The whole experience was very professional and for the purposes of this review ,my comments reflect our thoughts on the ship and the facilities offered.
Embarkation at the terminal was quick and efficient,our suitcases were taken by porters and we were advised they would be at our cabins shortly after we got on board.We were directed to our deck check in, in our case deck 7 and queued for a short time, Whilst queuing we filled in public health forms asking if we had suffered any stomach upsets or sore throats ,colds etc in the previous couple of days. This was handed in at check in.As we walked on board we were offered hand gel and a welcome aboard drink,we then headed off to the Ocean View Cafe on deck 14 for a buffet lunch.The buffet had superb selection,pizza,stir fry and salads and more.Throughout the cruise the Ocean View maintained this high standard of varied and well prepared foods and we enjoyed eating there. Tea,coffee and soft drinks were all available for free.
We went to the Lawn Club on the top deck,for a cocktail and enjoyed the real grass area ,and relaxing.When we were advised our cabins were ready,we were amazed at how well laid out they were. We had adjoining cabins(7328-7326) and the attendant (Jose)arranged for the balcony partition to be removed and for us to have a double door,entrance and then our cabin door from the corridor.
Throughout the ship, there were staff offering hand gel,there were also handgel dispensers available and it was comforting to see that Celebrity took health and safety very seriously.
We opted for "select dining" and were lucky enough to have Sanjay and Tasha as our waiter/ess,so impressed were we by their service that we asked Khadine ,our restaurant hostess,if we could have them every night!! Khadine did everything to ensure that this happened ,and she must be commended on her ability to "juggle" passengers and table availability and still remain calm and friendly. The food was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and every night we tried things that we would not normally have at home.Our 8 year old son ate frogs legs and loved them! The menu was interesting and diverse,and never failed to please. We were lucky enough to have William as our sommelier and his advice on choosing wines was extensive and welcome.His manner made us feel comfortable in asking for advice,something which you cant always do at home.
We took in a few shows whilst on board, the highlights being Bruce Parker,soul/reggae singer and Paul Boland the impressionist which were very good. The theme nights were good fun by the poolside and it was good to see Pete Baker (activity manager) and Alijandra Torterroli (cruise director) leading the fun. The resident band was ok,but they need to increase their repertoire.The acapella group from Sweden,"The Ringmasters" were excellent and they attracted lots of attention from the teenage girls on board.
We used the fun factory kids club for our 8 year old and he loved it.There was an excellent staff/child ratio and the activities were age relevant.Sadly our 12 year old son felt out of place as there was a high percentage of Spanish kids,and he does not speak Spanish,so he did not avail of the teen club.
The bars on board In our opinion the best bar on board was the Martini bar, our waiter Ray was very pleasant. The next bar we enjoyed was the Sky lounge as the views were amazing. Our only criticism levelled at the bars,on two for one promotions,service became very slow,we were not sure if that was deliberate.
We went to bingo a few times and that was fun-dont worry it is definitely not fast!
Finally ,we chose to extend our stay as we had a late flight from Barcelona. For $59,95 per adult and $29.95 per child we stayed on board until 3pm. We enjoyed complimentary drinks and cakes at Cafe Bachio and lunch at Bistro at 5. We swam in the pools and chilled out ,this was ideal for us. There was a film being shown ,but we lost interest and walked out (we were the only ones in there!!).
Disembarkation was a bit muddled.Some of the security staff were not familiar with the concept of extended stay ,and this led to some delay-I am sure Celebrity will look into this.
All in all, this was a superb holiday and has left us all with a lot of good memories . We would have no hesitation in recommending this cruise ship to anyone,as it does "go that extra mile" (no pun intended).