Celebrity Infinity Feb. 5 cruise - WOW!!

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#21
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
532 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by three4rd
I'm just grateful for the day we had at Port Stanley. Could not have been better. And yet if we had been scheduled to come in the day before we would not have been able to do it. The gentoos out at Bluff Cove were so adorable!!

Terry&Mike...best wishes for the type of smooth sailing and great weather down there that we had. I'm not a fan of rough seas, and so having "Drake Lake" twice was more than I even realistically hoped for. Curious..how did you find the HAL trip to AU/NZ to be? AU and NZ are high on my list but I don't prefer to do it by cruise since I'd like to do fairly extensive touring of the interior parts of AU. Most of the cruises I've looked at only visit a few ports in AU. Then again, you mention "lots of land trips" so perhaps you've already done one of those on that continent anyway.
I certainly enjoyed the trip, but it doesn't rank among my all time favorites. It was a 14 day cruise, and we extended a bit before and after. We found the scenery lovely, and the Maori culture interesting. I find for myself, I generally enjoy a location more that is vastly different from the US, in culture, customs, food, and/or scenery. So yes, it was lovely, the people were pleasant, the food was good, but not a standout for me. Of course, your mileage may vary. I hope this didn't post twice but CruiseCritic is giving me fits this morning.
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#22
PA
613 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by terry&mike
I certainly enjoyed the trip, but it doesn't rank among my all time favorites. It was a 14 day cruise, and we extended a bit before and after. We found the scenery lovely, and the Maori culture interesting. I find for myself, I generally enjoy a location more that is vastly different from the US, in culture, customs, food, and/or scenery. So yes, it was lovely, the people were pleasant, the food was good, but not a standout for me. Of course, your mileage may vary. I hope this didn't post twice but CruiseCritic is giving me fits this morning.

Then you should certainly enjoy Antarctica! Unlike any place I've been to. Thanks for your thoughts on the AU/NZ trip. For us, we've found that some of our more exotic and complex trips - while being very impressive in terms of what we've seen - have not been the most memorable. Our favorite mode of travel is by car (within the US), and so some of the trips where I poured over maps for weeks, planned out a route, booked hotels and sightseeing plans along the way - have turned out to be among our favorites. While we like cruising and organized land tours, it sometimes gets old being with large groups of other travelers (let alone a big ship full of literally thousands of people).
#23
USA
612 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
We had originally booked this cruise two years ago and switched to Hurtigruten Fram. Coincidently we arrived Ushuaia two-days before the Fram sailing and saw Infinity in port. As some have mentioned, there is a significant experiential difference between a "drive-by" at distance and actually traveling in an ice rated expedition ship through the narrow passages between islands, into fjords, and landing on the continent. There is also a further differential experience between the regions north of the Antarctic Circle frequently by most expedition cruises and south of the Circle. The 150 nm difference doesn't seem like much, but the scenery, animal life and terrain change significantly. Great cruise on Fram, wonderful crew, exceptional naturalists and perfect ship (and food) for crossing the Drake and experiencing the White Continent.
#24
UK
1,490 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Glad you enjoyed Fram and that you experienced/noticed the changes further south and appreciated first hand the difference between a drive-by and an expedition trip.

