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Celebrity Infinity

Travel Review    by Howard Steven Frydman

Destination/Ship:    CELEBRITY INFINITY

Location:               Travels through the Panama Canal (port center: San Diego, CA)



                               

I AM A CELEBRITY - not in the vein of Depp, Pitt or Cruise, but a Celebrity nonetheless!
Now before you get the idea that I have a “swelled head” I actually write now of my most recent travel adventure on the ultra luxury cruise ship “Infinity” which is part of “Celebrity Cruise Lines.”It was during this period, 14 days at sea, where I personally had one of the grandest times afloat and thus became a “true” CELEBRITY.- In fact, according to the unabridged “Encyclopedia Howard Steven Frydtanica”- the term  “Celebrity” is a term given to those who have ventured forth on sea, be it on their first or 101stth cruise on a Celebrity Cruise Ship, -well known  for their signature "X" Celebrity ship funnels, which  is the Greek letter chi, for "Chandris" the family name of the original founders of the shipping line-, and who have been transformed by their experience on board from the ordinary to the ultra extraordinary.  Simply put-Celebrity cruises transformed me into a lover of all things Celebrity- thus I AM A CELEBRITY. Here’s why!

Planning  a vacation is everything-choosing a destination,  travel agents, packing, flights, more packing, taking care of the pets, new luggage, even getting to the airport!- just thinking of planning a vacation cause many of us to just stay in their own backyards. However, this latest jaunt went off like  a “real” Rolex watch (unlike the “fake” Rolex I purchased in China a few years ago), it was painstakingly easy, made so by the gracious assistance of  both Elizabeth Jakeway and Coryn Fritzler both of Azamara Cruises/Celebrity Cruises. It was the absolutely wonderful Coryn Fritzler, who was instrumental in making my flight & hotel arrangements plus selecting an exquisite stateroom with a magnificent balcony for my two week visit at sea. Further thanks to our own Airport News Publisher Dan Carstens and General Manager Gary Carra for all their kind assistance, plus Gabriel & Russell Kniffin for taking care of my 16 year old English Springer Spaniel, Timber.

My Sojourn begins as I fly out from our own Bradley International Airport, leaving my car at the Econo Lodge Inn & Suites, situated on 34 Old County Road in Windsor Locks, they offer an excellent “sleep, park and fly” service that I highly recommend. We are now on our way to San Diego, California- a monumental adventure lays ahead - hello vacation! Before boarding our cruise ship, I have a three day stay in San Diego, and even though I have never been to this destination, my brother Harvey Leon Frydman, has been here several times and serves as my genial guide.  First things first-a visit to the San Diego Zoo-animals big, tall, exotic-I didn’t want to leave- this has to be the world’s best “garden of Eden”, onward to the Museums at Balboa Park-my feet are killing me-but you can’t stop me now! In quick succession we venture on to the USS Midway and the scenic views of the  San Diego Embarcadero,  The Victorian styled beach resort, The Hotel Del Coronado, where they filmed, “Some Like It Hot” with Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis. I even have a run-in with comedian Jerry Lewis and his tiny Chihuahua dog  at Seaport Village as he was returning to his yacht, “Sam’s Place” a gift from entertainer Sammy Davis Jr . Even simple visits to Ralph’s Grocery Store, See’s Candies at Horton Plaza or the already mentioned Seaport Village have made an everlasting impressions on me-San Diego is a worldwind-a beautiful city that beckons you to return-often! San Diego- what a glorious beginning - the adventure continues from land to sea! 

 I now begin my cruise voyage aboard the impressive and ultra spectacular  Celebrity Cruise Ship-Celebrity Infinity as I embark on a 14 night Eastbound Panama Canal cruise stopping as such ports including; Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Huatulco, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, cruising the Panama Canal, Cartagena Colombia and Fort Lauderdale. You guessed it, I’m not on board  for more than 15 seconds and I am being treated like a celebrity-champagne in one hand, Hor'dourves in the other as I make my way to my stateroom. Once again I have to recount my love for Celebrity staff member, Coryn Fritzler- and her ability to choose “the Perfect” stateroom for me- stateroom 7212 on the Vista Deck, aft-that means the back of the ship. Why? The room and bath facilities were a bit larger than its class, and it has a spectacular overly spacious balcony for viewing the islands or breathtaking sun filled skies. It was literally at the true center of the back of the ship, which made it a great advantage a week later when it came to appreciate the building of the Panama Canal. In fact, if any of my readers, take a picture of themselves in this same exact room, and send it to me, I will send you a small gift! 

