14 Buenos Aires Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

Was excited for my first trip to South America and loved the itinerary! Visited some very remote areas and saw beautiful scenery. Especially loved the Glaciers, the penguins and the sea lions. Unfortunately, the experience on the ship ... Read More
Was excited for my first trip to South America and loved the itinerary! Visited some very remote areas and saw beautiful scenery. Especially loved the Glaciers, the penguins and the sea lions. Unfortunately, the experience on the ship was the disappointing part! It started with embarkation which was a disaster with long lines and frustrated guests. I’m platinum, which is supposed to afford me priority embarkation but all the way through, I was told to follow the crowd. No priority! Once on the ship, for the first 4 or 5 days, staff were serving guests at the garden café, rather than allow self-service at the buffet. I’m sure that this was to avoid possible contamination since the carona-virus is such an issue, and I appreciate their concern. However, the staff was doing a terrible job! They were obviously short staffed behind the counters and didn’t seem happy to be serving. It was extremely slow and often it was hard to find anyone to help! Of course, the cleanup staff was plentiful and several times I had to stop them from taking my plate and drinks while I was still eating! We also had 7 nights in the specialty dining and sometimes felt rushed there. I also received a voucher for a complimentary dinner for 2 at Cagney”s , and a friend who was using the dining package was allowed to order more courses that we were with the voucher which I thought was extremely tacky! We also booked all of our excursions through the ship and although expensive, most were good, although some of the guides were hard to understand. Also, tours were offered in Spanish or English, yet we often wound up with passengers in our group that spoke Spanish so the guides had to switch back and forth, making their speech more difficult to follow. Unfortunately, the Magdelena Penguin Reserve tour in Punta Arenas, which was $199 for 5 hours, was terrible!! We spent a total of 4 hours on a bus and a rickety old ferry, for 1 hour on the island with the penguins. During the 105 minutes each way on the ferry, there was nothing else to see. The lead guide talked for about 30 minutes then spent the remaining time in the navigation cabin on the ferry with the other 3 guides who were young college students. One of the girls stuck her head out and I tried to ask a few questions and she wasn’t able to answer much. I learned more about Punta Arenas on a later excursion at another port! After retuning to the ship I went to the shore excursion desk to complain and I was treated very rudely by the staff. I was told I would be given a “courtesy refund” but when I said my sister/roommate was also displeased, he said he would make out a report and get back to me. No response! So in the morning on the last day I returned and again was treated very poorly by another agent, and told it was still under review and they would call me with a decision at 8pm, after their desk was closed! I wrote a note to the general manager and finally received a call about 3:30pm that they were giving us a 20% discount. A little while later, my sister noticed on the NCL app that we were charged again for the excursion. So she went to the desk AGAIN was treated rudely also! He said we had received a credit for the first charge, which we did not see on the app. She asked for a copy of her bill so she could see the credit and he told her he did not do printing and rudely pointed to the finance desk which had a long line. Also, it turns out they only gave us an addition 10% since as status latitude members, we were already eligible for a 10% discount. I again wrote a note to the general manager and received no reply! I am currently a Platinum Latitudes member but feel that Norwegian has really gone down hill in the last year or so. The staff and the service are very poor!! Even management and Guest Services don't seem friendly or like they care if you have issues. I attribute this partly to the fact that tips are now prepaid, so the staff receives their money even if they don’t do a good job. While I have been leaning toward NCL over the last few years, I am becoming very unhappy with them and will have to start looking to start traveling other lines going forward. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
On this cruise, Celebrity got the formula exactly right. Great ports, great food, great accommodations, excellent service and spectacular entertainment! What more could you ask for! This was by far the best cruise we’ve ever taken. ... Read More
