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Sail Date: November 2008
This cruise meant a few things to Alison and I. For starters, I first proposed marriage to Alison in the "Ocean Liners" speciality restaurant aboard the Constellation, and we always planned to "do the Canal" for our ... Read More
This cruise meant a few things to Alison and I. For starters, I first proposed marriage to Alison in the "Ocean Liners" speciality restaurant aboard the Constellation, and we always planned to "do the Canal" for our honeymoon. As it turned out we couldn't get the timing quite right, so this would be the first Panama Canal cruise suitable for us since our marriage last March. It's also completed the pack of the 4 sister ships. We've been on Millennium (Transatlantic), Summit (Alaska) and, of course, Constellation (our first Celebrity cruise after we got together, to the Caribbean and another Transatlantic). Alison tells me Infinity is going into dry dock, though we're not clear at the moment (we're on the last leg from Cartegena to Fort Lauderdale) exactly what she's going in for. But a few things (not too many) could use a spruce-up. We had a stateroom on deck 8 and, hotwater aside (see below), you could not fault it. We had Japanese neighbors to one side, so not a lot of conversation there (I don't even like sushi) and an American couple the other side, who were pleasant enough to chat to. The first day aboard we were both looking over the side when a few hundred porpoises went past. It was no accident - they did it on porpoise - and our neighbors shifted their balcony chairs and tables around to get a better look. OK, let's get it over with - lifeboat drill. The authorities have ignored my request for a "loyalty card" system whereby you earn a point for every drill you do and if you get five points or more you can just have an annual refresher and watch everyone else from the confines of the Martini Bar. At least, this time, the Captain showed (and continued to show throughout the cruise) some humor. He said something along the lines that if there was a real emergency his voice would direct everyone what to do. In the unlikely event, he told us, that he was incapacitated someone else (a Greek I think) would take over. In the very unlikely event that he, too, was unavailable, a third Greek would assume command. In the very, very unlikely event that all three were unavailable, the Captain suggested, we should make peace with our God and every man for himself. If I had to pick one word that means the most about this cruise, it would have to be "temperature". Infinity just doesn't seem to be able to get it right. The most obvious (and enduring) issue with temperature for us staid Brits was getting water hot enough to make a decent cup of tea. Not to mention the tea itself, which we find odd. Also the milk (too much long-life - or whatever you Americans call it) for our taste, but that is purely a taste thing. But trying to brew a good cup of hot tea (once, of course, we've moved past the staff's assumption that if we ask for tea we must mean iced tea) is impossible with lukewarm water. We strongly suggest to any Celebrity managers who read this that they send their catering managers to London to have tea in Fortnum and Mason. The tea there isn't just a refreshing beverage - it's a whole experience not to be missed, and would, without doubt, let them see a new angle to the term "elegant tea". But there were other issues with temperature, too. Firstly, the water in the stateroom bathrooms. I understand why the mixer tap isn't marked "H" and "C", because "H" and "L" would be much more accurate. We were not the only ones to raise this issue and there was quite a bit of overheard conversation about it. But cleaning your teeth in "L" (lukewarm) water is not pleasant - it softens the bristles on your toothbrush such that one came off altogether, lodging itself between two of my teeth is such a way that no amount of toothpicks and further brushing (in the selfsame lukewarm water) would shift it. Finally a sharp fingernail did the trick. But please, Celebrity, try and give us H and C water in the staterooms. School Physics tells us that if water is raised to any temperature above ambient then some energy has been used to get it there, and amid all the Celebrity "green" claims this irks. This, of course, was a warm weather cruise that - arguably - needed ample supplies of cold water, and I found myself wondering whether - if Infinity were used on an Alaskan cruise - you'd get "C" and "L" and be left with an equally strong desire for some hot water. It reminds me of the old joke about a man going to a backwoods motel and asking, "do you have hot and cold running water?" only to be told, "Yes, Sir; Hot in summer and cold in winter". One final point on temperature - whether it's these cold rock things they're using now or something else eludes me, but getting a really cold carton of milk or a truly solid portion of butter was a rare experience in the Deck 10 buffet restaurant. Our first port of call after leaving San Diego was at Cabo San Lucas, where we tried, for the first time ever, parasailing. A very enjoyable adventure to fit snugly between breakfast and lunch. When we got back to our stateroom our neighbors had rearranged their balcony furnishings again and we all watched some dolphins and a turtle swim past. Our table waiter was excellent, not that we've ever had a bad one on Celebrity. His name was Christophe, and he was from Goa in India. I asked him, purely out of curiosity, one day, why there was so little of his country's cuisine on the cruise ships, mentioning that, in the UK, you never travel far - even in small towns - without finding an Indian food outlet. To cut a long story short, he said that if I wanted some Indian food, I would have some. True to his word, the next evening, with the approval of the Maitre, I was served a three-course Indian banquet, including a very acceptable chicken curry, chappati, rice and pappadum. The average age on the cruise was probably around 250. There were no kids at all, not one, which is why, I guess, the kids' entertainers were trying to recruit anyone below pensionable age to join in fun, games and children's discos. Even I was a target, but I wasn't going to wear one of those wristbands for anyone. Imaging trying to get a martini when you're wearing a band that says you're a member of the kiddy club. No way! Still, having no kids around made it quieter, and I managed to transfer my usual idea of throwing badly-behaved kids overboard to anyone with dentures or a blue rinse. The bingo sold out every day, of course, with walking-stick wielding passengers fighting for best position. But that all finished around 8.30 once the cocoa round had started. (If anyone's getting offended by this - I'm making it all up as a poor attempt at humor, OK? Besides, I like cocoa too.) Seriously, it did mean that most of the more strenuous excursions had few takers, despite the fact the ship almost emptied on port days. Maybe Diamonds International suited the demographic. We ran into our neighbors on the way back to our stateroom - they were carrying eight towels from the pool area. We did notice far fewer staff around generally. Whether this was the demographic, the anticipation of dry dock or, more worryingly, an attempt by Celebrity to cut costs, we cannot know. On previous X cruises you could never go out of your stateroom without bumping into 3 or 4 cheerful staff in the corridors. This time we were lucky if we saw one. In the buffet restaurant on Deck 10 we only once had an offer to carry the trays to our table. Not a worry to us as such, we're perfectly able to carry our own trays, but considering the aforementioned demographic, you'd have thought this would be an area that would have been addressed. There seemed to be fewer people, too, clearing away in those public areas. It would be interesting to learn what the guest/staff ratio was on this ship compared with previous ones. There seemed to be a lot of enthusiastic chat between the majority of American guests. Something about an election, apparently. Our next port of call was Acapulco. Alison had stayed there on vacation previously marriage and I had no great enthusiasm for going ashore, so, as we frequently do, we stayed on the ship to enjoy the almost deserted amenities. We spent a while on the balcony watching turtles and rays right alongside the ship in the harbor, while our neighbors had somehow managed to get a sun-lounger from somewhere and installed it on their balcony, plus a few more yellow towels with which to cover it. We had our first visit to the "United States of America" specialty restaurant. (Note here that uncharacteristically for me, I have adopted, just this once, the USA spelling of speciality in deference to the restaurant's pedigree. Don't get used to it, I won't be doing it again - English is a language that was invented by - and there's a clue in the name here - the English. Oh, please, get a sense of humor. Damn, I did it again.) The difference between this restaurant and those on the other three sister ships is both amazing and stunning, though when you consider what X was trying to achieve with the overall theme you can perfectly well understand why. Whereas the other three are dark and atmospheric (to suit their lineage), this one is bright and airy. From a personal viewpoint it was a shame that the central circular area was not retained, however, since this was the area where I went down on one knee five years ago on the Constellation with my marriage proposal. The meal, as ever, was excellent, though the goat cheese soufflE was not the best I have had. We chose the basic menu this time, not least because we had been entertained by Charles in the Martini bar demonstrating how to juggle glasses and bottles without ending up with your arms in a reef knot and a floor full of broken glass. Time to avoid the wine and prevent Alison from standing on the top deck later that night proclaiming she can fly and sitting in the stateroom next morning proclaiming "Never again." Our next port of call, where was it now? Oh yes, Huatulco. I knew nothing about the place before we visited and still don't really, apart from the fact they have lots of pelicans amusing the tourists by diving for fish and they have some kind of army barracks near where we docked, the soldiers giving us frequent displays of their marching and instrumental capabilities. Once again we made the best of an almost empty ship. Our neighbors too, apparently, importing a second sun lounger and a dozen or so additional yellow towels. We peeked round when they went out - not much standing space left now. We had two excursions organized for Puntarenas in Costa Rica. From what little we saw of the country, it is a curious mix of wealth and poverty, yet fiercely defensive of its ecological stance. The tour guides on the two trips would tell us how important their rain forests and ecology are to them and to the world at large, and one can only applaud their commitment. The first one was "The Original Canopy Tour", implying by its title that there are others since then. Maybe they were better, maybe not, but we had no reason to complain on this one, with a 15 minute walk ending at the first of nine platforms from which we each, in turn, slid down to the next in line. I wish I could say my technique was so good I could have afforded time to admire the undergrowth far below, but I spent a lot of time trying to stay feet-first. Yes, I know, lean back and run our (gloved) hand along the wire to stay straight. That sound great and is easy to do on the platform, yet not so easy to remember when your going at Mach 2 down somebody's washing line. The complimentary bottle of cold water when we finished was nectar. Our only disappointment, though there was no way to blame the tour people for it, was an almost complete lack of wildlife. So, another hour-long bus ride to the dock, a quick snack and onto the second bus of the day for our "Sky Walk In The Trees" tour. Basically a high-level walk in the rain forest. One the way, the guide mentioned we'd see some crocodiles, but when we reached the bridge it had started raining, such that he asked us whether we still wanted to see the crocs in view of the rain. Well, it was hardly a downpour and we'd not seen crocs before, so we walked across the bridge and took snaphots of the reptiles playing the "we're crocodiles and we never move a muscle for anyone" game. We also saw a spoonbill walking along the riverbank, the bird being very careful to stay well out of reach of the crocs and putting a lie to any impression we might have had that they were plastic models left there to impress gullible tourists. (Did you know there's no such word as "gullible" in Websters? It's true - look it up if you don't believe me.) The tour guide's question about getting wet turned out to be the joke of the day. We were driven on the bus to a high point in the rain forest and told we would be picked up by the same bus in about an hour's time, lower down the trail. By this time it was raining properly, far worse than the wimpy drizzle we'd had on crocodile bridge. By the time the day was over, we fully understood why the forest had picked up the prefix "rain". We were each offered a walking cane and told to follow the guide. We were mostly dressed for the warm summer climate of Costa Rica (though Alison and I had bought special shirts designed to let your skin breathe and sweat to escape while keeping any nasty bugs on their own side of the fence) but the tour guide donned waterproofs. (Several people suggested Celebrity should have warned us to bring all-weather gear with us.) We followed the guide down the pathways, as did a steadily-growing river of muddy water. Before we'd gone more than a few hundred feet we were soaked everywhere, and I mean everywhere. It wasn't cold, thankfully, and it wasn't wet. "What?" I heard you say. No it wasn't wet. "Wet" just doesn't tell it. "Soaked" and "drenched" get closer, but nowhere near enough. I don't think a suitable adjective has been invented yet, so we'll have to get the Websters/OED people to take the tour I guess. One of the laughable things was that some people in our tour party were still trying to avoid stepping in pools of water, as if that would somehow keep them dryer. But it was a lost cause - you just walked where your feet fell in the sure knowledge your fluid levels were incapable of absorbing any more. We crossed three suspension bridges on our trip, Indiana Jones style, but I don't remember Indy being quite so sodden. We suspected there was a fourth bridge, but the tour guide had just about given up by then, we think; it was moving across the line between "fun" and "get me back to the ship so I can leap fully clothed into the Lassie Therapy pool to get a bit dryer". But, of course, no self-respecting tour would be complete without passing through at least one souvenir shop, wasting the best part of an hour when people really did want to get back to the ship. Our clothes still haven't dried, five days later. And we still didn't see any wildlife! On the next leg the Captain, on his daily announcement, told us he thought we were going the right way but just in case had checked with another ship and we were probably going to make it to Panama OK. I really warm to this man and hope I'm not spoiling all his jokes here. Then we made the journey to the start of the Panama Canal. We ordered breakfast on room service, assuming (correctly as it turned out) that the public eateries and the "Ten Forward" (how come it looks so different on Star Trek?) would be overcrowded. We waited in the line with our ever present tugboat until we were admitted to the first Milaflores lock. I think I expected the rise to be more obvious, but it was so gentle that we hardly noticed this first step and in subsequent levels had to line our eyes up with a suitable lamp post to see when we were moving. Anyone who imagines a traditional-style canal with parallel sides (as I guess I had) has got it completely wrong. The docks are much as you expect, apart from those "locomotives", eight of which hauled Infinity through each lock with the sides so close the people in the aft suites were reaching out and touching them. In the middle part it's vaguely reminiscent of Alaska's inside passage in terms of topography, though it's a lot busier and noisier and the trees are decidedly more tropical. Once again, to our disappointment, we saw no wildlife beyond a few birds and a couple of dockers crazed by the midday heat. (OK, I lied about that last bit.) It took the full day to transit the canal and, I must be honest, the experience was a little strange, veering occasionally to boring. I'm sure that sounds ungrateful, but I guess our expectations had been rather different from the reality, and it was almost in an air of gratitude that we emerged into the open ocean and the end of the day. Lots of noise from next door. We think they may be installing their own pool. The same night we had booked our second visit to the "United States of America" specialty restaurant. This time, stone cold sober, we opted for the "menu exceptional", complete with a wine to accompany (and compliment) each of the six courses. Here we were a little disappointed. On previous cruises we'd been told about each wine by the sommelier as he served it, but on this occasion he didn't even visit our table, leaving the service of our wine to the main waiting staff, who - I guess from their training - knew more about the food than the wine. To add insult to injury, the port was laced with black sediment that remained coating our glasses when we'd got half way through. There was an apology from the waiter and a replacement, but - for a restaurant that prides itself so highly on detail, the apology should have come from the maitre, the sommelier, or both, probably with some kind of explanation. I can't really say there was much wrong with the meal (in fact the goat cheese soufflE was back to its best), but this lack of attention to detail needs addressing. And I know it's a French-style restaurant, but does each and every cheese have to be French? OK, I'd like to see some British cheeses on there, but could understand why they're not. But are there no contending cheeses in the US that could grace a restaurant called the "United States of America"? We got invited to the Captain's table for the last formal night/baked Alaska parade. (I really must Google this tradition some time.) The perfectly charming Captain's Club Hostess Ria (from South Africa) arranged it so Alison wore her head-turning highlighter gown - we call it that because it's the same color as the yellow marker pen and would be just the thing to wear if you were going to fall overboard on a dark night. I wore my traditional Scottish Formal Dress, complete with kilt, so we had a few photos taken. We were warned that the Captain doesn't attend these dinners so, true to prediction, we were hosted by the Staff Captain. He was Greek, I believe. We've just got back from a tour of the Navigation Bridge, this following an invitation from last night's dinner. We've been on one before (Royal Caribbean) and this was very similar, though I suspect the technology on Infinity was slightly older. We did learn, however, the main reason Infinity goes into dry dock tomorrow - they're fitting a diesel engine in addition to the two gas turbines, so, presumably the sister ships will be similarly altered. It's driven, it seems, as with everything, by cost. Whereas gas turbines are very clean, the fuel is expensive, hence the installation of the new engine to be used, so we were told, when speed is not important. It all makes economic sense, but I wonder whether it flies in the face of Celebrity's "green" image. We then started to wonder where they would fit the new engine. Presumably it will fit centrally between the two existing ones, but it sounds like a lot of work to the ship's structure and engine room, with ramifications in the Navigation Bridge too. I suggested maybe it would be a huge outboard, since the Penthouse suites are quite roomy and we could steal a bit of space between them. OK, it could be a bit of extra noise for the premium-paying guests, and they'd probably have to move into the bedrooms when the engineers were pulling the cord-starter. Following on from the cost-cutting issues, I'm sure there are so many opinions as to what could or should be cut or retained. It's not Celebrity's fault that the World is in financial crisis, but the worry is that standards will be dropped until Celebrity is just another cruise line, whereas at the moment it likes to think it's in the lower end of the luxury levels. I earnestly hope they don't lose that, because they certainly do have an edge over RC et al, and there's a huge gap before you reach the Crystal class. The options are to cut costs or put prices up (or some combination between the two) and neither of these will be popular with guests. Personally, I rue any compromise of quality, and the reduction of formality for dining to the extent people wear pretty much what they want when they want is such an erosion. But that's a personal viewpoint. Those who suggest they should not be dictated to have similar rights, but I would like to see Celebrity set out its stall and remain "up there", with people who don't want these little extras freely able to select a different cruise line. But, market forces being what they are, I am probably in the minority and things will gradually be reduced/relaxed. It must be difficult to be in Celebrity's position. They need to cut costs, as we all do, but if they take anything away there is uproar. It's hard to think of anything they could stop doing that wouldn't have an effect on someone. This time the bottle of champagne left in our stateroom (because of our honeymoon) was akin to paint stripper, and we drank less than the first two glasses. The "gifts" of bags was (either by accident or design) not given until we queried it - we didn't bring a beach bag because we expected there to be one there. The small box of chocolates given to returning guests was again absent until we queried it. Small things, but they add up to give an impression of corner-cutting. So, tomorrow it's Fort Lauderdale and back to being a civilian. Time before I close to restate one of my favorite rants. Far too often on cruises we hear of a few guests - thankfully very few - who gripe and complain at the staff as if they are in some way inferior. This cruise was no exception. Almost without exception, the blame for the imagined error is more with the guest than the staff member, and I am urged to try and remind guests that the staff are people too - they have good days and bad days, they make mistakes just like the rest of the human race. But - from the moment I step aboard a Celebrity ship until I step off again, they make me feel special. I don't change in any way, I'm still be same boring guy I am at home, so it's something the X staff do that makes me feel special, nothing to do with me. So they all get what they deserve - my thanks and complete respect. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
