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buffetking

Just off Infinity in Buenos Aires

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Hi everyone.

 

Had a great cruise, the ship and staff were excellent.

 

mega review forthcoming when I get home. Now in BA for a few days.

 

See ya

 

D

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Wow great looking forward to it :) .. we did around the horn on Zenith a few years back, when we arrived in BA it was sunny and warm, the band was out playing and the brolly drinks were about - even though it was the end of our cruise it felt like the beginning of a Caribbean cruise after seeing glaciers and cooler weather in the south. What a great trip, love to hear your experiences from your adventures on the Infinity :)

 

Tina Johnson

"Vistadeck"

http://www.recordlady.com

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Please let us know what to see and do, exursions to take....ones to be avoided...We are doing Infinity next year so that will be really helpful

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Looking forward to your trip report, especially the excursions. We've learned so much from fellow CC's. We're going 2/26 Rio to Santiago.

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BuffetKing: I too am looking forward to your mega-review! My wife and I will be boarding the Infinity in BA in about 10 days for a 'round the Horn cruise.

 

--Marne

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Will be leaving home on the 10th of Feb. for the cruise out BA on the 13th. Hope you can post your review before we leave. Thanks in advance.

Don

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We were also on the Infinity with Buffet King. Had a great cruise. Please list your questions, and I will try to answer them.

Vicki

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Thanks for the offer! Here are some questions for you:

 

1. What do you know now about the ship, the ports, the excursions, the scenery and the weather that you wished you'd known before your cruise?

 

2. What were your happy discoveries on the trip?

 

3. What were your disappointments?

 

4. Do any special crew members stand out?

 

5. What would be your list of things not-to-miss?

 

6. Is there anything that I should be sure to pack?

 

7. What do I don't know that I don't know about this trip?

 

--Marne

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I have read that Celebrity holds your passport for the duration of the cruise. IF that is correct, how do they expedite returning passports to everyone at the end of the cruise? Thanks :)

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Marte,

I will try to answer your questions. The ship was great. We had been on the Summit before, and it is identical. The food was good. We ate in the dining room for dinner and ususally ate in the buffet for breakfast and lunch. Toward the end of the trip, we tried the dining room for lunch a couple of times and also breakfast. It was a much more relaxed experience. The choices are fewer, but I would recommend it. The buffet can be crowded and you can encountner some rude and pushy people. We had alot of European and South American passengers. Also, some from Mexico. The age of the passengers was slightly older than average. We are 55 and there were some younger, but mostly older. The ports were real nice. We took the ship's excursions exclusively. I talked to many people that did private tours, and they had good experiences with them. I would prefer to do that next time. The first port, Puerto Mont, we took the excursion to the lakes and to Fruitilier (Spelling?), and the scenery was really beautiful. The snow capped volcanoes are beautiful. The next port Punta Arenas, we took the Magdalenna Island trip. The penguins were great, there were hundreds of them on the island. The trip there, however, was not so great. We went on an old delapidated ferry that was so slow and uncomfortable. It took two hours both ways. The lunch that was provided was unrecognizeable and in my opinion not edible. Anyway, aside from that, we really enjoyed seeing the penguins. The next port was Ushuia. This is a really beautiful place. We were planning to take the Beagle Channel Catamaran tour, but my husband got sick. There were many people with the stomach bug on the ship. Be sure to wash your hands and be careful about touching things, because we had lot of illness on board. Anyway, we cancelled our tour in Ushuia and spent the day walking around town. It was a lovely little town, reminded me of Alaska. The town had a dramatic backdrop of snow capped mountains that is spectacular. The night before we arrived, was so beautiful. It stays light until about 10 PM and you can look out and see spectacular scenery. Port Stanley, Falklands, was another port. It was rainy that day and we just walked around town. It is very British, and everything was expensive. The town is very small and quaint. We didn't do much there. The next place was Punta Madryn (spelling?) , and we didn't take a tour that day. Just went into town and walked around. There were people doing the tango in town and you could watch on the street. It wasn't much of a place. Really poor looking area. The next port, Montevedio was real nice. We took a tour to Punta de Este. It was about a two hour drive from town. It is the biggest resort area of South America. Beautiful place with georgous homes and apartment buildings. We had lunch at a lovely seaside restaurant and it was delicious. The tour guide that we had that day was a school teacher and she was terrific. The last port, Buenos Aires. We went into town on our own the first day. We took a taxi from the port, and walked around Florida Street. The shopping was nice, and then we walked over to the wide boulevard in the middle of town and some young people sprayed our clothes and tried to rob us. Luckily, we left all of our jewelry on the ship and we managed to get away from them. They spray you with something that looks like pigeon droppings, and then they come up and start pointing up and try to help you wipe it off, and they are trying to pick your pocket at the same time. They sprayed the men on the back of their pockets, and the women on our shoulder, where our pocket book straps were. Needless to say, that sort of ruined our day, and our clothes. Anyway, be warned about the thieves. The next day, our day to disembark, we took the full day tour of the city and trip to an estancia. It was a great tour. We had another great guide and the ranch was fun. We had a huge barbecue lunch with beef tenderloin and chicken and other side dishes. They served wine and beer and after lunch the gouchos danced and entertained us. They took us to the airport from there for our flight home. It was nice to have the luggage taken care of that day. Our flight didn't leave until 10:40 P.M. , so it was a long day. That pretty much takes care of the excursions, and the scenery. The weather was hot in Santiago, and cold on the way around the horn. When we arrived closer to Buenos Aires, it was getting hotter, then it started raining, and it was cooler than ususal for summer there. The happy discoveries, not much new for Celebrity. The service is always good, in my opinion, and it was as usual. The disappointment that I experienced was that

