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Cruising with a family – a simple review


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First let me say I have thought carefully about the reaction that this posting may have on this board. Not only am I mentioning the mere thought of cruising with my children but I may also point out some things Celebrity may improve upon. If you are the type that only like the happy, ‘what a wonderful cruise’ reviews the please stop reading and pick a different thread.


OK the details


Ship : Infinity


Date : May 1st – 16th (FLL to SFO) via the Panama Canal


Stops : Aruba, Panama, Puntearenas Costa Rica, Huatulco, Acapulco, Cabo


The family details : myself and DH (pushing 40) and our three kids ages 12, 10 and 7


The rooms : royal suite 6137 connecting to CC class room 6135






The rooms were GREAT! It was like having a two bedroom suite. The whirlpool tub was larger than I expected and worth every penny. The hot-tub/whirlpool on the balcony was a great addition which we actually used about 10 times. Even have pictures of my son taking a bubble bath outside while we navigated the Panama Canal. Privacy is a little bit of an issue since people from the Oceanview café can see down into the balconies of these rooms. Although the royal suite balcony was partially covered it was still visible from a certain part of the Oceanview café (trust me we went up there to check out what people could see). The living room was big – we had 12 people in it for a cocktail party and nobody seemed crowded. The dining room table (which had 5 chairs) was used often. We ate breakfast on it and it became a great place for the kids to do their school work. The balconies were large and teak which was nice. The railing though was peeling… pieces of varnish would come off. But this was not a problem just something to note.




Water – you may have read that one poster had trouble with dirty water on this cruise. Well… it was interesting to note that sometimes when you filled up the bathtub you might get orange or grayish water. Now we attribute the gray to probably some sort of carbon filter change. The orange??? Hummm…. It usually went away and if you were not filling up a bathtub you would probably have never noticed it. I just made it a point not to let the kids drink the tap water; it was probably fine but didn’t want to take the chance. I mentioned it to the butler someone came up to check but since the problem was sporadic it was hard to pin down. Still took baths because 85% of the time the water was crystal clear.




Kids Club aka Fun Factory – there were only 22 children on this sailing and the staff of the Fun Factory are wonderful. My kids loved the PS2’s and the climbing structure with ball pit. My 10 year old enjoyed the variety of Arts and Crafts activities. They had lots to bring home at the end of the cruise. Being such a small group of kids they enjoyed winning many prizes at trivia and other games. They seem to have a lot of scavenger hunts for the older kids to go on. I was a bit scared about my 10 year old going around the ship to ‘find’ things. I still am up in the air about this activity. My 12 year old hated going up to strangers for this hunts so after we talked to the staff she no longer had to participate in these types of activities. The staff was very understanding and gave her alternate things to do.




Meals –


Breakfast - I am going to be honest here and probably will get flamed for my opinions. I found the breakfast to be boring after the first few days. The Ocean view Café had a breakfast buffet that was the same stuff for 16 days. The only variety I found was that on a few occasions they had cheese crepes. By day 12 I couldn’t stand to see the same food again. Although my kids didn’t seem to mind and I think they survived on bacon and frosted flakes. I would have like to see different foods available. Maybe a daily special item… They had an omelets station that you could add your variety too but I am not one to eat omelets for 16 days straight. Also maybe it was just me but does this ship have tomato or cranberry juice in the morning? Had trouble ever finding it. The dining room breakfast was basically the same as the Oceanview but with poached egg options. Room service breakfast was strange…. My kids were in the connecting CC class room and they had a fabulous breakfast menu (smoothies, French toast with marmalade butter, asparagus, and Total cereal listed…) the suite breakfast menu was the same as the rest of the ship. It made no sense to me that the CC rooms were able to get better food options than the Suites… We ordered off the CC class menu for the whole family quite a few times and just ate it in the suite. If we did not have the connecting rooms we would have never noted the difference.




