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14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
we feel absolutely cheated out of our holiday money. We are battling farmers who have saved our money for what was to be the holiday of our lifetime. Firstly, there was an 18% service charge on everything we bought, then there was a place ... Read More
we feel absolutely cheated out of our holiday money. We are battling farmers who have saved our money for what was to be the holiday of our lifetime. Firstly, there was an 18% service charge on everything we bought, then there was a place on the invoice for a tip. A few times it was underlined. A cheap bottle of wine we bought in a supermarket in Santiago for $4.50 was on the menu for $35 + 18% etc. They X rayed your bag if you'd been ashore checking that you hadn't bought any alcohol with you. We paid gratuities in package purchase price in Australia, but when aboard, they charged again. When my wife inquired at the information desk she was told that was only for the room boy. Everywhere we went someone was trying to sell us something. It wasn't only us that felt cheated either. There was not even a picture theatre on board, instead you had to sit in the bough of the ship in the open air. The free shows were all second rate. There was a poor old fellow who gave seminars on various topics, he was good, but we got the feeling he was only paid by a free trip. If this is what cruise ship holidays are about, count us out on any more. Last holiday was on a Trafalgar bus tour around Eastern Europe. That was much better value. I wouldn't advise anyone to cruise Celebrity! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
From Valparaiso to Fort Lauderdale is a very long way both in distance and in culture. The journey was fascinating. Embarkation was swift but access to staterooms was delayed due to extensive cleaning following an outbreak of intestinal ... Read More
From Valparaiso to Fort Lauderdale is a very long way both in distance and in culture. The journey was fascinating. Embarkation was swift but access to staterooms was delayed due to extensive cleaning following an outbreak of intestinal illness. For the whole of the trip there was constant cleaning by the staff and ubiquitous hand gel. We visited Arica - there is a big hill in the middle of town, Pisco - there are turtles and other creatures to see on a short boat trip during a half day visit, Manta- there is a small but interesting market with local crafts and lots of Panama hats, Colon - there is lots to learn about the Panama Canal, Cartagena - there is a hop on hop off bus which leaves from the quayside. There were lots of shore excursion possibilities in most ports but they were expensive and often ended up as a drive round the countryside. As usual, many people used local taxis or had prearranged tours using local firms. However, for my husband and me, as well as the other 2000 passengers, the highlight was the Canal - a superb, fascinating day-long experience which made the whole trip worthwhile. On board was an expert who provided an on going commentary - excellent! When we finally berthed in Fort Lauderdale we were in a shiny new world surrounded by vast cruise ships and 6 lane highways. Immigration took over an hour ( we have waited for far longer in the past ) and this curtailed our trip to the Everglades Park. We were thrilled by the boat trip but missed the alligator show because people had to be dropped at Fort Lauderdale Airport before we were taken to Miami Airport. Overall we really enjoyed the cruise. The officers and crew and staff could not have been more pleasant and helpful. Nothing was a bother - even when the sole of my husband's dress shoe came loose Guest Relations-who never sleep - arranged a repair. There was some scrambling for tables in the Oceanview Buffet Restaurant and confusing queueing but the Trellis Restaurant provided a most enjoyable ambience at all mealtimes and we were served by Vincent who had the patience of a saint. We loved the entertainment on board provided by the core group of singers and dancers and the fabulous trapeze pair, as well as the guest performers who came and went. The Cruise Director Esperanza was glamorous and energetic in making sure that everything went with a swing and high praise for Rachel the Activity Manager who never stopped and threw herself into everything ( including the swimming pool ) with gusto, leading from the front and remembering names impressively. There was something for everyone on sea days ranging from daft deck games to learned but entertaining lectures. Or there was the chance to do nothing but look at the sea while sipping the cocktail of the day. This cruise had been long anticipated and did not disappoint. Celebrity sets a standard which is hard to beat. We will be sailing with Celebrity again in the Fall from New Jersey to Quebec. Can't wait to get back on board!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
I requested a refund for the cruise we just took on 12/20/2014 - 1/7/2015. Silversea clearly cheated their naive customers, who paid for the 6-star cruise but received a 2-star experience at best. - The food was terrible, and they ran ... Read More
I requested a refund for the cruise we just took on 12/20/2014 - 1/7/2015. Silversea clearly cheated their naive customers, who paid for the 6-star cruise but received a 2-star experience at best. - The food was terrible, and they ran out of even of that in the end. There were hardly any fruit, stale nuts and terrible frozen fish. -The TV was not working properly. - The new in-residence entertainment team was inexperienced, vulgar with no singing talent. - No aerobic classes or instructor for the first half of the cruise - some passengers complained about dirty carpets and leaking windows Every single passenger complained about this and more. A shameless rip-off by Silversea Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
I was unfortunate enough to pay for a 14 day Cruise on the Celebrity Infinity from Santiago Chile to Miami via the Panama Canal. I am a solo Male Passenger, 47 years old, with 27 years of Hospitality Management skills under my belt, and a ... Read More
I was unfortunate enough to pay for a 14 day Cruise on the Celebrity Infinity from Santiago Chile to Miami via the Panama Canal. I am a solo Male Passenger, 47 years old, with 27 years of Hospitality Management skills under my belt, and a total of 30 years of hospitality experience. I literally could write a book on how tragic this cruise ended up being, but I will stick to the larger broad issues. Basically if you find people 40-80 that are well traveled interesting you will enjoy your fellow passengers. That and about 9 of the 975 plus crew members I had good experiences with. The SS United States also has great food and service. Everything else aboard was so bad if I had not gotten so sick so many times it would have been laughable. The ship is very poorly maintained to anyone with a trained eye and an ounce of interest. From large advertised destinations onboard, to the spilled sloppy paint job, rust, tarnished mirrors,and wood that lacked varnish, broken items,etc. the list is endless. The Management Crew on this ship are inept, defensive, rude, and completely unable to communicate with each other, their staff, or the customers in any effective matter be the issue large or small. I was Welcomed onboard the first Night to a wonderful dinner of Food