Celebrity Infinity Cruise Review by Doggie Daddy
- Sail Date: May 2016
- Destination: Pacific Coastal
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean View with Balcony 2B
I had read that embarkation in San Diego was not always smooth. We received an e-mail saying our arrival time was 12 noon. We parked in an offsite long term lot and the driver dropped us a little after noon where he always dropped off cruisers. However, no one was there to take our luggage. We had to walk across the drop zone by the parking lot. Then started a 45 minute plus process of walking thru a maze of lines. I never understood what the problem was. But, soon we had mimosas in our hands and we were ready for our adventure.
I had read that the dining room would be open for lunch so we went there first. Alas, being Select we were ushered to the buffet as only suite occupants and elites were being served. This was the first of several occurrences (for us) where seats in the theater, tables in the buffet, and dining room locations were reserved. It is nice to have loyalty perks - but I was disappointed.
Another disappointment was the buffet. No matter what the time, the buffet was shutting down and closing. And there was little or nothing for midnight munchies. So we ordered room service - but there is now a charge for room service after 11 PM. And there are fewer free choices. I admit I need to lose some pounds, but that was not why I was on this cruise. Further, the Oceanview buffet had the same selection every day and it wasn't very good. Some days I'd settle for pasta or eat a lot of cheeseburgers - often bringing extras into the buffet for my wife and daughter. With so many port days when lunch is not served in the dining room, these were the choices - or head to the cabin for a club sandwich from room service. This was very disappointing.
The other disappointment with food was Cafe al Bacio. Don't get me wrong - The food is great: cookies, pies, and cakes. The team behind the counter wanted to focus on making drinks so if the line got too long they'd ask people to sit and wait for the server to ask what they wanted. The servers usually avoided my family and I until we waved ridiculously and hopped in front of them because we wanted the free stuff - cookies, cake, and pies. We didn't want wine or coffee. I guess that means we should get ignored.
We had our meals in the main dining room (breakfast and dinner). Our wait staff of Hamza and Ismail were excellent as were our table mates. Always ready with suggestions and they learned of my sweet tooth quickly. Overall, we felt there were fewer menu choices. The menu 80% of the time left you going for one of the everyday items. Thank goodness there was a steak option so my family and I had a lot of that. Hamsa always came over to our table at breakfast to say hello.
On every cruise I've been on, at least the Assistant Maitre D' goes through the dining room on the first night to welcome everyone. We had made a special request a few times with our waiter for souffles, a request we were able to get one night on the Celebrity Transatlantic cruise. It was probably the 3rd or 4th night Amir our Asst Maitre D' came over with the pastry chef and said we'd have to go to the specialty restaurant for that. No exceptions. We had also requested cherries jubilee which he said was the next night. Normally in customer service, you follow-up with people. He knew we wanted cherries jubilee and we ordered it so wouldn't you have expected Amir to swing by and ask if we enjoyed it? Shouldn't he have at least said goodbye on the last night? As it turns out, he was the same Maitre D' on the Alaskan cruise we took last year on a Solstice class ship. He was rude then and made our trip miserable. I blame myself for putting up with it then - and I'm disappointed I was unable to retract all his tips from us on this trip - I missed the deadline for that. And the Cherries Jubilee were the worst I have ever tasted to add insult to injury.:). This is a dish that is supposed to have alcohol (brandy, cognac, etc) added then flambéed. While they cant flambé in the dining room, apparently they can't in the kitchen either because there was no alcohol added. It almost tasted like cherries in cough syrup .
We had excellent cabin stewards (Winston and Roberto) as well as excellent dining team (Hamza and Ismail). They were always prompt and courteous and engaged in conversation. They'd even make sure the room was ready before we returned from breakfast and the show before dinner.
The pool bars on previous cruises had the best burgers, brauts, turkey burgers, etc. But not on the infinity. Burgers, hotdogs, and fries were still available and turkey burgers if you were willing to wait. No brauts.
One of the reasons I choose Celebrity is because they pay a little more attention to their jobs for extraordinary service and perks. I like walking around the ship and always see it being worked on (painting, cleaning, repairs, etc) because it means the crew values cleanliness and keeping up its pristine appearance. This was consistent with the Infinity and most of the crew was very friendly. On another line I will never forget the vision of crew in hazmat suits cleaning up messes from ill passengers in the dining room.
We saw the Captain at the Captain's Welcome. On some cruises I have found the captain and his senior officers to be very visible. However on this cruise, we rarely saw him or his senior officers. . The backstage tour and wine tasting for captain's club members was also a nice touch. Unfortunately I did not receive an announcement for the Cruise Critic gathering.
The celebrity singers and dancers were the best group I have seen. Try to get to their performances.
Disembarking in Vancouver was easy to get off of the ship - Only to join a 60 minute plus cab line.
We have lived on the west coast for 40 plus years and knew the ports well. However, there is much to see since our visit a few years back. I would have preferred overnighting in Seattle as there are many things to see and do.
Even with all the food disappointment, we are still considering booking another cruise. Unfortunately for us Californians, Celebrity doesn't really go out of or return into Los Angeles/San Pedro or San Diego. It is too bad there isn't a roundtrip CA to Hawaii cruise available (just one way cruises). We also considered Panama Canal, but the timing doesn't work.
With just a little more attention especially with the food - this would have been a great cruise instead of just a good cruise.:)
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