We just returned from the October 29th sailing of Celebrity's Infinity. It was her first sailing after drydock where they refreshed some areas and changed out the SS United States Restaurant for a new Tuscan Grill Restaurant.
It was a Thursday to Thursday sailing and there was only one other ship in port – so it made embarkation and debarkation easy as far as the number of people there.
A little background – we are a senior couple, living in Palm City, Florida, who love to cruise – this was our 12th Celebrity cruise and 48th overall – we began cruising in 1987. We have cruised with Celebrity on the Meridian, Zenith, Century, Mercury, Millenium, Eclipse, and Constellation – some multiple times – prior to this Infinity sailing. So we have experienced all the various classes of ships that they have ever had. Since they did away with the Century class ships, the M class have been our favorite.
We booked an inside cabin on Deck 3 – 3105 – midships. We booked this cabin because it gave us good access to the mid-ship elevators and the areas of the ship we have liked in the past. My husband's walking ability isn't what it used to be so we try to be as close as possible to the venues that we use the most.
Embarkation was quick and we were on the ship very quickly – having checked in at the Elite check-in. The cabins were not ready so we went to Bistro on Five for a nice, calm, relaxing lunch. We avoid the buffet on sail-away days as it is just too hard to manage for us. There is a cover charge for Bistro on Five - $10pp – which is double what it was when they introduced this venue – but worth it to avoid the crowds in the buffet. The food was excellent – and we left there and went to our cabin afterwards as they had announced the cabins were ready. We unpacked our small bags and set out to check out the Cafe Baccio and find our Muster Station. Turns our our Muster Station was in Michael's Club – we got there early and got a seat – you don't have to bring your life jacket to this drill so that is a plus - afterwards we were able to exit directly to the outside deck for the sail away. We were a little late leaving, but it was a beautiful day and we enjoyed sitting on the port side as we went out the inlet to the Atlantic.
We had booked Anytime Dining – so we were able to relax a bit and unpack before going up to the dining room for dinner. The Trellis dining room is aft and is two story – with Anytime Dining being on Deck 5 and those with fixed seating on Deck 4. We got there about 7:15pm and had to wait a short while for our table for 2. We don't mind that and we were seated along the railing overlooking the fixed dining room below. We had a great waiter – Ali – and his assistant Sebastiano – the food was good – we had Prime Rib – and we relaxed over dinner. It was obvious to us, looking downstairs, that the late seating was going to be really late – we met people later who told us that they didn't finish the first night until 11:15pm!!!
After the first night, we made a reservation each night – sometimes early and sometimes late – to accommodate our going to a show or not – the dining room hostess, Maria, was charming and noted our preferences as to seating (not too far in so my husband didn't have to walk too far) and in Ali's section if possible. The food was good the entire cruise and we never lacked for things to order. There are some items that stay on the menu all through the cruise and others that change each evening. We always had excellent service in Ali's section and the two times we weren't seated there it was OK but not stellar.
We never book a specialty restaurant because it isn't a value for us – we don't eat big portions and frankly, the surcharge for those restaurants these days is way too high in our opinion. I went into the Tuscan Grill to see what they had done – it is very contemporary – and the menu sounded good – but not for us. I wish they had left the SS United States alone – they did display some of the artifacts from her – but not prominently.
Since we are Elite with Celebrity – we are provided a breakfast dining venue that we enjoy – there are various specialty coffees and drinks (Bloody Mary for example) and smoothies and pastries and fruit plates and salmon, and meat and cheese plates – so we ate there most mornings – one morning we ate in the main dining room – it was very good and service was excellent in both places.
We also have a cocktail hour provided each evening from 5-7pm in the Constellation lounge and we went there most evenings – we skipped the Captains party and the Senior Officers party and we didn't dress formally on formal night – we have “been there done that”.
The itinerary had four ports – Cozumel, Roatan, Belize, and Costa Maya. They were all right in a row after a first day at sea. We only got off the ship in Roatan as it was a very close in walk to see it as we hadn't been there in a very long time. The other ports we have been to many times and we enjoyed the ship while others were off on land. These ports are great if you want to see Mayan ruins or snorkle or dive. The water is beautiful and they are known for that.
