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Sail Date: March 2009
Embarkation: Line moved fast although very long. Departed late. Check in prompt and couteous Ports: Due to mechanical problems we missed time in the ports that I was so looking forward to. My favorite was Acapulco. Shore excursions with ... Read More
Embarkation: Line moved fast although very long. Departed late. Check in prompt and couteous Ports: Due to mechanical problems we missed time in the ports that I was so looking forward to. My favorite was Acapulco. Shore excursions with ship were good;however, the staff was not adequately informed on these excursions. I don't think the line takes them on these. I specifically asked a question about visiting a certain bay in Huatulco on our sailing excursion;they said yes we would visit it. we did not. The guide said there was no time. Milos could not answer all questions.The Smithsonian lecturer,boring,I felt like I was in a boring college lecture. Pushing diamonds,diamonds,diamonds on tv. Food. Adequate. Not enough choices in the eve. since my mom and I missed signing for ealy seating. Could not accomodate us. Food upstairs repetitive. I like HAL's casual buffet upstairs.My mom is 80 and could not eat late. Service: good,but not going out of their way; however, when i did show up for dinner (6 times) our waiter was especially bubbly and friendly-a first. SS United Stated:good,but not worth $35 plus tip and wine. Good bread sticks,good exotic fruit by the pool on sea days. Dining room and buffets used to be better. What happened? Did Michel Roux departure change everything.Spa food good on certain days. Ice cream not good (toppings good) Entertainement: Adequate. Nothing special. Nice Keith Cox. Cabin. small closets!!!! lousy hair dryer(bring your own) Drinks weak everywhere except for martini bar. Great martinis, worth the extra money. For my personality;too many sea days, not enough time in ports since we had delays. Ship needs refurbishing especially pool chairs. I used to love Celebrity. i'll give it one more chance but thats it. Debarkation. I was aware of the problems thanks to reading CC and stayed in San Diego 2 days. Well-worth seeing. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
This cruise - taken January 2009 - was well planned, researched and joyously anticipated.  We started in Buenos Aires and ended in Valpariso - with wonderful stops and sights in-between.  This is certainly an itinerary that most people ... Read More
This cruise - taken January 2009 - was well planned, researched and joyously anticipated.  We started in Buenos Aires and ended in Valpariso - with wonderful stops and sights in-between.  This is certainly an itinerary that most people would enjoy - rounding Cape Horn - visiting penguin rookeries, and seeing all types of unusual wildlife.However, the boat - oy, the boat.  This was our 26th cruise - and never have we sailed on a ship that was in such a careless state.  Everything was shabby - the dirty, smelly upholstery in the common areas, the linens - the dirty windows throughout the ship.  What is Celebrity thinking?  Unfortunately, they are offering wonderful itineraries on a ship that has seen far better days.  The term "ship shape" certainly does not apply to this vessel.  On our journey we had a Captain who thought he was a comedian - very casual in his demeanor.  We thought that perhaps his casual attititude filtered down to the staff.  Now the Captain has changed, and from what we have read on Cruisecritic, the condition of the vessel has not improved.The dining staff were wonderful.  However, the food was not.  One chef explained to us that the provisions they pick up at the start of the cruise are, oftentimes, not the best quality - and they have to work with what they get.  Our waiters, who were great, were apologetic most evenings - because the food, while plated beautifully, was not up to par. We would not take this ship again - but unfortunately would enjoy sailing on some of their itineraries - but the condition of the ship makes that impossible.  It was an unclean, unpleasant enviorment - something I thought I would never say about a cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
The Infinity is definitely a half-step below Celebrity's other Millennium class ships.  Maybe 'slipping toward mediocrity' is more descriptive.  Had this been a Carnival or NCL cruise I would be pleasantly surprised with ... Read More
The Infinity is definitely a half-step below Celebrity's other Millennium class ships.  Maybe 'slipping toward mediocrity' is more descriptive.  Had this been a Carnival or NCL cruise I would be pleasantly surprised with the experience.  Had this been a Royal Caribbean or Holland America ship, it would have lived up to my expectation.  However, it wasn't the Celebrity experience we've come to expect.  We just hope this was more about the Infinity than a trend toward mediocrity with Celebrity.If I had to describe the Celebrity Infinity in one word, it would be 'tired'. At lease, that was how my family experienced the Infinity on our recent holiday cruise. This was our 6th cruise on a Celebrity ship, my 15th overall. After sampling about every cruise line, my family feels that Celebrity sets the high bar of the big cruise lines. Typically, their sailing experience is a cut above Holland America and Royal Caribbean and a couple of cuts above Carnival and NCL. And if food is your passion, we've found Celebrity to be on par with Cunard's mega ships. That's why our recent experience on the Infinity was a tad disappointing when measured against Celebrity's high standard. There was a systemic attention to detail on the Infinity, unlike our experiences on the Century and the Millennium. But, before I get into my annoyances, I'll give Celebrity a "thumbs up" on my perennial beef with my other five cruises. Finally, it's possible to get a good cup of java on the Lido deck! They have significantly improved the strength of their coffee and added half-and-half instead of that disgusting non-dairy creamer. Obviously, other passengers were appreciative, too, as they ran out of half-and-half midway through the cruise. Also, their specialty restaurant is a real jewel in the midst of mediocrity. It is worth every bit of the $30 cost and is not to be missed. We booked it every other night! The pizza station was a real hit with my kids as was the fresh chocolate croissants every morning. On the down side of things, let's start with something as simple as the bedding. Celebrity has installed some very cute single beds that curve on the end, making an eye-pleasing curved double bed when pushed together. The problem comes when the bed is used as a single. Apparently, Celebrity does not have a twin flat sheet that stretches the length of the bed, meaning the steward cannot tuck the bottom sheet under the mattress. Now, this may be fine if you are less than 5'6", however, if you are taller and your feet approach the end of the bed they are no longer resting on the sheet, but the underlying mattress or mattress pad. I never realized such a small detail could be so darn annoying, especially at 3 am in the morning. I learned to make my own bed by shorting the top of the bed, under the pillows, and tucking in the sheet on the lower end. I found out I was not alone. Several other passengers I spoke with had discovered the same thing and were remaking their beds every night, too! It's surprising the cabin stewards haven't figured this on out. I would suggest Celebrity either does away with the curved beds or purchase longer sheets. Next on the list of annoyances were the mechanical systems of the ship. A malfunctioning anchor delayed our departure, and subsequent arrival, by two hours one day. It was a daily guessing game as to which elevators worked. Our electrical outlets, TV, and mini-bar all had periods of inoperability. Thankfully, our toilets and plumbing worked perfectly, something we couldn't say about our last cruise on the Galaxy! The exercise equipment was well used. Only 1/3 of the cardio machines were fully operable. Most didn't have the audio or the TV working and on others the heart rate monitors were inoperable. On two occasions the men's sauna was not working. Finding a key to a locker was almost impossible. There were plenty of empty lockers, just no keys. I had to check my valuables with the spa staff. I am a big foodie. One of the primary reasons I switched to Celebrity from Holland American and Cunard is because I found the food a step above the others. I don't know if it was just the Infinity or if Celebrity is slipping toward Royal Caribbean's mediocrity, but the food was definitely a half-step under what I've experienced on other Celebrity ships. Also just as hard to find as half-and-half was a lemonade tap that worked. There are six lemonade stations in the Lido restaurant and one in the spa cafe. Of the six stations in the Lido, one will always be working. It's your job to find the one that works! I've never had getting a glass of lemonade consume so much time. My tip to future cruisers is to either stay with ice tea (which never seemed to run out) or go to the spa cafe for lemonade, which never ran out during their opening hours. This is because the highly attentive staff that runs the spa also serves the specialty restaurant, the SS United States, which is the one culinary bright spot on the ship. The problem is that the spa cafe is only open a few hours a day. One of the major reasons we cruise as a family is because Celebrity has a great kid's program. Unfortunately, since our last cruise, the reduced the age of the 'teen' club to include 12 - 17 year olds. My daughter had just turned 12 a few weeks prior to our cruise. I immediately determined putting my daughter in the same program with 15, 16 and 17 year olds was not in her best interest. Rather than the staff responding to my request with, "You know your daughter better than we do, if you feel it would be appropriate for her to join the younger group that will be no problem," they forced her to 'try' the older teen program for 2 days. It took three phone calls and several personal visits to finally get the manager of the program to agree to allow my 12 year old to join the 9 to 11 year old group. By that time she had lost interest (she was often the only teen her age at the program) and spend most of the rest of the cruise in the cabin reading. We were also disappointed that Celebrity has discontinued their port talks. We relied on these talks to give us information about a port, specifically if we were docking or tendering, how far the city center is from the port, whether there will be a shuttle service, the cost of local taxi's, what port offered the best shopping and where, etc. The only port information available was a TV channel that ran continual descriptions of the various shore excursions. And, while we are on shore excursions, unless money is no problem, you will want to have done your homework and booked 'off-ship' tour options before you get on board. You can do this on CruiseCritic.com by selecting your port-of-call and finding out what fellow cruisers are booking. Celebrity offered very few shore excursions that were under $100 per person. Most were $140 to $200 per person and did not give a discount for children. By using the 'off-ship' tour operators we saved a bundle. What would have cost us $2,900 using the ship excursions cost us $1,300. And in most cases, the 'off-ship' tour was better quality and more personalized. Next is the entertainment. For the first time in 15 cruises, there were three nights (out of 14) there was no evening entertainment. I can't recall on cruise that didn't have a nightly show, much less none for three nights. Overall, the entertainers were not up to Celebrity's standards of the past, with the exception of the dancers and singers who were spectacular. Too bad we only had three shows during the cruise put on by this talented group! Next, was the lack of attention and knowledge of some of the staff. Especially striking was the lack of knowledge of the sommelier staff (one recommended a red zinfandel to go with a quail?!). Other staff that was surprisingly lacking in general knowledge was our regular dining room waiters, the lido deck waiters, and the shore excursion staff. We encountered routine misinformation and apathy on a daily basis. Of course, not all staff was this way. We found the front desk and the captain's club hostess to be especially helpful. Finally, was the near-fraudulent cruise itinerary that listed on Friday we would cruise the fjords of Chile and on Saturday we would cruise the Strait of Magellan. The absolute truth is that not one hour of Friday was spent cruising the fjords, it was a complete and total sea day. We entered the fjords at 2 am the following morning, Saturday, passing the glaciers at around 5 am, and were done with them by noon. We entered the Strait of Magellan that evening. It would have been far more honest to advertise Friday as a sea day and Saturday cruising the fjords and the Strait of Magellan. I gave this review to the Captains Club Hostess two days before we disembarked without any thought of a response. The on board management of the Infinity indeed do respond to complaints. We were visited by the manager of almost every department I criticized during the last day of our cruise. I even unmade my bed for the head officer in charge of housekeeping, who upon seeing the short sheets said, "You are right, sir!" He told me they actually had longer sheets but no one had complained before so they weren't using them. Go figure. For the next two nights I had long sheets on my bed. It had not occurred to me to complain earlier in the cruise as I thought it was intuitively obvious that the sheets were short and if they had longer sheets they would be using them. Summarizing our experience and those of other passengers we chatted with, the Infinity is definitely a half-step below Celebrity's other Millennium class ships. Maybe 'slipping toward mediocrity' is more descriptive. Had this been a Carnival or NCL cruise I would be pleasantly surprised with the experience. Had this been a Royal Caribbean or Holland America ship, it would have lived up to my expectation. However, it wasn't the Celebrity experience we've come to expect. We just hope this was more about the Infinity than a trend toward mediocrity with Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