I slipped down getting to the tender in Port Stanley, and caught myself, but I broke a couple of my acrylic nails. I reported it to the Customer Relations desk when we returned to the ship, because I slipped on a ramp that the cruiseline provided at the tender. They did not treat me very well. I did ask that I get my nails repaired, because one of them was broken undeneath and it was hurting. They finally agreed to send me to the salon for a repair, but only after I was questioned by the head manager and made to feel as though I was not being truthful about the whole episode . I also had to go down to the desk several times to push the issue. We were invited to dine at the captain's table on the first formal night. That was really fun and we sat with the second in command officer. We had a lively group at the table and it was a happy evening. We found the crew member to be just great. Our waiter and busboy and Cabin Steward and assistant were all really great. The service was good everywhere. We used the gym alot, and it was real nice. It was real windy up on the top deck, and we didn't get to walk outside but about once or twice. I think the thing not to miss, is the penguins. It was a once in a lifetime experience. Be sure to pack warm clothes. The wind was fierce and the temperatures cold in the places far south. I took gloves and earmuffs and layers underneath my coat which was lined. The passports are collected at embarcation. We were given copies of them that were delivered to our cabin before the first port. The passports are returned on the last day. No problem, we just picked them up at the shore escursion desk. All in all, it was a great trip. We did not have any real bad complaints. I forgot to mention Simon Wier, the cruise director. He was real friendly and we enjoyed him. We didn't attend but two shows. My husband doesn't really enjoy them. The ones we saw were pretty good. One was a comedian. Oh, and I forgot to mention that they had a port lecturer on board. It was repeated on tv if you missed going in person. They also had a guest speaker , who lectured about diversity. Pretty boring, i guess some people enjoyed him. He took the place of Dick Morris who cancelled at the last minute. I think I would have enjoyed him. That's about all I can think of a the moment. Let me know if you have more questions. I forgot to tell you about our pre -cruise stay in Santiago. We arrived two days early, and stayed at the Ritz Carlton. We made our own arrangement, and it was fabulous. The hotel is the only one in South America. We had a beautiful room with a butler. They provided a rose petal bath daily that was unbelieveable. The room also included a great buffet breakfast daily, and a massage daily. What a treat. We enjoyed Santiago. The town is more modern than I expected and the Ritz was a highlight.

