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I Took a Bargain Last Minute Cruise on an Old Ship – Was it Worth it?

I recently booked a very cheap last-minute cruise on one of the oldest and smallest cruise ships around. 

I booked this cruise just two weeks before the sailing – it had an advertised price of $57 a night. The cruise was 11 nights long and the price was based on two people sharing a balcony cabin.

In reality, it did end up costing a little bit more than that, but after months of being cold in England, I saw that this cruise was sailing from Greece and I decided to go for it.

I knew that there was no guarantee of good weather at this time of year, I didn’t know how I’d like cruising on such a small and old ship – and I had no idea about the real reason that this cruise was so cheap.

I didn’t find that out until I got on board. I also didn’t know at this point that we would leave some guests behind in one of the ports – but there was nothing I could have done about that anyway. 

We flew out from London to board the ship and after a quick taxi ride to the port it was time to embark.

Our luggage was taken from the car to be delivered to our cabins later and after what could have only been around 5 minutes in the terminal we were ready to board the ship.

It was the easiest embarkation ever, helped by the fact we’d already checked in online and I even watched the safety videos on the plane to save time. 

The ship that we were boarding was the Celebrity Infinity, she was built in 2001 and is just under half the size of the current biggest cruise ships in the world.

I assumed the small size meant there would be fewer entertainment options, maybe less food but I was sure that she had lots of refits since her launch.

I didn’t imagine they’d have TVs from the year 2001 still onboard – although that would be kind of cool and retro.

We walked into the middle of the ship and were greeted with a big staircase and Atrium area split over multiple decks.

It was here that I saw the most amazing thing that I can see on any cruise ship and that is multiple jars of cruise ship cookies! I knew from that moment that I’d be spending a lot of time here during the cruise…

Our day had started at 3am and it was around 3pm by this point so we decided to find some food. Luckily for us this only meant walking up a few flights of stairs to the buffet.

It’s not uncommon for cruise ships to have 17, 18, 19 or even 20 decks – but the lovely little Celebrity Infinity only has 12. 

Walking into the buffet, I found something that was genius, a map of all of the different stations of food. I of course still wanted to do a lap of everything before deciding but this showed me just how big the buffet was.

If I had to describe the food in the buffet by one word it would be fresh. Lots of fresh bread and vegetables and fruits, each day they would have a different theme in here and most days during the cruise I ate at least one or two – or sometimes all three of my meals here.

They actually had so much fruit that they made some of it into animals.

The buffet went around both sides of the ship with lots and lots of seats and there was a really nice seating area outside too where we would sometimes have our breakfast. 

Free water, Fruit Punch and Lemonade, were always available in the buffet.

Another important part of the buffet for me was just how many included drink options there were. I decided not to buy a drinks package for this cruise so I knew that I’d be making the most out of the juices (which I’d water down to make squash) and the tea. 

I was hoping not to spend too much extra on this cruise because this was meant to be a budget last-minute kind of break. 

The buffet had lots of big windows that made us very excited to get outside – and even a couple of windows on the floor, they were a bit scary but pretty cool.

The sky was blue and that was what I had hoped for for so long. It was so so good just not to feel cold. 

We headed out on to the main pool deck to explore and found two big pools that looked very tempting and lots and lots of sun loungers. Each sun lounger had a towel on it and there were even blankets that we could use if it got chilly. 

Celebrity definitely are a cruise line on the more premium end of the scale and for me it’s little things like the blankets that show that. 

Towards the back of the ship we found a basketball court and an area called “The Rooftop Terrace.” It was full of big comfy seats and looking at these outside areas I don’t think you’d ever know that the ship was built 23 years ago, and yes 2001 was 23 years ago, I know that doesn’t seem possible but it is.

This ship was built in 2001 – which makes it as old as the first Harry Potter film – if you can believe it. And Monsters Inc. – it was a good year for films.

They did of course look like they were made in 2001 with all of this orangey wood which really does date ships to this time period but nothing was broken or damaged.

Pretty much everything in the cabins has been replaced multiple times since the ship was launched and I’ve been on ships much much younger where the cabins were in worse condition than these. 

There was a band playing by the pool as we sailed away and it was around now that I realised just how quiet this ship seemed.

On some cruise lines there will be hundreds or thousands of people on the pool deck at sailaway time but this was much more relaxing.

I’d heard from my friends the YouTubers “JJ Cruise” who were on the cruise before mine that their cruise was only 65% full so I wondered if it might be the same on our cruise.

We decided to spend our evening in a massive lounge that we found at the top of the ship called the Constellation Lounge.

Here they would have trivia and gameshows pretty much every day as well as late-night parties. Given my 3am start I knew I wouldn’t make it to the late-night party but I do always enjoy having a go at trivia.

We bought our first drinks onboard and it came in at $9.60 for two cans of Coke Zero including the gratuity.

