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632 South America Cruise Reviews

We bought the cruise last winter as a 30 cruise. We were not informed that it changed to a B2B Cruise. All ship experiences were a repeat the second half. There were many unhappy customers!! Classic Bait and Switch. Embarkation was a ... Read More
We bought the cruise last winter as a 30 cruise. We were not informed that it changed to a B2B Cruise. All ship experiences were a repeat the second half. There were many unhappy customers!! Classic Bait and Switch. Embarkation was a nightmare. Never experienced anything like the confusion, being bullied by people taking your luggage, 2 hour wait, etc. The crew was wonderful! Food OK but repetitious. A little more variety would be appreciated. I actually lost weight on the cruise. Crossing the equator ceremony was very fun! The Captain on the first 1/2 was great!! Very visible and funny! The ship excursions were just OK. Some better than others. The ship needs some updating and maintenance but the overall condition was good. The Christmas decorations were beautiful!! My daughter is disabled and the crew were fantastic with her!! She has a wonderful time thanks mainly to the caring, sweet and funny crew. Everyone knew her name and went out of their way to make her smile! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was a long planned bucket list trip to see South America and especially Patagonia. The on-board service was absolutely excellent with HAL's customary exemplary service in the bar, restaurants and cabin, and with the sea going and ... Read More
This was a long planned bucket list trip to see South America and especially Patagonia. The on-board service was absolutely excellent with HAL's customary exemplary service in the bar, restaurants and cabin, and with the sea going and port tender management. Although we were in gale or storm force winds for much of the open water sections of the voyage trip, the Zaandam is extremely sea kindly and the motion was never uncomfortable. We splurged on a Neptune Cabin and concierge service which was well worth the premium with just nothing to fault it. The Zaandam is a newer R class ship and although similar to the older S Class Ryndam, Veendam and Maasdam upon which we have made previous cruises, is generally much "sharper" and more salubrious. Unfortunately however the Carnival "cheapscate" ownership of HAL once again reared its ugly presence, as previously for us with an Alaska trip which included an on-shore hotel component, with a truly dreadful hotel - this time after a bait and switch where a reasonable four star hotel originally scheduled for our trip at time of booking was substituted by HAL with a truly lousy three star - in Buenos Aires. To add insult to injury my wife's designer sunglasses and costume jewelry were stolen from our room when we were taking our bags downstairs for delivery to the ship (an action necessitated by the failure of the hotel to do this job). These are my general comments; insofar as the specifics of this cruise are concerned, the following provide some summary thoughts: In addition to the lousy hotel, the BA trip was marred by the prevalence of "Argentine Time" - 45 minutes to more than an hour at least late for everything - and generally sloppy management in BA. The best part was the Delta Cruise and Tango dinner which would probably have been excellent if we had started on time. As it was we were so late that the cruise through the delta islands was in pitch darkness. Montevideo was also marred by an inadequate guide and bus service, although others on board who did not use the HAL tour enjoyed it. After a rough two days at sea the on shore components started getting much better with the stop at the Falklands - a really well managed tender experience. The shorter penguin tours - they are adorable - was more than sufficient and the quaint town and environment were most interesting. Punta Arenas was our first stop in Chile, when the different attitude between the Chileans and Argentinians became obvious, and not just because the clocks worked! We had an emergency tender operation at Punta Arenas due to a dock conflict that the ships crew managed really well. The cruising through the Magellan Straits and Beagle Passage were delightful with awesome scenery before our next stop to Ushuaia and a visit to the southermost tip of South America. After more gorgeous Patagonia cruising we had a brilliantly managed rounding of The Horn before more Fjords and a delightful stop at Puerto Montt, where the German restauranteur and market trip was brilliant. Disembarkation at San Antonio was excellent, after which we made our own, very successful independent arrangements for driver, Santiago tour and hotel - a lesson learned! Overall, an excellent cruise which, as with our Alaska trip some years ago, started out really badly by HAL's failure to provide an on-shore experience that is anywhere remotely comparable to their on ship board experience, but ended real well. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was a lovely 3 week cruise thru the carribean down to the Amazon river, but,. Viking needs to make some improvements especially on the Amazon part. Several of their included tours were just plain boring. The overnight in Manhaus ... Read More
This was a lovely 3 week cruise thru the carribean down to the Amazon river, but,. Viking needs to make some improvements especially on the Amazon part. Several of their included tours were just plain boring. The overnight in Manhaus was a waste of time.....the city is not safe enough to be out at night. Several ports were tendered and in other Carribean islands the port used was not the most desirable location. Overall the ship was just beautiful. Well designed, rarely were there any areas that you felt crowded. Public areas were made into "living room" like areas, making it easy for quiet conversation. Food was very good all over the ship.Their wine/drink needs to be improved. They ran out of all Cabernet!!! Not a bottle to be found ! They also ran out of ginger ale early in the cruise! Was told they can not buy anything local???? What???? Aren't Cabernet Sauvignon and ginger ale basics? The buffet was always fresh and usually had the same food as the main restaurant. Many nights the buffet include d a special theme food station. Eating outside most evenings was delightful! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We will definitely choose Viking again BUT if you are choosing this itinerary to really experience the Amazon's wild life and rainforests explore your options ....any cruise may not be the best choice. If you want to appreciate the ... Read More
We will definitely choose Viking again BUT if you are choosing this itinerary to really experience the Amazon's wild life and rainforests explore your options ....any cruise may not be the best choice. If you want to appreciate the grandeur and magnitude of the Amazon, enjoy sunshine, some Caribbean islands and escape early winter doldrums at home this is the perfect itinerary and SHIP! We chose this itinerary because we wanted to see/experience the Amazon. We had previously done a small ship (Vantage Cruises) in Peru on the Amazon and enjoyed it but had been a little disappointed that we did not see much wildlife. Viking's Brazil itinerary really showed us the scope and enormity of the Amazon but not a lot up close and personal. Rain forest hikes had too many people and we often could not hear the leader (why dont they all use quiet boxes) OR so many people by the time we passed what the leader was describing we could not find it or it had flown/scampered/hopped away. Viking needs to find vendors who will offer smaller groups...use the same number of buses but 2x the guides and it would be wonderful! We did one DIY excursion in Manaus and spent the day exploring the river, meeting of the waters, fishing, hiking, swimming with the pink dolphins, and indigenous people...all from a small boat. It was wonderful, the highlight of the trip BUT I was nervous about getting back in time for sailing away ( the small boat certainly could have had engine problems). I have not figured out how to get a small group experience which are always superior and usually a value and the safety net of it being ship sponsored!!! The included