did enjoy most of the ports. If we could have a choice we would have spend the overnight in Montevideo in stead of Buenos Aires were some locals attempted to rob us. We really hope that Celebrity will take better care of the Millenium class ships as we really like them. And yes we will be back for more cruises to interesting parts of the world with Celebrity Read Less
34 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We are not so-called 'veteran' cruisers. This is our fourth trip, and the first aboard Celebrity. Before we booked this cruise - from Valparaiso, Chile through the Canal to Miami, I read a number of the Cruise Critic reviews of ... Read More
We are not so-called 'veteran' cruisers. This is our fourth trip, and the first aboard Celebrity. Before we booked this cruise - from Valparaiso, Chile through the Canal to Miami, I read a number of the Cruise Critic reviews of Celebrity and of the Infinity. And, I'm confused. Some have been very enthusiastic, but a fair number have been critical of the Infinity experience --- and our cruise was a delight. I've read that some felt the ship was not in good shape after it's renovation lay-up last fall. We found the ship spotless - on the decks, the pool area, the dining rooms/buffets, the cabins - everywhere we went! A number have been critical of the cabins. Ours was a delight. Granted we were in 'ocean view' on deck 2, and you'd think we might have something to criticize. But, our cabin was spotless, efficiently laid-out, easy to get around in, and our attendants did a great job and always responded to our needs. We found the entertainment very good, both in the theater and in the other venues throughout the ship. We did NOT find that the ship appeared 'crowded' as mentioned in some reviews. There were a lot of folks around the pools, but we always found a spot. The food was good! In the Ocean View grill/buffet, in Trellis dining room, in the Tuscan Grille (altho they need to be more Italian cuisine driven-rather than steakhouse driven) and at the pool grill. The staff throughout the ship was efficient, pleasant, helpful and always responded quickly to our requests. One criticism I do have is that the ship's shore excursions are usually over-priced (common to all cruise lines) and we booked several excursions - 'off-ship' which were great and cheaper. And, as a part of that... Celebrity has to find another port in Ecuador other than Manta, which we felt was a very disappointing stop. But...we found a number of fellow passengers who have sailed a dozen or more cruises and who have sailed with Celebrity before. They have all been very happy with that experience. And, so are we! The ship with 2-thousand passengers (and we sailed full) was a perfect size and a perfect experience. So, I'm still confused by some of the comments. But, we would sail on the Infinity again, in a heart-beat! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
The cruise was fine in general. But it was lack of activity on board. Cruise Director Sara was excellent, but she needed a team of helpers. Performances of dancers, singers and especially acrobats were excellent. Lecturers on board ... Read More
The cruise was fine in general. But it was lack of activity on board. Cruise Director Sara was excellent, but she needed a team of helpers. Performances of dancers, singers and especially acrobats were excellent. Lecturers on board were mediocre in comparison with my previous cruises. They could not hold the topic of lectures and did some mistakes. Men sauna was in bad conditions. Window's frame inside the sauna was partially detached, maintenance of the place was really bad. There were no soap and shampoo in the dispensers in all three showers several times for several hours. I am really worried about safety of the sauna. I reported about window frame to an officer who was inspecting the sauna, but it took more then 24 hours to fix the problem. Actually the problem was fixed after I said to the same officer that I had taken pictures of detached fragments of the frame. Smoking area every evening and every night was just disgusting and filthy. Nobody looked after this area. Dirty glasses, mugs, ash trays, and tables covered with ash and stains were typical. Staff and crew members in some cases just ignored the passengers and their needs. Embarkation took terribly long and was very bad organized. Food was good and diverse enough. I was satisfied with excellent services in dinning rooms. However I had a bad experience in Quisine restaurant. The service provided by a waiter from Serbia (he did not have a tag with name and did not introduce himself) was totally unprofessional. He did not remember anything, I spent about 2 hours waiting at the table and 30 minutes eating. Service in Ocean view cafe was pretty good, but in many cases all coffee urns were empty at the same time. However maybe it was even for better, because coffee was just horrible. The ports were very interesting, the tours were exciting and impressive. This part of the cruise was excellent. In comparison with my previous cruise with Celebrity Infinity (December 2014, Panama Canal) this cruise was much worse. It seems the ship and it's maintenance are falling down. It was pity to see. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
We hadn`t sailed on Celebrity in our last few cruises (mostly on Princess and HAL) so we were a little apprehensive. Embarkation in Buenos Aires was painfully slow, but when we finally got onto the ship everything proceeded efficiently. ... Read More
We hadn`t sailed on Celebrity in our last few cruises (mostly on Princess and HAL) so we were a little apprehensive. Embarkation in Buenos Aires was painfully slow, but when we finally got onto the ship everything proceeded efficiently. Walking down the long corridor to our 2nd floor stateroom the floor seemed unenven, almost lumpy, which I remarked to my wife was quite odd, considering the floors were probably made of welded steel. I had read reviews that the interior of the Infinity looked dated and worn, but I was determined to keep an open mind, especially considering that we would be on the ship for 14 days. After a few days of getting used to the color scheme, the interiors all seemed to well maintained and in good condition. After a quick lunch in the buffet our luggage arrived and we settled in. My wife likes the fact that there is ample closet and drawer space on Celebrity. After exploring the ship we decided that we liked the layout, because it was logical and there are ample crossover floors to get from one end of the ship to the other. The features of the ship we most enjoyed were: - The enclosed salt water pool and hot tubs...a great feature for `At Sea' days in colder climes - Large sauna that worked most of the time ( a problem with the programming took a couple of days to fix) - Large fitness centre with ample cardio machines..another plus for At Sea days - Large theatre with a good variety of entertainment with Matinee shows, again a plus on At Sea days - Excellent dining The things we didn`t particualarly like were: - Wine prices are too high. We both enjoy wine with diner and occasionally at a show, but on average the cost of wine was a min. of $ 9.00/glass + gratuity. Fortunately we brought the allowable 2 bottles when we boarded and we took advantage of the daly wine sales in the buffet where you could buy a bottle of wine at a discounted price. If I hadn`t had this option I would have been sorely disapointed with the wine pricing on board. Why not offer a reasonable wine package with prices under $ 30.00....HAL does? - Buffet meals had great selection but were sometimes a mob scene. Everyone, including us, seemed to like late breakfast and late lunch....why not extend those meal times by 1/2 an hour? Having said all that, in conclusion, we had a great cruise. The itenerary was excellent and our most memorable excursion was the Celebrity arranged excursion to Magellan Island to see the nesting penquins...a once in a lifetime experience. Sometimes I would sit in the Sauna watching the mountains of Patagonia go by, or sit in the theatre watching a high calibre show, knowing we were plowing through choppy seas and I would think to myself..how great is this...we are doing all this in the South Atlantic at the End of The World!   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
The cruise began with a horrible embarkation experience. I have cruised over 30 times, and this was the worse one ever. The only one that was almost as bad was for the Azamara Journey (Celebrity’s sister company). To begin with, there ... Read More
The cruise began with a horrible embarkation experience. I have cruised over 30 times, and this was the worse one ever. The only one that was almost as bad was for the Azamara Journey (Celebrity’s sister company). To begin with, there was no one outside the terminal to direct us to the proper entrance or to give us guidance as to what to do with our luggage. The information sent to us by Celebrity had the wrong entrance number. By asking around, and getting some help from people unassociated with the cruise, we finally found our way onto the correct line, which was full of cranky passengers who were being herded like geriatric sheep. Eventually we were given a number and told to wait in a large room filled with people. Again, absolutely no one from the cruise was present to answer questions or provide any guidance, except for an occasional, unintelligible announcement over a loudspeaker. It took us over two and a half hours to finally be called to stand on yet another line to be processed. And that's with advanced check-in. What a terrible, disorganized process! To say the least, our moods were pretty awful once we finally got on board. Luckily, the rest of the trip was very nice, with a few exceptions. The food was very good. Dining in the main restaurant was a very positive experience. The food was very good and we had absolutely wonderful servers. Both specialty restaurants were worth the extra cost. You should make use of the pre-trip packages for the specialty dining and for wine (if you drink). The formal SS United States had both wonderful food and wonderful service. Qusine was lots of fun - very creative. The buffet was adequate, but a very difficult experience during busy periods. They would benefit from more supervision to keep tables flowing, but, overall, they did a good job. I do wish they had anytime dining, since we don't like set dining times with set tables. The stateroom (veranda) was fine, but nothing special. The biggest problem was that the toilet didn't work properly and we had a difficult time getting it fixed. Also, the heating/cooling system was inadequate. The room was too hot towards Buenos Aires, and during the Antarctica portion (fabulous in many ways) the room was extremely cold and uncomfortable. When we returned north, the room warm and stuffy. We kept asking for help, but they never got it right. The cabin steward was excellent – very friendly and tried to be helpful. One of the other weak points was contacting guest relations by phone. I had a difficult time understanding them, and vice versa. They were better in-person. The entertainment on board was very good. The cruise director was terrific, and the entertainment was very good. The theater layout was good - Not many bad seats. There was a lot of variety in the activities and lots of stuff to do on sea days. However some lessons of the activities were over-crowded. Fitness – a very good fitness center. The two instructors were awesome. This was one of the best on board fitness experiences I’ve had, including on the higher-end ships. There was a great deal of “nickel and diming.” For example, there is no self-laundry facility. If you don’t want to pay to have it done, you need to wash clothes in the sink, which we did. Their laundry service is ridiculously expensive, considering they provide no real alternatives, The excursions were, overall, very disappointing. The first was overpriced and boring. The second was OK, but the guide was nasty and rude. The third was good. Even with the issues cited above, I have to give a high rating to the ship. The overall experience was very positive, in terms of the food and the itinerary. What really shines is the staff: almost without exception, they are friendly, warm and helpful.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
We arrived at 12:20 PM in Argentina We had to wait in a non airconditioned airport. till 2:45 Taken by bus to embarkation It is now 3:20 Horrible embarkation. No organization Directions given in Spanish only for the most part. What we ... Read More
We arrived at 12:20 PM in Argentina We had to wait in a non airconditioned airport. till 2:45 Taken by bus to embarkation It is now 3:20 Horrible embarkation. No organization Directions given in Spanish only for the most part. What we were told, did not happen Only got on the ship at 5:00 PM when we arrived at the check in at 3:00 PM Everyone was given a $20 credit this was nothing for the way we were treated. People needed water and not a cup was provided. Our room only had one set of towel s for 2 people. First morning there was no coffee ready. Over charged for excursion that I had called Celebrity about to question the price Tours got started late and we therefore got back late for lunch and ended up eating at 3:00 and we had a 6:00 seating. Did not know there was Anytime seating Some staff gave us wrong information Last 4 days I had to go to 4 stations to find the ice tea beverage Food was not the best Tender was leaking and they kept it in sevice No theme nights No movies Shows were top notch Cruise Director was great There were problems in the dinning room that i do not wish to go into.   Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
