Best two weeks ever!: Celebrity Infinity Cruise Review by NECV88
Overall Member Rating
Best two weeks ever!
Destination: South America
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
We found the service on Celebrity to be standard, just about the same as Royal Caribbean or Norwegian, with pros and cons like any other cruise line; in some cases, it was overrated.
The check-in process in Fort Lauderdale was a mess, took us over 1 1/2 hours to finally board; however, it was the beginning of our vacation, so we were in a really good mood :D most people were complaining though.
The average age is on the high side, so don't expect a busy disco or lots of partying; if you're looking for more fun than sightseeing then this ship is not for you. That being said, we manage to meet really cool people at the martini bar and we got together every day for drinks and dancing after dinner, that made a world of difference; our advise: mingle early in the cruise! More
Our itinerary was a re-positioning, so we did the Panama Canal and South America, from Miami to Valparaiso, passing through Cartagena (Colombia), Colon & Panama City (Panama), Manta (Ecuador), Lima (Peru), Arica, La Serena/Coquimbo & Valparaiso (Chile). This is a great itinerary with plenty of days at sea, so it is very relaxed and you do have time to enjoy the ship, meet people, and rest after the port calls.
The best port by far was Cartagena, what a beautiful city, Colombia is a great country to visit; the second best was Lima, with a very interesting and cultural historic centre. Unfortunately, we did not go to Machu Picchu as the tour was extremely overpriced, at $3,200 per person... forget it! Celebrity: what are you guys thinking? huge disappointment for pretty much everyone in the ship.
The other tours were reasonably priced, so we did land tours in pretty much every port. One of our friends told us that the train tour in Panama (from Colon to Panama City) is worthless; after arriving in Panama City, they took them for a drive around the city and then in a bus to go back to Colon. We did the Panama City tour by bus from Colon back and forth, that was really good.
Don't expect much from other ports, the ones in Ecuador and Chile are mostly small towns so you're better off getting off the ship on your own and walking around or taking a cab or even a local bus to go places. Valparaiso and Viña del Mar were a huge disappointment, very dirty and not much to see.
Make sure you break your high bills into 20's, 10's and 5's to make it easy to shop around the markets, you will find lots of neat stuff to buy and the vendors are very pleasant... make sure you ask for discounts, always shoot for a 50% and go from there, believe me: they are making money no matter what, so don't feel bad and get the most for your money.
The last tour to Santiago was the best as it ends at the airport, so it's very convenient and the lunch at a winery was absolutely amazing; the landscapes, the food, and the service were top notch.
Now let's talk about the ship... pros: staff and service; cons: entertainment (overall). The staff was probably the best or one of the best we've ever had aboard a cruise ship; they breath customer service, that was awesome; our server at the pool deck (Darma) quickly memorized our names and drink package so he wouldn't ask for our cards anymore, that's what I call great service, we really felt special. Same for the waitress at the Constellation lounge (Jennifer).
Our cabin attendant (Rafael) was just too cute, hehe... he always had a smile (genuine) in his face and said hi like he truly meant it; we loved him. The waiters at the Trellis restaurant were also amazing, didn't have one single night that we didn't think the service was great, and don't get me started about Cameron at the entrance, what a nice guy!
Anyway... you get the picture, you will find great customer service all over the ship, no concerns there at all. Now, let's talk about the cons: perhaps due to the high average age, the entertainment is a little lacking; not a lot of activities around the pool deck (it was rather quiet and boring), although the cruise director (Alejandro) was amazing, he was so much fun and extremely nice; and whenever they organized activities in the pool deck (like the Olympic games or volleyball), it was just TOO much fun.
The shows: pretty bad, very amateurish and lacking proper production; we have to give it to the performers, they really do try their best, perhaps it's Celebrity's fault for not investing more in production, we could tell the performers were talented (except the Michael Jackson impersonator, that was awful).
Dining was pretty good overall, we only tried the Qsine restaurant and the food was good, but we had to wait a looooong time to get a drink and at $45 per person, we found it overpriced and overrated, it's fun but not great, the right price should be $25... actually they had a special one day but we had already made our reservations for my partner's birthday, so we couldn't cancel and re-book, that sucked!
Most people who tried the SS United States said it was pretty bad, so we stayed away from that one; the service and the food at the Trellis restaurant were very good so no need to try specialty restaurants.
The one only night to complain about was the lobster night... HUGE disappointment, they must have received plenty of complaints that night... where was the lobster? most of us just got a lobster shell full of mushroom soup, I couldn't believe how many dishes were being returned - several times! in our table (8 people), lobster dishes were sent back 18 times...
The bars: the martini bar was excellent, great location, great service and great entertainment, the Miami DJ's with the live bongo player: BEST entertainment we ever had aboard a cruise ship, and trust me: we've done a lot, so this should tell you just how good they are; they also performed at the Constellation lounge and sometimes at the pool deck, everyone loved the bongo player, that guy is awesome! I will upload some videos to YouTube, search for "Celebrity Infinity Miami DJ's Bongo Player" ;)
The Constellation lounge was also fun, although it was never busy, so it always took a while to get it going as there were never more than 10-20 people there; again: the average age in the ship was pretty high, so most people were not into partying.
Once again: overall, we thought Celebrity is good but not great, pretty much the same (some things better, some things worse) as other cruise lines; most of our friends had told us that the "Celebrity Standard" was pretty high, but that;s not true; my advice: never choose your cruise because of a brand name, read as much reviews as you can and choose based on who was the best offer regarding itinerary and PRICE... don't overpay.
Would I recommend Celebrity, and particularly the Infinity? yes absolutely, but again: read the reviews, you must know what to expect to avoid disappointment, especially if you are not an experienced cruiser. Less
Cabin review: 6067
Oceanview rooms have great views and are just the right size, the best part is the service, cabin staff do the rooms like every 5 minutes, it was amazing how it was always clean and done no matter how much we messed it up ;)Rafael: you're the best! (our cabin attendant)
Port and Shore Excursions
Best port by far... what a beautiful city, we actually want to go back and possibly buy a condo there... watch out Miami Beach! Cartagena can give you a run for your money ;)
Our tour included the San Felipe fortress, the Cathedral, the Bovedas, the walls walking tour, the inquisition palace, and the beach... great value for our money.
Nothing to see in Colon, definitely worth to take a tour to the jungle or Panama City... some of our friends took other tours and were not impressed though, most people said the railway tour was a huge disappointment.
Our tour included the best of Panama City, it was very good value for our money, definitely recommend.
Colon: not at all... very dirty and ugly; and shopping was pretty bad for a free port, we wanted to buy a Panasonic waterproof hybrid camera ($169 at Best Buy in the US); it was $399 in Colon, forget it!
Didn't take an excursion since Machu Picchu was so overpriced... just took a cab downtown and the shuttle service from Miraflores back to the ship.
Lima was very nice and pleasant to walk around, although you must watch for pickpockets; the historic centre is beautiful. They charge US$10 to enter the Cathedral, what the...?
Santiago City Tour
Our tour included Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, although it would have been better to include more of Santiago or the country side (the wineries)... not much to see in Valparaiso and Viña, rather dirty and not resort-like at all; don't expect Miami Beach/Cartagena/Cancun, the coastal cities in Chile (and the beaches) are not as nice.
The tour ended at the airport, that was so convenient! the lunch at a local vineyard was awesome, great food and amazing landscapes; overall, great value for our money.
The Vacation of a Lifetime!
South America is great!
NCL RIO to B.A. - 10 days
South America is an interestin...
Norovirus on this Ship