Celebrity Infinity – To Antarctic and return

My wife and I have recently returned from a 14 night Antarctic Cruise on board the Celebrity Infinity.

We joined the ship in Buenos Aires having made the direct flight with British Airways from London’s Heathrow Airport. We had additionally opted for a 3 night post cruise stay in Buenos Aires in order to savour what the capital of Argentina had to offer in line with our love of the Tango. We were not disappointed.

The itinerary offered the prospect of a number of port visits in addition to cruising around through [b]Antarctica’s Schollart Channel, Paradise Bay and Elephant Island[/b]…

Antarctic cruise itinerary

With the exception of Montevideo we had not visited any of the ports of call though we had passed Ushuaia and Cape Horn during the Queen Mary 2’s World Cruise South Atlantic Voyage.

This was our second cruise with Celebrity and the first time on a Millennium Class ship…

Infinity at anchor, port side on

Infinity is a 12 year old cruise ship, though she recently underwent a refurbishment. Our accommodation on board was a Sky Suite on 6 Deck…

Suite 6122

Though easily the smallest suite we have yet occupied, we found it most satisfactory and completely as described in the Celebrity brochure: everything was as one would expect for that level of accommodation, including the services of a Butler. There was a well sized balcony which we made considerable use of during this rather scenic cruise.

Celebrity Infinity has now incorporated a number touches and dining venues from their more modern ships in the Celebrity fleet. These include Qsine, a quirky speciality dining venue and Aqua Class accommodation, which is paired with the exclusive speciality restaurant, Blu…

Blu Aqua Class Restaurant

Suite guests are entitled to 2 complimentary visits to a speciality restaurant of their choice. In addition Celebrity Cruises offers a number of dining packages, either a three or five visit package at various savings on the supplementary charges made for individual visits. We opted for the additional three at a cost of $109.00 per person. We opted for two Qsine visits…

Qsine ipad menu

Indeed, so quirky that the menus come on ipads and include mini video’s to highlight certain dishes.

And how is this for a selection of Strawberry lollipops?…

Qsine Strawberries on sticks dessert

…and three visits to the [b]SS United States[/b]…

SS United States Restaurant

We found the ‘SS United States’ menu was almost identical to that offered in Celebrity Eclipse’s ‘Murano’ speciality restaurant: though the restaurant itself came with a distinct lack of the latter’s atmosphere.

Otherwise we took all other evening meals at second sitting in the Trellis Restaurant…

Trellis Restaurant 1

…where we had an ideal table for eight, at the rear of the restaurant, adjacent to the panoramic rear view windows.

We were somewhat disappointed with the pattern of entertainment. All shows in the Celebrity Theatre…

Celebrity Theatre 1

…were scheduled at 7.00pm for second sitting diners: not the traditional show times and routines we are used to on other cruise lines, where we prefer to enjoy convivial pre dinner drinks in our favourite bars around the ship.

By far the most popular of these venues was ever lively Martini and Crush bars…

Pouring Eight  Martinis at once

R & B at Martini Bar

We experienced a number of very warm days on our journey south from Buenos Aires, making good use of the outdoor pool areas…

Pool Deck

Following three days at sea our first port of call was [b]Ushuaia[/b]…

Silver Travel bag at 'end of the world'

…where we enjoyed a full day taking in a visit to the Military Prison Museum, a boat trip out into the Beagle Channel and, perhaps the icing on the cake, a trip up to Glacier Marshall to experience this breathtaking view over Ushuaia and the Beagle channel…

R with Ushuaia and Beagle Channel background

Next on our itinerary was a circumnavigation of the infamous Cape Horn. It was an early start for those who wished to witness the full glory of the South American continent’southernmost point…

Off Cape Horn with Infinity Lifebelt

…where we spent some four hours navigating various channels while being briefed by the ship’s two specialist travel lecturers. We were blessed with reasonably good weather as we completed the circumnavigation of the Cape and of particular interest was viewing, set high on the cliff tops, the Albatross Memorial to those mariners whose lives were lost rounding the Cape…

Albatross Memorial

Our course was then set almost directly south for Antarctica itself and in particular the [b]Schollart Channel, Paradise Bay and Elephant Island…[/b]

Paradise Bay 1

Paradise Bay 2

Paradise Bay 3

Unfortunately it was not possible to land in the Antarctic. This was,  however, to be one  amazing experience and a journey of a lifetime. Gliding through channels littered with icebergs, where the only sound was the creaking movement of glaciers and even more icebergs breaking free from those glaciers.   The  spectacular landscapes of the great white south and its wildlife: penguins hitching a ride on icebergs, whales gracefully going through their paces; truly something very different that brings you just that closer to the most remote wilderness in the world.

