Jump to content

Photo Review: Dec 24 2016 15 Night Infinity Cruise around South America


Recommended Posts

My family of 4 took this very nice cruise from Valparaiso, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Although this was our first trip to this continent, it was our second time aboard Infinity as we had sailed on her way back in 2002.

 

The cruise went very well without any incident. We did not miss any ports, the weather on the whole was pretty good, and we were lucky that the seas were fairly calm. The only negative things that occurred was the ship was battling a norovirus outbreak and the blackjack tables were rough with me!

 

The 4 of us stayed in FV 8166 which is at the back of the ship on the starboard side. This was the same cabin that we stayed in back in 2002 although the kids were only 7 and 10 years old!

 

I am going to post a few pictures from each day with a few of comments.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We flew to Santiago on Delta from Chicago connecting through Atlanta.

 

Entertainment at O'Hare International Airport

 

32001034550_1fd96a5b02_z.jpg

Above: my first view of Chile!

 

 

Our 767 jet from Atlanta arrived on time to Santiago at 9:45am. When we arrived we were missing one checked bag that apparently did not make it on our plane and was still in Atlanta. On the next day the missing bag was sent to us at our hotel in Vina del Mar where we were staying for two nights before the cruise.

 

Getting though customs and immigration at SCL airport was slow, but we were in no hurry. By the time we got through, it was around 12:30

 

My wife also discovered that she did not pack enough Imitrex (prescription migraine medication) for the trip and so we spent we had to go to a clinic to get a prescription and have it filled in Vina del Mar.

 

Both incidents are good lessons for arriving a day or two before the start of the cruise.

 

In researching our pre-cruise options, I narrowed our choices down to staying at Santiago (where the airport is), Valparaiso (where the port is), or Vina del Mar which is just north of Valparaiso.

 

I ended up choosing Vina del Mar which is on the ocean. We stayed there for two nights at the Sheraton. Because of the Christmas holiday, it was not very busy.

 

Vina del Mar is 1.5 hrs away from Santiago by car. We had booked van transportation through the hotel to get us to the hotel. It cost $162 for the 4 of us and our luggage.

 

 

We did not take any organized tours and mainly walked around the city. We had a good relaxed time there soaking up the sun.

 

32424957552_2722965bf5_z.jpg31734017844_9757ed634f_c.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Our 15 night trip stopped at 6 ports on our way to Buenos Aires: Puerto Montt (Chile), Punta Arenas (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), Puerto Madryn (Argentina), Punta Del Este (Uruguay), and Montevedio (Uruguay). We also overnighted at Buenos Aires.

 

This meant that we had 7 days at sea which was nice.

 

We tendered at four ports: Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas, Puerto Madryn, and Punta Del Este. Here was the information about the tendering that was in our stateroom: "Useful Information For the Upcoming Ports of Call"

 

31535731344_0e2d2572f7_c.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Celebrity Today

 

MDR Dinner Menu (always available every night)

MDR Dinner Menu

MDR Dessert Menu (coffees and drinks always available every night)

MDR Dessert Menu

 

We arranged for a van to take us from the hotel to the pier. It cost around $15-20 for the 4 of us. Even though the Sheraton was not very crowded, there were problems among the other guests that were staying in the hotel who were trying to get transport to the ship.

 

Once there, the embarkation process went smoothly. I didn't realize it at the time, but Celebrity takes your passports from you when you check in at the pier. I guess all the passport stamping by the immigration officials is done on board during the cruise. We got our passports back by Day 12 of the cruise.

 

We were in family cabin 8166 which is all the way at the stern of the ship. We had been in that exact same cabin in early 2002 when Infinity was still brand new. While there have been a lot of changes to the ship since then, the cabin was very familiar and in good shape. Besides changes in the decor, the only significant modification was that the wall hairdryer in the bathroom (which had a light duty 110 volt outlet on the housing) was removed and replaced with a night light. The night light was nice, but I missed the electrical outlet that was there.

 

32338981046_8d5ebceee2_b.jpg

There's nothing like waking up and seeing your ship from your hotel balcony!

 

 

32527920675_8dc4e771e4_b.jpg

 

32487127626_5847f71cfd_b.jpg

Cat FV Cabin 8166: Lots of space for all four of us.

 

 

32001039540_93d9c2a4e7_c.jpg

As soon as we got on board, we got busy decorating our cabin for Christmas!

 

 

32486309556_405eaae3e5_c.jpg

Dazzling evening star (Venus) on Christmas Eve!

