Celebrity Infinity Cruise Review by thecatJessica: Nice, but not wonderful
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Nice, but not wonderful
I took the Infinity cruise from San Diego thru the Canal to Ft Lauderdale in November, 2008. This was apparently a repositioning cruise, since the ship entered drydock after we arrived.
I like the Infinity, esp. the captain and wonderful crew, and have sailed on it before. Unfortunately, (and hopefully corrected in drydock), the ship itself was a little tired. Rusty deck chairs, tiles fallen from the bars and hot tubs, and just a general "tired" feeling to a great ship. The a/c was erratic. My cabin was always too hot until the middle of the night, and nothing could be done about it apparently.
We departed San Diego at about 5 pm; the cruise was entirely sold out. Strangely there were no children at all on this cruise and if there were teens I didn't see them. Maybe it was the time of year. The ship was filled with predominantly elderly (or very elderly). This is not a problem obviously, but still, sets the tone for the cruise.
We were blessed with More wonderful, if hot, weather for the entire journey. There was no rain except for one show at dusk one night. The pools were in constant use, as was the ice cream shop.
The food was good, if not wonderful. I always found something good to eat. The buffet was repetitive; a little more variety apart from the always present pasta choice for dinner would be nice. The service was a little slow in my opinion, not the wait staff's fault, the holdup was in the kitchen so far as I could tell. I had one of the best tenderloin (beef) I have ever had. I don't eat Lobster, but the lobster night was a bit of a fiasco. Somehow, the estimated number of lobster eaters was misjudged, and consequently we waited 1 and 1/2 + hours for our entree. This was also Baked Alaska night, so the waitstaff was really stressed out. We were literally eating our entree when the Baked Alaska parade came out.
We had early seating and more than once, due to slow arrival of entrees in our section, were some of the last to leave and in fact were encouraged strongly to leave since they had to reset the tables for the second seating. Not good.
The waitstaff, however, was wonderful. One of our fellows became quite ill and they went out of their way to see that she received food every night. Above and beyond the call.
My cabin was fine for one, but would have been a bit crowded for two. The housekeeping staff was fine, did a great job. The room was in need of an update re linens, etc. The bathrobes were very thin and worn. The sink never gave out anything but very warm water (no cold) and I got tired of brushing my teeth in hot water. Also, a drink of water in the morning wasn't good.
I didn't attend any of the shows so can't comment directly. Others in my area liked them.
The party band, Centerfold, was great. Also the guy who played guitar and sang on the back deck on 10 was very very good.
As to ports of call: Cabo is OK if you like touristy spots. Pretty beach but too many hustlers make enjoying it difficult. Tendering in Cabo isn't my favorite thing, but opinions vary.
Huatulco was wonderful; a small little town with great charm. My favorite on the trip.
Acapulco is bad. I didn't hear anyone say anything positive about it; this port could and should be skipped IMHO. Dumpy and inconvenient to the ship.
Costa Rica was awesome. The Costa Ricans are very proud of their country. The jungles/rain forest is amazing.
The Canal: the reason for the trip and simply amazing. How anyone could be bored with it I can't imagine. The best vantage spots are on the very top of the ship above deck 10 or in the Constellation lounge, but it is necessary to get up at 5 am to secure a spot. Worth it, but be sure to take something to drink with you.
Cartegena was extremely surprising both in size and modernity. It was hot as the devil though, so take plenty of water with you. The tour I was on didn't offer any until the end of the trip, which was way to late.
Took a driving (bus) tour of Huatulco that was very nice. Very clean bus, knowledgeable guide and beautiful scenery. There are great plans for the future here and the guide was very proud of the future and of the strides made in the last few years.
Costa Ricatook the Boat Bus Train excursion. It was the rainy season so everyone got soaked to the skin. It would be worth having a cheap poncho with you if you go in the rainy season; it wouldn't be perfect but better than nothing. Great tour though: the narrow gauge train was esp. cool and took you thru very rugged areas. The poverty of the people along the track was sad, and I wondered how they could smile and wave at a train load of people who had spent so much money on a tripmoney that they would never have the equal of I think. The guide was splendid; excellent English, very proud of her country and extremely knowledgeable. The only thing I didn't like really was the lengthy bus ride to the start of the tour but what can you do?
Cartegena: Took the "Best of Cartegena" and can't recommend it at all. Drove to the castle, was herded out of the bus and told to take a picture and then we went on. I haven't a clue what the castle/fort was about.
Then we went to Old Town, which is really really beautiful and I would like to have spent a lot more time there exploring shops, etc. Instead, we were taken the local equivalent of a strip mall (shops labeled #1, #2, etc. all the same so far as I could tell) and told to go to shop #10 to buy. Obviously the guide was getting a percent.
Then we went to see the Inquisition Castle. This was, to me, both boring and nearly offensive. The guide took us thru the museum to look at models of how Cartegena developed over time. OK but time consuming and INSIDE on a beautiful day.
The worst part to me was then we were taken to the torture chambers (actually, I refused to enter them, the idea is sickening). Several others did the same. A great deal of time (at least a half hour) was spent with the guide describing in detail the mechanisms of torture. I don't need to hear that stuff (and could, even though I sat outside in the plaza). There was so much beautiful stuff to see in the city, why in the world would anyone spend time showing off a torture chamber? Disgusting.
Finally, we were taken to buy emeralds at a specific store in a long line of emerald stores. Again, the guide or tour company clearly gets a percent. The clerks were on us like flies on honey. The whole thing was really irritating and I don't think they made too many sales.
In short this trip was a waste of time and money, and in spots was down-right offensive.
On the day before disembarkation, I didn't receive my packet of luggage tags, gratuity envelopes, or custom's form. The luggage tags were eventually brought, but in the end I had to go to guest relations to get a custom's form. Small problem but irritating.
So, to sum up, the cruise was very enjoyable and I thought worth the money. But I hope that Celebrity fluffs up the Infinity, which is my favorite ship. Her crew can't be beat for friendly, caring, efficient, etc. but the tiredness of the ship was a little sad. Less
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