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48 Celebrity Infinity Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Panama Canal & Central America

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
This cruise was absolutely amazing! We were in a suite for the first time and were treated royally by the entire crew. Our captain was visible throughout the cruise, gave a great presentation at the theater on the operation of the ship (he ... Read More
This cruise was absolutely amazing! We were in a suite for the first time and were treated royally by the entire crew. Our captain was visible throughout the cruise, gave a great presentation at the theater on the operation of the ship (he even had a Q & A session afterward that ran overtime because he wanted to answer all our questions), and we actually looked forward to his morning announcements on sea days. He was friendly, informative, and funny - exactly what a cruise captain should be. Our concierge in Michael’s Club, Kimberley, was awesome! She greeted us with a big smile and bear hug every time we walked in and took care of our wants and needs throughout the entire voyage. She even checked us in for our return flight home and printed our boarding passes for us. Having breakfast there each morning and cocktails and appetizers every evening (all complimentary) was wonderful. It was a quiet haven for us away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the ship. We also met some great fellow cruisers there whom we hope to see in the future. We couldn’t have asked for a better butler than an outstanding young lady named Su. She answered each phone call, no matter what time of day or night we called, and also took care of anything we needed. She made room service a fun time and came by with treats each afternoon. She even made some special iced tea for us every evening and provided ice cubes twice a day for our cold drinks. Ken Williams was our Celebrity Life speaker, giving presentations and showing slides on the Panama Canal and all the countries we saw along the way. This was his 17th transit, and he was certainly an expert on the entire area. He presented the information beautifully and made us excited to visit these great ports and go through the canal. He was visible all around the ship and talked with us at length in Michael’s Club. A very kind and interesting gentleman, he should be on each cruise through the canal. We enjoyed the majority of our evening meals in the Trellis select dining room where our waiter, Cijan, made each meal an absolute delight. He got to know our wishes and brought us our favorite bread and hummus to begin each meal. He was always cheerful and enthusiastic, and he knew all about the entrees and described them to us. Our sommelier, Jasmin, brought our choice of wine without being asked after the first 2 nights. We really liked visiting with these young men who added so much joy to our meals. Rich, our cruise director, was enthusiastic and full of energy no matter when or where we saw him. He's exactly what every cruise director should strive to be. He always had time to visit with us, answered any questions we had, and was just the most fun at Liar's Club, where he dressed up as the perfect nerd! Dining aboard the Infinity was a real treat – the food was delicious and beautifully served. Whether in the Trellis, Qsine, the pool grill, or the SS United States, the food was perfectly cooked and seasoned – all the way from the steak filet mignon to the hot dogs and fries. Just one word of advice – avoid the lobster - order beef and pork and chicken instead. The lobster just wasn't a good quality at all. Our suite was spacious and for the most part, well furnished. The separate bedroom made sleeping in the total darkness possible, which helped us rest very well. The dining room table and 4 chairs were a comfortable place to enjoy our room service meals. We each had a spacious closet and several drawers in the bedroom and vanity area, and there were two sinks in the bathroom. The jetted tub was difficult to climb into and even harder to get out of with wet feet since it was so elevated. There was not a separate shower. In the living room, the sofa and one chair with ottoman were very old. The sofa was so low to the ground that we had a hard time getting up. The veranda was just big enough and the ceiling to floor glass windows and door provided a terrific view even from within the cabin. The standard of cleanliness wasn’t up to par with what we’re used to at home. The closet floors were dusty and my long black dress was soiled because of that. The insides of the drawers had little pieces of dirt and dust and hadn’t been wiped out. I don’t believe any dusting or vacuuming was done during our 15 days onboard, so the dust had started to accumulate. Since this was the only negative, rather than letting it spoil an otherwise fantastic trip, I just ignored it and didn’t let it bother me. Everything else more than made up for putting up with a bit of dust. The shore excursions were with the exception of Costa Rica very educational, informative, and full of beautiful scenery. We did a lot of walking tours and all of our guides were wonderful. My husband and I would highly recommend the Infinity and its captain to anyone wanting to transit the canal. Hopefully, Ken will be there to educate about the canal and surrounding countries. This was the trip of a lifetime for us and we totally enjoyed it. It comes highly recommended!   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Our first Cruise on one of the Millennium Class Ships. I can see why they at a Favorite of veteran Cruisers. They have an Uncrowded feel and a very Understated Décor. The Great Service we have always enjoyed on Celebrity Ships and ... Read More
Our first Cruise on one of the Millennium Class Ships. I can see why they at a Favorite of veteran Cruisers. They have an Uncrowded feel and a very Understated Décor. The Great Service we have always enjoyed on Celebrity Ships and outstanding Food and Entertainment. We were traveling with Friends and Relatives some of who were on their First Cruise. For once we never used any of the Cruise Excursions but just looked for a Local Van and Guide in each port. The Large Bus groups are always limited by the Slowest person in the Group and we found we could tailor our stops to our own needs and the prices were always fair. We were surprised how the Infinity's Captain spent a great deal of Time among the Guests and not just at the fancy Cocktail parties. One Morning at the Ocean view Café he was eating alone and when he finished he came to our table to ask how we were enjoying or Cruise and wanted our feedback on anything and everything! I have never experienced that on any other ship. Or Next Cruise will be on the Millennium in December. Read Less
Sail Date March 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
My husband and I are mid-60's. We have sailed all major cruise lines except Holland America in 10 cruises over the last 15 years. This was our first Celebrity cruise, our longest at 15 days and our first with friends--two other ... Read More
My husband and I are mid-60's. We have sailed all major cruise lines except Holland America in 10 cruises over the last 15 years. This was our first Celebrity cruise, our longest at 15 days and our first with friends--two other couples which added a lot of fun and comraderie. The ship seemed very well run and friendly--a tone set by the ship master--Michael Sympouras. We saw him more times around the ship than we have ever seen the captain. It was the 11/22/13 cruise out of San Diego through the Panama Canal ending in FLL. We knew this was an older ship with a few signs of wear and tear but nothing that hindered our enjoyment. The size of the ship also made it easier to find each other. Phoenix was being deluged with rain as we headed to the airport--first rain in 75 days! I had broken my rule of getting to the embarkation port a day early because of the short flight to SD but was questioning the wisdom of that as we sloshed to the airport. The port of San Diego seemed a bit disorganized and it was raining as we embarked. Once we left San Diego, we encountered almost no rain which we had wondered about since it was the tail end of the rainy season. Overall, we were very pleased with both the food and service on Celebrity and would rank them both the best of the cruises we have taken. Mario (Mendez) and Stefan took excellent care of us in the dining room and gave us tips on the best items of the night. We did "assigned" dining which worked out very well for 3 couples. Being a "foodie", here are a few more details on the food. We thought Celebrity did a very nice job on their meats. Steak or prime rib ordered medium or medium rare was usually right on and quality was very nice. Slow cooked items like Osso Bucco, braised beef and chicken were very tender and succulent. Veggies were crisp-tender and presentations were nicely done. If there was a weakness or unevenness, I would say it was in the pastries. American standards like strawberry shortcake, chocolate chip cookies and pineapple upside down cake tended to not be very good. There were some desserts that were excellent--chocolate cake with leche was top notch. A special Grand Marnier soufflé was yummy. Bitter and blanc bread pudding on Carnival remains my favorite cruise dessert. Many of the desserts in Café al Bacio were very good--we loved the Coconut chiffon cake, the chocolate/coffee cake and several others. I would also say morning buffet pastries were about average. Princess has the edge there. A lovely touch was being offered an afternoon chocolate while we were relaxing in Café al Bacio. We also thought it was a very nice part of the Captain's toast to receive a glass of champagne and a truffle as we entered the theater on the first formal night. We ate at the buffet most mornings. It is true the selection is nearly the same every morning but that does not bother me. There is such a wide variety of items I could personally have breakfast for a year with those items and be fine. The eggs benedict station was very good. Lox and bagels were good and red onion, tomato and capers were handy. Omelet stations were quite plentiful and toast was made to order and nice and hot--always a plus. We also had crepes at Bistro on Five ($5 pp.) twice and that was a nice addition although they seemed a little understaffed. The dessert crepe with nutella, pistachios, and whipped cream is not to be missed. We had one breakfast and one lunch in the main dining room and they were nicely done. The ice sculptures and food at the Brunch was a nice change of pace but it was on Canal crossing day which was a plus or minus depending on your viewpoint. Buffet lunches were good. Salads were interesting and Indian curries were good. Hamburgers and hot dogs on deck were very good and the French fries were hot. You lose on this one Guy Fieri--French fries on the Breeze were bad! We dined at Q-sine one night. We thought the food presentations were very memorable and fun and most were tasty. You definitely have to be open for a brand new experience. Certainly a unique Thanksgiving dinner for our group. We did them for $30 pp. which is a fair price. I feel the Celebrity specialty restaurants are over-priced at $45 but they are often offering specials to fill them. We had an inside cabin which was fine. Beds were a bit firmer than we prefer but OK. Our steward Frank took good care of us. Nice flat screen TVs and a settee were nice. I liked the weight of their coverlets on the bed--not too heavy. Space under the bed ample for storing suitcases. There is a clothesline in the shower which came in handy. I liked the soap, shampoo and hand lotion. Good control on the temps. Entertainment on the ship was very good. We really liked the various groups playing around the ship and they were very appropriate for the demographics of the older crowd on the ship, We found ourselves pleasantly surprised by the Finkel brothers--who would have thought a xylophone virtuoso could be so much fun? The comedy of Rich Ceisler had us in side-splitting laughs. The production shows were very well done and we really appreciated the Celebrity orchestra, singers and dancers. The loss of live music is a big downside for us on some cruise lines. The weakest link here was the juggler Steve Carte in our estimation. Cruise director Pete was a man of few words but did a very good job and the man could sing too. We really enjoyed some of the Celebrity activities. My husband attended several of the lectures. I thoroughly enjoyed the culinary talks though a bigger venue to avoid SRO would be better. Watercolor class and the trivia were lots of fun. I gave my first Zumba class my best shot. Many activities involved the officers which was entertaining. We thought running the Nova documentary on the Panama canal was very nice but earlier than 10:30 pm might have been a better choice. The commentator that came aboard for the Canal crossing did an excellent job. Ports on this cruise are fairly weak. The big event--the stunning Panama Canal crossing--is what makes it worth it. We had been to Cabo and Puerto Vallarta a couple of times previously so skipped them. Guatemala and Colon also did not have much to offer and safety is an issue in those ports. We did a independent tour in Costa Rica with Gio tours. Chris did a great job of showing us around his country and did a good job of improvising when a land slide made doing one of our activities impossible. We would recommend Gio as others on Trip Advisor and CC have. We took a ship tour in Cartagena but it was in the 90s with equal humidity levels which certainly impacted how much we enjoyed the tour. We prefer to do independent tours when possible. This was a super cruise and we hope to sail again. Our cruises depend on the cost of itineraries we want to do and we are not loyal to just one line, but Celebrity certainly won us over on this one.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Our Group: 3 retired couples, ages 62-68 - 1st time for us traveling with others. Two of the couples were from Phoenix and the other couple from Washington state. Made a big difference in the cruise, especially on multiple sea days, plus ... Read More
