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Sail Date: April 2007
Infinity, Hawaii - roundtrip from San Diego April 22 - May 6, 2007 Background We are a married couple, in our 50's and retired (celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on the cruise). We have cruised 8 times, mostly on HAL and this ... Read More
Infinity, Hawaii - roundtrip from San Diego April 22 - May 6, 2007 Background We are a married couple, in our 50's and retired (celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on the cruise). We have cruised 8 times, mostly on HAL and this is our first cruise over 10 nights. We are cabin folks, and the days at sea are more important to us than a port intensive itinerary. Embarkation What a disappointment! The cruise before ours was late in arriving back in port therefore pushing our embarkation until evening (I believe it was 8pm when we finally stepped foot onboard). Celebrity did what they could by fairing passengers to the San Diego Convention Center to check in and wait. I felt the process was disorganized and chaotic and there was not enough seating for all those needing to sit. We waited in lines to do virtually everything. Our Cabin/Staff/Dining We had an AFT CC Class cabin (7203). The cabin itself was compact but manageable at 191 sq ft. Both the cabin and it's bathroom and verandah were in good condition (albeit the mattress which desperately needs to be replaced). Our cabin attendants were Diogo and Herman and they were excellent and took incredible care of our needs and us. Our wait staff in the dining room was Ahmed and Donaldo - Ahmed was capable but dry and Donaldo was fabulous with an outgoing personality. We had late seating (8:30pm and a table for two). Food in the dining room was good but not excellent. The beef was chewy, the salads were unimaginative and downright plain. Some plates had more food than I could eat and others didn't have enough. Desserts were too fancy instead of tasting good. I would have preferred everyday kind of desserts, cake. Pie, and such. The Buffet was alright, food was good but not a great selection and again the salad bar doesn't have good variety. Room service was excellent every time!! The menu was great, the food consistent, and the service was always on time and with a smile. Entertainment Hmmmm, we aren't joiners so I don't have much to say about this first hand but we met other couples that loved all the entertainment they encountered (and they were joiners). We enjoyed the themed entertainment in the Constellation Lounge and we weren't alone as it was the most attended bar onboard. Casino was tight. Dress From what I had read online I was expecting people in clothing I couldn't compete with and instead I found most people were nicely dressed but not to the nines (or at least what I think of as Formal). This was fine with me. I did see people that didn't even attempt the dress code of the night but at least they were cleaned up and it didn't impact anything about the cruise for us. The Cruise The first 2 days at sea (out of 4 heading over to the Hawaiian Islands) were cool and windy but continued to warm up as we got closer to our first stop in Hilo. Our next stop was Kona, then Oahu (Honolulu), and then Maui. Our itinerary changed a number of times before and then during the cruise - while this was disappointing, it did not adversely affect our cruise experience. The cruise back from the islands ended up being 5 days and 6 nights with most of them being chilly and very windy with moderately high seas. Cruise Critic Friends We had an outstanding roll call and attendance at the reception onboard from Celebrity. The people we met online and then onboard are the nicest bunch of folks we could have hoped to cruise with. Thank you to everyone that put so much time and effort into the reception! Disembarkation We planned for the worst with travel and therefore did not leave San Diego until 4:10pm so we didn't have to leave our cabin until almost 10am and disembarkation was quick and painless. Luggage was somewhat difficult to find as there was nothing marking what color was where. Our Final Thoughts We will definitely cruise with Celebrity again and wouldn't mind going on another "M Class" ship as long as missing time on the itinerary isn't important. They have to get those pod issues addressed with something permanent. We came home to letters from Celebrity offering us 20% off of (what we paid per person) for another cruise (I'm certain it was due to all the itinerary changes) with a selection of other cruises - we will take them up on that. In addition, we were given a $300 shipboard credit while onboard due to the changes to the itinerary after we had booked. We were very satisfied. We really enjoyed this cruise and Celebrity!!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
This was our 5th cruise , 2nd on celebrity , we've also been on NCL, and carnival,, We were shocked at all the different ages onboard compared to our 1st celebrity cruise but im so glad we went... Heres my review as short and sweet as ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise , 2nd on celebrity , we've also been on NCL, and carnival,, We were shocked at all the different ages onboard compared to our 1st celebrity cruise but im so glad we went... Heres my review as short and sweet as I can make it BOOKING- we called and booked the cruise through celebrity directly on 12/12/06 this was after kauai was already cancelled,then we received a call in march stating that some times would be changed in hilo and honolulu. and that they were offering 200$ ship credit for people in insides .. this was a great thing on celebrity's part, it was generous of them to do this. EMBARKATION AND GETTING THERE - Port of san diego We live in northern ca so we drove down to san diego to board the infinity for our 14 day adventure of a lifetime. we stayed 1 day before at the super8 motel in the little italy district of san diego. For the price of 80$ per night, the hotel was very accommodating, and comfortable. We decided to go to the cruise terminal around 11am to see if they were checking people in yet, so we pulled up to drop off my mom who is in a wheelchair and the security guard said, sorry no dropoffs yet. come back in 1 hr.. so we pulled out , into all the traffic again, found somewhere to park for 1 hr and then went back, we were told the same thing again, come back at 100p, I said ok,, so we went and parked by the airport on the side road where there was a portipotty in case we needed it . then we headed back over to the cruise terminal at 115p and we were told that they still weren't dropping off. So we went to lane field to park our car, and decided to walk over. We hired a bike carriage to take all of our luggage , so my husband could push my mom in her wheelchair . after all of this , the walk was short, everything was close. then we headed to get checked in. Celebrity had people waiting there for wheelchair assistance and they were great with my mom. Checking in was a breeze, it took only about 30 minutes. And when we were checking in they gave my daughter a wristband to wear for the kids club, that says the muster station she needs to be at in case of emergency, I thought this was great. So we headed up to our rooms on board this beautiful ship and then we were ready to eat.. The Room- we had a Inside room on deck 2 mid ship Nice size room, very clean,and we loved the set up of the TV, how it was right in front of you . Right away we were met by our room attendants Wilbert and Antonio , they were very nice and provided great service throughout the whole cruise. FOOD- The food was EXCELLENT !!!!! I never ate anything I didn't enjoy. The many selections, on one would go hungry on this cruise. I ate alot of beef and everything tasted excellent . I enjoyed the dinner salads and all of the wonderful dressings they had to chose from ,they were all yummy . The buffet was ok, but nothing spectacular, not alot of choices, pasta and pizza was available until 1am everyday which was good, but we did get tired of it GALA BUFFET- Nice set up but the food was GROSS. alot of the fruit had mold on it and it was old. We couldn't even eat any of it ROOM SERVICE - Nice choices, like steak , club sandwiches, fruit , desserts. etc.. everything was very good. we ordered a lot of room service for snacks and things and it always came within 30 minutes or less. which compared to other cruises we've been on is excellent . ENTERTAINMENT- We only went to a few shows on this trip. we saw the comedian who was funny, I love the dancing shows." Celebrate the World " was the best dancing show ive seen on any cruise, and the Drums of the Pacific show that they had when we were docked in honolulu was great.. CASINO- Tight, nothing paid, all the machines were old, a lot of them didn't work. the casino staff was nice and friendly and didn't care if you gave them 100$ bill and wanted all 5$.. KIDS CLUB-FUN FACTORY- All I can say is that my daughter who is 6 loved it !!!! She never wanted to come out of there, she only ate dinner with us 1 time out of 14 days, she always wanted to be there with the kids and workers. they were all so great , and the activities they did with the kids were awesome, they had scavenger hunts, karaoke,face painting, arts and crafts,playstation2, story time, etc etc etc, they even had a talent show for them to do towards the end of the cruise.They had a great schedule for the kids they can go there 9a-12n or 1p,then you pick them up for a snack then you can take them back, they took them all to dinner at 6pm, you had to sign them up on a sheet by 5p each day for dinner, which melika loved , great kid selections. they also took them for snacks and ice cream during the day. THe whole fun factory system was great, you had to sign the kids in and out and you had to have a password, I felt very safe doing this , the 1st cruise we took our daughter on , she didn't go into the kids club , im so overprotective.. this one, I felt so safe doing this. it was great for her she loved it .. THE PORTS AND SHORE EXCURSIONS - HILO- In Hilo we booked the accessible east hawaii- which was a visit to volcanoes national park, rainbow falls, big island candies, mauna loa macadamia nut farm and atkusuda orchid farm, for 100 each this was well worth it, the only bad thing was the description of the shore excursion it stated that this was for people with limited mobility and wheelchairs and that it was a lift-equipped van, well there was no lift luckily my mom isn't totally confined, and no one else who booked it was. I spoke to the shore ex desk before we got to hilo and the lady told me she would find out for sure if there was a lift or not and then call me, she did call the day before we got there, and told me there was no lift and she gave me the option to cancel, but we didn't and im glad we didn't it was a great tour, 6 hours, included lunch the tour guide was great took it into account that alot of the people on the tour couldn't get in and out alot so he drove close to alot of places so everyone could see . It was fun. KONA-KAILUA- We brought our own snorkel gear and took a shuttle from the pier to the beach park where the turtles are. it was 5$ per person each way. and the shuttle ran every 15-20 minutes back and forth. The only bad thing was that you had to walk across the street and find this store called the beach shack, which was well hidden, in order to get your wristband for the shuttle, and they also had all the gear if you needed to rent it . It had to be returned by 330p though which didn't give people who didn't have their own gear much time. the beach was nice, alot of reef and coral.you had to have swim shoes or flippers. or else you would get cut.. there were no turtles,but im glad we did it , it was relaxing and nice . LAHAINA - MAUI - WE rented a car through hertz and we met my husbands brother who is lucky enough to live there, and he took us to rent our car, on the confirmation email i got it said that the location was at the west maui airport. well theres no car rentals there, its actually down the road by all the other rental places. you cant miss it , then we got there, and they didn't have the car we reserved , which was an SUV nissan xterra or similar, so they gave us a 2007 cadillac escalade at no extra charge.. we were happy. we drove around, went to the maui ocean center and haleakala crater, that was crazy, we couldn't barely breathe. The drive there is winding and Me and my daughter were car sick, it was worth it, ive never seen a view that high up at 16,000 ft elevation. we rented our car from 9a-9p, so we dropped it off, and they had a night drop box, then my brother in law drove us back to the ship, no line for the tender but they were rocky. it was windy and they had a hard time controlling the tender to tie it up to let us on the ship. but we made it . HOnolulu- we rented a car though hertz, they had a shuttle waiting when we were off the ship at 9am, we got our van and drove around the island and then we met up with my husbands other brother who lives there as well. We ate at a restaurant called zippys, great fried chicken, i cant remember where it was since his brother navigated but it was good, we had to drop our car off at the airport since the other location was closed, this was very simple, we followed the signs at the airport that said car rental return, and there we were it took about 5 minutes to get out of the car and get our stuff we had bought at the international market and bam there was a taxi which hertz called for us, that quick , they also took 20$ off our rental since they didn't have a shuttle to take us back to the pier ,, we got back on and watched the drums of pacific show that night which was great . CRUISE SHIP WORKERS - Nicest ive seen on any cruiseline, very attentive and friendly and also caring. they were all great and deserve everything. DISEMBARKING- well we got word from the captain 2 nights before we were getting off that we were going to be 6 hrs late due to the wind, and it was windy, we also got a letter in our room stating the same. We weren't really concerned since we didn't have flights out since we drove but the people with flights really had a headache. They tried to be accommodating in helping the passengers, with free internet and phone lines. but from what i saw it was still a mess. so we got a letter stating we would get off the ship at 430p, i thought oh no we are going to be home late. well they called us 1 hr before since they were ahead on the schedule which was good, the only bad thing was that after 130p , there was no more food or drinks anywhere not even water. so we were sitting there eating our case of macadamia nuts we got as souvenirs for people, that was bad on their part, they could have had people giving out water or anything.. but they didn't When we got off the ship we found our luggage easily, then my husband got in a line for a porter, we got off , got the curb, left my mom there in her wheelchair and went and got our car, came back, loaded up and we were leaving san diego by 415p, we got home at 1am due to traffic in san diego and LA. OVERALL - great cruise, I would do this one again in a heartbeat. I loved everything about it , nothing negative to say. I hope everyone could do this cruise one day and enjoy it like we did , we love celebrity and would love to go on them again one day soon. along with the 200$ ship credit we got since they cancelled kauai a couple months before the sailing, they also sent us vouchers worth 240$ for each of us for a future cruise. which was nice on their part, not everyone on our cruise got one, but hopefully they will .. If anyone has any questions about this ship or cruise , please email me anytime, I love to share information, since ive learned so much from this website.. its great . HAPPY CRUISING EVERYONE Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2007
This was a two week round-trip cruise out of San Diego featuring two long ocean passages, interrupted by a whirlwind tour of four Hawaiian ports. My wife Norma and I had never been to Hawaii, but we had crossed the Atlantic on a sister ... Read More
This was a two week round-trip cruise out of San Diego featuring two long ocean passages, interrupted by a whirlwind tour of four Hawaiian ports. My wife Norma and I had never been to Hawaii, but we had crossed the Atlantic on a sister ship (Celebrity Millennium) back in 2004, and we enjoyed very much that Celebrity experience, as well as the extended time at sea. This cruise had an interesting beginning. On April 22, the Infinity was late returning to port because of heavy weather, and her departure from San Diego was necessarily delayed by almost 5 hours. Faced with this challenge, the folks at Celebrity bussed awaiting passengers to the local convention center, where we were very well fed and cared for. Our luggage was transported to the ship, and Celebrity even managed to move their embarkation/registration process to the convention center, making good use of this down-time. Under the circumstances, we think that the folks at Celebrity did an admirable job. We met a lot of nice people at the convention center, and we did not find this delay to be a serious concern. But many passengers were irritable and grumpy; regrettably, when dealt a few lemons, not all passengers chose to make lemonade! More on this later. The demographics of this cruise were unusual. This was a very much older crowd that we had experience on any of our previous cruises, and a surprisingly large number of them had serious mobility problems: wheel-chairs, walkers, canes, and motorized carts were definitely in vogue! This skewed demographic was the topic of conversation at our dinner table. Our best guess was that a disproportionate number of older Americans with health and mobility problems are attracted to the Hawaiian itinerary; an itinerary which takes place entirely in a USA-context, with reliable and familiar health services, unilingual-English language services, US dollar currency, etc. Onboard, it was deja-vu all over again! Celebrity Infinity is almost a clone of Millennium, so we felt immediately at home. Celebrity has four of these wonderful French-built ships, and we think their size (91,000 tons) is just about optimal. Their pod-propulsion systems provide a smooth ride which is pretty much free of the vibration problems sometimes encountered in more conventional cruise ships. On the return leg of our journey we had two days of fairly heavy seas (20-28 foot swells) and it was barely noticeable. One negative -- although these are well thought out and well-appointed ships, we did note quite a few signs of wear and tear; so we suspect that a cosmetic refit may be on the horizon. Onboard entertainment was pretty standard fare of this cruise - three glitzy 'production shows', and the usual smattering of good vocalists, comedians and magicians. Lounge entertainers were generally very good: special kudos to the versatile 'cover band' which played all over the ship. The worst-entertainer award goes to the pianist/vocalist in Michael's Club. To our ears, this entertainer had serious 'pitch problems', rendering Michael's Club off-limits for the duration of the cruise - too bad! In our view, Celebrity offers a superior cruising experience at a very attractive price point. The staff are generally superb, and the cuisine is clearly a cut above (for example) Royal Caribbean and Holland America. And, the Celebrity ships are quieter - public announcements are restricted to a single noon-hour session, entertainment in the pool area is reasonably restrained, and noisy activities like Bingos and those terrible art auctions are generally well isolated and contained. This contributes to a good and restful ambiance onboard. As noted earlier, we had never been to Hawaii, and this itinerary visited four Hawaiian ports. Frankly, we found the two stops on the Big Island of Hawaii to be a bit of a bore. We would have much preferred a longer stay in Honolulu, and we heard many passengers express a similar view. The visit to Maui was interesting - and one day duration was just about right. Excursions were in high demand at all the stops, and many late-comers did not get their first choices. A lot of the very same people who had been complaining about the San Diego Conference center episode were complaining about this too. Would we recommend this cruise? Yes, if you like an itinerary with lots of days at sea. If you really want to see Hawaii, a conventional land holiday is probably a better idea. For our part, we really liked the cruise. The only negative was the disproportionate number of unreasonably demanding and downright grumpy older passengers; but I'm not sure what Celebrity Cruises (or any other cruise line) can do to try to cheer these folks up. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
This was our second cruise, first on Celebrity. We flew in to San Diego the morning of the cruise, had purchased transfers through Celebrity so after getting our luggage found the cruise reps outside. We were on the first bus to the pier, ... Read More
This was our second cruise, first on Celebrity. We flew in to San Diego the morning of the cruise, had purchased transfers through Celebrity so after getting our luggage found the cruise reps outside. We were on the first bus to the pier, about 12:30pm. Our luggage had gone ahead on a truck so we only had to deal with our carryons. Check in was as quickly as we could walk through the various stations, I had done on line check in and had an express pass printed, I think that helped quite a bit. We were met onboard by a steward who escorted us to our cabin, after getting a glass of champagne, a nice extra touch. Our cabin 7064 was a balcony on the starboard side, forward on the ship. We were very pleased with the cabin, and our cabin service during the cruise. This cruise had 4 sea days going over and 5 sea days coming back, so we got a good chance to enjoy all the ship's amenities. Food in the dining room was almost always good, service was excellent. The extra stations in the buffet such as fresh pasta, salads, sandwiches, waffles in the morning, sushi, etc were very good. Just about every evening before dinner we had the special drink of the day in one of the lounges and listened to the live music. The shows were good, we especially enjoyed the comedian. The first port was Hilo. We rented a van with two other couples we'd met on Cruise Critic, and went to Volcanoes park for the day. That night the ship cruised by the southern end of the island, we saw red hot lava flowing into the ocean. The next port was Kona, we did a ship shore excursion kayak and snorkel trip. It was fun except my husband managed to flip our kayak with me still on it when he was getting off to snorkel. The third port was Lahaina on Maui. We did a whale watch trip we booked ourselves, very enjoyable 2 hrs seeing humpbacked whales and spinner dolphins. The final port was Honolulu, we too The Bus to Diamond Head and climbed it for fantastic views of the city and surrounding areas. On the trip back, we encountered extra strong head winds and the captain had to use the stabilizers quite a bit, slowing the ship down. Two days before we got to San Diego he said we would be late getting there, and some flights would have to be rebooked. We had done our own flight arrangements, so called the airline and got rescheduled for the following day. We arrived in San Diego at 11:30am, and we were off the ship at about 3pm. The disembarkation went smoothly, no huge crowds or problems finding out luggage. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2007
**Background Information We are a married couple from outside of Chicago in our late 20's. We have been on 7 cruises, including 4 on Celebrity (Century pre remodel; Mercury; Summit; Infinity). We are Select Captains Club members and ... Read More
**Background Information We are a married couple from outside of Chicago in our late 20's. We have been on 7 cruises, including 4 on Celebrity (Century pre remodel; Mercury; Summit; Infinity). We are Select Captains Club members and have been on several 10 day cruises in the Caribbean and Western Mexico. We had never been on this long a cruise and had never been to Hawaii. We booked this cruise through Celebrity online. We reserved a family view veranda room on the stern (aft) of the ship - even though other cruisers said they were unable to book this cabin class with less than 4 people, we had no problems. The trip was great, diminished only by the complaints of fellow passengers and a few very minor things that could be improved by Celebrity for future cruises. This review is long as I tried to outline all areas of our experience for you. **The arrival Several weeks before the cruise, we were informed that our arrival in Hilo was going to be delayed and our departure from Lahaina, Maui was going to be moved up. We were given $300 shipboard credit for the inconvenience. This was enough to cover our gratuities plus a little extra. The cruise left on Sunday and on that Friday evening we received a call to inform us that the Infinity was going to be delayed coming into San Diego. We were very worried that the ship may not be able to leave at all. Our United flight arrived in SD at 10:30am Sunday and we had bus vouchers. The cruise line staff at the airport did not help with our luggage or offer a cart, but they were otherwise pleasant. We left our bags at the airport with their reps. to be taken to the ship later. We boarded a bus and were taken to the convention center (near the gas lamp district) where we were shown to a large hall with tables, chairs, sandwiches, cookies, pop, fruit and chips. They kept the area stocked with food/drinks all day as more people arrived. The staff was pleasant and explained the delay, but the arrival day was very long. The Infinity came into port at about noon from the previous cruise. We received a number when we arrived and were able to check in at the convention center, get our sea pass cards, etc. at approximately 2pm. We had to be back at the convention center by 6 to board the buses to take us to the ship. Therefore, we had about 4 hours to explore San Diego. We just wandered around and had a snack/drink at one of the lovely open air restaurants in the area. Once back at the convention center, we had to wait for our number to be called. We did not mind sitting all day, but can imagine it was uncomfortable for many. I was impressed at the organized effort by Celebrity (buses, food, and the convention hall). It was alright, but not the best way to start the vacation. Once we got to the terminal, we had to stand in line again to board the ship. The lines at the terminal were long, but we got on board and were shown to our room immediately. **The Ship - a deck by deck impression In spite of what I had heard, the Infinity was in very good condition. The carpets and other upholstery seemed newly done. Some lights in the halls were burned out, but mostly everything was shiny and ship-shape. I did notice several places where the floor seemed soft and seemed to give way (noticed by other passengers). The public lounges had either a blue, purple, or red theme to them. Fantastic Modern art in abundance. Each stairwell has a theme (the miniatures, the glass sculptures, and the clay sculptures). In spite of the great dEcor, there was also a pervasive "sewer" smell, which was noticed by others and according to rumor, due to a new waste management system. The smell was worse in the stairs/elevators. Smoking was reserved to the starboard side of the ship but evident in most public areas. Cigars and pipes were limited to deck 10 aft, and due to the windy conditions, not very busy. AT&T wireless phones work on board 24/7, but they are roaming and at high rates. *Trellis Restaurant-we were on deck 4 in the corner. Tables, linens, silverware, chairs all very lovely. The staircase and window area was very striking. I'll talk about food and service later. *Rendez-Vous Lounge - red themed, packed before dinner, a small band with singer played standards for dancing each night. There seemed to be an older crowd in this area. Art Auctions, trivia, and other events held here daily. *Celebrity Online - very modern computer area (rates $.75 per minute at dial-up speeds). It was free most