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Celebrity Infinity Coastal - San Francisco to Vancouver

A Short Excursion Aboard Celebrity’s Infinity

June 1-4, 2006

By: Ken L. Smith

 

My wife, Rosalee and I have sailed on five cruises, most of them being with Princess Cruises, but in June of 2006 we had the opportunity to cruise with friends from San Francisco to Vancouver, B.C., stopping to take a look at Victoria, that pleasant gem on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. It was a three-day jaunt that allowed us the opportunity to experience Celebrity Infinity. It is a “full-sized” cruise ship with many balconies, which have become our “required accommodation”. With a greater percentage of the cabins on the new ships having balconies, we must not be alone in this requirement. We were partly interested in seeing how other cruise lines functioned. After all, we had to know if we were missing out on something good, right?

Send-Off from the Golden Gate Bridge 

The boarding process in San Francisco went well, but it was made much nicer because we were traveling with others that had enough cruises to bump us up into a “higher class” with some special “no-waiting” service… a definite goal for anyone that enjoys cruises. Check with your agent to see how many cruises will qualify you with your favorite cruise line for that special treat. We found that the ticketing agents, guides, baggage personnel, security people (and anyone else that was placed on or about that ship to be of service to us) did indeed fulfill each of our needs. We were on board and in our cabin in a short time, ready for the celebrations top-side as they cast off the dock lines, blow that huge horn, and start things moving. It is always exciting to me to see the staff working like clockwork to make so many tons of steel actually move under their own power in such smooth harmony. A small, floating city in motion.  {Suzy Note: Ken & Rosalee had a Concierge Class cabin, which is what afforded them the "Celebrity Treatment" upon boarding....besides the fact that I was sailing with them and knew my way around the port in San Francisco.}

 

As we left our moorings passed through San Francisco Bay, we had the full view of the San Francisco skyline, wind-surfers and other ships as we slid out under the Golden Gate Bridge. We could feel a rush of excitement as the people standing on THE BRIDGE were waving to us, wishing us bon voyage. On the upper deck of the Infinity, you are close enough to the underside of our “Golden Lady” to see her rivets, and you cannot help but relive the time nearly 80 years ago when men hung suspended by cables, placing each one of those rivets by hand.

 

When we cruise, we automatically assume that we are in a little better circumstance then we are any other day (especially in our own home), so we do enjoy being pampered a little. It bothers us to sit and be waited on, but we do like to know that “things are handled” without making phone calls or leaving notes or giving directions. Our cabin service was up to our expectations. We would leave the cabin to eat dinner, and upon return, the curtains were drawn, the linens were fresh, the bed was made up, the corners were turned down, and the proverbial chocolates were placed lovingly on the pillows. That’s nice.

 

{Suzy Photo: Flowers freshened regularly are part of Concierge Class cabins, as well as some champagne upon arrival}

 

Evening dining was a joyous occasion. They accommodated us with a table the size that we requested, so that our party could enjoy dining together. You always have an option to sit at a table that is a little larger so that we might get to meet a few other people each evening. To us, that is a highlight of this type of travel. We have met such wonderful people on cruises.

 

The food was wonderful. If we were really interested in several of the main selections, all we had to do was ask and a multi-entree’ feast was sitting in front of us. The waiters were very cognizant of our needs and desires, and were extremely polite. Each of us was treated as if we were honored guests in their homes. We usually rate a cruise by the number of pounds we add. I am sorry to say that on this cruise the food was very good.

 

Multiple restaurants are available all about the ship, with food specialties and atmospheres as varied as the guests that were on board. Food is literally always available, somewhere, so my wife and I made a pact with ourselves long ago… we never take the lift (that would be elevators to those used to buildings) and always take the ladders (um… stairs, ok?). That will at least burn off SOME of the beautiful food that cruises have available. Infinity was right up with the best in her food selections. You will most likely break tradition if you are used to skipping breakfast.

 

We are not the ones to ask about “entertainment” as a nice theatre presentation or stage show after dinner satisfies our needs (with perhaps a stop in the casino on the way back to the cabin, which might lighten our pockets a bit for the climb back up to the cabin). It would be unfair to be critical of the entertainment staff on a three-day jaunt like this, since the cruise was most likely a  “repositioning” of the ship to a new itinerary. This is when staff is often exchanged among ships. We felt that the artists were not up to what we expected, but we would like to do a full week (or more) on board and give them a better chance to show us their talents. There was a multitude of “parties” going on, during the whole cruise, with multiple lectures, presentations, game shows, and art auctions throughout the day and evening when we were “at sea”. If you are into poetic reading, book clubs or karyoke, it was available to you. A night-club for the adults and a “night club” for the younger “adults” as well as “clubs” for the children were also available.

Another “must” for us is some privacy on our balcony. The Infinity has plenty of balconies, and some may suit your need better then others. Take a close look at the deck plans before making your selection of your cabin, as some balconies protrude enough that they are less private, but those will provide exceptional views both forward and aft. That is not always afforded you on a large ship. We were in cabin number 9101, on the port side of the Sky Deck, which is about the highest you can get and still have a balcony. The cabin was wonderful, and we were near the middle of the ship, so we had a very comfortable ride. The ambient noise was the soothing sound of the water alongside the ship, some eight decks below us. No engines or pumps or winches disturbed us. We were a little claustrophobic with an over-hang above us which was the decking around the Breezes Pool on the Resort Deck. It hung out well over the side, giving us wonderful protection and absolute privacy, but little view of the sky. We had not planned on that much “shelter” when we chose that cabin. It may be perfect for your needs. I would love to have that “protection” if I were at sea in a rainstorm.

 

Moving about the ship was very pleasant. Small details such as vases and flowers and elaborate decorations made us feel as if we were on a ship of the same class as great ships of the past. The elegance of HMS Queen Mary (the earlier version) or the great Italian ocean liner Andrea Doria comes to mind. From afar Infinity gleams with her vast use of glass on her balconies. She is indeed a pleasure to sail.

 

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Suzy Notes:  One of the best parts of the Infinity and her sisters is the Adults-Only pool area that has 'healthy' food choices available for breakfast and lunch nearby.  TRULY fabulous, just like the dining everywhere else on the ship.  I had a cold salmon plate that was 'to die for' one afternoon, and I have a photo of some sushi plates that were there also.  All complimentary, of course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunset over the coastal waters near Victoria, BC was beautiful.

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