This was our first cruise, so prepare yourself for the "cruise newbie" gushing to follow. We wanted to celebrate our 15th anniversary in a special way, and the Celebrity Infinity cruise to Alaska exceeded our expectations. ... Read More
This was our first cruise, so prepare yourself for the "cruise newbie" gushing to follow. We wanted to celebrate our 15th anniversary in a special way, and the Celebrity Infinity cruise to Alaska exceeded our expectations. Pre-cruise: I arranged air and ground transportation myself. We flew out of Sacramento to Seattle on Southwest; flight began about ½ hour late, but landed close to on-time. We took Shuttle Express to pier 66 without any trouble—their check-in and pickup takes place in the parking structure, easily accessed by skywalk. Make sure you can tow all your luggage—practice at home! Arrived at pier at about 4:00 and checked in our luggage. Check-in: There was some confusion about where to check in, but I suspect it may be that the dock keeps changing procedures, and not all the cruise check-in staff gets the correct info. We checked in very early, and were given numbered squares for later departure. We walked over to Pike Place Market to buy a snack and flowers. (Next time we will take smaller carry-ons so we can explore with more freedom.) We arrived back at the pier at about 6:00, but the ship had not arrived yet. Departure was scheduled for 7:30, so we checked into the waiting room. Actual boarding time was about 8:15. Boarding: Actual boarding was easy, fun, and exciting. We entered the ship on deck 4, starboard side forward, close to Celebrity Theater. Stateroom: We found our room, #3058, which was an inside room, but with plenty of storage space (apparently more than other cruise lines by the descriptions). Our stateroom attendants (Antonacio and his assistant Honorio) were the best, not just meeting, but anticipating our every need. We loved that there was always ice and water in our room (little things are big things to us.) Demographics: I could not imagine a more diverse group of people than the customers on our cruise. Every age, ethnicity, and income level must have been represented. This was not a party cruise for the young spring-breakers, even though there were some 20- and 30-somethings aboard. And though there were a significant number of retirees, I never got the feeling that this was a cruise for the "nearly dead." There were also a few children and teens, all of which were well-behaved and fun to visit with. Dining: You must understand—we're foodies. And we loved the food on the Infinity. For breakfast and lunch we frequented the casual dining options (huge buffet or healthy and delicious spa cafe), and had room service for breakfast at least twice, and it was all great. But the highlight each day was going to the Trellis dining room for dinner. Our waiter Jorge and his assistant took such good care of us, and quickly got to know our preferences. The food was consistently gourmet each time. My favorite was duck a l'orange. Portions were generous, so that I usually thought that I would not be able to finish (but I always did). A foodies' delight was the buffet brunch in the Trellis about mid-cruise. It had absolutely everything, beautifully presented amidst ice sculptures. Don't miss it! Coffee: I gave this a separate category because of the many concerns expressed about cruise coffee. My perspective comes from being a borderline coffee snob, so while I appreciate and totally get some peoples' desire for great, European-style espresso-based coffee, I also actually like the American style "regular cup o' Joe." So here's my take: I found the coffee in the restaurants to be very good, enjoyable everyday coffee that European cruisers will probably find unacceptable (as they would any American coffee). What they (and occasionally I) want is available in the Cova Cafe (deck 5, midship), and in some of the other bars onboard. Unique experiences: When we boarded, we received an invitation to a reception for those celebrating anniversaries and honeymoons. We had a wonderful cake and other snacks, and a fun time with all the celebrants. Our Cruise Critic Connections group met on the first full day of the cruise, and thanks to that group, we were invited to tour the galley, which was a special privilege, and quite fascinating. Activities: It was tough at times choosing which activities we wanted to do most. We had fun at several trivia games, including "The Weakest Link" and "Name That Tune." But the standout activity for us was participating in the cruise choir, led by Artie Anderson, the cruise director. We had rehearsals on each "at sea" day, and performed on the grand staircase, singing four showtunes. All the activities were led by Artie's team of genuinely enthusiastic directors. It always looked like they love their job and have fun doing it. The only paid-for activity we did was a wine tasting, which was very reasonable (at $10 each) for what we got—wine and food to go with it. We actually learned a good deal about wine and food pairings, which is handy information, especially since we live in the Napa Valley! Entertainment: The lounge band performing each night in the Constellation was called "Top Notch," and their name could be applied to all the entertainers. The singers and dancers in the Celebrity Theater were super high-energy. We also enjoyed the magician, but we missed the ventriloquist (by all reports people loved him, though). And the band Top Notch was made up of truly talented singers and musicians. I told them they should try out for American Idol. One night all the performers and activity directors came together to put on "Sizzle," yet another high-energy dance performance/party in the Constellation lounge. F & D (food and drink) had prepared literally hundreds of desserts amidst ice sculptures for the event. Public Areas: The Infinity was classier than I expected it to be. Even the pictures on Celebrity's site do not do it justice. I expected cheesy glitz, but found it to be tastefully chic (without crossing the line into gaudiness). My best description of the dEcor is "modern upscale resort/spa." All the public areas are inviting, and the ship is so well arranged that we never felt crowded or inconvenienced. My favorites are the glass elevators with ocean views, and the back deck aft of the buffet. And we also enjoyed the deck around the pool. We bundled up in blankets and watched the view and dozed. The thalassotherapy pool is great, and we found the adjoining changing rooms with showers and dry sauna to be handy and enjoyable. Exercise room is well equipped; it was mid-week before I discovered where the free weights were, starboard side, forward part of the exercise room. Shore Excursions: We kept it simple in Ketchikan. We walked over to Creek Street, poked around in shops, and went up the funicular to get the scenic overview. Be sure to chat with locals—the Pioneer Cafe is a good place for that. In Juneau, we did our own self-booked excursion to Mendenhall Glacier. You can get tickets for the Mendenhall Glacier Express (blue bus) at the kiosks at the dock, or purchase them from the driver. You may have to wait if you want a seat, or you can crowd in and stand. Our excursion was only $7 per person each way, for a total of $28. The bus driver was a likable rough sort of character, and was good about pointing out sights and eagles. At the glacier, it is well worth it to walk to the base of the waterfall that you can see to the right of the glacier. Take time (and binoculars) to spot birds, and notice the plants and flowers. In Victoria we took the Empress Tea tour booked through the cruise line. The tea is a meal in itself, and the tour was led by a knowledgeable and witty busdriver. The highlight was the 360-degree view from the top of a hill outside of town. The Hubbard glacier is not a shore excursion, but an "at sea" visit to the glacier, and was the star of the whole itinerary. Jaw-dropping, eye-popping scenery that makes you want to cry. Make sure your itinerary includes the Hubbard glacier. Dis-embarkation: Leaving the ship was smooth and orderly, but sad. The cruise staff seemed tired, but of course still friendly and professional. We were staying in Seattle until the next day, so we planned to be in the last group to leave, at 10:20. By 9:30 the "last call for disembarkation" announcement was being made, and we did not even have to report to our waiting area. Luggage was easy to retrieve. We miss the rocking motion and the way the staff spoiled us, and have been pining for "our ship" ever since. It was a taste of heaven! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
Embarkation in Seattle - this process went smoothly, taking about 45 minutes bag drop to boarding the ship. Passengers in the Concierge Class spent about half that time with an express line at check in. The 'welcome aboard' ... Read More
Embarkation in Seattle - this process went smoothly, taking about 45 minutes bag drop to boarding the ship. Passengers in the Concierge Class spent about half that time with an express line at check in. The 'welcome aboard' champagne or orange juice was a nice touch as well. TIP - pick up the coupon books being offered at embarkation as they will come in handy in the ports. Staterooms - the rooms were well appointed with ample lighting and an attractive blonde wood color with 3 large floor to ceiling mirrors across from the bed giving the illusion of a larger cabin. There was a refrigerator that we never used and cotton robes that we did use. We usually book a balcony cabin on warmer weather cruises, but opted for just an outside cabin on this trip out of fear that it would be too cold to sit out and enjoy. The large window was nice enough enjoy the scenery, but the drapes did not always block out the block out the 20 hours of sunlight we had. Also, the end of the bed shaped with an arc that sticks out. Ours had a sharp point that we kept bumping into so be careful walking past the bed. Food - we cannot speak about the United States restaurant because we did not use it, however we thought the food in general was at least on par with the other cruise lines. The subject of food can be difficult to critique because everyone has different tastes. We are by no means "foodies", but we were expecting a higher quality or quantity of food. This wasn't always the case. There were many great things we enjoyed, like the waffles and the warm almond and chocolate croissants in the Cova Cafe, the nachos and onion rings at the poolside grill, but we did not feel that the overall quality and variety were that much superior to the other cruise lines. There is only one main dining room, the Trellis, which is a larger restaurant with bi-level seating. It is an elegant room with large floor to ceiling glass windows at the back of the ship. Unlike other cruise lines, the restaurants were not open 24 hours a day. There were times we came back for lunch from an excursion only to find no food available between 11:00 AM to 12:00 AM. Room service is available 24 hours a day and a large variety can be ordered from a decent-sized menu via your TV. TIP - do not miss the brunch on your first "at sea day". The food stations are well set up and include unlimited Alaskan Crab Legs. The Aqua Spa Cafe offered great low-calorie and healthy alternatives too. Drink - unlike many of the other lines, we did not feel like the staff was constantly pushing you to try the drink of the day or have one more. In fact, there were many times in the theaters or lounges when passengers had to proactively chase down the servers for a cocktail. Free champagne can be snagged by visiting the art auctions and the souvenir travel mug containing hot chocolate with a shot of Baileys is a must when viewing the Hubbard Glacier. Service - I cannot say enough about the hard working staff. Everyone aboard greets you with a smile as they work. Our room steward, Rameesh, catered to our every need as did our wait-staff, Ivan and Milan. Entertainment - The singers and dancers perform several shows during the cruise and are extremely talented so you will not want to miss a performance. The Celebrity Theatre is showing a little wear but there isn't a bad seat in the house. Our cruise had 2 guest performers (Las Vegas entertainer Jack Walker) and an illusionist who were both excellent. The enrichment talks given by naturalist Brent Nixon were some of the highlights of the trip. He truly enjoys his job and is highly entertaining and informative. Ship appearance & Artwork - The Infinity is not a new ship but she is well maintained. The minor cosmetic blemishes are hardly noticeable. The expansive artwork in the ship is very noticeable however. Everywhere you walk you will find interesting paintings and sculptures around every corner that greatly enhanced the public areas. Passengers - We had a nice mix of ages and ethnic groups onboard the ship. This was not a "fun ship" with a party-round-the-clock crowd nor was it full of retired couples. There were very few kids onboard this cruise. The daily bulletin slipped under your door each day had a ton of activities for all age groups. Casino - The casino had an Egyptian-theme and was filled with slot machines but very few blackjack tables. We counted 3 open in the evenings with 2 having a $10 minimum. Shopping - The were always good deals to be had in the Emporium Shops. Shipboard shopping guru Troy Linton gives great insights to deals in port and the $25.00 VIP coupon book he sells came in very handy. Aqua Spa Area - This was a huge benefit Celebrity has over other cruise lines with the large indoor T-pool area especially necessary on a cold Alaskan itinerary. We used the heated "adults-only" pool and jacuzzi area nearly every day and purchased day passes to the Persian Gardens during the days at sea. My wife enjoyed the spa services, I enjoyed the large fitness center and we both enjoyed the couples massage class. The enclosed area had comfy cushioned lounge chairs in front of floor to ceiling windows perfect for watching whales and seals but get there early. They also have blankets for use in the pool and spa area. Shore Excursions - We purchased a dog sled musher's camp experience for Juneau though the ship and a Misty Fjords float plane in Ketchikan via the internet. Both were excellent excursions. The dog musher camp had the added bonus of having the grandson of the creator of the Iditarod Race (Ryan Reddington) leading us on the trail with his own dogs. The other highlight for my wife was playing with the pups! The trip with Steve Kamm from Seawind Aviation was about $50.00 per person less than the ones offered by the ship and offered amazing views. He is an excellent pilot with a great sense of humor and was one of the highlights of the trip. They are a family-owned business that I would not hesitate using again. We were welcomed by his wife Lesley who greeted us with a big hug like we were part of their family. Good and bad - Anyone with an early seating will have to choose between dining or watching the ship's entry into the inside passage at 6:00 PM which is narrated throughout the ship by naturalist Brent Nixon while the Infinity sails between this narrow passage. The lunch and breakfast buffets are not self-serve, but rather are served cafeteria style and have a wide variety of selections so you could not go away hungry. The pizza is very good, as is the ice cream parlor. Photos can be viewed and purchased via kiosks in the photo area just by swiping your card. You can also edit the pictures at the kiosks without waiting in line. Unfortunately there is a foul odor in this area outside of Michael's lounge that must be a product of the film processing. All of the lounges will give you free snacks when you order a drink. The poolside bar is the best place to order cocktails which seemed to come in larger glasses and cost less than the ones purchased inside the theater. The soda stamp program comes with a great souvenir mug that can be filled throughout the ship. It costs $5.00 per day and we didn't get ours until there were 2 days left so we enjoyed unlimited sodas with the large mug for $10. There are great shopping specials each day outside of the buffet restaurants on deck 10. Also be sure to check out the liquor specials at the free liquor tasting. We made some purchases for half the cost of our stores at home. Free bags of microwave popcorn are given out at the movie theater. We found the best area for viewing the Hubbard Glacier was outside the buffet restaurants on deck 10 at the back of the ship. It is sheltered from the elements, has ample seating, easy access for food, drinks and bathrooms, and offers a great view as the ship pulls away. One bad thing was that the ship's sound system was not working at the front and back of the ship which made it difficult to hear Brent Nixon's informative talks. They also opened up the heli-pad on deck 5 for those passengers who wanted to crowd the forward part of the ship as it approached the glacier. Finally, just remember you are on vacation! Greet everyone with a smile and one will be returned. The vacation will have a "hakuna matata" - no worries feel to it (as stated by our cruise director) if you roll with the punches. If something isn't just right then mention it politely and they will definitely take care of you. I had purchase a romance package as a surprise for my wife's birthday and our room attendant botched it by not delivering half the things we ordered. After explaining it politely to him he had it immediately remedied along with an extra bottle of champagne and our package fully reimbursed. We are Captain's Club members now and are looking forward to our next cruise with Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2009