times and this is the place to go to be immortalized by standing in front of the webcam. Access to celebrity site was free. We logged on the last day to check-in and print boarding passes, took about 10 minutes but printing was free. *Fortunes Casino - a glitzy Egyptian themed room. I played nickel /quarter slots and lost money nearly every time. There were all kinds of table games. All but Texas hold 'em table seemed available each night. There were several tournaments and the casino was open unless we were in port. Smoking was allowed throughout the casino. *Michael's Club - no cigars or pipes allowed. Several special events including our CC meeting held here. A nice smallish public room with piano music each night (a sing-along style player). Scotch tasting was also held here. *Photo Gallery - this was the first cruise I have been on where they were not taking pictures all the time. Formal nights and a couple of casual nights had portrait settings available. In Honolulu they took pictures with some props, but otherwise the port picture setting was you holding a life preserver with the port name stuck in the middle. Needless to say, we didn't buy pictures *Celebrity Theater- a large and lovely area for shows. One nicety was tables that swiveled, so you could adjust them after you sat down. They had a very wide variety of shows (Broadway, opera, dance, comedy, magic, Hawaiian, etc.). We saw a singer and the magician, and they were pretty good. Lights and sounds were all good. *Cinema-newly released movies shown daily throughout the day. Seats were comfortable, but sit in the middle or the picture quality is poor. Also the venue for religious observances. Sabbath hosted by fellow guests, an interdenominational service hosted by a church group on board, but NO CATHOLIC MASS. We were very upset by this, as it was advertised on celebrity and on this cruise that there would be a priest on board. *SS United States (specialty restaurant)- A strange mix of modern architecture, shiny silver, blue walls, and sea creature accessories. Overall, it felt light and breezy (will talk about food/service later). *Public Restrooms - women's and men's available at the front and back of the ship. Clean, roomy, and well taken care of. *Martini Bar / Champagne Bar - a mix of blue and red, comfy seats and cozy seating arrangements. There was a jazz trio playing, no dancing, and a younger crowd. In addition to the yummy martinis, this lounge was less crowded than the others both before and after dinner. Prices were around $10 per drink. *Cova Cafe / Card Room - Coffee and pots of tea available for purchase and a quiet place to read and play games during the day. After dinner (alcoholic) drinks also available. Prices were very reasonable: $2-4. The card room was available for private events. *Emporium Shops - Souvenirs, clothing, fashion/costume jewelry, fine jewelry, perfume/makeup, art gallery, duty free liquor, and sundries. They had special sales daily, but we did not buy anything. *Words - a well-stocked two story library with a wide variety of fiction, non-fiction, travel, and other books. Plenty of seating, and great woodwork, but the lighting was very low/poor. There was a nice place to exchange paperbacks. The library was open 24 hours per day and was not manned. Books were checked out/in on an honor system. The books were in no order and it was hard to find what you wanted, but if you didn't mind browsing, many new releases were available. Scrabble was also available for play. *Oceanview Grill and Cafe - plenty of seating indoors and out and nice dEcor. Lines were not long and the buffet lunch varied (breakfast was the same daily). *Breezes pool - in excellent condition and lots of hot tubs. Plenty of deck chairs with pads, but they ran out of towels one day. Wool blankets were also out on chilly days. The pool water was cold the whole cruise. *Aquaspa pool - in excellent condition, lovely teak chairs and padded loungers that were rarely available. The hydrotherapy pool was free and open most times. A very relaxing atmosphere - great place to read. *Persian Garden - special $99 for entire cruise. Very affordable. A unisex room where swimsuits are required. Showers, steam rooms, and heated benches were as relaxing as a massage. Changing rooms for men and women were lovely and the dry sauna is found in the changing rooms. Razors and shaving cream were also complimentary in the changing rooms and towels were available on days when the pool area ran out. We did not have a massage or other treatment, but there were several days with $99 or $79 specials - even on sea days. *Gym - very well equipped with treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, and rowers. Even busy mornings, wait was not too long. Most also had a TV to watch as you worked out. Nautilus machines and free weights. At least one free aerobics class daily (busy) and fee-based yoga, spinning, and Pilates ($10 per class). One or two participants in the yoga. The gym got less busy as the cruise went on. *Teen area (formerly Notes)- okay, so we thought about pretending to be teens, just to be able to play on the playstation and Nintendo Wii, but we just watched from afar. I think this place was free. *Shipmates fun factory - again, it looked fun and the kids seemed to be having a great time with the staff, but cannot speak from experience. *The conservatory / Acupuncture at sea / Golf simulator - we walked through, but did not partake in the services. They had seminars on acupuncture and golf excursions available. Art fans - check out the Dale Chihuly chandelier in the staircase! *Mast Bar - cushioned couches flanked both sides of the bar and were great for relaxing and people watching. *Constellation - nightclub and bingo area. This was a well decorated room with plenty of seating and cozy areas. Variety of music each night and the captain's club parties were held here. The views were nice too. *Jogging/Walking track - fairly narrow and lined with lounge chairs. *Viewing area and Topless Sunbathing - Go to the forward stairs on deck 11, then up to 12 for a lovely viewing area. This uncrowded area at the front of the ship is a great place to watch the sun rise/set and watch the ship come into/leave port. Two more sets of stairs up to the topless sunbathing area (which we went to in the middle of the night). This area was not advertised, but lounge chairs were available and the section was separated by privacy barriers to keep onlookers out. **Activities: suffice it to say that the program was PACKED with things to do. Multiple sessions of trivia and games (charades, table tennis, name that tune) each day until 4:30 p.m. Bingo twice daily (cost $30 per session). Hawaiian crafts and dance classes daily. Enrichment lectures (Hawaii culture and nature talks) daily. Organized sports (Basketball, shuffleboard, etc.). Spa seminars and fitness classes several times daily. Movies three times daily (same as the movies on your stateroom TV). Culinary demonstrations and wine/liquor tastings (some free, some for a fee). Nightly show and music in the public lounges. Post dinner dancing, music, and relaxing. Theme nights (50's, Western, Crooners). **Stateroom: Our aft family view cabin was GREAT. This room would easily and comfortably sleep 4 adults (however the bathroom was small). There was a lot of closet and drawer space and room for suitcases under the bed. Bring extra hangers, we needed them with 2 people in the room. Rack for ties/belts was provided as was a digital combination safe, umbrella, and extra blanket. There was a cabinet in the corner of the room with glass shelves and doors, but we did not use this for anything. Main room had the bed, side tables and lamps, desk area with chair and TV on top of the mini-bar. Mini bar was same price as the bar ($2 for can of pop) **HINT** bring your own pop, or something to mix with the water your stateroom attendant provides. Bathroom was standard Celebrity fair - toilet and sink area, shower. Toiletries were in dispensers on the wall and were not the best quality. Q-tips and cotton balls provided. **HINT** bring an air freshener and some conditioner, you will need it. Wall mounted hair dryer provided (with plug for shaver). Plenty of storage under the sink. Two waffle style robes provided for your use. Water temperature and pressure were good. Heavy frosted glass and wood door separated the main area from the living room area. A 3 cushioned sofa (with cot) and a two cushioned chaise with a pullout bed were in the living area. My snoring husband slept one night in on this pull out couch and was very comfortable (better yet, I could barely hear the snores through the heavy dividing door. More shelves and drawers, a lamp, and a small glass table in this area. A second TV was in this room, but there was only one remote. As a side note, the TV in this area does not have a VCR, but the VCR can be easily moved from the main area. As another note, if you wish to connect your DVD player or video game console, you will need an RF adapter. An RCA adapter or S-video will plug in, but since you cannot change the channel on the VCR, you will not be able to play any peripherals unless you plug directly into the TV via an RF connector. A glass patio door leads to the HUGE veranda. A standard table and two dining chairs are available and perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner with friends in your room. Two padded (but non-reclining) lounge chairs were provided. The view from the aft cabin was spectacular. Morning or afternoon sun streams in and fills the entire patio with sun for at least 4 hours a day. The dividers blocked the winds, but you could see through the glass and cracks into the neighboring verandas. Noise and vibration in the aft cabins was pretty intense. At times it sounded like the whole ship was going to come apart. The patio door would not stay open or closed and even opened one night in spite of the latch. The wind also howls through the rear of the ship, reminiscent of a haunted house. I think that children might honestly by frightened by the shaking, creaking, and noises. This area of the ship also has a lot more rocking and pitching, but it actually put us to sleep! **Dining - Note, 24 hour room service available and order by remote on your stateroom TV Breakfast in room and on the buffet were very good and consistent - eggs, meat, fish, cereals, potatoes, cottage cheese, fruits, milk, coffee, tea, and juice (only orange and apple available - otherwise you had to flag down a waiter for V8, pineapple, grapefruit, prune - but there was no charge). Waffles at the back with lovely fruit toppings (but a little undercooked since so many people waiting and they were rushing the waffles). Omelettes and fried eggs at the back on the sides. Toast on the sides and pastries in the front. Dining room, open seating breakfast was great, eggs benedict anyone? Also, try the baked apples or berries and cream in the dining room. Cova Cafe also open for breakfast, pastries free, charge for the drinks. On sea days breakfast from 7:30-10 (earlier on port days). Try the croissants, they are FAB. Yogurt smoothies available in the aquaspa cafe. Lunch buffet or room service: sandwiches, pizza, salads, pasta, and a theme buffet. The curry was good, okay, everything was good. Some days it was tex-mex, others Italian, others sandwich and soup. Homemade salad dressings were great, but the salads were pre-made (I like the salad bar on HAL better). Pizza (pre-made and create your own) and pasta were yummy and available from noon-1am. Ice cream and deserts same times. Save room for the great homemade ice cream and sorbets. Hamburgers/grill open until 7pm. The cafe had light meals available until 8pm. Afternoon teas each day with lots of variety of sweet and savory. Dinner: Sushi was very good and available from 5-10pm. They also have sake and miso soup available. Casual dining was apparently your choice of three entrees, but we did not partake. As above, you could also have pizza or pasta for dinner. Dinner in the specialty restaurant was very good. We did the menu exceptional - the wine dinner. Each person at the table has to do it (total charge $67 per person) but you still have a choice of two for each course and for each wine. A table of two essentially gets to try everything on the menu. It was well worth the price. The service was phenomenal - the staff was very attentive and friendly, not at all pretentious. The glass of wine with each course was great. We tried wines that we would not have selected due to the price, but the menu exceptional made it affordable. Started with soup-we didn't like the soup; on to appetizer-the cheese souffle was to die for; then main course-salmon was a little to fragrant and rosemary tasting for my liking; then cheese-stinky but oh so tasty; and finish with desert - which could have been my whole meal. The desert was 10 times better than the other deserts - a crème Brule with fudge on the bottom! I joked that I needed another desert to decide if I liked it or not, and when we got to our room, they had sent another tray of desert. Dinner in the main dining room was great. There was a different menu each night-Appetizer, soup, salad, main, and desert. There was a lot of variety (not just fish, chicken, or beef) and everything was super tasty. The service was very attentive and friendly. The staff was knowledgeable and not afraid to give their recommendations. Nothing was over sauced or under seasoned. I did not have one bad meal in the main dining room. Our sommelier was outstanding. Most wines on the menu were priced around $40 a bottle. There was a good mix of familiar mass market wines and other affordable interesting vintages. They did not try to push expensive wines and let us try before we bought on several occasions. They did an excellent job at matching food and wine together and it was a delightful experience. Soda pop and sparkling water were available for a fee, but iced tea, water, coffee were available. **Weather / Ports The weather was sunny and breezy each day at sea (we were told by the crew it is never sunny for more than 2 days on this trip to Hawaii). It was in the 60’s, then 70’s, then 80’s as we got close to Hawaii. It was nice enough each day to sit out on deck, but some days you were in a swimsuit and others you were in a jogging suit. If you bring one sweater/sweatshirt, you will be fine. The sea is very deep and a gorgeous blue. Some others saw dolphins in our wake. The sea was very choppy and it was hard to walk some days due to the heat. The sunsets were great and the full moon shone like the sun some evenings. Hawaii is an absolutely gorgeous place and you could easily spend weeks there. But, by the end of our 4 days, we were ready to get back on the ship to get some rest. There are hardly any shells on the beaches we went to, but lots of nice sand and views. Cell phone reception (both sprint and AT&T were very good on the islands). We spent 5 days at sea going to Hawaii 4 days in Hawaii and 4 days returning from Hawaii. This was a good mix of sea and land time. *HILO-we were scheduled to arrive at 8, but delayed until noon. We heard that it rains every day in Hilo, but it was in the 80’s and sunny all day. Our only disappointment was that we did not receive lays when we got off at this first port. Hilo is an industrial port, but still very Hawaiian. Lays and flowers were available for purchase in the terminal, were inexpensive, and were approved to bring back on board (ours are still like new 3 weeks later). We rented a car from Thrifty and went to the volcano. There was a long line for taxis and the free Hilo Hattie shuttle but the rental van picked up our group of 6 and took us to the airport (just a few minutes away). They gave us good maps and tips. The rental process went smooth and we stopped at Wal-Mart on the way to the volcano to pick up a few necessaries (also a good place to buy souvenirs). Gas was about the same as the mainland and roads were in excellent condition. Traffic is not bad and It took about 45 minutes to the volcano ($10 per car to get in) and the volcano took about 4 hours (we did the whole volcano and chain of craters). If you get a chance GO TO THE VOLCANO. What you have seen on TV cannot measure up to the actual experience. We did the whole thing by car, stopping and getting out just briefly. We took over 100 pictures. You can stop at the macadamia nut factory or the black sand beach on your way back to the rental car return. Hilo was great. *KONA-we tendered in, a short ride. The whole town is within walking distance of the pier. It was very hot and humid in Kona. There is also a farmers market daily from 8:30-5 with lots of fresh fruit and crafts. Surf gear and clothing is inexpensive – especially at shops further from the pier. Kona coffee was cheaper here than at the Wal-Mart in Hilo. The water in Kona is CRYSTAL clear and full of sea creatures. There is a great sea-wall and a banyan tree, lots of photo ops, but be careful of the waves breaking over the wall and drenching you. In the early morning, the beach at Kilua pier is nice, but it gets covered by the water in the afternoon. Be wary of cheap activities; don’t trade your day for a time share pitch just to get a discount on snorkeling. A bus to the “snorkel beach” leaves about every 20 minutes and costs $20, equipment included. The seas were too rough for snorkeling on our trip. A catholic church was within walking distance with mass at 7, 9, and 11. We did our laundry at a Laundromat and had beers at the Kona brewing company (get a cab-the walk to the brewing company is difficult and in the way of heavy traffic). Food and drinks were inexpensive and portions were big. *HONOLULU-the pier is in walking distance of downtown, but you can’t walk to Waikiki and cabs cost about $20 one-way. We walked to Chinatown and had Dim Sum at Legends Seafood Restaurant. Another person in our group had her purse snatched, so be careful. The architecture was like any typical American city, with a few unique buildings and parks. The town didn’t really seem to wake up until around 11, but it was a Sunday. We took a bus ($2) across the island to the town of Kailua and the long and wide white sand beach (it was fantastic and not at all crowded – it is a hidden treasure). We then went to Waikiki to see Henry Kapono at Duke’s Canoe Club. There was a big crowd rocking out until sunset. Waikiki beach was a lot more narrow and rocky than I expected. There is a lot of shopping and other activities at Waikiki. We came back to the ship early and enjoyed being virtually alone on board. *LAHAINA-another tender port, with a longer ride into shore. It was a comfortable 80 degrees. The pier and shore area was super busy. We rented a car from Dollar – they take drivers only to the rental area 20 minutes away – so the rest of your family must stay behind and then you have to return to pick them up. After that adventure (the car was cheap, keep telling yourself that), we drove North of Kaanapali beach to Kapalua. We parked for free at the Ritz-Carlton and walked through their property to the DT Fleming beach park (there are only 30 parking spots at the beach park and the Ritz doesn’t mind as long as you don’t try to use towels, chairs, or other facilities). Again, we were hoping to snorkel but it was too rough. Golfing is also available in this area. We then drove north on highway 30/340. In my opinion, this beats the scenery on the road to Hana any day. You go from sea level with gorgeous beaches, to desert like areas with cacti and cattle farms, to cliffs similar to the Grand Canyon, to lush green valleys with waterfalls. The road is newly expanded to 2 lanes in most areas and there was hardly any traffic. Again, we took over 100 pictures and only stopped and turned around because we had to get the rental car back. If you bring back the rental after 3, you have to get a $20 cab back to the pier. You have nice views of Molokai and Lanai from Maui. **Service – bar service and cabin stewards were awesome. As a tip, give the staff phone cards early on in the trip as a “pre-tip” to ensure good service for the whole 14 day journey. They appreciated being able to use it to call family once we were in port. Bar staff remembered your names and your drink of preference and never hurried you, neither did you have to hunt them down when you were ready to sign your tab and leave. We brought post-it notes to leave notes for our cabin steward and this was an effective way to communicate without having to page him. One thing that could be improved was for celebrity to have a number to call when you are done with your room service tray. We didn’t really know what to do with the tray, so it just sat all day with dirty plates. All of the staff was very polite and accommodating, and there were some grumpy and difficult passengers on board our cruise. We were missing a suitcase on the first day and the guest relations staff quickly found it and apologized for the delay and inconvenience. The captain and other crew gave us prompt and complete information about any changes to itinerary. The weather was very rough coming home and I now understand why we had to make changes to get us home on time and safe. **Disembarkation – if you have cruised, you know the drill. You get color coded tags, put them on your luggage and hope you find the luggage the next day at the pier. You also have to get up at the crack of dawn to go sit in a public lounge. All that was true on this cruise, except breakfast was served up to 8:30am and the luggage was easy to find at pier side. We got off the ship at 10am and took a shuttle to the airport. I was disappointed that there was no “luggage valet” where you can check your bags at their pier. That was part of the reason we chose a flight after noon and a flight on United. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
We took back to back cruises for a total cruise of 28 nights on the Infinity and remained in the same cabin for the entire trip. The first cruise was Ft. Lauderdale through the Panama Canal to San Diego. The second trip was round trip Ft. ... Read More
We took back to back cruises for a total cruise of 28 nights on the Infinity and remained in the same cabin for the entire trip. The first cruise was Ft. Lauderdale through the Panama Canal to San Diego. The second trip was round trip Ft. Lauderdale to Hawaii. My parents are in their 80s and cannot say enough good things about how they were treated overall. Because of their age we took trip insurance through Celebrity, because Medicare covers nothing outside of the United States. Because we are all retired and enjoy cruising the "pod" problem of the Infinity did not affect us, but it did cause quite a bit of inconvenience for others. Since we are from Wisconsin making our own air arrangements we flew down to Ft. Lauderdale on Midwest Express (only way to fly) a day early. In the morning we boarded the Ramada shuttle at not cost to the dock. The bad news is that although we arrive just before 12, because of U.S. Customs, embarkation was delayed for about 2 hours. At least they had seats for us. Because I completed all cruise information online, checking in was simple for us. We decided to take an inside cabin for the entire trip, because we could get more bang for the bucks. Although the room is only 175 sq feet., we found it to be fine for the three of us. My parents slept on the beds, which they said were excellent, and I had the sofa coach. I am over 6 feet and nearly 300 pounds and had no problems. Because we were going to be gone for 28 nights, we did laundry on board. The Infinity doesn't have guest laundry. You have to pay. The prices were reasonable and the laundry was returned the next day. We were extremely pleased with the quality. We decided to take main seat dining, and we were given the option to have the same excellent wait team of Alkam and Ivan for both cruises. The food and service was superb. We never had one bad meal. In the morning we would normally go to the restaurant, and by the end of the trip we knew everyone on the wait staff and they knew us. Again service was superb. Although the Panama Cruise stopped at various ports on and after the canal, we just ventured off the ship to do some exploring and didn't do any of the excursions, because we were mostly interested in the Panama Canal. We started crossing the canal at 6 a.m. and finished 10 hours later. This was an experience of a life-time. The Infinity just fit. I could have easily touched either side of the locks as we went through them. The weather was perfect and we only had a few drops of rain. When we arrived in San Diego, we were given notification by letter and several phone calls on what to do. This is one area the Celebrity could do a better job of informing guests exactly what to do. We found out on our own that we should go through on board security again as we were really starting a new cruise. Again just a minor inconvenience. We decided to remain on board. Once again U.S. customs delayed the loading of the ship only by about 30 minutes. When we went for lunch at noon at the buffet, the staff informed us that, because of the delay the buffet was going to open a half hour later. When an officer heard this he came us to us and said they would open the buffet just for us. Talk about service!!!! We declined and said we could wait until 12:30. The staff nevertheless got us our drinks before the buffet opened. The cruise to Hawaii was 4 days and the cruise back was 5 and 1/2 days. In fact the ship came in about 6 hours late. We got an extra lunch, but people who had flights before five were in real trouble. I had a motel room reserved for that night as we were flying out the next day. I think people need to remember that ships are not like airlines. According to the captain the delay coming back was caused because of winds and swells. However, as most individuals know the Infinity has problems with its pods. If the pods would have been working at 100%, there would not have been a delay. Through out the entire cruise I used the gym every day, and was surprised at how many people were working out to reduce the effect of all of the excellent food. At this time I should mentioned that our afternoon meals were all taken at the Aqua Spa Cafe. Superb healthy food -- one of the best kept secrets of the Infinity. Once we arrived in the Hawaiian Islands we were the typical tourists who had never been there before, and tool all of the introductory tours. The tours that stand out most were the visits to the following: U.S.S. Arizona, volcano bus tour, and plantation tour. If you are looking at cruise line that delivers excellence service and superb food, Celebrity is for you. The Infinity was the perfect ship to spend 28 nights on. Or as I told my parents, it is cheaper per day than assisted living. What more can I say. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
We were cruising on Infinity RT LA-Hawaii for 14 days, from 10.22.06 to 11.05.06. Here's my review about the cruise and the ship. It is quite long, but I tried to make it more or less comprehensive, so deal with it. Our short ... Read More
