10 Buenos Aires Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

Antarctica was the only continent I had not visited before this cruise and it was the last item on my bucket list. I chose a Princess cruise because I am an Elite member and have always found that Princess caters for persons with ... Read More
Antarctica was the only continent I had not visited before this cruise and it was the last item on my bucket list. I chose a Princess cruise because I am an Elite member and have always found that Princess caters for persons with disabilities. I have mobility problems owing to Parkinson's Disease and found the staff friendly and very helpful. Our cabin was, like all Princess cabins, clean and well laid-out, although I found the shower a bit cramped owing to my physical problems. We ate in the Anytime Dining Room when possible, and this is much more civilised than Horizons, which we found a bit "grab and go". The Captain took us to as many places in Antarctica as was physically possible and I do not think this could have been done any better. Embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and stress-free and the lectures were mainly excellent and informative. As for the sites we visited - they were truly magical. The whole Antarctic experience was unlike anything I have ever experienced before. It truly was a magnificent wonderland of ice and Alaska cannot even begin to compare. I will treasure my memories of Antarctica forever, as my lifespan will not enable me to visit it again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Wanted the itinerary that it offered and the price was right as it included r/t air. The Viking Cruise ships are furnished with blonde wood throughout; comfortable nooks and crannies are found around the ship and all have curated ... Read More
Wanted the itinerary that it offered and the price was right as it included r/t air. The Viking Cruise ships are furnished with blonde wood throughout; comfortable nooks and crannies are found around the ship and all have curated libraries -- amazing book collections abound; contemporary art work hangs on most public space walls, including interesting photo collections; there is an emphasis on Nordic culture and history in displays throughout the ship; the cultural amenities include a cellist and piano duo playing music each evening while a huge screen displays photographs of the work of the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. On board pianist and guitarist also play at various times and venues thoughout the ship. The staff are friendly, accommodating, and well-trained. The food is good to excellent depending on the choice of dining venue. Two speciality restaurants are available for no extra charge. The Spa is also available with no extrs charge for the sauna, steam bath, whirlpool and hot tub. There is even a snow room to get the Scandinavian thing going after a stop at the sauna. The shore excursions are generally well thought out and there is always one free excursion at each port stop. We signed up for two additional cruises while on board -- we were quite taken with this introductory Viking cruise. We have previously cruised on Oceania and Star Clipper. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Seabourn Quest – The Seabourn Difference 16.3.19 -7.4.19 Buenos Aires to Manaus Having cruised with Seabourn on Odyssey, Sojourn and the little ships, we knew what to expect and were not disappointed. We had booked a guarantee ... Read More
Seabourn Quest – The Seabourn Difference 16.3.19 -7.4.19 Buenos Aires to Manaus Having cruised with Seabourn on Odyssey, Sojourn and the little ships, we knew what to expect and were not disappointed. We had booked a guarantee cabin or rather suite, as all cabins are known, and ended up fairly midships on deck 4 near the dining room in a quiet location. The balcony cabins are exactly the same but, as we don’t spend much time in our suite, we forego a balcony in exchange for more cruises. The suites are delightful, spacious, well-stocked and with the most comfortable bed we’ve ever had on any cruise line. You can order whatever drinks you like to have in your suite, so a bottle of Hendryks gin and a Taylors port were happily provided and stored alongside our complimentary bottle of champagne. Our stewardess welcomed us with 4 speciality soaps and kept our Moulton Brown toiletries and everything else topped up throughout the trip. There is a large choice of online films available in your suite and a good number of TV channels. The entertainment is always more limited on small ships but Seabourn offer more variety than other competitors including a guest pianist, guitar players, a comedian, a magician and the Seabourn singers and dancers and all the shows were of a good standard. On two occasions, local groups gave daytime performances – we had a tango show in Uruguay and an excellent local dance show in Recife. Although we weren’t in the Caribbean, the signature “Caviar in the Surf” was held in the pool and created a wonderful party atmosphere. We didn’t get involved in the daytime programme of art classes or lectures, preferring to enjoy the deck side relaxation, although the weather on sea days was not always co-operative. This leads to one of my few complaints. For a cruise line that prides itself on luxury and exceeding guest expectations, the sun loungers are dreadful. Many lines now provide thick mattresses to aid an afternoon siesta but Seabourn’s are a perfect example of durability and discomfort – no mattresses! Years ago, they used to be provided but no longer. In a few locations, there are some mattresses, specifically on deck 11 at the bow of the ship, but even these seem to have been designed for durability not comfort and my 12 stone husband failed to make a dent in the extremely firm foam padding. The ship is delightful and there are always places where you can find a peaceful corner. The décor was good but, unfortunately, they were experiencing significant issues with the pool deck lifting dangerously in several places. This led to drilling and sanding both on sea and port days making the pool deck less than tranquil. It was also interesting to see how they covered all the outside vents as we went into the Amazon with the resulting screen of insects that were unable to get in! The dining options were good with 4 venues available in the evenings. For breakfast and lunch, we chose the Colonnade self-service, mainly because we enjoy sitting outside, although poor weather up the Brazilian coast to Rio occasionally forced us inside. Inevitably, we ended up eating too much. The selection is good and despite good intentions there was always something you just had to try! Another delight was sharing tables with other passengers and lunch could become a leisurely affair aided by complimentary excellent wines. In the evening, you could dine outside at the self-service or by the pool or in the formal dining room. The Grill, part of the Thomas Keller franchise, offered a special dining experience but you need to book, so it is probably better to book online before the cruise. It’s difficult to clearly quantify what makes Seabourn so special. Other lines provide similar excellent facilities, so I think it boils down to the human factor. Nothing is too much trouble and all the staff will try to make things as special as possible. The instances are endless but, for example, we enjoyed a specific complimentary wine in one restaurant