My husband and I just returned from our first ever cruise and we are totally in love with cruising! We were on the Celebrity Infinity for the seven night cruise up the Inside Passage to Alaska out of Seattle. First, the itinerary, maybe ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from our first ever cruise and we are totally in love with cruising! We were on the Celebrity Infinity for the seven night cruise up the Inside Passage to Alaska out of Seattle. First, the itinerary, maybe it is just us, but it seemed like Celebrity got some prime docking time in ports. We had the perfect amount of time in each of our port locations, and at just the right times of day. For example, we were in Ketchikan on Sunday from 7AM - 4PM, in Juneau on Tuesday from 9AM - 7PM and in Victoria BC on Thursday from 2PM - 10 PM. Just perfect! The weather was exactly what we expected for Alaska. The days were cool and overcast. In both Ketchikan and Juneau, we experienced a steady drizzle of rain. Temps were in the mid 50's. It was perfect if you took a jacket along, put your hood up and didn't let the "Alaska Sunshine" as the locals call it, bother you. In Victoria on Friday, we had a beautiful day of sunny skies and 80 degree temps. Our day at Hubbard Glacier was crystal clear with temps in the high 40's - perfection! We had some rough seas when we were out of the Inside Passage. Luckily neither of us have motion sickness problems, but I know many fellow passengers had problems. The ship itself was perfect to us. We were told the ship was at capacity, but it never felt crowded to us. We also heard there were 300 kids on board, but you hardly knew it. Our cabin was on the penthouse deck with a veranda. I cannot imagine doing this cruise in a cabin without a veranda. We spent a significant amount of time sitting on our veranda watching the beautiful scenery, eating a room service breakfast, reading, napping, etc. It was more than worth the extra cost. In fact, the morning we sailed in to Victoria, I was drying my hair near the balcony door (where the electrical outlet was located) and saw orca whales right off the side of the ship! We watched the whales off our balcony as we sailed along. We would have missed this opportunity without the balcony. The balcony was also a plus the day we sailed to Hubbard as we watched the approach to Hubbard from the comfort of our balcony. Other ship amenities we enjoyed included the casino (for hubby) and the Aqua Spa for me. I have to tell you, I had not planned to do the spa, mainly because I have found resort spa service is usually mediocre because they have no incentive to get you to return as a repeat customer. Well, the Aqua Spa proved this theory wrong. I received wonderful service and got a great deal with the $99 Top to Toe package. Definitely wait on spa services - the deals come in your daily news as the week progresses. As far as I could tell, there is no reason to book early or pay full price for the spa. My husband did ok in the casino - what he won I spent in the spa! :) The food in the Trellis Dining Room was quite good. We learned we were the third cruise to enjoy Infinity's new menus. Again, we don't have a point of reference, but we really enjoyed the variety and quality offered in the dining room. My husband loves seafood and really enjoyed the seafood dishes, especially the lobster bisque. I'm a big steak person and loved the prime rib. Our waiter Aron was excellent. The food in the Ocean Cafe was decent, but we tried to avoid the cafeteria style atmosphere. We liked the pool side grill much better for lunch and preferred the almond croissants served at the coffee bar for breakfast. We were very fortunate to have naturalist Brent Nixon on board. We attended all but one of his lectures. I'll confess when I first read the suggestions on these boards to go and hear the lectures, I thought "why would I do something like that on vacation?", but the folks on these boards were spot on. Nixon is brilliant! His presentations are so informative and incredibly fun and entertaining. If he is on your ship, make a point of going to his sessions. The crew on our ship was amazing. We loved our Cruise Director Artie Anderson. LOVED him! Also loved the staff in the Rendezvous Lounge and our guys in Trellis. We didn't encounter a single staff person who was not cheerful and helpful. I was quite impressed with all the Celebrity does to recognize their staff from all levels. What a wonderful gesture. I had planned to review our time at Hubbard Glacier as a port, but it is not an option given below. I cannot even begin to describe the beauty of the Hubbard Glacier. And, we were so fortunate because we had amazing weather, calm waters, and a bold captain who took our ship the closest Infinity has ever been to Hubbard. We were within 3/10 mile of the glacier and watched some significant caving of the ice (when the ice breaks off into the water). We all stood on deck in complete awe of this spectacular site. We are so thankful to everyone on Cruise Critic for all the helpful tips we used for our trip. The most helpful tip was the over-the-door shoe organizer to store our bathroom toiletries. That is the best idea ever and made a huge difference to us. We also used the idea of taking highlighters along so we could go through the next day's activity list the night before and find what activities we were interested in. The small flashlight was helpful when getting up for the bathroom at night. And, clothespins, while not needed to keep the curtains shut, were quite a good tool for hanging our bathing suits up to dry. So thanks to all of you for the tips! We're already trying to decide when and where to go next. We think we'll stick with Celebrity - why mess with something good??? Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
I really enjoyed this cruise that my husband and I took. It was our first cruise. Alaska is somewhere we had always wanted to go, and it was worth it seeing it on a cruise. We were able to see a lot of Alaska in a short amount of time. ... Read More
I really enjoyed this cruise that my husband and I took. It was our first cruise. Alaska is somewhere we had always wanted to go, and it was worth it seeing it on a cruise. We were able to see a lot of Alaska in a short amount of time. The food was amazing with so many options at every meal and restaurant on board. The service was wonderful. If you asked for something, it was just a few short minutes and it was brought to you, no matter where you were. The activities on board were fun, and there were so many different things to do each day. Our room was very nice and was kept clean by a great pair of housekeepers. The price was wonderful, something that we never thought we would be able to afford while going to school and buying a house. One of the best days was the glacier tour. We were at Hubbard Glacier. You just can't imagine how breath taking it is to see it up close. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2010
We flew into San Francisco one day prior to the cruise and stayed at the Tuscan Inn. The Inn is located at the Wharf, just steps from the cable cars, Ghirardelli Square, etc. A very quaint hotel, clean and extremely well priced. Cafe ... Read More
We flew into San Francisco one day prior to the cruise and stayed at the Tuscan Inn. The Inn is located at the Wharf, just steps from the cable cars, Ghirardelli Square, etc. A very quaint hotel, clean and extremely well priced. Cafe Pescatore next door was really good, atmosphere, espresso and good food were welcome after walking all day. Unfortunately the panhandling in the city was a huge negative. I was born in S.F. and raised just down the bay. I hadn't been home for years and was terribly saddened to see the filth and begging to the degree we experienced. Other cruise passenger's concurred on the begging to the degree that it spoiled a great old city. We boarded the Infinity the following day to a champagne welcome. That was the last real hospitality we received. Our room had plenty of drawer space. However the bathroom was shameful. The white grouted tiles were black on the bathroom floor and the shower. The shower head was grimy, greasy black. The Shower curtain was always sticking to you - yuch. No magnifying mirror, horrible hairdryer that burned your hand after 1 minute. I did contact the front desk. Several times to no avail. Apparently I'm to nice and should have raised my voice. We met other passenger's with similar problems. They flat had shouting matches with the staff. Some did receive results. Saying I'm sorry for your experience and doing nothing is 5 star hospitality? I'm not even bringing up the dirty curtains, pill-ed bedding. The rough old towels that should have been retired. And our robes,one was stained with yellow spotches - disgusting. i truly believe the automatic tip has ruined good service. They used to work for it. I did go down and remove the tip from my account. Many other did also. That should give the line a clue shouldn't it? The shows were better in high school, for sea days, bring a book or sit on your veranda and relax. The food was the worst,the coffee was bad. A consensus among everyone we ate with at various meals. The food, bland, lukewarm. A medium rare steak came well done. Mind you I'd ordered the veal. It wasn't available so without asking what they could get me they came up with a steak. We were first seating and always on time at the fixed seating. So the excuse there? I was promised by the asst. maitredumb creme brulee and received jello, shall I go on? Salmon served one of the last mornings was so off and salty I complained. The maitredumb came over (surprisingly) to ask about it. He tried mine after I didn't eat it and agreed it was bad. He also said that everyone that morning was complaining about it.....he said it wouldn't be served again, Score 1. Fish was always "well done" you could count on that. And the lack of good quality food in the cafeteria where they ran out of eggs 2 different morning, along with serving cold corned beef hash? 5 Star at a homeless shelter more like. The cafeteria was flat bad. And no help to carry your tray, or coffee, juice served by the staff like on Princess. The waitstaff was overworked. They ran at breakneck speed, no wonder so many orders were wrong. They were unfriendly in that they had NO time to chat at all with passenger's. Twice we paid $35.00 each to eat at the S.S. United States Specialty Restaurant. The food and service were excellent! But I had paying that much after already paying for our cruise. We did have several meals delivered to the room so we could enjoy the deck, food was cold, or sweaty from taking to long to deliver it. My impression of the non-smiling staff was boredom and under pressure. We also had a problem with someone in the Cova Cafe using our card for extra tips twice after we'd had expresso's. The staff was flip about it. Obviously someone was pocketing the money. And it took two tries to correct it. The kayaking tour we booked via internet, Ketchikan Kayak Co. was excellent. Our first kayaking experience and now we want to buy our own. A seal, and plenty of starfish, bald eagles, just beautiful. The other tours we booked through Celebrity were all good. The Sea Otter and Wildlife Quest we've done before and was again fabulous. Brown bear, sea otters, whales, bald eagles, etc. Juneau, Whale Quest & Orca included lunch on a beautiful island. The tour got us up close to many whales. We intend to continue cruising and return to Princess where the staff is welcoming, attentive, fun and the ship isn't dirty, with plastic flowers (NO fresh flowers anywhere) The Conservatory was full of dead plants, and the gift shop staff doesn't sleep walk while your asking questions on items for sale. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
We traveled on Celebrity Infinity's 11 night repositioning cruise from San Francisco to Vancouver BC, Canada via 6 ports in Alaska. Our travel agent assisted us in getting flights from and to Florida and arranged for us to spend 2 ... Read More
We traveled on Celebrity Infinity's 11 night repositioning cruise from San Francisco to Vancouver BC, Canada via 6 ports in Alaska. Our travel agent assisted us in getting flights from and to Florida and arranged for us to spend 2 nights in Frisco before the May 10 sailing date. This really made the trip out there much more relaxing since we did not have to rush to get on the ship the same day we flew. Mother's Day weekend was just perfect with visits to all the tourist areas, martini's at Sunset at the Top of the Mark, cable car rides, and the great California cusine at the Spinaker restaurant in Sausalito. Monday we simply took a 5 minute cab ride to the dock where embarcation went ever so smoothly. We were in our ocean view room before noon. Having cruised to Alaska before we knew the Pacific can make for some BIG swells so we opted for an ocean view room down low. This worked out great as there were 3 nights of somewhat rough sailing conditions. Our room was laid out with the bed away from the window (not under it) and it was GREAT. Easy access to the Grand Foyer and elevators. We ate most breakfast meals at the buffet and found the eggs to order station most acceptable. Dinner was early seating at a table for 6 by a huge window on the upper level, deck 5. We were very lucky to have wonderful companions who made our meals ever so enjoyable. The meals were excellent with lots of choices and only a few calories....so we did our best to sample as much as possible. We never had a bad dining incident at all, great waiter and assistant, good bar service, classy presentations, creme brule every night if you wanted, and often we did...it was that good ! Alaska is a place that EVERYONE should go to at least once. It is truly beautiful and awe inspiring. We never got tired of looking at the scenery. BUT the most amazing sight of all was the whales ! We saw whales almost every day from the ship. The Constellation lounge was the choice place to be every evening and it did get crowded. But boy o boy was it worth it! Humpbacks coming by in groups of 3 or more and just seeing the tales break the surface was incredible. Brent Nixon was the on-board naturalist and he is gifted as a speaker and we were gifted to hear him. He made most everyone want to listen to everything he had to say. It was an experience and a pleasure my wife and I will forever cherish. Did I mention the Orcas ? Wow they charged bravely and boldly at the ship. Brent told us that they are "top dog" and had no fear of anything, even cruise ships. Our Captain was superior in his handling of the ship and his concern for his passengers. He got us within 1 mile of the Hubbard Glacier ! We were surrounded by ice and icebergs and he still got us close enough to not only see the glacier calving (pieces breaking off and falling into the water) but to HEAR it !!! Man this may have to be the highlight for me. It was flat out awesome and unbelievable. You see things like this on TV and never really imagine that you could experience it, and then you do! It will always be an unforgettable day. In Juneau we took an excursion to see whales. We hit the jackpot!! A mother humpback was teaching her baby to breach. For over 20 minutes we watched them diving and jumping over and over. So very special and moving. At Icy Strait I ate king crab legs and bought a "deadliest catch" coffee cup. In Ketchikan we bought jackets, rented a golf cart and rode around seeing waterfalls, streams and eagles. At Skagway we took an excursion up to White Pass and Canada and saw a mountain goat and a BEAR. Every stop had something unique and rewarding to do and see. Celebrity really does provide its guests with an opportunity to truly experience Alaska at its best. The Infinity was in great shape and had lots to offer from Acapella singing, to string quartets to the grand productions. All in al this was a very great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
Ok the good with the bad...... Embarkment was a breeze! We were dropped off early because our cousin had a meeting. Not a problem. We were surprised @10:30 someone was there to take our luggage and direct us to the next step. We got to ... Read More
Ok the good with the bad...... Embarkment was a breeze! We were dropped off early because our cousin had a meeting. Not a problem. We were surprised @10:30 someone was there to take our luggage and direct us to the next step. We got to the door behind maybe 20 other people. We figured we'd have a wait so just settled in. The doors then opened and we were processed in and on the ship by 11:15. Greeted by the staff with champagne and and invitation to tour the ship. Lunch would be at 11:30 but please don't try to go to the cabin until 1. No problem. Nice lunch buffet and wonderful weather to eat out on deck. Cabin was clean and our stateroom Jose pretty much took care of us. We did ask to have the refrigerator cleaned our so we could put our own sodas in there. He only cleaned out the bottom shelf and while we thought it was odd, figured it wasn't that big of deal. Two days later we see a charge from our honor bar. I called to Guest Relations and was informed we had to handle it thru Jose...and of course we didn't see him for two days after that. We left him a note to which he told my husband he would take care of it. Let's just say I was at Guest Relations on disembarkment day still trying to get it taken care of. We'll see. The food was good and plentiful. While all but one night in the main dining room was good, nothing really blew me or my husband away. The only bad night was the 2ND formal night. Two lobster tails...one so overdone it wouldn't come out of the shell and while the other came out easily, it was almost raw. Everything else was good and nobody should stave on this ship. The disturbing part were the electrical problems. We were 5 hours late getting out of Ketchikan due to an problem on the bridge. Due to this we missed seeing Tracy Arm Fjord. Very disappointing. They did give us a $200 OBC per cabin to try to compensate. The night leaving Skagway there was a blackout on the ship during dinner. We were 1 1/2 late getting out of port that night. It's just a little unsettling to be that far from home and not near a major airport should an alternative plan need to be made. We also took advantage of the luggage valet service. For $20.00 person PLUS the cost of what the airline charges they will take your luggage to the airport and your don't have to handle them again until you get home. This worked wonderfully and it was a great use of the unexpected OBC! lol All in all the trip was great, the staff was great and the food was great. For these reasons I would cruise with Celebrity again. But I would have to think long and hard to pick Infinity as the ship to sail on. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