Vicki

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Thank U!!!

 

We have 2 days/2 nights post-cruise in Santiago. We will also have a rental vehicle.

 

Did you go anywhere or do anything there that you would recommend?

 

Thanks for taking the time to answer questions -- since I leave for Buenos Aires in 6 days....it's very timely :)

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We didn't do too much there. We mostly rested up from the long fllight from Atlanta, and enjoyed the Ritz. We did ride the subway to San Cristobal and walked around and went on top. That's really about all we did other than going to a craft fair, which wasn't that great. Santiago is a nice city though, and I"m sure you will find some interesting things to see.

Vicki

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Finally home from our long flight from BA. Just as we were boarding, an elderly man had some medical trouble, I was sitting right next to him. His wife told the airline staff there was a medical emergency just as I went on to the plane. About 1 hour into the flight, there was an announcement of "CODE BLUE" and the stewardess's went running to the front of the plane, then they asked if there were any doctors or nurses on board. Well....they had let the man on the plane!!! It's a 10 hour flight to Dallas with few places to make an emergency landing for the first few hours. Then a lady got sick and had to be helped with oxygen in the back of the plane. When we landed in Dallas we could not taxi to the gate and police cars surrounded the airplane. We were told the plane might be held in quarantine due to the sick passengers. We had to stay in our seats. A guy dressed in a hazmat bunny suit came aboard and took samples to test for infectious agents. We spent ALONG time waiting to see what was going to happen, not fun after such a long flight. The hazmat guy got on the PA and told us it was Norwalk virus and what precautions to take, kinda funny after spending 10 hours on a plane together to take precautions now. A stewardess told me the guy was from the NCL Crowne cruise ship and he was quarantined while on the ship. Finally we got to exit the plane. Thank goodness we were not exposed to something really serious

like SARS or some other exotic illness. I believe the airline should never have allowed the man to get on the plane, there was no way in the short time I boarded and we took off they could have concluded what was wrong with him. He might have suffered a stroke or heart attack. I know you always take risks traveling but the unecessary ones should be avoided.

Then when I got to LA, the shuttle I had reserved and paid for, told me they were not operating anymore and I could find some other way home. So, do not ever use PRIME TIME red vans. They said "oh we called you last night to tell you" of course I was in Buenos Aires. There was no message on my answering machine when I got home so they were full of it. Hopefully I can get my money back from them.

As for sickness, there were MANY people sick on the Infinity. If you went to the ships doctor and were deemed sick, you were quaratined for 1 to 3 days.

They disable your cruise card. As a result many people avoided the doctors office. So the "official" number of sick people is really much higher than what is reported. As I was getting off the ship in BA our first day there, a guy ahead of me in line tried to get off who was under quarantine. His card made a BONG sound and they escorted him away from the gangplank. Here's what bothers me, the security guy at the card terminal would grab each passengers' card and insert it into the machine. He wore no gloves.

Order a drink onboard, give your card, the server takes it and brings it back, they don't use gloves either. Think about it. In addition to the Norwalk virus, many people came down with nasty colds. At my dinner table of 8, 5 people had the "trots" and 3 had colds.

Well, not the best homecoming but at least I'm home.

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Buffer King,

I am home now from the Infinity. My husband had the stomach bug on the ship, but did not go to the doctor because of the reason you stated. The last three days, I started feeling like I was coming down with a cold. Since I have been home, I have gotten so sick. We got home Tuesday morning, and I haven't even been out of the house since. I still haven't even gone to the grocery store. Anyway, I think there were some nasty things going around the ship. The fact that they sent around the letter about visiting the doctor for no charge should have been our first clue. Other than that, we really did have a great cruise. I posted a long report answering questions for those leaving soon. I would love to hear your report.