I could have bought a drinks package so that I could have unlimited drinks onboard but the non-alcohol package worked out at about $35 a day – and I’d have to drink at least 8 cans of soda to just break even which isn’t good for anybody. 

If I liked coffee it might have been worth it but I have simple tastes, you can’t beat a can of Coke, unless it’s Pepsi of course so I decided to pay as I went.

When we woke up the next day in Thessaloniki it was raining and pretty chilly, we decided to go for a walk but I was starting to wonder if this is what our whole cruise would be like.

Did I really come all this way just to get the regular English rain that I’d get at home? I hoped that my sun glasses wouldn’t just be used to keep the rain out of my eyes.

Celebrity Infinity, Greece
Celebrity Infinity in Thessaloniki Greece

Luckily for us we had two days in the port so we were able to come back the next and try again, the second time it was much better and the weather forecast seemed to suggest that it would get warmer as we went on.

We explored a tower and came across some ruins, as you often randomly do in Greece. As much as I love ruins I was a lot more excited about seeing the Greek cats but I hadn’t seen many yet.  

In Thessalonkini I am 99% sure we left a couple of guests behind which isn’t actually that rare. We were back onboard by the all aboard time, of course but they kept making announcements to ask if these two people were onboard.

You do scan your cruise card when you get on and off the ship but they always have to check just in case there was a system problem or something, they wouldn’t want to wait for people who were onboard the whole time. 

Leaving from Greece on Celebrity Infinity
Leaving from Greece on Celebrity Infinity – we left two passengers on that dock..

Our ship waited an extra hour which was very generous but then we had to sail away. The ship can’t wait forever, it has places to be and the people working in the port i’m sure wanted to go home.

We did see people running once we had left and I couldn’t tell if these are the missing people of course, but if I had to guess I would say so. 

The “Cinnamon Roll” deck

Up until this point I really hadn’t seen a lot of the ship so I decided to go exploring, starting inside the ship. It was interesting to see the different styles of decor and in particular the carpets – this one was my favourite and I called that the Cinnamon Roll deck for obvious reasons. 

We found a big casino where I lost $10 later in the cruise. This is one area where the original 2000s carpet does hurt my eyes a little, even if it is nice and nostalgic I’m glad they changed many of them. 

Speaking of shopping we also found a big shopping area and walking through that took us out to the main theatre. I am a massive fan of theatre shows so I knew I’d have to come back here later but looking at the design of the room though I was very impressed.

I love theatres that have tables like this so that you can get in and out without disturbing other people. I liked how the seating was more like bench seating rather than individual seats, very comfy and always good for plus-sized guests.

I did watch a movie in here later in the cruise too and it was comfortable for that period of time. The ceiling was very very impressive and there was lots of strange art on the way in.

If I thought this art was strange though I had no idea what was in store for me. As the cruise went on I’d find more and more weird things around the ship. 

When we went back to our cabin we found that we had a piece of paper that said that we had been assigned late dining -I thought that was odd as my app said I had the flexible dining where I didn’t have to eat at a fixed time.

I am definitely not a late-dining kind of person but I’ve never had trouble changing the dining time on cruises before.

I decided to just ignore the problem and it actually went away, not sure that is great cruise advice but that is honestly what I did.

My app said I had the flexible dining so I just went with that and ignored the paper. I was able to book dinner in the main dining room on my phone whenever I wanted so I decided to book us a table for 5.30 pm – and I did that on multiple days of the cruise. 

The big pink light felt like an eyeball watching over us as we ate!

The main dining room onboard Celebrity Infinity was very impressive, it’s split over two levels and there are windows on three sides.

There’s also this big glowing pink light which felt like an eyeball watching over us as we ate.

More modern cruise ships have moved away from the big dining room idea and most now have multiple smaller ones.

When I sailed on Celebrity Edge, Infinity’s much younger sisters there were 4 main dining rooms onboard. Then again my cruise on Celebrity Edge was almost triple the price of this one so it’s not really fair to compare them.

Find out about my cruise on the much newer ship Celebrity Edge here:

If we’ve gone from having 1 dining room in 2000, to 4 in 2024 – I wonder if we’ll have 4 times as many again in 2044. Maybe we’ll have 16 main dining rooms on cruise ships – that would be bonkers.

Most dinners took around an hour and a half which was great, the bread baskets were brilliant as was all of the food that we had. We’d even order off the menu sometimes, like when I really wanted a bowl of chips – it was no problem at all. 

Our cruise was 11 nights long and I definitely noticed that the starters were the same most nights – but if you are somebody who wants to eat snails every day you are in luck – this is the cruise line for you!

I personally can’t think of much worse than eating a snail but I did enjoy the Greek salads. There was usually just one vegetarian main option but the allergens were clearly marked.

