Celebrity Infinity Cruise Review by milokama
- Sail Date: May 2012
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Family Ocean View with Balcony
We arrived in Seattle 2 days before our sail date. We booked a limo through Limo(dot)com and the 30 minute drive to the Westin went by lickity split.
We spent our one full day in Seattle catching the usual sights: Pike Market, The Original Starbucks, The Space Needle, Mariners game. We fell into bed dreaming of calm seas and seamless boarding for the next day.
We took 2 cabs to the boarding area and we luckily had pre-ordered our luggage tags. There was a SEA (haha) of people in the area, lines of busses... and we were 90 minutes early for our boarding. Since this was my first time on Celebrity (and first cruise in 20 years so I don't remember the boarding process of the other one) I was unsure what to expect. There was one line for getting luggage tags, then another line for dropping your luggage, yet another line for security screening, another line for the paperwork process, another line to take the obligatory embarkation photo, and finally, the line to get on the ship. All in all it took about 90 minutes for us all to get through the various lines.
We boarded the ship and were able to go straight into our rooms. Naturally we were all famished by then and wanted something to eat. Try as I might to steer my family away from the buffet, it truly was the best place for us all to get something to eat (I wanted to do Bistro on 5, but no one else was willing so up to deck 10 we went). The first day in the buffet (and maybe for several days after) it is like trying to read a map for the first time. There so much and it covers so much space. In the end we all got what we wanted and though it was crowded, it wasn't as bad as I had anticipated it being.
My family had the corner aft family verandah. It really was fantastic. The room was big enough for our family of four... how they could fit 5 in their I'll never know, we were tripping over each other whenever we were all in the room at the same time. The pull out couch was sadly, as all pull outs are, uncomfortable, but my 12-year-old seemed not to mind. The purported 2nd living room pull out couch did not exist in our room. Instead they brought in a roll away which was even more uncomfortable looking (beds were singles and appeard to bow in the middle), but my 10-year-old seemed not to mind either. My advice is not to attempt the pull out options for adults (I I had to sleep on one of those two options I'd have had a miserable time). The main bed was comfortable. The pillows, however, left a little to be desired (I'm a pillow-aholic... these were chuncky, lumpy foam type).
The tiny bathroom was adequate, though in another year or so we will need to consider other rooming options, the wait for the single toilet for the four of us might become more of a problem. The long extra entry into the room was nice. We did not use it for luggage storage since our luggage fit into the bottom of the closets just fine. The enormous deck was soooo wonderful. We all met on it for sail away. Being on the city side and aft, we got such a great view of Seattle as we drifted away.
The weather throughout most of the cruise was in the 50's during the day. The deck was not a place we'd lounge a lot, though we enjoyed having the pricate space to wander out and cool off, or to be able to wander out and watch the world and the wake.
My brother had an inside cabin 7210. because it was the only aft inside available it was very quiet. He was very happy with it and said he slept like a rock in his "cone of silence"
My dear friend had an ocean view room 3666. It was more than adequate for a single person. She booked through Am Ex and received a bottle of champagne, a 2 class upgrade and a free specialty dining. Nice.
My parents had Celebrity Suite 7138. What a spectacular room! Living/dinning room, floor to ceiling windows, separate bedroom with HUGE closet and spacious bathroom. Newly installed deck. We all spent a bit of time in mom and dad's room cause it had the best indoor gathering space. Their butler was so gracious and wonderful we all wanted to stick him in our suitcases and bring him home with us. Mom was very nervous about a butler at first... "I wouldn't know what to do! ..." He was so disarming and charming that they were instant buddies. The ordered room service most mornings and he did it up beautifully on their dinning table with linens and served in courses.
The deck in this room went largely unused because the weather was chilly most of the time, and due to the room's location mid-ship, it was windy while under-way. However, because my mother is like a lizard and set the thermo to 90 all the time, the rest of us would hover near the open deck door to absorb the chilly air.