that was not offered 2 nights later but the staff willingly went in search of a bottle and brought it to where we were dining. You can request any specific dish at a meal and, provided they have 24 hours’ notice, it will be there. In our case, I very much enjoyed my crepes suzette cooked to order. Another example of them “going that extra mile” occurred when my sandals broke. They repaired them and had them back ion our suite the following day. Perhaps most importantly, the staff were happy to engage but always seemed to know when to withdraw. Additionally, the culture of friendliness seems to rub off on guests and most are happy to chat and interact with you. Frequent hosted tables help with this but there seems to be an atmosphere of camaraderie that we have not experienced on other similar lines to the same extent. Seabourn cruises are not cheap but no doubt that is what allows them to maintain their standards and over 50% of the guests were returners on this cruise. They offer a good incentive scheme to pass the message on, giving $400 onboard credit to both those who recommend new guests or are recommended. However, there is one major drawback. They will not give you this benefit if you, as the sponsor, opt to take a cruise with some promotional offer of Onboard Credit attached. There is also a further condition, namely you only have 2 years to take advantage of this offer. This means it has the potential to be an empty offer if you happen to choose the “wrong cruise”. This is ridiculous and everyone on Quest who we spoke to agreed. It should be totally separate from anything else and considered in the same way as Carnival share holder benefits in order to incentivise satisfied guests to spread the word. After all, new clients generate considerable financial rewards for Seabourn – not only now but also in the future. We have now made 3 referrals to friends of ours but as we were not allowed to use any one of them on this cruise, we will not be continuing this practice. Wake up Seabourn, this is not good customer relations! Finally, it has to be said that he weather was not particularly co-operative on our cruise with the Equator crossing ceremony being cancelled twice due to rain but this did not detract from what was an excellent trip on a great ship with excellent staff and interesting guests. Definitely recommend. Ports Buenos Aires There were no ship’s tours other than very expensive private cars, so we booked a city orientation with Tangol tours, which was excellent value at £13.27 pp. We took the shuttle into town and met the minibus at the Sheraton Hotel but realised later that they would have picked us up at the port. The minibus took us through 6 neighbourhoods and gave us time to explore at the main square including the cathedral where Pope Francis officiated and Boca, a lively neighbourhood with many tango bars. An overwhelming impression of BA was lots of parks and open spaces, broad roads and lots of statues. Montevideo A ship’s trip took us to the main square but the architecture was not particularly noteworthy. However, we learnt a lot about this small country. We visited a market which had been redeveloped and drove along the very extensive Las Ramblas along the banks of the River Plate, with its brown water due to the soil content. We then visited a quirky house built by architect Pittamiglio who was into alchemy. Definitely worth a visit and we enjoyed a tango show there before returning to the ship. Ilabelha Unfortunately, our beach and waterfall trip took place in rain and grey skies. The sea was warm for swimming but 90 minutes on the beach in rain showers probably wasn’t the best introduction to this island. The Tres Combo waterfalls in the rain forest were also not particularly spectacular. Buzios Once the hideout of Brigitte Bardot, Buzios was a delightful port. Stylish shops and a pleasant beach promenade. We took a schooner trip from the ship which was very relaxing but the water wasn’t very clear and the snorkelling sites were not very productive apart from seeing some coral. However, towards the end we did see the odd small turtle and overall it was a pleasant morning. San Salvador We got off the ship and took the elevator to the upper town (over 65’s don’t pay for this). There were very colourful buildings and lots of churches although many charge a small fee for entrance. The police presence was very strong everywhere and we were warned not to wear jewellery and expensive watches. Unfortunately, one of the ship’s passengers was robbed, so definitely a port in which to be vigilant. Recife We visited Olinda, a Unesco World Heritage Site, which was interesting and provided good views of the city. We visited both the Benedictine Monastery and the Franciscan one and heard how Recife was first for a number of things in Brazil. After a drive along the beach with its shark warnings clear to see, we were treated to a rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus by a local choir at the Golden Chapel – well worth a visit. Natal Not my favourite port. We did an orientation trip from the ship and travelled for an hour to see the largest cashew nut tree in the world. Definitely impressive and in the Guiness Book of Records, but a long way to go for a tree! The city itself had many skyscrapers and much of the old town looked in need of repair. Santarem We were well into the Amazon here and you could see the meeting of the waters in the distance. We did a ship’s trip out to a community which explained the rise and fall of rubber and showed the process of milling manioc (cassava). Santarem is walkable from the ship and worth a visit. The market seems to sell predominantly hammocks for use on the boats which move up and down the Amazon – no seats on these, only hooks for your hammock. Manaus Our last stop on this trip took in the Opera House, a market and the home of one of the founding fathers of the town. We did an organised ship’s trip but it is easily done on your own, with entry to the opera house only 20 Real (£4). These are really the main sights in the town but other guests took a boat up one of the tributaries and reported an excellent trip to see an Amazonian village. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
La ville de départ était Buenos Aires. Il était très difficile de visiter cette ville en taxi car la circulation est toujours arrêtée et le temps pour le faire est trop court. L'embarquement se passe bien, mais ... Read More
