Background - We are a couple in our late 20's from the UK. This was my 15th cruise and my 4th on Celebrity. For this cruise we booked a concierge class cabin due to it being cheaper than a standard balcony.
We sailed from Harwich in the UK and as we only live 2 hours away we drove down the afternoon before and stayed in the Premier Inn. The hotel was great and is only a 2 minute drive from the port gates. Also nearby are a couple of supermarkets for getting last minute supplies E.g Wine.
Embarkation - On the day of embarkation the weather was awful, it rained heavily all day. We left the hotel at 11.15 to drive the well signposted route to the port car park. Having found the car park we then had to queue for approximately 40 minutes before we dropped our luggage off and parked the car. I heard quite a few complaints about this on the ship and believe that later in the day the queue was even worse. Yes it was an inconvenience but did it ruin our experience? NO!
Once we parked the car we were lucky and hopped straight on a shuttle bus for the 5 minute drive to the terminal.Once at the terminal we checked in straight away and were on board with a glass of sparkling wine within 20 minutes. Once on board we headed to the Ocean View Cafe, as always it was busy but because the weather was so bad outside it was VERY busy! Cabins were ready about 1pm which was great.
We were meant to depart at 5pm but due to Heathrow airport being closed we didn't depart until 8.30pm as the ship was missing so many passengers! This wasn't an issue for us however after about 6.30pm they didn't bother making any announcements to inform us of the even later departure which I heard a few people complain about later that evening.
The Ship Overall - We found we didn't enjoy the Infinity as much as the S class ships! A few points we found negative - the layout of the Ocena View Cafe wasn't as good we felt the individual stations work better, the ship had some rust issues it looked very worn considering it had only been recently refurbished. We also didn't like that you had to walk through the casino to get from end of the ship to the other unless you went up/down a level.
We loved the addition of the Martini Bar & Qsine and found that all the other lounges were lovely and the pool deck never seemed overcrowded.
The Cabin - We had a C2 concierge class cabin on Deck 8. The cabin was great and looked in great condition apart from some rust on the balcony. We had plenty of room for the 2 of us and enjoyed many lazy evenings on the balcony watching us sail through the fjords with a glass of wine :-). Great location between the forward & mid ship lifts. I must admit that the extras in Concierge Class are not worth much in my eyes. The canapes weren't to our taste however we did have a cheese plate a couple of nights which was nice. The Sparkling wine was drinkable however we were disappointed that the fruit supplied was just 3 apples, however we just took some from the buffet when required.
The Staff - We found the majority of the staff to be lovely and couldn't do enough for you. Our Stateroom Attendant was one of the best I have ever had and couldn't do enough for us during our time on board. The staff in Qsine also deserve a special mention as they made the experience even better. The one staff member we were disappointed in was the sommelier in the main restaurant. On the 1st night we tried on numerous occasions to order wine and he ignored us! We eventually ordered while eating our soup and it then didn't come until we had nearly finished our main courses. He didn't apologise and seemed uninterested in us and the service he offered.
Dining - Food overall was great. There is always something to suit everyone whether it be in the MDR or the buffer. We had select dining however only ate in the MDR on 2 occasions. We didn't wait longer than 20 minutes to get a table which was great however we felt that the tables especially those for 2 were a little close together. Qsine was fantastic and we went twice on this trip trying different dishes each time.
Ports of Call - I have previously sailed to Norway about 14 years ago and have always wanted to go back, this trip certainly didn't disappoint. We don't do excursions as a rule so the below is just our experience of each port.
Oslo - The weather was lovely and a very warm 21c. We spent time walking round the port area and then wandered into town and along the main street. We were there on a Sunday so all shops were closed which seemed to bother a number of guests. Having walked around the main area and enjoying the sunny gardens we headed towards the castle / fortress. We walked all around the castle grounds which you can do for free and is directly opposite where the Infinity docks. Great sail away as you sail down Oslo Fjord for about 2 - 3 hours.
Kristiansand - The weather couldn't have been more different here - 12c, rainy and very foggy. When we got off the ship you couldn't see the town at all and we followed the steady stream of people braving the weather. There is an area near the port which is built to look like a traditional Norwegian village which had restaurants etc in but unfortunately even that didn't look inviting in the dull fog. We walked to the harbour and to the small fortress but couldn't see anything so decided to head into the centre as the rain was getting worse. The centre had a great area with lots of shops and you could easily spend time there. We headed back to the ship on the way passing the people on the small 'noddy train' who looked as unhappy as we did :-) Overall a great place spoilt by fog!
Stavanger - Weather was up to 24c here! What a difference 12 hours makes. We docked right in the centre with Cunards Queen Elizabeth next to us. Because of the 2 large ships that were in that day, the area around the dock was very busy so we headed further out first and then did the centre of town later when it was quieter. The old area of town is lovely with all the traditional white houses and there are churches, a nice lake and lot of cafes & shops to look around within a 20 minute of the ship. Lots of people took boat trips along the fjord but the departures times didn't work for us.
Alesund - Again another sunny day! Great small town to wander around with lots of photo ops. Again there was a hoho bus and a 'noddy train' but we just strolled around. Fab sail out as in the fjords towards Geiranger.
Geiranger - We loved Geiranger. On this day it was about 15c but not raining. This was the only tender port on the trip and after getting our tender ticket we only waited max 10 minutes before being taken down to the tender. Geiranger is very much a small tourist village with the port area being a collection of shops & cafes. We intended to do a boat trip down the fjord however the 11am departure was cancelled so instead we walked to the fjord centre and the waterfall in town. Sail away is breathtaking, a tip would be to go to the aft on deck 11 as it only had a handful of people up there.
Flam - Again about 15c but dry, we loved Flam. We wanted to do the railway however knew that it was unlikely that there would be space. Having walked the 5 minutes from the ship to the station it was obvious that this was the case due to the number of angry people outside the station who now had nothing to do and decided to get straight back on the ship. We collected a walking map from the tourist information and set off towards one of the nearby waterfalls. overall we walked around the area for about 2 hours and saw some lovely scenery. Sail away was again great.
Bergen - Rain & Fog caught up with us again and we woke to a very grey Bergen. We intended to catch the funicular but it was very obvious that we wouldn't see anything from the top so decided to walk around the town. The weather did clear up later in the day however fog still covered the top of the funicular.
Overall - Overall we loved Norway and plan to go back again but possibly on a road trip. I would 100% sail on Celebrity again but perhaps on the S class ship instead.