Embarkation was great but we've sailed from the port of San Diego before and know that it can be a real mess. It's not the cruise lines fault - blame the city of San Diego. Be sure you go with patience and if you need one, arrange for a wheel chair in advance!
This cruise embarkation was great. We walked up to the line at about 12:20pm and was onboard with our glass of sparkling wine before 1.
Our cabin was ready so we checked it out. It is larger than a balcony or concierge stateroom and offers plenty of room for two people. We'd been in a grand suite on Allure of the Seas last year and we thought this suite would be comparable - it is NOT!
The ship is old and definitely showing it's age although it is very clean.
Our bed was very uncomfortable until we got an "egg crate" from our attendant. The pillows are hard and uncomfortable. The bathroom door doesn't open all the way because it hits the toilet. This was annoying. The tub is jetted and comfortable. The sink is nice and deep, but someone had done a terrible caulking job. The bathroom has all of the usual amenities; soaps, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, manicure kit, sewing kit, shower cap. It also has q-tips and cotton balls, a small bottle of hydro-mineral water to spray your face and a tube of lip balm (nice touches) and of course a hair dryer that blew fairly well.
A surprise to us was a bathroom scale. Really? Why? But there it was.
There's a good sized closet to hang your clothes in and plenty of cabinet space - many of the drawers were shallow but I was able to put everything away easily. Soft-sided suitcases fit easily under the bed, one of our large firm suitcases was stored in the closet - lots of room.
There's a flat screen t.v. affixed to the wall, also a dvd player in the room. There was a stocked mini bar which we had emptied and put our own water and drinks in.
The butler comes with the suite - would we have booked a room just for a butler? No! The stateroom attendant can do almost anything the butler can, but if you want a larger stateroom on Celebrity you get a butler. Ours was Ryan Vaz, a very pleasant and helpful man. Hubby got sick the last 5 days of the cruise and Ryan brought him spicy lattes and teas to help get better.
Speaking of lattes they are part of the suite. Take advantage of them - order them from your butler. I had a plain old black coffee at Cova Cafe one morning and it cost $4.50. Ouch!
We ate at Murano's which is very pretty. Service was excellent. $40 is a ridiculous price for onboard specialty dining though. The food was good but we have eaten at the specialty restaurants onboard nearly all of our previous cruises, the most we paid was $30 and the food was just as good or better.
I would not dine at Murano again nor would I recommend it without mentioning the above statement.
Overall food was fine onboard. With the exception of a coconut pie (think coconut custard) nothing wowed me. Food is a very subjective thing and I'm very picky so don't use my comments to sway you from Celebrity.
The ship is really showing her age. Our balcony had rust on it - I HATE to see rust on a ship! The windows throughout the ship need to be replaced as most of them had moisture trapped in them. One rainy day the roof was leaking in Hemisphere (lounge on 12th floor forward). The room stunk of mildew that day. The furniture throughout has a lingering smell of body odor. The movie theater didn't smell good and was packed with people most days.
There was no popcorn for the movies. I found that to be really disappointing and noted it on my comment card. A couple brought their own microwave popcorn, had the Cova Cafe workers pop it for them (the passenger said that she always brings her own microwave popcorn). The popcorn burned and it stunk up the whole ship. I could still smell it when we went to our room on the 12th deck.
I pointed out in my comment card that if they provided the popcorn they'd avoid the stink of burned microwave popcorn in the future ;).
The activities were plentiful and fun. The staff is great - nearly everyone onboard made eye contact with me, smiled and greeted me, including several of the maintenance crew - something I hadn't experienced on other ships. There were a couple of bar staff who needed an attitude adjustment but nothing that ruined my time.
Celebrity really goes out of their way to make you happy. Our thermostat wasn't working in our room, we told guest services who immediately had someone fix it. They followed up to be sure we were happy, our butler asked if it worked ok and our cabin attendant asked if it was ok. It may seem like overkill but I really appreciated that they cared.
There are only a few shops onboard and they are small. As long as you are aware that this ship is old and will be going into dry dock in 2013 (so I was told), you will enjoy the cruise.
Disembarkation at the port of San Diego is a mess. It's not the cruise lines fault, it can be blamed on the city. Bring your patience with you!!!