The 91,000-ton, 2,070-passenger Celebrity Infinity debuted in 2001 as the second ship in Celebrity Cruises' four-vessel Millennium-class series. Like near-identical sister ships Celebrity Millennium (2000), Celebrity Summit (2001) and Celebrity Constellation (2002), Infinity debuted with a bevy of once-novel features, including a two-story library, a retro ocean liner-themed alternative restaurant and a lovely bank of seaview glass elevators. These days, however, the Millennium quadruplets have been surpassed in size, amenities and technical innovation by Celebrity's grass-covered, partially solar powered Solstice-class ships.
To that end, Celebrity has invested heavily in refurbishing the series. Following a November 2011 dry-dock in the Bahamas, Celebrity Infinity emerged with a slew of Solstice-class dining venues, including Qsine (interactive comfort food), Blu (Mediterranean spa cuisine) and Bistro on 5 (creperie), a new iLounge computer lab, new balconies, as well as more than 100 new or redesigned spa cabins. (The ship also got more crowded -- 60 new cabins were added, bringing the double occupancy from 1,950 up to 2,070.)
Much has changed for the ship in the form of decor and onboard features, but Constellation's most visible alterations focus on the Deck 4 and 5 social hub, which forms a two-floor, shiplong link between the main dining room (aft) and theater (forward). The focus here is on casual food and drink options. The old Martini Bar has been replaced with a new version, a glowing green pod with a shaved ice-topped bar and juggling bartenders. Cellar Masters, a wine venue with self-service dispensary system, has replaced the original, staid Champagne Bar. Bistro on Five, a for-fee creperie that was a surprise hit on Solstice (and on Equinox, Eclipse, Silhouette and Reflection, the ships that followed), has been added to Deck 5. Infinity's old coffee bar has been redone, and the line has added a gelataria.
Despite these significant alterations, the ship still retains much of what has made it a fan favorite, stylistically, for more than a decade. The whimsical art, use of natural woods and lots of glass, especially in the stunning Solarium, have always lent Celebrity Infinity and its sisters an elegant, contemporary air. Those touches remains. So too does the high passenger-to-crew ratio, which has earned the line high marks for service. And at 2,070 passengers -- compared to 2,850 on the Solstice-class vessels -- those looking for a more intimate Celebrity experience will do well to consider the "mid-sized" Millennium class.
The striking Trellis Restaurant, Celebrity Infinity's main dining room, offers formal breakfast, lunch and dinner. The highlight of the two-tiered restaurant is a huge, paned showcase window that extends from floor to ceiling. Tables are mostly set for combinations of six, eight and beyond (more intimate settings are extremely limited).
There are two options for dinner in the Trellis Restaurant. Passengers can go with traditional, set seating (two times to dine) or opt for the more flexible Celebrity Select dining option, which was introduced in early 2010. With Celebrity Select, passengers have the option to dine any time between 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and to decide whether they want to eat with their own party or at a mixed table with other cruisers. They can also make specific dinner reservations for each day of their cruise online in advance, make reservations onboard or simply show up when ready to eat.
Cuisine at The Trellis is generally well received; the menu features a mix of traditional and imaginative fare that included vegetarian options for each course. Other options include The Ocean Grill and Cafe, which is the ship's poolside buffet restaurant. The Ocean Grill has something available nearly 24 hours a day. Pizza and pasta are freshly made; you can choose your own ingredients. From 6:30 to 9 p.m., what is a sandwich station during the day becomes a sushi bar with a range of items from California rolls to tekka maki. Ginger, wasabi and soy sauce are all available, too. The SS United States, Celebrity Infinity's $45 per head alternative restaurant, is excellent, serving no-holds-barred four-course meals. The most commonly ordered entree is the buttery soft filet mignon, preceded by a prepared-at-the-table Caesar salad. In addition to the regular menu, you can opt instead for the Five Senses menu, which presents six courses paired with wines, for a higher surcharge of $89 per person.
Celebrity's Champagne High Tea, which takes place once or twice a cruise, is also offered in the SS United States. While a string quartet plays, premium tea and coffees, savory sandwiches and desserts are served on fine china for a $25-per-person charge.Carved out of a portion of the main dining room on Deck 5 is Blu, Celebrity's spa-dining venue, exclusively for AquaClass passengers. Those booked in suites are allowed to dine there, space permitting. The fee-free restaurant (a $5 gratuity is recommended) is open for breakfast (7:30 to 9 a.m.), serving light meals like smoothies and muesli, and dinner (6 to 9:30 p.m.), with a changing menu of clean and simple cuisine, such as a roasted chicken breast or blackened ahi tuna. The venue is gorgeous, done in white with bright blue accents and a row of large porthole windows along one side.