Lunch – Went to go to the trellis restaurant once for lunch and they had no kids menu. Since my kids were not interested in anything on the adult menu that day we walked out. It was disturbing that they had a great kids menu for dinner but no such option for lunch. Because of this we never got to eat lunch in the Trellis restaurant. OceanView café always had a few tasty items but I still found it lacking flavor by the end of the cruise (I wanted more garlic and spices). Kids ate a lot of hot dogs and hamburgers. The fries were very tasty. But the true find was the AquaSpa café – loved the food here, found out that they even have a daily menu of 2 entrees that you can order and someone will bring them out to your table. Talked to the waiters whom I recognized from the SS United States Restaurant and found out the same cooks prepare the food for the AquaSpa.




Dinner – our waiter was fine…. Not stellar…. Just fine. I never really felt ‘special’. We didn’t order coffee on the first night so he never offered it to us after that. He really spent very little time explaining the menu. Never got that warm fuzzy feeling. Food was French cuisine so I found it lacking in the spices. Everything was good but I found myself craving more flavor (aka zing, spices, exciting the palate) by mid cruise. Tried to talk to waiter about this and was offered a bottle of hot sauce but that was about it. Kids menu was good and the children always found something to eat – even by combining their ordering from the adult and children’s menus. Ate at SS United States where the food was GREAT! But just too much of it! Would have liked a lot smaller portions; I was full by the third course and never got to enjoy the rest of the meal. But everything I did taste was top notch. Next time I think I would eat there at least three nights on a 14 night cruise.




Room service – Kids stated room service pizza was better than that found by the pool. I had to agree. They also had clam chowder and chicken noodle soup. The chicken broth was amazing! I ordered at least 6 bowls during the cruise and it always seemed to be excellent. The canapés delivered to the room were very funny. We enjoyed them the first week; playing guess that canapé. If you are not adventuresome with food and don't like seafood than the canapés might not be best for you. They were heavy on things like shrimp, smoked salmon and caviar. But as with everything else by the second week it became a bit boring. We received afternoon tea at 3:30pm delivered to our suite. It was nice always had a nice selection of sandwiches and cookies. Enjoyed this – a nice suite perk.




Overall I would have to agree with past posters and rate the food as really good wedding food. I know that 2,000 people a night is a challenge so I think Celebrity did a great job – I just wish they understood that some of their clientele might be younger and enjoy spices, salt and crunch foods. If the same foods were served on land I don’t think I would go to it more than once. I am spoiled though, living in California Bay area with an abundant of fresh veggies and fish. And I like fusion cooking so for me 15 nights of French style cook was overkill.




The breadstick were…. Breadsticks…. I honestly don’t understand the hype on these boards for them except they were better than any other bread in the basket. The SS United States had amazing breads and rolls though. The salads were the same items just chopped in a different way each night. Two nights I had tomatoes that were totally crunchy, it could be me but I don’t think tomatoes should taste like celery. Also if you don’t like cream dressing make friends with your assistant waiter and make sure he brings you the ‘light and healthy’ option. It seems ours just brought around the creamy ones every night and always forgot to bring the healthy option. On two occasions I made him scurry off to the kitchen to track down the alternate dressing for the night.






We, as a family, enjoyed the sea days. We took this cruise to spend time together and this itinerary gave us that time. We enjoyed Puntearenas in Costa Rica. Had a private tour company give us a fabulous tour. They were extremely kid friendly – it was the highlight of the trip. Best shopping for local crafts was definitely in Costa Rica. I loved the objects made from all the various woods; puzzle boxes, bowls, and trivets. We bought the most in this port and liked the prices we found at the craft stands that are located at the end of the pier. I never felt like I was getting ‘ripped off’ and usually did not bargain because I thought most prices were fair and the vendors could really use the money.




Huatulco in Mexico was our second favorite port – small town feel. Good food, nice people. Not full of hustle and bustle. Would definitely go back to this town for a land based vacation in the future. Bought some nice ceramic bowls here.