We were cruising on Infinity RT LA-Hawaii for 14 days, from 10.22.06 to 11.05.06. Here's my review about the cruise and the ship. It is quite long, but I tried to make it more or less comprehensive, so deal with it. Our short background. This will help you to adjust/level up our observations. My wife and myself are in our late 40s-early 50s. We cruised 5 times before Celebrity, with 4 different cruise lines, ranging from Radisson Seven Seas to Royal Caribbean, so one may consider us as somewhat experienced in cruising. We came to the US from Europe (naturalized with over 13 years of living in this blessed country), so in addition to the age/experience factor, we have fairly unbiased opinion with regards to what's expected by both Americans and Europeans from a cruise trip in general. This is important because on every cruise ship you see people of various nationalities and ethnicities - cruise reported here was not an exception, we had a large group of German tourists, and all PA announcements were made both in English and in German. We also belong to a more physically active kind of cruisers, enjoying swimming/snorkeling (to a great degree), sports, dancing, etc. We like to explore ports to the fullest, using every chance to look for far-from-ordinary attractions and places. About this review. I express here our (and our only) opinion, based on thorough study of the Internet data, scrupulous observations during the cruise and conversations with other cruise guests and crewmembers. If you'd find this review atrociously wrong and shamelessly partial - sorry, can't help you. I will not mention the names of our waiters/stewards/deck boys etc., because it is useless. Nobody would remember those, and nobody from both sides - the guests and the crew, because unless you tipped happy Hassan a grand, he will forget your name and face the second you disembark. I can't stop wondering how naive are those reviewers who often write ...if you'd see Hassan, say hi from me.... God bless their pure hearts. Finally, you won't find here the word - whisked (away), because it's one the most often used clichEs in the cruise reviews. I just hate it, sorry. SUMMARY OF "CELEBRITY SECRETS THEY WON'T TELL YOU..." Despite of all the rave and excitement about such renowned topic on this board, I can honestly tell you that 5 out of 6 these "secrets" are not secrets at all  I'll give a few for-examples. You don't need to pre-order escargots and shrimp cocktails in advance  they are listed on the left page of daily menu in the main restaurant, and are available for anybody every evening. Just order them. Waffle and sandwich station of Ocean View Cafe at the stern is depicted on the plan placed at the entrance to the Cafe. Two electric outlets above the desk are quite enough for all of your charging purposes - no need to drag a power strip with you. I had a camcorder, a digi, a computer, and a cell phone (charger)  never had a conflict of their interests. Yes, bathroom-installed hair dryer sucks, but you can't use your own (neither you can use your iron in the cabin)  warning sign quite aggressively tells you about responsibility for any fire damage, etc., which this unauthorized use may cause. Desserts in Cova Cafe are free and are about 90% the same as in the Ocean View Cafe on 10th deck at the teatime - they tell you this straight and all the time. By the way, I've red somewhere that Celebrity's canapEs are not good - not true! We enjoyed them immensely, every day of our 2 weeks onboard they had a variety of up to 10 canapE types, and they all were exquisite. Ordering extra dessert - and in any quantity - is not a secret, it is always suggested by your waiter, as is a substitute for an appetizer/entree/dessert which is not prepared to your liking. The absence of a clock in your cabin is something mysteriously typical for any cruise ship, thus, you should bring it with you not only to Celebrity ship, but anytime you are going cruising... We brought several large bottles of Evian with us, which wasn't really necessary, since water, juices, fruit punch and lemonade were available by the glass pretty much the whole day in the food courts (you can pour it yourself or ask a waiter to bring you one). I saw some smart people pouring water or fruit punch into gallon size jugs - for the whole family, apparently. Plus, each stateroom has small stainless pitcher with cold drinkable water, and an ice bucket; these were replenished by room attendants frequently. There is also quite passionate discussion on this message board about the sturdiness of mattresses on the X ships. Many say they hate em. I can't complain  it was really sturdy, but it did not bother me at all, despite of my bad lower back. In fact, I slept better on that mattress than on my own at home. What bothered us during the night (besides the gurgling sound of elderly fridge) was a strange hissing sound coming from outside the room - a pipe? An underwater stabilizer? We were unable to find out, hence just learned to ignore it. PRE-CRUISE A lot of confusion was caused by Celebrity's double standard regarding BYOA (bring your own alcohol) policy, which is/was extensively discussed on this forum. Recent increase of the corkage fee and explanation of the policy by various Celebrity execs are even more confusing. I studied Celebrity's wine list thoroughly and found that many wines from that list (or their close analogs, for that matter) I can buy at Californian liquor stores for a half of what is asked by Celebrity. For example, a pair of our often enjoyed over dinner German Piesporter Spatlese wines (reg. $ 13-15) costs $27-32 onboard, plus 15% gratuity... I was surprised to find (not in the brochure/Web site, but by inquiring with Celebrity reps on the phone) that Martell Cordon Bleu is in the Celebrity Bon Voyage liquor package (#C712) for only $80, but quickly learned that this package is "not available anymore". Apparently, because in the stores this cognac already costs $90-95... Thus, we took a good hard look on possible scenario of being caught while bootlegging alcohol onboard (sans much hated Celebrity's greed and infamous RCL new "BYOA" policy), and packed 2 bottles of hard liquors and 4 bottles of selected wines in our suitcases. Not a single sound. Nothing was said or touched. Viva la TSA. All bottles made it to our cabin unharmed, fulfilling their purpose within next 14 days. The money we saved on booze went into a massage combo for my wife, and into a couple of car rentals on the islands. No kidding. We easily saved around 300 bucks on drinks. Just to tickle your interest: on the last night, when we went to the specialty restaurant SS United States, we purchased a glass of mediocre quality chateau-neuve (really over-dried), which supposed to make my steak Diane even more pleasurable, and a glass of the above-mentioned $13-15 piesporter for my wife's magnificent halibut and paid for the two glasses $38 with tip. Do your math. Yes, we saw not even one couple that was drinking a bottle of wine every night in the dining room (bought from sommelier). We also met people who claimed to drink 6-8-10 cocktails per day. To me, if you want to get wasted, there is more productive way than to pay several hundreds extra just to have a chance to loose your face on a rocky ship. But this is a long-standing marine tradition, right? That's the way Celebrity handles this issue. That's your double standard, pure and simple. Overpricing is a characteristic feature of Celebrity, no pun intended. I checked excursion list and quickly found that even "cheap" walking tours in Lahaina or Honolulu would cost for a couple more than this couple would spend renting a car for a day. We ended up renting a car in each port, and never regretted that decision  it gives you a lot of freedom, and if you study the islands/ports well in advance, you may essentially see more and go further than your fellow cruisers who booked the excursion from Celebrity. It was very obvious in such popular spots as National Volcano Park (Big Island)  we easily avoided the crowded buses and enjoyed a solitude and wilderness of the park at our own pace. I've also talked to people who booked in advance either snorkeling tours or helicopter rides with local providers, and everybody was very happy with the quality of service and pricing. Do not even dare to use mini-bar onboard. Seriously. First thing we did was that we asked our steward to remove all the tiny devil bottles from the fridge and used it efficiently to store our own booze, sandwiches for the next day trips, and chocolates. (Strangely, the fridge was making so much noise during nights onboard that we had a hard time to go to sleep when came back home - we missed the clunking sound of rattled compressor). What's amazing, dry cleaning/laundry was probably the only service onboard which did not force your eyebrows travel to the upper end of the forehead. It was not cheap, but tolerable, and considering duration of the trip, the absence of laundromats onboard, and very confined and humid bathroom (hence drying dump or wet clothes, especially bathing suits or sports gear was a permanent pain)  it is worth the price. I tried to inquire before the cruise regarding prices for various treatments and packages (listed proudly on Celebrity Web site for Infinity's Elemis Spa); however, Celebrity's reps were totally speech-impaired about it. When we took a spa tour onboard, I understood why - the use of Elemis Spa would torpedo anybody's shipboard account big time. Of course, if you are a spa junkie, and determined to have your teeth whitened only on Infinity ($200-250), or you are dying without mud therapy for only $400, or can't wait to see your renewed face after facial worth $350 - that shouldn't bother you... EMBARKATION We showed at the Terminal around noon. Dropped our suitcases at curbside and spent about 10 min in the line waiting for initial security check. Since we have registered on-line, bar-coded passes were at hands, and our registration with purser's desk was very short, which essentially meant checking on our passports and scanning our credit card to establish a shipboard account. Then we walked through the wall-of-shame (traditional picture-taking) and stepped onboard of Infinity. Traditional cheap champagne and "mimosa" drinks were abundant in the main lobby. The whole embarkation procedure took about 20-25 min, which was very efficient. I grant this to our decision to come 2 hours earlier of scheduled embarkation beginning  later on I looked down from the deck and saw people standing in line on the gangway and far further into Terminal. GENERAL DESCRIPTION AND CONDITION OF THE SHIP For a 5-year old ship, which was never officially refurbished, she actually looks extremely good. We were impressed with condition of public areas, both furniture and dEcor, including carpets. Yes, you see occasional signs of wear and tear, but they were much less visible than we expected. Exterior (salt-related rust of metal surfaces, peeling paint on window sills and varnish on hand rails, etc.) was also noticeable, but to much lesser degree, because crew was constantly working on repairing/repainting/replacing and so on the type of repair one can see on any other cruise ship. Design of the ship is not entirely ergonomically correct, considering that many passengers are in their 70-s or 80-s. We also had a number of fellow cruisers in the wheel chairs. Three sets of elevators are probably OK for a ship of this size, but the most often used mid-ship set of 4 elevators is placed closer to the aft, thus, folks from the bow-placed cabins have to walk long corridors in order to get to the Trellis restaurant or to the Ocean View Cafe. There are twelve decks on Infinity, two upper being considered sports decks (plus Constellation Lounge for dancing and entertaining on 11th deck). Deck 10 has two pools; one of them is under the glass roof in the AquaSpa. Gym, Elemis Spa, and Ocean View Cafe are also placed on the same deck. (I have to mention here a very cool thing on Infinity  a sauna, which is in the AquaSpa. Incredible views of the ocean through huge porthole in combination with dry heat, followed by a cold shower  great!). Decks 9, 8, 7, and 6 contain cabins and suites. Deck 5 has upper entrances to the Celebrity theater (bow) and Trellis restaurant (stern), Emporium shopping plaza, large bar area separated into Champagne and Martini bars, and Cova cafe Milano  one of the most revered places for gourmands onboard. Deck 4, accordingly, has main entrances to the Trellis and Celebrity, Michael's Club (piano bar), Fortunes casino, photo gallery, and Rendezvous Lounge. Besides some cabin space, deck 3 features Guest Relations and Excursions Desk, SS United States (a specialty restaurant), and a Cinema/Conference Center. Finally, deck 2 has oceanview cabins. Overall, the speed of the ship was very impressive (23-25 knots at sea), and ship motion (rocking) was quite noticeable only during a couple of days at sea on our way back. Stabilizers help, I gather. I am not going to discuss here Infinity's propulsion pod problem this topic is covered extensively elsewhere. I want to say just this: when going on the cruise for 4 days in the middle of the ocean, it is not really comforting to think that ship has inherited a serious mechanical design flaw. We had 2000 fellow cruisers onboard. On the ship this big you always could find a quiet corner I immensely enjoyed a nice leather chair in the empty library room (second floor yes, yes, it has two floors... and the entrance is on the first), when I was writing. Quality of ship's dEcor is uneven in a lot of places it looks very nice, in many it is somewhat dull, especially the choice of carpet colors in combination with eye-popping blue rays (ceiling lights in numerous areas). Bright-blue color dominates in public places, but after a couple of days you get accustomed to it. I personally found it quite intriguing the color of sushi (tuna) and of some cold cuts wasn't really red in those blue rays! Glass sculptures and porcelain figurines scattered throughout the ship are really tasteless... but hey, no one is perfect (and I am talking about my taste, I guess). So we were quite pleased with condition of public areas. The cabins  different talk. We opted out for the ocean view cabin, because we are more active and social than those balcony-sitting folks, and we spend far more time outside of our stateroom during days at sea. We use every minute of days at ports, so having a balcony is nice but not imperative. When we first crossed the doorstep of our cabin, a heavy cigar stench kicked up so strong that we immediately closed the door. The steward was very apologetic but said that he just replaced the steward working here on the previous cruise, and he has no idea about the smell. Two deodorizing treatments within next three hours did nothing; in fact, the smell became even more unbearable because the chemical vapors mixed up with cigar stench. Visit to guest relation desk did help, but in a dissatisfactory way we were offered a step down, a cabin of lower category. Not an upgrade or even a similar category  we were told that the ship is fully booked. I inquired about compensation, but was immediately told that this has to be handled by Celebrity Cruises headquarters, after the cruise (and yes, they did... they offered us $80 to cover up our downgrade...). So I could compare at least two different cabins regarding their condition. Here you have it  closet doors with ripped out and replaced hinges, stains on the carpets, outdated Philips TV sets, bed spreads in such condition that we rolled one in our room out immediately and told steward never put it back again, upholstery on the chair and the sofa in such a shape that we never sat on them without covering by a towel... Do not take me wrong; I am not saying that Celebrity is worse than any other cruise line with regards to cabin condition. It's just obvious the ship needs to be refurbished. Yes, stewards were going beyond belief in their efforts to make it look nice n cozy, but if remote control has a battery lid held by scotch tape, a toilet sit has a permanent (and really weird) yellow stain underneath, and a shower curtain smells funny... It's time. One more odd thing. In our originally scheduled cabin the bed was positioned in the middle of the room (headboard to the wall). In the other cabin it was placed headboard to the window, which created an unusual problem  a/c outlet was blowing a strong and permanent current of fresh air that was traveling along the ceiling and then curved down when hitting the window wall. We asked our steward to think of something... and he did (apparently, this was familiar issue for him)  he created an elaborate cardboard/duct tape construction, siphoning the air down from the outlet. Yet another weird stuff. I red about high levels of chlorine/bleach concentration in the AquaSpa pool before the cruise and chuckled in disbelief. I was wrong. First several days it was hard even to pass by that place  the chlorine odor was eye-itchingly strong. When the threat of potential disease outbreaks went away at the end of the cruise, it was actually almost pleasurable to sit under the roof of Aquaspa, when the weather kicked back to cold on the last two days of the cruise. FOOD AND DINING EXPERIENCE This is something what supposedly makes Celebrity a shining beacon among other cruise companies. Well, I should say yes, but to a certain degree. Our TA said that X's expenditures on the food are about 20% more than of other lines. That doesn't necessarily mean great quality, and even dining room staff admits that after X was bought by RCL, the corners started to get cut, and what was once a trademark of Celebrity, is not that anymore. Compared to RCL itself, of course, it is far better. But compared to Radisson, for example not at all. The food in the main dining room was consistently good, but not fantastic. Breakfast in the Ocean View Cafe was ordinary even for RCL or Princess, with a couple of nice touches such as fresh made waffles. Juice selections were standard, omelet stations were average, the choice of cold cuts was very limited, etc. Service during breakfast was very uneven; once we found a good waiter(s), we preferred to stick with him for the rest of the cruise. Lunch was way better, especially the sandwich station and the pasta station. Pizza was probably the worst part of lunch selection, and it wasn't a fault of the serving staff  it's just they had it frozen and then reheated, I guess. The AquaSpa Cafe had limited but good choice of healthy alternative food during breakfast and lunch. Teatime was even better than lunch, particularly because of great canapEs served both in Cova and in the Ocean View Cafe. Then you have your sushi at 5 pm, which were good (not incredible, but very consistent and you can have as much of them as you wish...). Finally, comes dinnertime two seatings, at 6.30 and at 8.30. We had later seating and were very happy with it no rush from the shore to get dressed for dinner, smaller crowd, and therefore, faster service. I enjoyed appetizers and soups to a great degree. Seafood entrees were good without fail, as were beef/pork entrees (with rare exceptions). Veal and lamb entrees were uneven to my taste. There were a few really delicious entrees during those two weeks, but it tells you that in the whole the quality of dinner on Infinity is just somewhat better than industry average. A good word has to be said about desserts. Pastry chef and his assistant on Infinity are true masters; we enjoyed each and every dessert we asked for during dinners, plus their numerous intricate creations in Cova Cafe. Specialty restaurant (SS United States) was very good: final meal preparation is done at your table, serving is close to perfection, and food appearance and taste are great... too bad you have to pitch in $60 for a couple to get what is a standard thing on high-end cruise lines (I mentioned above the outrageous wine pricing on Celebrity ships. This dinner with 2 glasses of mediocre wine raked around $100 for the two of us not big deal, you'd say. I tend to agree, but don't forget that this was extra to our already paid for food in the main restaurant... and onboard of Seven Seas Mariner this kind of dinner would cost us nothing!) One thing was quite irritating: we had our table on the balcony, starboard, and in order to get there we had to pass every time by the galley's doors. The smell of cheap restaurant (a combo of strong disinfectant plus fatty stale plates plus something else... you know what I'm talking about!) was getting progressively stronger with cruise advancement. It is very hard to enjoy your meal while you smell that kind of stuff, trust me. We ordered room service a couple of times, mostly sandwiches  they were of average quality. Delivery was timely, thanks to our attendant. X is well-known (and is very proud) of it's buffets. I agree - with one remark. Most of the buffets were complete waste of chefs efforts and the produce late night buffets most certainly did not get even a half of the prepared meals, cakes, etc., eaten. I saw a couple of very tired and frustrated looks on the faces of kitchen staff when they had to drag almost untouched dishes back to the galley. But this is the way the cookie crumbles in this type of industry, I guess. INTERNET Price of 75 c per min may not seem to be a showstopper, but consider this (and I timed it): average (!) time for opening of Yahoo mail page takes about 5-6 min from the moment you logged in your ship account, because of the very slow (via satellite) connectivity. Wi-Fi, as staff told me, works fast only within Infinity intranet  then it goes through the same satellite, so there you have it. In addition, for Wi-Fi you have to pay extra - $5 if you use hot spots, or $10 if you use from your cabin. My average daily e-mail charge was $11-15 for one or two short messages. Mind you, because of the computer setting, you can't compile the text before you log in, so you still waste money while working with the Word. ENTERTAINMENT Can't say much about that. We did not go to the shows every day, checked just a pair of production shows. The Infinity show cast has four singers, two of which are really good. Dancing group is average, and there also was a pair of very unique air gymnasts, everybody enjoyed their part quite a bit in each show. The costumes of the troupe were fantastic, this compensated for the lack of brilliancy in the performance. As always, there was a band, on Infinity it is a group of seven or eight musicians form Philippines, with three singers. Their repertoire was somewhat limited, as were their voices. String quartet was playing in Cova Cafe before dinner and then in Trellis restaurant; their performance was solid but not extraordinary. A solo guitarist with great skills always played in the Ocean View Cafe after 6 pm. There were other musicians on the ship, a duet of piano/guitar players for dancing enjoyment of older fellow cruisers in the Champagne Bar, and a pianist in the Michaels Club  can't say they were great either. I guess, quality of musical (or entertainment overall) performance onboard of any cruise ship is not something people are going after anyway. Infinity is not an exception here as well. SPORTS Infinity has a gym with a number of various workout equipment and dedicated staff who provides classes of aerobics, yoga, etc. There is a jogging track on deck 11, which was used substantially during two stretches of days at sea. Table tennis is set on deck 10 (ironically, right next to the smoking area...), and a great plus of Infinity (as of other M-class ships, I figured) is a basketball court on deck 12. We had a great basketball game between the crew team (leaded by the captain) and the guest team. One can also play "compromised" tennis (with modified racquets), volleyball and even soccer (short court version). All these games were played during days at sea. It wasn't easy to play ballgames with winds over 15 mph and the ship rocking like crazy; this feels quite a bit on the top deck. However, the games were competitive and helped participants to burn calories, as planned. DISEMBARKATION It was ugly. Everybody can confirm that. Forget color codes. Forget "approximate" time slots to appear before the eyes of five (yes, there were only five of them for 2,000 passengers!) Customs officers in the Theater. We spent over two hours in the wavy labyrinth-like line of tired, sweaty, angry people, marching through the same lounges several times as the line progressed. I do not understand why it was organized like that. One possible explanation is that on that Sunday there were two (!!!) more ships disembarking at the same time, and the port authorities decided to at least somehow put this havoc under control. Well, they failed. Hundreds of cars simultaneously tried to find a spot to upload their parties on just about 20 or so parking spots along our terminal. Porters were dropping luggage in three or four rows along the road. Somehow we managed to get into the car with all our suitcases unharmed. I looked over the shoulder back  the great Infinity was getting ready for the next leg... OVERALL IMPRESSION For our 2-week trip, 75,000 lbs of fresh fruits were loaded up on Infinity. About 50,000 lbs of vegetables. 2,000 lbs of ground coffee. Thousands and thousands of pounds of meat, poultry, veal, seafood, flour, sugar, etc.... It just kills you to think how much of all that food was dumped unused. The food was always a trademark of Celebrity, I was told. To a certain degree, this promise was fulfilled. But even dining room staff was overly critical about how things have changed since RCL took over Celebrity. X cruise line was created in the attempt to fill the gap between "first class" cruise lines and "economy" class of Costa, RCL and the likes. Something of "economy plus" class, I gather. Maybe, somewhere in the Concierge Class staterooms of Infinity this "plus" is still possible to feel, but for us, coach-class folks, it was a Princess-class food and entertainment, conjoined with beaten-up Windstar-class cabins and RCL-class shrewdness in the attempts to squeeze some extra money from you. Will I go again with Celebrity? Why not? After all, it is a decline in the whole cruising business, not only in Celebrity Cruises. Oh wait! Did I say decline? No, they call it "streamlining"... Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
Infinity Cruise review to Hawaii, October 22, 2006, Los Angeles R/T Me: Mid 40's (EEK, how'd that happen?) guy from the San Francisco Bay Area. Former chef into food, good wines, ocean liner history, and cruises. 25 or so ... Read More