Three years ago my wife and I sailed on the Infinity from San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale through the Panama Canal. Being disabled and using a power scooter I was impressed with all the shore excursions for the disabled, and my wife fell in ... Read More
Three years ago my wife and I sailed on the Infinity from San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale through the Panama Canal. Being disabled and using a power scooter I was impressed with all the shore excursions for the disabled, and my wife fell in love with the service and basic bells and whistles on Celebrity. Our Transatlantic cruise on the Galaxy in May only proved that Celebrity was an exceptional cruise line. Having said all that, I must say this cruise was a disappointment. I will start this review by saying that the service we received from our Cabin Steward Nelson, and our Wait staff (Allen, Asst. M'D, Dipak, Waiter, Johnny Asst. Waiter) were outstanding. As was Trace our table's Bar Server, and Santos our bartender in the Martini Bar. I mentioned to Nelson on the second day out that I would like ice at 4:00p.m. and without fail it was there everyday. After our first visit to the Martini Bar Santos remembered my drink and when we arrived would see me nod and make it immediately, as my wife likes to check out the daily specials he always had the list for her to review. Trace was always waiting at our table for the word as to whether we would need a drink or not upon entering the dining room, and remembered all our favorite drinks. Eva, our wine steward always made sure our wine was served with the dinner, and made sure my red wine was stored at a cool temp. These people lived up to the high standards of Celebrity's service, as did all the other staff I encountered on the ship. Now to the disappointments. I'll start with my overall view of the ship's condition-Poor, is all I can say. What I am going to say is not only based on my experiences but also on my table mates experiences and the experiences of the cruisers I had coffee and cigarettes with every morning of the cruise.I will start with handicap access, to my room and to the outer decks. Though I had a handicap access room the door to the room was not opened automatically and when I took my power scooter into and out of the room I had to try to hold the door open while trying to drive and maneuver the scooer at the same time without running into the passageway walls. The only automatic doors to the outer decks were on deck 10 and they had sills which would catch the front wheel and turn it one way or the other if you went over them slowly to avoid being jarred. Going to the spa was also an adventure for the chair bound as the doors to the spa were not automatic. The outside coffee machine was never open in the morning so every time I went to have a cup of coffee and a cigarette with my friend I had to bounce over the sill. And speaking of smoking, I know that in today's world smokers are considered worse than lepers in ancient times, but to have only one side of the Casino inside and one side of the top lounge inside to smoke is stupid. I paid a premium for a balcony so I could have a place to smoke then to be not allowed to smoke there was a rip. Also we were permitted to smoke on deck 10 and 11 in the cold wind and rain. The really funny part of the cruise was losing my lighter and going to the shops to buy cigarettes and cigars and asking to buy a lighter and being told, "oh, no we can't sell them, they are too dangerous!" In May they were selling them at a premium on the Galaxy with the Celebrity logo. Now to entertainment this was the first cruise I have been on where in 14 days there were 4 days when there was no main showroom entertainment, and a total of four outside entertainers two singers and two comedy acts one being a juggler. Captain's Club- Elite members -Ha, Ha, In May we had a savings booklet each with great coupon deals, and each received a nice gift, here one sheet of coupons with maybe ten coupons and one tote bag. Galaxy tour of the bridge, here none, Galaxy Senior Officers' cocktail party before dinner, Infinity 11:00am, I know it is 5 o'clock somewhere, but that was only when I was younger. drinking that early is only for hardcore drinkers. Now to the ship's condition. My cabin was right beside the midship glass elevators which were very quiet, except for the fact they had a crew from the ship yard replacing the metal around the windows welding, cutting, sanding and banging the metal into place allday everyday of the cruise. Alot of fun trying to take a nap or read with all the racket they made. This after spending 3 weeks in dry dock. I can understand the need to replace the metal as when we held the lifeboat drill I pointed out to my wife that the metal was rusted through in many areas. The carpet in many areas was torn and worn, in order to get hot water for the shower we had to run it for at least ten minutes and then it was only tepid. In the sink cold water was tepid and hot water was cold unless you ran it then it became tepid. When called to fix the problem the maintenance person ran the water into the drain until it became warm and declared it hot, and left. Two of our tablemates had to be moved from their cabin twice when they were flooded out, one of my friends from deck two had to be moved from his cabin because there was no water in the toilet. When asked what they did in the ship yard we were told they just had a diesel engine put in the ship. Celebrity should have had more work done. At least changed the mattresses because the mattress was high in the center and low around the edge not just in our cabin but also in everyone of our tablemates cabins. There were several times when I got off the elevator to go to my cabin and the fire door was closed, or I would leave my cabin and the fire door was closed. I was told several times that maintenance had been notified. After the tenth day they finally fixed the problem. Shore excursions- this is the first cruise I have taken where there was not at least one port that had an excursion for the handicapped. Also chair bound passengers couldn't get into the towns on their own as you had to take a van off the pier at every port, you couldn't go on your own. They worst part of picking a tour in Chile, where the cheapest tour was $75, was the disclaimer that they couldn't guarantee an English speaking guide and the buses were not air conditioned. Read Less
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: August 2008
Having been on an amazing winter vacation in Mexico this year, my girlfriend and I decided to book a cruise to Alaska for our summer vacation. We flew into Seattle the night before embarkation. We stayed at the Renaissance in town and had ... Read More
Having been on an amazing winter vacation in Mexico this year, my girlfriend and I decided to book a cruise to Alaska for our summer vacation. We flew into Seattle the night before embarkation. We stayed at the Renaissance in town and had a wonderful room with a view of the space needle. We arrived at the port at about 11 a.m. We were able to board immediately. We were told to go to the buffet until our rooms were ready. Upon entering the buffet, we saw a very large selection of food served in a smorgasbord fashion. Although there was a large selection and it seemed that the charm was more in the unlimited amount, rather that the quality of food. Still...we were going to Alaska and were filled with excitement as we ate. An announcement was made that the rooms were ready so we proceeded to ours. Upon entering our room, my girlfriend and I noticed a pretty strong odor of stale cigarette smoke. I am an asthma sufferer and found myself starting to wheeze. I went to guest services and explained our dilemma. I was told that there no rooms designated as "Non Smoking" on the ship, and they would wipe down the room as to eliminate the odor. Once we were underway, they would look for another room. As I waited my asthma increased and this affected my whole trip. Our ship started moving, our phone rang. It was guest services letting me know that they found us another room, just a few doors down. I said we would re-pack to move. She said there would be no need as she would send someone down to move us as we were. A couple minutes later there was a knock at the door. We opened it to find our room steward, who looked into our cabin and told us that we needed to pack so we could switch rooms. We told him that guest services had advised us that we would be moved without having to re-pack. He explained that he could not let us into the new room until everything was out of the old room. I was not comfortable leaving our belongings in the hall, so I called guest service back. Again they told me not to not to lift a finger, as they would have someone come right away to move us. Another knock on the door and our room steward appeared again, only this time he seemed a bit miffed. We managed to get into our new room, and as we settled in we again felt the excitement that brought us here in the first place. Our first port Sitka was breathtaking!! Once we got off the ship, we proceeded to go past all the shopping and walked up the main street until we came to a lake. We sat there on a park bench and had a great view of the mountains. There was a local family feeding duck on the lake. We then strolled back to town and went into a couple of shops. This is a beautiful place. Our next stop was Glacier bay to see the Hubbard Glacier. The captain bought us really close, and the naturalist on the boat gave a lecture through the P.A. system which was extremely interesting. This place alone made the trip worthwhile. Although we had amazing weather for the rest of the trip, this place is expectedly COLD.....Bring a coat. Next stop, Juneau..... We had booked one of the excursions which included whale watching and a tour of the Mendenhall Glacier. We got off the boat and boarded a bus, which took us to the museum and vista. After arriving at the park-museum, we walked along a path by a stream where the salmon were running. At the end of the path there is a vista where you get a spectacular view of the glacier. We did not go into the museum, as our time there was short, and we had to be back at the bus. The bus driver kept us entertained with stories about life there as we made our way to the boat. After a short safety talk on the boat, we got underway to look for whales. This trip offered much of our money back if we didn't see any whales, so we were hopeful. There was a naturalist who lectured during the trip and I really learned a lot. About 1/2 hour in we saw our first whale!! We followed the whale until we had seen it a number of times, and then proceed to the next siting. They served hot chocolate, coffee, and snacks, which were all delicious. We saw three whales, a number of sea lions, and possibly the most the gorgeous scenery of the entire trip. You get another perceptive of the Mendenhall glacier and a couple other glaciers from the boat. I highly recommend this excursion. Back on the ship we saw more whales from the constellation deck. We then proceeded to Ketchikan which had a frontier town feel along a backdrop of the Tsongas rain forest. We roamed the shops and saw an animal shelter giving a talk, while we watched a live Eagle and an owl that the had rescued. We were our way again through the inside passage and more beautiful scenery. Our final destination, Victoria B.C. was to be short, as we would get there at 7 P.M. and had to be back on the ship by 12 A.M. Once off the ship we found that they had convenient shuttles to take you to town and back. The last bus leaves at 11 P.M. My girlfriend was a bit disappointed as she would have liked to have seen Bouchard Gardens, and the time seemed to short for that. We went into town and had dinner at "Milestones" restaurant. The food was good and it has a wonderful view of Victoria. We walked over to the "Empress" hotel and checked out the lobby. The ship left for Seattle at about 11:30 P.M. Much of the food on the ship was pretty bad. We went to the restaurant the first night and I got the Salmon which did not seem fresh. The soup was inedible. Things did not improve through the trip.On a positive note, my girlfriend who has celiac and cannot eat wheat, was able to get some gluten free bread. She told me it was the best gluten free bread that she had ever eaten. Unfortunately they ran out of it three days into the cruise. Most of the crew were eager to please, and would go to great lengths to make you happy. The young man making pizza arranged to make a gluten free pie for us. It was pretty bad but we really appreciated the effort. The dinning room menus were very ambitious. Every item sounded wonderful, but most were rather bad. You would think that they would at least have some fresh seafood, but that was not the case. They could do a lot better on the food. After the initial room trouble,our room steward seemed to be irritated each time we called him. Although he was not pleasant about, he did manage to do everything we asked. Alaska is a wonderful place to see, and the boat and the crew got us there. Everything was done efficiently. Lets hope they can do better with the food. If cigarette smoke bothers you, I would advise against this ship. Otherwise, if you want to see Alaska and are not very food centered, take this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2008
This is my 4th cruise. My sister and I travel together and we enjoy cruising with Paula Deen and her Family. This is our 2nd cruise with the Celebrity line. My sister and I traveled from NY we took 2 flights and it was a long day. Once ... Read More