La ville de départ était Buenos Aires. Il était très difficile de visiter cette ville en taxi car la circulation est toujours arrêtée et le temps pour le faire est trop court. L'embarquement se passe bien, mais l'atterrissage est pour moi en fauteuil roulant. Je frappe un accroc. Le personnel du bateau n'a pas compris qu'avec mes sacs à dos je voulais débarquer. Passant ensuite à la douane de San Antonio, le transfert du port que j’avais payé très cher n’était pas présent. Ce fut difficile et long de négocier un transport pour moi. Le navire est généralement accessible en fauteuil roulant, la cabine aussi. La nourriture, 3 étoiles. Les animations et spectacles sont nombreux mais certains sont médiocres. Pour les ports et les excursions pour une personne en fauteuil roulant, sont très difficiles et parfois impossibles. Je m'interroge sur les transferts en petit bateau du Star Princess au quai. Que croyez vous qu'il va se passer? Est-ce que je coule avec le capitaine? Je ne retournerai jamais à bord de ce navire. The departure city was Buenos Aires. It was very difficult to visit this city by taxi since the traffic is always stopped and the time to do it before the departure is too short. The boarding is all well, but landing for me who is in a wheelchair. I hit some snag. The boat staff did not understand that with my backpacks I wanted to disembark. Then after passing through the San Antonio Customs, the transfer from the port to the airport that I had paid at a high price was not present. It was difficult and long to negotiate a transport for me. The ship in general is well accessible in wheelchairs, the cabin too. The food, 3 stars. Entertainment activities and shows are plentiful but some are mediocre. For ports and excursions for a person in a wheelchair, are very difficult and sometimes impossible. I wonder about the small boat transfers from the Star Princess to the dock. If a person like me who can not stand does not have the right to board these tenders, what happens if a storm forces the evacuation of the ship, I sink with the captain? I will never go back on board this ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We flew from LA to Buenos Aires 12 hours direct, arriving at airport 7:20 am, tired and long line at immigration (1.5 hours), Anticipating check-in around 11 am, lunch at noon, nap right after; but it did not turn out that way ... Read More
We flew from LA to Buenos Aires 12 hours direct, arriving at airport 7:20 am, tired and long line at immigration (1.5 hours), Anticipating check-in around 11 am, lunch at noon, nap right after; but it did not turn out that way Embarkation: Major delay by Princess arriving after 2 pm, check-in 5:30 pm. Main reason: few passengers without proper documents having issues with Argentina immigration, delay led to late queuing to the port. Princess staffs at the port did not offer water or snacks during the wait after repeated requests by passengers until 4:30 pm, poor communication among Princess Disembarkation was smooth in Los Angeles Ship (built in 2013) is nice with about 3500 passengers with all amenities Cabin is average compared to other cruise lines, flat TV mounted on the wall to save space, TV menu or guide is easy to navigate Dining: Prefer buffet because it takes up to 2 hours to sit to be served, more Asian food and couple of days with lavish sea food at buffet (lobster, oyster ....), fried noodle available daily. Issue with fruits: Banana often needs to be requested, qiwi was almost as hard as stone Entertainment: Love Princess Production Show even have seen from other ships, some guest performers were excellent, some were average, Princess singers are not up the par to perform as guest performers, sorry Service is very good Excursions: Good Best: Fortunate to see 3 kinds of penguins at Stanley, Falklands Islands, day before and after were not able to due to bad weather Bad: Only one tender dock at Punta Arenas, Chile and not informed by the ship captain, it took 45-90 minutes one way between ship & port, had we been told, some of us would not have gone ashore to ease tender traffic. Worst: Princess does not credit or compensate delay, mistake by Princess check-in process to allow passengers without proper document to get on the ship Advice: Weather was unpredictable in February-March, if you want to see penguins, make sure you book several shore excursions to see penguins as you may not dock at that port if weather is bad Overall rating: 6/10 (Embarkation problem and weather) Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
First impressions - really liked the ship. It was not too big and impersonal. Public areas nice ambience. The cabin was nicely furnished and the bed was comfortable. Plenty of cupboard space. It was our second time on NCL and we were ... Read More
First impressions - really liked the ship. It was not too big and impersonal. Public areas nice ambience. The cabin was nicely furnished and the bed was comfortable. Plenty of cupboard space. It was our second time on NCL and we were given a bottle of sparkling wine as a welcome back gift which was a nice gesture. Room was very quiet which we appreciated. Cabin service excellent - clean towels etc always available and stewards very helpful. Nice people on the cruise - everyone seemed to be ready to chat. We got the drinks package and tips included with the fare we paid. Although we do not drink a great deal it was nice to have a glass of wine with dinner/cocktail etc without thinking of mounting costs. We did not try the specialty restaurants as these were a bit expensive when food was already available. May have tried them if cover charge was lower. The shows were varied and catered to the profile of ships passengers, although we did not attend many. Entertainment during sea days was a bit of a challenge for the staff as the decks were often closed due to high winds and wet weather. In any case it was too cold to be out on deck and this seemed to catch a lot of passengers off guard in terms of clothing packed for the cruise (me included) - everyone had coats and big sweaters even indoors in the ship. Would have liked a launderette on board but a special offer for a bag of laundry for 20USD was offered a couple of times and this was useful. Embarkation and disembarkation very smooth, including no problems with tenders. Tenders were also fair in that those not on tours could collect tickets for tenders in a first come first serve basis rather than by floors which some cruise lines do. I offer the following as suggestions rather than criticisms - I enjoyed the cruise and would have no hesitation traveling with NCL again. 1. The excursions were prohibitively expensive for many people. In fairness, they were expensive whether you purchased them with NCL or privately. NCL did offer a deal once you were on the ship with cut price tours if you bought a package with 3 or 4 tours which was competitive with private tours. 2. The food was a bit repetitive and the quality average. some of the dining room choices were a bit odd - the elements were not well matched. There was good choice of specialty restaurants but not a great deal of choice in complementary food. The choices at the sports bar and pizzeria food were limited and sports bar not great quality. The Ramblas tapas really was poor quality and not enjoyable. Pride of America had a nice hamburger/ fast food restaurant that was really nice and would have liked to have seen something along those lines. The weather meant that the outdoor cafes could not be used so inside restaurants very crowded but everyone found a seat with a bit of looking! 