The December 3, 2008 sailing to Key West and Cozumel was our first cruise ever. We really had few expectations, and unfortunately few were met in return! It started out great with a nice balcony room, bigger than I had anticipated, and well laid out. The buffet lunch was not very good, so I was hoping dinner would be better and it was. A chilly departure was a little late, but I figured that was normal.
We arrived in Key West on time and were surprised at how haphazard the docking procedure was, just a bunch of locals who showed up in street clothes with the guy in charge yelling at Infinity's crew "not to worry." We also had to dock at the Navy base, as another cruise ship was docked at the base of the downtown area of Key West (causing us to shuttle it into town instead of walk). No big deal.
Having previously lived in Florida, Key West was really not the destination we were looking for, but it was on the way to Cozumel! My husband and I had fun finding the restaurant we got engaged in.
The disappointmentstarted when the captain announced technical difficulties with the navigation system causing a delay while someone came to fix it. We ended up leaving 24 hours later with Cozumel being canceled and Nassau, Bahamas being added. To say we were disappointed is an understatement. I was crushed, but insistent on making the best of it.
It became apparent, as I've seen from other reviews, that the crew did not have their act together. We ran into our waiter from the SS United States (specialty restaurant, which was spectacular and well worth the extra $30 per person) and he said they had 300 new crew and the ship was "not the same since it came out of dry dock" (just previous to our cruise), making staff morale and service poor. It was obvious there were water problems on board as well.
Trying to be brief, we found too many things unacceptable for a cruise ship of this nature: NO coffee, yes, NO coffee two mornings in a row! (we were told because of water pressure issues.) People were walking around the buffet complaining and quite ticked off about this. Both nights we went to the martini bar they ran out of the glasses for the martini sampler. When I gave my $10 martini back to the bartender because it tasted like fruit punch, he looked at me and walked away, not even offering to try to make me a new one.
Every time I got eggs they were stone cold, including room service and the buffet. We found the buffet food to be poor, but loved the Aqua Spa Cafe. We heard some complain it that it was too bland, but we found it fresh, tasty and healthy for breakfast and lunch. We also found about 25 old beach towels and empty glasses on the top deck outdoor lounge area at 8am, obviously leftover from the day before. The ship was not kept very clean at all. I found it incredibly frustrating that by the end of day 2 the Purell hand sanitizer stations were very frequently empty and it seemed I had to use 3 dispensers in the bathroom before I found one with soap. Asked for early seating, got late; asked for table for 2, got 8. I could go on more, but will stop, you get the picture.
After they canceled Cozumel, morale among the passengers started to get bad, but everyone commented that it was not just because of the redirection of the cruise, but the poor service on the ship. The guest services area was rampant with complaining passengers. I heard the phrase "this in my 10th cruise and it's the worst!" on more than one occasion. Someone in the elevator said "this boat sucks".
When I got in the water, in the Bahamas, for a much anticipated snorkel (which was supposed to be in warm Cozumel) the frigid temperature took my breath away and caused me to curse one more time at Celebrity cruise lines. The roughly 8 year old kid in front of us almost had a panic attack it was so cold. We arrived back from our excursion to find our air conditioning broken and our room at around 80 some degrees.
Things were bad until the very end -- it was extremely unorganized trying to get off the boat. Our designated exit area by the theater was jammed with people (mostly older and some on the frail side) and the doors were still not open an hour into the scheduled time to get off. We found another area that was open and they allowed us off, luckily our luggage was in hand.
No, it was not a very good introduction to cruising and the $120 refund (our designated amount with an outside stateroom, some got more, some less) was less than acceptable as a consolation prize. Never will I cruise Celebrity again, or recommend it to a friend.
This was billed as AROUND THE HORN, something I had looked forward to for a long time. It didn't happen. In 2002 we had been on this ship for the ALASKA trip. It was well nigh perfect in all respects. But by Dec. 2006 many things aboard had gone downhill. The promenade deck no longer encircled deck 4. Staff who were supposed to run some deck activities were no-shows. There was not much in the way of 'danceable' music. Cards and games were hard to come by.
A 3-hour wait for return tender service in Punta Arenas was incomprehensible. A dance floor under repair for 7 days finally opened with a STRING QUARTET playing classical music. Shore excursions were over-priced and could easily be duplicated privately for half the money. The ships' propulsion problems had us missing many scenic views (never saw the Chilean Fjords!) because they were passed in the middle of the night. There were 1980 passengers for this trip and many were totally unhappy. Celebrity will not enter the picture for our future cruises.
We just returned from cruise on Infinity (Celebrity) and were really not happy.Key carwas replaced 3 times and door had to be reapired; then the toilet seat was hanging off; the Closet door had to be fixed and the safe had tohave door taken apart so we could program it;by the time all was repaired,we missed our evening meal, and the buffet was closed except for pasta, which was by that time not what we had expected.
We also noticed that the overhead bunk was not properly secured as one of the latches was disengaged,(very unsafe) We asked for another Stateroom but were told there was'nt any available.
