Aimed at the under-18 set, Celebrity’s kids programs vary depending on the number and ages of children on board. The cruise we were on had only a few dozen children, while some in summer can have hundreds of kids. Normally, up to five different programs (separated by various ages) are in effect, with age 11 and under handled in the Fun Factory, and 12- to 17-year-olds at the adjacent X Club. But with low teen participation, X Club was closed on our cruise. Babysitting for children age 12 months and up can be arranged for a fee through Guest Relations, with 24 hours notice. **AquaSpa** The handsome AquaSpa facility occupies much of Deck 10 forward, leading to the ship’s fitness center overlooking the bow. In addition to treatment rooms, many of which are illuminated by natural light, the AquaSpa includes a full-service salon and the Persian Garden—a quiet spa within the spa that has steam and dry saunas, heated mosaic chairs and hot and cold showers. Among the treatment rooms were some designated for two, for couples massages. As with many cruise lines, Celebrity’s spas features Elemis products (among others) and treatments are handled by cruise spa giant Steiner Leisure. Prices were higher than comparable treatments at five-star beach resorts. Fifty-minute massages such as Swedish, deep tissue and bamboo ranged $119-$159; 75-minute sessions (including hot stone) were $165-$199; the 50-minute couples massage was $269. Several facials were available—all 50-minute sessions—and priced $119-$169. A one-week pass to the Persian Garden was priced $99 for one, $179 for two (one-day passes are sometimes offered, but weren’t on this cruise). Other spa treatments available included Ionithermie slimming, lime and ginger salt scrub and men’s grooming. Various discount packages and specials popped up throughout the cruise. The adjoining salon oversaw nail treatments, hair styling and color, waxing, acupuncture, and Botox, Restylane and Perlane cosmetic treatments. **Fitness Center** The ship’s fitness center was perched at the front of Deck 10, looking out on the sea panorama. Stocked with relatively new LifeFitness machines, we found most equipment in use during prime hours, though we experienced no major waits for a steed of our own. Some of the newer treadmills had mounted TV screens, the slightly older bikes did not. Various fitness classes were offered during our cruise. Yoga, Spinning and Pilates were $12 per session; Body Sculpt Boot Camp was $69 for two sessions and $120 for four. Morning and evening stretching sessions, Fab Abs and Les, Bums and Tums were offered at no charge. Others, such as a Complimentary Foot Analysis and Detox for Health and Weight Loss, were preludes to sales pitches. The gym was open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. With 10 bars—plus service in restaurants and at the theater—there was always a lounge available until after midnight. Favorite spots were the Martini Bar, where bartenders show off with shakers flying through the air, and the Constellation Lounge, with its raised ceiling and windows wrapping around for optimal views. But Michael’s Club, the beer option, seemed a bit cool and unwelcoming, and the wine bar Cellar Masters was having problems with its enomatic dispensers through most of our cruise. A 15% service charge is added to all drink orders. The minimum drinking age is 21. **Beer & Wine** Most bars offered short selection of domestic beers at $4.50, with imports and premiums ranging $5-$6. Heineken and Amstel Light were on tap at some bars for $5. An expanded beer list was available at Michael’s Club. Wine by the glass ranged $5.50 to $8.50. The wine list for restaurants was fairly impressive, encompassing about three dozen wines by the glass (with additional high-end wines by the glass at Cellar Masters, using enomatic dispensers) and more than 250 by the bottle. The list was heavy on California but offered a good selection of Old World labels, plus a couple dozen half-bottles priced under $50. An expanded wine list was also available at SS United States. **Mixed Drinks** The standard drink menu on Celebrity Infinity was available at most of the bars. All were priced $6.50-$8.50. An eclectic list of drinks was on offer at Qsine exclusively. **Drink Packages** The beverage packages on Celebrity Eclipse are worth investigating, even for non-drinkers; remember to allow for a 15% service charge. There was a bottled water package ($12/day per guest), unlimited soda ($7/day) and a non-alcoholic package ($14-$18/day). The Premium drink package was $54/day and gave unlimited drinks priced up to $12 (when checking in online, watch for pre-cruise discounts). Wine packages start at $99 for three bottles. Almost all wines available in this package were priced $35 at the ship’s restaurants. Savings of 6% didn’t seem worth it, but the packages of five and seven bottles were a bit better—if you liked the wines on the list. **Non-alcoholic Options** Celebrity’s line of non-alcoholic drinks are called Zero-Proof Cocktails, all priced $4. O’Doul’s non-alcoholic beer was available at most bars for $5. Soft drinks were $2. Coffee was available at multiple locations, including the Oceanview Café and AquaSpa Cafe. Although it was freshly brewed (as opposed to some lines that use a liquid concentrate blended with hot water), we usually found the coffee fairly low-grade. Overall, we felt the quality of food on Celebrity Infinity fell short, particularly considering the relatively steep add-on to dine at the specialty venues. Trellis, the ship’s main dining room, was an attractive space and the staff was particularly well managed, providing service that was both prompt and efficient. But evening meals, though attractively presented, mostly did not impress with originality or quality—they tasted mass-produced, inelegant, and our desserts were particularly unimpressive. Our Trellis breakfasts were fine, however. Meals at the Oceanview Café were tasty—the buffet venue showcased a good variety of offerings, many of which changed daily, and the salad bar shined. We enjoyed our dinners at both of the main specialty venues, though at $40 a pop they were a bit of a splurge. The food at SS United States was beautiful to look at and decadent to eat, utilizing good ingredients and cooked to order. Dinner at Qsine was entertaining, with a strong emphasis on an eccentric menu and showy presentations. A third specialty venue, Bistro on Five, costs just $5 for a light meal of crepes, salads and sandwiches—it’s nice for a change of pace (and quieter setting), but not something to go out of your way for. There were several dining packages available for the two main specialty restaurants, which normally retail for $40 per meal. One was $109 for three dinners at the two venues (a $120 value), the other was $149 for five dinners (a $200 value). Although we enjoyed our dinners at SS United States and Qsine, we didn’t find the meals to be so good as to warrant locking in repeat visits early in the cruise (especially since the three-dinner option works out to only a 9 percent savings). But we took advantage of a 25 percent discount availed for dining at Qsine on the last night of the cruise, negating the value of the first dining package entirely. First taking to the seas in 2001, Celebrity Infinity was the second in Celebrity Cruises’ Millennium Class quartet of ships. While these handsome vessels had novel features that were well received at the turn of the millennium, they were eventually outshined by the line’s Solstice Class ships that debuted to wide acclaim starting in 2008. In response, during the last few years Celebrity has worked to “Solsticize” its older Millennium ships, taking each one into dry dock for an extensive overhaul, allowing for more consistency within the brand for restaurants and cabin types along with adding an additional deck fore and aft, allowing interior space for an additional 60 cabins. After Infinity’s November 2011 facelift, question number one on our minds as we set sail was, has Infinity gained all the features that would make it interchangeable with the Solstice ships? There were many elements we enjoyed on our cruise aboard Celebrity Infinity. The ship’s common areas are contemporary and strikingly designed, with well-chosen modern artwork in the hallways and stairwells. We liked the variety of live music performed in various venues around the ship, ranging from easy-listening guitar to a cappella group to string quartet that played alongside coffee and gelato at Café al Bacio. The spa was beautifully designed and the fitness room well stocked with equipment. On our cruise, we found a wide age range aboard, predominantly couples in their 30s and up, with a smattering of international guests. Our room was a fairly standard inside cabin, made somewhat more appealing by its attractive décor and a wall-to-wall mirror on the end designed to open up the confined space. The layout was effectively utilized, but no one should book a 170-square-foot cabin on Celebrity Infinity and expect commodious surroundings; it’s a tight fit for two. Celebrity does a fair job with its enrichment program. Although some of these sessions lead right into sales pitches (“Detox for Health and Weight Loss”), others were more interesting, including a watercolor painter and an expert who gave enthralling destination talks. There were fees for a few other presentations, including wine seminars and Mac computer and iPad lessons. Shows in the Celebrity Theater were good, though not exceptional, though the solid cast of singers, musicians and dancers was much appreciated.
While the food at SS United States was delicious and an evening at Qsine was entertaining, neither experience quite justified a $40 tab.