Poisoning, which repeated itself a total of three times on this voyage. Later I was exposed to Noro Virus, became extremely ill, locked down in my room like a prisoner and was forced to eat food that is known to cause me gout. Upon emerging from Prison the entire ship seemed to be coughing at that point so the last two days at sea, I was treated to an upper respiratory infection, that evolved into full blown bronchitis which I'm still being treated for. As much as I would like to say the staff caused any of the problems would be totally unfair, as clearly management in every department failed miserably. If you like an old ship that rolls nearly constantly, is poorly maintained, has poor quality entertainment,lost and damaged laundry, and food that will make you sick, Rush to call your travel agent and make the very next booking. Otherwise this one you might choose to avoid until they can get their act together. The frosting and candles on the cake, when we arrived in Miami those of us that chose express departure ie. we carry all our own items off without help, were sent to a room with two staff members who could not even tell us where the door to exit the ship was. I guess this is what Celebrity repeatedly told us onboard was " Modern Luxury". Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
My wife and I, along with five other couples recently completed a 14 night cruise from Valparaiso, Chile to Miami via the Panama Canal. The purpose of this cruise was to celebrate my 70th birthday. This was our 18th cruise and we have ... Read More
My wife and I, along with five other couples recently completed a 14 night cruise from Valparaiso, Chile to Miami via the Panama Canal. The purpose of this cruise was to celebrate my 70th birthday. This was our 18th cruise and we have Elite status. I mention this so that others realize we are not new to this game. We flew into Santiago four days early, staying at the Marriott hotel, in order to spend time in the city and take a day trip into the Andes. To reach Valparaiso we also hired a van at the hotel and toured our way to the ship. Boarding went very smoothly, and in less than 20 minutes we were aboard, and in our Aqua class cabins. Everyone in our group seemed more than pleased with the ship. the food, the crew, and just about everything connected with this cruise. Two of the couples having recently completed a cruise from Istanbul to Dubai on Regent, seemed especially pleased, so much so that they cancelled another cruise with the same line for this fall, and booked a Celebrity cruise instead. In fact four of the couples also booked a 14 night cruise with Celebrity for next March. The only negative was a small outbreak of Noro that reared up. Having said that, I must commend the ship's staff for keeping the outbreak under control by constantly cleaning, cleaning, and then cleaning again. It worked! The number of cases was held in check, the spreading of the virus was stopped and the cruise continued. Yes, it did cause some confusion and a bit of chaos in Oceanview, but I figure that so many crew members were wiping down the ship that some services suffered. A first world problem, really. I suppose that if one was confined to one's cabin, then the trip would suffer, but what other choice is there? As for ports on this cruise, I would refer you to other reviews. In general, I concur with what others have written. The passage through the canal was fascinating, and Cartagena was our favorite stop. We got off the ship right on time and were deposited quickly at the airport. That is another story for another time! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
Our first Cruise on one of the Millennium Class Ships. I can see why they at a Favorite of veteran Cruisers. They have an Uncrowded feel and a very Understated Décor. The Great Service we have always enjoyed on Celebrity Ships and ... Read More
Our first Cruise on one of the Millennium Class Ships. I can see why they at a Favorite of veteran Cruisers. They have an Uncrowded feel and a very Understated Décor. The Great Service we have always enjoyed on Celebrity Ships and outstanding Food and Entertainment. We were traveling with Friends and Relatives some of who were on their First Cruise. For once we never used any of the Cruise Excursions but just looked for a Local Van and Guide in each port. The Large Bus groups are always limited by the Slowest person in the Group and we found we could tailor our stops to our own needs and the prices were always fair. We were surprised how the Infinity's Captain spent a great deal of Time among the Guests and not just at the fancy Cocktail parties. One Morning at the Ocean view Café he was eating alone and when he finished he came to our table to ask how we were enjoying or Cruise and wanted our feedback on anything and everything! I have never experienced that on any other ship. Or Next Cruise will be on the Millennium in December. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
Too many people for this size of ship. Do not book this ship unless you enjoy pushing and shoving! We cruised on the Century at Christmas and the experience was totally different. Lifeboat drill- Too crowded to see/hear instructions. ... Read More
Too many people for this size of ship. Do not book this ship unless you enjoy pushing and shoving! We cruised on the Century at Christmas and the experience was totally different. Lifeboat drill- Too crowded to see/hear instructions. Many people tried to leave the claustrophic environment. Why doesn't Celebrity put this information on the stateroom TV and make checking that you've watched it a pre-requisite to accessing your account on line? Account- No final account provided. I'm waiting to see if my bill agrees with what the TV account said on the last day. Stateroom- good, space under the bed for your suitcases is a plus. The bathroom stank of chlorine on entry. Our Stateroom Attendant was attentive, pleasany and very helpful. The room service for breakfast was excellent. A plumbing problem was swiftly dealt with, as was a broken drawer. Food- My manners are not trough like enough to cope with the awful manners of many fellow passengers in the buffet in the Ocean View and the pushing and shoving of too many guests, not enough open hatches and a bland and repetitive offering. This was not that which we experienced on other Celebrity ships. Tables were not cleaned quickly enough. Trellis restaurant: Good staff but not enough for the numbers on this ship. Food good but not exceptional. Other (Celebrity) cruises we have been on have had better food. Sommeliers pushing for wine orders before you had a chance to order the meal or decide what to eat were annoying. We were twice kept waiting too long in line for the Trellis, despite having a reservation whilst butlers argued with the entry staff about bookings. Qsine- We declined to go and looking in we never saw more than an a handful of people in there (all looking bored!)