Oct 10 2010 - First on Celebrity - Panama Canal: Celebrity Infinity Cruise Review by kahtrav
Overall Member Rating
Oct 10 2010 - First on Celebrity - Panama Canal
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
We enjoyed the buffet for breakfast and lunch and mid-afternoon snack - especially the carving station and the More pasta bar - generally the food was good on the ship - not spectacular, but generally good and cooked as requested. Since my husband has to be on a low carb diet, he's always hoping for a few more sugar free items. There was always one no added sugar item, but it generally included white flour dough, so really not low carb at all - he'd get several and eat the filling. He'd have two meat courses, but rarely could eat the other items (lots of potatoes,rice and carrots). Our waiter, Jorge, was great - he explained that he needed to bring the plates as presented from the kitchen, but would then piecemeal a plate as needed.
One thing we really had an issue with was coffee - first, we've been used to free cappuccino with breakfast and dinner on other cruise lines - only to have an unexpected $9.00 charge when they brought it at our first dinner and requested our card. The coffee in the buffet was actually pretty good, but except in the morning it was almost impossible to find HOT coffee. We really enjoy a cup of coffee and a little snack in the afternoon, but it got old having to search all the coffee stations to find one that might be hot enough to drink.
Of course, we all went on the cruise for the Canal. We've been through other large canal locks, but the history of Panama is compelling - I'm passing on my "Path Between the Seas" to a couple from church who are going next spring. The video of the canal was quite good - the lecture was a bit repetitive - should have been offered at a different time. I enjoyed being out on the bow, but was a bit disappointed to find out later that the speakers really were not in all areas of the ship, so we missed some of the narrative. Since we'd done some prior research, I don't think we missed too much.
We snorkeled near the ship at Huatulco (not an option on port reviews) - not great - really enjoyed the sail into the bay. We did a bit of shopping for the grandkids in the little market in town.
The ports were all good. We mostly did our own thing rather than tours - it fits our independent travel style. I was again, as on other ships, very disappointed with the shore information we were give by the ship. I know there's a focus on shopping at "approved" stores and shore excursions, but there were a number of people who enjoy exploring on their own. I actually think that more independent travelers are finding that cruises can be a viable travel option, without giving up their independent explorations - we've even taken our folding bikes. What information we were given (by the "port and shopping" guide) was generally inaccurate, with no decent maps - even when told where to go get maps, no such place existed. I would much more enjoy cruising if we got good information from the ship on the history, points of interest (not just shops) and maps so we can enjoy the ports on our own.
Overall we enjoyed our first Celebrity cruise. I don't think we were "wowed" by Celebrity, but it was certainly on par with the better cruises we've been on. There were some aspects we definitely enjoyed - the lecture speakers, the entertainment shows were excellent - the best we've seen on a ship (we also really enjoyed the "OnTap" acapella group, the limited smoking (we soon learned to avoid the port side of the ship and the Constellation room,was always smoky, so we never were able to enjoy the view from there. I thought the ship was in pretty good shape considering some of the reviews I'd read. We were in an oceanview cabin in the center on deck 2 - loved having the window. On several nights, however, we had very loud music from downstairs - generally early evening, which was ok, but one night it was at 2:00 in the morning. That morning our room steward asked how I'd slept and I mentioned the noise from what I assumed was crew quarters - we only heard it in the early evenings after that.
We headed straight home from Long Beach (after a 1 hour delayed flight) - worked well, using Super Shuttle, though I won't pre-pay a tip again - he didn't do anything with the bags - just opened the back door - minor annoyance, but not related to the cruise.
We'll probably cruise with Celebrity in the future - maybe Australia - we'll be out and about again. Less
Cabin review: 072110 Ocean View 7
Being low and in the center was helpful when we were in rough water. The large, round window was nice. Noise from the crew quarters was a little irritating, but nothing I chose to complain about. These cabins are a little smaller than on some other ships, but adequate. A bit larger couch would be nice (single bed pullout). This cabin would be way too small for 3 adults.Read All Ocean View 7 (07) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
StarBreeze Panama Canal
Island Princess Panama Canal
Overall, A Good Trip
Great itinerary but ship somew...
Itinerary good but the ship is...
Stunning Scenery and Wildlife