Entrepreneur’s Odyssey recently embarked on a 16-Night Panama Canal & South America Cruise on Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Infinity from Fort Lauderdale USA to Valparaiso in Chile.
“Some stats about the Infinity”
The Infinity is one of the Celebrity Millennium class ships and can hold 2170 passengers and around 980 crew. Built in 2001 puts her in the older bracket of ships these days. And as many ships commissioned back then she is of small to mid size range;
- Tonnage: 91,000
- Length: 965 ft
- Beam: 105 ft
- Draught: 26 ft
- Cruising Speed: 24 kts
- 2170 Passengers
- 980 Crew
Check-in was one of the quickest and smoothest to date. We arrived at Port Everglades around 11am after checking out of our nearby digs in Fort Lauderdale. We had intentionally booked a place close to the terminal.
Being early we were one of the trickle of passengers arriving. Our bags were taken and we passed through security before heading directly to a counter to sign receive our cruise cards. A short walk and an escalator to the next level where the cards were scanned and our photos taken, then it was our final steps on land before the 16 night cruise could begin.
“Boarding the ship”
The moment you board, it’s a pleasant welcome and a glass of bubbly is handed to you. Depending on how much hand luggage you chose to carry on this could be a little tricky. With drinks in hand we found chairs around the Martini bar to sit and enjoy.
As a rule the staterooms are usually not ready until around 1-2 pm and so we made our way to lunch in the Oceanview Café. At just after 1pm it was announced over the PA system that the staterooms were ready for all guests and so we made our way to ours.
“Balcony Cabin 7084”
Deck seven is below a few other balcony cabins and also above some others and we were just at the beginning of what is classified as the front of the ship.
The balcony itself is slightly larger than some we’ve had and the table and chairs were in good condition. The barrier is glass and you have no obstructions to your view.
The great thing that we really liked was that the door out was a sliding one which gave the feeling that the balcony was even bigger and made it a lot easier to go in and out of the cabin. Plus at night we could keep the door open without having to wedge it.
The room itself was very clean and neatly presented. Two single beds make up a queen with side tables a small dresser or desk with a sofa bed for the extra guest if needed. A small glass table for drinks or room service delivery.
The wardrobe space was ample however the doors are some what counter intuitive. Plenty of hangers and drawers. A safe, TV and mini bar are all present.
The bathroom again was clean and bright, showing a little wear, but nothing off-putting. Celebrity have changed the cosmetic line but still have the basic things, however no more ear buds & cotton wool in the dispenser, only a small packet of two. Again nothing to worry about. Use of the bath robes is great which you can wear to cover up when going to the pools.
You can find this on deck 1 if you ever need it. During this cruise we actually had to visit this center for the very first time. I’m not going to dwell on the reasons why in this review however I’d like to add that the service was great and the doctor very confident. The visit was not urgent or life threatening yet we were treated very well.
On deck 3 you can find many services and also one of the speciality restaurants. This is like the atrium or lobby but doesn’t have many seats, which is why the other areas of the ship are very well situated to keep us entertained. This is really an area for the reception and is the base of the main staircase which takes you to the next deck. Decks 4 & 5 both look down to the lobby and even though the stairs are not so elaborate it has a classy feel.
The use of clever lighting and glass steps work well here and keep the feel in tune with the area. This main stair was actually decorated in the Christmas theme a few days into the cruise which was really nice.
There are four lifts that run through midship on the port side, with two that are actually on the outer side which is kind of cool.
The guest relations can be found on deck 3 midship. On any occasion that we needed the guest relations we waited in the queue which was never long and the service or attention given to us was top class some of the best we have experienced.
This is basically a small booth where the Captains club host can be found at certain times each day, we never needed to pay a visit here.
This is also on deck 3 and just across from the guest relations and in an area specific to itself. Larger than many shore excursions desks (some are shared with the guest relations) and has chairs for sitting and waiting or reading the literature. The staff here were always busy, but again very helpful.
These are on deck 3 and we only visited one of them when handing in and collecting our passports. They did however show some movies in them.
“SS United States”
This is one of the speciality venues onboard and has a $50 surcharge for dining per person, however we did receive a 50% voucher to use. This venue has the same menu as the Olympic restaurant on the Millennium which we found a shame. We’d really prefer different venues on different ships, even though the actual room and staff are different the menu is identical. Even though this restaurant is decorated very nice indeed having dined in Olympic twice we felt no urge to try the same menu in the SS United States.
Others were very impressed with the food and service and said it was well worth the surcharge. As were we with our experience on the Millennium. The discount or vouchers that I mention we had were not advertised onboard or in the Celebrity Today daily program that is delivered to you room and we probably would not have received them if it had not been for our waiter. We will be sure to ask when the next cruise comes around.
