Ports of Call

Our Itinerary

Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Celebrity Infinity sailed from Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida
Embarkation: 4:30 PM

Wednesday, November 5 & Thursday, November 6, 2014
 At Sea

Friday, November 7, 2014
Celebrity Infinity docked in Cartagena, Columbia
Arrived: 7:00 am
Departed: 3:00 pm

Saturday, November 8, 2014
Celebrity Infinity docked in
Colon, Panama
Arrived: 9:00 am
Departed: 7:00 pm

Sunday, November 9, 2014
Celebrity Infinity transited
The Panama Canal
Begins: 7:15 am
 Finishes: 4:00 pm

Monday, November 10, 2014
 At Sea

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Celebrity Infinity docked in
Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Arrived: 8:00 am
Departed: 8:00 pm

Wednesday November 12, 2014
 At Sea

Thursday, November 13, 2014
Celebrity Infinity docks in
Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala
Arrived: 7:00 am
Departed: 6:00 pm

Friday, November 14 and Saturday November 15, 2014
At Sea

Sunday, November 16, 2014
Celebrity Infinity docked in
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Arrived: 7:00 am
Departed: 2:30 pm

Monday, November 17, 2014
Celebrity Infinity docked in
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Arrived: 7:00 am
Departed: 3:00 pm

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
 At Sea

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Celebrity Infinity docked in
San Diego, California
Arrived: 7:00 am






This cruise had six different ports. All but two of them were different than our original Canal cruise but we had also been to one of the others on a different cruise and had pretty much exhausted what there was to do there. Since we were sailing with our buddies Mike and Carol it meant that if we wanted to do private shore excursions, Mike would set them up and that they would be a good thing. Mike has this talent of finding great guides and then becoming their friends (online) prior to the cruise and getting them to do some amazing things. (See Colon below.) Here is what we did and what I would recommend if you are taking this cruise in the future.

Quick note about the weather: It was much better than our first canal cruise. We remember that cruise as being VERY hot. I mean so hot that it became a major memory. This cruise was actually cooler and more comfortable. Less humidity and lower temps. Hope you get the same if you do this cruise. We loved it.

Cartagena, Columbia (click here for my pre-cruise photos)

We had never been to Cartagena. Our previous Canal crossing had included Aruba instead. Given a choice, I would have preferred to go to Aruba again but we did enjoy Cartagena. Aruba was more relaxing. Being on our own there was fun.

In Cartagena we did a private tour that Mike had arranged with the wonderful Marelvy Pena-Hall. She runs Tour in Cartegena. She picked us up right on time in a wonderfully large mini-bus which gave us quite a bit of room to spread out as there were 10 of us going (all the Martini Mates except Bob).

We did the Highlights of the City tour —the road most often taken so to speak—it started with a trip the the high point of the city, known as La Popa The view was as advertised, outstanding. Check my pics for what you will see. We toured outside the old fortress in downtown, then off to a shopping district where we had a short time to do some souvenir shopping but not to an excess and we had asked for the time so it was welcome.

After shopping Marelvy took us on a walking tour of downtown to see the Customs plaza, churches and more. The walk lasted about an hour and included a stop at a museum where there was an exhibit of gold artifacts. Very beautiful. Then a street performance by some great dancers and we headed back to the ship. On the way Marelvy was really nice to grant one of our Mate’s wish and stopped at a local supermarket (where locals shop) and grab a few pounds of Columbian coffee for anyone who wanted them at about half the price the coffee was going for in the tourist shops. Marelvy was an excellent guide, thoroughly knowledgable and she also rewarded us with a limited-edition poster that her husband had produced for the centennial of Cartagena earlier that year. It is beautiful and a great souvenir of our visit.

Colon, Panama (click here for my Colon photos)

This, for me, was the absolute highlight of our tours off the ship. Mike had arranged another great tour (maybe one of the best we have done with him and that is saying a lot). We were touring with Roberto from Robtad’s Tours in Colon. Our previous canal crossing had not stopped in Colon. We had  gone right from Aruba through the canal and had a short, evening stop in Panama City. It was so short, pouring rain and tendered we hadn’t even gotten off the ship ten years ago.

This time we had the entire day in Colon and we really wanted to see the canal itself, close up. Not only the current canal but also the new construction of the canal that should have been already finished. When Roberto picked us up he took us directly to the Gatun Locks where he had a wonderful friend (who was like his brother) who worked as a lock master at the canal and he had arranged for us to actually walk across the canal gates and tour the Gatun Locks control room. Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Every single person we met in Panama that day were some of the nicest folks we have ever met. You would have thought they were from New Zealand.

Pre-cruise we had read that Colon was not a great port, but we beg to differ. After seeing the control room, the locks and all the rest of the current canal, Roberto took us to see the new locks. First we saw the gates of the new locks which are HUGE! Seriously HUGE! Then we headed to the new canal visitor center. On the way, our driver’s son who had been helping out with the navigation, saw a troop of monkeys (really, that’s what you call a bunch of monkeys) swinging through the trees above us. We got to stop and take a bunch of pics and then we kept on going to the new visitor center. Once there you can see the entire new canal cut with some of the gates almost in place. There is also an excellent film that is free. It details the entire Panama Canal experience from the old canal through the building of the new one.