Now you're entitled to a 5% return booking discount you'll have to take the Falklands, South Georgia, Antarctica trip!
#25
PA
613 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Hurtigruten was high on my list for a long time when deciding on an Antarctica trip. I think I just got so weary of trying to decide on which company to go with over a period of a few years, that once I became aware of the Celebrity trip (actually saw it during a RCL cruise), I decided that for both DW and I it was probably the best fit for going down there. I also liked that it stopped at Puerto Madryn and Montevideo. Having never been in South America, it gave me a chance to see a bit of several different areas. I don't question the deeper, more extensive, and more authentic an experience to be had with the expedition trips, but after weighing out many different factors the Infinity trip seemed like a good choice. IF I go back, then definitely I'd do an expedition journey, but from where I sit right now I deem it unlikely to ever get back down there. Too many other places I haven't been to yet!
Plus, next time I'd go it may well be a totally different situation in the Drake. I can't imagine getting any luckier, weather-wise, than I did with this trip.
#26
Somerset - UK
822 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Originally posted by three4rd
Just came back from this cruise. The weather was fantastic. So many of the crew and officers I talked to said it was the best weather they've seen down there in years. 2 "Drake Lake" crossings were more than I would have hoped for! We had a picture perfect day in both Port Stanley (also very rare from what I was told) and at Ushuaia. I had been worried ever since booking this cruise about the possibility of not even being able to call at Port Stanley since I know the weather can change quickly down there. All in all, a great cruise. The penguins at both Bluff Cove and Puerto Madryn were amazing! Again, incredible weather made it all the more spectacular. Our cruise director mentioned the one night that we were having better weather than they were having in the Caribbean. Can't ask for more - at least for a really good "drive-by" experience.
We are booked on this for January 2018 so it was great to read of your enjoyment. Fingers crossed the weather is as kind to us and we can call at Port Stanley. We have a tour booked with Estancia Excursions to Volunteer Point.
I think just to be able to see Antarctica with my own eyes will sufficient enough for me. There is no desire to set foot on it.
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#27
Boynton Beach, FL USA
12,810 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
We originally planned on going on the Infinity; but the Zaandam cruise spending 4 days in Antarctica rather than the 2 on the Infinity won me over. I know that the drive by is the only thing my wife can physically do there, so the expedition ships weren't an option for us. From the videos I have seen, the drive by cruises look awesome. I am sure that going through the ice in a zodiac would be amazing, as would getting closer to the wildlife on land. But we will be more than happy enjoying the scenery form the ship. It will be similar to experiencing the Panama from the canal.
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#28
AUSTRALIA
218 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Originally posted by Wansbrough
We are booked on this for January 2018 so it was great to read of your enjoyment. Fingers crossed the weather is as kind to us and we can call at Port Stanley. We have a tour booked with Estancia Excursions to Volunteer Point.
I think just to be able to see Antarctica with my own eyes will sufficient enough for me. There is no desire to set foot on it.
I'm with you wansbrough. Have this 'drive by' booked for Feb 2019 and tour with Patrick Watts to Volunteer Point. No desire to hop in and out of zodiacs and believe we will see more than enough wildlife to keep me amused and in awe of their beauty. Just feel very lucky and fortunate to be in a position to be able to do this and many many more cruises. Life is good. Happy cruising everyone
#29
Gold Coast
9,495 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by three4rd
Just came back from this cruise. The weather was fantastic. So many of the crew and officers I talked to said it was the best weather they've seen down there in years. 2 "Drake Lake" crossings were more than I would have hoped for! We had a picture perfect day in both Port Stanley (also very rare from what I was told) and at Ushuaia. I had been worried ever since booking this cruise about the possibility of not even being able to call at Port Stanley since I know the weather can change quickly down there. All in all, a great cruise. The penguins at both Bluff Cove and Puerto Madryn were amazing! Again, incredible weather made it all the more spectacular. Our cruise director mentioned the one night that we were having better weather than they were having in the Caribbean. Can't ask for more - at least for a really good "drive-by" experience.
Sounds like you enjoyed a wonderful cruise to Antarctica, with good weather and smooth seas. We also were lucky to experience Drake Lake, although many passengers wore their patches for the whole cruise.

I think many people misunderstand "adventure cruising" to Antarctica. When my daughter visited Falkland Island and Antarctica, she went on a small very basic adventure ship, when cruising to Antarctica was only available on such ships, which were expensive. When I researched going, this small basic ship wasn't for me. Which is how I came to find Hurtigruten's Fram. I wanted a medium sized ship, with a good ice rating, Captain and crew experienced in cruising in ice, and an observation lounge with all around views, without going outside in bad weather. My daughter wanted to revisit the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica and to be able to kayak. As a result we were both happy with our decision. I did not meet one person who bragged, quite the contrary, I found well travelled passengers, who were all excited about cruising (or revisiting) Antarctica.

I think everyone feels the same sense of excitement despite how they choose to cruise to Antarctica.

Like many people who have been on this once in a lifetime trip, I'd love to go again, despite being a Senior.
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Hurtigruten - Fram - 2014 - Ushuaia to Antarctica, via Falkland Islands and South Georgia Islands.
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#30
Atlanta area GA, USA
639 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
The two different experiences presented here are intriguing. Antarctica has long been on my bucket list as I really enjoy seeing nature more than cities. I am, however, worried about my physical limitations (a not at all active, overweight 70 yr old). I got myself in relatively good shape and went to the Galapagos 6 years ago and had a little trouble getting in and out of the Zodiacs and managed to do the hikes with some difficulty. Three years ago I went to Patagonia and did a week long expedition cruise in the Chilean fjords. That time I had more difficulty getting in and out of the Zodiacs. The landing at Cape Horn was particularly difficult with the sea conditions and the wind and sleet. After that I stayed on board the ship for the landings at the glacier and a major hike. I am very afraid that Antarctica would pose the same challenges to me. If I went on one of the expedition ships as opposed to the Zaandam would it still be better, even if I didn't go on any of the landings? Or should I just settle for a "cruise-by"? Can you see much of the wildlife from a cruise ship? Thanks in advance for your opinions
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#31
UK
1,490 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Have a look at Hurtigruten's Fram. It uses Polarcirkels for landings and they are much easier to access than zodiacs. On one of our Antarctic trips they even got a passenger in a wheelchair ashore!

You will see wildlife from a drive-by but even if you treat an expedition ship as a drive-by you will be much closer to the water and to land.

