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Sail Date: September 2006
Before you begin to read this review I want to warn you that it is not very complimentary. Those of a nervous disposition or planning on sailing aboard Infinity soon may want to give it a miss. As usual my Mum was my travelling ... Read More
Before you begin to read this review I want to warn you that it is not very complimentary. Those of a nervous disposition or planning on sailing aboard Infinity soon may want to give it a miss. As usual my Mum was my travelling companion. We have taken 6 cruises before, all with RCI and on various ships. We have sailed The Med, The Baltics, Hawaii and 3 times to the Caribbean. This was our first Celebrity cruise. We chose Infinity because of the itinerary, ie, Acapulco AND the Panama Canal. Our first disappointment was that our cruise was shortened by one day and one port of call. I do not think that the compensation was adequate and in reply to my letter of complaint, Celebrity are now calling it a 'goodwill gesture'. We were booked into The Radisson Hotel, San Francisco for 2 nights instead of the expected 1 night. The hotel turned out not to be in San Francisco at all, but several miles outside the city. They got around this by laying on coaches to take us to 2 drop-off points within the city. The coaches ran every 30 minutes and were excellent, although the last coach back to the hotel was quite early - 9pm - which meant that we could not experience San Francisco at night. Fortunately we have been to San Francisco before so had already enjoyed this. The hotel was very nice although the booking in was a bit of a nightmare. The first evening we felt like a captive audience. There was NOTHING in the surrounding area. We had very little choice but to use the hotel restaurant for our evening meal and breakfast on 2 occasions. We had a bar meal the first evening - delicious hamburgers which we normally would not have ordered. We didn't think much of the breakfast menu, however all the staff worked very hard and were pleasant. Embarkation went very smoothly. We have previously had some horrific experiences when joining cruise ships so this was a very pleasant surprise. We were greeted with a glass of champagne and found our way to our cabin very easily - 3 doors down from the Atrium. Our luggage had already arrived and this was also a surprise. Our outside cabin was about the size that we have had on previous ships but the layout made it seem smaller. The bathroom was definitely smaller. I have never before had the shower curtain sticking to me when I have been OUTSIDE the shower. Also all our bathroom storage cupboard space had been utilized by our cabin steward to store tissues and toilet-rolls. Our cabin steward did the bare minimum for us. We ended up wiping surfaces down ourselves during our stay...I know, I know, but you shouldn't have to ask. I did have to ask for extra soap though. I don't share my soap at home but the steward thought that it would be acceptable for us to share on board. One morning I spilt an entire pot of coffee in the cabin - more of which later. We did mention this to our steward. When we returned to the cabin he had resolved the problem by placing the table over the spillage. Very resourceful.There were non of the little extras that we had come to expect from previous cruises, such as towel folding. Having said all that, he was a pleasant fellow. We found the ship to be in good condition and all the public areas were very clean. To us the ship felt very dark and oppressive. The ceilings were very low and this added to the overall feeling of being enclosed. We were very disappointed with the Atrium area. It seemed to be more of a business area. On previous cruise ships it has been a place to sit and enjoy a drink, listening to a music group whilst people had a dance. This is usually the place where brides have delighted us all by making a grand entrance in all their finery. I cant imagine that anybody would make any sort of grand entrance on the Infinity Atrium. The art work on board wasn't up to much. Several pieces were broken and were glued down. We enjoy informal dining for breakfast and lunch. We were very disappointed in the Oceanview Cafe. The presentation of the food was reminiscent of a works canteen. At best the food was luke warm to begin with and by the time we had queued and then sat down it was invariably cold. People would be queuing 10 deep for toast but the server only made 2 pieces at a time, attending only to the person directly in front of him. The omelette station was the same. We also found the food to be very bland. Not at all what we expected. In the end we resorted to room service for our breakfast. This was delicious and HOT when it arrived. The 'canteen' staff were very, very pleasant and hard working, except one or two of the servers. I saw one server angrily throw a plate down onto the side as a lady had picked her tray up too quickly for his liking. Also a server handed me a red hot plate without any warning. It was only saved as a passerby quickly took it off me with their napkin. The Trellis restaurant was pretty much as we expected. Our waiters were fantastic. Very friendly and entertaining. The potatoes were very nouveau cuisine and we ended up ordering a side dish of mashed potatoes each evening, which wasn't a problem. I, and other diners were surprised on several occasions when courses that we expected to be hot were cold... crepe suzette, fried pineapple. Some food was sent back but on the whole it was a pleasant enough experience, made better by pleasant company. At our table we had a wedding anniversary and a birthday during the cruise and were suitably serenaded and served with delicious chocolate cake. As we have sailed with RCI before we were classed as Select members. There didn't seem to be any benefit to this at all. One of the supposed 'benefits' was to be invited to High Tea in the SS United States. The invitation came in the form of a letter at the beginning of the cruise outlining activities to which we would be invited. We had a phone call to our cabin from Heidi to remind us to attend. When we did attend we were prevented from entering until we proved who we were. When we sat down the champagne waiter asked us if we would like a glass of champagne. When we accepted we were presented with the price list!!!!!! I later complained about these 2 incidents to Heidi. I advised her that if she wanted to prevent gate-crashers then she should have issued invitations. She then added to the insult by telling me that Celebrity didn't want to waste paper on invitations - every morning our daily planner was overflowing with bits of paper advertising duty free drinks and bingo sessions etc. etc, which I think is more wasteful than invitations. I also told her that it was disgraceful to invite us to High Tea and then to want to charge us for champagne, especially as they were giving bucket loads of it away at events all over the ship. Heidi looked surprised that this had happened, but I believe that this was feigned. I did not have any acknowledgement from Heidi about my complaint and I am sure it was forgotten the minute it was made. Incidentally, there were only about 12 people at the special High Tea. Perhaps Heidi would have welcomed some gate-crashers after all. The 'welcome aboard' by the captain took place in the theatre before a show. It consisted of the Captain introducing his officers, then they all had a glass of champagne served to them on stage and left. Very odd indeed. Every other cruise we have been on we have been invited to a champagne and canape party and every guest on board has been introduced and had their photo taken with the Captain. The 'welcome back' party took place in the nightclub. It too wasn't anything to write home about. We gave the 'Officers welcome back' party a miss. The Chocolate Gala took place in the nightclub too. It was very poor and hidden away in shame. They didn't seem to have any nice venues for special occasions on Infinity. The Captain was very young and I feel he has a lot to learn about making his guests feel welcome. There were lots of activities on board and the activities staff were excellent, especially Cher and Andy (or Manchester as we came to know him - you know who you are!). Some of the activities did tend to overlap, but they were good fun. The guest lecturers were very informative. We took an excursion in Acapulco. It was very interesting and the cliff divers were fantastic. There were hundreds of children clamoring around and begging. A little tip for you - don't give them anything as 1 became 10. If you want to give, then do it just as you are about to get back onto the ship. We found all of the ports of call to be much poorer than we had expected. The people do rely heavily on tourist dollars. Puntarenus market was fabulous as was Cristobel Pier. Cant tell you much about Aruba as I fell off the 'treacherous' gangway and broke my wrist and sprained my ankle. The broken wrist was misdiagnosed by the ships doctor, so beware. Guest relations did phone my cabin to