We are "Elite" in the Captains Club and we were most unhappy.
The ship was very beautiful, but we will be thinking twice before cruising with Celebrity in the near future. The food was not exactly five star,but the service was excellent and our room stewardess and dining room waiter and busboy were the greatest and should be commended for going above and beyond to please all.We have 40 odd cruise experiences.
Can't say enough about Celebrity. Love this cruiseline! Second time on the Infinity. First time May 2004, Panama Canal. There were 6 of us traveling together to Alaska. My Dad's 80th birthday, and first cruise. He wished he had cruised years ago.
Infinity staff is outstanding. Cabins and food awesome. We both had balcony cabins just 2 down from each other. My Mom and Dad had a handicapped cabin. So, so much room. Awesome. Celebrity let us have a wheelchair the entire 7 days on loan. Dad gets around okay, but tires fast, so this came in handy throughout the 7 days. We even took it off the ship into Juneau.
We rented a car from Rent-a-Wreck. Nice lady named Connie from there helped us with everything there was to see in Juneau for a fraction of the cost of all tours! Six people rented a van with room for wheelchair. Went to 5 different places. Only paid $99/day for the van. Picked it up right at the pier parking, and dropped off there after. Only $33/couple! Awesome. We figured we saved over $600/person, the total of all tours had wehave done them separately. What a way to go!
There is only one main road in Juneau. Started at the far end and then stopped whenever we wanted to! Highly recommend the Infinity iternary for Alaska!
We started our 12 night trip cruise fronmSan Fran to Alaska and BC in San Fran at around 2:00 we decided to head for the ship which was visible from our hotel, but we took a cab as we had six suitcases! (We vowed never to take 6 suitcases again, we found that we used only half of the clothing, we sent three loads of laundry to the ships cleaners and it came back the next day, washed, dried, folded and on hangers! All for $60 - well worth it!) As we walked into the terminal we saw Disney World length lines throughout the building, but a representative took a glance at our boarding docs and directed us to a Concierge Class line with maybe 4 passengers ahead of us, we waited about fifteen minutes to embark. The representative was friendly, engaging everyone in queue in pleasant conversation as we waited.
Upon entering the ship we were greeted with Mimosas and personally escorted to our cabin. The cabin was mid-ship 8th deck Concierge Class with a balcony. There was a bucket of chilled champagne, two glasses and a basket of fruitawaiting us. The room was compact but accommodating. The only bad thing was when the sofa bed was pulled out it blocked access to the balcony, it came flush with the vanity and the sliding glass door. Which meant, that having a teenager with us - that likes to sleep in, we were unable to enjoy the balcony at times. Our luggage arrived about 3 hours after we arrived on board. After the well organized but a bit long drill, We all went to the pool area where the band played and the staff introduced themselves and danced and others allowed passengers to sample their products, ie; massages, acupuncture, spa facilities, which were excellent,etc. Everyone gathered on the upper deck to see the Golden Gate bridge, as we passed under it everyone screamed and waved and those on the bridge reciprocated. It was cold and windy but very exciting! We proceeded back to the room to take care of our luggage.Our room steward came by and introduced himself and his assistant and insisted that if we need anything to please call him or his young assistant.
Later we had fresh flowers on the vanity and a single rose bud in the bathroom. A welcome greeting from our Travel Agent along with some chocolate dipped strawberries arrived shortly after as well as a welcome from the dining room with our table assignment. We soon dressed for dinner, the late seating and walked to the dining room where we had a table for six, but we were the only ones to show for the duration of the cruise. I began to feel uneasy and after meeting our waiters and ordering my food, I had to return to my cabin to lie down. My husband returned to the dining room without me and the waiters expressed concern about my well-being , and offered a remedy . a peeled, sliced green apple with sliced ginger and of course saltine crackers. I got a can of Ginger Ale and followed the directions and felt better but decided to stay in bed.
The food was delicious and was presented wonderfully! I didn't gain a pound,I guess I ate all the right things! Our travel agent gave us dinner for the three of us at the USS Restaurant. Our daughter turned 20 that night and it was a first for her to be treated so royally! She did not have anyone to hang around with as most of the passengers were in the 60+ age range. We were greeted by name as we entered the restaurant and brought to the table. The Maitre D's suggestions were taken and were excellent! We were served Caesars Salad at our table with a full explanation of the history of the salad, the meals were served in unison by three waiters. Women were escorted to the restroom by a tuxedo clad gentleman. The food was delicious, the service unparalleled and the presentation fantastic. A harpist played softly in the background.
I was impressed with the young people running the excursions. All seemed to be very conscientious of the environment and enthusiastic about teaching the tourists. They were all clean cut, friendly, open for questions and very gentle with the elderly crowd. We went on the Whale and Mammal watching tour in Icy Straight Point in the afternoon and we got our money's worth, we saw at least 15 whales...-right next to tour boat, some porpoises and sea lions, the tour guides and naturists were thorough in their descriptions and genuinely interested in the wildlife.
