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


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A few more Puerto Madryn port photos:

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Jan 3 2017 8:12am 4 lazy sea lions laying on the steps at the end of our pier at Puerto Madryn.

 

 

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Jan 3 2:56pm We are lining up to get back to the ship after diving with the sea lions. The ramp to get back on Infinity (Deck 3) was pretty steep and the security people would not let you get on the ramp when they deemed it to be too windy. So when the winds temporarily died down, they would let several at a time to get on the ship. The wind was strong enough that it knocked over one and broke one of the ship's glass signs at the pier as we waited in line.

 

 

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Jan 3 2017 5:53pm A line of passengers waiting to get back on the ship after getting off the shuttle buses at Puerto Madryn. The ship was originally scheduled to leave at 6:30pm. The high winds prevented us from leaving the port until around 7pm.

 

 

 

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Jan 23 2017 Puerto Madryn. PT Barnum has been quoted as saying, "Always leave your audience wanting more". Well that's what this South America cruise was like--I think every passenger left Puerto Madryn and the other ports on our cruise wishing they had more time to spend ashore.

 

 

 

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Jan 3 2016 7:36pm

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All 4 of us are Captains Club Elite members which entitles each of us to 90 free minutes or you can get 30% off the unlimited internet package. After talking it over, we decided to get one unlimited package and that we would share it among ourselves. It cost $230 for the 15 night cruise including the 30% Elite discount. We were told that even though we bought the first unlimited package at a discount, we were still eligible to get the 2nd package at 50% off as advertised by the sign in the photo above.

 

 

 

 

 

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In order to get the 30% Elite discount applied, you had to go to the iLounge to get a crewmember there to manually take care of it. The unlimited package can be used for one device at a time. As part of a promotion that we got for booking this cruise, the two kids (as 3rd/4th passengers) each received 40 minutes free internet and a free Classic Non-Alcoholic Beverage Package. I used the internet for web browsing and sending texts with pictures. We also used the internet to download updates to my son's Sony PlayStation which was needed to get his virtual reality goggles that he got for Christmas to work.

 

 

 

 

 

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Screenshot of my iPhone after logging on to the ship's wireless system. As you are logging in, you are warned if someone else was already on line using that account. You had the option of cancelling the logon or proceeding with it which would kick the other user off the account which would instantly end their session The unlimited internet could be used during the morning of disembarkation.

 

 

 

 

 

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The wireless signal seemed to be available in all indoor areas of the ship except at the extreme points like a few places in the Celebrity Theater nearest the stage. We didn't try using it outdoors, so no opinion to give you there. I took many speed measurements of the ship's internet on different days at different locations. The speed performance of the internet was inconsistent even at a fixed location on the ship. It could change in ten minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We had a corner FV cabin on Deck 8 (8166). Although a wireless repeater was located right outside our cabin door, the wireless signal died about ten feet into our cabin with the cabin door closed. However this is not a big deal for most normal cabins because of their smaller size. The corner FV cabin is uniquely long as we could be 20-30 feet away from the repeater (as in this photo). We found that we had to keep the metal cabin exterior door open if we wanted to use the internet. Keeping the exterior cabin door open (not visible in the photo) wasn't a big deal since you can't see into our cabin from the hallway even with that door open.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dec 30 2016 5:43am iPhone screenshot. The internet was down only once during our cruise. It was back on line by the time we got back on the ship during our port day at Punta Arenas. This was the first time that we were on a Celebrity ship that had the new Xcelerate High Speed Internet. I used Apple's FaceTime app on several occasions during the cruise. It came in handy in the Grand Foyer to talk to my father on Christmas Day and I showed him the ship's decorations.

Edited by mahdnc
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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This was my Christmas present as well as my location!

 

 

 

 

 

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The ship was nicely decorated for Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

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Awesome weather for Christmas.

 

 

I love your door decoration! Can I ask where you got it?

 

 

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David: thank you so much for your stunning pictures and informative narrative. We're booked on Infinity (our second time) for next Feb, 2018 and have an aft cabin booked....only 2 of us so we don't need the extra bedroom, but the we fell in love with the balcony on Panama Canal trip...You answered so many of my questions, I cannot thank you enough!!

