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Vancouver to Alaska 8/1/03-8/8/03 Yes, I am back to reality - suitcases are unpacked and laundry is done. Really a wonderful trip overall. I have posted some of the pictures on Yahoo and you can view them at the website address at the end of my post. Some of the pictures that are included are of our room 7203, which was an aft room with a huge balcony and of the Penthouse Suite. We met some very nice people (Wayne & Carol) who were gracious enough to invite us to the Penthouse Suite a couple of times. We saw the Hubbard Glacier from the Penthouse - but more on that later. The Review: This was the second cruise for my husband and me and both have been with Celebrity. We were on the Millennium last November. The Infinity is a beautiful, clean ship and almost identical to the Millennium. I really only have two negative criticisms about our cruise on the Infinity, so I will just get that over with now and get on to the good stuff. As I said the Infinity is almost identical to the Millennium and that includes the menus and the entertainment. We wished that there had been more variety. Granted, we went back with Celebrity because we loved what they had to offer, but we just wish there would have been a difference between the two ships. We think that the menus were exactly the same on our Caribbean cruise as on the Alaska cruise. The production shows were exactly the same. They were good mind you, just the same with different singers and dancers. The second negative thing I have to say was leaving the ship. We had to wait for more than an hour once we got to the lounge before we were allowed to leave the ship. Once we did leave the ship everything went very smooth. Ok, now to the good stuff... We drove from Colorado to Vancouver. A great road trip with plenty of good scenery. Vancouver was beautiful and we stayed at the Pan Pacific Hotel the night before the cruise. It is very expensive, but definitely worth the splurge. The Pan Pacific is right at Canada Place. In the morning when we were ready to board the ship, we just called the bell captain and they came and got all of our luggage. We didn't see the luggage again until it was outside our stateroom door. We parked our car at CruisePark, (www.cruisepark.com) which was easy and rather inexpensive. It cost about $62 US for parking for the eight nights - not bad. We dropped our car off at their lot, which was about a quarter mile from Canada Place and they shuttled us back to the Pan Pacific. When we got off the ship, they sent a shuttle to come and get us and had our car ready to go. They totally helped with the luggage. I would recommend them. If you use CruisePark you can make reservations in advance from their website. Embarkation was a breeze. If you are a Captain's Club member, I would suggest telling anyone you meet with a Celebrity nametag that. We were put in front of many people and were among the first to board. They had special check in tables for CC members and there want a line at all. Check in took about two minutes and then we had to wait to clear US Customs. After about a 15 minute wait, CC members were allowed to board after people in wheel chairs and parents with small children. If you have a Passport, bring it. They barely look at you - makes things move right along. Once we boarded the ship, we were greeted with champagne. A white- gloved attendant showed us to our room and helped with our carry-on baggage. We were in room 7203, a category 1C aft cabin with an enormous balcony - in fact, the balcony felt like the same size as the room. There was plenty of storage and other than the color scheme and the giant balcony, was exactly the same as our room on the Millennium. We had spectacular weather for pretty much the entire cruise. Leaving Vancouver and going under the Lion's Gate Bridge was breathtaking. When the ship left port, we were on Deck 11. The pool band was playing and Bon Voyage Drinks were being passed around. The waiters were not pushy with the drinks, but they were there if you needed them to be. Vancouver has a beautiful skyline that is only enhanced by a view of Mount Baker in the background. Food & Service Although the menus were the same, the food was delicious and plentiful. I love the breakfast buffet with all of the fresh baked breads and the omelets that are cooked to order. The French toast is quite good too. The buffet workers were always friendly. The waiters carried the buffet trays for women to your table when you were done getting your food. We did have lunch in the Trellis (main) Dining room once. We had great tablemates at that lunch, but overall I preferred the buffet for lunch. We dined in the Trellis every night, except the last formal night when we dined at the S. S. United States. I met with the Maitre'D on the day we left to check our table assignment. I was not pleased that we were originally seated by the entry doors to the dining room. I tried to grease the Maitre'D with a twenty dollar bill to get a better table but he said that want necessary because he still couldn't