Our Group: 3 retired couples, ages 62-68 - 1st time for us traveling with others. Two of the couples were from Phoenix and the other couple from Washington state. Made a big difference in the cruise, especially on multiple sea days, plus we were able to get a dining table for 6 in the MDR together. We have done 5 prior cruises, all on RCI so were anxious to try Celebrity for the 1st time. As platinum members on Royal we were made Captain's Club members at the select level, a nice benefit. My wife and I drove from Phoenix the night before, stayed in a motel and boarded in the morning. Utilized a one day one way rental from Alamo which was reasonable and handled all the luggage for both Phoenix couples, the other Phoenix couple flying in on departure day. We all brought the allowed 2 bottles of wine on board as well as water and soda. This is all acceptable and a real money saver for the customer. Embarkation in San Diego - could have been smoother and better with more communication. Once inside the terminal building having received our sea pass cards we were seated and assigned group number 21 at 1020am (we arrived early). Group 1 was boarded at 1130am, then groups 2,3,4,5 with our group 21 going after group 5. The ladies broadcasting the group numbers were yelling at this mass of several hundred people, no signage, no megaphones. Our group boarded at 1240pm, we ate and entered our interior cabin at 150pm. The ship left at 600pm, one hour late. Dining: we had a table for 6, 600pm dining. All evening meals except one were taken in the MDR with Mario and Stefan as our waiters. Food quality was the best we’ve had on any of our cruises, service was very good as it has always been on RCI. One half of the menu was the same each night, the other half changed and provided a good variety of appetizers, soups, entrees and desserts - generally every item served was good to outstanding. Thanksgiving night was the only time our group ate in a specialty restaurant, the Qsine on deck 11. This is an very unique experience with the menu and ordering done via I-Pad, some of which did not work at all or work properly. Food in Qsine varied; mostly good to very good, some very unusual. Presentation and serving in Qsine was very unique too. We received a discount off the $45 price with discounts seeming to be available regularly depending on the night. My opinion - worth trying once. During our transit of the Panama Canal the dining staff went all out for a brunch in the MDR complete with many ice sculptures. A tremendous presentation and experience as we rode through the canal. This brunch is not to be missed. One of our snack favorites was the Café Al Bacio on deck 5 with complimentary sweets in the afternoon; the coconut cake was the best !! Our group also did a breakfast of crepes in Bistro on 5 one morning, nice atmosphere but the service seemed slow with only three tables being served. We did find the placement of the tables in the MDR a little too close, could have been further apart. The Ship: 11 decks but a few options to go higher on a limited basis. The Infinity had a make over several years ago but has been maintained well and is kept clean. It has a short walking track open air on deck 11. The ship does not have all the glitz bells and whistles of the brand new ships but is very comfortable, attractive and a good ship with sufficient venues for music and bars for drinking options. Gym area seemed adequate, we used it one time, spa, casino, large theatre for the evening events. The ship was large enough to provide the customer what was needed but not too large. As compared to RCI: many fewer ship wide announcements, this was good. One daily Captain’s message at 10am. As this was early December, Christmas decos were put up by contractors who boarded the ship in Colon and left the ship before leaving Colon. INTERNET & PHONE: Outrageous as expected; internet packages could be purchased that provided some savings. Using a coupon as a result of being Captain’s Club Select I purchased 38 minutes for $24.95 minus a 25% discount, which was still a very high net cost per minute but was useful. Internet speed generally slow to very slow. 4500 total Nautical Miles covered in the 15 days. A bonus for us as non-smokers: very limited areas for smoking and the casino was a no smoking zone the entire trip - all of the time. The Infinity cruiser on this sailing: Almost entirely adults, perhaps 25 children were spotted. Guessing the average age to be 60-65. Mostly US, Canadians, UK and Aussies with Asia being well represented as well. Entertainment: I did not have high expectations for a ship this size but was surprised by the consistent strong to outstanding performances and variety we were provided with each night. Of all 15 nights of performances I would say only one was weak. The Infinity musicians were also tops. Cruise Director Pete mixed it up and did a great job of choosing some very good entertainers for our enjoyment each evening. The different lounges frequently had music of varying types so everyone could find something to like at a given lounge. Bar drinks came with the usual 15% add on but we found happy hour pricing, 4-5pm and 4-6pm provided good options for regular inexpensive drinks of martinis and wines, some as low as $4 and martinis at $5.50 each. So a good option to avoid a large bar tab for the cruising customer. We did not find this many options for low priced drinks on a regular basis with RCI. Ports/Itinerary: We chose this cruise primarily to experience Celebrity and do the Panama Canal. Other stops, in order, included: Cabo San Lucas, Puerta Vallarta, Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, Puntarenas, C.R., Colon, Panama, Cartagena, Colombia. We did only two shore excursions; one through the ship in Colombia and an independent one with our group of four in Costa Rica in our own mini van with Chris of GioTours. Otherwise we walked off the ship at each port and did only the shopping near the port area. Having done Costa Rica with only 4 of us plus driver and guide Chris I would say no comparison with the ship’s product we took in Colombia. Now I know why we try to avoid the ship’s tours and it’s not just because of the normally higher cost involved utilizing the ships product. One exceptional thing Celebrity did as we transited the canal on December 2nd - we were provided with an ongoing live narration by a lady working for the canal as we traveled through it from 715am until 445pm when we exited. This narration was throughout the ship and really added to the crossing. I understand some lines do not provide this narration and it made all the difference as we traveled. Being this close to the equator, our southernmost point being 7 degrees north latitude, I expected it to be hot and I was not disappointed. Being in the sun was at times brutal but Cartagena took the award for the very hottest and most uncomfortable. Also, be prepared for regular, sometimes relentless hawking by the local vendors, even if you are in a large tour group you are fair game, this is at all ports. My opinion - all of the ports were worth seeing once - though we did greatly enjoy our 7 hour tour with GioTours in Costa Rica. This cruise had a very good balance of sea days, never more than two in a row, mixed in with regular port stops. The Crew: One thing I really appreciated about this cruise was the high profile and access to the Captain and his senior officers. The Captain could be seen almost anywhere on the ship and was easy to talk to - I spoke to him at least four times. On some cruises you never see the Captain and seldom even hear from him so this made this Captain and this sailing outstanding. The waiters, pool butlers, housekeeping were from all over the world. I would say they were friendly and helpful as a rule. At times listening closely was necessary to fully understand what they were saying. We had only one day of 80 knot winds (per a senior crew member) so the decks were closed off and the ship was not level as it traveled, but we did not get sick. This high wind condition lasted 10 hours or so and occurred off the coast of Acapulco. On the open sea windy was the norm and somewhat bumpy - generally up on deck 11 in the open, winds were 30 mph and seas were 1-2 meters high. I appreciated the fact that events, dining, docking and leaving ports always seemed to be on time, as scheduled, with the exception of departing San Diego. Being on time seemed to be important to Celebrity. Thank you! Departure in Fort Lauderdale - we chose the 1st departure time of 815am, got to the Celebrity Theatre at 810am. At 850am we were instructed to move to the departure ramp, cleared customs, claimed our bags and walked outside to a long line for taxi cabs. The wait for a cab was about 20 minutes. Four of us shared one cab, it was cozy but the least expensive way to go. Fare to the Ft. Lauderdale airport was $15 plus tip for 4. Arriving at the airport at 945am we found long lines outside to do bag checks with Southwest and a long line inside as well. We chose inside to avoid the outside heat. Though the line was long it moved along and in 20 minutes we were at the ticket counter. After the ticket counter we moved to the security line with another short wait as we were designated TSA PRE SCREENED. Once inside the secure area we tracked down something to eat. All options were very busy by this time, 11am, and there were generally lines at the four or five choices. Was hard to find a table to sit at, all being occupied so we shared. Gates were all packed, you were lucky to find a seat. When 10 or so cruise ships all unload on the same morning a person must expect the airport to be packed and it was. I give credit to the airline employees, airport employees and TSA for handling all of us as efficiently as they did, there is just so much that can be done with crowds of this size. For us I will try to avoid using the FLL airport for departing in the future on a Saturday or Sunday if at all possible. Perhaps West Palm Beach or Daytona Beach should be considered. Overall a great experience that can be highly recommended. We have already pre-booked our next Celebrity cruise for August of 2014 to take advantage of the on board reduced deposit and OBC just as Royal provides. Thanks to the staff of the Celebrity Infinity for doing such a good job on our first cruise with you.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
It started with the plane ride. We had a 6AM flight (booked thru Celebrity) which which got us into Miami at about 8:30 AM. There we waited for 3 hours in the baggage claim area of the terminal for the Celebrity transfer. There were ... Read More
It started with the plane ride. We had a 6AM flight (booked thru Celebrity) which which got us into Miami at about 8:30 AM. There we waited for 3 hours in the baggage claim area of the terminal for the Celebrity transfer. There were between 8-10 seats in the baggage area. Picture some 60 senior citizen types perched on the edges of the baggage carousels. I felt sorry for the people who arrived at 6 AM on the red-eye from LAX and had to wait 5 hours for the transfer. This could have been managed better. At 11:30 AM we were taken by bus to port in Ft. Lauderdale where the Infinity was docked. I have always thought that Celebrity's check-in was top notch. Not so this time. At the port terminal, with the line winding outside for two city blocks, the check in took two hours. Then another 30 min wait for the ship to open. Once on board, another 3 hr wait to get into rooms - this because of extra cleaning due to a stomach virus. Now nobody wants to get sick, but a rolling room cleaning, in which each floor is opened up as cleaned, would have alleviated the overcrowding in the public areas. But then we were off! The itinerary is a good one. The pity is that Peru and Chilean immigration authorities are not helping tourism. Before landing in Manta, Peru, we were informed that the Peruvian authorities would want a face to face inspection of the passports. We arrived the evening before our scheduled time. The face to face inspection of the passports never occurred. When we arrived in Arica, Chile, we were told that another face to face inspection would occur and that we would not be cleared until 3 p.m. As it turned out, we were cleared around noon but the longer excursions had to be canceled. The Arica Tourist Board, however, was first rate-- and provided dockside entertainment for an hour before we left. In La Serena, Chile, which was a port where we were tendered ashore, was in my mind a disaster. It took us over an hour and a half to get ashore. Our Celebrity shore excursion, delayed by an hour, raced along but managed to finish on time for the return tender. It need not have hurried, because we had to stand in line for 2 hours to get the tender back. As far as the cuisine was concerned, it was up the standards of previous Celebrity sailings except in the area of refreshers and desserts. The sorbets that were served were about half melted and the Baked Alaska was also partially melted. However, the evening entertainment was superb. The Celebrity production shows were the best I've seen on any ship so far. The singers and dancers were particularly good and the production shows were very well choreographed. Both the wait staff and the cabin attendants were also exceptional - very professional and courteous. They could teach a course on customer service . OK and the pool in the covered spa area --wow! It is toasty warm. Loved it. We have scheduled two more Celebrity cruises this year. Hopefully this trip was just an aberration.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We are retired seniors from western Pennsylvania. We learned of this cruise from a friend who booked through AAA. We were able to get it at a discount, but without their perks. In addition, we were able to get very good airline prices ... Read More
