Celebrity Infinity Cruise Review by Shirley C
- Sail Date: April 2008
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Family Ocean View with Balcony
We set sail on the 11 Day Ultimate Alaska Cruise onboard the Infinity on Monday, April 28th. We had chosen not to fly out early, so we arrived in San Francisco around 10:00 a.m. on Monday morning. We had arranged to be picked up by a limo driver, who arrived in a Mercedes, not a limo. It was a nice vehicle, but we had difficulty fitting all our luggage into it. However, we finally got it all in, and set off for the cruise terminal. We stopped along the way to pick up a case of water and two bottles of wine to take onboard with us.
We got to the cruise terminal around 11:30 a.m. In the past, we have always been able to board immediately. However, they were still disembarking and readying the ship when we arrived. There was some confusion as to when we would be able to board. We waited about an hour and we were then able to check in, however, we were then taken to another room to wait about another 15 minutes or so. A group of travel agents was allowed to board for lunch and a tour before we were. We were a little disappointed that we were not able to go on when they did. However, we finally boarded and put our carry on bags into our room and set off for lunch at the buffet.
We had a FV aft corner cabin, which we loved. We have had this same cabin on the Millennium several times, and love the extra room and the large veranda. The only problem we had this time, was our cabin was on Deck 9, right under the Deck 10 aft dining area/bar. Several times during the cruise, we were awaken at night/early morning when we could hear the crew moving the tables and cleaning the deck. You would think that they could clean at a time other than 4:30 a.m.!! However, despite this, we would still get this same cabin again.
The ship left San Francisco at least an hour later than was scheduled. I am not sure what caused the delay. Our cruise critic group met for a sailaway party on Deck 10 Aft right after the muster drill. This was our first get together, and it was a great one. At least 30 people showed up (including the infamous "lurker"). We all hit it off immediately. Some of us had early seating for dinner, so we had to leave for dinner before the ship even sailed, so we missed being out on deck when the ship went under the Golden Gate Bridge, but I heard it was spectacular.
Day 1 - Day at Sea
Our first day onboard was a sea day. We had our Cruise Critic Connections party in the Constellation Lounge at 11:00 a.m. Again, we had a great turnout with about 50 people attending. The cruise director, Jeff, joined us, and we had an official photo taken by the ship's photographer. We planned a "cabin crawl" to follow the connections party. Several people had agreed to "open up" their cabins so others could see them. This was a great idea (thanks to Sean and Mike for arranging it). We were able to go from cabin to cabin and see the different categories/locations of cabins that are offered. It was great fun, and we had a party/get together at the last cabin (Thanks Preston for letting us hang out). After getting to know each other a little better, several groups broke away to have lunch and continue getting to know each other.
Celebrity offers lots to do during sea days, so there is always someplace to be - even if it is in your cabin taking a quick nippy nap!!
Dinner with the Captain
We were fortunate enough to be asked to dine with the Master of the Vessel, Capt. Dimitrios Kafezis. He is an enjoyable fellow, with quite the wit. It was the first formal night of the cruise, so we put on our finest. There were four other couples who joined us, including Diane and Lou, who were part of our Cruise Critic buddies. The Safety Officer, Damianos Xenakis, was also present. We met up in the Martini Bar prior to dinner with the Captain's Club Hostess, Rosalba, and the Future Cruise Manager, Jose. Drinks were on the Captain, and we were served some tasty tidbits as we all got to know one another. When the Captain arrived, we were taken into the Trellis Restaurant via the grand staircase. It was very elegant. We then had a delicious dinner with lively conversation and all the wine you could drink!! The next day we received the official photograph showing all of us at the table. Quite the souvenir!
Day 2 - Victoria, British Columbia
Our first port was Victoria, Canada. We had beautiful weather ~ it was very cold, but not raining. We had scheduled a tour through Celebrity - the "Hop On, Hop Off" bus. We have done these buses in Europe and thoroughly enjoy them. You can tour the whole city, and then get off and on again whenever you wish, spending as much or as little time as you wish at each location. We did the entire loop, and then got off in the downtown area, where we walked around in the shops, found a Starbucks, and saw some of our new friends. Victoria is a beautiful city, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We then decided we wanted to go back to the ship early and just relax. However, there was a bit of a snafu as the bus driver that was on the bus that picked us up at the ship took everyone's tour ticket, stating that we wouldn't need one to hop on/hop off. That proved to be wrong, and when we went to get back on the bus, they asked for our ticket. Fortunately, the supervisor of the company was right there, and sent word out to let all drivers know that anyone who said they were with the cruise ship could get on and off whenever they wanted. The supervisor then personally drove my husband and I back to the ship in his car. Now that's service!! At dinner that night, we saw whales swimming behind the ship.