You could see the menus on the App ahead of time, and outside the restaurant which I love. 

Our servers were fantastic and we really couldn’t have asked for anything better from dinner. At this point, we were still on a “Casual Night” but I was curious about what a formal night would be like – and if there would be any other themes. I did pack a couple of dresses just in case…

Because we started out dinner at 5.30 that meant that we were able to go to the 7 pm shows in the theatre.

Every night there were two shows and we saw all kinds of things, we had magicians, comedians, a ukulele band, solo singers and my favourite type which are the theatre cast performances where they sing and dance. 

A couple of the shows had very impressive acrobatic performances and the only disappointment for me was that I went to see the Phil Collins tribute act and he didn’t sing a single song from Tarzan!

The Tarzan soundtrack is incredible and if there was a show that was just Tarzan songs I would go! If there was Tarzan themed cruise I’d go

It always felt very quiet at the early show, when we went to the later shows they were definitely busier but still in no world could this ship be described as full.

I’d find out later that the ship was at around 75% capacity and we had a mix onboard of people from the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Spain, Greece, all over the world. 

After the show we decided to go for a swim in the inside solarium pool. This space was so bright and light with huge windows and lots of seats. There was a little cafe here too and the pool is actually a Thalassotherapy pool.

I definitely can’t spell that – I can barely say it. It was basically like a big bubbly hot bath, but shared with other people, I’m not sure I’ll ever be somebody who really loves hot tubs and pools but I’m glad that I tried it. 

There were a couple of kids in the pool when I went in, but in total I think I only saw less than 10 kids on this cruise the entire time. We were sailing out of school holidays and Celebrity are definitely a mostly adult cruise line – so that is what I expected.

Celebrity are actually owned by Royal Caribbean and Royal Caribbean’s ships are the family versions of these – you won’t find big slides or surf simulators on a Celebrity cruise, but you’ll find loads of things for kids on Royal Caribbean ships. 

The next ports on our itinerary were Kusadasi in Turkey and Limassol in Cyprus.

The most popular thing to do in Kusadasi is to visit Ephesus but as I’d already done that I decided to stay closer to the port. We did our own thing in Limassol too and Celebrity did put on shuttle buses free of charge to bring us to the city. 

This is one of the big differences between budget cruise lines and more premium cruise lines like Celebrity, if this was a budget cruise line they’d definitely be charging $10 or $15 more for a shuttle bus.

When we visited these ports Celebrity told us that we needed to bring our passports out with us, it really depends on where you are visiting but if you are like me and wearing a summer dress it’s unlikely you’ll have pockets – so make sure you bring a bag.

I almost always have my Mia Tui backpack on my back, it’s strong, comfortable and has a bright lining with lots of pockets to keep my important things like Captain Hudson safe.

You’ll see my Mia Tui bags in every single video I’ve made on this channel since about 2017 so I asked them if they would sponsor some videos.

I’m so happy to say that they said yes which means I can bring you a discount on everything you’ve seen over the last few years, from my packing cubes to my toiletry bag.

My side bags and the fold-out bag that goes over my suitcase’s handle which is great for waiting around airports or for walking on icy streets when I need my hands free.

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My Favourite Bags – Mia Tui

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All that wandering around made us hungry so when we got back to the ship we decided to check out the pool side grill. Most cruise lines have something like this included in the cruise fare, and the food was really good.

There are of course restaurants onboard that cost extra called “speciality restaurants” – but I didn’t go to any of those during this cruise, my aim was to keep this cruise as cheap as possible.

One of my favourite things about this ship was Cafe al Baccio, I can’t comment on the coffee because I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my life but I can comment on the cookies – and trust me I’ve eaten a lot of cruise ship cookies in the past. 

Cookies were free at Cafe El Baccio

The cookies were here all day every day along with cakes and there were usually three types. I’d often skip dessert in the main dining room or the buffet and just get a cookie instead because it was pretty impossible to beat these cookies, they were soft and gooey and I even worn my cookie t-shirt in honour of them.

Take Me to the Cruise Ship Cookies


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Sometimes I’d take them back to my cabin in the evening for a bedtime snack.

Celebrity did put chocolates on our pillows each night too and my brother- who was cruising solo – actually got 4 chocolates every night. 4 for one person? He hit the jackpot there.

For most of this cruise, I was wearing regular t-shirts or dresses but there were a few dress codes onboard.

Every day there is a dress code for the main dining room and it means that you have to wear trousers with a collared shirt or something like a dress.

A polo shirt and decent jeans are okay but still you can’t wear shorts into the main dining room for dinner ever – which is stricter than some other cruise lines.

I do find it really weird when cruise lines have rules like ‘no shorts and no tshirts’ but I can wear a dress thats a giant t-shirt and shorter than shorts. I suppose they have to draw the line somewhere.