Go for the expedition ship option and give yourself the opportunity of landings.
#32
Oslo, Norway
1,535 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Originally posted by love_the_sea
The two different experiences presented here are intriguing. Antarctica has long been on my bucket list as I really enjoy seeing nature more than cities. I am, however, worried about my physical limitations (a not at all active, overweight 70 yr old). I got myself in relatively good shape and went to the Galapagos 6 years ago and had a little trouble getting in and out of the Zodiacs and managed to do the hikes with some difficulty. Three years ago I went to Patagonia and did a week long expedition cruise in the Chilean fjords. That time I had more difficulty getting in and out of the Zodiacs. The landing at Cape Horn was particularly difficult with the sea conditions and the wind and sleet. After that I stayed on board the ship for the landings at the glacier and a major hike. I am very afraid that Antarctica would pose the same challenges to me. If I went on one of the expedition ships as opposed to the Zaandam would it still be better, even if I didn't go on any of the landings? Or should I just settle for a "cruise-by"? Can you see much of the wildlife from a cruise ship? Thanks in advance for your opinions
I second digitl, that you should look into the Fram. My first Antarctica trip was on a different expedition ship, so one of the biggest impressions I had of Fram was how accessible she is. I was already impressed by the elevators and wheelchair ramps in the public spaces. Then they broke out the portable steps to get in and out of the landing boats. I admit to having some clumsy flop-over-the-edge moments dealing with zodiac landings, so I can confirm that the Polarcirkel landings are much easier to navigate. They even have hand railings for stepping in and out. Easy peasy! Then I shared a landing boat with the aforementioned wheelchair passenger, and I was blown away!
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(Please disregard typos. I do know how to spell, but my iPad sometimes thwarts me when I'm not careful.)
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#33
Atlanta area GA, USA
639 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
Originally posted by digitl
Have a look at Hurtigruten's Fram. It uses Polarcirkels for landings and they are much easier to access than zodiacs. On one of our Antarctic trips they even got a passenger in a wheelchair ashore!

You will see wildlife from a drive-by but even if you treat an expedition ship as a drive-by you will be much closer to the water and to land.

Go for the expedition ship option and give yourself the opportunity of landings.
Originally posted by kaisatsu
I second digitl, that you should look into the Fram. My first Antarctica trip was on a different expedition ship, so one of the biggest impressions I had of Fram was how accessible she is. I was already impressed by the elevators and wheelchair ramps in the public spaces. Then they broke out the portable steps to get in and out of the landing boats. I admit to having some clumsy flop-over-the-edge moments dealing with zodiac landings, so I can confirm that the Polarcirkel landings are much easier to navigate. They even have hand railings for stepping in and out. Easy peasy! Then I shared a landing boat with the aforementioned wheelchair passenger, and I was blown away!
Thanks to both of you for posting this information. This sounds like the way to go. I wasn't aware that the Fram used a different sort of landing boat. I took a look at this and they seem to be booked for this coming season but maybe closer to the time they will have something come available. The other challenge is that I will be traveling solo unless I can talk my one adventurous travel buddy into going. I may go ahead and just book for the 2018-2019 season. Thanks again.
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Anne
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#34
Atlanta area GA, USA
639 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
Originally posted by three4rd
I'm just grateful for the day we had at Port Stanley. Could not have been better. And yet if we had been scheduled to come in the day before we would not have been able to do it. The gentoos out at Bluff Cove were so adorable!!

Terry&Mike...best wishes for the type of smooth sailing and great weather down there that we had. I'm not a fan of rough seas, and so having "Drake Lake" twice was more than I even realistically hoped for. Curious..how did you find the HAL trip to AU/NZ to be? AU and NZ are high on my list but I don't prefer to do it by cruise since I'd like to do fairly extensive touring of the interior parts of AU. Most of the cruises I've looked at only visit a few ports in AU. Then again, you mention "lots of land trips" so perhaps you've already done one of those on that continent anyway.
HAL does a circumnavigation of Australia cruise (30 days) that looks like it hits all the major points in Australia and goes to the Great Barrier Reef. I am not sure, but you might be able to add on a cruise that then goes to NZ. I didn't look because I have done the NZ/AUS cruise and you are right they are mostly NZ.
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Anne
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#35
USA
612 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Originally posted by love_the_sea
Thanks to both of you for posting this information. This sounds like the way to go. I wasn't aware that the Fram used a different sort of landing boat. I took a look at this and they seem to be booked for this coming season but maybe closer to the time they will have something come available. The other challenge is that I will be traveling solo unless I can talk my one adventurous travel buddy into going. I may go ahead and just book for the 2018-2019 season. Thanks again.
May want to also check out Fram's sister ship Midnatsol. She also sails the Antarctic and is 50 percent larger than Fram. By next season Hurtigruten is adding two more newly designed and built expedition ships to the Antarctic water, as well.
#36
Atlanta area GA, USA
639 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
Originally posted by Globehoppers
May want to also check out Fram's sister ship Midnatsol. She also sails the Antarctic and is 50 percent larger than Fram. By next season Hurtigruten is adding two more newly designed and built expedition ships to the Antarctic water, as well.
Thanks for the additional info. I knew about the Midnatsol, but not the 2 additional ships.
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Anne
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#37
London
586 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
I just remember us steaming past a Celebrity ship and heading through the ice to visit one of the Argentinian base camps. Took about 3 hours solid driving through the ice. The Celebrity ship was stopped and really they wouldn't have seen much. Take one of the good expedition ships if at all possible, definitely worth it. But I do appreciate that they cost more than double.


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