tours were OK....we took optionals in most ports...make sure to see the inside of the Opera House in Manaus. In some ports we managed to also do the included tour!!! It is great when schedules allow for that. The only tour that was really bad was in Tabago...it was snorkeling...however the boat was crowded and they did not have enough equipment for those that did not have their own. The snorkeling was very disappointing in time and what we saw. The second spot was just beautiful knee deep sandy bottom water!!!! Waste of time and money!!!! The Caribbean ports were fine....why didn't Viking offer snorkeling in St. Lucia? Perhaps the mega ships that were in port had all the vendors reserved. We did a very nice catamaran sail! The ship and her crew from the Captain to the deck hands were wonderful. Unfortunately for us, I do not think another cruise will EVER be able to compare with Viking's Inaugural World Cruise. I did not realize how spoiled I had become!!! This cruise did a fun Equator Crossing....on the SUN the crossing was extraordinary including Cruise Director,Heather Clancy, ending up in the POOL!!! WE had a lovely Brunch on day on this cruise....on the Sun it encompassed the entire pool deck and Wintergarden. The entertainment on the WC was really varied and often included local shows ... it was fine on this cruise but no WOW's. For me one of the really different aspects of this cruise was the role of Cruise Director...Ms. Clancy really seemed to part of the "TEAM" who were creating the experience on this cruise I really felt the cruise director was more 'entertainment' and announcement focused not really engaged with senior management. Just an observation...and to be fair I do not remember much about the cruise director on our Baltic and Beyond Cruise. The Staff of Viking ships is extraordinary. I do not think NO is in their vocabulary. They go our of their way to remember names. It was so fun to board the ship and see familiar faces. We love sea days...always enough to keep us busy. The Speakers on this trip we very good. The naturalist was not "out and about" as I expected but he was very approachable when we did see him. The food was good, sometimes excellent....at times the main dining room seemed very crowded and the waiters working too hard!!! Has Viking cut down the number of wait staff? Breakfast service in the main dining room was SLOW but we only went on Sea days so we were in no hurry!!! I missed the mushroom soup in Manfredi's but we had outstanding meals there everytime. The fish special of the day NEVER disappointed. We had the Silver Spirit package and enjoyed good wines and great cocktails throughout the cruise. I needed to do my homework more thoroughly and we should have stayed in lodge if we really wanted to experience the Amazon. This was our fault certainly not VIKINGS....they delivered as promised. We had a great time and can't wait until our next cruise!!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We had booked a suite high and forward to limit the effects of the vibrations, i was surprised, not bad at all. The ship is smaller so it took me a while to get adjusted to the ceiling height and general smallness of the ship, it needs ... Read More
We had booked a suite high and forward to limit the effects of the vibrations, i was surprised, not bad at all. The ship is smaller so it took me a while to get adjusted to the ceiling height and general smallness of the ship, it needs refreshing and i heard it was due in the near future. The smaller ship gives you a more intimacy feeling. The stewardess were as usual amazing , always smiling and they have the worst job, cleaning up after us. There was a small decrease in quality of the service especially on the veranda. Maybe a very small decrease in the number of staffs The food was very good with a few hiccups, soufflé's are basically warm cake, good but not a soufflé , the pastry/croissant were not as flaky as in the other ships, the french baguette was amazing, the selection of cheeses was very limited, every day i saw the blue cheese, there is thousand of cheeses in the world , could have been better, the food was very good in general The excursions were fine, the buses 70% of them were uncomfortable if you were unlucky on being the last ones on the small bus, you were stuck over the wheel with your knees in your face. The organization for the excursions , checking in was bad, especially when the others ships have a different system, you come in, checkin, they give you a number then you sit until your number is called, here everybody would line up until they called your excursion number, and you do not want to be the last ones on the bus, so most people are standing to get their buses tickets Tenders , especially the first one was horrid , they picked up on it and got better. We missed the meeting of the waters, the negro river and amazon because the ship was late leaving the port by one hour, got too dark, i blame the captain, he should have been more organized or in the morning announce the event by speaker. Overall, a good trip, what made the difference was the speaker Terry Green, she made this cruise, she was terrific , and reading the river of doubt , which narrates the expedition of Teddy Roosevelt down the amazon was also very helpful. The cruise director Andy is terrific as are all of the crew, always smiling and greeting you. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Pretty well everything about this voyage was great. The only concern I had was the obvious lack of experience from some of the expedition crew in their lack of ability and skill in operating the RIB's ( zodiac ). In saying that ... Read More
Pretty well everything about this voyage was great. The only concern I had was the obvious lack of experience from some of the expedition crew in their lack of ability and skill in operating the RIB's ( zodiac ). In saying that I was just a bit careful who I travelled with. But all of their lectures were great. And they were quite passionate in what they did in regards to the preservation of the environment and passing on information to the passengers. I think the captain certainly did his best along with the crew to make our experience the best ever. Which they achieved. The Patagonian coast with the Andes in the distance made for fabulous scenery every day while aboard. I felt the food was more than adequate and their was plenty of it. Travelling as a single person I also had no problems in meeting a lot of great people. Not only from Australia, but from a number of other countries. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise based upon the itinerary. The price was right and being that we had never cruised on a smaller ship we thought we'd give it a go. No disappointments overall. The ship was indeed reflective of a recent overhaul. ... Read More
We chose this cruise based upon the itinerary. The price was right and being that we had never cruised on a smaller ship we thought we'd give it a go. No disappointments overall. The ship was indeed reflective of a recent overhaul. Interior appointments appeared as-new. However, the staffing appeared new as well. Several volunteered that this cruise was their first on this ship - and as such they couldn't always answer our questions. Alarmingly, this was also the case at the Guest Relations Desk! When embarking, the process went very smoothly and quickly - however, they neglected to put a sticker on our card which indicated we had the upgraded drink package. So naturally, the first issue encountered on our cruise was only a few minutes after boarding when we sat down and ordered our very first drink - and found out that we didn't have the drink package (due to no sticker). The sever let us have upgraded drink after we showed him our invoice. He said we needed to go to Guest Relations to get our sticker ASAP - then he commented that "this happens all the time" - not a good way to make a first impression. We also noticed that in the Windows Café none of the staff behind the counter are wearing gloves, despite their touching the food from time to time - not good. We also noticed that at breakfast time there is a back-up of guests waiting to get toast - it seems like this should be addressed. My wife also got a great looking cup of very fresh berries one morning, however she