Around the Horn and Argentina, Uruguay and Chile We had a great three weeks in the southernmost of South America, which included a two week cruise on the Celebrity Infinity. Our last trip to South America was via Infinity in December 2011 ... Read More
Around the Horn and Argentina, Uruguay and Chile We had a great three weeks in the southernmost of South America, which included a two week cruise on the Celebrity Infinity. Our last trip to South America was via Infinity in December 2011 on a cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, through the Panama Canal and down the West Coast of South America to Valparaiso, Chile. On that earlier trip, we had found that the countries that we visited were more different from each other than we had anticipated. As in this trip, we found similarities, but each was different in some way. The three southern most countries of South America, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile are all countries with predominately people of European origin, as opposed to countries like Peru, Ecuador and Columbia, which have a significant Native American or mestizo population. All three had large number of immigration from Spain, Italy, Britain and Germany, with a heavy influence by the first two countries. Further, Argentina has a large Jewish population. All three countries remind you of Europe far more than Peru or Mexico. All the countries have a high level of education, with a literacy rate comparable to Europe or the USA. All three countries, as most of the former Spanish colonies achieved their independence about two hundred years ago, when Spain’s grip on its colonies was loosened by Napoleon Bonaparte’s takeover of Spain. All three have republics that are similar in structure to the government of the USA. However, each has experienced military takeovers from time to time since their independence. In planning for this trip and cruise, we decided to take the cruise from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso, so we could spend some days pre-cruise in Buenos Aires. We had already been to Valparaiso and Santiago on the 2011 trip. Delta had a relatively good rate for the open-jaw flights and that is our preferred airline. After researching what to see in Buenos Aires and hotels, we elected to go with a bed and breakfast in an excellent location. We arrived on January 1 and stayed in El Jardin del Tango, a bed and breakfast. It is just a couple of blocks from two Metro stations and walking distance from Ricoleta and the central district. Our Bed and Breakfast, El Jardin Del Tango El Jardin Del Tango has to locations, close to each other. We booked Casa Jasmin and took the option not to share the sole bathroom for the apartment. We had the apartment to ourselves. It had a kitchen, bathroom, living room, two full bedrooms and another small bedroom. Price was excellent. Location was great with easy access to the Metro or walking to many areas in the city. The apartment is located on the sixth floor of an apartment building. It was like staying in a middle class Buenos Aires apartment, which gave us a sense of living there. The refrigerator was stocked with juices, milk, yogurt, melon, eggs and more. There were cereals, coffee, tea and bread. Rachael brought us bananas, since I mentioned that I liked bananas. We made friends with the owner, Rachael. She was great company. Also, she gave us many tips on getting around the city as well as booking our tango show. She spent much time just enjoying our company and pointing out free walking tours, as well as places to see in the city. She showed us bus 29 which cost 35 cents each to go to la Boca. We felt like we made a friend in Rachel as well as had a more authentic Argentine experience. There were inexpensive restaurants in the neighborhood as well as markets. I purchased two bottles of wine for six dollars. Rachel introduced us to Mate, a kind of herbal South American drink that reduces appetite. We tried it and Ginny liked it more than I did. It is expensive in the USA, but relatively inexpensive in South America. I would recommend El Jardin del Tango for a family. We had the entire apartment for $80 per night that would have slept at least 5 persons. It was not a luxury hotel, but it was spacious, comfortable with a great location. Also, Rachel was our friend in Buenos Aires. BUENOS AIRES The B&B was walking distance from the center of the city, which included the Casa Rosada (The pink house- Argentina’s White House); the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral; the Obelisk of Buenos Aires on 9 de Julio Avenue, which was once the widest avenue in the World; the Congress building and other historical and important buildings. Also, we walked to Ricoleta the afternoon of the first day. Other areas of the city were La Boca, which the original port area of the city and has many colorful houses and a pedestrian street. The Caminito is where tango artists perform and tango is performed in the street. Between La Boca and the city center is San Telmo. San Telmo is another area where tango dancing takes place. It is also the site of a famous antiques market. Another area of the city is Palermo, an upscale residential area with many parks, the zoo and botanical gardens. Palermo is not very close to the city center. Retiro is an area between Ricoleta and the Puerto Madero Waterfront. Streets in Retiro include Santa Fe, Córdoba, and Libertador Avenues, pedestrian Florida Street (the shops are a big draw for tourists). The Plaza San Martín is located in Retiro, as well as many top hotels and some embassies. Also, Galerías Pacífico, a fancy modern mall in a 19th Century building remolded in the 1940s is in Retiro. The Puerto Madero Waterfront is next to Retiro and not far from the city center. It is composed of a renovated waterfront area with many restaurants. Our first day in Buenos Aires was January 1. I am not sure when January 1 arrived on our flight, since the pilot did not announce the New Year (no champagne either). Buenos Aires is two hours ahead of Eastern time, so we had little jet lag, but since we didn’t sleep much on our flight, we were a bit tired, so we took a nap after checking in El Jardin del Tango before walking to Ricoleta, probably about a mile away. On the way to Ricoleta, we saw trees planted along the street with names in memorial. We learned later than we had passed by the site of the terror bombing of a Jewish Community Center in 1994. The bombing has been attributed to Iran or Hezbollah. Some in Buenos Aires think the bombing may be related to the center’s investigations on former NAZI’s in South America. We were told that Argentina has about a million Jewish people of its 35 million people. Ricoleta was clearly a cemetery for important people. There were many elaborate and stately tombs. Eva Peron’s tomb was a modest tomb for the Duarte family. After visiting the cemetery, we walked toward the Puerto Madero Waterfront (through the Retiro district). It was filled with expensive hotels and other important buildings. It was hot and we finally found a gas station were we could find some water. Rachel had advised us of many nice restaurants in the Waterfront area, but it took a while to arrive there. We finally found the area and it was a nice area with a canal, boats docked there and restaurants on both sides of the canal. We were hungry and stopped at Il Gatto, which is a chain restaurant in Argentina with Italian style food. The food was reasonably good, although more expensive, probably due to the location of the restaurant. We used my credit card, since I needed to acquire the local pesos. That fact made it more expensive in itself. The Argentine Peso is suffering from 25% or more inflation, per year and the government has currency controls that have created a huge blue (black) market in the country for US dollars. The official rate for one dollar is 5.6 Argentine Pesos. The blue market rate is almost one to ten. Restaurants and businesses will routinely take dollars at close to or at ten pesos to the dollar (probably not reporting the exchange). There are currency exchanges that operate both openly and somewhat openly. The somewhat open ones are called cuervas and located in areas that can be risky to enter. The open exchanges seem to operate with impunity, but they are raided by the police occasionally. The Argentines tell you that the raids are a joke and for show, since the police are likely bribed to allow the exchanges to operate. In any event, we managed to exchange a fair amount of dollars which save us mucho dinero. If you plan to visit Argentina, use your credit card as little as possible. Take cash and go to some effort to find an exchange and get the blue rate. The currencies of Uruguay and Chile are stable and not a problem, so we used our credit cards there. We returned to our B&B by taking the Metro. We slept through the night, since we had air conditioning. Rachel told us that temperatures had exceeded 100 degrees for some days prior to our arrival. Sections of the city had lost power (brown outs), some areas for several days at a time. Apparently, brown outs are a routing problem in the city. Buenos Aires is a beautify city (so called Paris of South America). The city has some beautiful bones, with many magnificent homes with late 19th-early 20th Century architecture. It will remind you of Paris or Barcelona; however it is rough around the edges. We walked extensively in the city in all the areas mentioned before. Most of the city seems to need infrastructure improvements. We saw many sidewalks and streets that appeared to be torn up for the likely placement or repair of subsurface power, cable or water lines, yet filled with dirt or potholes that were safety issues. It wasn’t third world level, but it wasn’t pretty. Also, some of the areas that we walked through during the daytime were not advisable for nighttime. One area that we discovered that was almost scary was the area past the soccer stadium between La Boca and choripan. We started to walk there and decided out of caution to hail a taxi. Don’t get me wrong, we very much enjoyed Buenos Aires, but the city of 13 million people has a million homeless people. Many live in abandoned buildings. We were shown one abandoned building, with great architecture across the street from the Argentine Congress building that is full of squatters. The second day, we had planned to 11am free walking tour, but it rained until about Noon, so we stayed until after lunch and then took Bus 29 (near our B&B) for 35 cents apiece to La Boca. Rachel had advised us about this bus (public transportation). The bus was packed with locals, so we had to stand most of the trip, but it was good exposure to local conditions. The people of Buenos Aires are great. We loved the people. They were friendly and while most couldn’t speak English, they worked with my poor Spanish and sign language to be patient and assist us. La Boca was interesting. It had many colorful buildings, some painted concrete, some with tin painted many bright colors. We enjoyed waking around the area, browsing in shops, watching tango dancers. We had a nice lunch in La Vieja Rotiseria at Magallanes 869 in La Boca. The food was very good and the restaurant had live tango dancing. We each had a fresh salad and a chorizo sandwich, referred to as choripan. After departing from La Boca, we decided to walk to San Telmo, but the area was extremely squalid and we started to be concerned for our safety, so we hailed a taxi and went to Palermo. Palermo is an upscale residential area with parks. It is on the other side of the city center. Taxis are inexpensive in Buenos Aires and we paid about $15 for the ride. We had the taxi driver drop us off near the Botanical Gardens, which we wanted to see. Unfortunately the gardens were closed, due to the rain in the morning. Also, the Japanese Gardens and Zoo were closed due to the rain in the morning. We didn’t understand why the facilities were closed, since the rain did not seem that hard and had stopped hours before. We did see the Botanical Gardens through the wrought iron fence. It included many unusual plants and a lot of cats. We had not seen a lot of cats in Buenos Aires, but had seen many stray dogs lingering in the city. After visiting Istanbul, Ukraine and Greece a few months ago, where we saw cats all over the city, we concluded that Argentines tend to be dog people, not cat people like the Greeks, Turks and Ukrainians. We took the subway from Palermo (green line-Plaza Italia Station) to the Plaza de Mayo, at the city center and saw the Cathedral, the tomb of Jose San Martin (the George Washington of Southern South America), the Casa Rosada, the building which was the Spanish colonial capitol as well as first Argentine capitol building. We then walked up Avenue de Mayo toward the Plaza of the Republic, were we encountered the wide Avenue 9 of July, the widest