I was uncertain that I would like cruising when I began this cruise. My wife and I had always said we would never cruise, but we couldn't find a better way to see and experience the Panama Canal. So we broke down and booked a cruise. My wife also found Cruise Critics while researching our cruise, which turned out to be very fortunate for both of us. Not only did we find knowledgeable experienced cruisers, we also made many good friends and 4 dinner table mates. The cruisers we met also enhanced our experience immeasurably. The embarkation experience in San Diego was a bit unnerving. The lines were long and baggage handling chaotic, but the lines moved quickly and our bags arrived at our stateroom no worse for wear. Once on the Infinity we were greeted with champagne and guided to our stateroom.
Our stateroom was small as expected with a small but adequate veranda. Our room was well designed and very well thought out. We had enough outlets so that the power strip I brought was unnecessary (even though we did use it). Our bed was soft enough for us to get a good nights sleep. The bathroom and shower were compact, again as expected, but very well organized. Our Cabin Attendant, Eugenio, was helpful and efficient. Whenever we showered, as soon as we left for a show or meal, we had fresh towels and our room was made up. We received a activity schedule and two chocolates on our bed every evening. Eugenio also told us of special events and encouraged our attendance. He was a jewel.
We loved the Terrace Restaurant for meals. We enjoy white table clothes and napkins and being served. Meals were all uniformly good with a lot of variety. Our meals compared with restaurant meals at first rate establishments. This was true for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfast hash browns were weak, but the hash was very good. Our regular dinner waiter George was great as was his assistant, Peter. Both were always helpful and observant of our wants and needs. If we asked for anything we got it. The only weakness was the wine list. We didn't find it up to the food. We ended up paying corkage and bringing wine we had intended to use in our stateroom in the dining room. Still the experience was great overall. We tried the main buffet for snacks and a sweet now and then and it was OK. I liked the Miso soup at the Asian station, but thought the selection of foods there was minimal. The pizza station was good as was the sandwich station. Never tried the pasta station so I can't comment. We are bias as we generally do not like buffets of any kind.
The Spa Cafe was good for fruit and lighter foods, but were limited so we only ate there when we wanted a very light meal. Cova Cafe was good for an occasional Latte which I had infrequently. The only disappointment to me was the pool cafe which served hamburgers and hot dogs and snack/fast food type meals. The hamburgers were kept in a steam table and not cooked to order and uniformly well done which I didn't like. My biggest complaint here was that they didn't have corn chips, but rather floor tortilla chips which was horrible with jalapenos peppers or cheese sauce. I must be in the minority on this menu as there were often lines at meal times and seating was usually taken. My only overall complaint about the food was that the regular coffee was weak everywhere. I have to be careful in this complaint as others commented it was too strong. I like strong coffee. I had a coke card for the cruise, I hated to pay $74 for that card, but I usually had diet coke in place of coffee or substituted tea. Breakfast was hard without good coffee, but the food was great. I loved the regular pool and spa pool. I used them both. The only problem poolside was that many cruisers left their towels on the deck chairs. I could not tell if they were occupied or if other people had just left their towels rather than putting them in the containers for used towels. There we always lots of towels available for guest use and no heavy handed checking out of towels I have read about on there cruise lines. The shows onboard were uniformly good and the host Alan with his groaning jokes was great. We enjoyed them all, the dancing, music, magicians and the comics. We didn't miss a show. Finally, the naturalist onboard, Milos, was wonderful. He gave regular seminars on sea life, the ship, creation of the continents, etc. Milos was also available every afternoon in the Constellation Lounge to point out whales, porpoises and other sea life as we passed them by. Milos was a real asset to our cruise.
Our port stops were too short for my personal liking. When I went ashore without being in a ship sponsored tour I was always fearful of not getting back to the ship before it sailed. Overall, however, it worked well and we tailored our activities to the time available. We also found that many cruisers don't go ashore or go ashore only very briefly so this too is a matter of personal preference. Finally, a word about CruiseCritic.com. I would suggest anyone who cruises join it. You get a lot of information and there are usually "boards" for any scheduled cruise on any cruise line. We made friends before our cruise, got helpful information, got information on the ship and generally formed a bond with other cruisers before ever seeing our ship. We had a pre cruise dinner with the cruisers we met on line and had parties on the ship for our members put on by the cruise line. Cruise Critic members love cruising and are very positive and helpful to other cruisers.
Overall, my experience was wonderful and exceeded all my expectations. My wife and I will cruise again soon and now really look forward to it. I find after being off the Infinity over a week I am still in cruise withdrawal. Happy Cruising to all. Remember a day cruising on any ship is always better than a day not cruising (I got this from another cruiser and member of Cruise Critic).