Hello everyone, we just returned from the Infinity on a 4 night cruise from San Diego to Catalina then Ensenada with one sea day. Following is a summary of the cruise and my opinions.
We arrived in San Diego at a park and ride facility which was $8.00 per day and we were promptly whisked by shuttle to the pier. We were let off at the pier. A tip for everyone is to have your tips handy to avoid rifling through pockets for everything.
The check in process was about 20 minutes or so, there was no labeled line for concierge but definitely one for suites and elite members. We bypassed the embarkation photo and went inside, which in itself was very exciting. A porter? was assigned to us, to lead us to our rooms, I had to slow him down for a second so I could grab a glass of champagne, and then he stopped because he was confused as to the location of our room. We started moving again then he seemed to be a bit lost again so I then informed him as to which way to go and also asked if he could help with one of my carry-ons.
The concierge class aft balcony was just what I expected. The room was nicely appointed and the balcony was incredible. I am not a rich man, so please do not take this as stuffiness or arrogance, but the champagne in the room is, in my opinion, not something I would ever buy or have an urge to drink. It does look nice in the picture though, so I guess that is a plus. I really think celebrity should go with something a little more palatable, it is what we are paying for. Speaking of liquor, in my checked bags I packed four bottles, two bottles of wine, a small bottle of dessert wine and one bottle of rum. All were in their original packing wrapped in bubble wrap then placed in bags to prevent spillage. I brought my own liquor for two reasons, I like to have drinks in my room, I even take liquor to Vegas where, for the most part, the drinks are free, and I like to think that I will save a little bit of money on my bar tab, although upon looking at my final bill, I am not sure that was the case. I also had one carry on whose main contents were a 12 pack of soda and a 12 pack of water. All of these items were still in my check on bags when they arrived at the room. My wife was a little stressed about it but I said no worries either way, its not like they are going to kick us off of the ship if they don't want the liquor on board.
The wife and I made our way up to the buffet to have some lunch, we were a little disappointed in the service set up. They have servers doling out the food, which is more time consuming than self service in a buffet setup, also they are a bit timid when it comes to answering questions about the food, which is something that I am sure will always be a problem as they are probably the lower ranks of the food serving staff. Also we were not aware at first that you could serve yourself at the drink stations, so feel free. I did not know whether to tip or not at the buffet, so when we were not offered a second drink after slurping on our straws I decided to bypass it.
The first night we were a bit tired so we decided to have our dinner on our balcony, which was a bit of a tight fit because of table top space but it was still delicious. Just do not expect hot food, this is not a dig at the staff, it is just impossible to have all of your food remain hot especially when it is served all at once and outside. I also met our room steward and gave him a modest pre tip, on top of the pre-tips that I had paid prior to cruising. I just asked for him to keep the ice coming. Looking back I expected a bit more service than received and would have still done the pre tip, but would have added to that as we went along. However, when we had to call for ice or water they were for the most part prompt. I also asked for specific pillows and received them and asked for a plate of cheese and crackers instead of the canapEs and received those as well every day.
That night we did a bit of exploring, but retired to the room as we were tired from the long day.
The next morning I woke up later than I would have liked so I missed the approach to Catalina but was still quite impressed with the nice little view of it. We had breakfast on our balcony, although mine was sans the eggs benedict that I had written in, so no eggs with breakfast. I did not attempt it again. If you like catsup with your morning potatoes, write it down or they may not bring it. As a matter of fact, be specific as to condiments, nothing worse than a dry burger.
After our leisurely breakfast and then getting ready we made our way down to the priority disembarkation meeting place for concierge class, but it turns out that tickets were no longer needed for the tenders so we went down and were whisked away. Note to people who get seasick, if you are easily susceptible to it, you may want to be the last on a tender as the rocking back and forth while waiting for others to board was getting to some of the other passengers, but I enjoyed it. Returning via tender from Catalina was great because we were able to take some great pictures of the ship from the water. Do not be afraid to ask the boat captain to go around the front of it, I wish I would have, I am sure the pictures from there were great as I saw one tender do it.
