I would consider ourselves experienced cruisers and enjoy the service and overall experience that cruising gives. This was our second time with Celebrity and I can say I was not disappointed.
We always arrive the day before, it is my time to start to relax and put my work behind me. We flew into Miami Airport, meeting my wife's best friend from Virginia. My wife didn't know. Rented a car from Thrifty, with the idea that we could drop off at the cruise terminal. No such thing, even though it was listed on it's web site. Stayed at the Homewood Suites Blue Lagoon, it's old, needs some repair but the staff was friendly. We had a two bedroom, two bath suite for $230.00.
Dropped off car at airport around 10:00, shuttle was there within 5 minutes and we were on our way. Dropped off at pier around 10:30, he stopped to load shuttle at NCL Epic before letting us off, poor couple in back had to struggle to get out. Check in was quick, waited about 20 minutes to board. It is really nice to have your photo takes at the counter, versus waiting in another line.
Best part of this whole process is being created with Champagne as you board.
Stunning! When we sailed on Disney I felt that you were stepping into a grand ocean liner, Celebrity has matched that feeling. It is sophisticated elegance that is a pleasure to see and experience. The artwork is sometimes so out there but at times is so subtle. As you can tell I am a fan of these ships. The staff is always greeting you, asking if there is anything you need, never obtrusive but attentive. I recall our first cruise in 1981 our cabin steward said, you will not see me often, but you will see the results of my work. Robert our cabin steward was exactly that way, saw him when needed, but saw his touch every day. He's been doing this for 32 years!
I have read on the boards that the quality of the food has gone down hill with the new menu. I can only compare the food to the Equinox that we sailed on in April 2011. I have to agree. In the main dining room the food quality has dropped several notch's. We did the Celebrity Select Dining for the first and last time, while it was very convenient to go when we wanted, it felt like we were being rushed to turn the table. We usually went a little after 7 in the evening and we didn't have to wait.
We did eat at both Murano and Tuscan Grill, superb food an d the service was outstanding.
Our friend signed up for the ilounge classes, she has been a Mac/Apple user since the early 90's. Her comments were it was well worth the $60.00. I did several of the Chef's activities and as usual all were worth the time.
I must admit seeing the chaos when we arrived and having booked a 10:15 flight I was a little concerned. We left the ship around 7:30, our luggage was on the carousel, hired a porter, through customs and in the taxi line by 8:00. We were being dropped off at the terminal by 8:30. My wife and daughter the previous Saturday, left the ship an hour later and it was very crowded.
Some odds & ends,
When checking with the home office about booking flights from Miami I was advised no earlier than 10AM for Miami Airport, 11AM for Ft. Lauderdale. I did want to sign up for the luggage valet for $20.00 and not have to see my bags again. But if your flight is before 11:30 you can't do it and the need 50 to do it.
Pool butlers were out and clearing seats that were not occupied for a period of time.
It is wonderful to get back on the ship with a cold face cloth. Just another touch of service.