Celebrity Infinity Review

Celebrity Infinity has the occupancy of 2170 passengers which makes it a mid sized ship. It was built in 2001 and renovated in 2011. I do not know when the next renovation will be.

The décor of the ship was tastefully done with the exception of the artwork around the ship. This might be a thing of what you like and not like, but I found that 98% of the art to be tacky if not completely awfully done. Regardless, this does not make or break a cruise, so we will leave it this thought, I had booked a cruise on Celebrity for a first time cruiser whose only complaint he gave about the ship was the “awful artwork on the ship”. This was not on the Infinity the client was talking about. So this must be an issue with whoever designs Celebrity ships as a whole.  I can only qualify myself as an art student, art teacher and professional photographer/artist that I am, the artwork should really be re-thought as it does not go with the Modern Luxury they use as a tag line.

The general public areas are clean and well maintained. They are spacious with the exception of the Rendezvous Lounge, Michael’s Lounge and the actual Park West Gallery which were cramped.  It was easy to get around the ship and I was really impressed with low elevator wait times for those of us with mobility issues. Kudos goes to those able bodied people using the stairs. Good for you!

Cuisine on this ship was good. I cannot say excellent as there was some meals not really good at all, but most were tasty and portion size was just right to not stuff you but fill you to the point of not being hungry anymore by the time you are done. This is better for digestion. For those who like the stuffed feeling, food is available 24/7 so pace yourself!

We only visited the SS United States alternative dining once. This is one of Infinity’s specialty dining options. We could not pronounce most of the food on the menu, neither did the descriptions appeal to our pallets.  If you are a true foodie type person, you might fare better than us. We ordered the only thing we recognized and didn’t involve food we would not eat, which was Chateaubriand for two. This is basically a very tender beef. It was served in the main dining room, The Trellis Restaurant, one night and was no better or worse than what we were served in the SS United States specialty dining. Thus, we paid an expensive service charge for the exact meal and yet really didn’t feel we got any better ambiance or service then what we had once we got the right table in the main anytime dining option. The cost for this was $90 for dinner. Maybe this will be worth it to those true foodies out there. Just not worth it for us. Although we did enjoy being together for our 30th anniversary.

We were suppose to have traditional seating at 6pm every night in the Trellis Restaurant, however apparently we were bumped when they changed our cabin number to an accessible cabin. We also were down graded in cabin because of availability of accessible cabins in our category. We really didn’t think it would make a difference as all service on a cruise ship should be the same standard with the exception of amenities in higher categories. That is understandable.

I can only comment on what we experience with our cabin, number 3018. We arrived on the ship with a very quick embarkation process. Partly due to my disability, as those who needed wheelchair assistance were escorted quickly through. Our embarkation originally was delayed on the time of arrival because of the ship had just made a trans Atlantic crossing and Immigration officials were going over the records of ship crew and such with a fine tooth comb. Thus we arrived later than what our tickets originally said. Celebrity was great about giving us notice of this on our email accounts that we checked at the pre hotel.

The cabin was ready on arrival and we entered in. It was an inside cabin on deck 3. On a inside corner just by the forward elevators and stairs. This did not prove to be a noise problem during the trip. It remained relatively quiet when we were in the cabin. When we first stepped off the forward elevators to deck 3, we were hit with the smell of cigarette smoke. Although we could not smell it in our cabin, the smell continued through till the next day after complaints from other passengers to our steward was made. Then after dinner that second night on the ship, the smell seemed to be neutralized. We didn’t smell it again till half way through the cruise. It began to be strong again. I mentioned it to the steward. He only said, “There is no smoking in cabins”, to which I replied “That is how it is supposed to be, yet here we smell cigarette smoke every time we open our cabin door or get off the elevators”.  Again, when we came back later, the smell had been neutralized (I believe they used an ionizer to neutralize along with air freshener much like Holland America Line did in the past when there was an issue)  . There were no other issues after that with the cigarette smell for the rest of the cruise.

