WE wanted a full transverse of the canal and had had excellent prior experiences on three Celebrity cruise ships. While the ship's personnel did everything they could to make us happy, the ship itself was, in the apt words of a fellow ... Read More
WE wanted a full transverse of the canal and had had excellent prior experiences on three Celebrity cruise ships. While the ship's personnel did everything they could to make us happy, the ship itself was, in the apt words of a fellow dinner guest, "a little bit tired". And overcrowded, or so it seemed at every breakfast and lunch, and while attempting to find deck chairs in the pool and other relaxation areas. Other things we noticed which did not reflect what we expected from a Celebrity liner included ripped bed sheets, horrible cheap-motel pillows, flaking paint on railings, and ceiling leaks in public areas. Our stateroom A/C sounded like a jet during take off until we requested and (promptly) received a repair. While we enjoyed our evening meals, the service was a bit slow and sketchy. Long waits at Blu, a restaurant for Aqua Class passengers, were the norm. Perhaps most upsetting was the quality of food served in the Oceanview Cafe (the cafeteria-style facility used for breakfast and lunch by most passengers). Things like pancakes and waffles were limp and tasteless. Meats and vegetables were warm at best. My wife and I both had some rather extreme bouts of intestinal problems after dining there and feel that the culprit was the humid conditions which may have affected the food that sat out for long periods. Doors to the restaurant were constantly swinging ope allowing humid air to disrupt the air conditioning within.
A few positives: There were several fine lectures given during the course of the cruise, particularly regarding the Panama Canal. We felt very well prepared on the day we went through it. The cast of musical entertainers (making their last appearances following six months on board) was talented and enthusiastic. A wide range of activities were offered, which mattered on a cruise that featured eight days at sea. The shore excursions - while quite expensive, were generally well-organized and entertaining. The guides (mostly) had good command of English and were knowledgeable about their home areas. We especially enjoyed a trip to Antigua, Guatemala, a charming UNESCO heritage site.
I should mention that the average age of the passengers was way up there. I'm 68 and am pretty sure that I was below the average age. Many guests were using wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers. This was inspiring to see in that it showed a desire not to be limited by aging or disabilities, but if you're looking for a younger, active crowd, you wouldn't have found it here.
Overall, we had a good time. We met several delightful people (taking advantage of open-seating rather than sitting with the same folks night after night) and saw a part of the hemisphere that we hadn't before. I stand by Celebrity as a quality company but, again, must state that the Infinity falls short compared to some of their other newer vessels. Read Less