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25 Celebrity Infinity Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Panama Canal & Central America

We were looking forward to a 40th anniversary celebration. Unfortunately the condition of this ship took much of the pleasure from our trip away. From the state room, which had a toilet that frequently didn’t work, with a speaker that ... Read More
We were looking forward to a 40th anniversary celebration. Unfortunately the condition of this ship took much of the pleasure from our trip away. From the state room, which had a toilet that frequently didn’t work, with a speaker that also failed to work and balcony railinging with paint sloppily applied. The shower hot water was occasionally not available. About a third of the gym equipment was not in order. We had to avoid many parts of the ship due to ongoing work by maintenance crews. No activities were offered in the sport court and it’s surface was covered in splattered paint. The walking surface on the exterior portion of the ship was stained, And in need of repair. The hot tubs were poorly repaired after years of service, etc etc etc. Rust was prevalent throughout the boat with some stairs actually broken. For the cost of this trip I laugh at the gall Celebrity has to provide such a DUMP of a ship. The staff were excellent and the food was OK. This was our 4th cruise and the only time we’ve been dissatisfied. I’ll never give Celebrity another chance. They should be ashamed! Again, this boat is a dump. Spend your money on another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The ship could do with a refit as it is looking a bit jaded. Checking in was very efficient and quick. Our cabin was fine with plenty of draw and hanging space, looked after by Faisal. We were disappointed with the MDR when we were at ... Read More
The ship could do with a refit as it is looking a bit jaded. Checking in was very efficient and quick. Our cabin was fine with plenty of draw and hanging space, looked after by Faisal. We were disappointed with the MDR when we were at a table for 8 as it took over 2&half hours to finish, not enough waiters. We then tried seating for 2 with no problems at all. Entertainment was very good and varied. Chiko was OUTSTANDING in everything that he did,particularly the choir which we were part of. Service in all the bars was patchy as there were not enough waiters,quicker to go to bar yourself. The excursions were well organised and not too expensive for cruise ship excursions. The Panama Canal was an amazing experience. We would do this again in a few years. We enjoyed the excursions in Columbia, Panama, Guatemala and Mexico. Overall we had a great time and enjoyed ourselves and met some very nice people Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The Panama Canal has always been a bucket list item for my wife and I. When two couples, we often cruise with called to say they had booked it we were in. The itinerary included Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama (of course) and Colombia, all ... Read More
The Panama Canal has always been a bucket list item for my wife and I. When two couples, we often cruise with called to say they had booked it we were in. The itinerary included Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama (of course) and Colombia, all places we'd never seen so we couldn't wait. The ship sailed from San Diego, a town I've always enjoyed so we decided to go out 3 nights ahead of our sail date to get a start on relaxing. There is so much to do out there I'd definitely recommend going out early. We stayed at the Hilton in the Gaslamp District. Its close to entertainment but still only a short walk or ride to the waterfront. Something I'd never seen before are rental bikes and scooters. An app put on your phone allows you to "unlock" electric scooters or bicycles that are scattered all over the place. You're only charged for the time you use them. When you're done you just park them and end your ride. It's a lot cheaper than cabs or Uber. One little note, watch out for curbs or you'll end up with road rash and seven stitches in your head like I did...but that another story. Embarkation: The Infinity had just come out of a dry dock repair of propulsion systems and arrived in San Diego without passengers. Infinity arrived later than expected and had to do some clearances that delayed boarding. Since the boarding times were compressed, everyone had to board in a shorter time. It was pretty bad. They ran out of boarding cards at some point and people with priority boarding times did not get the smooth boarding they expected. Some folks were pretty upset about it. Frankly it didn't affect us much because part of that time I was in an ER getting stitched up from my scooter mishap and as we don't have status on Celebrity we were pretty much stuck with the masses anyhow. I do think this was more of a circumstantial situation than a problem with the processes at the San Diego terminal. The Ship: I'd read many comments about the Infinity looking worn. In some places that is an understatement. In other parts of the ship it was not visible at all. Parts of the pool deck are definitely in need of some overhaul. Restaurants, lounges and much of the inside spaces are clean and in pretty good shape. Everybody has different expectations in this regard but I can honestly say while some of the appearance of the Infinity was noticeable and a little surprising, it did not detract from our cruise experience in the least. Our Cabin: We were in 8124, a Concierge class cabin on the starboard side pretty close to mid ship. It was nice, but frankly nothing any more special than a balcony cabin on Carnival. Bed comfort is of course very subjective but my wife thought the beds were a little hard. Our steward brought a foam topper the second day and it was fine from there. Storage was plentiful even for two people who tend to over pack. There's not much more detail I can really provide. Food: The food was probably among the best we've had at sea in a long time. Ok, a cruise on Oceania a couple years ago might have been better and our first cruise on Celebrity was at least as good. I didn't have a bad meal or even a so-so meal our entire 15 nights. We bought a specialty package of 6 meals. We did 4 meals in The Tuscan Grill and 2 in QSine. All were good. QSine was an interesting experience. It ended up being way to much food, but here were so many foods that we wanted to try. We learned later that they are really good about giving smaller portions if you just ask. taste was great, presentation inventive and fun. The staff was very helpful in navigating the menu and arranging your selections. Food in the Main Dining Room was great, service was excellent. Frankly, had I known the food in the MDR would be so good I'd have bought fewer specialty meals. Service and Staff: Outstanding! Did I mention we had an outbreak of Noro on this cruise? The staff busted their butts with smiles on their faces to help do their part to keep things under control with out detracting from our cruise experience. I really can't say enough good things about the staff. Everyone was always smiling, greeting guests, often by name. We always pick a pool area bar as out daily "go to" and the guys at the Mast Bar were an absolute joy. By the second afternoon they knew our names and our drinks of choice. Entertainment and Activities: There were plenty I'm sure. Sorry, but we are pretty shallow in those regards. Pool bar, relaxing, reading and visiting with other guests is all we do. One couple we were traveling with went to daily lectures and said they were good. We did catch part of one show. It seemed much better than any of the shows we've peeked into on Carnival ships. Shore Excursions: Not a great experience all in all. Again, its pretty subjective and depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Some of it was probably our choices and our expectations. Cartegena, Colombia is probably the one city I'd like to go back to. We did a beach excursion (relaxing on a beach with drinks is our thing) but there was history and culture in Cartegena that we'd have enjoyed too. All I can say is do lots of research before booking your excursions. I wasn't too impressed with the staff at the Excursions Desk. They either didn't know or left out details about excursions like hour and a half bus rides to destinations that might have been good to know. Again, maybe some of the blame is ours. To Sum it Up; Despite the Noro outbreak and some less than fantastic excursions we had a wonderful time on the Celebrity Infinity. The staff was superb, the food great and it was an interesting itinerary. Not sure we'd repeat that trip. The Canal was fascinating but after 8 hours of locks I've probably seen all I need to. This was our friends 3rd transit. Everyone is different. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This cruise was to celebrate our 25th anniversary. We like Celebrity and had been on Infinity for a prior cruise (Hawaii). We flew to Ft. Lauderdale the day before and spent the night at Hyatt Place.We took the hotel shuttle ($7 each) ... Read More
This cruise was to celebrate our 25th anniversary. We like Celebrity and had been on Infinity for a prior cruise (Hawaii). We flew to Ft. Lauderdale the day before and spent the night at Hyatt Place.We took the hotel shuttle ($7 each) to the port at 10:00am. No long lines, easy process. We're Captain Club Select, we had a specific waiting area for priority boarding. By 11:00am we were on the ship. We were in regular veranda cabin 7078. Our room steward gave us a bottle of chilled champagne for our anniversary. This was our first experience with a beverage package. We had Classic. We found plenty of choices. This cruise had a good combination of ports and sea days. All our shore excursions were booked through Celebrity. In Cartegena we did a boat tour of the bay and a walking tour of old town. For Panama we did a boat tour on Gatun Lake. Costa Rica was a hike in the cloud forest. Cabo was one of the best we've ever done, a sailing/snorkel tour with Cabo Adventures.. We had Anytime Dining, we ate at 5:30 and were finished in time for the first seating of the shows. We were able to get the same table each night by making reservations. The food was good, service was excellent. Our waiter brought a cake and sang to us for our anniversary. We had breakfasts and most lunches in the buffet. The food was good and we were always able to find an empty table. We had enjoyed the Spa Cafe on previous cruises and were disappointment in the cutbacks on what was offered there this time. The burgers and fries at the pool grill were delicious. The highlight of the trip was of course going through the canal. We were allowed onto the helipad for part of the transit. The canal lectures and commentary by Bill Fall were superb. We went through the old locks, could see some huge cargo ships at times in the new locks. Yes Infinity is an older ship but we found all to be in good working order. The crew was fantastic. Disembarkation at San Diego was quick and efficient. They asked for all non-US to meet in a lounge, the rest of us were called by color/number from designated waiting areas. Didn't have to fill out Customs forms, we walked with our luggage to checkpoint and were only asked to show passports. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We have done several cruises in the past 3 years and one of them just entered the first lock and turned around. We enjoyed the passage so much we decided to do it all. The lectures on board made it even more enjoyable. We started off ... Read More
We have done several cruises in the past 3 years and one of them just entered the first lock and turned around. We enjoyed the passage so much we decided to do it all. The lectures on board made it even more enjoyable. We started off right across the ship at the Marriott Bayside. Very easy to walk to the ship. Embarkation was pretty typical, a real pain in the neck. Nothing nice to say about getting off the ship. We did the bag drag and had to drag all the bags through the bar with hundreds of folks littered about. We were on this ship 18 months ago and it seems like things are getting cut back. Little things like our head waiter only had 2 tables and two assistants. This year he had many more and only one helper. Slowed things down a bit but still had some great service and food. We went to almost all the shows and as usual it was top notch. We had an oceanview room and a very good steward. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We choose it because we had booked it some years ago and lost it due to missing the plane and my Husband was a engineer and the interest was the Canal . We had to save for it again due to the loss of the money before. We found the ... Read More
We choose it because we had booked it some years ago and lost it due to missing the plane and my Husband was a engineer and the interest was the Canal . We had to save for it again due to the loss of the money before. We found the flight from Newark to San Diego very uncomfortable due to the fact we had no entertainment and we had packed our Kindles in our suitcase we were also allocated two seats separated this was adjusted by my Husband when he found two vacant seats behind. We are also in dispute with the Sheraton Hotel who charged us for items we did not use during our stay with them. We enjoyed our stay on the ship and found it a very friendly ship meeting many interesting people. The entertainment was excellent we enjoyed every show and it was very high class. The dining was excellent and we were looked after with great attention and warmth. Some of the excursions we went on were excellent . Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This the first millenium class ship for us. All our Celeb cruises have been Solstice so far. Boarding long winded as there were only a few cameras and these required a long waiting line. Where are cameras, one per check in desk? Had ... Read More