We know set a course northwards as our next destination after one day at sea was to be The Falkland Islands. Fingers were crossed that the weather would be kind to us and allow the planned visit. This is not always easy as a Falkland Islands’ visit is dependant  on ‘ship’s tender’ transport into Port Stanley.

We rode our luck and arrived to anchor off Port Stanley to a refreshingly calm morning with a view of Port Stanley and those mounts, hills and ridges that featured so prominently during the Falklands War…

A full account of our visit to The Falkland Islands can be found at…

https://solentrichardscruiseblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/one-way-to-do-the-falklands/

Interestingly, as the day went on, so the weather deteriorated and we began to experience  conditions more accustomed to these remote islands. We had been lucky and we new it as our return tender was not the smooth experience we had had earlier that day.

We now had a further sea day to relax and charge our batteries before we arrived at our next port of call, Puerto Madryn, in the Patagonian area of Argentina.

The main attraction for cruise ship visits to Puerto Madryn is that it is the gateway to  nearby Peninsula Valdes and its abundance of oceanic wildlife. Considerable emphasis was placed by the ship’s excursions’ office on visiting Peninsula Valdes and the opportunity to see Sea Lions, Elephant Seals, Penguins and the odd whale, all in their natural habitat, with the addition of the Guanaco: better known to us as Lama.

There were, alternatively, a number of local tour operators on the jetty…

…for those wishing to save a little on their tour.

My wife and I had other plans. Between Ushuaia and The Falkland Islands we were a little ‘wild lifed’ out  and something alternatively linked to Puerto Madryn attracted us. This was, after all,  the point in Patagonia where,  in 1865, a colony of 153 Welsh settlers established a colony that exists to this day. With Welsh blood running through both of our veins we set off to discover what we could of this event.

Puerto Madryn has an amazingly long sandy seafront and serves as a major Argentinian holiday resort during the warmer season …

A very helpful Tourist Information Office directed us to the far end of this amazing beach where we found, not only a monument to celebrate the Welsh settlers landing…

…but a small museum to celebrate the event as well.

Puerto Madryn has a lot to offer those who do not wish to see further wildlife. There are plenty of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants in the town and some very good leather outlets.

Following our mega walk the day before we were both appreciative that our next day was once more a sea day as we continued our passage north towards our penultimate port destination, Montevideo

I fully intend to do a full review of our day in Montevideo which will appear in the ‘Port Reviews’ section of this Blog when time allows.

The following day we arrived back in Buenos Aires after our 14 night cruise. We disembarked Celebrity Infinity and checked into the NH City and Tower Hotel in the San Telmo district of Buenos Aires  for a 3 day stay to explore everything that Buenos Aires had to offer…

I intend to do a full review of our stay in Buenos Aires  which will appear in the ‘Port Reviews’ section of this Blog

and it will be completed  when time allows.

 

Summary

This was our second cruise with Celebrity and again we enjoyed the experience immensely. This was a cruise that definitely was itinerary driven and, being with a Celebrity ship,  that decision was made all the easier.

Celebrity Infinity is an older ship and in our opinion, despite a recent refurbishment,  didn’t quite match the style, quality and ambiance that we experienced on Celebrity Eclipse. Having said that we were generally  well satisfied and thought the overall package good value for money.

Dining on board Infinity didn’t match that on Celebrity Eclipse and was therefore somewhat of  a slight disappointment. With the exception of Qsine  the standards were not to our previous experiences. Of particular note was the speciality restaurant SS United States. It lacked atmosphere, the service was pretentious and certain main course dishes ran out prior to the end of the cruise.

As always our table staff in the Trellis Restaurant were very good and made every effort to please, as did our butler and suite attendants.

Would we sail with Celebrity again.

Of course we will but somehow I don’t think it will be on the Infinity.

5 responses to “Celebrity Infinity – To Antarctic and return

  1. Buenos Aires, return, now that is a new twist I have not seen, gets away from the Argentina Falklands noise. This ship was our first cruise which we joined in its first year of operation 2001 cruising Alaska. Its service was fantastic and in our case we had a Skydeck Balcony. I’m pleased to see the overall quality and food service has continued. Bring back fond memories of the Trellis Restaurant.
    Cheers.

  2. Pingback: Celebrity Infinity to Iceland and the Fiords | Solent Richard's Cruise Blog·

  3. Thanks for a very informative read with some excellent photos. I am particularly interested as we have booked this same itinerary for 2018 when we will fulfil my mother in laws wish to return to the Antarctic after first visiting in 2010 on a HAL Grand voyage around South America.

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