Celebrity Infinity Cruise Review by CuAtSea
- Sail Date: May 2006
- Destination: Alaska
Embarkation We embarked in San Francisco. This is a special treat for us, because we live in Sacramento, and can take an Amtrak train and bus connector right to Pier 39, and simply roll our luggage to the ship. It is wonderful not to have to fly anywhere, or to worry about the excess weight of our luggage. Our embarkation process was efficient and quick, as good as some luxury cruise lines we have used. The Infinity staff allowed us to board the ship early, and have lunch in the buffet. Our stateroom was ready by 1:00 PM, and our luggage arrived about two hours after that, so we could unpack before we sailed. The Infinity dEcor is contemporary, which made it a bit unique, and we especially enjoyed the mid-ship glass elevators.
Cabin and Steward - We were on Deck 7 as forward as you could get, in a category 4 stateroom. If you suffer from seasickness, this is not the location for you, as we really rocked and rolled our way out of San Francisco something we really enjoyed, but it is not for everyone. Also, in ports where we tendered in, the noise of the anchor being dropped was very loud a fun alarm clock for us, but very annoying for others. The linens and towels were average, and the bedspread rather worn out, but we were told that the Infinity is going to be updating them all soon. Our room steward was outstanding. We never ran out of any linens or soap in the bathroom, our ice bucket was always full, he and his assistant were the consume professionals. They always greeted us with a smile and friendly conversation.
Dining - Trellis, the main dining room, was well appointed. The food presentation was excellent, but the food itself could be a bit mediocre, except for the lamb dishes, which were superb. Our wait staff was outstanding, even compared to premium market ships. We have had fifty-nine cruises, and our waitress was the finest we have ever had. The Oceanview buffet could use improvement for both breakfast and lunch. The food was bountiful, nicely presented but often tasteless and uninspired. We did enjoy the made-to-order omelets, which were fun to watch being prepared. The lunch theme buffets were especially disappointing. We finally gave up on the buffet lunch and grabbed very yummy burgers and fries at the outdoor Oceanview Cafe. For dinner one night we went to the casual dinning Oceanview and dinner there was very good, but the views were the real treat.
Entertainment We only went to one show, but was very impressed by the acrobats, and wish we would have seen more of their acts. The lead singers were excellent. We agreed with the comments of other passengers regarding how loud the bands and singers were overall. They need to turn down the volume! The party band that performed most days in the pool area and nightly in the Constellation Lounge was outstanding. They had a very large play list that offered music to please almost everyone. We did attend two presentations by Executive Chef Oswaldo which we highly recommend we learned a lot, and he is a real kick!
Ports, Tours and Tenders We enjoyed each of the ports we went to, for different reasons. The first port was Victoria, which is a truly beautiful city. Instead of booking a tour, we just got off the ship, took a shuttle to downtown and got on a Greyline bus to Butchart Gardens which was absolutely beautiful. Afterwards we had a great lunch at the Irish Bank and then just wandered around and window shopped before getting back on the ship.
Although it is not a port, Hubbard Glacier is something we will never forget. We would never have words to adequately describe the experience, the colors and the Ice caving from the face of the glacier. We were on deck all day long, and until we sailed by the last little flake of ice burg passed our hull.
Our next port was Juneau, which was fun, but has been taken over by Caribbean-style jewelry stores and gift shops, but you still get a feel for Alaska. Through Celebrity we booked the float-plane flight over the glaciers to Taku Lodge. It was exciting to see the glaciers from above, and to be flown to a remote area that was so pristine and to land on the water. They provided a lunch of barbecued salmon that had been caught just up the river, and was the best we ever tasted. The side dishes were great, too. It is amazing that they can make such a delicious lunch in the wilderness!
In Skagway we took our second Celebrity-arranged tour which was a ride on the White Pass & Yukon Railroad, up to the White Pass summit. You depart at sea level and in a mere 19 miles you are taken over 2,800 feet. Built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, this narrow gauge railroad is an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. We had both been on this train before, and highly recommend the trip for both the interesting history and the beautiful scenery. This time was special, because it was snowing, and the entire trip was very Dr. Zhivago-esque. Before booking the tour through Celebrity, we compared how much it would cost to just book it ourselves. It was only a few dollars more to book through Celebrity, and we were able to board the train more easily, were guaranteed a seat on the train, and also knew they would hold the ship for cruise-sponsored tours if we were late coming back.
We tendered in to Icy Straight Point. The tender service was very good, and the wait was not excessive. We loved Icy Straight and the town of Hoonah! The people made us feel so welcome, and were eager to share their culture with us. Eagles seem to be in every tree, and whales frolicked in the bay along with seals and dolphins. It is an unspoiled reminder of how Alaska used to be. We went on our third Celebrity-sponsored tour there, which was a Whale Watching boat trip. We saw whales, harbor porpoises, eagles and dolphins. They provided binoculars and an on board naturalist that was very informative. It is interesting to note that our trip through Celebrity was actually five dollars cheaper than booking it ourselves in Icy Straight! After the tour we took the shuttle into Hoonah and wandered around. On the tender back to the ship we got to watch three whales frolic right near us, and were grateful that the tender captain stopped and let us watch them.
Sitka was our next port, and we did not feel a need to take any of the sponsored tours. We walked from the ship through town, through the beautiful national forest to the Raptor Rehabilitation Center. We really recommend a visit to the Raptor Center! Afterwards we took the shuttle from just outside the Center to downtown Sitka and bought some beautiful Russian curios. We were very lucky because the only rain we had was in Sitka.
Our last port was Prince Rupert and there we took our final ship-sponsored tour to a fairly remote Grizzly Bear sanctuary. This trip was worth it even if we never saw a bear! The trip itself was beautiful because we saw seals, eagles, and some dolphins even frolicked alongside our boat for a bit. The tour is a family-run operation and they were great at sharing information about their native culture and lifestyle. And we did see bears! Even if we had not seen any bears, the spectacular scenery would have been worth the cost. It was a wonderful trip.
In every port we thought, Today has been the best day. It could never get better than this. And every day was as wonderful as the last.
Disembarkation Our departure was as simple as our arrival. We were assigned a lounge and time to be there. We left as scheduled, baggage claim was a breeze, Celebrity should be commended for their efforts to make the embark/debark process as painless as possible.
Miscellaneous Comments - On Celebrity we felt like we were Nickeled and Dimed by having people try to sell us water, charging outrageous prices for sodas that should be complimentary, and inflated prices for cocktails. The most insulting thing was Repeater parties that instead of honoring our loyalty, were thinly veiled attempts to sell us art, wine, or make us use their spa. On the other hand, the Captains Cocktail Party, the High Tea and the Officers Cocktail Event were great events to celebrate our many cruises with Celebrity.
In summary, we feel you get what you pay for in a cruise, and Celebrity has a good valued product for the amount they charge. For the amounts charged by other luxury market lines we can take two Celebrity trips. But watch out for that Celebrity bar tab!
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