This the first millenium class ship for us. All our Celeb cruises have been Solstice so far. Boarding long winded as there were only a few cameras and these required a long waiting line. Where are cameras, one per check in desk? Had the classic drinks package and for the first few days had issues with bar staff not knowing what an Alabama Slammer was, including some rude attitude by the staff, until the beverages manager got involved. Had a confirmed late dining on a table for eight from Celebrity but on first night did not have an allocated table and told we were select for some reason. Other guests had same issue. After firm discussions allocated a table for ten on late sitting. Appeared poor management/admin. The table was in an area on 5th deck and our side was in poor lighting until three days before cruise finished, dispie staff trying to resolve the issue. Our table 513 was last to get mains by a considerable time in relation to other tables near us, to a point where we passed on the desert simply to leave the table by 22.15. This came to a head on lobster night when at 21.50 we were told the lobster had run out. Overall our dinner experience was poor and seemed to suffer from poor management. My birthday was on the cruise and my wife requested a birthday cake. None appeared. We have a cruise next April 2018 on the Millenium and I just hope we don not exerience the same poor standards. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We arrived in San Diego a couple of days before the cruise to explore the city by Hop on/off bus which we have found to be the most economical and fun way to see a city. We stayed at the Horton Grand Hotel which we found comfortable and ... Read More
We arrived in San Diego a couple of days before the cruise to explore the city by Hop on/off bus which we have found to be the most economical and fun way to see a city. We stayed at the Horton Grand Hotel which we found comfortable and central to our needs. The marina was a short 15 minute drive arriving at 11:30 am. We were checked in and on board in another 20 minutes. Aqua class gave us a balcony on the top floor, I recommend port side if sailing from San Diego through the Panama Canal because your cabin faces the coast and it gives you more views other than seaside. Also you will have the sun in the morning with your coffee and shade in the afternoon when the heat is at it's peak. Our first port and our favorite was Cabo San Lucas. We used Viatour to boat out to Lands end for a photo shoot. Viatour is certainly economical but it works out of Me Cabo San Lucas Resort which is difficult to get to from the Cruise port. Another tour Company, Esperanza's Tours (KioskB8 at the port) charged us $40.00 to get there. We found out later it should have cost $4.00. Stupid trusting tourists! The Viatour was about 45 minutes long, scenic, enjoyable but prepare to get your feet wet as there is no ladder and a high freeboard. We got back to the port by lunch so we walked over to Cabo Wabo Bar to have the best Tequila Shrimp and Coconut Shrimp with fresh Guacamole and salsa washed down with Cabo Wabo Tequila. You must try this! Puerto Vallarta we had nothing planned but we chose a van driven by Raul Villalpando Soto raulvs07@gmail.com from the line of solicitors. Raul is very knowledgeable and loves his city. He was even able to find Hatchables which are are sold out in North America. Whenever a rest stop was requested he got to a clean facility in 5 minutes or less. After our episode in Cabo it was refreshing to find this honest earnest driver and tour guide. I cannot say enough about how much we enjoyed this tour! Our next stop in Guatemala required a 1.5 hour trip to Antigua from the port. We arranged a private tour through Celebrity so there was only the 4 of us in the air conditioned van. Well worth the extra. Antigua is a charming city where you can imagine yourself in a Spanish colonial town. Costa Rica was not much to celebrate, something simple nothing noteworthy. The Panama Canal cruise started with daily lectures on sea days by a fellow named Bill Falls. His knowledge of the canal is an important ingredient to enjoying the experience, some before, during and after. Going through the canal takes about 10 hours and has a running commentary by Bill Fall. It is a complete excursion on board. The following day is Colon on the Atlantic side. Our excursion was not notable, a trip to an ancient tribe village took 1.5 hours by van followed by a 45 minute boat ride across Madden Lake taking 4.5 hours of a 6 hour trip . Perhaps the excursion to Panama City would have been a better choice. Our last port was Cartagena Colombia. Excellent city to explore, it has great fortifications and old city streets to roam about. Be prepared to say No, a lot. Street vendors are never ending. We had a private van with air conditioning arranged by the ship, again we were thankful to have our own timetable. In Fort Lauderdale we walked off the ship as we only had two bags so we were first and very quick. If you can do this, I recommend it. The whole process took about 10 minutes, including customs. All in all it was a great cruise, the ships crew were super friendly and efficient. The bars were numerous, each with an interesting flavor. The food was super and our appointed staff, attentive. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Having cruised on the Infinity’s sister ship, the Summit, in 2014, I expected an awesome time, and didn’t really anticipate any major surprises when I boarded the Infinity for a 15-day Panama Canal cruise. However, there were some – ... Read More
Having cruised on the Infinity’s sister ship, the Summit, in 2014, I expected an awesome time, and didn’t really anticipate any major surprises when I boarded the Infinity for a 15-day Panama Canal cruise. However, there were some – the new Roof Top Terrace, Blu, and a lot more sea days. THE GOOD We decided to try Aqua Class this time, and our cabin (9131) was in great shape and perfectly located. No dreaded noises (some CC posters had recommended avoiding these cabins because of potential scraping or thumping under the Ocean View Café or pool deck). That was not an issue and we were close to everything. Room 9131 was nice and clean, and we liked the upgraded shower, robes, etc. Although, some instruction regarding the features would really come in handy. I have neck problems and no one told me about the pillow menu that could have alleviated them. No directions for all the nice things you can do with the shower adjustments either. We never did figure out how to turn on the entry light without blazing up the entire cabin, and the balcony door needs Arnold Schwarzenegger to open it. Yikes. That said, our cabin steward was so attentive I couldn’t believe he ever sleeps had not been cloned somehow. Always there, always helpful! Blu Blu was a nice venue for dinner, but it was a bit hit and miss. The sample menu on Celebrity.com shows filet mignon, for instance. Never got it in 15 days. I like my beef really rare and the steak they served was too tough to eat it that way. Appetizers, salads, fish, and soups were very, very good though. I should have had three helpings of steak tartare and skipped everything else that night. Only other issue with Blu was that the tables are very close together and they mash you against other people even when it isn’t full. Never an issue with dinner but one morning I had to listen to a really loud guy talk with his mouth full the entire breakfast. His spit actually hit my table cloth. Ugh. After that I went to the omelet station upstairs. Our wine steward, Amar, was great and took awesome care of us in Blu. Buffet The buffet, which I tend to avoid on cruises or anywhere else, was surprisingly good. Omelet station and poached station were a hit, and I tried new things like the broiled tomatoes in the English breakfast section. Only inconvenience was having to get lattes on the 5th floor (Cafe Bacio folks are super!), then run back up to the tenth floor to get breakfast. Had there been a savory option, like a veggie quiche or ham and cheese croissant on fifth floor, life would have been perfect. Bar We had the Premium (aka, the AA, lol) drinks package, which was nice. Included all the coffee drinks as well. Service was terrific, especially in the Ocean View Bar, Cellar Masters and Bacio. Martini Bar is fun, but most of the drinks are sweet. Honestly, the best craft cocktails by far were in Sushi On Five. Too bad that’s the only place you can get them, because unless the whole group likes sushi you never get to go there. Sushi On Five This replaced Bistro On Five, the old crepe place. It had some really good food, mostly the appetizers, but I noticed the menu was much more limited than the sample on the web site. Very little for non-sushi folks, which makes it hard to get a group to go. Rhys, our waiter, was terrific. I also remember them taking sushi off the other menus on board because there is now a dedicated restaurant, but no one had added crepes anywhere now that Bistro is gone. Really missed both the sweet and savory crepes. The Gym Classes were great, gym very clean, good equipment, usually no waiting. Only problem is it’s hard to balance in yoga class when the seas are rough. And for some reason, the locker room has no hair dryers! Really strange – still had to go back to room, all yucky, because no real way to shower and dress in there. Entertainment Silent Disco was really fun. The bands on board were mostly really good as well. And watching movies and football upstairs on the roof top was fantastic. Only problem is getting food or drinks up there. Hard to balance them while going up the stairs. One of the drink carts like the ones they push around the pool area would be helpful. THE BAD Not too much bad here but figured I’d mention in case Celebrity is interested in improvement. Wine Only deficiency regarding drinks service was in the specialty restaurant, Tuscan Grille. On the Summit, in the Normandie, our sommelier was fantastic. She had a wine for each course that hit the mark every time. This guy couldn’t even remember which if us was drinking white or red, or what our next course was. A little disappointing. I’ll miss the Normandie. Room Service Okay, I don’t know what “enhanced” room service menu was supposed to be, but ours was seriously limited. Food not impressive at all and very little variety. Only got it once. Pool Chairs and lounges – chair hogs alive and well. Every time I walked in to maybe read for an hour or so, every chair had a towel and junk on it, and maybe a third were actually being used. Maybe implement a reservation system and a time limit? THE CHEESY! AND THESE ARE THE WORST COMPLAINTS Sea Days If you eliminate all of the “events” that are thinly (or not-so-thinly) disguised sales pitches, there is very little to do, especially if you’re under 100 years old. Here’s an example: • Learn about buying emeralds! • Watch buying party! • Art auction! • Art auction! • Art auction! • Opal seminar! • Learn about enhancing your health (with vitamins, acupuncture, massage, orthotics, oils, aromatherapy, hair products for sale) • Ruby celebration! • Gemstones for you! • Jewelry grand opening! • Shore shopping expert! • Diamonds International! • Port expert tells you where to shop! You get the idea. Retail shops were less than inspiring. More jewelry, just cheaper. I never saw Top Chef at Sea, which was about the only thing I was looking forward to. The web site also touted things like language classes, which I wanted to attend and never saw. Unless your idea of vacation is bingo, stuffing your face and buying overpriced crap you don’t need, you’ll hate sea days on Celebrity. And there were nine of them. Ugh. This was our seventh cruise and has probably cured us of taking another cruise for a while. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Really enjoyed this cruise, the staff are what makes it special, they are all so helpful and friendly, going above and beyond and always with a smile, giving us good advise and a few tips along the way, the restaurants are great and the ... Read More
Really enjoyed this cruise, the staff are what makes it special, they are all so helpful and friendly, going above and beyond and always with a smile, giving us good advise and a few tips along the way, the restaurants are great and the cooking classes were enjoyable, the Tuscan restaurant was great, a cost for this but a fabulous choice of steaks, the qsine was an alternative restaurant, you have to think out of the box to enjoy this one. Quirky and fun. The indoor pool was out of action a few times, due to a shattered window which was disappointing but could not be helped. Our room looked down on to a lower outside deck of the room below, so you don't look directly down to the water, not such a big issue but something to be aware of. Deck 7 towards the back of the ship, the ports in some stops were a bit away from towns so you could not walk. Some of the excursions we took could have been shorter as some of them dragged on a bit but still gave us a great opportunity to see and learn about the ports of call. The guides were knowledgable, some of the excursions said long pants and sleeves in churches, however we found that not to be the case, people we saw were fine with shorts and short sleeve tops, just no short short shorts, no strappy skimpy tops, common sense really needs to be used as you need to be respectful. We did find that we missed being able to make yourself a cuppa in your room and also the fill a bag laundry like on other cruises we have been on, the laundry charges are not cheap or manageable for a family, it works out very expensive particularly on longer cruises. All in all we had a great time, met some lovely interesting people, went to interesting places and learnt more about the world. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Panama Canal always has been one of my bucket list cruises and am glad I finally saw the marvels of going through the canal but 15 days was a little too long on this older ship. What was missing was the fun factor we see on Royal Caribbean ... Read More