This is my 4th cruise. My sister and I travel together and we enjoy cruising with Paula Deen and her Family. This is our 2nd cruise with the Celebrity line. My sister and I traveled from NY we took 2 flights and it was a long day. Once we landed in Seattle we were thrilled and excited. We took a limo to Pier 66 and when we arrived I found it to be a very pleasant embarkation in less then 20min we were on the ship. Everyone was very nice and this was great! Our stateroom was on the Sky Deck with a balcony and a butler however we were disappointed in the size of our suite and we only met the butler the next morning. We decided to make the best of the room as we did have a nice balcony and the weather wasn't to cold to enjoy this. We were glad we stayed in the suite as once we met Lawrence our butler it was all worth it, he was funny and did try to make us comfortable. The ship was very pretty the Grand Foyer was beautiful as was all the shops. Some repairs are needed in some of the areas like the martini rm and a few areas in our suite. We dined at the SS United which was delicious a very nice experience the way they serve the timing of the service was nice. The Trellis which is very pretty but could use some more lighting was where we ate most of the wk, we met some nice people at our table. The food was just okay. The Oceanview where we ate Breakfast and Lunch most of the time was very nice and clean the food was ok but my favorite was the oatmeal yummy! The staff was always nice and pleasant and eager to serve you. There was activities to do like name that tune which was fun wine tasting, bingo I came close to winning!! We did have several things to do that was through Paula Deen but we did get in on the Aqua Spa which was great. We had massages and facials pedicures they were all so nice. The Cova was our all time favorite place to go Carlos played the piano and Neil the assistant pastry chef was wonderful he always saved the almond pastry for my sister and I we enjoyed him and his hospitality!! The Celebrity theater I thought was very nice we caught the comedian show but some repairs are needed as I saw alittle hole in the wall and some wall paper coming off. There was many shore excursions I did enjoy the tribal dances in Sitka our 1st port. We enjoyed Juneau as we went whale watching the weather was nice and we got to see sea lions and whales a great day! \Ketchikan was very nice we did an excursion on the Aleutian Ballard to experience alittle bit about crabs similar to the Deadliest Catch but of course it wasn't as rough as that it truly was a great experience. They showed us what we could bring up from the very deep ocean crabs, shrimp crabs baby sharks king crabs and a very ugly big octopus. Awesome fun. Of course our last night on the ship we went to Victoria it was beautiful we took a tour bus and went to the Victoria castle it was great. But the best part for my sister and I was the Glaciers they were beautiful in one word We didn't stay there as long as we should and it was 40ish degrees but I didn't care it was worth it to us BEAUTIFUL. the captain got pretty close he said. Disembarkment was smooth sailing we went to the Celebrity Theater around 8am and we were off the ship 30min later to catch our 2 flights back to NY we were sad to leave We enjoyed our time there. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2008
By way of introduction, my trip on the Celebrity Infinity is my 8th cruise but my first with Celebrity. Prior lines cruised include Princess, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and a few that are no longer in existence. My last two cruises were ... Read More
By way of introduction, my trip on the Celebrity Infinity is my 8th cruise but my first with Celebrity. Prior lines cruised include Princess, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and a few that are no longer in existence. My last two cruises were both on Carnival so most of my comparisons involve Carnival because it was so recent and to illustrate the differences between an "upscale" line (Celebrity) and a "not so upscale" line (Carnival). This itinerary was scheduled for Seattle, Inside Passage, Sitka, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, Ketchikan, Victoria, BC with a return to Seattle. At some point Celebrity ditched the Inside Passage and replaced it with a "sea day." Sadly, many folks figured "sea day" was still to be the Inside Passage as both did not involve a "port stop." We got no trip through the Inside Passage yet the Celebrity brochure books at their cruise desk still showed the Inside Passage as part of the itinerary. Maybe Celebrity didn't want to spring for the required pilot or permits?!? Regardless of the reason, this was greatly disappointing and a number of passengers (us included) said they felt a bit cheated. TRAVEL TO PORT OF EMBARKATION - Fantastic! We booked our own flight to get into Seattle the night before departure. Upon leaving the hotel on embarkation day we were fortunate to find a town car that could hold all three of us plus our luggage. The driver was awesome (Mr. Yacoub), the fare was cheaper than our cab ride the night before from Pike's Market to our hotel and he offered to take us to the airport upon our return to Seattle. EMBARKATION - This needs improvement. Two of our party were in a suite and another in an inside cabin. On other lines, all three would be allowed priority check in and embarkation but not on Celebrity. The group was split and even after inquiring to two staffers we were told that the inside cabin traveler could not have priority check in so she enjoyed ( Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
First - Alaska is wonderful! Highly recommended. And sailing in September was such a good idea as we were often the only ship in port - or one of two. In Juneau there were three ... but far below the average during peaks seasons, so the ... Read More
First - Alaska is wonderful! Highly recommended. And sailing in September was such a good idea as we were often the only ship in port - or one of two. In Juneau there were three ... but far below the average during peaks seasons, so the crowds were small and comfortable. And the sales! The stores were in the process of winding down their seasons, too. The Infinity is an imposing vessel from the outside -- our first impression was a good one. The embarkation when smoothly because we used US Direct from the airport. They picked up up at the gate and herded us through quick customs check - then on to the bus to the ship. They handled all the luggage. We got to the ship before the published time, but were processed rather quickly and allowed to board for lunch. Our room was ready within an hour or two and luggage arrived a couple hours after that. The decor of the ship is boring. The main theme is a honey blonde wood (usually laminate/formica) and a muted rust or orange. From time to time you would see a blue or purple carpet. I'm not a flamboyant person, but I can say that the ship lacks flair! The atrium/grand foyer is often the focus of a cruiseship, but on the Infinity it was a two or three story staircase like you would find in a government building. Very disappointing. The art was a hodge podge of who-knows-what, with the exception of a very nice photo essay on New York. Also on the bright side are the mosaics on the floors by the casino and other main venues. Very nice! The casino was nicely done - just the right size. Our stateroom was a Concierge Class veranda room on the 7th deck. Again, the honey blonde decor. When we opened the door, we were met with the smell of stale cigarette smoke with an overlay of room freshener. The fresh air provided by the veranda door was priceless. The carpet has dust stacked along the walls, and dust was thick on the folds of the dirty chair and the wall hangings above the bed. My husband found a very dusty shoe under the bed when he pushed the suitcases under. Obviously, it had been a long time since a thorough cleaning. The bathroom floor tile was severely cracked and well, pulverized - but covered by a bathroom rug. The shower floor was soft (squishy) overfoot and the mold stains along the sides were gross. The shower head, water pressure and temp were wonderful. And the lighting in the room was the best I have seen in a stateroom. Great use of mirrors, too. The complimentary shampoo, lotion and soap did not identify the ingredients or who made them or where. I bought my own sundries in town. It should be mentioned that the gift shops on board do not carry sundries -- only a small part of the wall in the alcohol shop. Also, the only bottled water is Avian - and it's expensive! Another thing to pack or pick-up in port. Food services in the buffet were OK - quite an array for breakfast and lunch. The waffles live up to their good reputation; I liked the brioche. Pizza was good, as were the fries at the grill. The Trellis (main) dining room was SO noisy, probably because of the low ceilings. The tables were crammed together, and the chairs were shoe-horned in around the tables. We had a table for two because we went to the maitre 'd when we arrived and asked for it. The food was overly pretentious, but generally pretty good. We learned that there are many ways to say "roast beef" in French! I agree with the previous review that the lack of seasonal/regional cuisine was a disappointment. They served fish from all over the world (frozen for how long??) but only served halibut once, no crab legs or even local berries. Salmon was a standing alternate entree - which I took advantage of. Excellent service in the Trellis! We feared that our waiter was getting no sleep, as we saw in at breakfast and lunch at the buffet and then at dinner in the Trellis. There were nights when the menu was so obscure that we ate at the grill or the part of the buffet that stayed open. Did I mention great ice cream? There were two special buffets - a chocolate buffet and a display-oriented desert and appetizer buffet. BOTH were at midnight ... and I doubt that they were well attended. It would have been better for them to be scheduled in the afternoon on a days at sea. The specialty restaurant at $30 a person was pretty bad. You get the choice of soup OR salad OR appetizer, entree, cheese samples and desert. My soup was so bad, I returned it, but nothing else seem interesting enough to order. The filet mignon special that evening was very good, but no better than the dining room. Desert was OK. Bottom line, unless you are really eating there for the wine service - it's really not worth it (and we noticed that it was generally empty and easy to make reservations). Before leaving the topic, I need to agree with the posters on the message boards that the coffee, even in the Cova Cafe, is pretty awful. Even the one of the port officials mentioned to us that "everyone" knew how bad the coffee is (as he gave us directions to Starbucks). My husband give the gym a high rating, although the lyrics in the rap music they play really offended alot of people. The basketball court and basketballs were A+. I only used the spa for a manicure, but it was the best I have had in years. The shops were not very interesting to this shopper. Focus was on jewelry and the hype to buy jewelry in port. Sadly, the only maps they give you of the ports are to show you where to buy stuff at their affiliated stores. Entertainment? String quartet - very nice; woman vocalist and small band in lounge - awful; guitarist/vocalist - bad. The entertainment in the main theatre was not even interesting enough to entice us there. The naturalist, albeit rather HYPER, was very informative. We learned so much from him. They had a nice theater where one movie was shown three times a day ... nothing current or particularly popular. Every time we peeked inside, the theater was empty. Excursions - Celebrity offers a wonderful array of excursions. We especially enjoyed the train over the White Pass from Skagway. We lucked out on the weather - only one rainy day, 3 or 4 with sun and the balance overcast. Sitka was marvelous - my husband fished while I shopped. We enjoyed Icy Strait/Hoonah more than we expected. I wish we could have had two days in Juneau with so much to explore and good excursion options. We visited the Mendenhall Glacier and Mendenhall Gardens. Our only opportunity for dinner in port was Juneau, and we ate at the Twisted Fish not far from the dock. Excellent! Skagway's excursions were good, but the town was not much. Ketchikan was another place where we could have used more time to explore. The Duck Tour was a waste of time, so I wish we had chosen something else. Prince Rupert was a bust, as our excursion was cancelled and there's not much to see in town. Nanaimo was fun! We got out into the countryside on Vancouver Island, and it is breathtaking (and very interesting!). We're planning to return on our own. Of course, Victoria is a gem ... we visited the Museum of British Columbia and romped around the port area. I should mention that the Hubbard Glacier was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In short, September is a great time to cruise, Alaska and Canada are spectacular, and the Infinity is good - but not great. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2007
Have you ever dreamed of reindeer on your rooftop? Have you yearned to see them up close and personally? Ever thought you'd feed them? With my love of animals, this was an unfathomable dream! This dream came true for me in July in ... Read More
