We recently returned from Buenos Aires and a our cruise around Cape Horn.
We began in Santiago, Chile which is a splendid city with a definite European feel. The on and off bus provides inexpensive and comprehensive travel around the city and it left less than a block from our hotel (Intercontinental).
We were fortuate to link up with other Cruisecritic members for a ride including a winery stop from Santiago to Valparaiso.
At Valparaiso, the check in with Celebrity was slow, hot and confusing to all. Though there were supposed to be lines for Aqua Class, the whole system broke down. Everyone was directed to the general line and waited their hour or two to check in. The effort on the part of Celebrity was pretty amateur and incompetent, when you realize they do this every week or two.
However, we were greeted by our steward was soon as we entered our cabin and they the pampering began. He and his assistant were outstanding and constantly inquired as to our needs throughout the trip. Can't say enough about how well they assisted us.
Blu Restaurant, which seats about 100 diners is open seating and for couples such as us, we sat adjacent to different couples each night. Though there was one night when we had to wait, we determined times when we could arrive and dine immediately. The food was as billed, healthy and delicious. Some of the meals approached gourmet level and the service, we got to know the maitre d and most of the waiters very well by the end of the cruise. They made us feel most welcome and took great care to help us in menu selections. Our sommelier was highly knowledgeable and a really assisted us during the cruise. As we have been devotees of good wine for 30 years or more, we used the trip to sample some wines from less well known regions/appellations (ie. no Cabs, merlots, Chardonnays from Calif., or France, no Barolos, well you get the idea). We sampled splendid varietals from regions of France, Italy et al., that we would ordinarily ignore. The wine list at Celebrity is extensive and extremely well chosen. A highlight of the trip.
As with all Cruise Lines, the internet is poor. One of the officers of the ship explained that there is one company (no competition) that offers intenet to all cruise lines. Until there is competition, they will continue to over charge both the cruise lines and us and offer cruddy service.
Puerto Madryn was a highlight of the trip. We went to see the penguins at the reserve where there are over 1/2 million of them. We took a private tour with other Cruisecritic members and were most fortunate to see these fine animals. They were all over and one had to be careful not to get to close as they do snap and bite. Our private tour arrived early and we were almost alone among the birds and other wildlife. We were fortunate that we were leaving as the hords on the Celebrity Tour buses arrived. I would highly recommend a private tour, not those from the ship's tour operators, if you want to see the penguins away (in time) from the crowds from the ships.