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Infinity is absolutely beautiful. We were booked for a category 7 guarantee and got bumped up to the sky deck with a veranda. Now I HAVE to have a veranda for any future cruises. I swear that upgrades from the cruises are like drug dealers ... Read More
Infinity is absolutely beautiful. We were booked for a category 7 guarantee and got bumped up to the sky deck with a veranda. Now I HAVE to have a veranda for any future cruises. I swear that upgrades from the cruises are like drug dealers giving school kids free drugs . . .it hooks you and they know it and that is why they do it. But that and so many other things made my cruise experience so special. The food was really excellent (good gosh I have to diet) and the service was perfect. I thought that even for a ship that has been sailing for some time . . .the service was amazing and very polite and helpful. My headwaiter Miguel and assistant waiter Victor were just the sweetest things in the world. The three other couples at our table for dinner were just so wonderful and made for a meal to look forward to every night. And my tablemates were not the only people I met that I really plan on keeping in touch with. I was worried when I first boarded the ship about how old the average passenger seemed to be as my boyfriend and me are 34 and 32 respectively. But our minority status as young people almost made it easier to meet other young people. We also met some really exciting and fun and interesting people that were older than us too . . . so age is definitely not the most important factor. One night all four couples from our dinner table (405 Late seating) went to the SS United States . . .the special dining room. I THINK we paid $25 extra per person, but it was so worth it. The service was PERFECTION lead up by who must be one of the best looking waiters on the high seas . . .Oswald of India. His smile would melt you and I think my boyfriend got a kick out of the small crush I acquired for him over the 14 days. Our table was next to the captain's table and Oswald would leave the SS United States on formal nights and serve the captain and his guests. Oswald was beautiful and elegant and did I mention that SMILE? Back to the SS United States. Many of the dishes were prepared tableside including the Caesar salad and entrees Steak Diane and Shrimp Scampi. We had eight people with our party and when food was served or cleared it was all done in unison, utilizing four waiters. There was another wonderful waiter there from Australia . . but I just can't remember his name. I would recommend either the Caesar salad or goat cheese soufflE as the soup/salad/app course. I had the rack of lamb in philo dough, but the Steak Diane and Shrimp Scampi looked and smelled great too. You may only select ONE soup/salad/app and after all those full course meals in the dining room I was worried I would want more, but the portions are bigger than the main dining room. The only problem was that so many things sounded excellent it was hard to choose one. For lunch there were several options to consider. You could go to the formal dining room and have a sit down meal which I only did on the last at sea day since it was too cold to be by the pool. They really want you in more than a cover-up in the formal dining room so on other days it was not convenient for me to do the formal lunch. Or you could go to the Ocean Grill and do the buffet, usually with a pasta stand almost to the extreme aft of the ship. I did this most of the time and the selections were varied and there was always at least one thing that really interested me . . .and usually more than that. They also did hot dogs and hamburgers and desserts at the grill by the pool. I did this option twice and really liked this option because I could be dripping wet from the pool and still enjoy my lunch without having to clean up and dry off. The French fries there are REALLY good -- so good that you barely need catsup and just the smell of them as you pass by was an evil temptation. In the thallosotherapy pool area they did a more healthy and light cafeteria-style lunch. I saw cute Oswald working there a few afternoons. ;-) For breakfast if I was up in time (late seating was at 8:45AM) and it was an "at sea" day, I liked to go to the formal dining room. They allowed shorts and t-shirts in the dining room for breakfast, which was nice. Two sinful and delicious choices were the eggs benedict with the poached eggs always perfectly cooked for that nice ooze when you broke into them. Also they served fresh bananas in heavy cream . . .talk about sinful. The breakfast buffet option in the Ocean Grill was also a good option if you wanted to sleep a little later. They served hot breakfast until 10AM. This was also a good quick option for the port days. Besides the usual scrambled eggs and hash browns and French toast (very delicious, I might add, with real French bread not the usual Wonder bread dunked in eggs), which is already prepared, and they have eggs made to order towards the very back of the Ocean Grill. The man who does the omelet's and your eggs over easy does a great job and I think maybe people did not know about this option because I never really had to wait more than five minutes to get my over easy eggs. For those people that like smoked salmon, the smoked salmon that they had for breakfast several mornings was of quite good quality. I live in NYC and get my smoked salmon from the very best places including Zabars and while the quality was not quite that high it was very good compared to what you would usually get on a buffet line . . .usually you get salmon that is a nasty light pinkish color with tough discolored spots and it either tasteless or too salty. On the Infinity I was loading up my bagel (not a NY bagel but good enough) with cream cheese and onions and capers and tomato and nice bright orange pink smoked salmon. YUM!!!! The pizza served at the poolside grill was really good. Usually they had pepperoni, mixed vegetable and plain. I think they did pizza service everyday from 3PM to 7PM and then again had late hours, but I never had it then (I had late seating dinner) so not sure of hours. They also had homemade ice cream served at same time as the buffet lunch. I had a cinnamon ice cream one day and it was excellent and the ice cream in the dining room was always delicious. The pistachio was really excellent. They had soft serve ice cream at times that I believe coincided with the pizza bar. I never had the soft serve ice cream . . .as if I needed to be eating more! The only other food thing they had that I did not mention was the tea from 4-5. There were lots of interesting little finger sandwiches and desserts. Many of them looked better than they tasted, but just keep tasting and you will find something you like. I don't think the non-American staffs always have a firm grasp on the kinds of sandwiches Americans like. And then of course there are the buffets. I went to view and photograph the Grand buffet on the last formal night. It LOOKED great. I could not eat any of it however as again I had late seating dinner and could not have handled it. But they did have buffets every night. I am sure they were good, but I could usually not stay awake that late as a full belly and rocking of the ship was the strongest sleeping pill in the world. And for the lobster lover! They did lobster on the final formal night. And it was really good and meaty. All the steaks were VERY good quality. Again, I live in NYC and have eaten at some of the best steak houses in the country and while maybe not exactly the quality of Morton's or Ruth's Chris, it was pretty close -- with the DELICIOUS bEarnaise sauce. If you eat red meat DO NOT miss the filet mignon. It is big and thick and cooked to perfection and they will re-do it if not to your expectation. Prime rib was also amazing and as a matter of fact on the last formal night I created my own surf and turf by ordering the lobster AND the prime rib. The white fish I tasted seemed a bit dry so I was not rushing to order that. Tried the salmon one night and that was good. The shrimp, chicken, lamb and duckling entrees were all excellent. Salads: Definitely try the special Celebrity salad dressing. YUMMY. Appetizers: Go for the escargots and dip that delicious bread. MMMMM! Stay away from the crab cakes or order another appetizer, they tasted more like potato cakes than crab cakes. Soups: All the consommEs were top notch. Desserts: Don't miss the Pistachio Crème Brule if they offer it. That was really special. I never did room service so cannot say what that was like. But they seemed to have some decent options that you could choose 24 hours a day. There were plenty of hot tubs and pools and I spent lots of time in them. Another great thing is that there is a Thallosotherapy pool with two hot tubs in a covered area that could definitely still be used on any cooler or inclement days. I also felt they had more liberal pool hours than the only other ship I was on (Voyager of the Seas) and really appreciated that. All pools and hot tubs were open 7AM to 8PM. Signs only said until 6PM, but the Infinity daily always listed hours until 8PM. Since I had late seating it was nice for the pool area to clear out and soak in the hot tub until I was ready for dinner. There were always lots of activities on board although for me the biggest attractions during "at sea" days are the pools and hot tubs. There are four hot tubs in the open air that will hold up to six people and then one longer deeper narrow pool for laps and one other more squarish shallow "float and bob" pool. In the covered and climate controlled atrium area there are two more six persons hot tubs and the thallosotherapy pool that has several high pressured jets and water spouts as well as a place to lay on these "racks" while you were massaged with a high pressure bubbling action. The thallosotherapy pool is free of charge and very nice and usually kept warmer than the outside pools, but cooler than the hot tubs. Absolutely my only complaint or recommendation would be to include one more port day. I love the "at sea" days, but I could have used one less of them and one more port day. Also for no explained reason, Celebrity opted not to go to Puerto Limon, Costa Rica and instead went to Cartagena, Colombia. Except for the good prices on emeralds, Cartagena was a bust for me. Although I would still choose a cruise that stopped in Cartagena, I would never get off the ship there again. There was nothing to really see and the cruise only offered three tours which were almost identical. And you were really harassed by the street vendors to buy their "junk". I wanted to get a t-shirt that said . . ."Would rather be in Costa Rica." But my boyfriend did buy me a gorgeous emerald pendant there so not all was lost, although when he gets his credit card statement he will wish even more that he would rather have been in Costa Rica on the $60 rainforest excursion where the most expensive thing I could have wanted was a $10 teak knickknack. Internet Cafe: It was really nice to have that option to keep in touch with people at home as opposed to expensive phone calls. But the Internet cafe was too expensive. They charged $.95 PER MINUTE. That is why I never posted to the Cruise Critic board. But it was perfect to be able to get on and off within three minutes and confirm that all was okay back home. Still a much more reasonable option than the phone calls. Entertainment: We did not see many shows. I am not really into the show revues, but I did see one really funny comedian, Noodles Levenstein. I understand that I missed an even better comedian: James Cameron. I loved the late seating as I could extend my day activities and not have to cut everything short to get ready for dinner, but I was so tired after the sun and the food that I could barely stay up much after dinner. I still prefer late seating to main and in general I think that people who select late over early seating are livelier and there is a better chance for interested tablemates. Children: [There were] hardly any which I found to be a good thing. I think I heard that there were less than 15 children onboard. A 14 day cruise is probably not ideal for families, although they did have nice facilities for children if you did choose to bring them. Ports of Call Panama Canal: [It was] very cool to go from Atlantic to Pacific in about eight hours. And it was fun sitting in the hot tub looking up and wondering if the Infinity would make it under the Bridge of the Americas, which marked the end of the Panama Canal as we entered the Pacific. From the hot tub it did NOT look like she would clear the bridge, but then she glided under. Although later I did hear that if the tide had been high enough we might have been forced to wait until it went down. Other than that however, The Panama Canal is so industrial looking all the way through and I am not sure I would be interested in doing that again. But it was a good experience to have once. Key West: Went snorkeling and had a nice time but couldn't go to the reefs because of the rough waters. It was nice to get in the water where we did, but did not really see much. Key West or any other American port is a great place to get soda for the ship. We got two 12 packs of Diet Pepsi which we killed in like five days and then were forced to buy the $1.95 diet cokes on the ship. Don't buy the diet coke (which they call Coca Cola Light) or diet Pepsi in the non-American ports. It tastes terrible. Cozumel: Got unlucky with snorkeling again. They cancelled all the snorkeling trips because of rough seas and instead we went on a jeep tour to this beach. We had a good time with this as well. The shopping in Cozumel is also good. Cartegena: stay on board! Puerta Caldera: Did the Carara Rain Forest hike and it was beautiful. Others did the Poas Volcano and really liked that as well. But the people who ended up seeing monkeys did the river tours. I think it was because it was such a hot day and the monkeys were near the water. The tour guides in Costa Rica are very knowledgeable and personable. On the Carara tour we stopped in one place where we saw at least 30 crocodiles, but never saw any monkeys. Acapulco: Did not do a ship excursion, but was dying for Mexican food and had some really great food at Senor Frogs. It was a $12 cab ride one way, but I so needed my Mexican food fix that it was worth it. The ship food is great, but if you like hot and spicy ethnic food. . you are out of luck. One day the ship had a Mexican fiesta lunch, but I did not see one jalapeno or bottle of hot sauce or even guacamole. But then again I did not expect it. We also went to a beach and took a banana boat ride. That was really fun. Renting wave runners is another fun option in Acapulco. I did not however find the beaches to be very clean. Watch where you step. Cabos San Lucas: Did the Catamaran Snorkel and Sail. Brrrrr the water was cold. There was no reef, but the fish were quite nice. Saw a small colony of sea lions and then the tour guides riled everyone up with liquor and loud music and we had a great sail. We had more Mexican food in Cabos at the famous Giggling Marlin and rented wave runners. It was fun to zoom around the Infinity and the Statendam which were both anchored in the harbor that day. You have to tender to this port. They have lots of nice things to buy in the flea market near the ship, but be careful. I bought a beautiful onyx chess set which they wrapped for me after I bargained them down and when we opened it up in the ship we realized one chess piece was missing. We do believe it was intentional because they did not like the price we wanted to pay. I felt when I walked away that I should have opened the box, but I didn't because we were running short of time and had to make the last tender. Not sure how I am going to manage to find a piece that will match. My boyfriend bought a watch from them that he charged to his credit card and we will attempt to contact them with that information, but I am not hopeful that they will fix the problem. They knew we were on the ship and when we realized the piece was missing it would be too late. I definitely do NOT think it was accidental. If anyone has any specific questions about Infinity just ask me. But I don't think anyone could possibly be disappointed with this cruise. There really is something for everyone.March 2001 Read Less
How do you describe "heaven"? The "Infinity", that's how! What a ship. She is absolutely the most beautiful ship we have ever been on.
