Embarkation: We arrived at the port around 11:30 and to our surprise there was a minimal wait. Going through security was quick and the customs check was even quicker. The customs officer didn't even speak with us. He just ran our passports and handed them back. Maybe he said have a nice trip but I don't recall. Check-in with the cruiseline was also painless. We were given our cards and were onboard by noon.
There weren't many people ahead of us so we headed up to the Island Cafe and enjoyed lunch out on deck by the sunset bar. Unfortunately it was raining but fortunately the deck is covered.
Cabins: By 1pm, the announcement was made that passengers could go to their cabins. We headed up to deck 12 to our cabin. We found it to be a nice size, not large and the balcony was huge! We've never had a balcony this large before. It had two chairs, a table and two lounge chairs. One thing I found very odd about the bathroom is that the door opens into the bathroom instead of out. The door hits the toilet as there isn't enough room for a proper swing. Very strange. Even though we didn't use the jetted tub, it was nice having the larger space in the shower. I think it may be time to change out the mattresses though. I did not do well on this bed with my back. I probably could have asked for the mattress to be swapped out or given an egg crate foam top but didn't think of that until I got home.
As for noise from the sun deck above, it wasn't really noticeable. Occasionally you heard kids running but they were chasing the dolphins they saw. I could see noise being an issue on a warm weather cruise though. Occasionally we could hear our neighbours, especially when they were on their balcony but that didn't bother us. The location of the cabin was great. It was close to the aft elevators for easy access to the dining venues and the casino. There was also easy access to the mid and forward elevators.
Dining: When we booked, we originally booked traditional early seating. We liked our waiter and the couple we were sitting next too. Unfortunately, the table we were seated at had one chair and a bench. The table was so close when sitting in the bench that it wasn't comfortable and of course the table is affixed to the floor and you can't move it. We requested the change to anytime dining and enjoyed our meals much more. We ended up with a great waitstaff (not that the one we had for traditional seating was bad) and a really nice table for two by the window. It is table #6 if anyone is interested.
We had most breakfasts and lunches in the Island Cafe. They had good choices and the stir fry stations were very popular. I enjoyed the Panini style sandwiches that you choose what you want on it. The grill station out by the pool made good hamburgers. If you wanted to wait for a turkey burger, you could have one of those. The pizza was the best pizza I have ever had on a ship.
Staff/Service: I don't think I've ever been on a ship where I have seen the crew, including Senior Officers, interact with passengers so much as I did on this ship. That really impressed me. You always saw the staff wandering around the ship and they always addressed you. John, the cruise director, was friendly and could be found many of the activities. He was always willing to give you time and answer questions. The Captain was out and about as well, not just at the Captain's welcome/farewell. Our stateroom attendant Gratiela and butler Kolja were friendly. Gratiela always had a smile on her face and Kolja was attentive and knew what we liked from his afternoon tea cart even when we weren't in the room to choose. This was our first experience with a butler. Was it nice to have... sure. Did we really use his services... not really.
Condition: The ship was spotless. As soon as we boarded, we just had a really good feeling. We also found that it was a quiet ship. I don't mean sleepy, it just wasn't loud like other ships we've been on. Maybe it had something to do with the carpeting. For an older ship, she was in great condition. We liked the size of the ship and the fact that there was tons of seating throughout the different lounges.
Entertainment: We attended all the shows in the Celebrity Theatre and enjoyed them all. The comedic magician was okay, not great. The show was late in the evening and I was having trouble keeping my eyes open so I may have missed one or two things. I liked the comic who did impersonations of Bill Cosby, Stevie Wonder, etc. It was really funny when people were still arriving after the show started and he started picking on them. That's what you get when you show up late to a comedy show.
Food: We enjoyed every meal we had on the ship. The desserts were delicious and there were many chocolate selections (my fav). They had a candy, chocolate and dessert journey in four different areas of the ship one evening. It was a very smart way of spreading out the 1800 passengers. As many of you may know, cake pops are now very popular. Well, let me tell you, Celebrity went one step further and had cheesecake pops. These were to die for!! I took several back to the room to place in our fridge and enjoy over the next couple of days. There was also a brunch buffet held in the Grand dining room one morning. It was overwhelming. There was so much good food to choose from, you didn't quite know where to start. It started at 10am but we went about 11am. We were shown to a table on deck 6 and went down to deck 5 to get the food.
Disembarkation: Disembarkation was just as simple as embarkation. The staterooms had to be vacated by 8am and we were to be in Michael's Club by 8:15am. The crewmember popped in at 8:05 and said our luggage had been offloaded and we were welcome to disembark at our leisure. We ran our cards through one last time and headed for customs. Once through customs, we picked up our luggage and were headed home. It took no time at all. We were on the Canada Line by 8:35.
Weather/Sea Life: Except for the day we sailed away from Vancouver, we had pretty good weather. Hubbard Glacier was chilly but we were prepared for that and had our winter jackets, scarves and mitts with us. On a couple of the days, we were out on deck sunning ourselves. We saw lots of whales, dolphins, eagles, and even sea lions. In fact, we saw more wildlife in 7 days then we did on 20 days in the Caribbean last year.
Overview: For our first Celebrity cruise and being on the oldest ship in the fleet, we were left with a wonderful impression. We look forward to booking a future cruise with this line.