find out how I was. They made the call when they knew that I was in the dining room, which makes me think they did not really want to speak to me. In a voicemail message they offered me assistance to disembark if I needed it. When I went to guest relations to avail myself of their kind offer, they refused me any assistance and told me to use the porters like everybody else. I went back later to speak to a different person and they too refused me any assistance. So it was left to my poor long suffering Mother to get us both off the ship and to the airport. Guest relations also refused to make a call to the airport to advise them that I would need airport assistance. So much for Guest Relations. I find it strange that their parent company, RCI, seem to get everything right but Celebrity don't. I did not think that the officers were very visible on this cruise. They seemed to want to stay as far away from the guests as possible. One evening about 8 officers dined near us in the Trellis restaurant, but instead of dispersing around the tables, they all chose to sit together and even had their own waiters. There were no officers present in the Oceanview cafe during meals. Perhaps if they had been there they could have witnessed the amount of food that was left on plates and asked their guests about the quality of the food. Also it is my opinion that there are too many places on board ship where people can smoke, although I am sure smokers wouldn't agree. If I had my way they would be banished to one outside area only (yes I am a former smoker) On a high note - the Celebrity singers and dancers were fantastic. The best shows that I have ever seen. All the entertainers were great and the theatre was a treat every night. I have tried to be honest about my assessment of the cruise and our experience of it. Obviously everything is subjective and you may have a truly wonderful time, I hope you do, but I will NEVER sail with Celebrity again . Read Less
Sail Date: September 2006
This trip was to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary, and had been planned for over a year. We are a couple in our thirties, reasonably well traveled. This was our first cruise on Celebrity, with two past trips with Cunard, and ... Read More
This trip was to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary, and had been planned for over a year. We are a couple in our thirties, reasonably well traveled. This was our first cruise on Celebrity, with two past trips with Cunard, and numerous land vacations. This review is just our opinion and is for information for those who wish to read it. It is very lengthy and, in some cases, holds lots of details. It also contains the few negatives that we did experience, and well as the positive. About a month before we left, we were informed that our cruise would be shortened by on day, and in compensation, we would receive a ship board credit based on our accommodation level. As we were in a suite, this turned out to be $350.00 per person. Celebrity also paid for that one night in the Hilton hotel near Union Square. They also included transfers from the Hilton to the dock on the day of sail. This delay was caused by the Infinity being in drydock to fix one of her pods. We thought the compensation was fair. We flew into San Francisco on September 19 and stayed at the Tuscan Inn Fisherman's Wharf. A lovely hotel, with great staff and a pleasant decor. We had a room overlooking, set back from, a main street. We were concerned about noise when we first got in, but in the four nights we stayed there, we had no issues with the noise. On September 23, we had to change hotels to the Hilton, and Celebrity would not pay for the extra night at the Tuscan for us, although they did for others. One of the few faults on the whole trip. The check out at the Tuscan was a breeze, and the check in at the Hilton was just as easy. Our room at the Hilton was adequate, but much smaller that our Tuscan Inn room. We found out from the front desk that there was 1300 Infinity passengers at the Hilton the same night. Celebrity had an information desk set up in the hall and information posted on boards. We were given the option of checking in that night and getting assigned a transfer number for the next day to the dock. After hearing that there was so many of us in the hotel, we opted out of using the transfers, preferring to use a taxi. Check in was easy and efficient. Checking out of the hotel the next morning was quick, and soon we were in a cab, trying to get to the dock. Several streets were closed, so it took a few minutes to get there. We were met at the cab by a Celebrity person; he had our luggage whisked away and then directed to the door. Here we were met by two Celebrity people and given more directions. Then was security, more Celebrity people, and more security. Up the ramps to embark, and had our picture taken. Then, more security, and finally, we stepped on board. We were greeted with a choice of champagne or mimosas and then escorted to our cabin. We had left our hotel room at 9:30, and we were in our cabin at 10:10. We had sky suite 6127. Great cabin, lovely bath, lots of closet space, tons of storage space and a good sized verandah. One thing that we didn't realize was that this level was above the life boats, and, as such, all the mechanical stuff needed for raising and lowering these was just below and in front of our verandah. Most of the time, it didn't affect the views. The other thing, the cabin two doors down could see almost all of our balcony, and us theirs. No real privacy. The only other complaint we had about the room was that one of the closet lights would not stay turned off. This may seem petty, but it is quite bright, and at night proved to be bothersome. We reported it, but the part need to fix it was not available. Work crews were in several times to do minor repairs, like sealing the bathtub. We found the room to be good shape, with only a couple of little areas that showed wear. Alfred Dias, our butler, was fabulous! No task was too small or too large for him to do. We asked that our fruit bowl have only grapes and bananas, and that is what we got all but one day. After a long day in port, Alfred had tea waiting for us. We never knew how good tea could be until that day! The canapes were pretty bad, but Alfred brought us a lovely cheese tray instead. Alfred also brought us the Canadian news whenever it was available. Edgar was our room steward and was good. A few little things irked us, like a lack of a garbage bag in the bathroom. However, he made up for this by bringing lots of boxes of soft kleenex when we had come down with a head cold. Derry Benard, our waiter, Ahmet, our assistant waiter and Kala, the assistant maitre'd, were great! My husband asked for double vegetables with his super, and received them every night. One night, I suffered with from an allergy to another passenger's perfume, and couldn't sit at our regular table. Kala found us another table, out of the way and tried his best to make dinner enjoyable. I ended up leaving early anyway. Benard, Ahmet and Kala all enquired the next day how I was feeling. Comments on food in general and specific will follow later. We found the Infinity to be in good shape, showing little wear. Work crews were seen in a variety of places doing things from replacing carpet to painting and varnishing railings. Cleaning crews were very busy clean and disinfecting public areas, like railing and elevators. Carpets were also disinfected with strong smelling stuff. One place that we noticed didn't get cleaned was the balcony doors. We found the decor to be lovely, but the art was definitely pop and modern. In several of the staircases, the statues were glued down and broken. The rest of the ship was lovely. We boarding with plans to try all sorts of things, but didn't seem to have time to do everything. We tried the Thalassotherapy pool, but found it to be very smelly, and a scum on the surface. Breezes pool and hot tubs were always popular, but never too full. We never tried the Cova Cafe pastries, always being full from what ever meal it was that we had just eaten. We had a number of guest lectures, most of which we attended, and all were enjoyed. The Celebrity shows were as better then the ones we saw on Cunard. Guest performers were mostly great, although the constant plugging to buy their CDS after the show was annoying. The movies that were shown were recent (within the last year), but not new. The same movies were shown both the first and second week. On tv, there was a variety of shows, although there were days that we didn't have a signal. News, cartoons, discovery, movies and history shows were on, and repeated several times. Old shows, like Remington Steel, were also available, and were also repeated several times. Sail-away parties were a lot of fun and the various musical talents were really good. Our cruise was 14 days long, a full Panama Canal Transit. Ports included Cabo San Lucas (cancelled due to the shortened cruise), Acapulco, Huatulco, Puntarenas, Panama and Aruba. Our favorite for shopping, was Cristobal