help me. As a last straw, I finally had to pull the "birthday card" since it was actually my birthday that day to get a better table. We were placed at an eight-person table a few tables away from the Captain's table on the fourth deck - the first floor of the dining room. We had a great view out of the large picture windows behind the Captain's table. We sat with two Russian couples that reside in Los Angeles, and a couple from Chicago. A fun table overall, but we will request a six person table the next time we cruise. The dining room gets a bit noisy and it was hard to hear the people that were on the opposite side of the table from where we were. The Infinity serves 8,000 meals a day and every meal I got was hot and cooked to order. I would say that the dining room food was excellent. Each night our waiter Andre would tell us about the menu and give his recommendation for the night. I will admit that I am not very adventurous when it comes to food. I had steak every night, except when they had lobster and then I had Prime Rib and Lobster. If we wanted something all we had to do was ask. We had pretty slow cocktail service on the first night of the cruise and one of the Russian couples complained about it. Boy, did we get the "full court press" the following night. We had a new cocktail server who was very attentive and fast at getting the cocktails. The maitre came and apologized and then bought the table a bottle of champagne to share. Our Assistant Waiter, Punto knew that my husband liked iced tea and always brought him two iced teas at the beginning of each dinner. I had purchased a soda card (about $40), which is good for fountain soda drinks throughout the cruise. If you have more than two sodas a day, this is a good value. The new and improved cocktail server knew I had a soda card and automatically brought me a Diet Coke each night and it was replaced as soon as it was empty. We dined at the S.S. United States on the last formal night. For an additional $25 per person you really can't go wrong. It is worth it alone just in the service and personal attention that you will receive during this amazing experience. Each dish is delivered and set down at the table at the same time, usually accompanied by a "Voila!" Fine crystal and silver are used in this dining room. I especially liked the crystal old fashioned salt well on the table. The food was great. I had the goat cheese soufflE - and yes it is as good as everyone says it is. My husband had the lobster soup, which was delicious. We both had the Steak Diane, which was cooked for us table-side. The cheese course is excellent with a good variety of choices. For desert, I had the Crepes Suzette (also cooked table-side) and my husband had the Chocolate soufflE - he wished he would have also ordered the Crepes Suzette, which was truly outstanding. We spent a small fortune on alcohol on this night. We had wonderful champagne at $17 a glass to start, a good red wine from Central California, and I finished it off with a dessert wine. The sommelier was very knowledgeable and was able to spend more time with us than in the main dining room, which is probably why we drank so much that night. Our room steward, Frank was great. My husband commented that it took years for me to learn his schedule, but it only took Frank about two days to learn it. He just knew when we would be gone and whenever we came back, the room was clean. On the first day I asked for an extra towel and didn't have to ask again. Celebrity does have new chocolates for the pillows, more like a truffle actually. It was very difficult going to bed after the cruise without seeing one of the chocolates on my pillow. Don't worry, I am adjusting. Ports & Scenery First of all, let me just say that the scenery that we saw was more beautiful than I could have even hoped for. We live in Colorado with a view of the Rocky Mountains and in my opinion, the scenery was far better in British Columbia and Alaska. Inside Passage What a treat to be able to cruise and constantly see a changing landscape. My husband had a GPS unit and a detailed map and loved keeping track of where we were, and where we were going. Juneau In Juneau, we chose to go whale watching with Captain Larry's whale watching. They have a toll-free number on their website and you can call and make reservations. They fill up quick as they are highly recommended on the Ports of Call board here on the Cruise Critic. The cost was about $100 per person - they charge you half when you make the reservation and the other half the night before your excursion. The tour office is an easy walk from where the ships dock and they take you in a bus to Aulk Bay where the whale watching boat is docked. The boat is small and holds about 25 passengers. On this tour, we saw Bald Eagles, Sea Lions, Seals and about a dozen Humpback Whales. The boat is equipped with an underwater microphone and you can hear the whales singing. They sing louder right before they surface. You can see great from all sides of the ship. They provide binoculars if you don't have your own. Even