Two nights before the cruise, my husband and I stayed in Fort Lauderdale at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66, a really nice hotel, with a gorgeous view from the balcony overlooking the pier and our future cruise ship, which made for fun anticipation.
Embarkation: so easy and so effortless, we thought we must be one of the only cruisers! No lines, no delays and no hassles whatsoever, we boarded and went immediately to our suite.
The Royal Suite: worth every penny. We've had the suite on previous cruises and the redecorating was very good as everything was clean and almost new. This suite has a small dining room area open to the living room area and has a separate bedroom along with (my favorite!) a walk-in closet and a spacious bathroom with a spa tub and separate shower. One of the best features is a large veranda with a table and chairs for dining and two lounge chairs next to an outdoor spa tub that sadly, did not get used.
A big surprise was on the first night, we received an invitation to dine at one of the specialty restaurants on board, Qsine. Probably one of the most unique restaurants, you order from an iPad and each course is presented in a clever and sometimes amusing manner with small portions of food from many different countries. The service was impeccable.
Also on the first formal night, we got to sit at the captain's table in the dining room. Meeting the captain was nice as well as the other guests.
Which leads me to review the food on the Infinity: By far, the BEST buffet ever, for breakfast, lunch and dinner! The freshest, ripest, most delicious fruit I have ever had in my life. If you think that's an exaggeration, all I can say is that I saw them load crates of pineapples, melons and bananas from some of the ports we stopped at in South and Central America where they grow these fruits! Absolutely unbelievable as I ate more fruit than I had a right to:>))
But not only the fruit, but since we are vegetarian, there were countless dishes we could have. Often, we will go on a cruise or to a restaurant, and for meat-eaters, there's a wide variety of choices, but for us, maybe some pasta. But on this ship, at the buffet, there was so much food for us, and really, really good food, that we definitely gained weight!
Some stand-outs: The pasta bar at the buffet where you can choose whatever ingredients you want and they saute your pasta while you wait. Surprisingly, really excellent sushi (vegetarian sushi) that the chef prepared for us anytime we wanted. Delicious Indian food with just the right amount of spices. There's more, like vegeburgers and wonderful chocolate chip cookies. The only dud was mostly the desserts which even though they looked really good, were just average. But that didn't stop us from coming to the buffet as much as possible!
The dining room: A big disappointment. The food was so mediocre and the service so average, that we only dined there twice on the entire cruise. Even though all the other restaurants and food more than made up for this lack of quality cuisine, the disappointment was in not meeting people, sharing experiences or enjoying the ambiance of the dining room which we've always done on previous cruises. One note, however, was the maitre d was very helpful when we wanted to change our dining time.
The service: One of the BEST crews we have ever had on any ship. From the butler to just about ever single server, there were greetings, smiles and attentiveness.
Our Stateroom butler, Jose, was SO terrific, we could give him twelve stars! He was always available, always friendly and so interesting to talk with. We wished we could take him home:>))
Our stateroom attendant, Nemia Deleon, was wonderful. Ricardo Gomez, a concierge, was so kind and so thoughtful. even sending a bottle of wine to our stateroom. Billy, in the restaurant Blu, was SO darling! Our group only wanted to sit at one of his tables every time we ate there. Also, the people at the concierge desk were so kind to help me use the ship's phone to call Verizon about our cellphones. I could go on and on if I knew every one's names like they knew ours!
The spa: Some really good, some not so good. I had a hot stone massage that was really good, but a manicure and pedicure that was not so good. Not bad, just not good. And way overpriced, but one expects that on a cruise ship.
The gym was well-stocked with treadmills and machines and a small exercise class area where I took one class. That was okay.
Excursions: We decided to take excursions through Celebrity because of the sensitive (a euphemism for drug terrorists carrying you off into the jungle. What? You haven't seen Locked-Up Abroad?:>)))areas we were visiting. Our Cartagena city tour was okay, the bus ride was not so great and the sites were okay an our tour guide was average, but at least we can say we've been to Columbia. The highlight was passing by the hotel where the secret service scandal occurred!
Costa Rica: We went ziplining and it was wonderful! This was also an excursion from Celebrity and we really lucked out because our tour guide, Abel Vargas, was absolutely terrific! In fact, we made a point of going to his boss who was there at the ziplining site to tell her how much we liked him. (firstname.lastname@example.org) He was so clever and so knowledgeable and really made the history and flora and fauna of Costa Rica come alive for us.
Panama Canal was very interesting, not a place I'd want to come back to (once you've seen it kind of thing), but I did see some crocodiles basking on the bank!
A highlight for us was Cabo San Lucas. There is a restaurant called The Office, that you HAVE to visit when you're there! You just take one of the countless water taxis across the bay and step off into the water of a beautiful sparkling beach. You walk up the sand to the bright blue umbrella-covered restaurant and sit at a table right there on the beach with your bare feet in the sand. It is glorious. Also, some of the best Mexican food you will ever have. Absolutely NO problem with the water or food here---it is fresh and clean. I think I must have consumed like twelve avocados in the guacamole!
Back on board, we really loved the Infinity. We donated plenty to the casino, and really didn't like the video poker machines. We never heard or saw anyone win and we certainly didn't! Not that we would expect to win all the time, mind you, but at least be able to sit at a machine for a length of time.
The Captain's Club lounge was a disappointment because on other ships, it's a separate room with a personal concierge. On this ship, it was in two different areas and we only used it a couple of times.
Waving happily to R & D who we met on board and who we absolutely adore!
The shopping area was fun for me---jewelery was a highlight to look at and consider buying until you realized that you already donated plenty to the casino:>)) But the sales people were really nice and helpful, so I didn't mind any sales pitch at all. I participated in a little jewelry fashion show that was fun.
One sorry note: I lost a sapphire bracelet on board as it just slipped off my wrist without my knowing. We went to the lost and found several times a day, but all they did was rummage through a little cardboard box filled with lost sunglasses. This was really not so good and when we asked a few times if maybe they could make an announcement, they coldly declined. I know it was my fault for losing the bracelet, but I could have used a little more sympathy and help.
Anyway, this was a really terrific cruise, and if you've actually read this entire review, I highly recommend Celebrity cruises and the Infinity.