found a one inch long coarse black hair in it. Lastly, regarding the Windows Café, on a number of occasions we had to go get our own coffee and juice in the morning after waiting for 5 minutes (or slightly more) with no table service; even though there seemed to be enough wait staff in the area. Overall the food quality was good with a reasonable amount of variety in the Windows Café. The main dining room however was flawless - great furnishings - well arranged - and more importantly the food was excellent, as was the wait staff. Absolutely nothing but praise for the main dining room staff - they are definitely "dialed in". We found the pool area to be very comfortable, with excellent deck chairs (firm padding with an attached pillow and plenty of nice towels and blankets). The deck service was excellent. The cabin staff was flawless; A+. They were always friendly, and addressed us by our names. The room was kept spotless, with plenty of clean towels. The cabin itself was nothing extraordinary - other than it did present as new. The mattress was very comfortable - cabin lighting was good. The bathroom was tight but clean and efficiently laid out. Toilets worked perfectly. We never ran out of hot water. The TV was good, with a fairly good selection of channels. The internet speed was adequate at 430kbs - seems slow but email and apps worked fine. The Mosaic Coffee staff was always smiling - friendly and welcoming. The Fitness room was surprisingly equipped given the small size of the ship - and the on-staff trainer was very knowledgeable an professional. Maybe more classes (especially on sea days) would be a nice bonus. Shore Excursions were expensive (no surprise) but they would benefit by eliminating any shopping opportunities - since they were seen as an annoyance to everyone on the tours we were on. No one wants their limited/expensive shore time eaten away at by a forced shopping trip to an emerald store or T-Shirt bazars. On sea days we were treated to two talks by a woman from the World Wildlife Fund and also by talks by a UC professor regarding our various ports of call. They were all very well received. The Livingroom is exceptionally relaxing (they have some nice chaise lounge chairs along the front of the living room) - very cozy and comfortable furniture lending itself to striking up memorable conversations with fellow travelers, reading a good book in a sun-soaked area of the room, or tasting some free hors d'oeuvres with a nice coctail or wine. Live music is available later in the day as well. There is a game area dedicated to scrabble, cards, etc. which was constantly used by guests. In closing my comments, this last example sums up our review. Upon crossing the equator Azamara had a very fun filled ceremony involving the crew dressing up and fullfilling a ceremony involving kissing of a large fish, bowing before King Neptune and then getting smeared with multi-colored goo (while in uniform) and pushed into the swimming pool. Loads of fun. They then followed up with nicely printed individualized certificates which we found in our cabins that evening certifying exactly where we were when we crossed the equator. I noticed upon returing home that the coordinates on this official certificate were incorrect (they had us crossing near Singapore instead of off the coast of Ecuador). So my point is that Azamara has high asprirations - which they generally meet - but they need just a little more attention relative to their execution. As always, the devil is in the details. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Having sailed with various other cruiselines we liked the itinerary (never been to Rio) free drinks package, cabin upgrade and had seen recent reviews. Embarking in Barcelona.............a long process. Difficult to know what was ... Read More
Having sailed with various other cruiselines we liked the itinerary (never been to Rio) free drinks package, cabin upgrade and had seen recent reviews. Embarking in Barcelona.............a long process. Difficult to know what was happening. We all had our numbers for processing. Needed to keep asking what was happening. Not a lot!!! Eventually spotted movement. Need to pay attention as no repeated info over tanoy system. (When ship came in cold drinks trolley came into cruise terminal).You could also buy snacks and beer etc from cafe. ON BOARD SHIP ....................well impressed. Yes new ship, lovely and clean, looks big from outside but didn't feel any bigger than some we have sailed on. Probably deeper with all cabins but easy to navigate your way around. Lots of grays, silver, mirrors (bit disconcerting at first), swarovski stair case (crystals and lights) in Atrium, easy to see stage from three decks, 3 large screens with varying scenes, bars etc on different levels. A busy spot between theatre and eating. CABIN.......... greens and greys, good size, compact storage, with balcony (small but fine), shower OK size, beds comfy, air conditioning easy to use. Hand wash at sink, in shower dispensers of shampoo and shower gel. hairdrier in drawer, under "desk" in cabin. We always bring our own soaps, shampoo and conditioner. No kettle for us.... but accessible most of time from buffet on Deck 8. If drinks package ask for bottled water from bars. DINING.................. headed for MARKETPLACE (buffet on deck 8 /always very noisy) on boarding ship. Long boarding delays, must have caused problems for caterers. Pizza and chps tepid, place mobbed, lucky to find seat. This would be our breakfast, lunch, or mid aft or late snack, post theartre place to munch. If weather good can sit out on deck. Usual salad, fruit,bar, Pizza/pasta, Grilled food, Asian food etc Lots of choices. SILVER DOLPHIN for dinner was allocated to us. Not compelled to dress up but smart!! You can mix n match your menu ie have starter with a main. Always option of steamed fish, veg poatoes/chips you can have instead/with your main. Otherwise might be teeny porttions/strange mains ie hummous and other dip with pitta bread. Waiting staff efficient and helpful. SPECIALITY DINING French/Asian/Steak........we didn't pay extra and dine there. Used GOLDEN SANDS once as friends booked this retaurant but little difference to ours. OCEAN POINT other buffet/just as busy as Marketplace. Maybe not as noisy. Maybe not enough staff :sometimes lack of mugs, food always needing topped up. HAND CLEANING NO PROMPTING IN BUFFET/DINING ROOM .........automatic wash, soap, driers and hand gels available (sometimes empty!!) ENTERTAINMENT.............for kids looks great Forest adventure Park etc For adults Amusement arcade bit Cinema 4D/F! simulator/Bowling. Zipline pay extra. Behind Haven Lounge, towards back of ship, pool table, board games and library. Limited but good books in library but noisy spot to sit. Quiz really good fun but happens near end of cruise. Probably busy entertainment folk. If sunny more activities line dancing music on deck. Can grab an ice cream (on drinks package) or pay for ice lolly delic. WOULD have been good if we had known there were times when we should wear WHITE, MASKS and even FLORAL. Member of entertainment sidled up to us and said you are expected to participate in Beach party, mean't to be in Hawaian gear. We wandered off for a drink. Well all the Brazilian folk new what they were doing!! ODEON THEATRE ..........book from your cabin or on screens around ship/by lifts or queue up just before show then rush in and check for spare seats. Shows overall really good. Lots of usual singing, dancing, lovely costumes, acrobatics, (amazing), magic. Good mix. BRAZILIAN SINGER on stage in Atrium.....................she had an amazing voice/her group played for long spells every night. Guests singing along. She had a good rapport with audience. Another singer Rudy lovely husky voice and smile. Another young man who played guitar did a mix, nice voice but might be better to do songs that people can engage with. Current .and 60's, 70's etc to get them singing. SERVICE is really good overall but probably not enough staff, to cope with everyone/everything. Delays when embarking, delays when disembarking. PORTS AND EXCURSIONS Better doing your homework and seeing what u must visit. We just did our own thing, walked into town most times had shuttle once and one excursion "RIO and shopping" saw main sights. Communication at these times seems to be, "you find out what is going on" not really using mic to communicate. Maybe too many people to stick in the Theatre and put into different groups and advise them over mic what is happening and when to move. Especially as they are already in groups of English or Portuguese or Italian etc speaking groups. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We didn't really care for Brazil but the cruise was first rate. This ship is wonderful and small. It didn't take me 30 minutes to walk to the front of the ship. I loved this ship and am sad we are losing it. A few weeks ... Read More