Link to post
Share on other sites

How was the Sheraton in Vina Del Mar? We have done the horn three times..love it, and in 2019 we will be doing VAlpariso to San Diego..will fly down early and stay somewhere on the coast. We have considered this hotel before, but always to stay at the Ritz in Santiago, and want to avoid the city this time. Thanks for your feedback in advance.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Celebrity Today

 

MDR Christmas Dinner Menu

MDR Christmas Dessert Menu

 

Christmas at sea! The checked bag that got left behind in Atlanta had Christmas gifts in it. The bag was meant to be carried on, but we were forced to surrender it at the gate in Chicago because all the overhead storage on the plane was full. So I was thankful that the bag was re-united with us in Vina del Mar. As a side note, I was very impressed with Delta's customer service with this "lost" bag issue.

 

Since this was our first Christmas cruise, we decided to bring gifts for each other to open. Of course this put a limitation on the size of the gift which was fine.

 

In the evening, all the passengers received a letter informing us that "a small percentage of guests" have experienced an illness thought to be Norovirus. As the trip went on, more aggressive measures were being taken to contain the problem. In the end the ship managed to avoid a large outbreak.

 

 

32378252465_0ce2cbf684_c.jpg

2 ft artificial tree with battery powered LED lights. We used an iPad app for our fireplace!

 

31567427593_392a9a40eb_c.jpg

Our Christmas stockings. We all missed our two dogs, Zoe and Cookie. We had "their" Christmas before we left for the cruise.

 

 

32258340651_c7ce10baef_z.jpg

This was my Christmas present as well as my location!

 

 

32339266026_4c1ea0b6e6_c.jpg

The ship was nicely decorated for Christmas!

 

 

32486288566_02e5dbca93_z.jpg

Awesome weather for Christmas.

Link to post
Share on other sites
How was the Sheraton in Vina Del Mar? We have done the horn three times..love it, and in 2019 we will be doing VAlpariso to San Diego..will fly down early and stay somewhere on the coast. We have considered this hotel before, but always to stay at the Ritz in Santiago, and want to avoid the city this time. Thanks for your feedback in advance.

 

The Sheraton was very nice but it won't compare favorably to the RC. The hotel physical condition was excellent and our room was very nice. We received great service from the staff. They helped us with our luggage problem. We did not use their main restaurant, so I cannot comment about that.

 

The location of the hotel has good and bad points. It is on the ocean which gives you great views. We could see Infinity from our balcony. However the hotel is a isolated and not within quick walking distance to anything. Most times we walked anyway just for the exercise and the sun. During one evening after enjoying a nice restaurant, we took a cab back to the hotel which cost 4 or 5 Chilean pesos.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Enjoying the review - thanks for posting :).

 

We have stayed in that FV on Infinity, stayed in the same this last Christmas on Millie and have booked the same for this year on Connie - we like it too :D. Only Summit to go :p.

Link to post
Share on other sites
The Sheraton was very nice but it won't compare favorably to the RC. The hotel physical condition was excellent and our room was very nice. We received great service from the staff. They helped us with our luggage problem. We did not use their main restaurant, so I cannot comment about that.

 

The location of the hotel has good and bad points. It is on the ocean which gives you great views. We could see Infinity from our balcony. However the hotel is a isolated and not within quick walking distance to anything. Most times we walked anyway just for the exercise and the sun. During one evening after enjoying a nice restaurant, we took a cab back to the hotel which cost 4 or 5 Chilean pesos.

 

Actually, we were at the Ritz in Feb, and it was not up to par. Thanks for the feedback

Link to post
Share on other sites

Shore Excursion: PT09 Petrohue River Rafting (thru Celebrity)

 

Celebrity Today

Norovirus Letter

 

MDR Dinner Menu

MDR Dessert Menu

 

Our first port of call! While at sea on Christmas Day, we were getting the news of a strong 7.6 magnitude earthquake that hit an area just south of Puerto Montt. The earthquake also resulted in a tsunami warning for the coastal areas. Fortunately there was no tsunami and relatively little damage from the quake.

 

We booked the Petrohue River Rafting excursion through Celebrity. It was fun and a full day affair. The outfitter that Celebrity used was called Ko'KayaK. They were an excellent company with good equipment and excellent guides. There were about 40 people that signed up for this trip. We were transported by two buses from the pier for a 40 mile ride to the outfitter facility Ensenada. You are then given instruction and fitted for gear (including a wet suit for warmth). There are change rooms there and their office has an area for you to store you clothing, etc. Another short bus ride and you are at the river.

