Infinity Reviews

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59 User Reviews of Infinity Cruise Ship

Southern Caribbean
Publication Date: January 19, 2002

Just returned from a fantastic trip. Really nothing negative to report. Booked a SKY suite and loved it. Butler service is a plus but no big deal...the room was warm and inviting. Spent more time in room than other cruises (10 total). The veranhda was worth it.

Food very good, service great and ship JUST BEAUTIFUL!!

Ports of call good but St. Croix not what I had been hoping for. First time on Celebrity and will return. I was asked if better that Princess...could not really say better...BOTH ARE GREAT!! Small differences ..not good or bad

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Southern Caribbean
Publication Date: January 5, 2002

My husband and I recently sailed the almost new Celebrity Infinity to the Southern Caribbean. This was our second cruise, the first one on its sister ship, Milennium. The Infinity is a beautiful, very well-designed ship which is elegant, yet comfortable. For a large ship, one can always find a private nook to lay comfortably on deck and have some quiet reading time. Or if you choose to be busy, there is always something to do -- cooking demonstration, gemology lecture (my personal favorite!), napkin folding demonstration, fruit/vegetable carving demonstration (phenomenal to watch!), karaoke, bingo, dancing lessons, trivia competitions -- the list just goes on and on! The shows were absolutely fabulous -- very enjoyable and entertaining.

The staff is extremely cordial and professional and always anxious to please. The first night I asked the asst. waiter for additional bread sticks with dinner and every night thereafter he served me extra bread sticks. When my husband's tuxedo button came loose, I asked someone for a needle and some black thread and found a small sewing kit in my cabin that evening. There were a few problems which I noticed, however. You don't always

get the seating you request. One woman commented that she requested an early seating 10 months in advance but was given a late seating, whereas there was supposedly a long waiting list for the late seating. There also seemed to be a lot of waiters/waitresses aggressively trying to sell drinks on deck poolside, rather than just being available to serve should you desire one. Those minor blemishes aside, we had a fabulous time and are anxious to plan our next cruise.
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Southern Caribbean
Publication Date: November 3, 2001

We sailed on a one-week cruise on the Infinity to the Southern Caribbean on November 3, 2001. Although there were a few minor annoyances, overall the vacation was absolutely fabulous. This review is aimed for future Infinity cruisers - heavy on specific tips, light on comparisons to other ships.

Let me describe us first, so you understand the context of some of the choices we made. My husband (Chuck) and I (Cher) are in our mid-fifties and have been married for four years (so we still count every vacation as a honeymoon). Chuck sells Spectrometers (instruments that do chemical analysis) and I retired from my job as a Project Manager in September. Although we have cruised three times before, on Carnival and NCL, we had no plans to take another cruise for a while.

Six weeks before the cruise, a co-worker of Chuck's was passing through Kansas City (our hometown), and mentioned that he (Rick) and his wife (Hwei Ping) were going on a cruise - on the exact ship and itinerary that I had already decided would, someday, be our next cruise. We decided to join them. (In a weak moment,

Chuck said "That might be nice." He gave me an opening and I "charged" right through by the end of the week.)

We got a great deal on the cruise. We booked a Category 7 Guarantee (Outside Cabinet on the lowest Deck) for about $600 pp. We also booked our airfare and a 2-night pre-cruise package through the cruise line. When we got our tickets from our travel agent, we were thrilled: our flights were very convenient and, most importantly, we had been upgraded to a Category 2B - a balcony! (It would have cost us $650 pp more if we had booked a 2C Guarantee.) I personally believe that booking a guarantee rather than a specific cabin made it easier for them to give us an upgrade.

Pre-cruise San Juan When we arrived in San Juan on Thursday afternoon, we never found anyone at the baggage claim area with a "Celebrity Cruises" sign for our transfer to the hotel. We ended up waiting over an hour for the bus that never showed up even after three calls. We finally ended up just taking a cab to the hotel . not a very promising start. On our last phone call - to the 800 number - we were told that we should have paged Celebrity from the baggage claim area. This was not in the instructions on the travel voucher so I don't know how we were supposed to know that.

We stayed two nights at the El Convento Hotel in Old San Juan. This hotel was an excellent choice - we cannot recommend it enough! Originally a convent, it is over 350 years old and has a great location right across from the Cathedral. It was extensively restored in 1997 at a cost that averaged about $275,000 per room. The five-story building surrounds a beautiful interior courtyard. Restaurants, bars, and shops are on the first two floors. The 58 rooms are on the third through fifth floors.

>From the concierge/front-desk, you walk along a balcony overlooking the courtyard to your room. Our room was small but beautifully furnished: a high comfortable bed with lovely linens and a huge carved headboard; an antique armoire which hid the TV, VCR, and stereo; a desk with a modem connection; a small table with two chairs; and a very comfortable easy chair with good lighting for reading. The bathroom was small but fully equipped with a hair dryer, second phone, thick towels and very nice toiletries.. The closet, though small, had a mini-frig (but no mini-bar), a safe, and an iron and ironing board. The old-fashioned louvered and balconied window looked down on an alley but even that view was charming - Old San Juan architecture across and walled gardens below.

The staff at the hotel was excellent - always helpful and professional. Each evening they served complimentary wine and cheese on a charming third- floor (guests-only) terrace with comfortable wrought iron tables and chairs and flowering vines cascading down the walls. This was a great way to meet other guests who were also going to be on the Infinity. Two flights up from the terrace was a small pool and hot tub with a great view and even more flowers. There was an honor bar available by the terrace the rest of the evening and a very nice continental breakfast in the morning.

We ate two dinners and a lunch at El Picoteo, the tapas bar on the second floor of El Convento. The food was very good, and the variety excellent. The beef tips and the chicken pie were especially good and the tapas portion was plenty for a full meal. The scallops were excellent on Thursday night but overcooked on Friday night so if they're not great, send them back. We had excellent service except for Friday night when the waitress's elevator did not make it to the top floor. On Thursday night, while having dinner, we met some other passengers who would be on the Infinity - Aron (whose Aunt Pauline would have a Penthouse Suite) and "Chuck's Harem," five beautiful, intelligent, funny women, sans husbands, with whom we ate dinner on Friday night.

If you have time in San Juan, be sure to walk around Old San Juan. The area is relatively small and the architecture is charming and streets very clean. There are lots of shops and in every shop they were more than willing to make a deal. The prices in San Juan were consistent with the rest of the islands, so if you see something you like, don't bother waiting to check prices on another island after you sail. A tour of the fort, El Morro, will only take about an hour but should not be missed. It was just a couple blocks uphill from El Convento. There are also two free trolleys that travel through Old San Juan with stops at the best sights.

Although we did not do it ourselves, we met several people who took a tour of the Bacardi Rum Factory and they thought it was great. Although you can take an organized excursion from a tour company, it is faster and cheaper to do it on your own. The key is to take the ferry across the bay and take a taxi from there to the factory. The tours (or a taxi from Old San Juan) drive you around the bay to the factory, which is the long (and expensive) way around. At the port area (on the southern side of Old San Juan), just ask "Donde es el bote de paso a la fábrica de Bacardi? {Where is the ferry to the Bacardi factory}?"

Our friends Rick and Hwei Ping stayed three nights at the Wyndham Old San Juan, right across from the pier and were very pleased with their choice. They said that their rooms were fine and that there was a very nice casino. Unfortunately, they couldn't find a lot of restaurants open nearby, which was their only complaint.

We were very happy that we had decided to do the pre-cruise. By the time we were ready to leave for the ship, the vacation was already a success. We were already relaxed and had made some wonderful new friends. I had packed a separate small suitcase just for San Juan, so getting ready to check out was easy . although it was hard to leave such a lovely hotel. The Infinity would have a tough act to follow.

Embarkation Again, we had troubles with our transfer. Although the travel voucher said that we would be picked up at 1:00, when we called (after waiting 20 minutes) we were told that it was really not scheduled until 2:00 but that they would have someone there at 1:30. We were surprised that Celebrity uses a local company that is so disorganized. But all was forgiven when we got our first sight of the Infinity - breathtaking. Carnival's Holiday was at the next dock and it was just dwarfed by our magnificent ship. Princess' Ocean Princess was nearby and, although lovely, it also was clearly an also-ran.

The process at the pier was excellent. Embarkation actually started at 12:30 and we arrived at the pier a few minutes after 2:00. Until we actually got on board, we never had to wait in line for more than 5 minutes for anything (metal-detector, sign-in, pictures). If you're going to want pictures, they have a $ 99 package that's a good deal that includes the embarkation photo. So, if you think that you're going to get the package, ask the photographer to take more than one picture so you have a choice.

At the top of the escalator is a booth giving out free samples from the duty-free liquor shop. Have a taste of the "Tropico." This is a mix of rum and fruit juices that I thought was very good and not too strong. No matter what it says in the cruise documents, passengers were openly bringing liquor and soda on board with absolutely no problem. (We saw guys bringing cases of beer onboard.) The duty- free shop had bottles of Tropico for about $8 (compared to about $5 for a single Mai Tai on the ship). They also had six-packs of soda for a reasonable price (compared to $1.75 for a can of soda on the ship). If you want to drink in your cabin, the duty-free shop is the place to go. Also, if you bring your own wine to dinner, they will serve it to you for a $6 corkage fee - most wines onboard started at $30 a bottle.

We did have to wait in line for almost a half-hour to get through the metal detector on the ship because they were taking digital ID pictures that were matched to your boarding pass. So, if you're going to shop at the duty-free shop, do it before you get on board so that you don't have to stand in line twice. Be patient because this will be the longest wait you'll have until Friday morning.

Saturday - On Board at Last Once you have your ID picture taken, a steward will escort you to your cabin. Since your luggage won't be there yet, it's a great time to explore the ship. There should be a copy of the Celebrity Newsletter on your bed to let you know what's going on. If you get onboard before 4:00, be sure to check out the buffet at the Oceanview Café on Deck 10. This will definitely keep you full until dinner.

Hopefully, you packed your swim suits in your carry-on bags because the hot tubs and Thallasotherapy Pool are open and waiting for you. They're also giving tours of the Fitness Equipment. If you're going to get any Spa treatments, this is a great time to make the appointments.

>From the time we got on board, it took about two hours for our luggage to appear outside our door. I'm going to describe our 2B cabin in excruciating detail because you still have time to decide what to pack. I think the cabins in lower categories are the same size and layout.

Above the TV is a large cabinet to store your purchases from the duty-free shop. Below the TV is a mini-bar with the normal overpriced stuff but it does have enough space to store a few cans/bottles of your own. To the right of the TV is a cabinet about two feet wide with the safe, a shelf with life jackets (to be stored under your bed after the life boat drill) and six small drawers (about six inches deep each). To the right of that is the closet which is about four feet wide. The shelf on top has two extra pillows, an extra blanket, and more life jackets. The top rod of the closet has 21 wooden hangers, 7 of which have clamps for skirts. There are rods at the back of the closet that fold out to make a lower second rod. I really regret that I left my hanging shoe bag at home (about $8 at K-Mart with pouches hanging down from a single hook). It would have been much easier to find shoes and small items if they were organized rather than piled up on the closet floor. There is a tie-rack on the back of the closet.