We took the White Pass train ride in Skagway and enjoyed it very much. There was snow on every mountain top and the weather was cool. We had never seen snow and it was still white and clean and beautiful.. When we reached the top of the mountain the Conductor jumped off and handed us a snowball, how exciting!
Hubbard Glacier was absolutely fantastic, something we will never forget! The Captain pushed as far as he could into the Glacier then placed the ship on a 360 degree turn, so that no matter where you were on the ship, you saw it all! We witness the crushing sound of us underneath our balcony, the huge chunks of ice floating past us and then the thundering sound of the Glacier calving, several times, right in front of us! We spent at least four hours there, it was a magnificent day a the Glacier! The only thing that bothered me was Celebrity shut down the coffee and hot chocolate stands and set up booths throughout the ship hawking hot drinks...this while we were in the Glacier at about 40 degrees!
Fishing in Juneau was a total loss...almost $300 each down the drain, not even a bite in 5 hours and 800 feet of water! The Captain was very apologetic and spent the time telling us about Alaska and showing us the sights.
The singing duo had quite a following before and after dinner. They sang lots of '60s and '70s music, he played piano while she sang, they were very good and encouraged lots of dancing. There were Celebrity dance escorts at every dance and they were kept quite busy.
Victoria was beautiful, we took the Grayline tour bus and saw the butterfly gardens and Butchart Gardens. The tour bus driver was most interesting, he took us on a tour of the city, through China Town, downtown past the Parliament and everywhere else, he also let us in on the secrets of the City.
Spent the day in the Casino, won $100 on one of the nickel machines...then promptly gave it right back! Heard a few cruisers lost $10,000+ at the tables...
If you are looking for a relaxing, low key, minimal activity ship - and if you are older and not very agile, this ship is for you. You are treated royally.
The pastry shop was open until about 4 pm everyday. We were happy to find that there was a coffee bar as we are 2-3 times a day expresso drinkers, unfortunatley we found we had to pay for expresso on the Infinity ... and the only one that knew how to make it the way we like it, was Alma from the Philippines.
The time adjustment was a bit difficult for us as we are on EST. Also the fact that it never really gets dark at night took a few days to get adjusted to.
The final show was entertaining, colorful costumes and talented dancers. Also the acrobatic act, a touch of Cirque de soleil(?) was very impressive as the couple flew into and over the audience with just a wisp of a scarf to hold onto...
We are home now, enjoyed the experience, we are well rested and well versed in Alaska and BC information.
The Celebrity experience was a very good one.
It was a horrendous experience sailing on Celebrity's Infinity from April 13 to 28, 2008 on a Panama cruise from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco.
Upon reaching the dining room table and pulling the chair out, the fingers became instantly dirty and sticky because the chairs were never cleaned. Upon seating, the hands were placed under the seat to move the chair forward. Now both hands were dirty and sticky. All over the dining room you could see that people were keeping the sanitary wipes, available at the door, to use to pull the chairs back and then forward.
The Maitre D' never made an appearance. The assistant Maitre D's took our special order for pasta puttanesca, a common Italian pasta. What was served the next night was veal Milanese. We reordered the pasta puttanesca and what came the next day was spaghetti with chopped tomatoes in water, a tasteless dish lacking capers, olives, garlic, and any seasoning. At another dinner, the farfalle came with the same tasteless "sauce" of chopped tomatoes and water. It made no difference what pasta was ordered, all pasta had the same tasteless, thin, watery, non-descript "sauce."
There wereno scones at a Captain's Club elegant tea; no grapefruit halves at a breakfast in the dining room; and no Mojitos, because they were out of mint (and no one was going to find some). There were no mints in the bowl after many dinners. Often, there was not even a bowl.
The wahoo fish was very fishy; the shrimp in the shrimp cocktail was fishy and mealy; the poached halibut at the spa lunch was fishy; and the crab in the farfalle was fishy.
Even though it was on the menu, there were no stuffed zucchini. The vegetables are all cooked the same way, limp and tasteless, but the matzo balls were hard as a golf ball.
Most meats were tough and cooked cafeteria style. The osso bucco, which should fall off the bone, was as tough as can be.
An entire tray of entrées fell on the back of the lady at the next table.
When I asked the waiter for a piece of fish that could be undercooked (that is not dry and tough), I was told to preorder it with the Assistant Maitre D'. When a common item like extra bread sticks were requested, we were told that it had to be requisitioned ahead of time from the assistant Maître 'D. The term "requisitioned" was used often to the point that the standing joke on the entire cruise was "I guess they have to requisition it."
On the Lido deck buffet, there were too many drink machines out of order. Others were unmarked, and/or dispensed drinks incorrectly, such as dilute and watery iced tea and orange juice. Several ice machines were inoperative and two dispensed water, not ice cubes.
There were massive pieces of paint chipped off of the side of the ship revealing a metal base.