We didn't really care for Brazil but the cruise was first rate. This ship is wonderful and small. It didn't take me 30 minutes to walk to the front of the ship. I loved this ship and am sad we are losing it. A few weeks before the cruise we decided to upgrade to a balcony cabin. It was the best thing we could have done. We were always out on the balcony. It made our cruise so much more enjoyable. The service was top notch. Never had an issue with anything. Every staff member was kind and bent over backwards to help you. Entertainment in the show room was hit and miss. I loved the production shows. The other musicians were talented but I can only take so much flute or horn music. The comedians were clean but not very funny. The food was excellent. We ate in the dining room and it was always good. The buffet was also good. The dive in had the best burgers and fries. This was a very quiet cruise.So relaxing. No kids. No bells or whistles on this ship which was fine with us. Being 55 I think I was one of the youngest passengers on the ship. Most everyone was over 70. Wonderful cruise. Will be cruising with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
The Prinsendam is a small ship that has the capacity of about 800 passengers. We were on board for a 28 day Amazon River Cruise and found the ship to be very well maintained. The dining room area and the Ocean bar are small, but lovely. ... Read More
The Prinsendam is a small ship that has the capacity of about 800 passengers. We were on board for a 28 day Amazon River Cruise and found the ship to be very well maintained. The dining room area and the Ocean bar are small, but lovely. We were on the promenade deck in and ocean view stateroom which had a walk in closet and walk in shower. We enjoyed this room because it was easy to get out on the promenade quickly when we spotted something from inside our stateroom. The room was also located close to the main dining room and only one floor up to the evening entertainment. The dining room is split into two area, one very small for those who have assigned dining times and a larger are for those who have open seating. However, within 28 days we were seated in the smaller one time and requested not to be placed there again. Just too small and lots of traffic walking through to the other section. Our food was excellent and they did an excellent job of preparing my “special orders”. I have a rare medical condition that comprises by pancreas and liver and can only have 25 grams of fat a day, but they were spot on all but two evenings. On the last evening they brought me fried shrimp! But took it back quickly when they realized what had happened. The service in both the dining room and Lido was excellent. Our cabins stewards were fabulous and the service all over the ship was beyond excellent. We went to the entertainment all but two evenings and overall thought is was descent for a super small ship. Our favorite was a band called the Ravons who one evening did a Buddy Holly review. All I can say is go and give each show a try, you can always leave if you aren’t enjoying it. We went to see a women who played a variety of flutes expecting to leave after one or two number, but stayed for her entire, amazing show. Most of the ports were great. The speaker who spoke about the Amazon, consolations and so on was excellent. I can’t say for the other two speakers because I did not go listen to them. Otherwise, most of the activities on this ship revolve around eating and sitting. We had to be creative in staying active. There were numerous tender ports, especially on the Amazon. We especially enjoyed Boca Da Valeria and Perintins on the Amazon. The embarkation and disembarkation went very well. We would go on this ship again for a shorter cruise, but it has been sold to a German company and will leave the Holland America fleet July 1, 2019. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
The Zaandam is our new favourite ship. Its smaller size means fewer decks and less crowding. Our cabin on deck 6 was one deck above the fixed-time dining room and most public areas, and just two decks below the lido. It is practical to use ... Read More
The Zaandam is our new favourite ship. Its smaller size means fewer decks and less crowding. Our cabin on deck 6 was one deck above the fixed-time dining room and most public areas, and just two decks below the lido. It is practical to use the stairs rather than the elevators. Less crowding meant that we did not have to show up at least half an hour early to sit together for performances in the theatre. Our cabin was bright and thoughtfully laid out, our balcony was deeper and more usable than the non-suite balconies on HAL’s larger ships, the ship is in excellent cosmetic condition, and the crew are cordially efficient. One curious point is that the magnetic bulldog clips we’ve used on other ships to hold papers to the cabin walls would not stick in this one. This was our first experience of HAL’s EXC program and we like it. Lectures by the two guest speakers on sea-days were deservedly well attended. The port talks were informative, useful and a welcome change from the past pitches for ship’s tours. The EXC host went out of his way to be helpful and to offer advice for independent travel. The Zaandam’s port tendering (three ports) went as smoothly and efficiently as one could expect. Entertainment was the best we’ve experienced in some time. HAL has a reputation here on Cruise Critic for cost-cutting, and nowhere has that been more obvious in past cruises than in the quality of the entertainment. The classical group Adagio, for example, used to be a quartet. Then it became a trio and, more recently, just two indifferent players. The Adagio duo on this cruise included possibly the best violinist I’ve heard at sea, better than he should have been but unfortunately at the end of his contract. I hope he’s re-engaged. And the rest of the performers, singers and dancers were a definite step up from those on the Westerdam last year and the Eurodam the year before. The food quality and presentation were at least as good as we’ve come to expect, especially at the evening meal in the dining room. Evening meals in the Pinnacle and Canaletto were excellent. Lunch in the Pinnacle remains one of cruising’s best bargains. I’m still unhappy that HAL does not buy more provisions locally and give its chefs more rein with the menus. Why should the two Chilean wines I most wanted to order off the wine list both be out of stock for the duration of a 16 day cruise that included three Chilean ports? Why can we not see the most common regional dishes on the evening menu? Bar service was typically good but a bit slow. The prices continue to inch up, with most drinks now being between $7 and $10. It wasn’t difficult to find a server except, oddly, in the Explorers Lounge, where drinks service during Adagio’s evening performances was either missing or very scarce. Because there’s no bar in the Explorer’s Lounge, the drinks, and the servers on this cruise, come from the Mix bar one room away. That, however, is the only instance where the on-board service was less than we expected. The Zaandam’s guest-facing crew were great. The captain took us much closer to a glacier than I thought he would, and made a small route change so that we could view a large iceberg. We enjoyed this cruise and look forward to coming back for more. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We selected this trip with expectations of seeing wildlife that we'd never seen before and weren't disappointed. The 8 naturalists aboard were all top notch and provided excellent commentary on each of the shore excursions. The ... Read More