Pier. Lots of venders, but not pushy sales. Our favorite for overall atmosphere was Huatulco. Little town, great beach and great scenery. Aruba was a very close second. Acapulco was dirty and had very pushy venders who practically assaulted you while walking around. We did several excursions booked through the ship. We booked one in advance and the rest shortly after we boarded. We also toured around on our own in all ports but Puntarenas. In Acapulco, my husband did the Palma Sola Archeological Site and thoroughly enjoyed it. It involved climbing 500 uneven, broken rock stairs, for those who might be interested in doing it. That night, we did the night Cliff Divers and tour of the city. The Cliff Divers themselves were amazing, and the guide very informative, but we wouldn't do it again. In Huatulco, we did the La Crucecita Scenic Drive. Beautiful scenery and a great guide. Very touristy and some very pushy venders. The town of Huatulco was very pretty and quiet. A really good beach and a really cute town center. The large army presence was disconcerting; we couldn't decide if we felt more safe, or less safe with them there. Puntarenas was next. We booked the Tabacon Hot Springs and Arenal Volcano tour in advance. This was one tour that we really wanted to do. A word of caution to anyone thinking about booking tours here on your own. After our experience, I wouldn't recommend it. They roads and traffic are really bad, and tour buses are routinely delayed in returning to the ship. There has been several times where people have been left behind. There was a delay in getting of the ship, and lots of confusion as the all clear to depart announcement wasn't given until late. Our tour was supposed to leave at 7:30, put did not get away until 7:50. Sergio, our guide was very informative and the driver was good. The bus was a new one, but was very cramped for space. The drive was very long, and the roads and bridges were treacherous in some areas. We almost went off a bridge twice. Costa Rica was beautiful, and we got to see a lot of it on the way to the hot springs. After traveling for 1.5 hours, we had a stop for bathroom only, no purchases please, shopping on the way back break. After another two hours, we finally arrived at the volcano, which we saw erupt. There wasn't a stop here, and the bus continued on to the hot springs. We were given two hours, from the time the bus arrived in the parking lot, before we had to meet, fully dressed for lunch. We were herded to one section of tables in the restaurant, and not allowed to sit anywhere else, so that couples and parties had to split up to find seats to eat. Lunch was a buffet and the food was good. We were given a glass of water, a glass of some type of fruit juice and were offered a beer or pop. After lunch, it was back on the bus for the trip back to port. We left the hot springs around 2:00 and arrived at the ship around 6:30, two hours later than we were due back. We had a twenty minute stop to shop and use the washroom during ride back to the pier. At no time were we offered water on the bus. The shipped sailed at 7:00 pm, and the were rumors that not everybody made it back on time. The hot springs were beautiful, but the time we spent there was not worth the bus ride. We didn't do an excursion during the canal transit. It being our first time through, we decide to stay on board and see the whole thing. It was fascinating. We got to touch the wall of canal from deck four. In Aruba, we did another ship excursion, Aruba's Natural Wonders. The guide on this tour was very young and not very informative. We saw the Butterfly farm, which was fun and beautiful and the Natural Bridge, which reminded us of home, but on a smaller scale. We also the aloe factory, which was boring. After the tour, was walked around the city, which we found to be beautiful. We got to see wild iguanas and lizards in a park on the coast. We also did some shopping, but found the stores to be very westernized, with a lot of the same stuff we could buy at home. A couple of words about the food. There was always lots of food and lots of choices. Dinner the Trellis Restaurant was good with very few exceptions. My quail was really tough, while my husbands was really tender. Food always had good flavor and was never bland. All menus lean heavily towards meats (beef, lamb, veal, chicken, duck, quail, and seafood were all served), with very little vegetable. Vegetarian menus had to specially asked for, and not included with the main menus. Service was great and, most of the time, quick. Any issues were always dealt with quietly. We celebrated our anniversary on board, so that meant a cake presentation in the dining room. Not one for wanting a scene or undue attention, we made it perfectly clear we didn't want the singing thing to happen. While it was obvious that neither Kala, Benard or Ahmet were really comfortable with our request, they made the best of it. They brought our cake with a quiet congratulations, which was perfect as far as we were concerned. Benard then cut the cake into a heart and arrow, which we thought was really cute. Formal nights were very popular, and well dressed. Most of the men wore tuxes and the women wore a variety of appropriate attire. Having had previous cruise experience only with Cunard, which is very formal, we felt more comfortable with Celebrity, which, we found, is considerably less formal. We found most people conformed to the suggested dress code for the full evening. As the cruise went on, the feel of the ship got a little more casual, but the last formal night was still well attended. We had room service breakfast and lunch a few times, and that was great. Alfred was always on time and brought everything we asked for, including waffles. Most breakfasts and lunches were usually in the Ocean Grill. We enjoyed several of the themes and the sandwiches were always good. We tried the pasta bar once, but found the whole wheat pasta to be very undercooked and inedible. We had room service for supper one night, after regular dining hours. This is when we found the room service to be very limited, with little vegetarian options. We ate in the SS United States one night. The food was good, and service was also good, if a little pretentious. An experience that you should have once, but we are not keen on doing it again. We didn't do the wine pairing, and would be tempted to do that, if we were to go again. Overall, I don't think it was worth extra $30.00. We were also invited to an Elegant Tea here the first sea day. It was nice, but much preferred the tea Alfred brought, or tea in the Ocean Grill. Tea on the Cunard ships is, by far, superior to the tea we experienced on the Infinity. This is one area where Celebrity could really improve. If you are in suite, your butler will deliver canapes at around 5:00. They are as awful as they could be. We had them three nights, then switched, at Alfred's suggestion, to a cheese platter, which was really good. We also had a fruit bowl that Alfred refilled everyday. We asked for just grapes and bananas, as we didn't eat the rest. I guess they recycle the fruit between staterooms, as one day we received the regular fruit bowl. The oranges were so rotten, they stuck to the doily in the bottom of the bowl, and the rest of the fruit was stuck as well. Perhaps rotating the fruit bowls between cabins is not the best way to go. We had bar service in a variety of the bars, with our favorite being Dali at the Martini Bar. We found all the drinks to good, the service prompt and pleasant and the bread sticks fabulous. Dali was the best by far and we really looked forward to the half hour we spent at the bar with him before supper. He made me a different martini every day, and they were all good! We did find that the drink of the day were a little weak and all the bartenders should take lessons from Ramon on the making of a Chi Chi, as his was fabulous and the rest mediocre (I had several from five different bars). Ramon was the head bartender. We were introduced to him on the second day, when we were trying to get a problem on our account resolved. We had been to guest relations the day before and again on the second day, without any success. Guest relations was pretty well useless, and, as we soon learned, it was just easier to find the person we need to speak with on our own. Our problem was that we were charged for a drink we never ordered. After lunch on the second day, we talked to the assistant maitre'd in the Ocean Grill, Luis. This is where the drink was charged. He then contacted Ramon, who talked to us. Within a couple of hours the charge had been reversed. Guest relations couldn't do that in thirty hours. Ft. Lauderdale was our disembarkation point. We chose to not use the transfers offered, and to get a cab to the airport ourselves. The luggage issue needs to be addressed. Having the luggage divided by color only, but the signs saying color and number was very confusing and led to lots of frustration in finding your luggage. A quick trip through customs and then we were on the way to airport. Uneventful trips on the most comfortable economy class planes we have ever been on and then we were home. Overall, a fabulous trip and are already booked for our next one on Celebrity! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2008