This was our fifth cruise in the past 16 months, and in many ways (not every way) the best. Early 50's couple enjoying time together! Infinity Panama Canal Cruise 10-24-10 Flying from Philadelphia to LAX went without a ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise in the past 16 months, and in many ways (not every way) the best. Early 50's couple enjoying time together! Infinity Panama Canal Cruise 10-24-10 Flying from Philadelphia to LAX went without a hitch on Southwest. Stayed at the Doubletree by the marina in San Pedro, it was a very nice hotel and we actually used the hot tub early in the morning. Watching the Infinity arrive about 6 AM and the sun rise over the water was a nice treat. The hotel shuttled us over to the port at about 10:20. Luggage handling went fine, filled out the health forms, and then found that due to "Delays in disembarkation" they were not yet checking in new passengers. At about 11:00 someone announced that check in would begin and only the Concierge level check in area would be used. It was a mad rush to line up. It seems like Celebrity could have avoided this by issuing numbers for a check in queue without lines as guests arrived. We didn't fare too badly and had our sea pass at about 11:25 and a boarding group 3 pass. By noon boarding had not yet begun and the check in line now exceeded the capacity of the "Back and forth" line queue. In talking on board with other cruise critic members the line apparently moved pretty fast and no one reported a check in wait longer than 45 minutes. Boarding actually began at about 12:15 and we were on board at about 12:30. I will say that any displeasure at the embarkation mess was soon forgotten as everyone on board was extremely welcoming. We walked past the Spa Cafe, the pool grille, the ice cream man "Have dessert first!," and checked out the general buffet. Everyone without exception "Welcome aboard!" We ended up doing a combination of foods including steamship of beef, spa cuisine, and some wings from the grill, and were very pleased across the board. Also, all the pools were open and fully operational, including the T-Pool. Before we had finished our lunch the announcement was made that cabins were ready. After leisurely finishing our lunch, we proceeded to our cabin and were very pleased with cabin 3111, an ocean view on the 3rd deck. We carried our swimsuits on in a bag so we changed into them and headed up to the T-Pool. We lazed away the rest of the afternoon until about 3:15 PM, and headed down to our cabin, "Hoping" our luggage might be there in order to dress for dinner before the muster drill. To our surprise ALL our luggage was waiting for us! We were able to be 90% unpacked and dressed for dinner when called for the muster drill. The drill itself was longer than typical as all instructions were repeated in German. Apparently there is a large group of travelers on board from Germany. After the drill we proceeded to the aft bar on deck 10 where we met many of our fellow cruise critic roll call members. It was a great time meeting many we have been making plans with on-line. We have assigned table 535 in the dining room, a table for 6. One of the other couples was a no show this first evening. The couple that joined us we were amazed at how much we have in common, so we are hoping for many great dinners together! After dinner we listened to the quartet in the Rendezvous lounge for a while but still adjusting to the time change, we did not make the show. The clocks were moved ahead one hour tonight so that will help us with our adjustment! Monday morning sunrise was not until 7:50. We were on deck about 7:10 and the eastern horizon was just showing signs of daylight. Breakfast watching the sun come up was a treat, as was having the T-Pool all to ourselves again for an early morning swim. Afterwards, I strolled the ship taking photos, and we got cleaned up for our cruise critic connections party, at 10:30. Our connections party was well attended and several officers as well as the cruise director visited. They began mingling but cell phones rang and they all excused themselves. Our party was cut short as at 11:00 another private group had the room, speaking only in German! We enjoyed the rest of the day relaxing near the pool and took advantage of a "2 for 1" deal on some beverages. Attended the "Future cruise presentation" but rather than an exciting "This is why you should go on this cruise..." she simply listed all the ships and where they were sailing (something anyone can quickly ascertain from cruise critic or Celebrity's own website). We were going to go to the first Panama Canal lecture but were so relaxed at the pool that we decided to stay poolside! Our first formal night Dinner was good and again our table for 6 only had 4. We enjoyed a little dancing before and after dinner, and actually made it to the production show which was quite enjoyable. I was actually surprised to find that the cast of singers and dancers numbers fifteen! Tuesday morning we were again up early and saw the sunrise. We eagerly watched the approach to Cabo San Lucas, our first port call. Not being on a ship's tour we ended up with tender #13, and waited about 40 minutes in the theater for our number to be called. We had no firm plans for Cabo but brought our snorkeling gear ashore and found a catamaran outing where we had a wonderful time. Back on board about 4:15 and a quick burger and turkey burger for DW at the Breezes grill was needed to hold us over until dinner. I enjoyed the outdoor hot tub while listening to the music of the party band and watching the ship turn and sail away from Cabo. Tuesday night was another time change, so we are now on central time Wednesday morning. This made sunrise at 8:05 so even though we slept later, we still saw the sunrise as we finished breakfast in the spa cafe. We enjoyed the T-pool, for ourselves for a while and then one other couple came in. The T-Pool was warmer today (very nice) while the hot tubs at the T-Pool were cooler. While relaxing poolside we were impressed with the constant maintenance and cleaning going on all around the pool. It's still early in the cruise, but I will say that the Infinity shows greater pride in cleanliness and maintenance than the Summit we sailed to Bermuda in June. The crew of the Infinity certainly seem to enjoy their jobs and have been most accommodating. We did 7 laps around the deck today (about 1.4 miles) and DW really enjoyed the gym as well. I attended a lecture on cruise ship navigation which was very educational. Wednesday is also the first of two main dining room brunches, which we enjoyed at about noon. I attended a class on travel photography in the early afternoon and it was quite good. I made it to the pool deck just in time to see the ice carving demonstration and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on the pool deck. Running into and chatting with some cruise critic friends made it all the more enjoyable. We were alone tonight at our dining room table, just two at our table of six. We are really getting to like our waiter Martinho from Portugal and his assistant, Andreas from Indonesia. Before and after dinner, and again after the show, we listened and danced to the quartet in the Rendezvous. The show tonight was a singer, Lelani Marrell, and she was very good. Again, this is a matter of taste as we did hear several negative comments about Lalani. Thursday morning we sailed into Acapulco bay before daylight. We docked as the sun came up and 32 from our cruise critic roll call took Rosie's tour. The tour was well worth it and we saw many vantage points to photograph the bay, the Chapel of Peace, and the Cliff Divers. Celebrity brought on a real Manachi band for a "Pre sail away" party poolside. They were excellent and we really enjoyed them. We were back at our dining room table again with our new friends, just the four of us. It appears our fifth and sixth chairs may remain vacant for the duration. Friday we visited Huatulco. Friday morning marked our fifth morning in a row that we watched the sun rise! A record I do not expect to break anytime soon! We did our own thing to go swimming/snorkeling at nearby LaEntranga Bay. Our taxi driver on the way to the bay stopped twice to show us nice vantage points and we appreciated his extra effort. The water was delightful and we truly enjoyed Huatulco. Friday was our second formal night and dinner was excellent. The double-thick sirloin was an excellent steak! Both Thursday and Friday we skipped the show. Thursday was a magician who I heard was very entertaining, while Friday was the Infinity cast in a salute to the 70's. Friday evening the sea really picked up during our first seating dining. At the end of our mealtime many dressed in their finest was carefully swaying their way from the dining room. We witnessed a special Celebrity touch and the Matre'de and a number of the dining room waiters walked the more delicate guests arm in arm out of the dining room. Saturday morning brought a very bright and warm day at sea. We witnessed the first real incident of "Chair hogs" as by 8:30 all the shady pool chairs on the non-smoking side had towels, books, hats, etc all over them, yet the pools were still closed (from yesterday's rough seas?) and maybe 4 people were actually sitting near the pool. The pool deck is nice but there is not much of a breeze there, so we found a couple of deck chairs on deck 4 to relax away a good part of the morning. A full slate of at-sea activities was offered. After enjoying an outdoor lunch on deck 10 aft, we headed to dance lessons. Afterwards, I attended a Panama Canal lecture on the building of the canal during the "American era." It was well done. We finished up the day by spending some time at the pool listening to the party band, getting ready for dinner, and enjoying dinner and some dancing in the Rendezvous. We made the variety show with a comic and the singer from the other night. This was enjoyable but certainly not the strongest show of the cruise! Sunday morning brought an early Sunrise (no, we did not see it!) and sailing into Puntarenas, Costa Rica. We had prearranged with 16 other cruise critic friends to take an extensive tour with Charlie Soto of Okey-Dokey tours. We very much enjoyed our stay in Costa Rica and our tour with Charlie. We made it back to the ship at 6:10 for a 6:45 all aboard. We quickly changed our clothes and made it to dinner! Once again, we were alone at our large table. Dinner service was faster tonight! Monday is a day at sea. We participated in a tour of the galley. The galley tour ended with the SS United States specialty restaurant galley. We were given a small treat and exited into the SS United States, where a cooking demo was being prepared. We stayed for the demo and while somewhat entertaining, it became more of a sales pitch for the specialty venue. I attended the last lecture on the Panama Canal and the expansion project and thought it was excellent. Late in the day (after dinner) a variety show was presented tonight with many of the house performers from all over the ship. It was well worth attending. Tuesday was the Panama Canal crossing, the main event of the cruise and I was sick! I managed to get out on deck for crossing under the bridge of the Americas, but after that spent the rest of the day in the room with a lot of sleeping. My dear wife was charged with taking photos of the crossing and some cruise critic friends helped her out. By late evening I was feeling better. I was able to watch the ship go through the Gatun locks out our window and on the TV monitor. Seeing the sides of the canal about a foot from the window was neat. We did not use room service before today, and won't bother again. Room service gets an F-. Later in the week talked with friends in CC Class cabins and they also said room service is the one area that the Infinity seems unable to get right. Martinho was very concerned when I did not make it to dinner. Wednesday we sailed leisurely (I was told at ~8 nautical MPH) toward Cartagena, Columbia. Used the T-Pool early in the morning and relaxed nearby on loungers. Today is the second "Brunch" of the cruise. We went to the Brunch at noon. The prime rib was a "10!" Cute and delicious desserts & nice ice sculptures completed the excellent presentation. Wednesday afternoon was the captain's club party. This was some event! The packed nightclub had nearly 600 in attendance. The open bar menu had something to please everyone. A large food service was also provided (which we did not use as we had just eaten). They served drinks for over 60 minutes and the event lasted 90, including great live performances. A great white egret has become a stowaway on the Infinity. He or she must think she is flying without effort as she has perched herself directly in front of the nightclub windows. We have to believe she can't see in the windows as a dozen of more were watching and taking photos less than 3 feet from her. Wednesday night the nightclub was again hopping for the Newlywed/not so newlywed game. It sure was entertaining. Two couples finished tied for points and were both given dinners at the SS United States. Thursday morning brought us to Cartagena, Columbia. The sail in to Cartagena is very pretty, the new city sparkles on the water. We had prearranged a tour here with Dora, one of the top rated guides. It was our first time to set foot on another continent and a day we will never forget, but that is a story for the ports of call board! We keep hearing snippets about a hurricane hitting Haiti on Friday. Those poor folks don't get a break. The caused the ship to reroute its course back to Ft Lauderdale to go around the west side of Cuba. That's a bit longer, so we will be moving at near flank speed the next two days. A bunker vessel came alongside to provide additional fuel to ensure we have enough to reach FLL. We again were alone at our romantic large table for two for dinner! Martinho and Andreas honestly seem to "Miss" their guests when they choose another venue for dinner. The ship really started rocking after leaving Cartagena with the bags out by all the elevators. Tonight was the "Celebrity sweep" in the photo area where various departments are offering end of the cruise discounts. We took advantage of a photo offer. A variety show with guest performers was presented followed by the Celebrity 20th anniversary party in the nightclub. The show was good, but not as good as the performers separately. The anniversary party was a lot of fun until we couldn't stay awake - this was two late nights in a row! Friday morning was quite fun! The ship is rocking but the pools are open. We used the T-pool and had it to ourselves. Just floating back and forth with the waves is very relaxing. The hot tubs are REALLY hot today! The T-pool is pleasantly cool. Got cleaned up for the main event - somehow we scored a bridge tour invite! The bridge tour was actually a bit of a disappointment. The bridge itself is very impressive, spacious, and spotlessly clean. They only really show you the Starboard side control area. Two men on our tour dominated the session with endless questions about minutiae that most seemed not very interested in. The junior officer hosting us answered these questions but seemed unable to turn the conversation to items of a more general interest. Back to the pools we went and enjoyed another great sea day! An enjoyable final formal dinner was followed by a production show with the ships cast. This was quite enjoyable. Both before and after the show we were able to get in some dancing to the Baires quartet, performing tonight in the Martini Bar. Tonight was also the dessert extravaganza but as it began at 11:00 we gave it a pass. Saturday brings our final day on the ship. It is noticeably cooler outdoors and the wind is blowing very strong. We take in the crew's talent show, always something not to be missed. Following the show and the crew's "Goodbye wave" from the theater stage, the Celebrity Chef's competition was held. As one of our Cruise Critic group was a guest chef, we decided to stay and cheer them on. She ended up winning! We enjoyed a light lunch and tried to eat outdoors at the Ocean view bar but it was just too windy, so indoors we went. During the afternoon we listened to music, enjoyed a "Dancing with the stars" type of show with audience volunteers, and of course packed away most of our things. During dinner an announcement was made that arrival in Fort Lauderdale would be delayed until approximately 9:00 AM. Some people were extremely upset and I felt bad for the guest services staff. I had suspected arrival would be late as we needed to take the longer route around Western Cuba to avoid a hurricane / tropical storm. I don't understand why the guests were not informed earlier. With a little more notice people would not be as stressed about making changes to air reservations, etc. We were able to dance before and after dinner and bid farewell to our new friends. Due to the change at Ft. Lauderdale, we did not put our bags out and instead managed to handle our five suitcases ourselves. We were off the ship about 9:35 AM and checked in and through security at FLL by 10:30, plenty of time for our 11:50 flight. On Sunday morning we enjoyed breakfast for the first and only time this cruise in the MDR. We suddenly heard the engines throttle down and looked through the windows at the Ft Lauderdale beach. The ship's staff seemed poorly equipped to manage the many passengers who changed to the "Walk off" method of disembarkation. There was one line with 5 or 6 branches from guests waiting for the word in various areas of the ship. Getting through customs was rather fast, and a taxi got us to the airport in just a few minutes. Our flight was right on time and actually arrived about 30 minutes early into Philadelphia. Summary - What really stands out about our cruise on the Infinity is the live music and entertainment. It was much better than our prior Celebrity cruises. Food is subjective but we would say overall it was good, not great. But good is good. We loved the convenient location of our cabin, #3111. Our MDR wait staff was wonderful and we have only good things to say about the Infinity staff. The Infinity is in excellent shape - far superior to the Summit who we sailed in June. We felt like the Summit was certainly due for a refresh while the Infinity did not feel like it needs one. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
A little about us: Hubby and I decided on this cruise for our anniversary. We have sailed seven times before, always on RCCL. I almost felt like a traitor for booking with Celebrity but they offered a 10 night cruise instead of 7. I was ... Read More
A little about us: Hubby and I decided on this cruise for our anniversary. We have sailed seven times before, always on RCCL. I almost felt like a traitor for booking with Celebrity but they offered a 10 night cruise instead of 7. I was ready not to like Celebrity but I have to say, we were impressed. We had a magical cruise and below are a few of our observations of what Celebrity does so well and our opinion of what they could improve on.Seattle: We flew to Seattle a couple of days before our cruise to see the sights. Through Price-line we were booked at the Mayflower Park Hotel in downtown Seattle. This is a very nice, old hotel that has been well maintained. The rooms and elevators are small but always clean and were well furnished. My advice for touring downtown Seattle is have comfortable walking shoes. Much of it is uphill or has stairs. We enjoyed Pike Place market where the flower vendors decorate the market with beautiful flowers. There is also a fresh fish market with all kinds of seafood laid out in view. It was Mother's day when we were there and we saw people all over the downtown area carrying beautiful bouquets of flowers. Across the street from the market is the original Starbucks.Embarkation: Sorry, Celebrity, you get a D-. This was the worst embarkation ever! We waited in a mob that funneled up to one luggage xray machine that kept on breaking down. Finally got rid of our luggage, only to wait in another security line for our carry-ons. But these were nothing compared to the room full of people waiting to get signed in. We were lucky, we did get to wait in the Captains Club line but it still took us over an hour to reach the desk. Finally, we got to the desk and were helped by a woman who was moving in slow motion. I will cut them a little slack since this was the first ship out this season but really, move a little faster! Then, once on the ship was another line for getting our pictures made for the ships record. They were serving Champagne but that did nothing to make up for the nearly 2 hours it took to board. I kept wondering how long people in the regular lines must have waited to board?Our Cabin: We had an inside, deck 7 cabin. It seemed a little roomier than inside cabins we had had before. There was plenty of room for our clothes and suitcases. The bed was comfy and our cabin steward kept things nice and clean for us. The bathroom was a little difficult to use due to lack of easily accessible storage space. There is no alarm clock so take one if you need one. Captains Club: We are RCCL Emerald Crown and Anchor members. Our loyalty transferred over to CCL as Select members. After 3 days of no coupon book, I left the cabin steward a note. He then left a bottle of wine, which was very nice but how are you supposed to get it open without paying a fee? The coupon sheet they have is worthless. We didn't use a single coupon. RCCL gives some free Internet, CCL only had a discount if you bought the highest price Internet package. RCCL also gives a small gift shop discount which there was none for CCL. This is a new Captains Club program. I would have hated to see the old one. Other Passengers: DH and I are 50. While we were no means the youngest on this cruise, we weren't far from it. Average age was 60 - 80. There were a handful of kids and a few teenagers. (Probably due to the time of year when most schools aren't out for summer yet.) This was also a very international crowd with many from England, Australia and Japan.Food: The food on the Infinity was hands down the best cruise food we have ever had. The food actually had flavor. The deserts were actually sweet and had some flavor. We liked the buffet food and the dinning room food. Worth mentioning are the melt in your mouth Fillet Mignon and the Crepe Suzette. We also had the best asst. waiter we have ever had. He knew our drink preferences after the first day and had them waiting for us. He is from Belarus, has a degree in English, taught English at a medical school, speaks four languages and has a 1 year old child. I