Infinity Cruise review to Hawaii, October 22, 2006, Los Angeles R/T Me: Mid 40's (EEK, how'd that happen?) guy from the San Francisco Bay Area. Former chef into food, good wines, ocean liner history, and cruises. 25 or so cruises under my belt, fifth cruise on Celebrity, have sailed on Cunard, Crystal, Princess, and assorted other lines now out of business (not my fault, I promise!) starting when I was four. Itinerary: Fourteen days- Los Angeles; four sea days; Lahaina, Maui; Hilo, Hawaii; Kona, Hawaii; Honolulu, Oahu; four sea days (brief one hour call in Ensenada to satisfy Jones Act- passengers do not disembark); Los Angeles. Summary: The cruise was wonderful, one of the most relaxing cruises I've ever been on, and I highly recommend this itinerary as the perfect combination of relaxing time at sea, and interesting ports in the middle. By having four sea days at either end, we weren't overly tired from a port intensive trip when we returned to Los Angeles. We came to be on this cruise after MANY switches. We were originally booked on a Caribbean Cruise next Spring, and switched that to the same cruise this December, but then switched that to matched crossings on the QM2 this October. But we cruised with friends this past Spring on the Constellation, and they convinced us to switch again. Great decision! We were cruising with folks we'd met on-line through Cruise Critics - one couple we'd met in 2004, and this was our fourth cruise together. The other two couples are from California, and have become great friends, too. We all cruised together on the Constellation Transatlantic in April/May, so this was a reunion cruise of sorts for us. Pre-cruise: We flew down to Long Beach on Jet Blue, and our friends met us at the airport and drove us to our hotel. Easy flight, and easy ride. Long Beach airport is only a few miles closer to the ports than LAX, but is infinitely easier to get in and out of. Sort of stuck in the 50's, it's a small and easily maneuverable airport. If you're coming from the East Coast, Jet Blue has some non-stop flights. I'm an ocean liner buff, and, as part of my birthday present, my partner, Ed, treated us to a night on the original Queen Mary, docked in Long Beach. If you love new cruise ships, and the sparkle of fresh paint, the perfect dEcor of nice lobbies, and impeccable cleanliness DON'T stay on the Queen Mary! It's definitely seen better days, and the cabins, even the deluxe ones, lack some of the basic amenities we're all used to on modern day cruise ships. So I had a bad experience, right? Nope, had more fun in the 16 or so hours we were there! We were greeted by a long line to check in, as we arrived at 3:00 or so, but there was a waiter with chilled sparkling wine (so-so wine, but it did lift one's spirits!). We went to our room, which faced the pier (hint: pay more to face the harbor, with Long Beach across the water.) It was hardly large, not too well kept up, but the bed was comfortable, and, from a historic standpoint, wonderful. We explored the ship, saw the first class dining room, had drinks up at the bar, and ate at the casual Promenade Grill. As guests on the ship, we also had access to the curated show on the ship and its heyday, which, for me, was a big thrill. The ship has definitely seen better days, and I'd love to see a complete renovation, but baring that, I hope it stays, as it would be a tragedy to loose such a piece of maritime history. Certainly worth a visit, if you don't want to stay on board. For those that sailed in the old days, it brought back many wonderful memories of my crossings as a child. If you don't want to stay there, some of our friends had a wonderful experience at the Renaissance in Long Beach, and our other friends stayed at the Hyatt. I'd much rather stay in Long Beach the night before, as there much more to do than in San Pedro (Port of L.A.) and the cab ride over isn't that expensive ($16.00 + tip). Embarkation: About as smooth as one could hope. We arrived at 11:30 and we were on the ship within 20 minutes of stepping out of the cab, including registration. We did use the on-line pre-board option, but no one seemed to be waiting. With sparkling wine in hand- more of the so-so variety, but it did feel festive to have a little wine, we went to deck 10 aft for lunch, and to work out our Specialty Restaurant reservations. One thing about Infinity is that the wine cellar in the United States restaurant can't seat 8, only 6. As we were traveling with three other couples, we had to dine in the main room of restaurant (Oh, how I have to suffer.) but if you have a chance on any of the M class ships, the wine room makes for a very fun night! With reservations set, we went off to the spa for spa appointments, and then some lunch o.k. I had pizza I'm a trained chef, with very esoteric tastes, but sometimes the ultimate indulgence is a little junk food! The pizza station is aft deck 10, on the Starboard side, and if you remember to allow 15 extra minutes, they'll make up a pizza to your liking! So with Pizza in hand, we went off to the outdoor deck behind the casual dining area ahhh, the cruise has started. All our friends joined us, and it was old home week, with lots of laughter, and fun stories. We also went to check on our dining room table in the main dining room- we'd hoped to be near the aft window. There was a mistake in our seating assignments, so only four of us were at the same table, with two other couples. The other four were scattered about the room the Asst maitre d was very nice and accommodating (especially since our friends had already made inquiries, and gotten us at the same table, so we were, in essence, pestering her with a problem she was already trying to solve) We stressed what we hoped for and they promised to try and the best news: our waiter from the last Infinity cruise, who was promoted to Asst Maitre d in the middle of that cruise, was just rejoining the ship that day. Johannes is the type of host that really does live up to the hype about being treated famously, and we were happy that he'd be on-board again. Again, we were with our friends Ted & Diana, Susan & Ed, and Karyn & Bill. The advantage of cruising with this gang is that everyone knows the ships, knows what to do, where to go, etc., so we all share an easy rhythm on board no stepping on toes, etc. But, one of the advantages of this cruise for all cruisers is that you have the time to learn that rhythm, even if it's your first cruise. We met again for sail-out on the aft deck, right after the muster drill, and Ed donned an outfit our friends Marjorie and Joel sent as a Bon Voyage gift: a lei, a grass skirt, and a double coconut bra! Since it was a Halloween, folks seemed to get the fun vibe, and enjoy our silliness. There was a cruise critic meet and greet, organized by folks on the website, and I stopped by to say hello. One note about traveling with friends: we've cruised all ways alone, with a few friends, with a larger group, and with a large cruise critic roll call group. We've always just chosen a large table in the dining room, and hoped for the best, and it's always worked out. Now that we've gathered so many cruising friends, we already have our table set, which is wonderful- we jump right in where we left off the last time. But it does mean that we interact with the others on the ship less. So, while on past trips, we've spent a lot of time with the Cruise Critic folks, we didn't see as much of them this time. Both ways are fine ways to travel, but each provides a slightly different experience. If you're traveling with a group or your family, it takes a little more effort to meet others, whereas when we've traveled without knowing anyone, we meet hundreds of folks right away! We went down to unpack, and then prepare for dinner. We were on deck 6 aft, in a Concierge Class cabin- the price was wonderful, and only a few dollars more than a regular balcony cabin, so definitely worth it. Fresh flowers, more (so-so, but we drank it!) sparkling wine, nice Egyptian cotton linens and towels, and a few other little niceties. Not worth an extra $1,000., but if it's close, go for Concierge Class. You also get priority tendering ashore, which can help, and invitations to a special tea. We had a larger than normal verandah, which was a treat, with two chairs, a table, and two chaises on it. The cabin did have a door to the Royal Suite next door, so, instead of a sofa, it had two desk chairs. We met with Edgar, our attendant, and asked if we could get something else- a little more comfort for reading the Assistant housekeeper arranged for nice upholstered chairs to be delivered that night, and we now realize that we prefer that to the sofa. We also needed extra hangars, but were amazed at how, with two clotheshorses with so much luggage, everything fit for 14 days it would be nice if the closet was a little larger Sky Suites and Family Views have more closet space, but again, it all fit. Again, as far as smooth embarkation, our luggage arrived in plenty of time to unpack and settle in. One last note about Embarkation day was that they handed us all of the invitations, Select member Captain's Club benefits, and on-board gift notices at the embarkation check-in usually, they are in the cabin waiting for us. Thinking about this, it might help speed the cabins being ready, so I think this is a good change! The Sea days: O.k., so it took us all about two minutes to get in our cruise groove! We met every night before dinner in the Martini Bar, and then walked down to our table (yes, Johannes and the other Asst maitre d worked magic, and we had the table right at the back window) Our waiter, Francisco, was friendly, without being intrusive although some might argue that we were having such a good time, it was hard for him to get a word in edgewise. A very nice assistant waiter, who's name three weeks later escapes me, but who kept us constantly in bottled water. Some folks complain that the waiters push the Evian water to make more money. If you don't want it, just tell them the first night that you'll be drinking regular water for the trip, and they won't bother you. But our gang has found that, even with very good desalinization, the water contains a lot of sodium (not so that you can taste it). That combined with the higher salt content in the food makes some peoples' feet and hands swell. Others, it doesn't affect for me, $3.75 extra for a large bottle of Evian, and having my ring and watch fit was worth it! We did also bring on water from the ports for drinking in the cabin. Back to dinners- we had, in addition to Johannes checking up on us, our assigned Asst Maitre d, Cassandra, who couldn't have been more pleasant! She and Johannes made for a great team. Service was rounded out by Larry, the sommelier, who gave us perfect service (well, we DID drink a lot of wine) He served the expensive wines and moderately priced wines with equal enthusiasm, and knew a lot about wines from our area. Each meal was many hours long, with lots of laughter, wine, good food, and camaraderie. I've honestly never been a huge fan of the food on Celebrity it is good in my book, not great, but this trip, they really seemed to improve- the seafood was much better than in the past. Those that ate red meat loved their steaks, and we all found many good appetizers and soups. Salads and pastas are the weak point of the main dining room, but we always were steered to the best dishes by Francisco, and given second appetizers if no soups or salads appealed. (for pasta lovers, try the pasta bar in the casual dining area- much better!) So now you know our evening routine every day the days were spent relaxing I usually did four or five miles on the jogging path or on the treadmill. We used the thallasotherapy pool, and did a few massages. Ed spent a lot of time at the pool, getting darker than I've ever seen him! We'd meet for lunch, and alternated between the pizza, the sandwich bar, the hamburger/taco bar (Ed's favorite) and the spa cafe (mine) We avoided the actual buffet, one, because we didn't want too much food, and, two, because it seemed crowded with the complaining crowd, the same group we saw most often going to early seating (vast stereotype, but it's been borne out cruise after cruise, so unless you need to eat early for medical reasons, try late seating.  I managed to read three books, to see two movies in the movie theatre, and to nap every afternoon. I even played Bingo once. We're not show/lecture/activity people, but always managed to find enough to keep us relaxingly busy or busily relaxed, your choice. In the evenings, we've usually gambled some, but not on this trip&we did have sushi in the late afternoon, again on the aft deck, one of my favorite places. The weather was, for the most part, quite smooth, and we enjoyed many hours staring out to sea, watching sunsets, etc. There were even dolphin sightings. I think we had about two minutes of rain on the way over, and about three hours on the way back unfortunately raining out the Captain's basketball challenge of the passengers, but we think it was because he was threatened by the passenger's skill! (HAH!) Really nice captain, by the way- very personable, and good looking if you notice those things many women, and a few men, did! We did go to one show, and wish we'd kept away, but I think we made a poor choice: billed as Jamaica's # one women comedienne, it was actually an un-funny male ventriloquist with a puppet doing a poor Jamaican accent. Our friends who saw some of the musical offerings said they were very good. We mostly enjoyed the pianist in the Martini bar, Zoltan, and, occasionally, with Sushi, the guitarist and vocalist on the aft deck. The Ship: In general, I think the ship was in top condition - our bed was perfect, but I believe it was the old bedding, and that the ship is due for updated bedding soon. The stateroom was in great shape, as well, with a longer shower curtain than on previous trips, so that the entire bathroom didn't get a soaking with every shower. Edgar did a great job of cleaning, and kept the flowers in both the bathroom and bedroom fresh. We noticed lots of areas of the ship where extensive reupholstery had been done, including the lounges, the staterooms, and suites. The few areas still showing wear (the jogging track) had crew members working on them the whole trip (talented guy- as I walked so much, I got to see his progress by now the track should be looking great!) I think people forget or don't know that maintenance on ships has to be done year round, and during voyages, as well as during dry dock spots of rust on a ship is part of being a ship, although I didn't see any on Infinity this time. The best improvement I noticed was the filling in of the hole between the Martini Bar and the Rendezvous lounge. By putting in a floor, there was room for the pianist in the Martini Bar, and the noise from Karaoke in the Rendezvous lounge didn't interfere with a pleasant nightcap above. The staff: You only have to re-read my review to know that I was very happy with the service on board. We had such positive experiences with staff on this trip, even dealing with the few problems, that we can't say enough good things about them. We did feel the level of service was higher in all but two areas. But remember, these two things probably constituted about 1% of our service experience. People have different personalities, so I don't want to put too fine a point on this, but we were under-whelmed with the Maitre d in the specialty restaurant. I think when he couldn't accommodate our request for the wine room, he thought we'd be unhappy customers, and treated us brusquely. But when he saw that we were really very happy with the meal and service, he warmed up. It was unfortunate that the first impression wasn't one of friendly service. Very minor, but might have kept us from going back a second night. (of course, the main dining room was SO good in terms of service, we really didn't mind) The only other less than stellar experience was in the evening casual dining venue. We ate there the night passing the Volcano flow, and, while the food was very good, the service was very poor. Unfortunately, when we pointed out that we weren't getting the attention we wanted meaning that our food wasn't coming, no one was offering water or pouring our wine (and the dining room was mostly empty), rather than get the wait staff to do their job, the Maitre d decided to tell us how experienced he was in the art of service, and schmooze us, not giving us the attention we wanted, but the kind we didn't want. We all understand that this area is the training ground for waiters, but felt an opportunity was missed here. The waiters were talking with each other, and could have quietly been asked to fulfill our requests. Halloween: If you look at the dates, you'll see that this was a Halloween cruise.  I've read about them before, and thought that's not for me! But, having gone to many costume parties and had fun, I thought what the heck. As we planned this cruise with friends, we decided to plan a group costume for the 8 of us.  Ed hit on a great idea, roles were assigned, and we quickly became giddy chatting back and forth about our costumes. I was somewhat concerned that not many people would participate, and wondered if we'd stand out (my New England background rearing its conservative head) Fortunately, from the Cruise Critic roll call, I had some sense that people would participate- I don't want to stereotype here, but those from other countries seemed like the most willing to don elaborate costumes! Would have thought those of us from the US would be more in the Halloween spirit. Anywho...So, on the night of Halloween, just leaving Honolulu, we all met at Susan and Ed's cabin for cocktails, and pre-pictures and then proceeded to the Martini Bar. We went as the cast of Gilligan's Island- the seven characters, plus me as the wreck of the S.S. Minnow. We found many others in costume, and while certainly silly, it was fun to suspend a little formality and play. There were a fair number of people at dinner in costume, maybe 20 or 30% , enough to make it festive. We came down the main staircase, and folks recognized our theme, so we had some fun with that. After dinner, there was a Halloween Party in the forward lounge on deck 11, and a parade of contestants. We were welcomed with the cruise director and audience singing the theme song, and then a panel of crew judges picked out the top five costumes/groups. From there we made it to the final cut, but the blues brothers really revved up the audience with the music, and took first place, and we came in second. O.k., so, yes, I feel we were robbed! But it was really o.k. We all had such a fun time planning the costumes, and a good time that night days later, I was walking around the ship, and some passenger I'd not met started singing as he passed and the Minnow would be lost, the Minnow would be lost. Cracked me up! O.k., you're now asking yourself. I wanted a review of the Hawaii cruise, why is he yammering on about his costume? To make a few points: one, let loose a little bit, and have some fun. Celebrity may be more formal than some lines, but it doesn't have to be stiff! Two: participate in some silly activity, and you're likely to meet lots of fun people attracted to your willingness to have fun! And, three: it actually doesn't take that much effort, or money, to bring a costume along, whether for Halloween or the White party on some of the Celebrity ships. But each time we have, we've been rewarded with a really fun evening! Hawaii (FINALLY, you say!) Lahaina, Maui We decided early on that we didn't want to do a lot of excursions through the ship, and the Hawaiian cruise was perfect for that, even with a worrywart like me. Worst case, you hop to the next island, except for Honolulu, and, since we had an overnight there, we were fairly safe. In Lahaina, we tendered to shore, got a rental car shuttle to Hertz, and then drove to the Iao Valley State Park, with the needle rock formation very pretty drive, and wonderful scenery, followed by a lunch in Kanapali at Hula Grill. It's a chain, but very good, and right on the beach We then went to Honolua Bay, and had the nicest swim.  it's a nice, scenic drive, and far enough North to be away from the crowds. The water was beautiful, the surf just right for amateur body surfing, with a few people doing some snorkeling. The only downside to this location was that it requires a hike down (and back up) a long set of stairs, followed by a rough trail not a good choice if you have mobility issues. We returned to Lahaina, and ran smack into every other passenger trying to get back to the ship&the customs/security folks were doing a very official, if not thorough job, and the line to get on the shuttles was over an hour we went to a local bar for a few beers (cute, on the second floor, open air, with sports for those desperate for scores, and then gave in&the sand in my swim trunks telling me that a shower sooner rather than later was preferable. I did get some nice shots of the ship, as well as the island, and a small shipwreck in the harbor  must have been my costume that made the shipwreck so fascinating! Hilo, Hawaii Hilo isn't what I'd call an attractive town, but, boy, did we do a lot! Our first order of business was the farmer's market downtown- lots of fun local produce, food items, crafts and gifts. It's not open every day, so check in the guidebooks and compare that to your itinerary. A GREAT place to find things like island coffee (the admin staff in my office is forever grateful!) beautiful, unique and inexpensive leis, fresh flowers for your cabin- much cheaper than at the docks but I ended up buying mine at the docks- lasted all the way back to Los Angeles and these GREAT donut/pastry things on a skewer doughy, coconutty, wonderful! From there, we went up to the Volcano National Park, and toured the major craters. Easy to do on your own, and there's a nice visitor's center. We saw the steam vents and the various craters, but the best part was the walk through the lava tubes a bit of a hike, but doable for most folks in just about 20 minutes. After breathing the volcanic steam- there are warnings about young children and those with breathing issues- we decided wine was in order, and went to the Volcano Winery, just a mile or two beyond the entrance to the park. Interesting wines, made with French grapes, but infused with things like guava or macadamia nut we picked up a half case for gifts and such. Back down the mountain, we had to stop at the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut factory there's a self guided tour, and a large gift shop, perfect for those obligation type souvenirs, but the groves themselves are interesting, as are the fruit trees on the way in. The samples aren't bad either. If you're driving, it's a quick stop¬ worth a whole lot more, but fun nonetheless. We rounded out our day by having wonderful teriyaki chicken burgers in a local bar back in Hilo, a trip to a few waterfalls near town, and a stop at Big Island Candy factory right near the airport, which is where you pickup/return cars, and well worth the stop my favorite is the island crunch chocolate with Maui potato chips crumbled up inside! Ed liked the brownies topped with coconut, and then dipped entirely in chocolate. Easy port to drive back to, close to downtown (by cab) and easy to get to the airport for the rental cars they provide shuttles from the piers if you have reservations. Kona, Hawaii This is the one place we gave in and did a tour with the ship we really wanted to go snorkeling, but were worried about the timing, as this was another tender port. So we chose the Kayak/snorkel tour, and, while other tours might have been great, this one was PERFECT for us! A quick drive from the tender pier, 13 of us went to a cute little harbor, where kayaks were waiting, and guides got us ready. We had 6 two person kayaks and one single- the person on their own was an experienced kayaker from Oregon. But most of us, while game for anything, ranged from mildly out of shape river kayakers to total neophytes, ages 30 to 65 or so. We had a lovely 2.5 mile paddle out along the coast, and then an anchor off one of the reefs. We snorkeled right from the kayaks (getting back in was a challenge, but everyone made it!) and saw really beautiful fish the one I remember I would have called a Sun Fish, but was told it was Moorish Idol, native to, and exclusive to Hawaii (Maybe they were blowing smoke up the skirt of a mainlander!) We had a long paddle back (hey, I get THREE slices of pizza for lunch!) and had a little picnic on the lawn of the kayak place. There was a small sea turtle on the beach to watch, and a cute Labrador puppy who liked to play fetch with a real coconut with anyone who was willing. A quick ride back to the tender pier, and back to the ship without incident! And no blisters from the kayak paddle- a first more me, which speaks volumes for the teaching abilities of the guides, two nice young women. $81.00 per person, and certainly worth it! Oh, buy a pair of Crocs for these types of activities- well worth it, even if that's all you ever use them for. Honolulu, Hawaii The real treat to this port was that I'd been there before, so wasn't running around to see everything and that we had an overnight, so the pressure was off. But we ended up seeing a lot.  We had breakfast in Waikiki, again at Hula's, because Ed heard about coconut, macadamia nut, banana pancakes. Not being a big pancake fan, I had a Bloody Mary and a prawn omelet. Boy, did I rue my decision! While my breakfast was really good, those pancakes were AMAZING! We drove around the island to the West Coast, seeing the beach in From Here to Eternity and then continuing up to Kailua Bay. We cut back across the island on H3 through a tunnel, and then headed to the center of the Island, where we stumbled on the Dole plantation fun quick stop, gifties, and I got to see how pineapples grow in the ground don't know what I pictured, but really interesting. We then drove North to see a beach that is known for its sea turtle sightings, but were not successful the waves were big, and folks were surfing, and that's where I had my surfing accident. My whole left elbow was scraped raw when a wave caught my board, sending me down on a small coral reef o.k., so that didn't happen really, but the truth is sort of embarrassing. I was trying to get out of the back seat of the Mustang convertible we'd rented, and caught my flip flop on the seatbelt strap for the front passenger seat somehow, in slow motion, I spun around, and fell on the gravel parking lot on my back and elbow. Mostly a bruised ego, but Ed said it was funny to watch. He tried to be solicitous, but I was grumpy until I found a band aid that and a shrimp truck! O.k., so you remember the roach coaches, those catering trucks that pull up at construction sites? Well take that concept, except the truck is a converted rusted Winnebago that's seen MUCH better days, and the interior looks like a fryolator that hasn't been cleaned out since the summer of 42. But these are mentioned as a must-do, so we found one along the road on the North Shore, parked in a field with picnic tables. O.k., no lie the BEST coconut shrimp I've EVER had in my life! And some amazing spicy shrimp as well¬ cheap, but so worth the money Now, a happy camper with a belly full of shrimp, we continued back towards the major North/South road, but stopped at Waimea Falls and the Audubon gardens there. Another surprise, and a wonderful stop.The falls are pretty, but the peacocks and other birds, as well as the plant life, were amazing look for the Traveler Tree. O.k., getting late, so we hurried back to drop off the car at the airport, because the location downtown was closed, and the nice Hertz guy drove us for free back to the ship in a nice town car! Cleaned up, wound and all, Ed and I went into town for dinner. We'd looked around, and wanted to have a really nice meal, so we ended up at Aarons atop the Ala Moana. On the 36th floor, it has a beautiful view of Honolulu and Waikiki, wonderful food, and nice wine it might not be the top restaurant in Honolulu, and it was a little pricey, but it was very romantic, and well worth it. Back to the ship, which had the security gates open all night for those wanting late night life (not us) and to bed. The next morning, we got slowly organized, and I made us do at least three miles on the jogging trail (those darned pancakes!) and we had a wonderful view of the harbor, and the tourist submarines being towed to sea we ended up going to the Old Chinatown in Honolulu for lunch, and it was wonderful! We were the only non-Asian Pacific Islanders in the place, and, with a little language barrier, still managed to eat wonderful Dim Sum and assorted other dishes, washed down with Asahi beer. We then strolled through Chinatown (another WONDERFUL place to get cheap leis) and back to the tourist mall near the ship piers for last minute souvenirs. And we were off that evening, back to Los Angeles Disembarkation: Well, I'd like to say it was smooth, but it wasn't. Passengers were yelling and screaming, pushing, practically fighting. The customs agents were late, and not working a full staff. We were to line up at specific times, and Ed and I were in one of the first groups. I thought, well we're up, and our times about to start, let's go down and get in line. Well, everyone for the five slots after ours decided to do the same thing, and then kvetch that the lines were horrible. Of course they are- you're all in them, and you're not supposed to be! O.k., so let's regroup and not have this mar a really great cruise. The young couple behind us seemed nice, so we started chatting with them a few minutes of complaints, and we were ready to give up on them, but the wife (on their honeymoon) left the line, and came back with pastries, juice, cereal and water for the four of us. The four of our moods now improved, we waited resignedly for the line to move, made fun of the incredibly rude people who tried to cut in line, screaming they'd never sail Celebrity again (oh, goody, now I WILL book another cruise if you'll just give me that in writing!) One man, at 8:15 a.m., started screaming that he had a flight in 20 minutes, and he was going to sue! Ed and I and our honeymooners laughed and chatted, and then Ed got up to the first i.d. check. He started shouting towards the line what, I need my seapass card? But it's in my luggage that I put out last night! or My passport? It's at home with my driver's license, why do you ask? The Celebrity employee was trying not to crack up with laughter, and folks back in line a few people were starting to grumble, when the real delay became apparent: some one had suffered a last minute attack of mal de mer and spewed their mal right at the top of the entrance to the theatre. The employee asked if we minded waiting, and Ed said No!, I want to stand up near that smell! Suffice it to say, that, while the process wasn't smooth, humor got us through - that, and the smug satisfaction as the first group to be called, we got to waltz past Mr 20-minutes-until-flighttime-Lawsuit guy, who still wasn't off the ship at 9:45 when our shuttle picked us up! (I know, I'm petty sue ME!) Summary: A fantastic cruise, with a few of the usual hiccups, a few minor problems, better food and improved service than in the past, on a ship that seemed in fine shape, along with a great itinerary. It's one of the best itineraries if you like to combine time at sea to relax with easy paced touring. We almost felt that we had three separate cruises- one over, one in the islands, and one back! Ahhh, to turn back the clock a few weeks. Cheers, Andrew Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