Have you ever dreamed of reindeer on your rooftop? Have you yearned to see them up close and personally? Ever thought you'd feed them? With my love of animals, this was an unfathomable dream! This dream came true for me in July in Alaska, while hiking through the rainforest of Ketchikan on our 7-day cruise on Celebrity's ship, "Infinity." We flew from San Diego to Vancouver, arriving at the ship under a drizzling sky. This didn't dampen our enthusiasm; we San Diegans had not seen rain in six months. We were greeted by a staff member who handled just my luggage from this point forward at the ship's lobby introducing me to the feeling of being a celebrity. My husband, Bob, and I cruised ten times prior, and this was a first! Cabin 8004, seemed a bit tight with my tall, handsome bear of a husband, but our veranda improved its adequacy. We managed nicely over time. The staff was top-notch demonstrating outstanding customer service, going the extra mile on each and every request. Our first stop, after a day of cruising and acquainting ourselves with our four Canadian dinner mates, was Ketchikan. We took a shore excursion of a one-hour hike through the rainforest learning about all the various plant life, banana slugs. Halfway through the hike, much to my delight, we encountered the "reindeer reserve," where 6-8 deer endowed with lovely velvet antlers were waiting by the fence for my lunch of lettuce, broccoli, and leaves from the tree branches. I regressed immediately to six years of age, talking to these magnificent creatures, looking into their big dark eyes, and going back for more greens to feed them. Bob got such a kick out of me; he couldn't stop snapping his digital camera. Reindeer are unique in that both sexes have branch-like antlers. In reality, they are native to Europe but recently Alaska and Canada started importing them for petty zoos. Further on into the forest, we encountered dozens of mature and immature eagles. Mature eagles have the white heads and tails, while the immature eagles do not. Later, at another newly opened reserve for an old and injured eagle and owl, we zoomed in with full-frame view, and witnessed a 270 degree turn of the owl's head. It seemed so unreal it appeared to me to be a mechanical imitation—absolutely fascinating! Our last stop on this hike was to meet and witness a native's three-month carving of a totem pole, which featured an eagle with a beak very similar to mine—my nose, that is! Bob and I always said we would have handsome kits, but they'd have big aquinine noses. Anyway, our host explained the legend of the tide lady and the raven which was delightful and inspirational. We headed back to the ship for dining, dancing and exercising to work off the calories ingested during this journey thus far. Interestingly enough, this is the first cruise that I returned from at my same weight--an incredible accomplishment, and more than likely due to added hiking and deck walking. Wednesday turned very rocky, which explains the theme of the evening entertainment of "Rock and Roll." We twisted and jitterbugged, while two of our tablemates struggled with motion sickness so I loaned Jean, our new friend, my pressure point motion sickness prevention wristbands to prevent more complicated effects. Ed reminded me so much of Walter Matthau that one night we called "Walter Matthau" when he was trying to locate us in the entertainment lounge. Everyone joined in and we all had a good laugh. This tag continued throughout the remainder of the cruise. By the way, the entertainment on Infinity was far superior to other cruise lines in our recent experiences. Our next stop was Juneau, where we signed up for a "Bike and Brew" bicycle trip of 9.5 miles to the Mendenhall Glacier and Alaskan Brewery. Much to my disillusionment, they had difficulty fitting me to a bicycle with a seat that wouldn't "de-virginize" any woman, and which had right brakes which worked properly. As a result, I rode in the van while Bob biked with eight other cruisers to the magnificent Mendenhall Glacier. Though scary as those logging roads seemed, and as steep as the hills were for the bikers, the reward of proximity to the glacier and being able to put a foot or hand into the glacial lake took our breath away! We stopped for hot chocolate and snacks, as well as at a small church with windows reflecting this picturesque view. We then headed onward to the bumpy, rocky path through the trees to the Alaskan Ale brewery. We imbibed a sampling of six different blends as we listened to the tour guide describe the history of this small business venture which has flourished over the last decade. We especially liked the full-bodied Alaskan Ale, and this is available at your local grocery stores.. We drove back to the ship where once again we sailed through the quiet inside passage, resembling a river cruise through quiet waters and vast scenic land on both sides of the ship, searching for bear, moose, whale and more. I was so glad that Bob remembered our binoculars on this second cruise of Alaska, though we did see more Orcas on our May 2005 cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines. The next day included a full-day of naturalist's education on the Hubbard glacier, while they served Hungarian goulash on three viewing decks, and we experienced the crackling sound of lightning and booms of thunder. We were informed it was "white lightning," as named by the Alaskan natives to describe the ice masses separating from the glacier itself and falling into the waterways as blue ice. Our final Alaskan destination was Icy Strait Point, a remote part of Alaska, where only one cruise ship is allowed per day, and only five days per week. We arrived by tender (small boats from the ship) to be greeted by Native Americans who gave us a cedar chip to place in the burning firepot for blessings and good luck. We chatted with one of them, John, who was dressed in his native costume, and exchanged a few sentences about the clan's approval of the limited ship arrivals. I gathered they were attempting to strike a balance between progress, prosperity, and maintaining their native values. However, this was difficult for me to believe when we walked a few yards further, and there it was! The largest, newest Zip line stretching across the Alaskan forest enticing tourists for a 1-1/2 hour encounter for $85. Once you buy your ticket, they bus you to the top of the mountain where they release you to the skies. Briefly, you sit in this canvas basket seat, keep your legs out perpendicular to the earth, and hold on for the ride of your life, along steel cables cascading over breathtaking views of Mother Nature. Bob toyed with this adventure, but decided against it after seeing one lady's sunglasses pop off as her seat snapped off the line! We interviewed the cruise ship staff who claimed this was the best zip line based on a sampling of his experienced fellow crew members. We tasted the locally caught halibut and chips and then hastened to our shore excursion in search of bear. Much to our dismay we didn't encounter any bear sightings, though the guide confirmed earlier excursions had several. Unfortunately, our tour began at noon; and like most animal encounters, they are best in early morning or late afternoon. However, we did see live deer close by the roadside. Returning once again to the Infinity, we indulged in the wonderful healthy food at the Spa Bar. Most dining room meals were good but not as impressive as I thought they would be considering Celebrity's reputation. Most ships encourage a night at their "specialty restaurant," where you can enjoy a longer, more intimate dinner for an additional fee of $30 per person. We especially enjoyed the Saturday evening meal far outdoing the previous evenings, which is a smart strategy on the part of the cruise line since this is when you're planning your tips! Seven days rushed by quickly, and it was time to disembark. This procedure was handled in a very timely fashion. I don't know why, but the cruise lines booked us on a flight so late in the day that they expected us to wait almost eight hours in the Vancouver airport for our departure. We attempted to get an earlier flight on standby which ended in disaster with broken promises and finally waiting another three hours for our luggage in the San Diego airport. On our last two journeys, we chose to check our bags to give ourselves a break; however, if I had it to do over again, I would not have checked them. We always use our 19" to 22" roller bags so we have options. Amazingly, we had no mechanical or weather delays—only poor planning on the part of the cruise lines, broken promises on part of Alaska Airlines Seattle Customer Service, and broken carousels with reduced late evening staff at the San Diego Airport. What a shock; a reality check! This unnecessary, extremely long, traveling day did partially override our immediate wonderful memories initially. However, no imperfections and bad service can ever extinguish the wonderful, childlike, dream come-true memories I experienced feeding the velvety-antlered reindeer in the Ketchikan rainforest, not to mention getting so close to the glacier and its sparkling lake. Our 49th state is truly one of our most wondrous, scenic, gargantuan states, and certainly worth several visits to embrace it. Upon our return, we wrote letters to Celebrity Cruise Lines, Alaska Airlines, our travel agent, Travel of America, and Horizon Air complaining about the horrendous return flight and luggage problems. Celebrity Cruise Lines claimed no responsibility for this inconvenience and pointed the finger at the airlines and us. They advised us that it is our responsibility to thoroughly checkout the docking times, disembarkation procedure, and departure times and if we don't like it, pay more for Custom Air. I made a suggestion to them on their improving communication about Custom Air and they took note of my suggestion but never compensated us for any delays, added costs, etc. On the other hand, Alaska Air commiserated with us and offered us a $75 discount each on future flights. Thank you, Alaska Airlines; however, I think if we ever go to Alaska again, we'll cruise Norwegian Cruise Lines, a more environmentally conscious and passenger-sensitive cruise line, in my opinion, and more accepted by John, our Alaskan native friend in Icy Point. Happy Cruising! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
This is what I hope will be an informative review. Probably kind of long, but I've got lots to share; some good, some bad and some general information which you may find helpful. We (my husband and another couple) booked our cruise ... Read More
This is what I hope will be an informative review. Probably kind of long, but I've got lots to share; some good, some bad and some general information which you may find helpful. We (my husband and another couple) booked our cruise approximately 9 months in advance. We thought the idea of spending Christmas away from home at the tip of South America sounded like a good way to spend the holidays. I'm 45 and my husband is 52. Originally we booked cabin 6142. We thought having a balcony would be the way to go, especially if it was cold outside and we didn't want to brave the upper decks. First of all, you have to understand, that I'm like a dog with a bone, when I can find a better deal, I will search, and search and search until I've driven everyone nuts. Everyday, I would get on the Celebrity website to check our prices, I'd heard they will occasionally have a special, and the only way to take advantage of it is to see it being advertised and to call your travel agent and have it adjusted. Please note, that travel agents don't have time to look everyday, but if you do, you may save yourselves hundreds of dollars. One day, I noticed the price had dropped $500 per person on the CC or Concierge level. I thought what the heck, for only $200 more, we can have all the amenities that come along with it you know, the pre-embarkation, the luxury robes, etc. We instantly decided this would be a good thing, so we jumped at the opportunity. I still continued to check the prices on a daily basis, and there was another $200 per person drop a few weeks later. So, now we had saved $800 each and to top it off, I noticed an aft cabin come available so we snagged it as well. As if things couldn't get any better, a couple of weeks before we sailed another aft cabin became empty so our friends got that one! In case you've never been in an aft cabin, the balconies are HUGE something 10 by 20 (I may be off on my measurements, but not by much). Prior to leaving, we had to pack for cold weather, being that we live on the beach in So. California, we didn't have anything much warmer than a windbreaker. Then came the luggage packing; since you can't have any pieces of luggage that weigh over 50 lbs, it makes packing a little tricky. We wanted to have only 3 bags plus 2 carry-ons. We always pack an extra duffel bag for dirty laundry for the trip home. My husband would step on the scale, I'd hand him a full suitcase, and then we would make some adjustments.  It's so exciting getting ready for a trip! Now, on to the trip We left out of San Diego for Buenos Aires. We flew American Airlines from San Diego to Dallas, and Dallas to Buenos Aires. The travel time took about 16 hours, of which 14 hours were on the plane. My husband is 6'2", and I'm 5'11", so we were mighty uncomfortable. We took the red-eye flight so we arrived in BA somewhere around 9:30 a.m. Buenos Aires: It is summer in Buenos Aires in December, so it was HOT. Hot and very muggy, it was somewhere around 97 degrees. When we got thru customs, there was a woman waiting for us with a large CELEBRITY sign. She told us we would be transferred by bus to the Sheraton. We seemed to wait for what seemed like an eternity for another couple of passengers, but probably we were just tired and wanted to get the show on the road. We arrived at the Sheraton around 11:00 a.m we proceeded to check in easily and then went to the room and crashed. We got up around 3:00 and decided to see some sights. We headed for La Boca district, and did some street vendor shopping and watched some tango dancers that danced right on the streets. We were so hot; we stopped and had a beer with some local empanadas. If you've never had an empanada, I recommend you try one. They are a pastry filled with meat (carne) and they look somewhat like a calzone. We found some handmade scarves, leather wallets and sweaters made from Alpaca wool. For those of you that have never been to Buenos Aires, I highly recommend visiting the city. The exchange rate makes things very affordable. We took a taxi from the Hotel to the pier and it was something like $3.00. Dinner was equally inexpensive, but very good. We went to a BBQ in Argentina they are known for their BBQs. They BBQ over coals, everything from beef, lamb, pork, sausage, etc. The meat is wonderful. I recommend trying everything as long as it's cooked. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the beef. The vegetables are also ripe and tasty, nothing like our store bought pithy tomatoes we get. We also bought 4 bottles of wine from the restaurant, and the total came to $7 U.S. dollars! That night, we took a cab (about $6) to the casino that we saw when we went to dinner. The casino was 2 paddle boats (something like you would envision going up the Mississippi). Exchanging pesos for dollars was interesting. We each took $100 U.S., and they would give us chips to play, but when were finished, they paid us the first hundred back in U.S. dollars, but the remaining balance in pesos. We found that most places took U.S. dollars, but the cabs only took pesos. The next morning, we wanted to get to the ship early (I'm one of the eager ones that likes to sign up for massages, etc). So we were prepared to take a cab to the port. However, there was a representative from Celebrity at the Hotel, and she said no one would be boarding before 2:00 p.m. Me, not being all that trusting, and hating to be shuttled anywhere still convinced my husband to take a cab. Our friends chose to wait at the hotel and do their pre-booking so they could get on the ship whenever it was ready. We took all of our luggage with us to the pier. The representative was very evasive in my mind, but I figured they wanted to keep people together rather than have everyone wandering around. Celebrity had set up a huge conference room at the hotel with coffee & pastries for everyone (this also seemed odd to me, because they already fed us breakfast). Anyway, we got to the pier around 11:00 a.m. and a porter took our bags and then we settled down at a little coffee shop to wait. We had a bird's eye view of the embarkation area, and we were 1st in line to board the ship. A woman from X did stop by and informed us there was a bus that would take us to the Sheraton so we could be comfortable until the ship was ready - ready for what????? I've never in my 10 cruises seen this happen before. We told her we just came from the Hotel and were happy just to wait until 2:00. After that, they pretty much kept people from coming into the terminal, they just boarded them up and took them to the hotel. After a while, people with masks and what I call Haz Mat suits were seen coming and going. They were spraying and wiping down everything in sight. We couldn't see the ship, only the embarkation area. This doesn't look right to me, or smell right for that matter, but I keep thinking that at least the ship will be clean and possible this is a preventative type of maintenance. Still no one would answer any questions. Eventually, a woman got on a loudspeaker and announced something about making sure you ALWAYS wash your hands and to use the sanitation stations located almost everywhere. I don't think anyone could understand what she was saying because of the acoustics in the terminal. We finally got in line to get checked in when the bus loads of people from the Sheraton started to arrive. They allowed them to board about 30 minutes before everyone else. (Oh well, I made the wrong call, we should have stayed at the hotel). We were still first in line, and we finally got to board.  It was weird when we got on the ship, I was anticipating that fun feeling when you first step onboard, but instead all I saw was people spraying, and spraying and spraying. It's not real comforting seeing everyone with masks on either. No one offered us champagne; it was just sitting on a platter/table while people were spraying bleach on everything. Trying to not let this damper my mood, we went to our room and checked it out. We were so fortunate to have this wonderful aft cabin I can't even tell you! My husband was beat, so he lay down to take a nap and I went exploring. I went to the spa area and took the tour, booked a couple of massages, signed up for the Persian Gardens ($99 pp) and confirmed our reservations at the specialty restaurant. My first impressions of the ship were so-so, not because of the spraying of bleach, but the lack of charm in my opinion. The art work was funky and I thought the Christmas decorations were tacky. They appeared to be pulled out of a box from storage, they were dusty and lacked luster. I'm not a big Christmas fanatic, so this really didn't bother me, just an observation. The ship is huge, but easy to navigate. There is some normal wear; none of this bothered me either. When I say normal, I mean there are some places that could use some paint, the bed spreads are wearing out, the railings around the deck need to be lacquered. The flooring looked good. The hardest part to overlook was the bleach marks. When the chrome railing on the stairs was sprayed, they were wiped down, but there was still a film leftover. This would run down the glass and leave streaks. In the elevators, and on the slot machines, they would spray and then there would be streak marks running down the chrome/metal/glass. The ship never had the ship shape look. It was never in the 13 glitzy like one comes to expect. When my husband woke up, we went to the Trellis Restaurant to find out where our table was. I know some people are excited about being seated with other people, and many look forward to it, but frankly when we found out we were seated at a table for 10, I was rather disappointed. We could have asked to be changed, I've done it before, but the late seating was full, and the maitre'd was being bombarded by others, so we just left. We ultimately decided to eat at the specialty restaurant for 4 nights and order room service for a few more, and eat sushi / pizza on the rest. We also were invited to share a table with some other cruisers we meet which was a lot of fun. Let me talk about the food for a minute. Some things I really like, others I thought were pitiful. The escargot, breadsticks were wonderful, the lobster was the best I've ever eaten. The NY steaks were pathetic. I wasn't keen on any of their salads, the buffet was an embarrassment. The sushi was better than expected but not what you would expect from a sushi restaurant. I would say it is better than store sushi. There was no sashimi, but I made my own. The rice was soft. The variety is your standard: eel, shrimp, tuna, salmon, and your basic rolls, tuna/cream cheese, vegetarian, spicy tuna & California. The pizza wasn't bad and I ate it several times. The lunch menu was pretty basic and lacked flavor in my opinion. It seems like they used whatever was left over from the night before to make some kind of dish. The alternate dining area wasn't open on this cruise (I was told for a couple of reasons). I was told there were too many kids, and because of the norovirus breakout from the cruise before. This left the basic pasta bar, salad bar & buffet. The pasta bar tended to be the same thing everyday and wasn't real good. The salad bar was ok, but it was also the same day in and day out. Everything was served by the crew. We couldn't even get a packet of sugar for our coffee without having a crew member give it to us. The U.S. Dining room (specialty restaurant) was acceptable, but I wouldn't want to do it everyday, it was just too long of a meal. The service was great. I had the steak Diane, and my husband had lamb chops. Both were good, although I liked the steak better. The goat cheese souffle was nice, but it was cold (maybe it was supposed to be). The desserts were a matter of taste, but I think they looked better than they tasted. The cheese tray was fun, and probably my most favorite part of the dinner. We did eat in the wine cellar one night, and that was nice my favorite part of the U.S. Dining Restaurant is the fact that it is quieter than the main dining area. I enjoy being able to talk rather than hearing what I call white noise. This was a holiday cruise, and there were kids everywhere. I really never thought much about cruising during a holiday, but I will never do it again. There were over 100 kids on this cruise but it seemed like 500. I don't understand why kids were allowed to play chase in the casino, or why a parent would put a baby in diapers in the Jacuzzi. Be that as it may, I now understand the frequent threads regarding taking children on cruises. We signed up for the Persian Spa at a rate of $99 pp, and I went the first day and it was so hot, I couldn't sit down, even when using a towel. My feet were almost blistered. I asked if this was normal, and they checked it out, and they agreed it was WAY too hot. My husband thoroughly loved the steam rooms, but I'm one of those that hates getting ready in the morning then getting all steamed up and having to re-do my make-up/hair. So, for me I don't think I would do it again, but my husband says it's worth it. For my husband's birthday, we did a Rasul Spa Treatment. This is a treatment for couples. You are given some salt scrub, mud and lots of different lotions to rub all over each other. Inside the area there is a steam room and a separate shower. What you do in the room is entirely up to you, as long as you are done in 60 minutes. This was fun, and we did have a ball smearing each other up. I think the cost was somewhere around $99. I also booked 2 other massages, one my husband took, and the other I had. What more can I say, massages are wonderful. I had the mud treatment with a full body massage. I told my masseuse not to try and sell me products (I hate the sales pitch), and she didn't so she got tipped better. Casino action I love casinos, and I loved this casino. The dealers and waiters were the nicest people. Maybe I liked it because we actually won money. That never happens. I played a $1.00 slot machine the first night and won $3,000. After that, we played 3 card poker, roulette, black jack and Caribbean Stud Poker. It didn't matter what we played, we won. We won enough to pay off our cruise tab and still take home $8,000. Something was wrong with this picture, and I'm still dumbfounded. My husband even won twice playing bingo, and he only played 3 times. People were even coming up to us and saying aren't you the one who won? As for the shows I can't comment on them because we didn't go. We never were tempted by the shows because they all seemed to be boring to me. I'm sure the Xylophone guy was good, but I was anticipating a much better variety. This goes for the musicians as well. They were good, but not great. There wasn't a whole lot of types of music to choose from. They did play classical / harp/ piano but there weren't different themes like blues, rock, new age, piano, etc. We were disappointed in the selections. Ports of Call: Montevideo: We didn't take a tour, we just walked into town. There are a lot of cafes along one of the streets; they were serving BBQ beef, pork, lamb, etc. We ate at one of the little BBQs where everything is cooked over hot coals. I have to say, this was probably the best filet of beef I've ever eaten in all my life. I can't even tell you how good it was. I had a salad, huge beer and the biggest filet ever and the total bill came to $17 U.S. dollars. Where we live, this same meal would have cost us $150. Simply amazing!! Puerto Madryn: We took a private tour out to see the penguins at Punto Tombo. The Magellan penguins are amazing little creatures. There are literally thousands of them nesting on the beach. They aren't afraid of humans, which is kind of sad. I'm so embarrassed about how people acted around the little guys. I saw people trying to pet them, they laid down and had their pictures taken right next to the nests, I even saw kids chasing them. The weather was beautiful; I wore a tank top and got sunburned. The 2 hour bus trip was a long one (each way) but our guide was wonderful and very knowledgeable about the area & the wildlife. Would I do this excursion again??? Yes! Cape Horn: We were lucky enough to get close enough to see Cape Horn. It's not much to look at, just an island, but at least I can say I saw it. The weather was rough for a couple of days, quite a few people got sick. I personally like it, but there were many that hated life for a few sea days. Ushuaia: I loved this port; the mountains were beautiful and covered with snow. It was super windy and cold. Not piercing cold, just cold. We hired a cab driver for something $15 U.S. dollars to drive us around for a couple of hours. It was Christmas, so we tipped him $50.  We toured the prison, and this was worth seeing. We also drove up the mountain to get a good view of the ship, city and mountains. Our driver also recommended a place to eat King Crab so we got a taste of some local cuisine. I had mussels and crab. We did a little shopping and then headed back to the ship. The views from our balcony were spectacular. We had dinner at the U.S. Dining Room, and it wasn't as good as the previous visit. I ordered my lamb med-rare, and it was very rare. I could have sent it back, but I wasn't that hungry anyway due to eating in Ushuaia earlier in the day. My husband had some kind of lobster pasta, which he said was ok. After dinner we meet up with some friends and had a cocktail. I felt like I was starting to catch a cold, so I remember taking some Alka-Seltzer Cold medicine around 11:00 p.m. We had a cocktail and headed off to bed. Around 1:00 a.m. I got up and got sick.  