 

The white water rafting is relatively tame, but the scenery is beautiful. We were lucky enough to have a break in the clouds for the beautiful Osorno Volcano to appear. The actual rafting is about 2 hours long and the white water sections are separated by areas of calm flowing water where you can rest. When the rafting is finished, you change back into your street clothes and a large picnic table with food is set out. And then you board your buses for the return trip back to the pier so that you can wait in line to get on your tender!

 

32258347411_431edbbdf1_c.jpg

We caught glimpses of nearby Osorno Volcano during the rafting trip. The summit of the volcano, still considered active, is 8,701 ft above sea level. Photo by Hamish Tills

 

 

31568462553_14a7e38ae0_c.jpg

Every zodiac raft had a skilled guide in the back. Ironically you cannot see her in this photo of our raft! Photo by Hamish Tills

 

 

31683455774_e14777c3fd_b.jpg

You're tired and hungry when you get off the tour bus, only to wait in line for the ship's tenders! Infinity was scheduled to leave port at 6pm. This photo of the line for the tender was taken at 5:42pm.

 

 

32470032006_d728c43dc3_c.jpg

This photo was taken at 10:10pm from Infinity which was 30 miles south of Puerto Montt.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Celebrity Today

 

MDR Dinner Menu

MDR Dessert Menu

 

So this day marked the first of three straight sea days! On the ship's itinerary, it is listed strictly as a plain sea day with no scenic significance. But in actuality the ship was beginning to enter the northern reaches of Patagonia and we sailed through some of the archipelago islands.

 

It lightly rained most of the day and then the fog rolled in towards the end of the day and into the evening. When I stood out on our balcony at night, you could hear the ship's fog horn's long blast every couple of minutes. It was pretty cool to hear it and while it didn't disturb our sleep, it gave one pause to think about where we were and the conditions we were sailing in.

 

One nice thing about this cruise is that for as lengthy as it is, the ship's clocks were never changed. In other words, we never had to adjust it once because of time zone changes, etc. So for our family we only had to make the clock adjustment when flying from and to Chicago which was 3 hours behind.

 

My son and I spent part of the evening getting his Sony Playstation set up so he could use his Christmas present--a Sony Virtual Reality Headset. Our cabin had two flatscreen TVs. We were able to easily get his PlayStation connected to the TV in the living room by connecting to the HDMI input and switching the TV to Channel 3.

 

Our last 3 cruises were aboard Eclipse and we got spoiled by its nice On Demand movie system which had a lot of free movies. Infinity's system is not as good and we could not find any On Demand movies that were free. It's not that big of a deal. We ended up watching a couple of blu-ray movies on my son's PlayStation. And as it turns out, that was all we had time for.

 

 

32341645302_e0ec4db612_c.jpg32374681252_7523f47c5f.jpg

Taken at 12:14pm on Dec 27. Map on the right shows where the photo was taken.

 

 

31764029543_5df91be1a3_c.jpg

The other corner FV cabin on Deck 8 (8181). There was a lot a scenery on both sides of the ship to see!

 

 

32196869690_5a7d197acf_c.jpg32601567115_bf9fd9e95b_z.jpg

Fog at 9:43pm in the evening. The map on the right shows where the photo was taken.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Celebrity Today

The estimated schedule for the various canals that Infinity was to sail through is printed on the upper left hand corner of the front page.

 

MDR Dinner Menu

MDR Dessert Menu

 

On this day, the weather was still a little wet but the visibility improved greatly. Perfect timing, after all, we were about to sail through the famous Chilean fjords. The ship does not sail inland far enough to see any of the tidewater glaciers at this point. As you can see from the photos, the seas were very calm.

 

This was only Day 5 which meant that, incredibly, we still had 11 days of the trip still ahead of us!

 

 

31765852533_4f148f2299_c.jpg

Here are the ship positions that I recorded on Dec 28 starting at 3:48pm and ending at 10:52am on the following morning.

 

 

31649417734_edba9584bf_c.jpg

Our large balcony provided a wonderful 270 deg view. Part of the balcony was protected from the elements but it had exposed areas where you could get some sun during the day and see the stars on clear nights!

 

 

32258339851_ddbe012889_z.jpg

Yes, we even decorated our balcony door!

 

 

32378254675_3bd5a9c0f4_b.jpg

The evening view was awesome. Taken at 8:19pm. The sun was still 1.5 hrs away from setting.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't remember the exact temperatures we encountered because it varied so much. Plus it really was influenced by whether if it was windy, raining and/or if the sun was out!