We were not wowed by the dining experience on Celebrity Infinity, and considering the steep add-on charge the specialty restaurants incur, this shouldn’t have been the case. While the food at SS United States was delicious and an evening at Qsine was entertaining, neither experience quite justified a $40 tab. We were impressed with how efficiently Trellis Dining Room operated, turning over tables swiftly so that most guests on the Select Dining plan never had to wait for one. But too bad the meals tasted a bit like fast food as well.

Starting with Celebrity Constellation in 2010, Celebrity Cruises has “solsticized” all of its older Millennium Class ships, involving an extensive overhaul that incorporated a number of improvements in the aesthetics and amenities of these four ships. Elements from the Solstice Class vessels—such as the AquaClass cabins, Qsine, Celebrity iLounge—were added to Infinity in 2011. To include some of these features, another deck was attached fore and aft, allowing for an additional 60 cabins.

But Celebrity Infinity is not really interchangeable with the Solstice Class vessels. For starters, cabins on the Solstice class ships are about 10 percent larger than those on Celebrity Infinity. We found some common areas of Celebrity Eclipse (a real Solstice class ship) to be more spacious—the gym alone is almost twice the size of the one on Infinity (though Infinity’s gym was rarely crowded on our cruise). On Eclipse there’s an additional dining venue (Tuscan Grill), an additional lounge (the terrific Molecular Bar), a proper disco, a more versatile theater for big shows, the popular hot glass demonstrations, and the top deck offers a half-acre of real grass. The new interior space added to Infinity during the overhaul has resulted in some curious dead-ends on Deck 11 aft—the addition of Qsine prevents easy access to the ship’s aft interior, for instance, and the jogging track has shrunk—it now takes more than nine loops to walk or jog a mile.

We saw upkeep issues that made the ship seem a bit frayed at the edges.

Finally, Celebrity Infinity is more than a decade old now, and we saw upkeep issues that made the ship seem a bit frayed at the edges. We were surprised to find some un-refurbished areas that were worn out or hadn’t been looked after. There were a number of windows where exterior paint had been slopped on, or where window tinting was cracked and peeling. Areas of the ship that were refurbished or augmented are mostly great and on par with Celebrity’s newer ships.