- but may be it was the wrong time? SS United States- We went several times. It is a great haven to escape the overfull Trellis. Attentive service and very good food, but not as good as Murano on Century or Normandie. Entertainment- Great production show. Generally excellent, except one poor and inadequate slapstick comedian who appeared in danger of seriously damaging one of the dancers- not funny! The ventilation in the theatre was inadequate. We felt as though we were in a hot and soupy fog, which may account for the sick state in which we returned home. We were two of several (or more?) guests who fell ill in the course of this voyage. On several occasions the coughing and sneezing in the theatre drowned out the speakers on the enrichment programme. The air conditioning on the ship was poor generally and insects could be seen around the ducts outside on deck. We had to call our cabin steward to a cockroach/ cricket in our stateroom one night. Good Cruise Director. Enrichment- Good entertaining speakers. Graham Sunderland was particularly good. The Martini Bar- Only go here if you are prepared to wait to the loud noise of gym music. You will ultimately get served (if lucky!). Beware the Happy Hour! It may make you angry! Exclusions (unpublished) apply (like green drinks only). The awful noise of gym music in the Martini Bar drowned out the string quartet. Shore excursions: Poor, ill informed staff with an unhelpful and arrogant attitude."Presentations" by shore excursion staff; awful- just a sell for Celebrity. Maps provided with the programme were irrelevant and failed to show the location of the ship in relation to local attractions. Ship cleanliness- Possibly the problem is that the ship is over stateroomed but on three occasions the stench on entering lifts/ public areas was intolerable. After five good Celebrity cruises in two years we felt really let down. Will we use Celebrity again? At the moment I don't know. Possibly/ probably not. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
We have just returned from a 14 day cruise from Santiago up to Fort Lauderdale via the Panama Canal which, at the time of booking, was portrayed as a cruise of a lifetime. Having cruised many times before, 19 in total, this cruise was one ... Read More
We have just returned from a 14 day cruise from Santiago up to Fort Lauderdale via the Panama Canal which, at the time of booking, was portrayed as a cruise of a lifetime. Having cruised many times before, 19 in total, this cruise was one of the poorest. The travel arrangements from London to Santiago and our return from Miami to Heathrow were shambolic!Iberia airlines are NOT well organised!The ship is clearly in need of a facelift and the senior crew members need to revise their attitudes to passengers. There is too much emphasis on self-importance and a general lack of passenger liaison. The general crew on the other hand were excellent and made the cruise more enjoyable. The food was repetitive and generally poorly presented. We chose select dining and received excellent service at table. However it was evident that the availability of tables was a problem and the space allocated to select dining was insufficient to meet the demand. Shore excursions were expensive and over-rated!We cruised the East Coast of South America including the Antarctic two years ago with another cruise company and that was a trip of a lifetime!! So my advice to would be cruisers is to look at other cruise ships which are clearly more passenger orientated and not as revenue motivated. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
This was our tenth cruise but first on Celebrity, we are a couple in our forties who love cruising and love being on holiday, so find it hard to find any faults.Pre Cruise: We flew from Dublin via Madrid to Santiago, the first leg was with ... Read More
This was our tenth cruise but first on Celebrity, we are a couple in our forties who love cruising and love being on holiday, so find it hard to find any faults.Pre Cruise: We flew from Dublin via Madrid to Santiago, the first leg was with Iberia, their service was bad and we had a three hour delay, the second leg was with LAN who were fantastic, I'd definitely fly with them again. We stayed one night in the Radisson Plaza Santiago which was a lovely hotel with very friendly staff. To get to the ship we took a tour/transfer with AboutChile, which we shared with another couple in a very comfortable air conditioned van, both our guide and driver were outstanding and the trip was very reasonable.Embarkation: We arrived at the port in the final hour of embarkation, and we were on the ship within 10 minutes, the fastest embarkation we have experienced.The ship: We were a bit apprehensive about the ship being shabby, but we thought it was beautiful. There were small areas (rust around doors in the bathroom) if you looked closely you would find, but all in all we were pleased with the ships overall appearance.Stateroom: This was the first time we had a balcony stateroom as we normally go for an outside. Our balcony was angled so we had one and a half times the area which was nice, but unfortunately we didn't get sun on the balcony until around 3.30pm, so we didn't use it as much as we thought we would. The room was spacious and the shower was larger than other cruises we had been on. We enjoyed having the jug of water and ice renewed twice daily in the room.Food: We thought the buffet at breakfast and lunch was far superior to other ships we had been on as there was so much choice, although at dinner if you wanted to avoid the MDR the dinner buffet was poor compared to other ships which usually have the same food in the buffet as is served in the MDR. We enjoyed our meals every night with the beef Wellington being a high point for me. Being a desert lover I was a bit disappointed with the calibre of desserts, but always managed to find something lol! We enjoyed the Cova Cafe with its speciality coffees and cookies, and it was also nice to have free flavoured ice cream which a lot of ships don't do.Entertainment: This was the only part of the ship that we were disappointed in. We love the shows with the singers and dancers, and there were only three of these in the two week itinerary. These were spectacular and really enjoyable, I know they are hard work for the performers, but we would like to have seen more. The aerial act was also amazing but was used a lot. I know it's very hard to please everyone but the rest of the acts seemed to be geared towards a much older audience. These included a pianist(the crowd seemed to love him, but just not our thing), a ventriloquist(good but just a bit too long to keep people entertained), a guitarist(he played the lounges where he was good, but not really a main theatre act), a comedian(geared towards more of an American audience over sixty). Music around the ship was good with the Acapella group in the Cova Cafe very entertaining and the resident group, Fusion Wave; keeping people dancing both day and night (we particularly enjoyed the disco).Cruise Director Allan and assistant Cruise Director Alejandro, they seemed to be in all places at all times and very friendly and approachable. Allan also impressed us being able to do his introductions in a few different languages. On the final day when they have the crew show, there was a young guy from the Philippines who got up and sang a Barry Manilow song, he works in the storeroom, but had the audience in tears he was so good, surely he should be snapped up by the entertainment staff?Staff: I think they were the friendliest staff I have ever encountered on a cruise, they were very eager to please and always wanted to stop for a friendly chat and nothing seemed to be too much trouble. In particular Wayan and Sanyo in the Select dining room gave us great service and we also enjoyed some good banter. I also thought it was nice that the captain and senior officers attended most of the shows and also the disco on some nights, and