3. There needs to be a bit more coordination for passengers running church services - there is a chapel and it should be confined to those areas - not in public bar areas where they try to drive others away. This was not on. 4. We experienced high winds and bad weather and one night the ship listed several times with one particular significant list where some people fell out of bed and things fell off shelves in the cabin. No mention was made of this by staff and it was like a veil of secrecy when people asked what happened. We were told that the degree of listing was not made public as it would cause panic - it was more worrying to me not to know. 5. During the night the ship listed, our cabin got water running into it that smelled very bad and soaked our carpet, and the carpets in other cabins near us and the corridor. When I went to report it at the front desk (at midnight) the staff said that no one else had reported the ship listing!!!!!!! What ??????? All the passengers and crew were talking about it the next day! They sent someone to vacuum up the water from the carpet which at that time was localised but I could hear water running down one of the inside walls and the next morning got out of bed to a soaked carpet that smelled awful. When I first went to report it the staff on the reception desk acted like I was the one at fault, complaining about nothing and being difficult. They told us there were no other cabins available and that we would need to stay out of the cabin for the day whilst they put industrial air blowers in the cabin. We were tired after having no sleep the night before. They then offered us the use of an inside cabin on deck 4 for the night (although the carpets were not dry until days later) - husband claustrophobic so have never been able to have a cabin without a window on our travels. We then noted it wasn't only our cabin with the dryers - in other cabins on our floor carpets were lifted, furniture moved and cabins stripped! Also dryers in the corridors and smell was very unpleasant. Asked several times where the water came from but were told different things - air conditioning, drain etc. We got no help at all until we asked to see the ship's hotel manager and suddenly we were offered a room the same as the one we had paid for on the same floor but unaffected by water. After that, staff were helpful. I think they eventually realised that there was a genuine problem and then were helpful. This episode was disappointing, but I guess the reception desk staff do get a lot of people complaining about trivial things and it is difficult to be taken seriously when you have a genuine problem - we have found most ships the same thing in this regard and honestly, it is clearly not the easiest job, and so I can understand the initial pushback but it was a bit disheartening when we knew the problem was genuine. 6. The bathrooms frequently had a smell of stale urine presumably coming from the toilet systems which was unpleasant - noticed this on other ships, not just this one. It was not overpowering, and I guess the staff are reluctant to use chemical cleaners for environmental reasons, but maybe a way of limiting it? All in all, liked the cruise and the ship and will happily sail with NCL again, but would love to know why Aussies have to pay so much more for cruises than other countries? Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Never thought a cruise will be such as awfull as this. 80% Seniors and zero organization: - Not enough shadow for 10% of passangers outside while full sun. - No care for making people follow rules and not take all chairs and ... Read More
Never thought a cruise will be such as awfull as this. 80% Seniors and zero organization: - Not enough shadow for 10% of passangers outside while full sun. - No care for making people follow rules and not take all chairs and tables at shadow while they didnt use it, and while old people had nowhere to seat but "deck sun chairs" under full sun. - Lack in response of stealed stuff while they have cammeras everywhere. - Hyper lack on organizing boat tickets to go to the beaches (four or five bridges long lines of people at 7 am), while they sell you prior expensive bad packages to go offboard on first turn. - Too cold conditioned air inside, at any public space. You could difference such as 20ºC form outside and inside. A lot of people got colds or got sick including me. - Food was good at buffet but mostly fat like: cream, butter, and too much oil and flour. Healty food i found was rare withuout mentioning vegies, fruit and cereal... want low cream milk? then you'll have to pay extra for it. Bufet juices are all artificial. - Ship and boats spread black and brown stains at sea, without mentioning whole black smoke by engines. - Crew... always smiling... but if you stared a little just... watching them, you would see they are all the same doing different things at anytime. Several times i asked some of them, do you ever sleep?! Not all of them anwered, but i know some did just for a couple of hours. - Yes, it is slave work but i have nothing better in my country, if you dont like it they fire you. "Ship rules under who knows what wokr and human rights." - Last night i saw the captain eating a piece of pizza at the bufett... Think if i had known all the things i readed after arriving (didnt have internet because it was a joke the price) mabye i wouldnt be here. - Arriving, all things they said they will do to take care of our lougage like data and unique numbers id and coulours for organize and find your stuff, never happened. Lucky you if you could find your stuff in a mess... and I could have taken anyones stuff without any control. Going off the ship and off the port was all a mess too, no matter if you where a baby, and old woman with walking stick or a guy with wheel chair. Sorry my english. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
I just got back from this tour and found the following: Automatic doors on public washrooms were rare. The balcony was useless to me in a wheelchair although my wife enjoyed it. Had I known about the useless balconies I could have saved ... Read More
I just got back from this tour and found the following: Automatic doors on public washrooms were rare. The balcony was useless to me in a wheelchair although my wife enjoyed it. Had I known about the useless balconies I could have saved $2000. The ramps are too short and too steep to be used by a wheelchair as are many of the ramps in public locations throughout the ship. I found the service was excellent in all dinning areas and in my room as well. If you have ever done a buffet while in a wheelchair you will appreciate that as soon as you come to the buffet entrance someone is offering to help you by getting your food as the 2 of you go around the buffet. By doing it that way my wife and I got to a table together and managed to both eat HOT food. The toilet seats and the installed built-in bath seat are too low making getting out of them difficult for some mobility issues. Excellent service for embarkation and for leaving the ship. Excellent service if required and requested. Organized shore tours are all designed for people that can climb up the high stairs of a large bus OTHER INFO: The entertainment was 80% bad. I do not like to walkout in the middle of a show but the numbers that walked out ahead of me gave me permission. The food was what I expected, not as good as fine dining but better than the local family restaurant. The penguin tour was fabulous as it was the reason for going and well worth it.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
SUMMARY: Before my journey to Antarctica, I often skimmed the cruise reviews asking myself "Where does one find the time to write 10 page reviews?" But the more I read, the more valuable was the information I picked up so I ... Read More
