There was a lot of negativity about the Infinity in recent Cruise Critic reviews, so much so that we were a bit apprehensive about our trip. We needn’t have worried! The sun shone, the ship was clean, the food was marvellous and the crew were as friendly as ever (this was our third cruise with Celebrity).
Boarding at Harwich was easy. We stayed overnight at the Premier Inn; took the car and our group of 4 plus baggage to the port, offloaded, returned to the Premier Inn (where parking is £4 a day), then walked back to the pier (20 minutes). Check-in and boarding was easy and the whole process took about 40 minutes. After our welcome drink, we went straight to the Oceanview Cafe for lunch.
Baggage arrived in the cabins about 2.30pm. We had a balcony with two comfortable chairs and a small table. There are 4 electric sockets in the cabin by the desk at the outside wall, 2 US 2 pin (flat) 110V and 2 Euro 2 pin More
(round) 230V. There was no socket in the bathroom. As the ship sailed from UK, we requested a kettle which our steward provided, together with cups, tea, sugar and even some milk. We requested different pillows and also asked for the contents of the minibar to be removed – our steward did this immediately.
Previous travellers complained about smells in the bathroom. Ours did have a slight toilet smell but at our request our steward gave it a good clean and changed the (dreaded) shower curtain. There is only room for one at a time in the bathroom, unlike the new Solstice ships, but we weren’t inconvenienced by this. Adequate toiletries were provided, although the hairdyer isn’t as powerful as our own.
We thought that there seemed to be more room in the public areas on the Infinity than on Eclipse. Public areas are continually being vacuumed and polished and all interior glass is kept sparkling.
We had the Classic Drinks package included in our cruise. I phoned Celebrity beforehand to see exactly what was included and received an email with the complete list - 1¼ pages! The full list is available at Customer Relations on board. It’s true that some of the waiters don’t always know what is available, but armed with the information we generally got what we wanted. Different beers are available at different bars - for Marston’s Pedigree go to the Mast bar – Heineken, Corona and even Leffe are in the Oceanview, but I didn’t see any Alaskan Amber, which is on the Classic list. Wines up to $10.50 are just about OK, but you can have as much Prosecco as you like.
We enjoyed the selection of food in the Oceanview at breakfast and lunch. At 5.30pm they provide Sushi – ideal to accompany your pre-dinner drink. There is a Wok station in the evening in Oceanview so you can get freshly-cooked Asian/fusion food.
We had Celebrity Select dining every night and booked our preferred times prior to the cruise. We had the same table most nights and our waiter, Kaviraj, was excellent. The service he provided was exceptional. Some people said that the food was tepid in the restaurants – we never found it so. The food was generally excellent, our only complaint being that the fish was often a little over-cooked, despite our requesting it not to be so.
We were disappointed with the Celebrity Theatre productions on this cruise. We enjoyed the shows on Reflection last year. However, this may be just our taste and we realize that you cannot please everyone all the time. The Musical Overload in the Constellation Lounge on 13 July was fantastic, as the singers were really good and seemed to enjoy doing the show. We liked Justino and David Schofield, but felt Daniel Hochsteiner’s show was very ordinary. Peter Grant was billed as a "rising star" but he had no personality and was incomprehensible to us, talking too quickly and mumbling (and we are English!). The big screen in the theatre for the World Cup matches was much appreciated!
The lecture on Oslo turned out to be a talk about Norway in general which, although informative, was not what we went to hear. We didn’t attend any more lectures.
We did our research and arranged all our own shore activities. There are so many to choose from in Norway – some we booked and paid for online before the cruise to make sure we didn’t miss out on anything. These generally worked out half the price of the Celebrity trips.
At most ports there are ‘Hop on Hop off’ buses so you can plan your day without difficulty. We did a cruise on Lysefjord at Stavanger (a must); bus rides at Olden to see the Briksdal Glacier, Mt Dalsnibba at Geiranger and Stegastein at Flaam. We climbed Fjellskua at Aalesund and took the famous railway at Flaam. At Bergen, a free shuttle bus was provided by the local Tourist Office to the town centre. Bergen is beautiful, quaint old town with lots to see and do.
Shopping on board the ship was a pleasant experience - the prices are free of US Sales Tax so are cheaper than many UK prices. The sales people, many from Eastern Europe, are polite, are not pushy and are generally helpful. There is, however, less choice than in the bigger Celebrity cruise ships.
Despite Infinity being 13 years old, the ship is in good shape. There is a painting crew doing repairs on an ongoing basis. One reviewer remarked on the design of the ship – yes, it is a bit “lumpy” topsides, not like the sleeker, more modern ships in the fleet. I personally liked the glass portholes in the Oceanview Cafe floor where you can see the sea rushing under your feet as you eat! We also liked the view from the big window in the MDR at the rear of the ship.
Disembarkation was painless. Although we were allocated a disembarkation time of 08.00hrs, Customer Services said we could leave when we wished as we only had to collect our car. So we had a leisurely breakfast and our bags were waiting for us in the Customs Hall. With calm seas, fantastic weather and scenery, this cruise exceeded our expections. Can’t wait for the next one.....! Less