seemed to enjoy themselves.Ports of CallLa Serena: Annette, who we met via the cruise critic forums, had organised a tour with a local company turismo cochiguaz. There was approx 14 of us on a small bus, there is not a lot to see in La Serena and this was a much cheaper option than a cruise tour. Highlights were Parque Santa Lucia which is an army base which looks like a castle and has great views, and Cruz del Tercer Milenio, which is an imposing 83 metre high cross built for the Millennium with a statue of Pope John Paul II at the base. You get magnificent views over La Serena and beyond from the bottom of the cross, but you can also pay to take the elevator into the arms of the cross. The journey up to the cross is very poor and shanty town like, this made a few people uncomfortable but was a true representation of the area.Arica: Again Annette very kindly organised a tour, this time with Sertours. Our tour guide Ivan was great. We were first given a walking tour of the town and then we joined the bus (again approx 14 people) for the drive up to El Morro. From here, there are spectacular views and great photo opportunities of the ship and Christ Peace statue. From here we went through the Azapa Valley to see La Tropilla geoglyphs and stopped at a panoramic point for a picnic with local produce. We then went on to the Archaeological Museum of San Miguel Azapa which houses the world's oldest mummies. After the tour we had time for shopping in the Market which was across the road from the cruise terminal. This was full of locally made goods such as jewelry, woolen goods, paintings, ornaments etc.Lima (Callao): I think this was our favourite port; we booked a fantastic tour for just the two of us with Monica Tours Peru. Monica was our driver and we also had a guide Vanessa, they took very good care of us as the driving is crazy in Lima and told us some great stories about the history of Lima. We were able to tailor make our tour as there was just the two of us. We started off at the Pachacamac ruins which are outside the city but well worth a visit. We then had a tour of the Miraflores area, went to the Indian Market, and then went to a lovely Peruvian restaurant that Monica recommended. To finish off we had a city tour with visits to the Plaza de Armas and San Francisco Church. Our tour was very reasonable and would definitely recommend it.Manta: We decided not to take a tour in Manta, and felt there wasn't much to do. We walked off the ship at about 9am and walked to our right. This is the beach area and was full of Ecuadorian families enjoying the sun and sea on a Sunday morning. We spent a while here paddling and walking on the beach, then we walked in the opposite direction about 10 minutes into town. There was a great market here selling tapestries, jewelry, paintings and Panama hats. The quality of the silver jewelry was really good. We wandered for a while then headed back to the ship.The Panama Canal: I think the canal takes everyone by surprise; I wasn't too excited by the prospect, but the day before, we watched a documentary in the cinema which was really interesting. So up at 5.30am we got so we wouldn't miss a moment. The canal is amazing and mesmerising to watch. We spent the first part of the morning at the back of the ship, then they opened the helicopter pad at the front and we went there for a while. A couple we had met through CC (Thanks John & Annette) had a FV balcony and invited us and a few others over for a couple of hours. If you ever go through the canal this is the place to be, they have a fantastic view of the side and the wake of the ship. A great afternoon was had by all.Cartagena: What a beautiful city Cartagena is! We shared a taxi with another couple to the clock tower, once there it is easy to walk about. I would have loved to have spent more time here as I loved its Spanish colonial feel. The humidity was unbearable at times and made it hard to walk about without constantly drinking water. The hawkers here were also a bit of a nuisance which put people off. We then got another taxi (scary!!!) to San Felipe de Barajas Fortress; don't miss this as it's an amazing sight.Fort Lauderdale & Disembarkation: For the first time we booked a tour through the ship as our flight from Miami wasn't until 5pm we didn't want to hang about the airport all day. I thought when we booked the tour our luggage would be taken off onto the bus, but we had to disembark as normal, collect our luggage, and then get on the bus. The Everglades were about a 30 minute drive away. We arrived there, and then got on the airboat for a 30 minute ride, we saw a couple of alligators, but unless you manage to grab an end seat on the boat it is impossible to take pictures past people's heads. We were then dropped off at Miami around 1pm to discover our flight was delayed a further 3 hours, good old Iberia! I'll definitely be avoiding them in future as their planes are all ready for the scrap yard.Summary: This was one of the best cruises we have done, we enjoyed Celebrity but will still cruise with other lines (Princess is still our favourite, love MUTS). We enjoyed the itinerary but what really made the cruise for us was the fantastic people we met onboard, we had select dining and we met people from the UK, the USA, Canada, Germany and Chile, they were all such good company and meal times flew past. I'd just like to say a big thank you to our mates/buddies onboard Sharon & Joe, Allyson & Kathleen, Jim & Barbara and Susan & Peter, you really helped us to have a great time and we hope to meet on another cruise someday soon! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
This was the second leg of our back to back South American cruise. Since we made friends of many of the crew this turned out to be one of the best two weeks possible on any cruise ship. We had the opportunity to get off the ship in ... Read More
This was the second leg of our back to back South American cruise. Since we made friends of many of the crew this turned out to be one of the best two weeks possible on any cruise ship. We had the opportunity to get off the ship in Valpariso for a half day tour. The weather was perfect and we used the ship tour. It was a little overpriced but well organized. We opted to not go to Santiago on an all day tour as half the tour was a bus ride to and from Santiago. The cruise critic group had quite a few that were back to back but we picked up well over 50 new cruise critic people that got on. We had a nice cruise critic meeting the first sea day. The ship contact Matthew was very enthusiastic to assist us and arranged for a buffet lunch on a sea day late in the cruise. Our first port was Coquimbo Chile. La Serena is another name. We were able to determine that the coastal areas of South America were all on alert for a possible Tsunami from the Japan earthquake. It did not bother the ship as we were well out to sea when the wave passed under the ship. The coastal areas were evacuated but fortunately the water was not much higher than high tide during a storm. It did some flooding in low lying areas and all the ships were sent out to sea to ride it out so there proved to be minimal property damage. In Arica we took an all day ship tour to a mountain top lake with flamingos and two dormant volcanoes. It was well organized and the school teacher that was our guide was very nice. We won a couple of prizes (color postcards) by answering his trivia questions. It was a long bus ride up