We are a couple in our 50s and this was our 17th cruise (3rd on Celebrity). We love cruising and have learned to always enjoy the great parts of cruising while not letting a couple not-so-great experiences ruin a long awaited outstanding experience.
We arrived a couple days early to San Francisco not ever having been there before. Anyone who has a chance to take a cruise out of this incredible city should do so. I understand not many cruises or cruise lines use San Francisco, but it is a great place to visit and sail from. The sailaway under the Golden Gate Bridge is spectacular. We stayed at the Chelsea Motor Inn, which turned out to be an excellent hotel, "moderately" priced, and near enough to Fisherman's Wharf. There was a Dreamforce convention in town with 150,000 attendees, so anyone who didn't book a hotel a year in advance like we did ended up either staying by the airport or paying extremely high prices. Infinity herself was docked for 4 days and used as a floating hotel for the convention.
The ship was in good shape other than some worn carpet and a little rust here and there. Hopefully stuff they will take care of at her drydock this month. Activities ranged from trivia competitions to some excellent educational lectures on marine biology and port lectures. There were especially good lectures and films on the Panama Canal. One of my few criticisms of Celebrity is their lack of a movie venue. They did show movies in the Celebrity Theater, but they were always on port days when we were off the ship. I understand that a rooftop terrace with a movie screen will be installed on deck 11 at the drydock, which should greatly increase entertainment options.
Shore excursions were a mixed bag for us. Our best excursions were organized through Cruise Critic in Costa Rica and Colombia. A couple of the ship excursions were took (Puerto Vallarta and Colon) were overpriced and disappointing. They didn't take away from the awesomeness of this cruise, however.
Cabin was Aqua A1 cabin 1109 on deck 11. Our cabin steward Ambrose and his assistant Hasim were excellent. They kept everything clean and made us feel very welcome. Cabin location was excellent and very quiet. It was convenient to walk downstairs to the Oceanview cafe and just a close elevator ride down to Blu. The balcony has a slight overhang but for the most part is exposed. We chose this portside cabin so that we would be in the shade in the afternoon while traveling south in the hot Mexican/Central American sun. It worked out well so the temperature was pretty much always cool. Coming north from Colombia, where we were in the afternoon sun, the cabin was a little harder to keep cool. I don't know how quiet this area will be once the rooftop terrace is built.
Food ranged from excellent to blah. We ate in Blu normally and most of those meals were very good. There were a few exceptions where maybe a baked potato was cold or soup not to our taste. Breakfasts in Blu were always fabulous. I was really pleased with the Oceanview Cafe (buffet). There was always a lot of variety, with something to please most folks for every meal. I have to mention that the pizza was excellent and made up part or all of many lunches. There were different dessert theme days that made lunch desserts interesting, except that most of the desserts were rather bland. The ice cream line was the best. We ate in all three specialty restaurants. On our first night, we ate in Qsine at 1/2 price. It was excellent and very different than what we had done on a ship before. Tableside prepared lobster in the SS United States was excellent as well. It's a shame this elegant restaurant is being replaced with Tuscan Grill during drydock. Bistro on 5 was very good as well. Overall I thought the food choices, preparation, presentation, and taste were all very good. It's tough not to get bored on a 17 day cruise and we did find ourselves gravitating to more simple food at times (burgers from the Mast grill were great on sea days). The only real disappointment was the change in policy on pastries from Cafe Al Bacio. They now require you to buy something from the Cafe to receive a complimentary pastry. Since we had the drink package, this didn't end up costing us anything. Had we not had that, it would have been much more impactful.
Entertainment ranged from fabulous to meh. Production shows were a little disappointing. The singers and dancers were very talented but I think the productions themselves were just so-so. On the other hand, the individual entertainers were just great. From a comedian who made me cry I laughed so hard, to multiple singers and instrumentalists that were amazing, well done Celebrity. Cruise director Patty Honacki was a hoot and a very talented singer in her own right.
