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CRUISE VIEWS

An Infinitely Appealing Ship From Celebrity

April 15, 2001|SHIRLEY SLATER and HARRY BASCH

Celebrity Cruises' newest ship, Infinity, made its debut in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the first week of March, before sailing through the Panama Canal to San Diego, then crossing the Pacific to Hawaii. It will spend the summer cruising Alaska. The Infinity, which can carry 1,950 passengers, is a sister ship to the Millennium, launched last year. Third in the series is the Summit, due later this year. A fourth sister vessel is to arrive in 2002.

Both Infinity and Millennium are beautiful ships, with classic interior design and historical artifacts from famous vessels. The Infinity's United States restaurant salutes earlier American cruise lines with a collection of silver serving dishes, brochures, photographs and menus.

The restaurant is elegant, with four-course French dinners and formal service designed to emulate the experience at chef Michel Roux's Waterside Inn on the Thames outside London (It has thr1701126259 A reservation is obligatory (make that your first priority after boarding), with a $20-per-person cover charge and a dress code that requires men to wear jacket and tie to dinner.

Wine aficionados will find a far-ranging list that starts with affordable vintages and soars to rarities like a magnum of 1949 Chateau Petrus Pomerol at $12,400.

The design and decor aboard the Infinity are magnificent. A three-deck staircase leading from the Grand Foyer up to Fortunes Casino and on to the Cova Cafe, a replica of a historic Milan coffeehouse, is made from thin marble warmly illuminated from behind.

The two-deck Trellis Restaurant has a musical trio playing through dinner, and painted scenic backdrops are lowered over the glass wall in the evening.

The stage entertainment is equally elegant. We saw a run-through of a spectacularly costumed show from Molyneux Musick International that combined elements of opera, ballet, classical music740323184 Spa fans will find anything they could imagine aboard the Infinity. Like its sister Millennium, it boasts a 25,000-square-foot Aqua-Spa with solarium, hydrotherapy pool with countercurrent,544698977ice, followed by a relaxation chair with heated footstool ($17).

From a technical and environmental standpoint, the Infinity's gas turbine engines, like those on the Millennium, are supposed to remove as much as 98% of the particulates from emissions.

Fares for seven-night Alaska cruises range from $1,199 per person (double) for an inside cabin with an early booking discount to $11,329 per person (double), full fare, for a penthouse suit1696626537whirlpool, a treadmill, a marble master bath with stall shower and Jacuzzi tub and a guest bath with shower. Also included are an Internet connection, fax machine, entertainment system with two TV/VCRs, an entry foyer, separate living and dining rooms, bedroom with king-size bed, dressing room and a baby grand piano.

With a private veranda suite (308 square feet and up), you also get butler service, a bottle of champagne, a personal computer, printer and Internet access, personalized stationery, Celebri1954095220 Standard cabins include interactive TV, phone with voice mail, safe, hair dryer, all-cotton robes for use during the cruise, 24-hour room service and mini-bar.

The Infinity will sail Fridays between May 11 and Sept. 14 round trip from Vancouver, Canada, calling in Juneau, Skagway, Haines and Ketchikan in Alaska, and cruising Hubbard Glacier and the Inside Passage.

For more information, contact a travel agent, call (800) CELEBRITY or visit http://www.celebritycruises.com.

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Shirley Slater and Harry Basch travel as guests of the cruise lines. Cruise Views appears the first and third week of every month.

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