We selected this trip with expectations of seeing wildlife that we'd never seen before and weren't disappointed. The 8 naturalists aboard were all top notch and provided excellent commentary on each of the shore excursions. The excursion logistics were handled smoothly and efficiently. The 100-passenger limit and very limited public space on the ship lets you know there won't be a lot going on in the evenings, but the lone musician was versatile and accomplished from sonatas on the piano in the afternoon to macarena during lunch at the grill. It is an excursion cruise not a regular cruise. We had not counted on the number of young children on board. The parents apparently thought because they were on vacation it was someone else's responsibility to supervise their kids, who ran wild all over the small ship. One afternoon during happy hour a group of the children commandeered the bar lounge for a birthday party. We couldn't even find solace for drink and conversation outside because they ran rampant squealing and shrieking and bouncing balloons outside along the rails. While the food was generally very good -- a high concentration of excellent shrimp, octopus, calamari, and various fish presented in a number of differernt ways as well as local Ecuadorian dishes -- the wines were disappointing, especially given the high quality of wines now available from nearby Argentina and Chile. Little thought appeared to be given to pairing a particular wine with the food, and the quality was lacking overall. Some of the waiters' knowledge of the wines offered extended to no more than white or red. No one on the wait staff identified himself (an all male crew) as a sommelier. One night's feature of Italian wines was the only bright spot. The wait staff during lunch at the grill was consistently short-handed and unable to deal with the number of guests. All the wait staff, however, demonstrated an eagerness to please. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We started this trip in Guayaquil where a Silversea representative waited for us at the airport and took us to Oro Verde Hotel (very good, very close to the city main attraction (malecon)) a day before the embarkation. From Guayaquil we ... Read More
We started this trip in Guayaquil where a Silversea representative waited for us at the airport and took us to Oro Verde Hotel (very good, very close to the city main attraction (malecon)) a day before the embarkation. From Guayaquil we flew with Latam to San Cristobal (1h and 25min). As a lot of flights arrived at same time, immigration took almost one hour. From airport was a 5 minutes bus ride to the pier where we got the zodiac to the ship with our carry-on. Soon after our luggage arrived at our cabin which was a veranda suite. We loved that we got it as we spend a lot of time in the Veranda while sailing from one spot to other as well as we could dry our clothes and shoes easily. There are plenty of open air space in the ship that you can rest between meals and landings. There are also in-door space like piano bar and library should you want to be in the air conditioning. July is the dry season and temperature was really good. Food was great at all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). We had breakfast every day at the Restaurant as well as dinner except for one evening that we tried the Grill where we had all our lunches. Lunch was superb at the Grill, but dinner at the lava rock was a disappointing, we never got back. Some disappointing issues: shower has half door which makes bathroom wet everywhere. Bathroom is really small. Disembarkation was not very good. In the night before some items from our cabin were changed to the new guest to come in the following day, which confused us. On Saturday morning we had to leave our cabin at 7:30, but transfer to the airport was at 9:30, so we stayed at the piano bar for 2 hours waiting. Silversea provided exhibition of some films during this period, but in the end, the toilets were miserable with a 100 guests using it during 2 hours. We were transferred to the airport and our flight was schedule for about 1 PM. A long waiting time. I noticed that guests from Celebrity had a meal waiting for them at the airport. Great trip! We loved it and strongly recommend it! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
As you probably know this ship will be refurbished and re done and a new one is taking its place, I believe, in 2020. The ship, thus, looks a little tired, but it is very clean. The state rooms are among the smallest I've seen, even ... Read More
As you probably know this ship will be refurbished and re done and a new one is taking its place, I believe, in 2020. The ship, thus, looks a little tired, but it is very clean. The state rooms are among the smallest I've seen, even the suites, but you won't spend a long time in the room. My only criticism would be the snorkeling equipment, the fins in particular are lacking, they don't have inventory in the most common sizes and the same with the wet suits most of which show a great deal of wear and are broken in places. Fins and a wet suit are essential in this cruise and at this price the equipment should be in top shape. The bar is another thing that needs minding. There is only one bar and it's the hang out place when you are cruising or after excursions. The bar has very limited selections and the bartenders are hit and miss with the drinks. Other than that Celebrity provides a great experience from the moment you touch down in Quito. The places they take you, the food, the hotel, it's all done very organized. Staff is all terrific. The ship's food is very good, not fancy, but fresh and delicious. The meat is pre cooked before it reaches the ship so you may want to opt for the sea food items which are local and fresh, specially the langoustines which are a delicacy State side and quite expensive. Some tips. If you are not used to snorkeling in cold water, buy a hood, it's cheap and (along with the wet suit) will keep you warm. Seconds after the initial shock of cold water, I forgot all about it, and I'm used to Miami water. More than half the life in the Galapagos is under water, if you don't do the snorkeling you miss half the trip. Invest in a small water camera, I got an Olympus TG 5, while the photos were ok (most of the time the water was cloudy) the under water video was terrific. You also need a camera with a good zoom lens, I only took the water camera and it was a mistake. While some of the wildlife is close a zoom will give you amazing shots. Regarding the Galapagos in general. We are an avid wildlife loving family, traveled the Andes, Amazon, Africa, etc, and have stayed in luxury camps and candle light only shacks. The wild life and terrain in the Galapagos is unique, but not varied and the cruise experience, specially when paying for a family, lacks value. This is not a trip that touched my heart or something I want to do again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
A very good Galapagos cruise I chose this cruise and itinerary in order to see the Galápagos Islands in comfort on a celebrity cruise ship I chose the seven day cruise which meant I had time to arrange my own itinerary in Quito As ... Read More