We are retired seniors from western Pennsylvania. We learned of this cruise from a friend who booked through AAA. We were able to get it at a discount, but without their perks. In addition, we were able to get very good airline prices traveling on the days of embarkation and debarkation. If you are a conservative like myself, take note. Celebrity does not permit the carry of pocketknives of any length on their ships (it got on-board in my carry-on luggage). Mine was confiscated at the security point on return from an excursion; and returned while disembarking. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale just after 12:00 pm, and used a local shuttle to get to the port, arriving at the port about 1:15 pm. Porters took our bags quickly and we were able to begin processing immediately. There were the usual lines, but no undue waits; shortly we were given seats to await boarding. We were able to board at approximately 3:00 pm; once on-board we were told we could access our staterooms. The stateroom was clean, and in good condition; not perfect, but more than just satisfactory. I cannot praise our stateroom stewards enough. The room was attended to religiously. Sometimes, their efforts seemed to be magical; you'd leave the, return within 15 or 20 minutes and they had already tidied up, made the bed, cleaned the bathroom, and moved on. The ship itself was in nice condition. There were some issues noted, but the crew were doing maintenance on a daily basis. Some of the minor issues I noted early during our cruise were corrected by the time we disembarked. I did not note any evidence of gross negligence on the ship. Please note, if you decide on a room on deck 2, starboard. The hallway on this side of the ship is very uneven. From high spot to low spot there must be around 10 inches total height difference. There are a couple low spots up to 3 to 4 inches, and a few rolling high spots almost high enough for steps. These are not marked, although we noted one low spot had a stain which appeared to be a coffee stain shortly after the beginning of our trip. We ate most evening meals in the Trellis dining room. I found my meals to be very good and tasty. Some might have had larger portions of the side dishes, but were adequate. There seems to be some issue with "presentation"; apparently now it is "in" to present all the food on the plate piled into one large pile in the center of the plate. Most meals came this way. We normally do not eat breakfast or lunch in the dining room; the only exception on this trip was the brunch served on our second Saturday. The Oceanview buffet is on deck 10. I found breakfast selections very good. They usually had two American breakfast lines and two English breakfast lines. In addition, they made omelets to-order, and had a separate line for pancakes, waffles, and blintz's. There were numerous drink stations around the buffet area, with regular & decaffeinated; and also punches, orange juice, and water. Lunch selections were varied daily. The food tasted good, but was mostly a little bland. The evening selections I found downright repetitious. Even more so than the lunch selections, the evening selections were very bland. Stick with the Trellis for dinner, even if you eat off the Americanized side of the menu daily. The only good things about the Oceanview for dinner was the pasta bar; pizza bar; and fresh, made-to-order bar in the back. One issue concerning the Oceanview buffet. Celebrity insisted on serving all entree`s. This, along with insufficiently assigned servers created slow line movement. I don't remember having this on any other cruise line. As with all cruise lines, the Infinity had a daily activities sheet. We found this to be quite full, and varied. We found plenty to keep us busy on our days-at-sea. The Cruise Directors staff were very good. They were articulate and personable; we quickly became comfortable with all of them. The service on-board was very good, except in the Oceanview buffet. We were told that there were a lot of "new" crew members brought on-board for our cruise. Apparently they were new hires, and all sent to the Oceanview. It was utter chaos at meal time. Otherwise, service staff was attentive and efficient. Celebrity relies on both cruise line staff entertainers and contracted entertainers. They provide a nice mix of venue this way and keep the entertainment from becoming repetitious. We were not completely satisfied one evening with the entertainment, but that was due more to our taste than to the performance. There was one port not listed on the excursion poll; Puerto Quetzal. At this port, we elected to tour the drive-through zoo. Although we were supposed to have SUV type vehicles, we were picked up by a full-sized bus. The tour guide identified that the vehicles and guides slated for the tour were delayed due to weather induced landslides on their route to the area and other arrangements were made. These were functional, but not truly satisfactory for the tour. Celebrity made a refund for the shortfall, but I would wager only to those who complained about the issue. Disembarkment went well. Lately we have elected to walk off ourselves. Although Celebrity does not officially offer this feature, I am aware of a few people who did such. Since there was no passenger self-laundry facilities, we each had two suitcases, as well as a carry-on; and therefore let Celebrity get our bags to the port building. They have a good, orderly process for getting people off the ship, it worked well. I believe we were off the ship, picked up our bags, went through customs, and into a taxi in little over an hour. Even with apparent heavy San Diego traffic, we were at the airport nearly three hours early for our flight. 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Sail Date October 2012
We arrived at 11:30 a.m. for boarding and found it to be very efficient unlike a few of the other reviews. We were greeted warmly with a mimosa and moved on to the Oceanview Cafe for an early snack. It was not busy and it was efficient. ... Read More
We arrived at 11:30 a.m. for boarding and found it to be very efficient unlike a few of the other reviews. We were greeted warmly with a mimosa and moved on to the Oceanview Cafe for an early snack. It was not busy and it was efficient. We were allowed in our rooms about 2 or 2:30, but really didn't worry about this as it is usual. The ship was very clean and well staffed as far as we could see. Dinner was typical cruise food. It obviously isn't what it was 10 years ago, but deal with it, it's food, it is well cooked and presented. Our wait staff went out of their way to get to know each one of us. We had a table for 12 which they had to take down every evening as we must have been the only ones that requested one of this size. Leaving the port was very interesting as was the abandon ship drill. Funny, everyone was told YOU DO NOT NEED YOUR LIFE VEST. Despite this, there were a bunch that didn't listen and said they needed to have them. I would recommend they do it out at the lifeboats instead of in the various venues, but this is the way it was done. Our stateroom staff were great and so efficient that as soon as we left our stateroom in the morning and evening it was made up. Great job, Cruz and Dwayne. Dining was great, Anak and Roldolfo were efficient and attentive. Stateroom was great other than the fact that it could never keep a constant temperature, it was either too cold or too warm. Theater - some of the shows were good, others, well, we just opted to not go and not complain. The shows are getting to be a little on the aged side. Food - it was cruise food, get over it, it isn't as good as it was 10 years ago, but then nothing is the same as it was 10 years ago. Bars - The Mast Bar (Agus - aka - Goose), was our favorite afternoon hangout. Goose knew what everyone was drinking unless we changed out mind. The Rendezvous - was our evening hangout, after we tried Michael's Club and a few other places - Trace Gordon was our waiter and couldn't wait for us to arrive every evening. Yea bartenders and wait staff. The ship its self - clean in my estimation - didn't notice any worn areas. The bathrooms were always clean and well take care of. More people should thank this staff member. They are trying to keep a "dirty place" cleaner than you keep your own bathroom. Great job ladies and gentlemen. You should be awarded for this effort. Pool Butlers - ha ha...love it. They don't let people hoard the lounges. I wish every cruise line did this. Hey RCI. Give your Pool Butlers a chance to make others happy.All in all, it was a great trip and I would recommend this to everyone wanting to see the Panama Canal. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Sept 18 & 19: We left home around 1:00 pm to drive to Portland, ME. Stayed at the Marriott Sable Oaks, our favorite hotel in Portland. We stayed overnight, and left our car there for the duration of the cruise. At 4:00 a.m. we took ... Read More
Sept 18 & 19: We left home around 1:00 pm to drive to Portland, ME. Stayed at the Marriott Sable Oaks, our favorite hotel in Portland. We stayed overnight, and left our car there for the duration of the cruise. At 4:00 a.m. we took their free shuttle to the airport. Check-in was a breeze, so we had time for coffee and a bagel before heading to the gate. Flight went through Chicago, and we arrived in Seattle around 1:30 p.m. We grabbed a wheelchair to help Dick get to baggage claim, where we waited for 30 minutes before the luggage came onto the conveyor. We had to haul our suitcases up one level and across a sky bridge to get to the taxi stand...not the most convenient airport! We stayed at the Silver Cloud -- Broadway hotel. Very nice. They had a free shuttle to Pike Market and a few other tourist sites, which we took advantage of. Sept. 20: Visited Pike Place Market; ate lunch and dinner at two different Irish pubs. Bought some sweatshirts...was chilly and foggy in the morning! Sept 21: Chilly and damp. We breakfasted at IHop (behind the hotel) and left for the pier around 11:00 a.m. Smooth embarkation...we were on board by 11:50 a.m. and headed straight for our favorite spot...the Sunset bar on deck 10 aft. The weather was cloudy and chilly, but lots showed up for our Cruise Critic sailaway gathering at the Sunset bar. A young guitarist played for sailaway. Although scheduled time to leave was 4:00 p.m., we weren't actually under way until 4:30 p.m. Our stateroom was 1138...an Aqua Class aft balcony cabin. Very nice! Wonderful view. At 6:00 p.m. we went to Blu for dinner. I had the filet mignon, which was very good. The atmosphere in Blu is so nice...much quieter and more serene than the MDR, even when it's full. Got unpacked, and had an early evening. Sept 22: At sea. Clear and cool. We slept until 7:30 a.m. then Dick went to the gym while I said my Morning Prayer. By 9:30 we were hungry for breakfast! Ate in the Oceanview cafe...love the waffle station and the poached egg station. After wandering around the ship to see what changes were made during Solticizing, we went to Cafe el Bacio for an iced cappuccino. Took our Kindle and IPad and read for a while. The Westside Strings from the Ukraine were playing. They were wonderful, and became my favorite source of music for the entire cruise! In the afternoon, Dick hung around the Sunset Bar, getting to know the bar crew, while I went to a watercolor class. I'm so happy when they have watercolor classes on board...love them! Then I went to an Improvisation Comedy Workshop...great fun! It was led by Nancy and Marshall...a husband & wife team. They were terrific. I continued to go to both classes during the sea days on the cruise. This was a formal night, so we dressed up and went to Cellar Masters before dinner. After dinner we stopped in the Rendezvous Lounge for some music. Cellar Masters was destined to become our favorite evening lounge! Sept 23: We docked in San Francisco in mid-afternoon. But in the morning, we had our CC gathering in Michael's Club. Way too small for over 100 of us! We did a gift exchange...those who participated brought a small gift indicative of their home state/country. I received a gift of black lava sea salt and a tee shirt from Hawaii. I had brought some blueberry jam, chocolate covered blueberries, and some chutney, indicative of