Vicki

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I was also on the Infinity Santiago to BA cruise and did not get sick nor did I meet anyone who did. Heard plenty of rumours, though. One of my servers said that a flu bug (NOT Norwalk) was brought onboard by some of the Europeans (about half the ship) and spead mostly (but by no means exclusively) among them. In addition, some folks also got seasick and thought they had "Norwalk." Finally, other folks simply ate or drank too much and paid the price. Norwalk confirmation requires a blood test & I'm not sure how they did this to the NCL passenger on the Dallas flight. I had a great time and thought it was a wonderful and interesting cruise. Highlight was 'rounding Cape Horn.

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Cruiseyguy,

Sure glad you didn't get sick on the Infinity. I don't know what was going around, but I doubt the server in the dining room would know for sure that the Europeans were the only ones sick. I would not try to diagnose a ship full of people with Norwalk virus, but I do know that I personally came in contact with many people who were sick or someone in their group was. My husband got the stomach bug and I got a horrible upper respiratory infection while we were on the cruise. I only interacted with Americans for the most part because that is who we were thrown with mostly, and many of them were sick also. Anyway, it was still a great trip and a once in a lifetime experience.

Vicki

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The ship isn't the only possible source of infection-I usually get colds after a long airplane flight. Others get stomach ailments in third-world countries. Others bring their illnesses with them. My point is simply "let's not characterize an otherwise great cruise by the various maladies some folks may have experienced, as unfortunate as that may have been."

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cruiseyguy,

If you scroll up on this thread, you will read my report of the cruise. The illness was certainly not the major report of our trip. We had a wonderful time. I did not characterize the trip based only on our getting sick, but it did happen, and to alot of others too. Lucky you and yours for avoiding it.

Vicki

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Thanks for your review. I love to read about the Infinity as it will the ship I´ll sail for my first X cruise on.

 

 

His card made a BONG sound and they escorted him away from the gangplank. Here's what bothers me, the security guy at the card terminal would grab each passengers' card and insert it into the machine. He wore no gloves.

Order a drink onboard, give your card, the server takes it and brings it back, they don't use gloves either.

 

I read your comment about crew not wearing gloves and thought what you are concerned about. If you are concerned about the health of the security man gloves could be ok, but hand wash and or sanitizing would do a good job too.

If you are concerned about him spreading the germs by touching all the cards and giving them (maybe with germs on them) back to you, I have to say gloves wouldn´t help unless the gloves would be changed after every touched card. Same applies for the waiters.

I don´t want to offend you by this statement but I always have the feeling that there is a lot of confusion about this topic. Sorry for getting a little bit OT.

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Hi Madforcruising,

 

You are right, gloves should be changed after each encounter. Of course this is not practical on a cruise ship. So, the security guy should let each passenger handle their own card. I don't really care about the health of the security guy. By handling each card, he potentially spreads infectious agents to other passenger cards when he hands them back. Also, when you are leaving the ship to catch a tour, there is little time or even a place to carefully wash your hands. You could use an instant hand sanitizer, but few people think about it at the time. There was a hand sanitizer machine located just before you left the ship but it was at the start of the line not at the end by the gang plank.

Maybe the cruise lines could invest in a system that reads passenger cards from from a small portable terminal carried by roving bar staff, letting the passenger swipe the card thereby letting the cruise staff avoid touching many cards during their day. I know it's very hard to avoid germs and virus's spreading in a closed area like a cruise ship. But every little bit helps.

 

Someone mentioned a blood test was needed to confirm Norwalk virus. I'm curious.....does the ships doctor take blood samples and run the proper tests?

If not.....how can they quarantine passengers who might have "ate and drank too much" ? I met a few folks who missed ports of call and tours due to

being quarantined by the ships doctor after getting that letter advertising "free" medical evaluations.

 

Madforcruising, I value your input on this important subject and thank you for responding. Without debate, nothing ever gets accomplished.

 

D

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Here is one more thing that happened on my flight home from BA. Across the aisle from me was an older guy. After he finished the inflight dinner, he took out one of his dentures and licked food off of it. Same thing after our light breakfast before landing in Dallas. Lovely.

 

Happy landings,

 

D

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Thanks ACJV, Buffet King and Cruiseyguy for your input.