We flew to San Francisco a few days early via Frontier Airline. With the changes in flying conditions, we were apprehensive, but Frontier was great, and we would certainly book them again. Flying is not what it used to be - but I would ... Read More
We flew to San Francisco a few days early via Frontier Airline. With the changes in flying conditions, we were apprehensive, but Frontier was great, and we would certainly book them again. Flying is not what it used to be - but I would give them a strong B for the flight. We had booked at Harbour Court Hotel with Priceline. We booked early, so probably didn't get the best price - but Harbour Court provided everything we were looking for. Near the Ferry Building, and the Bay Bridge. They provided a hosted wine bar each evening, cookies and milk later in the evening, and coffee first thing in the morning. The rooms were small - but really got us ready for the cruise. Give them an A. We booked a city tour combo with Sausalito and Muir Woods. And we really lucked out for weather - we had great weather - clear - and were able to get some really great pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Sausalito. The second day we booked a wine country, wine tasting tour. This also was a good deal - the weather was cooler, foggy, couldn't see the Golden Gate Bridge - even as we were crossing it on our way to Napa. We tasted at Chandon, V Sattui, Rutherford and Andretti. Again we really lucked out, Mario Andretti was at the winery - so we were able to get his autograph and picture, also picked up some wine to bring aboard. Give both these tours an A. Friday is embarkation day. We walked from the Harbor Court to Pier 35, for our first view of Infinity. Our home away from home for the next 16 days. We walked back to the Harbor Court, and grabbed a cab for the transfer to the Infinity. Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at just before 12 noon, and were onboard and having our first mimosas at just after 12:15. Earlier arrivals had to wait to board, but they had just started boarding when we arrived, and we breezed through the process. A solid A for embarkation. We went to our cabin and dropped off our stuff. We had a concierge class cabin mid ship with veranda. We usually book this cabin class, so no surprises for us. We asked for the feather pillows right away. John, our cabin attendant took care of that and all other requests quickly and efficiently. A+ for cabin service. We had late seating for dinner, and Paul, our waiter, took excellent care of us, with his able assistant Johny. Food is a very subjective thing, but we never left the table hungry, and Always found something we liked on the new menu. I have heard a few complaints about the beef, but I had it several nights and enjoyed a good piece of beef each time. Our table mates also selected beef most nights, and also stated they had good beef. DH usually goes for the fish, and he was happy with his selection. Paul did steer him toward the always available grilled salmon a few nights when the main menu selection wasn't the best. Louis was our sommelier, and he was right on target each night. He also found a few bottles of Malbec late in the cruise, and personally delivered to our cabin. Another A+ for dining room and service. We usually breakfast and lunch at the Windjammer, and they were OK. There were waiters standing by to offer assistance with trays, and tables were clean and available. We had eggs cooked to order, and omelets a few times - and they were good. I also tried the eggs benedict at the buffet - but the Hollandaise was cold. Our tablemates stated they asked for cranberry juice each day, and did get it each day - but a few days they had to ask 2 or 3 times - because the first person wasn't able to get it for them. B+ for buffet. I think the cheeseburgers at the grill are the best - off the chart A+, and the onion rings were better than I wanted them to be - I was really trying hard to limit my carb intake during the day. We skirted at least 3 hurricanes during the cruise - the ride was a bit bumpy, the seasick bags were out on the stairs. We had to pass up one of our ports of call because of the weather, Huelteco Mexico. Since the ship is our destination - we don't mind, and I didn't hear any complaints about missing the port. We did the bus, train, boat safari in Costa Rica. We bussed to a nearby river and boarded a flat bottom type of boat for a safari - we saw 35+ crocodiles, and many birds. But we ran aground on a sand bar. While speculating if we would throw someone overboard (for the good of the mission), the tide lifted us off the sand bar. Boat safari finished, we transferred to the bus, and traveled to the train. The train was an engine, a second car, and 2 passenger cars. We traveled through the rain forest, and the train derailed. That's when we found out what the second car was - it carried the rail repair equipment. This appeared to be a frequent occurrence. They were finally able to repair the track, and we finished this segment of the tour, back on the bus to return to the ship. We were about 1 hour late returning from this tour, but still well before the ship was leaving this port - so it's all good. Hard to grade this one - we certainly got everything the excursion promised plus extras. But I still give it a C - the excursion was not an exercise in creative writing. Disembarkation was delayed by about 1 hour. Communication is certainly an area that is not Celebrity's strong point. We were late leaving the ship, but were able to grab a cab to the airport in a timely fashion. I'd give this a D. We flew home on Spirit Air. They had recently converted from paper to e-tickets, and we were lost in the shuffle. But they did get us on the plane and home - so an E for effort. They charge for all luggage, early seat assignments, all refreshments during the flight. We love cruising - and believe any day at sea is better than a day anywhere else. Celebrity is providing us a good bang for our buck. End of sermon for the day. Overall Grade is a very solid A. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
This was an 18 night cruise from San Francisco through the Panama Canal and ending Ft. Lauderdale. The infinity needs a little work in Concierge class as there was some rust on the balcony and the carpet outside needed to be repaired. ... Read More
This was an 18 night cruise from San Francisco through the Panama Canal and ending Ft. Lauderdale. The infinity needs a little work in Concierge class as there was some rust on the balcony and the carpet outside needed to be repaired. The state room was up to standard and while I don't want to be too picky I my experience on other Celebrity ships was of a higher quality in terms of the condition of the ship. I did have some problems with the tv in the room and the remote but once I notified my attendant those problems were resolved in a matter of an hour or two. I think this speak to the high level of quality Celebrity wants to bring to its guests. There was also some wear and tear on several areas of the ships carpet but they were minimal and I am sure that most people did't see it at all. I tend to notice every detail so I wouldn't fault the cruise line for these minor problems. The shore excursions are fairly typical for cruise lines. They tend to be expensive and not as good as what I have been able to secure for myself. The advantage is that if there is a problem or delay you don't have to worry about the ship leaving you at port! Dining was standard, I am a foodie and therefore do not expect to receive 5 star dining when they are trying to feed such large numbers of people. Overall I felt they did a very good job in the restaurants and Ocean View, where I took the majority of my meals. The specialty restaurants (Qsine and SS United States) were good. The SS United States was my favorite and I would recommend it over Qsine any time. Qsine, offers a unique experience and one that you should try once. It just was not my cup of tea, so to speak. Entertainment on the ship was of a high quality and I really enjoyed the shows. The little talks given by the cruise line before we reached ports were less than interesting and I think the gentleman they used to describe Costa Rica and the Panama Canal was sub par. Disembarkation was easy, relatively fast and since I had a transfer from the ship to the air port I was off quickly without any glitches. Overall, I had a very good experience with the cruise line, the staff was friendly, the food was good, the accommodations meet my general expectations and when a problem arose it was resolved quickly without much effort on my part. All things considered I booked my next cruise onboard with Celebrity for the Spring of 2016. I would recommend this cruise line to a friend or family member without reservation. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
