Celebrity Infinity Cruise Review by Enrico Caruso: Antarctica (nearly missed)
Overall Member Rating
Antarctica (nearly missed)
Destination: South America
Embarkation: Buenos Aires
For a start, to call "Antarctic" a 14-night cruise with only 2 days in Antarctica (or, more correctly, only one day, because Elephant Island is in fact in the South Shetlands) was a little bit questionable - however the magic of the word "Antarctica" was such that 2,000 people from all over the World bought this cruise just to have a glimpse of it.
As the Captain said during his speech at first formal night this particular cruise to Antarctica was the first for Celebrity and Infinity - so, "no promises could be made".
I quite agree - the weather in Antarctic region is unpredictable so nobody can guarantee that any ship would made it to Antarctica, even in the middle of summer (February). Having said that, presumably if somebody sending a Caribbean cruiser to Antarctica it would have significantly lower chance to make it rather than an "ice-class" ship.
The bottom line: both the Falklands and the Elephant islands were cancelled, the ship had to go to More Ushuaia instead, then it turned South again and eventually made it to Antarctica - just for 6 hours... (out of 14 days)...
An explanation was given that the weather was "unusually" bad - something is difficult to believe. I am not criticizing the captain's decision to turn back - safety is paramount, etc. - however, in my humble opinion, that was exactly the kind of weather one would expect in Antarctica - the weather a Carribean cruiser like Infinity was not designed for. That is a problem.
A couple of other points, relatively minor in comparison. Check-in was a bit chaotic, it took 1,5 hours with people queuing while raining outside a temporary tent set by Celebrity. The tent was in the middle of nowhere in the Commercial port - as a result the taxis could charge double for a trip to the airport. Celebrity seemed to turn a blind eye on that and did not arrange any transportation between the airport and place of embarkation (even exact address of embarkation was not provided - as a result many people ended up in a wrong pier 2 km away.
Shore excursions were overpriced, sometimes as much twice in comparison to what you could easily get locally.
There was certain lack of information about few ports we visited. For example, nobody told us that there was a low season in Peninsula Veldes - so instead of whales and orcas all you could possibly see (after a 250 km journey on dust road) was a sea lions colony.
An entertainment on-board was below expectations - Argentinian tango dancers who were invited to perform last night of the cruise looked by far more professional than ship's "local" American dance group.
For such cold weather condition there were not enough sitting areas available inside the ship. Those areas that were available were often "smoking allowed" so unsuitable for children and people with health problems.
On a positive side: a good cabin (although with very old TV) with good bed (but bad pillow). Excellent room service.
Food: I would rate it between adequate and good for breakfast and lunch to between good and excellent for dinner. Good waiters' service.
Interesting (although a bit odd) selection of books in the library. Less
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