Cruising · Sth America

15 Night Argentina & Chile Cruise (Celebrity Infinity)

In December 2017, we sailed around South America on board Celebrity Cruise’s Infinity ship. The cruise spanned over Christmas and New Years which we thought could be quite fun.

We flew the red-eye from JFK to Buenos Aires on December 22, via American Airlines, without much drama. Due to the flight costs and unpredictable New York winter weather, we booked through Celebrity’s Choice Air (it included a transfer from the airport to the cruise terminal). After we landed into Buenos Aires mid-morning, we popped onto our transfer that took us to the cruise terminal. Once on board, freshened up and with food in our stomachs, we headed out to discover what Buenos Aires had to offer.

The first thing I noticed was the lovely weather. It was in the mid-20s (Celsius) which was a pleasant and welcome change in temperature from the below 0s (Celsius) in NYC.

We walked around the city using an outdated online Frommer’s itinerary before having an “Argentinian steak” dinner at Al Carbon’s.

Buenos Aires - Torre Monumental (British Clock Tower) day and night_result
Torre Monumental – Standing prominently across from Plaza San Martín, this 76m-high clock tower was a donation from the city’s British community in 1916 and built with materials shipped over from England.
Buenos Aires Al Carbon meal_result
Al Carbón STEAK HOUSE   Address: Reconquista 875, C1003ABQ CABA, Argentina

Buenos Aires city images_result

Buenos Aires streets_result
Streets of Buenos Aires

December 24, 2017 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Jon and I had another day to discover Buenos Aires before we sailed in the afternoon. We headed to the San Telmo market. To get there, we hopped into a cab that I thought we were going to die in. The cab had barely any suspension left, he was not wearing his seat belt but busily counting his cash, and speeding like crazy.

The San Telmo market was huge. It sprawled across many blocks and featured hundreds of vendors. The bright colours of the fruit and vegetables were a treat to see. For the next few hours, we just roamed the streets of the city, stopping to look at anything that spiked our interests.

Buenos Aires - San Telmo markets_result

Buenos Aires - San Telmo markets food_result
The Feria de San Telmo is one of the most notable events in Buenos Aires. Nestled in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, the San Telmo Fair is bustling with unique artisans and antiques every Sunday afternoon.
Buenos Aires Teatro Colon_result
Teatro Colón is the main opera house in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is ranked the third best opera house in the world by National Geographic, and is acoustically considered to be amongst the five best concert venues in the world.
Buenos Aires - Plaza De Mayo_result
Plaza de Mayo is city square and main foundational site of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was formed in 1884 after the demolition of the Recova building. The city centre of Buenos Aires, Plaza de Mayo has been the scene of the most momentous events in Argentine history, as well as the largest popular demonstrations in the country.

We headed back to the ship which had been decorated with all things Christmas. The below pic was one of the better displays.

Celebrity Infinity Christmas decorations_result

There was a Christmas Eve menu which was not really so different to what was served on a typical cruise night.

Celebrity Infinity Christmas Eve menu_result

December 25, 2017 – Montevideo, Uruguay

It was Christmas day and our ship docked into Montevideo. Before we disembarked, we saw (Celebrity Cruise) Santa arrive by speed boat. Once on board, he walked each level of the cruise collecting a conga line of children (FYI: there were a lot of kids on this cruise).

Celebrity Cruise Santa_result
Celebrity Cruise Santa!

Over breakfast, another couple told us about the free city walking tour at 11am. I wasn’t feeling up for it (probably because I over ate at breakfast) so I convinced Jon to take the 2pm tour. This turned out to be an excellent decision because our tour guide said the 11am had approx. 20-30 more people on that tour which became a bit of a challenge to manage.

The tour was one of the best “free” ones I’d taken. Our tour guide was a lovely 18 year old native who informed us of the different landmarks around the city, living life in Montevideo, politics and history. From memory, what I took away from the tour was that Uruguay is a very progressive country that had legalized gay marriages (yea, back in 2013, so tsk tsk Australia), marijuana, and abortions.Montevideo tour 3_resultMontevideo tour 2_resultMontevideo tour 4_resultMontevideo tour_result

Many of the shops were closed while we were in town and our guide explained that it wasn’t because it was Christmas but because it was the “day of the family”. After the tour, Jon and I headed back to the ship.

Dinner was quite exciting because it was Christmas dinner!

Celebrity Cruise Christmas dinner menu and food_result

December 26, 2017 – Punta Del Este, Uruguay

We booked “The Art Culture of Punta Del Este” tour through Celebrity. I compared the tour to one I found on Viator.com and it seemed reasonable.