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I so agree with all of the positive comments on this thread. So very very informative and the photos are the BEST!! Thanks too for the advice on the family veranda stateroom. Invaluable information for sure and it has greatly increased our anticipation for our Panama voyage in November. Aquaclass will have to wait for another time. ;)

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Love THE COMPARISON PHOTOS

 

 

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Well here are a couple of kids comparison photos (yes, I am indulging myself!):

 

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Dec 26 2016 4:39pm Puerto Montt. Riding the bus back to the ship after a long day of rafting.

 

 

 

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July 1998 Vancouver, Canada. Riding the double decker bus after finishing our 7 night Alaska cruise aboard Galaxy.

 

 

 

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Dec 25 5:58 pm Infinity. Evening Chic night photo before dinner.

 

 

 

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Jun 1998 Formal night photo before dinner aboard Galaxy.

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We are doing this cruise next December 23rd 2018 on the Eclipse and it looks amazing - starting in Buenes Aires and finishing in Chile. Going to have some fun booking the flights from Manchester UK! Looking forward to more photos - amazing!

 

 

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You lucky people :D. Would love to sail on that itinerary - one on my bucket list ;).

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I know Jenny really looking forward to that one. Got some great deals when we booked these cruises on the Millie - doing the Eclipse out of Dublin next May so that will be a good one too. Hope you and the fambo are ok? X

 

 

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Yes, all good, thanks :*. We have Dubai and India this Christmas on Connie. Do like the look of this one though - perhaps a thought for when we're on Reflection in the summer ;p.

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  • 2 weeks later...

OP: thanks very much for this terrific review and for sharing your beautiful photographs. I know how much time is involved in doing all that, so I really do appreciate it.

 

While we've been to Buenos Aires, Ushuaia, and Antarctica (on an expedition), we haven't done the around the Horn cruise, and it remains of great interest to me, especially after reading your review. Did you pick the west to east direction for any particular reason (other than perhaps the holiday schedule)?

 

My wife and I were fortunate a couple of years ago to sail in the same FV corner cabin on the Infinity that you were in, 8166. Just the two of us. It was pretty awesome to have all that space and that incredible private deck.

 

Thanks again for your review.

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Our next port was Buenos Aires which is only 126 miles away. Because the final night of the cruise was an overnight stay at Buenos Aires, the evening that we left Montevideo would be the last one with all the shops, casino, photo store that would be open.

 

So I went to the casino one last time and I took my 21 year old son to play blackjack for his first time. The casino itself was never very crowded. It was always easy to find an open spot at the blackjack table. The lowest betting minimum was $10 during the entire cruise--which may have something to do with it. The rules are pretty standard: 8 decks, you can double down after any two cards, can double down after splits, could re-split pairs multiple times (except aces), split aces are dealt one card each, dealer hits on soft 17, optional 2:1 insurance, 3:2 payout for natural blackjack, and no surrender.

 

All the blackjack tables had optional side bets available. The most interesting one was you could increase the amount of your bet after being dealt your first card, if it was a ten point card. You do not know what your second card is and the dealer does not have a face up card when you are making your decision. The catch was that that you had to pay the house something like 10% of the increased wager.

 

The casino staff was excellent and very friendly. It was for that reason that I decided to take my son to the blackjack table for his first time.

 

My son and I played for about 1.5 hours. My luck was pretty lousy during the cruise and this night was not much better. My son was a lot luckier. For example, he was dealt a pair of aces on two different occasions. Both times when he split the aces, he was dealt 10 point cards. At the end of our playing session, he made $165 and now he thinks it's easy.

 

 

 

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12:30 pm View from our aft balcony while docked at Montevideo.

 

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Same balcony, a long time ago. This shot was taken from the exact same balcony on Infinity back on Feb 3, 2002 at 7:48am when the ship was anchored at St Croix, USVI.

 

 

 

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11:59 pm Juices available for lunch at the Oceanview Cafe.

 

 

 

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5:27pm Dredging vessel, Draga D-7, sails past us as we leave Montevideo to head on to Buenos Aires.

 

 

 

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5:44pm A stow away that we picked up at Montevideo wants to get in on the Elite Cocktail Hour in the Constellation Lounge.

 

 

 

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12:14am Ships that pass the night! This is the Norwegian Sun. She was leaving Buenos Aires to start her 14 night westbound cruise to Valparaiso. I happened to be at the Oceanview Bar (Deck 10 aft) when she silently glided by us.

