Celebrity Infinity Cruise Review by willden
- Sail Date: July 2019
- Destination: Eastern Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Concierge Class 2
Our recent cruise of the Adriatic Sea on Celebrity infinity was disappointing. We had just completed a seven day family cruise of the Western Mediterranean on Norwegian Epic and the difference in the quality of our experience between the two cruises was quite marked.
We have been loyal Celebrity customers for well over ten years having cruised with the cruise line on twelve previous occasions with a further three with the broader RCI Group. We have noted a quiet but steady decline in the quality of the Celebrity product over the past couple cruises. This decline in standards on virtually all measures is now quite stark and, overall, we were very disappointed in the cruise experience on a number of levels.
The bad experience started with the very poor handling of a passport/visa issue (not of our making) at check-in. The passport control officials were in our view, officious and uncommunicative, and it took over one and a half hours to sort the problem out. We are still not aware precisely what the issue was but the whole process was frustrating and distressing and got the whole cruise experience off to a bad start.
The bad vibes we were getting about the ship were compounded by a massive misunderstanding about a Captains Club loyalty on-board credit that Celebrity disputed had been offered despite us producing documentary evidence downloaded from the Celebrity website, that the loyalty credit had indeed been applied. In an almost two hour wrangle at the front office desk , where we were even virtually accused of fabricating the document and the Guest Relations official with whom we dealt made it perfectly clear that the onus was on us to prove the on-board credit was genuine. He kept on insinuating that the credit was something that our travel agent must have offered and could not grasp the simple fact that it was a Celebrity Captains Club loyalty credit that was in dispute. The whole process was distressing and embarrassing and necessitated us having to contact our travel agent back in South Africa who in turn had to contact Celebrity head office in Miami to confirm the loyalty credit was a Celebrity benefit that should have been automatically applied without question. Despite our agent being assured by Miami that the credit was indeed genuine and should have been automatically applied to our account, and that they would confirm this fact directly with the ship, it took a further two days for the matter to be satisfactorily put to bed and this, only after the intercession of the Concierge Class Concierge who personally undertook to see the matter to a satisfactory resolution. All in all an unnecessarily unpleasant experience for which we receive absolutely no apology from Guest Relations for the poor manner in which this matter had been dealt.
We had cruised on the Infinity on two previous occasions. Signs of wear and tear are evident everywhere confirming the need for the vessel to undergo a major refurbishment which we understand is scheduled within a year or so. This cannot come too soon. Furnishings and fittings are in a bad state of repair in many areas, notably the buffet restaurant. Pool towels were threadbare and often torn while pool loungers were out of shape, smelly, stained and had clearly seen better days. Celebrity have probably decided not to spend any more on the Infinity until it undergoes its refurbishment. If this is the case it is a policy that should be reconsidered because frankly, the standard of the pool furnishings in particular, are disgusting and certainly not what one should or could expect from a five star cruise liner.
On the positive side, the ship’s hard working cleaning and maintenance staff do an admirable job in trying to keep this ageing vessel in reasonable shape.
Decline in standards in many other areas were also evident. As examples, the quality of amenities in Concierge Class staterooms is now notably inferior. Food quality in the buffet restaurant was probably the worst we have yet experienced on any cruise we have taken. Variety and standard of beverages included in the Classic package has clearly been reduced in an obvious attempt to persuade passengers to upgrade to the Premium package.
Not all was negative though. We were privileged to sail the beautiful Adriatic Coast visiting some quaint, interesting ports along the way. We found the food quality and presentation in the main dining room to be generally of very good standard. Celebrity’s crème brulees still rank with the best! We actually had a meal at the speciality Tuscan Grille and frankly, thought the standard of fare in the main dining room was better. We also dined twice at the speciality Sushi on 5 dining venue and thoroughly enjoyed our meal on both occasions.
Entertainment, as we usually find on cruise ships, was a bit iffy. The main production shows were some of the best we have yet experienced and these shows were supplemented by performances from a top class card magician and a classically trained operatic quartet who had reached the finals of Britain’s Got Talent. Really good. On the other hand, some of the other musical entertainers performing around the ship were of no more than basic cruise ship standard.
We cannot conclude this somewhat negative review without a “shout out” to the hard working staff and crew who at all times provided friendly, efficient and attentive service and, even at trying times, almost invariably with a smile. Even when one is having a bad day, the friendly smiles and greeting we received form the Celebrity team, helped make the bad day or bad experience just that little bit less of an issue!
We have been loyal Celebrity aficionados for many years having attained Elite Plus status a number of years back so our commitment to the Celebrity brand cannot be questioned. However, our less than happy experiences on this cruise, coupled with our perceptions of a steady decline in the standard of the Celebrity product offering, are making us seriously question whether we will ever cruise with Celebrity again.
For the first time in many years we have not booked another Celebrity cruise while we were on board. However, we have already booked cruises on Costa (an Indian Ocean destination specific cruise of which our expectations are not too high save for the bucket list destinations we will be visiting), and a Viking cruise from Bergen to Barcelona. It will be informative to see how these two highly diverse product offerings compare to what has been our preferred brand for so many years.
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