On this cruise, Celebrity got the formula exactly right. Great ports, great food, great accommodations, excellent service and spectacular entertainment! What more could you ask for! This was by far the best cruise we’ve ever taken. We’ve sailed with Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity in the past and although each cruise has it’s positive and negative points, we’ve found Celebrity to be the best. CHECK IN: We read all the negative reviews about check in and were concerned. There was no need to be. Celebrity was extremely well organized on this cruise and check-in was a breeze. We received email confirmations about staggered check in times. Each deck was assigned a specific check in time, starting from the top deck downward, and the lines moved quickly. DINING: Overall, meals on board were of good quality. Concierge Class were given a delicious lunch in the main dining room on embarkation day. Although we were aware of this, we were not given the time of the lunch until we had checked in. Saved us from braving the masses at the Oceanview Cafe on embarkation day. We avoided eating at Oceanview mainly for that reason. We chose instead to eat all our meals (including breakfast) in either the main dining room or the specialty restaurants. The Main dining room offered a good variety of choices and service was also good. We tried all the specialty restaurants and the quality, menu choices and service were all superb. They were well worth the additional cost. ENTERTAINMENT: Again, don’t believe all the negative reviews you’ve read. On this particular Celebrity ship, entertainment was superb. The shows each night in the theatre were spectacular. The best we’ve ever experienced on any cruise. The cruise director Giuseppe was young, energetic and had a great sense of humor. His ability to engage the crowd, as well as make things fun and light hearted, are unmatched. He was by far the best cruise director we’ve had on any cruise we’ve taken. EXCURSIONS: Overall, the choice and quality of excursions were disappointing and pricing steep. Better communication, directions and signage would be helpful. CLEANLINESS: Overall good, but could use some improvement. Tables in common areas were obviously not wiped down regularly. Rings and stains from drinks and food were still visible. In addition, young Captain Leo was the most visible and personable of all the Captains on past cruises we’ve taken. It was really nice to see him and the rest of his team engaging and interacting with other passengers. All in all, it was a wonderful cruise and we would definitely recommend and sail with Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Why this cruise: to see another side of the world and Machu Picchu with friends. The bad (as it will be shorter): old ship, limited local wine choices, some menu items disappearing quickly, obsolete disco bar in one of the top location ... Read More
Why this cruise: to see another side of the world and Machu Picchu with friends. The bad (as it will be shorter): old ship, limited local wine choices, some menu items disappearing quickly, obsolete disco bar in one of the top location of the ship, senior staff absent. The good: service staff was outstanding, creative and competent. Restaurant staff (Capri) were a lot of fun and Maitre D were outstanding. Cabin service staff were top notch and prove their efficiencies when needed (30 minutes turn around time to get my jacket pressed... my fault). The cruise itinerary met expectations. Port destinations offered were as good as what could be seen. The evening shows were quite good in general, while one was weak. The conferences were very interesting and informative as port destination recommendations (for walkers). Onboarding and outboarding was flawless (my only bad experience was with Budget Rent a Car... no fault of Princess cruise here. I will never rent a car with them again). We took the Machu Picchu land tour option. It was perfect from start to the end (guides, hotel, transfers, staff, destination, food). This tour is on the top end of all tours I have ever done. To keep it simple, if you want to visit South America with Princess, you must include the Machu Picchu tour on your way back. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Wanted to see S America, a Gold Member and travel with 4 other couples 5th cruise! NCL this was the worst cruise, our toilet would not flush on demand, button pushed nothing ... middle of night it flushed reported numerous times! ... Read More
Wanted to see S America, a Gold Member and travel with 4 other couples 5th cruise! NCL this was the worst cruise, our toilet would not flush on demand, button pushed nothing ... middle of night it flushed reported numerous times! Restroom stall doors held on with electrical wire ties(casino men's room). Mens room at The Windjammer had a hole in the wall covered by cardboard and duct tape. Every other NCL cruise we have been on while in port they cleaned the windows not on the Sun! Water spots on most of our pictures. The windows were either dirty or there were numerous window fogged from loss of vacuum! We made reservations for ten in different resteraunts and many times they sitted us at different tables when there were large settings available and were not used while we were there! Shame on NCL! We are looking to cruise Australia and New Zealand later this year and we( all 5 couples) are not sure we will chose NCL this time! One bright spot was Freddie the Bartender at the Champayne Bar! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
As an Elite Captain's Club member on Celebrity Infinity's Antarctica cruise sailing January 22nd from Buenos Aires, I related my disappointment to the Concierge Mr. Hernandez in the Library on the 8th floor. He basically blew ... Read More
