The 90,940-ton, 2,170-passenger Celebrity Infinity debuted in 2001 as the second ship in Celebrity Cruises' four-vessel Millennium-class series. Like near-identical sister ships Celebrity Millennium (2000), Celebrity Summit (2001) and Celebrity Constellation (2002), Infinity debuted with a bevy of once-novel features, including a retro ocean liner-themed alternative restaurant and a lovely bank of glass elevators that offer sea views. These days, however, the Millennium quadruplets have been surpassed in size, amenities and technical innovation by Celebrity's grass-covered, partially solar-powered Solstice-class ships.
To that end, Celebrity has invested heavily in refurbishing the series. Following a November 2011 dry-dock in the Bahamas, Celebrity Infinity emerged with a slew of Solstice-class dining venues, including Qsine (international comfort food), Blu (Mediterranean spa cuisine) and Bistro on 5 (creperie), a new iLounge computer lab and new balconies, as well as more than 100 new or redesigned spa cabins. As a result, the ship also got more crowded -- 60 new cabins were added, bringing the double occupancy up to 2,170. Congestion is most noticeable in the Celebrity Select section of the main dining room and at peak times at the buffet; the theater and pool deck can fill up, but they don't seem much more crowded than any other big ship.
Much has changed for the ship in the form of decor and onboard features, but Infinity's most visible alterations focus on the Decks 4 and 5 social hub, which forms a two-floor, shiplong link between the main dining room (aft) and theater (forward). The focus is on casual food and drink options. The old Martini Bar has been replaced with a new version, with a shaved ice-topped bar and juggling bartenders. Cellar Masters, a wine venue with a self-service dispensary system, has replaced the original, staid Champagne Bar. Bistro on Five, a for-fee creperie that was a surprise hit on Solstice-class ships, has been added to Deck 5. Infinity's old coffee bar has been redone, and the line has added a gelateria.
Despite these significant alterations, the ship still retains much of what has made it a fan favorite, stylistically, for more than a decade. The whimsical art, use of natural woods and lots of glass, especially in the stunning Solarium, have always lent Celebrity Infinity and its sisters an elegant, contemporary air. Those touches remain. So too does the high passenger-to-crew ratio, which has earned the line high marks for service. It's a ship for people who like to linger over dinner, sip a drink in a comfy lounge while listening to music (or doing a bit of ballroom dancing), take in a show or lounge by a pool; high-octane partying and crazy outdoor activities (waterslides, surfing, ropes courses) are not Infinity's hallmarks.
At 2,170 passengers -- compared with 2,850 on the Solstice-class vessels -- those looking for a more intimate Celebrity experience will do well to consider the "mid-sized" Millennium Class. While you give up the Lawn Club area and slightly larger cabins and public areas, you're also not overwhelmed with a dizzying array of extra-fee restaurants (six on Silhouette to Infinity's three). And with Infinity's port-intensive itineraries, sometimes it's nice to have a ship that complements, rather than competes with, the destination.