Just came back from the Infinity cruise over New Years Eve. Had a wonderful cruise. My wife and I are in our late 30's and have been on about 10 cruises. This is the first time we sailed with Celebrity. We've sailed with Crystal 6 times (which is one of the highest rated cruise line in business today). It's not really fair to compare Crystal to Celebrity because Celebrity is a "premium" cruise line and Crystal is a "luxury" cruise line but I was so impressed with the food, service and the ship itself that it's actually worth comparing.
Very organized. We did not book air through the cruise line and made our own arrangements in and out of San Juan. We embarked at 1:00pm and disembarked at 9:30am. Liquor policies were very strict and enforced. No carrying on liquor while embarking or for that matter at any port. All carry on bags were inspected.
All our meals were excellent. We ate all breakfasts and lunches in the Oceanview Grill, one dinner in the SS United States, and all other dinners in the main dinning room. The Oceanview Grill was very good with pleasant views and plenty of assistance. The standard buffet food was decent but lacking variety. However, if you go to the far back of the oceanview Grill, you will find a pasta bar and specialty items daily. Its interesting how no one on board adveritises this and it's a lot less crowded than in the front areas. The SS United States was excellent. But be preparred for a 3 hour dinner and expect to pay $15 for a glass of wine. The food in the Trellis dinning room was so good, we did not feel the need to eat in the SS US twice. My only complaint as it relates to the Trellis dinning room (which is minor) is that the late seating dinner is about 2 to 2 1/2 hours long. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather eat at the late seating and not be rushed but I think dinner should last no more than about 1 1/2 hours. The pastries and desserts were good but could of been better.
I felt that the service was very efficient. Our waiter, asst waiter, and cabin attendants all did a fine job. I found that most staff members communicated well. My only complaint was that the pool bar waiters were a little too pushy for me when it can to selling drinks.
This ship is great. All public areas are tastefully decorated and spacious. You can always find a quiet place to veg out or a lively place to socialize. I feel that this ship had it all. Plenty of lounges, quiet reading areas, open deck areas, etc....
When the weather was nice, the pool deck gets really crowded on "sea" days. Unless you get up there early, you may not get a lounge chair.
My wife loved the AquaSpa. There was an additional charge for its use ($17/day). I think that Celebrity charges the additional fee to use the AquaSpa because all the kids under 12 take over the hot tubs on the pool deck and many people are willing to pay the additional money to escape from the traffic.
I was surprised that there were no annoying public announcements and no childish pool games. If your looking for non stop activities (which I'm not), book a Carnival cruise.
Where Crystal excels over Celebrity is that Crystal is far more personalized and there is absolutely no nickle and diming. But then again a Crystal cruise is about twice as much money.
Some people on this forum complain that Celebrity wants to be everything to everyone. I don't think thats true. I say this. If you want to escape from the "mass market" cruise experience and get a taste of finer service, finer dinning and more spacious ships, take a Celebrity cruise.
My advice to Celebrity is this. Keep the quality up even if you have to raise cruise fares. I'm a firm believer that "you get what you pay for".