As an Elite Captain's Club member on Celebrity Infinity's Antarctica cruise sailing January 22nd from Buenos Aires, I related my disappointment to the Concierge Mr. Hernandez in the Library on the 8th floor. He basically blew me off. I have already booked 4 cabins on a Celebrity Cruise in the Caribbean next February. I thinking we may need to cancel and change lines. I have not heard one word about my complaints. We only stopped twice in 14 days. The captain did not spin the ship around much and therefore did not get good views of wildlife others saw on the opposite side of the ship. (we were on the Port side). Also the shore excursion in Ushuaia on the Terra Del Fuego, we did not get there when scheduled, instead we were 3 hours late, they piled too many people on some catamarans thru the harbor, could not see anything then we got off at the national park and they proceed to bus us back to town, too late for anything to be open (10:15) with the ship leaving at 11:30. For such an expensive cruise, they did not do a very good job of keeping us entertained. there was little to do on the ship, and the crew was also not prepared for 12 days at sea with only the 2 stops. Corporate was clearly all about the money! So Celebrity what are you going to do for all of us unhappy customers? Trip Advisor and cruise critic are my next stops. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
The itinerary on Celebrity Infinity was excellent: Buenos Aires to Ushuaia to Cape Horn to Antarctica to Port Stanley, Falkland’s, to Puerto Madryn to Montevideo and back to Buenos Aires. The only issue with it was the first [boring] 3 ... Read More
The itinerary on Celebrity Infinity was excellent: Buenos Aires to Ushuaia to Cape Horn to Antarctica to Port Stanley, Falkland’s, to Puerto Madryn to Montevideo and back to Buenos Aires. The only issue with it was the first [boring] 3 days at sea, but we skipped them by flying to Ushuaia directly. (Yet, Celebrity, of course, not only issues no refund for those 3 days, but charges a fee to allow you to embark in a different port. The funny part of that was a call from them on the day of the departure with a question of why we are not on the ship. Despite the fee charged, they did not bother to communicate our embarkation exclusion to the vessel!) There's more. Unfortunately, a week before sailing, Celebrity sent an email that they have a problem with the ship’s propulsion system, as such they won’t have sufficient speed and will have to cancel our visit to Puerto Madryn. It was very bad news, but at least they promised to refund one day as an excuse; not a fair exchange of course but something. (Later on the ship, during our Inside Access Tour, we of course asked in the mechanical room what the problem they have with the propulsion system, but the crew politely did not give an answer.) The worst part came later. They suddenly cancelled Port Stanley as well. This time it was “for safety reasons”, saying that the weather is too bad there, that it’s a strong wind of 55-80 kph and getting to the shores is not possible. Alas, there is a big problem with this statement. First of all, the crew already knew and many people told us two days before that we won’t go to Port Stanley; that's before there was any reliable weather information. Also, our sailing through Drake Passage was extremely smooth. We were really lucky with the weather! Then at 5 AM on the morning we were supposed to sail to Port Stanley I checked the weather there and it was …sunny with 50 kph wind indeed but also CALMING to 25 kph during the day. Nonetheless, “for our safety” we did not go there. Of course, people attacked all officers with tons of questions. The main one being why not visit Puerto Madryn or another port in Argentina instead. We got no answer. I also had an opportunity to ask the captain personally on the real reason for skipping Stanley. The answer was, “I’m the captain, I know better.” So, it looks like Celebrity Infinity either has a big technical problem with the vessel (and then it’s a real safety issue!) or saves money on port fees, etc., maximizing their profits. Either way, my advice is to never use this company. They have no respect for their customers, easily ruining vacations for 2000+ people. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Chose the 3 back to back cruises that go from Rio to San Francisco. Beaches, penguins, Falkland Islands, Cape Horn, Chan Chan, and the list goes on. Best way to see these, and each was great. Would forgo the start in Rio, but definitely ... Read More
Chose the 3 back to back cruises that go from Rio to San Francisco. Beaches, penguins, Falkland Islands, Cape Horn, Chan Chan, and the list goes on. Best way to see these, and each was great. Would forgo the start in Rio, but definitely start/end in Buenos Aires. My wife and I were mugged in Rio as well as several other couples that we met on the ship. The only way to tour Rio is in a group tour. Period. Never alone or as a couple, even just to leave your hotel. The Sun is a mid size ship that struggles when at full capacity. The buffet is far too small for all guests, particularly on a sea day with weather that did not allow outdoor dining. However, the staff is great and make extra efforts to try and accommodate. Not always successful. Embarkation at all 3 ports was very poor. Expect to spend the afternoon getting on board. Tendering when necessary was very good. Food was hit and miss. The only specialty restaurants worthwhile for a second visit were Cagney's and Le Bistro. Entertainment in the Stardust Theater was generally good, the production cast numbers, Uptown, and the Showband were the best. Other entertainment was decent, Beau in the Windjammer was the best for our taste- he should listen to 'mama'...Repeat, the crew and staff on the Sun make the cruise. Bridge lessons on the last leg were a nice plus. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
