This was my first Celebrity cruise and I am very pleased with their line.
My party arrived at the pier at 1pm. Within one hour from us arriving at the Pier, we were on board the ship. This includes dropping off the luggage, parking the car, taking the shuttle back to the ship and checking in. However, we were given priority check in, due to the fact that I have taken a number of cruises with Royal Caribbean and the loyalty plan is extended to Celebrity Cruises.
After negotiating the crowded buffet,we had a comfortable, indoor, muster drill inside of Michael's Sports Bar. We enjoyed sailing away from NY on the fourth floor sitting on cushioned sun chairs.
At 5:30, I went back to my stateroom and all of my luggage was there. The same goes for the rest of our party in their cabins. We entertained ourselves until our late seating reservation. We had a lovely table in the back of the main dining room and the serving staff were professional and hardworking men.
As with most things I have noticed about Celebrity, the subtleties were what made it stand out. Our wait staff were friendly and polite without interrupting our conversation with silly gimmicks.
The next two days were enjoyed at sea. I prefer to choose seating away from the pool to avoid the noise of crowds, fools and bad parents. Sadly, the quality of chair available in these areas were of poorer quality than the ones available near the pool. Naturally, all of the most comfortable lounge chairs were "reserved" at dawn with enough towels to soak up the pool itself. However, the pool butlers would remove a towel or book if the people in the adjacent area would agree that the owners of the towel, book and hat had not been seen in more than one half hour.
I never ate in the specialty restaurants, but wanted to. Qsine looked especially interesting. I just got carried away having fun. The breakfast and lunch offered outside the spa was wonderful. They had yogurt parfait's, granola, fresh fruit and packaged yogurt for breakfast. For lunch you could have tuna, salmon or pork grilled. They had an interesting salad bar with more sophisticated options than the salad bar in the buffet.
The buffet lunch was tasty, but nothing unique.
The dinners in the main dining room was fantastic every night. No one was disappointed.
The one excursion we did was paddle boarding. It was very difficult and the experience was sub par. The catamaran was not like the white, netted quasi sail boat that I have taken previously. This boat was a more functional, gray boat with cushions around the perimeter of the boat. The Captain did not treat us as paying customers. He treated us like fraternity brothers. Some gems from his mouth included "I used to captain a much bigger boat which would take people to an island party, but those people were incapable of intelligent conversation" and a particularly long winded story about showing up to work hungover. Not exactly the kind of island information I wanted to know. Apparently, the two other guides provided information on the history, flora and fauna of the island.
Bermuda was beautiful. We took the bus to Horseshoe Bay Beach. It was very enjoyable.
Another day, we took the ferry to Hamilton. Shopping is not a favorite activity of mine, so I spent about 90 minutes there. I have been to Bermuda several times, so I didn't feel the need to jam pack my stay with activity there. However, most other passengers seemed to have enjoyed themselves.
I don't particularly mind children, but I do mind poor parenting. Sadly, though there weren't many children on board, they did stand out by their behavior. From the two boys trying to score a basket by throwing the basketball off the second story pool deck to the little girl and her mother singing into the child's microphone five feet away from where I was reading. Poor parenting abounds. Let's not forget about the drunk teenagers screaming as they ran past my cabin at 2 a.m.
Due to the loyalty program, my party was able to enjoy drinks and snacks most evenings in Michael's. The staff was incredible. After one evening, they knew our names and preferences, how much time for small talk was appropriate and remembered details that we had spoken about previously. Top notch.
I will definitely cruise with Celebrity Cruises again. However, I would stay in a balcony cabin and make sure I tried the specialty restaurants.