The large map posted on deck 3 showing the ships location was incorrect. It was one of South America and we were traversing the Panama Canal.
For spa service, a 75 minute salt glow and massage was scheduled by my wife. Ten minutes were devoted to completing paper work all designed to sell products. When she asked to use the restroom, it took three different attendants to find the rest room. During the service, the attendant did not know where the light for the shower was or how to turn on the hot water. There was no floor mat placed outside the shower so my wife stepped back out on salt crystals. The total service, including the wasted 10 minutes trying to sell her products, came to 65 minutes, not 75 minutes. No one thanked her or escorted her out. The next day she was called and told she did not pay. My wife was not directed to the front desk for payment upon conclusion; she was just left alone to change and leave. The spa manager never called back as she promised.
The toilet in our suite was broken and took four days to repair. The sink drain mechanism did not work. The water in the Jacuzzi was black and brackish.
The television set did not function; the remote was replaced three times and still did not work correctly by the end of the cruise. One of the remotes was held together by Scotch tape. The ITV person said that someone would fix the TV set the next morning when we were ashore; it was not. An assistant housekeeping manager came the next day and said that he would send someone immediately to fix the television set; that never happened.
There were two broken ceiling lights (replaced) and when we departed, there was another broken ceiling light. The door locking mechanism was broken -- the metal plate in the door jamb came off and although it was repaired, locking the door securely required a hard slam of the door.
The deck on the veranda was filthy with either bird droppings or paint spots. The gutter on the veranda deck was filthy. The Jacuzzi on the veranda was dirty with debris in it. The windows on the sliding doors leading to the veranda had not been washed for months. The cushioned fabric on the chaise lounge was old, worn, and dirty. The railing on the veranda had old, dirty and chipped varnish, making it impossible to rest your arm on the scratchy railing.
The veranda is useless because the design of the royal suites veranda is such that all the rooms on the three decks above look directly down on the veranda. We never had a morning breakfast on the veranda and could not use the lounge chairs or the Jacuzzi for that reason as there was no privacy. People above would stare right down at you.
The advertised "walk in closet" is 4-feet by 4-feet, large enough for one person to stand in a fixed position. Upon taking something off of the clothes rod, that person would then have to hold the item of clothing against the chest and then slide sideways out of the closet. The closet had three small drawers, to be shared by two people, and half of one clothes hanger rod was hidden behind the cabinet containing the three drawers and safe.
The Infinity book on the shelf in the room was eight years outdated. The IBM computer in the suite is a dysfunctional and outdated computer. IBM has not made personal computers for five years.
When I called another room, not my name but an incorrect name showed on their readout. The daily announcement stated that an "Attention to Detail" card was included. It was not. An oxymoron. There was no evaluation or questionnaire form and no invoice delivered at the end of the cruise.
I shared these deficiencies, complete with pictures, with the CEO, Don Hanrahan, and never received a reply.
Simply, the Infinity is an outdated, dysfunctional, and irrelevant ship.
This review describes our 28 days back to back cruise of South America, Nov 11th to Dec 9, 2007. First, let me say that my husband and I are very positive travelers and we tend to see the glass half full rather than half empty. Also, we have learned to keep an open mind during our travels and to thoroughly appreciate and learn from every experience and focus on how lucky we are to live such wonderful life experiences. If there are problems, we discreetly go the source and it is solved. Also, we are encouraged to fill out comment/suggestion cards and leave them at customer relations desk, where they are considered very seriously. No need to bicker outloud. Sadly, there are too many picky, demanding and criticizing travelers. For the most part, on this cruise, the guests were kind, polite with a good sense of humor, which is needed during travels. Also, most of the passengers were of mature age which translated in a quieter atmosphere. We are pleased to have met many wonderful fellow cruisers from around the world.
Our cruise began in Fort Lauderdale where we arrived atthe port around 11:30AM. Embarkation was quick, efficient, courteous and within one half hour we were having lunch at the buffet, after which we changed and headed for the pool. Our room was ready at 1:00PM and our suitcases arrived around 3:00PM.
We were graciously greeted and served champagne cocktail. The ship was beautiful, spotless and very impressive. Muster drill at 4:30 was quick (30 minutes).
The Staff They made our trip most enjoyable. Each and every one of the staff was polite, helpful and spent time talking and joking with the guests. The best staff ever!!
Cabin We had a 7th floor balcony room, roomy, lots of storage and very clean. We shortly met our room steward who took very good care of us during the entire month and greeted us with a smile each day.
Dinner We were scheduled at the early seating 6:00PM as requested. The Trellis dining room is very elegant, live music often. We thought the menu to be amazing: choice of 3 appetizers, 3 soups (one cold), 3 salads, 5 entrees and several desserts. We were utterly spoiled by our superb waiter, Alexandru Brad (table 584), a Romanian young man who quickly learned our likes. Whatever we wanted, we got and more. We asked to keep our waiter the entire 28 days, we had such a good time with him and his team. We also enjoyed the buffet breakfasts, omelet stations, the poolside grill and the spa café restaurant. There was always a large variety of menus. There is also alternative dining on deck ten, a little more casual, but with nice menu and table service. We went twice and enjoyed ourselves. During a 2 week cruise, there are 3 formal dinners and the balance between informal and casual, which was fine with most.