How do you describe "heaven"? The "Infinity", that's how! What a ship. She is absolutely the most beautiful ship we have ever been on. Read Less
After much anticipation the day finally arrived for us to leave for the Alaska repositioning cruise May 1st on the Infinity. Background: Myself (age 34) and my husband (40) took my parents on this cruise for their 40th wedding ... Read More
After much anticipation the day finally arrived for us to leave for the Alaska repositioning cruise May 1st on the Infinity. Background: Myself (age 34) and my husband (40) took my parents on this cruise for their 40th wedding anniversary. My husband and I had only cruised one other time on the Sovereign of the Seas, and my parents had never cruised before. We picked this particular sailing for a couple of reasons. The first was that it was one of the few cruises going to Alaska over my parents May 5th wedding anniversary. Second, was that it stopped in Seattle, where my sister and her husband and two kids live. Third, I chose Celebrity because for this particular cruise my priority was something a little more upscale rather than constant activity, so I did my research and chose the Infinity May 1 -May 11th sailing to Alaska. Embarkation: Piece of cake. The only other embarkation I had ever experienced was with Royal Caribbean in Port Canaveral which was a completely hideous experience. We arrived at the Pier from the San Francisco airport via limo. Even though this is not a normal port for Celebrity, I was surprised at how quickly it went and how organized they were. We were onboard in ten minutes at approximately 12:15pm. I did hear from other passengers who arrived after us that once the busses from the airport arrived embarkation was taking a couple hours. For once the luck of timing was on my side. Once on the ship we were greeted by a Celebrity employee who showed us to our cabins. We were booked in two Category 3 staterooms, 7201 and 7204. When we entered the rooms I was amazed at how spacious they were. There was a huge amount of storage space, way more than we could possibly have used (and I tend to over pack). The balcony was huge as well. I had been a little concerned since our rooms were right next to the category 3 corner cabins that our view would be obstructed by those balconies with the portion that juts out, but this wasn't the case. My initial view from the balcony was Alcatraz, which got me even more pumped up for the upcoming trip. The weather in San Francisco that day was absolutely gorgeous (unfortunately by far the best weather we would experience during the entire trip!) The cabin had two beds which were made up into a King as we had requested, the tuxedo's I had rented for my dad and husband were in our rooms, and there was a nice bottle of wine in each room from our travel agent. I had prebooked the shore excursions online and our tickets were in the cabin. Very slick! Our room had our dining room table assignment card, but my parents room did not. So while I went off in search of where they were doing the dining assignment changes, my mom and dad settled on their balcony lounge chairs with a glass of wine and watched the boats sail by. So up to the Rendezvous lounge I went. I found the area where they were dealing with dining assignment problems and put my name on the waiting list. There were probably about 20 other people sitting in chairs waiting for their names to be called, all of them looking extremely grumpy (RELAX people, you're on vacation!). I found out from the guy taking names that my parents did have the same table we did, but it was a table for 4 (I had requested a large table in anticipation of us getting sick of each other). In addition to that the table was located right next to a large waiter station, so I decided to wait it out and see what other tables were available. Since the wait would probably be about a half hour I went to the table that was taking reservations for the United States restaurant and made a reservation for the night of my parents anniversary (more on that later). I then dutifully took my seat and waited my turn. Remember, I had literally just gotten off of a plane, and I was wearing jean overalls and a T-Shirt. The woman I sat down next to looked me up and down and said "I was told by my travel agent that Celebrity was a more upscale cruise line and the guests would be more dressed up" I am not kidding she actually said this to me. Fortunately, most of the guests I met were great people, and thanks to some of the internet message boards I met some fantastic people online ahead of time (hi Noel, Beav, Linecoach, Jeff and the many others). After about 5 minutes of waiting I was beginning to feel very sorry for the poor guy who was doing the reassigning. Apparently people take their dining room assignments as a matter of life and death because this guy was getting yelled at by almost everyone who came to him. I was sitting fairly close to the table he was stationed at so I was able to amuse myself with the stories people came up with. I'm still pondering what possible medical reason there could be that someone couldn't eat dinner before 9:00 at night! Anyway, eventually it was my turn. I explained to him that I had requested a large table and we were at a table for 4, and that if at all possible we would prefer to not be right next to a waiter station. He looked at me, rubbed his eyes and said (and I quote) "you nice lady, you no give me headache, I give you really nice table". So...what I was rewarded with for being one of the few people who didn't yell at the poor guy was table 411. A table for 4 next to the captain's table, with a gorgeous view out the huge 2 story high windows in the aft of the dining room. (Lesson: you'll catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar). I took the opportunity to explore more of the ship and was not disappointed. The decorating is well done; each public room has its own unique look and feel to it. Every staff member I passed, looked me in the eye, smiled and said hello. I went back to our rooms, grabbed my parents for the bon voyage and sailing under the Golden Gate and went up to the pool deck. We watched the ship sailing under the Golden Gate (a weirdly patriotic and awesome experience!), and then went down to get ready for dinner. As soon as the ship got out of the bay, the ocean was VERY rough, and I mean VERY rough. Later, our waiter told us that out of the 1800 guests on the ship that night, they had 600 people not show up for dinner. I left dinner early (what a shame with that great table) and spent the rest of the night in our cabin. I can only speak for our two cabins, but there was ALOT of vibration in the cabins. So much so that at times we had things fall off of the desk or the sink in the bathroom. It was mainly when we were in rough seas, coming into port, or in calm seas, but the captain had us going full speed. I don't want to understate this but I don't want to exaggerate it either, but just to make people aware who are considering booking the cat 3 cabins and the cat 1's overlooking the back of the ship that in certain circumstances there is a noticeable vibration. Would I book another Cat 3 in the future knowing that there was a vibration present? In a heartbeat. I won't bore you with the gory details of our seasickness so I will fast forward a bit here to the ports. SEATTLE: What can I say, it's my favorite city in the country and from having a sister who lives there I know it very well. We spent the day walking around downtown finding an excuse to stop for a drink or lunch or dessert or coffee or more dessert or another drink. VICTORIA: We rented a limo (Royal Limousine) and did a 4 hour city tour. I would highly recommend this limo company. They hire people who are retired who have lived in the area for a long time. Our driver was retired from the Coast Guard and had lived in Victoria all his life. We were able to see a lot of this charming city that on a normal tour wouldn't have been available to us. At $50 Canadian per hour, we paid for the 4 of us about the same amount of money that we would have paid for the ships bus tour. SITKA: We had to tender into Sitka (very cold) since the tenders were not completely enclosed. There isn't a lot to do in this town. We took a cab up to the Raptor rehabilitation center which is not much more than a small building, some birds in enclosed fences, and a walking trail through the woods. If the tour guide takes their time the tour lasts about 15 minutes. The cost of admission is $10.00 per person, but since it goes to the ongoing costs of running the center we didn't feel ripped off. After we stopped in a local hole in the wall bar (my husbands passion when we are in different cities is going to the most run down looking bar he can find and talking to the locals.) after the bar stop we had had enough of Sitka and waited in line for about 20 minutes in very windy very wet 45 degree weather to tender back. Back in the comfort of our floating resort, we decided we deserved some of that yummy Celebrity pizza which we ordered from room service. It went well with the rum and cokes we had smuggled onboard. SKAGWAY: We took the White Pass train tour. As everyone says, sit on the left hand side of the train on the way up. Even though you switch sides at the top of the pass, for some reason the view going up is much better than going down. Although I thought I would be very bored on this tour, I enjoyed it a lot. The scenery was spectacular and the narration was well done. We even ran into some heavy snow at the top of the pass (I'm from Minnesota, so when I say heavy snow, I mean HEAVY SNOW!). We went to the Red Onion saloon which was nice and then found our way to the Skagway Brewing company. This is a combo bar, restaurant and store, attached to a small Victorian looking hotel. I would recommend this as a stop, and the clam chowder was awesome. We went in and out of many of the shops and made it back to the ship just in time. JUNEAU: My mom and husband took the city bus tour which they said was awful. Their bus driver spent the whole tour talking about her son, and not pointing out any of the sites that they were passing. My dad and I took the helicopter glacier tour. I booked this independently of the ship, and booked it directly with Coastal Helicopters. (Ask for JAG as your pilot) I would highly recommend this tour. It was an awesome experience. It was just me, my dad and Jag, and it was his first tour of the season so he was as excited to be on the glacier as we were. We spent about 25 minutes exploring the glacier before our return trip. We had a 1:00pm flight and I guess were fortunate since due to weather they cancelled the later afternoon flights (yes the crummy weather was still following us) We did the obligatory Red Dog Saloon stop (good beer!) then some shopping then headed back to the ship. KETCHIKAN: All four of us had opted for the "Back Country Jeep Safari" tour. This was a new tour being offered by the tour company ATA (owned by Princess Cruise line) but was offered through Celebrity. We were the first group ever to go on this tour (our jeep had 80 miles on it). They still didn't have all the kinks worked out, since this was a new tour, which I am taking into consideration for this review, yet I don't think I would recommend for people to go on this tour for the following reasons. The tour book said a 3 ½ hour tour with a combination jeep ride, canoeing and nature hike. They split our bus of 26 people into 2 groups. Our tour started out on the jeeps. We only spent about 20 minutes actually driving in the jeeps, with one stop to look at the scenery. Then we went to a lake where we changed into rain gear (believe it or not it was hailing at this point). All 16 of us got into a canoe and canoed about ½ mile across the lake to a dock. We got out of the canoe, and they had a little hut type structure set up, with a large table with some food on it and a woman standing over