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15 Night Panama Canal & Central America Cruise from San Diego

15 Night Panama Canal & Central America Cruise from San Diego

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Celebrity Infinity
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Itinerary


Celebrity Infinity

Cruise Critic Editor Rating:
4.0
1,374 reviews
Why Choose Celebrity Infinity?

Pro

Indoor solarium and pool ideal in bad weather

Con

A variety of dining options, but most for an additional fee

Bottom Line

A comfortable way to cross the Panama Canal or sail into some sun


Cruise Reviews

1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
We usually cruise with Royal Carribean, but this itinerary appealed to us as a way back from a South America trip, so we decided to see what Modern Luxury is all about while wearing our Diamond Plus Royal Caribbean goggles. We have four ... Read More
We usually cruise with Royal Carribean, but this itinerary appealed to us as a way back from a South America trip, so we decided to see what Modern Luxury is all about while wearing our Diamond Plus Royal Caribbean goggles. We have four previous cruises with Celebrity, the first ten years ago, and we thought we knew what to expect. EMBARKATION: Embarkation in San Antonio, Chile, was interesting. It is a commercial port trying to be a cruise terminal. After an hour and a half bus ride from the Santiago airport and checking in at a warehouse near the edge of the port, we were loaded onto yet another bus for a ride to the ship at the dock. We’ve seen better and we’ve seen worse, so we just went with the flow. We were in our cabin by 1:30 PM and our bags were delivered around 4:00 PM. CABIN: The cabin, 7049, was clean and comfortable. With more storage space than we needed – a first. Situated next to the hump cabins, we had an extra large, shaded balcony. The balcony door did not have a handle on the outside, just a slot to grab and pull the door open. The door was hard to open without a handle, but since it was designed that way, we lived with it. The toilet decided not to work in the middle of the night 4 out of the 15 nights on the cruise. Guest Relations said it was a known issue and they were working on it. CREW: Every crew member we encountered was smiling and said good morning or good evening – from restroom attendants to senior officers. Wait staff were attentive and efficient. Whomever is in charge of setting up disembarkation for port days did not do such a good job in Manta - more on that later. DINING: Oceanview Cafe – We disliked the Oceanview Café because it is so crowded with people wandering around trying to assemble a meal that it’s like the “Zombie Apocalypse” - as one fellow passenger described it. There is no clear delineation of flow for the serving lines and people just butt in where they please. We avoided eating meals there. When we did stop in for a snack, we noticed that the wooden chairs needed a good cleaning – there was so much dirt crusted on the back of one chair that I scraped some off to show one of the supervisors and merely received a shrug in response. MDR – We used the MDR for a few breakfasts and lunches just to steer clear of the buffet. A table for two may as well be a table for four, six, eight, or more since they are jammed together so closely that one cannot walk between the table. Service was good and the menu selections standard. We also ate some breakfasts and lunches in the Solarium Café, where it was easy to get a table and the selections were more healthful than other venues. The MDR in the evening was not at all pleasant and we only dined there on 10 of the 15 nights, opting for specialty dining on the other five evenings. The tables are very close and the other diners, probably deaf from the over-amplified music venues, seemed to shout their conversations during the meal. Shouting waiters added to the din. Not at all a pleasant atmosphere. The food, however was very good, well presented, and right-sized portions. Had the food not been so good, we would have avoided the MDR in the evenings because of the noise levels. Specialty dining – We ate in Qsine only once. The Qsine food was delicious but the menu on the electronic tablets was hard to understand and the waiter did little to help explain what was an appetizer and what was a main. Give me a regular menu. Sushi on 5 was wonderful, with a very attentive waiter and a wide variety of sushi to choose from. The Tuscan Grill was our favorite and we ate three evening meals there, and enjoyed a light morning breakfast and specialty coffee drinks there on most mornings. We enjoyed the atmosphere and service of the Specialty Dining venues, especially when compared to the MDR and Oceanview. ENTERTAINMENT: Since this varies from ship to ship, I won’t go into detail. The production shows were very good – but too over-amplified to be pleasant. Earplugs helped. The guest entertainers were also very good and not quite