Stating in Miami-
We did not want to spend a lot of money on a hotel the night before, but I also do not like to stay in crappy hotels either. We ended up choosing the Hampton Inn Brickell/Downtown because it was reasonable and the reviews on Trip Advisor were pretty good. I have to say I was SUPER impressed with this hotel. The location was great..within walking distance to great restaurants and a short cab ride to the Port of Miami. The room was very nice, the lobby awesome and the bar even better. They offer a free breakfast too and a shuttle to the Port for $8pp. I think the room was about $170/night too...not too bad compared to some of the other hotels.
We got to the ship by 1pm and were probably checked in and in our room by 2pm. There was a short line to get processed, not too bad. By the time we had to do the safety drills we had 1/3 bags in our room.
A little background on us...we are a married couple mid-30's, no kids. I have been on a cruise before (11 years ago), but my husband has never been on one before. We ended up choosing the cruise ship for this vacation instead of the destination. We are both foodies and LOVE good service. I did a lot of reading on cruise critic and soon realized Celebrity was the way to go.
I gained 7lbs on a 7 day cruise....enough said? The food was spectacular. We are in the MDR 3 nights, and each night was wonderful. We ate at Bistro 5 for lunch one day and it was VERY good...service a bit slow, but that is the only time we encountered that. For lunch we usually at at the pool bar and had a hamburger/fries which was very good. The last two night we went to Tuscan Grille and Qsine....my only complaint is not going there sooner. Word to the wise....RESERVE weeks in advance!!! They are also worth every penny, especially Qsine. This may have been the best meal we have had. Advice that I took, was make your reservation to Qsine as early as possible. Ours was at 6:30 and we got out at 10pm. It is a very leisurely dinner. The food overall was AMAZING....always good, hot and fantastic. We never had a complaint and we both love food.
I did a lot of reading on this package....and we ended up getting the premier package for us both. I will say that I think it was a very good decision, especially for my husband. He LOVED chilling at the pool bar for a better part of the day...and drinking. As I didn't drink too much during the day, I still had water, maybe a couple fancy drinks-but at night we both had wine and drinks after. I think we easily consumed $54/pp each day on beverages. Our only complaint is that the liquor/beverages in the mini-fridge in our room was not included. So, even though we paid for the premium we could not drink that stuff. I highly suggest getting the package....it is worth it. As for the bars....I wish we had found the Molecular Bar sooner than we did....very cool atmosphere and drinks. The Martini Bar is cool too. Of course the Pool Bar is a must during the day.
We stayed in 2107, which is Concierge Class on the 12th floor. This was an awesome room with a balcony, and the balcony is bigger than other ones too. Awesome floor to be on since that is the same level is the pool and one floor up is Oceanview Buffet which has breakfast/lunch. Great location. We will always get a balcony from now on and will probably check out Aqua Class too. They got to it in Blu, which I heard was amazing. If you can afford a balcony, it is worth every penny.
Puerto Rico-I did not hear good things about San Juan, so I was not very excited about going there. I have to say I LOVED it. We did a bicycle tour through Old and New San Juan and I loved it. It was a great way to see the area. I found it quaint, clean and impressive. We docked about 3pm and left at 11pm, so we actually found a Puerto Rican restaurant and ate there...I highly suggest that. It was great to try authentic food and to eat something different.
St. Thomas-GORGEOUS......our excursion was the BOSS tour, the underwater scooter. This was super fun to do and we are so glad we did it-but once is enough. You are underwater for about 30 min, which by then the novelty has worn off. We did some snorkeling while we waited for the other people on the tour. It wasn't the best snorkeling, but I did see a Barracuda which was cool. After the tour I did some shopping. The Mall right outside of the ship is very touristy, but people are nice. I also went to the higher end area, but it is pretty $$$
St. Maarten-We decided not to book an excursion for this day. We had planned to take a cab to Orient Beach. However, we got a late start and ended up just walking off the ship to the stores. I will say overall I was not impressed with St. Maarten...with that being said we only stepped off the ship and went shopping. The people were not very nice and made you feel as we were inconveniencing them to spend money in their store. The only place I will suggest is Effy Jewelry, to the right. They were very nice in there and I got a beautiful necklace and ring while I was there. After that we just went back on the ship.
The ship itself is gorgeous. My only complaint would that they have more or bigger pools. The chairs were taken first thing in the AM and for the first few days it was SO WINDY that it was hard to sit around the pool.
Entertainment-We saw Troy Thurdgill (spelling). He was a comedy show and was SUPER FUNNY....probably the funniest I have seen in a long time. We saw him twice. We also went to the Newlywed Game, which was fun. I played Bingo twice, but lost.
Overall this was an amazing trip and cruise line. This cruise has made my husband an official CRUISER...which is an amazing thing in itself. We will only cruise Celebrity because it is the best cruise line EVER!!!!!