The new parts of the canal were supposed to already be done and we should have been sailing through them but due to labor and political tensions, they are about two years behind. We were told that the canal was 80% finished and would be complete by 2016. But to be honest, I have a hard time believing that will be true. The same can be said of the other locks which we saw the next day on our canal transit. After this hour-long visit to the new canal visitor center, we headed back to the port where we did a little shopping (easily walkable from the ship) for our souvenirs.

If you get the chance to tour with Roberto, do it! Even if he can’t get you in the control room at the locks, he is a wonderful guide and gives a great tour. I was really impressed that he had a driver so he could sit in the back of the van with us so we could hear everything he had to say and to answer our questions. A great guide. If you go to Colon, use Roberto!

Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera) , Costa Rica (click here for my Costa Rica photos)

We had been to this port on our first cruise and had done a ship’s tour called the Flora and Fauna tour. If you get the chance to do that one, DON’T! What a total bore. Saw no fauna and just a lot flora. Some of the cruise lines are billing this as a jungle gondola ride. Snore. Zzzzzz.

This time we just walked off the ship on a glorious day with lots of sunshine. The beach called to some of our mates and we (not being beach people) got off the ship for about an hour to look at the local handicraft market at the end of the pier, where Kathleen found some great jewelry and we bought our usual local art. Then it was back on the ship where we could enjoy a mostly empty pool area and have a leisurely lunch. Our personal, quiet sea day.

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala (click here for my Guatemala photos)

Most of the people we spoke to on the ship just used this port as the gateway to the mountain city of Antigua Guatemala. We were touring with Carlos Mijangos of Guatemala Guide. Carlos picked us up right on time (we were almost the first people off the ship) but we had a slight snafu in that he had thought there were only 8 of us and there were 10 of us. We fit in the van for the 70 minute drive but it was tight. Carlos became our hero when he grabbed a larger van for the trip back to the port. Even though we were tightly packed, we did have an excellent and informative trip out to La Antigua. The day was beautiful at sea level but when we arrived in the city, which sits at 5,000 feet, the weather was as close to perfect as you can get.

Carlos handed us off to another guide, Sergio, who walked us rapidly around the downtown area including tours inside the cathedral (both the current one and the ruins of the older one that was no longer used due to massive earthquake damage). We were lucky and missed any earthquake activity but Carlos had told us about recent pretty dramatic quakes as well as pointing out the two active and one dormant volcanoes that we could see on the way to the city.

After the tour we headed to lunch in the village of San Antonio Aguas Calientes, a Mayan settlement just south of Las Antiguas. Our lunch took place at a local school that supports Mayan children called Niños con Bendición. The children did some native dancing for us and then one of the teachers taught some of the group how to make tortillas and served most of the group a hot stew/soup for lunch. I keep saying that all of this was done for “some of the group.” By this time, I had developed a major sinus headache and was completely out of commission. I am highly allergic to smoke (especially cigarette smoke—which was not the problem here) and all the cooking was done over a wood fire and smoke was heavy, way too heavy for me. Be aware if this will bother you and Carlos suggests it. One of my other Mates has a bad leg and walks with a crutch. He has a very hard time getting up and down stairs, especially ones without a railing. This school had nothing but stairs without railing so my friend and I stayed far from the fire and just kind of suffered along.

On the way back from the school to the ship we stopped at a macadamia nut plantation. Was no where near as interesting as the one we stopped to see on the Big Island of Hawaii. Would have skipped it but that may have been because I really wanted to get back to the ship to get my medication.

I would endorse a day in Las Antiguas with Carlos. He did a good job, was knowledgeable and very open and friendly. Without the smoke, the stop a the school was wonderful. It was a great place to stop and meet locals.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (click here for my Puerto Vallarta photos)

We had recently (2008) been to this port and didn’t really see anything that interested us so we planned this day as our own personal sea day. When woke up in the morning and found ourselves already docked. We were very impressed with the new cruise pier that had been constructed since our last visit. There is a small shopping area at the port so we got off for about an hour and walked around. That was the extent of our Puerto Vallarta experience.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (click here for my Cabo  San Lucas photos)

We had already been to this port as well and this was also a tender port. I am not a huge fan of tender ports. If we could have gotten off here without getting on a tender, I would have done it but even though the tenders were very efficient, we had been to Cabo on two other occasions and not been that impressed so we again elected to give ourselves a quieter sea day.

I mention quiet sea days that we created so I should explain. This may be one of the things that really affected us since Infinity’s refitting. We had not noticed this on previous Infinity cruises so we had to mark it up to that change. On actual sea days, the ship felt crowded. It was almost impossible to get a place to sit at either pool. Finding a table to play a game was difficult. There were chair hogs in evidence and table hogs as well. (If you don’t cruise, those are people who stake out their chairs or tables early in the day and then only use them sporadically. In the meantime, they just sit there empty.) Drives me nuts. So on an actual sea day, going in the pool or playing a game in a public area with friends was difficult to say the least. Our quiet sea days (when most everyone else had left the ship) were great. Easy to find places to sit, much quieter, room in the pool. Since I don’t remember this from our first canal crossing I can only say that this new crowded feeling on sea days is partially because of the increase of about 200 people that was brought on after the refit.



It was a wonderful experience to be back on the GTS Infinity, especially with all our Martini Mates and our Cruise Critic roll call.




It wasn't Europe or Asia but one of the ports yielded a once-in-a-lifetime experience—and we did it!