A very good Galapagos cruise I chose this cruise and itinerary in order to see the Galápagos Islands in comfort on a celebrity cruise ship I chose the seven day cruise which meant I had time to arrange my own itinerary in Quito As well as staying for a couple of nights on the islands prior to embarkation I spent two nights in Quito at hotel Casona to La Ronde which is a lovely colonial hotel in the old quarter I undertook a day tour to see volcanoes hummingbirds and the cloud forest which was a brilliant experience I then spent two nights at hotel Solla Verde Santa Cruz Island The hotel is located in the highlands A 20 minute taxi ride into Puerto Ayora Very clean comfortable boutique hotel with lush vegetation and a pet giant tortoise Day trip to North Seymour Idlsnd which the hotel advised having looked at the itinerary for expedition Amazing wildlife including Sally Lightfoot crabs seals blue footed boobies and many other species The trip include snorkelling the highlight of which was seeing turtles Which were inquisitive swimming around us Embarkation was smooth There is no pier side check in as individual travellars we were met at the airport where there was a short wait in a reserved area with other guests on the seven day itinerary Most of The passengers who were on charter flights were delayed by some hours and we had the privilege of being taken onto Xpeditiob after a short wait At the airport The only way to embark is by zodiac so this would not suit any passengers with significant walking difficulties the same is true for all visits to the islands from Xpedition The ship seemed clean with a very friendly crew There is no elevator which is not a problem for passengers that can manage to get in and out of the zodiacs I had an suite which was a good size with a small balcony but cannot comment on the size of the routine cabins which I understand are quite small The only problem with the cabin was the wardrobe doors were difficult to shut and opened spontaneously which could not be fixed during the cruise The cabin was otherwise clean and was more than satisfactory The only slight problem was the dining which is not all celebrities fault Meat has to be partly precooked before import into the Galapagos Islands which affected the quality of the meat Fish alternative was somewhat over cooked especially the shellfish but I guess they have to do this to avoid Gastro intestinal upset Every evening the cruise director informed us in a very entertaining way about the next days activities giving everyone a choice The activities In groups of up to 16 passengers were excellent with well informed guides Prior to activities most passengers would have assemble in the lounge and there was some disorganisation as passengers vied to go into the first groups Selection by giving passengers ticket numbers as they do on the tendering process on the larger ships would’ve made for a more organised procedure that this is a minor complaint The extent of wildlife seen was amazing and overall the trip was very enjoyable and fulfiilled my expectations Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Our bucket list has always included seeing the Galapagos Islands and as Celebrity offered a post cruise visit to Peru's Sacred Valley and MachuPiccu, the choice seemed easy. The Xpedition is the largest of Celebrity's vessels ... Read More
Our bucket list has always included seeing the Galapagos Islands and as Celebrity offered a post cruise visit to Peru's Sacred Valley and MachuPiccu, the choice seemed easy. The Xpedition is the largest of Celebrity's vessels that visit the islands though it needs to be said, this is not a large ship with a maximum capacity of 98 guests. The trip begins in Quito with a tour and overnight followed by a flight to Baltra and a Zodiac to the ship. All went as planned without a hitch. On board, cabins are on the smallish side though there are some larger suites.Each day of the cruise there are two stops. Alternative excursions are presented the night before and one signs up for their preference as to degree of effort required, e.g. hikes, snorkels, etc. This is one of the few areas where Celebrity can use some improvement. Guests appeared mostly Type A's and so the time for sign up was not pleasant. Perhaps they could have a computerized system for sign up or use the excursion process that is used on their other vessels. 16 guests to each naturalist heads out the next morning, returning to the ship for lunch and then repeating the process after lunch. Again, here, a bit of improvement is warranted: there was some jockeying for position to get on the first zodiac to shore which is disruptive. All the excursions were incredible- lots of wildlife and excellent guides to help one understand the uniqueness of the environment. The food was good but not exceptional, perhaps because of the restrictions on what can be brought to the region. The chef tried hard to vary dinner options but overall it is not what one expects on typical Celebrity cruises. A dinner highlight is dining out on the deck under the stars. Really something to see. As this is all inclusive, drinks, wine and beer are available at any time. Don't expect to see single malts on the shelf, though. There is little in the way of entertainment but after a day outdoors, an early bedtime is typical. Also, there were no kids at all; it appeared the youngest may have been 40 or so though the group is quite active all day. At the end of the cruise, the zodiac ride and a flight back to Quito occur. We went on to the Peru portion of the trip as did about 40 others and met up with a few from Celebrity's smaller Galapagos vessels. This portion of the trip had incredible highs but some lows as well especially as to all the connections required. From Quito, we board a flight to Lima. The traffic in Lima is Kafkaesque-- 90 minutes for a ~ 10 mile ride to the hotel only to be repeated in the opposite direction early the next morning for the flight to Cuzco- another 90 minute bus ride. The trip to Casa Hacienda Orihuela is long and a bit tedious but once in the Sacred Valley, amazing to see. The next day we tour Inka ruins and lunch at Wayra Ranch for an equestrian show. Then off to Machu Picchu which defies description. All tours require some climbing an at altitude so this is not trivial sight seeing! We return from Machu Picchu ( to Cuzco) and have dinner on the Train: Hiram Bingham. This day can use some work. It is an early morning train to the site, a climb through the ruins, then lunch and then scheduled "nothing and tea time followed by the train ride to Cuzco (with dinner). Thje group convenced our guide to forgo the tea and give us some time in the Pueblo Machu Picchu where we pick up the train. The original plan has far too much down time with little to fill it. As modified, it was more interesting. A day of Cuzco touring follows then a day with a half day tour of Lima and then to the hotel. Transfers are provided from the hotel to the airport at appropriate times. This post cruise portion has pluses and minuses: On the positive side, the sights are incredible and almost not to be believed. All hotels are first rate: Westins and J.W. Marriotts- what appeared to be the most upscale in the region. The Hotel Monestario a former monastery, was truly most interesting. The guides and staff most accommodating considering we were a group of 50 with at least 60 opinions. Meals were very good though not quite excellent; language is a bit of a problem. As a not very important but illustrative example, I ordered a gin martini and received a glass of ice, a bit of Vermouth and a bottle of ginger ale. On the downside, traffic in Lima and Cuzco is near the worst though not the worst I've experienced. No such thing as following traffic rules. Also, far too much time spent on fancy long lunches when the reason to be there is too see and experience the culture not to eat. This is a trip to do once! it is costly and tiring but mind opening and beautiful. One needs to be prepared for a few physical challenges and certainly challenges to one's patience. A few changes by Celebrity kcould make this a 5 star experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We escorted a group aboard Celebrity XPerience on the 10 day itinerary. The journey started with 2 days at the JW Marriott in Quito. Great hotel, with great service. It's about a 45 minute drive from the airport to the hotel. We ... Read More