Qsine (pronounce "cuisine") is Infinity's for-fee "creative comfort food" venue at which patrons order whimsically presented dishes off of iPads. Instead of waiters, you get culinary tour guides, and presentation -- think sushi lollipops or spring rolls served in actual springs -- is the focus. It's $45 per person to eat here.
The final for-fee venue is the casual Bistro on Five. Bistro's main fare is crepes, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert crepes. It also features panini sandwiches (steak, chicken or vegetable), soups and salads. Popular choices include the sweet banana, nutella and pistachio crepes and the savory Cowboy crepe, featuring marinated flank steak. Bistro on Five is open from 6 a.m. until "late" and requires no reservations, though there is a $5-per-person service charge.
The AquaSpa Cafe is the ship's fee-free healthy eatery. It serves light meals in a cafe surrounding the spa's thalassotherapy pool. Fresh fruit and vegetables are available until 2 p.m.
Late risers can partake of pastries at Cova Cafe di Milano (Cova Cafe for short); the noshing is free, but you'll have to shell out for coffee in whatever form.
Room service is available 24/7; passengers can order selections from the menu during dinner, and a door-hung card assures you'll get breakfast when ordered. Tipping for room service is customary and greatly appreciated.
The Grand Foyer, a three-deck atrium, lies at the center of Celebrity Infinity; its highlight is a sprawling onyx staircase. The main "cruise business" area is here -- including the shore excursion boutique, bank, and guest relations.
The photo gallery is located on Deck 4, across from Michael's Club.
Forward of the coffee shop is Infinity's enormous shopping venue, the 14,000-square-foot Emporium. Along with the usual logo shops and duty-free items, there are several jewelry and watch shops, and, instead of cluttering the aisles with specials as on most ships, there is a circular central kiosk area for the daily discount offerings.
The Celebrity iLounge is found on Deck 6 midship. There, iMac computers are available for Web browsing, or you can sign up for a Wi-Fi account, as wireless Internet access is available shipwide. Prices start at 75 cents a minute, or you can purchase a package: 38 minutes for $25, 90 minutes for $50, 208 minutes for $100, 555 minutes for $200, or 1,666 minutes for $400. Computer and technology classes, mostly focusing on Apple products, are held there and cost extra.
There are also several meeting rooms. The ship's two-story library on Decks 8 and 9, features a spiral staircase, glass walls and deep armchairs.
There are no self-service launderettes.
Activities mostly follow cruise ship standards (art auctions, bad hair day seminars, vegetable carving, wine tastings, bingo and ballroom dance lessons). Celebrity's nightly theatrical performances, ranging from Broadway compilations to piano concertos, take place in the lovely three-deck Celebrity Theater and are generally well regarded. Shows include typical Vegas-style song-and-dance reviews alongside performances given by comedians and musical outfits.
Constellation, the forward-facing lounge at the top of the ship, is surrounded with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides. It's used during the day as an observation station and for various activities. At night, it's turned into a dance club.
Deck 4 is also something of an entertainment hub. The Rendezvous Lounge, lined with windows opening onto the promenade, features dancing and karaoke. The Martini Bar and Crush, complete with ice-topped bar and juggling bartenders, make great pre-dinner cocktail spots.
The casino, located midship, seems impossibly small for a vessel of this size, but it gets the job done with a variety of slots and table games.
Michael's Club feels like a private men's club with cushy chairs, flat-screen televisions showing sports, and a bar stocked with more than 60 generic, international and craft beers, along with high-end Scotch and whiskey. Of course ladies are welcome. The piano, once a mainstay, has been removed, though a live guitarist may make an occasional appearance.
Up one deck is Cellar Masters, a wine tasting venue comprised of enomatic vino-dispensing machines. Taste wine on your own at any time or during a scheduled wine-tasting led by a sommelier.
Celebrity's enrichment and activity program, called Celebrity Life, is split into four categories -- Taste, Learn, Revive and Play -- but the terms aren't used in the daily Celebrity Today newsletter, and all the passenger sees is a variety of onboard programming. Taste activities include cooking demos and wine appreciation; Learn encompasses dance classes, language learning with Rosetta Stone, and computer skills workshops; Revive is just your typical fitness classes and spa seminars; and Play includes "Dancing with the Stripes" officer-and-passenger ballroom competition, trivia contests and pool games (weather permitting). Other activities include bingo, karaoke and Wii games.
Of the 1,085 cabins aboard Infinity, more than 80 percent are oceanview, and some 75 percent of those have balconies. The ship also offers a range of suites, from sprawling penthouses (1,400-plus square feet) to more petite but elegant Sky Suites, as well as 26 accommodations that are fully ADA-compliant and wheelchair-accessible.
