Interesting itinerary; so-so ship: Celebrity Infinity Cruise Review by Flatworld
Overall Member Rating
Interesting itinerary; so-so ship
Destination: South America
Embarkation: Santiago (Valparaiso)
The crew worked even harder than normal. We heard that this was the third consecutive cruise with a norovirus problem, and the crew worked around the clock to try to sanitize the ship. Many looked exhausted, and we could scarcely blame them. It was only in More the last 4 days of the cruise that sanitized books were returned to the library and we were able to get our own coffee and tea at the buffet.
Most of the passengers appeared to have gotten the same basic drink package as we had received as a perk. As a result, we were all ordering bottled water, specialty coffees, wines and mixed drinks. It was a pain to constantly pull out the seapass card for these items, and I felt really sorry for staff members who had to deal with all of the cards. Incredibly time-consuming.
On all of our previous Celebrity cruises we loved the daily mini-newspaper and Port Explorer guides for each port. This time we couldn't find them. About halfway through the cruise we spotted someone with one of the US newspapers and asked where he'd gotten it. It turned out that they were available--along with a watered-down version of the port explorer guide--by request at the guest services desk. No one ever communicated their availability. Apparently Celebrity has reduced printing costs and no longer puts out helpful information for passengers to pick up. Unfortunately, however, the printed advertisements for art auctions and jewelry sales continue to be delivered to staterooms each evening.
The food in the main dining room was adequate but rarely warm enough. We actually had better luck in the buffet area. We did not try Sushi on Five, as we don't particularly care for sushi and didn't like the a la carte pricing. We did eat once at Qsine and at Tuscan Grill--largely because the ship was offering 2-for-1 pricing to attract customers. We thought the normal $45 upcharge was too high for what you get; at $22.50 it was tolerable, but we didn't see the need to go more than once to either restaurant. We'd tried Qsine a couple of years ago and found it much the same this time. Lots of variety and interesting format, but once was enough. The quality of the food and ambiance of Tuscan Grill made us long for the previous restaurant, SS United States.
We selected Celebrity for this itinerary in part for the enrichment speakers. While we didn't have one of the speakers we'd eagerly anticipated, we did enjoy the two speakers--especially Mickeylive. We also enjoyed the nightly entertainment in the Celebrity Theater. The cruise director, Alejandro, was one of the best we've had on any cruiseline. The ship's singers and dancers were average, but the Aerialists Natalia and Aday were excellent. External entertainers were surprisingly good; we particularly enjoyed Canadian vocalist Tetiana Maria; 3-time Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year, Greg London; comedian Bengt Washburn; pianist Antonio Salci; and singer/dancer Solomon Jaye. I'd happily see all of them again, but particularly Solomon Jaye. This young man in his 20's gave 2 outstanding performances. He has a beautiful voice and great personality--along with incredible dance moves! I hope his career takes off.
We took ship excursions in every port except Buenos Aires, where we arranged a small group tour to the Tigre Delta for our group of 10. In general the female guides had a better command of English than their male counterparts. We particularly enjoyed our Puerto Montt excursion to the Osorno Volcano and Petrohue Rapids; Punta del Este, Ralli Museum and Casapueblo excursion; and Montevideo Highlights. The Punta Arenas trip to the Magdalena Island Natural Penguin Reserve would have been wonderful if not for the lengthy ferry ride and crummy sack lunch, but it was definitely worth it to walk among the thousands of penguins and get up close to the chicks. Several members of our group were troubled by the dust of Puerto Madryn's Peninsula Valdes excursion; however, we appreciated the different stops and enjoyed all the animals. The biggest disappointment was the Beagle Channel Navigation & Park Tour in Ushuaia. The bus ride and stops in the national part were quite interesting, but the catamaran ride was disappointing. Despite the fact that only about a dozen guests were Spanish-speakers, the catamaran guide did most of his commentary in Spanish. Perhaps he wasn't comfortable in English. We paused at a couple of islands with birds and sea lions but mostly took photos. We really didn't hear about Darwin's expedition or the wildlife. The sound system was poor, so perhaps we wouldn't have understood much anyway.
Would I do this itinerary again? Absolutely. However, I'd check out other cruise ship possibilities. Less
Cabin review: C18170 Concierge Class 1
We chose an aft cabin so that we could view sights on both sides of the ship. While the cabin itself was identical to concierge class staterooms on other Millennium class ships, we appreciated the huge balcony with chaise lounges, table and 4 chairs. Very pleasant for breakfast and afternoon reading.Read All Concierge Class 1 (C1) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
Tierra del Fuego National Park
South America and Panama Canal
Dated decor, tiny rooms, great...
A great trip, but...