We escorted a group aboard Celebrity XPerience on the 10 day itinerary. The journey started with 2 days at the JW Marriott in Quito. Great hotel, with great service. It's about a 45 minute drive from the airport to the hotel. We stayed there again on our last night and thought it may have been more convenient to stay at the Wyndham near the airport. I'm sure it's not of the same quality, but between the drive and check in for our 8:30am flight, we had to leave the hotel at 5am. Surprisingly the JW Marriott didn’t have turn down service. But everybody was very helpful. We were given roses on several occasions and they were beautiful with an amazing fragrance. The water is not drinkable so we were given bottled complementary water with every meal. We ate at The Hacienda, a very nice Steak Restaurant. Celebrity has a staffed desk in the hotel, as does Silversea. The Celebrity staff provided us with BPA free plastic bottles to refill with water, to reduce plastic waste. Since we were there during Holy Week, we were told that our tour on (Good) Friday would be changed. Instead of going to the Colonial Quarter, we would go to the Botanical Gardens. The Colonial Quarter was closed for Easter processions. So we went on our own, the day we arrived, to explore the area. On Friday we took the tour with the Celebrity guides, visiting the volcanoes, Botanical garden, the “Winged Virgin Mary”, protector of the city, the Equator and other sites. On Saturday it was finally time to go to the Galapagos. We flew on Avianca to Guayaquil and had a short stop over there. The flight was uneventful, but the flight attendants were among the nastiest we have ever experienced. Can’t say I would fly them again. The return flight was not much better. Finally it was time to board the 48 passenger Celebrity XPerience. To be honest, all of us were disappointed in the condition of the ship. It is pretty “tired”. When I planned the cruise, I went by the assumption that Celebrity had refurbished the ship. If they did, I couldn’t tell. The pictures on the website are definitely “enhanced”. The staff, however, is amazing and did their ultimate to please everybody. The cabins are very clean and “functional”. For ecological reasons we were asked not to flush toilet paper. The shower curtain, was an irritant to us. Although the food was very good, all meals are served buffet style, which was another disappointment. We had 2 Vegetarians and one person on a Gluten Free diet and they were very happy with their choice of meals. Every night we were presented with the next day's itinerary n the Lounge. It was then posted on the TV. After dinner they showed movies about the Galapagos. Since most of us were tired then, I suggested maybe showing the movies in loop. I don't know if they will. While talking to some of the staff I found out that this ship will be “retired” soon. That was not a big surprise. Once the new ship, Flora, comes on line accommodating 98 guests, the now 98 passenger XPedition will be totally redone to accommodate 48 passengers on a double occupancy basis, or 64 maximum. It should be very spacious. At that time XPerience and XPloration will be retired. Overall, we had a fabulous time. Everybody enjoyed the cruise and exploring the Galápagos Islands . It is a very active vacation, so be ready for that. As I said before, the staff, including the Naturalists made the cruise totally enjoyable and a big success. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Our first cruises were on Riviera and Marina, both commencing in Barcelona. We chose this cruise to see Rio and escape the cold Canadian winter. Wasn't Sure whether the smaller Sirena would be as nice as Riviera or Marina, but I ... Read More
Our first cruises were on Riviera and Marina, both commencing in Barcelona. We chose this cruise to see Rio and escape the cold Canadian winter. Wasn't Sure whether the smaller Sirena would be as nice as Riviera or Marina, but I liked it even better. Beautiful European decor and all the same function rooms including a library to die for! The balcony stateroom was slightly smaller than Riviera and the bathroom has shower only but this was OK as far as we were concerned. First few ports...Rio Grande de Sul and Porto Belo were unimpressive but sailing in to Rio past Sugar Loaf at 5 am was a thrill of a lifetime. Food was wonderful, entertainment entertaining, shore excursions overpriced and not well co-ordinated by Oceania with local tour providers. That is my one criticism. That, and they should engage more qualified onboard lecturers in my view. but I cannot imagine cruise lines more luxurious than Oceania, certainly not better cuisine. The food and the libraries on Oceania will keep me coming back. 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 ... 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
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
This was our second leg of a B2B. The first leg was Buenos Aires to San Antonio. My review has disappeared, however; at least I can't find it. We had no embarkation issues, since we were already on board and stayed in the same ... Read More
This was our second leg of a B2B. The first leg was Buenos Aires to San Antonio. My review has disappeared, however; at least I can't find it. We had no embarkation issues, since we were already on board and stayed in the same cabin. Getting new cards and accounts was very easy, especially since we waited an hour or two from the announced time. Concerning food, we ate all of our meals in the Ocean View cafe. They have many custom food stations, including, eggs, omelettes, stir-fry, grill for burgers, steaks, chicken and fish, pasta bar, along with the usual serve-it-yourself selections, including Asian food. The staff was very efficient at keeping the tables cleaned. We enjoyed being able to eat at the cafe and still make the 7pm show. A few strange things I noted: We changed our clocks before getting to Grand Cayman, making us an hour off from Cayman time. I wonder if anyone had any issues. The theater was too cold. People were bring sweaters to keep warm. The library books were jumbled and not separated by language. We both had to see the medical staff for colds. They were caring and took their time with us. Charges were added to the room card. My trip insurance reimbursed us with no problem. We converted our Nonrefundable Onboard Credit into cash in the casino by playing roulette. We were told that for the Canal crossing that there would be someone narrating the story as we went through, and that it could be heard in all the public areas and cabin TVs. Alas, we couldn't hear a word while on the deck. And speaking of the Canal, you would think that Celebrity and/or Royal Caribbean would have procedures for how to prepare the common areas for the passengers. Folks were standing on chairs, some physical altercations were taking place. It wasn't pretty. Disembarkation in Port Everglades was easy getting off the ship, but a real zoo getting through customs. They only had two agents working four lines. It took us over an hour to get through. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose this cruise as we were a group of 10 persons who have all travelled widely and were looking for new destinations. The Panama Canal cruise with South American ports of call ticked most of the group's boxes. The ship's ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we were a group of 10 persons who have all travelled widely and were looking for new destinations. The Panama Canal cruise with South American ports of call ticked most of the group's boxes. The ship's facilities were excellent as were the entertainment on sailing days and evening theatre. The state room cabins were excelent and were perfectly serviced by the cabin steward. The stand out service on the ship was the evening dining in the Trellis Restaurant. We were provided with a group table for 10 persons and were attended too excelently by a waiter, assistant waiter and sommellier every evening that we dined in the restuarant. The shore excursions were excellent with well trained guides in attendance. The shore excursion to Manta was not to the same standard as the other excursions. Unfortunately, what could have been a 5 star cruise and matching survey was really let down by the chaotic embarkation at San Antonio, Chile and the even more chaotic disembarkation at Port Lauderdale where most of the ship's passengers were kept in line for over 3.5 hours waiting for US Border control to allow entry. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We just got off the Celebrity Infinity on her re-position cruise from South America to Fort Lauderdale. Considering she was limping on only one good engine, her support staff and Captain sure did an excellent job getting us from Chile to ... Read More
