Panama Canal & More: Celebrity Infinity Cruise Review by groundhoga
Overall Member Rating
Panama Canal & More
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
We arrived in Fort Lauderdale just after 12:00 pm, and used a local shuttle to get to the port, arriving at the port about 1:15 pm. Porters took our bags quickly and we were able to begin processing immediately. There were the usual lines, but no undue waits; shortly we were given seats to await boarding. We were able to board at approximately 3:00 pm; once on-board we were told we could access our staterooms. More The stateroom was clean, and in good condition; not perfect, but more than just satisfactory.
I cannot praise our stateroom stewards enough. The room was attended to religiously. Sometimes, their efforts seemed to be magical; you'd leave the, return within 15 or 20 minutes and they had already tidied up, made the bed, cleaned the bathroom, and moved on.
The ship itself was in nice condition. There were some issues noted, but the crew were doing maintenance on a daily basis. Some of the minor issues I noted early during our cruise were corrected by the time we disembarked. I did not note any evidence of gross negligence on the ship. Please note, if you decide on a room on deck 2, starboard. The hallway on this side of the ship is very uneven. From high spot to low spot there must be around 10 inches total height difference. There are a couple low spots up to 3 to 4 inches, and a few rolling high spots almost high enough for steps. These are not marked, although we noted one low spot had a stain which appeared to be a coffee stain shortly after the beginning of our trip.
We ate most evening meals in the Trellis dining room. I found my meals to be very good and tasty. Some might have had larger portions of the side dishes, but were adequate. There seems to be some issue with "presentation"; apparently now it is "in" to present all the food on the plate piled into one large pile in the center of the plate. Most meals came this way. We normally do not eat breakfast or lunch in the dining room; the only exception on this trip was the brunch served on our second Saturday.
The Oceanview buffet is on deck 10. I found breakfast selections very good. They usually had two American breakfast lines and two English breakfast lines. In addition, they made omelets to-order, and had a separate line for pancakes, waffles, and blintz's. There were numerous drink stations around the buffet area, with regular & decaffeinated; and also punches, orange juice, and water.
Lunch selections were varied daily. The food tasted good, but was mostly a little bland. The evening selections I found downright repetitious. Even more so than the lunch selections, the evening selections were very bland. Stick with the Trellis for dinner, even if you eat off the Americanized side of the menu daily. The only good things about the Oceanview for dinner was the pasta bar; pizza bar; and fresh, made-to-order bar in the back.
One issue concerning the Oceanview buffet. Celebrity insisted on serving all entree`s. This, along with insufficiently assigned servers created slow line movement. I don't remember having this on any other cruise line.
As with all cruise lines, the Infinity had a daily activities sheet. We found this to be quite full, and varied. We found plenty to keep us busy on our days-at-sea. The Cruise Directors staff were very good. They were articulate and personable; we quickly became comfortable with all of them.
The service on-board was very good, except in the Oceanview buffet. We were told that there were a lot of "new" crew members brought on-board for our cruise. Apparently they were new hires, and all sent to the Oceanview. It was utter chaos at meal time. Otherwise, service staff was attentive and efficient.
Celebrity relies on both cruise line staff entertainers and contracted entertainers. They provide a nice mix of venue this way and keep the entertainment from becoming repetitious. We were not completely satisfied one evening with the entertainment, but that was due more to our taste than to the performance.
There was one port not listed on the excursion poll; Puerto Quetzal. At this port, we elected to tour the drive-through zoo. Although we were supposed to have SUV type vehicles, we were picked up by a full-sized bus. The tour guide identified that the vehicles and guides slated for the tour were delayed due to weather induced landslides on their route to the area and other arrangements were made. These were functional, but not truly satisfactory for the tour. Celebrity made a refund for the shortfall, but I would wager only to those who complained about the issue.
Disembarkment went well. Lately we have elected to walk off ourselves. Although Celebrity does not officially offer this feature, I am aware of a few people who did such. Since there was no passenger self-laundry facilities, we each had two suitcases, as well as a carry-on; and therefore let Celebrity get our bags to the port building. They have a good, orderly process for getting people off the ship, it worked well. I believe we were off the ship, picked up our bags, went through customs, and into a taxi in little over an hour. Even with apparent heavy San Diego traffic, we were at the airport nearly three hours early for our flight. Less
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