a camp fire cooking soup in a big pot. We took our life jackets off and did the "nature hike" What the nature hike consisted of was a trail that was carved out and actually bordered on the sided with wood rail road ties. The trail was as long as it takes me to walk around the outside of my house. We then had our soup (which was still cold) our hot chocolate (which was lukewarm), then got back into the canoes and went back across the lake, where we got on the bus and rode back to where they park the jeeps to pick up the second half of our group who had taken the jeeps after they had canoed. In my opinion they could knock out the canoeing and the "nature hike" and just do jeeping. This seemed to be the general consensus amongst most of the people on the tour. For the 4 of us I paid over $500 for this tour, and really didn't feel like we got our moneys worth. The weather finally cleared up and we had a great rest of the day in Ketchikan. We LOVED this city and are actually planning on going back for a long weekend later this summer. The crew of the Infinity hangs out at Annabelles where we stopped for a drink, and we saw our room steward, our assistant waiter and the woman who runs Michael's there. A few more things that may be of interest to you. FOOD: The food in the dining room was great for lunch and dinner and the service was always perfect. I found the dining room a bit loud and clattery, but this could be due to the location of our table. We were on the first floor of the two-floor dining room and were in the section that was open to the ceiling on the 5th floor. Our assistant waiter Jose made it a particularly enjoyable experience. The breakfast in the dining room was marginal and after a few days we started eating at the buffet for breakfast. The buffets in the Oceanview Grill were average buffet food, nothing exceptional, but nothing hideous either. The day we were in port in Seattle we knew we would be returning to the ship too late for the early dinner seating so we made reservations for dinner in the Oceanview Grill. Do yourself a favor and skip this experience. The food wasn't very good and you had to go up to the buffet line to pick up your soup, salad and appetizer, then they brought the entrEe to you. After having eaten in the main dining room for dinner the food was disappointing. ROOM SERVICE: We used this a lot. You can order your food over the TV, but after doing this once I found it easier just to pick up the phone. The second night of the cruise my mom still wasn't feeling up to venturing to the dining room for dinner so we called their cabin steward and he brought us the dining room menu. We wrote down our order for him with a request that he not bring our dessert (Cherries Jubilee) until after we had finished our dinner (which he did). Everything arrived hot and was wonderful. We ordered probably every item off the menu at one time or another and the food was always good. It was really nice ordering the fruit and cheese platter each night to go with our before dinner cocktails. MICHAELS: My husband is a wholesaler for cigars and when on vacation both he and my dad will indulge in the nasty habit. So each night after dinner we went into Michaels. This is a great place to relax and is extremely under utilized. They have an awesome ventilation system and the room is not smoky at all. The bartender/waitress in Michaels was awesome. After the first night she knew what each of us drank and would just ask "the usual?" AAAAAAHHHHHH the joys of being pampered. ENTERTAINMENT: The main shows were good. The Broadway one is a must see. I had seen many of the shows they spotlighted actually ON BROADWAY and I was impressed with the show (if that's any indication of the quality). My only complaint about any of the entertainment was the Stan Duo. These two guys seemed to ALWAYS be playing in the Rendezvous Lounge. They played there each afternoon and almost every night. In my humble opinion they are kind of lousy. This may be unfair and may be coming from the fact that we heard them so often (we usually passed through the Rendezvous to get anywhere on the ship). I think maybe Celebrity should make the investment to have 2 different groups rotating the time in the Rendezvous (and make sure one of them doesn't have an electric organ!). The other house band Onyx was incredible. Their diverse repertoire was incredible. The fact that they can play for the sock hop (a must see is the Cruise Director Jim Cannon in his nerd routine at the sock hop) and they played equally great for the Caribbean night. All in all I was impressed with the level of entertainment. SS UNITED STATES: The one word I would use to describe this experience is "incredible". We ate here on two separate occasions. The service is of a level I have never experienced before (and I travel and eat out quite extensively). The feeling of being pampered was out of this world. To give you an indication of the level of service, they have one guy whose only job is to walk around with the breadbasket and keep offering you more bread! It is a long dining experience (both times is was two and a half hours) but it doesn't seem that long, and after the somewhat rushed service of being in the first dining room seating, was a welcome change. I didn't think the food could be much better than in the main dining room, but it was. Make sure someone in your party orders the goat cheese soufflE and the chocolate soufflE. I had the Shrimp Scampi the first night, which was good but not exceptional, and the veal the second night, which was out of this world. This dining experience is well worth the additional $25.00 per person, if you enjoy a more refined relaxing and "fu fu" dining experience, and should not be missed. CONCLUSION: I am sure you are saying "FINALLY" at this point. I really didn't mean for this to be this long, but I remember what information I wanted to know when I was doing my research and tried to include that here. How would I rate this cruise? Excellent! Which I'm sure is a little confusing given my nit picky comments at times. And those negative comments were just that....nit picky. I go on vacation with relatively high expectations, but I don't let the little things get to me. Yes the weather was icky, oh well....yes some of my fellow passengers were rude and condescending, oh well...yes the Stan Duo drove me nuts....oh well, I didn't HAVE to walk through the Rendezvous lounge. The ship was great, the service was incredible, Alaska in my opinion is a must see. Would I book Celebrity again. Yes, although there are other cruise lines I would like to try before I go back to Celebrity. (I like change and new experiences). Please feel free to email me with any questions, I will be more than happy to answer them.susanw@eempact.comMay 2001 Read Less
This was a great cruise trip and vacation for us. My wife (36) and I (37) sailed on the Infinity on May 1, 2001. This was a 10-day repositioning cruise from San Francisco, CA to Vancouver, BC. This was our fifth cruise overall, and ... Read More
This was a great cruise trip and vacation for us. My wife (36) and I (37) sailed on the Infinity on May 1, 2001. This was a 10-day repositioning cruise from San Francisco, CA to Vancouver, BC. This was our fifth cruise overall, and second on Celebrity. Also, this was our first time to Alaska. We had traveled on the Millennium last July, on which we had the worst service we had ever encountered aboard a cruise ship. As a result, we were a little apprehensive about Celebrity, but decided to give them the benefit of the doubt when we booked this cruise. Prices for this cruise went down dramatically since then, but I was able to renegotiate to the lower fare - more money for excursions and the spa. Overall softness in bookings and over-capacity have created some great bargains over the last few months. The passenger age average was in the sixties; second oldest crowd for the cruises we have taken. This was expected by us and was not an issue during the actual cruise. The Good -best overall service we have ever experienced -the ship, sister to Millennium, is awesome -the food was very good The Bad -the weather was not good -lack of wildlife - did not see any whales or bears -lack of variety on ports (same stuff in every Alaskan port) The Ugly -worst seas we have ever encountered during any cruise on first night out -five cancelled excursions Details April 27th -- using frequent flyer miles we flew to Vancouver, BC for a couple of days. We stayed at the Sheraton Le Soleil, which is about 2 blocks from Canada Place. The hotel was very comfortable and would be a choice for any cruise leaving from Vancouver. Arrived late Friday night, so we called it a day as soon as we got to the room. April 28th - we purchased tickets for the Gray Line double decker bus, which makes a 2-hour loop around Vancouver. The ticket is good for 2 days. Stanley Park was nice, but is better explored on a bicycle. Granville was OK, and Robson Avenue (main shopping drag) is worth a visit. In the afternoon, we took a tour to Capilano Suspension Bridge, Capilano Hatchery, and an aerial tramway to the top of Grousse Mountain for a good view of the Vancouver area. The tour was nice, but I think you can rent a car and do it yourself cheaper. April 29th - it rained cats and dogs in the morning, but was able to visit Gastown -- a quaint tourist trap. Then, took a flight late afternoon to SF. April 30th - we visited some family and friends. May 1st - took BART to Embarcadero and then a taxi from the Hyatt to the pier. I was aware that the ship was coming almost empty from L.A. (where it had been christened), so I figure embarkation would begin rather early. We got there at 9:45am, and were on aboard in less than 10 minutes, as we were among the first to board the ship. The ship was identical to the Millennium, so we did not need any time to familiarize ourselves with the ship. When we got our cabin, we had a notice stating that the ship would now arrive at 10:00am in Juneau (as oppose to the original 8:00am), and as a result we could not make it to the dog-sled excursion in Juneau. Even though the excursion desk staff was great, they repeatedly disappointed us as several of our excursions were eventually cancelled for a variety of reasons: weather, lack of participation, outfit problems, etc.) We left San Francisco in the late afternoon - cruising under the Golden Gate was a cool experience. Soon after, the heavy seas began to develop, and that evening we endured the worst seas we had ever encountered during any of our cruises. We had never been seasick before, but that night and the next morning my wife and I were a little blue (or green). May 2nd - a day at sea. The rough seas continued, but things got better late afternoon and evening. By the way our tablemates were all elderly folk, but all very nice. The food aboard the Infinity was very good, but the service by our waiter, Amando, was outstanding. He had a great personality and he was very expedient. May 3rd - Seattle. I must say that I did not think much of this city. There's nothing special about it, other than a zillion Starbucks. We went to the Space Needle and Pike's Market on our own, and returned to the ship by early afternoon. I really think that it would help to have some outdoors excursions in this port (like going to Mt. Rainier), but the city tour is worthless. May 4th - Victoria. We really enjoyed Victoria, BC. We took a taxi to Butchard Gardens. Our taxi driver was a very personable guy and he waited for us for the return back to town from the gardens. The cab fare and admission to the Gardens was slightly cheaper than the ship's tour. For a group of four or more, a limo tour seems like a great option. We got to the Gardens, just before they opened, so we got to see and take photos with barely anyone around for the first 30 minutes. Then the tour buses arrived. The Gardens were incredible, and I strongly recommend a visit if you are in Victoria. After the