 

Great review! And I love the photo of the family veranda from 2002 and today! We were on a similar FV cabin on Infinity with large veranda back in 2006 with our kids, now grown. Brings back memories. How time passes. Thanks for sharing. Sigh.

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Thank you for the review, I'd love to do this sometime. Interesting to see photos of Infinity. We have only been on the Eclipse (as far as Celebrity). I love seeing your kids -- I have two about the same age. Maybe I need to do those before and after photos too!

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I recently booked the same itinerary for this December and was so happy to stumble upon your review!

 

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and pictures! Anything else you would do differently next time? I am considering booking the penguin tour through Solo Expediciones. Think the boat ride would be super rough on the tiny boat v.s. The large ferry used by the cruise line?

 

What dining time did you have? I booked late seating but given the number of early mornings and such, I assume it would be best to change to Anytime?

 

 

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OP: thanks very much for this terrific review and for sharing your beautiful photographs. I know how much time is involved in doing all that, so I really do appreciate it.

 

While we've been to Buenos Aires, Ushuaia, and Antarctica (on an expedition), we haven't done the around the Horn cruise, and it remains of great interest to me, especially after reading your review. Did you pick the west to east direction for any particular reason (other than perhaps the holiday schedule)?

 

Turtles,

Thank you for your kind words. Our choice of direction was dictated by our family's schedule--to take an extended cruise that starts in late Dec or early January. And so, we ended up going from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires. After having done it, my thoughts are that the other direction would be slightly more preferable for the following reasons:

 

  1. Seeing the glaciers in the Beagle Channel required us to get up by 5am which was a killer. The east bound itinerary forced us to pass the glaciers before we arrived at Ushuaia. I am guessing that the west bound trip sails by the glaciers after leaving Ushuaia. There is a plenty of light in the evening to clearly see them and you would only have to work your dinner schedule around them.
  2. Ending a cruise with an overnight (at Buenos Aires) was a bit of a let down. In some ways the cruise felt like it was ending early because the last night that the casino, photo shop, and stores are open is on the second to last night of the cruise. So all the stuff we do at the last minute--souvenirs, photos, and a last round at the casino occurred well before the cruise officially ended. Several years ago, we began our Mediterranean cruise by overnighting at Venice. THAT was great and the fact that the casino was not open on the first night was nothing we missed because we had the whole rest of the cruise ahead of us. So I think starting the cruise with an overnight at Buenos Aires would be more enjoyable than ending one that way.

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I recently booked the same itinerary for this December and was so happy to stumble upon your review!

 

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences and pictures! Anything else you would do differently next time? I am considering booking the penguin tour through Solo Expediciones. Think the boat ride would be super rough on the tiny boat v.s. The large ferry used by the cruise line?

 

What dining time did you have? I booked late seating but given the number of early mornings and such, I assume it would be best to change to Anytime?

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Hi. We had early seating which is what we always book. This meant that we always were a little rushed after getting back on the ship--shower, change clothes, go to the Elite Happy Hour, and sometimes stop at one of the photo stations to get our pictures taken--all before we get to the main dining room! There was only one evening that we were late (by 20 min) for dinner. So I would think that Anytime Dining would give you the best of both worlds.

 

I see that your cruise goes from the Atlantic to the Pacific. And after looking at the itinerary, I like yours better for these reasons:

 

  1. Your cruise has one more day before Christmas by starting on Dec 23. It was nice to enjoy Christmas on board the ship, but we embarked on Christmas Eve and so that was a rush rush day. And then Christmas Day quickly arrived and then it was over!
  2. You have the same number of sea days, but I think they are distributed better--no more than 2 in a row. We had 3 consecutive days at sea between Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas.
  3. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I think starting your cruise with an overnight at Buenos Aires is better than ending one that way as we did.
  4. You will cruise thru Glacier Alley in the Beagle Channel in the early evening once you leave Ushuaia. We had to get up at 5am to see the glaciers as we sailed by them before we arrived at Ushuaia. Your problem will be figuring out when to eat dinner because I am guessing that you will pass by them between 7pm-10pm if you leave Ushuaia by the published time of 4pm. So be sure to read the Celebrity Today newsletter to see the predicted times that you will sail by these glaciers!