The Ship We loved Infinity! With full capacity of 1950 guests, we never felt crowded. There were always areas to be found for quiet reading. The staff was constantly cleaning. There were plenty of loungers by the pools and we were even supplied with blankets for cool days. We mostly enjoyed the Thalassotherapy pool and hot tubs, especially during cool days, which were numerous. We used the gym facilities on sea days, as we tried to walk off a few calories. We had a tour of the galley/kitchen. It is amazing what goes in the ordering and preparation of meals for all guests.
Entertainment We thoroughly enjoyed the Infinity dancers and singers. What energy and high quality performance! Not to miss. There were three major productions shows during each 2 weeks cruise. We attended them twice. Several guest performers were wonderful as well: Jan Stirling (pianist), The Marquez Jazz Trio, The Rosario Boys Quartet etc. The various ship performers/bands were quite talented as well. There was always entertainment to be found somewhere on the ship. Our cruise director Jeff Potts was excellent at his job. Celebrity: They organized Cruise critic parties for each of the two week trips. Thank you. Also, they prepared a lunch feast for back to back cruisers. (with ice sculptures and all.) Thank you.
Celebrity went out of their way to please their guests and make our vacation as pleasant as possible. The entire staff was amazing, and we were treated royally on this cruise. During sea days, we relaxed and participated in a few of the on board activities. There was always something for everyone. Every day, Celebrity Today, the daily information paper delivered to our stateroom gave a short history and points of interest of coming ports as well as all activities on board. We were well informed. The ship chose to limit the loudspeaker announcements, which was appreciated by all.
The Ports Remember, these are our experiences and opinions.
Cartegena: A Colombian acquaintance showed us around the city, the old monastery, Fort San Felipe and the Old City, and Boca Grande (the new hotel zone) all very worthwhile visiting. Loved the Old City!!! Super hot and humid. Upon returning at the ship, we were handed cold facecloths and punch. What a thoughtful touch from Infinity. (And hot chocolate on cool days.) Thoroughly enjoyed the Panama Canal transit. Lush vegetation, amazing learning experience.
Manta-Ecuador: Took a cab with another couple, 30$/3hours per couple. Took us to Monterchristi's open market where Panama hats are made and sold along with other Ecuadorian crafts. We returned to the Civic Square in Manta for more market shopping. We could have avoided Montechristi as we saw the same wares for sale. Ecuadorians are very soft spoken and warm people. We enjoyed our visit.
Lima-Peru: We rented a cab with a wonderful couple whom we met on cruise critic, the driver agreed to accompany us everywhere, The Plaza de Armas, The Cathedral, The Franciscan Monastery (Catacombs), the market and lastly to a flower greenhouse where we purchased flowers 4$/2 doz. No problem taking them aboard. The Plaza in downtown Lima was amazingly grand and beautiful. We watched the changing of the guard. The Peruvians we met are wonderfully warm and welcoming. Taxis can be rented at the pier for an average of 15$/hr. Great day, great weather! PS. The downtown area felt very safe- lots of police. Be prudent: leave valuables on board. We enjoyed the ½ hr scenic drive to downtown Lima, quite a bustling city of 3 millions.
Arica-Chile: Arica is a mid-size seaside town of 185,000 bordered by desert and some fertile valleys. We took a cab for a 2/hr visit to the cathedral, el Morro de Arica, San Miguel de Azapa where we saw an interesting and beautiful cemetery, geoglyphs. We returned and strolled downtown. A worthwhile long enough visit in a very nice and safe port city.
La Serena-Chile: What a beautiful town! Gorgeous architecture, very clean and spacious. A good blend of old and modern shopping. Get a taxi at the pier and get dropped off the Plaza de Armas for own walking tour.
Valparaiso-Chile: Valparaiso is a worthwhile city to visit, a VERY busy cargo port, many plazas, beautiful architecture and several museums. The view from Cerro Cristobal is amazing. We took a cab to Vina de Mar and were disappointed. Not too much to see. Everything is closed on Sunday. We recommend hiring a taxi and guide for an hour to thoroughly visit the city. On Sundays there are several ferias/open air markets. A reminder: Please be returned to "Embarque"(where you go through customs) station (and not the dock) where you catch Bus Shuttle to the ship. We arrived in Valparaiso around 4AM and immediately, loading and unloading merchandise began. Since our room was on starboard side, it was very noisy. You may want to request a port side room to avoid port noises.