The cabin 3018 itself was sizable enough for our 2 wheelchairs and enough room to put our belongings, although the storage was much more cramped then other inside cabins I have been in. There was a lot of wear in the décor of the room. Such as hinges that were hanging and decorative pillows that were frayed and had holes in them. On arrival, the bathroom had mold around the grout of the shower and dirt encrusted in the grout of the floor. It is not discoloration, it was dirt. I know the difference. There were also spots on the floor that looked like dried on lotion or something that has been there for a long time. I never saw any mops being used on the floors when cleaning. They did use a broom and vacuum in the cabins. The bathroom floors will need more than that for care. They should be given a good scrubbing with a brush and bleach or other cleaner that will remove dirt build up. This means it will take more time, but there is no excuse for dirty bathroom floors. The only thing that changed with this issue while we were on the cruise was that they re-caulked around the shower enclosure and along the top of the tile splash around the bathroom. This covered the mold but did not fix the problem.

It was evident that the table surfaces in the cabin had not been cleaned before we entered. There was a straight pin and coffee ring on one of the nightstands. Although we did not keep the tops cleared enough for them to clean them while we occupied the room, it is evident that their policy is to not touch anything on the tops of tables. So we tried to keep our things picked up enough for them to clean the tops, but they didn’t clean the table tops the whole time we were there.

I had requested the first night I saw our stewards, a toilet riser as the toilet seats are very narrow rimmed and too low for me to get up off of, an extra foam mattress topper as the mattress was really too hard, and extra pillows as I require them for medical reasons with my disability. What I was given was, the toilet seat riser, an extra comforter laid under the sheet (no foam mattress topper which I was assured that they have) and 1 extra pillow. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well the whole 15 days.

I do not know if the issues were my stewards or the category of cabin I was in, but it was not acceptable.  I may be use to upper crust cruising and I only had one other experience on an inside cabin with Princess (see my Princess Star Review). I had asked a few passengers we met throughout the cruise what they thought of their cabins. All those we spoke to always seemed to be in suites or balconies. The suites did not have a single complaint, the balconies only commented on the typical (ie: “it was smaller than I expected”), but none thought the housekeeping was lacking. So, I will put most of the issues to be the stewards. Unfortunately, there was no mid cruise “How are we doing” survey that I could fill out like on other cruise lines. They did have a survey at the end, but that is rather a mute cause even though I did fill it out.

Entertainment on the ship was pretty good for the most part. It was pretty typical with a few wows thrown in. I was impressed with the amount of accessible seating they had as well as an option for front row seating if you ask a staff member to take you down to it via back doors. I did not need to utilize this, but am appreciative of the option. The Celebrity band was actually one of the better bands I have seen on a cruise ship. So kudos to Celebrity!

The pools were wonderful! They had lifts for those who are unable to negotiate steps. I particularly liked their warmer therapeutic pools that are salt water and have all the amenities of a spa pool on another cruise line that charges to use it. Celebrity offers it for everyone without additional charges. This was where I would go for therapy for my issues of spasticity. It worked wonders!  The recliner spaces around the pools were difficult to get one. People would go early to breakfast and reserve them by putting books and other items on them. Then they would be like that all day till dinner. Sometimes I would see the people in them, but for about 80% of the time, they were unoccupied except for the personal items and a towel. I was only able to get a pool side seat 2 out of 15 day cruise because of this issue. Not all were in the pool either. By the count of how many unused chairs with towels and books, to the amount of people actually in the pool, it did not compute to be even remotely equal.

Art Auctions and lectures were excellent. Park West was the art dealer and they have an out standing reputation with several cruise lines. They kept us entertained during lectures as well as the art actions. Just fun all around.

Celebrity offers a lot of port lectures, especially for the Panama Canal. They had a special speaker on board that knew a lot of the history of the Panama Canal. He held several lectures. Although he was somewhat monotone, if you can get beyond that, his lectures were very informative.

Celebrity has an active night life, unfortunately because of lack of sleep due to the mattresses, we just couldn’t make it to any of the activities after the 7pm show. Just too tired. So we turned in.  As for the television programs, you have to pay extra for the good shows. They do show 3 movies a day available to everyone without charge, but most were lacking interest for us.  We were somewhat disappointed that this ship did not have a movie theatre or a place to show movies. We always enjoyed doing that on other ships.

