I have cruised on many lines in the last few years and enjoy the experience of visiting so many various places in one trip. I had booked the cruise on the Infinity as I had had a great time on the Century the November before.
I booked through First Choice in Northampton as I usually do and got a great deal with Concierge Class on the Sky Deck 9. I have always understood the higher the cabin the better the accommodation, wrong!
When I arrived in Ft Lauderdale, we were put aside to await transportation to the hotel. No coach had been organised and we waited for over an hour before being taken to the parking lot where we waited another 15 minutes. The coach then proceeded to go to various hotels before dropping us at the Marriot, and we had passed the Marriot twice!! on our journey. NO rep on the Bus
The hotel was fine and the room more than adequate. We were asked to be in the reception for 9.30am the next morning. Most of us were there well in advance and come the hour nothing! no rep, no coach. By 10 o'clock still nothing, 10.30 nothing, at 11.00, a porter told us the coach had arrived and we went outside only to be prevented from getting on the bus until the bags were packed and then there was a free for all. NO rep, NO communication
We arrived at the ship only to join a queue that took looked never ending and took us an hour to get to the front. So much for Concierge Priorities!! Having done the necessaries I arrived at my cabin 945. It was well appointed and had what was expected, when I got onto the balcony I saw that there was a 15ft overhang the ensured there would be no sun so no balcony sunbathing, great!!
I wanted to explore so I left my cabin and went to the nearest bar to wash out the dust. I ordered a pint of lager and was handed the chit and was astonished to find the beer was $5 plus 75cents tax, oops sorry, gratuity!!! I queried this with the barman and he said this was correct, I said I had paid for a holiday that included tips. I asked the prices of the drinks and found that $5 plus 15% tax was the cheapest!! Due to this I had very few drinks on board and drank in the various ports on the cruise where the price of the beer on average was $1!!
From the minute I got on the ship, I was bombarded with sales patter, I turned on the TV and was regaled with offers in the ships shops, was told I could get fabulous discounts ashore if I had the shopping managers VIP cards and mentioned his name in shops in various ports!! I was not sure who would benefit from this!!
I was interested in some trips and shore excursions until I saw the prices! I advise passengers to wait until you get to the ports and then negotiate with the cabs and local tourism guides to get exactly the same trips but for a quarter the cost!! and don't bother with the art auctions!!!
With this cruise, the staff as per usual were fantastic, the food and facilities were great, the ports of call and the canal were amazing. What let it down was constant and persistent assault on the wallet. The drinks, shore excursions, dubious art auctions, the so called duty and tax free bargains in the ships shops. All the more dangerous when all the purchases are by chitty so these can soon add up and hit your pocket hard!
These are my own personal views and I loved the majority of the cruise, the Panama Canal transit was fantastic but will think twice before I book another on an American based cruise line.