SUMMARY: Before my journey to Antarctica, I often skimmed the cruise reviews asking myself "Where does one find the time to write 10 page reviews?" But the more I read, the more valuable was the information I picked up so I promised when I returned, that I would contribute my thoughts and experiences to the web's vast repository of trip knowledge and hopefully provide some useful tidbits and insights for future Celebrity/Antarctica/South America travelers. It was such a memorable experience that I have actually enjoyed writing about it to relive the voyage. Seeing Antarctica was on my mother's "bucket list" and I accompanied her to help fulfill her dream. AIR ARRANGEMENTS VIA CELEBRITY: I vacillated over booking our own flights vs. letting Celebrity choose them, but was partial to the idea of Celebrity taking some culpability in the event the flight was delayed/cancelled. The arrangements could not have worked out better. The outbound flight on American Airlines was timed perfectly with little wasted time switching planes. We were seated near the rear and soon realized we were among fellow passengers who had flown into Miami from various places to converge for the overnight flight to Buenos Aires. We had the good fortune of no delays following some major snowstorms hitting the East. The return flight post cruise was unfortunately not until 11:30 p.m. This was not any fault of Celebrity. No international flights back to the U.S. left before mid/late evening from Buenos Aires. It was a long day at the airport, but considering the throngs of distraught and stranded passengers at the airport rerouted or trying to return to Santiago after the earthquake, we felt fortunate to be returning to our intact homes and families, regardless of the late hour. HANDICAPPED COMMENTS: I want to mention my mother's physical condition hoping that her positive experience will encourage others her age and condition to consider this trip. As a result of several falls over the years and a recent auto accident, she was in constant pain. Standing for any length of time was agony. Our travel agent, Carl Bruno of CruisePlanners, suggested 'wheelchair assist' at the airports. It was a godsend. A representative from the airline greeted her with a wheelchair whenever we exited a plane. She was then escorted through baggage control, passport and customs, and security. She barely needed to stand or walk. She would NEVER have been able to maneuver the airport without this service. American Airlines was incredible. Carl also ordered "peer assistance" at the port. In addition, at several ports, including Montevideo and Ushuaia, we borrowed a wheelchair from Celebrity and I was able to push her through the streets. I also borrowed a wheelchair to walk her around the deck. At the buffets on board the ship, as soon as she walked in with her cane, a member of the Celebrity staff promptly offered to hold her tray as well as help her navigate the food lines. The only real challenge was the mandatory lifeboat drill. We were lined up in tight rows of about 8 people each and needed to stand for quite awhile listening to the instructions in various languages. In addition, I don't know if any accommodations are available for the hearing impaired - we did not inquire, but - she did not hear any announcements unless I repeated them to her. EMBARKATION: It seems to make logical sense to talk about embarkation first although I hate to begin on a negative note as the trip was truly spectacular in every other way. So I'll get the negativism out of the way. We exited the aircraft, gathered our luggage and proceeded through customs. A very nice Celebrity representative greeted us and distributed color coded stick-on dots that corresponded to a transport bus. Our luggage was tagged with our cabin numbers and we were directed to wait to the side. There was way fewer seats than people but standing felt good after the long flight. (at least to me, not my mother) Close to an hour passed and we were then herded to another terminal on foot. It was a pretty long walk with our carry ons and the guide never looked back to ensure the stragglers with canes were keeping up or knew where to go. Whoever got to the terminal first was directed to stand by a particular statue and await further instructions. Again a handful of seats for 100's of passengers. The folks bringing up the rear got the instructions from other passengers as the person in charge disappeared for another hour. She returned and called 1 color and directed the others to remain and if there was room on the bus, some of us might be able to join them. We were called, along with several others, although the bus ended up not having enough room after all and several had to turn back to the airport terminal. The bus had an odd circular staircase leading to the seats, difficult for able bodied to maneuver and very challenging for those needing assistance. The bus sat for quite some time with the guide seeming a bit flustered but my limited command of Spanish did not permit me to understand the conversation she was having with the driver. After the hour drive to the pier, we exited the bus where swarms of travel weary people wandering around aimlessly until we were motioned to a building. We lined up or I should say amassed by a line of computer terminals. There were a few barriers that might lend itself to some order but no one seemed to take charge and direct us. We eventually got our turn to register and received our stateroom cards. We were led to another line for the embarkation picture, which didn't come out half bad considering what we looked like after the lengthy flight. Then on to a seatless bus. I guess there was no need for seats in them because they were so crammed with people, we held each other up by the force. Luckily, this was about a 2 minute bus ride and apparently required by the local authorities. An announcement was made that the staterooms were not ready and that we could go directly to floor 10 for a lunch buffet. The lines for the elevator were staggering but by now, we were pros at line waiting. So we lugged our carry-ons and eventually arrived on floor 10. Our bags were not delivered until bedtime so we dined in our travel clothes looking quite grungy - perhaps that is why there were 3 empty seats at our table. We redefined "smart casual," but that is where some minor inconveniences transformed into 14 days of paradise. DEMOGRAPHICS: The captain and many of the officers were from Greece. The remaining Celebrity crew was multinational, as were the passengers. If I had to pick a dominant language that I heard in the elevators and halls, it was German, possibly followed by Spanish. The guests for the most part all exuded warmth and friendliness, despite our obvious language barriers. There was a universal awe when standing beside the icebergs in Antarctica that spoke to all of us, regardless of our country of origin. ANTARCTICA: The icebergs were of indescribable beauty. Standing on deck 11, they stood about the same height as we, and supposedly they are only 1/10 above water. It is mind boggling to think how deep they penetrate the ocean. One is more breathtaking than the next. Seals and penguins frequented the incredible ice floes. In addition, families of whales darted in and out regularly - humpbacks and even an orca family. It is like a water safari. Whales spewing water like the spray of a shaken soda bottle, slender sleek bodies plunging beneath the deep ocean waters to disappear - only magically to reappear a few feet away. Penguins waddling to the edge of an ice floe and jumping like parachuters off a plane or schoolchildren in line to soar into a lake. The breakfast buffet was packed full by 7 and the excitement was palpable as we approached Elephant Island at 8 that morning. The temperature was bitter cold (minus 5 Fahrenheit), but you felt an invisible pull keeping you outside so you won't miss a second of