My wife and I are from Charleston, SC, and we normally cruise on Royal Caribbean. I was looking for a short Spring Break cruise (She's a teacher) and stumbled upon this Celebrity Cruise for a very good price. I called the travel agency and they said that this was a steal, so we booked it.
We got to the port pretty early, 11:00 or so, and were amazed at how quickly we were on board. The whole process might have taken 10 minutes. I'm not sure if this is a Miami thing or a Celebrity thing, but it was very nice. Most of our cruises have been out of Port Canaveral, and we have waiting for 30 minutes to an hour to board.
We both had the premium alcohol drink packages ($54 per person per day), which I highly recommend for drinkers. We pretty much hit all the bars. The Casino Bar shows sports, which was good for the Final Four and Masters throughout the week. The Martini Bar has an ice bar top that was cool. Our favorite was Molecular Bar, which had an array of coctails that were all $12 and perfect for the premium drink package. We also enjoyed the Ensemble lounge which was right outside the specialty restaurants. It had a relaxed atmosphere that was nice before dinner. We hung out on the bar at the back of the buffet each night leaving port because it has an amazing view. The bar tenders were all very friendly.
We were a little disappointed to see that we were at a table for two in the dining room. We typically love meeting our table mates and really enjoy getting to know them throughout the cruise. The food in the dining room was very good. Steaks were cooked to order, and they brought me two lobster tails without me asking. In fact, I was always almost uncomfortably full after leaving. That's my fault, though, and not theirs.
Once we saw we didn't have any table mates, we booked the three specialty restaurant ($98 per person) and tried Qsine, Tuscan, and Morano. We had fantastic steaks at Tuscan, some crazy stuff at Qsine, and I had lobster at Morano, while my wife had another steak. All three were fantastic. I would rank them Morano, Tuscan and Qsine, but we met plenty others that would have switched the order up. They also have a five pack of dinners that some had. I liked the three because we got to try each.
Of the ports, we liked St. Thomas the best. We also enjoyed St. Martin and San Juan. We rode the sky car in St. Thomas and went to Orient Beach on St. Martin. At San Juan we just walked around town and checked out the forts. We also went to Glady's Cafe and got some hot sauce in St. Thomas. It's very good and very hot.
We enjoyed some other things on the ship as well. The buffet was great for breakfast and we got sushi most of the nights as a pre happy hour appetizer. The Lawn Club is really cool, and we'll take more advantage of that the next time. They have and enforce the adults only areas of the pool, which is nice for those of us without children.
The entertainment was the biggest difference between this and Royal Caribbean in our opinion. THey have 7-8 music acts that rotate around the ship. We really enjoyed a few of them and could see them multiple times per day. There is more of a "we'll provide some entertainment and you do what you want" feel. I'm not sure if that makes sense. Royal Caribbean and Carnival encourage you to do the group activities. This ship seems to have enough different things going on that nothing is ever over crowded. They also had a retired NFL Official who gave some talks that I really enjoyed.
We will definitely do Celebrity again. We would rank it a little higher than Royal Caribbean and definitely more of our style than Carnival. I am a pretty big deal shopper, though, so we will probably go on each again in the future.