We flew into San Diego on Saturday and took a cab to Hampton Inn. Since check-in wasn't until 4:00, we left our bags and took a tour around the city and Coronado. When we got back, we checked in and reserved two places on the 11:30AM ... Read More
We flew into San Diego on Saturday and took a cab to Hampton Inn. Since check-in wasn't until 4:00, we left our bags and took a tour around the city and Coronado. When we got back, we checked in and reserved two places on the 11:30AM shuttle to the pier. The next morning ate their complimentary hot breakfast and then walked three blocks to Rite Aid because I had forgotten my cosmetic bag. We checked out around 11:00 and took our bags outside. We left at 11:15 and took the short ride to the pier where we got an unhappy surprise - the Infinity had been delayed until afternoon because of an emergency medical evacuation. We then gave a porter all our bags, including carry-on, which had cabin 2106 tags on them. We then went into the terminal and were directed to an Express Check-in line. When we got to a representative, we showed our passports etc., and she said that our key cards were for cabin 6047 - - Yippee, the upgrade fairy had visited us!!!!! (this was our second time on Infinity, and the second time we received an upgrade from outside to balcony) We decided to stay at the terminal instead of taking another tour. Celebrity had finger sandwiches, desserts, and beverages. We found a seat and people watched until we finally got to board at about 5:30. On the way up the platform to board, the ass't Maitre 'D was handing out tickets for early or late dinner for that evening. We took early, were taken to our cabin by our ass't steward, Sydney. (our steward was also named Sydney) We washed up and headed for the dining room. When we got back we explained to the Sydneys that we had been upgraded and gave them our former cabin number. As the evening went on, we kept checking outside and checking back with Sydney when we saw him -- but no luggage. We were exhausted, so went to bed early. The next morning, still no bags, so hubby & I schlepped down to 2106 where, presto, there were our bags. We took three up and informed Sydney that the other three were still downstairs. FOOD: We ate all breakfasts and lunches at the Oceanview Cafe. Good variety and always very palatable. We ate all dinners in the dining room at table 404, where the waiter was Dwayne, ass't was Rafin. The dinners were good to excellent. I can't say enough good things about our tablemates, Denise and Jim from Canada, and Sheila and Kevin from the U.K. We closed the dining room most nights, and laughed so much our sides were sore! ACTIVITIES: There were two Cruise Critic parties, because the first had been scheduled for 10:00 a.m. and the muster drill was at 10:30 a.m. There were all kinds of activities all around the ship every day. We attended lots of trivia sessions which had more people participating than on any of our previous cruises. Since I am an avid reader, I read five books during the two week period. ISLANDS: (MAUI) On Friday, we tendered at Lahaina Maui. We had not booked a ships tour, so just off the pier, we noticed Sean of Coastline Limousine, and booked a three hour tour, which lasted four hours, probably because Sean, the owner, was our chauffeur. He is very informative, and we had a great time and learned a lot about the island, culture, and prices of housing etc. Would highly recommend him!!! (KONA side of big island HAWAII) On Saturday, we tendered into Kailua-Kona. No tour, so we walked and shopped. (KAUAI ISLAND) On Sunday, we docked at Nawiliwili, no tour booked again. We decided to walk instead of taking the shuttle. We walked, and walked, and walked -- no town -- along a dangerous highway with no sidewalks. We finally found Hilo Hatties and took their shuttle immediately back to ship. Once there, we saw the rep. for helicopter tours on the dock. We decided to do an hour tour with Island Helicopters. WOW, WOW, and WOW!!!! Our first time on a helicopter. The scenery was amazing. Waimea Canyon is breathtaking. We were taken into the dormant craters, right up to the wall before turning around and heading out. (OAHU)On Monday, we docked at Honolulu. We had a ships tour to the Arizona and City tour. The Arizona is awe-inspiring. After all these years, the bubbles coming up, and being the final resting place for 1200 men, really mind boggling. (HAWAII - big island) On Tuesday, we docked at Hilo. We had a six hour ships tour of Volcanoes National Park. Our bus driver was "the Big Kahuna". We had a great time with him. He is very knowledgeable and has a good sense of humor, and makes a long six hour trip enjoyable. We stopped first at Mauna Loa macadamia orchard and candy factory, where we had to buy a box lunch, since there was no other place to stop for food. We also stopped at an orchid nursery and gift shop before we went to the National Park. After the park, we went to the Punch Bowl, and then out to the lava flow site that looked like a scene from Hell with the steam and black lava devastation. We finished the tour with the stop at Rainbow Falls. SAIL OVER & BACK -- The first three days very choppy with up to 40 mph winds. Many passengers were seasick and confined to their cabins. The last day at sea and the trip back were fine. OVERVIEW - This cruise was absolutely fantastic. Infinity and all its crew members are as wonderful as when we sailed her in 2001. Since we had such great tablemates, we couldn't wait for 8:30 to arrive each night. We enjoyed each of the islands, and they were all amazing in their own way. We would certainly like to return some day. I would be happy to answer any questions.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2005
This was our fifth cruise, the first three with Holland America and the last two with Celebrity. We had booked a veranda guarantee but the upgrade fairy put us in the Concierge category. The cruise didn't start out on the best foot, ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise, the first three with Holland America and the last two with Celebrity. We had booked a veranda guarantee but the upgrade fairy put us in the Concierge category. The cruise didn't start out on the best foot, when we got to the pier around noon, there was little help taking the luggage. We stood in line over a half an hour to drop our suitcases off at the baggage terminal door. Once we got in the terminal, there were very few people in line to check in as they were still outside waiting to get someone to take their bags. We had 4 1/2 sea days going over. The seas were a little choppy but not too bad. The weather didn't really cooperate either as the only real good time was the last afternoon before arriving in Kauai. The night before they had a big island party by the pool and that got rained out about 1/2 hour after it started. We didn't really have Chamber of Commerce weather on any of the islands, some clouds and a few sprinkles on Oahu. Since we've been to Hawaii several times, we only booked one tour, the Wiamia Canyon Tour on Kauai. We got to the lookout point and the fog was so thick you couldn't see past the railing. It wasn't worth the $38 p.p. we paid but what can you say? Mother Nature does what she pleases. The entertainment was great! They had 2 comedians, a juggler, a singer, and a guy that played a hi-tech instrument called a xylo-synth. The singers and dancers were fabulous!! Their last show "Celebrate the World" was the best we've seen in 49 days at sea. The costumes and background scenery reminded us of a Vegas show. The ship was very nice and clean. They were always cleaning and painting. Our stateroom was nice but I'm glad I didn't pay for the Concierge upgrade. All the amenities are nice but not worth the extra cost. The list of upgrades can be found on Celebrity's website. Overall the food was good but inconsistent. One day it was to die for and the next it was mediocre. That included the dinning room and buffet. We rate it fifth best of our 5 cruises. The service was outstanding from everyone we came in contact with. You could tell it was genuine and they really wanted to make your vacation the best ever. This included the people who didn't rely on tips to make a living. In recap, it was a nice cruise and we did enjoy ourselves. It wasn't bad enough to forget about cruising or good enough to run out and book another one. We talked to people who said it was the best ever for them. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
Arriving at the airport we retrieved our luggage and were met by Infinity reps, we put our luggage into a Hertz rent a truck at their request. This all went smoothly but then we had trouble finding the transportation that was supposed to ... Read More
Arriving at the airport we retrieved our luggage and were met by Infinity reps, we put our luggage into a Hertz rent a truck at their request. This all went smoothly but then we had trouble finding the transportation that was supposed to take us to the pier, a transfer ticket was supplied but the locating and boarding the bus was chaotic. When we got to the pier and there were four ships, the Infinity was not prepared to handle the traffic. It took three or more hours of standing before we got to board, not a good start. Crew was fantastic, we were made to feel comfortable and welcome. The decor of the Infinity was very nice, we found our way around with little trouble. The cabin seemed smaller than we expected, but we did enjoy the verandah, which made for a great viewing experience. The staff at the dining room was terrific, The entrees with the exception of a few were not that good, with some of our table rejecting their meals, being offered another choice. I think that the entrees were too highly seasoned. The entertainment was great, a good variety. I think the cruise line did a great job with the unexpected evacuation of a critically ill passenger. We were taken off course and had many passengers miss their air connections. Hawaii was great and the cruise was all that we anticipated. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2004
INFINITY Hawaii Round Trip from San Diego December 5 to December 20 By Shari Our Background: We are a married couple, retired early, and we were traveling with my sister-in-law and her husband. This was cruise number 8 for us and ... Read More
INFINITY Hawaii Round Trip from San Diego December 5 to December 20 By Shari Our Background: We are a married couple, retired early, and we were traveling with my sister-in-law and her husband. This was cruise number 8 for us and number 2 for our friends. This was our 3rd cruise on Celebrity and our friends 2nd. Our ages range from the 40s to the 60s. Flight to San Diego: Our flight was arranged by Celebrity, and we had no problem with the flight to San Diego. We flew on Delta. We changed planes in Salt Lake City, Utah. San Diego Stay: We stayed at the Sheraton Marina Hotel. We have stayed there before, and we were happy with the arrangements. We did think, though, that the rooms we had last time in the West tower were newer and nicer. The hotel was decorated for Christmas with a beautiful large tree and many other decorations. It was beautiful! When we arrived in San Diego on Friday evening, December 3rd, it was in the low 60s, and sunny. The very next day it turned chilly and it rained off and on all day. Saturday, we took the Trolly tour and rode theTrolly most of the day to places like, Old Town, the Gaslight district, Balboa Park and the Zoo area, Coronado hotel and beach area, etc. The Trolly is a great way to see San Diego. You can get on and off wherever you want and pick up the next one to continue the tour. We bought our tickets ($20 pp for all day) at the hotel and got a ride to Seaport Village where we started our tour. My brother-in-law wanted to get off and shop at the last minute in the Gaslight district, and I felt bad because of the quick decision, I didn't have time to tip the Trolley tour guide, but we did have her again at the end of the day, and we had a chance to talk to her. She was great, as were most of the others. Embarkation: We had a transfer by bus from our hotel to the pier, and all went smoothly. They handled our luggage, and we got to the pier around 1:30 or 2 pm. The ship didn't sail till 9 pm, but we were onboard within around a half-hour. Embarkation went very smooth. They had snacks available in the terminal, but embarkation went so fast that we didn't have a chance to grab anything. Once onboard, we were given the choice of champagne or orange juice and led to our room by a white-gloved steward. Nice touch Celebrity! There was a nice luncheon buffet available for all. In the evening we sat at our assigned tables. The Ship: We had been on the Infinity once before, so we already knew our way around. The Infinity is a beautiful, very clean, well kept, and very classy ship. It carries around 2000 passengers, but it never really seems crowded. The ship has the usual night-clubs, bars, and theaters. The main show room, the Celebrity Theater, is two-story and has good site lines. Infinity has a wonderful Aqua Spa, sauna, and a Thalassotherapy pool. I did not use any of these great amenities, but others said they were wonderful. There is no charge for the Thalassotherapy pool on the Infinity. There is also a very large gymnasium with a sea view for those who wish to work off the calories from all the good food. There is a very good size pool and whirlpool on resort deck. My husband says that there is a walking track, too, but there's plenty of walking just from forward to aft on a ship this size. The ship was beautifully decorated for the holidays! Sail-Away Party: There were around 250 members of Cruise Critic on this cruise, and we were invited to a sail-away party in the Penthouse Suite. Our hosts were wonderful people, and it was a great start to the cruise. We met many wonderful people on this cruise which helped to make it so special. Our Room: We had a balcony guarantee which turned out to be room 8011 which was forward of the ship. There were only two other passenger rooms ahead of us. The room has plenty of drawer space and a good amount of closet space, but for me, on a 15 night cruise, I could have used a bit more closet space. There was room under the bed to store the suitcases. There was a glass table and a loveseat (which made into a bed) next to the balcony, and there was a dresser with mirror, also. The balcony had a small table and two chairs. We were happy with our room. Room Steward: Our room steward, Wilbert, was excellent. We asked for extra washcloths and to raise the head of my bed a bit, and he did both. He always had the extra washcloths, and the room was kept spotless even though I liked to sleep in on sea days. Our ice bucket was always full and our water pitcher was always full. We were very pleased with our room steward. Room Service: I only ordered room service once, but I had a nice chef salad brought to me by my own room steward. The salad actually had more meat and cheese on it than I needed. You can order the same dinner they are serving in the dining room in the evenings, I have heard, but we always ate in the dining room in the evenings. The Weather: The first few days out of San Diego were a bit chilly, and we had some rough seas. The captain said we had the tail end of a storm. Marc, my husband, thought it was the typhoon from the Philippines. Not sure about that, but, many were a bit seasick the first few days, including me. The weather stayed a bit chilly till we got close to Hawaii, and then you saw everyone out on pool deck soaking up the much awaited sun. Kauai was our first port, and it was very windy that day. Other than that, we had excellent weather in Hawaii. It was in the low 80s with sunshine for the other ports. It stayed warm for the first two days leaving Hawaii, and then it got chilly again. It was too chilly to stay out on deck the last two days returning to San Diego. The Food: The food in the Trellis dining room was for the most part, excellent, in my opinion. All the beef dishes I had were of the best quality and well prepared. I did have a problem at first in getting my steaks medium rare, but after I asked my waiter to be sure to bring it medium rare, I always got it medium rare. The fish dishes I had were excellent. I had a scallop dish that was wonderful. The scallops were so fresh and lightly done. I had a seafood brochette one evening that consisted of, shrimp, scallops, salmon, and cod (I think) and it was great. The lamb that I had was excellent. We did have lobster on the last formal night. It was good, but I wasn't as impressed with it. I could have ordered another one or even two, but didn't need to. The deserts were wonderful. My favorite is still the crème brulee and Celebrity's own home-made pistachio ice cream. The soups were, as always, excellent. I never made it to breakfast or lunch in the dining room. I usually ate at the buffet. I was not as impressed with the buffets as I used to be. On my first Celebrity cruise on the Zenith in 1992, the buffets had food almost as good as the dining room and better than food in the dining room on other ships that I have been on. The food on the buffets was good, but I did notice some cutbacks. There doesn't seem to be as many choices as usual for one. The food was still very good, just not as good as on past cruises on the buffet. They offered hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, and pizza from 12 noon till 6 PM on pool deck. From 6 PM till 1AM they had pizza and pasta bar. They also had a sushi bar. Every afternoon at 4 PM they had afternoon tea with wonderful little sandwiches and pastries. It was hard to go hungry on this ship. They also have a healthy dining buffet in the Aqua Spa area, which is now open from noon till 8 PM. I almost forgot, they have a waffle station in the very aft of the ship which makes wonderful homemade Belgian-type waffles in the morning. They also have an omelet station for made-to-order omelets in the morning. From 12 to 3 PM they offered soup, salad, and sandwiches besides the regular buffet lunch. They have a nice area called the Cova Cafe which offers coffees and coffee drinks and pastries. The gourmet coffees have a charge, but the pastries were complimentary. Celebrity brings around hors d'oeuvres (Gourmet Bites) at around 11:30 PM for people to enjoy in the lounges. They did have a few themed midnight buffets, like Hawaiian, chocolate, deserts and crepes, and fruits. On the last formal night, they had the Grand Buffet which was amazing. We didn't eat, because we had late seating, but we did take some photos. The SS United States is a specialty restaurant that you might want to try. The experience is wonderful, and the food is excellent. Some suggestions to order... for appetizers: Goat Cheese SoufflE, and the Caesar Salad which is tossed at your table. Entrees: Rack of Lamb, and the Steak Dianne which is flamed at your table. For dessert, try the Chocolate SoufflE. There is a $30 pp cover charge for this restaurant, but the $30 is for the tip. I, personally, thought our food and service in the Trellis restaurant was almost as good, so we only went once to the specialty restaurant. Again, it's very hard to go hungry on this ship. Great food! Cocktails: I usually just have one or two here or there, but I have to mention a great drink that I happened upon one day in the Martini Bar. It's called a Crème Brulee Martini. It's great! It's not cheap, but it's worth it! I think the only other drink I had was an occasional Pina Colada topped with Meyer's rum, and a White Russian. Oops, I forgot about the BBC. That was good! Once or twice, I had a glass of Chardonnay with dinner, and it was great. There is an automatic 15% tip added to all drinks. Waiters and Assistant Waiters: Our waiter in the Trellis restaurant was Sasa(sp?), and our assistant waiter was Eduardo. They were both excellent! Everything was served on time and the way it should be served. We always had our water filled and anything we asked for was eagerly brought to us. We had a great time with them. We had great tablemates! We had a husband and wife from a small town in England, and we had two ladies, friends, who were cruising together and who were members of Cruise Critic. We had a wonderful time with them, and it made the whole experience very special and memorable. Maitre d': I have to mention the maitre d' because, she was amazing! She was at our table, and everyone else's it seemed, every evening. She was so concerned that we would have everything that we wanted and the way that we wanted it. She was the best! She took time to talk to us all, and to make sure we were happy with everything. She also told us of things that we shouldn't miss that would be happening on the ship. I think her name was Dominique. Casino: There is a good size casino, and my husband did pretty well with the slots. He came out $1200 ahead. I didn't do so well, but, I still came out ahead, because he shared a little of his winnings with me. This made me able to give a little extra to my room steward and my waiters who helped to make this trip so great. On Board Activities: I was pleased to see that Celebrity has added more activities for the sea days. There were many things to do to occupy your time. They had lecturers, and culinary demonstrations, tango lessons, wine tasting, computer classes, golf lessons, hair care seminars, face-lift seminars, skin-care classes, line-dance class, photo seminar, ice carving, much, more, and the usual trivia games, pool games, karaoke, bingo, and shuffleboard, etc. Entertainment: I thought the entertainment ranged from very good to excellent. The big production shows that I saw were excellent. The singers and dancers were very good, and the costumes were very colorful. The two comedians, I thought, were good, but not great. I did appreciate that they kept it clean. I missed the illusion and magic show which I heard was very good. One person that I have to mention was an international pianist named Brooks Aehron. His first show was a mixture of comedy(Victor Borge style)jazz, rock, and classical. The next day he put on a classical concert. He was fabulous, and he received a standing ovation. He was so popular that Celebrity found some time for him to put on another classical concert. He was just excellent. He was more serious with the classical concerts, but one thing that he did that I liked was that he told us a bit of the story behind the composer and the piece that he was playing. He had some CDs for sale after the concert, and the line was quite long. He signed the CDs for us, and he was just the nicest man. He was great! One thing I have to mention about the entertainment schedule that I don't care for is that some of the shows for the late diners are put on early at 7 PM. I had to miss a few shows because of this. I book late seating for dining for many reasons. Some of them being not wanting to miss sail-aways and not wanting to rush back from ports to dress up for dinner, etc. I wish Celebrity would change this or find a better solution. There was entertainment in the other lounges that also was very good. They had a great A Cappella group and another nice duo in another lounge. The party band was Vibz. They were good, but I didn't like them as well as Onyx, the band on our last Celebrity cruise. I thought it was kind of strange for them to play country- western music one day at a sail-away from Hawaii. I like country-western...it just didn't fit the moment...in my opinion. There was a Hawaiian singer before them, on pool deck, but it was kind of hard to hear her unless you were right up there with her. Internet: The internet cafe is very nice, but a little pricey, I think. The cost is .75 per minute. This can add up fast. Still...it's nice to have available. Ports: Our ports were: Kauai, Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, and Maui. We had all been to Hawaii before so we didn't book any ship's tours except the submarine tour in Kona. Nawiliwili, Kauai...We just stepped off the ship and saw some cabs waiting, and we took a cab tour, it was in a van, with a young lady. We set our price before we left. We had a great tour of the island. Honolulu...My husband and my brother-in-law wanted to climb Diamond Head, and we gals were not that anxious to exert ourselves, so we did what a lot of women would do...we went shopping. While the guys were climbing the mountain, we took a free bus to Hilo Hattie's (the bus was across the street from the terminal) and from there, we were able to get a free shuttle down Waikiki. We stopped at the Hilton Hawaiian Village for a bit, and we stopped at the Ala Moana shopping center. We met up with the guys at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel(the pink one)at the Mai-Tai bar on the beach area. I was going to be searching for the best mai-tai in Hawaii, but as it happened this was the only one I had... but it was great. Thanks to Linda, Cruise Diva, for telling me about it. Hilo...We took a cab to the old section of town and wandered around. We had breakfast, and then we toured the tsunami museum. From there we hailed another cab, and we took a tour of the island with him. We went to some of the beaches and some of the pretty areas, and to the Macadamia Nut farm. We had a nice tour around the island. We left Hilo around 6 PM, and from the ship at around 10:30 PM we saw the lava flow down the mountainside. It was magnificent! Kailua, Kona...This was the only tour that was booked onboard the ship. Our guys went on the submarine tour in Kona. They did really enjoy it! I'm a bit claustrophobic, and submarines aren't my thing, or my sister-in-law's, so again, we went shopping. We walked along the shore and stopped at the many shops. We met up with the guys later and stopped for a drink and some appetizers. We had some great calamari, and some great mushrooms with scallops at an open restaurant(Cassandra's) on the waterfront. We tendered ashore here. Lahaina, Maui...This was our last stop. We didn't have much time here, and we had to tender ashore, so we got going as early as we could. With me not being an early bird, that meant, after breakfast, around 9 AM. Maui is my favorite island, and I was a bit disappointed that we had so little time here. When I first booked this cruise, the time here was listed from 7AM till 11 PM, but it was later changed. Oh well, we made the best of it and had a great day. We took a taxi tour with a young lady. I suggested that we go to Iao Valley Rainforest or State Park area. We were there before, and it's a beautiful area. We also visited the Maui Tropical Plantation area and some pretty beach areas. Surf was really up on some of the islands, and some of the best surfers in the world were in Hawaii. Maui seems to be much more populated than it was on our last trip 13 years ago. It's still a beautiful island, though. We got back to the dock area to get the tender back to the ship around 1:45, and the line to get on the tender was around a mile long. Not much exaggeration here! The last tender was to leave at 2:30, so I think everyone had the same idea to be here at the same time. It was around 84 degrees and the sun was hot. I have had heat exhaustion before from being in the direct sun for too long, so I suggested to my husband that we should wait at the open restaurant hotel (Pioneer Inn, the old whaling hotel) that was right in front of the security area where you boarded the tenders, and when the line was coming to an end we could just go and get in the line, with no standing in the hot sun for an hour. He didn't go for it, though. I think he was afraid they would just leave at 2:30 and leave all the people there. The ship was to leave at 3 PM. I wasn't worried that they would leave us with all those people in line, so I told him to save my spot, and I went and waited at the hotel. I found a place to sit and had a nice cold coca-cola and an appetizer, some great calamari(excellent) while I waited to see them come up in the line. When they got up to the area to board the tender, the line behind them was just as long as before. At that point I started feeling guilty and thought I should go to the back of the line, but everyone knew they had saved my spot in line, and they insisted that I get in line with them. I got in line with them, and we boarded the tender. No problemo! The ship left around 3:10 or 3:15, so they really did move the people faster than I thought, but it all worked out. Places to See If It's Your First Time in Hawaii: These are places that we went to the last time we were in Hawaii, and are a must see, I think. Kauai...The Waimea Canyon. (The Grand Canyon of the Pacific) Oahu...The Polynesian Cultural Center, Punchbowl Cemetery, the Arizona Memorial, Diamond Head State Park Hilo...Volcanoes National Park, Maui...Iao Valley Rainforest and State Park area, Maui Tropical Plantation area Disembarkation: This went very well. We gathered in the Celebrity Lounge, and our color was one of the first to be called, and we were off the ship in no time. Flight Home: Our flights home went well, but we don't know why Celebrity booked us with a six-hour wait before our flight. We were off the ship pretty early, so we hoped to check our luggage in with United, but they said we couldn't check in until 3 hours before the flight, so that killed our plans to go over to Seaport Village and have a nice seafood luncheon. We were able to get an earlier flight to Denver, but that still left us with waiting in Denver airport for around 5 hours for our next flight home. All in all it was no big deal, but it seemed strange that our original flight from San Diego wasn't until around 4:30 PM and we got to the San Diego airport by around 10 or 10:30 AM. We had to wait with our luggage for a few hours until they would check it in. Then we had the big wait in-between flights. It just seems like it could have been scheduled a bit better. Like I say, it was not a big deal, just a lot of waiting around. One thing I should mention is that, on the flight out, we had been very careful to weigh our luggage, and we were within the limits. On our flight back, we did get charged $25 for an overweight suitcase. I didn't really bring back that many souvenirs, but the suitcases were already close to the limit, so it did make a difference. Summary: This was a great cruise! The food and entertainment and service were all great. We met many wonderful people and had some good times. The ship was decorated for the holidays. There was a beautiful Christmas tree in the main lobby, and the grand staircase was decorated with gorgeous poinsettias all the way up. There was another Christmas tree on the staircase in the main restaurant, and there was a menorah for Hanukkah. There was a Catholic priest onboard to say Mass, and there was a Rabbi for Hanukkah services. There were also non-denominational services. One thing that I really noticed was how nice and friendly the staff was. Everywhere I went, room stewards or waiters or officers...all were very friendly and polite. I would really recommend this cruise. It was great! I would have liked more time in Hawaii, but with the time it takes to sail round trip that would have been hard to do. I have been to Hawaii before, so I was o.k. with what we did in the ports. I did really want to go to a nice luau, though, and the ship didn't offer one at night, and my husband was afraid that we wouldn't make it back to the ship in time, so we didn't go. I did go to one the last time I was in Hawaii, though, so, I wasn't too disappointed. Extra Personal Thoughts: This was a great cruise, but we didn't have enough warm days out on deck.