Alcapulco was nice… did swim with dolphins at CiCi water park. Kids had a marvelous time. Stop to Tacos and Beer (close to the ship) for food. WONDERFUL, spicy, lots of seafood, avocados on everything… YUM! Also had a brand new climbing structure that the kids spent about an hour paying on. It was safe and very clean. Bathrooms were spotless. Highly recommend this place for families. But the town in general was too noisy, to fast, too crowded for my tastes. Hated running the gauntlet of taxi drivers and people wanting cash just for walking me somewhere – never said ‘NO thanks’ as much as I had to on this pier.




Cabo – been there, done that. Nice water front but the Starbucks coffee and Curves workout center sort of says it all. Pricey for food – it seemed to be as expensive and possibly more than what I pay at home.




Aruba – beautiful… nice beaches (liked baby beach but kinda funny with the refinery spewing out black smoke in the background). Ostrich farm was fun for the kids. They got to hold 5 day old ostriches. We enjoyed this stop on our tour. Did the colors of Aruba tour and was a great general tour for people that have never visited the island and with four stops in total and one being a hike through some rocks (kids fun!) and another for some time on the beach it was the perfect mix for our family.




I guess this review could go on forever. But basically I found the Infinity to be a wonderful ship but not sure if I got full value. I think with the conversion of a bunch of rooms to CC class it makes the staff busier and since this was the first cruise of the conversion I think they have some kinks to work out. I never felt, ‘special’. Never once did an officer make a point of stopping by our room. I thought the disembarkment procedure was supposed to be easier if you had a suite. It seemed like a cattle call to us. Line to immigration stretched from the Celebrity theater to the Trellis restaurant and back to the casino again. It got comical – but I believe it was because we arrived late in port and it took time for the immigration officials to get set up. Also a group of people did not go through immigration properly and they held up the disembarkment by 90 minutes. We were all ready to hunt down the infamous Mrs. Pringal from the 9th floor and tar and feather her. I think anyone who has to be called more than once should have to pay a fine to the cruise company for the problem




Would I take a Celebrity cruise again…? Maybe? Will I cruise again? Definitely! Looking at the Med next spring. But am looking for a ship with more dining options and different variety of food. But I still want the simple elegance that Celebrity offered…




Ok – so there it is the review, feel free to ask questions, ignore this review or flame away. I have be actively reading cruise critic for the last 9 months so I know the routine.





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I enjoyed your review. I'm just jealous that you could take your children out of school for it. We're also in the Bay area of SF(used to be east bay, now south) and even when my son was in middle school the school officials would freak if he missed more then a few days of school, even for illness. I'm just counting the days at this point until he graduates from high school in 2 more years and we can cruise during the other 3 seasons instead of always during summer. BTW, is the room service for CC cabins menu different for other foods during the day too, or is only the breakfast menu different from the other type cabins? Thanks.



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I hope you don't get flamed. You wrote a review about your cruise. From what I could tell you were not impressed with the food.

And in my opinion that is always a very subjective topic.

I love the menu's so if I could ever sail for 16 days that is one thing I would look forward to;).


I haven't been on Infinity. Is the Trellis the name of the "Regular Dining Room"?

I didn't realize they had kids menus. (I don't have any kids so I never inquired about it).


Anyway, sounds like you enjoyed some things though and hope you find something more fit for you and your family in the future.

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BTW, is the room service for CC cabins menu different for other foods during the day too, or is only the breakfast menu different from the other type cabins? Thanks.




Diana - Only the breakfast room service menu is different. The rest of the day the menu is the same. And two of my three kids are homeschooled so it made it easy to travel in the spring. Next year all three will be homeschooled- YEA!


Lois -- The Trellis restaurant is the regular dining room. And yes, food is a very subjective topic. Thanks for understanding.

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OceanView café always had a few tasty items but I still found it lacking flavor by the end of the cruise (I wanted more garlic and spices).

If you wanted garlic and spices, the best place is the pasta bar that is part of the buffet. Each dish is made to order. I went there one afternoon, and the cook manning the area seemed disappointed as the guests in front of me passed on the garlic, onions and other condiments and wanted plain old pasta with red sauce. When he asked me, I told him to hit me with everything, and he certainly did, smiling all the time! :D After that, anytime I went there when he was working, he pulled out the stops and made me some real nice lunches!