Panama Canal always has been one of my bucket list cruises and am glad I finally saw the marvels of going through the canal but 15 days was a little too long on this older ship. What was missing was the fun factor we see on Royal Caribbean Freedom class ships and Celebrity Solstice class ships. Was excited about going to Guatemala but the pier is out in nowhere land. Costa Rica was very nice and along with 60 some other Cruise Critic people we hired 3 mini buses on. a Costa Rico 10 for 1 tour for only around $68 for an all day tour of many favorite attractions. Mexico City ports pretty much the same with great beaches and snorkeling. Watch your pwrsonal belongings as we had some thefts. Canal experience was awesome and the ship had excellent speakers that were most knowledgeable about the canal. Was disappointed that the new canal, 30% wider, was not completed but it is expected to be finished soon. They already had 1 ship go through on a trial run. Had never been to CURACAO and it was a very pleasant surprise. We really enjoyed the island and you are not hassled to buy items like most other Caribbean islands. Ship entertainment was average. We ate in BLU restaurant because we had Aqua class rooms and it was an excellent restaurant with excellent service. Besides going through the canal it was the highlight of our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
we feel absolutely cheated out of our holiday money. We are battling farmers who have saved our money for what was to be the holiday of our lifetime. Firstly, there was an 18% service charge on everything we bought, then there was a place ... Read More
we feel absolutely cheated out of our holiday money. We are battling farmers who have saved our money for what was to be the holiday of our lifetime. Firstly, there was an 18% service charge on everything we bought, then there was a place on the invoice for a tip. A few times it was underlined. A cheap bottle of wine we bought in a supermarket in Santiago for $4.50 was on the menu for $35 + 18% etc. They X rayed your bag if you'd been ashore checking that you hadn't bought any alcohol with you. We paid gratuities in package purchase price in Australia, but when aboard, they charged again. When my wife inquired at the information desk she was told that was only for the room boy. Everywhere we went someone was trying to sell us something. It wasn't only us that felt cheated either. There was not even a picture theatre on board, instead you had to sit in the bough of the ship in the open air. The free shows were all second rate. There was a poor old fellow who gave seminars on various topics, he was good, but we got the feeling he was only paid by a free trip. If this is what cruise ship holidays are about, count us out on any more. Last holiday was on a Trafalgar bus tour around Eastern Europe. That was much better value. I wouldn't advise anyone to cruise Celebrity! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Before the cruise we stayed 2 nights in San Diego and after the cruise 2 nights in Miami. Enough time to explore the cities and no hurry to get to the ship and back home immediately after the cruise. Both ports are easy to reach from the ... Read More
Before the cruise we stayed 2 nights in San Diego and after the cruise 2 nights in Miami. Enough time to explore the cities and no hurry to get to the ship and back home immediately after the cruise. Both ports are easy to reach from the Airport or Airport Hotels. Embarkation was the worst I've ever had. There's room for improvement. Disembarkation was very fast. Old ship but in good shape. The 2 weeks in dry dock in October 2015 were important and now there is new furniture in the Solarium, a new rooftop terrace and a new speciality restaurant. Several things still need to be done but overall everything is ok. Cabin size interior stateroom was acceptable. Lots of space to store things. Food in the MDR was excellent. In the Oceanview cafe still good and a large vaiety. Qsine is a good experience but the fee is too high (the last two days of the cruise they offer 50% discount). Did not try Tuscan Grille. Shows and entertainment was the best I ever had on a cruise ship. Good singers and dancers and artists. Solo performers (Roberta Neves, Julia Sanay) did a very good job. The Houseband is excellent but the Latin band should play more latin music. Cruise director Sara from Spain was very nice and walked always around. I've talked to her almost every day and got useful informations. Officers are always walking around in the evening and you can talk to everybody. Officers and Staff take part in pool games and activities. Shore excursions are very expensive. Drink menu has a wide range but prices are a little bit high. The average age of the guests was 60+ Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was our 6th Celebrity cruise and the second on this class of ship.Having read the November reviews (the cruise before ours),I felt I had to come to the defence of the ship.This was our second time through the canal and the actual ... Read More
This was our 6th Celebrity cruise and the second on this class of ship.Having read the November reviews (the cruise before ours),I felt I had to come to the defence of the ship.This was our second time through the canal and the actual cruise and ports of call sell themselves.The ship itself is as we all know getting on a bit and shows it a little here and there but not to such an extent that it will spoil your cruise. As for the ship creaking all the time, well that's a new one on me. They must have put some WD40 on. I have had creaky cabins before and no doubt there were some on this ship, but not the ship as a whole. Service in the bars was excellent with ample waiters who were moved to different venues during the evening to cater for the different shows. The shows themselves will be familiar to regular cruisers, some you'll like some you wont, but the onboard singers and dancers were excellent and there were the least number of walkouts I have ever seen on any cruise liner. Cruise director Sara and her team worked hard, with Luigi and DJ Jaz a great double act. Service in the main restaurant was a bit slow, the main problem seemed to be in the kitchen were the waiters had to wait a long time to get the orders. Food itself was fine apart from the fact that you seem to get green beans with everything. The buffet has a good variety of food but when you are doing a 15 day cruise and maybe cruising twice a year your not going to find something new and exciting every time. The cruise before ours had norovirus and we were slightly delayed getting on. Unfortunately we also got it midway through the cruise and steps as previously described by others were taken. By we I mean the ship not me. As you know you get talking to different people every day and the generally feeling I got was that people were enjoying themselves and the ship. As for the 2 Mounties in their dress uniforms on formal night. Superb. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was only our 4th Celebrity cruise (23 over all lines) so not as familiar with the ship classes. It so happened we had two Celebrity cruises booked, one in January of this year and again this April. Our January cruise was on the ... Read More
This was only our 4th Celebrity cruise (23 over all lines) so not as familiar with the ship classes. It so happened we had two Celebrity cruises booked, one in January of this year and again this April. Our January cruise was on the Equinox, so the Infinity was a bit of a let down. First of all our balcony cabin, 7200 overlooked the suite cabin awnings below, so our view down the side of the ship (we like to watch the port workers) was blocked. In looking at the ship from port, it appears that most balcony cabins have some sort of obstruction below. I would sail this class again, but in an outside cabin. I have to admit that I did very little research on this cruise, so the cabin issue was my fault. Of course, being a smaller ship, it wasn't as "Grand" as the Equinox, everything on a smaller scale though. The ship does show some wear and tear but it is not abused. There were many activities offered throughout the day, very few appealed to my husband and me so we read (four books each) and played Dominos and generally amused ourselves. I would also agree with another reviewer that showing a movie in the afternoon on sea days (we had a lot, one more than we expected by missing Puerto Vallarta). I only remember one movie playing which was Birdman, so only one movie with 9 sea days. The service overall was excellent even with the high sanitary requirements, the wait staff did an excellent job having to deal with it. In talking with one wait staff member in the dining room he said that there were eight people affected by Noro who were at two tables close to each other. About four or five days in no more ice on the Martini Bar, no books in the library, and you literally had to bump into a sanitizing station in order to enter the shopping areas. We took the sanitizing very seriously, two weeks back and my hands are still peeling. Peeling hands is a much better side effect. We upgraded our beverage package the first night, just so we did not have to think about it. I took advantage and now I am Martini Bar hooked :). Jennifer, in the Martini Bar is excellent and the "boys" behind the bar love to show off. We had open dining and snagged a great two top against the windows at the back of the ship and Maria in the dining room worked with us to have the same table each night. I can't complain about the food since I did not have to cook it, but all meals were enjoyed and appreciated. The bread sticks are wonderful! I think Celebrity has a superior everyday menu, better than HAL and Princess (IMO). Again, with the heightened sanitization, all bread was served (not a bad thing!), my salt intake went down with no salt shakers, maybe I came back more healthy than when I left? I wish... We only saw a few shows which were good, we prefer the more comedy venues than singing and dancing, most times we were just too tired after dinner (dang Martini Bar) and just went to the Casino for a few minutes of gambling. No complaints about the entertainment, just because very little appealed to us does not mean it was not good. There were also two speakers on board, one talking about the Panama Canal and another who would talk on the art of comedy (several types of comedy things). The only hiccup in the cruise was the last day. We were supposed to be out of our cabin by 8am, we left the cabin at 6:45 to get some coffee and told our cabin steward we would be out for good at 7:15 (walking off our own luggage). When we returned to our cabin the steward was in it having removed our unzipped luggage from the bed and stripped the bed. We believe my husbands extra set of eyeglasses and clip ons ($$$) were next to the luggage and got swooped up in the bed linens. Two unanswered emails to Celebrity's lost department and I finally had to call on Friday. In defense of the high sanitation he was just wanting to get a head start, hopefully the glasses were found, we just don't know yet because they don't know we've been asking about them! We were off the ship by 8:10, customs was VERY smooth and off to taxi to BART (taxi's were lined up). I did notice that NO luggage had been offloaded yet and felt bad for the passengers getting off and those who were coming aboard. We were home by 10:45, the best disembarkment we've experienced. Any cruise to me is a good one, some things go bad but never enough for me to say "insert cruise line" never again. The never again incidents do not reflect the entire cruise line or every ship in its fleet, just your experience on a particular sailing. Our cabin choice was my bad, I just know now that I can't be lazy when selecting cabins from now on, research, research, research and it's all good. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Panama cruise April 13 - April 28 2015 Due to mechanical problems, our flight between Brussels and Atlanta was delayed with more than 7 hours. Besides that the flight between L.A. and San Diego was cancelled. So we did the last track by ... Read More
Panama cruise April 13 - April 28 2015 Due to mechanical problems, our flight between Brussels and Atlanta was delayed with more than 7 hours. Besides that the flight between L.A. and San Diego was cancelled. So we did the last track by bus. So we made it just to board the ship. Unfortunatly, due to a minor outbreak of the norovirus on the previous cruise, everything was delayed on embarkation day. As already mentionned in some reviews, the Infinity shows his age at some spots. Nevertheless every corner was clean and the crew did their best to maintain the ship in good condition. Our cabin 7071 (inside) was in order and our steward, always smiling and interested in our dayly program, did a very good job. We normally ask for a table of 8 in the MDR. This time we were put on a separate table for two. This makes that the dishes came a little bit to fast each after another. The different menus were top for us. Every plate cold or hot as needed. The choices at the buffet were sufficient. One remark: the barservice was sometime slow with breakfast and lunch. As we book every time a beverage packet we like to have each morning a fresh squised juce. Some days we had to search it ourselves at the bar. Every portday we went on excursion. We enjoyed every tour with excellent guides. Only Cartagena was desillusion due to the streetvendors who don't stop to ennoy you, trying to sell some overpriced items. We booked this cruise in 2013 as we hoped that the new locks would be in operation. But we are pride that, we little Belgians, are a world player when it comes to dredging. Two of our companies do the major dredging on both sides. And what was not told by the lector on board, colonel Goethals, the chief engineer who lead the construction works in 1914, was in origin from Belgium. His parents left our country, sailing out of Antwerp to their new country on board of one of the vessels of the Red Star Line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Celebrity specified evening dress for the formal nights so I brought my tux along, my wife one of her cocktail dresses. We were quite disappointed when we observed one guest dining in his bib overalls and t-shirt and there was NO ... Read More
