May 20, 2006
We started our 12 night trip cruise fronmSan Fran to Alaska and BC in San Fran at around 2:00 we decided to head for the ship which was visible from our hotel, but we took a cab as we had six suitcases! (We vowed never to take 6 suitcases again, we found that we used only half of the clothing, we sent three loads of laundry to the ships cleaners and it came back the next day, washed, dried, folded and on hangers! All for $60 - well worth it!) As we walked into the terminal we saw Disney World length lines throughout the building, but a representative took a glance at our boarding docs and directed us to a Concierge Class line with maybe 4 passengers ahead of us, we waited about fifteen minutes to embark. The representative was friendly, engaging everyone in queue in pleasant conversation as we waited.
Upon entering the ship we were greeted with Mimosas and personally escorted to our cabin. The cabin was mid-ship 8th deck Concierge Class with a balcony. There was a bucket of chilled champagne, two glasses and a basket of fruit awaiting us. The room was compact but accommodating. The only bad thing was when the sofa bed was pulled out it blocked access to the balcony, it came flush with the vanity and the sliding glass door. Which meant, that having a teenager with us - that likes to sleep in, we were unable to enjoy the balcony at times. Our luggage arrived about 3 hours after we arrived on board. After the well organized but a bit long drill, We all went to the pool area where the band played and the staff introduced themselves and danced and others allowed passengers to sample their products, ie; massages, acupuncture, spa facilities, which were excellent,etc. Everyone gathered on the upper deck to see the Golden Gate bridge, as we passed under it everyone screamed and waved and those on the bridge reciprocated. It was cold and windy but very exciting! We proceeded back to the room to take care of our luggage.Our room steward came by and introduced himself and his assistant and insisted that if we need anything to please call him or his young assistant.
Later we had fresh flowers on the vanity and a single rose bud in the bathroom. A welcome greeting from our Travel Agent along with some chocolate dipped strawberries arrived shortly after as well as a welcome from the dining room with our table assignment. We soon dressed for dinner, the late seating and walked to the dining room where we had a table for six, but we were the only ones to show for the duration of the cruise. I began to feel uneasy and after meeting our waiters and ordering my food, I had to return to my cabin to lie down. My husband returned to the dining room without me and the waiters expressed concern about my well-being , and offered a remedy . a peeled, sliced green apple with sliced ginger and of course saltine crackers. I got a can of Ginger Ale and followed the directions and felt better but decided to stay in bed.
The food was delicious and was presented wonderfully! I didn't gain a pound,I guess I ate all the right things! Our travel agent gave us dinner for the three of us at the USS Restaurant. Our daughter turned 20 that night and it was a first for her to be treated so royally! She did not have anyone to hang around with as most of the passengers were in the 60+ age range. We were greeted by name as we entered the restaurant and brought to the table. The Maitre D's suggestions were taken and were excellent! We were served Caesars Salad at our table with a full explanation of the history of the salad, the meals were served in unison by three waiters. Women were escorted to the restroom by a tuxedo clad gentleman. The food was delicious, the service unparalleled and the presentation fantastic. A harpist played softly in the background.
I was impressed with the young people running the excursions. All seemed to be very conscientious of the environment and enthusiastic about teaching the tourists. They were all clean cut, friendly, open for questions and very gentle with the elderly crowd. We went on the Whale and Mammal watching tour in Icy Straight Point in the afternoon and we got our money's worth, we saw at least 15 whales...-right next to tour boat, some porpoises and sea lions, the tour guides and naturists were thorough in their descriptions and genuinely interested in the wildlife.
We took the White Pass train ride in Skagway and enjoyed it very much. There was snow on every mountain top and the weather was cool. We had never seen snow and it was still white and clean and beautiful.. When we reached the top of the mountain the Conductor jumped off and handed us a snowball, how exciting!
Hubbard Glacier was absolutely fantastic, something we will never forget! The Captain pushed as far as he could into the Glacier then placed the ship on a 360 degree turn, so that no matter where you were on the ship, you saw it all! We witness the crushing sound of us underneath our balcony, the huge chunks of ice floating past us and then the thundering sound of the Glacier calving, several times, right in front of us! We spent at least four hours there, it was a magnificent day a the Glacier! The only thing that bothered me was Celebrity shut down the coffee and hot chocolate stands and set up booths throughout the ship hawking hot drinks...this while we were in the Glacier at about 40 degrees!
Fishing in Juneau was a total loss...almost $300 each down the drain, not even a bite in 5 hours and 800 feet of water! The Captain was very apologetic and spent the time telling us about Alaska and showing us the sights.
The singing duo had quite a following before and after dinner. They sang lots of '60s and '70s music, he played piano while she sang, they were very good and encouraged lots of dancing. There were Celebrity dance escorts at every dance and they were kept quite busy.
Victoria was beautiful, we took the Grayline tour bus and saw the butterfly gardens and Butchart Gardens. The tour bus driver was most interesting, he took us on a tour of the city, through China Town, downtown past the Parliament and everywhere else, he also let us in on the secrets of the City.
Spent the day in the Casino, won $100 on one of the nickel machines...then promptly gave it right back! Heard a few cruisers lost $10,000+ at the tables...
If you are looking for a relaxing, low key, minimal activity ship - and if you are older and not very agile, this ship is for you. You are treated royally.
The pastry shop was open until about 4 pm everyday. We were happy to find that there was a coffee bar as we are 2-3 times a day expresso drinkers, unfortunatley we found we had to pay for expresso on the Infinity ... and the only one that knew how to make it the way we like it, was Alma from the Philippines.
The time adjustment was a bit difficult for us as we are on EST. Also the fact that it never really gets dark at night took a few days to get adjusted to.
The final show was entertaining, colorful costumes and talented dancers. Also the acrobatic act, a touch of Cirque de soleil(?) was very impressive as the couple flew into and over the audience with just a wisp of a scarf to hold onto...
We are home now, enjoyed the experience, we are well rested and well versed in Alaska and BC information.
The Celebrity experience was a very good one.