There's also a few entrees on the dinner menu with some kick, but not necessarily every night. Also, if you've established some trust and rapport with your waiter and/or your assistant maitre'd, there's some things they can do on the side to spice things up a bit. They may not offer this to every guest, as it sort of goes outside the usual service, and I'm not sure how the upper management might view it. ;)

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Loved it! but after three days decided it was not a great idea for the waistline. asked for triple garlic and it was Great!


Really wanted spice on meats, Yes I asked the waiter... but it was overlooked. Even asked for chopped chili peppers or dried chilis and was handed chopped plain red bell pepper. I just gave up after two days of asking. Not worth the effort.


Good news is I lost weight on the cruise.



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Thank you for your review.


I find it very interesting to read the reviews and find so many different likes and dislikes about the ship, staff, food, etc.


We recently took a 15 day cruise to Hawaii and I found it difficult to follow my Weight Watchers Diet after 3 years following the points plan. In other words, I became very creative at finding and mixing foods that were to my liking and were on the plan.


My daughter and I started to have fun making our own salads at the buffet at lunch time, so I could have ice cream. I was even giving my husband ideas on how to mix his pasta up with other goodies. He even had a banana spl;it at lunch one day. The waffles were to die for! Tee Hee


Dinner was different. The waiters thought I was going hungry, but I asked for two helpings of vegetables and other items I could really enjoy.


I am sorry that your wait staff was not helpful in helping you with different options. They are there to help you have a pleasurable dining experience Next time talk to the assistant matre'd (sp? sorry) and ask for her or his help.


The cruise to Hawaii was on Infinity. First time on a huge ship and it was wonderful. If you haven't tried the cruise to Hawaii, I suggest you do and with your children.



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. They seem to have a lot of scavenger hunts for the older kids to go on. I was a bit scared about my 10 year old going around the ship to ‘find’ things. I still am up in the air about this activity. My 12 year old hated going up to strangers for this hunts so after we talked to the staff she no longer had to participate in these types of activities.


I totally agree, no way would I turn my son loose to roam around a large hotel, not going to do it n a ship either.



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Ah, now I understand how you were able to cruise during that time of year with your children..:). Thanks for the information on the CC menu. I believe I read a post a few weeks ago where someone recently back from a cruise said they learned that Celebrity might be changing their menus later this year, so perhaps there's hope they will expand out a bit from the French cooking and add some fusion type dishes.



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We'll be visiting Huatulco in Oct & I haven't been able to find out much about tours or things to do there. Did you talk to other passengers about their experiences? I understand the beaches are pretty, but I don't do well in the sun. Would you have any suggestions?

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Suzanne, another thought here. When you said it wasn't worth it to try and get them to spice up your food......

Since you were on a 2 week cruise you probably realized after only about 2 or 3 nights they don't use "heavy spices".

This is just a suggestion for next time (if there is a next time). I would say to speak to your Maitr'd at a separate time and explain the situation.

I see you said you asked the waiter but it doesn't seem things were made satisfactory for you.

Personally, this is one of the type things your Maitr'd is there for~we had a problem on Constellation with our Wine Sommilier and I ended up speaking with our Maitr'd about it and the problem was resolved in one day.

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Nice review. A funny thing, however, is that on cruises I like to eat the same thing for breakfast every morning: melon to start and then smoked salmon on a toasted bagel. My DH orders all sorts of eggs, pancakes, bacon, etc. I stick with my simple fare and never get tired of it.

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I have cruised with my family three times. We have two girls ages 6 and 9.


They both have loved all three cruises.


We have in the past eaten lunch in the main restaurant. While they do not have a kids menu, the waiters have always offered to get the kids either hamburgers or hot dogs.


My wife and I have been in Royal Suites three times. I really think they are by far my favorite cabin that I have been on in a cruise ship. I agree, for what a Royal Suite costs you should be able to have privacy on the balcony.