Gardens, the taxi driver dropped us near the Empress hotel and the heart of the shopping district. We shopped around and had lunch (Eatons has a very nice restaurant/cafeteria on its fifth floor with a view of the town), then took a Kabuki cycle back to the ship. May 5th - a day at sea. My wife and I spent a lot of time at the spa on this day. As usual the spa personnel were great and attentive. However, spa prices are really getting out of hand on cruise ships. A 50-minute massage is now $109 plus tip. It was $99 last July on the Millennium. As a result, the spa was not very busy on this cruise. They had a lot of specials during the cruise. During the evening, we saw the production show from the ship's singers and dancers. I must say that on an overall basis this was the best group of ship performers we have seen on any of our cruises. During the cruise, we had three nights of comedy and three production shows, which was fine with us. May 6th - Sitka. On this port we had 2 excursions. During the morning we took the Nature Hike and in the afternoon we took the Bicycle ride. Getting the tendering setup took longer that anticipated, and our morning hike started late. This eliminated the time we had for lunch and shopping, as we barely made it back for the afternoon bike. Both excursions were OK, but I would not recommend doing both. Pick one and enjoy the town for the rest of your time in Sitka. The weather was cold and windy. As a matter of fact we had overcast weather with periods of rain pretty much during the entire cruise (except for Ketchikan) - but we came prepared and did not let the weather be an issue. May 7th - Our original excursion was cancelled and took our second option, which was the Pilot's Choice Helicopter Tour, which is the extended helicopter excursion with 2 landings. In the morning, the weather was bad, and this excursion was delayed for an hour. Eventually the weather improved enough to take off and so we did. The view from the helicopter was incredible as we headed towards one of the nearby glaciers. We landed on the Glacier and walked around a little. Then we took off and headed high to the top of the mountains. Our second landing was truly spectacular. We landed near the top of a snow-covered mountain near a ridge. We got out of the helicopter and had a champagne toast as we took in the breathtaking view and solitude. Unfortunately we did not stay there very long as the weather was deteriorating rapidly once again. I would high recommend that anyone taking an Alaskan cruise take at least one helicopter ride with a landing. In the afternoon, we went to town, which was tiny (pop. 800). Shopping in Alaska can be done in one port. Every port we visited had the same stuff over and over again. Even more disappointing is the fact that now the same shops you saw in every port in the Caribbean are making their war over here (Caribbean Gems, Diamonds International, for example). Ketchikan had the slightly better prices. As for Alaskan people, they were as expected - tough, rough and brutally honest. However, we found interesting that a lot of people working on the shops were college students from the lower 48 (a lot from Idaho for some reason) there for the summer. May 8th - Juneau. Our second most anticipated excursion of the trip was on this day, and the only one not cancelled of our top five. It was a once in a lifetime experience for both my wife and I. We did the Glacier Trekking excursion which involved flying by helicopter to Mendelhall glacier, landing and then spending about two hours hiking thru the glacier. We were given all the gear, including waterproof gear, boots, spikes and ice picks. Then, our guide taught us all the necessary techniques. In no time, we were exploring the glacier, jumping small crevasses, drinking water from the glacier streams, and climbing ice walls. A truly memorable experience! May 9th - Ketchikan. Our kayaking excursion was cancelled, and we did our second option: the Jeep Safari. The excursion was weak in our opinion and it was handled poorly (probably because this was the first year it was been offered). The canoe and snack portion should be eliminated and replaced with more of the Jeep. In retrospective, we should have taken one of the many other kayaking tours been offered at the pier and not the Jeep. This was the only mostly sunny day of the trip. May 10th - Cruising the Inside Passage towards Vancouver. Our last day of the cruise. It was "warm" enough for us to spend a couple of hours in our balcony in the afternoon just relaxing and watching the many islands of the inside passage go by. At this I want to acknowledge our cabin attendant, Albino, who was the best. May 11th - the end of the cruise, but not the vacation. After disembarkation, we had arranged for a rental car and drove to the town of Whistler, a 2-hour drive from Vancouver. Whistler is a ski resort town, and it was in transition between winter and summer activities when we got there. We stayed at the Westin hotel, which was terrific, specially the bed and fireplace in the room. We walked around the village in the afternoon, but called it an early evening to rest. May 12th - We arrange thru the hotel an excursion that involved driving an ATV to the snow line in the mountains and then switching to a snowmobile to reach the summit. We had never driven either of these machines, but it was not difficult to catch on. I had a great old time, but the wife was a little scared of the snowmobile so she was glad to get off. Whistler thrives on the young people from Vancouver, so it was quite a change coming from the cruise crowd to this village. What we did notice was the absence of people of our age group on both places. I guess most people our age are tied up by raising a family or financial matters in their mid-30's. Just an observation. May 13th - Back to Florida. Drove back to Vancouver and flew back home. Overall this was a great vacation. The service aboard the Infinity was first class in every possible manner. Alaska was worth the trip, however, I don't think we will be going back in the near future. We saw everything we wanted to see, even though we did not get to do everything we wanted to. I was very disappointed we did not see much wildlife, other than bald eagles. But now we look to other areas of the world for our next cruise, probably the Mediterranean next summer. Please send any questions to orraca@compuserve.com Read Less
I just returned from the Infinity sailing of June 29th. These are just a few of my thoughts...my humble opinion. Cabins The best part of our trip. Upon arrival, the upgrade fairy was smiling upon us and we were upgraded from a balcony ... Read More
I just returned from the Infinity sailing of June 29th. These are just a few of my thoughts...my humble opinion. Cabins The best part of our trip. Upon arrival, the upgrade fairy was smiling upon us and we were upgraded from a balcony room to a suite adjacent to the Penthouse suite. Wow, was it beautiful. We had a HUGE bathroom...double vanity (all marble), shower and separate tub. A king size bed, TV, VCR, Remote controlled drapes, and best of all Edwin....our butler. Butler Edwin was the absolute best. He made the trip for us. He took care of all of our excursion bookings. Every day he brought us tea time snacks at 4:00, and hors-devours (sp?) at 5:30. He provided us with several bottles of Champagne. And served us a full breakfast in bed every day. He came in and set up a white table cloth and the whole bit. Also, our room service menu was different that the regular rooms. He also asked us if we had friends on board. We told him we'd met some internet friend (hi Cat and Dana) and he offered to serve champagne and such in the room one evening. He was wonderful. Food The food in the dining room was great. We had a hard time some nights deciding what to eat, so we just ordered 2 entrees. The presentation was nice and our table companions were great. The ambience in the dining room is more elegant than other ships we've cruised on. Although our waiter was very good, we've had better. He did not interact a lot with our table. He always seemed a little too busy. My only complaint about the dining room was that I felt the wine stewards were a little pushy there while the rest of the ship didn't shove the alcohol at you. SS United States All I can say is WOW. The food was terrific. Best of all was the atmosphere. Very very elegant. It is an experience not to be missed and I hope you have someone with you that knows about wines. Cat did a wonderful job picking wines for our table. We booked the restaurant for the day we were at Hubbard Glacier which I thought was perfect. It was a semi-formal night and we were done at the glacier by 2:00. Plenty of time to get ready for dinner instead of being rushed from the ports. Shows: By far the best entertainment I've seen on a cruise. There were 4 review type show and the dancers and singers were top-notch. The juggler was fair, but funny. The pianist/magician was also just fair. Lounges We did not spend a lot of time in the lounges since I quit smoking as we got on board and they were pretty smoky. We did sit in the Rendezvous lounge for a while and watch a game that was pretty cute. We also spent a little time in the Martini Bar. The Stan Duo was a little to dull for our taste. Spa: I spent one day in the spa having a massage that was one of the better one's I've had. The Thalassotherapy pool was pretty relaxing. We didn't go there until the last day since I wasn't anxious to spend 20.00 per day only to find out we could have used it free because we were in a suite. Ship The ship was beautiful. I loved all the wood and marble instead of the glitz and neon of Carnival lines. I also enjoyed the art work displayed around the boat. I was a little concerned since people were complaining about the elevators on this board, but they all worked, weren't too crowded and were pretty fast. The passage was very smooth and there was only a slight vibration in the back of the boat where our cabin was located. Excursions: We booked our tours through Celebrity just for convenience. We loved the whale watching in Juneau (although we saw more off the cruise ship than on the tour). We saw sea otters and seals as well as humpback whales on the tour. We also loved the White Train Pass in Skagway. It is too beautiful to describe. In Ketchikan, we went to the Saxman Village which was enjoyable but not comparable to the other 2 tours we did. We enjoyed shopping in the ports a lot. There were a lot of beautiful, unique things to see. And, my husband bought me a beautiful mink coat. In closing, this was one of the best vacations we've ever had. Alaska is beautiful and the Infinity was a great ship. The staff and crew were extremely friendly and courteous. We did not encounter a single "crabby" person. Being upgraded to the suite was wonderful and made the vacation extra special. If you can afford the upgrade, I would highly recommend it. It is worth the price. PS. Do not fly America West Airlines. If you want more information, let me know.caryn@bellsouth.netJuly 2001 Read Less
Alaska Inside Passage I will begin by saying this was the best cruise I have ever been on - and that is saying something. So any negative comments that follow are negligible and just meant for constructive comment. EMBARKATION ... Read More
