9 Santiago (Valparaiso) Repositioning Cruise Reviews

The cruise was pleasant enough but when we returned home we found our MasterCard had been charged for an unidentified item. Contacting Celebrity they informed us the charge was for items used from the mini bar. We, in fact, had not used ... Read More
The cruise was pleasant enough but when we returned home we found our MasterCard had been charged for an unidentified item. Contacting Celebrity they informed us the charge was for items used from the mini bar. We, in fact, had not used any items from the mini bar during the entire cruise and, more to the point, had not authorised any payment. Very concerned that payment can be taken from your bank card without authorisation. The cleanliness on the ship was of a high standard, particularly in the Solarium, toilets and pool area. The one outstanding excursion on the cruise, was a visit to the Palamino Islands. Very memorable and worth the money. However, some of the other excursions during the cruise were expensive and not good value. Food in the Lido Cafe was often cold and much of the selection was repeated every day. Overall it was a pleasant cruise but left us dismayed at being charged for something we didn’t have.. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
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
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the size of the ship. My husband has trouble walking and I didn't want a Mega Size ship where it would be a long walk to all the venues. I requested a cabin in the middle of the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the size of the ship. My husband has trouble walking and I didn't want a Mega Size ship where it would be a long walk to all the venues. I requested a cabin in the middle of the ship, and instead we had the very first cabin in the bow. I paid extra for "run of the ship" hoping for an upgrade or at least, a cabin in the middle. The dining room, theatre, and buffet were all in the stern of the ship. When I went to guest services, I was told the ship was sold out which I found out was not true. The ship was on a high health alert due to a virus on the trip before ours. Using that as an excuse, we didn't get into our cabin until 4:30 and the ship was leaving at 5:00. Our cabin did not get any ice or water for the first 2 days and then we had to call Room Service to get ice. The entertainment, with a couple of exceptions was poor and amateurish. The Library was closed for the entire trip and there were very few activities to do on sea days. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Usually really enjoy Celebrity cruises but this one was just average. The worst part was that the ship got the norovirus and lots of things changed because of this. There were a lot of sick people. They had to starting serving in the ... Read More
Usually really enjoy Celebrity cruises but this one was just average. The worst part was that the ship got the norovirus and lots of things changed because of this. There were a lot of sick people. They had to starting serving in the buffet instead of people serving themselves. There were taking extra precautions in sanitizing the ship...all the things they should have been doing from the beginning so people did not get sick. The entertainment was good for the most part. Since it was a repositioning cruise there were a lot of days at sea and they could have had more activities during the days at sea and a wider selection instead of the same things over and over. Going through the Panama Canal was amazing and well worth it if you have the chance. The staff was all very nice. Some of the shore excursions were good and some not what they advertised they were. When we complained about one, they offered a 10% credit!! The embarkation process was really awful...stood in line for 1 1/2 hours to be checked in. Since this was a South America cruise, they could have had more South American food, entertainment and music. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I booked this cruise because I was told that we would be going through the New Canal but we did not. I would not have gone because it was my third time through the Panama and one of the other times was on the Infinity also, the Blu ... Read More
I booked this cruise because I was told that we would be going through the New Canal but we did not. I would not have gone because it was my third time through the Panama and one of the other times was on the Infinity also, the Blu restraunt is a very nice change from the large dining room, it is quieter and more relaxed service. We where in Aqua class cabin 9049 which has some noise issues no carpeting so you can hear walking over head and movement of chaiselounges in late night hours and early morning becauseit is under the solarium. The chef's table was a great experience well worth the up charge. The food and service was the high light of the cruise. The main Infinity shows entertainment was good but it was the same shows we had on the Millennium cruise to Alaska in June so it would have been nice to have something different. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We received good service on an old ship that needs refurbishing. There are visible signs of ageing, some rust, dirty carpets, old and simple furniture. This ship lacks the elegance I saw on other cruises. The room service was ... Read More