as over-amplified. PORTS: We booked the cruise primarily as transportation back from a land tour in South America, and not for the ports of call. We did walk around in Arica, Chile, and Georgetown, Grand Cayman, but did not book any excursions. The stop in Manta, however, is worth noting. Having been there before, we were undecided about going into town for a look around. The ship announced that free shuttle buses would be provided from the ship to the town center/shopping area. After the announcement was made that the gangway was open, we went down to the promenade deck to see how long the line for the shuttles was and determine if we should wait a while. There was no line – only a large mob of approximately 250-300 people waiting for the yet-to-appear shuttle buses. Celebrity did nothing to establish or control a line. When the first shuttle bus arrived, the mob surged and all 300 people tried to get on the first bus. We saw a fight breakout at the steps to the bus and one man trying to pull another man off the second step of the bus. At that point I ran down to Guest Relations and told them they needed to get security out there and that one fight had already broken out. I went back outside to the promenade to watch the most unorganized shuttle bus system I had ever witnessed. We decided to avoid the melee and have a peaceful day on the ship. One would think that Celebrity had never organized a port day or a shuttle bus system before. It was certainly a poor example of Modern Luxury. CHAIR HOGS: The Infinity made a feeble attempt to cut down on chair hogs with a few little folded placards placed on the pool and solarium loungers in the mornings, however with no enforcement, the chair hogs just pushed the placards aside and set up camp. I witnessed chair hogs “reserving” loungers and sunbeds as early as 6:00 AM, using a variety of towels, flip flops, magazines, paperbacks, and large plastic clips to hold the towels in place. Often those same loungers were “reserved” hours later – and on port days “reserved” all day long until the hogs returned from their excursions. Not once did I see any of the pool staff removing the chair hog nests. With no enforcement in place, more and more people started “reserving” loungers and sunbeds. Another poor example of Modern Luxury. DISEMBARKATION: Disembarkation from the ship in Fort Lauderdale was well organized, until we reached the Customs and Immigration lines. There were four agents to process some 2,100 passengers. Signs for “US and non-US” were not apparent and there was insufficient line management so that yet another mob formed adjacent to the bag retrieval area. We settled down in some chairs to wait out the mob, and only later discovered the mob was trying to get through the “Non-US” lines and the “US” line was almost empty. We gathered our bags and were through the immigration check in under 10 minutes – happily leaving the growing “Non-US” mob to be processed by only two agents. No wonder the Fort Lauderdale port has such a bad reputation on Cruise Critic. CONCLUSION: After watching Royal Caribbean turn into floating county fairs, and with Celebrity losing their “premium” luster to the mass market, it’s time to expand our horizons and find cruise lines that cater to grownups and offer a more genteel way to cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
After sailing with Royal Carribean 17 times we saw a South America itinary and chose the other side, Celebrity Infinity. We used the pre cruise hotel and transfer that was great hotel and slick smooth transfer of approx. 1 hour 30 min. ... Read More
After sailing with Royal Carribean 17 times we saw a South America itinary and chose the other side, Celebrity Infinity. We used the pre cruise hotel and transfer that was great hotel and slick smooth transfer of approx. 1 hour 30 min. On arrival there were orderly lines and clear instruction to leave luggage. A short walk to the pre boarding hall and booking in process. Plenty of seats, water and soft drinks and special signage for elite and above passengers. As with every cruise there are lines for everyone to stand in. Suite / aqua passengers think they should be before everyone, although if its a first cruise they dont know this. Elite and elite plus try to get ahead of the higher standard class but it rarely comes off. So the process takes about 30 minutes which ever line you are in. Straight to the ship after scanning your bags and smashing your bottles of wine as the passengers in front did. Right, we are on...... Our first Celebrity cruise and we get elite status as we are just short of elite plus. Chests out, cards in hand lets check the ship. We did notice instantly that the ship is dated, some rust on the outside, blue paint clearly fading and windows very dirty. We did know this was an old ship and you can tell if you are an experienced cruiser. Hand gel on we went to the Ocean view cafe as we are not always keen on the restraunts. More hand gel, as it