above 15,000 feet. One young woman did suffer altitude sickness and was unable to get out and walk around. We had cocoa leaf tea part way to the top and it seemed to help. I did experience a headache on the way back to the ship. We got there just as a hailstorm started. It was not large hail but the tours left early to be sure they were not on bad roads. There was all kinds of wildlife to see. Birds and ducks and flamingos and llamas and vicuna. The box lunch was not all that good but it was from the ship. We stopped to see a roadside souvenir stand and my wife took a little native boys photo she entered in the photo contest on the ship. We had a nice cruise critic group tour of Lima. In Manta we took a ship tour with a hike and a beach stop. Our guide was very knowledgeable. We saw howler monkeys and an archaeological site and lots of birds and exhibits. The beach stop was all too short but it was nice to take a dip in the ocean. Since we had been through the Panama Canal before we opted for the tour to Panama City to see the old city. It was a funeral of a past president so the area we planned to see was closed but we still got to shop and take pictures of the areas that were visible. We had much better weather than the people who stayed with the ship. They had rain. Our final port was Columbia. We opted for a ship tour to Rosario Island. It was more than we hoped for. We got to snorkel and visited a marine exhibit with a dolphin show and sea creatures on display that we had never seen before like tuna, tarpon, sawtooth fish, sea turtles and such. The high speed boat ride out and back saw a comfortable sea breeze unlike the heat and humidity in the city. All in all we got to see lots of new places. The weather was even better than we hoped. The shipboard activities were delightful. The food was exceptional. If you have not toured South America before this is the perfect way to see it for the first time. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
Veranda Cabin on the 8th deck. Captains Club member There is a problem with the air conditioning on the ship. Either that or they are cutting the AC use to save money. The cabin area hallways are hot. I even thought the AC was shut down in ... Read More
Veranda Cabin on the 8th deck. Captains Club member There is a problem with the air conditioning on the ship. Either that or they are cutting the AC use to save money. The cabin area hallways are hot. I even thought the AC was shut down in the middle of the night. Everyone I spoke to woke up in the night, hot and thirsty. The dining room was hot, the buffet area hot, and most public areas were warm. The hot water is having a problem and according to one of the staff they have no idea what is the problem. Hot water disappears for days and then comes on. Hot in the sink and cold in the shower! Guest relations said they would send a plumber. On deck 2, 3, Constellation Lounge on 11, and the spa area had terrible sewage smells. Bring your own hair dryer if you can't use the vacuum hose type the ship provides. Our preboard package said - boarding at 2pm. We met people in our hotel in Santiago and they said we could get on at 1pm. In fact our van (travelling with another couple) got us to the pier, and we were on the ship at 12:30. We went right over to Guest Relations to ask about upgrade availability. Mr. Gomez - "the ship is full." AT 4:00 my husbands went back to GR to inquire about missing luggage and another GR person was telling another passenger - yes, there are upgrades, but now they are all taken - would you like to be on the wait list? We were #8. The one time , we had a chance because we were early it got screwed up! I wrote a note to the head of GR and never heard back during our entire cruise! You think they care. Cabin is very comfortable - good mattress and nice sheets, duvet and pillows. Our soap and toiletries not replenished automatically. Public address system is not good - I don't know if it is technical problem or person using the system. It is not loud enough. Hard to hear and understand announcements and the lecturer as we were going through the canal. The woman I was standing with as we went through the 1st locks even called the bridge to see if the PA could be made louder. There is lots of space in the public areas, we never felt crowded. Lounges are decorated with artificial flowers, a bit tacky, all our ports had great fresh flowers for sale. One sad sprig of bloom at dinner and it stayed there until it was dead. This is a another way to cut expenses. Another very big concern - the lifeboat drill held just after we sailed was a disaster. We all meet in the Rendez-Vous Lounge - every chair taken and standing room only. The staff split the gathering up and then we filed outside - no order, passengers filling the doorways and not moving, no one really sure if they should go out this or that door - not assigned to a specific numbered life boat, chaos and lots of chatter. I had not confidence is this group running as area. Disembarkation was also a fiasco. We assembled in the theater for 8:30 call. When we finally got off the ship our luggage was all alone, our tag color must have been called before the allotted time. The crew member in charge never reviewed the previously called colors just in case you came late. We were on time and sat until 10:30 - all other tag colors not called. And breakfast on our last morning was terrible - no yogurt, no butter, no fruit , no mugs, paper napkins, little silverware, empty coffee pots......I think someone forgot to order supplies. Breakfast and lunch buffet - No imagination, after the first few days it is same old, same. There are lots to eat, many choices, but there is poor layout and presentation. There is no presentation, just bowls plopped into ice, some Chinese lanterns and other items just in piles. Salad bar has minimal choices and the location is in the middle of hot food. Plates for the salad are hot, in fact some days you can't get a plate, big or small, or even a bowl for soup or cereal. Grab a mug as soon as you see it, they are scarcer than hens teeth. Aqua cafe was a nice change along with the dining room. Cafe was less salty and fresher tasting. Upholstered chairs in the buffet area are dirty and worn. Sitting area is tight and difficult to move around during peak eating hours. Ice cream bar is open all day and is a nice touch. Choices change each day and you can pick toppings and candy. But again, the bowls are hot right from the dishwasher! Dining room - we had the late sitting, and did not realize it was for 8:45. We tried this time for the first week, but changed to the earlier 6:30 seating. If you really like something on the menu, pre-order it for the next evening. You can even get a peak on the next evenings menu. The last formal night, with the seafood medley (tough rock lobster, couple shrimp and scallops) might be as good as it gets. Forget dessert - save the calories - have ice cream. Both waiters and helpers were attentive and remembered our preferences. Food is very salty. Other women I met were complaining about swollen hands, couldn't get there rings off, ankles swollen also. I think this was from the salt. Salads are meager with warm, wilted lettuce. (order a double) most appetizers are small, a bite or two. Rib lamb chops are 3 thin ones, double up on this entree. Steak on the items available every day is a good size, a bit tough. Our waiter told us all meat and fish, in fact every thing is