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Michael & Sarah Brophy

Age: 29

Occupation:Software Engineer

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Infinity

Sailing Date: August 30th, 2002

Itinerary: Alaska via Inside Passage

Embarkation -- Very efficient and organized, compared to how Carnival leaves you at the whimsy of Puerto Rican Customs in a sweltering, mutinous rabble of people prior to embarking their ships in the Caribbean. The Port of Vancouver has their act together. Parking procedures were clear, plenty of parking was available up to an hour before embarkation time and the Port employees have plenty of seating setup so you don't have to shuffle in lines for hours. The only disappointment was with how "snippy" the USA INS agents were. Luggage was at our rooms by the time we reached them, about 90 minutes after we put them on the conveyor and went through Customs. Upon arriving in the Grand Foyer, tens of bell hops and maids are waiting to escort you to your cabin.

Cabin -- We had a stateroom on Deck 7 with a veranda. The stateroom was well-sized and the veranda plenty big enough to put your feet up together and enjoy the views. There was more than enough closet/cabinet space, a loveseat, desk and queen size bed were provided as well. The bathroom was well appointed. The only disappointment was in the lack of stations available on the in-cabin television. CNN, ESPN, one channel with repeating movies and sitcoms along with the shore excursion and auction channels were provided. A Canadian or local Seattle news channel would have been nice.

Meals -- We must admit this was the most disappointing part of the cruise. The GTS Infinity's restaurant director is a French chap named Roux [Mr Roux actually is a culinary advisor to Celebrity Cruises – Editor’s Note] and every meal reeks of his influence. If you love fru-fru French, bird like portions, you'll love it. Otherwise, you'll hate it. There was only one evening which had a meal I enjoyed -- lobster night. Otherwise, the food was lackluster and missing taste. The buffet food in the Oceanview Cafe (Deck 10) appeared terribly "recycled" after the third day and for the remainder of the cruise. By the end of the cruise, the staff had gotten very unique about re-presenting and re-naming the same old food.

Staff -- The entire staff of the Infinity was extremely professional and accommodating. The waitresses and cocktail waitresses were friendly and engaging. The cruise director, Michael Thomas, was game show host-like, but truly entertaining. The only disappointment was the incessant and patronizing narrative provided by a woman tour guide from the bridge. Especially in the morning, she would interrupt our meals and activities with descriptions of the local geography/wildlife apparently written for 5 year olds.

Shore Excursions -- We took the Juneau-based Whale and Wildlife Adventures tour. It was absolutely superb. The tour staff were the kindest individuals you'd ever meet. To top it off, we saw humpback whales up close, along with Stellar Sea Lions and Bald Eagles. TAKE THIS TOUR IF YOU ARE IN JUNEAU! It is worth every penny.

Stage Shows -- Overall, they were good. They had a very funny comedian, Jeff Nease, a talented juggler, David Lucas, and a very good tenor, Christopher Riggins. The violinist was talented, but a little too arrogant for our taste and the orchestra for just okay.

Ports of Call -- We departed Vancouver and traveled the Inside Passage two days to Juneau, Alaska. Juneau was small and it was also our only rainy/overcast day. From there, we traveled to Skagway, then to Glacier Bay and the Hubbard Glacier. Then back down to Ketchikan and back into Vancouver. It was a Friday to Friday cruise and by the last day we were very sad to leave.

Passenger Base -- The passengers were a mix from the USA, Canada, Asia and Europe, with about 75% of the passengers in their "golden years". Very few kids...maybe a handful at best. That made for a very peaceful cruise. However, there were many passengers who consistently violated the port-side only smoking policy...that made for several days where the clean, pure Alaska air was polluted with cigarette smoke. Of course, the requisite rude New Yorkers were on board...something we can't seem to escape no matter which cruise line we take.

Overall Experience -- Overall, it was a 7 out of 10 on my scale. The pros were: staff, scenery, privacy. The cons were: fellow passengers and food.

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