The room was so perfect for my parents. The did no excursions, spent most mornings in their room enjoying the view. I highly recommend this suite if you plan on hanging out in your room a lot. There is more than enough space for you not to go stir-crazy. The windows provide a spectacular viewing platform, and the added benefit of a butler means you really don't every have to leave!
The only breakfast we made it to in the main dinning room was the grand buffet on the 2nd to last morning. It was really spectacular, however the rolling waves (really the only day we felt the sea motion) made 1/2 of our party too seasick to eat.
Ate lunch in the main dinning room only once. We were unimpressed with the selection and the service was exceedingly slow.
Dinner each night was wonderful. We had a great time trying all the different options and since there were 9 of us we were able to taste most of the options on the menu.
The formal nights were nice but they would pull down these screens that had painted depictions of a french formal garden, effectively blocking out the view. It gave the dinning room a dark, closed in feeling. I was disappointed that they no longer do the flaming baked Alaska Parade. Now all the wait staff parades around the dinning room with electric candles, waving a white napkin in the air. It was very festive and fun, but the parading flaming baked Alaska was something I remember very vividly from our 20-years-ago cruise. I was also disappointed that the baked Alaska was the only option for dessert that night. Its not my favorite.
Our waiters (Wiwid and Saul) were fantastic. We looked forward to seeing them each night. At the end of each dinner, Wiwid would give us a run down of the next day's dinning activities, what times the meals would be served and anything special we should know (time changes, activities, etc). He really was fantastic.
Originally I wanted to dine in the SS United States, however, after doing the galley tour and seeing the display for Qsine, I knew I needed to rethink. For those of you who aren't sure about the Qsine concept because its a little odd when you first read about it... let me tell you it was the best meals I had!
Four of us went to dinner the first time. It was son unbelievably incredible we booked again, two nights later to bring the rest of the group with us. It is soooo worth the surcharge. There was so much food!
Some of the things we ate:
The M's suitcase of Mediterranean food was to DIE FOR
The Kobe Sliders (YUM!)
The fries thingy (can't remember the name, but great paired with the sliders)
The fillet... so flavorful and tender. Melt in your mouth!
the Taj Mahal - wonderful Indian food... comes last or next to last so leave room if you can!
Spring rolls (wow!)
The deserts were out of this world as well.
We shared 2 silver bullets of ice cream, two tombstone chocolate somethings, the french donuts were amazing, There were chocolate dipped strawberries with sprinkles (the strawberries were as big as my daughters fists!), and creme brulee.
We had to be rolled out of the restaurant!
Since the restaurant is at the top of the ship, we had the most spectacular view as well.
The more people you have in the group the better.
Beware, though - The waiters are like drug dealers- they keep pushing food on you!
Know your limits and keep the portions small. Believe me, you won't go away hungry!
GO TO QSINE. YOU WON'T BE SORRY!
The buffet is the buffet is the buffet. The food is okay, some days better than others. The pizza, burgers and fries were always a hit, but the line for the B/F was a bit long most days.
Mom and I ate at the Aqua spa one day. Mom loved it, I was so so about it.
The food was very bland and unimaginative.
We loved Cafe El Bacio. The coffee and tea there were very very good.
Loved the complimentary snacks offered there too.
My experience with an on board massage was .... blah.
$129 for a 50 minute massage (deep tissue that felt more like Swedish).
This is twice what I pay for an hour deep tissue at home... now, I know you pay premium and it had to be done... I couldn't NOT have a massage at sea!!!!
However, if given the opportunity again I would pass. Even with the 20% off coupon on port days, I'd pass. I'm sure it was the therapist I had, but the whole experience left so much to be desired that my desire for a repeat is nil.
For twice the price I usually pay, my expectations were high.... this is what I got...
the waiting area was small upright chairs in the narrow hallway outside the glass walled fitness center. (no cushy, plush waiting room, no comfy overstuffed chairs with calming music).
My therapist put me in a room and watched me undress (I'm not modest but I'm also not used to this. it was weird).