(this can be different at different times of the year, of course). I love to sit out on pool deck on a cruise. I also would like to have more time in Hawaii. If we get the chance to go again, I think I will fly one way and stay a few days before the trip back. I'm glad I had the opportunity to sail across the Pacific at least once. It was quite an experience. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2004
My wife and I looked forward to a great cruise with Celebrity on the Infinity since we previously cruised on the Mercury and thoroughly enjoyed it. We weren't disappointed. Check in at San Diego went very smooth and we boarded ... Read More
My wife and I looked forward to a great cruise with Celebrity on the Infinity since we previously cruised on the Mercury and thoroughly enjoyed it. We weren't disappointed. Check in at San Diego went very smooth and we boarded quickly. This was a cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary and we were accompanied by my wife's two sisters and their husbands (a Three Sisters Cruise). To no fault of the cruise line, the waters of the Pacific were rough the first full day at sea and my wife got seasick as well as her younger sister. The medical staff quickly remedied the situation and all were fine for the rest of the trip. My wife and I love to dance but the Infinity was not really suited for dancers. Only the Rendevous Lounge and the Constellation Club had dance floors. The Rendevous had a postage stamp size floor and the Constellation wasn't much larger with a patchwork metal floor. Our accommodations in our oceanview stateroom were just fine, very clean and roomy enough for two of us. We had a very attentive steward (Jose) and assistant steward (Clifford) taking good care of our stateroom. Dining in the Trellis dining room was always a treat. Our waiter (Dewa) and assistant waiter (Anwar) made every meal special. The food was always served as ordered and the presentations were fitting for fine dining. For fast dining of breakfast and some lunches, we ate in the Oceanview Cafe on deck 10. The food was very good and plentiful. I most enjoyed the light pastries at breakfast every morning. For finer dining, there is the S.S. United States Restaurant deck 3 midship. The activity staff had so many things going that it was hard to keep up with them. What a lively and charged group of people. There is always something going on to keep one's interest. Entertainment was certainly a highlight of our trip with some of the greatest dancers we've seen in a while. One of the dancers, Jen, put on some very basic dance classes that everyone seemed to enjoy. The best were the shows and the performers. We particularly enjoyed a group from Argentina called the Pampas Devils who put on a variety of Argentinean routines not often seen including an Argentine tango dance. Visits to each island were unique in that each has it's own special attraction. If you've been there before, you'll know what I mean. If you haven't visited Hawaii before, you've got to see it for yourself. It is truly a paradise. The weather was perfect for the entire six days we were there. We even got to go in the water at the beach above Kona on the Big Island and it was nice. As we sat on the beach, we watched the whales playing in the water off shore. What a treat. One night, the Captain took us close to an active volcano and about 11 p.m., we saw the lava coming out of a lava tube spilling into the ocean and giving us a sight not to be forgotten. As we set sail for home from Maui on the last day, we again saw whales frolicking in their Hawaiian wintering playground. As we left Hawaii, the waters were again very rough but as we got closer to the mainland of the U.S., the waters were much smoother with a high dominating the weather pattern. It was hard to believe that our 15 day cruise was coming to and end. Disembarkation was well planned and fairly smooth. The only hang up was that it was delayed due to customs and clearing the ship which caused a little later departure. Once we departed, finding our luggage and hailing a cab was fairly quick and before we knew it, we were at the airport and back to reality. All in all, the service on board the Infinity was first rate and the food was great. If you like to cruise, you wont be disappointed with Celebrity and the crew of the Infinity. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2004
As this was our 4th cruise and our 2nd on Celebrity, what can I say? It just keeps getting better and better. The Infinity is a magnificent ship. Large while remaining cozy, classy without being stuffy and just plain beautiful. The staff ... Read More
As this was our 4th cruise and our 2nd on Celebrity, what can I say? It just keeps getting better and better. The Infinity is a magnificent ship. Large while remaining cozy, classy without being stuffy and just plain beautiful. The staff and crew are some of the warmest and friendliest young people we have sailed with yet. Two years ago on Century I fell in love with Michael's Cigar Bar. Sad to say it's now history. Turned into a piano bar that I never saw more than 3 people use. Cigars outside on the fan tail. Our cabin was of good size. The balcony was a first for us. I don't think we'll be able to cruise again without one. the cabin staff was friendly, efficient and friendly some more. Only one problem.... Embarkation - 8-1/2 hours to get our luggage! Enough said, I can feel my blood pressure starting to rise again. Food -- Food -- Food. Not the Ritz-Carlton but boy was it good. The SS United States restaurant is NOT to be missed. The Broadway style shows are NOT to be missed. The Cova Cafe's cafe mochas are NOT to be missed. Don't even get me started on the Martini Bar. The string and piano quartet were our favorite. I've tried for 25 years to get my wife interested in classical music. This did the trick. Although a 15 day cruise is fun, I think 10 days will be our limit. The 4 days at sea going over weren't too bad, but the 4 days at sea on the return were beginning to get a bit boring. All in all, we would have to say let's do it again .... soon! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2004
The embarkation was OUTSTANDING. By the time we were processed through and got to our cabin our bags were there! Incredible! The only issue was the tuxedo ordered via Celebrity. It arrived shortly after the luggage but was missing the ... Read More
The embarkation was OUTSTANDING. By the time we were processed through and got to our cabin our bags were there! Incredible! The only issue was the tuxedo ordered via Celebrity. It arrived shortly after the luggage but was missing the ordered shoes. Our steward, Fatkul, immediately went on a mission, located the tuxedo people and returned with the missing shoes. (The first formal night resulted in another omission of the tuxedo folks -- no suspenders! For formal nights 2 and 3 Fatkul again came to the rescue with a pair of braces borrowed from one of his buddies. The customer relations folks on deck 3 were of no help in remedying the suspenders matter despite a couple of attempts. Our cabin (with veranda) was as expected. Fatkul and staff kept us well stocked with ice and water throughout the cruise and were notably punctual at the requested 5 p.m. ice delivery. He was quite inconspicuous but we always had the feeling he was present...and indeed he was whenever a need arose. The public rooms were well kept and clean. The meals in the Trellis were usually quite good. The service of Raoul and Joie was excellent. Special requests made once were not forgotten for the duration....nice job. They were pleasant and efficient. The same cannot be said for the sommelier. He was not very good at keeping people's glasses filled where warranted. He was also just average in his knowledge of wine. The maitre 'd hotel, Donuto, was a very pleasant young lady who attended to every table with the same amount of pleasantness and, in some instances, playfulness. She enhanced the dining experience at our table of 8. We dined with another couple from our table at the SS United States one evening. It was their first cruise and they were celebrating their 50th anniversary. They also happen to be quite the gourmands. As this evening was at our recommendation we were confident it would be a memorable dining experience. And indeed it was! The entire staff, from maitre 'd Dominique Gamba and head waiter Christin Bell to everyone on the team were extremely pleasant, professional and, very importantly, full of personality. It was not only a memorable dinner, the entire evening was fun. We returned several times during the trip (during off hours) to talk with Dominque and Christin...both of whom take great pride in "their" restaurant and in their profession. A treat not to be missed! The entertainment was typical ship fare: show tunes, humorists, etc. The entertainers were very accomplished, though, and made for enjoyable evenings albeit kind of "old hat." The cruise director, Simon Weir, had been on our 2003 Summit Panama Canal cruise and it was good to see him on the Infinity. He is quite the energizer! For those who will be new to the Celebrity Millennium series (and who may want to save a few calories for the ubiquitous buffets) the lunches at the AquaSpa Cafe are not to be missed. The fare there is lighter and can even be special ordered (something not all know). For example, if they are featuring a halibut you can request that they broil it. It takes a little longer -- maybe 15 minutes -- but it is often worth the wait. Also not to be missed are: the omelette bar for breakfast (made to order); the Cova Cafe for delightful pastries and tasty coffee; the pasta bar for lunch; the sushi bar for a late afternoon/early evening snack; and the Martini Bar sample nights. The only other disappointment was the disembarkation procedure. We were to be in our station at 8:20 a.m.. By 9:15 we had yet to be called and other groups both before and after us decided to get into the lineup to leave the ship causing a major disruption. The ship personnel had no explanation for the delay and were not at all effective in providing some orderliness to the process. We had paid for the transfer from the ship to the airport and had been told that there would be porters available where we would claim our luggage. HA! Try to find to find one! It took some time to literally grab one of the porters and then find the correct bus to the airport. One couple had their luggage on the wrong bus and were being directed to the correct bus but their luggage couldn't be found so they stayed on our bus. This whole process needs a LOT of work. The cruise was excellent overall despite the tuxedo and disembarkation incidents. I would not hesitate to sail with Celebrity in the future -- in fact we signed up for two additional cruises while on board! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2004
Infinity to Hawaii We flew in a few days early in order to enjoy all that San Diego has to offer. Unfortunately, it was quite cool (by Florida standards) and rained most of the time. Regardless, we took the trolley tour and toured the ... Read More
Infinity to Hawaii We flew in a few days early in order to enjoy all that San Diego has to offer. Unfortunately, it was quite cool (by Florida standards) and rained most of the time. Regardless, we took the trolley tour and toured the aircraft carrier, the Midway. We stayed at the Holiday Inn on the Bay, but if you want the Holiday Inn across the street from the terminal, you want the Holiday Inn on the Bay. This hotel was full a year in advance of our cruise because of an international physician conference, so you might want to make reservations early if you want to stay there. There is a trolley stop in front of the ship terminal which is very convenient for seeing the sights of San Diego. Departure day it was still raining. We had to wait for the ship to come up from the Baja coast where the previous passengers were disembarked earlier in the morning. We arrived at the terminal about 11 a.m. On checking in we were given a boarding number, so there were advantages to getting there early. However, the terminal is quite stark with metal chairs, so not the most comfortable place to wait. The ship arrived around 1 p.m. and we were allowed to board shortly thereafter. The ship is beautiful. Our cabin (7166) was a standard balcony cabin, but was on the curve to the bump so the balcony was a bit bigger and accommodated two chairs, a small table and a padded lounger (which we had to request but was promptly brought). The bathroom is also standard with a nice sized shower. The shampoo and lotion that is provided is in a dispenser. There were also cotton balls, Q-tips, and two shower caps. The hair dryer is in the bathroom, not very strong and the hose broke on it twice during our 15 day cruise. They finally brought me a handheld blow-dryer to use. There are extra blankets and pillows in the closet (or try under your bed).While we received our luggage fairly timely, several others stated it was very late before they got theirs. Luggage fits nicely under the bed. The ice bucket they fill morning and evening, but we always found the ice all melted in the afternoon so asked to have our ice filled just before the cabin steward went off duty. That request resulted in us being given a small Igloo cooler, which was kept full throughout the cruise. We emptied the refrigerator of all the drinks on the shelf (put them in the drawer above the refrigerator and the steward removed them the first day) and filled the refrigerator with soda that we brought onboard with us in our luggage (we bought in San Diego). There is a safe, and closet space was limited for this long of a cruise. We sent several items out to be pressed and got them back two days later. The cost was $24 which was well worth it as my husband's formal shirts are impossible to keep from wrinkling. The room had a small loveseat and vanity which had poor lighting. There were 3 or 4 plugs next to the vanity, but none in the bathroom except the standard electric razor plug. The lifeboat drill was held at 5 p.m. Since the ship did not leave until 9, there was a lot of speculation on whether the drill would be late at night or even the next day. Even though the meeting places are inside, they do make you go outside to your lifeboat station. The weather did not improve until we got to our first port in Hawaii. It was very windy, overcast and cool with very rough seas. Many people were seasick the first day and one elderly woman fell on the marble staircase, breaking several ribs and her shoulder. In Hawaii the weather was warm and sunny, but the seas remained high allowing us to see some great surfing. We rented a car in every port except Maui (we were there only until 3 p.m.). I think this was the way to go as it was much less expensive then shore excursions. The only down side was having to shuttle to the airport (in most cases). Since this seemed to be a popular thing to do there was a lot of pushing and shoving to get on the shuttle rather than wait for the next one. We also experienced this once going back to the ship. In Maui we did a whale watching tour (whale season starts in December), and just walked around town. Every port has a free shuttle to Hilo Hattie's and some had shuttles to other places such as Wal-Mart and in Maui to Whalers Village. You tender in Hilo and Maui - the rest of the islands we docked. When the ship moved from Hilo to Kona we passed the lava flow to the sea, which was awesome. It was 10 at night. If possible, I would recommend a room on the right side of the ship if you are facing forward. Not only was this the side of the lava flow, but it is also the side the sun is on coming back from Hawaii (which was sunny coming home). Many thought the ship would circle around so that the lava flow could be seen by both sides, but this did not happen. Also, in Hilo (I think) there were room flower arrangements for sale for $10 at the pier. There was also a good selection of fresh flower lei's for around $8. I got both and our room smelled wonderful for the rest of the trip. Formal nights were the first sea day, the sea day in Hawaii and the second to the last sea day coming home. The Cruise Critic party was the first sea day at 11 a.m., and because they had so many signed up on this cruise; they also had a party the last day at sea. I did not use the spa, but the indoor pool on this ship is wonderful and is free. It is heated saltwater with jets and bubbles to sooth aching muscles. A little hint, on the right side of the ship before you go into the spa there is a woman's dressing room that has showers, bathrooms, a sauna, hairdryer, towels and lotion. Because it was cold outside, I would use the pool then go into the sauna to get hot and somewhat dry before I went out on deck. In this area they also serve spa food (lower calories) from morning until 8 p.m. A lot of it is good, so I usually ate lunch there to cut the food intake somewhat! Speaking of food, here goes. The buffet is open for breakfast and lunch at 7:30 a.m. on sea days and 6:30 a.m. on port days. You can also eat dinner there, but have to make reservations. We ate there twice, which was just OK (the menu varies but got a really tough steak there), for a suggested tip of $2 per person. This area appeared to be the training area for future waiters and assistant waiters, so service was somewhat confusing. There is also a sushi bar open every evening at the aft of the ship, just before you go outside. The dining room was just OK. We are in our 50's and were seated with two older couples. One man had a stroke and could not speak and the other couple was shacking up - he being 86 and she 79. She talked about sex a lot - which was like your parents talking about sex - YUCK! We were going to change tables but never got around to it. Our waiter was very slow and dinners that started at 6 always ended after 8. Late dinner starts at 8:30, so we ended dinner with a lot of clanking from setting up the surrounding tables for the next group. We had one anniversary at our table (19 months for the live-together couple?) which was interesting as they sang to them with the traditional cake and then took the cake away, never to be seen again. They did not even get a piece of it! Food went from excellent to fair, but that is always subjective anyway. They always had 4 appetizers, 3 soups (one cold), 2 salads, a fish, pasta, and beef entrEe as well as two others (chicken, pork, veal). All the veal dishes were great. Several desserts, sherbet, ice cream. We went to the specialty restaurant (United States) and it was wonderful. However, the price has gone up to $30 a person, so nothing you would do too often unless you have a lot of spare money. Entertainment was the usual. The cruise director was new to the ship and I did not care for him, but again this is subjective. I thought he worked too hard to get applause. Sometimes shows were 8:45 for first seating and other times 9 p.m. For second seating it went between 10:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. There were 2-3 deck parties while in the islands. Celebrity is my favorite cruise line and I was not disappointed. I would do this cruise again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2004
This was our first cruise with Celebrity. Being great fans of Royal Caribbean (RCI), we were a little concerned about taking such a long first cruise with a new line, but from all we had heard, we expected as good a cruise - if not better ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Celebrity. Being great fans of Royal Caribbean (RCI), we were a little concerned about taking such a long first cruise with a new line, but from all we had heard, we expected as good a cruise - if not better - than we had experienced on Brilliance of the Seas (our favorite ship) or Adventure of the Seas. We followed our standard practice of flying into the departure city a day early. We flew from Philadelphia to San Diego with a connection in Salt Lake City on Delta. Delta no longer serves anything free other than non-alcoholic beverages and small bags of pretzels, regardless of the time of day. We ate breakfast at 3:30 a.m. but were starving during the first leg of the flight, so we purchased a bagel onboard, which tided us over until we landed in San Diego and had lunch. The flights were stress free and our luggage made it to California with us (unlike on the return, when we made the connection in Atlanta but our luggage did not). We rented a car from Hertz because we got a rate of $17.99/day for a compact car. Since we are not Gold Club members, I waited in line for about 25 minutes. At that time, we upgraded to a larger car so we could fit most of our luggage in the trunk, raising the cost to $23.99/day. Getting out of the airport and to our hotel (The Fairfield Inn, San Diego) was easy. We used Marriott points for a free stay, and although the rooms were clean, this was a motel, not a hotel as other Fairfield Inns are. After checking in, confirming the hotel offered free high-speed Internet access, and dragging all our luggage up to the third floor, we went for lunch. Upon returning and settling in, I attempted to log onto the web through the hotel's Internet provider only to find it wasn't working. The front desk informed us that we needed to call the ISP. After two calls lasting more than 45 minutes, we determined there was a problem with the wiring in the room, and we went to the front desk to pick up a key for another room. We found occupants in the first room we tried, and the clerk spent another 20 minutes trying to find a non-smoking room, but we finally settled in a smoking room with a connection that worked. Unfortunately, it was in another building, which necessitated gathering our luggage on a cart, wheeling it down the hall, trying to get the cart into the small elevator, wheeling it across the parking lot, over a speed bump, into another elevator and down another long hall. We finally settled in around 8 p.m. local time, having been up since 3 a.m. East Coast time. Over Continental breakfast the next morning, we met three couples who were to board Infinity with us, and we now count one of those couples as friends. We made a quick dash to Ralph's for wine and water, then packed up the car and took it back to Hertz. We had been informed that we would be taken to the pier in a van, but when we inquired about it on the return line, it was decided that we would be taken to the pier in our car, so we wouldn't have to transfer the luggage. Three minutes later, we were unloading our luggage at the terminal in the pouring rain and then we headed to the check in area. We walked directly up to the counter for Concierge Class cabins, spent about five minutes getting our keys, and were informed that we would be in the first group to be called. With that, they announced that group 1 could board, so we went through security, had to lug our overloaded carry-ons up a flight of stairs (why no escalators?), and walked onto the ship. We were immediately offered champagne, but no one offered to show us to our cabin, so we asked for directions and headed on our way. Our cabin was ready when we arrived and when we met our cabin steward, Fides, several hours later, she emptied the minibar for us and took our clothes for the first formal night to be pressed. We headed up to the buffet for our first meal and let the adventure begin. Ship Design, DEcor and Layout: Overall, we found the dEcor of the ship subdued and a bit boring. We prefer the Centrum layout and the artwork found on Brilliance to the small atrium and abundance of silk flower arrangements and silk trees found throughout Infinity. The Christmas trees and poinsettias were a lovely holiday touch, and the ship is in excellent shape, but we thought Infinity deserved a teak Promenade and a bit less eclectic artwork (this is personal preference, of course). The three elevator banks reduced crowding a great deal, and passenger flow was excellent, except in the lounges outside the main dining room beginning at 5:50 p.m. The main dining room was a bit noisy, with the tables very close together. There were plenty of lounges and places to sit and relax throughout the ship. We sat out by the pool only one day at sea because there were no wind baffles on the upper decks, and it was almost impossible to