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Sunset Family Farm

Age: 65 and 68

Occupation:Active, working family farmers

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Celebrity

Ship: Infinity

Sailing Date: n/a

Itinerary: Panama Canal

Cruise Line: Celebrity
Sailing Date: December 8th, 2002

My husband and I are in our late sixties. We’ve just returned from the Panama Canal trip aboard Celebrity’s Infinity. I must agree with the previous reviewer that the Infinity is a beautiful ship. The service was impeccable, our dining room waiter, Ludvik from the Czech Republic, was much-loved by our eight tablemates and practically became a member of our respective families.

We cruised previously on Holland America’s Veendam, coming back from an Alaskan backcountry trip. We do not have a great deal of cruise experience as you can see, but still, at our point in life, we know what we like and what we don’t. So. . .

What we liked:
The Infinity is a beautiful ship, has everything that anyone could want and more. For peace and quiet, the Thallasotherapy spa is wonderful, soft Japanese music, well-mannered users, health food bar.

Internet room works well, with a knowledgeable attendant on duty during the day. Fees not bad, 50 cents a minute, good for quick checks of e-mail, news, etc.

Service excellent. Our dining room waiter as noted. We had a small suite with balcony and with it came our butler, from India. Wonderful young man, served high tea in our room every day at 4:00 p.m. and canapés at 5:00 p.m. We had main seating dining. Food was excellent for the most part. My opinion is that preparation was better on the Veendam.

On the Infinity, fish, chicken and pasta were wonderful. Beef was tough, and our tablemates said that pork and lamb were tough also. Fish was beyond reproach. We took breakfast at the Oceanview Café buffet every day, everything was plentiful and well-prepared there, enjoyed the outdoor seating. The health food (low fat) bar is wonderful, and lunch can be taken there, or you can be served there and take your lunch elsewhere to eat.

We only did a couple of shore excursions, found Costa Rica to be a beautiful country. We did a half-day shopping trip to Sarchi, which was great, well conducted and pleasant. We have wished since then that we had taken the all-day deep-into-the-jungle waterfalls national park trip, the countryside is so beautiful. Our guide told us that Costa Rica is the most politically stable of the Central American countries, an ally of the U.S.A. and there has been no warfare there since the 1940s. They have no military and have some kind of agreement with the U.S. for “emergency military assistance”, should it become necessary.

The Panama Canal experience is beyond description., the experience of a lifetime. I would recommend to anyone truly interested in the Canal, that you do not take any side excursions. Those who did had to get off the ship and rejoin it later and so missed some of the Canal. And the next day there was a long, long line of unhappy people at the Shore Excursions Office, asking for their money back, very displeased with the side excursion they took.

We also took an excursion around Aruba. Aruba is truly a desert island. And while the trip was interesting and our driver and guide very informative and personable, unless you are the type of person who enjoys lying on the beautiful beaches or shopping 24/7, there is not a lot on Aruba, in my opinion.

Theater entertainment was great for the most part. The Celebrity Singers and Dancers are just remarkable, from solo singers, to dancers and acrobats.

What we didn’t like:

The ship is so big, over 2000 passengers on our cruise, that it seemed to make for a different kind of group of passengers and a different “atmosphere” than on our Holland America cruise. Much broader age range, more of a “party crowd”. The outdoor pool area was always kind of a mob scene, people saving deck chairs all day, good (but loud) music, and while people were definitely having fun, there seemed to be more than a few “bad apples” spoiling the barrel. More rudeness and crowding than I’ve seen in one place in a long time. And it wasn’t just us, I talked to several people, our tablemates and several others among them, who noted the same thing independently of our opinions. Sorry if it sounds snooty, but the people were more well-mannered on HAL.

One of our tablemates, a woman who had been on 20+ cruises, noted for instance, that a couple who had a young child with them was saving three theater seats in the always crowded theater (have to get there early for seats) so that their one child could lie down on the three seats. They were incensed and rude, she said, when she unwittingly took one of the seats and then politely declined to give it up. The pool area was not somewhere that one wants to be if one wants quiet, or pleasant conversation.

Travelers may also want to be aware that several hundred dollars will need to be added to fares, due to Celebrity’s expected tipping policies, which doesn’t seem to be the case with other lines (yes, I meant several hundred).

All in all, I would not hesitate to book Celebrity again, though I would much prefer to book a smaller ship. But I would look at HAL again first, provided they can get their “problem” cleared up. Great line, but we liked HAL better.

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