DH and I booked this trip over 1 1/2 years earlier and were very much looking to check the Panama Canal off of our bucket list of places to visit. We were not disappointed at all. This truly was a trip of a lifetime. The ship was ... Read More
DH and I booked this trip over 1 1/2 years earlier and were very much looking to check the Panama Canal off of our bucket list of places to visit. We were not disappointed at all. This truly was a trip of a lifetime. The ship was leaving out of San Francisco and we would end in Ft. Lauderdale. This was our longest cruise ever at 17 days, and I was a little worried it would be too long. Not so - the days went by very pleasantly, but as always too quickly. We left New Jersey 2 days early and stayed 2 nights at the Harbor Court Hotel in San Francisco. I had booked this hotel because it "was" a Kimpton Hotel - not so any longer, and although the staff was very nice and helpful, the room we requested with a view was not what we expected. The window with the supposed view was a small little window about 6 feet up the outside wall - never saw any view, much less anything at all except sky. Enough about the hotel. While we were in San Francisco we did a lot of walking and looked at our ship the Infinity which was being used as a floating hotel during the DreamForce Convention. Two days later we were able to board - a little bit of a delay as they were still trying to get the hotel guests off of the ship. Check-in was quick and after the little wait we were on board quickly with a glass of Champagne in hand. Overall the ship looked like it was in good shape - we had no complaints. Our cabin attendants were wonderful, as were the staff in Blu, including the wonderful Sommelier, Aleksandra (sorry if I spelled that wrong). They were all extremely attentive, always smiling (a smile makes such a difference in atmosphere), and always asking what they could do for us. The food overall in Blu was excellent. We did go to Quisine one night - fortunately we had a discount otherwise it really would have felt like money was waster. The food was flat, very little flavor (especially the indian and asian inspired dishes - very little spice). We found for lunch the buffet met our needs as well as most breakfasts. When we had sea days we did opt for breakfast in Blu, which was wonderful and relaxed. The shows we saw were entertaining and we enjoyed them. We did not go to every show as most evenings we were tired. DH was up every morning at around 5:30 am to see the sun rise and of course he seemed to enjoy it better if I was awake with him. We took two shore excursions from the ship - one in Panama (to see the old and new locks - it was a short tour, but provided just the right amount of time at each set of locks - overall was good) and one in Puerto Vallarta (not very good - dropped us off mostly to shop, but the tequila factory was fun). I did attend a couple of the talks presented on the Canal - they were okay, but too long for me (almost fell asleep) and since I had read twice McCullough's book on the canal I was very familiar with the history of the canal. My only disappointment was with the Spa (a pedicure that went wrong, but was quickly corrected by guest relations) and the Gym - where I spent money on a 1 hour personal training session. Having explained that I don't go to a Gym at home, nor do I have Gym equipment at home and was looking for strength training exercises I could do at home - the trainer had me on multiple machines for the whole hour and then handed me printouts of some strength training I could do at home. Never even went over the handout with me. That was a waste of money. Again, we had a great time and the little hiccup with the Spa and Gym was replaced by all of the wonderful staff that we encountered on the ship. We are looking forward to our next cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
I arrived in San Francisco on the Wednesday prior to the cruise, toured the city, rode the street cars, walked the many hills. I had arranged for a tour to pick me up at my hotel (Petite Auberge) on Thursday Morning, visited Muir Woods, ... Read More
I arrived in San Francisco on the Wednesday prior to the cruise, toured the city, rode the street cars, walked the many hills. I had arranged for a tour to pick me up at my hotel (Petite Auberge) on Thursday Morning, visited Muir Woods, Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, Golden Gate Bridge, the landscape and wine fabulous. I took a cab to the ship, next time I will bring a smaller suitcase, embarkation was easy, and my room was ready soon after I had lunch. I took the tour from Monterey to see Pebble Beach & Carmel By the Sea, no regrets! In Guatemala I took the guided tour of Antigua, the guide was great, wished I had bought more tapestries and shawls...beautiful colors. (they get a little pushy trying to sell there wares). The Jade museum was fabulous. In Costa Rica I enjoyed the the trek through the jungle...hot beautiful, not for people with walking issues. The highlight of the journey was going through the canal, such a historical event for me. In Colon I took the tour of the Embera Indian Village, the people were beautiful and welcoming. I wished I had put my rain poncho on heading back from the village in the dugout canoe...hit some rain, and did not want to "rock the boat" trying to put it on. Take cash as the crafts are expensive but so worth buying. In Cartengena I took a boat/walking tour...wished I would have done something else as I wanted to buy an emerald and we had no time to shop. There was not one thing to complain about on the ship, the food,service,staff and most of the passengers were great. I did run in to a few people who had been on many cruises and they were rude, picky maybe they just weren't ready for a well deserved holiday. I found myself tired of eating the big meals in the formal dining room, but it was a great way to meet people. We did go to the buffet on a few nights to break up the 17 days. Most of the entertainment was good, no cheezy acts, and the cruise director Patti Honacki was so much fun. I would recommend this cruise, it is hot and humid that time of the year, bring lots of sunscreen, and light clothes. Disembarked in Fort Lauderdale, without any issues, I had booked the shuttle to the airport through Celebrity so encountered no hassles. This was the 2nd cruise that I have been on and because I was by myself on this one I saw so much more than with a travel companion; as I did whatever I wanted without worrying about anyone else. The sunrises and sunsets were spectacular. I came home rested, rejuvenated and ready for work to plan for my next adventure. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We are a couple in our 50s and this was our 17th cruise (3rd on Celebrity). We love cruising and have learned to always enjoy the great parts of cruising while not letting a couple not-so-great experiences ruin a long awaited outstanding ... Read More
We are a couple in our 50s and this was our 17th cruise (3rd on Celebrity). We love cruising and have learned to always enjoy the great parts of cruising while not letting a couple not-so-great experiences ruin a long awaited outstanding experience. We arrived a couple days early to San Francisco not ever having been there before. Anyone who has a chance to take a cruise out of this incredible city should do so. I understand not many cruises or cruise lines use San Francisco, but it is a great place to visit and sail from. The sailaway under the Golden Gate Bridge is spectacular. We stayed at the Chelsea Motor Inn, which turned out to be an excellent hotel, "moderately" priced, and near enough to Fisherman's Wharf. There was a Dreamforce convention in town with 150,000 attendees, so anyone who didn't book a hotel a year in advance like we did ended up either staying by the airport or paying extremely high prices. Infinity herself was docked for 4 days and used as a floating hotel for the convention. The ship was in good shape other than some worn carpet and a little rust here and there. Hopefully stuff they will take care of at her drydock this month. Activities ranged from trivia competitions to some excellent educational lectures on marine biology and port lectures. There were especially good lectures and films on the Panama Canal. One of my few criticisms of Celebrity is their lack of a movie venue. They did show movies in the Celebrity Theater, but they were always on port days when we were off the ship. I understand that a rooftop terrace with a movie screen will be installed on deck 11 at the drydock, which should greatly increase entertainment options. Shore excursions were a mixed bag for us. Our best excursions were organized through Cruise Critic in Costa Rica and Colombia. A couple of the ship excursions were took (Puerto Vallarta and Colon) were overpriced and disappointing. They didn't take away from the awesomeness of this cruise, however. Cabin was Aqua A1 cabin 1109 on deck 11. Our cabin steward Ambrose and his assistant Hasim were excellent. They kept everything clean and made us feel very