Tour description:

A sightseeing tour for the art aficionado you can’t afford to miss. Visit Punta Del Este, an area home to a treasure trove of hidden art and architecture, including the open-air collection of sculptures at Square of the Americas. You’ll see several works of art up close at the Ralli Museum, including pieces by Salvador Dali. You’ll also visit the Pablo Atchugarry Foundation, which features the famed artists workshop, exhibition halls and collections.

Jon and I had no idea what to expect of Punta Del Este, or the tour, so we were pleasantly surprised to board a comfy and clean coach, and taken to places which were interesting. The only negative about the tour was that our guide, as lovely as she was, didn’t provide any info or explain anything. She played this weird game where she picked two numbers in her head and got every person on the coach to guess the numbers. The prize was her recipe for Chimichurri.

Punte Del Este tour 2_result

Our first stop was to La Mano (The Hand), a sculpture by Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal located at Parada 1 at Brava Beach. The sculpture was completed during the summer of 1982 and Mario decided to make his sculpture on the beach as he was inspired to make a sculpture of a hand “drowning” as a warning to swimmers.Punte Del Este tour 1_result

Our second stop was at the Pablo Atchugarry Foundation which displayed his art in different buildings and outside, in the nature.

Gallery tour 1_resultGallery tour 2_result

Our last stop was to the Museo Ralli, a small gallery displaying paintings and sculptures. By this time, I was hot and tired. Also, because I have no idea about art, I glimpsed over all the artwork then found a spot outside to play with a dog I found.

Museo Ralli_result

December 27, 2017 – Sea Day

This was a sea day. The only exciting thing we did was join the Celebrity Cruise “Heartbeat of the Operation Galley Tour”… because it was free.

Heartbeat tour

It was quite interesting. Here are a few things that I learnt:

  • The bread basket is arranged in a specific order with a certain number of different breads
  • On an average day at sea, 16,000 dishes are served for guests and crew
  • On an average 7 day cruise; 16,300 pounds of beef, 9,675 eggs, 61,450 liters of milk are consumed

I found it interesting only 425 gallons of ice-cream gets consumed.

December 28, 2017 – Sea Day

This was another at sea day. I can’t remember exactly what we did on this exact day but the typical sea day during this cruise consisted of (mostly eating):

  • 6am – gym (me only)
  • 8/9am – breakfast
  • 10-12pm – lounging around in the room
  • 12/1pm – lunch
  • 2/3pm – coffee and cake at the café
  • 6/7pm – dinner in the main dining room
  • 8/9pm – check out what’s in the buffet
  • 10-11pm – sleep

December 29, 2017 – Puerto Madryn, Argentina

We booked the “Peninsula Valdes Nature & Wildlife” tour through Celebrity.

Tour description:

Travel across the Patagonian countryside, arriving at the stunning Peninsula Valdes, an UNESCO World Heritage Site recognized as one of the world’s most pristine nature reserves. Explore the Visitor Center where you’ll learn about the flora and fauna that inhabit this remarkable region. Then, journey to Caleta Valdes, a sheltered bay home to many unique marine creatures, including a thriving population of sea mammals and Patagonian shore and sea birds. Look out for the penguins that call this sheltered bay home. Then, travel to Puerto Piramides where you’ll observe a sea lion colony. Learn about sea lion behavior and watch these animals hunt for fish and play. This unique tour has been approved by educator, scientist, and NPR star, Milos Radakovich. Milos has studied at the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and S.R.I. Biosonar Lab. He is an expert on marine mammals and intertidal biology and has received recognition from the NOAA and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Milos has worked as an on-board naturalist for the Lindblad-National Geographic Expeditions and has served as on-board naturalist for Celebrity and Royal Caribbean’s journeys to locations around the world. Enjoy a thrilling and educational eco-adventure into the Patagonian wilderness on this scientist-approved experience.

The tour guide was amazing as she was very informative and provided a lot of “show and tell” items, from the story of the Little Prince (apparently a famous book) to samples of the fur seals shed during the year.

Peninsula Valdes Tourism map_resultThe Little Prince_result

Since I am already a hopeless photographer and only use an iphone, these are the best of the best of the photos I took – ha ha – enjoy the blur.

Seals_result
Seals
Seal 2_result
Difficult to see but seals sunbathe in the water
Penguin 4_result
Panoramic view
Penguin 3_result
Shoreline lined with penguins
Penguin 2_result
Penguins
Lama_result
Lama

Caleta Valdes_result

December 30 & 31, 2017 – Sea Day

There was nothing eventful to report for December 30, however, the last day of 2017 was pretty special. Firstly, the day started off with the King of Breakfasts – donuts donuts donuts! Last breakfast of 2017 - donuts_result

We sailed around Cape Horn, the almost most southern part of the world.