in the World (except for a new one in Brazil). We continued walking toward Pasteur Street and our B&B. We ate dinner at a pizza restaurant in the neighborhood for a modest amount. The third day, we took the Buenos Aires Free Tour (www.bafreetour.com/english-home), which started at 11am at the Plaza del Congreso. The tour was popular and over 50 persons were there. We met several persons that were going on our Infinity cruise. Our guide was Maggie and she was an excellent guide. She provided in-depth background on the history and cultural points of the places we visited. We walked over some of the same places that we had seen the previous day, but provided an in detail history or background of important buildings. She did very well, especially considering the number of people on the tour. She explained important background on Argentine historical events, including the background on the protestors called the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo and the Grandmothers of the 300. These groups seek to find about 300 missing children who were generally adopted soon after being born to mothers in prison or camps that were later disappeared during the military dictatorship of the 1976 and 1983 period. The Grandmothers protest every Thursday afternoon in the square in front of the Casa Rosada. A bit of humor, Maggie informed us while on the wide avenue looking at a building that had the image of Eva Peron holding a microphone, that it was not a man eating a hamburger. Apparently, a foreign tourist mistook Eva’s image as that. The tour lasted about 2.5 hours. The walking tour was excellent and free, but I did leave Maggie a nice tip. We had a nice late lunch (great and inexpensive meals are available if you can use the blue market pesos). During the tour, close to Plaza de Mayo, we saw another demonstration by a union. I think we saw such demonstrations every day we were in the city. Maggie told us they were common and she had seen six demonstrations in one day. Apparently, the unions are seeking to flex their political influence. Maggie said that the government wants to avoid anything that reminds people of the military takeover, when such demonstrations were routinely crushed. That evening we attended the Tango Porteno show located next to the Teatro Colon (beautiful opera house). Link at http://tangoporteno.com.ar We had Rachel book us dinner at platea level (seats were excellent, although not as good as the executive seats). The dinner was excellent. Service and food were excellent. Further, our waiter kept filling up our wine glasses before we could empty them. The show did not start until 10:15pm, but that allowed us to enjoy our meal. The show was very professional. The singing, dancing, production and set were superb. I highly recommend Tango Porteno. After the show we walked back to the B&B. Rachel had advised us that the streets were safe, but to use the main street of Avenue Corrientes. It was about midnight and many people were out on the street, visiting clubs, restaurants and enjoying themselves. Argentines are very much night people. The fourth day, we visited the Retiro area, but walking there from our B&B. We did a lot of walking in Buenos Aires since our B&B was at a good location. We were in search of the El Ateneo bookstore, which is a famous bookstore and coffee shop located in a former theatre called “Teatro Gran Splendid.” The first level seating was removed and in its place book shelves were installed, however the boxes on the higher levels are still intact. We found cook books there for local cusine, as well as more paperbacks to read on our trip. We then walked to the Galerías Pacífico, an upscale shopping mall in an old building with beautiful frescoes on the inside of the central cupola. We found more cookbooks and had a beer. From there we took a taxi to our empanada making experience. It was located in Palermo-Hollywood. We booked the event through viator (see link below), but the event was conducted by “The Argentine Experience.” Our hosts were from Britain and Argentina. The evening was quite a treat for us. We enjoyed making our own empanadas as well as eating them. Also, we had a fantastic steak dinner that was one of the best steaks that I have every eaten. During the event, we had discussions of local customs as well as tips on cooking. We enjoyed meeting and socializing with our table mates. It was a great way to spend the evening in Buenos Aires. http://www.viator.com/tours/Buenos-Aires/Buenos-Aires-Dining-Experience-Empanada-Making,-Steak,-Wine,-Alfajores-and-Mate/d901-5653EXPERIENCE?aid=se1 CELEBRITY INFINITY On January 5, our ship, Celebrity Infinity was in port and we were scheduled to board that afternoon. We generally try to board the ship around noon, but Celebrity had emailed to us a message that boarding would not start until 3pm. I was skeptical about this, since on earlier cruises, we had received a similar message and still checked in about noon. Still, we decided to arrive a little early, which turned out to be 2:15. Upon arrival, it was difficult to see where we needed to go. We did find a Celebrity sign, but still had to ask where to drop the luggage. In most cruise ports, there are usually porters right there to take your luggage. However, we did find the baggage drop off, do so and the baggage handler would not take my tip. He was not insulted by the tip, just didn’t feel entitled to it. From there, we still had no idea where to go. Others waiting for Celebrity Infinity were in the same state. We finally made our way into the seating area, which was jammed with people. Apparently, there were three ships boarding that day. Infinity was the last one leaving (we departed the next day), so the other two ship’s passengers were given priority to check-in. We found a seat in about 10 minutes and waited for something good to happen. I did wander up to the check-in entrance when I saw someone with a Celebrity paddle. I was told that we would be checking in at 3pm. Yes, it appears that Celebrity’s email was correct after all. No reason to get angry, my fault for getting there early. Slowly, we noticed that other passengers were clearing out of the waiting area checking in with the other to cruises. Finally, I noticed at about 3pm the Celebrity paddle moving and people moving through to check-in. We moved out smartly and went upstairs to find people in line to check-in. We were elite and the elite line was a bit shorter, which was nice. We checked in within 45 minutes were on the ship around 4pm. We heard later from other passengers that some took two or three hours to check-in. The main problems seemed to be the small size of the facility and a lack of direction for people entering the port drop off area. Our check-in was not so bad, but I had to ask for guidance several times. I still do not understand why it took some people three hours to check-in if they arrived after 3pm? Celebrity apologized for the delays and gave every passenger $20 of on board credit for the inconvenience. We had cabin 7171, which is an angled balcony was the same cabin we had on the Panama Canal cruise in 2011. Celebrity had replaced the small crack in the light cover in our bathroom since 2011. The ship appeared to still be in good condition, with a little bit of rust on the ship’s exterior here and there. Our luggage was delivered fairly quickly and we unpacked in preparation for our 6pm dinner. Our assigned table was a table for twelve with only two other persons in attendance. Over an hour later four more persons showed up (they were very late every night we were at that table). The other couple there was asked to move to another table with friends. The apologized for moving, but we didn’t blame them. Apparently four persons never showed up at the table and four more persons were constantly late. We decided to ask to move and the maître-de asked us to wait one more night, telling us that there were 12 persons booked for that table. The next night, no one but us was at the table at 6:15, so we were moved to table 102. That proved to be great for us, since we dined with four wonderful people. Dave and Judy from Buffalo and Lars and Birte from Denmark were our dinner companions. We became friends and hope to see each other again in the future. The table conversation frequently erupted in laughter. We looked forward to dinner and the great companionship of table 102. TIGRE The next day, we were still in Buenos Aires. We had booked a Celebrity excursion to Tigre. Tigre is about 60 miles north of Buenos Aires in a region with a delta and people living on one of the many channel of that river delta. The tour was described, as follows: Tigre Delta & River Cruise BA03 Buenos Aires, Argentina OVERVIEW: Depart from Pier and coach travelling to the northern part of the city en route to San Isidro. Visit the Cathedral before arriving at the town of Tigre. Board a motor launch for a private guided cruise through the green labyrinth of channels and streams. HIGHLIGHTS: - Main Plaza at San Isidro- Private guided motor launch tour of Tigre Delta and its islands - Great photo opportunities NOTES: - Shorts or short skirts are not permitted in the Cathedral. The boat tour was with Sturia. We learned that about 3000 persons live in the delta with more than 5000 waterways. After the boat ride, we visited San Isidro, a small city north of Buenos Aires. The city is full of upscale homes and a Cathedral, which we visited. This tour was a pleasant change from our first four days in Buenos Aires, which involved a lot of walking. It would probably not be ideal for someone with only one or two days in the city, but for us it was a nice tour. In planning for this cruise, I set out months ago to organize good private tours, when they seemed to be a better value than Celebrity’s excursions. I consulted someone on cruise critic that I knew had done the same cruise. That person recommended a tour company named Patagonia Shorex hereafter PS. I usually research prices with more than one tour company, but PS came highly recommended. I set out to organize tours on the cruise critic roll call. It finally became apparent to me that PS’s prices were significantly out of line with other tour groups. I eventually dropped PS, due to their pricing and the fact that I did not have enough persons signing up for their tours. I have learned from some that took PS’s tours that they were excellent. I am sure they are a quality firm. However, their prices were just not competitive. We joined a tour group known at Herbanrenewal. Kathy from Maryland had organized these tours. Kathy and her friend Dani became our friends and we enjoyed their company very much. We were on tours at Montevideo, Puerto Madryn, Punta Arenas and Puerto Montt. The Puerto Madryn tour was with Nievemar Tours, organized by Eric and Paula (also in our group in these tours). The other three tours were with SouthExcursions. We also had a private tour at the end of our cruise with SouthExcursions for Valparaiso, Casablanca and Santiago. The links for SouthExcursions and Nievemar are below: sales2@southexcursions.com www.SouthExcursions.com http://www.nievemartours.com.ar/pags_en/nievemar.html MONTEVIDEO Our first port after leaving Buenos Aires was Montevideo, the capitol of Uruguay. Our tour was with SouthExcursions and included a visit to a winery: Montevideo Highlights and Vineyard 6.5 hrs Montevideo is a charming city with pleasant 19th and early 20th century buildings, beautiful parks and historic monuments. Your highlights tour includes the Old City and waterfront area where you will see the German battleship the Graff Spee that was held here during World War II, Constitution Square, the Cathedral and Colonial Town Hall, and Independence Square - at the center of which stands a monument dedicated to national hero José Gervasio Artigas. Visit the Government House and the Congress Building constructed between 1908 and 1925 with local marble and 12 different types of wood. Drive through the Prado neighborhood – where you’ll find one of the oldest parks in the city that features the famous sculpture La Diligencia, Monument to the last Charruas Indians, and the Rose Garden. Continue to the Vineyard. Stimulated by the love of the countryside and its products, Uruguay boasts an impressive wine making tradition. At the vineyard you will enjoy a wine making tour that includes sampling. From the vineyard you’ll drive back to Montevideo and through the Batlle and Ordonez Parks, passing by the Obelisk, La Carreta Monument (Covered Wagon) and the Soccer Stadium - site of the first World Soccer Cup organized by FIFA. Continue travelling through the Carrasco residential area with its magnificent private residences and the Hotel Casino Carrasco - an imposing building overlooking the coast and filled with tradition and history. The return drive will be along the coast to see the long stretches of world-class beaches. Tour concludes at the Pier. The cost of the tour was $80 per person. There was a little rain early in the tour, while we were walking through downtown Montevideo, but didn’t bother us much, since I can hold an umbrella in one hand and take photos in the other. The visit to the covered wagon monument was a depiction of a large ox drawn bronze covered wagon. Uruguay was similar to Argentina, but we never saw the signs of massive homelessness. Also, the