The ship didn't have the main dining room open on port days so we were forced to use either the buffet or the grill or pay for lunch at Bistro on Five – I wasn't happy about this and we tried to go to the buffet at “off” times to avoid the crowds. The buffet was not managed well at all – tables went uncleared and there were no supervisors evident and those who were there certainly had no one cleaning tables quickly – and those we saw being cleaned were given a cursory swipe with a cloth. The floor was left with crumbs for a long time – just not well done at all. The tables on the aft deck outside just sat there with dirty dishes – the food was pedestrian at best – the only good part for us was the Pasta Bar where you could choose your own ingredients that were then sauteed and you chose your pasta and sauce – you could control the amount of pasta and it was very good – the Pizza bar also had passable pizza – but trying to reach in anywhere in the buffet under their new sneeze guards was very difficult and you had to ask for someone to help. There were no trays on which to put your dishes so it was a balancing act if you had more than one thing – and it was hard to find someone to help if you needed it. Just not a good situation in our opinion.
We tended to hang out in the Cafe Baccio – there are nice places to read and the Gelato and dessert bars are there as well as specialty coffee and drinks. You don't have to buy anything in order to have the pastries so we had some cake on two occasions – excellent. We had gelato as well a couple of times. The area is nice – but could be improved upon as there is not a lot of comfortable seating and there is plenty of room to improve it.
There were a lot of sales in the Emporium – a lot of sales in the Spa – other than morning stretch the classes in the gym were an upcharge – just a lot of selling going on.
Celebrity doesn't do a lot of announcements and that is a plus and Patty, the Cruise Director, was great – we enjoyed the comedians and the Divas 3 shows – we aren't much for production numbers and we missed the acrobatic show the last night which we heard was really good.
We met a lot of really nice people – had some great conversations - got some books read.
I used the Computer Lab twice – the computers are so very slow it is hardly worth the effort. We both get 90 free minutes and I used almost all of mine up just waiting for things that I needed to check to load – you can use the wi-fi on all your devices on the ship – though I don't know why you would want to as it is very slow – be sure to put your phone on Airplane mode or you will rack up extreme data charges. We cruise to be unconnected but I sure saw a lot of people using all kinds of devices –
The roof top deck with the movie screen was under construction while we were on board – it is supposed to be “live” by Dec 5th. There will be food – but there will be a charge for it I understand – again, more selling.
All in all, the ship did not live as well, for us, as we hoped it would. We had to walk all the way to the back of the ship for meals, and all the way to the front for shows. Now, if my husband were more mobile, this wouldn't be an issue for us and hasn't in the past – we just have to cruise differently these days. He is considering a scooter.
The “feel” on Celebrity has changed for us. We used to consider it a cut above – not anymore. For anyone who has never cruised with them or has only cruised a little with them, then you won't notice the difference probably. If you are a long time Celebrity cruiser, you most certainly will notice it. We won't be cruising with them again as we both feel that it just isn't worth it for us.
Debarkation was interesting. We had asked for an 8am departure time and got that. As Elites, we were to wait in the Trellis dining room area in which we had had breakfast all week and, supposedly, coffee, juice and rolls would be provided. We got there a little after 7am and it was so disorganized that it just was comical. No one knew what was what – nothing was labeled as to what it was – there were very few cups to be had – there were juice glasses, but no juice – you get the picture – it took a while to sort it all out. We did get a cup of coffee, a glass of juice and a roll – we were called off pretty much on time and it was easy to find our bag and get in line for Customs – we called the Park N Fly when we got outside and waited a very little time before they were there. We were back home by 10:30am, unpacked, did our laundry and settled back to life on land.
Don't think that this review is negative – we did have a good time – the best part was the people we met. There were some high points with crew members who were excellent. The ship still needs lots of attention in various areas – friends told us that when they went to the wine tasting the last afternoon, the plates with breakfast items – ie salmon platters, meat and cheese platters, were still sitting un-refrigerated in the hallway of the dining room. Just an example of the lax supervision and attention to detail.
Typical inside cabin. Enough storage for us. We have the beds set up as twins. Our Steward, Batista, was excellent. He found nice soft pillows for us. Location was great - just behind Passenger Services and convenient to the mid-ship area. Shower was easy to use and decent in size for my 6'4" husband and myself. It was a quiet location on this cruise.
The terminal is relatively new and it is a LONG walk from where you are dropped off with your luggage to the check in counters. On returning it isn't so long since you are coming out directly where the luggage is located.
We did not leave the ship. Again this is a port for divers and snorkelers and there were trips to see Mayan ruins.
We didn't leave the ship.
We walked off the ship to the little "village" that was right at the pier - it was cute and had some shops and things to eat - we just sat awhile and watched the people and then went back to the ship - this is a port for diving and snorkeling.