For those of you who love facts- this is for you! The Celebrity Infinity, launched on March 3rd, 2001, is part of Celebrity Millennium Class of ships which besides Infinity, includes: Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Millennium, & Celebrity Summit. The Infinity is 91,00 tons, 965 feet long and 105 feet wide. Top cruising speed is 24 knots.  The Infinity has a total of 1,025 staterooms, Ocean-View: 813, Inside: 212, with all staterooms having thermostat-controlled air conditioning, telephone with voice mail, shower, hairdryer, multifunction interactive television, VCR, mini-bar and safe. Penthouse Suites (2) (1,690 square feet, Royal Suites (8) (562 square feet, Celebrity Suites (8) (498 square feet) Sky Suites (32) (254 to 362 square feet and Accessible staterooms (26): Six Sky Suites, three premium ocean view, eight deluxe ocean view, four ocean view and five inside; wider stateroom and bathroom doors (35 inches) and roll-in showers. Every opulent deck is uniquely furnished in wood, marble, tapestries, crystal and granite. Priceless artwork can be found throughout the ship. In fact, I found the artwork to be the most eclectic avant-garde art I have ever come upon be it on land or sea. The artwork aboard the Infinity is true Museum quality- over 500 works of art by 150 various artists- I suggest you seek out the Purser’s office who will lend you a “State of the X/Art” headset so that you may leisurely take your own self guided tour.

To eat or not to eat---that is the question--and you know the answer-Let’s Eat! Yes, you can truly eat 24 hours a day to your heart’s desire and ever expanding waistline.  For your full service dining splendor- we strongly suggest the superb Trellis Restaurant with assigned seating for main dining at 6pm and late Dining starting at 8:30pm. Additional options include the “Oceanview Café” featuring casual buffet dining and sea views, the Pizza & Pasta Corner featuring homemade pizza and pasta, Breezes Pool grill with lip-smacking frankfurters and hamburgers.  As stated, I was truly treated like a celerity being invited on the second evening of our voyage to have dinner at the Captain’s Table, with the Master of the vessel, Captain Michail Margaritis. What a once in a lifetime experience to have dinner with the Captain. Conversation was wonderful with the Captain telling us about his various exploits on the seven seas, but the food was “the” center of attention as we sampled such offerings including; “Chilled San Francisco Crab Louis”, Soup a l’Oignon with Melted Gruyere Cheese, Seared Jumbo Gulf Shrimp Flambéed in Cognac and Tournedos Rossini-Angus Filet of Beef with Goose Liver Pate and Sauce Perigordine and for dessert-Cherries Jubilee with choice Vanilla Ice Cream. In fact the Captain and I got on so famously, that he invited me for a very special guided tour of the Bridge the very next day! A week later, so happened to be my birthday, and those great folks at Celebrity sure made
it one super special day-from breakfast in bed, Happy Birthday Cards from by brother Harvey, a birthday serenade from the glamorous, would famous singing duo, Marilyn & Bonita and a special 5 course birthday dinner at their specialty dining room, The SS United States, a recreation of the famous ocean liner’s dining room, where my meal was prepared table side- indeed a night to remember!.