Alaska Inside Passage I will begin by saying this was the best cruise I have ever been on - and that is saying something. So any negative comments that follow are negligible and just meant for constructive comment. EMBARKATION Embarkation was relatively smooth although if you are not a US or Canadian citizen expect copious amounts of paperwork other than the documents you receive with your cruise tickets. Once completed, though, we were through 'check in' and straight on to the ship. I am impressed that Celebrity has crew on hand when you board to take you to your stateroom. This is a nice touch and on a ship this size is certainly welcome. It can be a little daunting when you first board!! CABIN Although only in an Inside Stateroom we were happy with the cabin. Fairly sizeable - even for an inside - but beware - we were travelling in a group and there was a triple inside amongst us - the cabins were pretty squeezy to say the least - the third person being accommodated in a fold out sofa bed which then blocked access between the other 2 beds and the bathroom. Cabins are tastefully decorated and have all the modern conveniences of a hotel room including a roomy bathroom. PLENTY of cupboard/drawer space! FOOD I have heard mixed reports regarding Celebrity food but I am here to tell you it's not true. The food exceeded our expectations. Breakfast was either Buffet or Restaurant. Both offering a wide selection of quality breakfast fare. We had room service one morning which is a nice way to start they day - it even comes complete with a wake-up call minutes before it arrives! Lunches again were either Buffet or Restaurant. With lunch being a possible 5 courses in the restaurant we tended to stick to the buffet or grill - it was just too tempting!! Dinner in the restaurant was quite the event with fabulous food and even more amazing desserts. If you get a chance - take a galley tour. It really helps you appreciate just what is involved in feeding so many people!! There are also many other eating options including afternoon teas, midnight buffets and a unique Celebrity touch "gourmet bites" where waiters come through the ships public areas later in the evening with platters of canapes and cakes. As if you need more food - but hey, that's what cruises are all about!! Point to note - if you want a REALLY good coffee then it is worth paying for a latte in Cova Cafe. DRINKS While there is always somewhere to have a drink - and always an excuse to have one - I was amazed at the price of drinks. Sooo expensive. $5-6 USD for what we were drinking seemed a little excessive - or at least it was by Australian standards anyway. This didn't stop us by any means but it's best to be warned! Wine in the restaurant was also expensive although our Wine Steward (Lidieth from Costa Rica) really knew her wine and was spot on with all her recommendations. ENTERTAINMENT There were 4 "Las Vegas" style shows during the cruise and I have to say they were by far the best I have seen on ANY cruise ship. Extremely professional with elaborate costumes (many changes!!) and sets. The theatre is beautiful and definitely a highlight. Do not miss the shows. I can't speak for the Variety acts as I tend to give these a miss. The resident band "Opus" were also excellent. Their repertoire is astounding considering they are from Jamaica. I was expecting nothing but Reggae whereas they could play just about anything. A big thanks needs to go to Drew, the DJ. Our group tended to party well into the morning (5am on one morning) and he was more than happy to keep the music going till we headed to bed. I was a little disappointed however with the Cruise Staff - i.e. the staff who were there to 'entertain' the guests. Line dancing etc. I found them to be cold and not really 'into' it. They found it difficult to rouse any kind of atmosphere and were not as friendly as staff on other ships. The Assistant Cruise director in particular seemed to want to be anywhere but on the ship. PORTS For my first time in Alaska I enjoyed the ports although for me a cruise is about the ship, not the destinations. The ports are your typical Klondike towns - very pretty - and very touristy - and therefore very expensive. We didn't take any shore tours on offer, but chose to purchase our tours on shore from local operators. These were a lot cheaper and just as enjoyable. Hubbard Glacier is stunning - quite the impressive site - although this was the day of the horrific terrorist activity in NY. Everyone was understandably sombre although I was touched at the way all passengers rallied together to support each other, while accepting that we were there to appreciate the sights. It was quite the community spirit. DISEMBARKATION This was a nightmare given the events of the previous few days. Security meant that disembarkation was a very slow process but Celebrity handled it well and there were no disgruntled passengers. I would recommend the Infinity to anyone you could not possibly be disappointed. The age range was vast - more so than I expected. We have booked again for next year - can't wait!!Phil_Kennewell@flightcentre.comSeptember 2001 Read Less
Let me first say that we could'nt have picked a better week weather-wise for our cruise. Mostly sunny and 85 to 90 everyday with very calm seas. We left Boston the Thursday before our cruise to go to the boat show in Ft. Lauderdale. ... Read More
Let me first say that we could'nt have picked a better week weather-wise for our cruise. Mostly sunny and 85 to 90 everyday with very calm seas. We left Boston the Thursday before our cruise to go to the boat show in Ft. Lauderdale. Limo showed up @ 3:30 a.m. Dropped at Logan at 4:00 a.m. for our 6:00 a.m. flight. Long line to check in for there were two other flights leaving at the same time. It took 1-1/2 hours from curb to plane. Flight left 15 min. late and arrived on time in Miami. Got the rental and off to the show we went. Unbelievable boats and yachts at this show. It took all of the two days to see every one and we only actually boarded 7-8. Met quite a few friends from home here and got together for dinner @ Chucks Steak House, then off to the top of the Hyatt 66 for drinks and dancing. Beautiful view from their outdoor balcony! There is also a great little place called the Oasis Cafe on the beach with a great Bartender. Great place for afternoon drinks. They have these tables that are actually swings with green canopies. Check it out next time your there. Saturday checked out of the Renaissance and dropped the rental at FLL. Got in line at check in and within 10 min. there was a huge line behind me. Took about half hour to get through to the gate. Again the flight was uneventful and landed early. Then off to get the luggage. First three bags down the belt are ours. Only problem was we had checked four @ FLL. Went and filed the appropriate paperwork and got a cab to the ship. Got to the ship around 4:00 p.m. Only about 20 people ahead of us at the curbside security. Once inside we walked right up to the agents window, got our keys and boarded the ship. Took about 15 min. from curb to cabin. We had cat 2B 7180 Starboard-side. Small cabin compared to the Enchantment Cat D we sailed last year. Near the stern with a balcony the same size as the Cat 1 next door. Next two cabins forward from us were two families traveling with two 6-8 year olds in each cabin. They were being yelled at by their parents and running back and forth between cabins. It got so we couldn't sit on our own balcony because of the parents on their balconies loudly talking back and forth about their day sitting drinking with the locals in St. Croix. A call to guest relations got me nowhere. A second call got them offering to send up security, which I told them I didn't want to put a damper on anyone else's vacation, I just wanted to be moved away to a quieter cabin. The hotel manager was hosting a function at the time and I would be hearing back as soon as she was available. Well, before dinner I went to the guest relations desk and they said that there was another cabin, 8165 cat 1B on the opposite side of the ship available. Went and met the cabin steward, Albino, and checked it out. A little larger than the 2B and would be the smallest cabin I would get in the future. So after dinner (Formal) we went and packed up all our clothes and moved @ 9:30 p.m. Well, aren't we having fun so far. Oh and still no sign of the missing luggage. In St. Croix we hired a taxi to take us to the hotel Cambrolo (sp?). Beautiful hotel with a nice cafe overlooking the beach. Swam and watched a pelican fish for lunch. On the way back to the ship had the driver stop at K-mart so we could replace the toiletries that were in the missing bag. Next stop St. Lucia. I had been checking out this island to vacation on so I knew I wanted to go to the Ladera resort in Soufries. Hired a taxi for $90.00 round trip and went to Dasheens @ Ladera Resort for lunch. The restaurant sits 1000 ft above the sea right between the Pitons. Wonderful lunch. Afterwards we asked to see one of the rooms. The resort has about 12 villas along a ridge between the Pitons. They are all open facing the sea and all have their own wading pools. You must check this place out. Lets see, bye bye St. Lucia, hello Barbados. Having been here before we decided to take a taxi up the west coast to the beach for some sun. Nice sand and surf. I got a little too much sun so after lunch,at a beachfront cafe, The Wife continued on her way to becoming the bronze goddess while I had a few Banks at the bar. Went back to the ship around 3:00. Well let me take some time to talk about dinner and our table mates. We have always been seated at a table for 8 or 10 on previous cruises. This suits us fine, the more the merrier. This time we are seated at a table for six. On the first night one couple ate at the S.S. United States. So it was just us and a couple from the Philippines. A beautiful couple who had been married 47 years but you wouldn't even think they were 47 years old. The food was very good, not great, but very good. The next night we met our other tablemates. They were newlyweds. A very nice couple and good conversation ensued. The dinner this night was Excellent. Duck L'orange and all the goodies. Missed dinner altogether Tuesday. Was wiped out from the sun on Barbados. Wednesday was a day at sea. I stayed out of the sun while the goddess continued bronzing. We did go to the aqua spa pool. Very nice and relaxing. Then off to the casino. I won some and lost some and won some again. All in all ended up losing a little but not much. Love Caribbean Stud Poker. Well after not hearing about my missing bag for 3 days (the airline is supposed to call every 24 hrs. with an update) I used the satellite phone to call them. I was put on hold and when the operator @ American returned I told her not to do that again because I was on a ship and it was $10.00 a minute and that I would be sending them the bill because they had not called as they said they would. Sorry I'm O.K. now. She told me that they had found my bag and that it would meet me in Antigua. In Antigua we did the power Catamaran snorkeling excursion. A great ride and good snorkeling with lots of colorful fish. Rum punch for the return ride. Tonight's dinner again good not great. The newlyweds were invited to the captains table. They don't even know why. Let me say that our waiter and assistant were very good. The head waiter Eduardo, very professional, and the assistant, Garcia very entertaining. Our cabin steward, Albino (Al-been-o) was very proficient as well. We made a mess of the place with room service every morning, and the cabin was spotless whenever we returned to it. St. Thomas we took the gondolas across the street from the pier up the hill. What a terrific view. Afterwards took a taxi into town. What a busy place. This was by far the busiest port we had been in. In all our other ports we were the only ship that day. Here the Dawn Princess was already in port when we arrived. Still plenty of taxis around. We were looking for jewelry for the goddess but nothing really jumped out at us and she was getting tired and overwhelmed by all the people (she doesn't like crowds). I love'em. Back to the ship for a late lunch and to sit by the pool. Let me say that this ship swallowed up all the people on it. It has to be one of the prettiest ships on the seas today. Inside and out. You never saw a crowd of people, except at the pool on our sea day. One complaint I have is if you're going to have a Martini Bar you should have Queen Olives for them, not those tiny little pea size ones they had. The olives in the salads were bigger! Just a pet peeve since I drink Vodka Martinis. I know I'm long winded here, Sorry. Last night of the cruise we had dinner at The S.S.United States. If the dinners in the Trellis restaurant were like this Celebrity would be my cruise line for life. Had a wonderful bottle of Moet & Chandon Nectar with our meal. I had the goat cheese souffle and the goddess had the Caesar salad made tableside. It got better with every bite. We both had the Rack of Lamb which was out of this world. Let me say that we both had lamb in the Trellis earlier in the week but it was dog food compared to this. Then the cheeses and then the chocolate soufflE for desert. Unbelievable dinner, and a great way to end the cruise. Things I haven't mentioned. Lunch buffet was good, tea tidbits also good. Wish they had umbrellas at the tables on the Oceanview Cafe, always too sunny to sit out there. Pizza was O.K. The entertainment that we saw was outstanding. The singers and dancers could easily step onto any Broadway stage and hold their own. The ventriloquist was very good also. Let me say in closing (finally) I love this ship and had a great time even with the little setbacks we encountered. I also want to mention Tina at Guest Relations did a fantastic job for me and if you are on this cruise in the future tell her thank you again for all she helped us with. I will sail Celebrity again as I looked into the Panama Canal sailing while on board. It's expensive especially since I want to take the kids. (Don't worry they are both 13 and very well behaved) Happy Cruising, Scott lullman1@aol.comNovember 2001 Read Less