Maine. We disembarked for the night at 3:00 p.m. and got a taxi to the Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf. Since we had a free Hyatt night that was soon to expire, we had decided to stay off the ship while it was docked overnight. Toured Pier 39, and went to Alioto's for dinner. Sept. 24: The next morning, we hired a town car to give us an overview tour of San Francisco. Dick had been their before, but I had not. We had a nice tour of all the highlights of SanFran. Actually got to see the Golden Gate bridge not shrouded in fog! Set sail at around 3:00 p.m. Sept 25: at sea. Overcast & chilly. Another mostly indoor day. Looking forward to warmer weather. Went to a watercolor class. Lazy day just doing mostly indoor things. Enjoy the sandwich bar in the Oceanview cafe for lunch. Their chicken salad was yummy! Sept 26: Overcast, but warming up! Another day at sea. We set the clocks ahead one hour the night before, so we slept a bit late. Watercolor class; gym; lazy day. We saw dolphins frolicking in the surf. Decided to eat on deck 10 aft tonight...Dick loves the stir fry and I love the pasta & salad bar. Also sushi! Sept 27: Cabo San Lucas. Rain! It rained buckets! Our ship tour on a yacht was canceled (thankfully), so we got a refund. That was nice, since it was an expensive tour. After lunch I left Dick on board and took a tender into town. I brought an umbrella, but still got soaked. I did some souvenir shopping, and was literally wading through ankle-deep water. On the tender ride back, there was thunder & lightening. We were in a local tender that had a roof but no sides...the rain was coming in sideways! We were all soaked...but laughing. We all looked like drowned rats! We heard they received the most single day rain in over 70 years! Dinner in Blu. Service is so good in Blu, no matter where we sat or who we had as waiter. The sommelier, Kris Rawoo, was great. After a while, I'd just tell him to bring me "a smooth red wine" or a "light white wine" or whatever, and he'd pick out just the right one. He is married to the sommelier at the Cellar Master...Elizma. They were both so nice. She is from South Africa and he is from Mauritius. Sept 28: Puerto Vallarto. Rain! Another warm and rainy day. We had a tour to an all-inclusive resort. Of course, the rain started as soon as we got there! Some folks swam anyway...why not? It's just water! We had drinks and lunch at a covered outdoor restaurant, overlooking the (deserted) beach. Coming back to the ship, we saw flooded streets and some rock and mud slides, with trees in the road. A monsoon! As we boarded the ship, the A/C felt cold since we were wet, but a crew person placed a warm towel around my wet shoulders. Nice touch! Dinner in Blu...I had lobster ravioli. Very enjoyable. Sept 29: at sea. Sunshine! 84 degrees! Took advantage of some ship activities. The sun turned to rain later in the day, but I got in some pool time first. I like the salt water in the pools on the M-Class ships. On the S-Class, it's fresh water. Also, on M-Class, the spa pool is a thalassatherapy pool, with jets and very warm salt water...love it. On the S-Class it's just an "adults only" pool. Sept 30: Sunny and in the 90's...! Day at sea. Good day to intersperse pool time with indoor activities like my watercolor class. Doing a lot of reading, as usual. Dick and I both love to read while at sea. Oct 1: Heavy rain in the morning, but partly sunny by noon and in the 80's. Another day at sea before we dock in Costa Rica. There are a lot of birds following the ship...not sure what kind they are. Oct 2: Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Partly sunny and hot. We had pre-arranged a private tour for 14 of us (through Cruise Critic) with Charlie Soto from OkeyDokey Tours. We used a wheelchair from the ship to help Dick get to the end of the pier where we were meeting Charlie. He was right there, and had a 16 passenger van waiting for us. They put the wheelchair in the back. Our driver, Carlos, and guide, Geovana, were terrific. Carlos was very attentive helping Dick in and out of the van. We had a 7 hour tour...fed Capuchin monkeys, went into the hills for some great vistas, stopped at a hotel with botanical gardens, helped juice sugar cane and had drinks made of sugar cane, ginger & lime, along with fresh papaya, pineapple and mango; had lunch at a restaurant near the Tarcoles River and then took a Crockodile Man Tour...where the boat captain, Jason, got in the water and fed the crockodiles by hand! Saw lots of beautiful birds and flowers. Towards the end of the tour, we stopped at a souvenir factory store and then at a supermarket, where Geovana helped us buy Costa Rican coffee and some salsa/sauces at a much better price than in a souvenir shop. We got back to the ship around 3:45 p.m. Oct 3: at sea. Another relaxing sea day. Went to watercolor and improv classes. Had a laughing good time in Cellar Masters after dinner with two couples from England. I discovered Prosecco on this cruise...love it! Oct 4: Through the Panama Canal today. As it always is in Panama, it was hot! Also overcast, which helped. They had someone from the Canal doing a commentary over the loudspeaker system and we traversed the various locks. Very informative and interesting. During the night we had a loud thunderstorm! Lots of lightening! Oct 5: Partly sunny. Docked in Cartegena, Colombia. We breakfasted in Blu (great place for breakfast...can eat hearty, or light & healthy.) We went ashore around 10:00 a.m. Didn't have a tour planned, but hooked up with a tour guide as we got off the ship and went with several other couples on a brief tour of the old town. I had been there before and done a walking tour, so this gave Dick a chance to see a bit of it. Since his walking is so bad, we just walked a short distance with the old town area and then stopped at a cafe while the rest of the group walked for about 45 minutes. We were soon surrounded by locals hawking their wares...we laughed...it's rather like the swarms of black flies we get at home in Maine during May! We actually bought a couple of things that looked interesting and were cheap...while dismissing the rest. One fellow had a comedy routine he did with a weird hat...and he was really funny. We didn't buy the hat, but did give him a tip. Had dinner in Blu. Found a bit too much repetition in the menu selections in Blu this time around. Maybe because it's a 17 day cruise. Oct 6: sunny and hot. At sea. Classes during the day. Today was Elizma (from Cellar Masters) birthday, so we helped her celebrate! We drank...she poured! Oct 7: Our last full day. Sunny and hot. Pool time; Sunset bar time; packing (ugh!) Oct 8: We docked at 7:00 a.m. We went to the United States restaurant to wait for our disembarkation time. We were Green 4 with a time of 8:10 a.m. Plenty of time to make our 11:00 a.m. flight. Or so we thought. There was a huge electrical storm that went on and on, and prevented them from using the fork lifts to offload our luggage. As a result, we never got off the ship until 10:25 a.m.! Needless to say, we missed our flight. Knowing we would, I called our T.A. before we got off the ship and she got us on flights the next day, as well as a room for the night at the Hyatt Pier 66. Our original flights were with United, and I had first called them. They wanted us to pay well over $1000 each for tickets from FLL to Portland, ME. Ridiculous! My TA got us on US Airways for $342 each. Submitted a insurance claim for flights & hotel...waiting to hear. Oct 9: Flew to Portland and drove home, arriving around 11:00 p.m. It was an interesting and relaxing cruise. Had a lot of rain, but it didn't really mar the cruise. There were lots of interesting things to do inside or outside on sea days. The Infinity is lovely...and as usual the crew was great. We loved Cellar Masters and Cafe el Bacio, as well as Bistro on Five. The aft Aqua Class balcony was bigger than a standard balcony, and the shower in the bathroom was very nice, with extra jets. They do need to do something about the fact that, even with shower doors, the water leaks onto the floor while you're showering. Must need a tighter door. Not a problem for us, but the room attendant obviously had to replace a soaking wet floor mat every day! Can't wait for our next Celebrity cruise...April 2013 on the Summit! Jane Israel Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
The ship recently returned from dry dock in the Bahamas, where she was "Solsticized". Most public spaces were refreshed and several new features were added including Aqua Class staterooms and features for the Aqua Guests (i.e. ... Read More
The ship recently returned from dry dock in the Bahamas, where she was "Solsticized". Most public spaces were refreshed and several new features were added including Aqua Class staterooms and features for the Aqua Guests (i.e. Blu Restaurant and upgraded Spa amenities). Aqua Class Amenities (+ Pros | - Cons) + New Staterooms and Features (See Stateroom & Bathroom Pros/Cons) + Blu Restaurant (Food, Service, Ambiance) - Blue Restaurant (None of the fun activities in the Main Dining room are replicated in the Blu Restaurant) - Embarkation/ Disembarkation (No special benefits or special treatment) Aqua Class Stateroom (+ Pros | - Cons) + Deck 11 Stateroom (All are new, Part of the Solsticized upgrade in December 2011) + Sofa - Isle Clearance between Bed and Wall (Is only 15", People of size have to walk sideways) - Public Announcement System ( Didn't work, stateroom attendant indicated the volume control and speaker in the room were hooked up. A serious negative, given the 8 hours of narration through the Panama Canal Tip: Veranda Sizes on Deck 11 (Rooms forward have wider verandas and rooms aft have narrower verandas) Aqua Class Bathroom (+ Pros | - Cons) + Comfort height toilet + Shower Wand & Body Spray - Shower Size (Only 23" W x 46" L, Narrows to 13" wide at back side) - Shower (Leaks under shower doors, Carpet always wet) - No Outlets - No Storage (Clearly not what was shown on Celebrity Website) - Size (Overall very small) Entertainment (+ Pros | - Cons) + Overall the entertainment was good (a few steps up from Holland America and Oceania) + Entertainment every night Public Spaces (+ Pros | - Cons) + Blu Restaurant (Food, Service, Ambiance) + Theatre (Recently Remodeled, Nice Seating & Tables) - QSine Restaurant (Great selection of Food, Presented in a unique way) - SS United States ($40 Fee/Person, Staff was stuffy, Food was only Fair, Limited selection beyond seafood) - QSine Restaurant ($40 Fee/Person) - Cafe &* Grill (Layout out poorly, Food was just OK, It appears this area was missed during dry dock) - Main Dining Room (Service, Food) - Bistro-on-Five (Service Fee, Rarely seen anyone was using the space) - Gelateria, Cafe al Bacio (Service Fee, Rarely seen anyone was using the space) - Cellar Masters (Cold Ambiance, Rarely seen anyone was using the space) Ports of Call and Tours (+ Pros | - Cons) + Panama Canal Passage (Once in a life time experience!) + San Diego, CA (Recommend the Manchester Grand Hyatt, Harbor Tours) + Cartagena, Colombia (We would return to Cartagena for a Vacation) + Panama Railway (Along the Panama Canal & Panama City) + Antigua, Guatemala (Tour from Puerto Quetzal: Historic, Lots of Police & Security) + Ft. Lauderdale, FL (Recommend the Pelican Grand Beach Resort) - Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (You can see why most ships are avoiding Mexico) - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (You can see why most ships are avoiding Mexico) - Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala (Very 3rd World) - Puntarenas, Costa Rica (Very 3rd World) - Colon, Panama (A Freight Port, Tourist Trap Shopping) Other Pros (+ Pros | - Cons) + Beyond the Podium Series (Uncle Marty: Panama Canal Talks) - Gangway Incline (The Incline/Slop of the Gangway at most ports was Dangerous) - Cruise Director (Patti Honacki was horrible, more interested in pointing out how hard she works vs connecting with guests) - April Weather Central & South America (90-100 Degrees with 90%+ Humidity) - Value-for-the Money Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We have been cruising with Celebrity for the last 5 years. I personally don't want to change cruise companies since everything we want on a cruise, they offer. The staff on the Infinity are amazing. They are friendly and cannot do ... Read More
We have been cruising with Celebrity for the last 5 years. I personally don't want to change cruise companies since everything we want on a cruise, they offer. The staff on the Infinity are amazing. They are friendly and cannot do enough for you. The ship is very comfortable and just big enough that it doesn't feel at all crowded. The food is great and plenty of choices. One thing that I ate a lot of were green apples since they help when you feel a bit queasy. We actually met a person that was our waiter about 1 1/2 years ago. He didn't remember our names but he did remember that my husband took fruity loops for breakfast. I must say I was really impressed. I would do this same cruise again in a moment. 17 nights give you plenty of sea days which I think are the nicest. Don't mind going ashore now and again but we prefer the sea days. The lectures are very informative and we try to attend them. If you are planning on going through the Panama Canal I would advise you to attend them since they give you a lot of good information. There is so much to do on the ship if you want to be busy, but we tend to do our own thing. This is the 2nd time we went through the Panama, it's interesting all the things that you miss the first time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