After returning from a Panama Canal on the Maasdam, sorting thru upcoming cruises the 32 day explore South America Passage and Inca Discovery was of great interest. Fortunately for future travelers, the Zaandam is going in to dry dock to ... Read More
After returning from a Panama Canal on the Maasdam, sorting thru upcoming cruises the 32 day explore South America Passage and Inca Discovery was of great interest. Fortunately for future travelers, the Zaandam is going in to dry dock to be rehab in 2018. In the Lido dining the chair cushions show great ware as they are sunken in. There was very little variety of foods from day to day. No specialty nights with native food from the country we were in. Randomly closed parts of each food line thus had to go from side to side to complete a meal. Food became 'same-O-same-O'. Internet very expensive, very slow, basically non functional. On some other cruise ships, internet is free. Waste many of your minutes waiting for it to connect. Entertainment has really gone down hill. No entertainment on the pool deck. Very little variety in the lounge - mostly singing and dancing. Some of the ShipFlicks permanently missing or so scratched they would not play. Returning to America and Clearing Immigration i.e. final disembarkation was an experience of disorganize chaos. This could have been handled much better. It put a big black mark on what to that date had been an excellent relaxing time. Bathrooms definitely need some attention. On the bright side, the Captain's 12 noon briefings were very interesting as were his Q/A meetings with the passengers. The staff was very attentive, nice group of young people. For the fitness bugs, the center is treat. A variety of equipment. The morning stretch class was a huge hit. I attribute this in part to the personality of the instructor. About the deserts. Too good, need I say more! The system for dismissing guests and matching them with their selected excursions was very efficient. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
The ports of call were a little different from usual South American ones with Ilhabela and Buzios included. The shore excursion department did not always have correct information to give on the excursions offered, and I found that ... Read More
The ports of call were a little different from usual South American ones with Ilhabela and Buzios included. The shore excursion department did not always have correct information to give on the excursions offered, and I found that inexcusable. While the ship was kept clean, and there were no apparent outbreaks of illness on board, I never saw any maintenance done in he four weeks we were on board. Some of the hand rails were very worn and also sticky at times and there was a lot of rust showing. Many of the lounge chairs with lighter coloured upholstery looked decidedly grubby. I have never been on a ship where so many very basic food items (like lettuce!) have run out before the voyage was half over. While the quality of the food in the main dining room was quite good, the variety of the desserts in the buffet was better. Celebrity now add extra priced main meals on the dining room menu. The specialty restaurant price is usually $US45 a head, though "specials" were offered from time to time. Evening meals in the Ocean view buffet offered poor choices. All in all I was disappointed in the quality of Celebrity this cruise, I think their standard has really slipped, while they are putting higher prices on most things than other cruise lines. The staff that we came into contact with were all good, with the exception of the misinformation at the shore excursion desk and one person, who was not at all friendly at the customer relations desk. Would I choose Celebrity again? Only if the Australians got the same "deals" as those in north America, and if the itinerary was something special. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We wanted to go to go to the Rio Carnival, which this cruise was focussed around, and also the Iguazu Falls which we were able to add on as an extra at the end of the cruise. These two locations did not disappoint. We should point out ... Read More
We wanted to go to go to the Rio Carnival, which this cruise was focussed around, and also the Iguazu Falls which we were able to add on as an extra at the end of the cruise. These two locations did not disappoint. We should point out however that the Ships Excursion to the Carnival (particularly for a box seat) is extremely expensive and so we booked wth the Carnival organisers directly over the internet, collecting the tickets on arrival in Rio, all of which proved quite easy to do and saved a significant sum of money. We were also surprised by how nice Buenos Aries was, to us it had a very European feel. The two island excursions, Ilhabela and Buzios were only OK and served just to "pad out" the cruise. Montevideo and Punta del Este were good excursions. The tour excursion in Rio was very good however, covering all the main spots such as Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf etc. and the guide here was very informative. Dining in the main restaurant was excellent and service there was very good. The Sommelier looked after us very well and the quality of the wine was very good. The ship lacked some sun deck areas with shade and we were on occasions concerned at the soot coming from the funnel when we were in the cinema area at the aft of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was our second Princess cruise. The first being to the Panama Canal, Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles, 2009. In the mean time we've taken several Oceania cruises in the Med. Princess is a good value for the money,but we found ... Read More