currency was stable. Uruguay’s ethnic mix was heavy on Spanish and Italian, probably more Spanish than Italian. Uruguay is a small country of about 4 million people between Brazil and Argentina. Its territory was once more dominated by the Portuguese, but the Spanish moved in and gradually took over at the dominant colonial power. After independence, Uruguay was caught between the two larger countries for a while, but emerged as an independent country. When planning this trip, I considered visiting Colonia de Sacramento, which was an Old Portuguese fort city and is a world heritage site. The lengthy travel from Montevideo to Colonia just seems a bit much. Also, we considered taking the ferry from Buenos Aires to Colonia, but didn’t want to get up early to take the 8:30 ferry. Also, the cost of the ferry was a factor. We decided to take the city tour with a visit to the winery. We enjoyed the tour and the winery visit was fun. They served empanadas with the wine, so we didn’t need to buy lunch. Returning to the ship, we were able to enjoy the elite happy hour for those who have taken enough Celebrity cruises. The happy hour is from 5-7pm at deck 11, the Constellation Room. We usually met Kathy and Dani there for a few glasses of wine. This benefit is nice and saves us from spending more on alcohol during the cruise. Also, we get to socialize with friends. PUNTA DEL ESTE The next day our port of call was Punta Del Este. That port was a tender port, but we managed to get to shore despite some waves. We arrived to catch our tender early and no one was waiting for a tender. That had never happened on any of our prior Celebrity cruises. However, the ship had a lot of South Americans and Europeans that dined late and perhaps decided to sleep in that morning. Punta Del Este a one of the prime toni resort locations in South America. It was definitely an upscale resort with lots of expensive homes. We took a bike tour with biketoursurguay, the link is: www.biketoursuruguay.com We did a bike tour of about 7 miles around the peninsula encompassing the prime real estate of the city. The tour was $35 per person and about 10 of us look the tour with two guides, one at the front of our group and the other at the rear, making sure no one lagged behind. We took the Peninsula Tour, described below: Peninsula Tour Going along and stopping in the most emblematic and cultural areas of Punta Del Este. Time to hydrate, enjoy and contemplate: Monument: La Mano Brava Beach Ship Wreck El Emir Beach Punta Vapor English Beach Punta Salina Great Britain Square - Battle of Rio de la Plata - Graf Spee Punta del Este Lighthouse - First school in Punta del Este Rosa de los Vientos Candelaria Church Punta del Este Port - Sea Lions Mansa Beach Boardwalk 'La Pastora' Conrad Hotel. The tour was very scenic. We saw the site of the sinking of the Graf Spee by the Royal Navy in WWII, the quaint Lighthouse and nearby church. We saw the famous hand sticking up in the sand. The beaches were beautiful, and the tour allowed us to easily see the city. It was a good option for this port, plus we got a little exercise. PUERTO MADRYN After a sea day, our next port was Puerto Madryn, Argentina. Our tour was to the Peninsula Valdes with Nievemar Tours, which was arranged by Eric and Paula. The tour was a full day tour and cost $100 per person. We traveled extensively over gravel roads to see much wildlife. We probably spent about half our time traveling. However, if you want to see the animals that is what you need to do. There are basically two options at Puerto Madryn. Peninsula Valdes or Punta Tombo. Punta Tombo has a colony of Magellanic Penguins, but we had plans to see the same penguins at Punta Arenas, so we elected to go with Peninsula Valdes. The Peninsula is actually a large ranch, which included some mining; however there are animal preserves which protect the animals. Our group included Eric and Paula, Mike and Pam, Wing and her Mom, Kathy and Dani, Kathy and Lloyd as well as Ginny and I. It was great company. On the drive to the first preserve, we saw herds of guanaco, an animal that is from the camel family, but about the size of an alpaca. We saw a bird that is in the roadrunner family, but larger. The first preserve was to see Magellan Penguins. We were able to get very close to some of the penguins. There were about a hundred of them that we could see. You could see how they burrow into the earth to create a nest. There were a few chicks, or young penguins, but the chicks were closer to being full grown, however, you could still see they did not have the adult coloration. Next, we visited another area overlooking a beach where we could see elephant seals. We were told by our guide that these seals are able to dive hundreds of feet in the ocean, far deeper than a nuclear submarine. Apparently, scientists have attached sensors and GPS devices that have proven the animals can dive over a thousand meters deep in the ocean. Our reviewing stands were not as close as with the penguins, but with our telephoto lenses, we were able to take great photos. The last animal preserve was one filled with hundreds of sea lions. It was mating season, we were told, and it was noisy out there with the sea lions. After visiting all these preserves, we stopped at a former whaling town on the peninsula that now specializes in eco-tourism, with boat tours to see the whales. We had a late lunch of fish and fries, which was good. All the seafood we had in South America was excellent, especially in Chile. Our mini-bus made its way back to the port and had about 40 minutes to get to the ship when we stopped at the entrance to the port. Apparently our driver was not in the union and could not drive through the port security gate. We had to wait for another bus to come by from the same company with a union driver. Our guide vented about how corrupt the country was, mentioning that when Juan Person took over he nationalized the railroads and quadrupled the employment within three years, consequently bleeding the rail roads of funds, with the consequences that the current state of the railroads in Argentina is very poor. We learned that Puerto Madryn was originally settled about 150 years ago by Welsh settlers. Apparently, many still speak the ancient language as spoken in the 19th Century. There is a Welsh festival scheduled for next year in the city. CAPE HORN After another day at sea, we had a big event; our ship circumnavigated Cape Horn, which is in Chile. Cape Horn is a group of islands, some of which appear to be quite large. The weather for this event at about 4pm was excellent. We rounded the horn and saw the Chilean light house and monument, which are not on the Cape Horn island, but over a mile from the cape. Cape Horn is less than 400 miles from Antarctica. Temperatures were in the 40s and the wind was very strong, probably 40 mph. Transiting Cape Horn is no big deal these days, with steel hulled ships and modern power, but I remember reading sea faring books in my youth when sailing ships would round the horn in stormy weather at some risk. USHUAIA The next day we docked at Ushuaia, Argentina. Ushuaia is the southernmost city in Argentina, located on the island of Terra Del Fuego (land of fire). Magellan called the island that when came through on his circumnavigation of the World. Apparently, the natives had signal fires burning. I had read a fascinating book by Thomas Bridges called “The Uttermost part of the Earth.” It describes an English family that settles near Ushuaia and builds their very large ranch. It describes the local Indian tribes and how they interacted with them. Few Indians remain in that area. Most died from disease and the remainder assimilated with the largely European immigrants. Our ship was able to dock at Ushuaia, instead of having to tender, which made it much easier for us to leave the ship. We took a Celebrity tour that included a ride on one of the local large catamarans. We cruised up the Beagle Channel and visited some islands (did not go on the islands). These islands were loaded with many seabirds, sea lions and other wildlife. Our catamaran was able to move to within 20 feet of some of the islands. One island had a small lighthouse on top. The channel is back dropped by beautiful snow/ice capped mountains. We did not make it to the Estancia Harberton, home of Thomas Bridges, author of The Uttermost Part of the Earth. There is one tour company that goes there, pira tours. We elected to take the Celebrity excursion that included the catamaran cruise and visit to the Terra Del Fuego National Park. The catamaran proceeded to take us to the National Park, where we were picked up by busses and taken to see a small museum, lakes with swans and other birds, then to the Ensenada, on the Beagle Channel. There, we saw the End of the World Post Office. I mailed a post card to our home address, but it still has not arrived. This was a great tour and I would advise taking this or a similar tour, or the pira tour. That evening leaving Ushuaia, our ship proceeded toward Punta Arenas, Chile, by going west, past some very scenic mountains. Many of the mountains had glaciers and you could see some melting with the runoff flowing down the mountainside. We stayed up until 10pm (it was still light) taking photos with friends. It was great. PUNTA ARENAS Our next port was Punta Arenas, where we tendered. This was the most problematic tender port. Lines were long and it seemed to take longer to make it to shore. Our tour was with SouthExcursions and only a half day tour, so we were not apprehensive about having time to return to the ship on time. The tour was described, as follows: Otway Sound Penguin Colony Half Day Activity (This tour can begin at 09:00 or 13:30) Leaving Punta Arenas, you’ll head north on to the Brunswick Peninsula, along the Straits of Magellan. From there, you’ll take a detour to Otway Sound, a beautiful landscape of plains, bays and fjords. Next, the tour will take you to the Picket Mine, an important open-pit mineral deposit in the region’s gigantic coal mantles. Finally, you’ll arrive at the pingüinera, the nesting ground of the Magellan penguin (Spheniscus magallanicus). Thousands of birds, which are called “jackass penguins” due to the donkey-like braying sounds they make, come ashore in the spring, to breed, and lay eggs here. Our tour included most of the same people on our Puerto Madryn tour. Cost was $67 per person, which was a good savings over the Celebrity tour. The Otway colony was larger than the group of penguins that we saw at the Peninsula Valdez. The drive to the colony was not a long as in Puerto Madryn. We passed the mine on the way to the colony. We walked some distance over a boardwalk with some bridges that allowed penguins to move under the boardwalk. The boardwalk took us to first to a viewing stand close to the beach were we watched the birds on the beach, some swimming. Then the boardwalk took us in a kind of triangle, walking closer to some of the penguin nests with more viewing stands. The viewing stands were small and only allowed three persons at a time to use. It took over an hour to make the circuit. We learned that Punta Arenas had a population of about 130,000, about twice the size of Ushuaia. The city looked prosperous, but then we felt that Chile generally looked more prosperous than Argentina. We returned to Punta Arenas and spent some time in and around the town square. There was a festival type atmosphere with a local band and lively music. Also, there were stall were souvenirs were on sale. In route to Puerto Montt, our ship passed through the Chilean Fjords, which included more scenic mountains and hills on both sides of the ship. PUERTO MONTT The next day was another sea day, as we moved north to warmer temperatures. The temperatures in Punta Arenas, Ushuaia and Cape Horn were in the 40s and 50s. Our next port was Puerto Montt. Temperatures were warmer but not quite warm enough for most people to wear shorts. Puerto Montt was another tender port, but the lines to exit the ship were not long, our tender boat was not full and the ship was anchored close to shore, so tendering was not a lengthy process. We had a full day tour and were glad to make it to land early. We had another tour with SouthExcursions, which was described as follows: Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas and Petrohue falls Full Day Activity (7 Hrs) This tour is ideal for passengers who want to get the best of Puerto Montt and its marvelous surroundings. Enjoy of a trip that takes you from the ship to the city center of Puerto Montt, with its picturesque fishing wharf and seafood market, as well as a visit to the main square of Puerto Varas, “City of Roses,” known for its alpine and traditional German-style architecture. After this, a lakeside drive leads you to the impressive Petrohue River Falls, a gleaming succession of azure blue rapids, against a back drop of mountains and the emerald green “Todos Los Santos” Lake. Here, a breathtaking view of the snowcapped “Volcan Osorno” can be admired. A lunch stop will allow for you to get a feel of the local cuisine. Upon your return to Puerto Montt (if time allows), a stop will be made at the Angelmo market before returning to the pier. Our tour managed to arrive at Petrohue falls (rapids) before the many Celebrity bus tours. We passed through