We are off to B.A. on Thursday and are present going bananas as to how to pack everything we need for the cruise plus the following week in the Andes into the miserly 20 Kilos baggage allowance.

Looks as it we need to bring along some strong anti-biotic. Can anybody suggest something we could buy over the counter?

I was interested in Cruiseyguy's comment that about half the passengers were from Europe. From which countries did they come from? Did this mean that there were a lot of smokers aboard? We have been on Celebrity cruises in Europe with about 80% North Americans.

Peter

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The Europeans were mainly Norwegians (a large group), Germans, and Brits. Yes, they smoked but only in designated areas. Quite a few Brazilians, too. It's their Summer and this cruise is the equivalent to our Alaska cruise. Which gives you an idea about what to pack ("layering" works well). Don't worry about currency exchange-everyone takes dollars. Learn the exchange rates or take a calculator when shopping. Quite a few shops and restaurants don't take American Express but most will take Visa. Many South American cities (like US cities) have a "good" section and a "bad" section. Unfortunately, ports are usually in a "bad" section so try to wander further afield. For example, the central plaza of Puerto Madryn, Argentina is in a rather uninteresting and rundown area & leaves an "uninspired" impression. But walk along the beach toward the EcoCenter and there are wonderful restaurants and shops and some really beautiful new homes (this is the "good" section). I took along Imodium (never used it) and Purell, a hand sanitizer (used it alot).Don't focus only on shipboard sanitation; the ship is a lot cleaner than some of the places you will be visiting so use the Purell before eating ashore and always after handling money. Also, do not, under any circumstances, miss the passage of the ship around Cape Horn (if it is part of your itinerary). It's early in the morning but it was the highlight of my cruise.

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Hi everyone,

 

Sorry it's taking me soooo long to write up a review. I still have not unpacked yet!!! Been working too much.

 

A good person to seek out on the ship if you have any problems is Maria Yang, chief concierge. We worked with her quite a bit to fix a few problems we had during the cruise. She was always very nice.

 

For those about to go to Buenos Aires

 

We had a wonderful lunch at TOMOI located at the Crown Plaza Panamericano hotel near the Obelisk. Excellent beef, dessert, and service.

 

For dinner, we went to "Cabana Las Lilas". Excellent meal. the beef was sooo good. Have your hotel make reservations for you, it gets completely packed. It's next to the river dock area. you can dine right next to the boardwalk. Be careful!!! There is a little hedge between you and the boardwalk. Small kids were sneaking by looking for something to grab off the tables nearest the walkway.

 

We also went to two Tango shows. "Madero Tango" had a good dinner, so-so show.

 

"La Ventana" Had a great show, very good. We only watched the show, didn't eat dinner. To get to any of these shows, just ask the hotels' concierge.

 

The city was as bustling and active as ever. We walked all over.

Be careful, pickpockets will get you if your not careful. At a McDonalds on Florida Street, a man staying at our hotel had his wallet picked from his front pants pocket by a small kid while a security guard was standing right there. The tourist was looking at the menu when it happened.

 

We met another couple who had nasty stuff squirted on them while crossing the street. When someone came over to "help" them clean it off, the tourists started yelling at them to get away. So nothing was stolen from them by the "helpers". Be aware, keep all valuables locked in the hotel safe, not your room safe. Me and my wife had no problems at all.

 

Dollars go a long way in Buenos Aires. Don't exchange too much. It took me 3 days to spend $20.00

 

If you go to the government "pink house", walk around the barracades to the right side of the building. Walk around the guard shack and go the the back around the barracade fence. There is a small, free museum there. To go in you leave a picture ID with the guard. There is a tour given at 4:00PM each day of the main "pink house" building. You must sign up at the small museum at 11:00AM for this tour, get there early to sign up, they only take 25 people.

 

Internet access is available everywhere. High speed and cheap. Walk down Florida or Lavalle streets and you will find anything you need here.

 

Have a great trip !!!

 

D

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