Celebrity specified evening dress for the formal nights so I brought my tux along, my wife one of her cocktail dresses. We were quite disappointed when we observed one guest dining in his bib overalls and t-shirt and there was NO enforcement by the maitre'd or ship staff. OK, so the overalls looked new, but certainly NOT formal attire unless that's what he wears at hog slopping conventions. All other aspects of our cruise were excellent; great entertainment, educational programs = WOW, especially Brent Nixon and Fred Saxon, clean cabin, clean ship, excellent food, courteous staff, fine shore excursions and the price fit the nature of the cruise. We will cruise Celebrity again when the opportunity presents itself. Even though I rate this cruise excellent in all categories except dining, overall gets only four dots because the formal evening dress code was not enforced [why?]. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
My wife and I, along with five other couples recently completed a 14 night cruise from Valparaiso, Chile to Miami via the Panama Canal. The purpose of this cruise was to celebrate my 70th birthday. This was our 18th cruise and we have ... Read More
My wife and I, along with five other couples recently completed a 14 night cruise from Valparaiso, Chile to Miami via the Panama Canal. The purpose of this cruise was to celebrate my 70th birthday. This was our 18th cruise and we have Elite status. I mention this so that others realize we are not new to this game. We flew into Santiago four days early, staying at the Marriott hotel, in order to spend time in the city and take a day trip into the Andes. To reach Valparaiso we also hired a van at the hotel and toured our way to the ship. Boarding went very smoothly, and in less than 20 minutes we were aboard, and in our Aqua class cabins. Everyone in our group seemed more than pleased with the ship. the food, the crew, and just about everything connected with this cruise. Two of the couples having recently completed a cruise from Istanbul to Dubai on Regent, seemed especially pleased, so much so that they cancelled another cruise with the same line for this fall, and booked a Celebrity cruise instead. In fact four of the couples also booked a 14 night cruise with Celebrity for next March. The only negative was a small outbreak of Noro that reared up. Having said that, I must commend the ship's staff for keeping the outbreak under control by constantly cleaning, cleaning, and then cleaning again. It worked! The number of cases was held in check, the spreading of the virus was stopped and the cruise continued. Yes, it did cause some confusion and a bit of chaos in Oceanview, but I figure that so many crew members were wiping down the ship that some services suffered. A first world problem, really. I suppose that if one was confined to one's cabin, then the trip would suffer, but what other choice is there? As for ports on this cruise, I would refer you to other reviews. In general, I concur with what others have written. The passage through the canal was fascinating, and Cartagena was our favorite stop. We got off the ship right on time and were deposited quickly at the airport. That is another story for another time! Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Embarkation was quick an uneventful, as it has been on all three Celebrity cruises I have taken. I recommend Aquaclass not only for the spa advantages and Blu dining but also for expedited check in. Cabo San Lucas, and Puerta Vallarta ... Read More
Embarkation was quick an uneventful, as it has been on all three Celebrity cruises I have taken. I recommend Aquaclass not only for the spa advantages and Blu dining but also for expedited check in. Cabo San Lucas, and Puerta Vallarta were the only two ports worth visiting. We did not book any excursions. Personally you can only zip line, parasail, and lay out on a beach so many times before frankly you have just done it. I personally though the Guatemala and Costa Rica ports were disgusting. Even the air risked of dirty. The cruise ship however was beautiful as is typical for Celebrity. This was my second cruise on the infinity in six months so it was a little boring the second time. The main shows were the same, but still very good. The comedian Fred Klett was beyond hilarious. Other than that the other shows were a waste of time, energy to the performers, and money for the cruise line to book. The staff were wonderful courteous, and efficient. A bright shining star of staff members was an activities staff person named Mark Western. He was wonderful, and single handedly made our cruise spectacular. He was so funny, and worked so hard to make you feel wanted and welcomed. The worst staff person was the cruise director Patti Honecki. Not only was she not personable, she was also never around. I only saw her o. The ship off stage once, and that's pretty bad for a 15 day cruise. While on stage she was unimpressive, and her attempt at humor always fell short of funny and fell far more into awkward. I do however give her kudos for loosing the 60 pounds she lost. She only told us every time she got on stage. There was a norovirus outbreak, but the staff got on top of it, and my husband and I did not end up getting sick. All in all this cruise was good, as far as the ship it was perfect the ports fell short. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Two nights before the cruise, my husband and I stayed in Fort Lauderdale at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66, a really nice hotel, with a gorgeous view from the balcony overlooking the pier and our future cruise ship, which made for fun ... Read More
Two nights before the cruise, my husband and I stayed in Fort Lauderdale at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66, a really nice hotel, with a gorgeous view from the balcony overlooking the pier and our future cruise ship, which made for fun anticipation. Embarkation: so easy and so effortless, we thought we must be one of the only cruisers! No lines, no delays and no hassles whatsoever, we boarded and went immediately to our suite. The Royal Suite: worth every penny. We've had the suite on previous cruises and the redecorating was very good as everything was clean and almost new. This suite has a small dining room area open to the living room area and has a separate bedroom along with (my favorite!) a walk-in closet and a spacious bathroom with a spa tub and separate shower. One of the best features is a large veranda with a table and chairs for dining and two lounge chairs next to an outdoor spa tub that sadly, did not get used. A big surprise was on the first night, we received an invitation to dine at one of the specialty restaurants on board, Qsine. Probably one of the most unique restaurants, you order from an iPad and each course is presented in a clever and sometimes amusing manner with small portions of food from many different countries. The service was impeccable. Also on the first formal night, we got to sit at the captain's table in the dining room. Meeting the captain was nice as well as the other guests. Which leads me to review the food on the Infinity: By far, the BEST buffet ever, for breakfast, lunch and dinner! The freshest, ripest, most delicious fruit I have ever had in my life. If you think that's an exaggeration, all I can say is that I saw them load crates of pineapples, melons and bananas from some of the ports we stopped at in South and Central America where they grow these fruits! Absolutely unbelievable as I ate more fruit than I had a right to:>)) But not only the fruit, but since we are vegetarian, there were countless dishes we could have. Often, we will go on a cruise or to a restaurant, and for meat-eaters, there's a wide variety of choices, but for us, maybe some pasta. But on this ship, at the buffet, there was so much food for us, and really, really good food, that we definitely gained weight! Some stand-outs: The pasta bar at the buffet where you can choose whatever ingredients you want and they saute your pasta while you wait. Surprisingly, really excellent sushi (vegetarian sushi) that the chef prepared for us anytime we wanted. Delicious Indian food with just the right amount of spices. There's more, like vegeburgers and wonderful chocolate chip cookies. The only dud was mostly the desserts which even though they looked really good, were just average. But that didn't stop us from coming to the buffet as much as possible! The dining room: A big disappointment. The food was so mediocre and the service so average, that we only dined there twice on the entire cruise. Even though all the other restaurants and food more than made up for this lack of quality cuisine, the disappointment was in not meeting people, sharing experiences or enjoying the ambiance of the dining room which we've always done on previous cruises. One note, however, was the maitre d was very helpful when we wanted to change our dining time. The service: One of the BEST crews we have ever had on any ship. From the butler to just about ever single server, there were greetings, smiles and attentiveness. Our Stateroom butler, Jose, was SO terrific, we could give him twelve stars! He was always available, always friendly and so interesting to talk with. We wished we could take him home:>)) Our stateroom attendant, Nemia Deleon, was wonderful. Ricardo Gomez, a concierge, was so kind and so thoughtful. even sending a bottle of wine to our stateroom. Billy, in the restaurant Blu, was SO darling! Our group only wanted to sit at one of his tables every time we ate there. Also, the people at the concierge desk were so kind to help me use the ship's phone to call Verizon about our cellphones. I could go on and on if I knew every one's names like they knew ours! The spa: Some really good, some not so good. I had a hot stone massage that was really good, but a manicure and pedicure that was not so good. Not bad, just not good. And way overpriced, but one expects that on a cruise ship. The gym was well-stocked with treadmills and machines and a small exercise class area where I took one class. That was okay. Excursions: We decided to take excursions through Celebrity because of the sensitive (a euphemism for drug terrorists carrying you off into the jungle. What? You haven't seen Locked-Up Abroad?:>)))areas we were visiting. Our Cartagena city tour was okay, the bus ride was not so great and the sites were okay an our tour guide was average, but at least we can say we've been to Columbia. The highlight was passing by the hotel where the secret service scandal occurred! Costa Rica: We went ziplining and it was wonderful! This was also an excursion from Celebrity and we really lucked out because our tour guide, Abel Vargas, was absolutely terrific! In fact, we made a point of going to his boss who was there at the ziplining site to tell her how much we liked him. (abelvargasm@hotmail.com) He was so clever and so knowledgeable and really made the history and flora and fauna of Costa Rica come alive for us. Panama Canal was very interesting, not a place I'd want to come back to (once you've seen it kind of thing), but I did see some crocodiles basking on the bank! A highlight for us was Cabo San Lucas. There is a restaurant called The Office, that you HAVE to visit when you're there! You just take one of the countless water taxis across the bay and step off into the water of a beautiful sparkling beach. You walk up the sand to the bright blue umbrella-covered restaurant and sit at a table right there on the beach with your bare feet in the sand. It is glorious. Also, some of the best Mexican food you will ever have. Absolutely NO problem with the water or food here---it is fresh and clean. I think I must have consumed like twelve avocados in the guacamole! Back on board, we really loved the Infinity. We donated plenty to the casino, and really didn't like the video poker machines. We never heard or saw anyone win and we certainly didn't! Not that we would expect to win all the time, mind you, but at least be able to sit at a machine for a length of time. The Captain's Club lounge was a disappointment because on other ships, it's a separate room with a personal concierge. On this ship, it was in two different areas and we only used it a couple of times. Waving happily to R & D who we met on board and who we absolutely adore! The shopping area was fun for me---jewelery was a highlight to look at and consider buying until you realized that you already donated plenty to the casino:>)) But the sales people were really nice and helpful, so I didn't mind any sales pitch at all. I participated in a little jewelry fashion show that was fun. One sorry note: I lost a sapphire bracelet on board as it just slipped off my wrist without my knowing. We went to the lost and found several times a day, but all they did was rummage through a little cardboard box filled with lost sunglasses. This was really not so good and when we asked a few times if maybe they could make an announcement, they coldly declined. I know it was my fault for losing the bracelet, but I could have used a little more sympathy and help. Anyway, this was a really terrific cruise, and if you've actually read this entire review, I highly recommend Celebrity cruises and the Infinity. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
This was the first time I had ever cruised and I'm pleased I started with a cruise to Central America and Panama Canal. The experience included some highs and lows but overall it was a great vacation. Given that it was my first ... Read More