We had lunch in the main dining room, I was not overly impressed with the lunch selection. Also, there are not really any options for other items if the menu does not have something you like at lunch, at least that is what I gathered from my waiter. I had an oriental noodle dish, and I had to ask for soy sauce and hot chili sauce and chopsticks. Never did get the chopsticks, and almost didn't get the hot chili sauce. But the bread bowl is always delicious! For lunch I would stick to the alternatives because I think you will have more selection and the quality will be the same.
We had my wife's dress ironed and my tuxedo shirt pressed for $10.50 and they were in our room when we returned. No problems with that service, if you are thinking of bringing an iron, I recommend a powerful steam iron, with the space available steaming on a hangar is probably the best option. And the 10-foot extension cord we packed came in handy as well for laptop and battery and phone chargers, etcetera.
Formal night was great, I ordered two appetizers, I would say about 30% of the men were in tuxes, which is what I expected for a 4 night cruise. I don't care if people conform or not, as long as it is respectable I am good. What bugs the holy bejeezuss out of me is when people are loud and rude about their feelings on formal night attire whether good or bad. I have a temper so you don't want to know what I think as to how people like this should be treated. After dinner we enjoyed the casino for a bit and we took some pictures of ourselves on the balcony. The casino was fun as a lot of people were still dressed to impress, but even those who weren't looked like they were enjoying themselves so that's what really counts.
The next morning was Ensenada, once again we woke up too late for the approach shots but still got some great pictures of the harbor. We had breakfast on the balcony every morning, which was always great.
Disembarkation here was smooth, and so was embarkation. We did not purchase any liquor so no hassle at customs check in, I did have a Cuban cigar in my bag that accidentally ended up home, but I was sure to burn it so it did not fall into the wrong hands.
The next day was an at sea day so I am going to end this with a summary of items not covered above.
We had the alternative dining one night, which did require a reservation, apparently it requires a reservation for the wait staff as well and they forgot to make one. Not that they do a poor job, but there are a lot few of them so they are hard pressed to keep up if more than a couple of tables are seated. The buffet food was adequate, nothing to write home about. The pizza was above average as it is normally fresh and the dough is good. Unfortunately did not try the pasta bar or the waffle bar. The sushi bar was outstanding, as were the sandwiches. I would have loved to try the pool grill. We did not do the specialty dining, and definitely do not feel as if we missed anything. For the most part the food was average with a handful of great items. My wife was not overly impressed with the desserts though. The room service selection was excellent, considering it was available 24/7. I was not shy about ordering and did so frequently, I just made sure to tip. Just be specific as to any condiments required, as you may not receive even the standard stuff otherwise. The ordering system on the tv is great as long as you don't need condiments.
The midnight buffet was exceptional to look at. Oh, you can gamble in your room through your tv, great way to burn a little time if you like, and you can also look at your up to the minute charges on the tv as well, great feature. The drink prices are nothing to jump up and down about, and I can see a bar tab getting way out of control for a big group of partiers, so always ask what the daily specials are.
I wondered about the pre tipping as we did not eat in the main room every night or even for breakfast or lunch but once. Does this get divided amongst the staff or did my one night server get tipped all of it? On second thought, I would not do the pre-tip, but would prefer to tip as I go at dining settings and at the end of cruise for room stewards. There were a couple of things that happened that if they would have been prevented, would have made celebrity look much better, but I guess with staff turnover it will be a never ending battle for them.
I liked the crowd that was on the ship, seemed like an overall conservative bunch but of a varied age range. Of course you have to keep in mind that this was only a 4-night cruise. I definitely feel as if I got my moneys worth, I had a great time, came away refreshed, I was not treated like a celebrity per se, but I did feel as if I were treated like a valued customer which is definitely worth every penny. Below is a link to our cruise pictures, if you have any questions feel free to ask.