Celebrity Infinity Cruise Review by cruisinsusin
- Sail Date: February 2018
- Destination: Antarctica
- Cabin Type: Aqua Class
We have just returned from the Infinity Antarctic cruise Feb 18. Overall, this was an amazing cruise. We began the planning almost 4 years ago ( we scheduled on a 2016 sailing but had to postpone for (good) family reasons). After that long, it was hard to believe that the time had arrived! About 3 weeks before sailing we were notified by Celebrity of pod problems on Infinity that would necessitate some slowing of the sailing speed and missing Puerto Madryn. This was disappointing but this port was not the reason we booked this cruise- that was Antarctica and the goal was to be able to spend as much time there as possible.
We flew Delta non stop to Buenos Aires on the 14th ( arriving in the am of the 15th). Although taxis and remis are available, after 10 hours of travel we decided to arrange for a driver to meet us at EZE. After much research, we reserved with David Transfer taxi for all of our transfers and we are so pleased that we had. David was very responsive by email and emailed us pictures of himself as well as where he would be waiting at EZE. He was there waiting for us even though we were a bit late after waiting for our luggage (that took a long time to deplane!).
We stayed at the Ayres de Recoleta Plaza hotel- these are actually more like efficiency apartments than a hotel. This was a pleasant place to stay-not fancy but quite comfortable- and very convenient to restaurants and the Recoleta cemetery. They deliver a substantial continental breakfast to your room at the time you choose (and even came earlier than their usual hours because of our early departure on Friday for our flight at AEP). We stayed Thurs night and Saturday night. They willingly stored our big luggage while we were gone on Friday (so we only had to take carryons with us) and had it waiting for us in our new room upon our return to BA on Saturday. The only caution is that there are nearby restaurants and bars with live music in the evening so request an apt/room towards the back rather than up front if you are sensitive to noise.
Literally 2-3 doors down from the hotel is a small restaurant with excellent inexpensive empanadas- Cumen Cumen- so we had a snack while waiting for our room to be ready. We also visited the Recoleta Cemetery- it is truly like a city, with streets and crossroads and several story buildings ( mausoleums)- some of the architecture is amazing and some have beautiful stained glass windows ( best seen from inside the crypt!) There is a map at the entrance but we just wandered around street by street.
Most restaurants in Argentina start serving dinner at 8pm and there were reservations up until 1130pm- after a long overnight flight we knew that wouldn’t work so we reserved a “late lunch” at 3pm at Fervor- what an excellent meal in a lovely environment. Amazing steaks and great tiramisu for dessert.
We decided to add on a trip to Iguazu Falls since we were so close from BA. Again, after research and reviewing tripadvisor and cruise critic, as well as pricing hotels and airfare, we contacted Pablo from 01Argentina travel agency. He was very responsive on email and put together a package of airfare from AEP Jorge Newbery airport, transfers to and from Iguazu airport and the Sheraton (now Melia) hotel and was able to do that for less than we could ourselves. Iguazu falls was absolutely amazing, it is impossible to capture the beauty,scope and intensity in still photos! The Melia was very nice and much better than I had expected based on some TA reviews- they are supposed to be starting a reno project this month but we did not see any construction during our visit. We upgraded to falls view for a nominal amount- wow! Staying in the park allows for earlier entry and later stay than if staying in Iguazu town. Food was expensive but not out of line for most hotel restaurants. Breakfast was included in our room rate and there was a lovely buffet.
The transfers to and from the airport were on time and the driver helpful in purchasing our national park entries.
We returned to BA Saturday evening and David’s colleague was right there to get us. Our room was ready and waiting and, as mentioned, all our luggage was already in the room awaiting us. We had dinner at Rodi bar restaurant. This was very much a neighborhood locals restaurant and there were only 2 tourists there besides us. The steaks were excellent and not expensive and the empanada appetizers great.
David was right on time to take us to the cruise ship Sunday morning. We arrived at the port at about 11 am. The cruise port at BA was very efficient and from curbside to Café Al Bacio was 30 minutes.
Infinity is not a new ship but she is in very good shape. The staff are quite friendly and welcoming and were quick to learn names and preferences. We had upgraded to Aquaclass when there was a price drop after final payment and were able to experience Blu- the quieter atmosphere and personal attention were enjoyable. The food was very good- we did not have anything that disappointed.
The cabin was nice but much like a regular veranda- the balcony was a bit bigger. We are not spa people so didn’t use the Persian gardens and the shower heads would not be the reason to book here. We would book Aqua again if the price was right but wouldn’t pay a high premium for Aqua.
Café Al Bacio was excellent as usual. The staff were very attentive but sometimes, especially mid- afternoon the area became extremely crowded.
We had 3 sea days to start but enjoy the down time-there were excellent Beyond the Podium lectures. Ranger John and Dr Peter had interesting topics but Mickeylive was definitely the highlight! His talks were consistently standing room only and very enjoyable. We attended every one and learned many new things each time. The Snapshot rally was a great idea ( a lot of work for Mickey and his wife ) and so appreciated- by sharing 4 of our photos, we now have a disc with many other cool photos from the trip.