We sailed on a one-week cruise on the Infinity to the Southern Caribbean on November 3, 2001. Although there were a few minor annoyances, overall the vacation was absolutely fabulous. This review is aimed for future Infinity cruisers - ... Read More
We sailed on a one-week cruise on the Infinity to the Southern Caribbean on November 3, 2001. Although there were a few minor annoyances, overall the vacation was absolutely fabulous. This review is aimed for future Infinity cruisers - heavy on specific tips, light on comparisons to other ships. Let me describe us first, so you understand the context of some of the choices we made. My husband (Chuck) and I (Cher) are in our mid-fifties and have been married for four years (so we still count every vacation as a honeymoon). Chuck sells Spectrometers (instruments that do chemical analysis) and I retired from my job as a Project Manager in September. Although we have cruised three times before, on Carnival and NCL, we had no plans to take another cruise for a while. Six weeks before the cruise, a co-worker of Chuck's was passing through Kansas City (our hometown), and mentioned that he (Rick) and his wife (Hwei Ping) were going on a cruise - on the exact ship and itinerary that I had already decided would, someday, be our next cruise. We decided to join them. (In a weak moment, Chuck said "That might be nice." He gave me an opening and I "charged" right through by the end of the week.) We got a great deal on the cruise. We booked a Category 7 Guarantee (Outside Cabinet on the lowest Deck) for about $600 pp. We also booked our airfare and a 2-night pre-cruise package through the cruise line. When we got our tickets from our travel agent, we were thrilled: our flights were very convenient and, most importantly, we had been upgraded to a Category 2B - a balcony! (It would have cost us $650 pp more if we had booked a 2C Guarantee.) I personally believe that booking a guarantee rather than a specific cabin made it easier for them to give us an upgrade. Pre-cruise San Juan When we arrived in San Juan on Thursday afternoon, we never found anyone at the baggage claim area with a "Celebrity Cruises" sign for our transfer to the hotel. We ended up waiting over an hour for the bus that never showed up even after three calls. We finally ended up just taking a cab to the hotel ... not a very promising start. On our last phone call - to the 800 number - we were told that we should have paged Celebrity from the baggage claim area. This was not in the instructions on the travel voucher so I don't know how we were supposed to know that. We stayed two nights at the El Convento Hotel in Old San Juan. This hotel was an excellent choice - we cannot recommend it enough! Originally a convent, it is over 350 years old and has a great location right across from the Cathedral. It was extensively restored in 1997 at a cost that averaged about $275,000 per room. The five-story building surrounds a beautiful interior courtyard. Restaurants, bars, and shops are on the first two floors. The 58 rooms are on the third through fifth floors. From the concierge/front-desk, you walk along a balcony overlooking the courtyard to your room. Our room was small but beautifully furnished: a high comfortable bed with lovely linens and a huge carved headboard; an antique armoire which hid the TV, VCR, and stereo; a desk with a modem connection; a small table with two chairs; and a very comfortable easy chair with good lighting for reading. The bathroom was small but fully equipped with a hair dryer, second phone, thick towels and very nice toiletries.. The closet, though small, had a mini-frig (but no mini-bar), a safe, and an iron and ironing board. The old-fashioned louvered and balconied window looked down on an alley but even that view was charming - Old San Juan architecture across and walled gardens below. The staff at the hotel was excellent - always helpful and professional. Each evening they served complimentary wine and cheese on a charming third-floor (guests-only) terrace with comfortable wrought iron tables and chairs and flowering vines cascading down the walls. This was a great way to meet other guests who were also going to be on the Infinity. Two flights up from the terrace was a small pool and hot tub with a great view and even more flowers. There was an honor bar available by the terrace the rest of the evening and a very nice continental breakfast in the morning. We ate two dinners and a lunch at El Picoteo, the tapas bar on the second floor of El Convento. The food was very good, and the variety excellent. The beef tips and the chicken pie were especially good and the tapas portion was plenty for a full meal. The scallops were excellent on Thursday night but overcooked on Friday night so if they're not great, send them back. We had excellent service except for Friday night when the waitress's elevator did not make it to the top floor. On Thursday night, while having dinner, we met some other passengers who would be on the Infinity - Aron (whose Aunt Pauline would have a Penthouse Suite) and "Chuck's Harem," five beautiful, intelligent, funny women, sans husbands, with whom we ate dinner on Friday night. If you have time in San Juan, be sure to walk around Old San Juan. The area is relatively small and the architecture is charming and streets very clean. There are lots of shops and in every shop they were more than willing to make a deal. The prices in San Juan were consistent with the rest of the islands, so if you see something you like, don't bother waiting to check prices on another island after you sail. A tour of the fort, El Morro, will only take about an hour but should not be missed. It was just a couple blocks uphill from El Convento. There are also two free trolleys that travel through Old San Juan with stops at the best sights. Although we did not do it ourselves, we met several people who took a tour of the Bacardi Rum Factory and they thought it was great. Although you can take an organized excursion from a tour company, it is faster and cheaper to do it on your own. The key is to take the ferry across the bay and take a taxi from there to the factory. The tours (or a taxi from Old San Juan) drive you around the bay to the factory, which is the long (and expensive) way around. At the port area (on the southern side of Old San Juan), just ask "Donde es el bote de paso a la fábrica de Bacardi? {Where is the ferry to the Bacardi factory}?" Our friends Rick and Hwei Ping stayed three nights at the Wyndham Old San Juan, right across from the pier and were very pleased with their choice. They said that their rooms were fine and that there was a very nice casino. Unfortunately, they couldn't find a lot of restaurants open nearby, which was their only complaint. We were very happy that we had decided to do the pre-cruise. By the time we were ready to leave for the ship, the vacation was already a success. We were already relaxed and had made some wonderful new friends. I had packed a separate small suitcase just for San Juan, so getting ready to check out was easy ... although it was hard to leave such a lovely hotel. The Infinity would have a tough act to follow. Embarkation Again, we had troubles with our transfer. Although the travel voucher said that we would be picked up at 1:00, when we called (after waiting 20 minutes) we were told that it was really not scheduled until 2:00 but that they would have someone there at 1:30. We were surprised that Celebrity uses a local company that is so disorganized. But all was forgiven when we got our first sight of the Infinity - breathtaking. Carnival's Holiday was at the next dock and it was just dwarfed by our magnificent ship. Princess' Ocean Princess was nearby and, although lovely, it also was clearly an also-ran. The process at the pier was excellent. Embarkation actually started at 12:30 and we arrived at the pier a few minutes after 2:00. Until we actually got on board, we never had to wait in line for more than 5 minutes for anything (metal-detector, sign-in, pictures). If you're going to want pictures, they have a $ 99 package that's a good deal that includes the embarkation photo. So, if you think that you're going to get the package, ask the photographer to take more than one picture so you have a choice. At the top of the escalator is a booth giving out free samples from the duty-free liquor shop. Have a taste of the "Tropico." This is a mix of rum and fruit juices that I thought was very good and not too strong. No matter what it says in the cruise documents, passengers were openly bringing liquor and soda on board with absolutely no problem. (We saw guys bringing cases of beer onboard.) The duty-free shop had bottles of Tropico for about $8 (compared to about $5 for a single Mai Tai on the ship). They also had six-packs of soda for a reasonable price (compared to $1.75 for a can of soda on the ship). If you want to drink in your cabin, the duty-free shop is the place to go. Also, if you bring your own wine to dinner, they will serve it to you for a $6 corkage fee - most wines onboard started at $30 a bottle. We did have to wait in line for almost a half-hour to get through the metal detector on the ship because they were taking digital ID pictures that were matched to your boarding pass. So, if you're going to shop at the duty-free shop, do it before you get on board so that you don't have to stand in line twice. Be patient because this will be the longest wait you'll have until Friday morning. Saturday - On Board at Last Once you have your ID picture taken, a steward will escort you to your cabin. Since your luggage won't be there yet, it's a great time to explore the ship. There should be a copy of the Celebrity Newsletter on your bed to let you know what's going on. If you get onboard before 4:00, be sure to check out the buffet at the Oceanview Cafe on Deck 10. This will definitely keep you full until dinner. Hopefully, you packed your swim suits in your carry-on bags because the hot tubs and Thallasotherapy Pool are open and waiting for you. They're also giving tours of the Fitness Equipment. If you're going to get any Spa treatments, this is a great time to make the appointments. From the time we got on board, it took about two hours for our luggage to appear outside our door. I'm going to describe