We flew directly from Anchorage on Thanksgiving Day, arriving San Diego shortly after 10AM. Celebrity staff at the airport were awesome and we were on our way to the boarding terminal around 11, after the last bus load of disembarking passengers was delivered.
Embarkation went very smoothly and we were on board by noon, and in our room by 1:30.
Cabin: This was a tiny flaw in our experience. The guys just never seemed to click as a team and even though we had 6PM dining, we came back to the room after 9PM a couple of times and they hadn't even begun. However when my wife was quarantined, the guys took good care of her.
Meals: The Trellis dining room was adequate. Typical cruise food, generally tasty and well presented - nothing to get excited about. The Oceanview Cafe was perfect for breakfasts and the Grill at the back was a great spot for lunch paninis. Also, check out the eggs benedict station and waffle spot for breakfast. Don't try Oceanview for dinner - paltry offerings. The "sushi" was a joke and seemed to be less than freshly made.
We had dinner at SS United States twice and Qsine once. We would do US again (a quiet and refined respite from the hurly-burley) but likely not Qsine - the food was outstanding at each place, but Qsine seemed a bit too cutesy and pleased with itself. They tout the iPad ordering, but it's really an electronic menu - the waitstaff take your order in the usual way with paper and pencil. We were invited to the Chef's Table and there are no words to adequately convey that experience. The only thing I would say is if you are offered the opportunity, by all means accept.
Aqua Spa Cafe - this deserves special mention and kudos. Breakfast here on sea days was a delight and worth checking out. Many cereals, including oatmeal, along with all manner of fresh fruits. Very personal and available to all regardless of cabin class.
Ports of call: Cabo San Lucas, Puerta Vallarta, Puerta Quetzal, Punt Arenas, Colon and Cartegena. Two excursions that stand out are the future canal tour out of Colon, Panama, and the chef's experience in Cartegena, Columbia. Puerta Quetzal is a made up port, sort of like Costa Maya, but probably the best organized as far as souvenirs at the end of the pier is concerned.
Enrichment: There were two guest lecturers on board and both were outstanding. Victoria Baker is a retired anthropologist and shared a number of her experiences. Alex Filipenko is astronomer and gave several exciting lectures about the heavens and hosted a well-attended star-gazing evening at sea.
Uncle Marty narrated the Canal transit and presented a number of lectures about the Panama Canal history and operation.
Entertainment was excellent, especially Kuba.
As the title states, a "gastro-intestinal" illness occurred on the ship - I don't think the term Noro-virus was actually uttered by ships personnel. About day 10 we noticed an increase in announcements about washing hands and entry to most dining venues required passage through a gauntlet of personnel squirting Purell or handing out Purell wipes, and even engine room guys were wiping down railings and elevator control panels. By day 13, the ship had gone to Red Alert and no one was allowed to handle anything (foodwise) unless it was handed to you by staff - even coffee was thus protected. My wife had her bout, beginning at 5 AM on day 13, and was released the evening before we docked.
Crew: I have seen previous reviews of Infinity where folks have commented on the friendly staff. We concur. Without fail, every crew member we encountered looked us in the eye with appropriate greeting and all seemed genuinely pleased to see us - this applied from the lowest to the folks with the most gold braid.
Disembarkation: As Diamond on RCI, we were Elite on Celebrity and were nicely ensconced in our departure lounge while disembarkation proceeded in an orderly fashion. Suddenly, at 9 AM, we were told the lounge was closing and discovered the rest of the passengers on board were all being shuffled off the ship. This put a huge load on the entry to the luggage area and Customs. We stood in line for nearly an hour as we inched our way to freedom. I suspect they wanted to do a deep clean of the ship and the only way to accomplish that was to get everyone off the ship quickly as possible.
In summary, we had a great vacation and the Panama Canal is a magnificent marvel of engineering. Everyone should do it at least once in a lifetime. We want to go back on a Solstice class ship after the new locks become operational, just to see the difference.
This cabin has limited forward view being only two behind the outward protrusion of more forward cabins. It is more of a nuisance than an obstruction. We were across from interior cabins which entered into our hallway, but we never heard any noise from the hall.
We did the walking tour, but there are many activities available.
This was a short duration port, so we just got off and took a taxi to the Malecon as we are familiar with PVR from previous vacations there.
Amazing how these excursions always end with a shoppotunity - lol. This was no different. The coffee plantation was very nice, but the cart factory was even better. Stunning designs on the carts.View All 4 Coffee Plantation Experience Reviews
We wathced three ships transit the Gatun Locks and then visited the observation area for the new lock construction. Very well put together tour and truly worth the cost if operation of the canal is of interest to you.View All 42 Gatun Locks Reviews
We were met at the pier by Chef Jorge (who was featured on "No Reservations" with Anthony Bourdain). First we toured the local fish and vegatable market which was an olfactory experience. Several "buffets" were being prepared and it is quite an operation to see half a dozen large pots with delectable local cuisine, each on it's own charcoal burner. Then we were whisked to one of his restaurants where he prepared a paella for us. The tour size is limited, we were only two couples, so got a lot of personal time with Jorge answering questions.View All 8 Culinary Tour Reviews