really felt like I should be waiting on him.Ports of Call: We like to just get off the ship and tour the ports on foot. That and the excursions on this cruise are very pricey. So that is what we did at most of the ports. Celebrity Life Program: Through this program, they have brought on-board a naturalist researcher named Brett Nixon. He doesn't just lecture, he is a very animated, educated story teller. He gave programs on bears, eagles, sea lions, seals and whales. They are so informative and are not to be missed. Thanks, Brett, we learned so much from you! He is scheduled to be there all this coming summer. I also enjoyed the galley tour that was given one afternoon.Entertainment: We enjoyed the various entertainment on-board but they were a little lacking on what we are used to on RCCL. The production shows were good and the singers and dancers were very energetic. I was worried when some of the first music I heard on board was "Lawrence Welk" like but they played all kinds of music so everyone should have been happy.Weather: We lucked out and had the best weather with only one day that was cloudy and a little drizzly. I had searched the reviews to get an idea of what kind of clothes to take. I would recommend a Columbia or North Face type jacket that has a heavy fleece liner and a water-proof outer jacket. The first few days, we needed our jackets to stand out on deck and also in town. We wore jeans and long sleeve shirts everyday. It was a sunny day when we were at Hubbard Glacier but it was still cold. I had taken gloves but also wished for a knit scarf for my neck and face. At Hubbard Glacier and Icy Strait we also wore Under Armor type pants under our jeans.Alaska: Having only cruised in the Caribbean and Mexican Rivera this was quite a different cruise. Unlike these areas, at any point during the cruise, you can see mountains. If you are familiar with the mountains of Colorado, imagine them 100X's bigger, flooding them and running a cruise ship down the middle, that is what Alaska is like. Rarely do you see any thing man-made on the mountains. Just tree covered mountains where the trees come all the way down to the water or where they are snow covered. We were in awe of the beauty and size of the mountains and the mile after mile of mountain ranges.The ship: I have read several reviews on how this ship is in need of repairs. I just didn't see it. It is well maintained and cleaned daily. The carpets aren't worn and we didn't have wobbly chairs. She is due for dry dock in Nov. where they are going to put in more specialty dinning. I hope they don't ruin it, I liked the dinning the way it was. The attitude is very laid back. They don't have PA announcements several times a day wanting you to come play bingo. The crew were very friendly and helpful. They really seemed to care about our satisfaction and their level of service. Even the Guest Relations personnel were smiling and friendly, who on most ships we have found to be grumpy. One day we were eating at the pool grill when one of the crew in a suit was clearing dishes from the tables. Pretty impressive that a crew member with seniority would clear tables. The future cruise lady has helpful but not overly friendly.Disembarkation: We were disappointed that the Captains Club didn't offer a disembarkation lounge like RCCL does. But we didn't need it. They don't make you clear everything out of your room at a certain time so we left our luggage in our cabin. We went and had breakfast, which wasn't crowded, and we didn't trip over everyone's luggage like usual. We got to the theater 15 min. before our appointed time but they were calling our luggage tag color. There were a couple of check points but nothing with a huge line. We found our luggage easily and off we went. So, Celebrity, you get an A+ for disembarkation.What they do best: The Food! The crew, and the basic attitude. Having Brent Nixon and other educational programs. Disembarkation.What they need to improve: EMBARKATION! Captains Club loyaltiesWould we do it again: YES,YES and YES! Would we take Celebrity again? Absolutely! Infinity? You betcha! Alaska? Don't tell anyone, but we have her booked again for next year!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
My husband and I are Americans in our 40s, Caucasian, non spanish speaking, slightly overweight but love to walk/hike, not real big shoppers. Not hard liquor drinkers but do like wine, beer and typical cocktails (margarita, pina colada, ... Read More
My husband and I are Americans in our 40s, Caucasian, non spanish speaking, slightly overweight but love to walk/hike, not real big shoppers. Not hard liquor drinkers but do like wine, beer and typical cocktails (margarita, pina colada, etc.). This was our 4th cruise. CONS: * The average age on this trip had to be 62, and I'm not exaggerating! My guess is that most people have to be retired or nonworkers to take this much time off work so you don't get the younger crowd. * There really wasn't an "upbeat" vibe on the ship (although Steve, Luisa and Valeria were great) and my guess is that with the age group of the passengers, that the folks move at a little more relaxed pace. The music entertainment throughout the ship was more relaxed as well (piano, light jazz, quartet. There was one show that had an entertainer that played some rock music which I was so excited to hear!!! * Fresh fruit was limited to oranges, apples, cantaloupe, pineapple, watermelon and honey dew. I didn't understand how you can stop at Costa Rica that exports strawberries and not have an abundance of at least that or mangoes or coconut. I did find a nectarine once but it was under ripe. * Their dessert extravaganza was a disappointment. We stayed up until 11 pm to attend and it was basically the same stuff that they had at the special brunches. * Celebrity is supposed to be known for their food but other than eating in the dining room, the buffet section got real monotonous. The same foods almost daily with very little variety. Also their buffet is set up funky. I couldn't tell if I was supposed to dish myself up or if the staff were. In a lot of cases the dishes were too far for me to even reach to scoop up the item I wanted. Very frustrating. * They have speakers throughout the cruise to give special talks which I really enjoyed but their presentations on the big screen were either blurry or the left hand side was cut off - couldn't believe this couldn't get fixed! * The photo gallery was too expensive. $20 for a picture. Overpriced in my opinion. * Their drink packages were outrageously priced. We didn't do any of the packages and took on board 8 bottles of wine without issue (2 in each suitcase and carried on 2). Even with the cost of the wine along with our drink tab on ship we still came out better than the ship's packages. We are mostly beer drinkers (even though we brought on a bunch of wine.) * The disembarkment from the ship was a disaster. The protocols were totally ignored and the staff just shrugged their shoulders. I can't believe that after having so much experience with the process they haven't perfected it. To me, it's simple, you get kicked out of line if your number is not up - but I guess they don't want to tick off all the rich people who seem to think that the rules don't apply to them. PROS: * Loved all the ports!!!!! Lots of excursion options!!! * Because of the age group of the passengers, few kids to hog up the pools and scream and yell * The Aqua Spa was fantastic! It's an indoor hot pool/whirlpool that you can just lay in to relax * Loved the entertainment on the ship - the shows were all fantastic! Especially Kimtka! We only missed one show they were that good. There was good variety too, singers, dancers, acrobatics, comedians, variety shows, vegas-type shows, etc. The strange thing was that even though the ship has older passengers, the majority attended the later show! Weird. * The Hi-C quartet were fantastic. It was 4 younger gentlemen who would sang throughout the ship at random times. We basically stalked them around the ship to listen to them. * The ice cream bar became a daily mandatory stop...hand made ice creams along with soft serve...yummy! Peanut butter being the best! * The cruise director, Steve, is fantastic! * Loved the little game room they had. They also have a library where you can check out books. * The cruise staff are outstanding and friendly!! I only had one bad experience with a guy serving at the buffet who was rude. One side of the Aqua spa wasn't working so I found someone walking by to see if they could find the right person to talk to. He hunted down the right person and then took the time to find me to tell me that it was getting addressed right then. * The cruise offered various speaker presentations (Squid presentation, Identity Theft presentation, baseball presentation, etc.) which were fantastic. I didn't attend them all, but the speakers were awesome - especially Dr. Clyde Roper with the Smithsonian. I really enjoyed this aspect of cruising. * I've only been on 4 cruises in my life and loved that they enlarged the shower space! Loved Guatemala! Note that we were on a guided tour however so never did see the "real" Guatemala other than driving by depressed areas. We did the Pacaya Volcano Hike which was spectacular. A bit of a drive (over 2 hours). When you arrive at the drop off location for the hike, you are surrounded by little kids "renting" you a hiking stick for a dollar. The sticks are literally just branches. Nothing special. If you decline then they respond with "dollar for me?" You can tell that the parents are peddling these poor kids! So sad. They also have horses that you can rent to take you up the mountain. However, we were there to hike. Now this definitely met the strenuous criteria!!!! I would say it was a couple of miles up. Note that it was a little chilly for us at the start but once you get hiking you warm right up. There are bathrooms but for the woman - bring your own toilet paper and don't expect the toilet to flush!!! If your tour is during the day, you will not see lava. However, you will see steam vents, lots and lots of them. They let you walk on the hard lava rock and in fact you get to walk into a steam vent if you want. Like a sauna. It was absolutely wonderful and spectacular. I highly highly highly recommend!!!! Afterward, they take you to a restaurant - the food was really good in my opinion, chicken breast, potato, guacamole and salsa. And a beer! At the port there is a ton of vendor shopping available. If you like funny t-shirts, they have them that say "Guat's Up!!! Guatemala" Cracked me up. There is also a stand where you can get a fresh coconut with coconut milk and you can add rum! Soooo good! Lastly, this is a good location to mail postcards. (Wasn't too happy about seeing the military with large weapons throughout the area.) Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
My husband is an engineer by profession, so when he suggested that we take the Panama Canal cruise as our honeymoon,I was a bit skeptical. Figured it wouldn't be romantic enough. But he really wanted to see the Canal, so off we went. ... Read More
My husband is an engineer by profession, so when he suggested that we take the Panama Canal cruise as our honeymoon,I was a bit skeptical. Figured it wouldn't be romantic enough. But he really wanted to see the Canal, so off we went. While we didn't book any of the honeymoon packages, we did splurge on a veranda room. And I couldn't have been more wrong...this trip exceeded my expectations. When we boarded, we learned that the ship was preparing for its dry dock to be "Solcisticed" but the updates-in-process didn't affect the enjoyment of the ship at all. In the dining room, we had a delightful headwaiter, Serhat, who gave us all sorts of insights about the ports and Johnny, who made sure our entire dining experience was marvelous. We loved the honeymoon cake they presented to us mid-voyage. The ship in little nooks and crannies was showing signs that it was time for a refresh, but for me, it's all about the service and here, the Celebrity Infinity shined! The house band upon learning it was our honeymoon, learned our wedding dance song (since it wasn't part of their regular repertoire) and invited us to re-create our wedding dance on the dance floor. For the rest of the trip, people were stopping us as "the dancing honeymooners" and Celebrity gave us a priceless memory. As ever, the food was terrific, we met the most pleasant fellow travelers, and the shore excursion options were varied and we had the best time. The only hiccup occurred when we arrived -- someone wheeled away with one of my bags, and even then, the terminal staff were sympathetic and professional. And yes, by bag did get returned to me. In all a five-star review from this traveler! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
This was the first time I had ever cruised and I'm pleased I started with a cruise to Central America and Panama Canal. The experience included some highs and lows but overall it was a great vacation. Given that it was my first ... Read More
This was the first time I had ever cruised and I'm pleased I started with a cruise to Central America and Panama Canal. The experience included some highs and lows but overall it was a great vacation. Given that it was my first cruise, and I can be hard to impress (to say the least), I was hyper-sensitive to everything around me right from the first moment we started this adventure. Embarking was odd -- we were in an Aqua Class stateroom, which has its own "express line" but our line was slower than the general boarding line. Celebrity staff on the ground were clearly disorganized but we tried not to let it bother us - we were happy to be onboard the Infinity...my lady and I went upstairs to shoot hoops on the basketball court before the ship even left because it seemed like about the oddest thing we could do. As a newbie to cruising I couldn't believe that cruise ships don't even take one night between trips to organize, stock up and clean up to ensure they present themselves as the financial juggernauts they are. But only a few hours down-time between each journey -- and this shows to anyone paying attention. When we got on-board everyone seemed to be playing catch up to the people that just boarded, just minutes after saying goodbye to the people from the previous cruise. Odd way of doing things. Our Aqua Class room (#9179) was supposed to be slightly bigger and better (size, tv, fancy face cloths etc) in all aspects than the next step down concierge class but this didn't seem obvious to us. For the first 24-48 hours some things that were promised, simply weren't there but then started appearing magically. And we had to go to guest relations to ask what bonuses and services we were supposed to get with our room...and at that point we could start asking for these things (like special pillows for those that need them). I figure if they're going to charge extra for this class of rooms, it makes sense that they would not only be clear about the services and bonuses you have paid for but they would make it a priority to ensure these things are actually made available to you without you having to do a Sherlock Holmes to figure out what you should be getting. With all this said though, the room was beautiful and a perfect place to call home for Sandy and I for the next two weeks. Our room was about midway, on the left side of the ship, which is the side of the ship that is up against the port when you dock (and lets you wake up to the "Welcome to Guatemala" sign the morning you arrive there). Hmm, maybe that's why they call the left side of the ship "port". As a newcomer to cruising I found the whole experience fascinating. The ability to bask in such comfort and luxury while waking up to a new port in a new country (or entering the Panama Canal) many mornings is simply amazing, and something that I feel truly fortunate to be able to do. And it gives you permission to really leave all your problems behind. There are a few predictable downsides to cruising (like the decadent theatre of eating, eating, eating) but this wasn't going to stop me from enjoying myself thoroughly. At this point I had better just create a couple of lists or this will be too long for anyone to read. The good: Great service and friendly staff. We could see that all staff on the ship are trained to greet you whenever possible and it makes a difference...it makes you feel good. Our room attendant Bertolino was great: He took his job seriously, was always inquiring if we were happy with things, and he helped me pull off a great (but kind of mean) April Fool's joke on Sandy. The ship is a nice size. I know they make them larger but it was big enough for me. Aqua Class turned out to be a huge bonus for us because we got to eat in the new Blu Restaurant (four course fare, a bit lighter and healthier than in the main dining room), which is reserved for people in Aqua, as well as anytime use of the ship's new Persian Garden - a series of saunas and steam-rooms for some quiet time. Perfect. The variety of things to do, nightly entertainment, sun-soaked decks, and great destinations and excursions in central America were all highlights. And thank you Alexa in guest relations for always having a smile and being so patient and helpful. The not-so-good: With service on the ship generally being so excellent, it really stands out when individual staff are not as friendly or professional as the others. The spa seemed new and disorganized, and has some problems to work out - with its services (we had a problem that was never corrected) and staff (some clearly bad attitudes here). I purchased Sandy a gift certificate from the spa for her birthday and found out many days later that they provided her with a different service than the one they sold me, and they charged us extra for it. They never accepted responsibility for this mistake. Another problem area we discovered for the ship on a whole was basic communication for fundamental things -- such as disembarking. In reality, the disembarking process wasn't anything like the process they described in the instructions they gave us the night before. And ship staff chose to not use the PA system as a way to keep people informed early on of what was going on and where people should be. While the food was good, it was not great. A lot of it was relatively bland and flavourless. Increasing the quality control over menu items (does anyone taste the appetizers and entrees before the dining room is thrown open for dinner?) would make a big difference to the cruiser, because eating is such a big part of the experience. But this may just be me...the hard to please guy. Oh, and all the chocolate-type desserts had a similarly odd flavour to them. Odd and similar. But that's nit-picking. The bottom line here is that despite some problems, our time onboard the Infinity was a great experience. A nice ship with excellent staff, keeping us entertained and comfortable, while taking us to great destinations in a blanket of warmth. I would have to be seriously grumpy to not love that. We will consider Celebrity if and when we cruise again. Thanks. 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Sail Date: April 2012
Two nights before the cruise, my husband and I stayed in Fort Lauderdale at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66, a really nice hotel, with a gorgeous view from the balcony overlooking the pier and our future cruise ship, which made for fun ... Read More
