Celebrity Infinity Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America
Sail Date: November 19, 2006
Ship: Celebrity Infinity
Cabin Type: Balcony
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 11 years ago
The trip was not all that we thought it would be. Prop problems forced us to skip one port (but the cruise line did issue a credit as a way of making up for it, a very nice and for them a very expensive gesture). We visited Manta, Ecuador on a Sunday and almost everything is closed. Getting off the ship there on your own is a waste of time. Maybe the ship tours were better, but in speaking to some who took the tours, it didn't sound like they were anything to rave about.
In Lima, the ship docks at a commercial dock. If you have a port side room, be ready for 24 hours of noise, cranes, construction noise, etc..
Our biggest disappointment was with the extremely poor communication from the ship. Other cruises we have taken provide a chanel for weather info, temperatures, etc.. No such info is available on this ship.
Their disembarking proceedures are the worst we have ever witnessed. In our case, we were told to be in the bar at 7:30 for departure. About 7:45 the announcement was made that the ship had been cleared. An hour later we were still sitting there, with no word from the ship as to why. The next group of people (assumedly the 8:30 group) had already started to show up. We asked a staffer why we were still there and he said there were two missing people and no one was allowed off the ship. I went down to the info desk to see what was happening and there were people getting off.
I found the asst. cruise director and asked her why no info to all of us who were sitiing around, and why the phony story about missing people, and her answer was just that they were running late. When I asked why no one had bothered to make an announcemnt or come to the room where we now had 2 groups waiting, her answer was that she had to get the ok to make an announcement. None was still made 15 minutes later, so I went back down to ask her again and she said she was "just getting ready to tell people to go".
Lack of information is bad enough---wrong information is worse--and the failure to do anything about it makes it even more disconcerting.
Another problem is the arrangements the ship makes with the bus lines/tour operators. Admitedly, the ship may be at the mercy of the operator, but there must be more than one to deal with. In Manta, the tour busses left from the ship to drop off points, which also served as pick up points. We were told that the busses would run every 30 minutes--a big laugh. We went to the pick up point, waited almost an hour, and by that time there were over 40 people there for a bus that held 20. Guess what happens then? You don't get a bus, and supposedly wait another half hour in the sun for a bus that will show up some time and a chance you might not get on again. We finally gave up and paid for a cab, even though we had paid for a round trip bus.
In Santiago, we had ship transfers from the hotel to the airport. Again, the operator the ship uses was 45 minutes late in picking us up. They compounded their sins by telling us that the bus was "around the corner but that the hotel would not let the bus come in because it would crowd the driveway space". I went to the hotel desk to ask about this and was told that the story was a flat out lie and that no bus was there. When I confronted the tour operator about his story, his answer was "it is coming". At that point, I figured Christmas was also coming and just hoped the bus beat Santa. Again, the ship is at the mercy of a third party, but hopefully they will take a long look at the vendors they select.
A cruise is about the little things as well as the big things. Little things like the "daily newspapers" every cruise puts out. On every other cruise we have been on, these "papers" were available at breakfast. On this ship, they were available about noon, and in very limited quantities.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Ports of Call
Pros: The opportunity to see three capital cities
Cons: lack of information provided daily by the ship