We just got off the Celebrity Infinity on her re-position cruise from South America to Fort Lauderdale. Considering she was limping on only one good engine, her support staff and Captain sure did an excellent job getting us from Chile to Florida, and through the Panama Canal, with as least an interruption to our schedule as they could manage. We didn't miss any ports of call as planned and the weather and seas were fantastic. While the boat is looking a bit long in the tooth, the staff, food (Tuscan gill included) and nightly shows made up for any shortcomings and all were all amazing. i would have given the cruise a perfect score except for the horrendous debarkation that most of us went through. Three hours in line for US customs in Fort Lauderdale. A total fiasco. However, if you were a US citizen you did get priority and were probably off in under two hours. We were not, and waited with most of the other people for over three hours and there were others behind us who probably waited even longer. What a way to end a glorious cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This cruise was back to back around South America and thru the Panama Canal on to Ft. Lauderdale. We went to several countries and seen everything from desert to glaciers. Amazing views and narrated thru the Panama Canal. A must try was ... Read More
This cruise was back to back around South America and thru the Panama Canal on to Ft. Lauderdale. We went to several countries and seen everything from desert to glaciers. Amazing views and narrated thru the Panama Canal. A must try was the Pisco sour. The meals on this ship were excellent, and a large selection of dishes. Anything you wanted you can ask for within reason. The shows on this particular cruise were superior. The selections of shows were from rock singers to Whitney Huston songs, to excellent dancers, singers and comedians. Especially the band, they could play anything for any one.Getting on and off the ship was very easy and convenient except for the tenders. They were a little stressed. The life activities on board were very good and fun especially the trivia. We learned a lot of information from playing. The Buffet had so much selections, one of the selection we frequented was the freshly made ice cream. Looking forward to our next cruise in two weeks. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Embarkation: Check-in was very fast and the cabin was ready when we got on at 1:00. One suitcase came very fast, the other came later. Cabin: This was our first time in a Neptune suite and we liked it – lots of room, excellent ... Read More
Embarkation: Check-in was very fast and the cabin was ready when we got on at 1:00. One suitcase came very fast, the other came later. Cabin: This was our first time in a Neptune suite and we liked it – lots of room, excellent big balcony. Could not believe HAL is still using old technology TVs and DVD players, though – it’s well past time to upgrade to interactive TVs with on-demand movies. The lighting over the couch could have been better for reading. The cabin wasn’t particularly clean when we got on. The steward who greeted us said that his partner had left the ship that morning, so we thought maybe it was just the crew being overworked on turnaround day. However, the shelves in the bathroom stayed dirty, the floor stayed sticky, the prior occupant’s pills stayed under the sink, and the makeup stains stayed on the counter until I got sick of it and cleaned the place up myself after a couple days. We’re not really people who need to be waited on, so we didn’t use the concierge except to make dinner reservations and were amused when I went to the front desk one day and got scolded by the concierge for not giving her the chore. The concierges were really on the ball – they immediately knew our names and after we went to the lounge one morning to get a newspaper (there were never enough in the buffet), they had one delivered to our cabin every day for the rest of the cruise. The A/C in the cabin worked well, but the table on the balcony had seen better days. Kleenex in the cabin was low quality. The towel animals were excellent. The laundry lost a shirt. Shorex: Very well run. I loved that they didn’t give out stickers until the tour was called, which eliminated all the people who like to cut the line and go down to the bus early. Dining: Dining room service and food were excellent, although the food could have been hotter sometimes. Dive In grill had decent burgers and fries but the nearby Mexican buffet was never hot and the guacamole was runny. Breakfast in the buffet was very good. The omelet station was excellent on one side but so-so on the other side, where the cook seemed to rush things and they were undercooked. Breakfast in the dining room opened too late for us early risers. Not a fan of the thick crust pizza (HAL needs to get the Princess recipe!). Lunch options were very limited if you came back from a tour after 2:00. Pinnacle Grill was good but the volcano cake that I remembered as being so amazing was overcooked this time and had too much orange flavoring. We ate twice in Le Cirque, which was excellent. Shipwide, dishes that should have some flavor (like salsa and jerk chicken) were bland. I sometimes struggled to find something appealing on the buffet at lunch or dinner. The Asian station was excellent but the kitchen could never keep up – lines were long and they were frequently out of things. Desserts were good and there was always a good selection of ice cream. Thankfully, there are no Purell police on board this ship. There are dispensers and real sinks to use, but nobody treating you like you’re a child. Ship: The ship was for the most part fine but it was obvious in several ways that they had waited too long to send the ship to dry dock (the ship was going to dry dock at the end of our cruise). There was no diet Coke for the entire cruise, with conflicting excuses giving by different bars. There was water dripping through the ceiling in Explorer’s, a ladies room that had no functioning sinks for almost the entire cruise, and the A/C was terribly erratic, with some rooms too warm and some freezing cold. We didn’t find a lot of activities to go to on sea days (there were no movies or lectures during the day). Most of the activities were geared around trying to sell you something. An exception was watching Barbara’s talks in the Test Kitchen – excellent and entertaining. The seats in the Test Kitchen, however, are awful – too low to be comfortable and awful sight lines because the rows aren’t banked. Definitely go early if you go there to watch a movie. The movies were only in the evening and conflicted with dinner or the show. They don’t give out crossword puzzles anymore and the sudokus in the library were sporadic and poorly copied. We were very disappointed in HAL for not having a lecturer on this cruise, when we were seeing fascinating pre-Incan ruins in port after port and being exposed to lots of interesting pre-Colombian cultures. The Captain was pretty uncommunicative and didn’t seem to enjoy interacting with the passengers -- the noon reports were sporadic and very brief, no explanation was given for why we left San Antonio late, etc. The library was excellent. All of the crew that we interacted with were just terrific – always warm and friendly. I thought it was a nice touch that they served coffee, water, and pastries on deck during the Panama Canal transit. Entertainment: The Ocean Quartet was good. Barry from Boston is sort of an acquired taste but he was fun. The CD was good. Comedian Kevin DeVane was pretty good. Duo Yalba was excellent. Jordan Bennett (singer) had great voice but incredibly annoying habit of constantly begging for applause. Frozen Planet is a must-see – one of the best things I’ve seen on a ship. The production shows were very good but the dancers were not very synchronized. Tommy Proulx (sax player) was excellent. Alan Chamo (mentalist/hypnotist) was OK. . Ida was good but opera is not really to my taste. Jeff Burkhardt (comedian/impersonator) was OK. The orchestra played a couple of nights in one of the loungers with a singer (only on nights when they weren’t needed for the show) – don’t miss them, they are excellent Internet Access: Just assume there isn’t any. I’ve been on a lot of cruises on a lot of different ships and this was by far the worst internet at sea I’ve experienced. Constant errors so pages have to reload, incredibly slow, clock set wrong on computer so secure connection cannot be established but no one around with an administrator password who could have fixed it. Complete failure, don’t bother. Disembarkation: We did early walk-off with our own luggage, which was quick and easy. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018

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