The Second Half of Our Trip These were the ports for the second half of our back-to-back cruise:
Puerto Montt-Chile: Puerto Montt (a tender port) was one of our favorite stops. Got a group of ten in a minivan for a 3/h (which ended up lasting 5 hours) 30$/each. Visited the Petruhue Falls, Lake Llanquihue, Emerald Lake, approx. 2 hr ride each way with stops. AMAZING scenery, view of Orsono Volcano and snow peaked mountains. Much German influence in architecture, beautiful farms and estates by the lake and large modern developments. We returned through Puerto Varas, a lovely tourist town by the lake. A tour in Puerto Montt is a must!
The Fjords of Chile: Slow cruising through the Fjords was a sight to behold: mountain cliffs, glacial valleys, snow peaked mountains. Wonderful days.
Puntas Arenas-Chile: Tender port. Rented a cab for a couple of hours. Visited downtown, the Cemetery (Amazing) and walked around the Plaza (crafts markets) before returning to ship. Lovely town of 120,000.
Ushuaia-Argentina: Beautiful city, surrounded by snowcapped mountains. Rented a cab for 3 hours: Visited Terra del Fuego National Park (7$entrance fee) and Martial Glacier. Beautiful scenery. Lovely shopping and quaint restaurants on main street. Loved this port!
Around the Horn: The ship cruised slowly for an entire day around the horn.
Port Stanley: Very long tendering process. Must provide more tendering boats. Weather was very variable: sunny, windy, rainy, hail. We took a shuttle bus from the pier to Gypso Cove to see the penguins. We saw them but from a distance. Very cute!!!! Walked in town, very busy this day as there were three ships in port. The island is barren, not too much to see but we are glad we got to visit this area. Very choppy seas this night, much ship movement.
Puerto Madryn-Argentina: We loved this port. We took a Punta Tumbo tour. We were 3 in a very nice SUV. Long ride but very much worth the trip as we saw and walked around thousands of Magellan penguins and their babies. What a highlight! We visited Gayman, a lovely Welsh town. Returned to town, Puerto Madryn is a lovely oceanside town with a superb promenade and shops. Great weather and great guide. We lucked out in this port. This was by far our favorite port.
Montevideo-Uruguay: We walked from the pier directly to downtown to the shopping/restaurant area. Lots to visit. A 3hr walk around town allowed us to visit several blocks and plazas. Many wonderful architectural buildings. Before boarding, we sat a little outdoor pub and people watched. One liter bottle of beer: 3$. As you can see, we opted for private taxi tours instead of expensive ship tours. This way, we got to visit touristy and out of the way sights and mingle more with the locals on a personal level. (It helped that I speak the language semi-adequately and at no time did we feel unsafe). Many guests chose ship tours for security reasons.
Buenos Aires-Argentina: Now here is a city!! All 3 million and plus.
Disembarkation Disembarkation from the ship went well, followed by shuttle to the terminal. Utter chaos at the terminal. (We learned that 3 ships were disembarking) Finally we found our driver/guide who took us to our B&B to Adrogue (30 minutes from downtown), where we spent the next 6 days.
Next day, he took us on an 8 hr personal tour of the city (the best!) Highlights: Teatro Colon (Grand building being renovated), the Plaza de Many (Gov. House, Cathedral. Town Hall, and huge and impressive works of architectural art, depicting ornate Spanish and colonial styles), Recoleta area (beautiful promenade and fashionable stores and homes) and the Cemenatrio de la Recoleta (amazing!), our Lady of the Pilar Church, San Telmo, La Boca (very interesting historically and visually, the setting for painters, artisans, open air tango shows.
Shopping: We shopped two full days on Calle Florida and Lavalle. Incredible experience: Beautiful stores, leather factories abound (I had a jacket made to order, very reasonably priced), thousands of people, outdoor tango dancing, musicians, etc. Very busy city. A visit to Galeria Pacifica is a must. One would need several days to thoroughly absorb and visit all that this city has to offer. We were quite impressed. The train and subway ride (extremely inexpensive) from Adrogue (1-1/2hr) to downtown was an adventure and an experience in itself -- not for the claustrophobics and not up to North American standards. There is also a mini-bus service if one chooses. We stayed at Teresita B&B: very comfortable and quiet cottage, good service. We flew back to Miami with American Airlines. All went well. We returned home on Dec 20th, in time for the holidays. This was a trip of a lifetime which we will remember forever. We made great friends. Would we travel on Infinity again? Definitely Yes, in a heartbeat.