landscape that reminded us of southern Germany (many German, Swiss and Croat settlers there), with snowcapped mountains (volcanoes), tidy fields with cattle and homes with German type architecture. It was a modest walk on paths, then boardwalks and bridges to see the rapids and falls. Scenery was magnificent with the backdrop of the snowcapped volcanoes. The volcanic rock in the falls area, with rushing water was well worth the trip. On the way back, we stopped at another park with had a green colored lake due to the algae (I called it pond scum lake). That name did not give it due credit. The lake was beautiful in the woods, an inlet next to the large lake. This is the Chilean Lake district and there are bugs that are attracted to dark clothing. I wore light colored clothing. The bugs were not that bad, but did bother us from time to time. Returning to Puerto Montt, we stopped for two hours at Puerto Varas, a beautiful city on the huge lake. Many of the buildings had architecture reminding us of Germany. Also, across the lake you could see the two large snowcapped volcanoes as well as a smaller more distant mountain. We ate lunch at a restaurant recommended by our guide, and each had a huge empanada and local beer. After lunch we walked around the city. It was busy with a market like in Punta Arenas, as well as music and folk dancing. The tour was $75 per person and well worth the price. The cruise was approaching an end, and I want to mention the ship’s service, entertainment and other matters. ENTERTAINMENT The entertainment on the ship was typical of what celebrity offers. There the big production shows with dancers, singers and an aerial act. The young singers and dancers performed very well, we again enjoyed Celebrate the World, with its music and dancing from many countries in the World. We have seen that show before on every celebrity cruise, but still enjoy it. The Voyage to Remember on the last night was good, however we didn’t go to iBroadway or Boggietown again, we had seen those shows enough. Craig Dahn, a pianist was superb and performed music from Jerry Lee Lewis, Liberace and more. Neil Lockwood, another pianist, did a great Elton John show. Elvy Rose, a Cuban-American gave us a couple of shows. We enjoyed here energy and music. We enjoyed the Pampas Devils, an Argentine group that did tango and routines of gauchos. Hypnotist Ed Fernandez was interesting, but not the best. Steve Carte, a juggler and humorist, was entertaining as well as Hector with a magic show. I went to the Michael Jackson imitator show with Ginny, Judy and Dave, but didn’t really want to, since I am not a fan of Jackson. The audience seemed to enjoy the performance. By ICE. FOOD AND SERVICE We found the food and service to be excellent on Infinity, consistent with our earlier six celebrity cruises. Our waiters at table 102 were always there when we needed them. On one occasion, my red snapper dish seemed to include a small portion of fish, and Jose took little time to bring me another serving, even though I didn’t ask for it. Our wine seward, George was excellent. Service at the Captain’s Club elite happy hour was amazing. Frequently, you would be provided with another glass of wine before you would finish your glass. The buffet food was excellent, with some variety, offering Indian, Mexican, and other foods as well as my favorite breakfast, eggs benedict. Our cabin attendants were there when we needed them. MULTIPLE SMOKING VIOLATIONS For the first time on celebrity, we had a serious problem with people in adjacent cabins smoking on their balconies. We complained many times to our room steward and guest relations. Ginny and I spotted two of our neighbors smoking on the adjacent cabin, as well as the one next to that one. Of course, both were up wind from our cabin. Celebrity was very responsive to our complaints, and by the middle of the cruise, the smoking had stopped and we still received calls from guest relations asking if everything was ok. However, toward the end of the cruise, the smoking resumed. The officer in charge of the cabin stewards got to know us well. He was nice, explaining that proof was required in order to punish offenders. I expect that due process is necessary, but apparently, or word was not enough. He explained that investigations were performs, possible offenders confronted. We were told that one yelled at him. We were still frustrated at celebrity’s inability to stop the smoking. Still, taken in context, this was the only real negative issue we had on the cruise. It was a great cruise, great itinerary and we would cruise on Infinity again. VALPARAISIO After another sea day, we arrived in Valparaiso, Chile. Ginny and I had been there before, when our cruise through the Panama Canal ended there in December 2011. Again, I had arranged for a tour with SouthExcursions. We had a special tour, tailored to our needs, since we had done the standard Valparaiso, Vin Del Mar, Casablanca, Santiago tour in 2011. The tour was described as follows: Day 1 Full day Casablanca Valley and Neruda’s house Wine tasting in a well-known vineyard plus Neruda’s house in Isla Negra. Casablanca valley is well known for top quality wines, many of which you will enjoy during this great excursion. You will travel out of Valparaiso and into the Casablanca Valley, the youngest Chilean viticulture area which boasts a perfect trilogy: climate, soil and vine. After the wine tasting and tour you’ll travel to the village Isla Negra, located on the coast between Valparaiso and Santiago. Neruda enjoyed a great fortune and spent it mainly on the very human pursuits of travelling, collecting and entertaining. Overlooking the sea, Isla Negra was an escape from the bustle of Santiago and a writing retreat. The house today contains many of his personal belongings, antiques, and his eclectic collections of nautical items - most notably ship mastheads, indigenous masks, and antique glassware. Includes wine tasting in Indómita Vineyard and ticket to Neruda's museum, but not lunch. Notes: From your destination in Valparaíso to your destination in Santiago. Day 2 Los Dominicos + Cathedral + San Cristobal Hill (7 hours) First, you'll visit the finest residential neighborhood until we reach El Pueblito de Los Dominicos, a lovely craft workers village where you will be able to walk around its narrow streets and buy typical Chilean crafts. Then, you'll be taken to see the Cathedral on the inside. Finally, we will take you to San Cristobal hill After disembarkation, we met Dixiana from SouthExcursions that had arranged our tours. She introduced us to Yvonne, our guide for the next two days. Our tour was tailored for us to visit placed we had not seen in 2011. Because our tour included only Ginny and I the first day and four persons on the second (Jim and Mary joined us on day 2), Yvonne turned out to be an excellent guide. She took us back to Valparaiso, where we had visited before, and we did revisit some of the places we saw in 2011, but then visited other interesting places. Then, she took us to Isla Negra, a seaside town where we visited one of the homes of Pablo Neruda, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. I had never heard of the poet, who is famous in South America for his romantic writings. The home overlooked the beach and ocean and Neruda’s collections showed his interests. He collected sea shells (many beautiful), ships inside bottles, butterflies and insects as well as figure heads from ships. We enjoyed seeing the home and it gave us much local color. There probably wasn’t and American within 25 miles of this city. On the way to the museum, we saw a city filled with Chilean families enjoying their beach vacations. It was off the beaten path for a foreign tourist. The museum had audio guides in English that facilitated our understanding of the museum. After the museum, we had lunch at a wonderful restaurant overlooking the beach and ocean. The restaurant, Kaleuche (kaleuche.r@gmail.com) specialized in seafood. We had the most fantastic empanadas filled with crab, as well as a serving of Chilean sea bass as big as a T-bone steak. Also, Yvonne gave us a taste of her shrimp empanada that was fantastic. We very much enjoyed our meal. The seafood in Chile is just unbelievable. Next, we visited the Indomita winery in Casablanca. It is a huge winery, with a building that sits at the top of a hill, overlooking its vineyards. Unfortunately, our group of two arrived after bus and car loads of people had already arrive. Once we were seated for our winetasting, if felt like an assembly line. We had three glasses of excellent wine, but because of the overload of visitors, it was too rushed. We did get a tour of the huge wine making facility, which was the largest we had ever seen, with many huge vats and many barrels in production. In 2011, our guide had taken us to the Casas Del Bosque vineyards and we had a far more pleasing experience there. After the winery visit, we proceeded to our hotel at Santiago. We had SouthExcursions book the hotel for us, since they acquired a good price for the one night stay. Upon arrival at the hotel, the hotel manager was not aware of our reservation. Yvonne contacted the company and found out that we had been booked at another hotel, El Bosque San Sebastian, which was close by. The 20 minutes of uncertainty was not comforting. The issue was resolved, but I don’t understand why our hotel was switched. Apparently, Dixiana had sent me an email three days before, but I was not checking my email every day, since the internet on the ship was slow or not available. The same thing had happened two years before with SouthExcursions. My advice is that SouthExcursions will provide you will excellent tours and guides for a fair price, but make your own hotel reservations. Our hotel rooms were nice; we had a suite with living area, kitchen, and bedroom and of course bathroom. The concierge was helpful in pointing us to a nice area with restaurants. We declined to eat at Applebee’s which had the same food it has in the USA. We had a light dinner with empanadas and other appetizers with beers. SANTIAGO The next day, we were picked up by Yvonne at 11am. She had already picked up Jim and Mary from the Marriott. Yvonne was from Santiago and she showed us around her city. We saw many more sites than was listed in the expected tour. First, we went back to the Santa Lucia park with its hill with a view of the city. We had done this in 2011, but Jim and Mary had not. It was enjoyable going up the hill and we were present when the noon cannon went off. My ears were ringing for five minutes. After Santa Lucia, we went to Plaza De Armas, the main square of the city and visited the Metropolitan Cathedral. There was beautiful art work in the Cathedral, but services started during our visit and photography was curtail somewhat. Yvonne took us to see the racetrack, attractive old homes. Many of the stately older homes have been taken over by the University. We then had lunch, which took place at El Galeon restaurant. We had eaten there two years ago, and the food was still great. Of course, we had seafood. Again, the empanadas and main course were super. After lunch, we drove up to San Cristobal hill. We could have taken the funicular, but drove instead. The view from the hill was even better than from Santa Lucia, since we were much higher. We had a stop at a shop that specialized in lapis jewelry, but declined to purchase anything. Our last stop was an old hacienda that was converted into a multitude of shops. We then left for the airport to check-in for our flight home. Yvonne helped us to find the Delta check-in. We enjoyed our day in Santiago and Yvonne was an excellent guide. Checking in for our flight was not taking place for over an hour after we had arrived at the airport. There were kiosks available for us to check-in except for our luggage. The problem was that many other people had arrived early and it took some maneuvering to use the kiosks. After checking-in at the kiosks we attempted to form a queue outside the baggage check-in area, but others came up and cut in line. Still, we made it through and after a 9.5 hour flight arrived in Atlanta. We were reminded that it was winter in North America. It was a wonderful trip. South America is a very enjoyable destination. The around the horn cruise is a great way to see the remote sites, with fantastic scenery and wildlife.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
I am an Elite member of the Captain Club on the Celebrity Cruise Line. I did online check in which usually gets us on board in 10 to 15 minutes. 90 minutes later we finally walked on to the ship. It went down hill from there. My room was ... Read More
I am an Elite member of the Captain Club on the Celebrity Cruise Line. I did online check in which usually gets us on board in 10 to 15 minutes. 90 minutes later we finally walked on to the ship. It went down hill from there. My room was next to a family that had taken 4 cabins for 7 children and the parents, The 3 rooms for the children were next to mine. The parents room was 4 doors away. I did get my room changed but that was not easy to do since it was a holiday sailing. My next room was next to a man with 2 children. The AC in my room was terrible so I kept my balcony doors open only to be woken by screaming children on the next balcony. Nothing was done about this. The specialty restaurant that never allowed children under 12 yrs. bent their rules this time because there were so many children on board. Infants and toddlers were in the adults restaurant. They had to make every nickel and dime they could. There were so many people in the staterooms that it made this small ship very crowded, loud, and almost uncontrollable. Children running and screaming thru the halls and in the public areas. No one stopped them. Areas that normally were set aside for adults and quiet areas were over run with loud children and adults. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