This was our second Princess cruise. The first being to the Panama Canal, Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles, 2009. In the mean time we've taken several Oceania cruises in the Med. Princess is a good value for the money,but we found the food not as good as our first trip with them on Coral Princess. The coffee at dinner was far superior to coffee at breakfast. I might add we ate the majority of our meals in the main dining rooms, anytime seating. We are not big fans of the buffet. The few times we did eat at the buffet, the food was very mediocre. Seeming to cater to the ethnic groups on board. The scrambled eggs seemed to be from mix. Bacon without any flavor. Also, we found out the coffee is from a condensed liquid, like soda from the fountain. The food in the dining room was good to excellent. They were very aware if you didn't seem happy with your meal. One night we had crab cakes as an appetizer, very underdone, and replaced immediately. As with anything some dishes were better than others, but steak and prime rib always were good. Fish, hit or miss. But again if you weren't happy anything would be replaced. We ate breakfast almost every morning in the dining room as well. It only took a couple of times ordering the special to figure out they were pre-made and held in a warming area. So I ordered everything ala carte. English muffin, lightly toasted, 2 soft poached eggs, ham and hollandaise sauce on the side. Perfect, and fresh. Lunch was very good as well. On 2 sea days they had the British pub lunch, fish and chips so-so, but fried prawns and chips excellent. Along with bangers and mash. The entertainment was very good. Typical Princess production shows, with good talent. 2 comedians, a hypnotist, fair, and a really outstanding vocalist from Broadway productions. I think her name was Vanessa B. Williams. And a juggler. OK. It was too cold for the movies under the stars, we were in the South Atlantic, but the movies in the lounge were very good. And new! The highlight of this trip was the scenery, like none we'd ever seen. Deserts that end in the ocean, and the Andes jutting into the sea to create Cape Horn, Tierra Del Fuego, the end of the earth. The Straights of Magellan were like glass, we were soooo lucky. The glaciers amazing on a sunny bright day. We did all of our own excursions. The best was the $15 US van in Stanley, Falkland Islands that take you out to Gypsy Cove to see the penguins, and run every few minutes so you can stay and hike as long as you like. We also arrange private trips to Tierra Del Fuego Nat'l Park, and the Orsono Volcano in Puerta Montt. Don't miss that! We had a great time, it was well worth the money, we had a starboard balcony where all the views were. We wouldn't do it again, it's a been there, done that kind of thing. But we are going with Princess in April to Asia. If there's no improvement in the dining, we'll probably only travel with Oceania, as we've done in the past. Beautiful smaller boats. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We left Rockville after a series of blizzards, hopeful that our non-stop plane from Dulles to Buenos Aires could also depart. It did, on time. Thus, we left town with the temperatures in the low 20's and blowing snow to arrive the ... Read More
We left Rockville after a series of blizzards, hopeful that our non-stop plane from Dulles to Buenos Aires could also depart. It did, on time. Thus, we left town with the temperatures in the low 20's and blowing snow to arrive the next morning in 80 degree temperature and beautiful sun. Stayed at the Marriott: lovely centrally located hotel. [This was our fifth cruise in a bit more than a year: Western Med (NCL); circum Britain (NCL); Norwegian North Cape & Fjords (NCL); Eastern Med (Celebrity). It was by far our happiest cruise and a ship made for cruising in colder weather. his means that there is lots of room for breakfest in an enclosed space. Also, the trip still has trays! That means that you can sit down to eat with all of your food at one time and the food is still hot when you sit.! WOW!!] Walking was fine, but be careful of the 'mustard bandits.' While you are walking, they spray you with a foul, yellow substance. They then claim it was from birds, and try to help you clean up. In the process they then try to pick your pockets. (We were warned of them, but we were still targeted & sprayed.) If this happens, just be loud, and keep them away from your body. This was successful for us, and foul goo did wash out. Ship is large, but 'right size' for amenities and 'comfort level.' We never got used to the hugeness of the Equinox or its poor design. Infinity has drawers for clothes than are easily accessible; Equinox only has shelf space located above the bed. Equinox lacks trays in the buffet. Formal nights on Equinox are more intrusive, though the Equinox also has the the Asian fusion restaurant that provided the finest dining experience we've experienced at sea. We stayed in the