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As far as what I would have done differently? Here a few thoughts:

 

  1. Knowing what I know now, I would not have booked the Milos Radakovich's Wildlife Explorations: Beagle Channel Navigation & Park (US01) at Ushuaia for $169pp. The trip is split into two. One is a land tour on a motorcoach and the other one is a catamaran ride in the Beagle Channel where you get to see sea lions on a couple of small islands in the channel. Surprisingly, I found the land portion to Tierra del Fuego to be a waste where the catamaran ride is good. The catamaran tour can be booked by itself separately.
  2. I allowed one of our two days at Buenos Aires to be unproductive as we tried to see it on our own. I should have booked a private tour or done better planning if we were to do it ourselves again.
  3. The scuba diving with sea lions at Puerto Madryn turned out to be a big success, but it is not for everybody. A nice alternative is the Kayak With Sea Lions (PM42). This is also something that isn't for everybody. However if you think you might be interested in it, book it early as it was one of the first excursions to sell out well before we sailed.
  4. I should not have gone to the casino!

As far as booking the penguin tour through Solo Expediciones, I think that is a good idea. Personally, I would not be too concerned about going to Magdalena Island on a smaller (and faster) boat. You will save time and money. And you will enjoy it!

 

 

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Dec 30 2016 Magellanic Penguin on Magdalena Island.

 

 

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Dec 30 2016. Views from the ferry ride from Punta Arenas to Magdalena Island.

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Thanks so much for your feedback!

 

Just to clarify, I have booked the Dec 8th sailing which is the same as yours - Pacific to Atlantic ending with the overnight in BA. It's good to know that the shipboard stuff (shopping, photos, etc) pretty much ends on arrival in BA as I wouldn't have considered that.

 

Re: your other tours - would you recommend them?

 

I think I have actually decided to do the ship's tour to Magdalena Island via ferry as I am quite worried about the small boats used by Solo. It'll take most of the day anyway so no issue to me to spend an extra 2 hours round trip on a more comfortable ferry! ;)

 

What I am trying to figure out is air to Santiago pre-cruise... I am trying to keep time off work and costs to a minimum (given the exorbitant pricing anyway as a solo traveler). My options are to fly in on the day of cruise via Choice Air arriving at 9:45am and using Celebrity's transfer (which would give me greater peace of mind) but risk a 2 hour connection in Atlanta. Other option is a direct flight in arriving at 1pm the day pre-cruise, but I would have to make my own way to Valparaiso (not an easy task, especially solo with no Spanish), and stay in a hotel overnight.

 

 

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Thanks so much for your feedback!

 

Just to clarify, I have booked the Dec 8th sailing which is the same as yours - Pacific to Atlantic ending with the overnight in BA. It's good to know that the shipboard stuff (shopping, photos, etc) pretty much ends on arrival in BA as I wouldn't have considered that.

 

Re: your other tours - would you recommend them?

 

I think I have actually decided to do the ship's tour to Magdalena Island via ferry as I am quite worried about the small boats used by Solo. It'll take most of the day anyway so no issue to me to spend an extra 2 hours round trip on a more comfortable ferry! ;)

 

What I am trying to figure out is air to Santiago pre-cruise... I am trying to keep time off work and costs to a minimum (given the exorbitant pricing anyway as a solo traveler). My options are to fly in on the day of cruise via Choice Air arriving at 9:45am and using Celebrity's transfer (which would give me greater peace of mind) but risk a 2 hour connection in Atlanta. Other option is a direct flight in arriving at 1pm the day pre-cruise, but I would have to make my own way to Valparaiso (not an easy task, especially solo with no Spanish), and stay in a hotel overnight.

 

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I am sorry, I thought you were taking the cruise that has Christmas and New Years in it.

 

My advice is that you should fly in at least one day in advance. If Celebrity allows you to buy a transfer from Santiago to the ship, you could stay in Santiago for that night.

 

We flew in early and spent two nights in Vina del Mar which is adjacent to Valparaiso. One of our bags was left by Delta at the connecting airport (Atlanta) and did not make it to Santiago on our flight. The bag was sent to us 24 hours later when we were in Vina del Mar. You won't have that option if you fly in on embarkation day. I know you are trying to keep your expenses down, but you have already made a substantial investment and you don't want to mess it up by you (or your bags) missing the ship due to circumstances beyond your control!

 

My email address is mahdnc at yahoo dot com. You are welcome to email me anytime you want if you have questions or you can continue to post them on this thread.

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