Celebrity Infinity Cruise Review by happyfarmer: Fantastic itinerary on a well designed ship
Overall Member Rating
Fantastic itinerary on a well designed ship
Destination: South America
Embarkation: Santiago (Valparaiso)
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 More 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. Less
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Outstanding, spacious cabin, with separate area for the kids and huge rear facing balcony. Excellent value. A bit noisy (furniture moving) on 9 deck since under Sunset bar so in hindsight 8 deck or 7 deck equivalents might be better.
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