Travel reviews are like night and day

With my move to Washington State scuttled, I decided it was time to start planning another vacation abroad.  I need something to look forward to and not having any kind of travel planned has made me feel like something is missing.  My last big trip was almost a year ago.  On April 17th, 2013, I took my first trip to Paris.  It was a memorable trip and one that took nearly 2 years of planning.  Now it’s time to start planning a trip for 2015.

One itinerary that has been on my list is the Panama Canal.  The more I’ve thought about it, the more this sounds like the itinerary for 2015.  I had considered a cruise to the Baltic.  However, I compared how much each itinerary would cost and decided that the Panama Canal itinerary would be under $10,000.  A trip to Europe, including a cruise, would likely be twice that amount.

Since this itinerary would be a cruise, the first step is to decide what ship and cruise line to sail with.  At this early planning stage, the ship I’ve selected is the Celebrity Infinity.  At 2,100 passengers, it’s a little bigger than I’d like, but when considering the cost and the ship’s itinerary, it seems like a good place to start.

This particular cruise starts in San Francisco on September 18th, 2015, travels down the west coast of North and Central America to the Panama Canal.  The cruise disembarks in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on October 5th.  A Concierge Class stateroom on this cruise is about $6,400 for 2 people.  Add $2,000 for incidentals and excursions.  Since the cruise starts in San Francisco, my wife and I would only need to fly one-way from Ft. Lauderdale back to our home airport.  Currently, a one-way ticket on United Airlines is $271.  So, there it is.  Less than $10,000.

I started checking for reviews of the Celebrity Infinity.  I sailed with Celebrity Cruises once before on a cruise to Alaska.  Of the 14 cruises I’ve sailed on, Celebrity was one of the top cruise lines.  Of course, that was a number of years ago.

My first stop for reviews was at Cruise Critic.  The Cruise Critic review was a good one.  I think the reviews posted by the web site are usually more accurate than some of the reviews posted by guests.

What prompted this post was a couple of reviews I read about this ship.  The first three visitor reviews were for a cruise from Valparaiso through the Panama Canal to Miami in March 2014.  The second post had a rating of 5+ and was very complimentary.  That post can be found here.  After I read that review, the next one had a rating of 1.  How odd that the same cruise would have 2 people reviewing with completely opposite reviews.  The 1 rating review can be found here.

The good review talked about a bout with the Norovirus on this cruise.  Apparently, the reviewer, who didn’t like the cruise, was hit hard by sickness during this cruise.  When you read the 2 reviews, it is hard to believe that they are about the same cruise.  It just goes to show that 2 people in a similar situation can have 2 completely different opinions.

My planning is still early, so I have not settled on this itinerary yet.  However, I can make the reservation with Celebrity for $900 and that deposit would be refundable up until the end of June 2015, so in another month, I may just make the reservation to lock in the stateroom.

It’s so nice to have a trip to look forward to again.

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