Staff was found to be in general nice and friendly. With some exceptions I found a few to be aloof and unresponsive to a hello, but it was very few. We did have issues with our first dining steward the first 2 nights, but when we were changed stations on night 3, we stayed with this new station as the stewards were very friendly and fun to be around. Our cabin stewards seem to take the same attitude of our first dining steward, they were there to fulfill their duties as quickly as possible. They never did acknowledge us by our names. Although to their credit, if they were around at the time we were coming down the hall, they would always nod and say hi or they would open our door for us if they got there first. That is standard acceptable, but they never had a smile on their faces and always seemed so serious, or maybe they didn’t understand English as well as others? We would ask if they got off ship or how their day was and it was answered in one word and sometimes a confused look if we continues to interact with them. So there could have been a language barrier.

The shore excursions personnel was awesome and friendly and helpful. They did their best to get us on accessible tours that we did not have booked already. I had worked before the cruise to get accessible travel tours pre-booked with shore X accessible shore excursions, but they did not have much to offer me. Thus when speaking onboard with the shore excursions, especially Julianne who was much helpful, she was able to even get us an excursion on Cabos San Lucas that was just for us before we opened it to others too.

Didn’t see much of any of the officers outside of the first night of introductions in the show lounge. However, I am sure that had I been in an upper cabin that there would have been more opportunities for this.

Public bathrooms were spotless (including the floors) and were very accessible. I had no issues accessing the stalls marked accessible. Again, I must say, the Infinity was very accessible for those who have disabilities. I think there may have been only two doors that I could not get through easily, but there was always an easy alternative. The elevators could fit two wheel chairs plus about 4 people if you don’t mind a little personal space lost, but that is much better than other ships I have been on.

My rating of Celebrity Infinity: (1-5 stars)

  • Décor: 4
  • HC inside cabin: 2
  • accessibility: 5
  • Dining experience: 5 (after Maître D got involved)
  • food: 4
  • cleanliness around ship: 5
  • enrichment programs: 5
  • Live Shows : 4
  • Pools and hot tubs: 5
  • Crew and Staff: 4
  • Over all rating: 4.3 stars

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Day 12- Cabos San Lucas

As always, Cabos San Lucas is a very beautiful port, as well as a popular destination for many to visit. We had to be tendered to the dock area since the ships cannot get close enough in their small port. We did have a small excursion that took us in a Zodiac boat and ran us around to the tip of the Baja California cost line, where we saw the natural Arc of Cabos and some sea lions and other creatures. They called the excursion “Lands End Zodiac”

The trip was a nice day for it and was ok. I would say if your abled bodied, you can pick up a water taxi for less for the cost. Or better yet, get off at the port and walk south down the beaches to Lovers beach. We arrived an hour and a half before our tour so we could go hunt for a cap. We were successful in our attempts.

It became difficult on this tour because I had to navigate a few steps into the tender and a big step into the tender. John did have to hoist me up each and every step, but we made it. Getting back on tender after the little excursion ride made it more challenge as the ocean was a bit rockier and I was extremely fatigued to the point of not being able to sit upright well anymore. I stayed leaned on John’s shoulder till time to dock again. Celebrity crew was ready and willing to help with getting me up the stairs and into the ship.

I know that because of previous conversations I have had with Celebrity about tendering with mobility issues, they stand by the statement that they will try and help but it is not their policy to do so nor to handle any equipment or the person themselves when getting on and off. This is obviously for liability reasons. However, each person took it upon themselves to be of help at the guidance of myself and my husband John. Since pulling on my arms will pop the shoulders out of sockets, personal boundaries in some cases had to be utilized with permission of myself my husband and the person offering assistance. Thus, keeping my upper body upright via arms around my waist and with John being my legs and lifting and pushing my thighs and hips up each step. Luckily there were only about 6 steps to go up.

I have come to realized, this will be my last ever tender for when I go on cruises. I will have to keep that in mind when we choose our next cruise. I wish there was a way they could have a hoyer type lift in the future, like they do with the pools, but that will not be any time soon I am sure. Considering that 10% of the baby boomers are considered disabled, it might be worth considering for the future.