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Thanks for writing your review. As Lois said food is very subjective. Considering they are serving 2000 people a day I would say the food is very good. The specialty restaurant is excellent, but I agree you really need to pace yourself. It's not necessary to be a member of the clean plate club for every course.


It's too bad you didn't try the dining room more for breakfast and lunch. I think you would have found a much larger variety of foods than the buffet. As far as no children's menu at lunch, they would always bring a hamburger or hot dog or mac and cheese if you wish. There were lots of other choices that my grandchildren would eat. The thing that I have seen on Celebrity is that they will do whatever possible to make you happy.


Having traveled on many ships and cruiselines, I would say you would probably want to satisfy your urge for something spicy while in port. Some of the luxury cruiselines with smaller ships also have specialty restaurants that would be more to your liking.


We've traveled in suites at times, but it never occured to me that a ship's officer should stop by my cabin. What's that all about?


All I can say is try some other lines and you may find one that suits you better. Then again, you may find that Celebrity was better after all.:)

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My husband and I did the Panama Canal Cruise last November. The only truly bad experience we had was in Hualtco. Whatever you do, do NOT go on the horseback ride! My first horse laid down and rolled over on me. Luckily I was only bruised and did not suffer a broken leg. My husband's horse bolted and took off, nipping every other horse in its path. Not one single guide spoke English. I completed the ride but my husband did not and waited 3 hours for me to get back. I realized afterward how foolhardy it was of me and everyone else to have gone. Someone could have been seriously hurt. They had overbooked and so we were given horses that were new to the stable and turned out were unreliable. One horse was only reliable if tethered to another during the entire ride. Neither my husband and another women went on the ride yet we used every horse they had. We complained to Celebrity and were given all of his money back and 50% of mine since I ended up riding without him. I do hope Celebrity has resolved the stable situation.

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on our 4/22 Summit 14 days sailing we requested steamed broccoli on the 2nd night. The waiter later came by to ask that if we wanted it every night as it would be much easier for the kitchen to do a routine than varying it ever so often ...


So we ordered steamed broccoli, carrot and snow pea for the rest of the nights. But on the first night when this standing order was in place, the snow pea became pea (the green pea, not the tender pod of snow pea). I could not help but commented that it aint snow pea though we finished the plates. The following night they gave us a gigantic portion of vegie that has the true snow pea. From that night on, the snow pea was alternated with sugar snap and they chopped the snow pea occasionally to make it look different - kind of funny - but we were happy to get our daily vegie fixing, especially for my hubby who is on blood thinner that requires broccoli or similar vegie to balance the medication.


Bottomline is, while you can make special requests, your waiter really wish you to make One request and stick with it, instead of many requests for many nights during the entire cruise.

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Thank you for the balanced review. It's nice to read something that appears fair and balanced.


My first question to you is: Was this your very first cruise on any line? If so, then I would have to tell you that what you find food-wise on Celebrity is much above what you find on any other mass market line. I've cruised on every mass market line out there and can honestly say that what you get on Celebrity is much better in terms of qualtity, quantity and presentation than what's out there on the other cruise lines. You won't find any cruise line that will spice up their food because they must remain as palatable as possible to the vast majority of their passengers. Most people don't seem to like overly spiced food, whether it's garlic, hot sauce, cumin, jalapanos, or anything like that.


Another question: What kind of breakfast items would you have wanted? I guess I'm perplexed by this. There are only so many things to serve for breakfast and when you consider there is only so much storage space within a ship's galley, they cannot possibly offer limitless options for every meal. On our Summit cruise this past March, I found a good supply of tomato juice (V-8 and regular) and cranberry juice. You just had to ask the butler/waiter and he brought it to the table or the suite (we were in a PH). But, a cruise ship isn't a Four Seasons or Ritz Hotel or even a local restaurant where they are able to offer different and unique dining options. Hotels are able to bring in fresh supplies every day and they don't have the storage problems a cruise ship had. Like I said, with only so much space, and the problems of keeping items fresh for a long cruise, will obviously limit the size of scope of what a cruise ship can offer in terms of menu items.