 

Having said that, the Celebrity Today newsletters published the forecasted temperature for the port days (lower left hand corner of the front page). When I get home tonight, I will continue with the photo review and I will be posting each day's newsletter. For those who can't wait, here is a link to my public folder with all the Celebrity Today dailies: Celebrity Today Folder

 

For those that don't want to look it up, here is what was published for our sailing:

 

Puerto Montt: 48-60F

Punta Arenas: 47-58F

Ushuaia: 44-54F

Puerto Madryn: 56-75F

Punta del Este: 60-76F

Montevideo: 62-80F

Buenos Aires: 67-91F

 

Nothing was published for the sea days. I am glad we had an aft balcony because we were shielded from a lot of the wind--whether it was due to the weather itself or from the ship's motion.

Edited by mahdnc
Link to post
Share on other sites

I was on the sailing right before yours. Nice to virtually see the onward trip.

 

Very thankful you were re-united with your suitcase of gifts. Did you really check the Playstation, VR, and Apple Watch?! Even locked & plastic wrapped, I would think it would not come out the other side with all original contents & unscathed. It is nice to think I'm being too cynical :)

Edited by travelpeon
Link to post
Share on other sites
I was on the sailing right before yours. Nice to virtually see the onward trip.

 

Very thankful you were re-united with your suitcase of gifts. Did you really check the Playstation, VR, and Apple Watch?! Even locked & plastic wrapped, I would think it would not come out the other side with all original contents & unscathed. It is nice to think I'm being too cynical :)

 

The VR headset, which my son is wearing in the photo below, was the main gift that was in the "lost" piece of luggage. There probably were other less costly gifts in the suitcase that I cannot remember right now.

 

But what I didn't mention was that I had unknowingly left my iPad in the pocket in front of my seat on the plane that landed in Santiago. Unbelievable. I didn't figure this out until we were already in the hotel van and had been on the road for over an hour. Which is one hour on top of the time we spent at the airport to get our bags, talk to Delta about our lost bag, pass through immigration and customs. There was no way we could turn around (we were so tired) and I didn't know who to contact by phone and I figured the plane had already taken off.

 

By the time we arrived at the Sheraton Vina del Mar, the Delta customer service agent who worked with us on our lost bag emailed me the status of our bag. Using the phone number she provided, the concierge at the hotel was able to contact her about my iPad. She asked for my seat number and about an hour later I got an email saying that the iPad had been recovered and would be returned with the lost bag tomorrow. So, the funny thing was that if Delta hadn't lost our bag, I wouldn't have gotten my iPad back. That iPad, btw, is the one that is doing fireplace duty in the photo of our cabin Christmas tree. And I took care of the concierge and noted the Delta agent's performance by name on the passenger survey that we received from Delta.

 

I felt very grateful to get all of my lost stuff back.

 

31567423973_53cfebce04.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Celebrity Today

Cruise Critic Connections Party Invitation

 

I don't have the MDR Dinner Menu

I don't have the MDR Dessert Menu

 

 

The CC Gathering was scheduled for 9:30am on this day, the 6th day of the cruise. Unfortunately I missed it altogether because I slept in and forgot about it. I do try to make these parties in general.

 

On this day, the weather continued to improve and by late afternoon, we saw blue skies.

 

32258333121_c9b7596060_c.jpg

Taken at 1:13pm. We saw albatross lazily flying behind us almost every day

 

 

 

32148503960_3a4b9880e8_z.jpg

32228124902_d0084422b6_c.jpg

Sunshine and the Strait of Magellan. The map shows the location where this photo was taken.

 

 

32554996866_e5cee40db1_c.jpg

First day of the trip that the pool deck got some real use!

 

 

31751821714_80c4bba2ba_c.jpg

The Captains Club Social Hour was held in the Constellation Lounge which gave us beautiful views. The Captains Club Host, Alexandra Fataccioli, told me that there were only 150 Captains Club members on this sailing. This was our kids' 11th cruise with Celebrity but my son's first cruise at 21 years old.

 

 

31783396533_70891437ca_c.jpg

For obvious reasons, the CC Social Hour was very well attended! The seats nearest the windows were the most popular. Alexandra did a nice job with talking to everyone and making sure we were taken care of.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • Q&A with Chris Prelog, President of Windstar Cruises!
      • Register Now for Cruise Critic Live Special Event: Royal Caribbean
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...