The two levels that make up the theatre are on decks 4 & 5 at the front of the ship. The decor is nice yet not overly elaborate. The seating is comfortable and between most seats you have a small table for drinks with a little light. The service here was as good as you’d expect and you get good viewing to the stage from almost everywhere.
The shows varied from high-octane stage presentations to one man magicians and musicians along with group dancers. We didn’t see all the shows but what we did see was very good. The singing and sound were great which often can be the make or break of the show, but here it was top class.
The fly in fly out entertainers were also good and offered a variety of genres. The Celebrity Life speakers we had were often featured everyday in the program with talks on various topics. Mickey Live stands out with his very good sessions and also Milos Radakovich with his fun and wisdom on his topics of interest.
The other two were not my cup of tea in presenters, but obviously experts in their field.
This is situated on deck 4 front to midship before the Celebrity Theater on the starboard side of the ship. It was never crowded or were the photographers ever in your face like on other cruise lines that we have experienced. The walls with photos were always open for viewing when we walked by. Prices for these photos are like all ships pretty expensive and we generally never buy any.
Just on from the photo gallery is Michael’s club which is a rather unused place of the ship, probably because it is reserved for the guests with Zenith status of which I think are not many. It looked like that anyway from whenever we walked past on the way to the theatre.
Next up is the Fortunes casino which you have to walk through on the starboard side to get to the rear of the ship on this deck. The casino is a smoke free environment and was not overly busy, maybe due to the type of clientele on this particular cruise. It has the standard tables and slot machines to please the happy gambler for sure. The only times it did feel busy was the raffle night.
“Martini Bar & Crush”
The Martini bar is where you walk in to from the boarding gangway. Here it is very light and airy, and at night it has light blue accent lighting. Plenty of seating is available which spans to the entire level of this midship area.
The round bar area with a frozen top surrounds the very talented bartenders that every night put on a show when making the cocktails, you don’t just have to have Martinis here either, many drinks are served. The live music that plays here or the deck above is great background tunes and it has a decent atmosphere at the usual drinking times.
Bar service is good and the staff friendly.
“Rendez Vous Lounge”
This is much darker in ambiance with deeper colours and heavy drapes with red coloured chairs and couches. The bar service or table service is good and this is where the karaoke entertainment takes place. Followed by the live band. This is a great place for the pre dinner or after dinner drink as it’s just outside the main dining room on deck 4.
The theater which spans two decks has its top-tier here and just out from this at the front of the ship are the shops.
These line both side of the ship and are nicely spaced in that it never felt overly crowded, except when they had their mega sale or raffle which then was very busy and really made it difficult to walk through.
The shops had a choice of items from elegant clothes to Celebrity logo items to designer watches and jewelery, all very standard ship items that you see on many these days. They even have a dedicated Apple store, not sure how many people actually buy computers on board these days, that would be interesting to know.
Variety is really starting to lack as more and more carry the same stock or very similar. The same can be said for the Art pieces and auctions on board, all very similar to other ships, not just in the Celebrity fleet.
This is one of the smallest on any of the ships and is located just of the shopping area before the Café al Bacio. It has roughly 20 pieces on display depending on size, however the art team do an awesome job of setting up the artwork in the Rendez Vous Lounge on most days to coincide with the auctions that the have. So there is plenty of viewing to be had if you so wish.
This is right in the middle of the ship opposite the art gallery and before the diamond shops. Here at set times during the day you can sit down with the future cruise reps and discuss get quotes or even book your future cruise. Celebrity do have one of the best future cruise programs and the four reps are busy nearly all the time.
Unfortunately the deals that are really good and that would have interested us for an upcoming cruise did not qualify for the offer. Check the fine print or just ask a rep before building up your hopes.
“Café al Bacio & Gelateria”
The Cafe al Bacio which is the onboard cafe where you can enjoy a coffee or speciality drink. The coffees are not the best, and rather expensive at $5 for a cappuccino or late plus 15% gratuity, way too expensive. They do offer complimentary cakes and pastries which are very nice, which if combined make it great value, but for those having only coffee not so.
This area is nicely decorated and has plenty of space, but saying that, it is always very busy with hardly a spare chair, so you may have to wait for a spot by the window. Often the spaces were taken with people not actually drinking coffees but rather playing cards or games.
The cafe spans the entire deck midship with a Gelateria serving scoops of your favourite flavours at $4 a serve. This place was not that busy at all and it wouldn’t surprise me if on a refit would disappear altogether.
“Bistro on Five”
This is another of the speciality venues and here they serve crepes, salads sandwiches light meals etc. The surcharge is $10 per person and it’s open most days all day. It never looked very busy most of the time it was empty, needless to say we didn’t try it either.
The Cellar masters is a wine bar and here you can self-serve your favourite drop from automatic dispensers. A pretty cool way to sample many wines. It is located opposite the bistro on five and is normal wine bar at night-time and during the day it’s a self-serve bar.