But if all things were equal with itinerary and pricing, we’d opt for a cruise on a true Solstice Class ship over Celebrity Infinity.
This was a great multi-purpose space, awash in cool grays and blues, with lots of natural light streaming in through the wraparound windows as well as a large skylight over the dance floor. By day this area was often deserted, yet it afforded some of the ship’s best views when at sea or coming in to port. In the evening it often becomes the ship’s de facto disco, with a live band kicking up around 10 or 11 p.m., followed by a DJ spinning hits.

One small complaint: During the day, unattended background music played at inconsistent levels—one minute a dance tune would be on the sound system, truly in the background; the next, a pop ditty would blare and conversations were stymied.

The ship’s standard bar menu was available at Constellation Lounge.

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A strikingly designed two-story venue, with big porthole windows. The standard dining plan is seated on Deck 4, while the Select Dining plan takes Deck 5. Aside from a few two-seat tables, window seats were limited to tables of eight or more. On the Select Dining plan, food was delivered swiftly and tables cleared promptly, allowing most tables to be turned over three times or more (compared to only twice in the lower section).

The seafood risotto was good and flavorful. But the pork chop was boring, and the filet mignon, ordered medium-rare, was overcooked; a replacement was the right color, but flavorless. The menu advertised Atlantic salmon. Odd, for a ship sailing in Alaska; the waiter, asking his supervisor, said it was Alaskan. But on a galley tour the chef told us it was Atlantic, directly contradicting the waiter.

Desserts were uniformly disappointing. On ordering the cheese plate, we received cheesecake. This was quickly replaced with cheese looking (and tasting) like deli slices. Some fruit perked up the dish, but we felt we'd been sold a bill of goods.

Breakfasts were fine, with the usual array of egg dishes. We found the pastries sub-par.

The ship's standard cocktail list was available, along with wines by the bottle and glass. The wine selection was solid and our sommelier was on the ball, both attentive and familiar with the options.

Late in our cruise, the main dining room was transformed for a buffet brunch. The food was similar to the usual fare at the Oceanview, but the spread was impressive, adorned with ice sculptures.

There were two seatings nightly, at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Guests may opt for the Select Dining plan, dining any time from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Breakfast hours varied slightly depending on port schedule but were generally between 7 and 9 a.m. Lunch was served from 12 to 1:30 p.m., but not daily; brunch was served on the last sea day, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Emporium

A series of shops leads from midship on Deck 5 forward to the Celebrity Theater, and while we found a few baubles worth browsing, most of the selection duplicates what we see on other ships. This included the Royal Faberge collection of bejeweled eggs by Theo Faberge, resort wear by Cruise Wear and Co., Fossil and RayBan sunglasses, Nautica shirts, Vanessa Bouton and Big Buddha bags. Fragrances from most of the major lines were represented, plus skin care products by Clinique, Lancome, Estee Lauder.

The line of logo merchandize included Celebrity model ships, T-shirts, caps, water bottles. A sundries shop had various odds and ends including sun block, toothpaste, razors, tampons, snacks, stuffed animals and sunglasses. One store carried duty free liquor and cigarettes.

At the center of the Emporium was the Emporium Arena, a heady name for a 30-seat venue used for various presentations, including acupuncture and other spa seminars, computer classes, and pitches for the various products sold in the Emporium.

Photo Gallery

Photographers roam the ship, particularly during designated events (like gangway and embarkation), taking photos of cruisers. Portrait studio photographers are also available for formal sit-down shots. The photos are displayed on racks and available for purchase—$19.95 each for any size up to 8×10. A DVD of the voyage is also available at the end of the cruise, for $34.95.

Photo albums, frames and a small selection of cameras were also sold here, along with binoculars, tripods, batteries and memory cards.

Inside cabins are the cheapest option and represent one fifth of all lodgings on Celebrity Infinity. Our cabin was 170 square feet, which is on the small side, but we didn’t expect anything substantial. The room is tight for two, but there was a decent amount of storage. The cabin was serviced twice daily and our ice bucket was refilled without prompting.

Our bed could be arranged as two single mattresses, or linked to form a queen-size bed; the seam between the two mattresses was noticeable but not uncomfortable. The mattress was relatively firm, and provided a good night’s sleep. The foot of the bed's corners were rounded, making it easier to navigate the confined space. The small, love-seat style couch had a pullout bed, plus there were two pull-down beds in the ceiling.

The bathroom was compact but adequate, with attractive faux wood paneling that provided an element of warmth. The shower (no tub) was slightly larger than some we’ve used—but there was a mildew stain on the curtain and the retractable clothesline looked grungy (either soiled or also infested with mildew). There was no makeup mirror, which would have been handy; a hair dryer was stored under the safe in the closet.

Both 110- and 220-volt electrical outlets were available, with two plugs for each at the desk but none in the bathroom. The TV was a 26-inch flat-screen, with a slight pivot for viewing from the couch. There was no DVD player but there was a pay-per-view library of 46 films, mostly recent releases, including a number of art-house films. There were also a dozen adult movies—perhaps in tribute to Celebrity’s “X” logo? The TV had some interactive features, including access to room service, add-ons like flowers, chocolates, cruise mementoes, etc.; we could also check our hotel bill.