We received good service on an old ship that needs refurbishing. There are visible signs of ageing, some rust, dirty carpets, old and simple furniture. This ship lacks the elegance I saw on other cruises. The room service was excellent. Entertainment was pretty good. The food was good but the selection reflected the effort of cutting expenses. The hot tubs were old like the whole ship and the water was warm but not hot, providing almost no control for users. Dining had one menu the same for every day and another only for the day. The quality of the served food at dining did not exceed the quality of food at the buffet area. At the buffet area no trays were provided and plates were really cheap. The buffet area is undersized to the number of passengers. The cabin was good, the bed was comfortable. There was not much to see at the ports we stopped but this comes from the route we selected. The short excursion prices were outrageous. We took one only but even this was a waste of money. Both embarkation and disembarkation were well organized. It surprised us taking away our passports at embarkation. I did not like it at all. The weather even in the middle of summer was pretty stormy. Because of the smaller and older ship that caused much more swaying I have ever experienced on other cruises. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We took a re-positioning cruise from San Diego CA to Santiago (Valparaiso) Chili. We purchased a good deal for a balcony room. We visited ports in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Peru and Chili. This was our first cruise (over 20) where ... Read More
We took a re-positioning cruise from San Diego CA to Santiago (Valparaiso) Chili. We purchased a good deal for a balcony room. We visited ports in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Peru and Chili. This was our first cruise (over 20) where it was virtually impossible to take public transportation or low cost group travel to any meaningful tourist sites. Really difficult if not impossible to set something up when you walked off the ship. So unless you want to purchase cruiseline excursions (and their high rates) beware. The NCL Sun was a great clean ship with plenty of open spaces. The food - the salad, vegetables, coffee, desserts, and breads were good. The entrees, particularly the meat dishes were below average. Many days I ate some type of meatballs or meatloaf because that was the best option. The last 7 days of the cruise the meat dishes improved. The pasta station was the worst out of any of our cruises such complication for uninspired pasta. The pizza station was only open 2 1/2 hours each day (sometimes that was the best option). Room service cost 8 dollars, tips $13.50 per day per person. The entertainment - First off the female vocalist/dancers were very good, however this was a 17 night re-positioning cruise and there was only three production shows. There was also a very knowledgeable lecturer on board, he gave three talks on the culture and history of the Inca's. The rest of the line up was comedians, hypnotists and jersey boys. They literally retread the same performers over and over again. Personally I dont care for canned comedians, hypnotists and jersey boys, (once is bad enough) definitely not interested in seeing them 2 even three times. Incredibility disappointed that this type of cruise with very limit port activities and many sea days would have such HORRIBLE entertainment. NCL claimed that embarkation would be a breeze we arrived at our slotted time only to wait two hours in a long cue. Overall the cruise was ok, This was our fifth cruise on NCL, we go with the best overall value, we are not married to one cruise line. We find Celebrity and Disney to be the best cruiselines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
The ship is looking a bit tired in parts but it is now 14 years old and celebrity are doing well in keeping it looking good. I just wish they did not try ans squeeze in so many alternative premium dining venues. A lot of the nice ... Read More
The ship is looking a bit tired in parts but it is now 14 years old and celebrity are doing well in keeping it looking good. I just wish they did not try ans squeeze in so many alternative premium dining venues. A lot of the nice touches seem to be disappearing: chocolate on the pillow, nice towels on the con. cabins etc. The entertainment shows I would describe as adequate. The biggest let down on this cruise was the ports. Pisco instead of Lima. Nothing to see in Manta. the weather did nit help but one can not blame Celebrity for that. The cruise was saved by the excellent enrichment speakers especially Milo. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Veranda Cabin on the 8th deck. Captains Club member There is a problem with the air conditioning on the ship. Either that or they are cutting the AC use to save money. The cabin area hallways are hot. I even thought the AC was shut down in ... Read More