We have enjoyed the art gallery events on board the ship. We went to one at 3pm after sail away from Cabos San Lucas. 1 more sea day then we will be in San Diego to catch our plane to go home.

I will be posting a full review of the ship Celebrity Infinity with in the week. Please check back for a full review!

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Day 11 – Puerto Vallarta

After two uneventful days of sea days, we have arrived at Puerto Vallarta on our 30th wedding anniversary. We had no excursions in mind so we got off the ship around 9am and headed out of the port area on foot and using my power wheel chair. After some discussion, we inquired to the cost of hiring a taxi for a couple hours to give us a tour around Puerto Vallarta. We found one that would do it for $80 for the pair of us. His vehicle was clean and comfortable and had good working air conditioning. His English was understandable and although he wasn’t much on the history and such, he was able to answer most of our questions. He took us around to the various tourist places as well as off the beaten path to see other areas not on the main line for other tour companies. We even got to see Steven Spielberg’s mansion that over looks the pacific ocean.

Eventually, we were dropped off at the end of the tour, at the opposite end of the port. There was a Princess Sapphire ship in port with us that day. So we were able to shop the local flee market. After getting back onboard, we found out that many others who didn’t plan their day ended up at the big mall and Walmart across the street. They were not aware of the local vendors that were much more affordable prices then in the main stream stores. We were glad to have had the opportunity. John got his Puerto Vallarta cap for the trip.

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Panama Cruise day 8 and 9

Puntarenas, Costa Rica – Day 8

We docked early into Costa Rica on the Pacific side. Although we had visited Costa Rica before, this was our first time to see the West side of the country.

We had taken a tour up the Tarcoles River and took a tour on the Jungle Crocodile Safari tour. They did all they could to make the trip easy for me, using the manual wheelchair. I did have to do a few steps up into the bus again, but John helped me manage that with lifting me to each step. The bus ride was about 1 hour 20 minutes to get to our tour on the little safari type boat. It was like the ones you take on a Disneyland “Jungle Safari River Boats” but only smaller to accommodate only 4 seat across with enough center aisle to put my wheelchair and still have enough room for people to get around me.

On our trip up and down the Tarcoles River, we saw many wild crocodiles and birds. I had brought along my biggest heavy lens and was able to get loads of wonderful shots of wildlife. Even wild Macaws that were close to extinction in the wild because of poachers that would steal their babies and sell them for $5000 each to other countries. This is a years wages for most of the people in Costa Rica.

However, now they have made a law that no one can touch the wild Macaws and their numbers are going back up. It was an awesome trip and we really enjoyed it! After we got back to the dock, we did a little shopping at the stands just outside the dock and picked up a hat for John and another gift for Christmas for a certain person.

All in all, it was a very exhausting day for me. Unfortunately, John and I are still trying to fight off the viral repertory infection we caught on day 3. I thought I was getting better from it rather quickly, but now it has hit both of us hard in the chest. We are not the only ones either. There are a lot of people coughing on the ship now. Some people on our tour were asking the tour operator where the closest pharmacy was to the dock. They wanted to pick up cough syrup. Luckily, in all our travels, we have learned to pack cough syrup as well as other medicines for colds and nausea.

We had our dinner at the usual place and time and went to the 7pm show. It was a comedian who was actually pretty funny. He definitely would use the audience for his funniest bits of impromptu comedian. One thing to be learned is, never come late to one of his shows, as if you do, he will be sure to use you for his next bit of fun!

We turned in after that, being that we were so exhausted and not feeling all that well.

This brings us to day 9, a sea day. We stayed in bed till about 9am. Then only had orange juice and coffee for breakfast. Although I did have a blue berry muffin because I needed something in my stomach so I could take some ibuprofen to curb my fever and headache. We stayed out of the cabin just long enough to drink our drinks and for John to get a reading on his gps that he uses on all our trips. We stayed away from others and used sanitizer to be sure not to spread. Although it was obvious by how many people I heard coughing on the way back to the cabin, that it was pretty much ship wide anyhow.