the panoramic beauty. I went back and forth between the Constellation lounge and the otherworldly paradise outside. The lounge has floor to ceiling windows which offer a spectacular 360 degree view without the icy snow and wind at your face. The hand warmers I brought were the smartest thing I packed! Onlookers were wrapped snugly in Celebrity provided blue-green plaid wool blankets. The sea at Elephant Island was so still, appearing as a leathery blend of grey and black, gently rippling endlessly as far as the eye could see. The icebergs are so very humbling. Thoughts of Ernest Shackleton's 1914 expedition can't help but race through your mind. 421 days of unforgiving temperatures and conditions on a vessel a fraction of the size of the Infinity. Meanwhile the water dances around in hues of aquamarine, blues and hazy whites, the sky grey and blanketing, threatening yet comforting. Periodic dips into the hot tub provided welcome warmth to face the wind pummeling across my face. INTERNET access: I frequented the internet cafe. I generally stay disconnected from email during a vacation but it was my link to the rest of my family. I purchased the $99 package which included 287 minutes of connect time. About $20 remained at the end of the 2 weeks so it really was plenty. I indulged solely for emailing to/from the family and did not even skim the other varied and sorted messages one receives in the course of a day so I was a light user. I learned from a fellow passenger who works in broadcasting that satellites orbit the earth around the equator so when you are this far South, it is very difficult to get a signal. The internet was intermittently available, especially down in/around Antarctica but signs were clearly posted "due to weather conditions, ship maneuvering and/or ship position, internet is down" and it usually was available again by the time I passed the cafe again. I brought a laptop with a wireless card. The ship had ample wifi areas so there was never a wait for a terminal in the cafe, although, I never saw it completely filled anyway. Celebrity generously provided printing gratis for those with internet packages but I had no need for this service. MISCELLANEOUS: DRESS CODE: There were 3 formal nights of which I'd say about 75% of the passengers participated. Corkage: I am not a drinker but Carl Bruno, our travel agent graciously sent a bottle of wine and I decided to indulge. Beware the $25 corkage fee. (or ask your room attendant for a cork screw) WEATHER/PACKING: The temperature ranged from -5 degrees in Antarctica to 90's in Buenos Aires. The majority of the trip, however, was cold. Many shorts and short sleeved shirts came home unworn. The Falklands and Ushuaia were both heavy jacket days. The sea days were mostly very cold and windy. Celebrity provided very nice warm wool blankets for on deck though. Hot chocolate was plentiful as well. ON-BOARD ACTIVITIES: A 14 day cruise got long. After I had won a Celebrity luggage tag and pen in 'Name that tune,' and attended several trivia sessions, it got old. CHILDREN: There were a smattering of children on board, but probably due to the length of the voyage and the fact it was not during a school break, passengers under the age of 20 were far and few between. PHOTO GALLERY: I really enjoyed the fact that the photographers were not constantly 'in your face.' They were not pushy or overbearing, and even had quite a sense of humor. The video of the 2 weeks (available for purchase) was amazing and a wonderful montage of culture, wildlife, and the trip's splendor. THE NEWS: "Celebrity Today" provided a great daily synopsis of the next day's activities (placed on your bed at turndown so you could plan the next day's agenda). World news summaries were also on hand each evening by the concierge, in 6 or 7 languages. We were never far from staying abreast of the Toyota scandal which seemed to frequent the headlines those 2 weeks. VALENTINE'S DAY: We embarked on Valentine's Day and the buffet displayed several tacky party store-like holiday signs and cupids suspended from the ceiling along with a large chocolate heart sitting amongst the desserts. A classy touch, however, was a rose delivered to every lady during dinner. GYM/EXERCISE: I frequented the ½ hour "Fab Abs" workout each morning led by Robson. I also availed myself of the numerous treadmills. The weight equipment seemed well maintained and plentiful. I particularly appreciated the almost infinite size adjustments on the machines. OUR CAPTAIN: Captain Michail Margaritis provided just the right amount of information across the PA system. He wouldn't win Mr. Congeniality, but I'd rather he be in charge of the safety of the ship rather than the entertainment. GERMS: This next comment is coming from someone who is a little bit over the top with hand washing, There was a constant noticeable coughing/sneezing background symphony taking place in the audience at most shows. While there were ample hand sanitizers located in the entrances to all restaurants and public rooms, the Celebrity staff was not at all proactive at encouraging or enforcing their use. I had taken several NCL voyages where staff was actually holding the spray bottles and proactively spritzing some sanitizer into your hands at every turn. While some may perceive this as invasive, I must say, rarely a cough or sneeze was heard on the Norwegian. SHOPPING: We were disappointed with the lack of Antarctica souvenirs available on the ship. We heard conflicting stories from staff - 1 salesperson said they'd be available the last day (after everyone bought all the other port t-shirts). Another later said that they all sold out on the last sailing and no additional were ordered. They did sell penguins made of sea glass, a penguin pooper candy dispenser, various books etc. In Celebrity's defense though, with the Antarctica population of zero and no gift shops, an Antarctica souvenir would not have been very authentic and likely made in China anyway! DINING: I did not try the specialty restaurant "SS United States" but heard it was a wonderful experience with diners outnumbered by staff about 10 to 1. I frequented the Trellis restaurant and didn't feel any burning desire to eat elsewhere. We sat at table 519, the upper floor of the 2 story restaurant, near a window where we witnessed magnificent sunsets. We selected the early sitting (6:15). We never felt rushed getting back to the boat after excursions and the time worked out perfectly. The meal was leisurely but finished in plenty of time to attend a 9 p.m. show. The left side of the menu remained constant with selections available daily, all of which were tantalizing and delicious. The right side changed daily with a plentiful selection for vegetarian, meat eaters alike. I especially enjoyed their daily seafood choices - each cooked to perfection, perfectly seasoned. I pride myself on my homemade soups, but I have to say Celebrity's soups were par excellent, you could taste the fresh ingredients. I did not indulge in desserts although tempting, until the last night, the 'Paris meets New York,' New York style cheesecake served in a French pastry. After sampling this concoction, I had a momentary regret of not sampling the earlier confections, but the fact that my clothes still fit validated my decision to abstain. Our waiter, Ahron and assistant, Yudell were delightful and within a day, knew all of our preferences without asking like water without ice, decaf