Infinity's standard cabins, from the least expensive insides to outside balcony cabins, are well configured and nicely decorated with soft hues, elegant furnishings, rounded-end beds and comfortable seating options. Standard inside and outside cabins come in at 170 square feet. Balconies add 38 square feet of outdoor space. (The standard cabins on Infinity's Solstice-class fleetmates feature more interior and exterior space.)
The handful of Family Verandah cabins are at 271 square feet with disproportionate 242-square-foot balconies. Sliding doors with translucent windows separate the master bedroom areas from the living areas, where the kiddos can bunk on pullout couches. The huge balconies each feature two lounge chairs and a table with two chairs.
ConciergeClass cabins measure 194 square feet with 54-square-foot balconies. Concierge passengers receive extra perks, including a pillow menu, daily fresh fruit, sparkling wine on embarkation day, nightly hors d'oeuvres, use of binoculars, robes, Hansgrohe shower heads, handheld hair dryers, a Celebrity Cruises tote bag and expanded room service breakfast menus. Also included are the services of a concierge, priority check-in, use of an exclusive pre-departure lounge with free coffee and juices, express luggage service, priority disembarkation, shoeshine service and main/specialty restaurant seating preference.
Infinity's AquaClass cabins, added in November 2011, are the same size but come with different perks. In-cabin amenities include daily delivery of bottled water and tea, an upgraded room service menu, pillow menu, extra toiletries (shower gel, lip balm), use of plush bathrobes and slippers, and a Hansgrohe shower panel. Plus, AquaClass cruisers get exclusive spa privileges, such as access to dining in Blu, complimentary passes to the Persian Garden steam and sauna room, and on-demand wellness programming.
Infinity features four basic types of suites. Twenty-six Sky Suites come in at 251 square feet with a 57-square-foot balcony. They're essentially just bigger cabins with no separation between living and sleeping areas. Eight Celebrity Suites -- at 467 square feet with 85-square-foot balconies -- are true suites with separate sleeping, living and dining areas. The eight Royal Suites are 538 square feet with 195-square-foot balconies. Not only are there separate sleeping, living and dining spaces, but the spacious balconies each feature a whirlpool and cushy lounge furniture.
The two Penthouse Suites are each a whopping 1,432 square feet with a 1,098-square-foot balcony. You'll find a baby grand piano, butler's pantry, motorized drapes, entertainment centers, complimentary scotch and vodka, a master bath with a whirlpool tub and a second bathroom, and another whirlpool, bar and dining table on the balcony.
Stay in any of these suites, and you'll receive butler service; priority check-in, debarkation, tender service, restaurant seating and theater seating; afternoon canapes and tea service, and daily in-cabin specialty coffee; one or two complimentary specialty restaurant meals; and a welcome bottle of sparkling wine.
Of the 26 wheelchair-accessible cabins, five are inside, four are outside, eight are standard balconies, three are Concierge Class, and six are Sky Suites.
Cabin on Infinity consists of light woods and pastels, with added luxuries like little throw pillows on the sofas. Storage space is adequate for two people, with several closets for hanging clothing, small shelves next to the desk/vanity for books and other items, and two large cupboards under it. The only drawers are in the nightstands, which also have lamps attached to the top.
The bathrooms are large and well lit, with plenty of storage space for cosmetics and toiletries. Standard accommodations, Concierge Class and AquaClass cabins have roomy showers, while suites have whirlpool baths. There are wall-mounted hair dryers in the standard cabins; upper-category accommodations get handheld dryers, but there are no outlets for them in the bathrooms. You have to use them in the desk/vanity areas, which is kind of a pain if you aren't using that area for grooming.
There are two 110-volt outlets and two 220-volt outlets at the desk. If you bring a converter kit, you can convert one of the 220's to a 110 (or vice versa), giving you three outlets to use for sundry electronics like laptops, digital cameras and cell phone chargers.
Balconies in standard verandah staterooms are furnished with strapped chairs and small tables; Concierge Class and AquaClass balcony furniture has canvas pad covers, and suite passengers get a mix of mesh and wooden furniture.
Infinity's lido deck (Deck 10) has an inordinately large overhang toward the forward part of the ship and a series of angled overhangs toward the aft. They are so big that the ship was built with a row of stanchions that angle down from the overhangs. Rooms at the top level under the Resort Deck, therefore, get interrupted views and little sun. Although such rooms are great in almost all respects, they would be better with more sun and less interference with the outdoor vista. Also, while soundproofing is excellent from cabin to cabin, this is not the case with the ceilings, and being right under the pool deck can make for a noisy cruise.
All standard cabins come equipped with mini-bar fridges (for-fee), safes, telephones and interactive televisions with excellent programming (including CNN, ESPN, several movie channels, several in-house channels and TNT). The "interactive" part includes ordering room service (works well!), checking your daily bill balance and playing video slots and blackjack (for those who are bored and need to spend money gambling on a television).