We had reservations about going on Celebrity Cruise Lines because of a bad experience on the Millenium, when the crew stole all our cash and jewelery out of our room safe. And if that wasn't bad enough, we were called liars when we reported it. but we decided that enough time had passed and we should try them again. We were glad we did because this cruise on the Infinity was a real pleasure and we had no problems whatsoever.The Ship Celebrity Infinity was far above our expectations; very well maintained, a very clean and very well run and managed ship. The ship was laid out very well, very easy to get around and after the second day you didn't need a floor plan. It had a crew that made you feel genuinely welcomed every day. They were exceptionally courteous, helpful and they always projected a feeling of thoroughly enjoying what they were doing on the Infinity. Room & Steward We had an inside room on Deck 7 (7054) just forward of the front elevators. The room was much larger than other reviews had led us to believe. The bed was very comfortable, a lot of closet and drawer space and a bathroom that was well designed with a lot of storage space and a shower that was larger than other ships we have been on. We regret that we have misplaced our steward's name. He was fantastic! Our room was always neat and clean with the greatest towel animals we've ever seen. He added his own personal touches which had us laughing over them every day. "A word of warning" -- The safe in this room doesn't always lock unless you push in on the door real hard while locking it. I reported it, but it never got fixed. Entertainment We found the entertainment on the ship to be really great. We went to all of the productions in the Celebrity Theatre and found them to be top notch. The groups that performed in the various lounges were excellent and it was nice to dance to music that we grew up with. Dining First of all, while the selection of food was excellent, the quality was mediocre when compared to other cruise lines we have been on. The main dining room was absolutely magnificent and featured traditional seating which is what we prefer. We had a very good waiter and assistant waiter but because of the amount of tables they had to take care of service was quite slow. The menu had many selections but as usual were written so no one without a culinary degree would know what was being served. The servings were plentiful but the quality was less than desirable. Buffet The buffet had many choices and it takes a few days for you to discover where everything is. They have many different areas such as a pizza, pasta area, soup and sandwich area, grill area, oriental food area plus the regular buffet lines. If you couldn't find what you wanted to eat, you probably didn't walk far enough. Starting at 5 PM they had a huge sushi bar; bigger than we have ever seen on any other ship. The staff in the buffet area were exceptionally helpful and courteous. There was always someone wanting to carry your tray to your table and while at your table you were bombarded with coffee or tea refills, assorted juices and assorted pastries.
One very neat thing that we found and took advantage of was what the Infinity called "Casual Dining" and it is only featured at the evening meal. This is offered on the buffet deck in the aft quarter of the dining area. It is set up to look like the downstairs dining room complete with table cloths, linen napkins, waiters and menus. Reservations are a must, as they have a limited number of tables. The dress is smart casual. We liked it because it was far quieter than the main dining room and the service was just as good, but faster as there were fewer tables. We ate there three nights out of seven and would highly recommend you trying it. If you are interested, you can look at the menu for that area at the purser's desk and also make your reservation there.The Alaskan Experience We have been dreaming of an Alaskan cruise for the past five years but were really disappointed with the weather. Unfortunately we had cold and rainy weather every day and when we had visibility all we saw were pine tree-covered islands and snow-capped mountains. We were glad we went but would not do the cruise again solely because of the weather being so unpredictable. We were also going to take the five day train tour but decided to fly to San Francisco after our cruise and are very glad we did as we had a wonderful time with very nice weather. Alaskan Ports Ketchikan: We elected to take the walking tour. Maps are available from the Chamber of Commerce building right at the pier. There is lots of helpful information there and people who are eager to answer any questions you have. The walking tour covered all of the highlights of Ketchikan and was about one and a half miles. The usual souvenier shops are all over town but the small privately owned shops are giving way to the big retailers. Unfortunately as the morning wore on, the harder it rained so we were anxious to return to the ship and change into dry clothes instead of shopping. Juneau: We rented a car from Rent-A-Wreck which we found on the internet. I called them personally to make a reservation and was pleasantly surprised from our initial contact with them. They were very helpful and friendly and truly happy we had chosen them. One of the main reasons we did was they were the only rental car agency in Juneau to pick us up directly at the pier and then drop us off at the end of the day. That in itself was a great saving. We paid $57.50 for the day which we thought was a great deal. Once we were picked up we were driven back to their office to do paperwork and pick up our car. We were given a great map with attractions highlighted that were must sees as far as they were concerned. We went to the Mendenhall Glacier, the Mendenhall State Park and then drove up the coastal highway to a shrine located in a great little park with amazing flora and fauna that is so unexpected in a place like Alaska. On our way to the shrine we almost hit a black bear walking across the road. When we got back to the ship and told people they said we saw a bear just driving around, while people who were on excursions to see bears didn't see any at all. We decided to eat lunch down the street from the Rent-A-Wreck office at a place called the Sand Bar Restaurant. Please don't let the exterior scare you away. It is a bar and restaurant -- nothing fancy at all inside or out, but the greatest fresh, fried halibut we have ever tasted. The owner was very friendly and cordial and made us feel very welcome. After lunch we went to the Alaskan Brewery. If you like really good beer you won't want to miss this. You can take a tour and also sample the varieties of beer they make. They also have a nice gift shop. All in all it was a great day, probably the best of the cruise. Icy Strait Point: You have to tender in and once you get on land there is not much to see. You can walk around a little and there are some shops to go in, but not much else to do. We went back to the ship in about an hour or so. A note about scenery watching if you are inside the ship: We found the best place was the Constellation Lounge, located above the Bridge, and if you can get a seat up front you will not be disappointed. The only thing that would be better is if you have great weather and can see everything out on deck. Just a note for women about clothing: Everything you have read about layering clothing is true especially if you have the weather we did. I was so glad I brought long-sleeved tops, sweaters and my windbreaker to layer with. I also either wore jeans or wind pants. Unfortunately I never wore capris or shorts as the weather wasn't warm enough. Also a must is either a windbreaker with a hood or an umbrella if you have rainy weather. Disembarkation Very, very smooth and we got our luggage right away. Right outside the building were plenty of taxis to take us to the airport. The taxi cost about $30 for the trip to the airport.