though it was overcast on this day, it didn't rain. We had a fantastic view of the Mendenhall Glacier from the whale watching boat. My biggest mistake was only bringing three rolls of film - I burned through it pretty quick. Juneau, the town, was quite the tourist trap. The Red Dog Saloon had good food and entertainment - a funny piano player singing songs and making fun of all of the tourists. The Alaska Fudge shop did have great fudge. Other than that, nothing very original. Skagway In Skagway, we rented a car from Avis and went out to explore the Yukon and drive on the Alaska Highway. This was the only day on the entire trip that it rained and it only rained for a little while in the morning. We drove almost the exact same route as the Yukon Pass Rail Road - a popular tour offered by the cruise ship. We stopped in Carcross because it is just an adorable small little town. The people that work in the General Store are very friendly and gave us a good tip about visiting Canyon. I had read on the Ports of Call board that they have great ice cream in the General Store. It was so good that not only did we have it on the way to White Horse, we stopped for a second helping on the way back. Get the Pralines and Cream if you go - you won't be disappointed. We stopped at Emerald Lake and it was very beautiful. The pictures that we took here look like someone superimposed our pictures over the lake - it just doesn't look real. White Horse is a pretty big town and the capital of the Yukon. I found the town to be nice and not too touristy. We had lunch in town at a small deli and then drove on the Alaska Highway for a while. We saw signs for Fairbanks and Anchorage - very cool. On the border checkpoint back in Skagway, they actually stamped our passports with a "Skagway Alaska" stamp - something very novel in today's day and age. It is a good memento. Hubbard Glacier We had a very bright and sunny day for viewing the Hubbard Glacier. WOW, WOW, WOW. What a sight, and what sounds!! On the way to the Glacier we were able to see an unobstructed view of Mt. Elias at over 18,000 feet high. The Hubbard Glacier was a definite highlight of the trip. The ship was able to get within one and a half ships lengths away from the Glacier. The Glacier is six miles long and 300 feet high. It has a bright blue color. On the day we were there, there was a lot of action going on. The calving was amazing. Calving is when large pieces of the Glacier fall off into the water. The sound is a mixture of Snapping, Popping, Crackling and an occasional burst of thunder. It was a great show, Mother Nature at her best. We stayed for at least an hour, maybe longer in front of the Glacier. The ship made several big spins in front of the Glacier so there were great views to be had from everywhere on the ship. The crew was passing out delicious pea soup in bread bowls (no cost) and offering stainless steel mugs of hot chocolate with a shot of Baileys ($7.50). I must say both were excellent and the stainless steel cup is a nice souvenir. For the better part of the viewing of the Glacier, we were on the 11th Deck but it was rather crowded. Once the ship started making turns, we went back to our aft cabin to view. When we were standing out there, our friends that were in the Penthouse Suite were also on their deck and invited us down to their suite. There were several of us from the Cruise Critic Board hanging out and watching the Glacier. What a great day! Ketchikan Again, we had beautiful sunny weather. It was warm and we were dressed in shorts. I felt sorry for all of the people lugging jackets and sweatshirts around. We had to tender into Ketchikan. Again, we said we were captain's Club members and we were given priority boarding. We didn't have any excursions planned for this port. Ketchikan is a good town to walk around in. Creek Street is cute but again, very touristy. We had lunch in town, bought some final souvenirs, checked email at an Internet cafe and went back to the ship. On the last sea day, a pod of Orcas swam along side the ship for about a half hour. Unfortunately, I was out of film and the digital camera just wasn't 't fast enough to catch them. The image is certainly burned in my brain though. One other highlight to mention: The people that I met through the Cruise Critic Board were great. We had arranged to meet for cocktails the night before the cruise at the Pan Pacific and also at the pool bar on the day of embarkation. I felt like wherever I went, I knew people. The Cruise Critic Party was good. The Cruise Director (Ray Carr), the Social Hostess and the Assistant Hotel Manager all attended. We were able to ask a ton of questions and it was both informative and fun. Thanks to the Infinity staff for making us feel so important! A great trip overall. The Infinity and her staff were top notch. A True Departure - most definitely. Here is the link for some of the pictures that I took: http://f1.pg.photos.yahoo.com/romoffm Be sure to click on the slideshow link rather than viewing each picture separately. I will be happy to answer any questions!!