our 2B cabin in excruciating detail because you still have time to decide what to pack. I think the cabins in lower categories are the same size and layout. Above the TV is a large cabinet to store your purchases from the duty-free shop. Below the TV is a mini-bar with the normal overpriced stuff but it does have enough space to store a few cans/bottles of your own. To the right of the TV is a cabinet about two feet wide with the safe, a shelf with life jackets (to be stored under your bed after the life boat drill) and six small drawers (about six inches deep each). To the right of that is the closet which is about four feet wide. The shelf on top has two extra pillows, an extra blanket, and more life jackets. The top rod of the closet has 21 wooden hangers, 7 of which have clamps for skirts. There are rods at the back of the closet that fold out to make a lower second rod. I really regret that I left my hanging shoe bag at home (about $8 at K-Mart with pouches hanging down from a single hook). It would have been much easier to find shoes and small items if they were organized rather than piled up on the closet floor. There is a rack on the back of the closet. The bathroom is small but had plenty of storage space. There are two corner shelves for toiletries, a large counter next to the sink, a large two-shelf cabinet under the sink, and several hooks on the back of the door. There is also a good hair dryer but there are no outlets in the bathroom for electric rollers and/or curling irons. On the bed were two very thick beach towels to use on shore excursions. The two nightstands each have two nice deep drawers. Unless your suitcases are extra-deep, they can be stored (along with all those life jackets) under the beds. The wall opposite the bed was mirrored floor-to-ceiling in order to create the illusion of more space. The desktop is very small: with a laptop and electric curlers there was only six inches of top left over. There are small shelves for additional storage under the desk. We could only find two (three-prong at least) outlets next to the desk. The best thing that we remembered to pack was a one-to-three extension cord. Besides the newsletter, there will be two other books to check out in your cabin. One describes the Infinity in detail. The other holds stationary, postcards, and a deck plan. Empty this book out immediately because when you remember to pack the materials on Friday night it will have disappeared along with your beach towels. There was one channel on the TV that played (and replayed) detailed descriptions of the next day's shore excursions. On another channel, there were descriptions of the ports, including shopping. We found our table assignment on a card on the desk. We were at table # 436 which was on the main floor just beyond the glass table at the foot of the stairs. This was an excellent location but surprisingly, although it was a table for eight, it ended up that only four people were sitting there. I would suggest that after you get your table number, check with the Maitre D' to see where it is located. If it's not in the center part of the main floor, ask if there are any seats available at better-located tables. The Maitre D' and the all-important seating charts will be in the Rendezvous Lounge before dinner the first night at a table aft (towards the back) on the port side (left as you're facing the front of the ship). MBR Read Less
The Infinity is a beautiful ship. Perhaps the best I have seen. We cruised on the Millennium last year and I prefer the color scheme and art work on this ship. We were able to board the ship by 12:30 pm. Our cabin steward was surprised ... Read More
The Infinity is a beautiful ship. Perhaps the best I have seen. We cruised on the Millennium last year and I prefer the color scheme and art work on this ship. We were able to board the ship by 12:30 pm. Our cabin steward was surprised to see us. I don't think they ever warn them that they are letting the passengers on. The cabin was not yet ready for us. The dining staff was excellent, the food was served on time and at the proper temperature for the dish.Our head waiter, Kyle from South Africa, was a joy. Because the ship does not sail out of San Juan until 11 pm, the first night is open seating. When we boarded the ship, we were handed a card, telling us what time we were to dine that night. We decided to have dinner in our cabin. We arranged it ahead of time with room service and our cabin steward. They brought in a table with a pretty table cloth and set up a romantic dinner for us. We had prime rib, fish, shrimp cocktail, bread and salad, in our jammies...J St. CroixWe took a taxi from Fredrickstad to Christianstad, about 25 minutes by taxi, and walked around town for a while. The best part of town is on the boardwalk by the water. We had a bowl of Manhattan Conch chowder at Styxx, as well as a Rum punch. Both were very good. There was a place called Rum Runners that looked good too. Then we took the water taxi to the Hotel on the Cay. It was O.K. here. Nothing special. It was close by. We swam and laid in the sun. Be prepared to be bugged by locals trying to sell you stuff the whole time you are here. St. Lucia We took the Land and Sea tour from the ship. I would highly recommend it. I felt we got a comprehensive look at the island this way. Be prepared for a lot of getting in and out of the bus, walking up steep steps at times. This tour included a trip to the botanical gardens and waterfall, a fishing village, sulfur pits at the volcano, a nice buffet lunch at an old plantation house, and a Catamaran ride and swim. I was surprised at the poverty I saw in some areas. There is a river where the local women gather every morning to wash clothes. They spread them out over the rocks in the river to dry. It is an interesting tapestry of bright colors. I wish the bus would have stopped here to get a photo. Our guide explained to us that the water bills are very high on the island and a lot of locals save money washing in the river. I think it would be kind of a nice social gathering. The island is very lush and tropical. There are several varieties of snakes here. Including Boa Constrictors! I only saw one cute little lizard. We drove past a banana plantation. I was surprised to learn that one tree/plant only grows one stalk of bananas and it takes a year to grow! Then they cut down the plant and grow a new one from the small sucker shoot that comes up from the old plant. This takes 6 months. At the fishing village a local man made us a coconut turnover. It was interesting, watching him cook it. It was pretty good. A little dry. The village is a poor one, with a lot of the venders working out of makeshift lean to's , made from things you would find washed up on the beach and old metal roofing. The botanical gardens and waterfall were very nice. The bubbling sulfur pits from the volcanos was educational, but stinky! There is a steep path and slippery steps here. If this is a problem for you, I would stay on the bus here and wait. Lunch at the old plantation was very good. We had a chance to sample some of the local food. The dining area was cool and relaxing. We also got a rum punch. We were encouraged to try the breadfruit. The official dish of St. Lucia is bread fruit and swordfish. I didn't care for it myself, but there was lot of other good things. (The bathrooms here were the cleanest on the whole excursion) After lunch were bussed to the Catamaran. Unfortunately it started to rain and didn't stop for almost the whole boat ride. We were under cover, so it was O.K. a little chilly. We stopped at a cove to swim. They let down a ladder for us to go into the water. We did not dock the cat here. We were all floating around the catamaran. It reminded me of the scene in Titanic, when all the passengers were floating around in the water by the ship. Amazingly , there were a bunch of locals in canoes trying to sell us stuff while we were in the water! Where would we have our money? And how would we get it back to the boat? Crazy! They would also climb up onto the edge of the Catamaran , selling bird feeders made out of coconuts. Barbados I have a warning about Barbados. Everyone we talked to said they were sorry they went into town. From the moment you get to town, the taxi drivers harass you. They are all over downtown, They follow you around and bug you constantly. I have never seen them this aggressive anywhere! There is a very nice shopping mall next to the ship. I did all my shopping there. Skip town. We walked to "The Boatyard". It's about a mile from the ship. Next time I would take a taxi. If you just want a nice beach to swim and lay in the sun, this is it. You pay $10. per person, and they give you $7.00 credit back to use there for lunch or drinks. You have use of all the water toys, except the jet skies. It's nice and clean and the sand is white. When we came out and chose our taxi, another taxi driver came over and tried to get us to go to his cab instead. I thought they would get into a fist fight over us! We got into the first cab, and I said "let's just GO"! If I had it to do over again. I think a ship's excursion would be a good idea in this port, and shop at the mall next to the port. Antigua My favorite Caribbean Island! I loved this island. The people were very friendly, the landscape was breathtaking, the beach was gorgeous. First we shopped in town. I found it to be the best shopping so far. More interesting things in the shops, and good prices. I picked out a nice Aquamarine and Diamond ring at "Caribbean Gems". He sized it for me while we were on the beach, and I picked it up on the way back to the ship. We took a taxi to the Jolly Harbor Resort by the marina (NOT the Jolly Harbor Beach resort) that is next door, and charges you a usage fee. The taxi driver took us to a path that lead us to the beach. The sand was pure white with a pretty good surf. We enjoyed the beach here very much. We had arranged for our cab driver to pick us up at 2:30. When we got there, he was waiting for us. He said not to pay him until after he picked us up . It was $40.00 for the round-trip cab ride. I bought a straw hat from a local man with a missing hand. He was very sweet and I love my $10.00 hat! I needed it for my now sun burnt face! St. Thomas This is the third trip to this island for us. Now, it is panic shopping time. The last port to buy those suitcase presents. We took a taxi to downtown. Bought some things from the venders and some things from the shops. We went back to the ship, dropped off our bags of stuff, had a nice buffet lunch, and headed for the beach. We taxied to Megan's Bay. It was a long ride, because of the heavy traffic. We were very sorry we chose this beach. Way too crowded. I also thought the water was very murky. We had always gone to Sapphire beach in the past and were sorry we didn't this time. Sapphire Beach resort has a beautiful white sand beach with crystal clear water and is never very crowded. I would never recommend Megan's Bay to anyone! We were sorry to see our last day arrive. We were docked in San Juan when we woke up at 6 am. We had a nice breakfast in the dining room and then came back and vacated our cabin. We were off the ship around 10:30. WARNING... You might as well be prepared. If you have to go to the San Juan airport on Saturday. You will be in a long wait at the airport to check your luggage. What a zoo!!!!! It took over 1 1/2 hours from the time the bus dropped us off, to the time we checked in. We were outside that whole time for American Airlines. A lot of folks were dressed for winter, anticipating a cold arrival at their home airport, like me, and were too hot. I would say layer your clothes, with a sleeveless shirt underneath for San Juan. In closing, if you are still with me, of all my 12 cruises this is the best! Celebrity really had it all right on this ship. Everything was just perfect. A well-oiled machine to be sure. We will have wonderful memories for years to come. Thank you Capatain Zissis and your whole crew fro a wonderful cruise! Now, where should we go next? ketchum@whidbey.netFebruary 2002 Read Less