The main cabin closet was 36 inches wide, with an additional compartment with six modest-sized drawers, plus a shelf for the safe and another for the hair dryer; the Stilo brand hair dryer could be plugged in at the desk. There were two shelves above the TV but most of this space was taken by extra linens. There was also a pair of drawers on either side of the bed, and luggage could be stored under the bed. The closet doors creaked when opened—a little WD-40, please?

Pool Deck

The main pool deck on Celebrity Infinity was a fetching piece of real estate on Deck 10, with airy pergolas floating above day beds and loungers and cool tunes coming through the sound system at most hours. A small stage allowed for a band to play, though this only happened on embarkation day on our particular cruise. There were two pools: a 4-foot-deep splash pool and a longer pool suitable for short laps, dropping from 5½ feet at one end to 6-feet, 2-inches at the other. Rounding out the facilities were a pair of elevated whirlpool tubs, shower outdoor stalls and table tennis.

Other events taking place here included ring toss, table tennis, bean bag challenge, golf putting competitions—all announced in the ship’s daily newsletter.

The Pool Bar served the ship’s standard bar menu and was generally open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

The Solarium

Infinity’s beautiful indoor elevated Thalassotherapy pool was topped by a glass roof and offered a more sedate environment for soaking than the main pool area. The pool was 4½ feet at its deepest. There were also two whirlpools and a wall of nozzles providing invigorating showers. Children were not allowed to use the Solarium facilities.

Only complaint: The soothing jets of water at each corner of the pool created a lot of noise—there were no surfaces to absorb the sound that echoed through the facility. Then again, after spending any amount of time on the Solarium’s loungers, the white noise tended to fade into the background.

The AquaSpa Café was behind a wall of the Solarium, providing each access to quick, healthy bites through much of the day.

We did not stay in the rest of these cabins, but we have summaries here provided by Celebrity Cruises. Note that any photos on this page may be provided directly by the cruise line and not our reviewer.

Ocean View

Window staterooms with a sitting area where you can kick back and relax after a day that has been as busy or easy as you want.

Veranda

Spacious staterooms located throughout the ship—each with its own private veranda.

Family Veranda

By far the largest stateroom with a veranda—plenty of room for you and the family.

Concierge Class

Designed for the traveler who settles in nicely to veranda staterooms where little details make a big difference. Savor unexpected delights such as fresh flower arrangements, personalized stationery, and complimentary shoeshine service. The attention to detail will amaze you, even as you sleep on the perfect pillow you’ve selected from our pillow menu. If personalized Concierge service, priority check-in and priority disembarkation appeal to you, Concierge Class is your clear choice.

AquaClass

These veranda staterooms offer spa elements infused into the stateroom experience and priority seating in the chic AquaClass restaurant, Blu. These spa-inspired staterooms, offer unlimited access to the AquaSpa Persian Garden as well as a host of other soothing extras.

Sky Suite

When you stay in a Sky Suite, you’ll enjoy the luxury of European-style butler service. This includes assistance with unpacking and packing. In-suite lunch and dinner service. Afternoon tea. Evening hors d’oeuvres and complimentary in-suite espresso and cappuccino from Café al Bacio.

Celebrity Suite

When you stay in a Celebrity Suite, you’ll enjoy the luxury of European-style butler service. This includes assistance with unpacking and packing. In-suite lunch and dinner service. Afternoon tea. Evening hors d’oeuvres and complimentary in-suite espresso and cappuccino from Café al Bacio.

Royal Suite

When you stay in a Royal Suite, you’ll enjoy the luxury of European-style butler service. This includes assistance with unpacking and packing. In-suite lunch and dinner service. Afternoon tea. Evening hors d’oeuvres and complimentary in-suite espresso and cappuccino from Café al Bacio. Separate living room and dining area and a veranda with whirlpool and luxurious lounge seating.

Penthouse Suite

When you stay in one of our Penthouse Suites, you’ll enjoy the luxury of European-style butler service. This includes assistance with unpacking and packing. In-suite lunch and dinner service. Afternoon tea. Evening hors d’oeuvres and complimentary in-suite espresso and cappuccino from Café al Bacio. We’re sure you will be more than happy with the grandeur and scale of the space, along with all the amenities, like the butler’s pantry and two interactive audio/visual entertainment systems.

This bar overlooked the main pool area, but it was closed for our cruise through cold-water climes.

The ship’s standard bar menu was available at the Mast Bar.

Celebrity does buffets well, and Infinity is no exception. Food lines were split, port and starboard, offering mostly identical selections. The area was well lighted, and traffic usually uncongested. Tables flanked the buffet lines, lining the windows, with a smaller dining area outside around the Sunset Bar where smoking was allowed on one side.

At lunch and dinner, food options included a solid salad bar, a pasta station, and a carving station that changed daily. There were sections for stir-fry dishes, Indian cuisine, a fresh sushi station, and pizzas (which we found fairly thick and doughy). A large selection of breads were on offer, including gluten free bread on request.

For dessert there was an ice cream station that included frozen yogurt, and an array of pastries and cakes.

At breakfast we found a wide selection that covered all the expected fare, and a little more.

