For starters I have cruised 5 times before the Infinity, but not for 12 years and my wife had only been on one 3 day Mexico cruise, we are in our early 50s. This review is going to be long so feel free to jump to the good parts first. We booked our cruise based on the time, cost, literary and the cruise line.
Since I had cruised on Celebrity before I knew I could count on the food being above average and it was, it ranged from Very Good (the lobster believe it or not) to some misses more due to blandness or the food just being cold, as opposed to poor quality ingredients. Desserts were usually pretty good and the ice cream was as good as I had remembered it. Room service brought fresh coffee and croissants to our room every morning the coffee overall was very strong and tasted as though the pots were not cleaned every day. Bistro on 5 was the exception and the coffee there was great the waitress said people always commented on the coffee even though it was the same as used everywhere else on the ship. You cannot order coffee and croissants before 6:30 but can order coffee and pie anytime!
When I looked at the itinerary I was a bit concerned as I had been to Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay, but not down Tracy Arm Fjord to Sawyer Glacier. Reading the Celebrity web site for the cruise it does not actually say Sawyer Glacier, we did not get far enough down the Fjord to even see the Glacier which was a major disappointment, later in the year it could very well be better, but they did not explain the reason we did not go further down the Fjord. the Fjord itself is pretty interesting but if you live near or have driven thru mountains like I have in Colorado or Utah, the sheer size and majesty is kind of lost, the same applies to White Pass, I don't want to minimize these 2 sites but just be aware that they will have a different meaning depending on what you have seen before.
When we booked the trip we chose Concierge class which while nice is probably worth 100.00 more PP not anything more. We were able to avoid one line when boarding but the total time saved was less than 15 minutes if I had to estimate, we arrived about noon between 1 and 2 or so there was no line at all to board the ship , our cabin was one on the hump so we had an oversized triangular balcony which was really nice and we had no wind at all, there was quite a bit of rust on the metal at the corner of the balcony which was a major disappointment since the ship was recently redone you would have thought that simply painting the metal would have been done every week but certainly while the ship was being updated?
Speaking of updating a major complaint of ours was the fact that the ships clocks are all broken, we spoke to the crew and they said they had been broken since the ship was put back into service and they were waiting for parts!!!!!!!!
Our room was nice I a standard balcony stateroom the countertop for the desk had not been cleaned well for some time and had glass rings in it, we took a damp towel and were able to get it clean, otherwise it was fine, the bed was firm we asked for some softer pillows and they were delivered promptly never saw a menu, I recall on other ships being escorted to our rooms and being shown how things work. It took a bit of trial and error to get the shower hot.
There are no power outlets in the bathroom so you need to use the supplied hair dryer which is OK for short hair but you will want to bring your own if you have ling hair. There are only 2 outlets I brought along a power strip that we used all the time so we could plug in the phones hair dryer, curling iron and other stuff. I have a dock for my phone so it doubles as an alarm clock and radio all in one. I used the extension cord and charger cable to be able to put the phone on the night table. I found the TV to be a little small for how far away the bed was maybe it is just me.
Room service which I used every day was always quick and on time, we did order breakfast in the room to include eggs and as expected it did not arrive warm at all so if you are going to order breakfast in your room order things that are OK at room temperature. There is a pretty extensive anytime menu so you don't have to order eggs for breakfast. After 6:30 you can get fresh croissants before that the Apple pie was very good as was the cheesecake. The TV menu does not include the expanded menu for Concierge Class so you need to use the door tags from the large provided notebook.
The ship itself is laid out very well and the elevators are not huge but other than prime time we really did not have to wait at all for one. The theatre is nice but really too small for everyone who wants to go to the late show, so plan on getting there early. The Oceanview buffet was an enigma it ranged from good to bad, one day the omelets were good the next two different stations provided burned omelets. Most of the buffet food was not hot, but the cooked to order food was usually pretty good. The buffet layout is really odd there are 7 sections plus the front you really need to take time every meal to walk all the way around to see what is available on the buffet as well as items that are cooked to order, cooked to order was usually pretty good. I found the pizza to be usually cold and soggy; maybe if I could have had it fresh out of the oven it would have been better. The salad bar was pretty basic but usually fresh, my biggest complaint was the sneeze shield it was so low I had to stoop and stretch in order to reach items in the back.
The coffee overall was very strong with the exception of the Bistro on 5 coffee it was very good. Bistro on 5 was another disappointment, we decided to give it a try and there was one other couple eating when we arrived we ordered some soup and salad and of course crepes we got our soup and salad both of which were good very quickly but this is where things fell apart, we waited over 30 minutes for our crepes, my wife could see the crepe station and there was no one there doing anything, we finally called the manager over and while he apologized he did not offer any explanation for the delay after another 10 minutes we finally got our Crepes, they were like rubber I have never had crepes that were tough like these the filling inside were all good but it seemed like the crepes were made yesterday and then microwaved.
We were on the Select Dining and usually ate early between 6 and 6:30 we never had to wait for a table, I did have reservations for 6:30 every night but when we showed up early it was not a problem, eating later probably became more of an issue as the dining room filled up. There were 3 of us and usually we were seated with another couple or by ourselves which was fine. The service was Ok but nothing great since we never had the same waiter, they did not get to know our likes and dislikes. The last time I had sailed on Celebrity the waiter learned after the first night that I liked the fresh ice cream so he would bring me a dish with a small scoop of all the special flavors.
The new everyday and special menu works really well the first night I had the mushroom caps which were pretty good but maybe a bit too much butter, another night the French Onion Soup which suffered from not being hot, this was an issue which plagued our dining service every meal, I am not sure if the precook a bunch of meals and wait for the waiters to take them vs. cooking more to order or what but I actually would prefer a system where I picked my meal ahead of time then when I sat down at my assigned time the food would be waiting for me that way they would know how many of what to fire up.
I don't recall on past cruises the food being as cold as it was on this cruise, but mind you my last cruise was 12 years ago.
The ports were pretty much a disappointment at Skagway and Ketchikan both seem to be all jewelry stores and not much else. I would be remiss to not mention ORCA Enterprises http://www.orcaenterprises.com/ for tours in Juneau they do a really good job and have been around for a long time, also http://www.discoverskagway.com/ was great for the bus tour in Skagway basically you follow a route similar to the train for 1/3rd the price plus you get to stop to take pictures.
Getting off the ship is simple no matter what group you get just go down to customer service and tell them you want to get off early to sight see Seattle (which you should do). Once you get your bags just walk out the terminal and then make a left then another left and go into the building where for 3 bucks a bag they will hold your luggage so that you can walk around.
Here is the biggest and best bit of information I can provide for you, your phone should work fine in all the ports, check with your carrier to make sure, however it will not work in Victoria, and if you use it aboard the ship it will cost you an arm and a leg. While sailing into Victoria Washington state is on the right side of the ship and you should be able to make phone calls and use the internet on a smart phone. I was able to check into our flights on Southwest right on time and got an A boarding group. Here is the secret part when you go to the Empress hotel you can take the bus for 8.00 or just have a nice walk from the port, go into the lobby then upstairs you will see 2 computers one on the right and left the right hand one has 2 printers next to it, you can use the computer for free to print your boarding pass, for your flight the next day.
My wife's biggest complaint about the ship was the fact that there was no deck outside where you could walk around the ship.