concierge class on the Infinity (and Aqua Class on the Equinox) neither are worth the extra cost. We didn't experience any meaningful amenities, other than priority boarding. (We converted the champagne to white wine, the shared it with our tablemates. The canapes were minimal. Since we didn't use the pool, the bathrobes were never used.) The concierge class didn't help us get any special treatment when trying to book a tour in the Falklands. The cabins are identical to those on lower decks. Service was generally excellent on every cruise we were on, regardless of line. ACTIVITIES: on NCL and Equinox, the lecturers were oriented to shore excursions, hence the sale of the tours and shopping. On Infinity, there were 2 lecturers, both university professors: a biologist and a geologist. We went to every lecture, and every one was magnificent. Their lectures gave us a better idea of which tours we wanted, sometimes confirming our prior research, and sometimes causing us to change our minds. These two guys also acted as our guides as the ship cruised Antarctica. Our understanding and appreciation skyrocketed due to their presence, for they added so much content to the scenery. Smoking is extremely limited on the ship (GREAT!), consequently, one could walk through the casino without a gas mask or even the open deck. Since we don't gamble and rarely drink (outside wine or beer with dinner or lunch), we can't comment on the casino or bars. ENTERTAINMENT: Our group (Music at Sea) featured Brooks Aehron, a fantastic pianist who also performed for the ship. While his style is clearly towards the classical era, he also performed some Gershwin & Andrew Lloyd Webber. We also enjoyed the strings quartet who also did a joint concert with Brooks: amazing is the only qualitative word that truly fits. We went to a couple of the theatre productions, and found the entertainment in those shows to be far superior to the Equinox which featured more circus acts. The music on the Infinity, even if was a style that we rarely enjoy, was uniformly superb. STATEROOM: functional, with no problems. That may sound 'adequate,' but compared to our trip on the Equinox, it was wonderful. Clothing storage was important because we were in 3 seasons: winter, summer, spring. We didn't carry any formal wear or even suits/dresses; our cruise style is to enjoy the destination. After dressing for work for 40+years in suit & tie, its a pleasure not to have to do it anymore. (However: see dining for more). We rather tramp around the deck when the wind was blowing or the pampas and hills than wear formal wear. Besides the space for storage, everything in the room worked on the Infinity. The bugs (and smell) were still being worked out when we sailed on the Equinox, with myriad small problems about every other day. The layout of the room helped maximize our cruising experience due to the balcony and outside window wall. DINING: The main dining room (MDR) was probably adequate, service was slow, and we really didn't enjoy it very much. We didn't eat there on formal nights, and the ship was just about to convert to a partial open dining plan in the MDR. Honestly, I don't enjoy French cooking, and would have preferred the choices in the buffet to the MDR. We ate as a group in the specialty restaurant (SS United States) twice, and they required me to wear or drape a suit coat over the back of my chair. I understand their logic, and tried to comply, in spite of the fact that we didn't bring such clothing with us. The food was nice, but again, that's not our style. BUFFET & BISTRO: Hot Food was always hot, and choices were always excellent. Quality was better than 'adequate" and we should have eaten dinner there more often. Trays made every meal there better because each individual was responsible for assuring that hot food was hot by the time you got to a table, not the inefficiency of staff or the layout of the facility. In comparison, hot food that was warm was the best that could be expected on the Equinox. The room was never over-crowded during breakfast, as it always was on the Equinox and the NCL ships. BISTRO was a gem! During dinner hours, it was an area of the buffet with table service and a different cuisine, with a nominal $2 service charge. It's an area where new assistant waiters were trained. The nights we ate there were dining experiences to be treasured. Salads were buffet style. Vegetables were family style (several options on a serving plate to be shared by those at the table). Five kinds of meat were served straight from the barbecue skewer (pork, chicken, lamb, flank steak, & fillet Mignon). The food was superb, and the service impeccable. If we weren't with a tight-knit group we would have eaten other dinners there that featured locale cuisine. Embarkation & Disembarkation: Buenos Aires is a cumbersome port for the Infinity. We needed to be shuttled from the terminal to the ship by a bus. Not the best arrangement, but the rest of the cruise was wonderful. OTHER: the photo people weren't as pushy as they were on some ships. Given the remoteness of the destination, we looked at the DVD prepared and sold by the photo people. It is superb, we bought it, and aren't disappointed. We've been a bit disappointed in the past by some of the photographers on-board other ships, so we didn't buy some of their other packages or stock photos. We wish we had. The packages, like the video, were excellent. CHILDREN'S CLUBS: not applicable to us, but we did see young kids having a great deal of fun. PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED ACCESSIBILITY: On board the ship, it was as expected: excellent. Off ship, there were problems for the physically challenged on this itinerary. OVERALL: Not quite the expedition ship experience, but wonderful combination of exploring a rarely seen part of the world while at ease. We choose not to make it a luxury cruise, a feature for those who like it on Celebrity. Other than MDR food, this was a superb cruise in every way. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