A small bar near the entrance to the buffet had a limited selection of beer, wine and soft drinks for sale. Other drinks could be ordered from the Sunset Bar, to the rear of the buffet.

Something was available at the buffet from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily. Specific meal hours were breakfast from 6 to 11:30 a.m. (with a more limited selection the first and last hour), lunch from 12 noon to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 6 to 9:30 p.m. There were additional options between set meals times, including a pizza station that opened from 11:30 a.m.; a soup and sandwich section open from 12 noon to 3 p.m.; and the pasta and salad bars were open from noon till 11 p.m. daily.

Grand Foyer

This two-story foyer at mid-ship served as Celebrity Infinity’s lobby and nerve center, with the Guest Relations desk, the Shore Excursions desk, the Future Cruise Sales office and a sweeping staircase illuminated from within. Just off the lobby was the SS United States Restaurant and two conference rooms.

Deck 11

This deck saw the bulk of the ship’s changes during a November 2011 refurbishment that added 60 cabins. A jogging track used to wrap around most of Deck 11, but additions have blocked access to rear area of this deck; the jogging track is now fairly abbreviated—nine loops equals about a mile.

Sun loungers ring the area overlooking the main pool area on Deck 10.

Deck 12

An expansive split-level top deck serves as additional space for sun loungers. It was rarely utilized on our cruise.

Deck 4

The outdoor walk-around on Deck 4 would be the ship’s promenade, but for the fore and aft sections of the ship being blocked to public access. Still, it was a nice area for taking in the sea air and sun, and loungers were available. A staircase on either side of the ship led to a small exterior space on Deck 5, both port and starboard.

Staff

We didn’t really have any disappointing experiences with the crew of Celebrity Infinity, and we enjoyed the international flavor of the staff.

The two main specialty restaurants were well staffed, though we found on a very quiet night at SS United States that the meal was slowly paced to a fault—empty plates sat around after almost every course.

Before re-boarding the ship at ports of call, hot coffee and tea was offered next to security—it was a good way of handling the line when a large number of passengers decide to board at once.

Tipping

Celebrity recommends a tip of $11.50 per day, per guest for crewmember services, other than bartenders; the amount is increased to $12 for guests in Concierge Class or Aqua Class, and $15 for guests in suites. The amount is broken down for Waiter ($3.65 per day), Assistant Waiter ($2.10), Dining Room management ($1) and the balance going to the cabin steward. The charge is automatically added to the bill during the cruise (and, according to Celebrity, 48 hours prior to disembarkation the amounts are locked in).

For bar service a 15 percent service charge is automatically added onto all beverage tabs, including minibar purchases. A 15 percent surcharge was also added for spa services.

Dress Codes and Alcohol Policy

Dress on Celebrity Infinity was fairly casual by day, but suits and cocktail dresses came out on formal nights, two nights of our seven-night cruise.

For Celebrity, formal is a cocktail dress, gown or dressy pant suite for ladies and a tux, suit or dinner jacket with slacks for gentlemen (full or partial tuxes can be rented from guest relations). On other nights, after 6:00 p.m. smart casual attire is the minimum: Skirt or pants for ladies with a sweater or blouse, pants with sports shirt or sweater for the gents. Holes, rips or torn clothing are considered unacceptable.

T-shorts, swimsuits, robes, bare feet, tank tops, baseball caps and pool wear are not allowed into the dining room or specialty restaurants at any time; shorts and flip flops are not allowed in evening hours.

Celebrity allows guests to bring aboard two bottles of wine per cabin on embarkation day (subject to the ship’s corkage fee of $25 when opened in bars or restaurants). Liquor purchased during port calls was confiscated, to be collected at disembarkation. The drinking age is 21, though Celebrity says on certain itineraries (where local laws permit) the drinking age may be adjusted to 18.

Loyalty Programs

Celebrity’s frequent-cruise program is the Captain’s Club. Guests may enroll in the program following their first cruise with Celebrity. Each cruise earns a tier credit, with additional credits earned by sailing 12 nights or longer (including Cruisetours) or by staying in a Concierge Class cabin or better.

At the basic, Classic level, members receive a one-category space-available upgrade prior to sailing, are invited to a private onboard reception, and have access to a Loyalty Desk during the cruise. Additional benefits are received after attaining 5 tier credits (Select membership) and 10 tier credits (Elite membership).

Laundry Facilities

There were no self-service laundry or ironing facilities available on the ship, but dry cleaning was offered at the usual inflated prices, with next-day turnaround; same-day service incurred a 50 percent surcharge.
Celebrity Theater

The main theater on Celebrity Infinity is an attractive space, and was used for a variety of events. There was an evening turned over to the ship’s orchestra, while another evening had the show “Boogie Wonderland,” a neon-hued tribute to the disco era featuring one-minute renditions of hits from the 70s and 80s by a spry young cast of 15 singers and dancers. One night there was a comedian with a PG-rated act, and a magician on another evening. By day, the venue was used for bingo and a destination specialist presented educational shows about our ports of call.

Library

The library was cut in half during the 2011 ship refurbishment (the upstairs level was converted to the iLounge), so there’s a fairly abbreviated selection of books on the shelves. No travel books were in stock that we could find.