Because of the pod issues, our scheduled arrival in Ushuaia had previously been moved from 9 am to 2pm. We were right on time arriving to the port. Beagle channel sail in was beautiful and we were able to see many cormorants and penguins while sailing in. There were many penguins swimming in the water ( I have since learned this is called a raft of penguins) and lots on land ( a waddle). We had some time to explore the town and then took a tour. We were able to arrange, with others on our roll call, to go to Martillo Island with Pira tours. We took a 90 min bus ride to the Harberton ranch and then took a boat to the island and were able to walk with thousands of Magellanic and Gentoo penguins. Never knew that some penguins bray like donkeys. Since we were there later in the day, when they apparently are more vocal, we heard a lot of hee haws! There was a pair of King penguins on the beach as well- what a treat!.
We got back to the ship at about 11pm and all aboard was 1130 and we were on the way to Antarctica- but first Cape Horn and the Drake!
The weather at Cape Horn was absolutely amazing- blue skies and smooth waters and the Captain was able to do a few 360s so all sides of the ship had excellent views The helipad was opened for those who wanted that experience.
The Drake had some shake but not terrible. We did have some rain and fog and the waves were estimated to be about 3 meters but even with my mal de mer tendencies, I didn’t have any issues.
We arrived to Antarctica with fog and clouds but this lifted for while during our time and there was even a big rainbow. Icebergs of many shapes, penguins and sea birds and whales and the occasional seal were there to welcome us. Antarctica is awesome and lived up to all our hopes and expectations-this definitely was the bucket list reason for this cruise and we were thrilled with the time there. We had clear weather during our Paradise Bay stop and again the Captain was able to do a slow 360 to give all the incredible views. We were out on our balcony most of the time but did also go down to deck 4 sometimes. We were at Elephant Island the next day and again, beautiful weather and views. It’s hard to imagine how Ernest Shakleton and his crew survived on that stark landscape.
Soon after leaving Elephant Island we were again into fog and some rain and again Drake Shake but nothing bad.
We arrived at the Falkland Islands on time and tenders actually started earlier than expected. We were on land by 7am and met up with Nyree from Estancia excursions to go to Volunteer Point. She was set up at the pier and waiting even though we were early. She had been extremely responsive to email and was very pleasant to speak with in person. She paired us up with another couple from the ship and we went with Leon in his Range Rover 4x4 jeep. There was another jeep running with us but fortunately neither of us were stuck- were glad that Leon is very experienced at driving thru the peat bogs as there were a lots of big ruts and dips! It was very interesting hearing about life in the Islands and the time went by quickly. We were actually the first car to arrive at Volunteer Point and it was amazing ( I am using that word a lot in this review but it is true!). There were hundreds and hundreds of King Penguins, many still with their young brown fuzzy chicks. There were waddles on the meadow areas and smaller groups walking down to the beach and ultimately getting into the water. There were Gentoo and Magellanic penguins here too but the Kings were definitely the stars of the show. We spent about 2 hours there and then had our box lunch and headed back. We had a short tour of Stanley and then were able to walk around a bit and shop. Highly recommend touring with Estancia – the tour cost less than half of the same ship’s excursion and we had a wonderful time!
There were then 2 sea days and then we arrived in Montevideo- we decided to self tour here and walked around the Old Town. It was a pleasant walk and did find some nice local craft items in the market.
Although not much for attending shows, we did decide to attend the final show which was a group of 4 Argentinian singer/dancers/musicians and this was very enjoyable.
We arrived back to BA early and were off the ship in no time. Bags were waiting and David was right on time to pick us up for the last day. Since our flight was not until 9pm, we had arranged for him to take us around for a brief city tour and then out to Santa Susana ranch for the gaucho experience and barbecue. Lots of good food and drink, fun singing and dancing and horse back or carriage rides if desired. The gauchos did a horse back riding show to conclude. A fun way to spend the last day. We arrived at EZE at 545 and it took 90 minutes to get to pre-security to be able to drop our bags ( so be sure to leave plenty of time). It took another half hour to get thru security and passport control/customs and were finally at the gate. No drinks allowed to be carried on the plane, even if purchased when you get to the gate so be warned- either it had to be consumed before boarding or thrown out. There was also another security check while boarding and all bags were opened. Once we got on board, the flight was smooth and 10 hours later we were back in the US.
We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and have no complaints- everything was excellent. Other than missing Puerto Madryn, we had no awareness of any pod issues and we were on time or even early for all our arrivals. The staff were on the ball and friendly, our cabin attendant Jose like a ninja, the wait staff and other Blu staff attentive and so welcoming (Rosibel was a joy), Vivie from the bar staff knew us and our preferences after 1 day.
We highly recommend David transfer taxi (https://www.facebook.com/pg/David-Transfer-Taxi-317373678456050/about/?ref=page_internal) and Estancia excursions (http://estancia-excursions.com). The Pira tour experience was great and walking with the penguins very cool- contacting PIra pre cruise was a bit challenging however. 01Argentina travel was excellent for our Iguazu trip (http://www.01argentina.com)
This was a trip of a lifetime and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone.
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