My husband and I are well-traveled, active seniors. We booked this cruise through Grand Circle Travel and spent three nights in Buenos Aires before embarking. Buenos Aires is a beautiful city with much to see and do. We stayed at the NH ... Read More
My husband and I are well-traveled, active seniors. We booked this cruise through Grand Circle Travel and spent three nights in Buenos Aires before embarking. Buenos Aires is a beautiful city with much to see and do. We stayed at the NH Hotel, right off the Plaza de Mayo, but a poor choice because of the small rooms and lack of drawer space. EMBARCATION:We embarked on December 6. Luckily, Grand Circle took care of our luggage because the area for checking in luggage was a disorganized mess. However, the rest of the boarding process was long and poorly organized. CABIN:Our ocean view cabin on the 9th deck was comfortable and had lots of storage space. Our cabin stewards were excellent and very friendly; no complaints there. FOOD:We ate in either Seven Seas or Four Seasons and the service was generally good. However, some things that should have been served at the same time were not; no maple syrup with French toast and no cream cheese with bagel and lox. More importantly, the food was mediocre. Maybe they're hoping that more people will spring for the specialty restaurants. Lobster was served on two occasions and it was tasteless. Many of the dishes were of poor quality - fettuccini alfredo as a main course? The Garden Cafe was a total disaster. One long line to get mediocre food and then nowhere to sit. GI VIRUS: My husband and I, along with countless other passengers got sick. Of the 127 people in our group, almost every couple had at least one sick mate. They were constantly wiping down walls, etc. but the ship needs to be taken out of service and thoroughly disinfected. On the cruise before ours, we heard that 100 people were sick. We certainly had far more. The medical care was excellent and free, but it didn't compensate for the time spent in bed. Oh yes, they gave each "patient" a $100 shipboard credit. ENTERTAINMENT: Generally pretty bad. Since the passengers were of many nationalities, (mostly American, South American, French, and German)they had some entertainment that would be understood by all. The magician, juggler, and "Gaucho" were the worst - better suited to a kiddie party. The Broadway Revue, Spanish singer Elvy Rose, and a Cuban piano player were the best. SHORE EXCURSIONS: All were good, but over-priced. In Montevideo we took the Jewish Heritage tour and found it fascinating. Walking among the penguins in Punta Tombo was a thrill, but the a/c in our bus didn't work, the guide's English was poor, and the box lunch inedible. We complained and got a 25% refund. In Port Stanley we took a $20 (round-trip) van ride to Gypsy Cove. Scenery was beautiful but penguins were a distance away. The town has an interesting church and a few shops. In Ushuaia, the weather was a balmy 60 degrees and my husband went to Tierra del Fuego National Park, where he enjoyed beautiful scenery. I was sick in bed. In Punta Arenas I took the "highlights" tour while my husband was sick in bed. The tour was very good and there's a nice handicrafts market in the main square, about 4 blocks from the pier.From Puerto Chacabuco we went to Coyhaique and Simpson Valley. The scenery was beautiful and the snacks and pisco sours on the way back were delicious but too many people were taken to the restaurant at the same time. From Puerto Montt we went to Puerto Varas and Frutillar. Puerto Varas has some nice shopping & Frutillar has an interesting museum about the German settlers. Puerto Montt itself deserves several hours. Walk along the water, to the left of the pier. There are countless shops. At the end is a very interesting fish market. DISEMBARCATION: Went well. Then we spent two nights in Santiago at the Crowne Plaza Hotel; a very comfortable hotel in a good location. SUMMARY: The land portion was outstanding, but we won't take another NCL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Now eight years old, the Radiance of the Seas, the first of RCI's Radiance class, is well maintained and in good condition. The crew was great and very friendly. A nice touch is that RCI has fixed benches to the heliport in the bow ... Read More
