Celebrity Infinity Cruise Review by DaveT65: Cruise GREAT; shipboard experience just OK
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Cruise GREAT; shipboard experience just OK
The "cruise" was just great. Itinerary, pacing, ports - and weather [WOW!]. Fellow cruisers were a delight, including those we met via the CC Roll Call. But the "onboard experience" on Infinity was just OK. Spouse and I had sailed on Galaxy years ago and wanted to try Celebrity again. We agree that Celebrity just isn't us. And that Celebrity isn't what it thinks it is - at least as we see it. We don't see it as an upscale step from Royal Caribbean, its corporate partner. That doesn't mean that we didn't enjoy the whole experience - only that if we were to do it again, we would look for the exact same itinerary, but on a different ship and different line. Read on to understand why.
Embarkation was absolutely easy & no problems. We are Celebrity Select based on our Royal Caribbean cruises. Walked up to agent, she was a delight, 15 minutes later we were in the cabin, then off to the buffet. Luggage arrived mid-afternoon. Getting to Harwich More from Heathrow was a drag.
Disembarkation was likewise painless. We had a cab reserved to 8:30, so asked for 8:00, which we got. We went to the Main Dining Room for breakfast, staying there until 7:55, went to the theater and our number was called as we walked in. Exit was painless and our cab arrived just as we sat down in the waiting area. We flew out of Stansted Airport [to Dublin], and the
Balcony 2A #7118. Great location. A bit small compared to my recollection of RCI and Princess, but maybe just different. Comfortable bedding. Nice balcony. Quiet [though I realize thanks to the neighbors are in order]. Decent bathroom size and nice shower. But cabin and bathroom storage was not convenient. No desk drawer. Two small corner shelves in bathroom, all other bathroom storage under counter. Room Steward, and his assistant, were great and personable, and received a well-deserved added gratuity from us.
Fine. We didn't like the mid-ship elevators being on one side only; seems like they were always "hiding". Customer Service area convenient with good, polite personnel. Overall ship layout was OK. Lounges were fine, though we didn't use them too much, except Constellation, which was the best ship lounge we have used; location, comfort, setup - all great. The theater, likewise, was the best we have experienced - comfortable seating, wide walk areas, good drink tables, good sight lines, always could get a seat.
Infinity is showing its age and is ripe for an update. But of more concern is what I would describe as poor maintenance. Several door handles were broken. The sliding door to our balcony was "out-of-square" and would not latch closed, so a temporary latch was installed to keep it closed/locked. We were adjacent to a window in Trellis Restaurant [as requested], but the window was dirty, was never cleaned, and had paint smears from a sloppy paint job next to the window pane dividers. Things like that showed a lack of proper attention to routine, but necessary, maintenance and upkeep.
Qsine was obviously added to Infinity, and looked to be just dropped into place on Deck 11 in the mid-ship elevator lobby, blocking all but one of the doors leading to the outside, leaving only one small door, that was not at all obvious and looked like a crew door, to get outside.
Most of the doors leading to the exterior on Decks 10 and 11 were not automatic and were hard to open, particularly in the wind.
Just OK. We had the fixed Early Seating for dinner, and went there every night. We did not do any specialty restaurants. Food was OK, but at times perhaps too "exotic" for our tastes. I hardly ever order from the standard offerings, but did twice. The prime rib that I had was one of the best ever. But there were NO regional offerings - on a cruise exclusively to Norway! I asked about that and essentially was told they offer a standard menu; that they might offer something at the Oceanview buffet; I didn't see it. Service was good, but not exceptional. Waiter never addressed us by name, and was typically unable to really describe a menu offering. Assistant appeared to be new, but really tried and was fine.
Oceanview Cafe Buffet was a frustration. The fare was typical and fine; lots of choices. But, as mentioned by "devoncruiselady" in a review here, it is a long U-shaped affair, and things were moved around. In order to see what was offered on a given day, you had to walk all the way around, including the 3 stations at the rear. One always offered pizza, another sandwiches +, and the third usually a British selection [Fish and Chips] but that was sushi one day having been moved from the Asian station. In short, it was an "effort" to assess the buffet offerings and it shouldn't be. We could always find a seat near the rear, and the outdoor deck was a delight, but was usually full, weather permitting. I FAR PREFER grazing stations as I have experienced on other ships.
The constant pushing of the specialty restaurants was an annoyance. Even when they were offered at half-price, we didn't accept. We would rather spend the extra money on an evening out after the cruise. But this illustrates what is one of our underlying dissatisfactions regarding Infinity/Celebrity: it seemed to us that Celebrity catered to those who purchased the extra cost stuff at the expense - and annoyance - of those who did not. A favorite saying of mine captures it: the em-pha'-sis is on the wrong syl-la'-ble !
Poor to our taste. We are not fans of the production shows, and go to perhaps ½ of them. The ones we saw were not bad, but not great either. The other entertainment was mediocre to poor. There were no headliners. A comedy/magician had good illusions, but was annoying. Several other performers were British, and perhaps enjoyed by them, but not by us; we just skipped several shows. There was not even a comedian. How about local, Norwegian entertainment? There was none, just like no regional food dishes.
SPA & FITNESS
We did not use the Spa. I used the fitness gym. It was typically almost empty. The equipment was not bad, but like I mentioned for the ship in general, was in need of routine maintenance.
The Ports were just what we hoped for, with adequate time at most of them. Great mix of large, medium and small. And with the long daylight, cruising in and out of the ports along the fjords, while sitting on our balcony, was just incredible. The Seawalk at Geiranger, to eliminate tendering, was neat.
We did a mix of walk around town, Hop On Hop Off Bus, and ship excursions. Since what you like is so individual, I won't go into detail except to say we enjoyed most of them. The Hop On Hop Off in Oslo was overcrowded and not pleasant, and the headphones didn't work most of the time. The Flam Railway was very good, and a fellow CC passenger had pre-arranged a group of 20, which reserved a section of a train coach and saved us almost 50% over the ship tour.
Infinity rode beautifully, though max seas of 5 ft or so were not a challenge. We very seldom felt motion, so the ride was great. Captain had the ship do a 360 at Seven Sisters Falls, so did the right stuff and kept things on schedule.
I'll restate that we really loved the cruise, but because of the itinerary, weather, good health, etc. Infinity/Celebrity is just not something we would choose again. Too many things weren't "effortless" as we think they should be. Celebrity should spend the time/money it spends on pitching specialty restaurants on maintenance instead. Our reaction as a whole matches "devoncruiselady", though our ratings are generally a notch higher. Less
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Cabin review: 7118
Great location. A bit small compared to my recollection of RCI and Princess, but maybe just different. Comfortable bedding. Nice balcony. Quiet [though I realize thanks to the neighbors are in order]. Decent bathroom size and nice shower. But cabin and bathroom storage was not convenient. No desk drawer. Two small corner shelves in bathroom, all other bathroom storage under counter.