Infinity Gallery
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Ship Gallery & Report (Page 4 - Infinity)

<< Back to Page 3 for Celebrity Summit

Royal Caribbean International continued the expansion of its "mass-market premium brand" with the introduction of 4 new ships: Millennium (June 2000), Infinity (Mar 2001), Summit (Nov 2001) & finally Constellation (2002). They were the first to be powered by gas-turbines and were among the first ships to use the new "pod" propulsion system instead of conventional propellers. As such, there were a number of initial problems that upset many people's plans - not least our own in 2005, when our planned trip to Hawaii was scuppered at the last minute! See Infinity 2005 >>.

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Infinity (entered service 2001)
90,228 grt; length 965ft; 1,950 passengers

(left) Infinity, the second ship in the Millennium-class, delivered in March 2001 (seen here during her trials).
<< page1 (Constellation) << page2 (Millennium) << page3 (Summit)

(right) Celebrity Infinity in Getxo, Spain in October 2013, from above the beach in Algorta. (Gerry's photo)
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Their initial flashy livery of royal blue and white with racy gold lines and red trim was the work of the mega-yacht designer, Jon Bannenburg. However, this was revised in 2004 in favour of a more simplified scheme. In a company rebranding exercise in 2007-2008, all ships were re-registered with the suffix "Celebrity" in front of their name - in case you were in any doubt!

Show Picture Full Size "Solsticizing" the Millennium-class
From Nov 2011 to May 2013, Celebrity carried-out a programme of "Solsticizing" all 4 "Millennium-class" ships, incorporating some of the features of the new "Solstice-class", including 43 new "Aqua-class" cabins on Deck-11, increasing passenger capacity to 2,036 and her tonnage to 91,000grt. When we travelled on Celebrity Summit in 2012, some of the changes I did not feel were improvements!
(right) 43 new "Aqua-class" Suites on Deck-11, cutting-off the original running-track!

It is ironic that Celebrity Infinity was the first ship in the Millennium-class that we tried to cruise on (see Infinity 2005 >>) but in the end, she was the last one we would sample, more than 8 years later.

An Immersive Wine Cruise
12th - 24th October 2013

View the complete Log of this cruise >>

The first impression was of a ship almost identical to Celebrity Summit. Indeed, having been "Solsticized" last year, the same changes were apparent from the ship's original layout, notably the introduction of Blu, carved-out of the upper level of the main Restaurant as an exclusive dining venue for the new "Aqua-class" passengers, plus the addition of 43 new "Aqua-class" suites on Deck-11.
For a more detailed revue of the ship's updated interiors, see << Page3 (Summit).
(right) Aqua-class Restaurant "Blu" photographed aboard Summit in 2012
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Show Picture Full Size My Cabin was a 2C-grade balcony cabin (#7025) on Deck-7 forward, similar to one I had on Millennium in 2009 but less colourful. The bathroom was adequate, with a good size shower (no bath!) but only limited storage space for 2 people.
In the cabin though, storage space was good (especially for one!) and the balcony was a bonus although my "waffle" bathrobe and shorter cabin-breakfast menu were a come-down from Concierge-class! My Breakfast Menu >> & Concierge Breakfast Menu >> Show Picture Full Size

This idea of reducing the range and offering "Premium Items" (ie chargeable ones!) was something new on Celebrity and I came across it again in the AquaSpa Café, where I had previously become used to the rather nice light breakfast selection, after my early morning swim in its wonderful Thalassotherapy Pool, the best indoor pool at sea.
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Early Morning in the AquaSpa and the AquaSpa Café
and my specially-requested "Granola-Berry Parfait"
Fortunes Casino
Slots & Craps - Egyptian Style

Unhappy Changes in the AquaSpa Cafe!
The little café beside the pool is perfect for a light breakfast but always looking for ways to increase on-board revenue, Celebrity have recently turned one of the counters over to "premium" items (ie additional cost) and the range of "free" items is now quite limited. You can still get what you want but you have to ask for it! I found this out by having a little chat with the Maitre d'!

Celebrity may be searching for new ways to improve on-board revenue but fortunately for Andrew & Sally, Fortunes Casino still paid out - eventually. Though quite what the idea of Hieroglyphics and Egyptian Tomb carvings is, may leave you thinking, "Spend it now; you can't take it with you!