This was the first time I had ever cruised and I'm pleased I started with a cruise to Central America and Panama Canal. The experience included some highs and lows but overall it was a great vacation. Given that it was my first cruise, and I can be hard to impress (to say the least), I was hyper-sensitive to everything around me right from the first moment we started this adventure. Embarking was odd -- we were in an Aqua Class stateroom, which has its own "express line" but our line was slower than the general boarding line. Celebrity staff on the ground were clearly disorganized but we tried not to let it bother us - we were happy to be onboard the Infinity...my lady and I went upstairs to shoot hoops on the basketball court before the ship even left because it seemed like about the oddest thing we could do. As a newbie to cruising I couldn't believe that cruise ships don't even take one night between trips to organize, stock up and clean up to ensure they present themselves as the financial juggernauts they are. But only a few hours down-time between each journey -- and this shows to anyone paying attention. When we got on-board everyone seemed to be playing catch up to the people that just boarded, just minutes after saying goodbye to the people from the previous cruise. Odd way of doing things. Our Aqua Class room (#9179) was supposed to be slightly bigger and better (size, tv, fancy face cloths etc) in all aspects than the next step down concierge class but this didn't seem obvious to us. For the first 24-48 hours some things that were promised, simply weren't there but then started appearing magically. And we had to go to guest relations to ask what bonuses and services we were supposed to get with our room...and at that point we could start asking for these things (like special pillows for those that need them). I figure if they're going to charge extra for this class of rooms, it makes sense that they would not only be clear about the services and bonuses you have paid for but they would make it a priority to ensure these things are actually made available to you without you having to do a Sherlock Holmes to figure out what you should be getting. With all this said though, the room was beautiful and a perfect place to call home for Sandy and I for the next two weeks. Our room was about midway, on the left side of the ship, which is the side of the ship that is up against the port when you dock (and lets you wake up to the "Welcome to Guatemala" sign the morning you arrive there). Hmm, maybe that's why they call the left side of the ship "port". As a newcomer to cruising I found the whole experience fascinating. The ability to bask in such comfort and luxury while waking up to a new port in a new country (or entering the Panama Canal) many mornings is simply amazing, and something that I feel truly fortunate to be able to do. And it gives you permission to really leave all your problems behind. There are a few predictable downsides to cruising (like the decadent theatre of eating, eating, eating) but this wasn't going to stop me from enjoying myself thoroughly. At this point I had better just create a couple of lists or this will be too long for anyone to read. The good: Great service and friendly staff. We could see that all staff on the ship are trained to greet you whenever possible and it makes a difference...it makes you feel good. Our room attendant Bertolino was great: He took his job seriously, was always inquiring if we were happy with things, and he helped me pull off a great (but kind of mean) April Fool's joke on Sandy. The ship is a nice size. I know they make them larger but it was big enough for me. Aqua Class turned out to be a huge bonus for us because we got to eat in the new Blu Restaurant (four course fare, a bit lighter and healthier than in the main dining room), which is reserved for people in Aqua, as well as anytime use of the ship's new Persian Garden - a series of saunas and steam-rooms for some quiet time. Perfect. The variety of things to do, nightly entertainment, sun-soaked decks, and great destinations and excursions in central America were all highlights. And thank you Alexa in guest relations for always having a smile and being so patient and helpful. The not-so-good: With service on the ship generally being so excellent, it really stands out when individual staff are not as friendly or professional as the others. The spa seemed new and disorganized, and has some problems to work out - with its services (we had a problem that was never corrected) and staff (some clearly bad attitudes here). I purchased Sandy a gift certificate from the spa for her birthday and found out many days later that they provided her with a different service than the one they sold me, and they charged us extra for it. They never accepted responsibility for this mistake. Another problem area we discovered for the ship on a whole was basic communication for fundamental things -- such as disembarking. In reality, the disembarking process wasn't anything like the process they described in the instructions they gave us the night before. And ship staff chose to not use the PA system as a way to keep people informed early on of what was going on and where people should be. While the food was good, it was not great. A lot of it was relatively bland and flavourless. Increasing the quality control over menu items (does anyone taste the appetizers and entrees before the dining room is thrown open for dinner?) would make a big difference to the cruiser, because eating is such a big part of the experience. But this may just be me...the hard to please guy. Oh, and all the chocolate-type desserts had a similarly odd flavour to them. Odd and similar. But that's nit-picking. The bottom line here is that despite some problems, our time onboard the Infinity was a great experience. A nice ship with excellent staff, keeping us entertained and comfortable, while taking us to great destinations in a blanket of warmth. I would have to be seriously grumpy to not love that. We will consider Celebrity if and when we cruise again. Thanks. 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Sail Date March 2012
My husband and I are Americans in our 40s, Caucasian, non spanish speaking, slightly overweight but love to walk/hike, not real big shoppers. Not hard liquor drinkers but do like wine, beer and typical cocktails (margarita, pina colada, ... Read More
My husband and I are Americans in our 40s, Caucasian, non spanish speaking, slightly overweight but love to walk/hike, not real big shoppers. Not hard liquor drinkers but do like wine, beer and typical cocktails (margarita, pina colada, etc.). This was our 4th cruise. CONS: * The average age on this trip had to be 62, and I'm not exaggerating! My guess is that most people have to be retired or nonworkers to take this much time off work so you don't get the younger crowd. * There really wasn't an "upbeat" vibe on the ship (although Steve, Luisa and Valeria were great) and my guess is that with the age group of the passengers, that the folks move at a little more relaxed pace. The music entertainment throughout the ship was more relaxed as well (piano, light jazz, quartet. There was one show that had an entertainer that played some rock music which I was so excited to hear!!! * Fresh fruit was limited to oranges, apples, cantaloupe, pineapple, watermelon and honey dew. I didn't understand how you can stop at Costa Rica that exports strawberries and not have an abundance of at least that or mangoes or coconut. I did find a nectarine once but it was under ripe. * Their dessert extravaganza was a disappointment. We stayed up until 11 pm to attend and it was basically the same stuff that they had at the special brunches. * Celebrity is supposed to be known for their food but other than eating in the dining room, the buffet section got real monotonous. The same foods almost daily with very little variety. Also their buffet is set up funky. I couldn't tell if I was supposed to dish myself up or if the staff were. In a lot of cases the dishes were too far for me to even reach to scoop up the item I wanted. Very frustrating. * They have speakers throughout the cruise to give special talks which I really enjoyed but their presentations on the big screen were either blurry or the left hand side was cut off - couldn't believe this couldn't get fixed! * The photo gallery was too expensive. $20 for a picture. Overpriced in my opinion. * Their drink packages were outrageously priced. We didn't do any of the packages and took on board 8 bottles of wine without issue (2 in each suitcase and carried on 2). Even with the cost of the wine along with our drink tab on ship we still came out better than the ship's packages. We are mostly beer drinkers (even though we brought on a bunch of wine.) * The disembarkment from the ship was a disaster. The protocols were totally ignored and the staff just shrugged their shoulders. I can't believe that after having so much experience with the process they haven't perfected it. To me, it's simple, you get kicked out of line if your number is not up - but I guess they don't want to tick off all the rich people who seem to think that the rules don't apply to them. PROS: * Loved all the ports!!!!! Lots of excursion options!!! * Because of the age group of the passengers, few kids to hog up the pools and scream and yell * The Aqua Spa was fantastic! It's an indoor hot pool/whirlpool that you can just lay in to relax * Loved the entertainment on the ship - the shows were all fantastic! Especially Kimtka! We only missed one show they were that good. There was good variety too, singers, dancers, acrobatics, comedians, variety shows, vegas-type shows, etc. The strange thing was that even though the ship has older passengers, the majority attended the later show! Weird. * The Hi-C quartet were fantastic. It was 4 younger gentlemen who would sang throughout the ship at random times. We basically stalked them around the ship to listen to them. * The ice cream bar became a daily mandatory stop...hand made ice creams along with soft serve...yummy! Peanut butter being the best! * The cruise director, Steve, is fantastic! * Loved the little game room they had. They also have a library where you can check out books. * The cruise staff are outstanding and friendly!! I only had one bad experience with a guy serving at the buffet who was rude. One side of the Aqua spa wasn't working so I found someone walking by to see if they could find the right person to talk to. He hunted down the right person and then took the time to find me to tell me that it was getting addressed right then. * The cruise offered various speaker presentations (Squid presentation, Identity Theft presentation, baseball presentation, etc.) which were fantastic. I didn't attend them all, but the speakers were awesome - especially Dr. Clyde Roper with the Smithsonian. I really enjoyed this aspect of cruising. * I've only been on 4 cruises in my life and loved that they enlarged the shower space! Loved Guatemala! Note that we were on a guided tour however so never did see the "real" Guatemala other than driving by depressed areas. We did the Pacaya Volcano Hike which was spectacular. A bit of a drive (over 2 hours). When you arrive at the drop off location for the hike, you are surrounded by little kids "renting" you a hiking stick for a dollar. The sticks are literally just branches. Nothing special. If you decline then they respond with "dollar for me?" You can tell that the parents are peddling these poor kids! So sad. They also have horses that you can rent to take you up the mountain. However, we were there to hike. Now this definitely met the strenuous criteria!!!! I would say it was a couple of miles up. Note that it was a little chilly for us at the start but once you get hiking you warm right up. There are bathrooms but for the woman - bring your own toilet paper and don't expect the toilet to flush!!! If your tour is during the day, you will not see lava. However, you will see steam vents, lots and lots of them. They let you walk on the hard lava rock and in fact you get to walk into a steam vent if you want. Like a sauna. It was absolutely wonderful and spectacular. I highly highly highly recommend!!!! Afterward, they take you to a restaurant - the food was really good in my opinion, chicken breast, potato, guacamole and salsa. And a beer! At the port there is a ton of vendor shopping available. If you like funny t-shirts, they have them that say "Guat's Up!!! Guatemala" Cracked me up. There is also a stand where you can get a fresh coconut with coconut milk and you can add rum! Soooo good! Lastly, this is a good location to mail postcards. (Wasn't too happy about seeing the military with large weapons throughout the area.) Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
My husband is an engineer by profession, so when he suggested that we take the Panama Canal cruise as our honeymoon,I was a bit skeptical. Figured it wouldn't be romantic enough. But he really wanted to see the Canal, so off we went. ... Read More