A superb itinerary visiting an amazing array of wonderful places. This itinerary has it all: nature, wildlife, beaches, exciting cities and, of course, Cape Horn. The Infinity is a very well designed and well maintained ship, similar to ... Read More
A superb itinerary visiting an amazing array of wonderful places. This itinerary has it all: nature, wildlife, beaches, exciting cities and, of course, Cape Horn. The Infinity is a very well designed and well maintained ship, similar to the more recent Solstice class ships but not quite as good. Very friendly officers and crew and possibly the best cruise director in the industry, Alejandro. However, Celebrity continues to "dumb down" the main dining room quality. We were disappointed with Grand Epernay on the Solstice in 2012, only to find the Trellis on Infinity was worse. More like "modern mediocrity" than "modern luxury." Food is generally unimaginative, often lacking in taste and with an absence of flair. Service is sometimes very good, sometimes indifferent. Even when menu items look interesting, the execution is often poor. Overall, the main dining room is no better than on mainstream lines. While we never experienced the Celebrity of 10 or more years ago when their main dining room was the talk of the industry, we can only sympathize with repeat Celebrity customers who must be heartbroken. On the bright side, specialty restaurants, SS United States and Qsine are exceptional from every standpoint. It's a shame, however, that we need to pay $45 per person to get an outstanding meal that one should expect to get (and based on Celebrity passengers of 10 years' ago) and used to get "for free." Guest entertainers on this cruise were superb, especially "Man from Mars," the best act I have seen on a ship in 19 cruises. Alejandro is an outstanding cruise director with a "schtick" that works well. Production company singers/dancers were mediocre at best. Great variety of onboard activities. WIne events are well done and sommeliers very knowledgeable. The entire embarkation process was a disaster (very slow) while the disembarkation baggage collection process was confusing. Ship shore excursions are grossly overpriced, especially for our family of four. All of our tours were private and cost less than a bus tour from Celebrity. For most of our shore excursions we used Patagonia Shorex with Jaime who is very responsive and can handle all ports through his own network. All but one of these tours was of high quality, the exception being Otway penguins at Punta Arenas where the guide and driver were very inexperienced, lacking basic knowledge and the vehicle defective and smokey, nearly running out of gas. Best of the Patagonia Shorex tours was in Puerto Montt (where owner Jaime is based) with guide Juan who was exceptional. In Ushuia we used Canal Fun, a group that we recommend without hesitation. We took a private canoeing and hiking trip in Tierra del Fuego national park on what was perhaps the most enjoyable vacation day that are well travelled family has ever experienced. Guides Coco and Augustine were superb. This company is simply outstanding! In Montevideo, we were delighted with a walking tour by Liz from Real English tours. This highly informative and entertaining tour is very well done and Liz and her husband Richard, who handles administration, are very helpful, responsive and personable. Liz tailored the tour to appeal to our daughters. Here again, recommended without hesitation. Punta del Este is best explored on your own and can be managed easily. Finally, in Buenos Aires we highly recommend Buenos Tours and their BA 101 walking tour. Our superb guide, Oliver, was more like a relative or family friend showing us a variety of fascinating neighbourhoods rather than a tour guide. He, too, went out of his way tailor the tour to meet our needs. Also recommend without hesitation. Kids club Fun Factory had great staff and facilities but our daughters enjoyed less than on Solstice, possibly due to fewer number of English speaking kids which made interaction more difficult. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
INTRO After a few years of using Cruise Critic to plan our family trips, cruises and even non-cruise trips, this will be our first review. We hope this trip report will help others that may be planning their trips so that we can ... Read More
INTRO After a few years of using Cruise Critic to plan our family trips, cruises and even non-cruise trips, this will be our first review. We hope this trip report will help others that may be planning their trips so that we can contribute to the community that has helped to bring many fun and happy travels to our family. This report is for our 17-day South America trip, which included 14-night Celebrity Infinity holiday cruise from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires. We (2 adults and 2 older teens) traveled on this trip with another family of 4, and the trip was a blast. PRE-CRUISE Our flight arrived in Santiago at about 530am on Saturday. We went through immigration and paid our reciprocity fee easily using credit card (but we had USD to cover it in case the credit card didn’t work as we wanted to avoid being slowed down). We had arranged for our hotel to pick us up, and the driver was there on time with our name on the sign to meet us (just right outside the door after the agriculture portion of the immigration process). Our hotel was nice enough to let us check in early so we got to clean up and rest for a couple of hours before hitting the town. We headed on foot to the funky Bellavista neighborhood for brunch/lunch, visited to La Chascona, rode the Bellavista Funicular to Cerro San Cristobal. We took a taxi to have a look and a drink in Mercado Central and walked back to our hotel to clean up. We took a taxi to Las Condes, dined on a nice seafood dinner at Osaka, took a taxi back to the hotel, and called it a day. It has been long and tiring but fun day. The next day, we arranged ahead of time with South Excursions for a day tour of Santiago environs. The driver and the guide arrived on time to pick us up at our hotel that morning in a nice comfortable van. We had fun wine tasting at the Veramonte Winery in Casablanca, ate a fabulous seafood lunch at Donde Willy in Vina del Mar (and our tour guide introduced us to the young restaurant owner), and toured the colorful Valparaiso (loved the colorful graffiti arts and took so many photos of them). EMBARKATION Then all aboard and off we started on our cruise. It probably was about 4pm by the time we made it on board. The check-in process was not too painful slow. Like the location of our balcony stateroom (Concierge Class 3) on deck 7 mid-ship (actually, more towards aft). This room category comes with a bottle of champagne on ice and Celebrity zipper tote bag (delivered on the first day), fresh flower and fruits daily, and afternoon hors d’oeuvres also daily. It was nice to walk into the room with all these little touches to welcome us. Our stewards were great. Our kids’ inside stateroom also on deck 7 and mid-ship was also nice for an inside stateroom and spacious. Being on deck 7, we only have to go down 2-3 flights of stairs to the coffee shop and the martini bar and up 3 flights to the exercise room and the cafeteria. We hardly used the elevators. MEALS We wanted the late seating but it was not available when we booked our cruise. We ended up with select dining (which also meant we had to pay our gratuity ahead of time and could not use our shipboard credit to pay for our gratuity since the credit isn’t available until you get on the ship) and had to remember to make reservation every the night before if we would like to dine as close to our desired time as possible. That was annoying but eventually we got a hang of it. We enjoyed the food in the main dining room. The only time we ate in the cafeteria was for breakfast on port days (because these mornings were a little rushed for us, especially on tendered ports) and for lunch one sea day when we really felt like we needed a hamburger-and-fries fix (but they were just ok, nothing to write home about). We ate at two specialty restaurants: Qsine and SS United States. Both were enjoyable, and if we compare the price to something similar back in our hometown, $49 per person is a good deal. But we would have also been fine with eating in the main dining room every night as well. PORT DAYS Our first stop was in Puerto Montt, and we whitewater rafted the Petrohue Rapids in Puerto Varas, visited the Saltos del Rio Petrohue, Lago Todos los Santos, and Puerto Varas town itself (sadly we ran out of time to go to Frutillar). This excursion was also arranged ahead of time with KoKayak Chile. The backdrop of the volcano was beautiful, and we have many photos to remember this wonderful day. In Punta Arenas, we were supposed to sea kayak the Strait of Magellan, but it was very windy and our Kayak Aqua Fresca guides kept us close to shore for safety since we have little sea kayaking experience (but it was still a neat experience). Afterward, we asked to be dropped off in town instead of at cruise terminal so that we could visit Cementerio Municipal. We also went to Plaza Munoz Gamero and had a delicious baked parmesan centolla and abalone at Sotito’s Bar near the cruise terminal. In Ushuaia, it snowed on us and it was windy and bone chilling cold even with gloves, ear warmers, and the many layers we wore under our North Face jackets. We drove ourselves to Tierra del Fuego National Park, and it became sunny later on but still very cold, so we did not hike any of the trails as planned. Instead we drove to different highlighted spots in the park and still fell in love with the natural beauty of this park. We never made it to hike Martial Glacier like we had planned. Instead, we came back to town, escaped the wind to have a cold beer (on a very cold day!) and use the free internet, returned the rental car, walked around the main touristy part where buildings somewhat shielded the cold wind, and called it a day. In Puerto Madryn, we arranged with Cultura Cercana also ahead of time to take us to Punta Tombo to see the little Magellan penguins and their fluffy chicks. It was just unreal the countless cute pinguinos we saw (and photographed) and how they didn’t seem to be bothered by us and the thousands of tourists that arrived at the end of our visit. During our rainy day in Punta del Este, our traveling companions had organized a 24-person city tour on a big tour bus with a local tour guide with EcoUruguay. It certainly was a fun bus – the guide was totally hilarious and told us a lot about Uruguay than we should know and how much fun living in his country is. We cannot see ourselves hanging out in one of those expensive celebrities-filled beachfront condos, but we probably would be comfortable in the Roosevelt area. We saw Carlos Paez Vilaro at his Casapueblo Art Museum giving autographs to a mob of tourists (and his son that had survived the plane crash in the 70’s was at the signing to assist him) and went to Alto del la Ballena Vineyards for wine tasting, which was hosted by Paula Pivel, the vineyard owner herself. The Tannat was the one several of us enjoyed most (actually, Paula said she blends her Tannat with another grape called Viognier). The day was a down pour, so consequently we could not walk around to tour the vineyards. Of course, we went on the crazy bridge and the 5-finger sculpture on the sand. During our California-weather day in Montevideo, we toured the Old City ourselves on foot per our family friends who grew up there (and visit often) and enjoyed it tremendously. The city is beautiful and looks as if we were in Europe. We visited Plaza Independencia and its guarded underground mausoleum of Jose Artigas and other Uruguayan heroes and toured Palacio Estevez (museum of mementos of the Uruguayan presidency). We also toured Teatro Solis (excellent tour given by a college student on his summer internship there) and Palacio Taranco and visited Catedral Martiz (and, along the way, the tourist stalls of craft work on pedestrian-only Calle Sarandi), the market at Plaza Constitucion, and Mercado del Puerto. We didn’t get to eat at the famous El Palenque as it was packed, and after 10 minutes or so of waiting to be seated and noticing people already seated with menus still on tables prior to our arrival but hadn’t been served, we decided we didn’t want to spend our precious vacation time on such a wait. We also ran out of time and didn’t make it to the Rambla de Montevideo to see locals enjoy riding their bikes and strolling the waterfront while drinking their mate like we’ve read. After our visit, our oldest child (who will be required to study