coffee, etc. They served with such warmth and always seemed genuinely happy to be there. LUNCH: We usually ate lunch at the Oceanview Cafe, with something for everyone, from salads to pastas, pizza to sandwiches. I particularly enjoyed the Panini station as well as the daily international specials. Breezes Pool Grill was also open for lunch and offered burgers, hotdogs, fries etc. I also learned they'd grill chicken upon request. The AquaSpa Cafe was yet another lunch alternative with a lighter fare. We sampled the fresh poached exotic fruits, daily seafood entrees, and homemade bread sticks that were to die for! ENTERTAINMENT: Cruise Director Allan King - I've experienced more active, dynamic cruise directors, but he fulfilled his purpose and was entertaining in a dry sort of way. Evening shows: entertainment ran the gamut from spectacular to mediocre but I didn't expect Broadway each and every night of a 14 day cruise so I was not disappointed. Performers included the absolutely topnotch Celebrity dancers/singers (who WERE Broadway quality), a group of highly talented acapella singers, Brandi Chapman - a vocalist, Mark Donoghue - skilled with a variety of instruments including Mandolin, guitar, harmonica and violin. Also, your token juggler. I especially enjoyed the pianist in one of the lounges - very talented and warm personality, Tom Listebarger. One performer of mention, Brooks Aehron - although a very talented pianist, made a very distasteful reference to the decorative torches flanking the sides of the theater making him feel like he is performing at the crematorium. What a desecration of the memories of those that lost their lives in them. Many shocked concert goers exited the theater while others refused to attend his repeat performances further along the trip. CINEMA: Movies were plentiful with several showings per day. I did not take full advantage of the films thinking I could always rent when I am home rather than waste the time on the South Atlantic in front of a movie. Selections included "Bride Wars," "Knowing," "Soloist," "Easy Virtue," "Wolverine," "Duplicity," "Star Trek," "Marley and Me," "Valkyrie," "Last Chance Harvey," and "Watchmen." Other very appropriate movies considering our ports of Antarctica, Argentina etc. included "Eight Below," "Endurance Expedition," "March of the Penguins," "Evita," and "Encounters at the End of the World." Pay per view movies were also available on the televisions in the staterooms. SPECIAL INTEREST SPEAKERS: These were both wonderful and included a retired professor Richard Ojakangas, a geologist with 38 years of research on all continents who spoke on Ernest Shackleton, penguins, glaciation, and global warming/oil. The second, Graham Sunderland, a naturalist - spoke on Antarctica, the wildlife of the South Atlantic, and whales. The subject matter for the most part was very stimulating, and the few lectures that were less than interesting to me, provided me with a wonderful mid morning nap! PORTS: USUAIA: I can't comment on the other excursions in Ushuaia, but a Beagle Channel catamaran to Sea Wolves Island can definitely easily be found for ½ the price of the cruise sponsored trip. Once you exit the ship and walk past the security checkpoint, there are about 15 kiosks offering various boating options as well as taxi drivers and guides. Most only had 1 daily departure, however, mid morning - so if you plan to take advantage of any of these sailings, get an early start on breakfast and debarking. We chose Patagonia Adventure Explorer mainly because of the sales pitch of going on a smaller boat than a catamaran and being able to come much closer to Sea Wolves etc. We later saw that the catamarans went just as close but we enjoyed Patagonia Explorers none the less. We were roughly a group of 15, accompanied by a bilingual guide who showed us our journey on maps as well as shared with us books and information about the history of the area. The trip was 4 hours and included Sea Wolves Island, home to a colony of sea lions, Bird's Island, full with cormorant inhabitants, and the Les Eclaireurs lighthouse built in 1919. On the way back, we stopped on Bridges Island for a ½ hour walk to a scenic lookout with beautiful picture taking opportunities of the waters and surrounding snow capped mountains. We also enjoyed a very interesting talk on the aboriginal inhabitants of the area. Onboard the boat, we were served plentiful amounts of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, assorted cookies and some type of liqueur that we did not try. Ushuaia proved to be the best place for Antarctica souvenirs (made in China), but say Antarctica nonetheless. It is an extremely steep uphill climb to reach the shopping area - not wheelchair accessible. PORT STANLEY, Falkland Islands: The ship excursion "A day at the Beach with Royalty" was sold out long before we sailed, so I booked the same excursion with Patrick Watts who many people on the web have commented on and is ½ the price. A placard with my name was on display as we tendered and the 4x4's were waiting to whisk us away to Volunteer Point. We arrived in the Falklands, population less than 2,500, an hour later than scheduled due to wave/weather conditions so we had a very short stop at Volunteer Point. We literally had to run from 1 penguin area to another to be able to view/photograph them all. It was not Patrick's fault - just not enough hours in port there. We did see King, Gentoo and Magellanic penguins, adults, babies and even eggs. We had also arrived on about the only non rainy day in weeks so the drive was extremely muddy and we had to make frequent stops to pull other 4x4's in the caravan out of the peat bogs. The ride was extremely bumpy and riders should heed the warning "not recommended for guests with back, neck or mobility problems." I would also definitely recommend Patrick's operation. He delivered as advertised. One tip I read about which proved worthwhile is to pack a pair of disposable painter's shoe covers. The grounds are coated in penguin poop! My sneakers were like new after the trek with the covers. Penguins were plentiful as far as the eye could see. There were no boundaries and you could walk beside them. The ride is long - about 3 hours each way - with mostly monotone vistas of peat, rocks and occasional sheep. Our driver, Steven Vincent, in addition to expertise with a 4x4 in waist deep mud, provided entertaining stories and good music that made the 3 hours pass rather quickly. MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay - I took a city tour through Celebrity which was very enjoyable and included the highlights, important monuments and sites. The guide was very well versed in the history etc. Upon returning, I borrowed a wheelchair and took mom on a stroll down to the market. Buenos Aires - If you have extra time in Buenos Aires, I highly recommend getting in touch with a woman that I stumbled upon on the web - Sandra Gutrejde from My Buenos Aires Travel Guide or www.batravelguide.com. Sandra is a refreshing, delightful woman who proved to be responsive, accommodating, friendly and so helpful. I really cannot say enough positive. I approached Sandra with some ideas of my own but after explaining my mother's physical condition, she recommended against my ideas despite potentially missing out on our patronage. She was so selfless and delivered on all promises and exceeded my expectations, going above and beyond in her kindness and knowledge. PUERTO MADRYN, Argentina - we took the courtesy shuttle to downtown, walked around a bit, and then called it a day, choosing to relax by the pool on our first warm day in 2 weeks. 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Sail Date February 2010