Day 3 - Nanaimo, British Columbia
This was a tender port. Once we took the tender over, we walked around the shops near the dock, and then up the hill to "historic" Nanaimo. There really wasn't much in Nanaimo to see. There was a little flea market going on, and some street musicians, but it was a short visit! We took the tender back early and ate lunch on the ship, and spent the afternoon on our veranda sipping hot chocolate and enjoying the view.
Day 4 - Inside Passage (Cruising)
We cruised the Inside Passage, which really is another sea day. However, we had beautiful views as we cruised along. The scenery on this cruise was breath taking. Snow topped mountains and beautiful green trees.
This was the second formal night, and we had invited all of our Cruise Critic buddies to come to our cabin prior to dinner. We had about 30 people, and again had a wonderful get together, with lots of wine flowing!!
Day 5 - Ketchikan, Alaska
Ketchikan is a cute port. We opted to do this port on our own, without booking any tours. We walked along the store fronts right near the pier, which surprisingly were reasonably priced. We also walked down to Creek Street where we saw "Dolly's House", a former brothel, and took the cable car up to the top of the mountain for some spectacular views. Walking along the boardwalk was really nice. This is a port that you can easily do on your own. There were lots of tours being offered once you got off the ship for reasonable prices. The lumberjack show that a lot of people went to was within walking distance of the ship.
Day 6 - Icy Strait Point, Alaska
This was a tender port. The tenders did not run as smoothly as they had on prior Celebrity cruises. My husband did a sport fishing excursion through Celebrity, which was a disaster, but too long of a story to go into here, but which included a broken boat which could only go in circles, which took on water, and eventually involved a "rescue boat" coming to get him. I had arranged for a private tour through F.I.S.H.E.S., which I highly recommend. Myself and four other passengers boarded a small boat with a delightful captain who took us out where we saw bald eagles, seals, and several whales. We were in close proximity to the whales, and it was really spectacular. After the tour, the captain's wife picked us up in a van to take us back to the ship. Along the way, she stopped at their house where we were able to see a deer. It was a cold, drizzly day, but one of the best of the trip.
That night, our Cruise Critic group got together again for dinner together at the Casual Dining location onboard ship. This is a great option that Celebrity offers where you get "sit down" dining without having to dress up for dinner. It was fun to get together and share our stories of what we all had done so far, and Tony got to tell about his "three hour tour"!
Day 7 - Hubbard Glacier (cruising)
This was the most spectacular day of the cruise. It is almost surreal as you pass through the ice bergs on the way to the Hubbard Glacier. The blue color is indescribable. The Captain got us very close to the Glacier, and we were able to see calving first hand. Pictures do not do justice to what we saw and heard. We were lucky enough to have a fantastic view from our cabin, and some of our new friends joined us to experience it all.
We were fortunate enough to be asked to go on a tour of the bridge. This is something that isn't offered to everyone, so we felt very lucky. It was very interesting to be where it all happens! Tony noticed that the control board showed that one of the ship's stabilizers was broken. Finally, we knew the answer as to why there was so much rocking on the ship!!
Day 8 - Juneau, Alaska
Many people thought this was the best port. We had arranged for a private tour through ORCA. Again, I highly recommend them. We were on a 40 person boat, but there were only eight of us, including Brent Nixon, the naturalist from the Infinity. This was the first tour of the season, and at 9:00 a.m. I guess a lot of people didn't want to get up that early!! Since there were so few of us, we were able to move about the ship easily, with wonderful views from every angle. Brent narrated the whole time, so that was an extra treat. We saw it all!! Bald eagles, seals, porpoises, and lots of whales. We even saw a mother whale with her baby, and as we were leaving, the baby whale jumped right up out of the water, several times, very close to us. There is nothing like standing on the top viewing deck of a boat, out in the open, and having a whale come out of the water within 100 feet of you. We got lots of "tail" shots and hundreds of memories in our minds. After the whale watching, the ORCA bus took us to Mendenhall Glacier. Absolutely beautiful. We walked around for an hour before we were picked up and taken back to the ship. The couple that went with us got to see a bear while they were there.