My husband and I took the cruise with my sister and her husband. The food was amazing! Our waiter was great (although they seemed short-handed), and the food was the best we've had on a cruise. On other cruises we generally ate ... Read More
My husband and I took the cruise with my sister and her husband. The food was amazing! Our waiter was great (although they seemed short-handed), and the food was the best we've had on a cruise. On other cruises we generally ate at the buffet, but not on this one! I have no idea how they did it, but it will be hard for another cruise line to measure up. We had our pictures taken on formal nights, but there was absolutely no pressure to do so. We ended up buying a few of them. The exercise room was in use a lot, but there always seemed to be machines available. I didn't use them because I sprained my ankle badly near the beginning (don't ask), and did a lot of hobbling for the rest of the cruise. The medical staff on the ship even x-rayed it. Our cabin was clean and nicely prepared each day, and the public rooms were well kept up. We found everyone on the staff to be very friendly, and they always greeted all of the passengers they came across with a smile not matter what their job was. This was the first cruise we've been on where we not only knew the names of our maitre d' and chief wine steward, but they came by the table each night to see if everything was okay. On other cruises they have introduced themselves only on the last night. A great effort and good training had been given to make all of the passengers feel pampered -- it worked! All in all, it was the best cruise we've been on! Here are some helpful hints to make your Panama Canal crossing more enjoyable: 1) Be sure to get a balcony! You can come and go at will and not lose your place as you would at the upper deck railing. They gave a blow-by-blow account of what you were seeing on loud speakers on the open decks, but they also ran it on the TV. If you turned it up and left the door open while you were going slowly through the locks and along the Canal, you could still know what was going on. 2) Some of the balconies are larger than others, so check reviews for sizes. Our balcony was one of the larger ones with a partial overhang. It held a table and upright chairs as well as two lounges and a small table. The one above us only held two upright chairs and small table. 3) For the morning you start passing through the locks, order a room service breakfast. We were on the eastbound trip and entered the locks at about 7:00 am (we started toward them before it was even light). I hear the buffet and railings get very crowded, while we lounged, looked over the side, and had a delicious, relaxing bacon and egg breakfast. 4) Bring binoculars. I'm not generally a binocular user, but there was so much to see! 5) Take the eastbound trip if you can. The westbound trip evidently skips the stop at the Gatun Locks where you can go on tours and see the locks at ground level and up close, and that was a highlight. Our Celebrity tour took us to the locks to watch them in operation from a viewing room, and also to Portobello, a town about an hour away. In Portobello we toured an old Spanish fort where the canons still rust inside the walls. 6) Bring a hat, even if you don't usually wear one. It is HOT along the Canal as well as at ports at both ends (especially Cartagena, Colombia). Also, tuck a highlighter into your suitcase to mark events and other things in the daily newsletter. 7) Read up on the Canal, how it works, and its history before you go. It's an amazing story, and you'll appreciate what you see so much more. Just the mechanics of it is a story in itself. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We had always wanted to cruise the Panama Canal, it was on our bucket list. We Chose This cruise for two reasons. We really enjoy Celebrity ships, they might not be the newest, or the biggest, or the most beautiful, but they are always ... Read More
We had always wanted to cruise the Panama Canal, it was on our bucket list. We Chose This cruise for two reasons. We really enjoy Celebrity ships, they might not be the newest, or the biggest, or the most beautiful, but they are always wonderful, and never disappoint us. The food is the best, the crew and staff on board are always there to not only fill your needs, but do it with a smile and a pleasant repoir. We love to play Trivia Games, and the amount of games and type of games is the best of any other cruiseline. And the team that runs the games, are all friendly and make the experience entertaining and fun. The other reason we chose this cruise was that it sailed out of San Diego. A very short taxi ride, and inexpensive, from the airport to the cruise port. Much better than San Pedro. We were fortunate the entire cruise.....the weather was wonderful, never a cloud in the sky, sunny the whole two weeks. I had read that it rains alot in the Panama Canal area, so we came prepared, but it was not necessary. The Panama Canal Cruise is one that I think everyone should experience, at least once. They had several lectures onboard that we attended. So by the time we actually reached the canal, we were well educated on what we were looking at, and during the entire sailing through the canal, there was a narration, to point everything out to us. So it was educational and enjoyable. Our cabin, was an inside cabin, but we learned long ago, that we love to explore the ship, and find different areas that are quiet, good for naps or reading, and of course, I have to play my trivia. There is always something to keep you interested and busy, if you want. The shows were very good, and we also enjoyed the other music going on, throughout the ship. There was not one negative thing that I can think of on the entire cruise. Seas were calm, sun was out, nice breezes, beautiful scenery, good food, nice people. It was the best two weeks, I think, that I have ever experienced in my life! So now we want to go to Hawaii, and chose another Celebrity Ship....the Century. If it is half as nice as last year, it will be great. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
This was the second leg of our back to back South American cruise. Since we made friends of many of the crew this turned out to be one of the best two weeks possible on any cruise ship. We had the opportunity to get off the ship in ... Read More
This was the second leg of our back to back South American cruise. Since we made friends of many of the crew this turned out to be one of the best two weeks possible on any cruise ship. We had the opportunity to get off the ship in Valpariso for a half day tour. The weather was perfect and we used the ship tour. It was a little overpriced but well organized. We opted to not go to Santiago on an all day tour as half the tour was a bus ride to and from Santiago. The cruise critic group had quite a few that were back to back but we picked up well over 50 new cruise critic people that got on. We had a nice cruise critic meeting the first sea day. The ship contact Matthew was very enthusiastic to assist us and arranged for a buffet lunch on a sea day late in the cruise. Our first port was Coquimbo Chile. La Serena is another name. We were able to determine that the coastal areas of South America were all on alert for a possible Tsunami from the Japan earthquake. It did not bother the ship as we were well out to sea when the wave passed under the ship. The coastal areas were evacuated but fortunately the water was not much higher than high tide during a storm. It did some flooding in low lying areas and all the ships were sent out to sea to ride it out so there proved to be minimal property damage. In Arica we took an all day ship tour to a mountain top lake with flamingos and two dormant volcanoes. It was well organized and the school teacher that was our guide was very nice. We won a couple of prizes (color postcards) by answering his trivia questions. It was a long bus ride up above 15,000 feet. One young woman did suffer altitude sickness and was unable to get out and walk around. We had cocoa leaf tea part way to the top and it seemed to help. I did experience a headache on the way back to the ship. We got there just as a hailstorm started. It was not large hail but the tours left early to be sure they were not on bad roads. There was all kinds of wildlife to see. Birds and ducks and flamingos and llamas and vicuna. The box lunch was not all that good but it was from the ship. We stopped to see a roadside souvenir stand and my wife took a little native boys photo she entered in the photo contest on the ship. We had a nice cruise critic group tour of Lima. In Manta we took a ship tour with a hike and a beach stop. Our guide was very knowledgeable. We saw howler monkeys and an archaeological site and lots of birds and exhibits. The beach stop was all too short but it was nice to take a dip in the ocean. Since we had been through the Panama Canal before we opted for the tour to Panama City to see the old city. It was a funeral of a past president so the area we planned to see was closed but we still got to shop and take pictures of the areas that were visible. We had much better weather than the people who stayed with the ship. They had rain. Our final port was Columbia. We opted for a ship tour to Rosario Island. It was more than we hoped for. We got to snorkel and visited a marine exhibit with a dolphin show and sea creatures on display that we had never seen before like tuna, tarpon, sawtooth fish, sea turtles and such. The high speed boat ride out and back saw a comfortable sea breeze unlike the heat and humidity in the city. All in all we got to see lots of new places. The weather was even better than we hoped. The shipboard activities were delightful. The food was exceptional. If you have not toured South America before this is the perfect way to see it for the first time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
When we flew to LA for our Panama Canal cruise on Infinity we tried not to have really high expectations because our previous cruise [back-to-back Alaska on sister ship Millennium May/June 2010] had been such a wonderful success that we ... Read More
When we flew to LA for our Panama Canal cruise on Infinity we tried not to have really high expectations because our previous cruise [back-to-back Alaska on sister ship Millennium May/June 2010] had been such a wonderful success that we were not convinced this ship could live up to that standard for interest and excitement. In a way things did not start well. When we arrived at San Pedro pier around 11.20am there were hundreds in line, and the side of the check-in area for Suites, Concierge and Elite was not open. But, the line moved quickly and we had checked in shortly afterwards - only to be shown after security, Xrays etc.into a large waiting area, clutching our Group 9 ticket for boarding. After about an hour, with the lounge filling fast and seats at a premium, a Pier Supervisor began to use a loud hailer to call group numbers to the barriers which lead to the ship. Groups were called quite quickly, and by 12.30pm we were on the stairs and escalators and on board - in the line for SeaPass photos. With mimosas in hand, we declined the offer of assistance to find our stateroom because we had the identical one to that on Millennium and knew the way. We toasted Infinity in our room at 1.10pm, dropped our carry-on bags and headed to the Ocean Grille for a light lunch. That day, and over the first days at sea, we heard many complaints about embarkation in LA. However by discrete questioning of staff we discovered a couple of things. Those on the ship have no control over the activities of pier personnel, and the perceived delay in the start of boarding was due to the slow processing of disembarking passengers because of the US Customs and Immigration staff on shore being very thorough with those arriving on the previous cruise [there were still 200 passengers left to disembark at 11.30am]. We found it strange that there were so many complaints when embarkation did start before the scheduled [and publicized in our e-docs] 1pm start time - if you arrive early expect to wait? We have sailed with Celebrity many times and their style of cruising suits us. We have found ways to enjoy the on-board dining by being careful with where and what we choose to eat. Breakfast in Michael's Club or Spa Cafe, lunch in Spa Cafe, dinner in a rotation of SS US (twice), the main dining room and the Ocean Grille. In the Trellis Dining Room we had opted to try Select Dining for the first time - it worked for us. We had made reservations on-line for preferred times before the cruise and soon found that Asst. Maitre D.' Ruby and the hostess Khadine at the door recognized us, remembered our names and our preference for a table for two. After two nights in two different sections we expressed a preference for Waiter Saul and Assistant Ardi, and Khadine placed us in this section [with Sommelier Ayhan] each night when we returned. Their service, advice, timing and friendliness made the dinners there very enjoyable. I consider the appetizers to be amongst the best dishes on the menu so I succumbed and ordered two quite often - we usually have soup and salad for lunch at Spa Cafe so we