abroad at least one semester for her college major of International Relations & Global Studies with minor in Latin American Study) said she would like to study abroad there (with Buenos Aires right behind her 2nd choice after our BA days). In Buenos Aires, we biked in the hot heat of BA summer day, starting from Plaza San Martin, touring the south part of BA first (modern Puerto Madero, peaceful Reserva Ecologica, colorful La Boca, funky San Telmo), but giving up on touring the rest of the north part of BA after just getting to visit La Recoleta Cemetery. We were just exhausted from the heat and our bums were by then sore! During the bike tour, our guide (from Bike Tours Buenos Aires) took us to an oasis of a lunch spot in the shady and breezy courtyard of Santa Catalina Monastery on San Martin near Av. Cordoba. The food was good and doesn’t seem like a touristy place. We enjoy bike tours and had done one in several cities we visited in the past. It’s a quicker way, than walking, to see a lot in a short time but more engaging than riding around in a tour bus or a taxi. That night, we went to a wine flight pescatore dinner at a puerta cerrada called Casa Felix in Chacarita. It was full of Americans who also read a recent write-up on Casa Felix in the NY Times, but we had wonderful food and Argentina wine pairing. The server and Chef Diego were wonderful at explaining the food and the wine being served. DISEMBARKATION The next day, with all of our 4 carry-ons in our possession, we disembarked the ship by 9am and went through immigration fairy quickly. POST-CRUISE We took a taxi at the port terminal to our hotel in Microcenter and were lucky enough to be able to check-in early, but we didn’t stay long. We walked to the Obelisk and toured the opulent Teatro Colon nearby. We then took a taxi out to Puerto de Frutos to hangout like the locals do on a weekend and to enjoy a parrilla. We picked Parrilla Los Islenos, which appeared that day to be locals’ favorite. No English speaking servers or menu … our young waitress was patient and kind, attempting to explain to us. Our kids’ Spanish study couldn’t help to translate the variety of meats (or actually animal parts) listed in the menu, so we blindly ordered a parrillada and were not sure the meat that was on our hot charcoaled grill the waitress set on our table! Having been to Spain we figured out the blood sausage, which we didn’t like and avoided (and one of us having lived in Bangkok, identified what looked to be intestine and tipped off the family). The rest on the little grill was delicious and we particularly enjoyed it with the freshly-made chimichurri condiment. The green salad and the remolacha y zanahoria salad (beets & shredded carrots) were both wonderful. Then our work friend, who lives in Tigre and whose office is in Puerto Madero, picked us up from Puerto de Frutos, took us to ride part of the Tren de la Costa, and gave us a tour of the rest of Tigre, ending the night with us at his home for a delicious pasta dinner made by his mother (who was visiting from Venezuela but originally from Italy) and our kids were introduced to Campari Orange! On our third and final day in BA, our return flight that night was just after midnight. So, we kept one of our hotel rooms to store our suitcases and to have a place to freshen up before heading to the airport, and we decided to take it easy. We ended up taking the Subte to Palermo for a look since we didn’t get to it during our bike tour. Then we checked out Florida Street to see what the hoopla was all about; we were approached by money exchange people every 5 seconds! Guess we looked like tourists! Since our BA hotel nearby gave us an exchange rate of 9 pesos per 1USD, we really don’t understand the excitement over the black market rate when it was just an additional 0.6 peso. Before heading to the airport, we went to La Posada de 1820, a restaurant recommended by our hotel at the corner of Tucuman and San Martin, for dinner. We used the same taxi driver that previously drove us a few times, so getting to the airport was thankfully uneventful. With all 4 of our carry-ons checked through to our home city, our flight arrived in Panama City at the crack of dawn and we got through immigration pretty quick. We were met by our pre-arranged tour guide after immigration. We had an eventful flight due to our younger child having an allergic reaction to the pancakes served on the plane an hour before we landed; we think it must have contained nuts by-product or cross-contaminated with nuts, to which she is severely allergic. With 3 Benadryl in her system and Epipen ready in hand, we really thought it was still going to be an urgent medical emergency upon landing. But somehow she pulled through long enough to clear immigration. We figured she was safer in our own privately hired tour van because we felt we had more control over the situation than being stuck in the airport and not having already cleared immigration. We mentioned to our tour guide right away that we may need to go to the hospital, and he was ready telling us he knows where all the hospitals are and even pointed out the children’s hospital as we went by. Our younger child slept most of our tour as having such bad allergic reaction is very taxing on her body. We visited Casco Viejo and Amador Causeway for the skyline of Panama City from a marina on one of the Amador Islands. We went up on Ancon Hill and our younger child woke up long enough to drink some water and see the vista of Panama City from a different viewpoint and went back to sleep. Of course, we went to Panama Canal Miraflores Locks, and the best part was that by this time, she had recovered a bunch and was able to be more engaged. However, unfortunately for us, there was no ship going through the locks at that time. So, the next best thing … we enjoyed the Captain’s View Simulator at the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center. It gives a captain’s view of entering the locks from the control deck of a ship going through the canal. Also, one of the exhibits shows really well how the locks work similarly to an elevator, using various water levels, to move something vertically and horizontally. So, the ship is like a person riding the elevator, moving vertically as the elevator raises and lowers to different floors of a building but also moving horizontally from one end of canal to finally out the other end of the canal. It is fascinating to think this was engineered during the low tech time of over 100 years ago and built without the benefit of today’s powerful machineries! We were glad to get back on the plane to finally head home since that day was a super long day for us and given the incident with our younger child plus the little sleep we had. SUMMARY All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed this family trip, and all 8 of us in our traveling group really enjoyed our time on the Celebrity Infinity. On the night before last, the head chef came to ask for input of our dining experience during the cruise, and the 4 kids piped up that the chocolate molten cakes were simply the best and should be listed on the left side of the menu, so that it would be available every night. The very next night, though the chocolate molten cake was not scheduled on the menu, the chef brought over chocolate molten cakes for our kids – what an attentive service! Unfortunately for us adults, we were away that night at the puerta cerrada ashore and didn’t get to enjoy the decadently delicious cake for one last time! The Celebrity’s drink package really brought joy to our mornings with the specialty coffees and took fun to the next level for the 4 us adults. The 2 older children, being 19 years old and in South America where minimum drinking age is 18, also ordered a couple of cocktails to try - of course, with parents’ approval! Traveling with 21” carry-on each for a holiday cruise with ports of call of wide temperature range was a big challenge, but we met it ok, judging by all the studio photos from the Celebrity photographers that we purchased. If you would like details on any of the excursions we did, our review of most of the vendors used on this trip is already on TripAdvisor (or will hopefully soon be). We really enjoyed our trip and highly recommend this cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
CelebrityCruise Celebrity Infinity Departure from Valparaiso on the 20th January 2013 Places to visit: Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas, Ushuaia, Puerto Madryn, Punta del Este, Montevideo and Buenos Aires. Check in Delivery of bags. A ... Read More
CelebrityCruise Celebrity Infinity Departure from Valparaiso on the 20th January 2013 Places to visit: Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas, Ushuaia, Puerto Madryn, Punta del Este, Montevideo and Buenos Aires. Check in Delivery of bags. A little unclear where the bags were taken, but they arrived in good order to our cabin. The check-in staff, well trained, took our passports and check-in forms and then we received the boarding cards, which will be our payments/identification cards during the cruise. After the standard safety check we moved outside the terminal to a bus, which will ferried us to the cruise. Arrival to the cruise Arrived to the side of the boat, checked again and then into the boat. Pictures of our faces were taken on arrival (for which purpose, identification?) and then greeted by champagne or juices. No staff there to inform you where the cabin or other facilities were. Quite chaotic (minus point). We went to the main restaurant on deck 10, Oceanview Cafe and Grill, where we had our first lunch. Good food and pleasant Asian staff (plus point). The cabin room 3026, deck 3 Small but well equipped, with a large round porthole window. Small but well equipped bathroom. Safe in the room, a good amount of hangers, and the bags can be placed under the bed. Perfect. Pool area deck 10 Nice area, with BBQ area for hamburgers at the external pool, and a nice, healthy food outlet, in the covered pool area. Jogging track deck 11 We watched the departure of the boat and the city of Valparaiso from this deck. It has a small jogging track and a bar. Trellis Restaurant, the main restaurant. We had the 20:30 reservation, table 321, which we shared with two Chilean families. Food was good, a la carte, and a very friendly Philippine waiter, Russel, and the dishes came on short notice. Good and pleasant restaurant. Show at the Celebrity Theatre We watched the first show, not completely, but what we saw was very good. Note: Every night a complete detailed daily program for the next day was left on our bed. First day on board: at sea The weather was very cloudy and cold in the morning. Later became a little better but no sun to be seen, about 17C. The whole day at sea travelling from Valparaiso to Puerto Montt. Breakfast in the Oceanview Cafe and Grill, nothing too interesting. Standard bf fare and bad coffee. Ilounge deck 9 (Internet Centre) Too small for the amount of passengers of this cruise! Crowded area. To buy Internet minutes we were requested to come back in one hour (minus point). Conference of Anthony Dalton We watched part of it, and what we heard and saw was very interesting. Presentations on the excursions available during the cruise. The Celebrity Theatre was the place for this presentation, which was interesting, and with good information and pictures of the places one may visit in Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas. SS United States Restaurant cooking demonstration Very interesting and funny demonstration done by the chef and restaurant assistant manager as they prepared some of the food offered in the menu of this restaurant. Good show! Captain Diner and Show A good number of passengers were in gala clothes, ladies in long dresses and men in tuxedos. Diner in Restaurant Trellies was excellent. After the diner, we moved to the Theatre for a nice cocktail, a presentation of the Captain and his senior staff, followed by an excellent show with Broadway music. Second day: Puerto Montt Started cloudy and cold, about 14 C, then changed in a sunny and warm day, about 24 C. We started not too early to avoid the passengers that had booked bus tours to visit to the local towns, about 10 am, and a number of transport boats ("tenders") took us from the boat to the port. After arrival we walked for a few minutes into Algelmo arts and craft market. From there a family member, who lives in this area, took my wife and I to visit the towns of Puerto Montt, Frutillar and Puerto Varas. The last two towns are very nice and are located on the shore of the lake Llanquihue. The lake was amazing large, and the weather changed and became quite warm, about 24 C, and the view of the lake was just amazing. Huge lake with massive volcanoes' near by. Great for pictures! The organisation of the transport to and from the land to cruise ship was just excellent. Good work of the crew. Back into the ship. Tour of the ship We tried to book a tour to see the ship technical areas (announced in the daily news) and because it is not open for public, an extra charge of US$150 was requested!!! A shame for the cruise organisation. Third day Chilean Fjords: at sea Sunny and cold weather, about 14 C When I opened the window curtains of the cabin, I saw the Chilean fjords at 100 meters from our