We just got back yesterday from our latest cruise and I thought I would sit down and write the review before I forget all of the little details! It was on the Celebrity Infinity, departing May 20th, 2002 from Honolulu, finishing in ... Read More
We just got back yesterday from our latest cruise and I thought I would sit down and write the review before I forget all of the little details! It was on the Celebrity Infinity, departing May 20th, 2002 from Honolulu, finishing in Vancouver on May 31st, 2002. A little background information: this was our third cruise, and our second on Celebrity. We are in our early 30s and tend to enjoy ports, production shows and dressing up for dinner more than late night discos, parties and casual nights. We arranged our own air (as always, much cheaper and more convenient than the cruise line option) and spent one extra day at each of the departure and arrival ports. The Ship We had previously sailed on the Celebrity Millenium and it was so similar we had no problems finding anything. It was sort of like going to Disneyland after you have already visited the Magic Kingdom at Disneyworld: almost everything is the same and you roughly know where to find what you want. That being said, this is a beautiful ship with many delightful public areas. We were in a category 2C (same as the inside and outside rooms only this one had a balcony) and felt that it was more than enough space for two people. It had plenty of storage, a large bed, a small loveseat (a little tight for two) and a roomy shower (although not a roomy bathroom). The balcony was nice, but not spectacular. The nicest part was being able to open the door and feel the breeze. In an outside cabin the window doesn't open so this option is only available in the balcony cabins. There have been many reviews of the Millenium, Summit and Infinity, so I won't dwell too much on what has already been repeated many times except to say that we were pleased with the ship and didn't have any real complaints as to the facilities. The Entertainment As on our last Celebrity cruise, we noted that the entertainment was somewhat lacking, but since we had expected this we weren't really disappointed. Celebrity's big problem is that if you are uninterested in the main show in the theatre, there is very little else to do. The alternatives would be listening to a mediocre duo in the smoky Rendezvous lounge or watching a movie (if one is running). One night an opera singer was scheduled to perform. This was not my kind of thing but my husband was interested so I went to the movie and he went to the show. The show was somewhat sparsely attended, and the movie was packed to overflowing, as was the line to see the second showing of the movie. Since the movie was I Am Sam (a decent film but hardly a box office smash) I suspect many people were there for the same reason I was: it was the only real alternative to the opera singer. Celebrity needs to offer a better selection of entertainment. Perhaps they could have a nightly comic or magic act in the Constellation lounge? Would this really be so costly? My other complaint about the entertainment is that the theme parties always start so late (usually close to 11 pm or later). Why can't Celebrity begin these parties at 7 pm or 8 pm or even 9 pm? Even after 5 days at sea in a row, it was obvious (by applause levels at the evening show) that the majority of the passengers had not seen midnight the entire cruise. You would think that Celebrity would realize this and set their schedule around the majority of their passengers. Needless to say, my husband and I did not attend any of the theme parties or midnight buffets. Now the good! We were very impressed with the cruise director, Allan. He was funny and personable and seemed to be a big hit, especially with the older ladies (if you know what I mean). We always enjoyed the events he hosted and he was full of life. The Food As we had remembered, Celebrity's food was excellent, with the occasional duds thrown in. We especially liked the wonderful selection of desserts every night. One evening we went to the SS United States specialty restaurant ($25 extra per person) and both the food and service there were truly divine. As my husband said afterwards, "You just can't imagine a dining experience being any better than this." Anyone who travels on the newer Celebrity cruise ships must go to the specialty restaurant at least once. It is well worth it! Insider's Trick! When you don't think you are going to get back to the boat for lunch, order a couple of ham & cheese baguettes from room service the night before and pack them in a cooler (we had a collapsible one that was great for sandwiches and sodas). You can get ice from the machines at the buffet and for good measure we put the ice into ziploc bags. The baguettes are good and made a nice snack, tiding us over until we got back to the boat for some food. The Ports - General Information All of the shore excursions offered by Celebrity can be arranged by yourself in advance, at a significant discount. There is no need to purchase the Celebrity package as there is nothing you cannot walk to or get a free shuttle to. Get an AAA tour book and do your homework before you go. It will save you a lot of money whether you do a helicopter tour, the Atlantis submarines, a luau, a bike tour or anything else. WARNING! All of the little booths you see with too-good-to-be-true prices are just that. To get these prices you must attend a timeshare presentation and since most ports are only a few hours in duration, even if you wanted this option you could not do it in the time allotted. You are much better off booking your own excursions in advance. Honolulu, Oahu We only arrived the night before the cruise, however because there was a 3 hour time difference from our native California time we were up bright and early. This allowed us to line up for tickets at the Arizona Memorial at 7 am (it opens at 7:30 am). We were 10th in line. It's a good thing too, because by 7:15 am there were 2,000 people behind us in line. Between the 2,000 people Infinity was disgorging that day, and the 2,000 people embarking, plus the regular tourist traffic, the place was packed. My advice is no matter how long your stay in Honolulu, take advantage of your jet lag the first day or two and get out early to see the memorial. It is worth waiting the extra 30 minutes in the morning not to have to wait the extra hours later in the day. Another warning, they will not let you take ANYTHING into the memorial other than a small camera in your hand (no camera bags, no purses, no diaper bags, etc.) in the post-Sept. 11th era. Make sure you leave ALL your luggage at the hotel and I do mean ALL. After the memorial, we went over to the Missouri and again were one of the first groups on the boat since it opens later (9 am) and most people see it after seeing the Arizona. We were able to finish by 11 am and grab a cab to the ship (with a quick stop enroute at our hotel to pick up our luggage). Officially boarding did not start until 1 pm but we were onboard at 11:30 am, enjoying the welcome aboard pizza and buffet luncheon. Kona, Hawaii/Big Island We have yet to cruise the Caribbean, but from what I have heard Kona is very much like the majority of those ports. There were some small beaches close to the tender dropoff point, some nicer ones a 20 minute walk away, and some touristy shops, as well as a couple of minor historical sites (the Hulihee Palace and Hawaii's oldest church). The Hulihee Palace was interesting but short and once we had seen that and walked all 10 minutes of Kona's main strip we were bored. I will admit that we saw the best shopping prices in Kona, including a guy selling nice 'packable' sun hats for $8-$12 each. This was much cheaper than anywhere else we saw on the islands. Also, the Kona coffee is obviously cheapest here. But shop around! We got a half pound for $9, but in a convenience store it was $4 for a half pound. The difference is that we got 100% Kona Coffee and the convenience store stuff was 10% Kona Coffee. It depends what matters to you I guess, but you need to read packages and look carefully! Nawilliwilli/Lihue, Kauai This island is the oldest and one of the most undeveloped, due to its mountainous/volcanic terrain. Much of the island is only viewable by boat or air. For this reason we chose to do a helicopter tour in this port. In an hour long flight we managed to circle the island and crisscross it twice, seeing both the coastline and the interior (the interior only being visible by air since boats cannot sail inland). The flight was expensive ($139 per person) but well worth doing once, and was still much cheaper than the $200 per person Celebrity wanted to charge. Kauai is the 'wettest spot in the world', receiving up to 600 inches of rain per year. It rains almost every day. Generally the morning is the nicest, and as the day goes on it gets cloudier and wetter. Any kind of excursion you book should be for first thing in the morning to get the best views. Almost as soon as we had finished our helicopter tour (11:30 am) it began to rain and didn't stop until after we left. We used this time to take the free shuttles to the shopping areas. Lahaina, Maui I'm not sure we really needed two days at this port but that is what we got. The first day we took the Atlantis submarine tour ($18 per person cheaper on our own than with Celebrity) and walked around the town, seeing the local sites, and on the second day we split up. My husband did the bike tour down the Haleakala volcano crater and he said that it was one of the best experiences of his life. If you are into biking and gorgeous scenery he would highly recommend it. Make sure you get a tour that takes you all the way up to the top of the crater (10,000 feet) and not just part of the way up. Even though we only booked this the day before, we were still able to save $10 off of the Celebrity price for this excursion. Since I was solo, I took a free shuttle up to Whaler's Village at Kaanapaali Beach, which is wonderful. If you like white sand beaches this is the place to be. In the afternoon I did some window-shopping in Lahaina. Hilo, Hawaii/Big Island This is the one place where we seriously considered doing the Celebrity tour to go see the Volcano National Park, which is 30 miles outside of Hilo. As it turned out, we had some friends who were familiar with the park who were visiting the island at the same time we were in port so they picked us up and took us there themselves. However when we got off the boat I noticed a number of local tour companies who were picking up passengers and taking them to the Volcano Park in small vans. I suspect that if we had done some homework we could have booked a personal tour in advance at a cheaper price than Celebrity's tour. A number of people also rented cars in this port for the express purpose of seeing the park. Vancouver We only had an afternoon in Vancouver and we spent it walking around the downtown area. It was nice, but not outstanding. Frankly we prefer walking around San Francisco (we live in the San Francisco area) more than Vancouver. We would have liked to see Victoria (I have heard it is lovely) but it takes a minimum of a day and we did not have the time. However it was nice to relax after getting off the boat instead of rushing to the airport. Overall We had never been to Hawaii before and we had a terrific time overall, and really appreciated this way to see a number of different islands on one trip. I'm not sure we would do a Hawaiian cruise again any time soon, but it is definitely worth doing once, and the Infinity is a fabulous boat to be doing it on. Two thumbs up!June 2002 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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