This was our 2d cruise with Celebrity; we had been on Connie's sister ship Millenium 2 years ago for an Alaska cruise, so the layout of this ship was very familiar. We spent 2 days in Amsterdan before the cruise; we stayed at the Marriott near Leidseplein--great location, close to canals, many restaurants, museums and parks.
Embarkation was easy, although there was a slight mixup. Because we were in concierge class, we were supposed to be in boarding area #1; but no one asked when we arrived at the terminal, so we were given a number 7. After about 30 minutes, we noticed some people were boarding, so I asked a Celebrity employee when we could board. She noted we were given the wrong boarding area number, gave us #1 cards, and we zipped right on through. We went to the lounge and had snacks while others were still waiting in the terminal; a nice perk for being in CC class.
Our cabin was ready early, although our checked bags didn't arrive for a few more hours. We had lived out of our carry-ons while at the Marriott, so we had some things with us. We met Ovidio, our cabin steward. He was very pleasant, always greeted us with a smile and asked if he could do anything for us.
Although this ship had recently been "solsticized", the only change we noted in the cabin was color and fabric of the furniture. Everything else was identical to the Millenium we sailed on 2 years earlier. As others have noted, there were areas on the ship that could have been spruced up, e.g. rust spots on our balcony, although while in port, painters were painting the outside of the ship (but they told me that balconies were not on their painting list).
The housekeeping was very good, the public areas were always clean, including the public restrooms. The only place where things weren't immediately cleaned up was in the Seaside Cafe (the cafeteria style dining room, mostly used for breakfast and lunch). Because it was often so crowded and so hard to find a table, when we found one just vacated, we'd clean if off ourselves. If a staffer walked by, we could hand him/her the dirty trays of the previous table occupants.
We chose Select Dining, as we hadn't loved the fixed seating on our previous cruise. We loved Select Dining! We could go when we wanted, we could make reservations, we could choose to eat by ourselves or at a shared table. And for a 12 night cruise, it was a great way to constantly meet new people and share new stories, tips and backgrounds. My only regret was that we didn't get the email addresses of some folks from Canada and New Zealand that we hit it off with.
Although we left Amsterdam in the rain, the next day at sea was nice, and for the next 9 days, we had sunshine and unusually warm weather for May. Even our various guides said that we must have brought this great weather. Our last port was Copenhagen and it was drizzly and cool there and the last day at sea was rough; there were signs posted on the glass doors to not open them or attempt to go out on the deck. We wholeheartedly obeyed!
We booked all our excursions through Celebrity's website and had wonderful, knowledgeable guides. Our only snag was on our 1st day in Russia; by the time Celebrity told us to go out and through immigration (the only port where you must bring your passport and immigration card left in the cabin), our tour bus had left! Luckily, there was another bus assigned to the same type of tour, so they put us on that one. We were ready to go early; Celebrity should have known how long Russian immigration took and planned accordingly.
I won't give a port report, so I'll just say that all 6 ports had something wonderful to visit or experience; we did Old Town Tallinn and Copenhagen on our own and that worked out too. Also, you should plan on spending a few days in Amsterdam, I'd suggest prior to the cruise, as you may be too tired to walk all over Amsterdam, as we did. (and watch out for those bicycles--when you think you're on the sidewalk, you may actually be in a bike lane).
Regarding disembarkation, I actually filed a concern/complaint with Celebrity. We were invited in writing to "special disembarkation" because we were in concierge class. It was in the movie theater rather than in the large theater--it was supposed to be less hectic and with a continental breakfast. Although we arrived there a half hour before we were asked to come, there was no food left and we were told there would not be any more food put out. So we left on the shuttle for the airport with no food at all. The people in the "lesser" cabins could actually have gotten a light breakfast in the Seaside.
Overall, this was a wonderful cruise, wonderful experience and wonderful vacation. It was fun and educational and yes, exhausting. We'd do it again in a heartbeat!