Infinity - Alaska

Celebrity Infinity Cruise Review by Todd & Mindy

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2003
  • Destination: Alaska
Vancouver to Alaska 8/1/03-8/8/03
Yes, I am back to reality - suitcases are unpacked and laundry is done. Really a wonderful trip overall.
I have posted some of the pictures on Yahoo and you can view them at the website address at the end of my post. Some of the pictures that are included are of our room 7203, which was an aft room with a huge balcony and of the Penthouse Suite. We met some very nice people (Wayne & Carol) who were gracious enough to invite us to the Penthouse Suite a couple of times. We saw the Hubbard Glacier from the Penthouse - but more on that later.
The Review:
This was the second cruise for my husband and me and both have been with Celebrity. We were on the Millennium last November. The Infinity is a beautiful, clean ship and almost identical to the Millennium. I really only have two negative criticisms about our cruise on the Infinity, so I will just get that over with now and get on to the good stuff. As I said the Infinity is almost identical to the Millennium and that includes the menus and the entertainment. We wished that there had been more variety. Granted, we went back with Celebrity because we loved what they had to offer, but we just wish there would have been a difference between the two ships. We think that the menus were exactly the same on our Caribbean cruise as on the Alaska cruise. The production shows were exactly the same. They were good mind you, just the same with different singers and dancers. The second negative thing I have to say was leaving the ship. We had to wait for more than an hour once we got to the lounge before we were allowed to leave the ship. Once we did leave the ship everything went very smooth.
Ok, now to the good stuff...
We drove from Colorado to Vancouver. A great road trip with plenty of good scenery. Vancouver was beautiful and we stayed at the Pan Pacific Hotel the night before the cruise. It is very expensive, but definitely worth the splurge. The Pan Pacific is right at Canada Place. In the morning when we were ready to board the ship, we just called the bell captain and they came and got all of our luggage. We didn't see the luggage again until it was outside our stateroom door.
We parked our car at CruisePark, (www.cruisepark.com) which was easy and rather inexpensive. It cost about $62 US for parking for the eight nights - not bad. We dropped our car off at their lot, which was about a quarter mile from Canada Place and they shuttled us back to the Pan Pacific. When we got off the ship, they sent a shuttle to come and get us and had our car ready to go. They totally helped with the luggage. I would recommend them. If you use CruisePark you can make reservations in advance from their website.
Embarkation was a breeze. If you are a Captain's Club member, I would suggest telling anyone you meet with a Celebrity nametag that. We were put in front of many people and were among the first to board. They had special check in tables for CC members and there want a line at all. Check in took about two minutes and then we had to wait to clear US Customs. After about a 15 minute wait, CC members were allowed to board after people in wheel chairs and parents with small children. If you have a Passport, bring it. They barely look at you - makes things move right along.
Once we boarded the ship, we were greeted with champagne. A white- gloved attendant showed us to our room and helped with our carry-on baggage. We were in room 7203, a category 1C aft cabin with an enormous balcony - in fact, the balcony felt like the same size as the room. There was plenty of storage and other than the color scheme and the giant balcony, was exactly the same as our room on the Millennium.
We had spectacular weather for pretty much the entire cruise. Leaving Vancouver and going under the Lion's Gate Bridge was breathtaking. When the ship left port, we were on Deck 11. The pool band was playing and Bon Voyage Drinks were being passed around. The waiters were not pushy with the drinks, but they were there if you needed them to be. Vancouver has a beautiful skyline that is only enhanced by a view of Mount Baker in the background.
Food & Service Although the menus were the same, the food was delicious and plentiful. I love the breakfast buffet with all of the fresh baked breads and the omelets that are cooked to order. The French toast is quite good too. The buffet workers were always friendly. The waiters carried the buffet trays for women to your table when you were done getting your food. We did have lunch in the Trellis (main) Dining room once. We had great tablemates at that lunch, but overall I preferred the buffet for lunch.
