GTS (gas turbine system) Infinity is 91,000 tons of pure luxury. At first I didn't care for the outside look of the ship, but as the week went by, I actually changed my mind, you certainly can't tell what it looks like inside compared to the outside, but it did grow on me and I now find the outside equally as appealing.
The ship is very well laid out and easily to navigate seemed to have plenty of elevators and stairs, at times some of the elevators were busy and we just took the stairs. The Trellis dinning room is on both deck 4 and 5 with lounges on both floors before the dinning room, so if you had to wait or got to dinner early, very easy to sit and have a pre-dinner cocktail. The ship's stores "The Emporium" is on deck 5 while the casino "Fortunes" is on deck 4 along with "Michaels Club". You will find the shore excursion desk and quest relations on deck 3 with the Bank as well. All these places were well put together and easy to find. The very top deck, 12 is the sports deck. I also liked how they had the public areas on deck 11, the pool deck, oceanview café and the aqua spa. I absolutely loved relaxing in the aqua spa, almost as good as a massage, what a way to spend a few hours. I would have liked to see the hours extended though and on our last "sea" day I noticed that the hot tubs inside were closed. They did still have the out-door tubs open, but I was not that brave, while others were, the sun was out, but the breeze was still on the cool side. It was still nice enough to wear shorts and read out on the pool deck, something I missed while being in Alaska compared to cruising in the Caribbean. Of course the saving of deck chairs was not an issue on this cruise either and it looked like there was enough deck space by the pools to be able to get a chair in the warmer climate.
There is a small cinema on deck 3, almost too small. One evening we went down to catch a movie and there was not a seat left, but did catch it the next day. The Celebrity theater was also very nice, not a bad seat in the house and all the way in the front on the same 2 floors as the Trellis restaurant, so easy to catch a show either before or after dinner. Seemed to be plenty of little lounges and a café for specialty coffee.
Our cabin (8053) was a balcony cabin on deck 8, nice location, almost midship and was able to use either of the elevators and stairs in the front or rear. Plenty of closet and drawer space and an average size balcony, something that is a MUST for an Alaska cruise! There is just too much you can miss by being on an inside cabin while cruising in Alaska. The day we were at Hubbard Glacier, it was sunny and not too cold, but a strong wind, so when the captain turned the ship around and our side of the ship was facing the glacier, what a nice warm place to sit and watch, listen and be amazed at this kind of nature, something that is really hard to explain. We were also fortunate to be there on a day when there was a LOT of glacier caving activity, almost non-stop.
The cabin layout was opposite of what I like better, by having the bed closer to the sliding glass door and the couch and table when you walk in, but it was still OK. I did love the hairdryer in the bathroom and unlike the rest of the onboard hairdryers I've used this one has some major power, what a relief, just glad I did not lug my own. We had the typical refrigerator and safe in the closet, so that came in handy when bring back a 6 pack of beer onboard, which we had no problem bringing back, we did check first and they said it was OK. I did find the selection of TV channels to be lacking a bit, had the usual CNN, but that was about it other than a movie channel and also pay per view TV movies at $8.99 each, no thanks.
All the service both in the dinning room, buffet and cabin were all top notch, at times in the dinning room, service seems slow, but I think both the waiter and asst. waiter had quite a few table to attend to, so that could have been the reason for the delays. Our cabin attendant was great, always picked up cabin as soon as we left and was finished in a small amount of time. We also noticed that while eating in the buffet, instead of being able to help yourself, they served you the portions that you wanted, may-be slowed that area down a little, not sure, just something I have not seen while cruising until this Celebrity cruise.
This area for Celebrity was not a strong point, plenty of singing and broadway type shows, almost too many, all good depending on the venue for that evening, some I loved, while others just didn't hit me. They did have a wonderful comedian and a good juggler and an opera type singer, that just didn't interest me, although he had a great voice, I was just not into that type of music and singing, but all in all, there was some kind of decent entertainment every evening. There was basically the one major show per evening, unlike Princess that may have a secondary show in another lounge later in the evening.