My husband is an engineer by profession, so when he suggested that we take the Panama Canal cruise as our honeymoon,I was a bit skeptical. Figured it wouldn't be romantic enough. But he really wanted to see the Canal, so off we went. While we didn't book any of the honeymoon packages, we did splurge on a veranda room. And I couldn't have been more wrong...this trip exceeded my expectations. When we boarded, we learned that the ship was preparing for its dry dock to be "Solcisticed" but the updates-in-process didn't affect the enjoyment of the ship at all. In the dining room, we had a delightful headwaiter, Serhat, who gave us all sorts of insights about the ports and Johnny, who made sure our entire dining experience was marvelous. We loved the honeymoon cake they presented to us mid-voyage. The ship in little nooks and crannies was showing signs that it was time for a refresh, but for me, it's all about the service and here, the Celebrity Infinity shined! The house band upon learning it was our honeymoon, learned our wedding dance song (since it wasn't part of their regular repertoire) and invited us to re-create our wedding dance on the dance floor. For the rest of the trip, people were stopping us as "the dancing honeymooners" and Celebrity gave us a priceless memory. As ever, the food was terrific, we met the most pleasant fellow travelers, and the shore excursion options were varied and we had the best time. The only hiccup occurred when we arrived -- someone wheeled away with one of my bags, and even then, the terminal staff were sympathetic and professional. And yes, by bag did get returned to me. In all a five-star review from this traveler! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was our fifth cruise in the past 16 months, and in many ways (not every way) the best. Early 50's couple enjoying time together! Infinity Panama Canal Cruise 10-24-10 Flying from Philadelphia to LAX went without a ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise in the past 16 months, and in many ways (not every way) the best. Early 50's couple enjoying time together! Infinity Panama Canal Cruise 10-24-10 Flying from Philadelphia to LAX went without a hitch on Southwest. Stayed at the Doubletree by the marina in San Pedro, it was a very nice hotel and we actually used the hot tub early in the morning. Watching the Infinity arrive about 6 AM and the sun rise over the water was a nice treat. The hotel shuttled us over to the port at about 10:20. Luggage handling went fine, filled out the health forms, and then found that due to "Delays in disembarkation" they were not yet checking in new passengers. At about 11:00 someone announced that check in would begin and only the Concierge level check in area would be used. It was a mad rush to line up. It seems like Celebrity could have avoided this by issuing numbers for a check in queue without lines as guests arrived. We didn't fare too badly and had our sea pass at about 11:25 and a boarding group 3 pass. By noon boarding had not yet begun and the check in line now exceeded the capacity of the "Back and forth" line queue. In talking on board with other cruise critic members the line apparently moved pretty fast and no one reported a check in wait longer than 45 minutes. Boarding actually began at about 12:15 and we were on board at about 12:30. I will say that any displeasure at the embarkation mess was soon forgotten as everyone on board was extremely welcoming. We walked past the Spa Cafe, the pool grille, the ice cream man "Have dessert first!," and checked out the general buffet. Everyone without exception "Welcome aboard!" We ended up doing a combination of foods including steamship of beef, spa cuisine, and some wings from the grill, and were very pleased across the board. Also, all the pools were open and fully operational, including the T-Pool. Before we had finished our lunch the announcement was made that cabins were ready. After leisurely finishing our lunch, we proceeded to our cabin and were very pleased with cabin 3111, an ocean view on the 3rd deck. We carried our swimsuits on in a bag so we changed into them and headed up to the T-Pool. We lazed away the rest of the afternoon until about 3:15 PM, and headed down to our cabin, "Hoping" our luggage might be there in order to dress for dinner before the muster drill. To our surprise ALL our luggage was waiting for us! We were able to be 90% unpacked and dressed for dinner when called for the muster drill. The drill itself was longer than typical as all instructions were repeated in German. Apparently there is a large group of travelers on board from Germany. After the drill we proceeded to the aft bar on deck 10 where we met many of our fellow cruise critic roll call members. It was a great time meeting many we have been making plans with on-line. We have assigned table 535 in the dining room, a table for 6. One of the other couples was a no show this first evening. The couple that joined us we were amazed at how much we have in common, so we are hoping for many great dinners together! After dinner we listened to the quartet in the Rendezvous lounge for a while but still adjusting to the time change, we did not make the show. The clocks were moved ahead one hour tonight so that will help us with our adjustment! Monday morning sunrise was not until 7:50. We were on deck about 7:10 and the eastern horizon was just showing signs of daylight. Breakfast watching the sun come up was a treat, as was having the T-Pool all to ourselves again for an early morning swim. Afterwards, I strolled the ship taking photos, and we got cleaned up for our cruise critic connections party, at 10:30. Our connections party was well attended and several officers as well as the cruise director visited. They began mingling but cell phones rang and they all excused themselves. Our party was cut short as at 11:00 another private group had the room, speaking only in German! We enjoyed the rest of the day relaxing near the pool and took advantage of a "2 for 1" deal on some beverages. Attended the "Future cruise presentation" but rather than an exciting "This is why you should go on this cruise..." she simply listed all the ships and where they were sailing (something anyone can quickly ascertain from cruise critic or Celebrity's own website). We were going to go to the first Panama Canal lecture but were so relaxed at the pool that we decided to stay poolside! Our first formal night Dinner was good and again our table for 6 only had 4. We enjoyed a little dancing before and after dinner, and actually made it to the production show which was quite enjoyable. I was actually surprised to find that the cast of singers and dancers numbers fifteen! Tuesday morning we were again up early and saw the sunrise. We eagerly watched the approach to Cabo San Lucas, our first port call. Not being on a ship's tour we ended up with tender #13, and waited about 40 minutes in the theater for our number to be called. We had no firm plans for Cabo but brought our snorkeling gear ashore and found a catamaran outing where we had a wonderful time. Back on board about 4:15 and a quick burger and turkey burger for DW at the Breezes grill was needed to hold us over until dinner. I enjoyed the outdoor hot tub while listening to the music of the party band and watching the ship turn and sail away from Cabo. Tuesday night was another time change, so we are now on central time Wednesday morning. This made sunrise at 8:05 so even though we slept later, we still saw the sunrise as we finished breakfast in the spa cafe. We enjoyed the T-pool, for ourselves for a while and then one other couple came in. The T-Pool was warmer today (very nice) while the hot tubs at the T-Pool were cooler. While relaxing poolside we were impressed with the constant maintenance and cleaning going on all around the pool. It's still early in the cruise, but I will say that the Infinity shows greater pride in cleanliness and maintenance than the Summit we sailed to Bermuda in June. The crew of the Infinity certainly seem to enjoy their jobs and have been most accommodating. We did 7 laps around the deck today (about 1.4 miles) and DW really enjoyed the gym as well. I attended a lecture on cruise ship navigation which was very educational. Wednesday is also the first of two main dining room brunches, which we enjoyed at about noon. I attended a class on travel photography in the early afternoon and it was quite good. I made it to the pool deck just in time to see the ice carving demonstration and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on the pool deck. Running into and chatting with some cruise critic friends made it all the more enjoyable. We were alone tonight at our dining room table, just two at our table of six. We are really getting to like our waiter Martinho from Portugal and his assistant, Andreas from Indonesia. Before and after dinner, and again after the show, we listened and danced to the quartet in the Rendezvous. The show tonight was a singer, Lelani Marrell, and she was very good. Again, this is a matter of taste as we did hear several negative comments about Lalani. Thursday morning we sailed into Acapulco bay before daylight. We docked as the sun came up and 32 from our cruise critic roll call took Rosie's tour. The tour was well worth it and we saw many vantage points to photograph the bay, the Chapel of Peace, and the Cliff Divers. Celebrity brought on a real Manachi band for a "Pre sail away" party poolside. They were excellent and we really enjoyed them. We were back at our dining room table again with our new friends, just the four of us. It appears our fifth and sixth chairs may remain vacant for the duration. Friday we visited Huatulco. Friday morning marked our fifth morning in a row that we watched the sun rise! A record I do not expect to break anytime soon! We did our own thing to go swimming/snorkeling at nearby LaEntranga Bay. Our taxi driver on the way to the bay stopped twice to show us nice vantage points and we appreciated his extra effort. The water was delightful and we truly enjoyed Huatulco. Friday was our second formal night and dinner was excellent. The double-thick sirloin was an excellent steak! Both Thursday and Friday we skipped the show. Thursday was a magician who I heard was very entertaining, while Friday was the Infinity cast in a salute to the 70's. Friday evening the sea really picked up during our first seating dining. At the end of our mealtime many dressed in their finest was carefully swaying their way from the dining room. We witnessed a special Celebrity touch and the Matre'de and a number of the dining room waiters walked the more delicate guests arm in arm out of the dining room. Saturday morning brought a very bright and warm day at sea. We witnessed the first real incident of "Chair hogs" as by 8:30 all the shady pool chairs on the non-smoking side had towels, books, hats, etc all over them, yet the pools were still closed (from yesterday's rough seas?) and maybe 4 people were actually sitting near the pool. The pool deck is nice but there is not much of a breeze there, so we found a couple of deck chairs on deck 4 to relax away a good part of the morning. A full slate of at-sea activities was offered. After enjoying an outdoor lunch on deck 10 aft, we headed to dance lessons. Afterwards, I attended a Panama Canal lecture on the building of the canal during the "American era." It was well done. We finished up the day by spending some time at the pool listening to the party band, getting ready for dinner, and enjoying dinner and some dancing in the Rendezvous. We made the variety show with a comic and the singer from the other night. This was enjoyable but certainly not the strongest show of the cruise! Sunday morning brought an early Sunrise (no, we did not see it!) and sailing into Puntarenas, Costa Rica. We had prearranged with 16 other cruise critic friends to take an extensive tour with Charlie Soto of Okey-Dokey tours. We very much enjoyed our stay in Costa Rica and our tour with Charlie. We made it back to the ship at 6:10 for a 6:45 all aboard. We quickly changed our clothes and made it to dinner! Once again, we were alone at our large table. Dinner service was faster tonight! Monday is a day at sea. We participated in a tour of the galley. The galley tour ended with the SS United States specialty restaurant galley. We were given a small treat and exited into the SS United States, where a cooking demo was being prepared. We stayed for the demo and while somewhat entertaining, it became more of a sales pitch for the specialty venue. I attended the last lecture on the Panama Canal and the expansion project and thought it was excellent. Late in the day (after dinner) a variety show was presented tonight with many of the house performers from all over the ship. It was well worth attending. Tuesday was the Panama Canal crossing, the main event of the cruise and I was sick! I managed to get out on deck for crossing under the bridge of the Americas, but after that spent the rest of the day in the room with a lot of sleeping. My dear wife was charged with taking photos of the crossing and some cruise critic friends helped her out. By late evening I was feeling better. I was able to watch the ship go through the Gatun locks out our window and on the TV monitor. Seeing the sides of the canal about a foot from the window was neat. We did not use room service before today, and won't bother again. Room service gets an F-. Later in the week talked with friends in CC Class cabins and they also said room service is the one area that the Infinity seems unable to get right. Martinho was very concerned when I did not make it to dinner. Wednesday we sailed leisurely (I was told at ~8 nautical MPH) toward Cartagena, Columbia. Used the T-Pool early in the morning and relaxed nearby on loungers. Today is the second "Brunch" of the cruise. We went to the Brunch at noon. The prime rib was a "10!" Cute and delicious desserts & nice ice sculptures completed the excellent presentation. Wednesday afternoon was the captain's club party. This was some event! The packed nightclub had nearly 600 in attendance. The open bar menu had something to please everyone. A large food service was also provided (which we did not use as we had just eaten). They served drinks for over 60 minutes and the event lasted 90, including great live performances. A great white egret has become a stowaway on the Infinity. He or she must think she is flying without effort as she has perched herself directly in front of the nightclub windows. We have to believe she can't see in the windows as a dozen of more were watching and taking photos less than 3 feet from her. Wednesday night the nightclub was again hopping for the Newlywed/not so newlywed game. It sure was entertaining. Two couples finished tied for points and were both given dinners at the SS United States. Thursday morning brought us to Cartagena, Columbia. The sail in to Cartagena is very pretty, the new city sparkles on the water. We had prearranged a tour here with Dora, one of the top rated guides. It was our first time to set foot on another continent and a day we will never forget, but that is a story for the ports of call board! We keep hearing snippets about a hurricane hitting Haiti on Friday. Those poor folks don't get a