walk on deck 11 while the ship was moving. The gym didn't officially open until 7 a.m., which the early risers thought was quite late. The theater was large, with small glass tables for drinks every two seats, but the sightlines for shorter people were partially blocked on deck 5, with the railings behind each row of seats placed almost at eye level. Celebrity prides itself on its lack of announcements, but we thought that policy was taken to the extreme. On the way to Hawaii, there was one announcement each day around noon by Simon Weir describing our location, travel speed, wind speed and notable activities for the day, but only one such announcement on the return. When we arrived at Kauai, we heard an announcement that we would be able to leave the ship within 15 minutes. We heard no announcement for Honolulu, none for Hilo, one for Kona, and none at Maui. When the ship was rocking and pitching in high seas at the beginning of the trip, it would have been nice to hear from someone about the conditions and what we could expect during the upcoming ocean crossing days, but our only information was provided on the GPS channel, which showed the ship's position, the expected high and low temperatures for the day and the wind speed and direction. Cabin 9133 - Concierge Class: This cabin was similar in size but different in layout to Brilliance category D cabins, and there seemed to be less storage space in the main cabin. However, the bathroom took first prize for shower-only bathrooms: plenty of storage, attractive, a comfortable shower with massaging showerhead (we didn't have to get out to pick up dropped soap, but shaving my legs was impossible in the shower as usual), and we especially liked the upgraded towels, amenities and bathrobes. The vase with a single rose or a stem of miniature roses was a lovely touch. We were able to fit all of our suitcases under the bed by nesting them, but it was tough finding a place for our shoes. Closet space was at a premium, but we got everything in. There were large shelves on each side of the desk, which helped, and some slim storage space next to the mirror. It was inconvenient that the telephone/modem was located next to the bed, while the laptop was plugged in across the room on the desk, which meant we needed to be extra careful not to trip over the cord while we were connected to the Internet. I tried three pillows before I made my final selection, and the pillow top eliminated the dreaded abyss between the mattresses. We only had breakfast on the balcony twice, as it was either too cool or too rocky to be out there on sea days, although we did enjoy cocktails with a cheese platter during sail away on several evenings. The large table and padded chairs were convenient, but they didn't leave much room to move around. The overhang shows up in almost every photo we took looking out toward land or the sunset/sunrise, and it blocked the sun, and mainly for those reasons, we would not choose a cabin on deck 9 in the future. As far as noise, we usually heard what we termed "the elephants" around 6:15 a.m. and 11 p.m. We assume they were rolling carts used by the crew in setting up or cleaning up the buffet above us. Other than that, it was relatively quiet. Staff service: The service on Infinity was the best we have experienced thus far. The staff was friendly and helpful, although some offered incorrect information, which is typical. (Some crew members would rather make up an answer than tell you they don't know.) Our cabin steward, Fides, and her assistant were hard-working, always smiling, and always ready to fulfill a request or offer assistance. Our cabin was cleaned every morning while we were at breakfast, and everything was taken care of to our complete satisfaction. Our waiter, Renato, and assistant waiter, Carlos, were also friendly and hard working, and it only took one night for Carlos to learn I was the only person at the table who drank coffee with dessert and preferred milk to cream. Renato learned almost as quickly that Ed is not a fan of most vegetables and would remove the offending ones before serving him. Carrots, potatoes and peas passed muster, but everything else was gone before it hit the table. Service was quick but unobtrusive, and we never felt rushed. Our assistant maitre 'd, Donatu, was fabulous, and even had crème brulees with extra crunchy crusts prepared for our table on the final formal night when we noted the night before that the sugar crust was very thin. Ed played ping pong every day we were at sea and noted that Sandy, who ran practically all of the sports onboard, did a fabulous job. Sandy was even kind enough to send Ed a note thanking him for his participation in the tournaments. Ed was sure to tip him to show our appreciation for his hard work. The photography staff was competent, although the prices for the photos seemed a bit higher than they were on RCI. The guest relations staff was helpful but not warm, the Captain's Club hostess, Elizabeth, was friendly, warm and patient, and the future cruise saleswoman was competent and efficient. Simon Weir, the cruise director, had a great sense of humor, and Peter Maclaren, the bartender in Michael's (now in the Martini Bar), made us feel as if we were old friends from the first night we sat down after dinner. Room service was relatively quick, although they had a tendency to deliver our meals almost 15 minutes early, which is almost as frustrating as having it delivered 15 minutes late. Nevertheless, other than the first morning, our food was warm, if not hot, and we received everything we ordered. Food: The food was really good. There were only two nights in the main dining room that I wasn't pleased with my entrEe (one was an overcooked pork chop and the other an unappetizing spaghetti carbonara), and both times Renato inquired within minutes if I would prefer something else. Ed had the chilled soups almost every night and enjoyed all of them, the meat was always served at our desired level of doneness, the soups were so hot I burned my tongue one night, the vegetables were crisp, and the presentation was lovely. The desserts didn't sound very exciting on the menu, but when Renato would bring around the dessert tray and describe the ingredients, there was always at least one item was I interested in. Ed usually had a dessert served with a scoop of ice cream on the side. On our other six cruises, we ate breakfast and lunch in the main dining room 95% of the time. On Infinity, we ate lunch in the buffet every sea day but one. We ate breakfast every morning in the buffet or through room service. The main reason for this was Celebrity has servers dishing the food and large sneeze guards to protect it (unlike the buffet set up on RCI). These guards didn't stop some passengers from poking their fingers at the food or touching food they subsequently didn't take, but it stopped most. The offerings were varied, the food was warm, and there were two ways to approach the main buffet on each side, reducing crowding during peak times. The waffle and omelet stations at breakfast were a big hit, as were the pasta and sandwich stations at lunch. I never made it to the sushi bar at dinner time, and we never ate upstairs at dinner, so I can't comment on service or food quality at that time. We also never ate at the Aqua Spa cafe, although our tablemates did almost every day for lunch and greatly enjoyed it. The pizza and hamburgers from the grill by the pool were tasty and hot. We ate in the SS United States four times. The first time was a disaster, as we waited 30 minutes between our appetizer and entrEe, 45 minutes between the entrEe and cheese course, and another 30 minutes for dessert. We had to request our bill three times before we could leave, and after two hours and 45 minutes in a half-empty restaurant, we vowed we would not return on our own. We had already agreed to have dinner with a couple who were celebrating their anniversary and decided we would not skip that. However, we cancelled our final reservation, after which we were contacted by the maitre 'd, Dominque. He actually sat down with us, apologized for the problems we experienced, explained how he was rectifying the situation, and asked us to give them another chance. We agreed to reinstate our reservation and said we would see how things went at the anniversary dinner. Obviously, everything went fabulously. The service was 100% better and the time between courses was reduced to 20-30 minutes. Subsequently, we invited our tablemates to join us at our second reservation and shared dinner with the anniversary couple once again on our last night onboard. The food was delicious, especially the goat cheese soufflE, the chilled soup, the rack of lamb and the veal. The chocolate soufflE was a little too runny the night I had it, but the Grand Marnier soufflE we were offered on our last night was perfect. On the nights we dined, the restaurant was far from full, although we heard there were nights when they were at capacity. In our opinion, the service and food in the United States are excellent, but they are in direct competition with the main dining room, something we have not found in previous experiences. On other ships, the food and service were so much better in the specialty restaurants that we were tempted to eat there every night. In this case, we simply enjoyed the quieter atmosphere and the opportunity to dine alone or with a different couple. In the future, we will likely limit our specialty dining on Celebrity to one or two nights. Entertainment: We never heard the pool band, as it was too windy, too cool, too rocky or we were too busy to sit out there. Hunani, the Hawaiian entertainer, was very good, playing Hawaiian music throughout the ship, teaching the hula, and leading the lei making class. We missed or skipped most of the shows, either because of the movement of the ship (the theater is at the bow), lack of interest or lack of desire to leave Michael's. We saw the two comedians and the illusionist. We heard the pianist was excellent and the production shows were good but didn't see them. We missed all the lectures, although I tried to attend one on a sea day that was held in the theater, but I had to leave after 10 minutes. We enjoyed the piano player in Michael's and the duo in the Rendez-vous lounge playing dance music before dinner. In fact, we would often go down to the lounge at 5:15 and watch passengers dance before going in for dinner. The Cruise Critic party was held on the first day at sea on deck 11 at the bow, and consequently fewer than the 250+ registered members attended. Some arrived only to leave moments later (we were among them). Another party was held on the last full day onboard, but we missed it. We heard it was the largest Cruise Critic gathering thus far. Internet access: We are among what seems to be a growing group of passengers who do some work online while they travel. Therefore, Internet access is important to us. We were vaguely aware of the Internet access cost on Infinity before we boarded, but the reality was startling: $25 per 24 hours with 50 minutes of Internet access included. Overage was billed at $0.75 per minute. With top speeds of 49.2 Kbps, we spent an inordinate amount of time watching the clock and trying to determine how to get our work done in the shorter possible time. We voiced our concerns to the representative of High Seas Computing, the company that runs the computer services for Celebrity, and while he was sympathetic, he suggested we take our complaint directly to Celebrity. It was our only complaint on our comment form, and we intend to follow up with a letter to RCI. Our experience on Brilliance and Adventure was $100 for a 7-night cruise and $125 for a 10-night cruise with unlimited Internet access. Granted, the speeds ranged from 24 Kbps to about 48 Kbps, but we had 24 hours each day to get done what we had to do. We understand that Internet access is an income generator for Celebrity, but it is difficult to justify these costs to our businesses, and if we can't do one to two hours of business each day while we cruise at a reasonable cost, we have to factor that into our choice of cruise line. We hope Celebrity will consider making its Internet access costs more reasonable and encourage anyone who finds these charges excessive to share that opinion with RCI. The Hawaiian Islands: There is so much to see and do on these beautiful islands that it would take a separate review to do this trip justice. Suffice it to say that we rented a car at every port except Maui, and only managed to see about half of what we hoped to see. Highlights included Waimea Canyon, the Arizona Memorial, the North Shore of Oahu, Volcano National Park and coffee tasting/shopping on the Kona Coast. We enjoyed Hawaii much more than the Caribbean islands and look forward to going back. One note: it seemed that 90% of the passengers renting cars rented from Alamo, so be prepared for long waits for shuttles and long lines at the check-in counter, especially on Kauai. Hertz, Alamo, National and Thrifty had shuttles at every port, but Avis did not. We noticed Budget and Dollar shuttles at a few of the ports. Embarkation/Disembarkation: As previously mentioned, embarkation was a breeze and took a total of 10 minutes. When our color (purple 1, the second group) was called (announced using a microphone in the Rendez-Vous lounge, not over the loudspeakers) for disembarkation, we faced a 10-minute wait on deck 3 to leave the ship and then moved very quickly through customs. We found our luggage easily, waited five minutes for a taxi and then stood online outside at the airport for 45 minutes to check in for Delta. (We heard the lines inside were worse.) We thought we would be sitting around the airport for hours having departed the ship at 9 a.m. for a noon flight, but we didn't get to the gate until 11:00 - and the airport is only five minutes from the ship. I recommend allowing at least three hours for this process and am glad we didn't schedule a flight before 11 a.m. Overall, Celebrity moves into the number one spot on our short list of cruise companies (RCI and Princess are the other two we've sailed). The Internet costs may turn out to be a deal breaker for us, but we've booked a cruise on Summit for 2006 and will lobby to get those fees reduced in the meantime. If RCI moved Brilliance to the Celebrity fleet and upgraded its service and food to Infinity's level while maintaining the dEcor, entertainment and Internet access fees, we would sail her exclusively (well, almost). We are still looking forward to our Mediterranean cruise on Brilliance in June 2005, but we'll miss the extra special touches that Celebrity offers. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2004
There is something magical about a cruise vacation, especially when you are looking forward to meeting over 250 people you have been corresponding with for over a year on Cruise Critic. Therefore, when Gerald and I (ages 52 and 50) saw ... Read More
There is something magical about a cruise vacation, especially when you are looking forward to meeting over 250 people you have been corresponding with for over a year on Cruise Critic. Therefore, when Gerald and I (ages 52 and 50) saw Infinity cruising slowly up to the pier in San Diego on a rainy Sunday, December 5 for our 15 day round-trip cruise to Hawaii, we knew we were in for a special trip. Having just returned, I can only say that we were not disappointed! Embarkation and Disembarkation Embarkation was pretty much a painless experience. Although we were not scheduled to board the ship until 3 p.m., we arrived around 1 p.m. and were able to check in quickly and efficiently. Since a number of people had arrived at the port even earlier, and the ship had just pulled into port, we did have to wait for about 20 minutes before we were allowed to board. Somewhat unusually for those of us accustomed to boarding a bit early, our staterooms were ready immediately and there were plenty of people available to escort us to our staterooms (along with lots of champagne). In this case, however, we had something of an unusual itinerary. Celebrity had been running one-way cruises from Ensenada, Mexico (70 miles south of San Diego) to Hawaii and back. Therefore, the prior cruise had terminated in Ensenada the morning of our cruise and, during the two to three hour trip to San Diego to pick us up, the staff had plenty of chance to prepare everything and was available for early embarkation. This was a nice treat. It was also nice to be able to avoid what I understand is a rather nasty bus trip between Ensenada and San Diego that was required on the one-way cruises to and from Hawaii (required by the Jones act since none of the Celebrity ships are US flagged). Apparently, they were able to do the round trip out of San Diego on our cruise due to a technicality. One of the officers indicated that, on paper, our cruise started in Ensenada, even though we were not picked up until San Diego. As a result, on the way back, we had to spend one hour in Ensenada doing Mexican paperwork (about 10 o'clock at night), something called a "technical Port call." Whatever the reason, both the embarkation and disembarkation were in San Diego, particularly convenient since the airport is less than 10 minutes away from the cruise terminal. Disembarkation was a little bit more problematic since there was a bit of a delay getting off of the ship (I am not sure of the reason). Our color was scheduled to meet in the Martini Bar at 8:30 a.m., to be directed off of the ship from there. We did not actually leave until almost 9:45 a.m. Still, it was a much more relaxing experience than on other cruises, if only because there were not constant loud announcements. Also, because of the nature of our cruise, we did not have much problem clearing customs. We simply handed our customs declaration to the officer who met us as we disembarked. Our luggage was easily available, we flagged down a porter who took us right to a taxi. And there was no wait for a cab! This is similar to our last experience disembarking in San Diego. This has to be one of the best cruise venues anywhere. Stateroom We were lucky enough to have one of the coveted aft cabins with the extra large balcony. This was a Concierge Class stateroom on the Sky Deck (deck nine) #9162. This is one of my all-time favorite cabins, despite the fact that, when sitting out on the balcony, you could sometimes hear the noise of scraping chairs from the outside dining above and, once in a while, when it was very windy, a few small scraps of paper would be blown down onto that deck. The annoyances were, however, extremely minor compared to the advantages. First of all, the aft Concierge Class cabins on Celebrity's Millennium class ships all have oversized balconies, large enough to accommodate a large table with two padded chairs as well as two padded lounge chairs, each with its own small table (with plenty of room left over). Although the deck nine aft cabins are completely covered, making opportunities to "sun" on the balcony limited to early in the day or late in the day (depending on the direction of travel), we did not find this to be a problem since there are plenty of other places on the ship to find sun if desired. We also found the view from the aft cabins of the ship's wake to be very relaxing. Additionally, we loved the amenities of Concierge Class. It was wonderful to be greeted by a bottle of champagne and fresh flowers in both the bathroom and the main cabin. There are upgraded toiletries and (one of my favorite amenities) a real handheld hair dryer in addition to the wall-mounted version that I have always found to be pretty much useless. We also had a very nice down filled duvet on the bad, a padded, comfortable mattress and a choice of various types of pillows (including a body pillow—heaven!). The room service menu for breakfast is also upgraded. Even though you can order anything that you want in the regular cabins simply by writing and on the room service menu, it is nice to simply be able to check off your selections (especially when you are filling out the form after an evening of Martinis). Besides, the granola berry parfait is absolutely wonderful as are the smoothies that are also available on the menu, items that I never would have thought of requesting had they not been written down. Bottom line, no significant complaints at all about the cabin. Well, maybe one. We had fairly heavy seas for most of the cruise and the sliding doors to the balcony did not want to stay open. We found this out the hard way. On the first sea day, we left the balcony door open and went outside to sit. Next thing we knew, it had closed with such a crash that it triggered the locking mechanism, effectively and literally locking us out on our balcony. Fortunately, the people next door were in their cabin and after leaning around the balcony, waving and screaming their name, they took our room key and, after quite a bit of jostling, were finally able to free us. After that, we used one of the lounge chairs to make sure the doors stayed open. Later on, one of the officers told us that this was not that uncommon an occurrence. A couple of cruises prior, there was a young lady sunbathing topless on her deck when something very similar occurred. Very embarrassing for all concerned, I am sure. Cruise Critic It is my understanding that we had the largest Cruise Critic group ever assembled on the Celebrity ships with over 250 people signed up for the party! Considering the fact that we had over 3000 posts on our thread before we left (not including the postings on the original thread on the old Cruise Critic board), this does not surprise me. Some of us had already met before the cruise, including a number of us here in San Diego, so this cruise felt more like a reunion than a group of strangers meeting for the first time. Our first party was not the "official" Cruise Critic party of the first day of the cruise, however. We had all arranged to meet in the Constellation Lounge at 5 p.m. on the date of departure, thinking that there would be no conflict with the muster drill since embarkation continued until 8:30 p.m. Surprisingly, however, the muster drill was scheduled for 5:30 p.m., so that first party was rather brief. However, all was not lost! Donald and Cynthia, who were in one of the penthouse suites, kindly issued an invitation to those of us who posted on the thread to a sailaway party that first night at 8 p.m. Not only was it a wonderful chance to sneak a peak at the beautiful penthouse suite, it was a chance to meet a lot of the fellow Cruise Critics we would party with for the next 15 days. Our incredibly gracious hosts provided us with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres and the ship's photographer even took a picture of all of us that could squeeze onto the balcony (apparently, he talked his way into one of the balcony cabins on the deck above, giving him an ideal vantage point for the photograph). And all of this was before dinner! We had more Cruise Critic parties onboard, including a couple of informal get-togethers. As I mentioned, the first "official" party was on our first sea day, Monday. This was attended by the cruise director, Simon Weir, as well as other staff members. A lot of people were rather surprised that Simon did make a formal presentation at this first party. However, when we talked to him afterward, it turns out that he had literally gotten on Infinity right before sailaway after a 23-hour flight and was seriously jetlagged and tired. He more than made up for it, however, when he set up a second "official" party on our last day at sea that included yet another portrait. Because there were so many people, we had to line up on two decks, both on the pool deck and above, with the ship's photographer standing clear to the other side of the deck! Quite a sight, I am sure, to those few diehards who were out in bathing suits sunning themselves in our 65-degree windy weather. Overall, Celebrity did a very nice job of accommodating all of us and making sure that our large group was recognized and pampered. Staff members For us, we found the service to be uniformly good to excellent. Our cabin attendant, Caetano, and his assistant did a superb job of keeping our cabin tidy and making certain that we always had fresh flowers and fresh fruit. In the dining room, our waiter, Ace Malabar, and his assistant, Carlos, were terrific. This was the first time that I had a waiter who performed a card tricks, napkin folding and other jokes for our amusement, and it was a lot of fun. It was also a nice counterpoint to the SS United States, the specialty restaurant where we dined on five nights out of the 15 nights of the cruise, where the service is very European and more reserved (more about that below). We also enjoyed the activities staff, especially Adriana, who conducted several sessions of trivia and Karaoke with a very dry sense of humor. Of course, everyone's favorite was the cruise director, Simon. He had just come over from Summit and he is truly one of the finest (and funniest) cruise directors I have seen. We had the chance to have coffee with him one day and he gave us some idea of the true scope of his job. I had never realized how much of the management the cruise director has to do behind the scenes in addition to having a public presence and make everyone feel as though they are being personally welcomed. He seemed to be open, accessible and always around somewhere, unlike many cruises I have taken where the cruise director seemed to be invisible except at shows. Infinity is lucky to have him. Entertainment We did not really take advantage of the production shows, so I cannot venture an opinion. The party band, Vibz, was splendid with tons of energy. The Analog Quartet played classical music many afternoons in the Cova Cafe. They were very good. My only complaint is that their regular listeners seemed to consider their performances to be akin to a recital and, on one occasion, got very huffy with four of us having cocktails together and laughing because we were "interfering" with music that was supposed to be in accompaniment to our cocktails. Go figure. We just moved away from them and continued to talk and laugh. We did see one of the comedians, Clinton Jackson, who was funny, but a bit nervous since he had never even been on a cruise ship before and had gotten the gig only two days before he boarded in Hawaii. I think he will improve with time although a lot of people either left or seemed to be falling asleep. Our favorite entertainer was Haunani, a beautiful Hawaiian lady who sang regularly, either on the pool deck, in the Cova Cafe, or aft in the Oceanview Cafe at sunset. She had a lovely voice, a warm sense of humor and probably the nicest smile I have seen anywhere. She also gave lectures on Hawaiian culture, taught hula dancing (which, to my regret, I missed), lei making, the Hawaiian language, etc. She seemed to be one of the hardest working people on the boat, but was always stopping to greet people, chatting, telling stories, etc. Aloha, Haunai, wherever you are! May our paths cross again. The only truly bad entertainment was the "Mr. Jones and Me" duo who played in the Rendezvous Lounge many evenings for dancing and listening. To give you an idea, when we first heard them, my husband turned to me and said something to the effect of "I did not know they were having Karaoke tonight." He was completely serious. In fact, some of the Karaoke performers sounded better. They were one of the few unexceptional parts of our cruise. Food Good to excellent. The fish in the dining room was uniformly moist and nicely flavored (although it tended to be a bit on the bland side one occasion). We stuck either to fish or to the vegetarian menu, but the beef eaters at the table seemed to really like their selections and commented that it was prepared the way they asked. The portions were small, but seconds were available upon request. The chicken was variable. It was good on some nights and tough other nights. I cannot remember what the table mate next to me ordered one night, but it was really, really tough (it might have been lamb). That was the only thing that I saw anyone send back. As for the vegetarian menu, some of the selections were absolutely wonderful