should be and we are in. Smiling staff and great selection of food for all. Lots of choice and we walk through to the rear where there is a fantastic outdoor seating area, we spend most of out 15 days of eating time here. Live music at 2000 hrs in the evening simply a delight. Passengers fed all on and away from Sandiago Chili. We have a great cruise and the passengers were quite charming. We are world travellers and have in fact left out jobs at 46 to travel for a few years so are very experienced. We have never been on such a calm and restful cruise with such interesting passengers. Anyway I must get on with the review..... The gym is small but has a good selection of equipment. The Spa and Spa pool are very standard but clean and fresh with great staff. There is food served by the inside pool most of the day and very healthy food at that. The general pool area is clean and tide and salt water in the pools. There is a bar above with a small running track that we did manage over 50 miles on over the 15 days. There are a few good windy sunbathing areas on deck 11 around the Constellation bar that serves as the Captains Club free drink bar from 5pm to 7pm. We did not use the speciality restaurants but they all appeared very nice and were busy. Deck 9 had the ilounge, a haven for 60 - 85 year olds who could not do without the internet, but at nearly $300 for the cruise we used the free 90 min we got over the same period. A libary on deck 8 but a small selection that could do with more books. A chess set and drafts but both went missing as people took them away for use around the ship, not cricket really. Deck 5 sees all the normal shops and a special apple shop that did not sell much really, ipads earphones and speakers were about it, we did not see the point really. Casino as always there and stinking of smoke as normal. We never go through on any ship and it makes our clothes smell of smoke. Down to the photography area a special access bar and theatre, all pretty standard really but in good condition. The evening shows were very good but did not seem to be full. Lots of live music around the ship all cruise was excellent. No strictly formal evening but we did see a couple of posh gentleman in the attire. We attended the Trellis restaurant once but a bit too fussy and to be honest we were hungry when we left and went up stairs to the Ocean View cafe for some food. All in all a great cruise with great passengers. We did our own thing off the ship so did not do any Ship excursions as they were expensive. A very tired ship that was then going to dry dock for repairs to an engine and hopefully for the windows to be cleaned and some painting done. One sour note though. On leaving the ship at Fort Lauderdale there was a 4 hour wait to get through immigration for none uUSA passport holders. Disgraceful really and not a Celebrity staff member in site. We would do Celebrity again we enjoyed it but we are 2 points off diamond plus for Royal Carribean so need to get those points first. Keep travelling everyone and remember this little fact the americans told me. If you have kids and you go cruising you are going on a SKI holiday...... Spending Kids Inheritance Why not.... live life to the full... Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
+++++Value. I Love Celebrity and the Infinity is an older ship but so comfortable for us! Let's start from the beginning: March 14th: We choose to break up our trip and fly from Fort Lauderdale to Bogota, Columbia. It was a 5 hour ... Read More
+++++Value. I Love Celebrity and the Infinity is an older ship but so comfortable for us! Let's start from the beginning: March 14th: We choose to break up our trip and fly from Fort Lauderdale to Bogota, Columbia. It was a 5 hour flight on Avianca Airlines (an airline we haven't traveled). The flight was great, I would definately fly with them again. We booked the Marriott Bogota Airport. It was a good choice with shuttle service to and from the airport. The rooms were nice and it had a restaurant on the premesis with good food. March 15th: We book a full day tour with Bogota Travel tours. They were great and we had a fun day in Bogota! I would recommend them! March 16th: Flight to Santiago was 6 hours and we were met at the airport by our driver. We stayed at the Santiago Marriott Hotel in an Executive room with a Mountain and City View. It was beautiful ! The sunsets were some of the best I have seen. We had Lounge access and used it for our dinner that evening. It was nice enough to have the tapa's, wine , and desert. March 17th: We had a tour the next day of Santiago and had lunch in Maipo Valley. Maipo Valley was beautiful with lots to do. They had river rafting, hiking, and a great Zip line with a beautiful waterfall! That evening we did the lounge again since we had a big lunch. We all had our St Patrick day garb on and had some fun with that as well! March 18th: We were picked up at the hotel for our transfer to the ship which was in