This repositioning cruise had a great itinerary, the highlight of which was the full transit of the Panama Canal from Gatun Locks near Colon to Miraflores locks north of Panama City. The port calls at Cartagena, Columbia; Manta, Ecuador; Lima, Peru; and Arica, Chile, were particularly interesting from a historical and cultural perspectives. A stay in picturesque Valpariso of at least a day is highly recommended to visit near by Vina DelMar and Pablo Neroda's house, La Sebastiana.
Unfortunately, we booked our cabin late and only cabins on the lower decks 2 and 3 were available. Our cabin 2105 was on the deck 2. Loud obnoxious mechanical noise woke us up at 2:00 AM, ship's time, and kept going for at several hours every night. When we complained to the front desk, they were able to find one source of the noise, described as a loose pump, and fixed it. However the other two sources of noise were never found nor fixed. When we asked for a different cabin, they said that the ship is full.
Under no circumstances, you should accept a cabin in the ranges 2085-2119 and 3085-3119. If you are a light sleeper, these are all plagued by the same mechanical noise that ruined our sleep in cabin 2105. Celebrity should fix this problem by either isolating the foundation vibration of the noisy equipment or place an acoustic enclosures around them.
The food and service were excellent, but Celebrity should offer more flexible dinner seating arrangement for those who do not want to get stuck with boring table partners.
We took six ship excursions during the cruise. These were
Historic Cartagena Old City walking tour
Panama City Experience
Manta and Montecristi
Arica City Tour
Coquimbo Guided Walking Tour
All of the excursion were conducted well, informative and worth the cost, except for the Coquimbo tour. This latter tour was not worth it. You can do the tour on your own in hour for free. The guide was not informative and walked very slowly and treated the group as idiots. The Cultural Lima and Arica tours were particularly interesting. These two are highly recommended.
Here are several suggestions for where to stay post cruise and how to transfer to Santiago. The Van Man. Christian Montenegro (can be reached via E-mail at
email@example.com) is highly recommended for arranging airport transfers to Santiago and for winery tours on the was, as well as for touring Valparaiso and Vina DelMar. He was there at the cruise terminal on time to take us on a tour of Valparaiso and to our hotel in Valparaiso. The next day he took us to Santiago and stopped at two wineries on the way.
In Valparaiso we stayed for one night in a boutique hotel, Manor Atkinson at 165 Paseo Atkinson. It is an interesting hotel with an excellent breakfast, service, and beautiful view. In Santiago, we stayed for one night at the Hotel Orly at 27 Avenida Pedro de Valdivia. Since the hotel was full, they put us in a modern one-bedroom apartment near the hotel. The apartment was nicely furnished and had a well equipped kitchen for those who want to stay longer. The breakfast served free at the hotel was excellent and the service was attentive. The hotel is located in the upscale Provedencia neighborhood with plent of good restaurants and shopping venues. A nice restaurant, Liguria, at 47 Avenida Pedro de Valdivia, two doors down from the hotel is an excellent pick for delicious inexpensive authentic lunch.
Overall this could have a great cruise if we got a quiet cabin.