That might sound strange but it is a novel way to get a glass of wine in that you help yourself to the glasses and chose the wine you like to drink and with you cruise card pay for your wine. The size of glass can be chosen, small medium or large with different prices for each size and wine variety. The appropriate amount is then dispensed into your glass and enjoy.
They also have a sit up bar and plenty of tables or booths to enjoy your beverage of choice. The lighting is toned down, sophisticated but nice.
“The Trellis Dining Room”
This is the main dining room and is spread over two levels, decks 4 & 5. Deck four is for set times and deck 5 if for anytime dining guests.
We had anytime dining and made a reservation for the first night, from then on we just turned up when ever we wanted and were always able to get a table. On the third night we were fortunate enough to be sat at an outstanding waiters section and asked to dine there and on most nights we were successful.
The service overall was very good and the attention to detail by a few waiters was exceptional. Breakfast was rather lacking in the Trellis in both service and food. The menu choice was limited and often a mess up with the orders, on at least five occasions.
Lunch was good with both food and service although it does close rather early at 1.30pm.
Dinner time meals were overall very good quality and choice, however the menus do have quite a lot of repetition in them each night and the portion sizes are very inconsistent. There is the main menu which stays the same for the entire cruise with the classic favourites of passenger, like steak, salmon, caesar salad creme brulee and the likes. With the right side of the menu changing nitely. Saying that though, towards the end of the cruise we did see the same menu appear, it might be a fourteen day repeat.
The Top Chef at Sea which is something that Celebrity run in conjunction with the TV series is featured on a few of the evenings and you can sample dishes from the celebrity chefs off the show.
Wine service is very good.
The library on deck 8 midship is well stocked and open 24/7. No need to sign books in or out it’s all done on a trust bases which works really well and on the last day it was over flowing with returned books plus lots of donated new ones.
From a spiral staircase you can walk up from the Library. The iLounge is the computer Internet hub and is stocked with lots of Apple iMac computers. A dedicated team of IT staff are on hand to help at certain times during the day. This place had times when it was very busy and others when we would be alone.
The Internet prices are expensive which is the norm at sea:
- $59 for 90 minutes .66 per minute
- $109 for 240 minutes .45 per minute
- $219 for 600 minutes .37 per minute
- $429 for 1680 minutes .26 per minute
Even though Celebrity advertise that connection is available anywhere with your own device, the connection in the cabin was poor, and we found the best place to connect was around the ilounge area or Library. Others found it very poor to connect and there was often a person with something to complain about.
We will start at the front of the ship and work towards the back.
“AquaSpa and Fitness Center”
This is a huge area dedicated to all things spa and fitness. We hardly go to a gym and only take a look to see what it looks like, same with all the spa facilities. There is plenty on offer for those keen on pampering themselves. As with most ships they do come with a hefty price tag. There are also classes during the day for Pilates, Yoga, Zumba etc and these have a fee as well.
There is a sauna just off the changing rooms that is free to use which has a view out to sea.
Just out from the spa area is the Thalassotherapy pool and whirlpools. This is free to use which is great as on some ships it is only available through the Spa package. This area was very enjoyable and relaxing, it is covered all the time. Just behind this is the Aqua Spa Café.
This place makes fresh juices and smoothies at a cost. They also have a salad bar and healthy foods. Afternoon tea is served here which we stumbled upon after asking in the main dining room if they served it and the answer was a straight no.
Walking further towards the aft on the starboard side you come to the main pool area. On the port side you walk through the glass doors into the smoking area of the open deck.
“The Pool Bar”
The pool bar is located in the smoking area which is great for them and does keep the smokers pretty much all in the same area. Another bar is just up a flight of stairs on deck 11 called the Mast Bar and this is none smoking on the starboard side, but the port side is.
“The Main Pool”
This is a great pool and area all around. It is very busy yet bar service was good. Plenty of deck chairs were nearly always occupied in the good weather. The area here had plenty of activities going on, from line dance to pool volleyball to the Equator ceremony and much more.
At the rear of this pool area is the Pool Grill where you could get a burger or fries and enjoy sat around the pool. The tables in the dedicated eating area here were often messy and needed to be kept a bit more clean. This was probably the only area that lacked in this aspect.
“Oceanview Café & Grill”
This is the buffet dining venue at the rear of the ship. The Oceanview is quite bright and open which helps when trying to find a place to sit. It gets quite busy at times especially breakfast when it can be quite a challenge to find a spot. We found it best to go either very early or late.
The selection of food at breakfast and lunch was great with lots of choice and good quality. At dinner we saw a repeat of the lunch salads on a couple of occasions. There was plenty of waiters to clean up and serve you tea or coffee, also beverage waiters walking around. That is the case for every day.