Ports of call
Our first stop was Juneau and probably the worst day for weather, but still not a total wash. We pre-book a whale-watching excursion with Captain Larry, Orca, which was wonderful. He has 2 boats and that day he did have to use them both. Very informative and the most passengers that goes on one of his boats is 23, so you didn't have the huge crowd that some of the other tours do. We spend a few hours out with the whales and were also very lucky to see many of them and also some sea lions taking their afternoon snooze. I would definitely recommend him for this type of tour. After getting back from this excursion we did a walk through Juneau in the rain:-( Ended up taking shelter in the "Red Dog Saloon", nice rest stop and a good place to stop in for a beer before heading back onboard. by the time we finished in the saloon, the rain was almost finished.
Next stop was Skagway, where we did the first tour on the "White Pass Railroad". You practely stop off the ship and the train is right there by the pier, so we found a car and seats and set up on the trail up. I was very glad we did this excursion, it was the only time we actually got to see inside Alaska and this was awesome. The scenery through the pass was picture postcard pretty. We were able to stand outside our car, but not cross to the next and just smelling that clean fresh pine air, just couldn't get enough. Once you get to the top, they literally take the engine off the front and put it on the back, so the back on the trip up, is now the front on the trip down, there is just one single track, so they have to time these trip accordingly. The total time for this trip was 3-1/2 hours. Not sure what exactly does it, but me included, fell asleep on the way back, I've heard it does happen to a lot of passengers. They also have you change sides for the trip back down, so you can see the other side on the way back. We still had some more time to walk around Skagway and see their little town, more shopping here too.
I think this was the highlight of this Alaska cruise for me. Words and pictures just can't completely describe this massive glacier. Want to also note, along the way there are a few smaller "hanging" glaciers, which in their own right are also impressive, but getting close to this glacier was totally amazing. When we first got there, I though OK, so this is a glacier and its known that pieces do break off, but when that started to happen on a regular basis, I was in for a show like I've never experienced before. Had no idea the sounds this could make and we were still a half-mile away. We had a naturalist onboard for this whole trip and she (Susan) was just full of wonderful knowledge along with the Cruise Director Michael Thomas. Whenever we had the slightest chance of seeing something, they would announce it and give us some valuable information, it was great!
We kind of left things up in the air at this stop, just were not sure about weather, this town averages 240 days of rain per year, so the chances of it being a rainy day were there, but we were in for a huge surprise, it was sunny, not a cloud in the sky. We had to first tender in here, so once we got to the pier, George wanted to see if he could get a fishing trip in, so after waiting for a few more to go, he was on his way. This was my time to get in the last of the shopping, managed to find the crystal totem pole I've been eyeing on the previous ports, but as luck would have it, everywhere I went they seemed to be sold out. I did find some store clerk to give me the name of 2 stores that could still have them, and I hit gold, found one and got it, made my day. Then I did find an Internet café and took an hour to catch up on e-mails etc. Out of all the ports Ketchikan had the most area of stores and a larger dock area. Once "Sun Princess" when on their way, we were able to take their spot on the pier, we didn't have to leave until 7:30PM that day, so we still had dock space for almost half the day.
We still had a "sea" day before returning to Vancouver, so it was a nice relaxing time to stroll around deck and see if we could spot any wild life, forgot to mention that we did see many bald eagles on the trip, they actually do look like white tennis balls sitting in the tops of trees, so I was very glad to see them. There was another spot on the way back where we were in some narrow waters and a good chance to see some "Orca" whales if they were in the main area, which they WERE, it was totally amazing to see these pods along the side of the shore. I would say a good hour we could spot them, so that was also amazing to me. To top that off, that evening at dinner, we saw quite a few schools of dolphins in the back of the ship, I was truly surprised to see so many, had not idea they went that far north, so that was a nice ending to a wonderful cruise. Originally we were assigned to late dinner and upon boarding, went to see if we could change to early, we were and were assigned a table by the back windows, so every evening if the sun wasn't shinning on us, we had great views, could not of had a better table.
I was so happy and very fortunate to be able to do this Cruisemates Alaska cruise, it could NOT of been any better, we had probably the best weather they've had all summer, the one thing I was always worried bout when traveling to Alaska. This being my first Celebrity cruise, I was totally surprised that I would like the ship and its amenities so much, can't wait to give another Celebrity ship a try.
I've also posted some pictures of this Alaska cruise in the Cruisemates Photo Gallery:
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