The bathroom is small but had plenty of storage space. There are two corner shelves for toiletries, a large counter next to the sink, a large two-shelf cabinet under the sink, and several hooks on the back of the door. There is also a good hair dryer but there are no outlets in the bathroom for electric rollers and/or curling irons.

On the bed were two very thick beach towels to use on shore excursions. The two nightstands each have two nice deep drawers. Unless your suitcases are extra-deep, they can be stored (along with all those life jackets) under the beds. The wall opposite the bed was mirrored floor-to-ceiling in order to create the illusion of more space.

The desktop is very small: with a laptop and electric curlers there was only six inches of top left over. There are small shelves for additional storage under the desk. We could only find two (three-prong at least) outlets next to the desk. The best thing that we remembered to pack was a one-to-three extension cord.

Besides the newsletter, there will be two other books to check out in your cabin. One describes the Infinity in detail. The other holds stationary, postcards, and a deck plan. Empty this book out immediately because when you remember to pack the materials on Friday night it will have disappeared along with your beach towels. There was one channel on the TV that played (and replayed) detailed descriptions of the next day's shore excursions. On another channel, there were descriptions of the ports, including shopping.

We found our table assignment on a card on the desk. We were at table # 436 which was on the main floor just beyond the glass table at the foot of the stairs. This was an excellent location but surprisingly, although it was a table for eight, it ended up that only four people were sitting there. I would suggest that after you get your table number, check with the Maitre D' to see where it is located. If it's not in the center part of the main floor, ask if there are any seats available at better-located tables. The Maitre D' and the all-important seating charts will be in the Rendezvous Lounge before dinner the first night at a table aft (towards the back) on the port side (left as you're facing the front of the ship).

Having misplaced Rick and Hwei Ping, we were seated with a group of five from England that we really enjoyed meeting. They had chosen this particular cruise because they could visit with their son, Andrew Lee, who was the Dance Captain. This group was a perfect example of one of the advantages of Open Seating in the Dining Room - you get to meet charming people.

After dinner, we had Jamaican Coffee (excellent - Kahlua, Rum, Coffee, Whipped Cream) in the Redezvous Lounge as we listened to a really good duo. From there we went to check out Michael's Club, which is elegant and quiet and usually almost empty. It's a wonderful place to have a nice relaxing conversation.

The lifeboat drill took place at 10:30 pm. At about 10:15 they started removing ashtrays from the smoking areas, turning on the lights, and reminding people that they had to finish their drinks because they would not be able to take them to their muster stations. I bring this up because 10:14 is not the time to order a very expensive snifter of brandy that should be slowly sipped.

They take the lifeboat drill very seriously, as they should. I thought it was funny that, in this day and age, they still had the women line up on deck in front of the men. (In case of a real emergency, the men should be instructed to pass their credit cards forward.) We were treated to a great sight - the Ocean Princess sailed at 10 - all the lights were turned on, the ship is all white, the water in the bay is black, and the San Juan shoreline is in the background - what a bonus!

As soon as the lifeboat drill ended, we headed up to Deck 10 for the party (and later, buffet). The band was great, the cruise staff was helping out on the dance floor, and everybody seemed to be having a great time. The average age of passengers seemed to be about 50 but the range was from a few small kids to the couple who won the rum cake because they had been married the longest - 52 years. This couple, whom I met the next day, were perfectly willing to dance to the Electric Slide in order to qualify for their prize. I would suggest that, no matter how tired you are, you at take at least a few minutes to check out this party. We only stayed until the casino opened a little after the ship sailed at 11. (None of this 12 miles out business.)

Gambling Chuck and I are not gamblers at home but, on a cruise ship, we love the casino. You get to know the dealers and the other players. The odds are generally not as good as in Las Vegas but the dealers and the smallness make it a very pleasurable experience. Most of the dealers were from English-speaking countries, especially Australia and South Africa. They have plenty of machines (slots and video poker) and tables for Caribbean Stud Poker, Blackjack, Roulette, and Craps. They do not have any tables for playing regular poker. We were not aware of it until we got on board but you can get up to $1,500 in chips per day charged to your onboard account. This is fee-free, compared to bringing Traveler's Checks or using the ATM.

I am a math major at heart so I play strategically rather than by hunch. Chuck plays my way because I usually come close to breaking even, never lose a lot, and sometimes win a lot. Of course, the best strategy is not to play at all. I only played four games because I knew the best strategies (from reading books on gambling, especially by Frank Scoblete) and because the odds were worth the entertainment value.

Caribbean Stud Poker: This is Chuck's favorite game. The strategy is simple to remember which makes it easy to socialize with the other players. Unlike blackjack, nothing that you do can affect another player so the comaraderie is excellent - the players against the dealer.

Video Poker: I lost $60 in these machines until I realized how bad the payback was. All the machines have the same payback on Jacks or Better: less than 75%. Compare that to the average machine in Las Vegas that pays 95% or better. The chance of getting a Royal Flush (with perfect strategy) is 1 in over 40,000. That's a lot of button pushing to get a payback of $1,000. I've got a strategy for Jacks or Better but will not include it here to protest the low payback.

Slot Machines: Let me begin by saying that at about 2:00 am on Wednesday morning, I hit a 10,000 coin jackpot on a Quarter machine and won $ 2,500. Now that I have your attention, let me describe the two slot machines that we called "The ATMs." To locate The Quarter Machine: Enter the Casino from the starboard (right when facing forward) side of the Rendezvous Lounge. Just as you enter it, there is a ramp going down. To the left of the railing of the ramp are two slot machines. Both machines are called "Free and Easy" but you want to play the machine on the left. To make sure that you are playing the right machine ask Augustino (a very tall, thin, blonde waiter) if it's the machine on which "Miss Cheryl" won the jackpot. We played this machine 20 times with a $20 deposit ($400 invested). Not counting the jackpot, we collected about $600. It's hard to find an investment that returns 50%. Our sessions were split pretty evenly between (1) ending up with $0, (2) approximately breaking even, and (3) at least doubling our investment - up to about $120 twice. There were only two times that we put in $20 and did not get at least one "Free and Easy."

To locate The Dollar Machine: Go down the ramp and through the casino toward the front of the ship. The last machine on your left, facing the front of the ship, is exactly the same machine as the quarter machine but takes dollars. We played this machine 8 times with a $50 investment, using a $ 50 "stop-loss." For our $400 investment, we cashed out a total of about $600. There were two sessions in which we never even got one "Free and Easy." Twice I left with over $200.

Sunday - St. Croix We found St. Croix to be very disappointing. The scenery, shopping, excursions, and activities are much better on the other islands. The next time, we'll probably just stay on board and relax. Even though we're still in port, the casino opened at 2:00, when they offered lessons. This was the night of the first formal dinner. Everyone was really dressed up. Almost all the men were wearing suits and some (maybe 20%) were in tuxedos. All the women were gussied-up. We had early dinner which started at 6:00 so we got to the Captain's party at about 5:15. We got seats in the Café Milano on Deck 5 and enjoyed the free champagne and canapés. Everyone looked so elegant - this should not be missed! {The late seating, by the way, was even dressier - about 40% tuxedos.}

This was our first meal at our assigned table. The location, on the lower level right in front of the glass table at the foot of the stairs, was excellent. Rick and Hwei Ping skipped dinner this night because his suitcase with his formal clothes had been left behind somewhere and his tuxedo hadn't arrived in time for dinner. We had four other empty seats at our table for the whole week - what a waste of a great location and fantastic waiter.

Juan was from Uruguay, incredibly charming, very handsome, and provided excellent service. Unfortunately for future passengers, this would be his next-to-last week before his vacation. He was training for the S.S. United States Specialty Restaurant, so you might be able to meet him next year there. The hours that he had to put in were a real shock: Breakfast from 6:00 to after 10:00, Lunch from 11:30 to after 2:00, training in the afternoon, Dinner from 5:30 to 10:30, plus some nights also working the Midnight Buffets. If he got more than four hours of sleep at night, he considered himself very lucky. Despite these hours, he was unfailingly cheerful (although by Friday night he looked very tired). Although perfectly professional, he took some time every night just to chat with us about himself and his job - we really enjoyed our conversations with him.

Our Assistant Waiter was very sweet (although his English was rather weak). We never had to ask for more water, a dish to be cleared, or anything else. His big job was to serve the dressings and sauces - he seemed very proud of them . if you were willing to take an extra spoonful or two, he also gave you a beautiful smile. If his English becomes more conversational, he will make a great waiter some day.

Rather than list what we each had each night . everything that we ordered was excellent! Your choice should really just be what you have a taste for that evening (with a little guidance from your waiter) - although you can't go wrong with the Chef's Recommendations that are printed on the left side of your menu. One evening, Rick's medium- well turned out to be medium-rare. He didn't mention anything about it to Juan until he was done eating. Rick has a towering figure - broad shoulders and well over six foot. It was really entertaining to watch him cower under the force of Juan's polite scolding: "If we do not serve you exactly what you desire, tell me immediately, my job is to ensure that you are 1000% satisfied."

Sunday night, after dinner, we saw the first big production show in the Celebrity Theater. The seats were very comfortable although I think that the best view was from the middle of the lower balcony (on Deck 4). The show had scenes from several Broadway shows and we thought it was great. There are five singers and ten dancers, good costumes and scenery, and some nice lighting effects. It only lasted about an hour. Be sure to see the "Spectacle of Broadway." All the singers and dancers were excellent but we were on the lookout for "Andrew" - he was absolutely outstanding!

The Infinity daily has a coupon in it for the casino. This is the only night that they had the coupon. By the time we realized that we could get something for free and went down to Guest Relations at 5:00 pm, all the "Sunday Specials" inserts were gone so we had to make do with just the one coupon. The coupon is for a $5 match-play between 10 pm and midnight. When you use it, win or lose, you get a two-for-one drink coupon. So even if you lose your bet, you still break even because of the free drink.

Monday - St. Lucia St. Lucia was beautiful. We took the catamaran sail to Soufriere and the Morne Coubaril Estate. The middle section of the boat had seats, shade, and the open bar. There was also lots of open deck for people who want some sun. The view of St. Lucia was breathtaking and we were under sail for most of the trip. Once in Soufriere we went in very comfortable air-conditioned vans to the drive- in volcano where we got a very nice guided tour with a nice view of bubbling vents. It was short but we really liked it. There were locals selling stuff at the entrance but we just said "No, Thank You." After that, we reboarded the vans for our trip to the plantation. Here we got another guided tour, this one lasting over an hour. The demonstrations were very well done and very informative.

After the plantation, we got back on the catamaran for a buffet lunch. The food was very good - especially the breadfruit, which I had never had before. Then we set sail again to a very nice beach for an hour of swimming. They did not have any rafts or snorkeling gear on board, so, if you want equipment, you will have to bring your own. We skipped swimming and just stayed on board to read - somebody had to guard the Rum Punch in case of pirates. After that we sailed back to the ship. For the entire day they served unlimited rum punch, juice, and soda. We highly recommend this Shore Excursion.