Now many of you may think after all this food, all you may want to do is  sit around the pools or enjoy a whirlpool spa, but the Celebrity Infinity is truly an adventure at sea, with each day’s activities fully described in the “Celebrity Today” which is delivered to your cabin each night.  On most days, I like to start my day with a leisurely walk around the ship- saying hello to fellow passengers, have an espresso and then leisurely peruse the “Celebrity Today” news for those activates that interest me. Such planned shipped activates may include:  various exercise classes such as Yoga, Pilates, Burn Fat Fast Seminar, Indoor Cycling, Table Tennis Tournaments, Arts & Crafts, Bridge Lectures , Enrichment programs,  Spanish Classes, Fitness Seminars, Dance Classes and Golf Lessons and this is just the morning! The fun does not stop there- one of my faves was playing morning and afternoon trivia for ship prizes with your fellow passengers, Ballroom Dance Class, wine tasting, watching first run movies,  art auctions, and every ones ship time favorite-Bingo. For those of you who just have to “keep in touch” Celebrity offers Online @ Celebrity Cruises -Celebrity’s Internet café, and Connect @ Sea, Celebrity’s in-stateroom/-suite Internet service available at daily and weekly rates for guests who bring their own PC or laptop with browser. Of special note is the AquaSpa, a 25,000-square-foot facility providing holistic spa treatments and 16 treatment rooms, along with a fitness center offering panoramic views of the sea. Celebrity Infinity also features The Conservatory; a unique botanical environment designed by award-winning floral designer Emilio Robba of Paris, The Emporium, a full 14,000 square feet of designer boutiques, premium food, fine jewelry and high fashion.

Other actives can be found at each port of call. As mentioned earlier, The Celebrity Infinity itinerary includes visits to six locals which included San Diego and cruising the scenic Panama Canal. Typical adventures ashore may include: In Acapulco-watching the famed high divers; in Puntarenda, Costa Rica, visiting the Jewels of the Monte Verde Cloud Forest or the Manuel Antonio National Park. Tours of the Panama Canal with visits to the Gatun Lake, Miraflores Locks & Observation Center. In Cartagena Columbia many are running off the ship in search of emeralds while others take part in excursions to Cartagena Beach or visit historic Cartagena Old City. Each port has its own unique locations and excursions, sometimes the best thing to do is just take a slow leisurely walk and find your own special sites that you will want to revisit the next time you come back.     

During the evening you can enjoy such amenities including: the ships casinos, “Fortunes’, where you can try your luck playing blackjack, poker, roulette or the slot machines. Go dancing or enjoy a late evening cordial at Celebrity Infinity’s night spots including:  “Michael’s Piano Club, Rendez-Vous Lounge, Champagne Bar, Martini Bar, Constellation Club and the Cova Café di Milano.  Nightly entertainment at sea is usually the highlight of each evening, with many a passenger heading toward the Celebrity Showtime Theater in anticipation of  a live  Broadway type review, or enjoying a musician, singer, harmonica player, or even the Cruise Directors Passenger Talent Show. On my recent cruise, Celebrity Infinity Cruises presented the following lavish production shows: “The Spectacle of Broadway” with songs from some of the best loved Broadway musicals such as: Cabaret, Phantom of the Opera, Evita and “Celebrate the World.” Both of these live shows at sea are upbeat, with spectacular sets, costumes and an energetic group of young entertainers.

After 14 days aboard the luxury liner Celebrity Infinity- I truly felt Like a Celebrity. Every day I made more friends and was on a first name basis with hundreds of passengers, staff and crew- The Captain even told me to call him “Mikey”-in fact “Mikey” was probably the first Captain that I noticeably saw, taking daily tours of the ship, stopping to chat with fellow passengers and asking how their cruise was going and if “he” could do anything extra for them- how’s that for making someone feel “Special”?  In fact, if I could I would actually christen the Celebrity Infinity as the “Friendliest” ship at sea---everyone---was honestly striving to make your cruise the finest that you could experience and they were genuinely friendly,  asking how you were, if you needed anything or just giving you a smile as you traveled around the ship. It was an experience that I will never forget and a true reason that I did come away feeling like a  “media favorite”. Thank you Celebrity cruises---I will not forget your hospitality and that after 14 days, I had experienced an extraordinary time aboard and now with your kind permission you too may call me a “CELEBRITY”! For those of you who follow my travel exploits, I will continue to report back to you on all my wonderful adventure on this small world of ours.

Mr. Frydman has not received or accepted any type of compensation or gratuities in preparation for this article, nor is this article an endorsement or recommendation for any particular  cruise line but a first hand account of his travel experiences.         

Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV – Channels 5, 19 & 21.  Please feel free to contact Mr. Frydman with your thoughts and ideas at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it