Celebrity Infinity Cruise Review by avocat
- Sail Date: August 2018
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Concierge Class 1
The itinerary and weather on my cruise were great and we enjoyed vacation. Always start an Alaska cruise in Vancouver. The port was a breeze to get on and off the ship and Vancouver is a great city with an easy airport to navigate. But as to the ship, and Celebrity, I will not repeat on the Infinity and am now hesitant about Celebrity for food and beverage defects which are probably across the line. The crew (waiters, stewards) were all very nice except one lady in Guest Services.
Also, after three Alaska cruises, Princess’ Alaska cruises still have much better timing as for as ports, e.g. much longer hours in port. The Infinity is the perfect size, by today’s standards a 2,500 passenger ship is medium/small. To me, I never felt crowded, plenty of empty space to be alone, not pushed, can relax, and easy to get on and off the ship. This cruise did not seem near capacity, maybe 2,000 passengers on this trip; I have no idea but it was not crowded.
Nothing was every busy except the top of the ship when we were at Hubbard Glacier. We spent a lot of quality time at the Hubbard and the weather was perfect. They also had a brilliant scientist on board, Milo, who was fun to listen to. From what I could tell the kids club was very good and fun for the kids.
My Cabin: The cabin is large and the built in drawers, deck, closet were great. I had a balcony Concierge class on deck 8 midship which was very convenient. The cabins are a nice size, closet big, cabinet space ample. The beds are very narrow. The wall opposite the bed was floor to ceiling mirrors which may be fun for certain people ;) The balcony was very nice and well maintained. It also had two clean chairs and a table. The bathroom had a handheld shower which was nice, but the bathroom also had a strong mildew odor. I saw the vinyl flooring in the shower and by the sink had two rips in it and the water was flowing under. I told the cabin steward but it was never fixed. I did not like that the only electrical plug is on the desk near the balcony window and no plug in the bathroom for the hair dryer. The drape on the sliding balcony door was NOT black out and we saw the light clearly shining through the drape. That was a first as other ships are pitch black when the drape is closed.
Ship Aesthetics/Artwork: The ships artwork on Infinity are a joke. Tiny 3D Printed figurines from 15 years ago. The ships colors are brown, brown, black, brown and brown. Aesthetically the Infinity is standard old fashioned boring (similar to Holland America). Nothing exciting like Carnival or modern Zen chic like the Celebrity Reflection which is my favorite ship of all time.
The Food/Beverages Very Disappointing: Celebrity food is no longer spectacular; it is now average. The food in the main dining room is basic, cruise food. Nothing stood out as artfully placed on the plate, the same breadsticks and plain French bread, a couple times a brown bread. Everyday they made a big deal about whipped butter and some other bread topping like hummus or something else. The bread spreads they can skip, improve the bread and improve the other parts of the meal.
The fish entrees and appetizers were dull. I was mostly irked that the waiter said we had real Alaskan salmon, which I thought meant wild, but I’m 98% sure the fish served was farm raised (light pink in color). Also, the entire ship does not seem to care about cocktails. The cocktail menus are difficult to find even in the bars. And, it’s the same menu everywhere except the martini bar which does not accept the Classic Beverage Package $12 limit. More frustrating, the bartender said I don’t pay the difference between the $12 package and the $15 martini drink. I must pay for the entire $15! Also, the “cocktail of the day” while only $5, is also NOT included in the Classic Beverage Package!
The Cocktail menu is essentially one page listing some basic cocktails and except for the martini bar. Also, none of the bartenders (except in the martini bar) made decent mixed drinks. Example, only the martini bar guys muddled the mint in a min mojito! If you are a cocktail drinker, go on Princess, Carnival or some other cruise line. They also have very few bartenders and cocktail waitresses. In the large bars often the only persons working, even at 9:00 pm, were two bartenders who also had to deliver the drinks!
More on the Food: The food was meh. 5 years ago on Reflection the cuisine was the best I ever had in over 30 years of cruising. It was particularly disappointing that they used farm raised salmon in Alaska and not wild caught salmon. However, the filet mignon and similar beef cuts were perfect. We mostly ate in the main dining room, and the presentation was nothing special, the choices pretty boring.
The buffet food was almost always cold and not appealing and the pizza blah. Again, look at the Princess pizza parlor which is excellent. The ice cream in the buffet area was usually icy not creamy. They do offer many no sugar ice creams if you need that. The “gelato” bar was better, but not worth $4 per serving.
The coffee bar scores a 3 compared to the choices on Princess or Holland America coffee bars which are a 9. For a basic coffee or cappuccino fine. But they offer nothing unique and the execution was almost always sloppy.
I liked the spa cafe on the pool deck except they charged $6 for a small smoothie!
The Cake Deserts are too sweet: Celebrity needs some new desert recipes that are not 95% sugar. All of the cakes except for the chocolate sacher torte, tasted of biting into a sugar cube. They looked nice, but tasted like raw sugar. However, the cookies and macaroons were very good.