This continued every 30 minutes, and then I started to get diarrhea. Around 3:00 a.m. I was having both symptoms at the same time not real pleasant (sorry). This went on until 9:00 a.m. when we decided to head toward the medical facility on deck 1. Let me tell you, that is one long walk from deck 9 aft. The medical staff & doctor were really nice. I figured I had the norovirus, and was prepared for quarantine. All I wanted was to quit throwing up. My husband had to fill out tons of forms asking what I had eaten in the last 7 days. This was tough, because I can't remember what I ate yesterday. I really had no desire to fill out forms, so my husband did the best he could. They hooked me up to an IV because I was very dehydrated. They also gave me some medicine to keep me from vomiting. (Thank God). I feel asleep until the IV was finished. At this time the doctor came and explained that I had to be in quarantine for 72 hours and my husband for 24 hours. At the time I wasn't upset because we had 3 sea days coming up and I figured since we had an aft cabin I would be okay. They also took a blood sample and asked me for a stool sample. I complied with both. They also informed me if I was caught outside my room that they would put me off in the next port. Life in quarantine for the 1st day wasn't so bad; I was tired and slept most of the day. Day 2 & especially day 3 were horrible. I felt like a caged animal, I paced the floors, ordered room service at every opportunity, and pretty much was a grump. I understood the quarantine, and complied but I was going bonkers. The guest relations called me 2-3 times a day to check up on me (I think they were checking to see if I was still in my room). My cabin steward Ben came in and changed my sheets and disinfected my room with some kind of bleach. We called the medical facility to find out the results of the tests, and they kept telling me they weren't done yet. I asked if perhaps I was sick from eating the mussels and crab while in Ushuaia they told me it didn't matter what I was sick from, I would still be in quarantine for 72 hours. The bottom line is, they never did tell me what the results were. Oh well. The day I got out, was the day were docked in Puerto Montt. I missed Punta Arenas, but we were docked there on Christmas Day, so I was told I didn't miss much. My quarantine was officially over at 9:00 a.m., and believe me, I was out of my room at 9:00 sharp. When we swiped our card to get off the ship, my card beeped, and I must have had this pale look on my face, but the crew member pushed some buttons and let me get pass. Puerto Montt: We got off the ship and did some tourist shopping. We also visited the local fish market. I was tempted to try some of their fish, but after getting sick I thought twice. One of our new found friends rented a van, so we all jumped in and headed to Puerto Vargas. This was a cute German town about 20 minutes drive from Puerto Montt. It was extremely windy that day, so we just walked around for a bit, then stopped and got a beer. We then went and had Mexican food. Pretty good Mexican food too! After that, we headed back to the ship. Sea Day: Fairly rough this day, but I liked it my husband didn't. This cruise was definitely rougher than most cruises I've been on. There were lots of people ill. Disembarkation: This went very smoothly. Our flight wasn't until late in the evening, so we chose to hang out on deck 10 until most of the people had already left. We also had our luggage taken directly to the airport, so we didn't have to worry about finding all our bags. I give Celebrity a 5 star rating on this. Valparaiso/Santiago: We took a taxi to Vina del Mar and went to the most beautiful casino. It would compare to Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. Afterwards, we headed to Santiago to catch our plane (11:30 p.m). When we got to the airport, we saw the flight was canceled, and the American Airlines line was full of people trying to get home. AA was re-routing some passengers and putting others up in a hotel. When we finally got to the counter (after standing in line for 4 hours), they told us we would be able to fly out the following night via LAN Chile Airlines. They also would put us up at the Sheraton, and gave us a dinner and free lunch.  Not bad, right? The Sheraton was beautiful and the meals exquisite. I'm not here to bash Celebrity, but they could sure take a lesson on some good food from the Sheraton! We were treated wonderfully. The next day we took a private tour around Santiago which ended up at the airport. The LAN Chile Airlines was WONDERFUL. American is 2nd rate to them. All in all, we had a nice trip. The itinerary was great. Would I do Celebrity again? I'm not sure. The excess amount of children on this cruise made this trip almost unbearable. The food was so-so. The crew was superb. I don't hold Celebrity responsible for my illness. Things happen, and it just happened to be my turn to get sick. As far as the memories go, I met some terrific people and saw some places I doubt I will ever see again. Will I cruise again???? You bet. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
Before you begin to read this review I want to warn you that it is not very complimentary. Those of a nervous disposition or planning on sailing aboard Infinity soon may want to give it a miss. As usual my Mum was my travelling ... Read More
Before you begin to read this review I want to warn you that it is not very complimentary. Those of a nervous disposition or planning on sailing aboard Infinity soon may want to give it a miss. As usual my Mum was my travelling companion. We have taken 6 cruises before, all with RCI and on various ships. We have sailed The Med, The Baltics, Hawaii and 3 times to the Caribbean. This was our first Celebrity cruise. We chose Infinity because of the itinerary, ie, Acapulco AND the Panama Canal. Our first disappointment was that our cruise was shortened by one day and one port of call. I do not think that the compensation was adequate and in reply to my letter of complaint, Celebrity are now calling it a 'goodwill gesture'. We were booked into The Radisson Hotel, San Francisco for 2 nights instead of the expected 1 night. The hotel turned out not to be in San Francisco at all, but several miles outside the city. They got around this by laying on coaches to take us to 2 drop-off points within the city. The coaches ran every 30 minutes and were excellent, although the last coach back to the hotel was quite early - 9pm - which meant that we could not experience San Francisco at night. Fortunately we have been to San Francisco before so had already enjoyed this. The hotel was very nice although the booking in was a bit of a nightmare. The first evening we felt like a captive audience. There was NOTHING in the surrounding area. We had very little choice but to use the hotel restaurant for our evening meal and breakfast on 2 occasions. We had a bar meal the first evening - delicious hamburgers which we normally would not have ordered. We didn't think much of the breakfast menu, however all the staff worked very hard and were pleasant. Embarkation went very smoothly. We have previously had some horrific experiences when joining cruise ships so this was a very pleasant surprise. We were greeted with a glass of champagne and found our way to our cabin very easily - 3 doors down from the Atrium. Our luggage had already arrived and this was also a surprise. Our outside cabin was about the size that we have had on previous ships but the layout made it seem smaller. The bathroom was definitely smaller. I have never before had the shower curtain sticking to me when I have been OUTSIDE the shower. Also all our bathroom storage cupboard space had been utilized by our cabin steward to store tissues and toilet-rolls. Our cabin steward did the bare minimum for us. We ended up wiping surfaces down ourselves during our stay...I know, I know, but you shouldn't have to ask. I did have to ask for extra soap though. I don't share my soap at home but the steward thought that it would be acceptable for us to share on board. One morning I spilt an entire pot of coffee in the cabin - more of which later. We did mention this to our steward. When we returned to the cabin he had resolved the problem by placing the table over the spillage. Very resourceful.There were non of the little extras that we had come to expect from previous cruises, such as towel folding. Having said all that, he was a pleasant fellow. We found the ship to be in good condition and all the public areas were very clean. To us the ship felt very dark and oppressive. The ceilings were very low and this added to the overall feeling of being enclosed. We were very disappointed with the Atrium area. It seemed to be more of a business area. On previous cruise ships it has been a place to sit and enjoy a drink, listening to a music group whilst people had a dance. This is usually the place where brides have delighted us all by making a grand entrance in all their finery. I cant imagine that anybody would make any sort of grand entrance on the Infinity Atrium. The art work on board wasn't up to much. Several pieces were broken and were glued down. We enjoy informal dining for breakfast and lunch. We were very disappointed in the Oceanview Cafe. The presentation of the food was reminiscent of a works canteen. At best the food was luke warm to begin with and by the time we had queued and then sat down it was invariably cold. People would be queuing 10 deep for toast but the server only made 2 pieces at a time, attending only to the person directly in front of him. The omelette station was the same. We also found the food to be very bland. Not at all what we expected. In the end we resorted to room service for our breakfast. This was delicious and HOT when it arrived. The 'canteen' staff were very, very pleasant and hard working, except one or two of the servers. I saw one server angrily throw a plate down onto the side as a lady had picked her tray up too quickly for his liking. Also a server handed me a red hot plate without any warning. It was only saved as a passerby quickly took it off me with their napkin. The Trellis restaurant was pretty much as we expected. Our waiters were fantastic. Very friendly and entertaining. The potatoes were very nouveau cuisine and we ended up ordering a side dish of mashed potatoes each evening, which wasn't a problem. I, and other diners were surprised on several occasions when courses that we expected to be hot were cold... crepe suzette, fried pineapple. Some food was sent back but on the whole it was a pleasant enough experience, made better by pleasant company. At our table we had a wedding anniversary and a birthday during the cruise and were suitably serenaded and served with delicious chocolate cake. As we have sailed with RCI before we were classed as Select members. There didn't seem to be any benefit to this at all. One of the supposed 'benefits' was to be invited to High Tea in the SS United States. The invitation came in the form of a letter at the beginning of the cruise outlining activities to which we would be invited. We had a phone call to our cabin from Heidi to remind us to attend. When we did attend we were prevented from entering until we proved who we were. When we sat down the champagne waiter asked us if we would like a glass of champagne. When we accepted we were presented with the price list!!!!!! I later complained about these 2 incidents to Heidi. I advised her that if she wanted to prevent gate-crashers then she should have issued invitations. She then added to the insult by telling me that Celebrity didn't want to waste paper on invitations - every morning our daily planner was overflowing with bits of paper advertising duty free drinks and bingo sessions etc. etc, which I think is more wasteful than invitations. I also told her that it was disgraceful to invite us to High Tea and then to want to charge us for champagne, especially as they were giving bucket loads of it away at events all over the ship. Heidi looked surprised that this had happened, but I believe that this was feigned. I did not have any acknowledgement from Heidi about my complaint and I am sure it was forgotten the minute it was made. Incidentally, there were only about 12 people at the special High Tea. Perhaps Heidi would have welcomed some gate-crashers after all. The 'welcome aboard' by the captain took place in the theatre before a show. It consisted of the Captain introducing his officers, then they all had a glass of champagne served to them on stage and left. Very odd indeed. Every other cruise we have been on we have been invited to a champagne and canape party and every guest on board has been introduced and had their photo taken with the Captain. The 'welcome back' party took place in the nightclub. It too wasn't anything to write home about. We gave the 'Officers welcome back' party a miss. The Chocolate Gala took place in the nightclub too. It was very poor and hidden away in shame. They didn't seem to have any nice venues for special occasions on Infinity. The Captain was very young and I feel he has a lot to learn about making his guests feel welcome. There were lots of activities on board and the activities staff were excellent, especially Cher and Andy (or Manchester as we came to know him - you know who you are!). Some of the activities did tend to overlap, but they were good fun. The guest lecturers were very informative. We took an excursion in Acapulco. It was very interesting and the cliff divers were fantastic. There were hundreds of children clamoring around and begging. A little tip for you - don't give them anything as 1 became 10. If you want to give, then do it just as you are about to get back onto the ship. We found all of the ports of call to be much poorer than we had expected. The people do rely heavily on tourist dollars. Puntarenus market was fabulous as was Cristobel Pier. Cant tell you much about Aruba as I fell off the 'treacherous' gangway and broke my wrist and sprained my ankle. The broken wrist was misdiagnosed by the ships doctor, so beware. Guest relations did phone my cabin to find out how I was. They made the call when they knew that I was in the dining room, which makes me think they did not really want to speak to me. In a voicemail message they offered me assistance to disembark if I needed it. When I went to guest relations to avail myself of their kind offer, they refused me any assistance and told me to use the porters like everybody else. I went back later to speak to a different person and they too refused me any assistance. So it was left to my poor long suffering Mother to get us both off the ship and to the airport. Guest relations also refused to make a call to the airport to advise them that I would need airport assistance. So much for Guest Relations. I find it strange that their parent company, RCI, seem to get everything right but Celebrity don't. I did not think that the officers were very visible on this cruise. They seemed to want to stay as far away from the guests as possible. One evening about 8 officers dined near us in the Trellis restaurant, but instead of dispersing around the tables, they all chose to sit together and even had their own waiters. There were no officers present in the Oceanview cafe during meals. Perhaps if they had been there they could have witnessed the amount of food that was left on plates and asked their guests about the quality of the food. Also it is my opinion that there are too many places on board ship where people can smoke, although I am sure smokers wouldn't agree. If I had my way they would be banished to one outside area only (yes I am a former smoker) On a high note - the Celebrity singers and dancers were fantastic. The best shows that I have ever seen. All the entertainers were great and the theatre was a treat every night. I have tried to be honest about my assessment of the cruise and our experience of it. Obviously everything is subjective and you may have a truly wonderful time, I hope you do, but I will NEVER sail with Celebrity again . Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