We talked to several people who took the "Land and Sea" instead and they were all very happy with their choice as well. We got back about 3:30 which left us just enough time to check out the nice shopping mall right at the pier. Monday night's entertainment was a Ventriloquist that we skipped but our friends Rick and Hwei Ping went to the show and really liked it.

Tuesday - Barbados Between the rum punch on the catamaran and a long night in the casino, I needed to sleep in on Tuesday morning but Chuck went on the morning tour to Harrison's Cave and the Flower Farm. Luckily for him, part of "Chuck's Harem" was on the same tour so . no chance of being bored. He really enjoyed the entire tour - most especially, the cave tour. They gave him a hard hat and drove him through in an electric tram. He also enjoyed walking through the Flower Farm that is really more a Botanical Garden than a farm. I checked out the shopping mall at the pier and thought that it was very nice - plenty of stores with a nice variety. Although the walk down the pier was not too long, they also had a free shuttle from the ship to the mall.

In the afternoon, we took separate tours. Chuck went on the Snuba Adventure. This was good for someone who is not a certified scuba diver. The face mask, breathing apparatus, weight belt, and fins were the same as for scuba but the oxygen tanks floated on a raft on the surface. He was attached to the tanks by a long air hose.

I don't like to swim so I took a ride on the Atlantis submarine. This was fantastic! You get about 45 minutes under the water and go down to 150 feet, much deeper than divers can go. The submarine was very comfortable, the water crystal- clear, and I've never seen such beautiful coral and so many fish. The second mate, "Len" described everything as we saw it. I highly recommend The Atlantis Submarine.

Coming back, I shared a bus with passengers who had gone on the Jolly Roger party cruise. They were still having a great time! Rick and Hwei Ping went on the "Kayak and Turtle Encounter Tour." Despite the fact that she had another near- drowning experience, they both had a great time and were very proud that they were able to keep up with "the younger crowd." Chuck wanted to check his e-mail that afternoon and get some work done but the internet connection was down. Actually, it ended up being down for the rest of the week - due to server problems in Miami. When we talked to some of the crew members (who shall go nameless) they said that they have computer problems a lot. So . don't plan on working - after all, you're on a vacation. The Internet connections on land that we were able to find allowed access to the internet but did not allow him to plug in his laptop which he needed to be able to do to get through his firewall.

That night, because we had enjoyed the "Spectacle of Broadway" so much, we went to the "They've Got Rhythm" production. This was very disappointing. Besides microphone problems, the costumes were boring, the sets dreadful, and even the choreography was poor. Since it was the same talent, it was certainly not their fault - the production itself was at fault. I would suggest that you skip "They've Got Rhythm."

That night, we were really hot in the casino. This was the night that I won my jackpot. Besides 25 $100 bills, I got a free T-shirt that said Celebrity Jackpot Winner. Because we were in international waters, it was tax-free. That was the night we could do no wrong and closed the casino at 2:30 am. (Thank God we could sleep late the next morning!)

Wednesday - At Sea They had several classes during the day: Napkin Folding, Culinary Demonstration, Mixology, Vegetable Carving, Ribbon Roses, and Wine Appreciation. In the afternoon, there was a Slots tournament and a Blackjack tournament. We missed the Elegant Afternoon Tea in the dining room. People who went to it thought it was just great!

I entered the Blackjack tournament. For $20, you received $1,000 in fake chips. You get seven hands to play. At the end of it, they count your money. The names of the seven highest winners go on a board. The players for the next round have to win more to get on the board. The key seems to be to play as late as possible so that you know how much you need to win. Unlike regular Blackjack, in this game, it does not pay to play conservatively. For the last round, the amount to beat to get into the final was only $1,775. (I know because it was me - but I got bumped out on the very last round). For the final, the top seven players start over with $1,000 in fake chips and play seven hands again. The prizes were 1st - $500, 2nd - $300, and 3rd - $100. Although they started playing at 3:00 pm, they did not play the last round until about 4:30 pm. On our first night in San Juan, we had met Aron at dinner at El Picoteo. He invited us to a cocktail party in his aunt's Penthouse Suite on the afternoon at sea. Chuck went to this and it was fantastic. The suite itself is incredible: huge teak decks, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, a wet bar on the balcony, a private exercise room, a grand piano, huge sitting and dining areas, and everything was flawlessly appointed and decorated. The party was elegant and perfect: live music, drinks, food, and a charming host. Good news for Chuck - his entire harem was in attendance. The dress code that night was Tropical Casual, so it was a great night to show off your favorite loud and splashy purchases. Although we skipped it, people who saw the comedian that night thought he was hilarious. Up at the pool was a great party and a really spectacular Fruit and Sherbert Buffet.

Thursday - Antigua Another great island. In the morning all four of us took the Panoramic Drive to Nelson's Dockyard Shore Excursion. The drive itself is not very scenic, but Nelson's Dockyard is worth the trip. This is an excellent restoration and the short guided tour is good. You also get a free drink - more rum punch - at a beautifully restored building. There are two more stops for spectacular views. Locals were selling T-shirts etc. and some very reasonable beaded jewelry. Although they are rather aggressive in trying to make a sale, I thought the jewelry was nicer, for the price, than anything I had seen in any of the islands' shops. Just before we got back on the ship, we checked out the internet café. This turned out to be a single computer that did not allow you to plug in your own laptop so Chuck still couldn't work - but they had great Mango Lime Daiquiris. We got back to the ship in plenty of time for a nice leisurely lunch in the dining room. This tour was well worth the time.

In the afternoon, we were on a quest to meet "The Yoda Guy." In the shopping area right at the pier is the Island Arts Gallery. It's on the second floor, in the building just pass the round covered bench area on the street that is an extension of the pier. In the loft above the gallery you can meet Nick Maley. He did makeup and special effects for all three Star Wars movies and is both a talented artist and a fascinating conversationalist. We bought

· some original Star Wars memorabilia for my son's 25th birthday on which Nick wrote a personal message (he was absolutely thrilled - I am now the Mom of the Year!), · a numbered print of his autobiographical painting for ourselves (# 37 of 195), · two small unlimited edition prints of the same painting for our children (on which he autographed and wrote personal messages for them) · a map of the southern Caribbean (on which he drew our route and a personal message).

Do not miss a visit to "The Yoda Guy." If you have time before you leave, check out his web site at www.yodaguy.com.

After our great time with Nick, we went up to Hemingway's for a relaxing drink on the balcony. I thought that the Hemingway's Special was great. On the way back to the ship, I jogged to the left and discovered the shops at Redcliffe Quay. This was a very nice little shopping area compared to the rest of the pier area. I suggest that you start your shopping tour by hanging a right at the end of the pier, walking along the wooden dock to the shops. When you've finished there, you can still cut through to get to the more tacky Heritage Quay on your quest for The Yoda Guy. That evening was the last formal night. Dinner included Broiled Lobster Tails, which were excellent. I warned our waiter that I would need more than one - No Problem! Actually, you could order any main course and still get a lobster tail with it. At the end of dinner, the chefs and maitre d's were introduced, followed by a parade of waiters to thunderous applause. {Our waiter, Juan, by the way, was absolutely outstanding. Unfortunately, by the time you cruise, he will be on vacation.} Do not miss this Dinner!

Although we had been disappointed with the Tuesday night production, we gave the Celebrity Showtime one more chance. "Classique - The Creation" was the best show we have ever seen on any cruise! The production was flawless, the talent exceeded themselves, the specialty act was dynamite and our hands got sore from clapping. This was also the night that we took an up-close look at the flames on the wall and discovered how they worked.

Finally, I had to drag Chuck from the casino to "Le Grand Buffet." From 11:45 to 12:15, you can view the buffet to take pictures or videos. Do not pass up the chance to take pictures/videos of this incredible display. By the time we got there at 12:30, passengers had already started eating but it was still gorgeous. There were 12 separate ice sculptures, mirrored platters of appetizers with fantastically carved garnishes, a selection of main courses including Beef Wellington, at least two dozen different desserts, and a Bread Train that you might miss but is great. It only took us about 15 minutes to get through the entire line.

Friday - St. Thomas Friday morning we had to present our passports before getting off the ship. This was the only time that we thought the process was very badly organized. Of 1,850 passengers, every U.S. citizen had to show their passport to one Immigration Officer. I assume that Celebrity can't control the number of Immigration Officials but they could have reduced the amount of waiting time or at least made it more pleasant.

The day before, you will receive a letter in your cabin that you must bring along the next morning. It tells you what time to go to the Celebrity Theater. We were scheduled for 8:45 and showed up about 8:30. The line snaked back to the Casino. Since they didn't look at the times on the letters, we could have gotten in line sooner and saved some time.

They are not kidding about bringing the letter with you. Rick and Hwei Ping forgot their's and had to stand in line twice. When we read the newsletter, we thought that everybody had to be cleared through Immigration before anyone could leave the ship so there was no reason to rush. This was not true. Once you are cleared, you can leave. Although they didn't announce it, if you had tickets for a morning shore excursion, you could go out with the next group as soon as you gave them your letter and got a group number. Everyone else had to sit in the theater for at least a half hour waiting for their group number to be called. They were showing CNN but the wait would have been better if they had had some of the entertainers performing.

I would suggest that, no matter what time is on your letter, you get in line by 8:00 am. If you have a morning shore excursion, cruise right through with the next group.

We had a morning shore excursion to Coral World. This was great. The tour allowed 90 minutes which was just enough time to see everything. We did not sign up for it (and it was cancelled anyway because of rough waters) but they also offered Sea Trekkin'. They give eight people special shoes and helmets and lead them on a walk along the ocean floor. Next time we're in St. Thomas, we have to do this. We had just enough time to get a "Shark Bite" - a really good drink from the Shark Bar & Grill. After this, we made two stops for pictures (fabulous views) before getting to downtown Charlotte Amalie. The drive back to the ship from downtown took over a half hour because of traffic. Coral World is great but I would take a cab instead, include Sea Trekkin, take my time at Coral World, have the cab driver show me the great views and skip downtown.

In the afternoon, we went shopping at the 50 stores at Havensight Mall right at the pier. (There is a free shuttle from the ship to the mall.) There was lots of variety in the stores and the prices were very reasonable. Just behind the mall is Cohen's Discount Store. This store was great - more liquor selection than any of the other shops and a great selection of hand-painted clothing (with the artist right there to do custom work). We didn't learn the best St.Thomas shopping tip until the next day in San Juan at the airport - a couple who had spent a week on St. Thomas told us that the best liquor prices were at the K-Mart (their example was a bottle that was $48 at A.H. Rise and $32 at K-Mart).

Our luggage tags were in our room when we got back so we started packing. I had packed an empty duffel bag for our dirty clothes so we had extra room in our regular suitcases for all of our purchases. This made packing a lot easier. We also kept one small rollabout for last minute packing in the morning. We got our big bags out to the halls before dinner so we were able to have a nice relaxing evening.