We dined in the Trellis every night, except the last formal night when we dined at the S. S. United States. I met with the Maitre'D on the day we left to check our table assignment. I was not pleased that we were originally seated by the entry doors to the dining room. I tried to grease the Maitre'D with a twenty dollar bill to get a better table but he said that want necessary because he still couldn't help me. As a last straw, I finally had to pull the "birthday card" since it was actually my birthday that day to get a better table. We were placed at an eight-person table a few tables away from the Captain's table on the fourth deck - the first floor of the dining room. We had a great view out of the large picture windows behind the Captain's table. We sat with two Russian couples that reside in Los Angeles, and a couple from Chicago. A fun table overall, but we will request a six person table the next time we cruise. The dining room gets a bit noisy and it was hard to hear the people that were on the opposite side of the table from where we were.
The Infinity serves 8,000 meals a day and every meal I got was hot and cooked to order. I would say that the dining room food was excellent. Each night our waiter Andre would tell us about the menu and give his recommendation for the night. I will admit that I am not very adventurous when it comes to food. I had steak every night, except when they had lobster and then I had Prime Rib and Lobster. If we wanted something all we had to do was ask.
We had pretty slow cocktail service on the first night of the cruise and one of the Russian couples complained about it. Boy, did we get the "full court press" the following night. We had a new cocktail server who was very attentive and fast at getting the cocktails. The maitre came and apologized and then bought the table a bottle of champagne to share. Our Assistant Waiter, Punto knew that my husband liked iced tea and always brought him two iced teas at the beginning of each dinner. I had purchased a soda card (about $40), which is good for fountain soda drinks throughout the cruise. If you have more than two sodas a day, this is a good value. The new and improved cocktail server knew I had a soda card and automatically brought me a Diet Coke each night and it was replaced as soon as it was empty.
We dined at the S.S. United States on the last formal night. For an additional $25 per person you really can't go wrong. It is worth it alone just in the service and personal attention that you will receive during this amazing experience. Each dish is delivered and set down at the table at the same time, usually accompanied by a "Voila!" Fine crystal and silver are used in this dining room. I especially liked the crystal old fashioned salt well on the table. The food was great. I had the goat cheese soufflE - and yes it is as good as everyone says it is. My husband had the lobster soup, which was delicious. We both had the Steak Diane, which was cooked for us table-side. The cheese course is excellent with a good variety of choices. For desert, I had the Crepes Suzette (also cooked table-side) and my husband had the Chocolate soufflE - he wished he would have also ordered the Crepes Suzette, which was truly outstanding. We spent a small fortune on alcohol on this night. We had wonderful champagne at $17 a glass to start, a good red wine from Central California, and I finished it off with a dessert wine. The sommelier was very knowledgeable and was able to spend more time with us than in the main dining room, which is probably why we drank so much that night.
Our room steward, Frank was great. My husband commented that it took years for me to learn his schedule, but it only took Frank about two days to learn it. He just knew when we would be gone and whenever we came back, the room was clean. On the first day I asked for an extra towel and didn't have to ask again. Celebrity does have new chocolates for the pillows, more like a truffle actually. It was very difficult going to bed after the cruise without seeing one of the chocolates on my pillow. Don't worry, I am adjusting.
Ports & Scenery
First of all, let me just say that the scenery that we saw was more beautiful than I could have even hoped for. We live in Colorado with a view of the Rocky Mountains and in my opinion, the scenery was far better in British Columbia and Alaska. Inside Passage What a treat to be able to cruise and constantly see a changing landscape. My husband had a GPS unit and a detailed map and loved keeping track of where we were, and where we were going.
Juneau In Juneau, we chose to go whale watching with Captain Larry's whale watching. They have a toll-free number on their website and you can call and make reservations. They fill up quick as they are highly recommended on the Ports of Call board here on the Cruise Critic. The cost was about $100 per person - they charge you half when you make the reservation and the other half the night before your excursion. The tour office is an easy walk from where the ships dock and they take you in a bus to Aulk Bay where the whale watching boat is docked. The boat is small and holds about 25 passengers. On this tour, we saw Bald Eagles, Sea Lions, Seals and about a dozen Humpback Whales. The boat is equipped with an underwater microphone and you can hear the whales singing. They sing louder right before they surface. You can see great from all sides of the ship. They provide binoculars if you don't have your own. Even though it was overcast on this day, it didn't rain. We had a fantastic view of the Mendenhall Glacier from the whale watching boat. My biggest mistake was only bringing three rolls of film - I burned through it pretty quick.
