Celebrity Infinity Cruise Review by BENBOOKS: Is there such a thing as infectious malaise?
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Is there such a thing as infectious malaise?
Celebrity Infinity April 29 - May 12, 2014 TRANSATLANTIC: MIAMI to HARWICH
Is there such a thing as infectious malaise? The INFINITY had just suffered an outbreak (3% to 5%) on its last cruise. It was super- cleaned and departure was delayed. There were at least two inspections in the early days of this cruise. Before the completion of the inspections all food and drink had to be served by gloved staff. To do this must have required extended and double shifts of a staff that typically works 15 hours a day. Perhaps, this explains the poor service we experienced.
The ship is not kept as nice as it should be. I have been on many older ships; all of which were maintained better. The public bathrooms were clean and the attendants were very nice. Celebrity used to be known for its customer service and its food. Our cruise lacked both.
We have sailed on Celebrity five times before the Infinity:
1. CENTURY, More 2005, Amsterdam to St. Petersburg.
2. GALAXY, 2006, Panama Cana.
3. SUMMIT, 2009, San Juan, Southern Caribbean.
4. MERCURY, 2009, Los Angeles, Alaska.
5. SOLSTICE, 2011, Barcelona – Athens.
We arrived at the Cruise Terminal after an early flight from Houston. We were not given anything. We were offered a tour of Miami on an open air bus. We declined. A cup of coffee would have been welcomed. I got a wheel chair but no one to push me. The Celebrity attendant just left me. My husband was ahead of me and I was left to wheel myself across multiple lanes of traffic and I feared to be left behind. This was unacceptable.
Because of the virus on the ship we were not allowed to board the ship for hours. By then I was tired and my arthritis was flaring up. This bad start continued throughout the cruise. We took this cruise to rest. With no place to rest we just roamed around the ship. We had very little for lunch on the first day. All the areas were overcrowded. We knew dinner would be served soon. The shops were closed as well as the casino because we were still at dock. For your convenience we had a fire drill right shortly after we boarded. At this point what I need was a tall cool drink and my feet propped up. Neither one I got. We attended the fire drill at your convenience not the passengers some of which were still not able to get into their room After a day of travel and just waiting you k now that passenger need to freshen up.
We fortunately have a bag we can easily identify. We found one far down the hall from our cabin.
Of the 1,085 cabins aboard Infinity, roughly 80 percent are oceanviews, while 57 percent of all cabins have balconies. The ship also offers a range of suites, from sprawling penthouses (1,400-plus square feet) to more petite but elegant Sky Suites, as well as 26 accommodations that are fully ADA compliant and wheelchair accessible.
Infinity's standard cabins, from the least expensive insides to balcony cabins, are well configured and nicely decorated with soft hues, elegant furnishings, rounded-end beds and comfortable seating options. Standard inside and outside cabins come in at 170 square feet. Balconies add 38 square feet of outdoor space.
All standard cabins come equipped with minibar fridges (for-fee), safes, telephones and interactive televisions with excellent programming (including CNN, ESPN, several movie channels, several in-house channels and TNT). THE TV PROGRAMS WERE AS BAD AS I HAVE EVER SEEN ON A CRUSE SHIP. The "interactive" part includes ordering room service, checking your daily bill balance and playing video slots and blackjack (for those who are bored and need to spend money gambling on a television).
Our stateroom was not completely ready but we understood about the cleanup. We overlooked many things. It took days before things were in place. An example of this were many (5) ice buckets stored in our stateroom. The small sofa and bed pillows were uncovered. I never did see a bed spread. Our steward put wet sheets on our bed. We called him and he did not say much. I wonder if he would have gotten in trouble if he sent them back. I next called the guest relations desk because 15 or twenty minutes went by and he did not come to the room. The guest relations person sent a supervisor. He came shortly after I called. He brought LEZLY our attendant and it was uncomfortable for Dr. Sodek, my husband, and I to talk to him. The supervisor changed our attendant and sent us a bottle of wine. We had another occasion where I called Lezly about a hair dryer which did not work. I am familiar with this type of dryer and knew how to work it. Lezly was annoyed I called and said he was at lunch or break. I had just washed my hair but I told him it was fine to wait until his break was over. I did not get the dryer until I returned from dinner. I stayed in my stateroom until my hair dried. Lezly had a poor attitude and perhaps was very tired. I asked room service for half and half and got an artificial creamer instead. Lezly offered to get me some cream. He dropped one of the creamers on the floor and he Looked at it and then turned and left the stateroom. I, of course, picked it up and placed it on the desk. We got something in a pitcher because he said there were no more small single containers of half and half. Of course later we got them.
