Members of our group flew independently to Ft. Lauderdale and most overnighted before the cruise at the Comfort Inn. My girlfriend and I stayed at the Rodeway Inn near the airport. It was so-so with a nice sports bar restaurant but check-in and airport pick up were rather poor although the shuttle to the airport was timely and well organized. The vans pulled luggage trailers and each went to a different cruise ship which worked well.
First cruise on Celebrity but as an RCCL Diamond we were accorded elite status which resulted in priority check in and baggage delivery. Also received some additional amenities because of our C2 (concierge balcony) booking such as a bottle of champagne, flowers, fruit, etc. No big deal but nice touches.
Overall very good food and service in the dining room. Enjoyed the Tuscan Grill but had a less than premier experience in Ocean Liner dining room where the fillet was overcooked, the lobster chewy, and the chocolate souffle tasted like bland chocolate pudding. Would have been better off saving $80 and eating in the main dining room where the food was consistently good.
We ate in the Sea View Cafe one night for dinner and found the selection to be minimal and the food very bland. Would not eat there again for dinner. This is in contrast to some pretty good meals in the equivalent casual cafes on several RCCL, Holland America, and Princess cruises.
Enjoyed most of the shows and especially the production shows. Also enjoyed the bands in the Rendezvous Lounge and Reflections (Sky Club) where we danced most nights. Participated in a couple of dance contests and won one of them, which was a kick.
Did the express walk off around 8 a.m. which was a bit of a hassle since we had to wait in line to debark and then had to wheel several bags from our state room all the way to the customs terminal. The upside was debarking early and not having to search for luggage.
Overall I would rate this as my favorite of over 40 cruises, partly due to socializing with our group from back home, and largely due to the overall experience that Celebrity affords. To indicate how much I enjoyed the cruise, I booked two 15 day cruises on the Equinox and Reflection for 2013 and expect to enjoy them as well, particularly on the Solstice class ships.