Saturday - Homeward Bound In the morning, we sorted what we still had in the room into two groups: things we wanted in our carryon bags for the plane and things that we wanted to pack in our rollabout to be checked at the airport. At 8:00 am, the steward knocked on our door and we were ready to leave. We followed our waiter's excellent advice and went to the dining room for a nice leisurely breakfast. By the time we finished, they were just about to call our color.

We sat around for an extra half-hour visiting with our friends. That way when we went down to collect our luggage, it was really easy to find since the area had been cleaned out. Leaving the ship, getting our luggage, and handing in our customs form was just a walk-through - no waiting at all. We did have to wait in line about a half-hour for the bus to the airport. (There were two separate lines depending on which airline you needed --- be sure that you're in the right line.) We got to the airport about 11:00 am for a 2:00 pm flight. The wait to check-in at American was about 30 minutes. We then had to wait about 30 minutes longer for our baggage to be checked. The wait for the metal detector was only about 5 minutes. If we had a later flight, it would have been a good idea to get to the airport by cab, complete the check-in, store the carry-ons in a locker, and take a cab back to Condado or Old San Juan until about 90 minutes before our boarding time.

Regrets "I have a few . but then again . too few to mention." We had a great time but (despite the song lyrics) there are a few things I would have done differently:

· When arriving at the airport, when I couldn't find the Celebrity greeter, I should have used an airport page to find him/her. · I should have skipped the tour to the Camuy Caves in San Juan and gone to El Yunque and the Bacardi Factory instead. · I should have signed up for the $ 99 picture package and taken more pictures of the ship. (I bought their package of 22 generic ship photos instead.) · I should have spent more time in the Thallosotherapy Pool and had lunch from the spa. - Skipping St. Croix Shore Excursions would have been a great time to do this. · I should have brought a hanging shoe bag. · We should have had more breakfasts and lunches in the dining room. · We should have had dinner in the United States specialty restaurant - this is my biggest regret. · We should have gone to the Elegant Tea Time on Wednesday. (Although this does conflict with the end of the Blackjack Tournament.) · We should have danced more - I blame Chuck for this! · I should have brought some walkie-talkies for when we got separated. Twice we had lunch at the same time but in two different places.

Our Favorite Experiences It's hard to narrow the list down to only ten. I'll have to use just about every complimentary adjective I know (and do some combining) but here are the memories that we will cherish (in chronological order).

· El Convento - We loved everything about this fabulous hotel in Old San Juan: the location, the ambiance, the staff, the room, socializing with the other guests at Wine & Cheese, and El Picoteo. · The Infinity - At first sight, she was clearly the most beautiful ship in San Juan Harbor. Once on board and exploring, we found the layout very well-organized, a variety of different interesting areas (including lots of quiet places for relaxing), and fantastic design and decorations (including absolutely fabulous artwork). · The Balcony - Sometimes you get more than you pay for. Although our cabin itself was the standard 170 square feet, the additional 38 square feet of the balcony made all the difference. Chuck spent time almost every afternoon just relaxing on the balcony, having a drink, reading his book, and watching the ship leave port. My favorite balcony- time was at bedtime - I'd get in pj's, pour a bedtime drink, and just watch the moonlight on the water - this was especially gorgeous on our first night out when I could see the lights of Puerto Rico in the distance. · The Meals - Celebrity is justifiably famous for their five-star food. Our first impression was the lunch buffet when we boarded - this was not the typical burgers and brats that we were expecting: salads, cold cuts, several hot entrees and vegetables, a carving station, and lots of desserts. The real test however would be the meals in the main dining room and each meal (both the food and the service) was excellent. While it's faster to have breakfast and lunch in the buffet and the food is good, the breakfasts and lunches in the main dining room were better - and, as a major bonus, because of open seating you get to meet and chat with other passengers. Dinners, of course, were over the top. Each of the five courses had several excellent choices and our waiter and his assistant performed flawlessly. · The Casino - Serious gamblers (who want the best odds) won't be on a cruise, they'll be in Las Vegas. The atmosphere in the casino on a cruise is very easy-going: low stakes, friendly and helpful dealers, and low pressure. Of course, we liked the casino because we won overall plus I hit a $2,500 jackpot on a 25¢ slot machine. But even if we hadn't won, we still would have enjoyed ourselves. Because the dealers and pit bosses are part of the cruise staff, their attitude is different from the staff on a land-based casino: they are there to enhance your cruise experience rather than to win your money. The players seem to reflect the same attitude - everyone we met seemed to just be having fun playing for small stakes - the intensity that you see in Las Vegas was happily missing. · The Entertainment - Granted, we spent a lot of time in the casino and therefore missed a lot of the entertainment. Two of the production shows that we saw - Spectacle of Broadway and Classique - were outstanding. We always enjoyed the entertainment in the Rendevous Lounge - Adam & Angela and (yes, it's true) the Karaoke. The Opus band that played at the sail-away party up at the pool the first night was great - they got lots of passengers out on the dance floor. At the other end of the party-on spectrum, Gordon played requests on the piano in Michael's club in a quiet, elegant, practically deserted room. · In St. Lucia, The Catamaran Shore Excursion - This was an excellent combination of relaxed sailing along a beautiful coastline, sightseeing, food and drink, and swimming at a deserted beach. The boat was very clean and comfortable with seating in the sun or in the shade. The perfect weather didn't hurt either. The staff was pleasant and the rum punch outstanding.

· In Barbados, The Atlantis Submarine - We've been to The Great Barrier Reef twice, but I enjoyed this dive even more. The Atlantis submerged down to 150 feet, where divers can't go. The windows were huge and the view was spectacular. We saw a shipwreck, lots of different coral formations and countless fish (some only inches from the window). The water was crystal-clear and I was surprised that, even at that depth, there was so much light. Since you're not supposed to touch coral or feed the fish anyway, it was much more comfortable staying dry and much more informative since our commentator explained everything that we were seeing.

· In Antigua, The Yoda Guy - We didn't hear about Nick until someone on our tour on Thursday morning mentioned him. My son (left at home to watch the dogs and go to classes) had turned 25 on Monday and is a Star Wars fanatic. We were able to get him some authentic Star Wars memorabilia on which Nick wrote a personal message for him. Although his artwork is very good, the highlight was actually talking with him. He has had a fascinating life (including being nominated for an Emmy) and is a great story-teller. The best part of our visit with him was that he so clearly enjoys sharing his experiences with visitors.

The People For us, the one thing that makes or breaks a vacation is the people we meet. Because everything on the Infinity is so well-done, both the passengers and the crew are clearly happy to be onboard. Because everyone is enjoying themselves, everyone is friendly. The cruise staff was outstanding: almost always pleasant and attentive and providing perfect service. Despite the fact that there were 1,850 passengers, we only experienced two lines where the wait was exceptionally long: taking ID pictures on boarding and examining passports in St. Thomas. Everything else was well-organized which made the cruise experience very pleasant for the passengers. No wonder all the passengers seemed to be having a great time: a beautiful ship, few hassles, lots to do, quiet areas for relaxing, lovely islands (except for St. Croix), and great food and service. Although we were not joined at the hip, we got to spend time with Rick and Hwei Ping - an old crazy friend and a genuinely nice lady.

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Alaska
Publication Date: September 7, 2001

After 6 previous sailings on Celebrity ships, I thought I knew what to expect on the Infinity. To my disappointment, the food, service and overall design of the vessel hit a sour note. While I admit from land and sea the vessel looks beautiful. The ship also has some of the smoothest and vibration free 'rides'of any ship thatI have sailed in the last 30-35 cruises.To me the ship has "no personality" or "warmth". Several of the longstanding Celebrity crew made the same observation. The food was not up to Celebrity standards both in quality and limited selection in buffet areas.

Dinning room service was beyond slow and it wasn't just our waiter.It took us the whole meal time just to get the main meal.(waiter said he had been with the line for 9 years, but thats hard for me to believe). My major dissatisfaction along with the food was our cabin. The layout was so poor that when the lower beds were open you had to walk on top of the beds in order to get to the bathroom. Our stateroom was not a suite, but a deluxe outside with a

balcony and the price tag wasn't cheap. Even when the beds were made up, space was minimal and the whole setup was poor. (we had 4 people in this cabin)and never had problems on the Mercury, Galaxy and other older ships of Celebrity.

I will be looking forward to my Galaxy cruise to New England in late May/early June and know the ship will be more to my liking.

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Alaska
Publication Date: August 10, 2001

My wife and I took our first cruise on Celebrity's Infinity to Alaska Inland Passage for August 10-17, 2001.

We live on Vancouver Island BC Canada, so on Friday morning we went to the bus terminal and took the daily Cruise Bus to Vancouver which leaves at 10 am and arrives about 2pm at the dock. Its about $63 return CDN for each of us.

The bus leaves and goes on a ferry which then takes us direct, best part was our bus driver after dropping us at terminal then drives bus to baggage area and off loads for us. I gave him a tip for that !

Going on board was done within 30 minutes as we had our papers all filled out and used our cc as ship charges. Vancouver Port has many folks directing you, as you proceed they take a photo , then your papers are checked, onboard charge card is given and you proceed to gangway. As you enter the ship, your picture is taken with your card inserted, a line up of stewards is waiting and one then takes you to your cabin. They show

you around and warn you about lifeboat drill which in our case was to be at 5pm and its now around 3pm.

It's our first cruise, so we examine the cabin, find the safe and agree on a combination which is six digits and leading zeros do not cut it. We decide to eat, so to the Ocean Grill which is deck 10 and we are on Sky deck 10 cabin 9126.

Back to cabin and because we did not read all of the ship news, miss out out on tours behind the scenes. Life Boat drill is at 5pm and we had already checked out where Muster Station D is , on Deck four at Rendezvous Lounge. Drill is in three languages then on to actual Lifeboat section which is still occurring as ship departs at 545pm, only 15 minutes before supper.

We had first seating and they close doors 15 minutes later, next time around we will go second seating as we are late breakfast folks. Our recommendation is they make main restaurant meals as open seating for breakfast and lunch which means you have two hours to arrive and maintain supper as fixed.

The meals were excellent and the service was excellent in the Trellis restaurant. In our case we used the wine steward frequently and she (Ivana) was very helpful and knowledgeable about French, European and American wines as we are used to BC and Australian wines and European. The wine can be opened and used the next night so we averaged about five bottles and spent around $30-$40 a bottle. Everything is in US $ The menus themselves are extensive, at least five services per menu (appetizer, soup, salads, main course, desert) including breakfast and lunch. At times we were given a sorbet to quench ones appetite.

If you wish , you can use the Ocean Grill which is open most of the time for full menus but it is serve yourself though they have folks to carry your trays if you ask or it looks like you need help and once they picked up my wife's tray right away. Finding a table was not an issue though the lines might be long depending on time you came.

One of the problems we found was charging you for a seven-up on the pool deck or $6.50 for a Hot Chocolate with a mug on the Glacier day, we ignored that offer.

Coffee and tea and juice from a machine were always available from the Ocean Grill and if you ordered prior to 4am you could have breakfast in bed or ordered room service anytime .