Just got off this ship & would like to warn others. We were a group of 7 adults with 5 adult children. Our verandah stateroom, for which I overpaid, was lovely, but the room had a mysterious nugget, looked like an enlarged raisin from ... Read More
Just got off this ship & would like to warn others. We were a group of 7 adults with 5 adult children. Our verandah stateroom, for which I overpaid, was lovely, but the room had a mysterious nugget, looked like an enlarged raisin from the first day we arrived, I physically brought our stateroom attendant to look at it & clean it. That same night she left us no toilet paper in the dispenser, 1 towel & no plastic bag in the garbage can, which by the way was broken & kept banging on the toilet seat! The bin was later fixed with a string! We had to change our waiter as well, we were the last ones to leave the dinner table, causing us to be late to the shows that were after dinner, causing me to slip on the stairs from lack of light!! The bar service sometimes forgot our orders & didn't bother to come back! The entertainment was good, but repetitious. The gym had many machines that either didn't work at all or malfunctioned, no TV's in front of the treadmill. The variety in the buffet was lacking as well. I certainly did not feel like a Queen as the ads imply, no one went out of their way to make a 5 star ship feel like I got what I paid for. This is my 29th cruise, 2nd w/ Celebrity & I won't be going on them again. When I pay double for my room, because it's supposed to be the top of the line, I expect a clean room, efficient service & fantastic entertainment. Royal Caribbean & Princess get my vote for best all around. On a separate point, we all agreed that the art around the ship was the ugliest we'd ever seen. We also had an electrical malfunction that caused one of the propellers to not work, causing us to miss Sitka, where I was planning to do my shopping as Juneau was rained out, & that event caused us to arrive in Vancouver at 1PM, we receive $500.00 credit, but missed our flight to LAX which is making us stay in Vancouver tonight & now I must arrange for a different flight home to Miami because we don't get to LAX in time to connect to our Miami flight. I know this is beyond their control, but being a 5 star ship we expected better service, higher quality food & more varied entertainment. Maybe Celebrity shouldn't brag so much.... check out their web site & don't believe everything you read!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
We sailed from San Francisco on the Infinity April 17, 2006. From the beginning, we had problems. The information received from both the cruise line and our travel agent stated that embarkation started at 5:30pm for the 8:00pm sailing. ... Read More
We sailed from San Francisco on the Infinity April 17, 2006. From the beginning, we had problems. The information received from both the cruise line and our travel agent stated that embarkation started at 5:30pm for the 8:00pm sailing. This was confusing since it seemed to conflict with scheduled dining times, but Celebrity customer service representatives insisted the 5:30pm embarkation start time was correct. Luckily, we took a chance and arrived around 2pm and were able to board at that time. If we had listened to Celebrity, we would have missed the life jacket drill and probably dinner as well. Other than that mistake, our embarkation went smoothly. Our cabin was not quite ready when we arrived, so we waited for it to be finished up. The cabin was missing a life jacket, and even though we flagged this to our cabin attendant, she never brought us the life jacket. We had three people in our cabin and the cabin had a sofa that pulled out as a bed. Never book a cabin that has a pull out sofa bed! When it is pulled out, there is only a mere 2 inches between the edge of the bed and the small desk. We had to remove a chair and glass table in order to be able to pull out the sofa bed. In order to go to the bathroom, one had to climb over the bed and the person in it because of the lack of space. This was very awkward and I wonder if it is a safety hazard as well??? Other than that big inconvenience, the cabin was nice. There was enough storage space for our things. Ok, food. I have to say that I was very disappointed. I had sailed on the Celebrity Mercury in 2005 and the food was terrific!!!! However, on the Infinity, I could definitely tell there were cutbacks in service and in the food quality. Our dining room servers did not offer refills as frequently, nor did they offer condiments such as ground pepper. Sometimes our boneless fish has bones in it and was overcooked. But my real gripe is with the Lido buffet. On the Mercury, the buffet was very good. On the Infinity, it was sorely lacking. They were often out of various juices and ice tea. What they did have was watered down. At times, I could see fruit flies buzzing around the beverage stations. When I flagged this problem to the attending crew at the stations, they did not do anything about it. I saw the flies on several different days. The carving stations had meats such as ham and pork which tended to be overcooked and very dry. What really disgusted me was that at one lunch time, I noticed that the peas in the vegetable section were old, hard and brown. These were mixed in with the fresher peas which were green. This tells me that old food was used that should not have been used. I commented on this to the server behind the counter and he just laughed. I understand about not wasting resources, etc&..but this was just gross! The pasta, pizza and omelet stations were good. However, the sushi was just mediocre. The afternoon tea was a pleasant experience and the pastries are good. The entertainment on board was fabulous! The production type shows were good, but what really stood out were the pianist and the soloists that Celebrity brought on board who were not regular crew members. They were outstanding! The ship dEcor was nice and thank goodness, there were plenty of elevators which mean the waiting time was minimal. It was nice not be bothered by ship photographers at every turn. The picture quality was very good and as always, we ended up buying many photos. Because I had had such a first rate on the Mercury, I had raved about Celebrity cruises to my family and friends. It was embarrassing to me because I brought along other family members and the experience did not measure up. I definitely had "egg" on my face for this one. I talked to many other passengers and they also mentioned that they noticed the quality had declined on the Infinity. I had planned to be a loyal Celebrity cruiser, but now Im not sure. This cruise experience did not measure up to my expectations. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
My wife and I sailed the Infinity over Xmas and New Year 2005/6. The ship is beautiful and the cabin we had (Concierge)roomy; the service great. However, in comparison with a Celebrity Century cruise last winter and more recent cruises ... Read More
My wife and I sailed the Infinity over Xmas and New Year 2005/6. The ship is beautiful and the cabin we had (Concierge)roomy; the service great. However, in comparison with a Celebrity Century cruise last winter and more recent cruises with Holland America and Princess, there were shortcomings. I confess to having paid full price, which may color my views. Embarkation and debarkation were both disasters. The former took two hours during which we stood herded between ropeways, with no explanation (a free drink was no consolation.) They later herded us again, this time into a narrow corridor, where we stood for over an hour; again, no explanation. We and other passengers received our luggage after dinner, and a number of people complained that they would have liked to dress up a little for Xmas eve. The cruise director and staff were barely competent. The entertainment ranged from fair to excellent; outstanding production shows but variable entertainers. The music was excellent and we particularly appreciated a classical string trio. Activities during the day were routine and not well attended, although younger passengers might not agree with this. There was no piano bar. The food was not up to standard, especially meats. Dinners were OK but the lunch buffet was not up to par. There was an excellent buffet in the spa with limited but tasty offerings. We missed having afternoon tea; one day an "elegant tea" was offered but we were required to wear jackets (at 4 pm in the Caribbean!.) This being a holiday cruise we expected more celebrations. There was a Santa Claus parade for the over 400 children on board, but the New Year's eve party seemed perfunctory. Extras offered in Concierge class were nothing special; if you don't want help with booking excursions and other travel there does not seem to be any reason to pay the extra money. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2005
Let me start by answering the question , Would I do it again .. The simple answer is maybe. But I do need to say that my previous experiences on the Century and Mercury ships must have spoiled me Embarkation was a disaster : There were ... Read More
Let me start by answering the question , Would I do it again .. The simple answer is maybe. But I do need to say that my previous experiences on the Century and Mercury ships must have spoiled me Embarkation was a disaster : There were winds in the port of Bueones aires , that caused a need to move the ship . The Celebrity staff were not helpful at all in explaining the issue or the time frame to board . We all understood the safety issue and the need to move the ship But , The staff could have done many parts of the boarding process while we waited in line for 3-4 hours .. I.E. Have a staff member pre check passports for Visa's .. Insure all passengers had their paperwork ready and explain the process of what we need to do once the line could start moving .. Instead most associates sat in their booths waiting for someone to give them direction.. There was not a sign to see or announcement that we could hear as we waited outside in the LOoooooooonggg line ( we were supposed to get priority boarding as We had booked a concierge level room ( big Mistake ) .. when we asked how that would be handled , we were told "that went out the window hours ago !!! I mentioned how we were spoiled on the Century class were the equivalent rooms had Great sunny balcony's to enjoy when the crowds at the pool proved to be too much .. or when we wanted to enjoy a starlit nite ...Well on the Infinity you concierge class room has a balcony that is well under a "roof" ( the deck above) .. that not only does not allow the sun shine or starlight to shine in .. But actually has girders sticking out causing an obstructed view !!! .. Concierge class also boasts Fresh flowers and fresh fruit in your room each day .. By the middle of the cruise the fruit was Literally Moldy and rotten ( the cabin stewart said he would stop bringing it because it was Poor quality ) .. and the flowers were only replaced when they were Brown and decayed .. The ports of call were good and the Shore excursions were well organized and worthwhile ..( don't waste your money !!). Our ship was the only one in port for Carnival .. we found that to be an "interesting" experience but do not need to EVER see again .. We felt were were ripped of a bit as we were in A reserved section .. well the people in from of us ( not cruising with us - on their own from the US ) paid 180 pp less that us to attend The Sambadrome .. The captain of the ship was no where to be found .. He made only a cameo appearance at the "welcome " party in the theater and an even shorter visit to the captains club party .. ) hmmm lets see he's the captain and lasts 5 mins at the party ) .. We are now planning two future cruises and are waiting for a response to our Issues from Celebrity .. We will see if we can continue our relationship , or move on to another cruise line .Its up to Celebrity !!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2005
A little concerned we were unable to book shore excursions direct, ended up in calling their office, bounced around 4 people before making the arrangements which took 40 minutes of waiting. Flight to Argentina fine, no transfer offered ... Read More
A little concerned we were unable to book shore excursions direct, ended up in calling their office, bounced around 4 people before making the arrangements which took 40 minutes of waiting. Flight to Argentina fine, no transfer offered to the overnight hotel, or to the ship the following day. The next day was a nightmare, the weather had caused the ship to dock late and Celebrity had made no arrangements for 1500 passengers all arriving to embark. We were in 4 different lines for nearly 5 hours, no information, no where to sit no food no drinks, Celebrity had abandoned us, despite a luxury liner just 500 yards away. I guess we were lucky, we meet other passengers who had waited 7 hours. The crew seemed to have an attitude problem I guess they were fed up with complaints, officers were invisible, I guess for the same reason. We were late arriving at the first 2 Ports of call, shore excursion arrangements were complicated, these people's goal in life seem to be orginising waiting lines. The food was good, restaurant service patchy, wine waiter was only interested in pushing the high price bottles, despite an excellent alternative selection of local produce, that you had to ask for, the entertainment was excellent, the shows were a delight. Arriving in Rio for the Carnival was something special I shall never forget, a memory of a life time, Celebrity had the excursion organised, but failed to tell us that there was no reserved seats, despite having paid £415 for 2 people for 1 night. The Cruise back to Argentina was uneventful a gave us time to relax, which was just as well, debarkation was another waiting exercise, long lines of passengers trying to get off. The organisation was poor and information poorer, they had parted us with our money and no one seemed to care, a sorry end to our anniversary celebration Cruise, which was supposed to be the trip of a life time. When I got home I wrote to the CEO of Celebrity, nearly 2 months later, I received a reply, not from him but a Customer relations representative I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, it appears it was everybody's fault but theirs, the bottom line was, that they would pass my comments on to the various departments responsible, nothing mentioned was helping to restore my belief that this was a one off experience and that any further trips would be very different. I have now cancelled our booking for Hawaii next January, wild horses would not get me to part with my hard earned cash to go with Celebrity again,if you want true care and service with a smile go to P&O they rally know how to do it. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