Two nights before the cruise, my husband and I stayed in Fort Lauderdale at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66, a really nice hotel, with a gorgeous view from the balcony overlooking the pier and our future cruise ship, which made for fun anticipation. Embarkation: so easy and so effortless, we thought we must be one of the only cruisers! No lines, no delays and no hassles whatsoever, we boarded and went immediately to our suite. The Royal Suite: worth every penny. We've had the suite on previous cruises and the redecorating was very good as everything was clean and almost new. This suite has a small dining room area open to the living room area and has a separate bedroom along with (my favorite!) a walk-in closet and a spacious bathroom with a spa tub and separate shower. One of the best features is a large veranda with a table and chairs for dining and two lounge chairs next to an outdoor spa tub that sadly, did not get used. A big surprise was on the first night, we received an invitation to dine at one of the specialty restaurants on board, Qsine. Probably one of the most unique restaurants, you order from an iPad and each course is presented in a clever and sometimes amusing manner with small portions of food from many different countries. The service was impeccable. Also on the first formal night, we got to sit at the captain's table in the dining room. Meeting the captain was nice as well as the other guests. Which leads me to review the food on the Infinity: By far, the BEST buffet ever, for breakfast, lunch and dinner! The freshest, ripest, most delicious fruit I have ever had in my life. If you think that's an exaggeration, all I can say is that I saw them load crates of pineapples, melons and bananas from some of the ports we stopped at in South and Central America where they grow these fruits! Absolutely unbelievable as I ate more fruit than I had a right to:>)) But not only the fruit, but since we are vegetarian, there were countless dishes we could have. Often, we will go on a cruise or to a restaurant, and for meat-eaters, there's a wide variety of choices, but for us, maybe some pasta. But on this ship, at the buffet, there was so much food for us, and really, really good food, that we definitely gained weight! Some stand-outs: The pasta bar at the buffet where you can choose whatever ingredients you want and they saute your pasta while you wait. Surprisingly, really excellent sushi (vegetarian sushi) that the chef prepared for us anytime we wanted. Delicious Indian food with just the right amount of spices. There's more, like vegeburgers and wonderful chocolate chip cookies. The only dud was mostly the desserts which even though they looked really good, were just average. But that didn't stop us from coming to the buffet as much as possible! The dining room: A big disappointment. The food was so mediocre and the service so average, that we only dined there twice on the entire cruise. Even though all the other restaurants and food more than made up for this lack of quality cuisine, the disappointment was in not meeting people, sharing experiences or enjoying the ambiance of the dining room which we've always done on previous cruises. One note, however, was the maitre d was very helpful when we wanted to change our dining time. The service: One of the BEST crews we have ever had on any ship. From the butler to just about ever single server, there were greetings, smiles and attentiveness. Our Stateroom butler, Jose, was SO terrific, we could give him twelve stars! He was always available, always friendly and so interesting to talk with. We wished we could take him home:>)) Our stateroom attendant, Nemia Deleon, was wonderful. Ricardo Gomez, a concierge, was so kind and so thoughtful. even sending a bottle of wine to our stateroom. Billy, in the restaurant Blu, was SO darling! Our group only wanted to sit at one of his tables every time we ate there. Also, the people at the concierge desk were so kind to help me use the ship's phone to call Verizon about our cellphones. I could go on and on if I knew every one's names like they knew ours! The spa: Some really good, some not so good. I had a hot stone massage that was really good, but a manicure and pedicure that was not so good. Not bad, just not good. And way overpriced, but one expects that on a cruise ship. The gym was well-stocked with treadmills and machines and a small exercise class area where I took one class. That was okay. Excursions: We decided to take excursions through Celebrity because of the sensitive (a euphemism for drug terrorists carrying you off into the jungle. What? You haven't seen Locked-Up Abroad?:>)))areas we were visiting. Our Cartagena city tour was okay, the bus ride was not so great and the sites were okay an our tour guide was average, but at least we can say we've been to Columbia. The highlight was passing by the hotel where the secret service scandal occurred! Costa Rica: We went ziplining and it was wonderful! This was also an excursion from Celebrity and we really lucked out because our tour guide, Abel Vargas, was absolutely terrific! In fact, we made a point of going to his boss who was there at the ziplining site to tell her how much we liked him. (abelvargasm@hotmail.com) He was so clever and so knowledgeable and really made the history and flora and fauna of Costa Rica come alive for us. Panama Canal was very interesting, not a place I'd want to come back to (once you've seen it kind of thing), but I did see some crocodiles basking on the bank! A highlight for us was Cabo San Lucas. There is a restaurant called The Office, that you HAVE to visit when you're there! You just take one of the countless water taxis across the bay and step off into the water of a beautiful sparkling beach. You walk up the sand to the bright blue umbrella-covered restaurant and sit at a table right there on the beach with your bare feet in the sand. It is glorious. Also, some of the best Mexican food you will ever have. Absolutely NO problem with the water or food here---it is fresh and clean. I think I must have consumed like twelve avocados in the guacamole! Back on board, we really loved the Infinity. We donated plenty to the casino, and really didn't like the video poker machines. We never heard or saw anyone win and we certainly didn't! Not that we would expect to win all the time, mind you, but at least be able to sit at a machine for a length of time. The Captain's Club lounge was a disappointment because on other ships, it's a separate room with a personal concierge. On this ship, it was in two different areas and we only used it a couple of times. Waving happily to R & D who we met on board and who we absolutely adore! The shopping area was fun for me---jewelery was a highlight to look at and consider buying until you realized that you already donated plenty to the casino:>)) But the sales people were really nice and helpful, so I didn't mind any sales pitch at all. I participated in a little jewelry fashion show that was fun. One sorry note: I lost a sapphire bracelet on board as it just slipped off my wrist without my knowing. We went to the lost and found several times a day, but all they did was rummage through a little cardboard box filled with lost sunglasses. This was really not so good and when we asked a few times if maybe they could make an announcement, they coldly declined. I know it was my fault for losing the bracelet, but I could have used a little more sympathy and help. Anyway, this was a really terrific cruise, and if you've actually read this entire review, I highly recommend Celebrity cruises and the Infinity. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
I really wanted to write a rave review, but can't even come close. I will be honest about my personal bias in some matters for which Celebrity has little or no responsibility, so that readers can sort out what's relevant to them. ... Read More
I really wanted to write a rave review, but can't even come close. I will be honest about my personal bias in some matters for which Celebrity has little or no responsibility, so that readers can sort out what's relevant to them. We arrived the day before departure, and stayed at the Inn at the Market in Seattle. Lovely inn with helpful staff, across the street from the Pike Place Market, and within easy walking distance of several restaurants and shops. Took a cab to the pier at about 1PM, where the Very Long Check In began. Got in the first line to have our bags scanned and dropped off (15 minutes), got in the next line to go up the escalator (about 30 minutes), got in another line to go through security (10 minutes), and were sorted into yet another line to be checked into our cabin. Fortunately for us, the concierge class had a very short line and we had to wait just a few minutes to see an agent for our cabin. The non-concierge passengers were herded into a zig-zagging queue that had to be several-hundred-persons long, and reminded me of Ellis Island. Even the Captains Club line had several dozen people I felt profoundly lucky. Once checked in, we ordered into another line to get our picture taken, which we quickly dodged, to get into another line to the gangway to get on the ship. The ship had a nice layout, with several unique places to enjoy a drink, hot beverage, ice cream, or just a book or a nap. It seemed well-maintained and clean. We rarely saw the officers, but didn't look for them, either. Our cabin was on the 11th floor, aft, and overlooked the bar and restaurant on the 10th deck. The balcony was not as quiet as I would have preferred, but it wasn't noisy. Smoke odor was not a problem. The problem for me was 195 SF, the room was too small. The closet and bathroom doors could not be open at the same time. Space between the foot of the bed and the mirror was about 18 inches. My DH and I couldn't dress by the closet at the same time, and since that's where the bathroom is, this required a strategic plan if one needed to shower and dress for dinner. I am fussy about hotel rooms on vacation. I originally wanted a Celebrity Suite, but when the Aqua Class staterooms were priced less than a regular balcony cabin, it seemed like a great deal. We saved money, but at the expense of enjoying our cabin. The room was attractively decorated and well appointed. Our cabin steward truly understood customer service, and intuited our preferences with incredible speed. The best cabin steward we had ever had. FTR, we left him a nice extra tip. The other problem with the cabin was our neighbors, who were traveling with friends and considered every cruise a booze cruise. The more drunk they got the louder they got, and they were loud to begin with. At one point, somebody was yodeling. I wish I was making this up, and I know it's not the cruise line's fault. By the time the cruise had come to an end, I wanted to toss live crabs on their balcony. Dining became an ordeal that I didn't look forward to. We were assigned to Blu, and appeared as scheduled the first night. We waited about 15 minutes to be seated when about half of the space was empty. Once seated, water was promptly poured, and we waited for a waiter. Our food came out in good time, but I had to ask for wine and my husband for iced tea after our food was served. This required the sommelier. My wine came, and my husband ate his meal without his tea. I asked for a wine refill, which the waiter brought, and nobody asked my husband if he would like another beverage. Our waiter was looking around the dining room while serving us, to see what was going on, I suppose. This entire scene repeated itself the next night, and at the main dining room days later. The buffet was, well, a buffet. Nothing to write home about. Plenty of food, not a lot of flavor. Again, beverages created bafflement; a coke or an iced tea apparently had to be delivered by tugboat from a cache on a nearby island. Dinner needed a Benny Hill soundtrack to make it complete. The SS United States was the exception to our dinnertime debacles. It was the fine dining experience in food and service that we expected (and paid extra for) from beginning to end. We loved it. My DH doesn't drink at all, but I do. I purchased the premium non-alcoholic beverage package for him, and the premium alcohol package for me. He didn't mind accompanying me to check out a couple of the lounges. We went to the Constellation lounge in the front of the ship, which is a good place to nap in the daytime. He accompanied me for an after-dinner drink at Michael's Club. We both enjoyed the bartenders' acrobatics at the Martini Bar. I enjoyed the Sunset Martini, and wish we would have gone to the Martini Bar earlier in the trip. We both enjoyed the Naturalist, Brent Nixon, and his discussions about Alaskan wildlife and sea life were packed for good reason. He had plentiful information presented in a funny and memorable style. After the first lecture we attended, we would plan around his talks! DH and I looked forward to the spa. We have had outstanding spa experiences on another cruise line, had heard good things about the Infinity, and were hoping for a similar experience. This was not going to happen. The spa was understaffed and ill-equipped. The Infinity has a nice Persian garden facility with multiple steam rooms and showers located behind the desk, but you need to figure it out for yourself. Tours were not offered. No spa shoes. Water not available for spa patrons. Robes checked in and out at the front desk with the locker key. The desk staff was not friendly, and insisted on booking the least desirable appointment times first. There was a locker room attendant, but she read her magazine and did not offer help. The locker room offered the same shampoo, conditioner, and lotion that was in the stateroom, but that was it. I asked for a hairdryer at the front desk, and the attendant told me that they don't have them "because electricity and water don't mix." Better not tell her about the electric Azipod propulsion units submerged as we speak. The cherry on top of this cruise of disappointment was the offensive treatment that we received at Guest Relations. I do not use "offensive" lightly. I recognize mistakes, I expect inexperience and a certain amount of incompetence. All of this is manageable and forgivable if addressed. You allow your employees to deliberately offend me and you've lost me as a customer for life. The first sea day, I checked our account on the television service, and found that drinks were incorrectly charged to us. I went to Guest Relations, explained the mistake, and was told that it would be taken care of. A few days later, I looked, and the charges were still there. I went back down to Guest Relations and was again told that the charges would be removed. After receiving our invoice the night before departure, we reviewed the charges, and the incorrect drink charges will still there. Now, I was irritated. I waited in yet another Celebrity line at Guest Relations (last night on the cruise). When I got to the desk, I asked to see a manager. The desk agent asked if she could help me, and for the third time, I explained the problem. She said she would take care of it. I said that I was not leaving until I had received a credit or spoken to a manager. I asked for her manager's name. She refused to give it to me. The Guest Relations agent then accused me of lying, buying drinks for friends and trying to get out of the bill, and argued and argued with me. In front of employees and customers. I was beyond livid at this point, but was so insulted, that I was not going to leave until justice was served. I don't even like writing about this; it makes me upset. Lesson learned. I don't ever want to be a "Celebrity" again. When people ask about our cruise, I tell them about Alaska. Alaska was beautiful, Alaskans were friendly, there was so much to see and do! It was a great experience, and I want to go back. But I don't tell them about the cruise. I don't care to remember it. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
EMBARCATION: We went aboard at about 11am and it went smoothly. At that time there were no lines, so our concierge priority boarding wasn't needed. The lounges were available immediately. The staterooms were ready at about ... Read More
EMBARCATION: We went aboard at about 11am and it went smoothly. At that time there were no lines, so our concierge priority boarding wasn't needed. The lounges were available immediately. The staterooms were ready at about 12:45pm. SHIP: Decor was subdued but very nice. Everything was kept clean and was in good repair. Glass elevators facing the exterior were nice with views of the ports. CABIN 8139: concierge class Our cabin was very pleasant and a decent size for a cruise ship. The balcony was small but nice. I wish it was large enough for a lounge chair so you could stretch out. There was a reasonable amount of drawers for a 7 day cruise, but it might be tight for a longer cruise. The location was close to midship and that helped reduce feeling the movement of the ship. It was close to the library and elevators but not so close as to hear people or mechanical noise. The sound proof was adequate with quiet neighbors but you could hear thumping. The curtain in the shower constantly stuck to our legs and the water temperature varied. The concierge class was not much of an advantage and I would not pay for it again. The robes were nice, but not used much. The fresh flowers were very plain (not a bouquet). The daily canapes were repetitive and just average. The "enhanced" room service menu was only for breakfast and not very impressive. There is no way to find the enhanced menu on your own. It is on a separate folding card stuck in the back flap of the general information book. The page for regular room service doesn't direct concierge class guests to the enhanced menu and I had to call guest services to find out about it. As a cabin, I give it an A minus, but I wouldn't do concierge again, just a well located balcony cabin next time. Having a balcony is worth the upgrade price and is a must for us. Sitting outside on sea days and views of the ports when you wake up---priceless. FOOD: Celebrity deserves its reputation for above average food. I have been on Holland America, Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean and the food on Celebrity is noticeably better. Every dish in the main dining room was very good and some were excellent. On the second formal night, the lobster tails were divine. Every night there we had a dessert that was at least "very good." The quality of the food in the Ocean Cafe was better than other cruise lines, but leaned towards spicy dishes so I didn't have many choices to my taste. My husband found many items that he liked. The pizza and burger stations were about average for cruise food. At peak times, the crowds were daunting and the lines were not well managed for traffic logistics. Cafe Al Bacio had complimentary snacks that changed at different times of the day. The lunch time mini sandwiches were EXCELLENT, fresh, tasty and made from high quality ingredients. I would ask for a platter of these as a substitute for lunch in the Ocean Cafe. Delicious! I didn't try the breakfast pastry or late afternoon/evening desserts but there was an impressive variety available for no extra charges. SPECIALTY FOOD: Since it was our honeymoon, we splurged and tried almost all the specialty food venues. The Bistro on Five (crepes for $5) was terrific. An EXCELLENT value. The food was yummy and it was a great substitute for the Ocean Cafe. Everything in Bistro on Five was delicious. SS United States restaurant was disappointing. The room is plain and does not set an impressive tone. The starters were delicious. We chose lobster for the main course and it was unpleasant. Both my husband and I crunched into at least 2-3 bits of shells amongst our lobster bites. The sauce detracted from the flavor of the lobster and it was overcooked and therefore rubbery. The desserts were average for a decent restaurant at home. The cheese cart was impressive and delicious. Overall, not at ALL worth the $40 per person, it didn't exceed the satisfying quality of food in the main dining room. Qsine This is a wacky restaurant that is edgy and fun. The concept is to look over a set of about 20 dishes that will come in tapas size portions. You can eat as much as you want. Each dish is a clever set of tastes. We tried five items and liked them all. Some were good and some were excellent. My husband the sushi fanatic said the Sushi Lollipops were the best he had had in his life. I loved the cupcake kit for dessert. This was worth the $40 per person extra charge because of it was an unusual experience in addition to good food. ACTIVITIES: For the first time, I did the Cruise Critic roll call and welcome party on the first day of the cruise. I am very glad I did. We met a lovely couple from Wales and a family from Chester England. Several times during the cruise, we ran into them again and they were great company. The Celebrity Today newsletter listed a fairly typical set of activities. The Trivia hosts were energetic and fun. They varied the type of trivia offered. The prizes were the average cruise stuff of key rings and luggage tags. We teamed up with our new friends from cruise critic on several occasions and had a good time. We didn't participate in some of the other activities but we saw an interesting variety. They set up a Kinetc video game and had team bowling and dance games. The officers versus guests Family Feud looked fun and had interesting props. We heard good things about the Dancing with the Stars parody activity. Our new friends saw the naturalist Brent Nixon and said he was a bit wacky but very interesting. We saw three of the shows on board. They were fine, but not thrilling.I'd give it a grade of B. Good value because they are free, but if I had paid theater ticket prices I would have said "eh". There was a very good variety of performers in the various shows. The Newlywed Game is not exactly a show, but it was silly fun to watch. It would have been good to know about several activities a day or two in advance so that we could decided to arrange our schedule to catch things of interest- like the Iron Chef type demonstration. Also, I wish that there were more activities after the second seating of dinner. There was always lounge music, but a late night trivia or naturalist talk would have suited the fair number of night owls who didn't want to party. SERVICE: The staff was very good. Everyone was very friendly and went out of their way to greet guests and be talkative. We had Select dining and the waiters treated us well despite our not assigned to them for the week. They were not motivated by expectations of tips, they did a good job for everyone. The only concern about the hotel services wasn't about staff. The logistics for several things needed to be worked out better. At one point in mid day at Ketchikan, both gangways were being run in the same direction. We wanted to get off and had to stand and wait for 10-15 minutes while they figured out that one of the gangways should be "leaving" and one should be for "returning". The loading of tenders with shore excursion groups was a little bumpy. Lines for leaving the ship at port were also poorly managed. The Ocean Cafe design does not lend itself to handling peak time crowds and so some staff should be assigned to help direct the flow of traffic. Basically, send the managers to Disneyland to learn how to manage large groups of people with minimum frustration. VICTORIA as a PORT: The timing of the visit to Victoria is just dumb. We arrived at 6pm and stayed until midnight. Unless you booked an excursion, this is a lousy time to see this lovely place. There are nice museums and tourist attractions in Victoria, but they are closing as you arrive. Even the souvenir shops shut up at about 9pm. We had an AWESOME dinner at a local restaurant called Nautical Nelly's. DISEMBARCATION: We went to guest services and had no trouble getting an earlier time for leaving the ship. Our luggage was taken off promptly and the process was well organized. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
