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".
Excellent cruise review! I also believe you get what you pay for and I too hope that Celebrity does not compromise service and quality to cut cruise prices. We were on Infinty in Alaska last May and were surprised at how little the waiters were pushing drinks. A simple "No Thank You" and were no longer bothered. We are sailing on Summit in May and we find that if you treat a cruise like a normal vacation you will find yourself having a great time. No vacation is perfect and if you let a few minor problems get to you than you will not have a good time and I would just assume not have those people on the same ship as me.
Great review,, I just returned from 12/15 Infinity,,and it was perfect, felt the same way about everythng you do,,encluding the food in Trellis,,being so good,,I didn't bother with the US..What did your wife pay $17 a day for,,it was free except the special stream rooms(I think called persian Gardens) ...I would be interested in what the charged her for? Thanks Suzan
Jim: Your review was great--thanks for taking the time. We were on the
inaugural cruise of Infinity and had a wonderful experience. After 14 trips
on other lines, we have booked back to back cruises on Summit in May.
Enjoyed your review but hope someone who cruised since new years will say they were not charged the $17 a day fee for Aqua Spa (perhaps just a holiday strategy.) We enjoyed the Aqua Spa daily on our cruise last year and would be greatly disappointed to be charged. Did you have to pay to access the spa food as well?
Thanks for the insight on your Crystal experience - Celebrity has given us a great experience with big ship cruising, but would also like to experience the smaller luxury cruise in the future.
Thanks for the great review! I'm sailing with Celebrity for the first time on the "Lei'd" cruise in May and your review tells me that Celebrity is what I'm looking for! The endless announcements get old pretty quick! I was on a Princess Cruise where they were excessive, but my last Princess cruise they were minimal. Sometimes the cruise lines listen! Sue
We also recently sailed on the Infinity December 1-8 and echo all the great things others have said about Celebrity and the Infinity. We were not charged for use of the AquaSpa Thalassotherapy pool and whirlpools and enjoyed them immensly as it was quiet there when the deck pools were packed. In fact we were surprised at how under-utilized that area was. You must be 18+ to use them. There's a nice buffet line in there too.
We tried all the restaurants and especially enjoyed the reservation-only SS United States room. The additional $25 was well worth it.
We had the second seating for dinner in the Trellis Restaurant and did not experience the long delays another writer reported. In fact we almost felt rushed. We sat at a table for eight in the center of the open portion of the two story room and found that the din of the noise to be so bad we could not talk at the table except with the person next to us. I would suggest choosing a table to the sides where the ceiling is lower.
Don't miss the Pizza bars open both in the afternoon poolside and in the Oceanview Grill late nite. Freshly made, there's a wide variety to choose from.
In regards to the public announcements Celebrity has a company policy that announcements are kept to a minimum. It means you must rely on your Daily newsletter so you don't miss out on events!
About the only other thing I could gripe about was the lack of any help at the pier for luggage handling. We arrived by taxi about 2 pm and had to wrestle our bags from the curb to check-in by ourselves. No porters or carts. Next time we'll travel light!!