Celebrity iLounge

Added in 2011, this computer lounge is focused on Apple’s Mac platform, and MacBook Pros are available for guest internet. The ambiance is defined by wall-size screens marketing Apple products—it’s not a very subdued place for web surfing, though we appreciated the Mac focus. WiFi rates started at .75 per minute and packages pushed the per-minute rate down.

Classes were also offered (at an additional charge); the venue is closed when the 30-minute classes are in session.

Basketball Court

On the ship’s highest deck, tucked right behind the funnels, is a basketball court. Though largely protected from headwinds, we found the court to be unusually dirty and unappealing.

Conference Rooms

Two conference rooms were available for meetings on the ship, accessed through a dramatic, golden hallway on Deck 3.

The basic set of amenities was in place.


This small aft perch on Deck 10 is accessed through the Oceanview Café—in truth, it works best as an outdoor dining area for the buffet. But there’s a full bar here and when the weather cooperates it’s a great landing. Smoking is allowed on the port side of the deck.

The ship’s standard bar menu was available at the Sunset Bar.

Named for the largest ocean liner built entirely in the United States, with memorabilia from the original ship posing in the entryway, and china in the pattern of the original. The décor provides a curious contrast to Infinity's otherwise design-forward look, but fairly attentive service and subdued surroundings were welcome. The $45 add-on for dinner was steep, but the quality far exceeded other venues; lunch ($25) was somewhat smaller, but equally satisfying, and a fair value.

We never saw the place remotely full, and there was plenty of staff—one per table on a slow night. We despised the cloying music—the soundtrack lasts an hour, then repeats, and suffering through an elevator-style rendition of “I Just Called to Say I Love You” three times over was painful.

After odd amuse bouche (pear, grated cheddar and cherries in cream), dinner found its footing with a perfect porcini and morel risotto—al dente, not heavy, mushrooms providing a warm blanket of flavor, a halo of truffle foam ringing the dish.

For our main course we chose lobster, prepared tableside. The rich dish was a trip back in time, but we weren’t complaining; quality lobster meat was key to its success. Before dessert the cheese trolley rolled out, loaded with a fine selection, honey, grapes and crackers—we could hardly resist.

We also dined here at lunch, a very quiet experience. We enjoyed the crab salad, as well as the roasted beet salad—which put a similar one at Trellis to shame. For entrée we chose the lamb chops, a generous portion rising from a delicious bog of ratatouille. The dessert list was just three items long, but the soufflé was an indulgent finish to the very enjoyable meal.

The ship’s most extensive wine list is available at SS United States. Though a couple wines were priced less, most by the glass options ranged $11-$19. Otherwise, this was the place to splash out, with a number of showy options from California and France, in particular.

SS United States was open nightly 6 to 11 p.m. We never saw it full; ask the maître d’ about discount coupons. Lunch was offered on once, and wasn't mentioned in the ship literature; we learned of it only by asking the maître d’.

A five-course “Gastronomic and Vineyard Tour” is also available. Guests select from a list of 10 regular menu items, each paired with an upmarket wine. This is $89 including the wines, and the 3-ounce wine pairings looked to justify the $49 add-on to the regular meal price.

A muster drill was held just prior to embarkation the first day. Names were checked off a list as we arrived for the safety briefing. We were not required to bring life jackets from our cabin to the drill.

During the Muster Drill, guests were urged to familiarize themselves with the ship’s Guest Conduct Policy, a five-page document in the cabin directory that covers abusive language, alcohol consumption, smoking, children, and more.

Clinics

A medical center is located on Deck 1 and was staffed daily from 8 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. A doctor and nurse are on-call for emergencies at all hours.

Smoking Regulations

Celebrity Infinity is designated as non-smoking, but with several areas of the ship provided for smokers. This included one side of the Pool Deck (but not the Solarium area) and the port side of the Sunset Bar.

Cabins and their balconies were designated as non-smoking areas, as was Fortunes Casino.
The wine bar offers a great way to try out fancy wines without splurging for a bottle, or even a full glass. In addition to a regular bar serving the standard drink menu, there are several dozen wines are available through the Enomatic Wine Preservation system.

The machines dispense wine directly from the sealed bottle—inert gas minimizes oxygen that would otherwise change the wine’s character—allowing relatively high-end wines to be tasted days after opening without substantial alteration. Sadly, on our cruise there were technical problems with the machines, so they weren’t always operating smoothly.

The Enomatic machines dispense wines in 1, 3 and 5-ounce pours (the latter being a conventional size glass of wine), with prices scaled accordingly. So we could invest $111 for a bottle of Far Niente chardonnay from the bars or restaurants, or $26 for a 5-oz pour, or five bucks for a 1-ounce taste at Cellar Masters. The headliner wine Opus One sold for $217 at the SS United States, or $10 for 1-ounce pour at Cellar Masters.

The Enomatic machines were available to use 24 hours a day.

Pronounced “cuisine,” this offbeat dinner venue provides a fun evening out, as well as being a welcome alternative to the bland fare in the main dining room. The airy room is awash in white, with black and orange accents throughout, upside-down lamps suspended from the ceiling, and menus provided on iPads.