What a fine ship Infinity is!
Our trip ( we had 9 people in our party) was wonderful. We went from San Francisco to Victoria BC and finally Vancouver BC. The short 4 day trip was perfect for our large group to try out a cruise. All of our guests had never been on a cruise before.
I am afraid they are now all spoiled for life and may never find a better cruise line than celebrity!
We all loved our rooms and balconies and the service was out of this world.
Champagne awaited us in the room when we arrived and the early evening brought us hors d'ourves daily... what a treat.
Just like the TV commercial you do get fresh cut long stem roses daily and the staff greets you with hello Madam or Sir when ever they see you.
Room service was fantastic... very good food on the room service menu. Other cruise lines we have been on offer room service but it is cold, and dry and not worth eating.
Breakfast in the dinning room is the best and the pizza is always hot and fresh,
Dinner was nice, thestaff perfect.
Our favorite entertainment was a total surprise. Rita Moreno the Oscar,Tony and Grammy winning actress gave a wonderful talk about the movies. She acted out several scenes and was very powerful as a speaker.
It seems when ever I go on a cruise I seem to run into the same people over and over again. To my surprise on this trip that person was none other than Rita Moreno!
She spent her time on the cruise not locked in a suite but out with the people having a grand time with her husband of 41 years and her daughter. Getting to spend even a little time with this wonderful woman was just frosting on this cruise cake.
We will be going again on Celebrity as soon as we can.
After not cruising on Celebrity for 2 years, (busy trying other cruise lines) we were anxious to see if they have changed. to our happy surprise for the most part the answer is no. The service and cleanliness is near perfect and we could not have had a more enjoyable cruise. We did find that the meats are not as tender as before, but on the whole everything was wonderful. The shows each night were fabulous. Especially the singers and dancers. They were the most professional group we have seen on any cruiseline.
The embarkation was not good, they were not organized and it seemed that they weren't sure on what they were to do with so many people who came earlier than the 1 pm boarding. But we made it thru the masses and finally were aboard one of our most favorite cruises. Alaska is a place not to miss. Even though my husband is disabled he was able to do enough of the tours to really enjoy it as much as the others who were on them with us.
We had a problem which could not be fixed,so we notified our TA when arriving home and he got it straightened out and we should be hearing from Celebrity shortly. The problem was a window washing machine stationed outside of our balcony. It made it hard for taking pictures, and as I have noted my husband is disabled and spends a lot of time on the balcony. it also was a concierge room and we were not told that there would be an obstruction to our views of the Alaskan scenery.
Our wait staff was some of the best we have had, and knowing that Celebrity does read the comment cards will move our waiter, Vernon Pilliay, to a higher position. His bright smile, personality and always trying to make it the best he could be. Even when we saw him in the buffet area he was always there to help us out. another thing I must compliment Celebrity on is how helpful they were in the buffet area, always someone there to carry my husband's tray for him. He uses a cane and this is the only company that seems to make it a point to help the disabled with this service. Another person I must mention is the asst. Matre D', Cassandra, she was the most enjoyable and quick to respond to any and all questions or problems. When she was told about how our table of 6 were having a hard time cutting our meats, she had the executive chef cooking our dinner meals for the rest of the cruise. Now that's what I call service! She made it a point to visit with every table in her area, when has that ever happened to us..... never. She is definitely going places in the company.
The tours were so much fun and informative, and debarking the ship after the cruise that morning was a sad time for us, but went very well. They had things moving along smoothly and had us in a cab for the airport in no time. I would definitely recommend this cruise to anyone who wants to have a relaxing, enjoyable and informative Alaska cruise, especially if you are disabled. Not having to sit in a bus tour for long hours was a pleasure.
We made our own flight reservations, and we also booked the hotel that Celebrity had offered, but did it on our own because the cost was much lower doing it ourselves. Tuscan Inn, a Best Western property, was right near Pier 39, where everything comes together for sight seeing San Francisco. It is a lovely smaller hotel with a nice Italian restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also having a happy hour around the fireplace in the main lobby with free wine, beers, sodas, and orderves. Don't know if this is allowed, but we returned to Scoma's seafood restaurant, a wonderful place to eat on Pier 47. After 5 years they haven't changed one bit, and even the price on the menu was the same.
One more thing is to tell you all to join the roll call for your ships, we have met so many wonderful people who have become friends. It just makes the time on the cruise even more enjoyable. Please email me if you want any furture information.