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Constellation Lounge (Deck-11)
A fine room & exceptional parties but poor service on the last 2 evenings
Mood Lighting by Day & Night
Lobby, Deck-11 (Gerry's photos)

The Constellation Lounge is where Celebrity hold their parties, still among the best at sea. Indeed, the "Captains Club Celebration Party", exclusive to loyalty-club members, had plenty of drinks, nibbles and entertainment from a comedy Juggler, plus a singing Cruise Director Pete Baker and a singing Club Hostess. It was a fantastic party - Celebrity Cruises haven't lost their touch!

The Captains Club Elite Social Drink
Another tradition for "Elite" Captains Club members is the daily social from 5-7pm, where a range of drinks is complimentary and canapés are served. Unfortunately, poor service on the last 2 evenings meant that we waited 15 minutes for a drink and another 30 minutes for a canapé! Sadly, the Hostess told us that it is likely that in future, this "perk" will be given in the form of vouchers.

Show Picture Full Size The Trellis Restaurant
The main restaurant on each ship of the Millennium-class has a different name, carpet and chair upholstery; otherwise the design is the same on each ship. The menus, revised in 2011 following the departure of Celebrity's Vice-President Jaques Van Staden, are also identical across the fleet and while they are still very good, some say they have been "dumbed-down"; certainly, the once extensive selection has been scaled-back but the secret is in the quality and presentation.

However, the lacklustre preparation and presentation experienced aboard Celebrity Summit in 2012 was not the case on Celebrity Equinox earlier this year and thankfully, that was also true here, where standards were well up to what we have come to expect of Celebrity Cruises.

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The Trellis Restaurant
showing the lower side section and 2-deck centre area
The Trellis Restaurant
Our Table #327 & Formal Night Menu
Our Group
Formal Night Photo

Service from our waiters Gregorio & Oruç was also excellent, although our first night was not an auspicious one, when "wine issues" threatened trouble, requiring the asserting of some influence!

The Tale of the Unavailable Gavi (The Short Version!)
First nights are always risky but when we were told that there was no Gavi available (on a Wine Cruise!) we called for the Chief Sommelier. Meanwhile, the Wine Steward opened our 2nd bottle before finishing the first and when it was commented on, he took umbridge. By the time the Chief Sommelier came over, he had already appointed a new Wine Steward for our table!

But some nights later, there was no Gavi again, so I spoke to the Chief Sommelier the following day. No sooner had I returned to my cabin than a complimentary bottle of Gavi was being delivered by a steward. We had no problems at our table after that and even our "new" Wine Steward Kyril, who was actually very nice, joked that he didn't know how we had done it but there was a whole case of Gavi at our disposal, should we ever order it again! He was clearly impressed!

You can see all of the menus featured on board Celebrity Infinity and other ships of the Celebrity fleet here at Cruise Ship Menus >>

Show Picture Full Size The SS United States Restaurant
This was the 4th of the "Ocean Liners" themed restaurants where you can enjoy some of the finest cuisine at sea. A la Carte Menu >> Desserts >>
The restaurant is inspired by the style of the liner "SS United States" of 1952 and includes etched-glass panels, memorabilia and items of furniture from the fastest passenger liner ever built. Show Picture Full Size
(Left) The decor evokes the style of the liner "SS United States", incorporating original etched-glass panels & furniture from the ship.
Each of the "Ocean Liners" restaurants is different in style but all have essentially the same menu as in the Murano restaurant on the Solstice-class ships. However, the additional cover-charge is now $45, which must put a few people off. Even so, the Flambéed Lobster and the Dover Sole were equally divine and after "Les VI Étoiles" for dessert, I still couldn't resist the cheese selection!

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SS United States
Entrance Lobby
Ship Model
SS United States (1952)
Views of the Restaurant Interior
and Private Cocktail Bar
Private Dining
"In Cellar"

Service is excellent, although they try almost too hard to impress and they keep telling you how wonderful it all is, which is unnecessary. When I mentioned to the others that they had interrupted our conversation twice so far, the Maitre d' must have overheard, because they didn't do it again!

Ocean Liners Restaurants aboard the Millennium-class ships
Seating just 115 and with their own galley and gastronomic menus originally designed by Michel Roux, these restaurants offered service & cuisine unmatched by any other ships in the same price range, a concept continued in the Solstice-class with "Murano". However, unlike "Murano", on the Millennium-class, each restaurant maintains an "Ocean Liner" theme and has a different decor.