A rose given to us by the Captain’s Club remained many days on the desk dead until I finally threw it away.
Our stateroom bathroom had a swishy, soft spot as one stepped out of the shower onto the mat. All I could think about was mold underneath where the water collected.
Frederick and Kem, our replacement room stewards, were very nice.
Our wait staff, Michael and Juan Carlos, was very, very good. Juan Carlos will make a good waiter and has a very pleasant personality.
An attitude problem surfaced in the dining room (lunch) when I asked for yellow mustard. I was told they only had only Grey Poupon. There was certainly yellow mustard at the buffet. I know you have yellow mustard and I was having a Hamburger which to me calls for yellow mustard.
When we booked our cruise we asked for early dinner and a table for six to eight guests. The first night we had dinner alone at a table for two. We asked for a change and were told we could request it after dinner. We found no one to help us that night. The next day following instructions on where to go to make a change we found the information to be incorrect and had to search for the place to change. We were not able to be seated at early dinner. We accepted this, but we were put at a table where one other couple was seated. It happened that only one other couple showed up for dinner twice and the other 2 seats remained vacant. We like to meet and talk with other passengers.
Fortunately we did enjoy the other couple. They left the cruise early and we had our last dinner by ourselves.
Meeting and dinning with other passengers are to us a large part of a cruise. We have been to 75 plus countries and like learning about different cultures. Management should do something to prevent passengers being unable to get a table the size they request. I understand the servers need to get their tips but I need to experience other people and cultures. As I stated this is important to me. When guests do not come to dinner a few nights in a row could you arrange to combine some tables?
The striking Trellis Restaurant, Celebrity Infinity's main dining room, offers formal breakfast, lunch (select days only) and dinner. It also offers brunch on one of the sea days. The highlight of the two-tiered restaurant is a huge, paned showcase window that extends from floor to ceiling. Tables are set for combinations of TWO, six, eight and 10. There are two options for dinner in the Trellis Restaurant. Passengers can go with traditional, set seating (at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.) or opt for the more flexible Celebrity Select dining option. With Celebrity Select, passengers have the option to dine any time between 5:45 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and to decide whether they want to eat with their own party or at a mixed table with other cruisers. They can also make specific dinner reservations for each day of their cruise online in advance, make reservations onboard or simply show up when ready to eat. The effects of adding cabins and carving Blu out of the Trellis Restaurant during Infinity's revitalization are most felt in the ship's Celebrity Select dining experience. It's the one place where Infinity gets too crowded, especially when the ship is near full capacity and on nights (like formal night OR LOBSTER NIGHT) when more people, AquaClass passengers included, choose to eat there. Nearly everyone shows up during the peak dining hours of 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.; passengers with reservations will likely wait 10 or 15 minutes to get through the line, while passengers without reservations can wait a half hour or more for a table. Celebrity is working on getting buzzers for waiting passengers, but with limited dining space, there's just no way to add more tables to the already squashed second floor of Trellis to accommodate flexible diners. Cuisine at The Trellis is generally well received; the menu features a mix of traditional and imaginative fare with vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, no-sugar-added and SPE (healthy yet tasty, as validated by SPE Certified consultants) items noted on the menu. Anytime menu items include escargot and shrimp cocktail starters, French onion soup and Caesar salad, broiled salmon and New York sirloin entrees, sides of roast potatoes and steamed vegetables, and chocolate cake, apple pie and cheesecake for dessert. Our only service complaints were that they could bring bread more quickly to the table (given that many diners had just waited for a table and were hungry) and that the waiters could respect our choice not to eat dessert, and not try to wheedle us into trying the cherries jubilee.
The Oceanview Cafe is the ship's buffet restaurant, located aft on the pool deck. Coffee, tea and juices are available 24/7, and food is served from 6:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. The buffet is set up in one long U, but three stations (pasta, pizza, and ?) are hidden way at the back, separate from the main buffet and easy to miss, which is unfortunate; these sections have different offerings from the regular buffet.