Cape Horn view 2_resultCape Horn view_result

We were due for bad weather with high winds and a lot of rain, however, the weather was better than expected so the Captain granted passengers access to the hull, a typically restricted area of the ship (I think it’s called the hull – fact check me someone). The access point is located behind the theatre on the ship. On the hull, the view of Cape Horn was amazing. However, it was difficult to stay out for too long because it was extremely windy.

Celebrity Infinity Hull_result

New Years Eve dinner in the main dining room was OK.Celebrity Infinity Dec 31 2017 meal_result

Celebrity held a NYE party around the middle of the ship. We arrived five minutes to midnight because I was busy watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 – in the room.

Celebrity Infinity NYE party_result

January 1, 2018 – Ushuaia, Argentina

A new year, a new city! We docked into Ushuaia early in the morning.

Ushuaia water front view_result

We were booked on another Celebrity tour: “Beagle Channel Catamaran to Sea Wolves Island”.

Tour description:

Cruise the waterways of the Beagle Channel aboard a sleek catamaran, discovering the stunning landscapes and natural wonders of Bird Island and Sea Wolves Island. A magnificent backdrop of jagged mountain peaks sets the mood as you careen past Isla de los Pajaros (Bird Island), home to an array of exotic birds. Continue cruising around Isla de los Lobos (Sea Wolves Island), a beautiful rocky outcrop and habitat to several marine species.

Ushuaia back monument_resultUshuaia front monument_resultUshuaia town_result

The tour was very good. The catamaran sailed close up to the island so we got some great views of the seals and penguins!

Bird Island and Sea Wolves Island tour 1_resultBird Island and Sea Wolves Island tour 4_resultBird Island and Sea Wolves Island tour 3_resultBird Island and Sea Wolves Island tour 2_result

Bird Island and Sea Wolves Island tour 5_resultBird Island and Sea Wolves Island tour 7_resultBird Island and Sea Wolves Island tour 8_resultBird Island and Sea Wolves Island tour 9_result

Later that night while we had dinner, we were seated by a window which allowed us to see the glaciers – I never expected to see them in South America!

Chile Glacier 4_resultChile Glacier 3_resultChile Glacier 2_resultChile Glacier 1_result

January 2, 2018 – Punta Arenas, Chile

Punta Areanas was quite boring. The tours on offer were either very expensive or not of any interest to us. I would say that the below covers a lot of what Punta Arenas has to offer:

The plaza/ garden area which has a statue of a guy with his foot on a cannon (Monumento a Hernando de Magallanes) is one of the top “things to do/see” in the city according to Tripadvisor.

Monumento a Hernando de Magallanes_result

A lookout point over the whole city, Mirador Cerro De La Cruz, was slightly more impressive.

Mirador Cerro De La Cruz_result

A green clock, Reloj Del Estrecho, which I know nothing about is also rated highly… (I think you get what I am saying)

Reloj Del Estrecho_result

At the end of the day, Jon and I walked towards the casino area near the water and I took some “arty” shots.

Punta Arenas waterside 2_resultPunta Arenas waterside 1_result

January 3 & 4, 2018 – Sea Days

Sea days… lazy days… On January 4, we booked into one of the specialty restaurants, Qsine. Personally, I thought the food was mediocre but the concept was not bad.

Firstly, we were seated and handed an iPad each. On each iPad was an abstract “menu” and we were asked to “favourite” the meals we wanted. But stupidly, they could only take one iPad, so only one person could do the “favouriting”. The names of the meals are on the menu but I can’t remember the descriptions – I think was part of the concept.

The dessert menu was a rubix cube. We ordered everything off the dessert menu because by that stage, I was extremely disappointed with the overall food.