and some were kind of icky. It seemed to have more variation in quality than the regular menu, but overall was not bad. Most of the appetizers were excellent (especially the mushroom concoction they served on the first night and the spinach and cheese turnover). Salads were indifferent, but the Celebrity dressing was absolutely terrific as were some of the other dressings. Desserts were pretty good although nothing struck me as particularly outstanding. As for the other dining options, the sushi bar was very good. On prior cruises, the rice has sometimes been a bit dried out. This was not the case this time. Also, I really loved the teatime selections of sandwiches and sweets, between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Although my husband thought I was insane, two of my favorite tea sandwiches were the cheddar cheese and strawberry jam sandwiches and the sardine salad sandwiches. They always had a wide assortment, so do not worry if my taste seems a little odd. In the main part of the buffet, pasta was often available outside of regular dining hours, cooked to order and excellent. For some reason, we never seemed to eat at the usual hours, so we only patronized the buffet at lunchtime on one occasion. It was OK, nothing outstanding. The room service menu other than for breakfast is pretty meager with a very few unimaginative selections (tuna salad, roast beef sandwiches and a few other things). One night, however, we ordered pizza to the room and that was not bad at all (although it is kind of strange to receive a little four inch individual pizza in a big eight inch box -- we took a picture because it was so funny looking). Gerald and I dined on five occasions in the SS United States, the specialty restaurant, which has a surcharge of $30 per person (most of that was paid by our on board credit for being RCI shareholders). This was not because we did not like our table mates, but we like to eat by ourselves on occasion since we do not get too much chance for "alone time" during most of the year. This was an incredible experience. The maitre 'd, Dominique Gamboa, along with the head chef, Milos, went out of their way to accommodate our dining preferences (we do not eat shellfish or meat). After our first night, they started making special fish dishes for us, including one memorable evening when they prepared fish tableside, including a very complicated sauce made at the table from scratch that was absolutely divine. Probably some of the best food I have had anywhere. Dominique told us that he was willing to accommodate just about any request with a little bit of notice so that he could prepare. I cannot say enough good things about this restaurant, the food quality and the service! Shore excursions and the islands Our first stop was at Nawiliwili on the island of Kauai. We had booked the Na Pali Coast Raft Adventure through the ship, but were advised that, in light of 20 to 30 foot swells on that side of the island, they were going to need to head to the other side of the island. They offered an immediate refund to anyone who wished it and a 20 percent discount to those of us who decided to go along on the revised tour (the 20 percent was credited to our account by the time we got back to the ship). Most people chose to take the tour and it was absolutely splendid. The guide was extremely familiar with the wildlife in the area and, even though we did not see the spectacular scenery of the Na Pali Coast, she pointed out quite a number of interesting features and managed to find a pod of spinner dolphins, spotted dolphins and at least one other variety of dolphin. They remained alongside the boat playing for at least 10 minutes. She also found large numbers of sea turtles, most of them very close to the boat and the snorkeling was wonderful. We did try to go whale watching, but as the afternoon wore on, the sea was getting very rough. The pontoons on the boat were definitely up to the job and most of us enjoyed bouncing through the waves, but there were a few people who were looking a little green by the time we got back to shore. All in all, a really gorgeous day. The next day was Honolulu. Nothing really sounded exciting in terms of shore excursions, so Gerald and I decided to stay on the ship until after lunch. We took some pictures from the Aloha Tower and walked over to the statute of King Kamehameha, across from the Iolani Palace. On the way, I found an older building that had some incredibly beautiful tile work and we spent a while just poking around the streets. We had a late lunch at a brewery next to the ship and listened to music for a couple of hours. When we returned to the boat, it was getting late and we decided to have pizza on our balcony ordered from room service. Just by chance, it turned out that the Christmas boat parade was in the bay behind us that evening, giving us ringside seats for the show. Just wonderful! My favorite port was Hilo. I had arranged a helicopter tour through Safari Aviation and they promptly picked us up at the agreed upon time (about $30 per person less than the same excursion arranged through the ship, with no real danger of missing the boat since the airport is only about 10 minutes from the ship). The sightseeing on Hilo is mostly of the volcano, Kilauea, which is actively erupting. The power of nature is awe-inspiring! The helicopter ride was also billed as a waterfall tour, but if you are interested in waterfalls, do the helicopter ride on Kauai, since these were beautiful but not terribly impressive. The volcano was definitely the star of this show, along with the beautiful view of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, both of which were visible that day, a very unusual occurrence in this often rainy city. The town of Hilo itself was what made this port my favorite. It is by no means a tourist town. We had a wonderful lunch of incredibly fresh fish, purchased across the street at the fish market just that morning. There were some lovely little art galleries where we purchased a couple of pieces of art for our "cruise wall" (we pick up one or two small pieces of art for one of the walls in our bedroom every time we cruise) and were able to purchase a beautiful arrangement of fresh flowers at the farmer's market for only five dollars. The woman who sold them to us had picked them out of her backyard that morning. Pretty amazing since the same arrangement back on the mainland would have cost well over $50. One thing to note -- when you get off the boat, there is a market in the cruise terminal where you can buy an arrangement of Hawaiian flowers for $10. This looks like an amazing deal (especially if you are familiar with the stateside prices) and the arrangements really are beautiful. However, keep in mind that you can buy an arrangement twice the size for half the price at the farmer's market in town. Either way, the arrangements stayed fresh and beautiful for the rest of the cruise. The bus to town was only one dollar, quite a bargain. On our next stop, Kona, we also chose to book a tour through the ship. This was a raft excursion and snorkeling adventure. This was one of our favorite excursions. There was a 45 minute ride on an inflatable out to the site where we went snorkeling. On the way, we saw the first and only whales of the trip (it was a bit early in the season). Our Captain identified them as a mother and her calf that had been in the area all day. Beautiful! The snorkeling site itself was the site where Captain Cook was killed and had a huge number of fish, some of which were quite large. We literally saw just about every fish on the fish identification card that the Captain had on the boat. After snorkeling, we were served fresh fruit including some of the best pineapple I have ever had and, since the water was calm, we were able to use the inflatable to explore some of the caves close to shore. Again, a terrific day. The only disappointing port was Maui. Most of the disappointment had to do with the fact that we were only there until 3:00 p.m., so there was not much time to do any real exploring. Gerald and I decided to just take a late tender into Lahaina for lunch and shopping. It was a pretty city, but very commercial. Having been to Maui before, I know that there are a lot of things to do on the island and that there are some beautiful areas, but you need a little more time than we had. Also, either get back to the tender dock before about 1 p.m. or so or plan on a LONG tender line. We got back at 2:30 and could not even SEE the end of the line. All is not lost, though. There is a very convenient bar across from the dock from which you can watch the progress of the line. It was about a 3-beer line, I estimate. By the time it got to a reasonable length, it was after 3:30 and we were feeling VERY relaxed. Miscellaneous notes and conclusion While neither of us purchased any alcohol on shore, I did not see anyone have a problem bringing it back with one exception. Apparently, someone decided to "sneak" vodka or some other clear liquor back on to the boat in a water bottle. They were told that this was not permissible. When the passenger questioned how they could tell without even opening the bottle, the security guard gave a demonstration, shaking the bottle with liquor and another bottle that contained only water. They looked very different after shaking! Keep this in mind if you decide to try this little trick (I have seen people on the boards recommend this). Remember to take a photo ID on shore in addition to your cruise card. You will need both to get on and off the ship. Security was fairly stringent but everyone was very polite. We did not rent a car or plan to rent a car at any of the ports, but those who did indicated that it was something of a hassle in many cases. One couple indicated that they had to wait quite some time for a shuttle to take them to the car rental location. They would usually allow just the driver in the shuttle, meaning that the passengers had to wait for an hour or more until the driver had finished the paperwork, been given the car and come back to get them. It was only worth it when the ship was in port for a relatively long day. OK, this review is now more than long enough. I am running out of superlatives. Bottom line, this was one of the best cruises we have ever taken, not just because of the ship, not just because of the ports, but also (and mostly) because of the wonderful people we met on the ship, including our Cruise Critic friends. We still miss everyone and would cruise with the same group again in a heartbeat! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
This was our 5th cruise with Celebrity. The weather and ports were beautiful but the cruise left us wanting more...more attention to detail, better quality and more variety in food choices, better air arrangements, more variety in ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise with Celebrity. The weather and ports were beautiful but the cruise left us wanting more...more attention to detail, better quality and more variety in food choices, better air arrangements, more variety in activities, especially on sea days. Simple activities like movies during the day or live music other than while we are eating supper (main seating) would have been better. Also, it would be nice for the activities staff to have alternate plans for days when it is too cool and too rainy to play pool games. Many shows were only offered once a night which made it appear that they were trying to save money by paying the entertainers less. We notice a lot more extra fees for activities that really shouldn't cost anything extra, a lot more recorded music rather than live, and little notes announcing extra fees for water, towels, etc. all over our cabin. We booked with the cruise line through their 800 number in Miami. We found the agent to be very helpful and easy to contact until we made our final payment. We're still waiting for him to return calls made after that. We were able to have some questions answered by calling Captain's Club, but we tended to get different answers, depending on who we asked. We made our air arrangements through custom air, months in advance but when we received our final papers, the arrangements had been changed and when I called, we were told we didn't have custom air after all even tho the person I had spoken to said we did. We did not arrive at the ship until almost 7:00 pst and were told that we would have to wait for the 8:30 seating for supper. Since we had traveled all day from the east coast per Celebrity's arrangements, this would have been 11:30 est so we declined and ate pizza on the pool deck, just pizza...no salad, nor anything else along with many others. This is the first cruise we've been on where they didn't take open seating on the arrival night. Our return flights from Honolulu were even less well planned. I would suggest that if you choose this route it would be worth it to go through your own travel agent and make your own flight arrangements. Ours were poor. We see lots of changes in the little things that make cruising enjoyable and wonder if this is the result of the RCI takeover. They seem to be adding extras for extra fees that used to be part of the package. The special restaurant, S.S. United States was wonderful and more like what the main dining experience used to be. The ship's appearance, overall, seemed like it needed some cleaning and polishing and picking up. Although the face to face staff seemed helpful, the folks in the white uniforms did not seem to care if we were there or not. Several times I was left standing in line behind them as they got their lunch or their beverages without so much as an"excuse me"or friendly nod. I also think Celebrity should consider embarking from San Diego and then making a visit to Ensenada as that bus trip is the pits. We were rushed to the bus, with a bottle of water and a small granola bar with no one from Celebrity to escort us or tell us what we were to do next. It was a long, dark and uncomfortable ride. I think Celebrity may be looking for new passengers but not worrying about keeping the ones they have had in the past. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2004
This was our third Celebrity cruise and we also have done Princess and Carnival in the past for an overall 10 cruises. embarkation: Celebrity always does this the best! They let us on the ship at 11:30 even though they tell you after ... Read More
This was our third Celebrity cruise and we also have done Princess and Carnival in the past for an overall 10 cruises. embarkation: Celebrity always does this the best! They let us on the ship at 11:30 even though they tell you after 1:00. They don't let you in your room so they need to develop a plan for carry on luggage. We went to our room and tried to drop off our carry on and the stewart was stressed (of course he let us do it anyway). They have common rooms open. Ship: The ship is beautiful, but we were on the Summit in November which is similar so we expected as much. Martini bar was our favorite spot and the staff there from the bartender to waiters to bar manager never let us feel ordinary! Even if you don't like martinis this is the place to be before dinner. Covo the coffee bar is another great spot to go in the afternoon for that caffeine pick me up. We find they put the most interesting people there as it takes awhile to make the coffees so they need to make conversation. The dining room on all these class ships is breathtaking. The bar on deck 10 aft offers a relaxing place to have lunch, breakfast, or just sit and watch where we've been. The pool was the only disappointment, they had a big tile issue where they were falling off frequently, which created sharp spots on the floor of the pool. Cabin: We had a 1A balcony and the room was nice. Celebrity has found a way to keep you from feeling like you have two mattresses which is very nice. I like the mini bar for snacks or a drink and the prices are not bad. The balcony was a waste of money for this cruise, we always get balconies but for this cruise you are so active the first 6 days and then the last 4 days are windy as hell it was a waste. We used it the first 6 days for our morning coffee and that was it. Save your money and get an inside cabin. Shore Excursions: I have always thought that this was Celebrity's main weakness. On this cruise we did the "Adventure to Hana", Haleakala Crater", "Napali Explorer", "Waterfall Hiking Adventure", "Lava Viewing". I have to say they were all outstanding tours with good companies and outstanding people. Caution on the Adventure to Hana, it a brutal 287 mile ride (11 hours) of bumpy winding roads, you need to be able to endure this or pick something else. Dining: Celebrity does this very well usually. We had an ok waiter, with a poor assistant waiter, and a very poor sommelier so the experience was ok. We always get a big table and had a great group to share the experience with. Food is ok,we have so much fine dining in New England that we always expect a lot. The buffets were always pretty good, but we always find Carnival has better options and quality here. Check out the waffle station though, very good! We did casual dining one night (first time) and it was outstanding! The best food we had on the ship was at our casual dining. Entertainment: Celebrity does this the best! Don't miss a show. We had gotten to the point on other cruise lines where we skip shows and we never missed one here. The dancers, singers, and all entertainers were outstanding! Fitness & Recreation: We always plan on working out but never do, but the gym was world class! The entertainment was very weak. We were on the Summit and they did the same things but had better flow, timing, and locations. Having a deck party when you are overnight in Maui for example, no one showed! Inside events on the warm days and outside events on the cooler days. The cruise director was weak and we thought he didn't pay much attention to detail. Daily mistakes in the daily newspaper. Overall, we loved this cruise. The islands are some of the most beautiful places we've ever been. Celebrity is still our favorite and we love this class of ship. Be prepared for the ugly flight there (long) and the bus trip back but other than that it was GREAT! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2004
This is my husband and my first Celebrity Cruise on the Infinity. What a beautiful ship with a lot of class. We have sailed on the Norweigian and the Princess lines before this cruise. Now to critique our cruise: Embarkation - our plane ... Read More
This is my husband and my first Celebrity Cruise on the Infinity. What a beautiful ship with a lot of class. We have sailed on the Norweigian and the Princess lines before this cruise. Now to critique our cruise: Embarkation - our plane was delayed in Chicago and we arrived around 3PM on the day of the cruise. We had no lines to check in and were immediately led to our cabin in the CC Class cabin 9133, Sky Deck. CC Class Cabin 9133 - The cabin was nice with a queen bed and a love seat and ample storage for clothes for 11 days. The mattress was very comfortable with no notice of merging two twins together. The balcony was lovely with two nice padded chairs and a table. The bathroom was roomy and the shower stall seemed to be bigger than on the Golden Princess. My only complaint about the room was that there was no room between the mirrored wall and the bed for two people to get around unless the couple went single file. The fresh flowers in the room were a nice touch along with the deluxe robes and pastel towels. The overhang on the balcony was not an issue with us. Priority Tendering was well worth the CC class, especially if you had shore excursions booked. Elevators: If there were a rating on elevator service this would be a A+. If we were anywhere on the ship the wait time was less than a minute. By far better service than any ship we have ever been on. Dining - Late Seating - We ate in the Dining Room every evening, but one night, which we ate in the Specialty restaurant. First let me tell you that the main dining was magnificent. The service was wonderful and the food and the desserts were superior. Our waitress and waiter were concerned that each one of us were happy with the overall dining experience each evening. At our table we had 2 couples that I met on the Cruise Critic roll call and another couple from California. We looked forward to dining with them every evening and recapped about our activities that we did for that day. Specialty Restaurant: Wonderful experience, well worth the $30 per person charge. The goat cheese souffle was incredible!! Service, Service, Service. Go there if you want to be treated like one of the "Rich and Famous". Buffet Dining: I give this a mixed rating. The following ratings: General Food: C; Pasta Bar: A; Omelet Bar: A; Pastry Bar: A; Waffle Bar: A; Service: A+. Compared to the Princess I was disappointed in the general food buffet. The specialty bars were great along with the service. Pool Cafe: Hamburgers and Hot dogs (how can you screw up) Pizza OK, but to compare to the Princess Pizza, Celebrity can't come close. They need some help in the pizza department. Pools and Spa Pool: Pools were warm with salt water. Princess had fresh water pools, but were much cooler. I prefer myself the warmer water. The Spa Pool is a must, again it was warm and very relaxing. The "Chair Hogs" are on every cruise and are just rude and inconsiderate people. There were at least 70% of the the lounge chairs with towels and books on them and only 10 people in the hot tubs and pools. This is a great disappointment. I would think that the cruise lines would be able to remedy this problem. My husband and I only wanted a few hours around the pool on a few days, but had to yield to these rude obnoxious people. Bars: Martini Bar is a must!!! Service was excellent and the Martini's were the best. Martini Tastings should not be missed. It was $5.00 and you got to sample 6 different martinis. My suggestion is that they should have a different sampling for at least 5 nights on an 11 night cruise. I give this bar and the servers an A+++ with 5 stars. Casino: Good Casino, didn't win except for the last night. General Overall Comments: Beautiful ship with my kind of taste, eloquent but yet not gaudy. Service was A+ with not anything lacking in that department. Cabins were nice, but layout a little cramped, rating would be a B-. Cabin layout on Golden Princess rating would be a B+. Food in dining room - Celebrity has Princess beat, Food in Buffet - Princess has Celebrity beat, Service - Celebrity, Celebrity. I would cruise either Princess or Celebrity again depending on the itinerary and price. This was a great cruise and one to remember. Weather in late September and early October was perfect. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2004
We had a nice cruise. Room attendant asked if we'd like him to separate the beds and then did so (other than on other cruises). Otherwise he did a great job too. Food was excellent. Not only the choice - which is excellent but the ... Read More
We had a nice cruise. Room attendant asked if we'd like him to separate the beds and then did so (other than on other cruises). Otherwise he did a great job too. Food was excellent. Not only the choice - which is excellent but the same on any Celebrity cruise we have been on - but this chef knew how to prepare the food and it was done accordingly. The shows were comparable to the shows on other Celebrity cruises we have been on, which is good. Weak points: While in Hawaii, weather was nice but because of port days we got little out of the pool. Once we had left Hawaii the wind was rather strong and the temperature of the outside pool soon became too cold for me. The outside whirlpools were much too hot for me. The wine tasting for Captain's club members I saw in the program was not for classic members. A good number of the menu cards in the dining room looked disgusting. Movies were not always well scheduled. Summarizing: as far as the ship and matters under its control are concerned this was probably our best cruise - so far. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2004
This was our third Celebrity Cruise; our second two weeker. We were on the Zenith in late November/early December. While I love Celebrity and especially its marvelous staff, I can't say this was one of out better cruises. It started ... Read More
This was our third Celebrity Cruise; our second two weeker. We were on the Zenith in late November/early December. While I love Celebrity and especially its marvelous staff, I can't say this was one of out better cruises. It started badly with food poisoning in the hotel in Santiago we were put in, and it got even worse when the good ship's Doctor, an overweight, chain smoking Italian, decided that a mild case of diarrhea was deserving of a three day confinement to my stateroom. I had no other symptoms: no fever, no vomiting, nothing. But he arbitrarily committed me to confinement, and my wife to twenty four hours. I will admit they are making an attempt to make it up by offering a future cruise credit but of course, that means I need to make another cruise. Upon embarkation we were all handed a letter advising of engine problems and the fact that the ship was operating at about 80% of speed, necessitating the removal of one of the port calls. We were also issued a $150 credit for the loss. The one excursion I was able to make, Arrica, was probably the most depressing shore experience I've ever had. It's like the old joke. First prize is a day in Arrica; second prize is a week in Arrica, and the last place prize is a golf course lot at the Arrica Country Club. What a hell hole. I couldn't do the Lima excursion due to the "confinement". Finally, the entertainment was very mediocre. And that was disappointing since I had told everyone about what a great group the Zenith had, including a world class Broadway singer, Jordan Bennett, whose CD's I play all the time, incredible comedians, and some of the best dancers I've ever seen. They can't get something comparable for a Millennium class ship? I also wasn't real pleased the with the former Brazilian Ambassador and his liberal politics either. The other speakers were pretty good. The food was the usual quality; the staff as always, brilliantly trained and motivated. Where does Celebrity find such nice people? Whoever is doing the hiring should be promoted, given a raise and put on the Board of Directors. They are all such marvelous representatives of their countries and their cultures that you can't help but admire the consistency of their work. How they put up with some of the passengers, especially the rude French and Germans, is a mystery to me. The special restaurant was well done but the wine by the glass prices are obscene. Service was outstanding. Food was not 5 star. During disembarkation, at a point when things had slowed to a crawl, whoever the young man was in charge of the theatre disembarking group, totally defused some growing tempers, by taking off his jacket and walking on his hands across the stage. The crowd applauded, quieted down and had a good laugh. You can't teach that type of public relations. I wish I'd gotten his name. He also needs a promotion and a spot bonus. A lot of stores on board. Called the Emporium. Not employees of Celebrity and very spotty in terms of attitude and customer relations. The H. Stern staff was excellent. Some of the others, especially some of the gals manning the islands, were snippy at best. Two or three I would have fired on the spot. I took two other couples with us. First time Celebrity cruisers, but very, very experienced cruisers nevertheless. In fact, far more so than we are. They pretty much concur with what I'm writing. I don't know that they'll go back to Celebrity. But we will. But I won't do South America. It was underwhelming. I wrote a critique of my Zenith cruise. It has never appeared. But I can tell you that on a scale of one to ten, it was a nine. This was a five. Read Less
Celebrity Infinity Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 3.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.8
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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