Disembarkation was ok, I guess. We docked in the same terminal that Allure/Oasis use and were the only ship in port. It took about an hour from the time we got off the ship until we were waiting for our ride. Being as this was a long cruise with lots of foreign nationals that went to a lot of ports, getting through Customs took some time since there was not a separate line for non-US citizens. Seeing as how we waited until the latest we could to disembark, we expected a longer wait than if we had been first off the ship.
In summary, this was a bucket list item for us that Celebrity made worth the wait. As I think back though the few minor disappointments (a couple shore excursions), they melt away compared to the great time we had pretty much all the time. And finally, what impressed me the most about cruising on this ship was the overall friendliness of the crew. From Lorredana in Blu to the ship's officers to the guy cleaning the stair rails, everyone said hello with a smile and to a person they were as nice as could be. My hats off to them, especially dealing with such a diverse group of cruisers.
Cabin location was excellent and very quiet. It was convenient to walk downstairs to the Oceanview cafe and just a close elevator ride down to Blu. The balcony has a slight overhang but for the most part is exposed. We chose this portside cabin so that we would be in the shade in the afternoon while traveling south in the hot Mexican/Central American sun. It worked out well so the temperature was pretty much always cool. Coming north from Colombia, where we were in the afternoon sun, the cabin was a little harder to keep cool. I don't know how quiet this area will be once the rooftop terrace is built.
A great once-in-a-lifetime type bucket list tour. Very interesting. Boat ride there and back was fine, with excellent views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate.View All 41 Alcatraz Reviews
Although it was about a 45 minute ride from San Francisco on some very windy roads, it was well worth the trip. Muir Woods National Monument is just an incredible experience. It's amazing to see the size of those trees and the fact that they grow in "families".View All 33 Muir Woods Reviews
Sausolito is a nice town with very nice shops and a great view of San Francisco. Rode the ferry across the bay back to San Francisco where we had some great sunset views of the Golden Gate Bridge.View All 21 Sausalito Reviews
Very informative and gave a nice overview of the area. Would have liked to have stopped for longer at Pebble Beach and Carmel.View All 11 17 Mile Drive Reviews
Other than the fabulous view of Lands End as we approached the harbor, there was nothing in Cabo San Lucas we wanted to do. We are not snorkeling or outdoor people and had we been, this might have been a place with lots to do. We spent most of our time downtown avoiding the numerous and aggressive street vendors.
The cruise excursion advertised sailing in the harbor, of which there was basically none. We spent the entire 4 hours packed into a boat too small for the approximately 30 guests. There was not enough shade so we broiled in the sun while the guide talked constantly on a bad speaker system that made it difficult to understand. The guide and the other deckhands on the boat were very friendly, but the lack of sailing and the hot sun just made this excursion unbearable.View All undefined undefined Reviews
This was one of our best excursions. Ricky exposed us to a lot of the local flavors of Costa Rica, from a farm where medicinal plants are grown, to a Crocodile Man tour on the Tarcoles River. He even found us a very nice restaurant for lunch. The van was very comfortable. This was just a very enjoyable and fun excursion.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Very boring and overpriced. The train broke down for an hour on the way back, making it impossible to do any shopping. The train ride itself was fine except that it basically travels through barren areas of jungle. Occasionally you would pass close to the Panama Canal, but most of the time it was through the middle of nowhere. Colon itself is a very run down city. The port shopping area looks nice but we never got to see it.View All 36 Panama Railway Reviews
This was an excellent excursion. Our guide Dora was very knowledgeable and informative. The best part of being an independent excursion from the cruise line was that she got us to La Popa monastery before all the buses from the cruise line. We also went to the old fort, although disappointingly not into it. We hit a couple nice shopping spots and toured the walled city on foot. Only negative are the aggressive street vendors that make you want to walk away instead of admire the beautiful architecture of the old city.View All undefined undefined Reviews