Hints: The QSine Petit Chef is fun worth the extra $45 (first night discount) to pay for a specialty restaurant. Note, they pass out a flyer to save 20% the first night, but everyone pays the same $45 so that coupon was misleading. ☹
The gym equipment is excellent. I particularly liked the treadmills with a large tv, Bluetooth, etc. I was surprised they never had a trainer or gym person try to sell a package of classes because I and my athletic kids, would have signed up.
Ship photos: They took very few photos of passengers which seems strange as thy are a good profit center at $25 a photo. We made it a point to pose for photos, but I felt it strange they were not pushing them nor pushing a package photo deal like most cruise lines.
Spa: Very few people took advantage of the spa. They had a lot of specials, and I think if you asked for a $109 for 50 minute massage "special" even if not advertised they would give it to you. The Persian garden on this boat is NOT worth it, even if free.
Internet: If needed, buy your Internet mid-way to two days before the end of your cruise for a discount. You don't need internet because the ports have good coverage. Also, the Infinity’s internet was spotty and often went out. It completely went out for everyone, including the Concierge guy, the day before the end of the cruise so we could not check in early with the airline.
Premium drink upgrade $14 is worth it for the last 3-4 days of the cruise. The classic drink package included as a perk is OK but is irritating because you only get simple mixed drinks and beers. The classic drink package does NOT include martinis at the martini bar and the martini bar is the ONLY bar with professional bartenders who know how to mix a drink. And as stated above, you cannot pay the $3 for an upgrade per drink.
Walking the deck: It was odd that there was NO promenade deck which allows you to walk the perimeter of the ship with a covered ceiling above. In Alaska, if it rained or was windy it would be nice to walk outside while semi covered. Also the top deck (above pool level) has a small walking/jogging track but it just goes around the pool area which is small. The outdoor large screen video played movies all day if you wanted to sit and freeze a little.
Guest Services: We had an interior cabin across the hall from our balcony cabin. On every other ship when I had a similar set up we were able to encode our key cards for both rooms. Celebrity said they recently changed their computer system so could no longer do that or issue two keys. That was false. I went back and asked for another key and they gave me one and that key opened the door without cancelling the first key. It was also irritating that the ship did not sell post card postage.
Crew: all crew were nice, most excellent. My friend in another cabin was upset when she asked for a hair dryer the first night and was told "I'm on break now when I'm done". But they need more bartenders and wait staff.
Shore Excursions: Take advantage of the pre-cruise package prices. Book the online 3 excursion tour special at least 4 days before the ship sails to get some good discounts. No excursion discounts are offered on board. On shore excursions except for Icy Point book at the pier and save money. For Icy Point just do the whale watch tour with the ship which was excellent. You can also use a web site like https://www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com/v/a/costco/
Example, at the dock I paid $300/per person (Celebrity charges $449) for the Juneau Helicopter Herbert Glacier tour the dock company was http://www.panhandleexcursions.com/ . where you land on the glacier and walk around for 30-40 minutes for $300 each. Just so you know, this company on the pier books with the helicopter company https://www.coastalhelicopters.com/ which you can also directly book with. As it turned out, we went to Herbert glacier and the weather was perfectly clear, the cruise people went to Mendenhall because they use another company and it was foggy so they had their trips cancelled!
Always bargain with the people on the dock selling excursions. The lovely girl who booked our helicopter tour also gave us (4 persons) a private free ride to the Mendenhall glacier, she hung out for 1.5 hours so we could walk around and explore for free! I tipped her a $100 which still saved us $100.
In Ketchikan don't be afraid to walk down the dock to the excursion shacks down the road. The vendors raise their prices for the tourists just off the boat. If you go to a dock where the prior ship arrived a couple hours earlier you can get a better deal. Also, the guys selling walk in their private property wooden elevated board walk and see bears are jerks.
I had a very good time, but I always enjoy cruises no matter what happens and realize no cruise is perfect. I have taken three Alaskan cruises, two with Princess and this one with Celebrity. Princess has by far the best itineraries for Alaska; "best" is based upon the length of time in port and the hours spent in port (e.g. afternoon hours in Alaska are drier and sunnier than the first half of the day.)
I choose Celebrity because 5 years ago on the Celebrity Reflection I experienced the best cruising of my life. But I won’t go on the Infinity again, and probably not with Celebrity because the food/cocktail issues are likely systemwide.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Whale WatchingThe Icy Strait tour with the cruise line was excellent. Nice boat, free binoculars, nice guide and fantastic sights of whales!View All 146 Whale Watching Reviews
JuneauI paid $300/per person (Celebrity charges $449) for the Juneau Helicopter Herbert Glacier tour the dock company was http://www.panhandleexcursions.com/ . where you land on the glacier and walk around for 30-40 minutes for $300 each. Just so you know, this company on the pier books with the helicopter company https://www.coastalhelicopters.com/ which you can also directly book with.View All 13,774 Juneau Cruise Port Reviews
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Trolley TourBooked the same tour (I think) at the dock and saved $15/per person. Nice easy tour of the city. Stopped and saw a bear and eagle and salmon (dead).View All 30 Trolley Tour Reviews