There was sushi available each night, which we enjoyed. And for the late night munchies a salad bar along with a pizza and pasta station that stayed open until midnight.
Some of the dinning chairs here are showing good wear and tear but for 14 years old she is doing ok.
Outside at the very rear is the Sunset bar with tables and chairs for those eating and drinking. It was often busy here, but a great place to view out to sea as was the area on deck 11 above.
“Fun Factory & Video Arcade”
We didn’t even go there for a look. But it is on the port side of the ship. Actually there were only a few children onboard of various ages which we really appreciated. The length of cruise and time of year are a huge factor in this.
Above the AquaSpa at the front of the ship is the Constellation Lounge with windows all along the starboard side and the front. It’s a great relaxing area to read and look out at sea. The bar here is open at night and the dance floor area becomes the disco.
Many of the activities like bingo, trivia, dance classes etc were held here. During the cruising through the Panama Canal this area was packed and standing room only. Bingo was quite expensive and maybe that’s why it was not that popular, which is a real shame.
Leaving the Constellation lounge you can walk out on either side of the deck which walks around to the Mast Bar.
“The Mast Bar”
This bar has stools around it and looks down to the main pool. There are drink waiters that walk around serving beverages on the outer decks all the time.
A rather short walking / jogging track can be found here which was quite popular, I think I’d be dizzy after a few rounds.
On the top deck you can see the round part of Qsine which is the third and final speciality venue.
Once again this restaurant is featured on the Millennium and other Celebrity vessels. It is in their words, “Uniquely Unordinary and it that it is adopting a sharing theme. Even though we had eaten here twice before on the Millennium we decided to make use of a 50% offer from our waiter to dine here.
The menu is identical to the other Qsine experience, however with it being big and unless you dine with a bunch of friends lets say 8 of you will most certainly not mange much more than 5 or 6 dishes. What we had was very nice as before, but again a huge difference in meal size consistency. If you have never been then it is highly recommended, best experienced with some fellow guests.
The cover charge here is the same as the SS United States at $50 per person, so try a get a voucher from the waiters as they are often walking around and advertising the speciality venues.
Up on deck 12 which is only at the front and aft of the ship you have another viewing area and a basketball/sports court. Behind this court is a large open space with nothing, except a few deck chairs are laid out during the day. It is a good place to view out to sea though and is always busy when sail away time comes.
From breakfast ordering the night before to a tea at gone midnight to afternoon sandwiches, the service was very good and no long waiting. The breakfast choice could be improved actually the entire menu could be. The food received was good and reasonably hot considering. Happy to see that it is still included in the cruise fare.
Celebrity do a great job here and have lots going on. I’d say they might be a little understaffed in this area as the three staff members were rushing from event to event, but did an excellent job and we throughly enjoyed partaking in some of the classes. The Galley tour was good and being ex chefs is always a highlight to see the engine room of this floating hotel.
“Music Around the Ship”
There was a mixed amount of live music around the ship each doing a short 45 minute set, I’m not sure what that’s all about, 45 minutes and then off but anyway most were very good the “Groove Collectors” DJ Duo were the best of the bunch for us followed by “D’Revelations” house band & singer. “Dallas Louis” was playing guitar & vocals often unnoticed and “So Cool” were the band. Each featured in various venues at different times.
The DJ was playing his tunes also and not over the top either which was nice.
We saw the officers on a few occasions walking around the ship and the Captain once. They were not as visible as on many of our other cruises. Maybe a sign of the times.
At all the ports of call of this voyage the disembarkation procedure was easy and never really any huge crowds or long waits. The staff were always on hand to help out. As for the final disembarkation, well this was a real mess. A couple of contributing factors maybe played a part.
First, the staff calling the luggage numbers for the respected debarkation were hardly ever there (we waited in the theatre) and over the PA the numbers were called infrequently. Once our number was called between “13 & 30 are cleared to debark” we made our way down to deck 3 at guest relations to get off. The amount of people waiting here was the worst I have ever experienced.
Behind us was a couple from Aqua class that were whingeing that they should be having express debarking… Here’s the thing. The staff had called to many numbers for sure and second the shuttle buses that were taking the guests to the customs and baggage claim area were obviously slow which caused a huge build up of people waiting.
So that completes the review of the Celebrity Infinity ship and all its public venues on our 16 night cruise in 2014. As you can see we did not do or experience everything onboard, we’d be needing another cruise to get over this one but what we did do we enjoyed very much.
The Celebrity Infinity and what she offered on this voyage was excellent. We had an awesome cruise
We would easily book another Celebrity cruise on any of their ships to some exotic destination, however the next cruise voyage is in March and this time on an MSC ship the Magnifica so keep an eye out for that review later in the year.
Happy cruising people and don’t forget… Don’t dream your life – Live your dream.