Located in an isolated bunker atop Deck 11, there is a $45 surcharge to dine at this specialty venue, a fee we found a bit high relative to the quality of the food, which is not exactly a refined culinary experience. Instead, the focus is on branding—the overall meal feels like it’s guided by Miami-nurtured marketing and design consultants with cute ideas, more than being the vision of a nimble chef. Each dish and drink has its own logo and individualized plate-ware and glassware (Riedel stem-less for wine). Small knives, forks, spoons are kept on the table in buckets and jars—the utensils are handsome to look at but were awkward in our hands.

But our meal at Qsine was entertaining. It’s a safe environment for sampling foreign cuisines, and it’s a good bet for larger parties who can best utilize the family-style dining arrangements. One small hurdle to be aware of when ordering: The menu does not segregate items by courses; dishes vary greatly in size, from appetizer-sized items of just a few bites to full on entrée-size portions that could easily be shared by four or more people. You won’t go away hungry, but consult with your server to avoid too much food coming to the table.

Qsine was open nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. Watch for discount coupons.

Almost 200 slot machines at the Fortunes Casino covered the gamut of traditional games (Double and Triple Diamond, etc.) to modern games like Wheel of Fortune. There were also multi-denomination video poker machines, allowing the guest to program the amount being played. Table games include Roulette, Craps, Blackjack (including single deck), Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Community Stud Poker and Three Card Poker.

Gambling is allowed for guests 18 and older (21 and up when in Alaskan waters). Cash advances up to $2000 per day are available; a 5 percent transaction fee applies (plus a $50 minimum at tables). Lines of credit may also be opened, subject to a casino credit check. The casino has its own bar, offering the ship’s standard drink list, and the entire area is non-smoking.

The third specialty restaurant on Celebrity Infinity, this bistro was an acceptable spot for light bites at off hours, serving later than any other venue on the ship. The specialty of the house is crêpes—breakfast-y, savory or sweet—plus hot panini sandwiches, a chef salad and soup of the day. But although the food was mostly cooked to order and the $5 surcharge was modest, we still found the add-on charge for the simple menu to be a bit petty.

There were two fresh soups of the day available and we ordered the vegetable, which was primarily zucchini that wasn’t overcooked till mushy (as with most canned soups); the broth seemed to be primarily tomato and a bit of cream. The satisfying chicken panini was piping hot and piquant; potato chips and a small bowl of diced and dressed vegetables came on the side. We took our waiter’s recommendation for dessert—the Italian crêpe, which he called “the best dessert on the ship.” It was tasty, alright, filled with bananas and topped with Nutella cream, pistachio crumbles and whipped cream.

The ship’s standard cocktail list was available here, along with wines by the glass or bottle.
Bistro on Five was open daily from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Located at midship, between the casino and the main dining room, Rendez Vous saw a lot of traffic, but most of it was just passing through. Through the day the venue was used for trivia contests, XBOX Kinect and other light games; after dusk the lounge had live music—some of it encouraging ballroom moves on the dance floor.

The ship’s standard bar menu was available at the Rendez Vous Lounge.

Hidden behind the Solarium, this was a good place for a quick breakfast or lunch, buffet style. There are limited tables (seating four each), but they turn over quickly and we had no problem securing a spot. Classical music was usually on, though the water jets in the pool filled the room with white noise. And because the Thalassotherapy pool was for adults only, the Solarium was pretty close to kid-free.

Breakfast included sliced and whole fruit (many of them not available elsewhere on the ship). Yogurt and granola with berries were served in a cup, and there was a selection of breads, plus cold and hot cereals, with raisins, cranberries and walnuts for topping.

At lunch we found a small salad bar. Prepared plates included small portions of gilled grilled polenta cake, and bulgur wheat and tofu, and there was a soup of the day with various bread sticks.

We tried the grilled open-face tuna on hearty eight-grain bread with cucumber and dill-spiced yogurt, and a crunchy wild rice and lentil salad. Together, these made for a wonderful light meal. Two hot offerings could also be had: broiled/steamed/poached salmon or tuna, and grilled/seared pork loin or chicken breast—both served with steamed or grilled veggies and requiring 15 of prep.

There was a poached fruit bar with an array of choices; we liked the apples and blueberry with blackcurrant, but we also saw winter plums with cinnamon, thyme and rosemary, and apricots with honey, nutmeg, tarragon and bay leaf. Desserts included yogurt raspberry cake and semolina flameli, a custard-like dish we found a bit bland.

Dispensers were available serving fruit punch, lemonade, orange juice and coffee.

The AquaSpa Café had breakfast available from 7 to 9:30 a.m. and lunch from 12 noon to 2:30 p.m.

Cast in cool whites, grays and greens, these side-by-side bars overlook the Grand Foyer and specialize in martinis. Circling the main bar is a sheet of frozen metal and soon after opening, guests start scrawling their names in the frost. A few feet away the freestanding bar Crush showcases more than 30 bottles of vodka and gin, all shrouded in shaved ice. A small selection of caviar plates is available, ranging $18 to $120, each served with blinis. Combos including a glass or champagne or shot of vodka are available.

There’s a long list of nouveau martinis, plus the classics. Or, step up for a flight of six elixirs. The martinis are individually mixed, shaken in a stack, then simultaneously poured into their respective glasses—a photo-worthy fete. Portions are 3 oz each, making this a solid value for $15 (and a great conversation starter, too).