Room service is available 24/7. Breakfast door cards allow you to check off both cold (cereal, fruit) and hot (eggs) choices and choose a window for delivery times. Throughout the day, passengers can order from a menu of soups, salads, burgers and sandwiches, pizza and dessert, with additional hot items like vegetable lasagna, New York strip steak and avocado-tomato quesadillas. One can order via the phone or the interactive TV. Tipping for room service is customary and greatly appreciated.
A new feature (since 2011) on the breakfast room service menu are prices for some items.
The all day menu features chicken at $20 and filet mignon at $20.
Our wine steward was very aggressive serving wine. She really sneaked up on me and after a couple of times I stopped her and said no at this time to more wine - I would tell her when. This did not stop her from freely pouring my wine. I am sure she sells a lot of wine but she is annoying. All the wines was sold at approximately 500 %(!!!) of the cost.
Slots were not familiar. I did not like them.
My 46th Cruise
We have been on 46 cruises. We have been on Six Celebrity Cruises. This cruise was the worst Celebrity cruise we experienced. There are many small old ships we have been on that were better maintained and where the crew were happy to serve you. I can forgive the tiredness of the crew for the first few days after the cleaning and 2 inspections, but the attitudes did not change. I saw passengers become rude and irritable because so much was wrong. I know you cut down on the activities crew and how much Rachel and her one colleague had to work including carrying heavy objects to set up for the artist and they had to clean up and place chairs in their proper place after some of their events. How many areas did you cut back on personnel? The standards we experienced in the past are gone and you were no better and in some instances; more like Carnival. These transatlantic cruises are a bargain but I did not expect a cruise with lower standards.
First, we found the cruise director and staff to be outstanding. The only problem is that Rich’s two assistants, Rachel and Shawna, were the only two assistants. Most cruise ships as large as the Infinity have at least five on the cruise director’s staff. This appears to be another Celebrity effort to reduce costs.
The entertainment was reduced to single person performers. I always enjoyed the musical productions. We expected to see some musicals preformed. The one musical night was wonderful and we were grateful for it. Entertainment in the theatre was also disappointing. There were one or two nights that it was good, but overall, it was less than enthralling..
Celebrity Life is Celebrity's enrichment and activities program for day and evening fun onboard. Activities mostly follow cruise ship standards (art auctions, bad hair day seminars, cooking demos, wine tastings, bingo and ballroom dance lessons). Some of the more unique (and entertaining) options are interactive events with officers and passengers, including Ping-Pong or water volleyball tournaments, silly game shows and an uproarious Dancing with the Officers "dance" (or is that physical comedy?) contest.
Celebrity's nightly theatrical performances, ranging from Broadway compilations (one on this 13 day trip) to piano concertos, take place in the lovely three-deck Celebrity Theater and are generally well regarded. Shows include typical Vegas-style lounge acts.
Various presenters of interest lectures were not interesting, an awful level to be provided on a cruise with few landings and on a smaller ship with little else to do.
The Captain’s Club reception, for all past passengers, was the best we have attended in our 46 cruises. The food and drink was presented on a menu for each table. Sufficient wait staff served very nicely. The uppermost Captain spent many minutes talking to his guests.
I requested help with a wheel chair. I called first and was told to call back 15 minutes before I was ready to leave my stateroom the next day. I did as instructed and was told that was wrong and I needed to go to the excursions area and wait my turn. My husband and did this and if it had not been for the lady officer who did try to control the way passengers were chosen to leave we would have missed help again just like the arrival was for me. Fortunately that Officer got someone to push me and my husband.
What was shocking and alarming was that there was no customs procedures or any passport control. Crew members could have walked off the ship and simply disappeared in the UK.
Cruising for us is wonderful. I am reluctant to book another cruise because I cannot have a cruise make me more stressed and tired than before I started. I am very sorry I took this cruise. I will have to think hard to try another Celebrity Cruise. In summation, a cruise is a wonderful experience and even a less than wonderful one is a unique experience. Would I recommend Celebrity? "NO" Would I consider another one with Celebrity? Probably not. Less
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