This was a back to back cruise for 28/01 and 04/02. I have only been on a couple of Princess cruises in the past but found the Celebrity experience just as enjoyable. We arrived in Miami on 27/01 and stayed in the Miami airport hotel for the night after the long flight from Manchester via Philadelphia. The hotel was just okay, I expected the lobby and bar area to be nice relaxing place but it was a bit run down, reminded me slightly of a bar in a shabby railway station. The room was comfortable though but overall I think if I cruised from Miami again I would stay pre-cruise outside the airport.
It was a nice warm day on the Saturday when we boarded and were very impressed with the ship when we had a look around. In fact throughout the two weeks the weather was very good. On the first sea day on the Sunday morning it was cloudy with a brief shower and a very brief shower in St Maarten but apart from that it was warm and sunny throughout. It was a bit breezy at time but it was no problem.
The ship was very impressive and all the fixtures and fittings were top class. There was artwork all over the ship which made very interesting viewing. I also liked the divers video that was shown on the video screens in the oceanview cafe, it was strangely captivating! Anybody who has been on the Eclipse will know the video I mean.
Our room was a Concierge room and again everything was top quality, loved the little extras that came with Concierge especially the footrests on the balcony which made the loungers virtually a full sun lounger. The bathrobes were also very nice -- nearly bought one but resisted ! Our room was just 2 rooms from the back of the ship which made it a very quiet room as little traffic passed although it was some way to the lifts.
The ship was very clean and modern. It still has that new feel to it and is very well designed throughout. There are examples of interesting artwork all over the ship which also added to the ambience on board. The lawn club on the top deck was an unusual feature. Initially I thought it would be a waste of space but it was quite a relaxing area to sit in the comfy chairs and have a drink looking over the lawn area night or day, so it got my approval.
Most things about the ship were very positive but I will just summarise a few points including the negative ones.
Enjoyed all the stops even though we did some twice, particular the evening stops in Puerto Rico. It was very enjoyable going for an evening out, particularly the bar that invented the pina colada -- of course we had to sample one or two !
Well done to Celebrity for utilising their outdoor areas on an evening. Most of their outdoor bars were open until late and often some entertainment was put on. Having only been on Princess before it was a welcome change as they tended to shut everything down outdoors by 8pm apart from the party night.
Getting on and off the ship both at stops and at the start and end of cruise. All very smooth and quick.
The Oceanview cafe with the different food stations, very well set out and lots of choice at peak times.
Excellent theatre and shows, obviously a lot of money has gone into putting it all together.
The ship in general, a great place to experience.
Probably my biggest moan was that the Oceanview cafe had such poor choice of food outside peak hours. Especially in the afternoon and after 9.30pm. Virtually all the food stations were closed off. We went down for a meal at 9.40pm which I do not consider late and there was virtually nothing open. For late night snacks it was chef's choice, always without fail it was meatballs -- he must really like them ! I think there was some pizza on as well. Not good. This was one area where Celebrity performed very poorly and where Princess are far superior.
Too many pay restaurants and not a great variety.
Bistro on 5 -- what a waste of space ! Hardly ever saw anybody in there, how can you devote a whole restaurant to just one dish.
Having one comedian on in the whole 2 weeks with the same show. Celebrity publicise this by stating if you miss his show it is repeated throughout the cruise. Come on lets have a bit more choice ! He was good though.
The glass blowing show. Just cannot see it having appeal. Lasts 2 hours -- too long. Once you've seen it that's it, its part of the ship you will not go back to. The time and space could be better utilised.
Molecular bar -- barman far too serious about his job. Overpriced cocktails that are not that good.
Overall it was a great cruise and very enjoyable. The negative side of things certainly did not put me off wanting to cruise again with either Celebrity or the Eclipse. The weather, ship and destinations all combined to create a great holiday. I put a deposit down in the future cruise department whilst on board so it is now on to deciding where next !