frozen. Fruit, don't think because you are going to places that have great fruit the ship will have it. 14 days of watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe - some days pineapple and soft grapes. All the berries are stewed, soft overripe whole kiwis and spoiled plums. Never saw a mango or papaya or avocado. Room service - only what is on the television menu. They will not make any concessions. What you see if what is available. One evening I was not feeling 100% so I ordered soup (2 choices - chicken or New England clam chowder) and asked for a roll with the soup. "Rolls are only available at breakfast." The menu is sparse for breakfast. I realize they are feeding 2000 passengers, but the food is not good. If it was a restaurant, we would not go back. Cova Cafe and Tea Room - little snacks at different times - nice idea - not bad little sandwiches, cookies. The have lovely china tea pots and dishes. The pot holds at least 4 cups of tea. The food is free but the drinks are extra. With all this "tea room" setting, why can't they make a proper cup of tea. Waiter brings the teapot filled with water, cup and saucer and then comes back with 1 tea bag for this 4 cup pot. No heating the pot, not steeping the tea, and the pot needs more bags. Same at dinner -water then 5 minutes later the tea bag. There is music in this venue, very nice guitarist or string quartet or trio. It is a nice place to sit and listen to the music, if the other guests would not chatter or the help talking to each other. The staff lacks training - they are only trained to push up the bill. The service is good, efficient; it is just not FINE service. Shopping arcade - Coach store is full price, you only save sales tax. Bijoux Ternier is from airports - costume jewelry and evening bags - if you left someone home you may be able to get it here, not great. Cosmetic store is the same one from the outlets here in the US "The Company Store" again you only save sales tax, no bargains. Liquor is the best buy. I would have liked to have bought "Panama Canal" tee shirts on the ship, but they only had petite and small. Poor planning again. Just before the end of the cruise they had a laundry special, fill the bag for $29. I used the laundry before, and was satisfied. But this bag, said no ironing, I thought it was for dry cleaning, but they mean no ironing for all the laundry and they would not honor the miserable 10% off coupon from the Captains Club, there were no exceptions listed on this offer in the daily newsletter or on the coupon. Thankfully we had a veranda. Every morning, no matter how early I went to pool area, lounges were saved. The staff never enforced the "no saving chairs" policy during the entire cruise. During mealtimes quests put tables together in the seating area to play cards. Men used the dining tables in the whirlpool area (quiet zone) for a dice or tile game - loud cheering, cursing, security was called but nothing was done. Don't get me wrong. The trip was great. The canal was great and the small ports of Manta and Arica were also great. Lectures were good and info about ports was also very good. We met great people from Canada and Florida. Our ship had a large number of Europeans from Germany and some from England who did a back to back. Some of these guests were loud and obnoxious, while others were charming and gracious. TIP: For transfer from the airport to our hotel in Santiago on Friday, and then transfer from hotel to pier on Sunday for 4 people with lots of luggage in an AC van was $221 total - reservations made online with Santiago Adventures - check out website. They were on time and had a bit of a tour while driving to the hotel. TIP: Booked Intercontinental Santiago online - prepaid, guaranteed - $150 a night. Great hotel located in a great area, lots of local restaurants in walking distance and OK Market around the corner for water and snacks. Breakfast at Cafe Melba for great coffee and breakfast (5 minute walk - get address online). We booked this cruise because of the itinerary, dates and the price. I would have to have a very big incentive to cruise on Celebrity again. I do not know how they can keep a rating of 4, this cruise line has lost it glamour, prestige and class. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
Panama Canal Cruise, Santiago, Chile to Miami, Florida, USA Norwegian Crown April 8-21, 2007 My wife and I cruise about 60 days a year and have never had a "bad" cruise. However, we have had some cruises that are not as good as ... Read More
Panama Canal Cruise, Santiago, Chile to Miami, Florida, USA Norwegian Crown April 8-21, 2007 My wife and I cruise about 60 days a year and have never had a "bad" cruise. However, we have had some cruises that are not as good as others and this was one of those. We have cruised with Norwegian a number of times, mostly on the Norwegian Dream and Wind and were looking forward to cruising on the smaller Crown. Since we had been to Santiago before, we flew in just one day early to get a good night's sleep and be rested when we boarded the ship. We had pre-booked the Crowne Plaza and the airport transfer to the hotel. The overnight flight from Atlanta was uneventful and we arrived in Santiago at 7:30 in the morning. After paying $200 for the Chilean visa we arrived at our hotel a little past none o'clock and were pleasantly surprised to find our room was ready for us. We spent the rest of the day lounging around the pool, using the free Internet service to e-mail friends and relatives and have a nice quite dinner at the hotel restaurant. The next morning the hotel ordered us a taxi for the short trip to the port of Valparaiso to board the Crown. We negotiated a price of $100 that was added to our hotel bill. There were less expensive ways to get to Valparaiso but we thought that the extra money was worth the convenience of hotel to port transportation and being able to pay by credit card. We discovered that a new expressway had been completed since our last visit to Chile and the trip from Santiago to Valparaiso took less time than we had expected and we arrived at the dock almost an hour before the scheduled embarkation. However, embarkation started early and we were among the first on the ship. Our cabin was ready so we unpacked our hand luggage and started our tour of the ship. We discovered that every few yards there was an automatic hand disinfectant machine. I am sure that many passengers on this cruise had more alcohol on there hands than inside their body. The machines were well used and to my knowledge no one got sick. We had booked an inside cabin on deck six and had received a free upgrade to an outside cabin on the Lido deck (deck 8). The only problem was that the cabin (8045) was for four people and the two twin beds could not be made into a double bed because the nightstand was fixed and could not be moved. The flip side was that there were plenty of hangers and storage space. Another pleasant surprise was that there was a tub in the bathroom. It was small but nice for relaxing. In looking around the cabin, I got my first hint that Norwegian was not maintaining the ship as well as on other cruises. There was a lot of rust around the bathtub drain. The tie racks on the back of the closet doors were broken and the trim around the door under the bathroom sink was missing. Some white socks were in one of the closet drawers and it looked like no one had swept under the beds for a while. We later found out that the Crown had