San Antonio, Chile. On the way to the ship we stopped in Casablanca Valley for wine tasting. The wine was good, but the tasting experience was expensive. I would probably leave that out the next time. My brother bought wine at the winery to take on the ship, and later we found he could have bought the same quality of wine for half of what he paid!! We should have known better when our tour guide called it a boutique winery!! The name of the winery was Casa Marin. We boarded the ship around 2pm. The process was very smooth both for my husband and I who were Concierge and our fellow travelers my bother and sister-in-law and friends were in a balcony and they boarded just about 20 minutes after us and said the process was good. Our room was nice with a slightly bigger room and balcony then our fellow travelers. I was surprised that we had a bigger room because I thought they were the same size as the balcony rooms. We met our room steward whose name was Arthur! He was wonderful! In a Concierge cabin you get a bottle of Champagne the morning after boarding and canapé's daily. I have not been fond of some of the canapé's I have had on other voyages, so I asked Arthur if he could just have them send Cheese and crackers daily. I also asked him to send a bottle of red wine in lieu of the Champagne. No problem done!!!! He was fantastic attending cheerfully to our every need! I miss my friend Arthur as I write this review! We ate the early dinner (6pm) and enjoyed all the many meals. They are so accomodating on Celebrity. My brother who has Celiac Disease has to have a gluten free diet, and the staff and chef went our of their way to prepare his meals. We went to the Ocean View several times and the food was great there as well! We did not go to any of the specility restaurants this trip!! We figured why when the food in the main dinning room was so good!! The Martini bar was lots of fun we had cocktails there on a couple of occasions and the staff was fun! We had several sea days and they went by quickly with all the activities offered. We enjoyed 2 scavenger hunts, several trivia sessions, some afternoon shows and of course a few swims in the Thelasothearpy pool! So relaxing! March 21: Our first port of call was Arica, Chile. We had a tour with South Excursions. We saw some very interesting things such as the ex customs building and St. Marks Cathedral which were both built by Eiffel. We saw beautiful panels of Geoglyphs. We visited San Miguel de Azapa Archaeological Museum to see the Mummies of the Chinchorro culture! Who knew they date back earlier (10,000 years) than the Egypian Mummies!!! The boys were fansinated with the 9 hole golf course with the greens being black sand! It was a great day and we were glad we had a private tour with just the six of us! March 23: Pisco, Peru was our next port and we were met at the Arica pier by South American Secrets for a six hour tour. We first rode a bus with several other passengers and our six person group to the port where we boarded a boat to what they called "The Peruvian Galapagos" it was fantastic with close up encounters with lots of bird species and sea otter and penguins. It lasted a couple of hours and was a blast! From there we visited the Paracas National Reserve. We had a little discrepency in the amount of money we owed the company, but it was settled pretty quickly. I would advise e-mailing until the price is settled to your satisfaction. The tour guide apologized to me for the misunderstanding and the tour was good so I would recommend them with the stipulation noted above. March 24th: Lima Peru was our next port and we again booked a private tour, this time with Monica tours. She is the bomb!!! She drove and Natalie was our tour guide. The traffic in Lima is really incredible with cars zooming in and out! You would think there were no lanes!! Fantastic tour With a fun visit to Love Park and several museums into the night with the final hour taking us to Parque De La Reserve and the Magic Water Circuit. It was a park with 13 fountains with a light, Lazar and water show that was magical!!! I would again recommend Monica Tours if you want to do a private tour! March 27th Our next stop was Manta, Ecuador. We did this port on our own. We took the shuttle to the Market and shopped. Some of us bought a Panama hat!! March 29th Full Panama Canal transit! Very interesting. We had a person on board giving us all the details of the transit. Celebrity did a good job. It was especially fun watching Holland Americas cruise ship going through the canal to our right! We met some of the passengers in Grand Cayman a few days later and we laughed about watching each other go through the locke. March 31: Grand Cayman and our only tour booked with Celebrity was a great time. We saw Dolphins and Stingray up close and swam in the Ocean. We had a lot of Sea days, but I was not bored for a second!! Would recommend this cruise !! Read Less
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