Qsine - lava crab ceviche_result
Left: Seafood Ceviche Right: Lava Crab (those red stones are to represent “lava” ha ha)
Qsine - disco shrimp, escargot fish n chips sushi lollipops_result
Top left: Disco shrimp – creamy shrimp served on top of a fishbowl with a flashing light to show the “disco”. Top right: Popcorn fish and chips – very simple fried bits of fish and mushed up potato. Bottom left: Lobster escargot – very salty. Bottom right: Sushi lollipops – mushed up sushi shoved onto sticks. The best thing about this dish was the pickled ginger.
Qsine - slider party beef taco painters mignon_result
Top: Slider party – basically we had to construct our own burgers Bottom left: Painter’s Mignon – mignon steak served with sides on a painter’s pallet Bottom right: Beef Taco with guacamole
Qsine - meatballs_result
Meatballs – three different types of meatballs. One served with masala sauce, one was turkey the stuffing as filling, and one with marinara sauce.
Qsine - kabab taj majal_result
Top: Persian kebab – served off a huge sword Below: Taj mahal – an assortment of Indian dishes served in metal cones.
Qsine - dessert menu_result
Dessert Menu

Qsine - cupcakes donuts_result

Qsine - cheesecaketini surprise_result
Top right: Cheesecake Tini – a blended cheesecake with a muesli bar on the side which stuck to the paper napkin. Bottom right: Qsine Surprise – which was just a lava cake that gets served in the main dining room throughout the cruise.
Qsine - silver bullet chocolate tombstone_result
Bottom left: Chocolate Tombstone – probably the nicest dessert which was just a type of mousse served on a crunchy base. Left: Silver bullet – this was a tasteless icy dessert served in a metal silver bullet.

Qsine - final dessert_result

Finale dessert for everyone. Except us. Our waiter forgot about them (until I asked he he). The marshmallows were covered in chocolate and the egg cups were creme brule.

Overall, would I recommend Qsine? No, unless you can get it heavily discounted, or free. Or if you can’t eat food without it being displayed in a fun and cool way.

January 5, 2018 – Puerto Montt, Chile

My day kicked off with a siting of a double rainbow from the gym!

Rainbow Celebrity Infinity 1_resultRainbow Celebrity Infinity 2_result

We went on another tour booked through Celebrity but I can’t remember the name of it. The tour involved us going through a town that had a German influence, a stop over to try and take photos of the volcano which was across from a llama farm, and then to the Petrohué Waterfalls.

Puerto Varas, which translate to “the city of roses” is a small town by the water which follows a lot of German traditions. The town was really cool. We didn’t have too much time to explore but made the most of it.

Puerto Varas near the water_resultPuerto Varas city of roses_resultPuerto Varas artwork_result

We stopped along the roadside to try and get some photos of the (active) volcano, but the cloud coverage was too dense. However, there was a llama farm where we stopped, full of llamas.

Volcano Puerto Montt_resultLlama Farm_result

Petrohué Waterfalls is a chute-type waterfall in the upper reach of Petrohué River in Chile, a short distance downstream of the source of this river in Todos los Santos Lake. This waterfall is inside the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park. There are a few different walking routes you can take in the National Park. The views were great, and if it had been a sunnier day, I could imagine they would be spectacular!

Petrohué Waterfalls Celebrity Cruise tour 3_resultPetrohué Waterfalls Celebrity Cruise tour 1_resultPetrohué Waterfalls Celebrity Cruise tour 2_result

January 6, 2018 – Sea Day, 7, 2018 – San Antonio, Chile

We disembarked without any issue. Chilean Customs were as tight as Australian ones which I was used to.

Santiago port

We went on our last tour through Celebrity that ended at the airport. The tour took us through the city, to a lookout point, and to a shopping center, before dropping us at the airport. There was nothing too exciting to report about Santiago via this tour. It seemed like a nice city with lots of old beautiful buildings.

The view from the top of the National Park was also great.

Celebrity Cruise Santiago city tour 9Celebrity Cruise Santiago city tour 8

For me, the highlight was definitely lunch in the shopping center where I ordered KFC. It was the tastiest, cleanest KFC I ever had! It wasn’t greasy like the ones in New York.

Santiago KFC

When we arrived at the airport we were informed that our flight (well, all flights) to JFK were canceled. Fortunately, we were provided a voucher for lodgings and food by LATAM airlines for the night. We flew out at 8am the next day.

Jon and I made the most of the extra hours by eating cake from an awesome cafe we found at a nearby shopping center. The slices of cake were huge!

Cest Si Bon Chile LES TROIS LAIT cake
LES TROIS LAIT Exquisite vanilla and chocolate sponge cake, bathed in our classic blend of three milks, with a soft filling of chantilly cream, dulce de leche, raspberries, topped with Italian meringue.
Cest Si Bon Chile MARIE ANTOINETTE cake
MARIE ANTOINETTE Fine chocolate sponge cake, filled with bitter chocolate truffles, milk chocolate mousse and white chocolate. Ideal for the chocolate lover.

Overall, it was a great cruise because it traveled to locations we had never been before.

3 thoughts on “15 Night Argentina & Chile Cruise (Celebrity Infinity)

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