The cabin was great for us as we also had a deck to sit on and it had a sofa bed aside from the bed itself. We were able to hang all our clothes (two suitcases) up and store our shirts / blouses / socks. Suit case's went under the bed and we still had storage space in the desk provided. The bathroom was small but easy to move in and every time we left after using it, we came back to clean towels ! The safe worked great and second day out we blew the combination attempts , called up cabin steward and within five minutes , our head housekeeper came with a palm pilot type unit and reset the safe for us.

We ignored most of the excursions but night prior to Skagway docking , we ordered tickets for the "Skagway Yellow Streetcar" at around midnight on the TV In-house Channel and woke up to tickets on our door. That's service...

We mainly walked the decks or read and never had a problem finding a lounge chair. Great part is they supply real woolen blankets and someone is around to take orders for grill food or drinks.

Shopping onboard runs from some affordable to who can buy this stuff. Overall if you wait for the specials then it makes sense in terms if you really needed a new watch or pearls or souvenirs or diamonds.

Entertainment was fine especially if you realize you are having in seven nights what you might do over two years and together as a couple. in our case I'd sit listening to a tenor and then my wife would sit with me , listening to a harpist in the Cova cafe.

A neat thing was the Internet area, though expensive at $0.95 a minute, one does not need to have an internet account to SEND an email, only know the E-Mail ID to send to and of course be a fast typist. I was impressed as all I did was select email only SEND option.. A good feature.

My travel agent sent us a bottle but I also ordered a surprise for my wife which she took care of and it arrived.

Wonderful quiet areas on the ship to relax in, WORDS library, Games area, and on deck three , the starboard side, about three tables to view and relax, away from crowds. On deck 12 , on bow section , great area outdoor to see ship move with lounge chairs. A wonderful recital group playing music at supper and scheduled times.

I could go on, our embarkation was done within 30 minutes , the Celebrity crew are well organized, at least for Vancouver Port.

I rate our experience as a five star and the Infinity is a class ship.

Oh, yes, In Skagway the Captain exercised a life boat drill for the crew with all life boats in the water and a man overboard drill. In Ketchican , thye ran tenders every 15 minutes from 9am to 3pm when they than docked till 8pm

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Alaska
Publication Date: July 20, 2001

My wife and I just returned from the July 20, 2001 sailing on Infinity to the Inside Passage. First of all, I want to express our appreciation for the advice that we read here at CruiseMates prior to the trip. Much of it proved to be very helpful. We went to Vancouver on the day prior to sailing and stayed at the Delta Pinnacle Hotel, a very nice establishment located near Canada Place. The rooms have panoramic views and we were fortunate that our room let us see Infinity arrive at 6:30 on Friday morning. The hotel has a nice fitness center, provides robes and an umbrella, and advertises a very attractive rate on HelloBC.com. We got to and from Vancouver Airport very conveniently by cab. Embarkation was very smooth; we were on the ship at noon. Disembarkation was similarly easy. Captain's Club got us off the ship by 8:30 when there was no wait for a cab. On the previous Friday I had noticed a very long queue for taxis at 10 a.m. Citing the current bus strike, Celebrity is selling a US$14 bus transfer to the airport, but

for us the taxi was a much faster and less expensive alternative. As a consequence, we were checked into our homeward bound flight by 9:10 a.m. and passed through U.S. customs and the airport tax counter with no hassle; others told us that an hour later the lines became very long, just as they had been for Canadian customs when we had arrived around noon the previous week. Vancouver itself remains one of our favorite cities; the walk along the seawall from Canada Place into Stanley Park is scenic and relaxing.

Infinity is a very nice ship, and this from the perspective of someone who booked a ROS and wound up with a mid-ship inside cabin on the Plaza Deck. The cabin "seemed" a tad smaller than those of the Galaxy/Mercury class and also somewhat plainer, but certainly adequate for two. The bed and pillows were comfortable, the mini love-seat on improvement on Mercury's chair, and the interactive TV very convenient. Storage space seemed sparser, the shower stall was a tad narrow and the "kleenex" somewhat coarse. But, since we did not spend many waking hours in the room, the facilities were more than adequate.

Space utilization on Infinity is a bit odd. The impact of its generous passenger/space ratio is mitigated by the many areas devoted to special uses and thus not really available to regular passengers: the cigar club, the speciality restaurant, the spa, the seemingly endless shopping arcade (who comes on a cruise to buy a stove or a bunch of pots?), and the ample conference center. As a consequence, Infinity has one fewer lounge/night club than the Mercury/Galaxy class and lacks an indoor swimming pool (other than that of the aquaspa). Thus, sometimes facilities got over-crowded. The very fine afternoon chamber music concert had to share the Constellation Club with the children's program and a very loud group of adults having drinks. Crowding in the casino also made it very difficult for passengers to pass through from the forward to midship area of Infinity. Fortunately the Thalassotherapy Pool has been moved back from restricted to general space. This is an excellent facility that we enjoyed immensely. Generally it was not overcrowded and few children violated the adults-only policy (although signage at the pool is contradictory, one banning those under 18 and another mandating that minors have adult supervision). The "new age" music was relaxing but not easily heard over the noise of the water or of the users. A light lunch is served here but seemed to have few takers. Evidently not many cruisers are interested in eating lightly or litely. The Constellation Club on deck 11 was a comfortable getaway and an excellent spot for whale watching or for viewing the Hubbard Glacier. The chairs behind the midship elevators on deck 3 also provided a comfortable nook. The Cova Cafe, where the resident harpist entertained, surrounds the atrium and lacks intimacy; frequently private chatter drowns out the music. The main dining room, the Trellis, was comfortable and dramatic with its large sweeping windows astern. Overall, the ship is pleasantly understated. The art, depending on your viewpoint, is funky or weird; fortunately it can be mostly ignored. The library contains an adequate selection of fiction and non-fiction. We did not use Notes, the CD library, which is tucked away in the former teen club quarters next to the Constellation Club; the fitness center is well-equipped and not particularly crowded. The theater is comfortable and provides good views from any of its many levels. The cinema, part of the conference center, was fine except for the dated collection of movies. The Ocean Breeze Cafe has excellent views and is nicely appointed, particularly in the rear section which also accommodates non-fee alternative dining in the evenings. Breakfasts here were quite good, lunch a little less so but still we preferred it to the longer and more rigidly scheduled service in the main dining room. This was also the locale for delightful afternoon teas (finger sandwiches, cakes, cookies, pastries, frozen yogurt). At the rear of the room are stations for used for omelets, pasta and pizza at various times of the day.

Food: We thought it was not as good as on Mercury. Individual items and entrees were excellent. At dinner, the salmon and halibut, seafood pastry, and rack of lamb were done well, as were some of the appetizers and desserts. The veal piccata, however, was chewy and many of the pork and the beef items were bland; the duck was both. Consistently good were the bread and rolls; the almond croissants were a special favorite. Food on the buffet generally was hot and even items like french toast and pancakes were of good quality. A good assortment of tea, along with hot chocolate and coffee, was available. I found the orange juice and lemonade to be watered down. The pizza utilized very fresh ingredients and was made more in a European than an American style. As one would expect, there was never a shortage of food and, in general, the quality ranged from good to very good. With wise selections, one can dine well. One hopes, however, that Celebrity will not reserve excellence for patrons of its new extra-cost restaurants. Some traditions, however, are clearly getting old - most especially the baked Alaska parade. Perhaps Celebrity could step out front here and inaugurate its own unique tradition. Another tradition, that of the Captain's Welcome Party, was fun and worth maintaining; one hopes that Celebrity will not follow Princess in curtailing this practice. Finally, being early risers, it was with some trepidation that we agreed to second seating for dinner. But the advice recommending a later dinner on the Alaska itinerary proved to be absolutely correct; we are glad that we did it.

Service: This was first rate in the dining room and in the cabins. Servers were ever-present in the lounges, sometimes too much so. Celebrity seems to put the "A" team on its new ships and this shows. One hopes that Infinity will maintain this level of service as the "A" team rotates off (as it is starting to do this week) to prepare to take charge of the Summit.

Entertainment: Shipboard entertainment, like the rituals of dining, seem to follow a standard formula: the singing/dancing review, the comic, the acrobats and/or jugglers. Infinity had all of these. Indeed these were individuals of talent and enthusiasm. The shows radiated a real energy, and the evening of operatic themes attempted to be innovative. As with the baked Alaska, it may be time to change the formula a little. A special performer, Kurt Bestor, did just that with a fine show; I could encourage more changes of pace like this. The Amber Quartet from Poland provided a pleasant background to dinner in the evening as well as with its own afternoon concert. The lack of lounge space prevented the orchestra from playing the usual big band music that we like; a smaller group, Opus, performed well in the Constellation Club.

Itinerary: These are small ports and subject to highly variable weather. One has to adapt and make the best of things. On our trip, we were rewarded with a magnificent view of Hubbard Glacier as the ship rotated several times at only a distance of a half mile and with wonderful scenery along the Inner Passage on the afternoons of our first and last day. The watchful passenger saw dolphins and Orcas. Ketchikan, the rainiest place in Alaska, greeted us with marvelous sunshine. Juneau, alas, was wet as always and our whale watch with Captain Larry caught up with a single humpback. Skagway was dry but very windy and so we shifted from a float trip to a hike. In short, the weather will rarely be perfect but the beauty and majesty of Alaska will shine through for those who care to look. Celebrity is to be commended for its low-key approach to tours. It provides an Alaska commentator and the usual shopping guide and then lets passengers do what they want. Everywhere there is, of course, shopping galore; the general impression was that the shops in Skagway were more interesting than the others. Beware that some stores refuse any refunds, and do not post this information.

Conclusion: My wife and I love cruising and we very much like Celebrity's style. Certainly there is more of the ka-ching factor (e.g., the rather blatant hawking of beach towels at $28 apiece, the omnipresence of the photographer, etc.) but it is still possible to ignore that sort of thing, stare out at the sea, space out in the T-Pool or hot tub, read a book, meet new people, and escape from the ordinary cares of life. That is, after all, why we do this!

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Alaska
Publication Date: June 1, 2001

Our family sailed on the Infinity on the June 1st - June 8th cruise to the Inside Passage. We are a family of 4, with two kids ages 8 and 12. We love cruising with Celebrity and decided to be one of the first on the glorious Infinity. Before I go on, for those who are sailing on the Infinity in the future, let me just say that you are in for a marvelous experience. The ship is magnificent and is the best we have been on by far (we have taken 5 other cruises, of which 2 were on the Century)

Embarkation and Disembarkation.

This was the smoothest embarkation by far. Canada Place is a wonderful pier to sail out of. The harbor in Vancouver is just breathtaking. We had embarkation number 0 - one of the perks of being a Captains Club member. We waited less than an hour then was able to board the ship. Celebrity personnel met us and showed us to our cabin. We love that special touch that Celebrity has in showing us to our cabin. For disembarkation we had priority numbers as that is

one of the perks of being a Captain's Club member. We were off the ship by 8:30am and heading to Seattle by 9:00am. The free luggage carts was an asset and really helped out with our enormous amount of luggage.