This was our 5th cruise with Celebrity. The weather and ports were beautiful but the cruise left us wanting more...more attention to detail, better quality and more variety in food choices, better air arrangements, more variety in ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise with Celebrity. The weather and ports were beautiful but the cruise left us wanting more...more attention to detail, better quality and more variety in food choices, better air arrangements, more variety in activities, especially on sea days. Simple activities like movies during the day or live music other than while we are eating supper (main seating) would have been better. Also, it would be nice for the activities staff to have alternate plans for days when it is too cool and too rainy to play pool games. Many shows were only offered once a night which made it appear that they were trying to save money by paying the entertainers less. We notice a lot more extra fees for activities that really shouldn't cost anything extra, a lot more recorded music rather than live, and little notes announcing extra fees for water, towels, etc. all over our cabin. We booked with the cruise line through their 800 number in Miami. We found the agent to be very helpful and easy to contact until we made our final payment. We're still waiting for him to return calls made after that. We were able to have some questions answered by calling Captain's Club, but we tended to get different answers, depending on who we asked. We made our air arrangements through custom air, months in advance but when we received our final papers, the arrangements had been changed and when I called, we were told we didn't have custom air after all even tho the person I had spoken to said we did. We did not arrive at the ship until almost 7:00 pst and were told that we would have to wait for the 8:30 seating for supper. Since we had traveled all day from the east coast per Celebrity's arrangements, this would have been 11:30 est so we declined and ate pizza on the pool deck, just pizza...no salad, nor anything else along with many others. This is the first cruise we've been on where they didn't take open seating on the arrival night. Our return flights from Honolulu were even less well planned. I would suggest that if you choose this route it would be worth it to go through your own travel agent and make your own flight arrangements. Ours were poor. We see lots of changes in the little things that make cruising enjoyable and wonder if this is the result of the RCI takeover. They seem to be adding extras for extra fees that used to be part of the package. The special restaurant, S.S. United States was wonderful and more like what the main dining experience used to be. The ship's appearance, overall, seemed like it needed some cleaning and polishing and picking up. Although the face to face staff seemed helpful, the folks in the white uniforms did not seem to care if we were there or not. Several times I was left standing in line behind them as they got their lunch or their beverages without so much as an"excuse me"or friendly nod. I also think Celebrity should consider embarking from San Diego and then making a visit to Ensenada as that bus trip is the pits. We were rushed to the bus, with a bottle of water and a small granola bar with no one from Celebrity to escort us or tell us what we were to do next. It was a long, dark and uncomfortable ride. I think Celebrity may be looking for new passengers but not worrying about keeping the ones they have had in the past. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
This cruise was a bit of a disappointment from beginning to end. We noticed a high level of disorganization the first day with key/room screw ups as well as dinner seating mistakes. I attribute this in part to the staff being unprepared ... Read More
This cruise was a bit of a disappointment from beginning to end. We noticed a high level of disorganization the first day with key/room screw ups as well as dinner seating mistakes. I attribute this in part to the staff being unprepared for a full ship with 600 kids. They normally only have a few kids on the Panama Canal Cruises. Because of Pod problems they were in dry dock for repairs and switched itineraries with the Millennium. I should have heeded the advice not to get off at Campo De Crapo. To drop you off and shuttle you to an artificial village tourist trap was bad form by Celebrity. The rest of the stops: San Juan, St. Thomas and Nassau were fine. We found the bartenders in the Martini/Champagne Bars to be rude, especially if you used the soft drink sticker. Comments regarding Celebrity having great food is a myth. Although, the SS United States was excellent and well worth the $30 surcharge. The food is no better nor worse than RCCL in the other dining rooms. Its quantity and presentation over quality and taste. The ship can not hold a candle to the Explorer of the Seas. The appointments are not as nice. The common areas and bars aren't as good and the there are fewer activities for kids and teens. The workout facility was also disappointing. The aerobic equipment was inferior and improperly calibrated and maintained. The fitness center was poorly manned with only one employee to conduct classes, see to equipment and take care of guests. Young kids were running around and using the equipment. I was also told that the classes weren't very good. On sea days it was a free for all getting chaises on the deck. I found the staff to be over the top pushy on trying to sell spa services. I was also surprised by how many kids were using the spa pool and whirlpools despite many signs saying "18 and over". The disembarkation was a disaster. Many people missed flights home because of the immigration delays. This whole process could have been handled much better by Celebrity. Also we had a "suite with butler service". This means your room is slightly bigger than a standard balcony room. You have an extra stateroom attendant who wears a tuxedo, you get a bathtub and a few minor extra amenities. Don't get me wrong, it is a nice ship, but it isn't one of the premiere ships on the seas. You can do better for the same or less money. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2004
This was our third Celebrity Cruise; our second two weeker. We were on the Zenith in late November/early December. While I love Celebrity and especially its marvelous staff, I can't say this was one of out better cruises. It started ... Read More
This was our third Celebrity Cruise; our second two weeker. We were on the Zenith in late November/early December. While I love Celebrity and especially its marvelous staff, I can't say this was one of out better cruises. It started badly with food poisoning in the hotel in Santiago we were put in, and it got even worse when the good ship's Doctor, an overweight, chain smoking Italian, decided that a mild case of diarrhea was deserving of a three day confinement to my stateroom. I had no other symptoms: no fever, no vomiting, nothing. But he arbitrarily committed me to confinement, and my wife to twenty four hours. I will admit they are making an attempt to make it up by offering a future cruise credit but of course, that means I need to make another cruise. Upon embarkation we were all handed a letter advising of engine problems and the fact that the ship was operating at about 80% of speed, necessitating the removal of one of the port calls. We were also issued a $150 credit for the loss. The one excursion I was able to make, Arrica, was probably the most depressing shore experience I've ever had. It's like the old joke. First prize is a day in Arrica; second prize is a week in Arrica, and the last place prize is a golf course lot at the Arrica Country Club. What a hell hole. I couldn't do the Lima excursion due to the "confinement". Finally, the entertainment was very mediocre. And that was disappointing since I had told everyone about what a great group the Zenith had, including a world class Broadway singer, Jordan Bennett, whose CD's I play all the time, incredible comedians, and some of the best dancers I've ever seen. They can't get something comparable for a Millennium class ship? I also wasn't real pleased the with the former Brazilian Ambassador and his liberal politics either. The other speakers were pretty good. The food was the usual quality; the staff as always, brilliantly trained and motivated. Where does Celebrity find such nice people? Whoever is doing the hiring should be promoted, given a raise and put on the Board of Directors. They are all such marvelous representatives of their countries and their cultures that you can't help but admire the consistency of their work. How they put up with some of the passengers, especially the rude French and Germans, is a mystery to me. The special restaurant was well done but the wine by the glass prices are obscene. Service was outstanding. Food was not 5 star. During disembarkation, at a point when things had slowed to a crawl, whoever the young man was in charge of the theatre disembarking group, totally defused some growing tempers, by taking off his jacket and walking on his hands across the stage. The crowd applauded, quieted down and had a good laugh. You can't teach that type of public relations. I wish I'd gotten his name. He also needs a promotion and a spot bonus. A lot of stores on board. Called the Emporium. Not employees of Celebrity and very spotty in terms of attitude and customer relations. The H. Stern staff was excellent. Some of the others, especially some of the gals manning the islands, were snippy at best. Two or three I would have fired on the spot. I took two other couples with us. First time Celebrity cruisers, but very, very experienced cruisers nevertheless. In fact, far more so than we are. They pretty much concur with what I'm writing. I don't know that they'll go back to Celebrity. But we will. But I won't do South America. It was underwhelming. I wrote a critique of my Zenith cruise. It has never appeared. But I can tell you that on a scale of one to ten, it was a nine. This was a five. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2004
We took the ship in Buenos Aires, we left late, next day we arrived to Montevideo, we left late again, one of the persons at our table said, there is something strange, the ship is too slow. Next day we were informed that the turbine of ... Read More
We took the ship in Buenos Aires, we left late, next day we arrived to Montevideo, we left late again, one of the persons at our table said, there is something strange, the ship is too slow. Next day we were informed that the turbine of one side was working in bad conditions, the reason we were late, and left late from every pier. They informed us that we were going to skip the Falkland Islands. This problem was that this was not informed to the passengers when it should have been informed, they did it only when we all were on sea, and no passenger was coming on board or could leave. This preexisting problem which was not disclosed to boarding passengers so no option was given to us to sail or not, we were forced to accept the itinerary changes they made, once we were already sailing. People, as we did, took only the cruise to go the the Falkland Islands, no other reason, and we didn't make it there. The Captain didn't appear to give an welcome to the tables and really he didn't care much if we were happy with the decision or not, then he communicated that we were going to receive as a compensation US$ 75 per person, which is an insult, because it doesn't even cover the tips which are "voluntary" so they say, and cost 150U$ per person as minimum. The other claim is that the amount, we received didn't even pay for the fuel for the ship till the Falkland Islands, or permission to disembark, and lets not speak about the days we had to stay on board with no disembarkation which were quite boring. Additionally I would like to express our disappointment on the lack of translation for spanish speaking passengers, and other languages too, as Portuguese , French, German etc, in a cruise of such quality its not possible that one part of passengers doesn't understand what the shows are about, no translation in movies, any possible entertainment was only designed for Americans, we were traveling through South America, and with a group of South American people and of spanish language like Mexicans, Spanish etc., you should at least be prepared to give these passengers who paid the same as the others the same attention as the english speaking ones. I hope this complain will make think, the people of the Celebrity Cruises to prepare better next time, their cruises, not only food is poor, also entertainment, and some people who are there to serve the passengers, as the people of the camera shops, Spa and hairdresser are not polite at all. I would be thankful if you publish this letter, so the people of the Cruise line will be able to do something about it, because its not the first time that this line leaves passengers unhappy, or leave them in the middle of a cruise in any port, because of a problem on their ships. Thanks and best regards Elsa Perlmann Read Less
Celebrity Infinity Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 3.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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