both skipped that course on most nights. Main dishes ranged from satisfactory to excellent - we found the pasta dishes with meat or seafood toppings to be overwhelming in terms of the toppings because we prefer our pasta with light sauces not a whole chicken breast or sliced sirloin. Some of the main courses were outstanding - the BBQ Sea Bass, Veal Cordon Blue Our Way, Coconut Thai Prawns and Veal Osso Buco and a couple of vegetarian dishes had us sending compliments to the chef. On the nights in the Ocean Grille we explored alternatives - pizza, sushi, stir fry, Indian foods - and the antipasto and salad bars - all worked well. Our dinners there were more like home cooking for us and very relaxing. However we must mention the fine service there from waiters who, when told we had some wine in the main dining room, managed to arrange to have the unfinished bottle brought up to the Ocean Grille without complaint or delay. We also appreciated the visits from the Head Waiter Joseph and Restaurant Manager Danuta. In passing through the Ocean Grille on their rounds of all dining areas they stopped by for a chat and offered to assist. Our experiences in the SS US were highlights of the cruise for us. Maitre D.' Oswald and his staff were attentive to every detail and both evenings the pacing was excellent, the presentation of dishes was camera-worthy and the flavours were intense. We appreciated the size of the dishes and managed to order five courses without feeling overwhelmed by the end of each meal [we chose just one cheese from the trolley though despite temptation]. Special mention must be made of the efforts of Sommelier Evgeny who kept track of the various wines we ordered for specific courses, and arranged to send some of the unfinished bottles to the Trellis for other nights and some to our stateroom for use on other occasions. We did some comparisons on this cruise with the back-to-back on Millennium in May/June. We were pleasantly surprised to find the outer decks and public rooms on Infinity even cleaner - we found the guest musicians On Tap (A Cappella quartet) and guitarist Anton to be more entertaining and more popular than their equivalents on Millie. We are not fans of the dumbed-down style or amplification of the entertainment in the Celebrity Theatre, so we either do not attend, or we go for a number or two and then retreat to the smaller lounges for more polished and quieter offerings. We did enjoy hearing soloists or small groups of the Celebrity Orchestra when they performed outside the Theater - some wonderful musicians! We attended lectures on board. We soon found that Mike Vecchionne appealed us, and his marine biology themed material was well presented with his slides. We found the other lecturer to be too 'once over lightly' and more focused on his take on ports than history and so we cherry-picked his material when re-played on TV in the stateroom. I attended some of the Oceans Ahead series - each one conducted by an officer and featuring aspects of cruise ships; navigation, environmental issues, propulsion etc. While some officers read their PowerPoint slides unnecessarily, the material was informative. We met some of the Senior Officers at various events and discovered a very interesting teamwork approach led by Hotel Director Leonie. She seemed to have a 'walk the talk' approach which meant she was very visible and her fellow officers all seemed always to have a smile, be quick to solve any issue we mentioned either in person or on an "attention to detail" sheet. I dropped off one of these sheets at Guest Relations early one morning to alert them to a slow draining basin and shower and then I went to the Gym. When I returned to the stateroom after a work-out, I discovered that the plumber had been, fixed the problem and left before I had a chance to warn my wife of the potential visit of a plumber! The piping in of a barrel of Beaujolais Nouveau and subsequent tasting was a bonus - and we enjoyed the different format of the Heartbeat of the Operation events which featured the very personable Master Chef Gerard and his staff - great demos and informative Q&A sessions. Was everything perfect? No. We experienced some annoying times on a Celebrity booked shore excursion to Pura Vida Gardens in Costa Rica because some other passengers had not brought rain gear or had not read the description and were too large or too out of shape to handle the stairs and paths in the hillside gardens. When it rained - and most of us pulled out ponchos and umbrellas - the unprepared guests wanted to cut the walk short and go back to the cafe. Our guide was torn between continuing the tour and being with the unprepared and unfit ones for safety reasons - we felt somewhat short-changed that Celebrity Shore Excursion staff had not warned ticket buyers of the weather and terrain. Our other shore excursion - horse drawn carriage ride in Cartagena featured an excellent guide on the bus to and from the ride, and some wonderfully relaxing time which produced some excellent pictures too. We found the piped music in the Ocean Grille and lounges generally and in the Theatre before events to be too loud and up-beat for two people trying to slow down and relax. This music mean we also found it difficult to find a quiet place to sit and read or write. Being a long distance walker - and avoiding the direct sunlight - I was annoyed at the frequent roping off of sections in the middle of both sides of the Promenade Deck which meant I had to walk up and back in handkerchief sized parts of the deck..... one side at a time would have been more to my liking. The transit of the Panama Canal was, of course, a highlight. Some reviewers have previously commented on stateroom selection - it is important. We had a forward-facing oceanview with a window. When the tropical rainstorm arrived as we headed under the Bridge of the Americas in Panama City and pointed at the first two locks this rainfall kept passengers indoors scrambling for viewing places. We had room-service breakfast, made our own mimosas and watched the passage through the first two locks while wearing our robes, and I have some great photos to prove it. When the rain stopped after the first two locks we ventured out on deck and enjoyed the views from upper decks, from the side and aft. We really appreciated the stateroom TV bridge-cam and the commentary from the Panama Canal Commission commentator which went with it. Fortunately the rain stopped before the Pedro Miguel lock and held off for the balance of the transit. The work being done on the duplication and widening of the canal is stunning to see. Disembarkation in Miami was remarkably quick and easy. We were directed from our lounge exactly at the time specified in the disembarkation letter, through Customs and Immigration to luggage [wonderful new carousels since our last landing here] to taxi in less than 25 minutes from the time we said goodbye to Tanushka [Captain's Club hostess] in Michael's Club. Maybe our enjoyment of cruising with Celebrity is enhanced by our positive attitude to travel - I know that being in an upper level of the Captain's Club provides some benefits which we really appreciate [after many years of complaining]. We enjoyed ourselves and Celebrity so much we headed to the Sales Office during the cruise and booked two more - for 2012. We are looking forward to our two cruises on Century in 2011. For photos see www.gallery.me.com/morefromles1 - more albums still to come. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
I would like to discuss the good and bad points of our cruise. First of all, the entertainment offered was A+. All the performers were extremely professional, the variety of acts offered was excellent and all in all, we could not have ... Read More
I would like to discuss the good and bad points of our cruise. First of all, the entertainment offered was A+. All the performers were extremely professional, the variety of acts offered was excellent and all in all, we could not have asked for more. Our cruise director was very good. The ports of call were what we expected with the exception of Huatalco, Mexico. We were not looking forward to this port and did not expect much other than beaches. The experience we had was far beyond that. Through Cruise Critic, we joined four other cruisers on a river rafting trip that turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip. Huatalco is a modern, lovely port. The only issue we had was in the main dining room for dinner. The food was definitely not up to par. It was inconsistent, where one night we had a very good entree and the next two or three nights they were mediocre with an occasional inedible entree served. This was a major disappointment as we had been led to expect outstanding cuisine on Celebrity (this was our first Celebrity cruise). Overall, a nice cruising experience. Going on Cruise Critic and knowing a group of people when we got on board definitely added to our enjoyment of the trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
THE GOOD. . . We have had to revise our opinion on the Panama Canal cruise we just did with Celebrity's because in the final analysis, the cruise, except for some unpleasant incidents, was not . . . too bad. ... Read More
THE GOOD. . . We have had to revise our opinion on the Panama Canal cruise we just did with Celebrity's because in the final analysis, the cruise, except for some unpleasant incidents, was not . . . too bad. Celebrity' strongest asset is their staff. They have some of the most courteous and pleasant staff we have encountered on a cruiseship. Most of them, except for the entertainment director, were very polite and helpful. The room steward and his assistant were also very nice and attentive even though their housekeeping is lacking. The 3rd-world standard of cleanliness is no way close to the North-American standard. The Infinity provides excellent food. Twice on our 17-day journey at sea we had a brunch. Those buffets are indescribable because the choice is so vast that it's hard to name one thing without forgetting the other. Everything one can imagine is there whether salads, meats, dairy, hors d'oeuvres, cheeses or desserts and more for your eating pleasure. The Aquaspa on the 10th deck is a bonus for weary cruisers. The pool derives it water from the sea, is salty and heated to a perfect temperature - afterwards one can soak in the hot tub or use the sauna. What a treat! . . .THE BAD. . . THE ENTERTAINMENT . . . We had more than one night of third rate entertainment thanks to the entertainment director, Damian. He, and his staff, were very disorganized when it came to games, or to set up for any activities, etc. They seemed to be unaware of what was going on and most of the assistants didn't have a clue as to what they were doing. DUPLICATE BRIDGE PLAYERS BEWARE. . . We initially booked this cruise after being told by a travel agent from WMPH Vacations (Cruise Cheap) that there would be duplicate bridge on board the 17-day cruise, but we were told at Guest Relations desk that Celebrity never had Duplicate Bridge on their ships. We were advised to see the entertainment director who did not try to accommodate the group. After many enquiries and with Geoff's (from Britain) help who took it upon himself to organize our duplicate games while at sea, we were finally able to get going. We were a group of duplicate-bridge players needing and requesting a large room for 40 to 60+ people but we were crammed in a little room which was not big enough for all the bridge players wanting to play. . . .AND THE UGLY Celebrity Cruiseline advertises non-existent specials tirelessly. The promoting of booze, tours, paintings, salons, jewelry, clothing, casinos and bingos, is non-stop. We booked a bus tour ($198 for 2) in Costa Rica to some destinations that were closed due to the heavy rainfall that the country had received for more than 10 days. When we booked the tour, the Cruiseline knew about the latest conditions in the country but THE AGENT DID NOT TELL US. Had we known, we probably would have booked another tour with the Cruiseline but somewhere else. We paid for a third rate tour in Costa Rica and a late-lunch probably worth $2. After registering our complaint in writing, and face-to-face with the Guest Relations Manager, we were given 15% discount on each ticket we purchased. When we first arrived in our cabin we noticed the shabby twin-cot mattresses on a steel frame. The mattresses were dirty and saggy so we asked for new ones. The best thing about the new mattresses was their cleanliness - not the comfort because those were hard mattresses! So, if you have any kind of back problem beware of Infinity's cots. The stench in our cabin was unbearable - the rug had an accumulation of sweat and dirt resulting in vast such a foul odor upon entering the cabin that we nearly gagged. After we mentioned it to the Guest Relations Office, the rug was brushed with a strong chemical which irritated the nose and eyes but the foul smell came back after a couple of days. So much for a comfortable stateroom! DISEMBARCATION What an organized disorder we went through. People in wheelchair had to wait and wait and wait for someone to wheel them to the terminal and then once there try and find your luggage which were strewn all over the holding area of Port Everglades. All in all, it was an ok cruise but we have had much better and chances are we will not be cruising with Infinity again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Overall we really enjoyed this cruise, the ship, and the people. The food and the ports had pluses and minuses. We arrived in Seattle the day before the cruise, and stayed in the Hilton, which is centrally located for in town activities ... Read More