Cabin

We were in a category 3 cabin on the Vista Deck. Cabin number 7204 to be specific. If you are a family travelling, especially with children this is the cabin for you. It measures over 250 square feet and is extremely spacious for a family. The kids slept on 2 pull out couches in basically a separate room (it had a glass partition dividing it with a sliding door). Our verandah was HUGE and we loved the fact that our cabin was in the rear of the ship. We find more advantages to disadvantages about an aft cabin. The scenery in Alaska was breath taking, and sitting out on our verandah we were able to really feel the experience of sailing the Inside Passage. Our cabin Steward Cipriani and his assistant Carlos were both true professionals. They anticipated our every need and no request, no matter how trivial was met with a smile.

Kids Programs

Very few reviews on any of the Celebrity Boards mention anything about their superb kids programs. This is our third time on Celebrity, and we feel they certainly excel in their treatment of children on board. They have an enormous kids area called the Fun Factory. Our daughter (age 8) just loved it. She was extremely happy there and wanted to go every waking hour. Her counselors were true professionals who really related to the kids. We saw kids of all ages in the Fun Factory (from teens playing Sony's Playstation to toddlers with their parents) and all were definitely having a great time. Our son (age 12) loved the freedom of being able to join in the festivities when he choose, or if he didn't like the activity he was able to do other things (the older children can sign themselves in and out of the kids programs with permission from the parents). One added bonus was the fact that they have childcare offered (for a small fee) during port days. This way parents are able to take some shore excursions that kids may not be interested in.

Food

As always the food on Infinity is everything that Celebrity promises and more. We were in the Main Seating and had a great table of 4 on the second floor of the Trellis Restaurant. Our Waiter - Alex and his assistant Gregorov treated us like we were royalty - without being stuffy. They knew our likes and dislikes by the second night and always anticipated our every need and want. Our son especially liked the fact that every night he was able to mix and match from the kids and the adult's menu. He thought that was so "cool". We always ate at the Oceanview for breakfast and lunch (the buffets). The only negative comment that we had for the entire cruise was the fact that passengers were not leaving after they were finished with their meals (they were enjoying the scenery in Alaska) and getting a table was hard on more than one occasion. We ordered room service on more than one occasion, and the food and the choices were fine. We found it easy to order it right from our TV in the cabin. It arrived prompt and always with a smile.

Shipboard Activities/Entertainment

If you enjoy being constantly busy, then Infinity is the ship for you. There is always something to do everywhere on the boat. From art auctions, to just kicking back with a good book, every taste will be accommodated on Infinity. Notes was a great place to sit back and listen to music. Our son spent hours in there listening to every different kind of music imaginable. At night the Constellation lounge had different types of music which we enjoyed. The casino was your typical shipboard casino, but I will say that the staff was great. Always there to help out with a smile. My only negative feedback is that bar service may be a bit slow at times in the casino (not like Las Vegas at all). We never saw any of the shows in the Celebrity Theater, but all those we spoke to truly enjoyed each and every show. It seems Celebrity has made a conscious effort to improve their theatrical productions.

Aqua Spa

I had the luxury of receiving two treatments at the glorious AquaSpa. Gosh - what a treat indeed. The AquaSpa on the Infinity is absolutely beautiful and a wonderful place to visit. My husband and I experienced the Rasul. A Rasul treatment is a mud treatment that is a lot of fun to do as a couple. We have previously had a rasul treatment on the Century, and the experience on the Infinity was superior by far. The Rasul chamber on the Infinity was so serene. We really enjoyed our time. The last sea day I treated myself to a seaweed detox/massage therapy. This massage lasted two glorious hours. Bjorn was my masseuse and I cannot sing enough praises about him. Every member of the staff was extremely friendly, as well as helpful. The only drawback was the hard sell of products, which I have learned to ignore. I let them go through their speech, then politely smile and say I am not really interested. Not once did they pursue any sales after I told them I was not interested. The cost is a bit steep, but then again, aren't we all worth it? To me it is part of the overall cruise experience.

Ports of Call

Juneau Juneau was a wonderful port. My husband and son took a glacier tour through Coastal Helicopters (booked direct not through Celebrity) The weather was rainy, but they had a great time. My daughter and I hired a taxi to take us on a tour of Juneau. This was a great trip (cabs run $55 per hour for an individual tour) and we saw everything Juneau had to offer and then some. Our cab driver was a true Alaskan who really gave us insight to what Alaskan's are all about. We also enjoyed a drink at the Red Dog Saloon. That is a fun place to stop in while in Juneau.

Skagway Our next stop was Skagway and the weather was perfect!!! Sunny skies and not too cold at all. We took the White Pass Railroad/Liarsville tour and truly enjoyed the trip. The White Pass Railroad is not to be missed. The scenery and the history are truly amazing. If you are interested in being entertained, and some good clean fun then do the combination tour. The folks at Liarsville are certainly a hoot. If you are just interested in the railroad, then the combination tour is a waste of money and time. In the afternoon my husband took a pilots choice helicopter tour and truly loved it. He booked it direct from Tasca (?). They are only a short walk from the pier. He enjoyed this the most as the weather was picture perfect. He landed on three different glaciers and truly was awestruck as to the glaciers. I spent the afternoon shopping the many stores in Skagway. What a quaint little town with loads of history.

Hubbard Glacier This was by far our most enjoyable experience on Infinity. The scenery is simply spectacular. The captain maneuvered the ship around 360 degrees so everyone had a great view. There were plenty of seals, in fact one even gave birth on an iceberg - which was truly astounding!!! The weather was perfect and the captain was able to maneuver the ship extremely close to the glacier. Closest that he has been in years (at least that is what they said). It was amazing to look around and see all of the ice. Truly makes you step back and sigh, the beauty was so intense.

Ketchikan Our last stop was Ketchikan. We took the Orca Beach nature hike and really loved it. A bus picked us up and took us to a Marina where we boarded a zodiac boat for a short but thrilling ride to Orca Beach. There we hiked a well-laid out trail in a Rain Forest in the Tongass National Forest. One warning though, every brochure says the trail is gently sloping. Bear in mind that although it is laid out very well (you walk on a boardwalk) Senior Citizens may have a hard time. We had one Senior in our group and she said it was a bit difficult for her. The weather here was also perfect (we only saw rain in Juneau - we were lucky!).

All in all we had very few complaints about our cruise. The boat was sold out, yet never really felt crowded (except at the Oceanview Cafe). The entire crew was really outstanding as we didn't meet one person that didn't give 100%, and with a smile to boot. Our kids really enjoyed everything about the ship as well. The kids programs and the video arcade (all brand new games as the ship is brand new) were their favorites. The best part of our cruise to me was just sitting on our verandah, sipping a cocktail and watching the beauty that is Alaska. To see all that there is to see. What a perfect cruise - on the Perfect Ship. To INFINITY and BEYOND!!

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Alaska
Publication Date: May 1, 2001

After much anticipation the day finally arrived for us to leave for the Alaska repositioning cruise May 1st on the Infinity.

Background: Myself (age 34) and my husband (40) took my parents on this cruise for their 40th wedding anniversary. My husband and I had only cruised one other time on the Sovereign of the Seas, and my parents had never cruised before. We picked this particular sailing for a couple of reasons. The first was that it was one of the few cruises going to Alaska over my parents May 5th wedding anniversary. Second, was that it stopped in Seattle, where my sister and her husband and two kids live. Third, I chose Celebrity because for this particular cruise my priority was something a little more upscale rather than constant activity, so I did my research and chose the Infinity May 1 -May 11th sailing to Alaska.

Embarkation: Piece of cake. The only other embarkation I had ever experienced was with Royal Caribbean in Port Canaveral which was a completely hideous experience. We arrived at the Pier from the San Francisco airport via limo. Even though this is not a normal port

for Celebrity, I was surprised at how quickly it went and how organized they were. We were onboard in ten minutes at approximately 12:15pm. I did hear from other passengers who arrived after us that once the busses from the airport arrived embarkation was taking a couple hours. For once the luck of timing was on my side.

Once on the ship we were greeted by a Celebrity employee who showed us to our cabins. We were booked in two Category 3 staterooms, 7201 and 7204. When we entered the rooms I was amazed at how spacious they were. There was a huge amount of storage space, way more than we could possibly have used (and I tend to over pack). The balcony was huge as well. I had been a little concerned since our rooms were right next to the category 3 corner cabins that our view would be obstructed by those balconies with the portion that juts out, but this wasn't the case. My initial view from the balcony was Alcatraz, which got me even more pumped up for the upcoming trip. The weather in San Francisco that day was absolutely gorgeous (unfortunately by far the best weather we would experience during the entire trip!) The cabin had two beds which were made up into a King as we had requested, the tuxedo's I had rented for my dad and husband were in our rooms, and there was a nice bottle of wine in each room from our travel agent. I had prebooked the shore excursions online and our tickets were in the cabin. Very slick! Our room had our dining room table assignment card, but my parents room did not. So while I went off in search of where they were doing the dining assignment changes, my mom and dad settled on their balcony lounge chairs with a glass of wine and watched the boats sail by.

So up to the Rendezvous lounge I went. I found the area where they were dealing with dining assignment problems and put my name on the waiting list. There were probably about 20 other people sitting in chairs waiting for their names to be called, all of them looking extremely grumpy (RELAX people, you're on vacation!). I found out from the guy taking names that my parents did have the same table we did, but it was a table for 4 (I had requested a large table in anticipation of us getting sick of each other). In addition to that the table was located right next to a large waiter station, so I decided to wait it out and see what other tables were available. Since the wait would probably be about a half hour I went to the table that was taking reservations for the United States restaurant and made a reservation for the night of my parents anniversary. (more on that later). I then dutifully took my seat and waited my turn. Remember, I had literally just gotten off of a plane, and I was wearing jean overalls and a T-Shirt. The woman I sat down next to looked me up and down and said "I was told by my travel agent that Celebrity was a more upscale cruise line and the guests would be more dressed up" I am not kidding she actually said this to me. Fortunately, most of the guests I met were great people, and thanks to some of the internet message boards I met some fantastic people online ahead of time (hi Noel, Beav, Linecoach, Jeff and the many others) After about 5 minutes of waiting I was beginning to feel very sorry for the poor guy who was doing the reassigning. Apparently people take their dining room assignments as a matter of life and death because this guy was getting yelled at by almost everyone who came to him. I was sitting fairly close to the table he was stationed at so I was able to amuse myself with the stories people came up with. I'm still pondering what possible medical reason there could be that someone couldn't eat dinner before 9:00 at night! Anyway, eventually it was my turn. I explained to him that I had requested a large table and we were at a table for 4, and that if at all possible we would prefer to not be right next to a waiter station. He looked at me, rubbed his eyes and said (and I quote) "you nice lady, you no give me headache, I give you really nice table". So...what I was rewarded with for being one of the few people who didn't yell at the poor guy was table 411. A table for 4 next to the captains table, with a gorgeous view out the huge 2 story high windows in the aft of the dining room. (lesson: you'll catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar)

I took the opportunity to explore more of the ship and was not disappointed. The decorating is well done, each public room has its own unique look and feel to it. Every staff member I passed, looked me in the eye, smiled and said hello. I went back to our rooms, grabbed my parents for the bon voyage and sailing under the golden gate and went up to the pool deck. We watched the ship sailing under the golden gate (a weirdly patriotic and awesome experience!), then went down to get ready for dinner. As soon as the ship got out of the bay, the ocean was VERY rough, and I mean VERY rough. Later, our waiter told us that out of the 1800 guests on the ship that night, they had 600 people not show up for dinner. I left dinner early (what a shame with that great table) and spent the rest of the night in our cabin. I can only speak for our two cabins, but there was ALOT of vibration in the cabins. So much so that at times we had things fall off of the desk or the sink in the bathroom. It was mainly when we were in rough seas, coming into port, or in calm seas, but the captain had us going full speed. I don't want to understate this but I don't want to exaggerate it either, but just to make people aware who are considering booking the cat 3 cabins and the cat 1's overlooking the back of the ship that in certain circumstances there is a noticeable vibration. Would I book another Cat 3 in the future knowing that there was a vibration present? In a heartbeat. I won't bore you with the gory details of our sea sickness so I will fast forward a bit here to the ports.