Veranda Cabin on the 8th deck. Captains Club member There is a problem with the air conditioning on the ship. Either that or they are cutting the AC use to save money. The cabin area hallways are hot. I even thought the AC was shut down in the middle of the night. Everyone I spoke to woke up in the night, hot and thirsty. The dining room was hot, the buffet area hot, and most public areas were warm. The hot water is having a problem and according to one of the staff they have no idea what is the problem. Hot water disappears for days and then comes on. Hot in the sink and cold in the shower! Guest relations said they would send a plumber. On deck 2, 3, Constellation Lounge on 11, and the spa area had terrible sewage smells. Bring your own hair dryer if you can't use the vacuum hose type the ship provides. Our preboard package said - boarding at 2pm. We met people in our hotel in Santiago and they said we could get on at 1pm. In fact our van (travelling with another couple) got us to the pier, and we were on the ship at 12:30. We went right over to Guest Relations to ask about upgrade availability. Mr. Gomez - "the ship is full." AT 4:00 my husbands went back to GR to inquire about missing luggage and another GR person was telling another passenger - yes, there are upgrades, but now they are all taken - would you like to be on the wait list? We were #8. The one time , we had a chance because we were early it got screwed up! I wrote a note to the head of GR and never heard back during our entire cruise! You think they care. Cabin is very comfortable - good mattress and nice sheets, duvet and pillows. Our soap and toiletries not replenished automatically. Public address system is not good - I don't know if it is technical problem or person using the system. It is not loud enough. Hard to hear and understand announcements and the lecturer as we were going through the canal. The woman I was standing with as we went through the 1st locks even called the bridge to see if the PA could be made louder. There is lots of space in the public areas, we never felt crowded. Lounges are decorated with artificial flowers, a bit tacky, all our ports had great fresh flowers for sale. One sad sprig of bloom at dinner and it stayed there until it was dead. This is a another way to cut expenses. Another very big concern - the lifeboat drill held just after we sailed was a disaster. We all meet in the Rendez-Vous Lounge - every chair taken and standing room only. The staff split the gathering up and then we filed outside - no order, passengers filling the doorways and not moving, no one really sure if they should go out this or that door - not assigned to a specific numbered life boat, chaos and lots of chatter. I had not confidence is this group running as area. Disembarkation was also a fiasco. We assembled in the theater for 8:30 call. When we finally got off the ship our luggage was all alone, our tag color must have been called before the allotted time. The crew member in charge never reviewed the previously called colors just in case you came late. We were on time and sat until 10:30 - all other tag colors not called. And breakfast on our last morning was terrible - no yogurt, no butter, no fruit , no mugs, paper napkins, little silverware, empty coffee pots......I think someone forgot to order supplies. Breakfast and lunch buffet - No imagination, after the first few days it is same old, same. There are lots to eat, many choices, but there is poor layout and presentation. There is no presentation, just bowls plopped into ice, some Chinese lanterns and other items just in piles. Salad bar has minimal choices and the location is in the middle of hot food. Plates for the salad are hot, in fact some days you can't get a plate, big or small, or even a bowl for soup or cereal. Grab a mug as soon as you see it, they are scarcer than hens teeth. Aqua cafe was a nice change along with the dining room. Cafe was less salty and fresher tasting. Upholstered chairs in the buffet area are dirty and worn. Sitting area is tight and difficult to move around during peak eating hours. Ice cream bar is open all day and is a nice touch. Choices change each day and you can pick toppings and candy. But again, the bowls are hot right from the dishwasher! Dining room - we had the late sitting, and did not realize it was for 8:45. We tried this time for the first week, but changed to the earlier 6:30 seating. If you really like something on the menu, pre-order it for the next evening. You can even get a peak on the next evenings menu. The last formal night, with the seafood medley (tough rock lobster, couple shrimp and scallops) might be as good as it gets. Forget dessert - save the calories - have ice cream. Both waiters and helpers were attentive and remembered our preferences. Food is very salty. Other women I met were complaining about swollen hands, couldn't get there rings off, ankles swollen also. I think this was from the salt. Salads are meager with warm, wilted lettuce. (order a double) most appetizers are small, a bite or two. Rib lamb chops are 3 thin ones, double up on this entree. Steak on the items available every day is a good size, a bit tough. Our waiter told us all meat and fish, in fact every thing is frozen. Fruit, don't think because you are going to places that have great fruit the ship will have it. 14 days of watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe - some days pineapple and soft grapes. All the berries are stewed, soft overripe whole kiwis and spoiled plums. Never saw a mango or papaya or avocado. Room service - only what is on the television menu. They will not make any concessions. What you see if what is available. One evening I was not feeling 100% so I ordered soup (2 choices - chicken or New England clam chowder) and asked for a roll with the soup. "Rolls are only available at breakfast." The menu is sparse for breakfast. I realize they are feeding 2000 passengers, but the food is not good. If it was a restaurant, we would not go back. Cova Cafe and Tea Room - little snacks at different times - nice idea - not bad little sandwiches, cookies. The have lovely china tea pots and dishes. The pot holds at least 4 cups of tea. The food is free but the drinks are extra. With all this "tea room" setting, why can't they make a proper cup of tea. Waiter brings the teapot filled with water, cup and saucer and then comes back with 1 tea bag for this 4 cup pot. No heating the pot, not steeping the tea, and the pot needs more bags. Same at dinner -water then 5 minutes later the tea bag. There is music in this venue, very nice guitarist or string quartet or trio. It is a nice place to sit and listen to the music, if the other guests would not chatter or the help talking to each other. The staff lacks training - they are only trained to push up the bill. The service is good, efficient; it is just not FINE service. Shopping arcade - Coach store is full price, you only save sales tax. Bijoux Ternier is from airports - costume jewelry and evening bags - if you left someone home you may be able to get it here, not great. Cosmetic store is the same one from the outlets here in the US "The Company Store" again you only save sales tax, no bargains. Liquor is the best buy. I would have liked to have bought "Panama Canal" tee shirts on the ship, but they only had petite and small. Poor planning again. Just before the end of the cruise they had a laundry special, fill the bag for $29. I used the laundry before, and was satisfied. But this bag, said no ironing, I thought it was for dry cleaning, but they mean no ironing for all the laundry and they would not honor the miserable 10% off coupon from the Captains Club, there were no exceptions listed on this offer in the daily newsletter or on the coupon. Thankfully we had a veranda. Every morning, no matter how early I went to pool area, lounges were saved. The staff never enforced the "no saving chairs" policy during the entire cruise. During mealtimes quests put tables together in the seating area to play cards. Men used the dining tables in the whirlpool area (quiet zone) for a dice or tile game - loud cheering, cursing, security was called but nothing was done. Don't get me wrong. The trip was great. The canal was great and the small ports of Manta and Arica were also great. Lectures were good and info about ports was also very good. We met great people from Canada and Florida. Our ship had a large number of Europeans from Germany and some from England who did a back to back. Some of these guests were loud and obnoxious, while others were charming and gracious. TIP: For transfer from the airport to our hotel in Santiago on Friday, and then transfer from hotel to pier on Sunday for 4 people with lots of luggage in an AC van was $221 total - reservations made online with Santiago Adventures - check out website. They were on time and had a bit of a tour while driving to the hotel. TIP: Booked Intercontinental Santiago online - prepaid, guaranteed - $150 a night. Great hotel located in a great area, lots of local restaurants in walking distance and OK Market around the corner for water and snacks. Breakfast at Cafe Melba for great coffee and breakfast (5 minute walk - get address online). We booked this cruise because of the itinerary, dates and the price. I would have to have a very big incentive to cruise on Celebrity again. I do not know how they can keep a rating of 4, this cruise line has lost it glamour, prestige and class. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009

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