While my wife and I are Diamond Plus members on Royal Caribbean, we had never sailed on Celebrity. We chose the Infinity as we wanted a Panama Canal crossing and RCL did not have one available when we could go this year. Thanks to advice from this forum, we called Celebrity and obtained our Celebrity Captains Club Elite status based on our RCL Diamond Plus level. We had originally booked a concierge class stateroom and noted about a month prior to boarding, the price had been reduced. I called Celebrity and asked for some money back, but since we had already made our final payment, this was not an option. What was an option, was upgrading to a Sky Suite at a greatly reduced price, so we did.
Embarkation: While we thought we were getting to the pier early (11:15), the place was jammed. The line for the suite check in was packed, but the Elite line had only 4 guests and so we jumped into that line. Check-in took about 10 minutes. We did not receive our bags till about 5:30PM.
Ship Overall: The ship was very clean, but in some places it was showing its age. I think the overall design is better than the RCL Radiance class ship (which is one of our favorites), but the decor on the Radiance class is more elegant.
Stateroom: We had a Sky Suite (6119) on the sixth floor. The overall design of the room is excellent. It felt much roomier that the square footage would suggest. The bathroom was also well laid out and did not feel cramped. The only problem would be for someone over 6'1" as they would hit their head in the shower. With the ship going into dry dock shortly, I expected to find the room a little more worn, but it appeared pretty well maintained. We did experience some issues with a noisy balcony door, which was promptly fixed. We also had water and suds come out of the floor drain on two separate occasions, before that was fixed. The view from our balcony included the tops of some emergency life boat cranes. I would not recommend 6115, 6117 or 6119 because of that if that would bother you. The sky suite was great, but I would probably go for one on a higher floor next time so that there would be a nicer overall view.
Main Dining Room: We had requested a table for two, but were assigned a table for four. Luckily the other couple wanted to sit at a table for four with their friends and were eventually moved to another table. (They initially tried to make a scene saying all four were supposed to be at our table, but the Maitre D determined the friends were actually assigned a table upstairs.) After the issue was resolved, our table became a nice table for two, right next to the Captains Table. The food overall was excellent. The first two nights, the meat was undercooked and bland, but was great after that. The selection each night was very good, with only one night where we ordered off the alternate menu. Our MDR service was excellent. Our assistant waiter was very new (third week) and what she lacked in experience, she made up for in enthusiasm.
Specialty Restaurants: We never tried the USS United States restaurant since the food was so good in the MDR and Oceanview Cafe.
Oceanview Cafe: The Oceanview Cafe had a great selection of food for breakfast and lunch. The waffle bar and sandwich bar at the very back of the cafe were our favorites. The food was hot and flavorful. It took a little time to get used to having someone serve up your food, but from a health perspective, I liked it. The ice cream bar had an excellent selection of flavors. At night, the Oceanview Cafe is too limited in the food available. The made-to-order stir fry and pasta were outstanding, but overall, there needs to be more choices.
Service & Staff: This is an area where the Infinity excelled. Everyone (except the plumber) appeared committed to making the cruise perfect. Several times staff members mentioned "good is not good enough". Because we had a suite, we had a butler. When we booked the room, I never thought we would get any use of a butler, but we were soon spoiled. Our butler (Ram) was extremely attentive and did all the little things that made the cruise outstanding. We were afraid to mention that we liked something because he would run out and get us a plate of it. We had fresh baked cooking every evening in addition to the daily "tea time" baked goods.
The Captains Club Hostess was by far the best "Loyalty Ambassador"/Captains Club Hostess that we have ever encountered. She was knowledgeable, engaging, helpful and always available. She was the epitome of what a Captains Club Hostess should be.
The Staff did a great job of ensuring that cruisers used the hand sanitizer prior to boarding the ship at each port and at the entrance to any eating venue. This contributed greatly to making a safer environment on the ship and reducing illness.
Captain Club: There was an evening reception (5:00-7:00) with drinks and appetizers. The event would be somewhere between the Diamond Club and Concierge Club on a RCL ship. The drink selection was better than a Diamond Club, but not as extensive as a Concierge Club. The appetizers were very good, though often were not hot enough. The service was outstanding and I never found myself with an empty class. There were several Captains Club events throughout the cruise for Select and Elite members. RCL could learn from Celebrity on how to treat their repeat guests. We have been on several RCL cruises where we never saw the "Loyalty Ambassador". On the Infinity, we saw the Captains Club Hostess (Anita) every day as she always made a point of stopping by our table and checking on us.
Shows: The entertainment was some of the best we have enjoyed on a cruise ship! (Though my favorite remains Chicago on the Allure)
Ports and Excursions: We enjoyed all of the ports we visited and had excellent tour guides at each stop. Riding a bus in Panama was like Mister Toads Wild Ride as there doesn't appear to be any traffic laws. During an 8 hr tour, the driver never stopped for a stop sign and never stayed within his lane. The scenery in each of the countries was stunning. We were pleasantly surprised to see how much both Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas have improved in the past year. Both cities have been cleaned up significantly and Puerto Vallarta has created an extensive pedestrian zone.
Overall, we had a great time on the Infinity and would not hesitate to sail on it again.