SEATTLE: What can I say, it's my favorite city in the country and from having a sister who lives there I know it very well. We spent the day walking around downtown finding an excuse to stop for a drink or lunch or dessert or coffee or more dessert or another drink.

VICTORIA: We rented a limo (Royal Limousine) and did a 4 hour city tour. I would highly recommend this limo company. They hire people who are retired who have lived in the area for a long time. Our driver was retired from the Coast Guard and had lived in Victoria all his life. We were able to see a lot of this charming city that on a normal tour wouldn't have been available to us. At $50 Canadian per hour, we paid for the 4 of us about the same amount of money that we would have paid for the ships bus tour.

SITKA: We had to tender into Sitka (very cold) since the tenders were not completely enclosed. There isn't a lot to do in this town. We took a cab up to the Raptor rehabilitation center which is not much more than a small building, some birds in enclosed fences, and a walking trail through the woods. If the tour guide takes their time the tour lasts about 15 minutes. The cost of admission is $10.00 per person, but since it goes to the ongoing costs of running the center we didn't feel ripped off. After we stopped in a local hole in the wall bar (my husbands passion when we are in different cities is going to the most run down looking bar he can find and talking to the locals.) after the bar stop we had had enough of Sitka and waited in line for about 20 minutes in very windy very wet 45 degree weather to tender back. Back in the comfort of our floating resort, we decided we deserved some of that yummy Celebrity pizza which we ordered from room service. It went well with the rum and cokes we had smuggled onboard.

SKAGWAY: We took the White Pass train tour. As everyone says, sit on the left hand side of the train on the way up. Even though you switch sides at the top of the pass, for some reason the view going up is much better than going down. Although I thought I would be very board on this tour, I enjoyed it a lot. The scenery was spectacular and the narration was well done. We even ran into some heavy snow at the top of the pass (I'm from Minnesota, so when I say heavy snow, I mean HEAVY SNOW!). We went to the Red Onion saloon which was nice and then found our way to the Skagway Brewing company. This is a combo bar, restaurant and store, attached to a small Victorian looking hotel. I would recommend this as a stop, and the clam chowder was awesome. We went in and out of many of the shops and made it back to the ship just in time.

JUNEAU: My mom and husband took the city bus tour which they said was awful. Their bus driver spent the whole tour talking about her son, and not pointing out any of the sites that they were passing. My dad and I took the helicopter glacier tour. I booked this independently of the ship, and booked it directly with Coastal Helicopters. (Ask for JAG as your pilot) I would highly recommend this tour. It was an awesome experience. It was just me, my dad and Jag, and it was his first tour of the season so he was as excited to be on the glacier as we were. We spent about 25 minutes exploring the glacier before our return trip. We had a 1:00pm flight and I guess were fortunate since due to weather they cancelled the later afternoon flights (yes the crummy weather was still following us) We did the obligatory Red Dog Saloon stop (good beer!) then some shopping then headed back to the ship.

KETCHIKAN: All four of us had opted for the "Back Country Jeep Safari" tour. This was a new tour being offered by the tour company ATA (owned by Princess Cruise line) but was offered through Celebrity. We were the first group ever to go on this tour (our jeep had 80 miles on it). They still didn't have all the kinks worked out, since this was a new tour, which I am taking into consideration for this review, yet I don't think I would recommend for people to go on this tour for the following reasons. The tour book said a 3 ½ hour tour with a combination jeep ride, canoeing and nature hike. They split our bus of 26 people into 2 groups. Our tour started out on the jeeps. We only spent about 20 minutes actually jeeping, with one stop to look at the scenery. Then we went to a lake where we changed into rain gear (believe it or not it was hailing at this point). All 16 of us got into a canoe and canoed about ½ mile across the lake to a dock. We got out of the canoe, and they had a little hut type structure set up, with a large table with some food on it and a woman standing over a camp fire cooking soup in a big pot. We took our life jackets off and did the "nature hike" What the nature hike consisted of was a trail that was carved out and actually boardered on the sided with wood rail road ties. The trail was as long as it takes me to walk around the outside of my house. We then had ours soup (which was still cold) our hot chocolate (which was luke warm), then got back into the canoes and went back across the lake, where we got on the bus and rode back to where they park the jeeps to pick up the second half of our group who had taken the jeeps after they had canoed. In my opinion they could knock out the canoeing and the "nature hike" and just do jeeping. This seemed to be the general consensus amongst most of the people on the tour. For the 4 of us I paid over $500 for this tour, and really didn't feel like we got our moneys worth. The weather finally cleared up and we had a great rest of the day in Ketchikan. We LOVED this city and are actually planning on going back for a long weekend later this summer. The crew of the Infinity hangs out at Annabelles where we stopped for a drink, and we saw our room steward, our assistant waiter and the woman who runs Michaels there.

A few more things that may be of interest to you.

FOOD: The food in the dining room was great for Lunch and Dinner and the service was always perfect. I found the dining room a bit loud and clattery, but this could be due to the location of our table. We were on the first floor of the two floor dining room and were in the section that was open to the ceiling on the 5th floor. Our assistant waiter Jose made it a particularly enjoyable experience. The breakfast in the dining room was marginal and after a few days we started eating at the buffet for breakfast. The buffets in the Oceanview Grill were average buffet food, nothing exceptional, but nothing hideous either. The day we were in port in Seattle we knew we would be returning to the ship too late for the early dinner seating so we made reservations for dinner in the Oceanview Grill. Do yourself a favor and skip this experience. The food wasn't very good and you had to go up to the buffet line to pick up your soup, salad and appetizer, then they brought the entree to you. After having eaten in the main dining room for dinner the food was disappointing.

ROOM SERVICE: We used this a lot. You can order your food over the TV, but after doing this once I found it easier just to pick up the phone. The second night of the cruise my mom still wasn't feeling up to venturing to the dining room for dinner so we called their cabin steward and he brought us the dining room menu. We wrote down our order for him with a request that he not bring our dessert (Cherries Jubilee) until after we had finished our dinner (which he did). Everything arrived hot and was wonderful. We ordered probably every item off the menu at one time or another and the food was always good. It was really nice ordering the fruit and cheese platter each night to go with our before dinner cocktails.

MICHAELS: My husband is a wholesaler for cigars and when on vacation both he and my dad will indulge in the nasty habit. So each night after dinner we went into Michaels. This is a great place to relax and is extremely under utilized. They have an awesome ventilation system and the room is not smoky at all. The bartender/waitress in Michaels was awesome. After the first night she knew what each of us drank and would just ask "the usual?" AAAAAAHHHHHH the joys of being pampered.

ENTERTAINMENT: The main shows were good. The Broadway one is a must see. I had seen many of the shows they spotlighted actually ON BROADWAY and I was impressed with the show (if that's any indication of the quality). My only complaint about any of the entertainment was the Stan Duo. These two guys seemed to ALWAYS be playing in the Rendezvous Lounge. They played there each afternoon and almost every night. In my humble opinion they are kind of lousy. This may be unfair and may be coming from the fact that we heard them so often (we usually passed through the Rendezvous to get anywhere on the ship). I think maybe Celebrity should make the investment to have 2 different groups rotating the time in the Rendezvous (and make sure one of them doesn't have an electric organ!). The other house band Onyx was incredible. Their diverse repertoire was incredible. The fact that they can play for the sock hop (a must see is the Cruise Director Jim Cannon in his nerd routine at the sock hop) and they played equally great for the Caribbean night. All in all I was impressed with the level of entertainment.

SS UNITED STATES: The one word I would use to describe this experience is "incredible". We ate here on two separate occasions. The service is of a level I have never experienced before (and I travel and eat out quite extensively). The feeling of being pampered was out of this world. To give you an indication of the level of service, they have one guy whose only job is to walk around with the bread basket and keep offering you more bread! It is a long dining experience (both times is was two and a half hours) but it doesn't seem that long, and after the somewhat rushed service of being in the first dining room seating, was a welcome change. I didn't think the food could be much better than in the main dining room, but it was. Make sure someone in your party orders the goat cheese souffle and the chocolate souffle. I had the Shrimp Scampi the first night which was good but not exceptional, and the veal the second night which was out of this world. This dining experience is well worth the additional $25.00 per person, if you enjoy a more refined relaxing and "fu fu" dining experience, and should not be missed.

CONCLUSION: I am sure you are saying FINALLY at this point. I really didn't mean for this to be this long, but I remember what information I wanted to know when I was doing my research and tried to include that here. How would I rate this cruise? Excellent! Which I'm sure is a little confusing given my nit picky comments at times. And those negative comments were just that....nit picky. I go on vacation with relatively high expectations, but I don't let the little things get to me. Yes the weather sucked, oh well....yes some of my fellow passengers were rude and condescending, oh well...yes the Stan Duo drove me nuts....oh well, I didn't HAVE to walk through the Rendevous lounge. The ship was great, the service was incredible, Alaska in my opinion is a must see. Would I book Celebrity again. Yes, although there are other cruiselines I would like to try before I go back to Celebrity. (I like change and new experiences) Please feel free to email me with any questions, I will be more than happy to answer them.

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Panama Canal
Publication Date: March 3, 2001

We left for the Infinity on Friday the 2nd, with a stay overnight at the Sheraton Suites in Plantation Fl. The suites were very nice, but we were very tired and didn't get to utilize the fact that it was attached to a mall, (darn).

The next morning a representative from Celebrity came to get us ready to board a bus for the ship (Ronnie Zapata), she was a delightful person, and we tried not to give her too much grief as the bus was supposed to arrive at 10 and got there at 12, but off we went.

It was a short ride and we were all in great anticipation and well worth it too, the first sight of the ship was oh my gosh-huge! The boarding went very quickly and had no problems.

Our friends flight was late that first day, and they arrived a half hour before we sailed, but after that panic, everything calmed down and we were on our way.

The ship is quite spectacular, and the decor is very understated, nothing too extreme, very elegant in style (not crazy about their art however) I like scenery

and most of their art is abstract.