The well-equipped Fun Factory is located at the aft end of the Sunrise Deck, and it has programs for kids, ages 3 to 17. Note: There are no facilities for teens, however, except for the adjacent video game room. (Teens do have their own full menu of programs though, called X Club.)
Participation in the kids' program is complimentary (with some exceptions) and is broken nicely into compatible age groups. Potty-trained children are welcomed from age 3 and join the Ship's Mates (3- to 5-year-olds). Cadets (6 to 8), Ensigns (9 to 11) and Teens (12 to 17) make up the balance of the groups. Age-appropriate activities are available for each, and trained counselors are in attendance.
Activities include dinosaur studies, sushi-making, miniature boat-building and treasure hunts, while indoor/outdoor Fun Factory facilities include climbing frames and ball pools, paddling pools and water chutes, computer areas (offering plug-in guitar lessons) and The Tower -- a tall, large-windowed space for teens at the prow end of Deck 11. Parents with children younger than 3 are invited to accompany their toddlers into the playrooms. (Infants who sail must be at least 6 months old as of the first day of the cruise. However, for transatlantic, transpacific, select South America and other select cruises, infants must be at least 12 months old.)
It's $6 per hour, per child, to participate in the "Afternoon Party" from noon to 2 p.m. on port days and/or the nighttime Slumber Party from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily. In-cabin baby-sitting is available for $8 per hour, for up to two children (12 months minimum) within the same family.Celebrity Infinity Fellow Passengers
Celebrity Infinity passengers tend to be sophisticated, well-traveled adults in the 45 to 65 age range, and indeed, the Celebrity experience is ideal for the "baby boom" generation. Most of the passengers are North American, with Britain and other European countries represented.
The two levels of dress on Infinity are smart-casual and formal. Four- to six-night cruises have one formal night; seven- to eleven-night cruises have two; and Twelve- to fifteen-night cruises feature three. Infinity's passengers typically dress for the occasion, which means you'll see a fair share of suits and tuxedos on men, and cocktail dresses and gowns on women. T-shirts, swimsuits, robes, bare feet, tank tops, baseball caps and poolwear are not allowed in the main restaurant or specialty restaurants at any time. Shorts and flip-flops are not allowed in the evening hours.
Celebrity automatically adds gratuities for your restaurant and cabin services to your onboard Seapass account on a daily basis in the following amounts: $11.50 per person, per day, if you're in a standard cabin; $12 per person, per day, if you're in Concierge Class or AquaClass; and $15 per person, per day, for passengers in suites. A 15 percent gratuity is added to all bar bills.
|Fitness and Recreation|
Infinity's main pool area, located on Deck 10 midship, features cushioned loungers, day-beds and wooden accents. The pool itself is divided into a shallow end for dipping and a deeper end for swimming; a circular lounge area sits on a raised platform in the middle. Anyone who wants to swim laps can do so early in the morning before the pools get busy. There are four hot tubs, a bar and table tennis on the port side.
A jogging track and shuffleboard can be found one deck up on Deck 11, along with a basketball court on Deck 12 at the top of the ship.
The 25,000-square-foot AquaSpa, operated by Steiner, is a destination unto itself. The sprawling complex features a generous-enough work-out room with floor space for fitness classes, the AquaSpa Cafe, the thalassotherapy pool (free of charge to use), comfy seating areas, the spa service and treatment areas and a beauty shop.
Spa services at the Steiner of London-operated facility include facials, massages, wraps and scrubs with specials offered on shore days. More unusual options include the Bamboo Massage, where bamboo shoots of various sizes are rolled and used to massage muscles. Celebrity also has a trained acupuncturist onboard Millennium. In fact, it was one of the first lines to introduce the now-standard cruise spa option. Celebrity Millennium has licensed doctors onboard and offers Restylane(R) and Perlane(R) treatments, as well as Botox.
Day-passes to the Persian Garden are free to AquaClass passengers and cost $20 per day for everyone else. (Cruise-long couples and singles passes can be purchased for a discount off the daily rate.) Spa services at the Steiner of London-operated facility include facials, massages, hair styling and nail treatments with specials offered on port days. More unusual options include the Bamboo Massage, where bamboo shoots of various sizes are rolled and used to massage muscles. Celebrity Millennium has licensed doctors onboard and offers Restylane(R) and Perlane(R) treatments, as well as Botox.
Celebrity also has a trained acupuncturist onboard Millennium. In fact, it was one of the first lines to introduce the now-standard cruise spa option. A special acupuncture area is located on Deck 7 with four treatment rooms.
The fitness area offers the usual cardio machines and weights. In the aerobics space, abs workouts and stretching sessions are free, but classes in Pilates, spinning and yoga are offered with an additional fee of $12 per person (plus 15 percent gratuity). However, some of the best workouts onboard are to be found in the dance classes, which are offered free of charge.
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