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Don Burleson Blog 








Inside the Celebrity Infinity

Travel Tips by Donald Burleson

Inside the Celebrity Infinity

The Celebrity Infinity is a fairly new (2001 completion), medium-large ship weighing-in at 90,228 gross tons with a passenger capacity of only 1,950 guests.  We did the South American jaunt and enjoyed it tremendously, overall.  The Infinity has a few problems, but compared to the other lines, Celebrity has their act together.  They have great onboard poker tournaments and a great atriun area with an enclosed pool.

Celebrity Infinity mechanical problems

The Celebrity Infinity ship (and all Celebrity "Millennium class" ships) have a history of ongoing mechanical problems due to their ?mermaid pod propulsion? system, for which they filed a $300m lawsuit against the ship maker.  On our cruise, one engine went out and we were forced to skip a port, but we did get cash as a ?Goodwill gesture? for our trouble.  Be advised that your cruise contract allows Celebrity to skip ports at-will, so don't bother asking for a refund.  For more on negotiating a refund for a missed port, see here.

The tenders on the Celebrity Infinity are also dicey and downright dangerous at times.  We were forced to sit on the top-level of the Infinity fully-packed tender boat, and we were soaked on the ride.  This was not a minor sea spray, but like having buckets of seawater poured on you.  I took refuge in the stairwell, but many passengers were justifiably afraid to take shelter.  The Celebrity cruise people would not even cover our laundry bill, but the appalling lack of safety was a main concern.  When I inquired about the licensing of the tender captains, I was told that they are often licensed from third-world countries, and safety was not a major concern for them.

Please support the initiative in the US congress to force cruise ships to adhere to US safety and health standards for all cruises originating in the USA (or ships where the majority of passengers are US citizens).

The Infinity personnel are great

Celebrity tries very hard to live-up to their motto "We treat you famously", and we were very happy with the service.  It's no problem to ask your attendant to fetch a full dinner for when you want to dine in your stateroom, and they are very accommodating.  I?ve been on some low-end cruises where the staff was downright rude, but I?m thrilled to see that everyone aboard the Celebrity Infinity was wonderful and very helpful. 

Our waitress and our cabin steward were up to the old-fashioned standards of fine service, unlike the ?economy? cruise lines where the stewards don't speaka-da-English, and will pee in your coffee in you dare ask for any special attention.  Like all cruise lines, they have a midnight buffet, but we were very impressed with the level of service, even better than Holland America, and far better than Carnival and Royal Caribbean.

Staying connected on the Infinity

By far, the best way to get connected on the Infinity is with the in-room telephone dial-up system, which can be purchased for $10/day.  It's also faster than the wireless used in the public areas.

The Celebrity Infinity connect@sea internet connection system offers very slow access speed and it is available for open usage for $.75 per minute and bulk-time purchases make it as low as $.45 cents per minute from you buy the $450 package.  Tip: Access speed slows tremendously when the old folks start sending e-mails (the average age on my cruise was about 95 years-old).  It's best to do your work late at night of early mornings.

They also have great classes in Photoshop, which, by the way, can make part of your cruise deductible as a business expense, depending on your tax laws.

Skype and Vonage are blocked on the Celebrity Infinity, and would not work anyway, given the snail-speed of the connections.  They also have specious bar areas, such as their constellation bar.

The food on the Celebrity Infinity

The Celebrity line has better than average food in the dining room.  I?ve been cruising for over 25 years and noted that the food on the lesser lines (i.e. Carnival) id downright skanky, with wafer steaks worthy of Waffle House.  The food on the Celebrity Infinity was quite good, and for breakfast there are several great options:

The fifth deck offers the "Cova" patisserie, with fresh-baked goodies and some of the best almond croissants I?ve ever eaten.

The breakfast buffet is also nice (for a buffet), offering a hot homemade waffle bar and an excellent Omelet bar in deck 10.

The topside is quite nice as-well with plenty of deck chairs.

The SS United States Restaurant

The SS United States is an elegant (some say stuffy), formal $30/per meal add-on, perfect for a romantic dinner of celebration, but not so great if you just want better food, fast.  The Steak Diane was great, but many of the appetizers are average, and some items such as the asparagus are quite ordinary. 

But the presentation and service are amazing in the SS United States, and they insist on orchestrating your food presentation with great panache, the full treatment, very much the the Russian Tea Room in New York City.  Plan to spend three hours in the SS United States dining room, a cubby-hole with no windows in the third deck.

The SS United States is a great place for celebrating and occasions where you want the full-treatment.  We recommend the special five-course meal served with a different wine for each course, a great three hour eating fest.

Here is a sample of the goofy "art" on board the Celebrity Infinity, including a bear that looks leak he is taking a leak in the pool.  The Infinity also has a modest shopping area.

The Park West Art Auctions - Pirates at-sea

As usual, Park West was working hard to part elderly people with their life-savings, buying "investment" art at suspiciously-high prices.  Park West deals exclusive in reproduction art, limited-edition lithographs and some garbage of their own invention called serioithographs.  There are serigraphs, and lithographs, but a hybrid is not real, and loosely-translated seriolithograph means ?piece of trash?.

?Just want to let everyone know that the value of seriolithoghraphs purchased while on RC's The Mariner Of the Seas from Park West Galleries-15 months ago have not appreciated as informed while on the cruise.

We have sent back $8,000 worth to Park west and are demanding total refund for framing shipping and appraisals that were supplied by the owner of the company- who has no appraising credentials.?

Park West once asked to me and my wife to help them shill bid (note that Park West states that they are allowed to pull fake bids, up to their reserve price).

I take no pity on the younger people who should know better, but I resent that Park West preys on the elderly with their spiel about investment art.  I once saw a lady spend hundreds of dollars on a 'signed? Rockwell (the 'signature? is just a part of the print), a piece-o-crap that they could have bought on eBay for a fraction of the price.

Shame on you, Park West.  If Celebrity cruises were forced to adhere to US auction laws they would not be taking advantage of old folks.  On our cruise, they had a ?guess the price of the Chagall reproduction (an autographed, numbered litho).  Guess ranged from $950 to a guess of over $3,500,000, no doubt a guess placed by someone who attended their ?investment art? spiel.  A quick eBay search reveals the real prices from this Chagall dealer, ranging from $16k to $58k.  I?ll bet that they use this data to gauge the gullibility of their marks.

To learn more about Park West complaints, see my research here and other complaints here.




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