We had reservations about going on Celebrity Cruise Lines because of a bad experience on the Millennium, when the crew stole all our cash and jewelry out of our room safe. And if that wasn't bad enough, we were called liars when we reported it. but we decided that enough time had passed and we should try them again. We were glad we did because this cruise on the Infinity was a real pleasure and we had no problems whatsoever.
THE SHIP - Celebrity Infinity was far above our expectations; very well maintained, very clean and very well run and managed ship. The ship was laid out very well, very easy to get around and after the second day you didn't need a floor plan. It had a crew that made you feel genuinely welcomed every day. They were exceptionally courteous, helpful and they always projected a feeling of thoroughly enjoying what they were doing on the Infinity.
ROOM&STEWARD - We had an inside room on Deck 7 More
(7054) just forward of the front elevators. The room was much larger than other reviews had led us to believe. The bed was very comfortable, a lot of closet and drawer space and a bathroom that was well designed with a lot of storage space and a shower that was larger than other ships we have been on. We regret that we have misplaced our steward's name. He was fantastic! Our room was always neat and clean with the greatest towel animals we've ever seen. He added his own personal touches which had us laughing over them every day. "A word of warning".. The safe in this room doesn't always lock unless you push in on the door real hard while locking it. I reported it, but it never got fixed.
ENTERTAINMENT - We found the entertainment on the ship to be really great. We went to all of the productions in the Celebrity Theatre and found them to be top notch. The groups that performed in the various lounges were excellent and it was nice to dance to music that we grew up with.
DINING - First of all, while the selection of food was excellent, the quality was mediocre when compared to other cruise lines we have been on. The main dining room was absolutely magnificent and featured traditional seating which is what we prefer. We had a very good waiter and assistant waiter but because of the amount of tables they had to take care of service was quite slow. The menu had many selections but as usual were written so no one without a culinary degree would know what was being served. The servings were plentiful but the quality was less than desirable.
BUFFET - The buffet had many choices and it takes a few days for you to discover where everything is. They have many different areas such as a pizza, pasta area, soup and sandwich area, grill area, oriental food area plus the regular buffet lines. If you couldn't find what you wanted to eat, you probably didn't walk far enough. Starting at 5 PM they had a huge sushi bar; bigger than we have ever seen on any other ship. The staff in the buffet area were exceptionally helpful and courteous. There was always someone wanting to carry your tray to your table and while at your table you were bombarded with coffee or tea refills, assorted juices and assorted pastries. One very neat thing that we found and took advantage of was what the Infinity called "Casual Dining" and is only featured at the evening meal. This is offered on the buffet deck in the aft quarter of the dining area. It is set up to look like the downstairs dining room complete with table cloths, linen napkins, waiters and menus. Reservations are a must, as they have a limited number of tables. The dress is smart casual. We liked it because it was far quieter than the main dining room and the service was just as good, but faster as there were fewer tables. We ate there three nights out of seven and would highly recommend you trying it. If you are interested, you can look at the menu for that area at the purser's desk and also make your reservation there also.
THE ALASKAN EXPERIENCE - We have been dreaming of an Alaskan cruise for the past five years but were really disappointed with the weather. Unfortunately we had cold and rainy weather every day and when we had visibility all we saw were pine tree covered islands and snow capped mountains. We were glad we went but would not do the cruise again solely because of the weather being so unpredictable. We were also going to take the five day train tour but decided to fly to San Francisco after our cruise and are very glad we did as we had a wonderful time with very nice weather.
ALASKAN PORTS -
Ketchikan - We elected to take the walking tour. Maps are available from the chamber of commerce building right at the pier. There is lots of helpful information there and people who are eager to answer any questions you have. The walking tour covered all of the highlights of Ketchikan and was about one and a half miles. The usual souvenir shops are all over town but the small privately owned shops are giving way to the big retailers. Unfortunately as the morning wore on the harder it rained so we were anxious to return to the ship and change into dry clothes instead of shopping.
Juneau - We rented a car from Rent-A-Wreck which we found on the internet. I called them personally to make a reservation and was pleasantly surprised from our initial contact with them. They were very helpful and friendly and truly happy we had chosen them. One of the main reasons we did was they were the only rental car agency in Juneau to pick us up directly at the pier and then drop us off at the end of the day. That in itself was a great saving. We paid $57.50 for the day which we thought was a great deal. Once we were picked up we were driven back to their office to do paperwork and pick up our car. We were given a great map with attractions highlighted that were must sees as far as they were concerned. We went to the Mendenhall Glacier, the Mendenhall State Park and then drove up the coastal highway to a shrine located in a great little park with amazing flora and fauna that is so unexpected in a place like Alaska. On our way to the shrine we almost hit a black bear walking across the road. When we got back to the ship and told people they said we saw a bear just driving around while people who were on excursions to see bears didn't see any at all. We decided to eat lunch down the street from the Rent-A-Wreck office at a place called the Sand Bar Restaurant. Please don't let the exterior scare you away. It is a bar and restaurant-nothing fancy at all inside, or out but the greatest fresh, fried halibut we have ever tasted. The owner was very friendly and cordial and made us feel very welcome. After lunch we went to the Alaskan Brewery. If you like really good beer you won't want to miss this. You can take a tour and also sample the varieties of beer they make. They also have a nice gift shop. All in all it was a great day, probably the best of the cruise.
Icy Strait Point - You have to tender in and once you get on land there is not much to see. You can walk around a little and there are some shops to go in but not much else to do. We went back to the ship in about an hour or so.
A note about scenery watching if you are inside the ship. We found the best place was the Constellation Lounge, located above the Bridge and if you can get a seat up front you will not be disappointed. The only thing that would be better is if you have great weather and can see everything out on deck.
Just a note for women about clothing - everything you have read about layering clothing is true especially if you have the weather we did. I was so glad I brought long sleeved tops, sweaters and my windbreaker to layer with. I also either wore jeans or wind pants. Unfortunately I never wore capris or shorts as the weather wasn't warm enough. Also a must is either a windbreaker with a hood or an umbrella if you have rainy weather.
DISEMBARKATION - Very, very smooth and we got our luggage right away. Right outside the building were plenty of taxis to take us to the airport. The taxi cost about $30 for the trip to the airport. Less