The lights were left on full blast the entire time.
The children's center is directly above the spa so, if they are open during your massage, you can hear the children running around.
I could hear the conversations going on in the rooms on both sides of me as if the walls were paper thin.
I don't like oily massages, I prefer lotion. I asked for lotion and was told this was not an option.
I asked if I could use the shower in the massage room to wash off the oil after the massage. She said no (why is there a shower in there if you can't use it?????)
She left the room without saying anything. She was gone so long I thought she was done. I get off the table to start sopping up the oil (I felt like I had an oily table bath) and she comes back in with her sales pitch stuff, leaving the door wide open to the public access hallway while I try to drape myself with the oily sheet (which by this time is see through because of the oil drenched into it).
I asked her to close the door so I could get changed. Again, she stayed in the room while I dressed, giving me the sales pitch the whole time.
It was a very frustrating experience, one I am not apt to repeat.
I hate the fact that gratuity is automatic. And 20% at that!!
I'm sure it hedges the bet that most people probably wouldn't tip at all ... based on my service I know I would not have. I'm normally a very good tipper when the service and circumstances are right.
I tipped 30% above the service charge for Qsine on both nights.
SKIP THE SPA... ITS NOT A SPA-LIKE ATMOSPHERE AND CERTAINLY NOT WORTH THE MONEY.
You'll get far better service and atmosphere almost ANYWHERE ELSE!
My children spent very limited time in the kids club. There were relatively few other children on board and since we were traveling as a family group they wanted to spend time with all of us.
The few times the DID go to the club the attendants there were friendly and energetic. They would remember our kids as they saw them throughout the ship.
We did two excursions, both through Celebrity. Both excursions were outstanding.
The first was the Tatoosh island Kayak tour. We were picked up right outside the ship and whisked away on a 30 minute bus ride where we transferred to high speed boats for a 25 minute ride to the island where we went Kayaking. We puttered around the little island for a while. We encountered seals, sea lions, bald eagles, lots of starfish. It was a lovely time.
The second excursion was the evening whale watching in Juneau. The boat and the crew were top notch, my only complaint is that, being from Hawaii, I was hoping to see some different and dramatic Alaskan whale activity... I thought we'd see lots of whales feeding, breaching, soaring out of the water...etc. Unfortunately all we saw were the spouts of water, the humps breaking the surface, a tail or two breaking the surface. All in all it was far less dramatic than what I can see from the beach in Hawaii. Oh well. As I said, the boat we were on was lovely, the crew was very friendly and knowledgeable, the buffet spread they provided was really great (Alas, we had reservations for Qsine directly after the excursion so we didn't eat much in anticipation of a great meal to come ).
Lickity Splickity! We were told to report to the theater at 850am, we reported at 850am and within 5 minutes were told we could disembark.
We scanned our guest cards for the last time, walked down the plank and into the luggage area. Our luggage color was called within 5 minutes of entering the luggage area.
Here is where my only complaint lies (and it was through no fault of celebrity), we were with a group of 9 folks, all in different cabin categories. We wanted to wait and help my elderly parents with their bags but the customs people in the luggage area kept asking us to leave. They were very pushy about it. Once you leave the luggage area there is no gathering area, you're just on the sidewalk amongst the hustle and bustle of Seattle and buses and cabs an various transfer vehicles. A minor complaint... we just ended up telling the customs people we were still gathering some of our bags. It all worked out in the end.
Every one of us was highly satisfied with our cruise, the one caveat being: We wished it were longer!!
We all ordered drink packages and put them to good use. Would we do that again? Maybe not unless we were in a big group again. It was very nice being able to order drinks wherever, whenever, knowing we wouldn't need to keep tabs on our end bill.
The hubby and I are now eyeing that lovely Celebrity Suite my folks got. Hmmmmm.
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7138 - Great suite. Wonderful mid-ship location but close to mid-ship stairs. Activity can be high during certain times of the day/evening.
Rm 7210 - Nice quiet aft inside cabin.