welcome. Cabin location was excellent and very quiet. It was convenient to walk downstairs to the Oceanview cafe and just a close elevator ride down to Blu. The balcony has a slight overhang but for the most part is exposed. We chose this portside cabin so that we would be in the shade in the afternoon while traveling south in the hot Mexican/Central American sun. It worked out well so the temperature was pretty much always cool. Coming north from Colombia, where we were in the afternoon sun, the cabin was a little harder to keep cool. I don't know how quiet this area will be once the rooftop terrace is built. Food ranged from excellent to blah. We ate in Blu normally and most of those meals were very good. There were a few exceptions where maybe a baked potato was cold or soup not to our taste. Breakfasts in Blu were always fabulous. I was really pleased with the Oceanview Cafe (buffet). There was always a lot of variety, with something to please most folks for every meal. I have to mention that the pizza was excellent and made up part or all of many lunches. There were different dessert theme days that made lunch desserts interesting, except that most of the desserts were rather bland. The ice cream line was the best. We ate in all three specialty restaurants. On our first night, we ate in Qsine at 1/2 price. It was excellent and very different than what we had done on a ship before. Tableside prepared lobster in the SS United States was excellent as well. It's a shame this elegant restaurant is being replaced with Tuscan Grill during drydock. Bistro on 5 was very good as well. Overall I thought the food choices, preparation, presentation, and taste were all very good. It's tough not to get bored on a 17 day cruise and we did find ourselves gravitating to more simple food at times (burgers from the Mast grill were great on sea days). The only real disappointment was the change in policy on pastries from Cafe Al Bacio. They now require you to buy something from the Cafe to receive a complimentary pastry. Since we had the drink package, this didn't end up costing us anything. Had we not had that, it would have been much more impactful. Entertainment ranged from fabulous to meh. Production shows were a little disappointing. The singers and dancers were very talented but I think the productions themselves were just so-so. On the other hand, the individual entertainers were just great. From a comedian who made me cry I laughed so hard, to multiple singers and instrumentalists that were amazing, well done Celebrity. Cruise director Patty Honacki was a hoot and a very talented singer in her own right. Disembarkation was ok, I guess. We docked in the same terminal that Allure/Oasis use and were the only ship in port. It took about an hour from the time we got off the ship until we were waiting for our ride. Being as this was a long cruise with lots of foreign nationals that went to a lot of ports, getting through Customs took some time since there was not a separate line for non-US citizens. Seeing as how we waited until the latest we could to disembark, we expected a longer wait than if we had been first off the ship. In summary, this was a bucket list item for us that Celebrity made worth the wait. As I think back though the few minor disappointments (a couple shore excursions), they melt away compared to the great time we had pretty much all the time. And finally, what impressed me the most about cruising on this ship was the overall friendliness of the crew. From Lorredana in Blu to the ship's officers to the guy cleaning the stair rails, everyone said hello with a smile and to a person they were as nice as could be. My hats off to them, especially dealing with such a diverse group of cruisers. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Sorry, i did not post this here sooner, i posted it elsewhere and forgot to post it here. We have sailed the Infinity before-LOVED IT! We have sailed the Panama Canal before with Princess- LOVED IT! This time it was more of an ordeal ... Read More
Sorry, i did not post this here sooner, i posted it elsewhere and forgot to post it here. We have sailed the Infinity before-LOVED IT! We have sailed the Panama Canal before with Princess- LOVED IT! This time it was more of an ordeal than a vacation. We knew that off ship it would be very hot- but I recoup once in AC. But not this cruise since our concierge cabin was too hot most of the time. On the coolest day they claimed it was 70 degrees- that was the coolest day and after days of 24 hr curtains closed and bathroom closed! So most of the time it was probably 75+ in our cabin. Little sleep, heat illness- ugh! Others on deck 8 told me the AC was . . ."just barely OK". The dining room was most often sweltering. The food- cheaper ingredients, beef including prime rib too tough to cut. I was amazed to see Celebrity voted on Cruise Critic as the best food fort a mainstream cruise company!!! It used to be our fav for food. but this time totally inconsistent. And why get a concierge cabin? We had a concierge in the past- fresh fruit of choice daily, fresh flowers every few days, dinning room menu served in your cabin for dinner at no extra charge, and priority tender tickets. This time the only perks from the above were the tender tickets which no one bothered to send us- plus apples only daily! Two entertainers were wonderful= a singer from the orig cast of CATS and a puppeteer, BUT the the movies, the minimal tv selections, and a male staffer who's trivia was horrid made for a tedious 17 day cruise. Our kudos are only for some of the excellent staff who tried vainly to improve things.We have thus canceled a Jan Mexico cruise and are thinking of not cruising again. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
My husband had a cruise through the Panama Canal on his bucket list and this cruise on the Celebrity Infinity coincided with his birthday. We had been looking at Royal Caribbean itineraries and was surprised (and disappointed) to find ... Read More
My husband had a cruise through the Panama Canal on his bucket list and this cruise on the Celebrity Infinity coincided with his birthday. We had been looking at Royal Caribbean itineraries and was surprised (and disappointed) to find that RC had ceded the Panama Canal routes to their new sister company Celebrity. I booked the cruise on the Celebrity Infinity without his knowledge and surprised him with it during a family vacation 11 months before departure. The good news - we sailed out of San Francisco during Fleet Week. The bad news - there was a huge convention in town in the days before we sailed and hotel rooms in the city were very expensive. We booked 2 nights at The Donatello through AirBnB, used some United miles to book 2 business class tickets, (over) packed our bags, and off we went. We booked a private pick up from SFO through Super Shuttle (ExecuCar) and were met promptly by a very nice driver in a large clean SUV. Even with traffic (baseball playoff game that night) it didn't take long to get to the hotel. We had dinner reservations at LuLu that night and walked the 1.2 miles each way. Next day we visited Fisherman's Wharf, had lunch with my husband's aunt and cousin at Water Bar on the Embarcadero and actually saw our ship in port. The next day we went to a diner (Jersey style) for breakfast, checked out, hopped in a cab, and went to the port. Our check in time was 11:30am and we got there around 10:15am. A Holland American ship had arrived that morning and the curb area was a zoo (people arguing over our cab before we were even out of it). Porter took our ship tagged bags and we walked back to Fisherman's Wharf. We came back about 11am and check in was open. A few minutes in line to get our SeaPass cards and off through security. The escalators were down so we either had to wait for the elevator or walk up stairs to get to the gangway. We chose the stairs - not great but not too bad. Photo ops abounded. We politely declined and no one pressed us. Once on board we headed for the pool deck to await the start of the airshow featuring the Blue Angels. This happy coincidence was a great way to start. Talk about a bird's eye view! All hallway doors were closed - cabins wouldn't be ready until 1:30pm. This surprised us as the ship was in port a full day and only a few passengers stayed to take the next cruise. Hallways were opened on our deck at about 1:15pm and I took our carry ons in to unpack. This was our first time in a suite. Our experience was so great that we will do our best to never sail without being in a suite again. We had a walk in closet and spacious balcony and enough room in the cabin that we didn't feel cramped. Our bags were very late coming up (first in last out?). Our butler John and cabin steward Pamela had to go down to search for them. After our lifeboat drill (no vests) we were underway. We sailed past Alcatraz and right under the Golden Gate bridge as we headed south towards Mexico. An amazing experience. It's difficult to summarize a 16 night cruise in a few paragraphs. The highlights were the crew especially our butler John, cabin