break. The caused the ship to reroute its course back to Ft Lauderdale to go around the west side of Cuba. That's a bit longer, so we will be moving at near flank speed the next two days. A bunker vessel came alongside to provide additional fuel to ensure we have enough to reach FLL. We again were alone at our romantic large table for two for dinner! Martinho and Andreas honestly seem to "Miss" their guests when they choose another venue for dinner. The ship really started rocking after leaving Cartagena with the bags out by all the elevators. Tonight was the "Celebrity sweep" in the photo area where various departments are offering end of the cruise discounts. We took advantage of a photo offer. A variety show with guest performers was presented followed by the Celebrity 20th anniversary party in the nightclub. The show was good, but not as good as the performers separately. The anniversary party was a lot of fun until we couldn't stay awake - this was two late nights in a row! Friday morning was quite fun! The ship is rocking but the pools are open. We used the T-pool and had it to ourselves. Just floating back and forth with the waves is very relaxing. The hot tubs are REALLY hot today! The T-pool is pleasantly cool. Got cleaned up for the main event - somehow we scored a bridge tour invite! The bridge tour was actually a bit of a disappointment. The bridge itself is very impressive, spacious, and spotlessly clean. They only really show you the Starboard side control area. Two men on our tour dominated the session with endless questions about minutiae that most seemed not very interested in. The junior officer hosting us answered these questions but seemed unable to turn the conversation to items of a more general interest. Back to the pools we went and enjoyed another great sea day! An enjoyable final formal dinner was followed by a production show with the ships cast. This was quite enjoyable. Both before and after the show we were able to get in some dancing to the Baires quartet, performing tonight in the Martini Bar. Tonight was also the dessert extravaganza but as it began at 11:00 we gave it a pass. Saturday brings our final day on the ship. It is noticeably cooler outdoors and the wind is blowing very strong. We take in the crew's talent show, always something not to be missed. Following the show and the crew's "Goodbye wave" from the theater stage, the Celebrity Chef's competition was held. As one of our Cruise Critic group was a guest chef, we decided to stay and cheer them on. She ended up winning! We enjoyed a light lunch and tried to eat outdoors at the Ocean view bar but it was just too windy, so indoors we went. During the afternoon we listened to music, enjoyed a "Dancing with the stars" type of show with audience volunteers, and of course packed away most of our things. During dinner an announcement was made that arrival in Fort Lauderdale would be delayed until approximately 9:00 AM. Some people were extremely upset and I felt bad for the guest services staff. I had suspected arrival would be late as we needed to take the longer route around Western Cuba to avoid a hurricane / tropical storm. I don't understand why the guests were not informed earlier. With a little more notice people would not be as stressed about making changes to air reservations, etc. We were able to dance before and after dinner and bid farewell to our new friends. Due to the change at Ft. Lauderdale, we did not put our bags out and instead managed to handle our five suitcases ourselves. We were off the ship about 9:35 AM and checked in and through security at FLL by 10:30, plenty of time for our 11:50 flight. On Sunday morning we enjoyed breakfast for the first and only time this cruise in the MDR. We suddenly heard the engines throttle down and looked through the windows at the Ft Lauderdale beach. The ship's staff seemed poorly equipped to manage the many passengers who changed to the "Walk off" method of disembarkation. There was one line with 5 or 6 branches from guests waiting for the word in various areas of the ship. Getting through customs was rather fast, and a taxi got us to the airport in just a few minutes. Our flight was right on time and actually arrived about 30 minutes early into Philadelphia. Summary - What really stands out about our cruise on the Infinity is the live music and entertainment. It was much better than our prior Celebrity cruises. Food is subjective but we would say overall it was good, not great. But good is good. We loved the convenient location of our cabin, #3111. Our MDR wait staff was wonderful and we have only good things to say about the Infinity staff. The Infinity is in excellent shape - far superior to the Summit who we sailed in June. We felt like the Summit was certainly due for a refresh while the Infinity did not feel like it needs one. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This cruise meant a few things to Alison and I. For starters, I first proposed marriage to Alison in the "Ocean Liners" speciality restaurant aboard the Constellation, and we always planned to "do the Canal" for our ... Read More
This cruise meant a few things to Alison and I. For starters, I first proposed marriage to Alison in the "Ocean Liners" speciality restaurant aboard the Constellation, and we always planned to "do the Canal" for our honeymoon. As it turned out we couldn't get the timing quite right, so this would be the first Panama Canal cruise suitable for us since our marriage last March. It's also completed the pack of the 4 sister ships. We've been on Millennium (Transatlantic), Summit (Alaska) and, of course, Constellation (our first Celebrity cruise after we got together, to the Caribbean and another Transatlantic). Alison tells me Infinity is going into dry dock, though we're not clear at the moment (we're on the last leg from Cartegena to Fort Lauderdale) exactly what she's going in for. But a few things (not too many) could use a spruce-up. We had a stateroom on deck 8 and, hotwater aside (see below), you could not fault it. We had Japanese neighbors to one side, so not a lot of conversation there (I don't even like sushi) and an American couple the other side, who were pleasant enough to chat to. The first day aboard we were both looking over the side when a few hundred porpoises went past. It was no accident - they did it on porpoise - and our neighbors shifted their balcony chairs and tables around to get a better look. OK, let's get it over with - lifeboat drill. The authorities have ignored my request for a "loyalty card" system whereby you earn a point for every drill you do and if you get five points or more you can just have an annual refresher and watch everyone else from the confines of the Martini Bar. At least, this time, the Captain showed (and continued to show throughout the cruise) some humor. He said something along the lines that if there was a real emergency his voice would direct everyone what to do. In the unlikely event, he told us, that he was incapacitated someone else (a Greek I think) would take over. In the very unlikely event that he, too, was unavailable, a third Greek would assume command. In the very, very unlikely event that all three were unavailable, the Captain suggested, we should make peace with our God and every man for himself. If I had to pick one word that means the most about this cruise, it would have to be "temperature". Infinity just doesn't seem to be able to get it right. The most obvious (and enduring) issue with temperature for us staid Brits was getting water hot enough to make a decent cup of tea. Not to mention the tea itself, which we find odd. Also the milk (too much long-life - or whatever you Americans call it) for our taste, but that is purely a taste thing. But trying to brew a good cup of hot tea (once, of course, we've moved past the staff's assumption that if we ask for tea we must mean iced tea) is impossible with lukewarm water. We strongly suggest to any Celebrity managers who read this that they send their catering managers to London to have tea in Fortnum and Mason. The tea there isn't just a refreshing beverage - it's a whole experience not to be missed, and would, without doubt, let them see a new angle to the term "elegant tea". But there were other issues with temperature, too. Firstly, the water in the stateroom bathrooms. I understand why the mixer tap isn't marked "H" and "C", because "H" and "L" would be much more accurate. We were not the only ones to raise this issue and there was quite a bit of overheard conversation about it. But cleaning your teeth in "L" (lukewarm) water is not pleasant - it softens the bristles on your toothbrush such that one came off altogether, lodging itself between two of my teeth is such a way that no amount of toothpicks and further brushing (in the selfsame lukewarm water) would shift it. Finally a sharp fingernail did the trick. But please, Celebrity, try and give us H and C water in the staterooms. School Physics tells us that if water is raised to any temperature above ambient then some energy has been used to get it there, and amid all the Celebrity "green" claims this irks. This, of course, was a warm weather cruise that - arguably - needed ample supplies of cold water, and I found myself wondering whether - if Infinity were used on an Alaskan cruise - you'd get "C" and "L" and be left with an equally strong desire for some hot water. It reminds me of the old joke about a man going to a backwoods motel and asking, "do you have hot and cold running water?" only to be told, "Yes, Sir; Hot in summer and cold in winter". One final point on temperature - whether it's these cold rock things they're using now or something else eludes me, but getting a really cold carton of milk or a truly solid portion of butter was a rare experience in the Deck 10 buffet restaurant. Our first port of call after leaving San Diego was at Cabo San Lucas, where we tried, for the first time ever, parasailing. A very enjoyable adventure to fit snugly between breakfast and lunch. When we got back to our stateroom our neighbors had rearranged their balcony furnishings again and we all watched some dolphins and a turtle swim past. Our table waiter was excellent, not that we've ever had a bad one on Celebrity. His name was Christophe, and he was from Goa in India. I asked him, purely out of curiosity, one day, why there was so little of his country's cuisine on the cruise ships, mentioning that, in the UK, you never travel far - even in small towns - without finding an Indian food outlet. To cut a long story short, he said that if I wanted some Indian food, I would have some. True to his word, the next evening, with the approval of the Maitre, I was served a three-course Indian banquet, including a very acceptable chicken curry, chappati, rice and pappadum. The average age on the cruise was probably around 250. There were no kids at all, not one, which is why, I guess, the kids' entertainers were trying to recruit anyone below pensionable age to join in fun, games and children's discos. Even I was a target, but I wasn't going to wear one of those wristbands for anyone. Imaging trying to get a martini when you're wearing a band that says you're a member of the kiddy club. No way! Still, having no kids around made it quieter, and I managed to transfer my usual idea of throwing badly-behaved kids overboard to anyone with dentures or a blue rinse. The bingo sold out every day, of course, with walking-stick wielding passengers fighting for best position. But that all finished around 8.30 once the cocoa round had started. (If anyone's getting offended by this - I'm making it all up as a poor attempt at humor, OK? Besides, I like cocoa too.) Seriously, it did mean that most of the more strenuous excursions had few takers, despite the fact the ship almost emptied on port days. Maybe Diamonds International suited the demographic. We ran into our neighbors on the way back to our stateroom - they were carrying eight towels from the pool area. We did notice far fewer staff around generally. Whether this was the demographic, the anticipation of dry dock or, more worryingly, an attempt by Celebrity to cut costs, we cannot know. On previous X cruises you could never go out of your stateroom without bumping into 3 or 4 cheerful staff in the corridors. This time we were lucky if we saw one. In the buffet restaurant on Deck 10 we only once had an offer to carry the trays to our table. Not a worry to us as such, we're perfectly able to carry our own trays, but considering the aforementioned demographic, you'd have thought this would be an area that would have been addressed. There seemed to be fewer people, too, clearing away in those public areas. It would be interesting to learn what the guest/staff ratio was on this ship compared with previous ones. There seemed to be a lot of enthusiastic chat between the majority of American guests. Something about an election, apparently. Our next port of call was Acapulco. Alison had stayed there on vacation previously marriage and I had no great enthusiasm for going ashore, so, as we frequently do, we stayed on the ship to enjoy the almost deserted amenities. We spent a while on the balcony watching turtles and rays right alongside the ship in the harbor, while our neighbors had somehow managed to get a sun-lounger from somewhere and installed it on their balcony, plus a few more yellow towels with which to cover it. We had our first visit to the "United States of America" specialty restaurant. (Note here that uncharacteristically for me, I have adopted, just this once, the USA spelling of speciality in deference to the restaurant's pedigree. Don't get used to it, I won't be doing it again - English is a language that was invented by - and there's a clue in the name here - the English. Oh, please, get a sense of humor. Damn, I did it again.) The difference between this restaurant and those on the other three sister ships is both amazing and stunning, though when you consider what X was trying to achieve with the overall theme you can perfectly well understand why. Whereas the other three are