No announcement has been made, nor has there been any publications about it in the daily flier they put out. However, the virus so far seems to be manageable by homeopathic measures (orange juice) and pharmaceutical measures (cough syrup and ibuprophen), the cost of going to the on board doctor would not be the way to go to fight this unless your immune system is already compromised and in need of antibiotics.

Since we did not have much of a breakfast, after our morning of snoozing we went to the buffet and found us a light lunch around 1pm. I tried the Indian curry food to be pretty good and not too spicy. We sat in the outside aft area of the ship to get some warmth of the sun and a little sun. Then we topped off our little lunch with a scoop of sherbet before heading back for more napping and movie watching on the TV while we recuperate.

At 3pm we went to an art lecture on Thomas Kincaid. It was interesting and we learned a few things we didn’t know about the man. He was the same age as us and he died in 2012. Another great artist who died too soon. He also, like me, loved Norman Rockwell style of painting and would include Norman Rockwell in some of his paintings when he added people to them. It was interesting to know he would also do what is called a bio-signature, which is he would take strands of his hair and grind them into powder and mix it into his paint to sign each of his works. That way it can be certain of actual art from copies.

After dinner we went to the show. It was the magician we saw on the early on in the cruise named Hector. He mixed up his show so it wouldn’t be the same acts, but I guess I am just not a magician type of person. He still was doing a lot of the same tricks.

Tomorrow we head into Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala.

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Panama Cruise day 6 and 7

Day 6 we traveled through the locks today. Starting around 10am and finishing just about sunset (6pm). We were delayed the start by a couple hours because of other ships going through, so we didn’t get to see us going through the last lock by the time we sat down to dinner. However, we were sat at the table that has become “ours” during this cruise and we could see the last lock just outside the window we were sitting at.

Nothing other went on during our day worth being noteworthy other than that our dinning experience has been much better since we moved to the new station and the food being served actually has improved for the most part.

We also went to the show this evening which happen to be a tribute to Michael Jackson performed by an impressionist named Ice. He was very good although he was not spot on. We enjoyed the show. Totally amazed at the amount of energy generated for the show. He had to do it again later that night for the second showing, so definitely got a work out!

Day 7 found us at sea all day in the Pacific ocean heading north. It was cooler than when we went through the Panama. About 86f degrees with a little less humidity and a nice breeze. The clocks were set back and hour for central time, which gained us a 25 hour day. We got up before they opened the Ocean View Restaurant but talked to a nice lady till they opened.

We spent the morning snoozing by the pool till it was time for us to go to an art lecture on Cartoons. Then there was another auction that we sat through just to try and win more prints and spend our time.

We had a great dinner and the show was an attempt at the 1970’s songs and such. It was entertaining enough.

Tomorrow we have a port in Puntarenas Costa Rica. We do have an excursion planned.

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Day 5 Colón Panama

After breakfast, we headed back for the cabin. John was going on an excursion for Kayaking in the Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal. Then he would take an excursion to the locks themselves and see up close how they work.

I remained on board as there were not any accessible excursions that I could go on. This was ok with me as I was still weak from the day before in Cartagena, Colombia. I laid down in the cabin after breakfast as John prepared himself for his excursions and I fell asleep! Next thing I know, I am woken at 11am by the chimes before the announcement being made for a moment of silence for our troops for Veteran’s Day.

So I then spent a couple hours on the computer, catching up my blog. When they were posted live, I got up and got my swimsuit on to go out for a dip. Which it was hot out, but that didn’t deter me from going into the hot tub. After all, the hot tub was more like a warm tub!

I got one of the “Pool Butlers” (as is printed on their shirts) to help me into the hot tub using the lift. I asked him to come and check on me in 5 minutes. Thus, 30 minutes into it, I managed to get the attention of a bar attendant and asked if he would please alert the Pool Butler that I was ready

to get out! I really was over done, but that was the risk I took when relying on others who are not my hubby.