steward Pamela and the entire staff at Luminae restaurant. We LOVED that we had access to this restaurant instead of being tied to the main restaurant and a set dinner time. If this is your first time in a suite note that gentlemen need long pants and collared shirts for dinner. We tried to go to dinner one night with my husband in shorts and he had to go back and get changed. Not a big deal. The food at Luminae is very good and the service is excellent. We found out that you can order from any other restaurant (except the specialty restaurants) such as Blu and Trellis (we called it the Plan B menu). We could order apps from Plan B and entrees from Luminae. We ate ourselves silly the first few days (when you're on a cruise ship for 16 nights you better pace yourself). The barman Siraz walks on quiet cat feet. After the first night we would sit down and within 30 seconds an iced glass with cold Corona and lime would magically appear. If the glass was getting empty another would show up. After the 2nd night the entire staff knew us by name. Afternoon tea was fabulous. There were days we didn't eat lunch because we'd eaten too much at breakfast. John would appear at about 4pm with his cart of coffee, tea, savories (little sandwiches), and sweets (the chocolate cake w/chocolate mousse and ganache and macadamia nut cookies were my favs). If we weren't there he would leave us a plate based on what we ordered the day before. He would bring me 2 containers of skim milk with it..... This would hold us until we went to dinner at 8:00pm. There were several nights that we had to wait to be seated. Never more than 5 minutes. Luminae is for all suite passengers and only seats about 60 at a time. They never rush you no matter how crowded the restaurant. Every night brought new people to meet from around the world. We made so many new friends. There are 1,000 time changes on this cruise (slight exaggeration). The first one being the first night - the clocks go back an hour. It's in the daily journal that gets put on your bed each night but we missed it. When we got up the next morning we missed breakfast at Luminae (closes at 9:00am) so we headed for the buffet. NEVER AGAIN. On RC the lines for fresh made eggs and other custom items are well delineated and spread out. The buffet for other items - breakfast meats, pastries, fruit, yogurt, cereal, etc - have 2 stations in 2 different locations. Plenty of room for everyone to move around and easy to know where the line ends. Not on Celebrity. One big circle in the middle of the room - no way to know where lines start and finish. Confusing and aggravating. Milk is kept in dispensers that are not chilled. A glass of skim milk was beyond warm. Gross. Vowed never to go back in there and we didn't. If we wanted lunch and didn't want to go to Luminae (closed for lunch on in port days) we went to the burger/hot dog grill on the pool deck. Hot dogs were grilled not boiled, burgers were juicy, and their steak fries were really good. No trays to pick up food for more than yourself tho...... We would have rated the Food excellent were it not for our experience with the buffet. I would suggest talking this cruise in April not September or October. The weather from Mexico to Columbia was HOT AND HUMID. Miserably so. We had to use tenders in Cabo - with the rough bay water and the heat and humidity it made for a rough day (loved the snorkel trip though). Must give Celebrity kudos - there were 3 ships anchored out in Cabo - us, the Holland America that we saw in SF, and a Carnival ship. Only Celebrity greeted passengers at the Cabo dock under a canopy with iced towels and flavored ice water as we waited for a tender to go back to the ship. Celebrity worked with local water taxis to get everyone back without a long wait. They had the iced towels and water at every port. We saw that Holland American ship and few times - they never had it. Great perk! We were surprised to find that there was no bin of towels to grab from as you left the ship for your excursion. Some of our excursions said to bring towels. If we hadn't gotten them from the pool before we left we would have been SOL. Overall we think this cruise could have been at least 2 days shorter. We woke up the day after we went through the canal to find that we'd turned around and ended up back at the port we saw before we crossed the jetty into the Atlantic. We crept through the canal as other ships passed us like we were standing still. We saw the Holland American ship come from behind us during one of several two days at sea blocks, pass us and disappear. We were creeping along. We also had 3 medical evacuations including one by helicopter. We also saw 2 people pass out from the heat. This was an older crowd (we felt like the youngsters and we're in our early to mid 60s) and we hope all passengers are well and back home. We didn't take advantage of the nightly entertainment as much as we should. Was going to play BINGO until I heard that cards were $40 each. There were lectures about each port and especially about the canal. If you couldn't attend them live they were rebroadcast on the TV. My husband doesn't gamble. I like to play Blackjack. $10 table was fun and filled with like minded players. Most of the dealers were friendly. If you come across Anton he'll lighten up if you talk to him and ask him questions. Witnessed a slot tournament one night. Lots of high energy. Michael's Lounge was a lifesaver for us the morning we missed breakfast - they found pastries and fruit for us even though it was way past breakfast. The bar is always open and there's a special excursions desk in there. Eric and Jackie were very helpful. We cancelled our initial excursion in Costa Rica (I didn't think I could take the heat) and they tried everything to book us something else. We stimulated the economy with some port shopping instead (they had Cuban cigars here). Regarding excursions...... we love to snorkel and there really was only one chance to do that in Cabo. Went to the beach in Puerto Vallarta (great time - good value). We found our own excursion in Guatemala. We took the Eco Cruise and Gatoum locks tour in Panama and saw one of the new mega bypass locks in action. We weren't in port very long in Cartgena. The boat ride to the beach excursion takes 2 hours of your time round trip. I think were only at the beach 90 minutes before we had to go back. The island was nice, the water beautiful. Not enough time. Had some young boy try to board our boat when we stopped to view and hear about the fortresses on the way out. I don't think he was going to rob us. Probably to beg for money. Our guide yelled at him and you could hear him fall into the water as our boat sped away. Not fun. We were told that we would LOVE Celebrity. We were pretty loyal RC cruisers until this cruise. Now it will be a Sky Suite on a Celebrity cruise or we don't go. Booked 2 more cruises while we were on the ship. Alaska here we come! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
for the Panama Canel, food was below standard the meals in the dining room were good and bad, the meals repeated themselves, we were served pork that was not eatable , I was served fish that was way overcooked, were served rolls that were ... Read More
for the Panama Canel, food was below standard the meals in the dining room were good and bad, the meals repeated themselves, we were served pork that was not eatable , I was served fish that was way overcooked, were served rolls that were very stale, most of the deserts were very good, the cabin and cabin steward was above standard never had to ask for anything including ice! Ship is old and had many signs of rust and peeling paint on it, had a foul smell of sewer in many of the halls, entertainment was great, ports and excursions were good, some of the ports were scarie,did not like being charged $4.95 for room service after 11:30 pm even if it is tea or coffee! service was just good. many things are not as good as royal carribean cruises. i would not recommend this ship. the entertainment was great. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Boarding: San Francisco's cruise port area is quite congested and one needs to allow extra time for arrival. The main boulevard is blocked with traffic on cruise days, and the only public transport from the airport subway ... Read More