dark and atmospheric (to suit their lineage), this one is bright and airy. From a personal viewpoint it was a shame that the central circular area was not retained, however, since this was the area where I went down on one knee five years ago on the Constellation with my marriage proposal. The meal, as ever, was excellent, though the goat cheese soufflE was not the best I have had. We chose the basic menu this time, not least because we had been entertained by Charles in the Martini bar demonstrating how to juggle glasses and bottles without ending up with your arms in a reef knot and a floor full of broken glass. Time to avoid the wine and prevent Alison from standing on the top deck later that night proclaiming she can fly and sitting in the stateroom next morning proclaiming "Never again." Our next port of call, where was it now? Oh yes, Huatulco. I knew nothing about the place before we visited and still don't really, apart from the fact they have lots of pelicans amusing the tourists by diving for fish and they have some kind of army barracks near where we docked, the soldiers giving us frequent displays of their marching and instrumental capabilities. Once again we made the best of an almost empty ship. Our neighbors too, apparently, importing a second sun lounger and a dozen or so additional yellow towels. We peeked round when they went out - not much standing space left now. We had two excursions organized for Puntarenas in Costa Rica. From what little we saw of the country, it is a curious mix of wealth and poverty, yet fiercely defensive of its ecological stance. The tour guides on the two trips would tell us how important their rain forests and ecology are to them and to the world at large, and one can only applaud their commitment. The first one was "The Original Canopy Tour", implying by its title that there are others since then. Maybe they were better, maybe not, but we had no reason to complain on this one, with a 15 minute walk ending at the first of nine platforms from which we each, in turn, slid down to the next in line. I wish I could say my technique was so good I could have afforded time to admire the undergrowth far below, but I spent a lot of time trying to stay feet-first. Yes, I know, lean back and run our (gloved) hand along the wire to stay straight. That sound great and is easy to do on the platform, yet not so easy to remember when your going at Mach 2 down somebody's washing line. The complimentary bottle of cold water when we finished was nectar. Our only disappointment, though there was no way to blame the tour people for it, was an almost complete lack of wildlife. So, another hour-long bus ride to the dock, a quick snack and onto the second bus of the day for our "Sky Walk In The Trees" tour. Basically a high-level walk in the rain forest. One the way, the guide mentioned we'd see some crocodiles, but when we reached the bridge it had started raining, such that he asked us whether we still wanted to see the crocs in view of the rain. Well, it was hardly a downpour and we'd not seen crocs before, so we walked across the bridge and took snaphots of the reptiles playing the "we're crocodiles and we never move a muscle for anyone" game. We also saw a spoonbill walking along the riverbank, the bird being very careful to stay well out of reach of the crocs and putting a lie to any impression we might have had that they were plastic models left there to impress gullible tourists. (Did you know there's no such word as "gullible" in Websters? It's true - look it up if you don't believe me.) The tour guide's question about getting wet turned out to be the joke of the day. We were driven on the bus to a high point in the rain forest and told we would be picked up by the same bus in about an hour's time, lower down the trail. By this time it was raining properly, far worse than the wimpy drizzle we'd had on crocodile bridge. By the time the day was over, we fully understood why the forest had picked up the prefix "rain". We were each offered a walking cane and told to follow the guide. We were mostly dressed for the warm summer climate of Costa Rica (though Alison and I had bought special shirts designed to let your skin breathe and sweat to escape while keeping any nasty bugs on their own side of the fence) but the tour guide donned waterproofs. (Several people suggested Celebrity should have warned us to bring all-weather gear with us.) We followed the guide down the pathways, as did a steadily-growing river of muddy water. Before we'd gone more than a few hundred feet we were soaked everywhere, and I mean everywhere. It wasn't cold, thankfully, and it wasn't wet. "What?" I heard you say. No it wasn't wet. "Wet" just doesn't tell it. "Soaked" and "drenched" get closer, but nowhere near enough. I don't think a suitable adjective has been invented yet, so we'll have to get the Websters/OED people to take the tour I guess. One of the laughable things was that some people in our tour party were still trying to avoid stepping in pools of water, as if that would somehow keep them dryer. But it was a lost cause - you just walked where your feet fell in the sure knowledge your fluid levels were incapable of absorbing any more. We crossed three suspension bridges on our trip, Indiana Jones style, but I don't remember Indy being quite so sodden. We suspected there was a fourth bridge, but the tour guide had just about given up by then, we think; it was moving across the line between "fun" and "get me back to the ship so I can leap fully clothed into the Lassie Therapy pool to get a bit dryer". But, of course, no self-respecting tour would be complete without passing through at least one souvenir shop, wasting the best part of an hour when people really did want to get back to the ship. Our clothes still haven't dried, five days later. And we still didn't see any wildlife! On the next leg the Captain, on his daily announcement, told us he thought we were going the right way but just in case had checked with another ship and we were probably going to make it to Panama OK. I really warm to this man and hope I'm not spoiling all his jokes here. Then we made the journey to the start of the Panama Canal. We ordered breakfast on room service, assuming (correctly as it turned out) that the public eateries and the "Ten Forward" (how come it looks so different on Star Trek?) would be overcrowded. We waited in the line with our ever present tugboat until we were admitted to the first Milaflores lock. I think I expected the rise to be more obvious, but it was so gentle that we hardly noticed this first step and in subsequent levels had to line our eyes up with a suitable lamp post to see when we were moving. Anyone who imagines a traditional-style canal with parallel sides (as I guess I had) has got it completely wrong. The docks are much as you expect, apart from those "locomotives", eight of which hauled Infinity through each lock with the sides so close the people in the aft suites were reaching out and touching them. In the middle part it's vaguely reminiscent of Alaska's inside passage in terms of topography, though it's a lot busier and noisier and the trees are decidedly more tropical. Once again, to our disappointment, we saw no wildlife beyond a few birds and a couple of dockers crazed by the midday heat. (OK, I lied about that last bit.) It took the full day to transit the canal and, I must be honest, the experience was a little strange, veering occasionally to boring. I'm sure that sounds ungrateful, but I guess our expectations had been rather different from the reality, and it was almost in an air of gratitude that we emerged into the open ocean and the end of the day. Lots of noise from next door. We think they may be installing their own pool. The same night we had booked our second visit to the "United States of America" specialty restaurant. This time, stone cold sober, we opted for the "menu exceptional", complete with a wine to accompany (and compliment) each of the six courses. Here we were a little disappointed. On previous cruises we'd been told about each wine by the sommelier as he served it, but on this occasion he didn't even visit our table, leaving the service of our wine to the main waiting staff, who - I guess from their training - knew more about the food than the wine. To add insult to injury, the port was laced with black sediment that remained coating our glasses when we'd got half way through. There was an apology from the waiter and a replacement, but - for a restaurant that prides itself so highly on detail, the apology should have come from the maitre, the sommelier, or both, probably with some kind of explanation. I can't really say there was much wrong with the meal (in fact the goat cheese soufflE was back to its best), but this lack of attention to detail needs addressing. And I know it's a French-style restaurant, but does each and every cheese have to be French? OK, I'd like to see some British cheeses on there, but could understand why they're not. But are there no contending cheeses in the US that could grace a restaurant called the "United States of America"? We got invited to the Captain's table for the last formal night/baked Alaska parade. (I really must Google this tradition some time.) The perfectly charming Captain's Club Hostess Ria (from South Africa) arranged it so Alison wore her head-turning highlighter gown - we call it that because it's the same color as the yellow marker pen and would be just the thing to wear if you were going to fall overboard on a dark night. I wore my traditional Scottish Formal Dress, complete with kilt, so we had a few photos taken. We were warned that the Captain doesn't attend these dinners so, true to prediction, we were hosted by the Staff Captain. He was Greek, I believe. We've just got back from a tour of the Navigation Bridge, this following an invitation from last night's dinner. We've been on one before (Royal Caribbean) and this was very similar, though I suspect the technology on Infinity was slightly older. We did learn, however, the main reason Infinity goes into dry dock tomorrow - they're fitting a diesel engine in addition to the two gas turbines, so, presumably the sister ships will be similarly altered. It's driven, it seems, as with everything, by cost. Whereas gas turbines are very clean, the fuel is expensive, hence the installation of the new engine to be used, so we were told, when speed is not important. It all makes economic sense, but I wonder whether it flies in the face of Celebrity's "green" image. We then started to wonder where they would fit the new engine. Presumably it will fit centrally between the two existing ones, but it sounds like a lot of work to the ship's structure and engine room, with ramifications in the Navigation Bridge too. I suggested maybe it would be a huge outboard, since the Penthouse suites are quite roomy and we could steal a bit of space between them. OK, it could be a bit of extra noise for the premium-paying guests, and they'd probably have to move into the bedrooms when the engineers were pulling the cord-starter. Following on from the cost-cutting issues, I'm sure there are so many opinions as to what could or should be cut or retained. It's not Celebrity's fault that the World is in financial crisis, but the worry is that standards will be dropped until Celebrity is just another cruise line, whereas at the moment it likes to think it's in the lower end of the luxury levels. I earnestly hope they don't lose that, because they certainly do have an edge over RC et al, and there's a huge gap before you reach the Crystal class. The options are to cut costs or put prices up (or some combination between the two) and neither of these will be popular with guests. Personally, I rue any compromise of quality, and the reduction of formality for dining to the extent people wear pretty much what they want when they want is such an erosion. But that's a personal viewpoint. Those who suggest they should not be dictated to have similar rights, but I would like to see Celebrity set out its stall and remain "up there", with people who don't want these little extras freely able to select a different cruise line. But, market forces being what they are, I am probably in the minority and things will gradually be reduced/relaxed. It must be difficult to be in Celebrity's position. They need to cut costs, as we all do, but if they take anything away there is uproar. It's hard to think of anything they could stop doing that wouldn't have an effect on someone. This time the bottle of champagne left in our stateroom (because of our honeymoon) was akin to paint stripper, and we drank less than the first two glasses. The "gifts" of bags was (either by accident or design) not given until we queried it - we didn't bring a beach bag because we expected there to be one there. The small box of chocolates given to returning guests was again absent until we queried it. Small things, but they add up to give an impression of corner-cutting. So, tomorrow it's Fort Lauderdale and back to being a civilian. Time before I close to restate one of my favorite rants. Far too often on cruises we hear of a few guests - thankfully very few - who gripe and complain at the staff as if they are in some way inferior. This cruise was no exception. Almost without exception, the blame for the imagined error is more with the guest than the staff member, and I am urged to try and remind guests that the staff are people too - they have good days and bad days, they make mistakes just like the rest of the human race. But - from the moment I step aboard a Celebrity ship until I step off again, they make me feel special. I don't change in any way, I'm still be same boring guy I am at home, so it's something the X staff do that makes me feel special, nothing to do with me. So they all get what they deserve - my thanks and complete respect. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
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 3.7
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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