Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Infinity Review
If all things were equal with itinerary and pricing, we’d opt for a cruise on a Solstice Class ship over Celebrity Infinity.
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.
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.
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.
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