Celebrity Infinity Cruise Review by OUaluminVA: Helpful hints if you are considering this cruise
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Helpful hints if you are considering this cruise
My mom and I took this trip together. She has wanted to cruise the Panama Canal and we were not interested in the typical Mexican Riviera ports, so elected the South American route hoping for something more interesting. Our onboard experience was excellent but the overall cruise experience would have been better if we had known:
Not to expect to see the South American coast as you are sailing. At sea days really are "at sea" without much to "see". That's ok for relaxing but I had thought the Andes would have been close enough & big enough for us to see mountains (somewhat like an Alaskan cruise). Nothing like this, which is ok but if you know you won't be disappointed.
Regarding the Chilean Altiplano trip: I am glad I did this and found it very interesting, but it is a very long day on the bus and we were only at the Park for about 40 minutes. Some of the scenery near the park is striking and we did see lots of animals but most of the time is mountainous desert. More The trip is as described except I expected longer at the Park. I don't know whether this is typical because they don't want to keep people at high altitude for a long time, but it is a shame to go so far and have only a few minutes there. I didn't feel the bus was rushing or stops were hurried. Chilean customs: We were warned repeatedly that Chile would not allow us to bring in wood, yarn, wool, etc. There were a lot of beautiful scarves, sweaters, etc, we would have liked to buy but we were afraid they would be confiscated by Chilean Customs. They are so strict the ship warned us we could be fined up to $400 for taking even gum or mints off the ship into Chile. We had bought a Panama hat in a wooden box which the search dogs detected (I planned to declare it, but it was in checked luggage and my bag was flagged before I arrived at customs). I was required to take everything out of this very large bag while my mom waited in another room. She is always nervous being separated from me on a trip and this took quite some time while everyone in our group was waiting on us for a shore excursion. Once everything was out of the bag, the customs officer said it was fine and we were allowed to keep the hat/box. I had bought one sweater and it was apparently not a problem. Still, this experience was negative enough for me that I would suggest you do the trip in reverse order from ours. Fly to Chile and then enjoy your shopping as you cruise northbound. Less
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Cabin review: Celebrity Infinity Concierge Class Penthouse Deck (6) 9201
We loved this cabin. I learned about it on this site- the aft balcony is huge enough for a party and lovely for room service breakfast. BUT be careful of the cabinet that houses the minibar. It sticks out at an odd angle. As I was passing the corner in choppy seas my foot hit the cabinet and I broke my toe. (Ship's medical staff is very friendly.)
Port and Shore Excursions
I am not having any luck trying to add more port reviews but have described Lauca National Park above (port for this is Arica).
We liked Manta, Ecuador, probably because our tour guide (Hector) was excellent. We visited the museum, a local gov't sponsored market, & Montecristo. Much litter but our tour guide explained he is on a commission to try to educate the people about litter and pollution. Reminded me of litter I used to see in the US when I was a child, so I am hopeful he will be successful in this attempt. Even with the litter we enjoyed this port because there were pretty colors everywhere and the people are friendly - comfortable walking in the town because it is a small community.
Not enough time in Lima. I know with cruises there is never enough time in port but on this cruise in particular I felt that we spent more time getting to our destinations (driving Callao to Lima) than seeing sights once we got there. Still, I liked what I saw from the bus and would just encourage others to take as long a tour as possible or skip the ship's tour to try to make more more time to enter a few buildings rather than just being able to snap a picture and jump back on the bus.
In La Serena we decided just to stay in Coquimbo & walk around the town. It was nice not to have someone telling us just 15 minutes to be back at a bus!
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