been sold and was leaving the fleet in November. This is a possible explanation for the less than excellent maintenance that we have observed on other cruises. A tour of the ship showed that it was laid out nicely and our cabin was very close to everything. The Yacht Club buffet, pool, Casino, Chop Sticks restaurant and Show lounge were all just one deck below us. The library, internet lounge, Lido bar and Le Bistro French Restaurant were just a few steps away while the hot tubs, Cafe Italia, Pasta Cafe, Seven Seas Restaurant and the Top of the Crown were only a few flights away. On the first day at sea, we arose bright and early for breakfast at the Yacht Club, a few minutes in the hot tub and our usual water aerobics in the pool. I found the hot oatmeal but the dried cranberries, blue berries and dates that I usually put on the oatmeal were nowhere to be found. I had to do with raisins and a little brown sugar. We found the hot tubs aft on deck ten that looked like a disaster area. Tables, lounges, chairs and umbrellas were strewn around the deck. We were to find the same disaster area every day. The only times that the deck was straightened up were the two times during the entire 13 day cruise that they opened the Italia Cafe for a luncheon barbeque. On those two days the tables with umbrellas, chairs and lounges were set up and really looked nice. It was a shame that more use was not made of the shade provided by the umbrellas since every shaded spot on all the outside decks were jammed with people during the hottest part of the days. Our first day in the pool was an eye opener. The cold Pacific water took some time to warm up and on the days that they drained the pool and replaced the water it was cold until in the morning. On the flip side, we always had the pool to ourselves on those days. I noticed a lot of soot on the surface of the water that evidently came from the ship's smoke stack. When I got out of the water the same oily soot was on my jacket. Many days when I arose early to have a cup of coffee and watch the sun rise, I would get to the pool deck before the deck was washed down and the same soot was all over the white tables and lounge chairs. I never ate on deck and made sure that I sat under an overhang when having my morning coffee. The entertainment on board was outstanding. We enjoyed all of the performers and the Jean Ann Ryan Company was great. Especially good was Igor Portnoi, a Russian singer. He had an outstanding voice and sang all my favorite Broadway songs. Hilby, the "Skinny German Juggle Boy" put on a crowd-pleasing show and was funny in addition to being a good juggler. The entertainment was worth the price of the cruise. There was music everywhere on board. We would spend a part of every evening in the Lido Bar listening to the soothing melodies of Allen Roman or head to the Top of the Crown to listen and dance to the music Duo Alivestar. Every night between shows in the Stardust lounge the Amar Orchestra played some of the best dance music on the high seas. My wife even got me on the dance floor a couple of times. There were six restaurants on board counting the buffet in the Yacht Club. Since the Italia Cafe was closed most of the time, for all intents and purposes, there were only five eating venues available, three of which were only open in the evening. Le Bistro was the "nominal extra charge" restaurant. The Freestyle Daily advertised Le Bistro as "well worth the extra charge". Personally, I could get a salad, steak and a baked potato at "Outback" for the nominal charge of $15 charged at Le Bistro. Then again, Cream of Mushroom Soup, Roasted Duck FlambE and Cream Brule were never my favorites so passing on Le Bistro was not a problem for me. The Chop Sticks and Pasta restaurants were good but had a limited menu and getting a reservation was hard. They advertised that you could make reservations, in person or by telephone, for the same night or the next night at the reservations desk that was open from 8:00 am until noon each day. In fact you could not make reservations for the same night because they had all been taken the day before. If you wanted a reservation on Monday you had better line up by eight o'clock (the line would start forming at 7:30 am) on Sunday. One day I arrived at the reservation desk at 7:30 am and was fourth in line. At eight o'clock on the dot the reservation clerk open the books only to be interrupted by the telephone. In a very nice voice she said "pardon me but can I take this call?' The man in front of me verbalized my thoughts when he said, "no you may not"! He repeated himself in a louder more menacing tone as her hand continued towards the telephone. She did not answer the telephone until everyone in the line got reservations. As I was making my reservation I glanced at the reservation sheet where I counted at least eight reservations penciled in ahead of mine. Evidently, some people or groups could make reservations before the two-day limit. There was no extra charge for the Chop Sticks and Pasta restaurants and the service was a cut above the main dining room. Also and most importantly, the food was hot. The second day on board we decided to try lunch in the main dining room. All I wanted was a hamburger and french-fries with ice cream for dessert. I sat there for 45 minutes while my tablemates had their starter, soup and salad before my entrEe arrived with all the rest. It was lunch at the Yacht Club after that. Several nights later we tried dinner in the main dining room. The young lady asked if we would like to share a table to which we agreed. We were lucky and sat with an English speaking couple that was really nice but it took forever to be served. We tried the main dining room on the last "dress-up" night at sea. This time we asked for a table for two only to be told that there were none available so we said that we would share. We were seated at a table for four and giving a menu. Then we proceeded to sit there for 15 minutes until another couple was seated at our table and the four of us could be served together. Most of our eating was done at the Yacht Club where at least you had a choice of the full meal side or the snack side. Both sides had the same salads, bread and assorted cheeses. However, on the full meal side you could get several mystery meats while on the snack side you could get warm hamburgers, hot dogs, and meatless pizza and dried out French fries. I opted for a hamburger and French fries. My wife, after trying several different mystery meats for a few days, chose to have soup and salad for lunch. A variety of desserts were available and the ones I had were all good. They had a choice of two ice cream flavors each day. They were served from two five-gallon containers that were sitting a few inches down in ice cubes. The top of the ice cream melted rapidly. On some days the warmest thing we had for lunch was the soup that they called chocolate ice cream. I still managed to gain about two pounds on the cruise. We have cruised on Norwegian six times in the last eight years and watched it devolve from one of the best to what I would called America's first no-frills cruise line. On our first cruise on the Norwegian Dream there was a waiter waiting at the end of the buffet line to carry your tray to the table for you. Coffee was served in the buffet area and on deck everywhere and you did not have to walk across the eating area to get a refill. The main dining room menu had alternate selections