Overall we were very pleased with our cruise. This was our first time on Celebrity,and the first cruise we've taken in years. The room was actually bigger than I expected, with plenty of storage, although the bed and pillows were ... Read More
Overall we were very pleased with our cruise. This was our first time on Celebrity,and the first cruise we've taken in years. The room was actually bigger than I expected, with plenty of storage, although the bed and pillows were painfully hard. In room movies were great,for times when we just wanted to relax. Our last trip to Alaska was 11 years ago with our girls, then 25 & 17. We did numerous excursions booked through the boat and were extremely pleased with everything we did and saw. Wish we could say the same for this trip. Our experience this time was not only disappointing experiences, which we could live with, but when we went to cancel our third one for Skagway after returning from another $400 disappointment we were told in a very rude manner that we needed to do so 48 hours in advance, it was only 36 hours, and there would be no credit or refund possible. The nasty attitude continued with and escalated when talking to the Manager, I believe Sofia. She finally told my husband they would try selling our tickets and if they couldn't they would deliver them back to our room by 9pm that evening and/or leave us a message. When we returned to our room at 11pm no message, no tickets so we assumed all had been taken care of. I woke at 5am, still no tickets. Back up again at 7:30am and they were there. We were not happy. I went down to their office and threw a fit. The young man I spoke to calmed me down and I explained in detail what happened and added that my husband has MS and stress makes his condition worse and the way he was treated was unacceptable.I also told him his knee went out on our last excursion and didn't want him going in a canoe. He was very understanding and tried to convince the manager to make an exception as we didn't try to do this at the very last minute. She came out to talk to me and was extremely rude. I won't bore you with any more details but we had the Customer Relations Manager get involved and she witnessed the way we were being treated and thankfully took care of everything and gave us a refund. Unfortunately it ruined several hours of our vacation. We then went into town and found a fabulous tour given by Klondike Tours http://www.klondiketours.com/index.html. It was three hours long on a 20 person heated bus for $45 a person. We did the White Pass Tour and they added a city and cemetery tour. There was every age group on this tour and we all enjoyed it. Our guide, Joe, gave us so much information about every aspect of the town and the Gold Rush and all the people involved. I didn't think I was interested in those things but he made it so interesting that it really made the trip for me. We would recommend this company highly after our experience and if you look at their website they have numerous excursions for one half or less the price of the ones from Celebrity. They guarantee to get you back on the boat in time too so don't let Celebrity scare tactics keep you from trying someone else. Overall our cruise was wonderful and the rest of the staff were great, very accommodating. Other than the excursions I would recommend this cruise to people. The food was good, except the buffet, the service was good. The boat was beautiful, nice remodel. Our room was lovely, plenty of storage, nice view from our balcony. The entertainment was also good. Minus the excursions, next time we will book our own, we felt it was good value for the money and would consider Celebrity again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2012
Embarkations-Very smooth!! They know what they are doing. Everyone was eager to answer any questions we had, and make sure we were comfortable. Cabin-9067-Concierge Class A+-Great room. Lots of storage space!! Our room attendant was ... Read More
Embarkations-Very smooth!! They know what they are doing. Everyone was eager to answer any questions we had, and make sure we were comfortable. Cabin-9067-Concierge Class A+-Great room. Lots of storage space!! Our room attendant was wonderful! HE made sure we had what we needed and had great customer service! We loved sitting out on our balcony everyday! So Relaxing!! We ordered room service several times, and the room attendant brought it right up. We have fruit daily, tea and appetisers every night in our room waiting for us when we returned. I was so happy we upgraded to Aqua-class. There was so much that came with our package. The spa was wonderful!! We tried to take advantage of everyone pampering us! We were so happy to get the The Celebrity Today newsletter daily so we knew what to expect daily and what was going on. That was our lifeline to the ship!! and much appreciated to have the information. Food-We loved all the food. There were so many choices and locations to choose from. We ate dinner at the Blu restaurant-fantastic! Customer service was awesome!! They made recommendations that suited your taste. Our server got to know us and made all the right choice to make our dining experience one to look forward to daily! We didn't eat anything on the ship that was not wonderful! Loved the fresh fruit in the Ocean view! Cheeseburgers were mouth watering! Entertainment- was excellent! Loved the Broadway style shows! We planned our day out the night before and tried to make the most of our time on the ship! We never had a dull moment. Even when we chose to go to the spa and relax in the hot tub afterwards. We were happy there was a heated pool/hot tubs for adults only. It was nice to relax and enjoy some quiet time, and also not have kids splashing us or being loud. Service-was excellent! We did not have one bad experience. This was our first cruise. Seemed like there were staff everywhere we went to wait on us. Lines were great coming and going. There were lines, but that's part of getting hundreds of people off at one time. We never waited longer than 20 minutes coming and going at each port! Excursions-we had several wonderful trips at each port! I booked them all online ahead of time. It was perfect, because I paid for them as I booked them and didn't have to pay for them all at one time. We felt like we got to see Alaska and have life experiences at each port. Disembarkation- was very well organized. We received a letter a few days before, so we knew exactly what we needed to do. We never felt like we couldn't ask questions if we didn't know something or go to customer service to inquire about changes we needed made. They jumped to make it happen!! Over all this was a wonderful experience! We will definitely cruise with Celebrity again and again!! Cant wait to start planning our next trip! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
We sailed out of Seattle on June 22, 2012 on Celebrity Infinity, on a 7 night cruise to Alaska with 4 port stopovers. It was our 40 th anniversary gift to ourselves, an " out of the box " adventure for 2 experienced city kids. ... Read More
We sailed out of Seattle on June 22, 2012 on Celebrity Infinity, on a 7 night cruise to Alaska with 4 port stopovers. It was our 40 th anniversary gift to ourselves, an " out of the box " adventure for 2 experienced city kids. The ship and cruise line exceeded our expectations in every respect. The ship layout is well defined and organized. The food is excellent and varied from gourmet to burgers and pizza in at least 10 or 12 venues. The entertainment is superior every night . . 3 Broadway quality Productions, Comedy Show, Magician and Illusionist, late night dance parties, 6 to 8 venues with a series of rotating musical groups from guitar to jazz combo to classical trio to acapella groups . . each day and night was full of opportunities. The Service is first class, period, and friendly and eager to please. There is a big outdoor pool and jacuzzi area, and an adjacent indoor one too . . PLUS a great Spa and Persian Gardens area with Saunas, Steam Rooms, and full Spa facilities, workout gym, etc. We booked an Aqua Class Cabin with balcony, well worth it, and our semi-private dining room was Blu . . we loved it ! Cabin was roomy with a LOT of storage ( suitcases and all bags fit under the beds ). Balcony seems like a must . . adds to perceived and real open feeling, and is great to sit outside and relax in comfort. Whale Watching and White Pass Rail Trips were great. Weather wes lousy but who cares, it is ALASKA ! Rugged, wild, expansive, rains a lot, low clouds and foggy . . seemed perfect. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
My husband and I are loyal RCCL cruisers and in our early 50's. This was our 30th Wedding Anniversay and our friend who is a travel agent recommended we try Celebrity. So off we went to Alaska on the Celebrity Infinity. What a great ... Read More
My husband and I are loyal RCCL cruisers and in our early 50's. This was our 30th Wedding Anniversay and our friend who is a travel agent recommended we try Celebrity. So off we went to Alaska on the Celebrity Infinity. What a great decision we made. We sailed at the end of June out of Seattle and booked an Aqua Class cabin. We arrived in Seattle the Wednesday evening before the cruise. We stayed at the Mayflower Park Hotel in downtown Seattle. It was a lovely hotel and right in the center of things. We were able to do a Savor Seattle tour the next day which I highly recommend. Saw all the tourist stuff. Seattle is a great city. We arrived at the pier around 11am by cab and were able to check in right away. The line for Aqua Class passengers moved very quickly and efficiently. We were onboard in under half an hour. Mimosa in tow we went up to Bistro on Five for lunch. I want to thank my fellow cruisecritic members for this tip on the first day. The food was great and the service excellent. We had lunch there several times during the trip. Our cabin was ready before 1pm and our luggage came quickly after that. We met Norma our Aqua Class cabin steward who was wonderful. Anything you needed she was there. Let me tell you these people work hard and always have a smile on their faces. Every staff member we saw from the people wiping down the staircases to the Captain always had a hello with a smile on their face. The cabin was very nice and had lovely amenities such as a shower with a waterfall shower head and spa jets. Let me tell you I loved this shower. I could actually move in it. The cabin was very clean and the bed was extremely comfortable. We had Aqua Class dining in Blu which was a five star dining experience every night. We did not have dinner in the speciality restaurants during the week. Service during all of our meals was exceptional. A shout out to Donovan, Billy, Enrique, Gabrial, Svetlana and many others. We were able to dine around 6:30pm every evening which worked well for us. The first night we had a window seat and were seated next to a lovely couple celebrating their 55th Wedding Anniversary. Great conversation. The next night they asked to sit next to us and we ended up eating together every night after that. Great company, great food, and even greater wine. The breakfasts in Blu were alway excellent. The muesli made to order was delicious. The smoothies were varied and delicious. The entertainment on this ship was phenomenal in my opinion. Having sailed on the larger RCCL ships with larger productions the Celebrity Infinity entertainment was superb. These people put their heart and soul into every show. The entertainment throughout the other areas of the ship were also great. They had a comedian who was very funny. The illusionist, Jason Bishop was phenomenal. If you have a chance to see him please do. They also had arielists who were artists in the true sense of the word. The cruise director, Ian did a fabulous job the entire week. The speaker, Brent Nixon was not to be missed. His passion for Alaska is unparrelled. Everyone should hear him speak. The ports of call for this cruise were Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, and Victoria, B.C. In Ketchikan we did a seaplane tour through the Misty Fjords with Seawind Aviation which I booked directly with the company. The scenery was spectacular. We flew through the fjord and landed on a lake and were able to get out of the plane to view the majestic landscape. After this we walked through the town down to Creek Street. There are a lot of great shops down there. Bought some Alaskan art. In Skagway we booked a White Pass summit tour with Discover Skagway tours. This was amazing. In Juneau we took the blue bus to the Mendenhall Glacier and walked to Nugget Falls to see the glacier and the waterfall. Let me tell you this gives you an appreciation for mother nature. In Victoria, B.C. we did a classic car tour of the city in a 1965 Pontiac Parisienne. I felt like a movie star. Disembarkation was a breeze. It was so organized. We had an early flight so we were in one of the first groupings to get off the shop. We were off the ship in half an hour and on our way to SeaTac for the flight home. I know that everyone has a different cruise experience but I hope that everyone can see Alaska once in their lifetime. It is an amazing place and the people who live there are very passionate and friendly. Would I sail Celebrity again? In a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
So as it goes with suites and aquaclass passengers embarkation was great since we get expedited check in. I also did my on line check in so that made it even faster with a total of 10 minutes from taxi at port to champagne on board. My ... Read More
So as it goes with suites and aquaclass passengers embarkation was great since we get expedited check in. I also did my on line check in so that made it even faster with a total of 10 minutes from taxi at port to champagne on board. My original state room was 6027 aquaclass, but when I looked at it I had to call down and complain. The bathroom mirror was shattered, and some of the shower glass cracked. The told me yes that they knew this on the last cruise and he just not gotten the materials for the repair yet. I complained even more. Not only are you aware the room is damaged but you have it to me any way! So they upgraded me into a sky suite, that had no damage. My new state room was 9023. It was spacious and beautiful, but then again Celebrity is always beautiful. In a sky suite you also have a butler which I found entertaining. I don't think we called on our butler once the entire cruise. I simply don't need a butler, and am pretty self sufficient, but he was there should we have needed him. As with aquaclass we dined in Blu every night. I find food a bit difficult for me on cruises. It is not there fault however but my own. I only eat white meat boneless skinless chicken. I do not eat any other meat seafood or fish. Every cruise I have taken thus far typically only have one constant chicken dish. Cruises are usually geared around a culinary journey. So for 6 nights I ate their constant menu dish of airline chicken. It is well named as the texture and taste do represent airline food well. The staff was courteous as always, the shining star ??of staff members was none other than Ian the cruise director, and on this cruise I didn't have any staff member below par so there isn't one to complain about. The shows were entertaining, all of the performers did a very good job. I especially enjoyed the boogie wonderland show. I taped my feet to every song. The ports were all wonderful, and beautiful. They all offered shopping galore and great excursions. I bought a few new pieces of jewelry, and enjoyed every shop. We went through the Tracy Arm Fjord, and it was breath taking I spent hours on my veranda watching and taking photos. We got so close to the glacier that my zoom lense made it look as though we were against it. I did find shopping on board the ship a little lacking, but where it lacked the casino sure made up for it. No I didn't win but I lost well! This cruise is one I recommend, and as always book aquaclass or higher. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2012
The Celebrity Infinity Alaskan Cruise was a good experience and I would recommend doing it - once. Before I dive into a more detailed review it's worth noting that I start with a bias - I love cruise vacations. I've been on at ... Read More