He helped me out with the lift again, which by the way, will go directly into the hot tub and you can transfer easily using the waters ability to make you somewhat weightless. Getting into the chair was a little more taxing because I really was in the hot tub too long. I was even weaker than when I went in. I then found a chair and ottoman, that was over by the Pool Butler’s station and planted myself with the Pool Butler’s help. He said just give him a call and he would help me back off the chair as it was lower than  most chairs.

Again after 2 hours I was ready to get back to the cabin to take a shower and cool off. I had been chatting with a nice lady named Denise, but she had left and I was again by myself. So I waited and waited for about 10 minutes for the guy to come back. He never did make it back. Thus I tried to transfer myself by pulling myself up onto my chair to get me into a standing position. After several attempts, I was able to achieve full standing height, but with a cost as I once again, pulled the muscles/tendons in my shoulders. All is ok though, nothing a little ibuprophen, ice and massage won’t help.

John had come back from his trip and was excited about the things he saw during his kayaking and seeing the locks.  He showed me the pictures he had taken and they were great! I hope to use pictures he has taken and ones I have taken and make a video of our trip. John got back off the ship with the computer to check emails at a free Wi-Fi spot in port. He also purchased his second cap of the trip.

We had dinner at the station that we really liked again. By the window. It is such a big change from what we had before, that we really enjoy dinners now! After dinner, we ended up in the Constellation Lounge for something. But I really do not remember why we were there. However, we then came back to the cabin and played some cards games. Perfect ending to another good day!

Tomorrow we transit the Panama Canal!

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Day 4 Cartagena, Colombia

After a quick breakfast in the Ocean View Café’, we packed a day pack and prepared the manual wheelchair for our excursion into Cartagena Colombia. We were given special instructions to bypass the usual meeting place for those who were taking tour number 24 and just proceed directly to the dock where we would be told which bus was reserved for us.

It was a very smooth process and we managed to get through quite quickly. The trick was that the bus had 4 steps up inside and two steps outside the bus to get into it. John managed to help me up the steps by taking the weight off the upper leg as we did each step. They had reserved a seat for me right in front and the seats were very comfortable.

Our tour guide was charming and funny. His name was Roosevelt. He told us about some of the history of different buildings as we passed and the driver would stop long enough for us to take pictures through the bus windows if we wanted. I took loads of pictures as usual and will have them up most likely after we get back from the cruise.

Our tour was 2 and a half hours, which was long enough. We had stopped at a military museum and also saw a folklore dance performance. We got to go through a few streets in old Cartagena and saw many street venders peddling their wares. There were lots of cobble stone streets and steps for me to be bumped around on. The manual chair was definitely the way to go as my little power wheel chair would not have been able to get up into the many steps we had to go over. John’s arms definitely got a workout!

Before getting back on the bus, John managed to get his Cartagena, Colombia cap for his collection. Talking the guy down to $7. Sail away was early, at 3pm. I was exhausted half way through the tour, mainly due to the heat and humidity, but being jostled around so much in the wheelchair definitely paid a part. When we were back on the ship, we had our first lunch since we had boarded the ship! We had been passing up lunch for the first few days, simply because we were not hungry. But I guess we worked up an appetite.

I really wasn’t feeling well, as I had started a sore throat the night before and it still was hitting me hard along with a headache that my pain medication would not touch. I also was nauseous, but that could have been the heat. After circling the buffets a couple times, I decided to just have a hamburger and leave it at that. I did feel some better after eating, but the headache and exhaustion was still there.

Off to the cabin to revitalize. We cleaned up and took a nap. This helped considerably with the exhaustion and the head ache, but the nausea had returned. Soon it was dinner time.

We returned to the same table and wait staff that we had the night before. It was a great choice and we have decided we wanted this table every night. We spoke with the Maître D to ask that we get this table nightly at the same time. He said we can have it. I wasn’t very hungry due to nausea, but I ordered the butternut squash soup which actually was a good choice. It settled the uneasiness of my stomach.

Then I had Turkey parmesan over spaghetti. I couldn’t finish all of it but gave it a try. It was good tasting and had my tummy been feeling better, I would have ate all of it. I passed on desert.

We went back to the cabin to call it a night. We both fell asleep rather early. John has a kayak tour of Gatun lake in the morning.

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