Juneau, the town, was quite the tourist trap. The Red Dog Saloon had good food and entertainment - a funny piano player singing songs and making fun of all of the tourists. The Alaska Fudge shop did have great fudge. Other than that, nothing very original.
Skagway In Skagway, we rented a car from Avis and went out to explore the Yukon and drive on the Alaska Highway. This was the only day on the entire trip that it rained and it only rained for a little while in the morning. We drove almost the exact same route as the Yukon Pass Rail Road - a popular tour offered by the cruise ship. We stopped in Carcross because it is just an adorable small little town. The people that work in the General Store are very friendly and gave us a good tip about visiting Canyon. I had read on the Ports of Call board that they have great ice cream in the General Store. It was so good that not only did we have it on the way to White Horse, we stopped for a second helping on the way back. Get the Pralines and Cream if you go - you won't be disappointed. We stopped at Emerald Lake and it was very beautiful. The pictures that we took here look like someone superimposed our pictures over the lake - it just doesn't look real. White Horse is a pretty big town and the capital of the Yukon. I found the town to be nice and not too touristy. We had lunch in town at a small deli and then drove on the Alaska Highway for a while. We saw signs for Fairbanks and Anchorage - very cool. On the border checkpoint back in Skagway, they actually stamped our passports with a "Skagway Alaska" stamp - something very novel in today's day and age. It is a good memento.
Hubbard Glacier We had a very bright and sunny day for viewing the Hubbard Glacier. WOW, WOW, WOW. What a sight, and what sounds!! On the way to the Glacier we were able to see an unobstructed view of Mt. Elias at over 18,000 feet high. The Hubbard Glacier was a definite highlight of the trip. The ship was able to get within one and a half ships lengths away from the Glacier. The Glacier is six miles long and 300 feet high. It has a bright blue color. On the day we were there, there was a lot of action going on. The calving was amazing. Calving is when large pieces of the Glacier fall off into the water. The sound is a mixture of Snapping, Popping, Crackling and an occasional burst of thunder. It was a great show, Mother Nature at her best. We stayed for at least an hour, maybe longer in front of the Glacier. The ship made several big spins in front of the Glacier so there were great views to be had from everywhere on the ship. The crew was passing out delicious pea soup in bread bowls (no cost) and offering stainless steel mugs of hot chocolate with a shot of Baileys ($7.50). I must say both were excellent and the stainless steel cup is a nice souvenir. For the better part of the viewing of the Glacier, we were on the 11th Deck but it was rather crowded. Once the ship started making turns, we went back to our aft cabin to view. When we were standing out there, our friends that were in the Penthouse Suite were also on their deck and invited us down to their suite. There were several of us from the Cruise Critic Board hanging out and watching the Glacier. What a great day!
Ketchikan Again, we had beautiful sunny weather. It was warm and we were dressed in shorts. I felt sorry for all of the people lugging jackets and sweatshirts around. We had to tender into Ketchikan. Again, we said we were captain's Club members and we were given priority boarding. We didn't have any excursions planned for this port. Ketchikan is a good town to walk around in. Creek Street is cute but again, very touristy. We had lunch in town, bought some final souvenirs, checked email at an Internet cafe and went back to the ship.
On the last sea day, a pod of Orcas swam along side the ship for about a half hour. Unfortunately, I was out of film and the digital camera just wasn't 't fast enough to catch them. The image is certainly burned in my brain though.
One other highlight to mention: The people that I met through the Cruise Critic Board were great. We had arranged to meet for cocktails the night before the cruise at the Pan Pacific and also at the pool bar on the day of embarkation. I felt like wherever I went, I knew people. The Cruise Critic Party was good. The Cruise Director (Ray Carr), the Social Hostess and the Assistant Hotel Manager all attended. We were able to ask a ton of questions and it was both informative and fun. Thanks to the Infinity staff for making us feel so important!
A great trip overall. The Infinity and her staff were top notch. A True Departure - most definitely.
Here is the link for some of the pictures that I took:
http://f1.pg.photos.yahoo.com/romoffm
Be sure to click on the slideshow link rather than viewing each picture separately.
I will be happy to answer any questions!!
Todd & Mindy’s Full Rating Summary
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