Show Picture Full Size On board Millennium, the "Olympic" Restaurant (left) is inspired by that ship's Cafe Parisien and has a section incorporating elaborate panelling from the 1st Class Dining Room aboard the White Star liner RMS Olympic of 1911 (see right) Show Picture Full Size

Show Picture Full Size On Summit, the "Normandie" restaurant (left) includes gold laquered Art Deco panels from the 1st-class Smoking Room of the French liner, Normandie of 1935; on Constellation, the "Ocean Liners" restaurant (right) features laquered Art Deco panels from the Île de France of 1927. Show Picture Full Size

Show Picture Full Size Qsine
First introduced aboard Celebrity Eclipse in 2010, this unusual speciality dining concept proved so popular that it was incorporated in 2 more of the Solstice-class as well as 3 of the Millennium-class during "Solsticizing".
(left) Speciality Restaurant "Qsine" has replaced the Conservatory on board Infinity.

The only drawback on board Celebrity Infinity was the loss of the rather lovely Conservatory, regrettably under-used by passengers and not generating any additional revenue. On this cruise, however, having already sampled Qsine 3 times on Celebrity Eclipse and Celebrity Summit, we decided to give it a miss, along with its hefty $40 cover charge! A full report of Qsine on << page3 (Summit)

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The Library (Deck-8) & i-Lounge (Deck-9)
Originally, the Library occupied both levels
The Rendezvous Lounge
for the Afternoon Quiz
The Martini Lounge
The 5pm Martini Committee!

It's a sign of the times that the once 2-deck Library, with its spiral staircase between decks 8 & 9, has given way to technology, in the form of the relocated "i-Lounge", provided by Apple. But the facilities are good and I found that the personal assistance they willingly provide is excellent.

Show Picture Full Size The relocation of the Martini Lounge involved the loss of the Platinum Club with its open gallery to the Rendezvous Lounge below but it now boasts Celebrity's trademark "Crush" and an ice-topped bar - and the Martinis are just as good as always!
(left) Crush & (right) The Ice-topped Bar of the new Martini Lounge (Gerry's photo)
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Entertainment on board offered the now familiar broad range of artists, although we did notice the absence of an Acapella Group, something we had become rather fond of and thought still popular. Of the 3 main Production Shows, the first, "iBroadway", was energetic, imaginative and actually very good for a compilation-style show. The 2nd, "Boogie Wonderland" was also reasonably good.

Show Picture Full Size The 3rd after-dinner show, "Celebrate The World", was another concoction with all the old favourites designed to win applause, such as "The Can-Can", "Nessun Dorma", "River Dance", peacock-feathers, the works! The ladies seemed to enjoy it but I found it all rather predictable. But I'm notoriously hard to please; and at least you don't pay extra for the entertainment!
(right) All Feathers & Favourites - the 3rd Production Show "Celebrate The World"

For our last day of the cruise, the good weather returned and people were out on deck again, putting the finishing touches to their holiday tans. For lunch, there was "Traditional" Fish & Chips in the Café, and just like the rest of the food throughout this cruise, it was far better than the same offering aboard Celebrity Summit last year! See The Saga of the Fish & Chips 2012 >>

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Café al Bacio
Special coffees & pastries
Last Day Blues
Sunbathing on Deck
"Traditional" Fish & Chips
Hot Dog Vendor II
(by Red Grooms: 1998)

Show Picture Full Size Chickens work-to-rule on the last day!
It has been said that chickens only lay eggs in twos on board cruise ships because you never seem to get one egg on its own. However, my last-day indulgence of "Eggs Benedict" for breakfast turned out to be one "Egg" Benedict. It looked so lonely on the plate that I had to have some Lyonnaise Potatoes with it!
(left) A rather lonely "Egg" Benedict - not "Eggs Benedict"!

Summary 2014
The ship's "Solsticizing" refit last year was clearly designed to increase revenue and while some of the changes might be seen as improvements, increasing passenger capacity for economic reasons has resulted in certain compromises, for which I guess they hope passengers (if they notice) will in time forgive them!
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In the 1990's, Celebrity Cruises established an outstanding reputation for its cuisine, advertising itself as a "Premium Line". But after Royal Caribbean took over in 1997, there were rationalisations and economies which were not well received. On that occasion, Celebrity recovered their position but in the economic climate post-2011, margins are again being squeezed; menus have been "dumbed-down" and while some staff still provide exceptional service, standards in a few areas (most notably aboard Celebrity Summit last year) have suffered. On Celebrity Infinity however, I was relieved that, while the standard menus are a bit predictable, the quality & presentation of them was much higher than aboard Celebrity Summit and back up to the level I had come to expect. Let us hope it stays that way!

Total Mileage aboard
Celebrity Summit: 3,154 n miles

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