We were upgraded to an outside balcony, and for all time we will never be the same, and can never again stay in an inside cabin. We slept with the sliding door open at night and the sound of the waves and the wind lulled us to sleep every night. When we weren't out and about, we were on the balcony, just enjoying the view, or just relaxing after a busy day. It was wonderful. Our cabin steward, Flavio seemed to second guess our every mood, and was always there to service our cabin, and would even pick up purchases for us when we bought something on the way to a show, they would hold it and he would pick it up for us. His assistant, Bagus was very sweet, and was also always there to help.

We were able to purchase liquor in the onboard store and took it to our cabin (never was a question, just bought it and took it to our cabin), in the afternoons we would get a couple of carafe's of either orange juice, or tomato juice, and make our own drinks, which saved a bundle on drinks. Honest, we aren't alcoholics, we would have a few people over for drinks before dinner. The cabins are spacious, with a couch and chair, plus the 2 chairs from the balcony. So every afternoon, Flavio would show up with the carafe's, sometimes without us even calling him. Talk about service.

The Trellis Restaurant is the main dining room and is situated on the 4th and 5th decks in the stern of the ship. Our table was 520 on the 5th deck (go figure) and we were right near the railing were we could look down on the diners on the 4th deck. The restaurant is quite pretty with it's flowing staircase down the center, and the dark wood and decorations make it a wonderful place to eat and visit with new friends.

Our table mates were all about the same age group. Our friends Ray and Lynn from Ca. and our new friends Dan, Jackie, Joe and Patti from Wisconsin. We all hit it off the first night and had a blast for the next 2 weeks together. Our waiter was Dominguez, from Portugal who seemed to be too rushed and not always in a good mood, but was efficient with service. Our asst. waiter was Preston from Goah, India was a sweetheart, seemed a little nervous the first couple of days, but was so very pleasant and had the most wonderful smile, and we had fun with him.

The food was ok, but I honestly didn't find it to be GREAT, I know this is subjective, so please don't find fault with my opinion, as it is just that-an opinion. I can't say I didn't eat it, as the meats were quite good, and the vegetables were fine, but the potatoes, and desserts left something to be desired (for me). This must tell you something as I just weighed myself and didn't gain any weight (but didn't lose either)-ha! But must say, the breadsticks are to die for. You can dine in the Oceanview Cafe in the evenings (with a reservation), but this, the Trellis and SS United States are the only dining in the evening hours.

Most of our breakfasts and lunches were in the Oceanview Cafe on the 10th deck. The buffet runs on each side of the ship in this area so there was never a long wait. However, not advertised, but in the back of the Oceanview there were special things such as pasta's, ribs, chicken, knockwurst etc. etc. so be sure to see what is there before going through the regular line. They also serve omelets there in the morning. Out on deck 10 by the pool (Breezes Pool Grill) are hot dogs (great ones) and hamburgers with the best fries (from noon-2:30) with pizza served there from 3-7 daily.

One evening we went to the SS United States Dining room (The Specialty Dining) the service was impeccable, and as another reviewer said, our waiter was Oswald from India, who was delightful. It is an experience with the service being something with everyone at the table getting served at exactly the same time, (synchronized serving) There are at least 2-3 people waiting on your every move. The food was quite good, and there was plenty of it, however going from $12.00 per person (on the Millie) to $25.00 per person was quite a jump, and by the looks of it, it was not a good move. The Restaurant was mostly empty every night. There were only 5 other tables of people the night we dined, and it seats 88. So I am not so sure that the price change hasn't hurt this venue, but it was a nice evening (about 3 hours worth of dining).

The pool area on deck 10 is very pretty, with 4 whirlpools surrounding the pool. A nice stage is set up for the band, or games played in this area. The band Onyx was onboard, and they are so versatile, they seem to be able to play anything from Raggae to Country, and with wonderful voices.

Sorry to say I never made it to the Thalassotherapy pool, I heard it was quite wonderful (next time), and there is another grill forward, in the aqua spa that serves light and healthy food for breakfast and lunch. Didn't try this dining area, so can't report much about it. It had a lovely setting though, with lots of trees, and plants everywhere.

One of the things I liked onboard was the use of trees, plants shrubs, flowers-they were all beautiful. The Conservatory on Deck 11 mid ship is the pretties area on the ship. It is quite small, but you will not believe the flowers and shrubs there, and it makes for a great place to take pictures on a formal night, so take your cameras.

The glass elevators are a nice touch mid ship, the view from the 11th and 12th deck can be spectacular.

The Constellation Club is where they have the disco in the evening, and during the day there were dance lessons, and bingo, but usually it is empty, which seems a waste of such a pretty room. The Casino-Fortunes (named for what most people leave there) has an Egyptian theme, and is beautiful. The staff there is very friendly.

Our CD was Jim Cannon, and he is an absolute, consummate entertainer. He seems to genuinely love people, both young and old, and is very approachable and great to talk to, I think the best I have seen in years. He knew of Cruisemates, and says he gets on and reads the boards quite often, so if you read this Jim-Thanks for a great time. The cruise staff of Dru, Todd, Tommy, Stacey, Chamaine and Mikaela are great fun, get to know them.

The shows onboard ranged from comedy to Broadway Productions- 1. Michael James was a comedian/unicyclist/juggler-very funny 2. Joel Grey (from Broadway fame) (sorry I missed this show) 3. Classique the Creation-an operetta with great costumes, and the singers had wonderful voices with Dia Webb, Rodney Williams, Marcus Collins, as the main singers-wow, but it is mostly opera type, so if that isn't your bag, you might not like it. I am not a huge opera fan, but was highly entertained. 4. James Stephens III-comedian was a riot. 5. Mark Preston (formerly of the Lettermen)-still can sing 6. Elliott Finkel-pianist (funny and a real talent) 7. Bobby Arvon (the voice of Happy Days) singer, and was good 8. Spectacle of Broadway-WOW, the best show-a little West Side Story, 42nd Street, Phantom, La Miserables, Grease, Chorus Line, it was fantastic-don't miss it. The singers and dancers on this ship are very professional, and quite good. 9. Noodles Levenstein-comedian-really funny. 10. Jay Johnson (formerly of the T.V. show Soap)-ventriliquist-was hysterical. 11. Dark one night 12. A medley from Bobby Arvon, Eliott Finkel, and Noodles Levenstein-very funny 13. Newlywed, not so Newlywed show-very funny (some of our new friends from England were in it which made it especially funny to us.)

Our ports of call were:

1. Key West-lovely town with a party atmosphere, enjoyed the day walking around town. No excursion, you can walk most anywhere you wanted to see.

2. Cozumel-took a cab into the downtown area (about $8.00 for 4 of us). Found a wonderful restaurant off the water, behind the Hard Rock. There is a street right down from there called Juan Miguel Batista (by Palmeras Restaurant) go down street, more of a walkway past the park, and on the corner of the park there is a place that looks like a log cabin with a porch running around it-the place is called Such Is Life. We had the best shrimp tacos there, and the owner Moises and his son Sean were wonderful, we talked to them for a good couple of hours. The son Sean speaks perfect English (raised in the Az.) but wanted to come back to his birthplace, had only been back a month. The restaurant had only been open 9 days. We wish them well, the food was great, the ambiance was special.

3.Cartegena, Columbia-glad we didn't take a shore excursion, met up with others from the ship and rented a 8 passenger van for the day, our guide was Antonio (ask on the dock for him he is called the ship agent there, small gray haired man, not much English though, so it helps to go with someone who can translate-the van was air conditioned-a plus). He charged us $15.00 per person and took us everywhere the other tours were going. Cartegena is a very poor area, and it was depressing in some areas, although we did see a pretty street in Old Town.

4. Panama Canal transit-was fascinating, I never realized the importance of the canal, or the grief that was shared there by the thousands of families who had someone die building it. It was a great trip, and spent hours out on deck watching how the locks work. Everyone should do this trip once in their life.

5. Punteranas, Costa Rica-took an excursion to San Jose ($96.00) was a very long day, but got to see a lot, wish we had done the river rafting or the cloud forest instead. Our friends did the same route through a van on the dock, same trip-$30.00 each, The town of Sarchi where they make the ox carts was interesting. Our guide Daniel was very nice, spoke perfect English, and made the long day interesting. San Jose is a fairly modern city, and much prettier that Cartegena, and didn't have the problem with beggars there.

6. Acapulco-We found a van and driver there for $20.00 per person (8 of us) and we went everywhere the ships tour went. The divers (a must in Acapulco), the Princess Hotel (just wonder around the grounds for about 30 minutes-it is so beautiful, The Hard Rock Cafe for buying souvenirs, tour of the city, and our guide Josue Castaneda A. spoke perfect English, and was a great guide-took us to his favorite restaurant for lunch-Carnitas de Esperanza-we ordered a kilo of carnitas and they kept the tortillas, salsa, and guacamole coming-what a treat (and no Montezuma's revenge either) we were even given a free margarita from the owner. I felt I really got a taste (literally and figuratively) from having a more personable tour from one of the locals. It was perfectly safe, and it was very interesting. Don't be afraid to venture out in some of these ports, I think it can be more beneficial (although I am sure there is some risk involved in not taking a ship approved vendor, it is much cheaper, and usually just as informative) Josue can be reached at Josue Castaneda A. Calle Uno #40 Mozimba Acapulco, Gro. Mexico

7. Cabo San Lucas-took a van into town, went to Hard Rock, Giggling Marlin, Cabo Wabo Cantina and then to the Shrimp Factory for lunch-fabulous, had a great time, food was wonderful and half the ship was there. You can walk anywhere downtown from the ship, felt safe, and not hassled.

Our weather was absolutely perfect, only one humid day going through the canal, otherwise we couldn't have asked for better. March seems to be the best time for this type of cruise.

Our sea days were fun, but some activities overlapped with some times with nothing to do, the trivia was fun (we won the valuable business card holders). Bingo was reasonable one for $10.00 the 3 pack for $20.00 or the value 2-3 packs for $30.00 (one 3 pack for my husband and one for me) but the final night for blackout the 3 pack was $25.00 for one game-ouch!

Needless to say didn't win the big one ($5944.00) but 2 people were very happy.

Theme nights were Tex-Mex, 50's-60's and Island night. The Tex-Mex and Island nights had parties out by the pool with great food and dancing to the tunes of Onyx.

Would I do it again? Of coarse, a cruise is what you make of it, and we had a blast.

Thanks to all of those that we met on the boards here, and to the ones that we met onboard-Chris and Debbie Bell, and Nick and Dawn from St. Ives, England (what a kick, hope we can do it again someday) Donna Watts and the much elusive Eric (long story)-Ha! from New York, Dan, Jackie, Joe and Patti, Sandra and Tom, Harry and Karen from Canada, Rich and Rose Lara, Delores, Don, Eleanor, Dick, Marlene from near our home, and Ray and Lynn Henderson, one of our best friends and cruising buddies, and my wonderful husband and the best person to travel with, Mark-It was a blast-Thanks for the memories!

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