This was a second time I sailed on the Radiance. The ship was in excellent condition everywhere, it still looked as if it was rather new, a nice contrast to the tired looking Voyager class vessels. Our aft JS was as great as expected and ... Read More
This was a second time I sailed on the Radiance. The ship was in excellent condition everywhere, it still looked as if it was rather new, a nice contrast to the tired looking Voyager class vessels. Our aft JS was as great as expected and experienced on other Radiance class ships. Marsha our room steward a jewel, could not have been better. The trip started in Buenos Aires. Boarding at 2:30 p.m. ( we did not sail till 9:00p.m.) was a bit lengthy this time due to local regulations, customs etc. RCCL did their best but could not change the situation. Overall boarding maybe took 1 hour which was still tolerable. Our bags were waiting for us when we reached the cabin, that was a first and much appreciated. The ship was only booked by about 1500 passengers, coming from over 50 countries! What a great experience that was. We had 375 US Americans, followed by 356 Brazilians, 153 Argentineans and 127 Germans, 96 Canadians, 43 Turkish and 47 French passengers just to name the biggest groups. Overall the passenger were surprisingly young, with the average of being mid 40s to mid 50s, nothing of what I would have expected. A few kids were on board, mainly from South America, out and visible 24 hours but usually well behaved. Overall passenger seemed very relaxed and friendly, I never saw grumpy passengers. The South Americans, though a bit harder to please in the ship´s theatre, seemed happy as long as they could listen and dance to music. The ship´s centrum was extremely lively every night with people dancing and having a good time. Numerous activities took place daily, many of which we did not attend. All announcements were made in English, Spanish, Portuguese and German. Newspapers, menu cards and cruise compass came in many languages. Guest relation which was very helpful and friendly was always busy despite not being a full ship. The had English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and of course Portuguese speaking staff available 24hours and always helped with a smile. We had an issue with kitchen smell in most aft cabins on deck 10 for about 5 days ( nothing too bad and definitely tolerable to us! ) and guest relations dealt with it in a very helpful and professional way. Very good customer service here. The concierge Juan Diego was great. Very accommodating, friendly and easy going. Food in the lounge the best we ever had, daily changing and extremely tasteful. Food in the dining room ( 2nd seating @ 9.p.m.) was mostly good, if you picked the right dish. Variety was very good, food was never bland. No real complaints. Wine prices went up a bit and it is a shame that the overworked waiters have to deal with wine service. Neither good for the passenger nor good for RCCL which could make more money if they had decent sommeliers and thus someone pushing wine sales. Out waiter from the Philippines was not to my liking, however service much approved after talking to the head waiter Alena which did a fantastic job at all of her tables. We tried Portofino's twice and will not go there again unless RCCL comes out with new menus. Service was good, not spectacular, food was boring and not too tasty, especially not the main courses. The main restaurants were mostly empty. Windjammer food was OK. Did not go often because we are no friends of buffet style food. Lunch in dining room was good.Entertainment was just OK. It sure is difficult to entertain people from over 50 nations that all have different tastes. The cruise director, although absolutely not to my liking, tried his best. He was a bit too young in my opinion and after 4 days one was a bit tired of hearing the same phrases in 3 different languages every night. The DJ was the absolute worst I ever had. A shame that RCCL seems to mostly hire people that have no clue about music. Our last cruise on the Navigator in the Med was the opposite and dancing the night away in the ship´s disco was so much fun ( and sure good money making for RCCL! ). Not this time. Oh well, there as that fantastic South American band playing live music which kept us dancing in the end. The gym was always packed and so was the sauna. I had my first ever hot stone massage and first massage ever on a ship. It was unbelievably good and worth the money. Spa staff was super friendly, no matter whether you spent money there or not. Everything was kept clean and was in good condition, they never went out of towels ( as experienced in the free sauna on most other cruises ). They just cared, in line with everyone else on the ship, including the captain himself who was very outgoing and entertaining! Overall another fantastic cruise where RCCL once again proved that they do most things right! We booked a ship´s shore excursion, the Montevideo Highlights tour. Would not do it again because we saw mainly monuments which I am not interested in. The old part of Montevideo is very nice and easy to walk from the ship. Right next to the dock you find a "market" where you can get the best barbeque! Delicious! Not to miss. Next stop was Puerto Madryn. Took a private tour. It is all dusty there but you do see a lot of wildlife, from Guanacos to Sea Elephants, and Sea Lions to Penguins. Interesting day but would not need to go back again. Next stop was Punta Arenas. Booked a ship´s tour: Tracking The Magellanic Forrest. This was my highlight of the trip. Weather was beautiful ( as it was for most parts of the trip ) and the scenery just magic. Hard to describe. Would recommend it to everyone that likes a little hike ( not too strenuous ) and a beautiful scenery. Would do it again any time. Sailing from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia was incredible due to the beautiful scenery enroute! Next stop was Ushuaia. Went off on our own. Easy because we were docked. Took a cab to the chair lift that took us up to the glacier. Very cold up there and not much of a glacier. We still enjoyed it. Next day early in the morning around 7 a.m. we reached Cape Horn. The seas were flat like a lake, quiet unusual as the caption said but much appreciated by most passengers. We rounded the Horn completely and enjoyed this special corner of the world tremendously! 2 relaxing sea days before we arrived back in Uruguay in Punta del Este. Nice little town which was getting ready for its summer season. Nice port but not my favorite. Next stop was Porto Belo in Brazil. Very hot and intense sun ( which we experienced most days ). Too hot for us to go to the beaches which would have been accessible via a short taxi ride. Walked the little town instead and came back to the ship early. Others that took a little ferry directly from the pier to a nearby island with a tiny little beach had a much better day and raved about the caipirinas and the little beach. Disembarkation in Santos was uneventful. The new disembarkation process that RCCL established worked very well for us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008

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