that you could get any night when you did not want the main dishes offered that day. You could always get a steak and a baked potato for dinner. After the first night on an assigned seating cruise the wait staff knew what you liked and knew you by name. They never got your order wrong and they knew how well they had done when they got that envelope on the last night of cruising. We got to know and make friends with many passengers and staff alike. You tipped individuals who provided outstanding service. Then along came Freestyle Cruising. I don't know who came up with the phrase because it is not free nor stylish. The only differences that I have observed between Freestyle cruising and traditional cruising are seat assignments in the main dining room for dinner, the tipping policy and to some extent, the dress code. Most cruise lines have enough eating alternate eating venues that you can eat where and when you want to. On a traditional cruise, I can be assigned early or late seating but if I want to change the time or table I am usually accommodated. If not I can always eat in an alternative restaurant. On Norwegian you are assigned seating when you arrive for dinner. In our case, we either get a table for two (if available) or share a table with total strangers who may or may not speak English. Norwegian may have a little more relaxed dress code than other cruise lines but the trend in society is far more casual dressing, even in churches. I like the suggested dress code of the day so that I do not stand out in a crowd. I stopped taking my "Tux" after my first cruise years ago. And so the biggest difference between Freestyle Cruising and traditional cruising is the tipping policy. Originally, part of "freestyle" was the automatic tip. However, you could still have the tip or part of it taken off the bill, if you requested it. Since my last Freestyle cruise that policy has changed. Now there is no longer an optional tip. It is called a "service charge" or should I say a "no service charge" because you get less service than before. I would not mind a service charge if a no tipping policy went with it. However, Norwegian encourages tipping in addition to the service charge. Even your bar drinks have an "auto gratuity" (service charge) and a place on the tab for an additional tip. Why not just add the service to the price of the cruise? It is getting to be like some of the no-frills airlines where you pay extra for luggage, seat choice, food and drinks, including water. When they retire the Norwegian Crown, maybe they should change the name of the cruise line to "Easy Cruise", or "Cruise Me" the no-frills cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2004
This sailing was the repositioning cruise from South America to Florida and was the last sailing before the Infinity was put into drydock for "propulsion" problems. We had originally booked this cruise for two reasons. First we ... Read More
This sailing was the repositioning cruise from South America to Florida and was the last sailing before the Infinity was put into drydock for "propulsion" problems. We had originally booked this cruise for two reasons. First we had done the trip around Cape Horn two years ago so wanted to "finish" off SA. Second, life had been pretty hectic so we thought this would be a good cruise since there weren't a lot of ports. The ports were all important since they were in countries we hadn't been to before. So we were just a little disappointed that Celebrity chose to drop one of four ports and that was Manta, Ecuador. This was the one port that we would have liked to have seen and when combined with another unfortunate experience meant we were on board for 7 straight days. Even for experienced cruisers this is a long time to be "captive" on a ship. Even with all the activities that the ship's staff managed to come up with, we found it was just a little boring and a tad repetitive after 4 or 5 days!! As for the rest of the cruise and the ship - we found the embarkation and disembarkation process to be the best that we had ever experienced. We have sailed before on Princess, Holland America, Norwegian, and RCCL but Celebrity beat all of them hands down. From the time we arrived at the dock in Valparaiso till we were eating lunch in the Oceanview Cafe was about 20 minutes. And their disembarkation without announcements is a joy!! We had a balcony cabin (I know they prefer to call them staterooms) that was more than adequate. The bed was comfortable, there was lots of storage space, and the bathroom was larger than any other we had encountered on a ship. We enjoyed having our breakfast delivered to the stateroom and sitting outside in the mornings. The food was well above average. There was quite a selection of places and types of food available all day and well into the night. We only went to the dining room for dinner (early sitting) since there was so much choice for all the other meals. Our waiter and asst waiter were very good. After the first evening, they would greet us by name and knew what we preferred to drink which is always nice. There was only one evening that we were not impressed with the choices on the dinner menu but then again it can't always be perfect. We enjoyed Celebrity's afternoon ritual of "sorbet on parade" and the very nice afternoon tea. The entertainment on board was what can be expected of most cruise ships. There was the required production shows and some individual entertainers that were O.K. Really depends on what you expect and your personal tastes whether the evening shows met expectations. There was one group that we really enjoyed. It was an a cappella group called Lighthouse. They would pop up in one bar or another over the 14 days and they were very entertaining at least to us because they sang a lot of songs from the 50's and 60's. There was the required bingo (which we never attended), art auctions that have become a staple of the cruise ship industry, and some lectures, etc. There is a very nice cinema which screened fairly new release movies. The casino was small but adequate and was less smoky than some others we have encountered. As to the ports of call - if you cruise to see as many places as you can in one cruise don't do this one. Arica, Chile is the first port of call. It is a small town with not a lot of happening. It is an oasis in the middle of a desert. The shore excursions are almost non- existent because there is nowhere to go except out into the desert. There is very little shopping besides the little market in a park across from the terminal. Then Lima, Peru which we did not get to see but several people reported that it did not meet their expectations. Callao where the ship docks is not very safe. Evidently three women who had got a cab to take them downtown Lima had a purse snatching incident when they stopped at a light just outside the terminal. So if you want to see Lima, take one of the shore excursions or arrange to be met. The only other stop we made was in Aruba and what can you say about a Caribbean island that many cruise ships visit every day. Luckily there was only 2 ships in the day we were there. If you like the Caribbean (white sand, warm water, almost guaranteed sun, and lots of jewelry shopping) you will like Aruba. Overall, we enjoyed our first cruise with Celebrity on the Infinity and will probably sail with them again given the right itinerary at the right price. Read Less

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