Just got back from Infinity from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso, Dec 17 - 30.
The cruise was very enjoyable, but I was disappointed in several areas. We have cruised on Celebrity several times, and this time I got the impression that Celebrity is going downhill.
Embarkation was completely chaotic. We checked our bags at the pier in BA at 2pm for a 9pm departure, and found there was a queue of several hours to check in. We had Captain's Club status and Concierge Class, and after chasing around asking Celebrity reps we finally found the "express" line. Then we found that several tour groups were jumping the queue. We only got forward after physically stopping the queue jumpers. Of our three checked bags, one arrived about 5pm, one at midnight, and the third at 7am the next morning.
Since it was a Christmas cruise, there were a lot of children on board. I don't object to this, but I do object to kids running round the hallways at all hours yelling their heads off.
The "dress code" for dinner was a joke. Even though jeans are not permitted in the dining room at any time, many people were ignoring this, even on formal nights. Celebrity should either change the rules or enforce them at some level, so at least we know what to expect when buying a cruise.
Disembarkation was more chaos. We were notified that our disembark time was 7:30am, and were instructed to meet our group in the cinema. We waited for an hour while more and more groups arrived until the room was jammed. At no time did anyone from Celebrity show up or announce any information about what was going on. Finally we just ignored the "process" and got off the ship.
In general, this was the first time on Celebrity that I felt we were treated like "cattle". Prices are going up, and service is going down. Celebrity needs to decide what level of cruise line it's going to be. I have another Celebrity cruise booked for the spring, and we are now considering cancelling.
Mike - Thank you for the information. I'm starting to wonder if I made the right decision choosing Celebrity. We are booked on this cruise for the end of February. What did you end up doing all day until your flight? Do you have any suggestions for the ports?
I think the cruise will be better in terms of service in February, because there will not be so many kids.
All the ports are interesting, and I would not take any of the shore excursions sold by Celebrity. You can get the same thing at the pier for a fraction of the cost, either by teaming with some others in a van, or simply taking taxis.
I would plan on having lunch in the Mercardo del Puerto in Montivideo.
The penguin excursion from Puerto Madryn to Punta Tombo is well worth the long drive (about 2 hrs).
The ship offers an all-day tour from Valparaiso which ends up at Santiago airport, but it's expensive. We were actually staying overnight in Santiago, and we arranged to share a van with another couple for a whole-day tour of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, ending up at our hotel. Cost about $60pp.
Hope this helps
We arrived on the 17th in BA on the Rotterdam from Valparaiso (we were overnighting before continuing) and were told that "additional measures" would be taken at the gangway because the Infinity had reported 300+ cases of Norovirus. Since you were just going aboard there, did you encounter anything or hear anything about that? Obviously, the ill were disembarking in BA whereas you folks were just coming aboard.
We heard a rumour that they had had the virus. We did not have the problem on our trip, although many people ended up with bleach spots on their clothing from leaning against railings which were continuously being sterilized.