Boarding: San Francisco's cruise port area is quite congested and one needs to allow extra time for arrival. The main boulevard is blocked with traffic on cruise days, and the only public transport from the airport subway ("BART") is serviced by historic trolleys that require hauling your luggage up and down steps, AND the trolleys are crammed with riders. The subcontractor that handles check-in and boarding is reasonably friendly, helpful and efficient. Cabin: The cabin (ours with veranda) is compactly designed with lots of space for clothing storage. The room was reasonably clean with the exception of shower grout that needed scrubbing, and a shower that drained very slowly to the point of backing up several inches if standing water. Dining: Three Thai barristas operated the artisan coffee shop on the morning shift and deserved recognition for their exceptional service. They remembered our special coffees every morning without our input. A gelato shop across from the espresso cafe sold a large variety of flavors that were manufactured onboard the ship. A continuing problem expressed by several passengers was the consistency of the gelato in that it contained ice crystals that resulted in a sandy texture, possibly from melting and refreezing. When we mentioned this to staff we were met without concern. When the mango gelato contained two-inch pieces of unpeeled mango, and we returned it to the server, she said that it was normal, even though we suggested she reported the "chunks" to the gelato-makers. She was adamantly uninterested in our feedback. The upper deck buffet was reasonably diverse in offerings, both vegetarian and meat, and included a free ice cream/cookie stand with helpful friendly staff. The buffet supervisors were always at full attention and monitoring the buffet and its staff--very impressive. In the main dining room we bought a seven-bottle wine package for $360 so we could drink our Artesa chardonnay, for which we normally pay $17, so Celebrity takes quite a mark-up at $50, including 18% gratuity. The good news is that our wine stewardess, Ivana, was amazingly helpful, friendly and efficient. Service from our waiter was mixed in that he was friendly, but couldn't remember that we did not eat meat, and twice took us aside to insist that we rate him ten out of ten when we received an email survey from his employer. We felt very uncomfortable with is in-your-face style of arm-twisting to give him the highest rating possible. His weirdness was balanced by Windy, a hard-working assistant waiter who we gave a special recognition to ship's management. By the way, if you prefer vegetarian, the selection is sparse and not so appealing. Entertainment: A museum docent calling himself Doctor Dave, presented college-level lectures on various aspects of the travel itinerary. He prepared and delivered his talks to earn an "A+." A woman taught water color classes every other day, and she was appreciated by all of her students. The minor entertainment throughout the ship was rather amateurish and included a pianist who couldn't carry a tune when he sang, a bored-looking guitarist, and a high-school quality small band. The main theatre nightly entertainment was either great or very disappointing. Four incredible male singers performed Four Seasons songs and other songs with an excellent pianist/singer on another night. Two solo stand-up comedians made us laugh like crazy two other nights. Two duds included an Irish flute player doing songs that were unsuited for his instrument; also a strange guy who played old-fashioned group games with the audience that were better suited to elementary school children and who put a recording instrument on the floor so he could sing duets with his own voice--quite bizarre and boring. The seven-piece pick-up orchestra played moderately well except for the drummer who had no sense of volume modulation, so that all of his playing sounded like garbage cans banging together. Ports: A major service failure occurred at our first port, Cabo San Lucas, when two other cruise ships were already using port tender services and our ship had a long wait to shuttle passengers to shore. Strange announcements stated that our own emergency boats couldn't be used due to mechanical problems. When we finally were able to disembark and step in a Mexican tender, it was already 3PM (!) and the last tender back to the ship was 5:30PM, so we decided not to go ashore due to the extremely short turnaround time. The other ports did not require a tender shuttle, so disembarking and embarking was efficient. In all of the ports English-speaking drivers and guides were waiting to take you anywhere you wished to go. When we finally arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, were delayed by US Customs and Immigration lines that were backed up as usual since they likely suspected terrorists arriving under the guise of cruise passengers. So, all in all, nothing is perfect, and you can enjoy a pleasant getaway if you are patient and amuse yourself throughout the trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We had previously taken the East-to-West cruise through the canal and thought it would be interesting to take the cruise in the opposite direction as the ports of call were different. We have also cruised enough now to make the ship our ... Read More
We had previously taken the East-to-West cruise through the canal and thought it would be interesting to take the cruise in the opposite direction as the ports of call were different. We have also cruised enough now to make the ship our "destination" as much as the direction and ports. Cruising with friends is a fun and relaxing way to spend time together as well as to share and compare experiences. As usual, the Celebrity crew and staff provided excellent service and smooth sailing. A few changes were noteworthy from previous cruises; some not as welcome as others. Our experience in the Trellis Restaurant was a real treat with our waiter, Sunarta, assistant waiter, Pablito and Sommelier, Raja, giving excellent and enthusiastic service. we also visited the specialty restaurants Qsine, Tuscan and Sushi on Five. All three were exceptional in fine dining and service. Pre-dinner wine was enjoyed in the Cellar Masters Bar with the sommelier, Pavlo, giving good advice and information on various wines. In the buffet dining area, Oceanview Cafe, the servings in several areas were offered in round pots for self service. Unfortunately, the food in the pots was frequently cold by the time you placed it on your plate. I was also concerned that, with some pots behind others, you had to reach across the pots in the front. This strikes me as less than optimum sanitary practice in food service. On the other hand, the ship was sparkling clean throughout the public bathrooms and other public gathering areas. You constantly saw staff cleaning handrails, doorways, windows and elevator areas. While my husband and I didn't take many shore excursions on this trip, one we took requires some comment. In Puntarenas, Costa Rica, we signed up for the trip to the Hummingbird Gardens, Butterfly and Frog Park. There seems to have been some disparity in the description of the excursion and the actuality. The trip "deep into the mountains...to the region of Monteverde" took 2 1/2 hours over some paved, some gravel and some dirt roads with multiple pot holes. a somewhat jarring ride. The scenery along the way was beautifully lush and became more so as we entered the "cloud forest". On arriving at the Butterfly and Frog Park, we discovered a steep incline to be traversed to reach the butterfly "garden". The incline was a narrow cement walkway which twisted back and forth without any handrails. The surface was damp and somewhat slick as there was a constant mist. It was also partially covered with moss. On reaching the actual butterfly display, we went through three separate plastic covered enclosures to view the butterflies. The first enclosure held the smaller variety of butterflies, then to the medium size and finishing with the larger butterflies in the third enclosure. There were quite a few less than the "thousands" noted in the description and they were not free to "fill the blue sky". The frog display hardly bears mentioning as the frogs were very small and difficult to see as they were hidden among the foliage. The Hummingbird Cafe was probably the best part of the trip. The birds did flit about freely and, since it was raining, many of them were visiting the feeders along the edge of the porch outside the cafe. There were a variety of species of the birds with beautiful coloring and, as advertised, inquisitive natures. They were obviously unafraid of humans and came close to perching on or near your nose. The only refreshment offered at the cafe was coffee and a pastry. Soft drinks were available at an extra cost ($4 for a coke). The return to the ship was another kidney jolting ride. While this may have been unavoidable, we were not allowed a rest stop even though requesting one 45 min. to an hour prior to arriving back at the ship. Since we passed several large service areas which could have accommodated our group, we never understood the reluctance of the guide and driver to allow a stop. Since my husband had just "recovered" from bladder cancer, this was especially uncomfortable for him. I would only recommend this excursion for you if you wear a pair of shoes with cleats to make it down the mossy cement incline, take your own snack items, and have a large capacity bladder. Oh yeah, and take an umbrella or poncho as it's likely to rain in the "cloud forest". Read Less
Celebrity Infinity Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 3.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.8
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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