Now eight years old, the Radiance of the Seas, the first of RCI's Radiance class, is well maintained and in good condition. The crew was great and very friendly. A nice touch is that RCI has fixed benches to the heliport in the bow where you can sit and watch where the ship is going. My stateroom was a Category H Ocean-view, far forward on Deck 3. It was spacious enough. I had expected to feel more motion but even in less than calm waters, I felt little motion. Evidence of swells was mostly experienced when water splashed over the window. We were assigned second seating at 9:00pm for dinner. That was later than usual for dinner but I believe this time was set in deference to the large number of South American passengers who normally eat dinner later. The food in the Dining Room was acceptable but mostly unremarkable. The food in the Windjammer Cafe was mediocre at best and varied little from day-to-day. The best sandwiches were found in the Seaview Cafe. There you could get freshly grilled burgers, Reuben and Cuban sandwiches. There was also food available in the Solarium; usually a variety of cold salads, bad pizza, hot dogs, cookies and brownies. Table size at dining was an issue for many people. Some guests who requested tables for 2 or 4 were put at tables for 10 and 12. My Time Dining was at capacity and people could not switch. I even tried to bribe the maitre d' but to no avail. What also bothered many was that there small tables that were never used during the cruise. The entertainment in the Aurora Theater was average. The main show planned for one night was postponed for technical difficulties. When it finally was performed, there were still technical problems. The two headliners, alleged stars of Broadway productions of Le Miserable and Phantom of the Opera, were unremarkable. I did not stay for their entire show. There was an Elvis impersonator show (Helvis or something like that) I skipped altogether. I eventually gave up on the shows and stopped going. Many of the passengers I spoke to, whether Diamond Level Crown & Anchor members or novice RCI cruisers, expressed disappointment in the overall cruise experience. RCI veterans pointed to the elimination of things such as toiletries, pillow chocolates, and the traditional champagne fountain as evidence of the cruise lines diminished service. First timers tended to say that while the cruise was okay, there was no Wow Factor. Several expressed interest in trying other cruise lines for comparison. Three of the ports were beach resorts. Porto Belo, Ilhabela and Búzios, all in Brazil, were small towns or islands where passengers tendered ashore. Ilhabela was arguably the loveliest and Búzios had the best shopping. Búzios became known as an up-scale resort when Brigitte Bardot visited in the 60's and there is a statue of her near the central Beach. Another of the most common complaints I overheard was the value of the shore excursions. In Santos, Brazil, most, if not all passengers on the Historic Santos excursions demanded refunds when they returned to the ship. The Coffee Museum (former Coffee Exchange) was apparently an empty warehouse; the Train Station was modeled after Victoria Station but is now abandoned and there were few animals in the Zoo. The remaining ports were Punta del Este, Uruguay, our first port of call, where I chose to remain on board, Rio de Janeiro and Montevideo, Uruguay. Montevideo was pleasant but I was under-whelmed during a Highlights tour. The primary destination of the itinerary was, of course, Rio de Janeiro and the Samba Parade. I learned that the parade is actually a competition between the city's top 12 Samba Schools. The Parade is held on two successive nights with six schools parading each night starting at 9:00pm. In this photo, the Parade is moving from the bottom to the top. Each school has thousands of participants parading in various costumes; dozens of dancers; floats and a band. They are given between 60 and 90 minutes to parade through the Sambodromo which is about 2300 feet long. There is a 20 minute break between each school. Many tourists left after the 1st two schools. RCI begins its shuttle service back to the ship then. I stayed for 5 of the 6 schools and finally left the Sambodromo at 4:30am. It was exciting but after a while the costumes begin to all look alike. Many passengers were upset about the cost of the Carnaval excursion. As people compared notes, it became apparent that many passengers bought tickets for the Parade on-line and had comparable or better seats for much less money. The ship excursion did include transportation but, again, the passengers I spoke to who went on their own had no problems getting to and from the ship. Two of our members went on their own and found themselves in the staging area for the schools. They had the opportunity to see and touch the costumes up close. There was also much grumbling about the seating. Many agreed, me included, that the initial description of the Excursion on RCI's website implied a reserved seat. The reality was a seat cushion and a scramble for a place to sit in grandstand Sector 7. Sector 7 is considered a good place because it is across from the judges' box and the schools paused to perform. But it is hard concrete seating, although most of the crowd is on its feet dancing and singing most of the time. People also have the opportunity to order costumes in advance and march in the parade. I also took the Best of Rio excursion on the third day in Port. It included a trip up Corcovado to the Cristo Redentor (or Christ the Redeemer) Statue, one of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World; drives along the Ipanema and Copacabana Beaches; lunch at a churrascaria (Brazilian barbecue); the cable cars at Sugar Loaf mountain and a stop at the Cathedral, which is very contemporary and was inaugurated by Pope John Paul II. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009

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