There wasn’t a lot of difference between the casual nights and the formal nights it was more an invitation to dress a bit fancier if you want to, no pressure though. 

If we didn’t feel like getting changed we would just eat in the buffet. 

There was also a white night onboard and I bought my trusty white dress. I also remembered to bring a cardigan because it’s almost impossible to eat dinner in a white dress without spilling something down the front, it feels like white clothing is a magnet to food – not sure what it is about it. 

Information about things like the dress codes could be found in the daily schedule which was delivered to our room every day and also in the cruise lines App.

Find details of the sort of dresses I wear on a cruise here:

Cruise Dress Examples – (Everything I Wear Onboard: Emma Cruises)

On the App we could check our onboard account, see what was in schedule and even message other people on the cruise for free.

Some cruise lines do charge for that luxury so that was much appreciated, again it’s the small things like that that make a difference. Some cruise lines do charge for this feature.

The next two stops on our cruise were Rhodes and Crete, where the crew had a safety drill. They do these very regularly on cruises and it’s always fun to me to see how all of the crew members have a job to do in an emergency.

It doesn’t matter if you are the Captain or a Waiter or you work in an onboard shop, in an emergency you have a job and everybody has to practise. The Chefs standing on the promenade deck still had their Chef’s hats on which always reminds me of the film Ratatouille.

I actually did download the film Ratatouille to watch at some point during this cruise, I thought that we might have a lot of downtime and I was prepared to entertain myself – but I didn’t have the time to watch Ratatouille at all.

Maybe that should be my new scale on how busy I was on a cruise, did I have time to watch Ratatouille or not. The word Ratatouille doesn’t sound real anymore.

I was working onboard so I had purchased a WiFi package. It cost me £120 which is $150 US dollars for 12 nights which is always painful to pay but it worked perfectly.

It wasn’t as fast as my internet at home of course but I got everything that I wanted to get done, including a live stream from the ship.

When I was in port I’d usually just use my phones 4 or 5G as I can roam in most the places we visited without any extra charges and I can share the internet from my phone to my laptop. 

You don’t need to buy the cruise ship WiFi just to use their App. Find out more here:

You Don’t Need to Pay For Wi-Fi To Use a Cruise Line App – Here’s Why

Our next port was Naplion and this port was a real surprise for me, I’d never heard of it before but it was a great place to spend the day.

It was a tender port which meant that we had to use the cruise ship’s boats to get to land but we never had to wait for a tender. I’m sure we would have had a bit of a wait if we rushed up as soon as the ship dropped her anchor but that really isn’t my style. 

Naplion, Greece

The weather was glorious, around 18 or 19c which is 66f . I understand that might not be warm to everybody to me coming from England this was beautiful, I couldn’t have wished for more.

I am a massive fan of cruising out of peak season for exactly this reason, this weather suited me perfectly and the ports were much quieter than they would be in summer.

I’ve visited some Greek islands in summer on cruises with 6 other ship docked at a time.

It’s really bizarre to be around that many people at once, and in places like Santorini I wouldn’t recommend a peak season visit – unless you are okay with crowds. You need to be okay with being carried along with everyone else, because you can’t really fight it. This was so much better. 

Find out more about my Celebrity Infinity cruise in the video below:

I loved our itinerary but I did find out later in the cruise that the itinerary was the reason that this cruise was so cheap.

Up until a couple of months before the sailing date the itinerary was meant to include Israel and Egypt. Celebrity decided to change it, and I’m sure that some people decided not to go ahead with the cruise after the change.

That meant that there were lots of spaces available onboard and Celebrity were filling them by selling it cheap last minute.

That combined with the time of year and the fact that we were cruising on an older smaller ship meant that this cruise was around a third the price of sailing on one of the bigger ships in summer.

In short, the total price I paid for this cruise was £1288.61 which is $1623 US dollars  including my flights from London, transfers and all gratuities.

The cruise was 12 nights long and that is based on two people sharing a balcony cabin.

When I cruise I love it when I can stick around the £100 per night budget but normally that doesn’t include the flights. That’s normally with a budget line -not a premium line like Celebrity – so I was very happy with this price. 

I enjoyed my cruise on the 2001 Celebrity Infinity as much as the 2023 Celebrity Edge – but the experiences were like “Chalk and Cheese” – that’s a Britishism for another day. 

The Celebrity Edge actually had one of the weirdest cabins I’ve ever had. It wasn’t quite a balcony, but wasn’t quite not. To find out what that was like and if it was worth paying 3x as much as this cruise, check out this video next:

Before You Go

Find out about the ten things you should know before cruising with Celebrity here:

10 things you should know before cruising with Celebrity

I don’t drink enough to justify buying a drinks package when i cruise, find out more about that below:

Drinks Packages Aren’t Worth it For Me – Here’s How I Decide (Price Lists & More)

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