Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: July 5th, 2002
Itinerary: Alaska's Inside Passage
The ship was amazing…beautiful areas, many with understated elegance (like the Tea Room), others (like the casino) which was garish (like all casinos appear); there were lovely art pieces; the most wonderful spa I’ve used on a cruise ship; a good computer room with about 20 PCs; and a well-equipped exercise room. The staff, on a whole, was cheerful and helpful (although the last day…after they received their tip envelopes…you could sense somewhat of a change…they were less attentive and a bit “snappy,” as they only had a few hours before the ship turned around and went out again with a repeat voyage to Alaska. The staff at the spa was consistently friendly, quite knowledgeable and experienced. The massage, facial, manicure, pedicure, and exfoliating treatments were marvelous; and they have something called a “slipper bath” which is a soak in soothing ingredients and bubbling water for about a half-hour in an incredible over-sized jacuzzi made of body-contoured marble.
The food on the S.S. United States (the special restaurant that costs $25 per person extra) is a true dining experience. We loved it so much we went twice. The steak diane, sea bass, and rack of lamb were delicious, and I’m sure everything else on the menu was just as good. They have a four-course meal with surprises in-between. The staff was extremely professional, friendly, and excellent. (It seemed as though there were three or four staff per diner.) Food in the regular dining room, the “Trellis,” varied from excellent, to very good (most of the time), with one bad meal (the turkey). We had a table for eight, and we all “hit it off” right away. It was certainly a fun group and one that I hope we can stay in touch. One night we had prime rib and lobster tail on the same menu—I ordered a prime rib and two lobster tails. Someone at the table said I “raised the bar,” and he ordered three lobster tails! The meal was delicious. There is another restaurant on the ship that excels—the health bar next to the spa where we had delicious poached salmon and fresh tuna. And all the cold fruit soups were “to die for.”
The weather was incredible…sunny and warm (mid-70s) almost every day. The day we went to Hubbard Glacier, it was a little overcast, but the glacier was quite visible. The crew said were had gone as close as any other cruise—there were icebergs all over the place and the temperature dropped about 20 degrees. In Juneau, we booked an excursion boat to see humpback whales. (We didn’t book in advance but had no problem finding things to do at the docking area.) They promised we’d see whales…and I guess we did, although they consisted of some “blow-hole” sprays and tail fins. Others that took this excursion said they say many “whole” whales. We saw numerous bald eagles and sea otters sunning themselves, and people fishing--I saw someone catch what looked like a 3-foot salmon and a giant Alaskan King Crab. The color of the water throughout the trip was emerald green. The scenery was awesome--mountains that came up to the shore, some packed with evergreen trees, some looked like snow-topped mountains made of rock. Fjords were randomly scattered every so often. Just beautiful!
The trip was so good that I became a little depressed Thursday night (the last full day of the cruise) because I knew it was almost over. Overall, I’d rate the cruise 5-stars (out of 5 stars). We didn’t take advantage of many of the side excursions, but there is a lot to do on-board. The Infinity had several art auctions by Park West, and I purchased several pieces of artwork at very good prices. I would certainly recommend the Infinity very highly and would go back in a heartbeat (and may, after I save up my tax refunds for two more years).