Posted August 26th, 2013, 11:05 PM
Last edited by boogs; August 26th, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Has anyone done the Celebrity 3-day excursion to Machu Picchu? We booked it on our upcoming FLL - Valparaiso cruise, and we're curious how many people are in the group and how X handles the tour.
We considered doing Machu Picchu as an excursion during our South America/Panama Canal cruise in March 2009, but because of the cost and time away from the ship, we decided to take an extra week and do it on our own. Our cruise was in the opposite direction from yours, starting in Valparaiso to FLL, but a similar itinerary might work for you just as well.
For less than the cost of the three day ship's excursion, we had a full week in Peru and Chile. We flew into Lima, Peru and changed planes to Cusco, the most often used transfer point into Machu Picchu. We stayed at the very nice Libertador Palacio del Inka Cusco for three nights to get acclimated to the elevation of 11,200 ft (our hometown is close to sea level). While there we wandered around this wonderful city, and enjoyed a private tour excursion around the area one afternoon.
Early on the fourth day we took the Hiram Bingham luxury train to Aquas Caliente, the town at the base of the mountain that Machu Picchu is on. The train ride is truely spectacular, and this train is very luxurious. With less than 90 passengers, gourmet food, drinks included, and lively entertainment, the train trip itself was certainly worth taking.
We visited Machu Piccu that afternoon with a private guide and after watching the sun set, we went back to Aguas Caliente and checked into the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, another beautiful hotel with a nature preserve as part of the property.
We rose early for a second day on Maccu Picchu, including watching the sunrise this time, and in the early afternoon we caught the train back to our hotel in Cusco before catching an early plane the next day to Santiago for some sightseeing and a one night stay at the Radisson Plaza Hotel. This hotel was just OK, so I won't recommend it.
The next day we headed out to Valparaiso - where the ship docks - and stayed at the Hotel Manoir Atkinson for one night, a small seven room boutique hotel overlooking the bay. If you stay here, ask for room #7, the "Magie et Horizons (Magic & Horizons)" suite. With a private balcony with views on all three sides of Valparaiso and the harbor, this room was a wonderful way to get ourselves ready for our cruise.
All flights, transfers with private cars, hotels, private Cusco excursion, round trip train ride, and two day Maccu Picchu visit with private guide, was organized by our TA. The total cost for these seven days was less than the ship's excursion - and we didn't miss out on three days away from the ship and our stateroom, which you still pay for even though you aren't aboard, plus missing shore visits at two interesting port stops.