At Crush, vodkas are organized by new world and old, and some more exotic specimens hail from places like Iceland and Kazakhstan. Themed flights of vodkas are also available here. The narrow bar at Crush seats 10 and is serviced by crew from the Martini Bar.

The ship’s standard bar menu is also available at the Martini Bar.

Tucked next to the Photo Gallery, this lounge is one of the new additions to Celebrity Infinity for the 2011 renovation, and it’s the spot with the best beer list—so you know we hung out here. The only problem was it felt a bit clubby—at a number of points the venue was closed for private functions and at other times the ambience was curiously unwelcoming. It didn’t feel like the atmosphere of a convivial English pub.

In addition to the ship’s standard list, the bar menu at Michael’s covered more than 60 beers—lagers, ales, porters and stouts, Belgians, wheat beers, ciders, Lambics and fruit beers, listed by type and alcohol content. While the bulk of the list were brews we find easily at home, there were some exotics. While those finds were priced $12-$24, most of the beers ranged $6 to $9.

Also available were artisanal spirits like Royal Salute 21-year-old scotch, Suntory “Yamakazi” 18-year-old whiskey and Appleton Estate 21-year-old rum.

No surprises here—it was burgers and dogs by the pool.

Toppings included cheese, bacon, sauerkraut, tomato, onion, lettuce, jalapeno pepper, ketchup and mustard, but not much else. French fries and chocolate chip cookies were served on the side.

The Pool Grill was open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

We weren’t staying in a suite or AquaClass cabin, so this restaurant was off-limits to us—as well of most of Infinity’s guests. We’re guessing the food is similar to what is served in Trellis, the ship’s main dining room, but the ambiance is more relaxed and subdued, with no set dining times.

The ship’s standard cocktail list was available, along with wines by the bottle and glass.

Blu was open for dinner from 6 to 9:30 p.m. nightly. It was also open for breakfast daily, generally 7 or 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 or 9 a.m.

If you want something better than the ship’s coffee, your alternative is Café al Bacio, where Lavazza Coffee streams from a proper espresso machine. It’s a nice, central location offering comfy seating and good people-watching opportunities, but alas, we find the prices extortionate—a good 50 percent or so higher than a Starbucks. Then again, at Starbucks we’d be paying additional for those delectable pastries and finger sandwiches, the ones that ease out of the pastry case free of charge here. And there’s live classical and other appropriate music, served up on and off through the day and evening.

The gelato and sorbetto is a good buy, with a dish or cone ranging $3-$5 depending on size. We sampled a few—rum raisin, pistachio, mango, caramel— and found them tasty, if not quite on par with our favorite shops in Venice.

Complimentary desserts included Maracuja chocolate mousse, Amarena almond cake, raspberry dome, tiramisu, and lemon or apricot tartlets. Among the savory items in the pastry case were dainty two-bite sandwiches including ham and Swiss, salami and cream cheese, pumpernickel and smoked salmon, etc. A waitress came through the seating area offering treats from a box of chocolates from time to time.

Our drinks were well made, but the basic espresso or macchiato was $3-$4, while a cappuccino, latte, caffé mocha or caramel macchiato set us back $4.50. With service charge, your basic Café Americano comes to $5.18. There’s a good selection of more than a dozen teas from Tea Forte ($4), iced teas ($5), ice cream-and-coffee concoctions ($5-$6), plus spiked coffee drinks ($6) and a small selection of wines by the glass.

Café al Bacio and the gelateria were open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Room service was available 24 hours a day. Orders could be called in or an interactive feature on the TV monitor was available for ordering from the regular menu; this feature took more time than would be taken giving one’s order to a live person, but might prove handy if phone lines were tied up.

Breakfast can be delivered between 6:30 and 10:00 a.m., with orders hung outside the cabin the night prior. Breakfast wasn't available through the interactive TV function, but we were able to order by phone once. We were told it would take “45 to 50 minutes, at least,” but the food arrived 29 minutes later. We used the TV to order at lunch; the system didn’t indicate how long delivery would take but it arrived 36 minutes later.

The breakfast menu was not extensive, but covered the conventional turf sufficiently. Egg options on the room service card were a choice of scrambled or plain omelet only; sides of bacon, sausage and ham were available. Croissant, danish and toast were offered, along with a selection of juices, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and milk.

We specified eggs over easy (a choice not mentioned on the door hanger) and they were nicely cooked, though the yoke broke on one sometime after it left the griddle. One problem: The eggs, sausage and toast were only lukewarm. If the plate had been hot before the food was placed on it, breakfast would have been warmer at delivery. Our coffee, however, was hot, and the grapefruit juice was real juice.

Another day we ordered chicken noodle soup for lunch, which arrived steaming hot. The soup was unexciting—broth, small bits of chicken and spaghetti—but perhaps a good bet for those with an upset tummy. The long noodles were a strange choice to contend with (using a spoon). We also had the avocado-tomato quesadilla, filled with melted jack cheese and a smattering of avocado, with ramekins of sour cream and tomato salsa on the side. Again, nothing exciting—but not disappointing, either.

Our room had a small fridge stocked with drinks, including soda, water, beer, wine, and various hard liquors. A 15-percent charge was applied to all minibar purchases.

A small selection of beer and wine was available by the glass through room service.

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