This was the last formal night, but my husband and I chose to have the lobster tails delivered to our room where we had dinner on our deck watching the beautiful views as we sailed. I recommend everyone have dinner on the deck at least once.
Day 9 - Prince Rupert, British Columbia
Again, a great little port. We didn't dock until 2:00 p.m. We went with some of our "new found" friends from Cruise Critic and just walked around this cute little town. Of course, we found a Safeway where they had Starbucks and donuts!! We opted to have dinner again that night in Casual Dining with several friends. Very relaxing and fun.
Day 10 - Inside Passage
Our last day of the cruise. We spent it relaxing as we sailed through the Inside Passage on our way to Vancouver. Again, spectacular views. We had dinner our last night with several of our friends in Casual Dining, reminiscing about the great time we all had.
This was the worst debarkation we have ever had on Celebrity. Very disorganized. We had arranged for the City Tour/Airport Drop Off through Celebrity. It left 1 ½ hours late, so we didn't get much of a tour. Vancouver Airport brought one fiasco after another, including one of our suitcases not being tagged, so it went who knows where.
For the first time, we actually ate most of our evening meals not in the dining room. However, the times that we did eat there were nice. We had a wonderful table, right next to the Captain's Table, by the big windows. We were able to see whales and beautiful views as we ate.
We had breakfast in the dining room several times, and I always love having the Eggs Benedict. Celebrity does a great job on them. This cruise, Celebrity offered a "formal brunch" one day. It was a little disorganized in how they laid out the food, but we had a nice time sharing it with some friends and had a delightful time talking with them.
We had lunch once in the dining room - we prefer to have lunch at the buffet. We love the sandwich bar, which is what we had most of the time.
Breakfast buffet was always good, and most of the time fast. We also ordered breakfast via room service several times which was also great. The food arrived promptly and was warm.
I highly recommend the waffle bar and omelet bar in the morning. Yummy.
We visited the Cova Cafe almost every day. They no longer offer the wonderful hazelnut chocolates with coffee like the use to, which was a disappointment. I don't drink coffee, but love those chocolates!! The Cova Cafe offers wonderful pastries in the morning, especially the chocolate croissants, and delicious sweets in the afternoon.
I visited the Aqua Spa for a neck, shoulder & back massage, foot and ankle massage, and facial. It was a great experience, and they didn't try to sell me anything. I thought the prices of the "specials" were good this cruise, and not too pricey as they have been on prior cruises.
I thought most of the entertainment was good. We went to most of the shows and enjoyed them. I heard good things about the ones we didn't go to. There were some repeats of performers that we have seen on other Celebrity cruises, but we still enjoyed seeing them again.
We visited the Fortunes Casino almost every night. We have now decided that we should just walk in, hand one of the Celebrity crew members our money, and walk out. The end result is the same!! One of our Cruise Critic buddies, Preston, spent most of his time in the Casino and was a winner, but other than that, I didn't see anyone raking in the bucks. Guess Preston was the only lucky one!!
We did not go to the Specialty Restaurant, the SS United States. We had gone to the specialty restaurant on the Millennium, and it is not our cup of tea. Friends of ours did go to it, and only found it so so. However, I have heard rave reviews about it from other people. I guess it depends on what you are looking for. We prefer to be with other people.
We had a great time with great people. We thought the ship was in good shape, and really didn't find much wrong with it. Most of the staff were exceptional. Our room attendant, Fatkul, was fantastic, and always there when we needed him, and out of sight when we didn't. The Captain was enjoyable, and we loved the Captain's Club hostess, Rosalba.
The itinerary was not the most exciting we have been on, but it was beautiful. The weather was very, very cold, but it only rained a couple of days, and bad wind a couple of days, so we really can't complain about it. The weather didn't stop us from enjoying ourselves. We did notice that the water was a little more rocky than we have experienced in the past, with the movement of the ship a lot more noticeable, but, again, it didn't stop us from enjoying this trip.
We felt Celebrity has made a few subtle changes not in the passenger's favor, such as not giving the Cova Chocolates, doing anyway with the email service for $2 an email (you now have to go onto the internet and pay per minute), not having a dessert tray at dinner so you can see the desserts before deciding what you want, etc. However, Celebrity is still our cruise line of choice.
All in all, I highly recommend this itinerary and this ship to everyone!!
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