But, as others have said, dining is subjective and tastes in food is also hugely subjective. But one also has to understand the logistical problems inherent with taking a long cruise. I guess if you want to experience a different dining experience, then I might suggest going with Crystal or Seabourn, who just by the fact that they have smaller ships and therefore prepare their meals as ordered and not mass prepare foods ahead of time, might offer you an option for a different dining experience. But also know that the luxury lines aren't known for attracting families, and therefore there will be a trade off for your children.


Again, thank you for you review. It's also good to see someone who's not afraid to write something honest. And PLEASE, don't see what I've written as a slam or flame against you. It's not intended as such, but as a way to point out reasons why you might not have found the food entirely to your liking.

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Glad you received comments. One year I wrote a lengthy review and didn't get any comments. I even asked a few of my friends to read it to see why but never figured it out.


I wouldn't want my child to be walking around the ship either, although it seems like a great opportunity for her to speak with "strangers." I never say "don't talk to strangers" because I actually don't really believe that, but she's shy around adults that she doesn't know. However, that would still not be something I'd like her to participate on, so thanks for sharing. We're going on the Infinity to Alaska on May 28, and I'm thinking that the number of children won't be very high. Sounds like it's a good program (the only thing I really ever worry about is my child being picked on... other than my paranoia of stranger abduction, of course!) and I would encourage her to participate (she's totally fine w/joining programs and playing w/children she doesn't know, just shy w/adults).


I'm taking her out of school as well and found out her teacher isn't happy about it, but I can't see myself going while "everyone" else is traveling in the summer.


I understand what you mean by "boring" breakfast. I think their strategy was to put out everything everyday so you can choose, but by day 14, you're going to think "it's the same food." Sometimes it's better to bring out 1/2 the items and change things around every day, so it'll seem special. At my last cruise, for the very few times we did breakfast, I wasn't that excited about it either.


Is there an extra charge for the SS United States? I'm guessing so.


Did you see the pool? I was told in Alaska that the two outside pools would be closed but the indoor pool could be used. Any idea if it's heated? And how warm is it?

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Hi:) all the M-Class ships Specialty Restaurants are 30.00 per person and in my opinion, worth every penney;)


Now, I love the food in the Main Dining Room, so I doubt I would ever eat there more than once but I did love my meal when I sailed Constellation in December.

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boltnut 55 - I think I may know how many kids are on your cruise. I asked the child care staff and they told me. the May 16th Alaska cruise on the Infinity was to have 22 kids but 10 were infants. The 28th sailing I believe they stated they were expecting 60 kids. The cruise after that they are expecting 200. That came from the Fun Factory supervisor. They actually just hired a whole bunch of new child care people who were on training during our cruise -- I belive they are staffed currently with 7 staff members. I was impressed that for afternoon snacks they always had big trays of fresh fruit. ALso you can really tell the fun factory staff enjoys their jobs.


And thank-you all for your kind replies. I think I was looking for more fusion type cooking but now I know what things to look for when I cruise. This was my third cruise but I don't think the 1st one counts since between morning sickness and seasickness I never left the cabin. And yes, I am probably going to have to spring for a Crystal cruise just because I'm a foodie. And yes, the two others were on Disney.... wich I have to say I think my kids enjoyed the varied choices better on the Celebrity kid's menu. Good news is that my kids are quiet and tend to keep with themselves so the lack of other children on a sailing will not bother them.

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boltnut 55 - I think I may know how many kids are on your cruise. I asked the child care staff and they told me. the May 16th Alaska cruise on the Infinity was to have 22 kids but 10 were infants. The 28th sailing I believe they stated they were expecting 60 kids. The cruise after that they are expecting 200. That came from the Fun Factory supervisor.


Hello- I wanted to double check with you and check to see if the "cruise after that" has 200 kids? Did they give a break down? infants/children/teens? We are on that cruise and I we haven't had much of a response from any other families other than our roll call and I think there's about 12 kids(17-2 years old) in our group of 60+ on that roll call. 200 sounds like a lot!:eek:

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