The Celebrity Infinity Alaskan Cruise was a good experience and I would recommend doing it - once. Before I dive into a more detailed review it's worth noting that I start with a bias - I love cruise vacations. I've been on at least 14 that include itineraries within the Caribbean, Mexico, the Mediterranean and now Alaska. I've sailed on 4 different lines (Carnival, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity) and have found that Celebrity Cruises meet my needs and wants the best. Overall, I like the Celebrity experience for three primary reasons: the ship interiors reflect an understated high end design, the food quality is excellent, and the service is consistently well executed. Despite my preference for Celebrity, I've never been on a cruise I haven't enjoyed. I like being on the water and the overall experience of sailing on a ship. I like visiting different ports of call without the hassles of packing and unpacking. I find the value of a cruise exceeds, dollar-for-dollar, a comparably priced land based vacation. Finally -- if I am on a cruise I am also on vacation so what's not to enjoy? Regarding the Alaska experience - it was wonderful but I'll never do it again. One morning at 6am, when we were sailing through the Tracy Arm Fjord, I was wearing 2 layers of clothing, a cable knit sweater, a rain jacket, gloves, a hat and was wrapped in a wool blanket. While I was bundled up in the cold morning mist, watching cruise attendants try to sell $9 "souvenir" mugs of hot chocolate to other frigid guests, I quietly thought to myself, "did I really pay for this experience?" While the Tracy Arm Fjord, and indeed all the nature I experienced in Alaska, was beautiful and even breathtaking, it was also cold, windy, rainy and cloudy. It was toward the end of summer (early September) so I expected this. I also realized that I prefer warm weather vacations. I'd still recommend going to Alaska because it's worth seeing. I took advantage of being there -- I saw black bears, humpback whales, glaciers and took active tours that put me in the middle of the scenery. It was great. But once was enough! It was disappointing for me to see so many people never venture past the utterly fake "Alaskan" experience of small-town ports designed and staffed by the cruise lines or their affiliates. If you are headed to Alaska and your only experience is a short walk from the ship to the next "Tanzanite International" jewelry store my recommendation is don't go! If you are going to spend your time and money on an Alaskan vacation then go and see it! Get out there and experience it! Put yourself in the center of what Alaska has to offer. It's truly wonderful -- despite the weather. When deciding on a cruise I find the choice of ship is as important as the destination itself. The Celebrity Infinity is a "Millennium Class" ship -- meaning that it shares the same general blueprint design of the Celebrity Millennium ship. There are 4 ships in that series -- the Millennium, Infinity, Constellation and Summit. The Infinity was completed in 2001. I sailed it in 2004 and remember being impressed. In 2008, Celebrity celebrated the inaugural sailing of their first new class of ship in nearly a decade -- the Solstice. The Solstice is bigger than the Millennium ships and features many new innovations and entertainment venues. Since then a total of 5 "Solstice Class" ships have been released: the Solstice, Eclipse, Equinox, Silhouette and the Reflection. Within the last year, each Millennium Class ship underwent a major multi-million dollar renovation branded as a "Solsticzation." Through this process the older ships were outfitted with some of the new innovations and entertainment venues found on Solstice Class ships. Since I've sailed on the Solstice, Eclipse and Equinox I was anxious to check out the new and improved "Solsticized" Infinity. As I mentioned, I love being on the water and the experience of sailing on a ship. I could take a cruise to nowhere and thoroughly enjoy myself. I chose this Alaska cruise equally for the experience of Alaska as I did for the experience of sailing on the newly remodeled Infinity. It didn't disappoint. The ship looks fantastic -- fresh and new despite being more than a decade old. It was fun to experience new venues like the chic Martini Bar, unique specialty restaurants like "Qsine" and "Bistro on 5," as well as other public venues like the "Cellar Masters" wine bar or the re-purposed "Michael's Club" which is now a micro-brew pub. The new Infinity felt like a smaller and more intimate version of the Solstice Class ships. If I was disappointed by anything it was some of the food options and inconsistent service experience -- which was surprising given the consistently great experiences I've had on so many previous Celebrity cruises. The Infinity's upscale ocean liner themed restaurant, the S.S. United States, offers French cuisine similar to the "Murano" branded restaurants found on Solstice class ships. The similarities end there. The service was way off, the food wasn't prepared well (deflated souffle's among other obvious mis-steps) and a faded decor in need of its own refresh all contributed to the disappointment. I don't think this venue was touched during the renovation and I didn't feel value for the extra $40/person charge. Based on previous experience this should have been one of the "highlight" dinners of the week. In contrast, the new "Blu" restaurant was superb! Blu is a contemporary restaurant venue available to guests who book "Aqua Class" rooms. It's small, minimalist in design, with a focus on contemporary cuisine and modern service (attentive but not stuffy). Unfortunately, I only ate there once. My partner and I were traveling with a friend who was booked in another class of room and Celebrity staff would not allow him to dine with us in Blu -- even for a fee. This was extremely disappointing. The venue was seldom full at the times we chose to eat and they could have easily accommodated him. I understand that Celebrity needs to ensure a consistent experience for those who book in a higher class of room -- but I can think of several easy solutions to this non-issue which became a service issue in my eyes. All this reference to "class" really did take me back in time: were we sailing on the Titanic? With regard to service overall, I could list many other inconsistencies but by far one of the biggest problems was the lack of bar service. It often took 10 minutes or longer to get a single drink order placed during peak times. This was the case at every bar we tried and was a consistent frustration that I, and many others, expressed throughout our cruise vacation. Celebrity -- you are not only disappointing your guests you are leaving money on the table! Fix it! Speaking of class, the staterooms are divided as such and include Standard Cabins, Concierge Class or Aqua Class. All these cabin classes are roughly identical in size but differentiated by their location on the ship and other "amenities." In my opinion, with the exception of the fabulous "Blu" dining venue available exclusively to Aqua Class guests, the list of amenities does not justify the price difference. A better robe? A pillow menu? A "free" bottle of low quality sparkling wine? Afternoon "canapes" which are ridiculously small? A "fresh" flower which ended up being a single alstroemeria stem that was never replaced all week? A shower with multiple jets with barely enough water pressure to matter? Are these "amenities" really worth hundreds of dollars more per person? It's ultimately up to you but my advice would be to save your money and book a standard cabin, bring your own better bottle of champagne and order room service as an alternative to afternoon "canapes." Beyond Aqua Class there are several types of suites available which offer larger rooms and higher levels of personal service which might be worth the extra cost depending on your expectations and vacation budget. Overall, this was a good cruise vacation. Alaska is spectacular if you're willing to be a little adventurous and see it beyond the immediate port of call. It's certainly worth doing once in your life. The Celebrity Infinity is a beautiful, small (by modern standards) ship that's well maintained with a good variety of entertainment venues and restaurant choices. The food and service on this cruise was inconsistent in areas but good overall and I would still recommend choosing Celebrity over other lines. I'm giving the cruise product 3.5 stars because it was good, not great. But I did have a great time. After all, I was on vacation. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
Embarkation was quick an uneventful, as it has been on all three Celebrity cruises I have taken. I recommend Aquaclass not only for the spa advantages and Blu dining but also for expedited check in. Cabo San Lucas, and Puerta Vallarta ... Read More
Embarkation was quick an uneventful, as it has been on all three Celebrity cruises I have taken. I recommend Aquaclass not only for the spa advantages and Blu dining but also for expedited check in. Cabo San Lucas, and Puerta Vallarta were the only two ports worth visiting. We did not book any excursions. Personally you can only zip line, parasail, and lay out on a beach so many times before frankly you have just done it. I personally though the Guatemala and Costa Rica ports were disgusting. Even the air risked of dirty. The cruise ship however was beautiful as is typical for Celebrity. This was my second cruise on the infinity in six months so it was a little boring the second time. The main shows were the same, but still very good. The comedian Fred Klett was beyond hilarious. Other than that the other shows were a waste of time, energy to the performers, and money for the cruise line to book. The staff were wonderful courteous, and efficient. A bright shining star of staff members was an activities staff person named Mark Western. He was wonderful, and single handedly made our cruise spectacular. He was so funny, and worked so hard to make you feel wanted and welcomed. The worst staff person was the cruise director Patti Honecki. Not only was she not personable, she was also never around. I only saw her o. The ship off stage once, and that's pretty bad for a 15 day cruise. While on stage she was unimpressive, and her attempt at humor always fell short of funny and fell far more into awkward. I do however give her kudos for loosing the 60 pounds she lost. She only told us every time she got on stage. There was a norovirus outbreak, but the staff got on top of it, and my husband and I did not end up getting sick. All in all this cruise was good, as far as the ship it was perfect the ports fell short. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
My wife and I, along with five other couples recently completed a 14 night cruise from Valparaiso, Chile to Miami via the Panama Canal. The purpose of this cruise was to celebrate my 70th birthday. This was our 18th cruise and we have ... Read More
My wife and I, along with five other couples recently completed a 14 night cruise from Valparaiso, Chile to Miami via the Panama Canal. The purpose of this cruise was to celebrate my 70th birthday. This was our 18th cruise and we have Elite status. I mention this so that others realize we are not new to this game. We flew into Santiago four days early, staying at the Marriott hotel, in order to spend time in the city and take a day trip into the Andes. To reach Valparaiso we also hired a van at the hotel and toured our way to the ship. Boarding went very smoothly, and in less than 20 minutes we were aboard, and in our Aqua class cabins. Everyone in our group seemed more than pleased with the ship. the food, the crew, and just about everything connected with this cruise. Two of the couples having recently completed a cruise from Istanbul to Dubai on Regent, seemed especially pleased, so much so that they cancelled another cruise with the same line for this fall, and booked a Celebrity cruise instead. In fact four of the couples also booked a 14 night cruise with Celebrity for next March. The only negative was a small outbreak of Noro that reared up. Having said that, I must commend the ship's staff for keeping the outbreak under control by constantly cleaning, cleaning, and then cleaning again. It worked! The number of cases was held in check, the spreading of the virus was stopped and the cruise continued. Yes, it did cause some confusion and a bit of chaos in Oceanview, but I figure that so many crew members were wiping down the ship that some services suffered. A first world problem, really. I suppose that if one was confined to one's cabin, then the trip would suffer, but what other choice is there? As for ports on this cruise, I would refer you to other reviews. In general, I concur with what others have written. The passage through the canal was fascinating, and Cartagena was our favorite stop. We got off the ship right on time and were deposited quickly at the airport. That is another story for another time! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
Overall - we loved our cruise. We had a great time on the ship and in port. I got slightly bored on the at sea days because it was chilly sometimes and everyone was wrapped up in blankets at the pool. My husband and I are in our 30s and we ... Read More
Overall - we loved our cruise. We had a great time on the ship and in port. I got slightly bored on the at sea days because it was chilly sometimes and everyone was wrapped up in blankets at the pool. My husband and I are in our 30s and we don't have kids so we were looking for a cruise not crowded with kids that also had a lower average age. Average age onboard - excellent. Hardly any kids and I would say the median was ~upper 50s which is pretty good for a cruise. Embarkation - AWESOME. We were one of the first on board. No LINE! We arrived from the airport at the port at 11:15AM around the time they started checkin. Concierge Class - we didn't think Concierge Class was worth it at all. We were almost first in line to checkin and get on the ship. We got on before everyone else so priority boarding wouldn't have helped. For disembarkation - I would have been happy to wait on the ship til everyone else got off. We did like the afternoon snacks (canapes) in our room but that was the ONLY perk of Concierge (besides the stateroom which we loved) that we liked. Stateroom - Our state room was perfect - loved the balcony. Plenty of space for us and storage. Toiletries provided were not great and I wish I had brought my own. Service - amazing service in restaurants, at the pool, at the bar and our cleaning staff. Guest relations and shore excursions staff left something to be desired. Food & Bars - outstanding. Buffet did get crowded at times and we were rushed once or twice in Main dining room (celebrity select). We did a bar crawl every night. Specialty restaurants were all outstanding! Beverage package - upgraded from classic to premium during check-in and it was worth it to us! we frequently got several cocktails drinks per day that were at least $13 and we only paid the difference. So an $18 glass of wine was only $5. (yes i had several of them) Dining package - we purchased the 4-pack while on board and it was worth it. We basically got to eat at one specialty restaurant for free because of the package. Good thing is that if you go to dinner and then purchase the package later, they can include the previous dinner in the package. Spa - way way way overpriced. I will not go again. I got a Gel manicure which usually costs $30 and it was $110. Massages were over $135 each not including tip. Could have saved us $500 total by skipping the spa. Gym - adequate. We used it frequently. Wanted to do yoga but Classes were not free and you had to sign up in advanced. First day at sea I had a to wait a few minutes for a treadmill but otherwise it wasn't too crowded. Casino, Activities & Shows - not of interest to us. Casino had high table minimums. Celebrity life activities were boring or not interesting. We did quite a bit of karaoke in the sky lounge but it only lasted about 1 hour per night which was sad. Wish there were more after dark activities or places where couples in there 30s and 40s could hangout after dark like a dance club which I have seen on other ships. Port visits - Excellent. Ample time in port which I think is a key pro for Celebrity. Tendering was not an issue. Getting off the ship in time for our early AM excursions was never an issue. We never stood in line to get off. Destination guides handed out on ship were not detailed enough. No full area map or helpful tips on what to avoid. For example - would be nice to know that during peak times you can stand in line for > 30 minutes to take the cable car back down in Santorini and there really is no other way unless you want to walk in donkey poop. Ports Messina (Sicily) - We took the celebrity transfer to Taormina where they drop you off for 3 hours and you tour it on your own. It was overpriced but we liked walking around the pedestrian area of Taormina and had lunch. Kusadasi (Ephesus) - private tour with Ephesus Shuttle from trip advisor. Our guide was waiting for us on time when we disembarked at the port. Nil was extremely knowledgeable about all the history and the excavation of the sites and had majored in Tourism at a university in Turkey. She spoke pretty good English. We first visited the House of Mary and then Ephesus and the Terrace Houses. Then we went to the Basilica of St John and she walked with us to a nearby Mosque. Afterwards we had a wonderful lunch and then Nil accompanied us to the Bazaar because I really wanted to shop a bit. The best thing about the tour is that we went at our own pace and Nil tailored the tour to what we were interested in. Athens - Semi private tour with Yannis Taxi from trip advisor. Our group of 14 mini-bused to the Acropolis from Piraeus port after being met promptly by our driver and our fluent english speaking guide, Eleni (Helen). One thing I loved about this is that my husband and I didn't know any of the other people on the tour. Yannis set up the whole thing which made it a lot cheaper than private. Eleni guided us through the Acropolis and the Museum of the Acropolis with exemplary knowledge and detail. We had time on our own for shopping and lunch in the beautiful pedestrian area of Plaka. After lunch, we visited the Holocaust Memorial and Constitution square for the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier. Eleni was EXTREMELY knowledgeable and I wonder if she is not actually a History major. She had extensive detail on everything! Rhodes - on our own. Enjoyed walking around old town and taking pictures. Had wonderful lunch and then took a taxi to Faliarki beach. The beach was so-so. Santorini - on our own. Took the Oia speed boat transfer (booked on Facebook SantoriniPlanet) to Oia to avoid cable-car and donkeys on the way up the mountain. Oia is beautiful and must see! Walked around Oia, took pictures, shopped and had lunch. Transfer includes bus ride back. Boarding buses was chaotic, crowded and people were cutting. We made it on the bus and then got stuck in a traffic jam for 45 minutes because the roadway back to Santorini is not big enough for 2 tour buses to pass each other at the same time. Back in Santorini walked around the beautiful small town, shopped and then stood in line for 30 minutes waiting on the cable car back to the dock around 2pm. When we got back down to the dock, storm was starting to blow in and we jumped on the first tender we saw and we are lucky we did. The shut down tendering after ours for 2.5 hours after due to gusting 70 mph winds. Cable car was also shutdown. Folks were required to be back on board by 5PM and that was extended because people were stuck at the pier. Tons of people had to walk down the long path way that is shared with the donkeys and many elderly or disabled people were injured on the way down. The ship waited for all crew and guests to make their way back onboard after the storm died down around 5PM. Mykonos - planned a kayaking trip but it was cancelled due to the storm from the day before. We didn’t find out about the cancellation until after we were already wandering around our meeting point looking for everyone. Instead we took a ferry to Ancient Delos and got stuck there for 3 hours due to the schedule difference between the first trip out and the first trip back. 3 hours is way too long to spend on Delos and its as only semi interesting after spending days looking at ancient ruins in Rome, Athens, and Kusadasi. After we made it back to Mykonos we walked around the BEAUTIFUL small town and had lunch before tendering back to the ship. Naples - Private tour with a group of folks I met on Cruise Critic. The driver/guide from Naples Tour Service, Salvatore, met us at 7:30AM and first drove us through the mountains on the way to Amalfi so we could see a different view. We go there early before it was too crowded. He stopped a few times along the way at scenic areas for us to take pictures. Once in Amalfi we had 1 hour of free time to walk around town center. Amalfi is small and has shops, cafes and the beach. After leaving Amalfi we drove to Positano along the picturesque coast and the road is not quite big enough for 2 busses to pass which can be stressful but our driver was great! Again we stopped along the way for pictures. Positano is beautiful and posh. We had 1 hour of free time in Positano and walked to the beach and back. By that time, ~11AM, it was starting to get crowded. Next we drove to lunch at La Tagliata which was wonderful! Family style dining. They brought out lots of veggies and antipasti, then we had a pasta course and then dessert. House wine flowed and they gave us Lemoncello with dessert. Amazing view and great value. Everything was 25 euro per person. After lunch we drove to Pompeii and we had 1.75 hours free time. We were pretty tired by that point so we zipped through pompeii and made it back to the ship around 5pm in time for last aboard which was at 6:15PM. Sal was a wonderful guide. He gave us tons of information along the way and plenty of free time. Next time I wish we had gone to the museum for pompeii in naples. Read Less
Celebrity Infinity Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 3.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.8
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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