Overall we really enjoyed this cruise, the ship, and the people. The food and the ports had pluses and minuses. We arrived in Seattle the day before the cruise, and stayed in the Hilton, which is centrally located for in town activities and close to the port. We spent the embarkation morning sightseeing, and went to the port a little before 2:00 PM. The security and check-in processing was completed fairly quickly. The size of the ship and the floor plans made it easy to get around. This cruise was sold out, but there was never a major problem with crowding, with the exception of the single performance of the Crew Talent Show in the Celebrity Theater. The number and placement of the lounges are good, with the Rendez-Vous being our favorite before dinner spot. We caught several movies in the Cinema, and there are ample quiet spots for reading. Lines in the Oceanview Cafe were not too bad, because they have a number of serving lines with different foods. The Oceanview Bar on the stern of the ship, is a great place to eat or have drinks and a great view. We had read a number of negative comments about general conditions of the ship and a need for updating. We agree that some updating would be good, e.g., they don't have flat screen TV's in the cabins and our wall mounted hair drier was an antique. Our balcony cabin was a little small, but there was ample storage, and the bathroom shower was larger than we have had on some bigger ships. Overall we thought the ship was in good shape and was well decorated. Our cabin service was very good and so was the service in the lounges, main dining room, and pool deck. Room Service with one exception, when they did not show up on our last morning, was always on time and they called ahead. The room service breakfast menu was a bit limited. Our key service complaint dealt with not being able to get accurate information about the ports. The Port & Shopping Guide person should not have the word "Port" in his title. He only knew about the shopping spots on his list. We had the same problem with the Shore Excursion Desk. If you want to know about taxi fares, on your own sightseeing, places to eat, etc., you are out of luck. Worse, in a couple of cases we actually got misinformation. We had the late seating for dinner, and would have liked it a little earlier than 8:30. The quality and presentation of the food in the Main Dining Room, was unimpressive to poor at the start. The good news is that it got better as the cruise progressed. Beef dishes tended to be a problem, except for a filet with the surf and turf. The steaks or veal were either not cooked properly or not cut properly. The staff was responsive to complaints, but you should not have to go through that. We ate one night in the specialty restaurant, the S.S. United States. It was outstanding in every aspect. Atmosphere, service, food presentation and food quality were so much better than the main dining room, that it was hard to believe it was part of the same Food & Beverage operation. Entertainment throughout the cruise was very good. We liked several of the bands and singers, and they had a good variety of events and activities. The Cruise Director, Damian de Lorenzis, did an excellent job. We should also mention that we saw the Captain and his senior staff more than we can remember on any other cruise. They would also talk with passengers and seemed willing to pose for pictures. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
My wife and I and several friends just returned home from the above noted cruise. While we enjoyed ourselves, I must say that we were very disappointed in many ways. We travel often, usually self-touring, and this was only our second ... Read More
My wife and I and several friends just returned home from the above noted cruise. While we enjoyed ourselves, I must say that we were very disappointed in many ways. We travel often, usually self-touring, and this was only our second cruise on a large ship (our first being on the Dawn Princess to Alaska in 2008). We chose Celebrity because it has the reputation of being a "notch above" Princess, and it offered us the itinerary we wanted for the Panama Canal. Quite frankly, we found our experience on Princess to be superior to our cruise on the Infinity. One couple traveling with us (the wife a former travel agent) who have gone on over twenty cruises, were very disappointed in this cruise. This cruise seemed to have one problem after another. Our boarding was delayed due to an alleged inspection. This delay translated into a two-hour boarding process, a late departure and a delay in arriving in Georgetown, GC. The marina was closed in Georgetown due to weather, so four ships had to share a small alternate pier causing delays with disembarking and returning to the ship, as well as great confusion ashore and cutting shore excursions short. Our time in Cartegena was reduced as the ship had to return to Georgetown because of an ill passenger (understandable, but one more thing on the long list). Our time in Cabo San Lucas was cut short by two hours due to an alleged engine problem requiring a longer cruise time to San Diego, yet we arrived in San Diego two hours early (so it's hard to believe the engine problem was the reason for our early Cabo departure). Then there was the water line break which really affected passengers on the seventh deck, but also affected all other passengers who were up (myself being one of them), as there was no water, no coffee, no water in the stateroom, and no information from 4:30 am until 7:30 am. The reported turn-around time of an hour and a half that was published on the ship was good spin, but not accurate. To top everything off, I tried to enroll in the Captains Club online once we arrived home, and was told that Celebrity's records showed that we had not participated in an eligible sailing. What's with that? We found the ship to be comfortable, but looking a bit worn and dated in many areas, including our stateroom. The overall maintenance of the ship appeared to be lacking as evidenced by very worn exterior wooden rails and fair amounts of rust. Our Princess ship had a crew constantly working on refinishing the rails and painting the ship. I only saw one man doing touch-up painting on the Infinity. Our experience in the dining room was varied. Juan (our server) and Miriam (his assistant) were superb. They were absolutely excellent in every way and everyone at our table loved them. Conversely, the maitre'd was unfriendly and quite full of himself and seemed to be just going through the motions of what was required from his office. The food was excellent at times, average most of the time and terrible occasionally. It was usually warm, but not hot. The fish was over-cooked and dry on most occasions, but was delicious when cooked properly. The steaks were varied, quite tough about half of the time, and great the other half (always ordered medium-rare). The beef Wellington, medium-rare (given to my wife) was outstanding, yet the piece given to me (medium-well) was terrible. The rack of lamb the first week was delicious, and the second week was very, very fatty. The veal cordon bleu was tough and lacked flavor. The escargot went from very salty to perfect depending on the day. The onion soup and butternut squash soup were delicious, while the other soups were average. The salads frequently came with wilted lettuce. The poached pear with gorgonzola wrapped in pastry and the duck leg appetizer were especially good. The desserts were varied and ranged from great to average. All in all, my wife and I and our friends who were also with us on Princess thought the food on Princess was consistently better. We thoroughly enjoyed the pool and the nice weather, but found the music to be very loud and bothersome for a relaxed atmosphere. We have no problem with the occasional pool parties and live music, especially later in the afternoon and evening. However, nice background music the remainder of the time would have been welcomed by us and many of the people we spoke with. The pool area decks were well maintained and clean, and the service was quite good. I bought a package to the Persian Garden, and several times during the cruise the steam was not working well or at all in both the Turkish Bath and the Herbal Bath. The first week the ladies in the Aqua Spa were barely civil and seemed more intent with looking and acting glamorous. They were much more friendly the second week, so I assume something was said to them. Our stateroom attendant was average. We never even saw him until the second night, and rarely after that. Our stateroom was always clean and left in wonderful shape for us, but we had little opportunity to develop any kind of relationship with him. I don't even know his name. We had pre-paid gratuities, and I can't help but wonder if he was giving his attention to those customers who had yet to tip him. Just a thought. The shore excursions ranged from excellent to poor. We have already provided feedback to the ship about our experience in Puntarenas (excellent) and in Huatulco (poor). My wife's Grand Cayman excursion was disappointing in that there were very few fish at the snorkeling site, and few sting rays at Sting Ray City. We've both been diving/snorkeling at Grand Cayman before, so we know how good it can be. The walking tour in Cartagena was great with the exception of all the street vendors who barraged us constantly throughout the tour. My wife's excursion in Acapulco was good, but rushed. We self-toured in Cabo, and would really have liked the extra two hours we were scheduled to have there. We really enjoyed the Panama Canal, which was the highlight of the trip. The disembarking process in San Diego was smooth and quick, once we received the clearance to go ashore. It would have been nice if coffee had been available during the LONG wait following breakfast. We have very mixed feelings about this cruise. As I said, we really enjoyed ourselves, but we both feel the cruise would have been much better without all the scheduling snafus, and with higher quality food, some better/longer shore excursions, spa equipment working properly (especially when extra money had to be paid for use of the facility), and so on. We do not expect perfection, but the cumulative affect of all the issues and problems leaves us both unsure of whether or not we would recommend Celebrity to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
My wife and I recently completed a Panama Canal passage on the Celebrity Infinity (Nov 8-22, 2009). Our goal for this trip was to experience a canal passage and visit Central American ports of call that escaped us on previous cruises. We ... Read More
My wife and I recently completed a Panama Canal passage on the Celebrity Infinity (Nov 8-22, 2009). Our goal for this trip was to experience a canal passage and visit Central American ports of call that escaped us on previous cruises. We met our goal, made some new friends, and had an enjoyable time despite the annoyances that I call "the little things." My review is about those little things that make a cruise vacation standout in a positive light, or conversely cause it to slip into recesses of memory not to be recalled again. Herewith are our findings: 1.Cabin. We were on Deck 8 forward, all the way up front next to the crew stairs. Whenever a crew member entered or exited through the doorway, a horrendous stench of cigarette smoke filled the passageway. Thankfully, it did not enter the room. 2. Cabin. Our room steward was polite, but the service did not meet our expectations. Sheets were changed on Day 6, after I took them off the bed and placed them on the floor. On most days, our room was not serviced before 11:00am; on three days our bathroom towels were not replaced until the evening service. 3. Food and Beverages. I am a coffee drinker and really do enjoy my morning coffee. However, to get the coffee, I had to go to the Lido Cafeteria - a bit of a trek from my cabin. On most days, the coffee in the urns was horrendous. I noticed that signs would be placed on the urns stating "coffee brewing" when actually coffee was not brewing but being saved for later consumption. The result was either burnt coffee or coffee that tasted extremely old. 4. Food and Beverages. I like both orange juice and V8 juice, neither of which was available in the Lido Cafeteria. Orange drink (similar to Tang?) was available through the dispenser. When I questioned the Cafeteria Supervisor I was told that orange juice and other juices are for sale. This is unconscionable on a cruise line that markets itself as "upscale." 5. Food and Beverages. The Trellis Dining Room is best described as controlled chaos. Our table of six was always last to be served and we were generally among the last 20-30 guests to leave every night. The food, however, was generally very good although somewhat repetitious. 