window. What a view! We started the day not too early, with beautiful weather but cold wind. Taking into consideration the part of Chile we are navigating, the weather must be considered very nice. Just walked around the vessel and because most of the chairs, at the protected areas from the wind, were occupied, we settled for the Cafe de Bacio at deck 5. From the side windows one has an excellent view of the sea. Life classic music was played. Wild sea and soft music it is an unusual combination, but a perfect one. Tours Bookings We booked all tours at the same time at the Tours desk, very efficient, we were just asked if we had any requirements regarding languages. In no time the tickets were produced. Excellent. Martini Bar We seated at the Martini Bar because of the large windows and, though we were not drinking, we enjoyed the Barman show pouring 10 martini's at the same time. Great fun ... Celebrity Theatre Very funny show of juggling and music. We had a good time. Then to Trellies Restaurant for our diner. Fourth day: at sea Mostly cloudy, 14 C Late start, we took coffee and tea at Cafe al Bacio with croissants (all croissants and Danish pastries are for free but coffee and tea have to be paid). Then to the Theatre for the Presentations on the Tours of Ushuaia and Puerto Madryn. Excellent presentations of Peter Croyle. Then a combined presentation by Peter Croyle and Graham Sunderland on Cape Horn, which filled the Theatre. Very good presentation with excellent pictures. For a change we had our lunch at Trellies Restaurant, deck 5, and share a table with a group of Americans. Food was very good, a little too much for a lunch.... (I ordered too much food). Then to the Constellation Lounge where we spend the afternoon reading and watching the sea. A dance class was done during that afternoon in the same place. As usual, at seven pm, we went to the show and this time a magician from UK, with a contortionist from Mongolia. Very good. Diner at Trellis Restaurant. Fifth day: Punta Arenas Climate was mild for this part of the world, about 14 C and windy. The cruise arrived at 06 AM in Punta Arenas and we left the boat about 10:30 to walk around in the city. Visited the main square, Plaza de Armas, with the monument to Hernando de Magallanes, the discoverer of the Strait which bears his name. Here are located some arts and crafts vendors for the tourist visiting the city. Then to the famous local cemetery, not an usual place to visit in a city, but because of the rich past of the first merchant families, the tombs are richly decorated, some with statues brought from Europe! Then a walk by the seaside in our way back to the cruise for lunch and some rest. A nice detail: we were waited with hot chocolate before going to the transfer for the ship. Sixth day: Ushuaia Beautiful day, sunny and about 18C, cold wind. Exceptionally sunny day for this part of the world. We started the day very early, about 5:30 am and very cold, to be able to see the glaciers in the channel to Ushuaia. Worth the effort because the view was impressive by all means. The weather was cold and wet. Back to bed. In the morning, we took a catamaran tour to watch sea lions, cormorants and, of course, the main attraction of this part of the world: the penguins. The trip was 2.5 hours both ways, and though it was long, it was worth the trip. The scenery with the penguins and their young's, was so interesting, one could see them from 2 meters distance. We were not allowed to land not to disturb the nests. During the trip we received good and detailed information on the land and the animal life we were going to see. Negative point was that no lunch nor any food was included in a 5 hours tour! One could buy coffee, water, beer or sandwiches at very high prices, only to be paid in Argentinian pesos or US dollars. We forgot to carry those currencies, and Chilean pesos were not accepted, so we did not drink nor eat anything for 5 hours! The information of this cruise did not mention this issue. After the daily show, we had our diner at the SS United States Restaurant. The food was superb and the service excellent, and though one has to pay an extra fee of US$40 pp, it was really value for money. Seventh day: at sea Partially cloudy, 16 C. Good weather to sail. Early start, about 6 am, to see Cape Horn. Not a very impressive view, a barren island, but you are at the very end of the American continent. An empty island, not a tree, nor life, nothing. But the climatic conditions were just unusually friendly to us, small waves, windy, and some sun to be seen. Back to bed. This day we spent having some rest and reading at deck 10. The daily show was, as usual, very good. Nice group of singers and dancers with music of the 70's with the show "Boogie Wonderland". Second Gala Night, and many guests very well dressed. Eighth day: at sea Partially cloudy at early morning, and then nice and sunny about 20 C. After breakfast we joined most of people in deck 10 (sun deck, swimming pools and Jacuzzis) to enjoy the nice weather. Reading, and having a light lunch by the spa pool, took most of our day. Ninth day: Puerto Madryn Sunny day, temperature about 28C. Very dry landscape. This area famous because during part of the year (not now) there are whales. Also there are guanacos, penguins, sea lions, andu (south American ostrich) and many birds. Arrived early at the day and buses were parked at the side of the vessel. The city is about 15 minutes by shuttle busses provided by the cruise. We decided not to go to a tour this time, because we have seen already most of the wild life in Chile, but to go to the city centre. Small city, not very interesting and after walking a few blocks, we decided to go back to the cruise for lunch. Back to the sun deck for reading. The evening show was very interesting with a Cuban pianist-singer that played and sung nice Latin songs. He is a very talented piano player. Then to the diner. Tenth day: at sea Sunny day, 28 C Show of the crew and some of the passengers: a really funny and entertaining show. The theatre was full and most of the staff of the cruise was introduced to the guests. Very good work. A presentation was held on the technical aspects of the vessel, with an energy plant that produces energy enough for a 30.000 people city! The technological "secrets" of the machine room and the propulsion system were detailed mentioned. A good presentation for technically interested people as myself. Good story. Eleventh day: Punta del Este Beautiful, hot and humid day. More than 30 C. The city is just nice, friendly, looking more like a place in south Europe, than in South America. We walked for about 3 hours, admiring the nice and friendly architecture, the view of the sea, the beaches, the boats, etc. In a nice restaurant at the street side, 2 coffees, a bottle of water and the bill was US$ 15! A lot of nice shops, with quite modern and fashionable clothes. But a tropical place after all, therefore too hot for our walking tour, so we decided to have some rest (and a good lunch) in the cruise. Good theatre show and then to the restaurant. Twelfth day: Montevideo Sunny and humid day, 34 C Took a walking tour of Montevideo of about 4 hours. We visited the old centre of the town, some colonial houses, heard about the history of Uruguay and their independence fathers. Also the theatre, small streets full of shops, and visited 3 nice squares in the centre of old Montevideo. The guide was quite good and gave enough information without becoming irritating! It was hot and humid, therefore coming back to the cruise was a great idea to eat and drink something. We thought that, though the tour was ok,we should not advise this tour. One can do the same, cheaper, by taxi. No show for us because we were quite tired with the tour. Some rest in our cabin, then diner. Thirteenth day: Buenos Aires Cloudy day, showers expected, 28 C, changed to sunny weather.. Tour to an Argentinian farm "Estancia" where the life, food, wine, dances and horses were the main theme. Received by "gauchos", the local cowboys, with wine and empanadas. What a friendly start of the tour. Then to the garden, where local dances were presented, we also could dance with the young dancers, and more wine and empanadas. Then to a field where one could be driven in a horse wagon or, if you can ride a horse. Then to serious business, the Argentinian BBQ or "asado", where 2 cooks were busy preparing a huge amount of beef, sausages and chicken for the guests. We were invited to come to the "quincho" or restaurant of the ranch. Nice and simple tables with plenty wine, beer, sodas, etc., for the guests. A big lunch was then served and afterward a show of local dances started. To finish this nice day, we watched how the gauchos showed their skills as horse riders. A great finish for a nice tour. Back to the cruise. Bags to be left outside the cabin by 11 pm. Fourteenth day: Buenos Aires We started the day early; we were supposed to leave our cabin by 9:30 am at the latest. Then by bus to the Terminal 2 of the Port of Buenos Aires, were we found our bags in well-organised rows bearing the number and the colour we received at the cruise. Then to a taxi row, a little chaotic, but we left for the airport back to Santiago de Chile. End of the cruise... To finish.... Passengers profile Large part of the passenger were over 60 years of age, almost no children. Many North Americans as well as Europeans, South Africans and, of course, Latin Americans. Tips You will be many days at sea, therefore take enough lecture material, games, etc. Evening dress was from very simple to very formal for the formal diners. The climate is changing so take enough layers of clothes to be able to cope with the climate changes in the beginning of the trip (south part of Chile and Argentina), from cold to warm weather, all within the same day. The first day walk all the 12 decks, to find out what is where, because we were still discovering places during the fifth day! There is wifi in the whole ship, as from US$0.75 per minute depending the amount of minute's package you buy. And do not forget that everyday at 4 pm, there is High Tea in the main restaurant at deck 10, with small sandwiches, cones, pastries, etc. A treat... A word of thanks My wife and I never had been in a cruise before. This one was our maiden voyage, and I must say we were impressed by the hard and efficient work of the whole crew, all areas of the vessel were spotless, the restaurants very nicely presented, the staff very well groomed, nothing to complain about, only praise them for their dedicated work. An experience to be repeated. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
A little about us, past cruisers on other lines (Carnival,Princess,HAL,RCI) first time on a Celebrity ship. The ship is in nice condition and our room was very since we got upgraded (thank you Celebrity) from OV to veranda. Really ... Read More
A little about us, past cruisers on other lines (Carnival,Princess,HAL,RCI) first time on a Celebrity ship. The ship is in nice condition and our room was very since we got upgraded (thank you Celebrity) from OV to veranda. Really enjoyed watching the waves go by from our veranda and the room was very nice. We got onto to the ship in fifteen minutes even tho there were two other ships in port this day. We heard most others had to wait much longer boarding times but we were lucky since we arrived at the port early. In Buenos Aires one must check in the board a bus to get to the ship this is a working port. The weather going south was nice and even crossing the Drake passage went smoothly. Antarctica was very nice and we saw many seals, whales and penguins. Many ice bergs floated past our ship and we had nice weather except for some fog. Heading north we stopped at the Falkland Islands and did a penguin tour there, great place to visit. And wished we had more time there... The Ship We ate most dinners in the MDR and we were happy with most meals there, the buffet was okay for lunch but did get a little crowded on sea days around noon. The burger grill made great burgers and hot dogs and sandwich place at the end of the buffet was very good too. The only issue we had with food was eating breakfast in the MDR, twice we had cold food that should have been hot so stopped eating in there for breakfast. The entertainment was nice and we enjoyed most of the shows. The ship didn't have a movie theater and missed that but they did have movies in the staterooms for rent. My only complaints were that this ship didn't have a walk around deck, no way to walk around w/o taking the stairs to make a complete circle. We took this cruise for the opportunity to see Antarctica and Celebrity provided that and will try another Celebrity cruise in the future. Last item, we cruised with our 13 yr. old son and the teen center was closed for this cruise because there were enough teens on board, I understand Celebrity can't control how many teenagers on board but wished they offered something else for my son. Teenagers don't want to play games with small children and this was all that was available to our son. Read Less
Celebrity Infinity Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 3.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.8
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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