1/2 Lobster tails were served one night only. 6. Food and Beverages. Casual dining at the Lido Cafeteria was not always a good experience. We felt that the cooks in the "specialty areas" (pasta bar, pizza, Asian food) did not really know what the food should taste like. Pizza was almost always burnt on the bottom; previously heated pasta noodles were placed into hot (not boiling) water for a minimal time resulting in them being uncooked, and all Asian cuisine contained curry. However, the worst of the worst were eggs benedict. The cook would take pre-cooked eggs from the refrigerator, dip them in warm water for 20 seconds, then place them on top of a slice of Canadian bacon and once-toasted cold english muffins. Hollandaise sauce was placed over the entre - the result, cold centers in the egg, lukewarm everywhere else. Each time my wife and I tried them (3 in all) we were unable to eat them. I believe what frustrated us the most was that there was no one responsible (manager/supervisor/chief cook, etc) whom we could speak too about our experience. 7. Shows. Generally speaking, the shows were entertaining. Our recommendation is to get there early, else risk not getting a seat. For one particular show, I saved our seats for 1 hour just to be sure we would have a place to sit. 8. Photo Studio and Shop. We had 16 photos taken over the 3 formal nights. We purchased 3 photos at the end of the cruise (buy 2, get 1 free). The photographers, in our opinion, were not very experienced. Most of our photos had focus and centering problems. Such a shame. Our experience with the Photo Shop vendor, though, was most unsettling - the evening before our passage through the canal, he sold me a camera with a known dysfunctional battery (my digital camera met an unfortunate accident). I was told the battery would charge overnight, but it did not. When I asked him if he had another battery, he told me no, but that I could exchange my "new in the box" camera for the demonstrator. Reluctant to do that, I asked him if I could have the battery in the demo camera and again was told no. Without any other options (and not being interested in purchasing any of the other cameras), I opted for a refund. My wife and I consider ourselves regular folks - we don't complain or ask for anything special. We like to experience what others before us have and we take pleasure in sharing "me too" stories. On this cruise vacation, though, we don't think there will be too many pleasant memories to share aside from those experiences enjoyed with new-found friends. As I stated at the beginning of this review, its the little things that make a routine trip a good vacation. We'll continue to cruise and travel, but not on Celebrity Inifinity. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
My husband and I are recent retirees and are always looking for good value cruises. Since we were also celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary, we were also looking for something special. We found both in this 16 night repositioning ... Read More
My husband and I are recent retirees and are always looking for good value cruises. Since we were also celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary, we were also looking for something special. We found both in this 16 night repositioning cruise (sort of) from Seattle to Fort Lauderdale, traversing the Panama Canal. Celebrity is currently running this cruise as a 14 day from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale and back. The fare was $1050 PP for an oceanview cabin (cruise only). Obviously some paid more, some less, but this was a bargain for us. This was our third Celebrity cruise (36th overall), but it had been 10 years since we last sailed on Celebrity (Zenith and Mercury), so I was anxious to see if there had been significant changes. The ship is really very impressive; wonderful common areas with soft muted colors and decor. The environment is one of serenity and comfort and there are plenty of places to relax and enjoy the voyage. Embarkation in Seattle was fairly easy. We arrived around 11:00 a.m., dropped our luggage and checked in almost immediately. Since it was early, staterooms were not ready, but passengers were allowed on-board and met with Champagne and mimosas. Lunch was served on Deck 10 and we roamed the ship to see where everything was located. The Infinity offers a more than adequate fitness center, several outdoor pools and hot tubs, a two level library, a cinema, and several lounges and bars for entertainment. Celebrity also has the thelossotherapy pool area, which is covered and offers a spa like experience. It is a large warm water pool used for relaxing and jet therapy on those tired muscles. A nice touch. The deck chairs in that area are wood and quite comfortable and there are several curtained table areas for eating or cards, etc. Inside the pool area is a special "spa-type" buffet for those who want to eat healthier or lighter. As for food - Celebrity still excels at menu diversity, presentation and taste. Each day/evening offered meals to excite the palate, some familiar, some providing an adventure in trying new dishes. There are also "always available" items, such as chicken and steak, ceasar salad, shrimp cocktail, french onion soup, creme brulee' and cheesecake - just in case any particular menu didn't tickle your fancy. We were never disappointed. My only negative in the restaurant was an unfortunate incident regarding the sommalier. We had brought a bottle of wine on board to enjoy in our stateroom. (BTW, Celebrity's written policy on this is to allow passengers to bring wine on board only at embarkation. Spirits and/or wine purchased at ports of call were supposed to be confiscated and returned to passengers on the last sea day. Unfortunately, this policy was not consistent, resulting in some issues with passengers.) We had already decorked the bottle and wanted to share it with our new table mates. I asked the maitre-d' if it was ok to bring the bottle to the table uncorked and he assured me it was fine. Understand, Celebrity charges $25 to decork wine that is not purchased on board. When the sommalier came to our table, he was perturbed that we had brought the wine and proceeded to grill me as to where I got it, wanted my stateroom number, etc. Needless to say I was put off by his behavior and assured him I had asked first. We were not trying to get around the policy, since we purchased several bottles of wine during the cruise, but this was a wine not available on board and we wanted to share it. Celebrity also has a specialty restaurant, The United States, which looked elegant and quiet, but we didn't dine there, mainly due to the very high service charge ($35 PP). They tell us that is really for tipping, but I don't know many people who tip $70 for a meal, no matter how nice it is. The normal buffet food was as expected, good but not surprising, but the Infinity also has alternate choices; a pizza station, outdoor grill, deli (excellent sandwiches and wraps), a pasta station and Asian cuisine. There were two ice cream areas and I'm told Celebrity makes their own ice cream. Whoever made it, it was a hit, and flavors were diffferent and varied every day. Examples - You could get cinnamon, pear sorbet, blueberry frozen yogurt, raspberry and of course, vanilla, chocoate and strawberry. Soft serve was also available. However, it was not open 24 hrs, so "in between" meal areas could not always be satisfied with ice cream. Live entertainment was surprisingly good. I say surprisingly, because we have become used to "cruise ship" entertainers. Some are good, some are not, but usually the entertainment isn't memorable. However, the Celebrity singers and dancers were exceptional. First, there were more of them and the featured vocalists (2 men and 2 women) also danced and participated in the choreography. Although there weren't very many review shows, the three we saw were well planned, executed professionally and were very entertaining. Kudos to Celebrity! We also were entertained by a wonderful jazz violinist, a great male singer (more operatic, but provided a nice range of song styles), a female broadway singer, a pianist and magician (nice close up work). Not all entertainers were exceptional, but those that were, made the overall experience memorable. The cruise director, Allen King, and his staff were first rate, friendly, accommodating and funny. Ports of call - San Diego, California; Cabo San Lucas, Huatulco and Acapulco, Mexico, Puntarenas,Costa Rica and Catagena, Columbia. You could also disembark prior to going through the Canal for some excursions. Being frequent cruisers, with been there, done that experience, we did not book any shore excursions from Celebrity. Instead we hired vans with another couple at Acapulco and Costa Rica and enjoyed great tours for much less than similar tours offered on board. Highlights - cliff divers in Acapulco, Crocodile tour in Costa Rica and walking on the beach in Huatulco. As expected for this time of year, the Mexican Ports were hot and humid, so time spent outside could be uncomfortable. Cartagena proved a bit unnerving, since there were armed security and military personnel everywhere and the venders are extremely aggressive. We didn't feel unsafe, just uncomfortable. On board, there are several shops, the art gallery - hosting the pre-requisite art auctions, several wine tastings and seminars, movie showings throughout the day, and a number of life affirming lectures. Activities were subdued (not much around the pool), but lessons on water color, language (Spanish), and dance were available. Sea days brought trivia and TV type games (Family Feud, 1 Against 100,etc.) and of course, bingo. The casino was more than adequate, but this cruise did not have very many gamblers, so the casino staff was bummed. All in all, a great cruise vacation, with negatives very minimal. However, I wouldn't recommend it for honeymooners or families with young children. Although there was a children's area, this particular cruise was filled with more mature passengers and I would guess any young people would have felt the activities were lame and the fellow passengers not their cup of tea. BTW, one of the really nice perks - Celebrity believes in minimal intrusive announcements, so you aren't inundated with "sale" and "bingo" announcements every 15 minutes. Disembarkation was a piece of cake. Called by luggage tag color - we were off the ship by 8:30 and at the airport a little after 9:00 a.m. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Left Ft. Lauderdale and had several hour delay boarding due to oxygen tank on board exploding and then computer malfunction at port.  Sailed 2 days and enjoyed getting around ship and learning what was available.  Our concierge class ... Read More
Left Ft. Lauderdale and had several hour delay boarding due to oxygen tank on board exploding and then computer malfunction at port.  Sailed 2 days and enjoyed getting around ship and learning what was available.  Our concierge class balcony cabin was fine although smaller than I had expected.  (Carnival's was larger)  Our room service was erratic, sometimes not getting amenities daily, and they had no washcloths for 2 days!  Our frig was not restocked ever.  The daily concierge service included snacks at 4pm, but they never tasted fresh.  The extra charge for concierge class was definitely not worth the extra price.  The food in all buffets and cafes was rather bland, and there was way too many pasta and rice dishes.  The buffet was served to you causing long, slow lines.  The main dining room was nice, but service there too was very slow; and our waiter never smiled.  He was always in a hurry seemingly but not good.  Another waiter at nearby table was friendly and attentive to his tables and to us!The entertainment was not bad and definitely better than last Carnival cruise.Due to swine flu outbreak, our 3 ports of call in Mexico were canceled, and we were sent to 3 California ports instead, causing the abundance of Californians on trip much anguish.  I said it was better to be safe than sorry.The photo dept lost some of our pictures.The spa was nice but more expensive than most cruises I've been on.Nice library.  Good lounge music.  Internet worked fine.  Good beds and linens, but bathroom linens were old and scratchy.  The ship needs some updating, nothing "fancy" here, but over all ok.  The ice cream bars were only open at certain hours and not late at night.  The pizza was open late and tasted good, but it would have been nice to have ice cream afterwards.The Guest Relations desk was open 24 hours and were courteous and responsive to our needs.The shore excursions were good but involved lots of walking, and it was hot.  The crew and stands were everywhere with the hand sanitizers, but the ash trays on smoking decks were seldom emptied.   The PA system didn't work well, and the TV had very limited offerings.Going through the Panama Canal, however, was a treat.  An all day affair that gave everyone plenty of time to take photos.   They opened the front deck, usually closed, but didn't tell anyone till later in the day. Wish we had known earlier so we could get a first glimpse and better pictures.The stops in Montego Bay, Jamaica and in Cartagena, Colombia were interesting; however, I wouldn't go alone-only in approved excursion tours and the murder rates are very high in both places.   There wasn't much in the way of shopping except the usual local souvenirs.  The best shopping was on the ship itself.  I would recommend this trip to others so long as they knew what to expect.  I thought the Celebrity line was a grade up from Carnival, but we changed our minds afterwards. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
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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